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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    There's summer heat, and then there's oppressive summer heat.

    We're beginning to experience some of the latter, and while we do everything we can to keep ourselves cool, it's important to remember our pets as well.

    "If it's hot to you it's just as hot for your dog or cat, and probably even worse," said John Gickling, a board certified veterinarian in emergency and critical care. "We're better equipped to handle the heat because we perspire."

    Some tips on making sure your pets can deal with excessive heat:

    * If you walk your dog, pick the coolest time of the day, follow a shady route and bring water for your pet.

    * Older pets, overweight animals and dogs with short snouts suffer more in high heat.

    * If your pet is outdoors, make sure it has a cool place to lay and that water is always available. Avoid taking your pets anywhere that has concrete or blacktop until temperatures normalize.

    * Dogs may be overheating if they can't get up, aren't alert or can't stop panting. If you suspect overheating, hose your dog off but never use ice water, which worsens the situation. If this doesn't work, a visit to a veterinarian is important.

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    William "Dave" McCloskey lives at Brookdale Hamilton, which cares for residents with Alzheimer's disease and dementia Watch video

    When his adult granddaughter Kelly Bruvik pulled a rope to ring the bell on an antique 1928 fire engine at Mercerville Fire Company, William "Dave" McCloskey chuckled.

    Some of the equipment firefighters and first responders use may have changed since the last time 86-year-old McCloskey was in a firehouse, but the mission remains the same.

    "His whole life was about helping others," his daughter, Missy Bruvik, said.

    McCloskey, a resident at Brookdale Hamilton, which offers specialized Alzheimer's and dementia care, fulfilled his wish of visiting a firehouse last week through a cooperative effort between Brookdale and the Mercerville Fire Company (Hamilton Fire District 2).

    Expo preview

    McCloskey served Princeton for 50 years as a firefighter and first aider. The Marine veteran proudly quipped, "I was the chief! Engine Company Number 1."

    He brought his old chief's helmet with him for the trip, proudly wearing it and showing it around.

    "I got some of them down in the trophy cabinet," District 2 Chief Chris Tozzi said about the former chief's helmet.

    McClosky met with the on-duty firefighters, toured the firehouse and took a ride on a modern firetruck.

    "Very good," Mccluskey said as he exited Squad 12, as his family captured the moment on their phones.

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

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    Highlighting the best stories, moments and performances from all the brackets.

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    Everything you need to know heading into Tuesday's action.

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    Check out who earned multiple gold medals at the 2018 track and field group championships.

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    Your neighbors lean red or blue? Here's how many Republicans and Democrats are in all 21 counties.

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    The victims were found in a home on Robbinsville-Edinburg Road

    The deaths of a man and woman in a Robbinsville home appear to be the result of a murder suicide, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said Monday afternoon.

    The victims - both adults - were found in a home on Robbinsville-Edinburg Road at about 2:30 p.m., prompting a significant police presence at the house.

    The prosecutor's Homicide Task Force is investigating at the home, and the office said more information would be provided at a later time.

    "There is not an imminent public safety threat and we refer all inquiries regarding the investigation to the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office," said Township Mayor Dave Fried, who is also public safety director.

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


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    A relative found the 26-year-old woman whose cause of death was determined to be heroin and fentanyl toxicity.

    A dealer accused of selling fentanyl-laced heroin that killed a customer last year was charged with homicide over the weekend.

    Shannon McGuigan, 32, of Pemberton Township, was charged with strict liability homicide for drug-induced death, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced.

    A relative of a 26-year-old Pemberton Township woman found her dead on the morning of May 30, 2017, the prosecutor's statement said. The county medical examiner determined that the woman died from heroin and fentanyl toxicity.

    Detectives on the case learned that the woman bought drugs from McGuigan not long before her death.

    Pemberton Township police arrested McGuigan Friday on the drug-induced charge and found her with cocaine, leading to a second drug possession charge, the office said.

    McGuigan was not detained during a hearing Saturday in Superior Court in Mount Holly.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us.

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    The New Jersey Senator Class Day 2018 Watch video


    It does not come from the title you hold, nor the degrees you attain.

    "It comes from you telling your truth every single day in your smallest of actions," U.S. Sen. Cory Booker told the class of 2018 at Princeton University Monday, during the Class Day address.

