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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    Trenton will wear the uniforms during every Friday game at Arm & Hammer Park for the rest of the season.

    Welcome to the Eastern League, Thunder Pork Roll.

    The Trenton Thunder broke out their new Pork Roll uniforms for the second of four games with the Bowie Baysox Friday night.  It was the Pork Roll, powered by a Brian Keller one-hitter, that knocked off the Baysox 2-0.

    Trenton will wear the uniforms, sponsored by Case Pork Roll, during every Friday game at Arm & Hammer Park for the rest of the season.

    "It is exciting, of course, to have baseball and pork roll together," Tom Dolan, the President of Case Pork Roll, said. "We have a good relationship with the Thunder, and it is going to be fun seeing them out there with the pork roll hats and jerseys on."

    Pitcher and West Windsor native Ben Ruta, who has extensive knowledge of the New Jersey iconic food, has been schooling the rest of the Thunder roster.

    "I am going to try it, because Ben Ruta has been hyping it up a lot," Chris Gittens, the Thunder first baseman, said. "He says, 'You have to have it.' So one of these days, I will try it."

    "It is always fun to wear different jerseys," Ruta said. "I feel like pork roll is part of the New Jersey culture that most people don't understand. But if you are from the area, it is a cool thing to wear.

    "Most of the guys haven't tried it on the team, so it is kind of hard for me to explain it. You have to try it if you want to know what it is."

    Thunder Pork Roll manager Jay Bell tried his first pork roll sandwich just after he arrived in town. 

    "I am still trying to figure out what pork rolls are, but I did eat one when I first came into town," Bell said. "We got into town the day before Easter Sunday. I was going to church at a place near Langhorne, and I found a diner. I ended up trying it." 

    Thunder's Abiatal Avelino tearing up minor leagues in 2018

    The Sticky Pig, a new favorite among fans at Arm & Hammer Park, has been selling well to start the 2018 campaign. Sales have been as hot as the Thunder, who had the best record in the Eastern League coming into Friday night (25-14).

    Case will also sponsor the upcoming Home Run Derby Monday, July 10, as part of the Eastern League All-Star Game festivities.

    "I heard the Sticky Pig has been doing well, and it's a big hit," Dolan said. "This is a really exciting time. To be a part of the Thunder's 25th anniversary, and to be building this relationship over the last few years, getting bigger and bigger with them, and to be a part of something this big, it is tremendous."

    NOTES:

    River Fest, presented by Case Pork Roll, will take place on Saturday September 29 at Arm & Hammer Park.

    The highlight of the event will be the Case Pork Roll Eating Championship, a Major League Eating competition that has seen the top two eaters in the world win the last two years.

    Joey Chestnut set the record with 43 quarter-pound sandwiches in 2016, while New Jersey's own Carmen Cincotti won the event last year, as he ate 40 pork roll sandwiches in 10 minutes.

    All tickets to the event are general admission and may be purchased for $5 beginning May 18 at 5:00pm. 

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    A number of city officers were honored with merit awards and unit citations Watch video

    Officer William Mulryne entered a fatal gun battle and pulled a wounded man to a safer position.

    Sgt. Charles Lamin confronted armed men on his dinner break and ended up in a shootout.

    And Officer Freddy Jiminez saved a distraught man from certain death by single-handedly pulling him back inside his eighth-floor apartment as he dangled from a window by his fingertips.

    Those acts and several others that occurred in 2017 were honored Thursday night during the Trenton Police Department's annual awards ceremony.

    The ceremony also honored three civilians who aided police in their work.

    One, Jesus Zayas, chased an armed man from his father's store during a holdup attempt and led three police officers to the suspect, who was chased down and arrested with a gun.

    Zayas and the three officers were awarded with a merit commendation for their actions.

    Mulryne's actions occurred in the early moments of a May 2017 shooting in South Trenton that led to a 35-hour standoff between police and barricaded suspect, who was later charged with killing an innocent bystander. And until Thursday, they were not publicly discussed.

    The suspect, who six police officers working on a U.S. Marshals fugitive task force were trying to arrest, started shooting, wounding three officers, plus the victim - a local resident who was walking by.

    Expo preview

    Two of the task force officers pulled the wounded man away from the gunfire, officials have said. 

    Mulryne was part of the first arriving Trenton officers, and he pulled the mortally wounded man to a safer location as bullets flew.

