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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    The investigation centered on Imier Green, who was paroled from the state prison system earlier this year

    Narcotics officers arrested three people on multiple drug charges and found heroin and guns during an investigation that targeted two homes in Trenton, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said Friday.

    The investigation centered on Imier Green, 24, a convicted drug dealer who was paroled from the state prison system earlier this year.

    The prosecutor's countywide narcotics task force pulled him over at Market and Cooper streets Tuesday morning and detained him while other officers searched two homes they suspected he used for drug dealing.

    At his home in the 200 block of Bellevue Avenue, they found 242 bricks of heroin, four bundles of heroin, two digital scales, $6,175 in cash, as well as a loaded .38 special Taurus revolver and a Mossberg 500A shotgun.

    Detectives also arrested a 17-year-old male at the home. The prosecutor's office did not identify the teen.

    Nearby, at a home in the 300 block of Reservoir Street, detectives found a Smith and Wesson .32 caliber revolver and an FN Hersal .32 caliber handgun, and more heroin. Both weapons were loaded.

    There, the officers arrested the home's occupant, Loraraine Green, 54. (The two Greens are not close relatives, the office said.)

    In all, the heroin has a street value of approximately $48,900, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said in a statement.

    Both Greens and the teen were charged with multiple narcotic and weapons offenses.

    The prosecutor's office has filed a motion to detain Imier Green. Records show he spent the past two years in state prison for drug dealing and illegally possessing a firearm. 

    He was paroled in January.

    Loraraine Green was later released pending future court appearances.

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

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    As the stage gets brighter, the French stars are going to have to perform. Friday, Griezmann did just that.

    There are now six teams left in the 2018 World Cup, and all of them are from Europe, after the final two South American teams exited stage left Friday.

    Neighbors France and Belgium set up a massive Tuesday showdown full of Premier League star power, while Neymar dove his way out of the tournament.


    Uruguay 0-2 France

    Brazil 1-2 Belgium


    Antoine Griezmann, France

    As the stage gets brighter, the French stars are going to have to perform. Friday, Griezmann did just that. He was the Man of the Match with a massive 9.04 rating.

    Thibaut Courtois, Belgium

    The big keeper made some stunning saves in the second half to preserve Belgium's victory. Courtois was the Man of the Match with an 8.55 rating, with eight saves.

    World Cup Round of 16 Day 4: England finally wins penalty shootout


    Uruguay had allowed just one goal in all of 2018, but the South American side had not come up against any team as good as the French side it had to beat Friday.

    France scored just before the half, as Antoine Griezmann's free kick was taken perfectly onto the head of center back Rafael Varane, to give the European power a 1-0 lead. Griezmann then finished off the match in the 61st minute, when his shot knuckled and went into the net off Uruguayan keeper Fernando Muslera's hands.

    Belgium held on for a 2-1 win, helped by the 11th own goal of the tournament, and a Kevin De Bruyne rocket, both in the first half. Courtois then made the lead hold up, despite the onslaught of shots, and play acting, from Brazil.

    Eden Hazard continues to make the argument for the top player in the tournament, while Marouane Fellaini's steel in the midfield helped the Belgians contain the Brazilian threat.

    The victories set up an all-European final four, as the two other quarterfinal matches Saturday will see England play Sweden and Croatia play Russia.

    France will take on Belgium 2 p.m. Tuesday on Fox and 


    Sweden vs. England, 10 a.m. EDT Fox and

    Russia vs. Croatia, 2 p.m. EDT Fox and


    Can Sweden continue to surprise?

    The Swedes are looking for their first semifinal appearance since 1994, and have looked very good getting to this point. But they have a tough test ahead.

    Is football coming home?

    It is still heading that way. After a first penalty shootout victory in World Cup history last round, the Three Lions will head into the quarterfinal match with Sweden in great spirits, looking to book a trip to the semifinals.

    Can the hosts continue their magical run at the 2018 World Cup?

    Russia will take on a tough Croatia team that has more talent, but struggled at times against Denmark in the round-of-16 match that was decided on penalties.

    Can Croatia pick back up where they were in the group stage matches?

    Croatia has a shot to win the tournament with three more wins, but has to get past Russia first.

    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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    The men took their case to trial and lost, and now will spend years behind bars

    Two men who had 78 grams of heroin and fentanyl when police pulled over their van on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Bucks County, Pa. last year were each sentenced to up to a decade in prison Thursday.

    Nelson Saldana, 52, of Englewood and Santos Castro-Mota, 38, of Brooklyn, N.Y. took their case to trial last week and lost.