    And, "What you decide to do with the dollars you spend. How you notice the dignity of the person on the street. How you give one act of kindness more than you thought."

    Booker spoke of his parents, recalling how they stressed humility and gratitude.

    "On your highest moments in life, it's so important to let gratitude be your gravity," he said. "To let it keep you grounded and understand that whatever the accomplishment is, you are not here on your own."

    And he shared the story of a young lawyer who helped his parents fight discriminatory housing practices in New Jersey.

    Expo preview

    Booker later learned the young lawyer who helped them had been inspired himself by the actions - which he saw on TV - of future U.S. Rep. John Lewis, of Georgia, during a Civil Rights demonstration in 1965. (Lewis was among protesters beaten by state troopers in Selma, Alabama.)

    "(He understood) in that one small moment ... to do nothing is to surrender your power. To do nothing is actually to contribute to the very injustices that surround you," Booker said of the lawyer. "One decision by one person on one day ripples out into community. It's a virtuous virus. It's a cascade of love that we all have the power to do."

    Now, Booker serves in Congress with Lewis, of whom he said: "(He) is a hero to me; a giant."

    "John Lewis lets me understand what the true definition of patriotism is. It's not how loud you sing the national anthem or the flag pin you have on. ... He teaches that patriotism is love of this country. And you can't love your country unless you love your country-men and women."

    Booker told the graduates: "If you show up every day, no matter what is on the news, no matter what someone in power said. If you show up and you give a little, care a little, help a little, heal a little, listen a little, love a little, every single day.

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

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    The last time I tasted something like this was when I used to go to Dallas for the Cowboys games. Nothing ever came close to that, but this."

    When people think ballpark food or barbecue, pork roll meatballs are usually not the first thing on their list.

    But at Arm & Hammer Park, Kelly Kromer, the Director of Food and Beverage, has once again hit a home run with another of the new food selections for Thunder fans to munch on during home games.

    The 1911 Smokehouse BBQ is a new outside vendor with the Thunder. The stand, which is located down the third base line, is an offshoot of the restaurant at 11 West Front Street in Trenton.

    While the eatery is famous for its smoked meats, such as brisket, half and whole chickens, pork, ribs, and especially its wings, the pork roll meatballs, served four on a roll with some of the 18 different sauces the restaurant has, are something different this season for the crowds at the ballpark. 

    The stand also serves chicken, pulled pork, and brisket, which was one of the two items given to some fans to sample, along with a pork roll meatball sandwich.

    So which item came out on top, the brisket, or the pork roll meatball?

    "I thought they were both very good," Kevin Pereira said. "If I had to pick a favorite, I would say the pork roll meatball one. The sauce on the sandwich made it really good. The mix of the barbecue and the Asian sweet chili adds a good flavor."

    "I would say the meatballs as well," Rob Ellerson said. "The Asian sauce had the nice spice, with the sweet barbecue sauce. It was a good combination."

    "The meatballs were very different, but it works," Andrew Garriton said. "The brisket was good too, but if I had to choose, I would go with the meatballs."

    Fried what? Which new snacks have Thunder fans abuzz

    Amaro Pereira and Rob Tirado were fans of the brisket.

    "The pork roll meatball was good, as the sauce gave it that extra spicy flavor," Pereira said. "It is definitely a good sell. The brisket is also very good. I think if you add some of the sauce to it, it entices the flavor. But they were both very good."

    Tirado was especially fond of the food, so much so that made a trip to the West Front Street store Friday.

    "It was a very unique taste, with a good blend," Tirado said. "I can still taste it in my mouth. The pepper makes it taste great. I am going to go try the restaurant Friday. It was excellent. The last time I tasted something like this was when I used to go to Dallas, Texas for the Cowboys games.

    "Nothing ever came close to that, but this does."

    Reggie Hallett is the Executive Chef at the West Front Street store. His food has been a big hit with the players, in both clubhouses. 

    "I have been feeding the players, both the away and hone team," Hallett said. "I started with the away team, and the away teams actually introduced the Trenton Thunder to me. Now, I feed them every home game, pre-meal and after meal.

