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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    A case of mistaken identity led to two students being held at gunpoint at Rowan University Monday afternoon.

    UPDATEPolice say they were just doing their job when they pulled over college students at gunpoint (VIDEO)

    After class Monday, Rowan University senior Altaif Hassan was giving his friend Giavanna Roberson a ride to the student center when he noticed that a police cruiser had pulled in the parking lot behind him, blue lights flashing.

    He stopped the car and looked in his mirror.

    "He had his gun aimed at me," Hassan, 21, said Tuesday, recounting the chilling moment from the day before. Sitting in front of the student center with Roberson, he made the shape of a gun with his hands and pointed it, his arms stretched out in front of him.

    A university spokesman said a 911 caller reporting an armed robbery had described a car similar to Hassan's, which prompted police to stop him and act as though he or Roberson, 18, had a gun.

    No weapon was found, but the hour-plus ordeal terrified and humiliated Hassan and Roberson, caused alarm on campus and left some students feeling that it was a race-related overreaction that put lives at risk. Shortly after, the university sent a brief notice to students about what happened, and then videos of the incident on the busy campus were shared widely on social media.

     

    In an interview Tuesday, Hassan, a biology major, and Roberson, 18, a freshman studying nursing, recounted how they immediately held their hands out the windows of the car as police shouted instructions and more arrived and pulled their guns, including one that appeared to be an assault rifle.

    Hassan, fearing that police would see his phone in his lap and think it was a gun, threw it on the floor of the car.

    They ordered Hassan out of the car first and had him put his hands up and walk backwards towards them.

    "I was never so sure I was gonna die," he said. His mind was in overdrive, worrying that he might twitch and they would feel threatened and shoot him.

    "To not be able to see what's going on," he said. "What if I trip? Boom. I'm shot."

    Meanwhile, inside the car, Roberson was still holding her hands out the window -- and praying.

    "I was praying that 'Taif didn't trip or anything," she said. She said she was more worried about him than for herself, thinking that police would feel more threatened by a male.

    The pair said they could not figure out why they were being treated that way, and none of the many officers gave them any clues. Asked if he assumed it was a case of mistaken identity, Hassan said, "I would think that, but I've been getting pulled over since I was a freshman."

    The Trenton-native said that after he started at Rowan, both Rowan and Glassboro police have been pulling him over dozens of times each year. They always have a minor excuse for stopping him, he said, and sometimes they want to search the car, which he always allows.

    "Maybe it's the way I look. Maybe it's my race. I've never seen them do that to white people," he said.

    On Monday, officers asked each of them if there was a gun in the car, but mostly did not speak to Hassan, he said. Roberson eventually overheard an officer say why they stopped the car. Hassan said he was sitting in a cruiser for nearly 45 minutes before he overheard a police scanner saying that someone with a gun was reportedly driving a car like his.

    When he was finally uncuffed and released, no one apologized or explained anything, he said.

    Glassboro police did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. 

    Joe Cardona, Rowan's vice president for University Relations, said police "followed protocol" given that they believed the car was the one from the armed robbery and that its occupants might be armed.

    Cardona acknowledged that the experience was awful for the students and said the university had offered counseling. "We're moving forward from here. There's probably going to be some open meetings about it," he said.

    On campus Tuesday afternoon, students who talked with a reporter said they had seen the videos and gotten the university alert about the incident. Several said they felt that police should have done more to confirm they had the right car, and that the number of guns being pointed was an overreaction.

    Two other students said that they understood it was a scary situation, but they felt that the police were taking appropriate precautions given that they believed they might be facing someone with a gun. 

    Roberson called the experience "traumatizing" and said its made her feel unsafe on campus.

    "My little sisters always come here, and they could have easily been in the car with us," she said.

    Hassan held out his hands, showing fingernails bitten down to the quick, and said he was biting them all night because he was a nervous wreck after the incident Monday.

    "I'm trying to figure out what it is going to take for this to never happen again," he said. "No one should be in that position."

    He reached out to Student Body President Rbrey Singleton, who helped arrange a meeting Tuesday with the dean of students and the head of Rowan University Public Safety. Roberson and Hassan said it felt good to be listened to, but they're not sure much will change.

    "It's not just us, a lot of other students have experienced the same with cops," Hassan said, referring to run-ins with police they felt were motivated partly by racial bias. "I hope they do protest and all the people who've had these experiences come forward."