    Their attorneys blamed the other for being the experienced criminal and cast their clients as as naive dupes who were taking the fall, the Bucks County District Attorney's Office said.

    "He's not someone who is a career criminal; he is a house painter," attorney Noa Laver said of her client, Saldana. She said he had cooperated with police and was Castro-Mota's "patsy."

    Saldana, though, was convicted and sentenced in absentia, the district attorney's office said. He disappeared on the eve of a separate trial date last September and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

    Castro-Mota's attorney, Keith Williams, described his client as the owner of an outboard motor business in New York who was giving Saldana a ride home after a business trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the office reported.

    "Who's holding the money? Who's holding the drugs? It's Mr. Saldana," Williams argued. He also said his client was "just the patsy driver who gets lost driving home."

    Although neither had a criminal record, Judge Diane E. Gibbons wasn't swayed.

    "Nobody wakes up one day and has instant access to 78 grams of heroin," the judge said. The amount of cash police found them with - Saldana had $2,800 and Castro-Mota had $540 - suggested they had just sold a large quantity of drugs or were en route to make a large purchase, Gibbons said.

    She then sentenced Saldana to six to 12 years in state prison for possession with intent to deliver the drugs and conspiracy, and Castro-Mota to five to 10 years for the same convictions.

    Castro-Mota was driving when Bensalem police pulled over their Ford Econoline van for having an expired registration in January 2017. An officer found they discarded the bag of heroin near the the passenger side door.

    Deputy District Attorney Thomas C. Gannon said the 78 grams would have made 2,496 individual bags of heroin.

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


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    Firefighters arriving at the home in the 400 block just before 6 a.m. found one family outside the home waiting for them

    An early morning lightning strike touched off a fire that damaged two homes on Columbus Avenue in Trenton's Villa Park neighborhood Friday morning.

    Trenton firefighters arriving at the home in the 400 block just before 6 a.m. found one family outside the home waiting for them. Occupants of the attached home escaped safely as well, the Trenton Fire Department said.

    Flames shot through the roof of the homes before firefighters extinguished the fire. The homes suffered extensive damage in the upper floors and were later deemed uninhabitable by city inspectors, the department said.

    The American Red Cross assisted seven occupants from both homes, including three children, with emergency aid and shelter.

    Drenching thunderstorms swept across New Jersey Friday morning, causing flooding in some areas.

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



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    N.J. home makeover is a regular feature on that showcases designer, contractor and DIY renovations, large and small.

    N.J. home makeover is a regular feature on that showcases designer, contractor and DIY renovations, large and small. To submit your renovation for consideration, email with your full name, email address, phone number and town/city. Attach "before" and "after" photos of what you renovated.

    An antique house is never without challenges, and the kitchen of a 105-year-old Trenton home presented a number of them.

    First, there was the wall between the small kitchen and a butler's pantry. Taking it down would mean the owners, Jeff and Elise, could expand and improve. Jeff, who does the cooking, envisioned a more spacious kitchen, updated without the wall and with a more pleasing design that would correct several issues.

    "It wasn't fun to be in the old kitchen, he said. "It had these little tiles that were a nightmarish pink-purple. They were constantly coming off the walls and the countertop. The drawers were so old that it was impossible to fix them because they were out of square. There was linoleum, and it was curling up at the edges. It was depressing to be in there even though I like to cook."

    But Elise worried about the possible repurcussions of taking down a wall in a century-old house.

    "She didn't want to do it because it was a load-bearing wall," said Jeff who asked that their last name not be used. "She was concerned about the effect on the rest of the house."

    As with many couples, their response to the home improvement quandary was inertia - even though they had already saved money to renovate the kitchen over the nearly 15 years they'd lived in their home.

    "We ended up not talking about it. Then one day she said 'just take the wall down,'" Jeff said.

    They hired Amiano & Son, a design-build firm in Tabernacle (Burlington County), and they worked with project manager Joseph Clymer and kitchen designer Gianna Sweet who helped with the solutions that would transform their now 214-square-foot kitchen.

    Of course, even for an old house with good bones, caution was in order.

    "We didn't know exactly what the framing was or how it was put together because codes were completely different back when the house was built," Clymer said.

    The kitchen had been remodeled decades prior, and, luckily, no hazardous knob-and-tube wiring or structural problems were found.

    With a load-bearing wall removed in the gut-renovation, a structural beam was installed at the ceiling to help support the weight of upper floors in the three-story house with five bedrooms and four bathrooms. The beam is concealed within drywall.