    "We thought about getting a stand last year, but we got in to start this year. We are one of the best kept secrets. There are a lot of people from across the bridge that come to the game, so they will get to find out about us.

    "We are known for our wings, and the lemon pepper is the favorite. Our brisket is amazing, our ribs are amazing, everything is amazing. I do a lot of specials. Every Wednesday, it is called "Hump Day with Chef Reggie", and I do a totally different menu. We do things like Chicken Marsala, crab legs, and crab cakes. It is our regular menu, plus the added things."

    The restaurant also has monthly block party events, called "First Friday", where it shuts down the one way street in front of the store. This October, Hallett will also celebrate his third "Smoketober Fest" block party.

    Back at Arm & Hammer Park, Mark Ellerson summed up his experience with the Smokehouse BBQ stand succinctly.

    "The pork roll meatball was excellent," Ellerson said. "How can you go wrong with pork roll in a meatball?

    Contact Sean Miller at Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean

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    Gear up for Saturday's action at Northern Burlington

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    The locations in Paramus and West Windsor will each be getting a furniture store

    Furniture retailer Raymour & Flanigan plans to open two more stores in New Jersey, one on the site of a Toys R Us, the other where a Babies R is located.

    The Toys R Us site is in Paramus, while the Babies R Us is in on Nassau Park Boulevard in West Windsor. 

    Corporate raiders ruined lives as they destroyed Toys R Us

    An additional 200 or so Toys R Us leases will be up for auction at 10 a.m. Monday, the company said. 

    Corporate raiders ruined lives of Toys R Us workers

    Raymour & Flanigan bid $1.3 million to take over the not-yet-expired lease of a Toys R Us on at 250 Route 4 east in Paramus. It will pay less than $10 a square foot to lease the more than 38,000 square foot space. 

    There are already two other Raymour & Flanigan store in Paramus, including one on Route 4 west almost directly across the highway. 

    News of the lease takeovers was first reported by

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.

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    Jessica Tom wrote a book set in the culinary world. Now she's vying for the top spot in Food Network's long-running competition show hosted by Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis. Watch video

    Jessica Tom will be one of 10 contestants with their eyes on the prize as the 14th season of "Food Network Star" starts on Sunday.

    But Tom, 34, doesn't have a traditional culinary background. At least not in the sense of being a chef.

    Her 2015 novel, "Food Whore" -- a term she defines as "a person who will do anything for food" -- is set in the New York restaurant scene, and follows a young foodie who becomes the ghostwriter for a famous food critic.

    A food novelist, Tom, who majored in English at Yale University, says she's also a big fan of food TV.  

    "I come from a food-obsessed family," says Tom, who will represent New Jersey in the competition series, filmed in Orlando. "I'd always watch cooking shows with my dad." Her father and aunts are enthusiastic home cooks, her grandfather was a chef in the U.S. Army and she has two uncles in the food business -- one is a chocolatier and the other is an executive chef at a Chinese restaurant.

    food-network-star-season-14-bobby-flay-giada-de-laurentiis.jpgJessica Tom, fellow contestants and mentors Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay in a scene from 'Food Network Star.' (Michael Moriatis)

    Tom, who lives in West Windsor with her husband and Welsh terrier puppy and is currently house-hunting, grew up in Pleasantville in Westchester, New York. She moved to New Jersey two years ago after living in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

    The home cook and the other "Food Network Star" contestants will be joined in competition by the yet-to-be-announced winner of "Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen," a former finalist on the show. Mentored by celebrity chefs Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, they will have nine episodes to demonstrate their presence on camera and finesse in the kitchen. As part of the competition's challenges, the contestants have to get people at Universal Orlando Resort to taste their signature dishes. A "Food Network Star" winner will be announced in the show's finale on August 5.  

    Growing up, Tom didn't had cable TV at home, so she'd binge-watch the original "Iron Chef" during babysitting jobs. When "Food Network Star" debuted in 2005, she not only tuned in, but she also tried out for the show 10 years ago. It's the same show that Guy Fieri won in 2006, launching his career as a celebrity chef.

    "I really didn't have any sort of food background at all," Tom says of her first try at landing a spot on the show. At the time, the casting director, who still works with the show, told her she didn't really have the necessary platform and expertise to be a contender, whether it was being a chef or a restaurant critic. 