    At the Social Justice Office Tuesday afternoon, student Imani Saunders recounted how videos of the incident spread on Instagram, with many students reacting with disbelief and calling for action. Like Hassan, she said there is a feeling that students of color are treated differently by local police, including increased police presence at their social events.

    "As student body president I am deeply concerned about how the situation was handled," Singleton said Tuesday. "No Rowan student should come to campus worried about looking down the barrel of a long gun."

    His second concern, he said, was that more than just the two students were at risk, given how crowded the area was with students while guns were being pointed.

    He said he has been hearing complaints from students about their dealings with Glassboro police prior to this, and the Student Government Association was planning to reach out to the borough about "strengthening relationships."

    "This event is prompting us to move a lot faster on that front," he said

    He said the Student Government Association and the Social Justice Office are tentatively planning a town hall meeting Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

    Saunders said other student activists are planning a protest, which may take place Wednesday or Thursday. 

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at reverett@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Find out who stood out in each conference this week.


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    Upsets galore spark changes in Group, conference rankings.


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    A U.S. Senate race should be an easy win for Democrats in New Jersey. But it's not this election year.

    Gov. Phil Murphy's message to New Jersey voters Wednesday was clear: You need to get out and vote this November.

    As Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez fights for his political survival in a hotly contested re-election battle that could end with him being ousted by a Republican challenger, Murphy said Wednesday he hopes the close contest "lights a fire" under people.

    "I'm not surprised this is so close," the freshman Democratic governor said at a public event in Hamilton, Mercer County.

    The comment came a day after another poll showed the race between Menendez and Republican challenger Bob Hugin is a tight one.

    Menendez held a five-point lead over Hugin, the former Celgene Corp. executive, among the state's registered voters, and a six-point lead among likely voters in the most recent poll.

    Another poll shows a dog fight in Senate race

    Those stats are alarming for Democrats who hold a 2-to-1 advantage over registered Republicans in the Garden State.

    In other words, this shouldn't be a contest for Menendez but for his federal indictment. The charges were eventually dropped and he was "severely admonished" by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting gifts and trips from a friend and campaign donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, while intervening with federal agencies on his behalf.

    Asked if New Jersey Democrats should have supported another candidate in the primary election over Menendez, Murphy said, in effect, no.

    "I'm all in for Sen. Bob Menendez. Period. Full stop," Murphy said.

    "I think the choice is very clear," he said. "(It's about) a guy who is with us and a guy who is not with us."

    According to the recent poll, 73 percent of Democratic likely voters said they would support Menendez, with 22 percent undecided. Hugin, on the other hand, was backed by 89 percent of Republican likely voters, with just 6 percent undecided.

    NJ Advance Media staff writer Jonathan D. Salant contributed to this report.

    Matt Arco may be reached at marco@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewArco or Facebook.


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    A look at the divisional races across New Jersey through Oct. 2.


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    A judge said a cop can be fired for lying because "truthfulness goes to the heart of the duties of a police officer"

    A judge in Burlington County upheld a former police officer's firing on charges that he lied to his department about a misuse of sick time.

    Michael Musser, a former Eastampton Township patrolman, was fired from the department on Oct. 23, 2017, court records show. 

    The sick time at issue was used August 8, 2016, when Musser and his girlfriend were booked for a 7:05 a.m. flight from Philadelphia to Orlando. Musser was scheduled to work a night shift in Eastampton that ended at 7 a.m. 

    The department's internal affairs investigators said Musser called out sick to make the flight, and failed to notify them that he wasn't at home on the day he was out sick. For those offenses, they sought a three-day suspension and a two-day suspension, respectively.

    At an administrative hearing, Musser's girlfriend testified that she booked them for a 4 p.m. flight (after the night shift would have ended) but deleted the confirmation emails.

    Later, she said, Musser's email account was hacked and they deleted the account on the advice of a Best Buy employee. They had no record of taking the computer to the store.

    A Southwest Airlines employee testified at the hearing that there was no 4 p.m. flight from Philly to Orlando - catching them in the lie.

    The hearing officer sided with the department in ruling that Musser should be terminated for lying. He also noted that "there appears to be a pattern of sick time use/before after the use of vacation time." 

    Burlington County Judge Susan Claypoole, in a late August ruling, affirmed that decision in a Musser appeal of his termination. Being fired for lying, she wrote, was an acceptable punishment because "truthfulness goes to the heart of the duties of a police officer."

