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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    The stores are among 72 closing across the country.

    Three Sears and one Kmart stores in New Jersey will be among the 72 across the country to close

    The struggling retail giant released the full list on Thursday. 

    Sears Holdings identified 100 stores that are no longer profitable and decided to close 72 of them.

    "We continue to evaluate our network of stores, which are a critical component in our transformation, and will make further adjustments as needed and as warranted," Sears said in a statement.

    Here are the New Jersey locations that will being closing sales "in the near future."

    • Sears at the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrenceville
    • Sears on at the Seaview Square Mall Route 66 in Ocean Township
    • Sears at The Center Burlington Mall in Burlington
    • Kmart on Barbour Avenue in Clifton

    See the full list of closures released Thursday here.


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    Prosecutors said one of the men traveled to Newark on a regular basis to get a supply of cocaine to distribute throughout Trenton.

    Mercer County authorities arrested two men and seized drugs, cash, weapons and a BMW car in completing a two-month investigation of cocaine being distributed throughout Trenton.

    The county's Narcotics Task Force was watching as Nathaniel Bethea, 34, of Hamilton and Ricqui Watkins, 48, of Willingboro, made an alleged drug run to Newark Wednesday in Bethea's 2014 BMW, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said.

    Members of the task force observed the pair drive north, and back to Mercer County on the New Jersey Turnpike and get on 195 westbound, heading toward Trenton.

    Detectives moved in, pulling the car over on the highway and detained the man. That's when they allegedly saw Bethea try to shove a clear plastic bag into a pocket of his cargo shorts.

    The bag fell out onto the ground, and officers removed him from his car and revealed about 450 grams of suspected cocaine, the office said.

    It was just another round trip Bethea was allegedly making to Newark on a regular basis to get cocaine he's now charged with distributing in the Trenton area, the office said.

    Detectives also allegedly found $698 in cash on Bethea. In the Newark supplier's home, detectives found a Glock handgun with a 50-round drum magazine, three 30-round magazines and kilogram press. 

    Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri estimates that the seized drugs have an approximate street value of $45,000, the office said in a statement. 

    Bethea's BMW was also seized as drug proceeds. 

    Watkins and Bethea were both charge with multiple narcotics-related offenses and the prosecutor's office has filed a motion to detain them, pending trial. 

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


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    State lawmakers held a hearing Thursday in the wake of hidden-camera videos appearing to show local union officials discussing protecting teachers accused of abusing students.

    State lawmakers grilled leaders of New Jersey's largest teachers union Thursday over hidden-camera videos appearing to show local union officials discussing protecting teachers accused of abusing students.

    They also implored state education officials to make it clear the state has zero tolerance for covering up accusations of abuse. 

    "If you have a person who is blocking information, it will never get out of the room and that child's life will always be endangered," state Sen. Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex, said during the joint hearing of the Senate education and labor committees at the Statehouse in Trenton.

    "We have to change the culture of individuals who think their main priority is to protect the worst," Ruiz added.

    Phil Murphy supports hearings on 'unacceptable' NJEA videos

    The hearing was called in response to videos posted by Project Veritas, a controversial conservative nonprofit run by New Jersey native and Rutgers University graduate James O'Keefe. The group often goes undercover to expose liberal groups -- and has been criticized for selectively editing their videos.

    These clips show local union presidents in Hamilton (Mercer County) and Union City -- which are branches of the New Jersey Education Association, the largest teachers union in the state.

    Hamilton union president David Perry and Union City president Kathleen Valencia are shown discussing how their unions hypothetically would help teachers who physically abused or threatened students. 

    Valencia mentions how how a teacher who had sex with a teenage girl will not be fired because no charged were filed.

    Both presidents residents and were suspended without pay from their districts, NJEA executive director Ed Richardson said Thursday.

    The union also said it will conduct a review of how local officials handle suspected abuse of children.

    State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester -- who has often feuded with the NJEA -- called for Thursday's hearing, saying what was said in the videos is "offensive."

    Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who was endorsed by the NJEA, supported the hearings, saying ""if it's true, it's completely unforgivable and unacceptable, what was said."

    Richardson said Thursday there's "no place" for abusing students and covering it up. 

    "Our members have a moral obligation to protect students," Richardson told lawmakers. 

    He stressed the union wants to "make sure every staff member knows how to report abuse" and said the union will conduct training as needed.

    "We must ensure we are meeting our due legal responsibility to protect children," Richardson added.

    But Ruiz said she was bothered by how Richardson said the local officials were "set up" by Project Veritas. 

    "I cannot accept that," said Ruiz, chairwoman of the Senate education committee, adding that "no one can set you up" to say the kind of things these officials said on camera.

    She said she's not defending Project Veritas. 

    "But you cannot be set up to have this kind of mentality," Ruiz said.

    Richardson pointed out that the union had the videos "professionally analyzed" and that there were 26 edits in the video.

    Meanwhile, Lamont Repollet, the acting state education commissioner under Gov. Phil Murphy, said his department takes the safety of students seriously.

    He said the department working on new forms districts must use when background-checking teachers -- part of the requirements of the "passing the trash" law that Murphy recently signed.

    Repollet said the state Board of Examiners receives complaints about teachers and can revoke and suspend licenses. 

    "It is heart-wrenching to know there are individuals out there who may hurt a child," he added.

    State Sen. Fred Madden, D-Gloucester, told Repollet the state has "all the safeguards in the place" but "the problem is there is a big hole in it."

    "The hole is if it's not reported to you or the Board of Examiners, nothing is done," said Madden, chairman of the Senate labor committee. "Something needs to be clamped down on, even the person who is not reporting it, hiding the facts. I think they are just as guilty as the person who is abusing the child."

    "I think there is a lot that needs to be done to tighten up on all of this," he added.

    Brent Johnson may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01. Find Politics on Facebook.

    Adam Clark may be reached at Follow him on twitter at @realAdamClarkFind on Facebook.


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    He had been out on parole for less than a year when he climbed through the woman's window

    Lawrence "Lonnie" Pippins of Pemberton Township had been out on parole for less than a year when he decided to crawl through the open window of a home in University Park Apartments in the middle of the night of June 15, 2017.

    pippins.jpgLawrence Pippins 

    Inside, he later admitted, he terrorized the unsuspecting resident.

    Authorities said he tied a woman up and sexually assaulted her at gunpoint before fleeing.

    Despite the traumatic attack, the woman was able to remember things that helped identify her attacker, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office.

    The evidence also helped Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Eife negotiate a plea deal that will see Pippins in prison for more than 21 years.

    "The victim in this case demonstrated tremendous courage, and her ability to recall details greatly assisted investigators in making a quick arrest and removing a dangerous threat from society," Prosecutor Scott Coffina said in a statement Thursday.

    He called the random attack the type of crime that "strikes immense fear in the public psyche."

    Coffina said that after the crime was reported, investigators canvassed the Pemberton neighborhood and collected evidence from the apartment. Pippins was arrested the next day.

    Pemberton Township Detective Danielle Hann, Burlington County Prosecutor's Office Detective Matthew Delgado, and Pemberton Township Officer Michael Brewer, along with the prosecutor's Crime Scene Unit, were recognized at the recent prosecutor's awards. Their investigatory work "led directly to the guilty plea and substantial prison term for this defendant," the statement said.

    Pippins pleaded guilty in January to kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault, which means he will have to register as a sex offender.

    As part of the plea deal, the assistant prosecutor recommended a sentence adding up to 25 years in prison. Because the charges fall under the No Early Release Act, he will have to serve at least 85 percent of the term before being eligible for parole.

    The prosecutor's office said Pippins may be in even more trouble because committing the attack last June was a violation of parole.