    Lamin was publicly confirmed Thursday to be the officer who confronted two men on Kulp Street moments after a nearby shooting. Lamin was on his meal break, in his own car, but in uniform, when he confronted the suspected gunmen.

    The gunman allegedly fired, and Lamin shot back, police said. Nobody was wounded. The two alleged gunmen were arrested a few days later.

    Jimenez's actions in September 2017 were publicized shortly after the incident when Trenton police made public the gripping footage from his police body camera.

    The rookie cop was doing routine follow-up work in the apartment of a man who's wife had just passed away when he found the man hanging from a window.

    He ran to the window and while frantically calling for backup and leaning out himself, managed to haul the man inside long before anyone could assist him.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    A group of New Jersey lawmakers want state employees or elected officials to know their taxpayer-funded retirement funds are on the line if a court finds them guilty of sexual assault, sexual contact lewdness or harassment - or if they confess to any of these offenses.

    A group of state lawmakers want state employees or elected officials to know their taxpayer-funded retirement funds are on the line if a court finds them guilty of sexual assault, sexual contact lewdness or harassment - or if they confess to any of these offenses.

    It's a no-nonsense response to the burgeoning #MeToo movement, one that shows our legislators are taking seriously the kinds of charges that have brought down the likes of former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, also of New York.

    What is it about men (usually) and power that gives them permission to act badly? Whatever it is, member of the Assembly State and Local Government Committee aren't buying it, as the bill that committee members approved earlier this month makes abundantly clear.

    The so-called "pension-forfeiture bill" would amend a law already on the books that withholds taxpayer-funded retirement funds for a variety of offenses such as public corruption, bribery and official misconduct.

    It grew out of a promise state lawmakers made earlier this year to review New Jersey's policies against workplace harassment - already among the strictest in the nation according to a recent review by the Associated Press.

    N.J. politicians, public workers could lose pensions

    We can count ourselves lucky that no elected official representing the Garden State has found himself of accused of sexual assault or harassment recently. Residents of Minnesota (Sen. Al Franken), Arizona (U.S. Rep. Trent Franks) and Michigan (U.S. Rep. John Conyers) have not been so fortunate with their members of Congress.

    And we can't ignore the voices of women who have come forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexual harassment and/or assault going back several decades.

    Let that sink in for a minute: Sixteen different women have leveled charges of sexual misconduct against the president of the United States, and to date he has faced no serious consequences.

    It takes great courage for women (again, usually) to buck public opinion and come forward with their stories; many stay silent for years in fear of retribution or condemnation.

    Assemblyman Patricia Egan Jones (D-Camden), a sponsor of the new bill, said it is meant to show individuals on the receiving end of these unwanted approaches that the Legislature is listening.

    In a rare committee vote against the measure, Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris) voiced concern that including "harassment" in its language makes the punishment excessive and disproportionate.

    A charge of harassment is typically levelled in cases that involve disorderly persons offenses; Carroll is worried that imposing the loss of a pension would be excessive in a neighborhood dispute, for example.

    With that in mind, we hope the legislators who have worked to further the bill will be sensitive to that interpretation, and that they will work to address Carroll's point.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.

     

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    Police negotiated for over four hours Friday with an armed and possibly suicidal man before he agreed to a release a woman from a Bordentown home, police said.

    Police were able to negotiate the surrender of a woman who was hiding in the upstairs bedroom of a Bordentown home from an armed and possibly suicidal family member after a nearly 4-hour standoff Friday, authorities said.

    Police responded to a Redwood Avenue home at 12:36 p.m. after receiving a call from a 33 year-old woman who lived there who said a 54-year-old family member "had armed himself with several firearms and was making suicidal statements," according to a release from the Bordentown Police.

    Police did not release the woman's name or that of her family member and did not say how the two are related.

    Police say they were able to surround the home and were eventually able to contact the woman who was "concerned for her personal safety."

    The New Jersey State Police and FBI were called in to help and were able to negotiate the release of the woman from the home, the release states.

    After they were unable to further negotiate with the man, the state police entered the home just before 5 p.m. and were able to arrest him "without incident," police said.

    Neither the man nor any officers were injured during the incident. Police did not say if the woman was injured during the standoff.