    Instead of just starting a food blog, Tom decided to write food fiction. She thinks she can apply the descriptive skills to describing food for the cameras. 

    "'Food Network Star' is very much about your own personality," Tom says. 

    At the time, she was working a full-time job at the time as a program manager at a direct-marking firm.

    "I had everything from books to a wine-of-the-month club and a diet delivery service," Tom says.

    But "Food Network Star" won't actually be her first time on Food Network. In 2016, shortly after the publication of her novel, Tom appeared on the network series "Cooks vs. Cons," a competition show in which two cooks square off against two "fakes" in the kitchen, and the judges aren't told who is how (yes, Tom was the fake).

    If she wins "Food Network Star," Tom will officially become a part of the network family. As a host, she could get her own show.  

    "Food Network Star" premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, June 10 on Food Network

    Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @AmyKup or on Facebook.


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    The second softball TOC will begin Tuesday night with six teams playing down to a single champion.

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    A 6-week investigation found a heroin network at an Elm Street home

    Authorities seized $45,600 worth of heroin -- about 228 bricks -- during an undercover narcotics investigation that lasted six weeks, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday morning.

    Detectives identified a heroin distribution network being run by Santeeno Grant, 29, of Trenton, and purchased a total of 1,650 packets of the narcotic throughout the investigation, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri announced.

    Authorities arrested Grant on May 31 after watching him drive a black Chevrolet Impala from his Elm Street home to the area of Home Avenue , where detectives saw him approach a Volkswagen Beetle and retrieve a black plastic bag.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 10.23.22 AM.pngMarkese Phillips (left), Santeeno Grant

    During a search of Grant's Impala, detectives found 19 bricks of heroin in the black bag, as well as two loaded handguns and a California driver's license in Grant's name, the prosecutor's office said.

    A search of the Beetle led officers to discover 73 bricks of heroin in a shoebox on the passenger seat.

    An M1 assault rifle and more heroin were found in Grant's home on Elm Street.

    Grant faces charges for second-degree drug and weapon offenses.

    Markese Phillips, 40, of Trenton, was also arrested in connection to the investigation, and faces charges for second- and third-degree drug offenses. Police found 130 bricks of heroin, 15 grams of cocaine, and $638 in cash in his car.

    Grant is detained in police custody, but Phillips was released.

    Both men have prior felony convictions in New Jersey, court records show.

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

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    It's unclear how authorities believe the crime occurred

    Authorities have identified the man and woman who died in a murder-suicide Monday afternoon as a married couple from Robbinsville.

    Pamela Gwozdz, 57, and John Campbell, 60, were found dead in a home on the 100 block of Robbinsville-Edinburgh Road, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said.

    The county's Homicide Task Force suspects the deaths as a murder-suicide. 

    Autopsies will be performed Tuesday, and the cause of death is still not known, the prosecutors office said.

    The couple lived in the home, and it is currently listed for sale. 

    The incident is still under investigation.

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

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    The 25-year-old teacher has been charged, suspended and banned from school property

    The Ewing High School teacher accused of sending inappropriate photographs to a male student also kissed the boy in her classroom and asked to have sex, according to the charges filed against her.

    Chelsea Hahn, 25, has been charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in "sexual conduct which impaired or debauched the morals" of the student.

    The criminal complaint said the boy is 17 years old and that the offenses happened "on or around" Friday, the day Hahn was charged.

    Hahn describes herself on online profiles as a long-term substitute English teacher at the high school since April 2017, but the school has not confirmed that and referred to her only as a teacher.

    In a statement Saturday, district officials said that Hahn is suspended and banned from school property. Superintendent Michael Nitti did not answer specific questions Tuesday, referring a reporter instead to the initial statement.

    According to Casey DeBlasio, a spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, the investigation began when the school notified Ewing Township police of allegations of child endangerment.

    Through their investigation, police determined that there was evidence Hahn kissed the 17-year-old on the lips in her classroom. She also sent him messages including nude photographs of herself and asking to have sex, police wrote in the criminal complaint.

    It's not clear why the alleged kiss was left out of the Ewing Police Department's initial press statement on the matter Saturday. That statement only included accusations about explicit photos and messages and said they were sent via social media.