    State Department of Corrections records show Pippins was released Aug. 12, 2016 after serving nearly six years of a seven-year prison sentence on a 2011 conviction of robbery using force or causing bodily injury.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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    Former Sgt. Mark Lee broke into a couple's home and assaulted the wife and her 4-year-old son

    The saga of former Robbinsville police Sgt. Mark Lee appears to be closed, in lawsuits anyway.

    The town recently agreed to pay a $200,000 settlement to a couple and child he terrorized during a 2012, on-duty assault inside the victims' home in Project Freedom - an independent-living facility for people with disabilities.

    Lee was a nearly 20-year police officer in town when he broke into the couple's apartment, disrobed, then assaulted the 4-year-old boy and his mother, who was knocked out of her wheelchair. 

    Lee also assaulted the couple's home health aide during the attack.

    His colleagues arrested him and charged him with several felonies, and he later was admitted into a three-year pre-trial intervention program and was forced to quit his job.

    The first lawsuit the town settled was his - for $117,500 in 2016.

    Lee sued the township and police claiming that it failed to accommodate a disability that caused the "psychotic episode." The Mercer County Prosecutor's Office previously described Lee's condition as calcium deposits on his brain.

    Earlier this year, the town settled the home health aide's suit for $100,000.

    The latest settlement - $130,000 to the couple's child and $70,000 to the couple themselves - was first reported by NJ Civil Settlements, a blog by John Paff.

    The couple and child were represented by Clifford Bidlingmaier, III and Robin Lord.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find on Facebook.



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    Many New Jersey celebrities have listed their luxury homes this spring real estate season.

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    Officials relight the iconic bridge sign over the Delaware River after months of upgrades Watch video

    "Paris has its Eiffel Tower, Rome has its Colosseum. Egypt has its pyramids and Trenton has its Trenton Makes slogan on the bridge."

    Those were the word Thursday evening of Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) Treasurer Yuki Moore Laurenti, speaking at a ceremony to relight the letters on the iconic bridge over the Delaware River.

    DRJTBC contractors recently outfitted the sign - once heralded as the world's largest municipal advertising slogan - with new state-of-the-art LED lighting components and a new electrical supply system.

    Makeover of 'Trenton Makes' sign finally coming to a close

    The replacement of the sign and wiring of the lighting were complete in early 2018 and then the lights went through a burn-in period.

    They've remained dark for the most part in the interim, except for a brief time when the sign, which is capable of displaying 16 million color variations, "coincidentally" shined green after the Philadelphia Eagles' historic Super Bowl win in February.

    The DRJTBC chose Thursday for the lighting because May 31 was the 100th anniversary of the day the Lower Trenton river crossing was purchased from the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. - and freed of tolls.

    At the ceremony at the commission's Morrisville, Pa. offices, officials kicked off the sign's new era with speeches under a tent in the parking lot.

    But the real action was out over the water.

    Two lanes of traffic were blocked on the Rt. 1 toll bridge for the lighting, affording spectators a view of the Trenton Makes bridge normally only seen in passing.

    After a countdown by Larry S. Rosenthal, Mercer County Chief of Veteran Services, and a volley of fired by the 6th Regiment United States Colored Troops Reenactors, Inc., the sign came alive in color.

    The crowd delighted to the dazzling display of colors - fixed, and cascading.

    Expo preview

    Michael Mancuso may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @michaelmancuso, Instagram @michaelmancuso and Facebook @michaelmancuso

    Follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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    Breaking down this weekend's matchups at Kean University.

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    Maise Daughtry from Trenton just earned her bachelor's degree in liberal studies

    For many senior citizens, getting a college degree is not on the horizon.

    But it was for Maise Daughtry of Trenton.

    The 74-year-old recently earned a bachelor's degree in liberal studies from William Paterson University's satellite campus partnership at Mercer County Community College (MCCC).

    She started her late-in-life education at MCCC in 2001, and later earned two associate's degrees in music and liberal studies.