    The man was taken to an unspecified local hospital for crisis treatment. Police say criminal charges "may be filed pending the outcome" of their investigation.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at csheldon@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    In the 25th year of the Trenton Thunder, there have been many important people that have helped the franchise to become the success that it is today. There is an argument to be made, however, that one of the most crucial in that quarter century was Jeffrey Migliaccio. Migliaccio was the Director of Operations for the first decade of...

    In the 25th year of the Trenton Thunder, there have been many important people that have helped the franchise to become the success that it is today.

    There is an argument to be made, however, that one of the most crucial in that quarter century was Jeffrey Migliaccio.

    Migliaccio was the Director of Operations for the first decade of the Thunder. He came on board at the end of 1993, with the Mercer County Park Commission, before ground was broken for the stadium. As Head Groundskeeper, Migliaccio was in charge of the playing surface at Waterfront Park, which came with some very well-publicized problems in the first year.

    Migliaccio threw out the first pitch Friday night before the game with Bowie, as part of the Thunder Pork Roll celebration. He is a lifelong friend of Case Pork Roll President Tom Dolan, who wanted to honor the former Head Groundskeeper.

    "Jeffrey and I went to high school together, and played baseball at Saint Anthony's, class of '78," Dolan said. "Jeffrey did a tremendous job over there. It is great knowing someone personal that took care of the field, and made the field really what it is now."

    Migliaccio had a chance to reflect on his time with the Thunder, and his time with the Mercer County Park Commission, during the 2-0 win Friday.

    "The original team that came in was the the Tigers, then it became the Red Sox," Migliaccio said. "I can't believe it has been 25 years already for the team. I was there in 1993, when we started building the field. I was there for 10 or 11 years. It was a fun time, but it was a hectic time.

    "It was a great experience working with the Thunder. I will never forget, when Nomar (Garciaparra) came in, the first night it was cold. He turned to me in the dugout and said, 'It is not this cold all the time, is it?' I said, 'No, no, it will warm up.' That is one of the things I will never forget.

    "I was there when Tony Clark was there, Carl Pavano, a lot of names. But I wasn't there when the Yankees were there, and I was a little disappointed about that. Because (Derek) Jeter came through, Bernie Williams came through, and a lot of those Yankees came through."

    The Thunder, who switched their affiliation to the Boston Red Sox for the 1995 campaign, won multiple organizational awards after the second season of play. Thunder General Manager Wayne Hodes was named Eastern League Executive of the Year, an award which he won again in 1998, along with the Sporting News overall Minor League Executive of the Year in 1996.

    But it was Migliaccio's work fixing the field, which was a nightmare during the 1994 campaign, that was the turning point for the organization.

    Migliaccio won the 1995 award for Double A Groundskeeper of the Year (and again in 1998), after the whole field was replaced. The drainage problems were fixed, the seams in the turf were gone, and with that, Waterfront Park became one of the crown jewels of the Eastern League.

    Trenton Thunder take field for first time as Pork Roll

    "It was a tremendous difference from one year to the next," Migliaccio said. "It was a big change. We wound up getting the Groundskeeper of the Year that year, and then I got it again in 1998."

    After he moved on from the job at the stadium, Migliaccio helped redevelop Mercer County Park into the nationally-renowned gem that it is today. The park hosts the U.S Olympic rowing trials, along with so many other events, and has become one of the top parks in the country.

    "I retired this year, January 1st, from the county. I had 38 years with them. I redeveloped a lot of things in the Mercer County Park system within that time. After my time at the stadium, I was the Assistant Director or Operations for everything. 

    "I was involved in the 9-11 Memorial, and everything at Mercer County Park that has been redone over the years. When I first started, the main road wasn't even in yet, and the lake was not there yet. South Post Road went all the way through."

    Migliaccio had a pretty good career in sports before he helped turn around the fortunes of the Thunder.

    He won the Jack Cryan Award in 1978, as the point guard for the South Jersey champion Saint Anthony's basketball team. He also was the shortstop for the baseball team, and for the legendary Trenton Schroths, who won the 1976 American Legion New Jersey state title.

    "When I think back, it's kind of amazing how good of an athlete Jeffrey was," Mark Eckel, former Times of Trenton Philadelphia Eagles beat writer and former classmate of Migliaccio, said. "They called our basketball team that year the Miracle Mikes, and Jeffrey was the key miracle worker. In baseball, he was also the glue in the middle of a good infield." 