    In place of the wall, Jeff and Elise gained a peninsula-style island, built at 48 inches tall so it works behind the high back of their existing Fisher and Paykel range. The renovation benefits included a new door with glass panes that allow more light into the kitchen from the neighboring sun room. But the couple also faced a sloping kitchen floor and design options on which they didn't always agree.

    "It wasn't easy choosing orange," said Jeff.

    While their kitchen designer had guided them in the resale-value-protecting choice of white cabinets, white wall tiles and grays for their counters and flooring, Elise knew that a white kitchen can feel cold and sterile. She wanted a pop of color. Her inspiration was the orange from a classic Hermes scarf.

    "We tried at least 10 different oranges so I could be satisfied," said Jeff, for whom the Hermes orange was too bright. "We went out and got big paint chips, and they were all over the kitchen. It looked like some kind of Stanley Kubrick movie. I felt like I was in Burger King. I couldn't do it."

    In the face of a color that might bring visions of Whoppers and "Clockwork Orange," Jeff would tip away to the paint store to seek alternatives. Elise and a neighbor friend said "a very fresh green" he proposed wouldn't work for a kitchen.

    "I tried a really creamy yellow; that was rejected. I was really upset for a few days," he said. "Elise doesn't cook, which was another reason I was upset. I'm the one who spends time in the kitchen."

    Jeff says they showed him rooms where orange was used successfully in the design.

    "But it was never a lot of orange," Jeff said.

    What finally moved him toward acceptance was the fact that orange would not be used on every wall.

    "I was able to live with it," Jeff said. Still, he had a subterfuge mission. "I spent a lot of time looking for art that would cover up the orange."

    He'd say to himself, "I will get great big prints, and I will cover this up."

    In one case, a large panel of stainless steel pegboard makes an attractive place for pots and pans hung against the orange backdrop.

    Sweet, their kitchen designer, says their choice of Determined Orange from Sherwin-Williams was crucial to the kitchen's design.

    "A different orange would not have worked," she said.

    She notes that all their design choices were made with the goal of complementing the home's age and architecture. There are prominent moldings throughout the house and, in the kitchen, three layers of molding are stacked to recreate the effect. The cabinets have the clean lines of Shaker-style doors, and they avoided high-gloss finishes that wouldn't have been period-appropriate.

    "We did want to contrast the white," Sweet said. Fortunately, Jeff and Elise had previously purchased stainless steel appliances to help improve function in their old kitchen. The appliances are complemented by the steel-gray granite selected for the countertops. The "leathered" granite finish brings in texture, as does the grain pattern on the stone-colored matte stain on the bamboo flooring.

    A floating floor was recommended to help minimize the slope in what had been the butler's pantry. At its lowest point, the floor was about two inches lower than in the kitchen area. Because the low point is near an exit door, they could not reframe the subflooring to make it completely level. However, installation of the floating floor has minimized the variation.   

    Jeff is quite happy with the finished kitchen.

    "It ended up just working really nicely," he said.

    Both he and Elise work in communications and dine out frequently, but he says they both spend a lot more time in their new kitchen.

    "The kitchen is updated and has modern points to it, but it also has old-fashioned points," he said. "It's just a pleasure to be in."

    What they renovated

    The kitchen of a three-story 1913 house

    Who did the work

    Amiano & Son Construction, of Tabernacle, with associated trades.

    How long it took

    About 9 weeks, between January and March 2018

    What they spent

    More than $50,000 but less than $70,000

    Where they splurged

    On a custom roll-out pantry and "leathered" granite counters

    How they saved

    "By resisting the urge to buy custom cabinets and engineered countertops," Jeff says.

    What they like most

    "There's a nice island where a wall used to cut our kitchen in two," Jeff says. "I sit there now with coffee and the newspaper thinking of what I'm going to cook next."

    What they'd have done differently


    Kimberly L. Jackson may be reached at Find Entertainment on Facebook.

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    At every World Cup since 1966, the English fans have been in a cycle of hope and despair, as the Three Lions tried to replicate their only world title.

    Another weekend at the 2018 World Cup brought another two days of top level football.

    Now, the final four teams are set, with two midweek semifinals set to see which two European teams will head to the Luzhniki Stadium next Sunday for the World Cup Final.

    England kept alive the dreams of all its fans, who continue to sing, "It's coming home," while Croatia became the first team in almost three decades to win penalty shootouts in consecutive rounds.