    "I've always been a person who's interested in education, but of course your track doesn't go the way you think you should go," Daughtry said recently.

    maise1 copy.jpgMaise Daughtry, of Trenton. (Provided photo) 

    With the "heavy urging" of her mother, who could not afford to send Daughtry to college, she began working for the U.S. Social Security Administration as a teenager, and remained there for more than 37 years.

    While working there, Daughtry got married and had a son and a daughter - and is now a grandmother to two.

    She could have retired years ago, she said, but didn't, "because I didn't know what to do with myself," she said.

    One day years ago, she heard a co-worker on the phone speaking about her son's enrollment at MCCC. That was the spark for her to become a student too.

    "I thought, 'That's what I can do.' So I went to school," she said.

    She had obstacles and interruptions during her time studying. She fell ill with kidney and other health problems. "But I never gave up the longing to go back to school," she says. 

    Instead, she adjusted her schedule from full-time to part-time student.

    While studying among other students, Daughtry was always the oldest.  She said she spent most of her time sitting next to 20-somethings.

    "But you know what? It's been amazing," she said.

    She talks about "the kind of respect" from younger students, "and the professors, oh my goodness, they always said they were happy to have me in class because I participate, and that often turns the tide of discussion because the younger students didn't always see things in a certain light, but I could because of my life experiences."

    "That's what being older brings," she said.

    Class of 2018. Thousands earn degrees at 3 local colleges

    Daughtry was a student in Samantha Oras, adjunct professor of Women's and Gender Studies in Fall 2017.

    Oras said, "She was a fantastic addition to the class, and her life experiences enhanced the discussions...She brought an historical perspective of women's lives throughout 7 decades"

    Given her experiences, Daughtry has advice to other senior citizens who are considering college. 

    "Well of course there could be, and in my case there were health issues, which can play a role in you being able to continue. But somehow or another, I was always able to ride it out and keep going.  I didn't let that stop me...I just lived in the now. Live in the now," she advises.

    For now, she said she would like to "work with our young black men who are incarcerated for minor crimes...and also to work with the elderly, placing them in homes. Those are some of the things on my heart," she added.

    And there's more on the horizon.

    Daughtry plans to soon start work on a graduate degree in liberal studies, and hopes it will take her two to four years on her part-time schedule to get it done.

    Follow on Twitter @njdotcom. Find on Facebook.

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    The truck was the only vehicle involved in the Route 29 crash

    Three occupants of a truck were seriously injured Friday afternoon when it crashed on Route 29 in Trenton, officials said.

    The truck crashed on southbound Route 29 near mile marker 2.1 - just south of the Trenton tunnel - around 12:50 p.m., the New Jersey State Police said.

    The truck was the only vehicle involved. The Trenton Fire Department freed one of the occupants, and said the vehicle appears to have been driving north and crashed over a barrier and into the southbound lanes.

    Two occupants got out themselves, and one was pinned when first responders arrived. Firefighters used high-pressure bags to lift the vehicle off the pinned person, a fire chief said.

    The three were taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.

    The southbound lanes of Route 29 remained closed at Cass Street as of 3:30 p.m., with delays of at least 30 minutes in the area, according to Hamilton firefighters also assisted at the scene.

    - Reporter Kevin Shea contributed to this story. 

    Caitlyn Stulpin may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @caitstulpin. Find on Facebook.

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    The Camden pair robbed 8 stores at gunpoint and left a cashier in Pennsauken paralyzed

    The two men who committed a series of armed robberies at 7-Elevens throughout South Jersey -- including one that paralyzed a store clerk in Pennsauken -- are headed to prison.

    Charles Walls and Anthony Ervin, both from Camden, were sentenced Friday after pleading guilty in April to the early morning robberies of eight 7-Elevens in Mercer, Burlington and Camden counties between January and June 2014, the Office of the Attorney General said Friday afternoon.

    Walls, now 35, was sentenced to 30 years in state prison with 17 1/2 years of parole ineligibility. He got 20 years for attempted murder and a concurrent 10-year sentence for the robbery charge.