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    Just how segregated are New Jersey's schools? Irvington's study body is 0.3 percent white.

    A lawsuit filed last week calls for the desegregation of New Jersey schools, a potentially game-changing legal challenge for minority students across the state. 

    But how segregated are the state's schools?

    Just 0.3 percent of the more than 6,700 students in Irvington Public Schools are white, making it the most non-white school district in the state, according to data from the nonprofit Center on Diversity and Equality in Education

    And that's far from the only example of students of color being isolated. 

    About 66 percent of New Jersey's African American students and 62 percent of its Latino students attend schools that are more than 75 percent non-white, according to the lawsuit.

    While the segregation is not mandatory -- it stems from affordable housing issues and the high correlation between race and socioeconomic status -- the lawsuit argues de facto segregation is unconstitutional in New Jersey based on prior state Supreme Court rulings. 

    The suit asks for the state to come up with desegregation plans for districts like Irvington and others. The goal isn't to move white students into existing urban districts but to create new integrated schools or districts and help more minority students move into suburban districts. 

    To see the 25 schools districts with the fewest white students, check out the graphic below. These are just a few of the examples of segregated schools and do not include charter schools, vocational-technical schools or other non-traditional districts. 

    Carla Astudillo may be reached at castudillo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @carla_astudi. Find her on Facebook.

    Adam Clark may be reached at adam_clark@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on twitter at @realAdamClarkFind NJ.com on Facebook

     

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    Along with fried Oreos, one can now get a fried Snickers bar, and a fried Uncrustable, which is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

    With all the new food at Arm & Hammer Park this season, there is one stand that is dividing opinion more than any of the others.

    The Sticky Pig and the Beyond Burger have been big hits for the Thunder. Two of the other new items to the food repertoire for 2018 can be found at the fried food stand.

    Along with fried Oreos, one can now get a fried Snickers bar, and a fried Uncrustable, which is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

    Friday night, as the Thunder transformed into the Pork Roll for the first time this season, fans were given a chance to sample some of the new delicacies.

    "I am going to give you my analysis of these three individually," Fred York, who tried all three of the fried foods on offer, said. "I tried all three. At the bottom of the list was the Snickers. Number two, which was very good, was the Oreo. Number one, by a mile, was the peanut butter and jelly.

    "We all grew up eating peanut butter and jelly, every day. But never like that. You had a little bit of warmth to it, and the texture kind of brought the peanut butter and jelly together. So on your palate, you didn't taste peanut butter and jelly, you tasted pejelly; peanut butter and jelly combined."

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    "I agree," Mike Petrowski said. "The peanut butter and jelly was just the right texture, and the right temperature. That was like Greg Bird, compared to the minor leaguers today."

    Philip Tracey, however, gave his top vote to one of the others.

    "Fried Snickers, 100 percent," Tracey said. "One of the most delicious things I have had in my entire life. The fried peanut butter and jelly was good, but it was like a dry funnel cake.

    "It is good, but the Snickers, if you want to jump into a land of make believe, that is where you go. If you want to have one of the best nights of your life, that is where you go. The fried Snickers, that is the real deal."

    Leonardo Santana, who runs the stand on the first base side which sells the fried treats, has seen many fans try the delectables. It is the old school favorite funnel cake, and the Oreos, that have sold the best, although the new items have started to catch up quickly.

    "They have been selling pretty well," Santana said. "The most popular items are the funnel cake and fried Oreos. People are a bit skeptical when it comes to the Snickers and the Uncrustables, but they are pretty good, I would say.

    "I think there is a lot of added variety this year, and it is definitely attracting customers."

    NOTES:

    IMG_6171.jpgPhilip Tracey (L) and Brian Roe (R) pose with Slice, at Friday's Thunder Pork Roll night 

    During the seven-game home stand, no one had a more dominant game for the Thunder than Brian Keller.

    The starting pitcher went eight shutout innings Friday night, allowing just one questionable hit, in Trenton's 2-0 win. He had reached his pitch count by the end of the eighth, and watched Jordan Foley come in to close out the victory.

    "I knew what was going on out there (in regards to the no-hitter)," Keller said. "But it was a one-run ballgame later in the game, and I was just trying to keep it close."