    Sweden 0-2 England

    Croatia 2-2 Russia, Croatia wins 4-3 on penalties


    Harry Maguire, England

    The center back has been immense at the tournament, and came up huge again on both ends of the pitch. Maguire got the opening goal, and was the Man of the Match with an 8.87 rating.

    Luka Modric, Croatia

    He continues to make his case as the top player at the tournament. He was the Man of the Match with a massive 9.19 rating, and had the assist on the extra time winner.

    World Cup QF Day 1: All European semifinals, as France, Belgium win Friday


    At every World Cup since 1966, the English fans have been in a cycle of hope and despair, as the Three Lions tried to replicate their only world title.

    Before the 2018 World Cup, England had only managed to get to a semifinal one other time since its title, in 1990. But this year's team has felt different, and Saturday, England continued to change the narrative.

    The Three Lions took out Sweden 2-0, in a relatively easy contest. Maguire's first international goal in the 30th minute from a Ashley Young cross, followed by Dele's goal from Jesse Lingard in the 59th minute, moved England onto Wednesday's semifinal.

    England will take on Croatia, which became the first team since 1990 (Argentina) to win back-to-back penalty shootouts. 

    Croatia took the lead in the 101st minute through defender Domagoj Vida, but the host nation drew the match even in the 115th, when Mario Fernandes' header found  the back of the net.

    But is was the Croatians that once again found the heart to advance, after a save from keeper Danijel Subasic, and a miss from Fernandes, led to Ivan Rakitic ending the second straight match with his winning penalty.



    France vs. Belgium, 2 p.m. EDT Fox and


    Croatia vs. England, 2 p.m. EDT Fox and


    Which one of these two ultra-talented squads can do a little more than the other, and advance to the 2018 World Cup Final?

    Both teams are filled with some of the best players in the world. The fact that many stars in the contest play in the Premier League, and are very familiar with each other, will add spice to a match that does not need to be hyped.

    France comes in as the slight favorite, after taking down two South American squads in the round-of-16 (Argentina, 4-3) and the quarterfinals (Uruguay, 2-0). Les Bleus are led by Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and 19-year-old phenom Kylian Mbappe, who is now the favorite to take home the Golden Ball (best player at the tournament) and the Young Player Award, won by Pogba at the 2014 World Cup.

    Belgium has Romelu Lukaku leading the line, with Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, and Eden Hazard playing behind the striker. But it was keeper Thibaut Courtois that was the Man of the Match in the 2-1 win over Brazil, with eight saves.

    Which team will take one more step toward their ultimate goal?


    France 3-2 Belgium 

    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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    Rep. Chris Smith, going where President Donald Trump has refused to, pressed Russian officials Saturday on their interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    WASHINGTON -- Rep. Chris Smith, going where President Donald Trump has refused to, pressed Russian officials Saturday on their interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    Smith, who led the 13-member U.S. delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other U.S. lawmakers met for close to two hours with Russian legislators in Berlin. The meeting lasted almost twice as long as originally scheduled.

    The New Jersey lawmaker said he brought up the Russian meddling. U.S. intelligence agencies and the Senate Intelligence Committee have concluded that Russia intervened in the presidential election on behalf of Trump.

    "We want to know what happened and want it to stop immediately," Smith, R-4th, said in a telephone interview. "It's an affront to democracy."

    All you need to know about Trump and Russia

    He said the Russians insisted that any intrusions were the work of hackers, not the government. Smith called the response "weak."

    "It was something we need to press every time even if we get what I thought was a really weak response," he said. "The fact is our services believe it was an intentional and pervasive effort by the Russians. They can do it again and again and again."

    Trump, though, remained unconvinced.

    Smith said it was important to put all of the issues on the table during such a meeting, lest the Russians thought the election meddling was not important.

    "I felt it was important to be absolutely candid, forceful yet diplomatic, and to insure that no issue was left unengaged," he said. "They take their cues from omission. We put everything on the agenda."

    During their talk, Smith said he also pressed Russia on its continued occupation of Crimea in the Ukraine, its role in the Syrian civil war, and human trafficking. He challenged the Russian officials to give him a long-sought visa to visit the country to discuss trafficking.

    Smith on Sunday will poke the Russians by hosting an event with Zhanna Nemtsova, the daughter of murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

    "It is the tip of the iceberg on how political opposition is treated," Smith said. "They're threatened in some way, they're incarcerated or they're dead."

    Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JDSalant or on Facebook. Find Politics on Facebook.

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    While detained, police are responsible for your well being, which can include a meal

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    Dogs and cats patiently await adoption at shelters and rescues across New Jersey.