    Ervin, 27, was sentenced to 12 years in state prison with 10 years of parole ineligibility after pleading guilty to first-degree robbery.

    Driving in a red-orange Chevrolet Sonic, the pair robbed stores at gunpoint, dressed in masks, hoodies and gloves. One would aim a handgun at store clerks while the other raided the cash register and stole cigarettes. In four robberies, Ervin and Walls used zip ties to restrain the convenience store workers.

    The men were linked to 7-Eleven hold-ups in Moorestown, Hamilton, Medford Lakes, Marlton and Blackwood, Pennsauken and two in Cherry Hill.

    The armed robberies left one store clerk paralyzed by gunshots fired by Walls.

    Paralyzed man becomes nationally-ranked athlete

    It was just before 1 a.m. on June 10, 2014 when the two men, as well as a third accomplice who has not been identified, barged into the 7-Eleven on Westfield Avenue in Pennsauken, demanding money and cartons of cigarettes. When the clerk, then-28-year-old Adil Boutahli, did not move fast enough to get the money, the robbers pistol whipped him, knocked him on the ground, and opened fire on him when he tried to get up.

    Boutahli, a Moroccan immigrant who was well-known for going out of his way for customers, survived the attack, sustaining gunshot wounds, spinal injuries, and weeks in critical condition. He has not walked on his own since the shooting.

    While the two robbers face time in prison, Boutahli went on to become a nationally ranked wheelchair tennis player as a result of his time playing tennis at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, where he ranked fifth in the nation in his ability group.

    "Beginning with Walls' ruthless shooting of a young store clerk in Pennsauken, these armed robbers spread terror at 7-Eleven stores across three counties," Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said. "The sentences imposed today ensure that these dangerous criminals have been removed from our communities for many years to come."

    Gianluca D'Elia may be reached at gdelia@njadvancemedia.comFollow him on Twitter @gianluca_delia. Find on Facebook.

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    The man's brother is expected to be retried for the same crime next month

    A Lumberton man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after admitting his role in the 2016 killing of Justin Dubois - but the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office doesn't believe justice has been done just yet.

    The office plans to retry the man's brother, as well, in the October 2016 bludgeoning death of the 23-year-old.

    Bryan Costello, 26, was sentenced in Burlington County Superior Court Friday as a result of a plea deal he agreed to in April.

    He pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter, admitting that he beat Dubois to death with a baseball bat and buried him in the backyard of his Spencer Court home with the help of his brother, Christopher Costello, 29.

    Christopher Costello admitted to helping to bury the body but claimed the Bryan Costello was the one who beat Dubois to death, according to the prosecutor's office. He was convicted at trial in March on charges of hindering apprehension and desecration of human remains, but the jury found him not guilty of murder and hung on an aggravated manslaughter charge.

    The prosecutor's office plans to retry him on the single charge next month, according to a statement Friday.

    Bryan Costello's 15-year sentence is subject to the No Early Release Act, which means he will have to serve at least 85 percent, or 12 years and nine months, before he can be released on parole.

    The investigation began as a missing person's case when a a family member reported on Oct. 31, 2016 that Dubois had been missing for several days, authorities have said.

    Investigators got a search warrant to comb the Costellos' home and noticed a patch of soil in the backyard that appeared to have been recently disturbed. They excavated the site and found Dubois' body.

    Dubois was a 2012 graduate of Life Center Academy in Florence who dreamed of playing in the NBA, according to his obituary.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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    Hopewell Valley Central High School students celebrated their prom on Friday at Penn Ryn Estate, in Bensalem, Pa., dancing the night away.

    By Michael Mancuso

    NJ Advance Media for

    It was a night to remember for Hopewell Valley Central High School students as they celebrated their prom at Penn Ryn Estate in Bensalem, Pa., on Friday night.

    Prom-goers arrived dressed to the nines as they socialized, posed for photos and danced the night away.

    Some used our photographer's GoPro camera to take selfies.