    Keller (4-2, 3.35 ERA) allowed a lead-off single to Cedric Mullins in the sixth, walked two, and struck out four. He has improved greatly since his first outing April 9, where he allowed six runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings, in an 11-1 loss to New Hampshire.

    "I have been so much better, and have improved a lot," Keller said. "I am getting a little more comfortable out there. My favorite thing is going deep into games, and giving my team a chance to win.

    "I think the intensity is a little higher when it is a close game like that, so that is a lot of fun. Even in those games with a four or five run lead, you have to stay locked in out there."

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    EDEN HAZARD LEADS CHELSEA TO F.A. CUP TITLE All it took was one moment of madness from Phil Jones, and Eden Hazard made Manchester United pay. Chelsea won the 2018 F.A. Cup., with a 1-0 win over the Red Devils. Hazard was brought down in the box by Jones in the 21st minute, and the Belgian converted from the...

    EDEN HAZARD LEADS CHELSEA TO F.A. CUP TITLE

    All it took was one moment of madness from Phil Jones, and Eden Hazard made Manchester United pay.

    Chelsea won the 2018 F.A. Cup., with a 1-0 win over the Red Devils. Hazard was brought down in the box by Jones in the 21st minute, and the Belgian converted from the spot to give the Blues an early lead. 

    While Manchester United poured on the pressure in the second half, and despite multiple gilt-edge chances over the final 30 minutes of play, it could not find a goal to send the match into extra time.

    Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud won the cup for the fourth time in five years, with the first three coming as an Arsenal player. He was part of the 2-1 win last season for the Gunners, who beat Chelsea. Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic lost for the second year in a row with different teams.

    The match may have been the final one in charge for Antonio Conte, as Willian may hope. If that was his final game, he will go out with two major trophies from his two-year stint in charge of the Blues, which includes the 2016-17 Premier League title.

    For Manchester United, the game brings to an end a disappointing campaign. Although the Red Devils finished second in the Premier League standings, 19 points behind Manchester City, there was no trophy to celebrate. For fans of United, even worse than the lack of silverware, however, is the teams that have picked up trophies. 

    Rivals Manchester City won the league and the Carabao Cup, Chelsea won the F.A. Cup, and Liverpool will play Real Madrid Saturday in the UEFA Champions League final (2:45 p.m. Fox and Fubo.tv). 

    There may be many shouts of "Hala Madrid" heard in Manchester this weekend, as former Red Devil Cristiano Ronaldo tries to keep his old rivals from lifting the cup. Real Madrid will try to win its third straight Champions League title, its fourth in five years, and its 13th all-time.

    Premier League 2017-18 season runs its course Sunday

    OLD TOWN PUB HOSTS UEFA, WORLD CUP, AND 2018-19 PREMIER LEAGUE

    Mike Scharibone knows how big the Premier League, and the sport in general, has become over the last decade.

    Now, his Old Town Pub in Bordentown will play host to fans of the game over the next couple months, before the start of the new Premier League campaign on the weekend of August 11-12.

    Saturday, with the biggest match of the European season taking place in Kyiv, Ukraine, fans can watch the UEFA Champions League Final at Scharibone's restaurant with the Box to Box Football crew, as they celebrate the end of the club football season.

    "I am very excited for that," Scharibone said. "I wouldn't say it is the Super Bowl, but it is the next thing underneath it.

    "Being a pub style place, I think soccer fits into what I am trying to do. It is something different that you don't see, with the soccer being promoted. I know soccer has always been a big thing in this area, and restaurants don't really support the soccer scene as much as the football scene

    "So I said, why don't we try to get the soccer people in, like the football crowd, and have the same concept like that. I like that the games are early in the mornings on weekends, and you get the true fans that really love the sport will come out and watch early in the day."

    With the World Cup starting Thursday, June 14, and running through Sunday, July 15, fans have a chance to fill the void of club football with the biggest sporting event in the world. Friday, June 15 is the first full day of the tournament, with three matches. Old Town Pub will host another event that day, with the Morocco vs. Iran match at 11 a.m. EDT leading into the top match of the day, Portugal vs. Spain, at 2 p.m.

    IMG_6149.jpgOld Town Pub will host UEFA Champions League, World Cup, and Premier League events

    "I think that is going to be another really big push," Scharibone said. "I hope it brings in a nice crowd. We have 13 TVs throughout the building, and we have a 65 inch TV in the center.