    Her decision and other documents were first posted on a blog run by John Paff, a New Jersey open records advocate.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    There were goals galore in four of the eight matches, as four teams scored three or more in victories

    Wednesday went as bad as possible for the two English sides that played, with both Liverpool and Tottenham on the end of disappointing losses.

    There were goals galore in four of the eight matches, as four teams scored three or more in victories: Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in Group A, Barcelona (against Tottenham) in Group B, and PSG in Group C.

    Both Group D matches were 1-0, with a late goal from Weston Mckennie handing Schalke 04 all three points, while Porto used a Moussa Merega 49th minute tally to knock off Galatasaray.

    WEDNESDAY RESULTS

    Group A

    Atletico Madrid 3-1 Club Brugge

    Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Monaco

    Group B

    PSV Eindhoven 1-2 Internazionale

    Tottenham 2-4 Barcelona

    Group C

    PSG 6-1 Red Star Belgrade

    Napoli 1-0 Liverpool

    Group D

    Lokomotiv Moscow 0-1 Schalke 04

    Porto 1-0 Galatasary

    WEDNESDAY'S THREE STARS

    Lionel Messi, Barcelona

    Two Champions League games, and two perfect 10's, for the leading light of the Blaugrana. Messi had two goals, hit the woodwork twice, and has five goals already in the competition. He was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match.

    PSG Front Four

    Neymar was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with a perfect 10, but Angel Di Maria (9.58), Edinson Cavani (8.95), and Kylian Mbappe (8.85) all had goals, and combined to give the attackers a 9.35 rating.

    Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund

    A goal and an assist for Reus helped Dortmund to a 3-0 win. He was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with a 9.88 rating

    MATCH DAY TWO STAR

    Tough to call with four perfect 10 ratings, but we go with Neymar, who has his team back in contention in Group C.

    UEFA Champions League Tuesday: Real Madrid falters, Dybala hat trick

    TOTTENHAM STUCK ON ZERO, WHILE INSIGNE SINKS LIVERPOOL LATE

    When the draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage was made, Tottenham would have felt like it had a good chance to advance through to the knockout stage after its six matches.

    But a disastrous start has the Hotspurs on the precipice of the Europa League, with two huge games away and home with PSV Eindhoven, which also has zero points.

    With five players out for Tottenham, Messi and company came to the beat up pitch at Wembley and took out the Spurs 4-2. Can Tottenham rebound on October 24 in Holland?

    Barcelona can help the Spurs with two wins over Inter, which can solidify its spot in the top two of the group with a win in either of the two games against the Catalan side.

    When Jose Callejon's pass was turned into the net by Lorenzo Insigne in the 90th minute, Napoli took over the top spot in Group C. The Italian team has two games next against a PSG team that hit for six against Red Star Belgrade, which will finish last in the group.

    Can Jurgen Klopps's team take all six points against Red Star? Maybe more importantly, can Liverpool score enough goals to make sure it is in good position heading to Paris for match day five?

    BEST OF THE REST

    Antoine Griezmann (two goals) and Marco Reus (goal and assist) made sure that Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund head into their home-and-home on match days three and four with six points apiece. 

    Which of the two European powerhouse teams will end up at the top of Group A?

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


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    Register to vote. The deadline is Oct. 16. Your county Board of Elections will tell you how.

    In a normal year, a midterm election would have all the drawing power of a root-canal procedure.

    This is not a normal year.

    If any one event proved that, it was the rancorous hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

    Over an exhausting nine-hour span, back-to-back testimonies by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh embodied in real time the rancor and distrust that have degraded our political system, making governing nearly impossible.

    But even before that, an ever-increasing roster of fired-up political action groups, coupled with anti-Trump rallies, marches and protests, guaranteed that the Nov. 6 election will not be business as usual.

    On one level, the election will give voters a chance to have their say on such vital matters as health reform, taxes, immigration, gun-safety reform ... and the future of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    On another, it will provide either an indictment or an affirmation of the two years President Donald Trump has lived in the White House.

    Want to have an early voice in the election? Here's how.

    On that first Tuesday in November, halfway through Trump's first term, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate will be up for grabs.

    That includes the Senate seat held by Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, who finds himself in a closely-fought race with pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin.

    In this traditionally blue state, the longtime incumbent is struggling to maintain traction after his corruption trial ended in a mistrial last November, with the U.S. Justice Department announcing it was dropping all charges two months later.