    Check back at for other local high school prom coverage. And be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at

    Are you one of the people pictured at this prom? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Look for the blue link "buy photo" below the photographer's credit to purchase the picture. You'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.

    Michael Mancuso may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @michaelmancuso, Instagram @michaelmancuso and Facebook @michaelmancuso

    Follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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    Highlights from the state tournament.

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    Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law extending the state's Urban Enterprise Zone program.

    The sales tax in five New Jersey cities is being cut in half again. 

    For three decades, businesses in Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfeld, and Trenton were allowed to levy half the state's sales tax because they took part in the state's Urban Enterprise Zone program, which is designed to help boost economically struggling areas.

    That changed early last year, when the program expired in those cities -- the original five that took part in the 34-year-old program -- and then-Gov. Chris Christie declined to renew them.

    But Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law this week to restore UEZs there for five years and extend the program until 2023 for other areas where the program was set expire before that time.

    That means those five cities will rejoin the other UEZ areas throughout New Jersey where shoppers have to shell out only half the state's 6.62 percent sales tax -- 3.3 percent.

    The new law (S846/A3549) -- which takes effect immediately --  also requires the state to produce a report on whether the program should continue, be amended, or be discontinued. 

    Christie rejects sales tax cut for 5 N.J. cities

    Democratic state lawmakers who sponsored the measure praised Murphy for signing it into law Thursday, saying it will help attract new businesses and bring customers to areas that need help.

    "Urban Enterprise Zones have been an integral part of urban revitalization for many years now," said state Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, D-Hudson. "Extending their designation will help many cities remain economically competitive while spurring job growth and economic development."

    The measure passed both houses of the Democratic-controlled state Legislature in April -- 54-19-0 in the Assembly and 27-5 in the Senate.

    About 6,800 businesses in 23 UEZs in 32 municipalities across the state take part in the UEZ program, which began in 1983.

    The sales-tax discount has been the most attractive part of the program, but it also includes other incentives -- such as a break on energy taxes, a subsidy for unemployment insurance, and tax credits for certain hires.

    Though the program was originally supposed to end in 2003, state lawmakers voted in 2001 to extend it another 16 years.

    But Christie, a Republican, did not take action on a bill last year that would have extended the program another two years when it expired in the original five cities. 

    Christie said the program faced "apathetic participation" and had a "devastating impact on state revenues without any demonstrable benefit" to the cities.

    He added that the state faced losing $40 million in "retail sales tax alone" if the program was extended in those cities.

    Other areas that joined the program after 1983 were allowed to continue, though many were set to lose their status between 2019 and 2026.

    Murphy, a Democrat who succeeded Christie in January, said during a radio interview earlier this year that the program is "smart policy."

    "It gets action in downtown areas," he said in March. "It's a good economic proposition and it's particularly good for our urban communities." 

    The question now is: What will the state's sales tax be a few months from now?

    Currently, the sales tax in 6.625 percent. But Murphy has proposed returning it to 7 percent, reversing a deal Christie and Democratic lawmakers cut to reduce it in 2016 in exchange for a 23-cent hike in the state's gas tax. 

    But Democratic leaders of the state Legislature continue to oppose Murphy's plan with a month to go before they must agree to a state budget by June 30.

    Brent Johnson may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01. Find Politics on Facebook.

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    The shootings happened shortly before 2 a.m. just outside of Trenton.

    Three teenagers are recovering from gunshot wounds after being shot on a Hamilton street early Saturday morning. 

    The teens were in front of a home shortly before 2 a.m. when they heard several shots fired. Hamilton police say the teens were unable to provide any information about the shooter or shooters, but they remembered a black male driving a black sedan nearby shortly before the shooting. 

    A 15-year-old girl was shot in the face, a 16-year-old girl was shot in both legs and a 19-year-old man was shot in the leg, according to Hamilton police. The teens were transported to Capital Health Medical Center, Fuld Campus. 