    "We have pub style food with a twist, and we have tons of craft beer, and some local beers, plus your standard beers."

    Next week, with the UEFA Champions League and EFL Championship Playoff Final done, will be the final thoughts on the 2017-18 club football season.

    MANCHESTER UNITED'S OLOSUNDE CALLED UP TO U.S. NATIONAL TEAM

    Matthew Olosunde, a 20-year-old right back for Manchester United, was called up to the U.S. National team for the game against Bolivia on Memorial Day.

    The Trenton native is a starter for the United reserves, and has trained and traveled with the first team squad. He is part of the 22-man U.S. roster, and has a good chance to get his first cap. It could give Olosunde a huge boost, before Manchester United returns to America this summer as part of the International Champions Cup.

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean His weekly podcast, Box to Box Football, can be found on iTunes here https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/box-to-box-football/id1208561351?mt=2


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    Police said the car was traveling "at an unsafe speed" on a wet road when it spun out of control.

    An 18-year-old woman was killed Sunday morning when her car was split in half in a high-speed collision with a tree in West Windsor, police said.

    The victim was not immediately identified. 

    Police said the crash was reported at 8 a.m. on Route 571 near McGetrick Lane and Glenngarry Way.

    The woman's 2006 Scion was traveling westbound "at an unsafe speed" on a wet road surface when it spun out of control as it approached a curve near the Southfield Shopping Center and struck a tree, according to a police report.

    The force of the impact split the vehicle in two, police said.

    The victim was declared dead at the scene, and authorities said the crash remains under investigation.

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips
     

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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    If you're interested in helping homeless animals but aren't able to adopt one, there are a number of other ways you can be of assistance.

    Realistically, not everyone can adopt. People who live in apartments or developments that have no-pets policies fall into that category, as do people with allergies or disabilities that will not allow them to care for pets of their own. Adoptapet.com offers these suggestions for ways people who want to help can participate in caring for homeless animals.

    * Help out at a local shelter. It's not glamorous work by any means, but it's vital and will be very much appreciated. You can do anything from help walk dogs to bottle feed kittens, help clean kennels or cat's cages or even help with bathing and grooming. Contact your local shelter to find out their policies regarding volunteers.

    * If you're handy, you can lend a hand in many ways. Shelters usually need repairs of many kinds, so fixer-uppers can help out like that. If you sew, quilt or crochet, you can make blankets for your local shelter.

    * Help out at an adoption event. Many shelters and rescue groups participate in local events by hosting a table with pets available for adoption. They also hold these program at malls, pet supply stores and banks, and can always use a helping hand.

    * For galleries like this one and for online adoptions sites, often a shelter or rescue group doesn't have the time or equipment to shoot good photos of their adoptable pets. Something as simple as making yourself available to shoot and provide digital files of pet photos can be a big help.

    * Donate. It doesn't have to be money; shelters need cleaning supplies, pet food, toys for the animals and often even things we don't think twice about getting rid of like old towels and newspapers. Every little bit helps.

    If you don't know where your local animal shelter or rescue group is, a quick online search will reveal a number of results. It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to get involved but it provides immeasurable assistance.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    Security footage helped piece together what happened moments before 2 young men from Philadelphia were shot dead in Trenton

    When Mercer County's Homicide Task Force was scouring the Chambersburg neighborhood of Trenton investigating the January killings of two young men from Philadelphia, they did what police typically do.

    They looked for evidence, witnesses and clues.

    But they also looked up, on utility poles, on the corners of businesses and on homes.

    They were looking for surveillance cameras. And in this case, they found several they found to be helpful.

    Cameras helped investigators piece together the chain of events that led to the murders of Jerard Perdomo Santana, 25, and Ivan Rodrigues, 19 on the afternoon of Jan. 22, a probable cause affidavit shows.

    vehiclepath.jpg 

    Nearly five months after the murders, six people have been charged in connection with the shooting deaths of the men from Philly. Four are facing accomplice to murder charges, while two others were charged with hindering an investigation. 

    Here's what the cameras revealed, as alleged in the affidavit:

    While waiting to sell a pill to a Trenton resident that January afternoon, Santana and Rodrigues sat in a black Ford Taurus on the 300 block of Ashmore Avenue. Three men approached the vehicle, and one climbed into the back seat. 