    We are now accepting dogs and cats to appear in the gallery from nonprofit shelters and rescues throughout New Jersey.

    If a group wishes to participate in this weekly gallery on, which is completely free of charge for qualified groups, please contact Greg Hatala at

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    Find out which schools have the highest average SAT score in your area.

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    The state's Supreme and Appellate courts overturned these convictions in the past year and a half

    new trials (8).jpg 

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    The Burlington County man was arrested at a mall Saturday morning after fleeing from a nearby TD Bank

    A suspect has been arrested in connection to two bank robberies that occurred last week in Burlington County, Westampton police said.

    36811410_2191702447531122_1296731938983247872_n.jpgTyreek Beacham (police photo)

    Police arrested Tyreek Beacham, 23, of Willingboro, at the Moorestown Mall on Saturday, shortly after he allegedly fled from a bank robbery at the TD Bank in Westampton.

    Beacham slipped a note to a bank teller demanding money at about 1:20 p.m., police said. Then, he fled the scene in a vehicle driven by someone else, who drove him to the Moorestown Mall.

    Police stopped the vehicle in Edgewater Park, but the driver had already dropped Beacham off at the Moorestown Mall.

    Officers tracked Beacham down at the mall a short time after that, and took him into custody.

    And it wasn't the first robbery he was charged with committing. Police had already been trying to identify him since last Thursday, when he allegedly robbed another TD Bank - in Willingboro.

    Police said Beacham slipped a note to a bank teller demanding money around 9:54 a.m. on Thursday.

    Once the transaction was made at the Willingboro branch, Beacham fled the scene, and he was last spotted on foot near the Goodyear Auto Service Center on Levitt Parkway.

    Beacham was officially charged with the Willingboro robbery after he was arrested at the mall Saturday.

    No one was injured in the robberies, and no weapons were involved.

    Following Saturday's arrest, Beacham was remanded in Burlington County Jail.

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


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    David Stead will likely be sentenced to 30 years in prison under a plea deal reached with prosecutors

    Thomas Wright II's company promised quality old world craftsmanship for a decent price: commonly on outdoor fireplaces and walls marking the property lines on huge homes.

    Wright ran the company, Artisan Building Creations, from his home on Patty Bowker Road in Tabernacle. It was there that he became a target for a former employee.

    That ex-worker, David Stead, 44, of Pemberton Township, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter on Monday, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said in a news release. 


    Investigators learned that Stead entered his former boss' house early on the morning of July 1, 2016 with a plan to rob Wright.

    While there, he shot Wright in the head and neck, and took cash from the home. He fled in a truck that Wright was renting.

    That truck was later found less than a mile from Stead's home. Wright's family, who went to check on him after he did not show up at a job site, found his body in the home and called police.

    Under a plea deal, prosecutors will recommend a 30-year sentence in state prison for Stead. Sentencing before Judge Terrence Cook is scheduled for September 18.

    Stead has been in the Burlington County Jail since he was arrested.

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

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    But if the Croatian side can somehow find a way past the Three Lions, those players could be back to lead the team into their first World Cup Final.

    The best players in Europe (and the Premier League) were on display Tuesday, in the first 2018 World Cup semifinal.

    France and Belgium met to determine one of the finalists, with club team mates on both sides of the pitch matching wits.

    But it was a lone moment that sent France, led by a 19-year-old superstar, back to its third final since 1998. 


    France 1-0 Belgium


    Kylian Mbappe, France

    He has been the most electrifying player at the tournament, and Mbappe was once again the best player on a pitch full of stars. The Man of the Match with an 8.36 rating.

    Samuel Umtiti, France

    He scored the lone goal of the match, but he also helped Les Bleus keep a clean sheet against the most prolific offense in the tournament. Rated a 7.86 on

    Paul Pogba, France

    He has been a top three player at the tournament, and was massive once again in the middle of the pitch. Completely shut down Kevin De Bruyne and the Belgium attack. Rated a 7.47 on

    World Cup QF Day 2: England cruises, Croatia wins on penalties once again


    There was not much on the score board to separate France and Belgium. But on the pitch, it was all France, as it advanced into its third World Cup Final since 1998.

    This French side, which is the youngest since the 1998 world champion team, has gotten better with every match, after what was deemed a slow start. But Les Bleus may have been conserving their strength and energy for the knockout stages, and they looked like the best team in the world Tuesday.

    France shut down the Belgian attack, and had 19 chances to nine for Belgium. Kevin De Bruyne was mostly anonymous, while Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were limited in their chances close to the box.