    The shooting happened near the 1700 block of E. State Street, just outside the Trenton border.

    The two girls live in Trenton, and the man lives in Hamilton, police said. 

    The shooting remains under investigation by the Hamilton Police Division's Criminal Investigations Section.  Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Joseph Ialacci at 609-689-5822 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at 609-581-4008.

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyoFind on Facebook 


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    Notre Dame High School students posed for photos on school grounds before heading to their prom at The Merion in Cinnaminson on Saturday night.

    By Michael Mancuso

    NJ Advance Media for

    It was a night to remember for Notre Dame High School students as they posed for photos on school grounds before heading to their prom at The Merion in Cinnaminson on Saturday night.

    Prom-goers arrived dressed to the nines as they socialized, posed for photos and then went off to dance the night away.

    Check back at for other local high school prom coverage. And be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at

    Are you one of the people pictured at this prom? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Look for the blue link "buy photo" below the photographer's credit to purchase the picture. You'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.

    Michael Mancuso may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @michaelmancuso, Instagram @michaelmancuso and Facebook @michaelmancuso

    Follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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    Primary races, especially in years when we're not electing a governor or a president, tend to be snooze-fests.

    You won't find yourself fighting for a parking spot at the polling place or standing in line for hours to cast your ballot in Tuesday's primary election.

    That's because primary races, especially in years when we're not electing a governor or a president, tend to be snooze-fests. Turn-out is historically low; the vast bulk of New Jersey residents sit them out.

    Oh, goodie, you're thinking. Another editorial trying to convince me how important it is for me to cast my ballot when I could better spend my time checking Facebook or re-arranging my sock drawer.

    You're bored with reading them. We're bored with writing them.

    But the truth is, primaries are a vital step in choosing the individuals who will represent you in government, and the sooner you get in on the process, the more powerful your voice will be.

    That's especially true this tumultuous election cycle, when such issues as gun-safety legislation, environmental regulations and future of the Trump administration are uppermost in voters' minds.

    Ex-candidates share stories of campaign losses

    Voters who take the time to go to the polls on Tuesday will be selecting the men and women they trust to carry their message to the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives at a time when a single individual can make an enormous difference.

    Meanwhile, the hopefuls are putting their supporters' money where their mouths are, raising a total of $40.4 million in campaign contributions going in to the primaries. The candidates vying for the U.S. Senate seat up for grabs in November have brought in 40-percent of that.

    The seat is currently held by Democrat Bob Menendez, whose federal corruption trial ended in a hung jury last November.

    Democrats in this left-leaning state hope to flip the seats of several vulnerable districts; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has identified four of the five congressional districts now held by Republicans as good bets for pick-ups.

    Dems have their eyes trained on the 11th and 2nd congressional districts, where Republicans Rodney Frelinghuysen and Frank LoBiondo are stepping down after their current terms end.

    In the 7th district, the Cook Political Report has revised its prediction about the seat held by Republican Leonard Lance, rating it a toss-up and no longer solidly in the GOP corner. And in the 3rd district, U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur faces an electorate angry over his stand on guns and health care.

    Republicans are also contending with a president who has proven to be no fan of the Garden State, plus a recently departed governor whose name evokes images of a certain bridge into Manhattan and a certain deserted beach.

    The general election in November is shaping up to be rip-roaring political theater, and Tuesday is the opening act.

    The price of admission? A trip to your polling place.

    Bookmark Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find Opinion on Facebook.


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    Police are charging her with child endangerment.

    A teacher at Ewing High School is facing criminal charges after she allegedly sent inappropriate photos to a male student.

    Ewing Township police said Saturday that they have charged Chelsea Hahn with three counts of child endangerment.

    The investigation Friday revealed that Hahn had sent "inappropriate photos and messages to a male student via social media," police said in a statement. No further details were available Saturday.

    They charged Hahn and released her pending a future court date, but the investigation is ongoing, police said.

    In a statement released Saturday, the district said Hahn was suspended and would not be allowed on school property.