    First responders found the bodies of Santana and Rodrigues minutes later. They'd been shot in the back of their heads and necks, and $40 was left in the back seat. 

    The first to be arrested and charged were Tashawn Santiago, 25, Cecil Blake, 31 and Shaquille McNeil, 24, earlier this month. 

    Footage that day shows Santiago getting into a black Chevrolet Impala owned by Felicita Gee, 44, on the 100 block of Cummings Avenue.

    Nearby, two men -- Blake, who was wearing a wool hat, and McNeil, who had on a ski mask -- exited a white Lexus driven by LaKeisha Hill, 29, and climbed into the black Impala. 

    Shaquille McNeil.jpgShaquille McNeil 

    Gee identified McNeil in the collected footage, describing him as a "little boy, little kid," who "always got that thing on his face."

    The three men traveled down Ashmore Avenue, at first avoiding the two men in the black Taurus.

    At 2:14 p.m., footage shows, they parked across the street and approached Santana and Rodrigues. 

    A 25-year-old man who intended to buy the pill from Santana was in a green Taurus behind them, and was shot at when he accelerated, the footage shows.

    "During this interaction, at least one of the suspects (Santiago, McNeil, Blake) entered the back seat of the black Ford Taurus and fatally shot both Jerard Perdomo Santana and Ivan Rodriguez from within," the affidavit reads. 

    The three ran back to the black Impala and sped off, footage shows. At Morris Avenue and Washington Street, they ditched two handguns. 

    Footage at Liberty Avenue and Chambers Street shows the black Impala blowing through a red light.

    Investigators haven't seen the car since. 

    The affidavit is dizzying in its detail.

    It describes how detectives pieced together different pieces and confirmed the same vehicle and driver were the same from one camera to the next.

    In one instance, they compared and confirmed it was still Santiago behind the wheel, from when he got into the car, to 43 minutes later -- because they could see the distinctive white trim on the Nike hooded sweatshirt he wore that day.

    It was visible on his left wrist, from camera to camera, as he drove.

    Lakeisha HillLakeisha Hill 

    At the time of the arrests, Santiago was already in the county jail on an unrelated case. Blake had been wounded in a separate Trenton shooting last month, records show, and was already in custody of Mercer County corrections officers at an undisclosed location.

    During questioning, Gee, who owned the black Impala, told investigators conflicting stories about the car. Her daughter, Fantasia Gee, 23, was dating McNeil at the time of the murder. 

    Investigators found texts from Fantasia about the murders the days following and texts between Fantasia and Felicity Gee the day of the murders. 

    Both have since been charged with counts of hindering an investigation for providing false information. 

    Late last month, investigators also identified and charged Hill as an accomplice to the murder for driving Blake and McNeil in the white Lexus to meet up with Santiago, in the Impala.

    When she drove away, a camera recorded her.

    "As the vehicle turned right onto Ashmore Avenue from Division Street, the driver was observed and had her head turned to the left, facing the camera," the affidavit says. "The driver ... was later identified as Lakeisha N. Hill."

    Prosecutors have not commented on why Santana and Rodrigues were in Trenton, or why they believe they were killed.

    The investigation is still ongoing, and prosecutors have filed to keep Santiago, Blake and McNeil detained pending trial.

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.comFollow her on Twitter @By_paigegross. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The annual 'Click It or Ticket' campaign handed out nearly 18,000 tickets to drivers in New Jersey last year, and 173 departments are participating in 2018


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    Later, rain - the baseball tourney opens on a glorious Monday.

    Baseball: Delran at Northern Burlington on 5/4/2017Baseball: Delran at Northern Burlington on 5/4/2017 (Larry Murphy | For the Times of Trenton)  
    Baseball: Mercer County Semifinals: Hopewell Valley vs. Steinert on 5/15/2017Baseball: Mercer County Semifinals: Hopewell Valley vs. Steinert on 5/15/2017 (Larry Murphy | For the Times of Trenton)  

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    High schools from New Jersey celebrate prom 2018.

    Photographers from NJ Advance Media are covering proms around the state. Check out the list below with our most recent prom photo galleries from the past week.

    Be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at nj.com/prom.

    Patti Sapone may be reached at psapone@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Instagram @psapo, Twitter @psapone. Follow NJ.com on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


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    A look ahead to the semifinal round of the girls lacrosse state tournament.


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    Cast your vote for the top track and field performance from the past week!