    Hahn was charged on a summons and is due to answer the charges in Mercer County Superior Court July 3.

    Attempts to contact her by phone and on social media were unsuccessful Tuesday. 

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


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    Invasive East Asian tick continues to spread through New Jersey, and the state has confirmed the tick has been in New Jersey since at least 2013.

    An invasive species of tick that is known for its tendency to infest livestock is now confirmed to have spread to a fourth New Jersey county, state officials announced Tuesday.

    The state also said that it has found evidence that the tick has been in New Jersey since 2014, much longer than had been previously known.

    The Longhorned tick, also known as the East Asian tick, has been found in Mercer County according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

    Jeff Wolfe, a spokesman for the NJDA, said that the tick was found in the northern part of Mercer County, near the border with Hunterdon County. The Mercer County tick was found in tall grass near a wooded area; the same kind of habitat that the ticks in elsewhere.

    "Long, tall grass next to wooded areas seems to be the common element here," Wolfe said.

    The NJDA also announced that a tick taken from a dog in Union County in 2013 has been confirmed to be a Longhorn tick, meaning that the invasive species in been in New Jersey since at least then. The 2013 tick had been recently reexamined by Rutgers scientists before being sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory, which confirmed the identification.

    They can swarm, suck blood and spread disease: Meet the ticks of N.J.

    The tick, which was first found in Hunterdon County and has also been found in Union County and Middlesex County, is not considered a threat to people in the Garden State. The NJDA has yet to find any diseases being carried by the tick in New Jersey. Wolfe said that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning to do more testing for possible diseases carried by the tick.

    Wolfe urged people to use normal tick prevention methods on themselves and their pets.

    The major concern for the state is the tick's potential impact on animals like cattle, horses, deer, sheep and goats. The NJDA has called the longhorned tick "a serious pest to livestock."

    The state's efforts to fight the ticks have so far been to treat the specific areas where the ticks are found.

    "If we find ticks in a specific area, we will do what we can to eliminate them from those known sites of infestation," said Manoel Tamassia, the New Jersey State Veterinarian. "We will work to continue to identify the areas of the state where the tick is so we can help prevent its spread."

    The tick's initial sighting in Hunterdon County marked the first time the species had been found in North America. It is not known how the ticks made their way across the Pacific to rural New Jersey.

    Elsewhere in the United States, the tick has since been found in Virginia and West Virginia. It is unknown if those sightings are related to the ticks arrival in New Jersey.

    The Mercer County tick was found in as part of a "tick blitz" organized by Rutgers, in which Rutgers scientists searched for ticks in all of New Jersey's 21 counties.

    A tick hotline has also been established by the NJDA. To leave a message if a tick is found and there is uncertainty about what the next steps are, or if you need information about what to do if you find a tick on yourself, your pets or livestock, call 1-833-NEWTICK (1-833-639-8425).

    Michael Sol Warren may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MSolDub.

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    Police learned of the alleged conduct after officers responded to an incident between the teacher and the student on his front lawn

    A Hillsborough High School teacher is charged with inappropriate sexual conduct involving a 17-year-old female student, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday afternoon.

    Kenneth Shindle.jpgKenneth Shindle (police photo)

    Kenneth Shindle, 27, of Plainsboro, was arrested Tuesday and charged with two second-degree counts of endangering the welfare of a child. One count was for sexual conduct that would "impair or debauch the morals of the child," and the other alleges abuse or neglect.

    Shindle has been suspended from his English teaching position at the high school, where he's taught for five years and has tenure.

    Police learned of the alleged conduct after officers responded to an incident between Shindle and the student on his front lawn.

    A police investigation found the 17-year-old made unsupervised visits to Shindle's home between January and May of this year.

    The prosecutor's office did not say exactly when the incident on the front lawn occurred.

    Shindle's lawyer, Joseph J. Compitello, said late Tuesday: "Mr. Shindle categorically denies any wrong doing with respect to the teen and is confident that he will clear his name."

    Shindle is being held at the Middlesex County jail in North Brunswick, and will make his first court appearance on Wednesday.

    The investigation is ongoing, the prosecutor's office said. 

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


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    Unofficial results for races in Mercer County's June 5 primary election.

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