    "We have the highest expectations for professional behavior on the part of our staff and the well-being of our students is our foremost concern, the statement said. "Consequently, we were deeply saddened by this development."

    Hahn's LinkedIn profile states that she has been a long-term substitute at Ewing High School since April 2017, teaching mostly English classes. The profile also said she worked as an adjunct professor at The College of New Jersey, where she reportedly earned her master's and bachelor's degrees.

    Attempts to contact Hahn were unsuccessful Saturday night.

    Anyone with information relevant to the police investigation is asked to contact Detective David Morris at 609-882-1313 extension 5561.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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    To say that it came as a shock to the media was an understatement: no one had much of an inkling that this would be the end of the road.


    Zinedine Zidane had just completed the most difficult feat in the history of the revamped UEFA Champions League, when a shock press conference was called at Real Madrid's Valdebebas training center Thursday.

    The man who came in to rescue Real Madrid in January of 2016, and won nine of 13 trophies on offer in his time with Los Merengues, stepped down as manager of the best team in the world. It was five days after they beat Liverpool 3-1 to complete a hat-trick of Champions League titles, and give Real Madrid four of the last five, and 13 European titles.

    To say that it came as a shock to the media was an understatement: no one had much of an inkling that this would be the end of the road. But there was plenty of talk in the winter, as Zidane's squad languished well behind Barcelona in the La Liga standings.

    Real Madrid was struggling, and had a round-of-16 tie with PSG, which saw Real Madrid installed as the underdog. But the team from the Spanish capital took out Paris Saint Germain (French champions), Juventus (Italian champions) in the quarterfinals, and Bayern Munich (German champions) in the semifinals, all over two legs, to set the stage for the win over Liverpool.

    Zidane took over from Rafa Benitez on January 4, 2016, after he coached the Real Madrid Castilla for 18 months. In his time as the manager of Los Blancos, he was in charge for 149 matches; Real Madrid won 104, drew 29, and lost just 16 in that time.

    He won three UEFA Champions League titles (2016-18), two UEFA Super Cups (2016-17), two FIFA Club World Cups (2016-17), one La Liga (2016-17), and one Supercopa de Espana (2017).

    For as good of a player as Zidane was, his coaching feats may be even better. This is a player that won every trophy there is to win as a player: UEFA Champions League (2002 with Real Madrid), the 1998 World Cup and 2000 UEFA European Championship (France), the Ballon D'Or (1998), and FIFA Player of the Year (1998, 2000, 2003). 

    The list can go on, but what he did as a coach in the most high-pressure job on the planet will never be replicated. 

    Now the question becomes, who replaces someone that cannot be replaced?

    Will it be Guti, who knows the system inside and out, or maybe Arsene Wenger? Jurgen Klopp's name has recently come up, and the Liverpool manager has been able to get the Reds to three finals. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pocchettino has also been mentioned, but it looks like Real Madrid may go in another direction.

    Whoever it is will have an impossible job, considering the history of Florentino Perez and his managers. No one will come in and do nearly what Zidane did, especially with the rebuilding job on his hands.

    Bale leads Real Madrid to 3rd straight UEFA Champions League title


    With the biggest event in the world just 10 days away, starting Thursday, June 14 with hosts Russia taking on Saudi Arabia (11 a.m. EDT FOX and, check back next week for an in depth preview of every group, including predictions for all eight groups.

    This may be the most wide-open tournament in decades, with five or six teams with a legitimate chance to win the tournament.

    Five-time winners Brazil come in as the slight favorite, just ahead of four-time defending champion Germany. Spain and France are the next two choices, with Argentina and Belgium in the mix. 

    After the success of the UEFA Champions League event, join the crew of Box to Box Football for the first Friday of the tournament party at Old Town Pub in Bordentown, for the Spain vs. Portugal game on July 15 at 2 p.m.

    Contact Sean Miller at Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean His weekly podcast, Box to Box Football, can be found on iTunes here

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