    The French team has been solid all over the pitch, and now will play in their second straight major final after the 2016 European Championship, which they lost 1-0 to Portugal in extra time. France will hope that this time, the outcome is different, and it can bring home a second world title.

    i.jpgManchester United team mates Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini battled Tuesday


    Croatia vs. England, 2 p.m. EDT Fox and


    Is it still coming home?

    English fans sure seem to think so, and the rest of the world (bar  ) might be starting to believe.

    England comes in relatively healthy compared to Croatia, and have more than five extra hours of rest, which will come into play after the Croatia Russia match in the quarterfinal.

    Harry Kane was not at his best in the 2-0 win over Sweden, but could have a field day against some back up defenders. The back three has been rock solid, and has been chipping in with goals on the other end of the pitch.

    Will Gareth Southgate stick with Raheem Sterling, who has been good dragging defenders around the pitch but had been poor in front of net?

    It is a tough call, but expect to see Sterling line up on the left. However, if Southgate does make a switch, Marcus Rashford could come in to replace Sterling.

    Can Croatia overcome its knockout stage weariness?

    It has played 30-plus more minutes than England since the round-of-16, and had two physically draining matches, including a brutal one against Russia on Saturday.

    The Croatian players were dropping like flies during the match, and while forward Mario Mandzukic may go, defender Dejan Lovren and keeper Danijel Subasic are doubts, and right back Sime Vrsaljko is out injured. 

    This team is not as deep as England is, and this could be the end of the run for Croatia.

    But if the Croatian side can somehow find a way past the Three Lions, those players could be back to lead the team into their first World Cup Final.


    England 2-0 Croatia 

    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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    The state claims an EMS chief in Burlington County worked without a license for nearly 8 years

    The state Department of Health has suspended Delran's first aid squad after an investigation found it was operating emergency vehicles with uncertified staff -- including its chief, who the state says was threatening to state staffers too.

    The unit, known as the Delran Emergency Squad, was summarily suspended Monday.

    The state Health department's Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) was notified in June that the squad's chief, Donald Horner, had participated on ambulance calls at least 27 times since January 2017, without an up-to-date EMT certification.

    An investigation by the OEMS discovered that Horner's EMT certification expired in December 2010, according to a letter to Horner published on the department's website.

    Investigators also allege Horner replaced his name with other certified EMT's names in patient care reports while his certification was expired.

    In the letter, OEMS Paramedic Director Scot Phelps said investigators attempted to conduct an audit of the Delran squad. When they arrived and explained the reason for the audit, Horner allegedly tried to hinder their investigation.

    "In fact, you were belligerent, combative and uncooperative," Phelps said in the letter.  

    "Specifically, while the investigators were attempting to begin the audit, you were verbally abusive to them and even stated to the investigators that you needed to leave before you 'killed yourself or killed you,' meaning the investigators.'"

    Due to the alleged threats made by Horner, the audit was terminated a short time later.

    "As they started to leave the property, you followed them out, continued to scream and threaten them, and, at one point, were nose-to-nose with one of the investigators."

    The OEMS investigators returned a couple of days later with police assistance, but squad members "frustrated" the investigation by refusing access to certain documents, the letter said.

    Because of the DES's hindrance of the OEMS audit, the agency suspended the entire DES.

    Chief Horner and the Delran mayor's office were not immediately available to comment Tuesday.


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    New Jersey banned collecting, possessing and transporting the turtles in 2016.

    A Pennsylvania man allegedly poached more than 3,500 protected turtles from New Jersey coastal marshes and sold them as pets, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

    David Sommers, 62, of Levittown, Pennsylvania allegedly caught diamondback terrapins and their eggs in the coastal marshes of New Jersey and sold them as pets across state lines, according to the news release from Rich Manieri, the spokmesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in the eastern district of Pennsylvania.

    According to Manieri, the turtles are "prized in the reptile pet trade for their unique, diamond-shaped shell markings." They're protected under New Jersey law and by an international treaty.

    Sommers allegedly caught and sold the turtles in 2017 and shipped them illegally to Canada in 2014 in a box that said a book was inside, the release says.

    The turtles aren't found in the wild in Pennsylvania and have a dwindling habitat in New Jersey, the release says. They were listed as threatened in 2013 under the international treaty from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

    New Jersey banned collecting, possessing and transporting the turtles in 2016.

    Sommers is charged with five violations of the federal Lacey Act for allegedly poaching the turtles. Each charge carries a maximum of five years in prison, the release says. He's charged with a single count of smuggling, which carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence, the release says.