    Five weeks before Election Day, a Stockton University poll found the two Bobs in a dead heat.

    Think your vote doesn't matter? Think again.

    Meanwhile, some analysts rank New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California as the most critical for either holding or seizing control of the House.

    Democrats need to add 23 seats for a majority. With 12 seats in play here, Garden State residents could very well cast the deciding votes in these hotly contested races.

    Forget staying away from the polls in droves. An explosion of grassroots political action groups and news sites attest to the fact that voters are hungry to make their voices heard next month.

    Action Together New Jersey, Indivisible, Swing Left and Let America Vote -- all have spent the last months mobilizing in response to the tumultuous Trump presidency, mounting aggressive Get-Out-the-Vote strategies.

    The 2018 midterm turnout is shaping up to be anything but predictable. But you only get to play if you're registered.

    Note to self: Register to vote. The deadline is Oct. 16. Your county Board of Elections will tell you how.

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


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    Cops say they had a report one had a gun. Videos of the incident sparked a conversation on campus about race and policing Watch video

    Two days after officers detained two Rowan University students at gunpoint on campus, the Glassboro Police Department issued a statement explaining why it happened and refuting some of the statements by the students and the university.

    Glassboro police have not responded to several requests for information on the incident.

    But in a statement Wednesday afternoon - posted on their Facebook page, along with some body camera footage - they contradict previous information from a Rowan University spokesman - that the student's car matched the description from a 911 call about a nearby armed robbery.

    In fact, there was no robbery, and police said they followed the driver and pulled his vehicle over because a bystander told them he had a gun. No weapon was ever found.

    The encounter Monday afternoon in the Mimosa Hall parking lot terrified the two African American students, Altaif Hassan, 21, and Giavanna Roberson, 18, who said they were held at gunpoint and handcuffed in police cruisers for 45 minutes.

    Videos of the incident have been shared widely on social media, prompting some students to worry it might be an example of racial bias in policing. In response, the university is holding a town hall meeting on policing Friday at 11 a.m.

     

    Glassboro officers were investigating a shoplifting at a store in the Collegetown Shopping Center on North Delsea Drive around 4:30 p.m. when a man came into the store and said he had "just observed a heavy - set black male, with 'puffy hair' pointing a black handgun at a vehicle that was parked in the fire lane" and then get into the vehicle and drive away, police said Wednesday.

    Police posted body camera footage of only this part of the incident.

    The department has not responded to a request seeking the full footage.

    Speaking to a reporter Tuesday, Hassan said he and Roberson left their classes Monday afternoon and drove to pick up his eyeglasses from a downtown store before heading back to the Student Center, where he was pulled over.

    There are several optical businesses in Collegetown Shopping Center.

    Hassan did not return a message Wednesday.

    The statement said police immediately spotted and maintained sight of the vehicle the bystander described -- a black Dodge Charger -- and followed it until it stopped on campus.

    "During this incident, the on-scene officers utilized their training and followed established protocol to ensure the safety of everyone involved in this incident. At the conclusion of the investigation, no handgun was located within the vehicle and the young male and female occupants were provided with the details of why this action was taken," police said in the statement.

    In an interview Tuesday, Hassan and Roberson said they were very scared as the first officer pulled his gun immediately, and at least four more officers arrived with guns pointed at them. They were ordered out of the car one at a time, and ordered to walk backwards towards police with their hands up.

    "I was never so sure I was gonna die," Hassan said. "To not be able to see what's going on. What if I trip? Boom. I'm shot."

    The pair said that police asked them questions about whether there was a gun in the car, but otherwise didn't tell them why they were being detained. Contrary to the police statement, they said no officers explained why they were stopped, never mentioning a bystander reporting them having a gun.

    Hassan wondered Tuesday if the stop had anything to do with his race, as he said he is frequently stopped by police in Glassboro.

    "Officers have an obligation to investigate when this type of information is provided regarding a serious threat of an alleged armed subject in our community for the safety of all involved including the people that are subject of the investigation," police said.

    Police did not explicitly say that the report of a gun was unfounded, but Rowan University did. "The police determined on location that the students were not involved in the incident that resulted in the vehicle stop," the university said in a Facebook post.

    "The incident also has sparked a broader conversation about race relations, specifically in the area of law enforcement. Our administration, including our Public Safety leadership, welcomes this dialogue as we continue to work to ensure all of our students, employees and guests not only are safe but also receive equitable treatment," the university said in the post, which announced the town hall meeting Friday.