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    Police say another woman has reported being grabbed - forcefully. She was on her way to work

    Princeton police are investigating another public groping and again asking for the public's help in nabbing the man.

    He could be the perpetrator who's been sexually assaulting women that past few years by forcefully grabbing their buttocks.

    On Saturday, May 19, the department said in a statement, a woman was walking to work near the Santander Bank on the 100 block of Nassau Street when a man grabbed her buttocks "very aggressively," with both hands. She told police her pants came partially down in the assault.

    prin-sketches.jpgPolice made public these sketches following groping incidents in Princeton in April 2017, left, and August 2017, on right. 

    The woman's description of her attacker matches that of other prior incidents of the same nature.

    Last year, Princeton police released made public two sketches from separate incidents, in April and August.

    No sketch was immediately made public of the most recent incident.

    The grabber has been described as having an average to shorter (5-feet 5-inches) height and about 30 or 40 years old. 

    Reports of a man fitting this description grabbing woman in public go back to at least 2015, when the man grabbed a 15-year-old girl as she was walking home from school. 

    Separate incidents were reported in September 2015 and November 2016. A woman was also grabbed in May 2017 as well, and those two incidents prompted a woman to report in June 2017 that she was grabbed the year before - in June 2016.

    The attacks all follow a similar pattern, police have said: the victim is walking in public when a man runs up behind her and grabs her buttocks, then runs away.

    Princeton police said they are still investigating Saturday's incident, and can't yet say its for certain if it's the same man as the string of other gropings.

    Anyone with information is urged to reach out to Detective Holly Arana at 609-931-2100 ext. 1834. 

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.comFollow her on Twitter @By_paigegross. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The Garden State joined Florida, Kentucky, New York and Texas as the top five states in the nation with the highest number of C-section deliveries, says the Leapfrog Group, a non-profit organization that issues report cards on hospital safety.

    The rates for Caesarian-section births vary widely by hospital in New Jersey, but health-care advocates and childbirth experts agree on one thing: Those rates are too high - and getting higher.

    The Garden State joined Florida, Kentucky, New York and Texas as the top five states in the nation with the highest number of C-section deliveries, says the Leapfrog Group, a non-profit organization that issues report cards on hospital safety.

    Certainly, there are situations which call for a surgical rather than a vaginal birth: cases of multiple births, for example, or when the mother has high blood pressure, or the fetus is showing signs of distress. Other indications include breech births, irregular hearts in either mother or baby, and problems with the placenta.

    But although advocates have been lobbying for years to reduce the frequency of the procedure when it's not medically recommended, rates continue to remain at unhealthy levels.

    In Leapfrog's most recent report, only nine of the 47 hospitals that deliver babies in New Jersey and which submitted data met the group's standard of performing no more than 23.9 percent C-sections.

    That was down from 11 hospitals the previous year.

    N.J. among the worst states for high numbers of C-sections

    In the study, Christ Hospital in Jersey City reported the lowest C-section rate (14-percent) and CentraState Medical Center in Freehold the highest (42.1-percent).

    The wide disparity in hospitals' approaches to birth suggest that more factors than health are at play. Patient demand, a doctor's time constraints and a fear of malpractice - all these and more have a role.

    The work Leapfrog does is significant, serving to heighten public awareness that an all-too-common procedure has real-life implications for both mother and child.

    Mothers who deliver by C-section typically take longer to heal, face longer hospital stays and sometimes encounter problems during subsequent pregnancies. Leapfrog's report also noted that infants born by C-section face a greater risk of developing medical problems such as diabetes or asthma down the road.

    Linda Schwimmer, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, had these realities in mind when she urged the state to do better when it comes to reducing the incidence of unwarranted C-sections.

    "The hospital where an expectant mother delivers should not be the determining factor of whether or not she has a surgical birth," Schwimmer said.

    Hospitals in other states have been successful in driving down the rate of unnecessary C-sections. In Newport Beach, Cal., for example, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian reduced its rate from 38 percent to just under 33 percent in just three years, largely by closely monitoring the procedures and exerting pressure on doctors to modify their behavior.

    Only a team effort will bring a about a similar response in our state, but the results will be well worth it. Raising consumer awareness is the first step.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.

     

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    30 N.J. softball alums and how they did in the NCAA Regionals


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    Highlights of the first round of states.


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