    Sommers doesn't have a listed number and couldn't be reached for comment.

    Rudy Miller may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.

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    A bill under consideration by New Jersey Legislature, which would provide financial aid to those who are incarcerated, holds the promise of doing all that or more. Watch video

    How ideal would it be if someone invented a way to help ex-felons find fulfilling jobs when they were released from prison, and at the same time kept them from heading back to jail?

    And what if that plan also reduced the bite on taxpayers' wallets by reducing the overall cost of incarceration?

    It's no dream. A bill under consideration by the state Legislature, which would provide financial aid to those who are incarcerated, holds the promise of doing all that or more.

    By eliminating a provision on the books prohibiting prisoners from receiving state grants or scholarships, the measure - which passed the state Senate recently by a vote of 27-10 - aims to equip prisoners with knowledge and skills designed to ensure a better transition back into society.

    Former Gov. Jim McGreevey, chairman of the board of the New Jersey Reentry Society, calls the proposal a game-changer.

    N.J. inmates may soon be eligible for state education aid

    "Taking these courses allows them to have a goal linked to long-term career prospects, as opposed to returning to the streets with no hope other than the chaos of the streets," McGreevey says.

    The proposal makes good fiscal sense, says state Sen. Sandra Bolden Cunningham (D-Hudson), one of its co-sponsors.

    "For every one dollar invested in correctional education programs, it resulted in a $4-$5 reduction in state incarceration costs during the first three years of a prisoner's release," Cunningham says.

    A 2014 Rand Corporation study found that those who took college, vocational or high school equivalency courses while in prison had both higher rates of employment and lower rates of incarceration once they were no longer behind bars.

    What's more, the direct costs of re-incarceration far outweighed the direct costs of providing correctional education.

    We're talking significant numbers here. According to a report by the state's Department of Corrections, 10,835 prisoners were released from New Jersey correctional institutions in 2011. More than half were re-arrested within three years, and a third were placed back behind bars - at a cost to taxpayers of almost $200 million a year.

    Currently, a program called NJ-STEP - New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons Consortium - works to offer courses in seven of the state's correctional facilities. Both private and state colleges participate in the program; about 550 students are enrolled.

    Funding for NJ-STEP comes from private foundation grants, and some of the students get federal aid through Second Chance Pell grants, which do not cover the full cost of tuition.

    Under Cunningham's proposal, anyone who was a Garden State resident for at least a year before incarceration would be eligible for financial aid, subject to DOC eligibility and the same requirements that apply to all other grant recipients.

    The cost to the state would vary depending on how many individuals applied for tuition aid grants, but both statistics and common sense suggest it would be a worthwhile investment.

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

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    Grullon tied with Hartford outfielder Sam Hilliard in the first round with 14 home runs, one more than Thunder outfielder Trey Amburgey.

    Deivi Grullon was not supposed to be in the 2018 Eastern League All-Star Game Home Run Derby, sponsored by Case's Pork Roll, Tuesday night.

    The all-star Reading catcher was a late replacement for Abiatal Avelino, the former Trenton Thunder player who was called up to Triple A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

    It is funny how things work out sometimes with those late replacements.

    With his family and friends in attendance, Grullon tied with Hartford outfielder Sam Hilliard in the first round with 14 home runs, one more than Thunder outfielder Trey Amburgey.

    Grullon then hit 11 home runs in the final, to beat Hilliard by two, and take home the title as Home Run Derby champion. He won a case of Case's Pork Roll, plus a six pound roll, and a championship belt.

    "I feel great," Grullon said. "But it was tiring. I took my energy from my family, over there. I was blessed with this moment, to be here with a lot of good players. This is for my father.

    "I am going to enjoy the pork roll. I will share it with my team mates. The belt is going to stay with me at my home, and with my family."

    Amburgey just missed out on the final, as the hometown fans cheered him on late in the round towards the magic number of 14. But while he came up one short, it was a good experience for the player.

    "Physically, that is one of the hardest things I have ever done," Amburgey, who is making his first All-Star Game appearance, said. "But to be at the home field, and have the crowd behind me, that was a good experience, and a lot of fun.

    "It was exhausting. My body hurts. I knew what I needed, and I wanted to get into that rhythm in the last 30 seconds. Towards the last minute, I thought, 'I got it, I got it.' I just missed a few.

    Thunder notebook: How does Trenton grade out at All-Star break?