    "Rowan's leadership has been working with the Student Government Association to address not only what happened on our campus but also facilitate a dialogue about the ongoing national conversation concerning race and law enforcement," it said.

    Hassan, Roberson and Student Body President Rbrey Singleton said that they want to make sure this doesn't happen to any student in the future.

    Singleton also expressed concern that a number of students could have been at risk because -- as the videos show -- numerous students were crowding around as the incident transpired.

    The police statement included a "cautionary recommendations" that people should only watch incidents like this from a safe distance and with "protective cover."

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at reverett@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Look at the top juniors in the state and cast your vote for the best of the best.


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    Also Thursday, the city's business administrator resigned

    Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora has looked at the city's books and does not like what he sees.

    So he's asking the state for help - in the form of a forensic audit.

    Gusciora, elected in June, said his administration has found a "lack of stringent bookkeeping" and "budget inconsistencies," the latter term he wrote in a letter to Lt. Governor Shelia Oliver requesting assistance.

    And he'd like the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which already has a long-standing oversight of the city as part of the transitional aid program, to do the audit.

    "We need fiscal prudence and responsible stewardship of city finances, which is why I'm asking for a thorough review as soon as possible," the mayor said in a statement. 

    "We want the process going forward to be transparent and accountable, and we want to make sure dollars are spent wisely in the city. A third-party review seems warranted and I would appreciate our partners at DCA giving this a hard look," he said.

    Also Thursday, the city's business administrator, Terry McEwen, a holdover from Mayor Eric Jackson's administration, resigned suddenly.

    A city spokesman would not comment on McEwen, saying it was a personnel matter.

    McEwen could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Murphy pledges to revitalize struggling city of Trenton

    Gusciora also did some finger pointing at previous mayors, writing in the letter he made public:

    "In my first few months as Mayor of Trenton, I am only now fully realizing the depth of the City's financial distress," he led off.

    The mayor said there were isolated events, like the citywide property tax revaluation, expiration of public safety grants, and state-mandated cost increases for pensions and health care, which were not planned for by prior administrations.

    "Beyond these constraints, a review of our financial records indicates that past Mayors may have used financial record-keeping that did not meet sound accounting principles and the regulatory requirements of DCA under its prior leadership," Gusciora wrote.

    The mayor wrote that he wants to have "a better understanding for myself and my constituents" of whether previous administrations were doing a good financial job, and whether the prior DCA administration under former Gov. Chris Christie, "enforced regulations properly."

    The city's been under state DCA oversight during the tenure of the two prior mayors - Tony Mack and Jackson.

    The aim of city leaders and mayors, including Gusciora's, is to get out from under state oversight and return the state capital back to self governance.

    Gusciora was so excited in July, thinking Trenton was finally free from state control - laid out in what's called a memorandum of understanding, or MOU - he scheduled a press conference on the steps of City Hall to announce it.

    But Gov. Phil Murphy had used a line-item veto to terminate the ending of the MOU two days before, leaving it in place.

    The mayor, as he put it, jumped the gun. And the state and city signed a new MOU.

    Last week, Murphy signed an executive order aimed of trying to help the capital city revitalize.

    The order established the New Jersey State Capital Partnership. The group will act as an advisory board, and the state will, among other things, review Trenton's masterplan with the aim of identifying funding and other resources to make the initiatives happen.

    In his letter to the state, Gusciora also wrote: "While I'm not certain that the City will recuperate any funds, I believe the State and the City owe it to the people of Trenton to understand what happened with City finances over the past eight years and how it will affect individuals and families going forward."

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

     


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    Communities are working toward re-inventing themselves with an eye toward attracting - and keeping - a stable population.

    Will the last person to leave suburbia please turn out the lights?

    That's the gloomy forecast for the future of New Jersey's suburbia as the state's residents abandon the suburbs and respond to the lure of the Big City, with its promise of bustling stores, navigable streets and a happening restaurant scene.

    It's one forecast, anyway. We're not quite ready to write the definitive obituary for the Garden State's suburbs, many of which are trying hard to adapt to meet the needs of both millennials and baby boomers.

    A recent Saturday evening in Collingswood, for example, saw avenues filled with outdoor diners, strolling couples and young families stopping to chat, and shoppers still carrying canvas bags bulging with produce from that morning's farmers market.