    In other action at Arm & Hammer Park Tuesday as part of the All-Star Game celebration, the NYPD Finest and Philadelphia Police Bluesox played a seven inning contest to benefit the FOP Survivors Fund.

    The team from New York held on to take a 2-1 victory, quelling a bottom of the seventh potential game-tying rally by the Philadelphia squad.

    "We have a very good relationship with the Philly PD team, throughout the whole year," NYPD outfielder Dennis O'Sullivan said. "So anytime they invite us down, we will always drop what we are doing to come. It was a bonus for us that it just happened to be during the Eastern League All-Star Game, and where the Yankees play.

    "There are a lot of Yankees fans on the team, being from New York. It makes it a little bit nicer. It is nice to have the fans here, and everyone here is always a class act to us. It is a perfect day for us, with great weather, and it worked out great."

    While the game was a fundraiser, once the players stepped out onto the field, their competitive nature was always going to be on show.

    "We have a great relationship with them," O'Sullivan said. "But we know between the lines, everybody is playing to win. So there is a competitive nature to the guys. But before before, even a little during, and especially after, it is all hugs and handshakes."

    Contact Sean Miller at Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean

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    Two northbound lanes are closed in Hamilton Watch video

    At least 13 people were injured Wednesday when a tractor-trailer and a charter bus collided on the New Jersey Turnpike in Mercer County, officials said. 

    The crash took place at 9:10 a.m. in the northbound outer lanes between interchanges 7 and 7A at milepost 57.9 in Hamilton, State Police Sgt. Lawrence Peele said.

    Though the Robbinsville fire department said 13 people were hurt, State Police said none of the injuries are serious. About 50 people were aboard the bus, according to State Police. 

    The right and center lanes are closed near the crash site while State Police investigate and EMS workers tend to the injured. 

    According to NBC, the bus rear-ended the tractor-trailer. State Police were unable to confirm that. 

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


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    Reeves is excited to be in the All-Star Game with so many quality players, and some of the top prospects in baseball.

    James Reeves and Caleb Frare would not be the first two names on any prospect list in the Eastern League.

    But the way the two Trenton Thunder relievers have pitched in the first half of the season, they sure may be headed that way.

    With the 2018 Eastern League All-Star Game Home Run Derby experience of hometown hero Trey Amburgey in the rear view mirror, the game took center stage Wednesday.

    Frare, who has been the best relief pitcher in the Eastern League so far this season, joined Amburgey and Reeves on the Eastern Division roster. The lefty has posted outstanding numbers after a rough 2017 campaign. Frare is 4-1, with a 0.67 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and has 52 strikeouts in 39 innings, spanning 26 appearances.

    "This is awesome," Frare said. "I get to look around in the locker room and see the talent that is here. It is really cool to be a part of it, and that I can be included in it. It is a humbling experience.

    Frare was excited to talk with some of the players that he tries to get out during the regular season.

    "The first guy that I met when I got here was Cavan Biggio," Frare said. "I have always known him as the enemy. It was really cool to be able to shake his hand, and just say hi, and get to know him a little bit.

    "I came to found out that we are in the same agency together. It is just stuff like that, that you miss out when you are competing with someone, and other guys on this team."

    Thunder kick off All-Star bash with Home Run Derby, police charity game

    Reeves is 1-1, with a 2.31 ERA, in 39 innings of work for the Thunder over 22 appearances. He is another one of the bullpen rocks for a Yankees organization that has produced so much pitching talent over the last few years.

    "It has been a great year," Reeves said. "We have really been competing, and I think doing our jobs for the most part. We have not been giving up a lot of runs late in games.

    "Our starters have been doing a great job, and then handing it over to us guys in the pen later in the game. I think the staff has been able to keep our team in contention late in games, and the offense has been doing what they need to do so that we win more than we lose.

    Reeves is excited to be in the All-Star Game with so many quality players, and some of the top prospects in baseball.

    "It is an honor to be here," Reeves said. "There are a lot of great players in this league, and it is a very competitive league. Plus, it is in Trenton this year, so it was pretty exciting news to hear that I was named an All-Star."

    Infielder Mandy Alvarez and pitcher Dillon Tate were the two other Thunder players on the roster, but Tate was just a spectator, with a slight quadriceps injury holding him out of the contest.

    Amburgey was in action before the other Trenton players Tuesday night, in the Case's Pork Roll Home Run Derby. He just missed out on making the final, with 13 home runs in the first round. 

    But the experience was one that he will always remember.

    "It was fun," Amburgey said. "Once I got the first one, I was relaxed, and I was ready to go."

    Contact Sean Miller at Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean

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