    The death of N.J.'s suburbs might be a total myth.

    It's a scene replicated up and down the state, as communities such as Morristown and Willingboro work toward re-inventing themselves with an eye toward attracting - and keeping - a stable population base.

    Injecting new life into aging malls and office parks was among the strategies at a forum last month titled "Future of the 'Burbs: Retrofitting and Repositioning for the 21st Century."

    Sponsored by Rutgers' Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, the event outlined many of the challenges - as well as the rewards - of turning tired suburbs into vibrant living spaces.

    The event came at a time when growth in urban areas has exceeded that of such suburban areas as Hunterdon, Monmouth, Sussex and Warren counties, a time when elected and appointed officials often risk pushback when they dare to suggest new approaches.

    And when mayors themselves are often leery about the overwhelming barriers they face in turning dying malls into workable mixed-use projects.

    "Boy, isn't it a challenge to work with communities and explain how these projects are going to impact homeowners?" said Michael Darcy, executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

    But participants in the Rutgers panel brought credible evidence of successful transformations nationwide - enough evidence to send local planners' imaginations soaring.

    Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor of architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, cited 1,800 places where downtowns, office parks and malls have been thoughtfully developed, incorporating not only walkable streets and attractive store fronts, but also venues for the arts and educational facilities.

    "Densify, urbanize and diversify" are the key goals for redevelopment, said Dunham-Jones, author of "Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs."

    It would be ideal if last month's forum launched a statewide conversation geared to breathing new life into struggling townships. It's not too late - or too soon - to make sure the lights stay on in our suburbs.

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


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    Samaad Williams faces attempted murder and weapons charges, the Warren County Prosecutor's Office announced.

    Local, state and federal authorities on Friday apprehended the suspect in an attempted homicide Sept. 14 in Phillipsburg.

    samaad-k-williams.jpgSamaad K. Williams (Courtesy photo | For lehighvalleylive.com) 

    Samaad K. Williams, 25, of the 100 block of Chambers Street in town, was arrested without incident about 5:30 a.m. in the 200 block of Franklin Street in Trenton, Warren County Prosecutor Richard Burke announced in a news release.

    Williams is accused of shooting Easton area resident Steven Margeson on Sept. 14 in Pear Alley in Phillipsburg, following what was described as an argument at the nearby Hilltop Cafe in the 100 block of Hudson Street.

    Margeson was driven by a friend for treatment at Easton Hospital in Wilson Borough.

    Williams is charged with first-degree attempted murder and weapons offenses, the prosecutor's office said. He was in the Warren County jail as of Friday afternoon.

    Making the arrest were members of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, New Jersey State Police, Warren County Prosecutor's Office and Washington Township and Phillipsburg police departments.

    Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @KurtBresswein and Facebook. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.


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    All Play USA is looking at building a recreational facility in Hamilton.

    A large-scale indoor recreational facility is being proposed in Hamilton.

    All Play USA says it is considering two possible locations in the township and expects to make a decision, pending planning board approval, and begin construction in 2019.

    The company declined to disclose either of the sites under consideration in Hamilton, a municipality of about 40 square miles and home to 88,000.

    It would include a 2.3-acre field house with artificial turf and basketball courts, among other offerings, and a second facility featuring a high-tech golfing range with radar tracking drives off the tee.

    The complex would also include a trampoline park, bowling lanes, a climbing zone, and food options, the company said in a release posted on its website and Facebook page.

    The proposal is the debut offering of All Play USA, founded in February by Ryan Marrone and four others. 

    "The fact that All Play USA has chosen Hamilton to be the home for its flagship indoor sports and entertainment facility illustrates the strength of our community as a family-friendly destination for entertainment and recreation," Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede said in the release.

    Hamilton officials did not respond to requests for additional comment about the proposed development.

    Listen to NJ.com on Alexa or via a daily podcast

    All Play said in the release that it plans to have offerings that target different age groups in an effort to appeal to an entire family.

    "All Play was founded with the belief that we can meet market demand and fill an existing gap in the marketplace with a first-class facility that is comprehensive to all members of a family in its offerings and quality of products and services," Marrone said in the release.

    Rob Jennings may be reached at rjennings@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobJenningsNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.  


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    What went on in New Jersey high school football Friday? We've got you covered.

    HC vs B-R '18.jpeg 

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    But the big game is Sunday, with the teams even on points at the top of the table set to clash in an early season marker for the title.

    Did Alexis Sanchez just save Jose Mourinho's job?

    The 67th minute substitute ended a furious Manchester United comeback with a game-winner in the 90th minute, after Juan Mata (70') and Anthony Martial (76') rallied the Red Devils from two goals down against Newcastle with two goals in six minutes.

    It was the end of a crazy day of Premier League football, which saw newly-promoted Wolverhampton (15 points, seventh place) continue its torrid start to the season, while Bournemouth routed 10-man Watford to move into fifth.

    But the big game is Sunday, with the teams even on points at the top of the table set to clash in an early season marker for the title.

    SATURDAY RESULTS

    Burnley 1-1 Huddersfield Town

    Crystal Palace 0-1 Wolverhampton

    Leicester City 1-2 Everton

    Tottenham 1-0 Cardiff City

    Watford 0-4 Bournemouth

    Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle United

    SATURDAY'S THREE STARS

    Matt Doherty, Wolverhampton

    The Wolves flying start to their new campaign continued, thanks to Doherty. He had the lone goal in the 56th minute, and was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with an 8.58 rating.

    Joshua King, Bournemouth

    The forward took advantage of the man advantage, with a brace, in the 4-0 win for the Cherries. King was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with a 9.42 rating.

    Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton

    His wonder strike won the match for Everton, which took full advantage of the extra man. Sigurdsson was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with an 8.54 rating.

    UEFA Champions League Weds: Tottenham, Liverpool fall; Neymar hat trick

    SANCHEZ SAVES UNITED, KING LEADS CHERRIES, WOLVES WIN AGAIN

    Fans of Manchester United must wonder why their team does not play like it did in the final 30 minutes against a Newcastle United side that still has yet to win a match this season.

    Sanchez got on the end of Ashley Young's cross and buried a header into the side netting, to give the Red Devils a comeback 3-2 win. Young, who was one of the defenders at fault for the two Magpies' goals in the first 10 minutes, made a pinpoint pass to spare Mourinho's blushes in what may or may not have been his final game in charge.

    In London, Wolverhampton has started the season with three wins and three draws from seven games, and look poised to make a run at a European spot. 

    Bournemouth has 16 points, after its 4-0 win over Watford. Hornets center back Christian Kabasele was sent off for a second bookable offense after 32 minutes, and King scored twice before the half to give the Cherries a 3-0 advantage.

    Huddersfield Town moved off the bottom of the table with a 1-1 draw, but still has yet to win its first game of the season. Newcastle sits in 19th two points, minus-seven goal difference), with Cardiff in 20th (two points, minus-13 goal difference.)

    SUNDAY SCHEDULE

    Fulham vs. Arsenal, 7 a.m. EDT (NBC Sports and Fubo.tv)

    Southampton vs. Chelsea, 9:15 a.m. EDT (NBC Sports and Fubo.tv)

    Liverpool vs. Manchester City, 11:30 a.m. EDT (NBC Sports and Fubo.tv)

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR SUNDAY

    Sunday begins and ends with the Premier League early season match of the year. Liverpool and Manchester City, the two sides that sit at the top of the table after six weeks, will meet for the fourth time in 2018.

    The Reds have won the previous three contests, including two in the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, and once to end the Citizens unbeaten start to the 2017-18 Premier League campaign after 23 matches.

    Which team will take control of the league?

    PREDICTION

    City is on a mission: Liverpool 1-4 Manchester City.

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


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    Hubert Moore was shot by Trenton police in 1998 and served many years in prison

    A man with a lengthy criminal record who's well-known to police was shot dead in Burlington City early Saturday, authorities said.

    Hubert Moore, 37, died at a local hospital at about 2 a.m. from wounds suffered in a shooting at about 1:30 a.m. at the intersection of Barclay and York streets, the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office said.

    hubert.jpgHubert Moore, 2017 photo 

    An office spokesman said Moore was in the front passenger seat of a vehicle when a a gunman approached the vehicle and began firing.

    Moore was struck, and the driver, who was the only other occupant, was not injured.

    No arrests have been made in Moore's killing.

    Moore was living in Burlington City, but is originally from Trenton, where he cut a high-profile life of crime starting at an early age.

    In 1998, at just 16 years old, he stole a car and went on a joyride, eventually leading to a high-speed pursuit that ended with several officers firing at the car in a downtown parking lot.

    Moore was shot in the neck and survived - and was charged with several crimes.

    His passenger - 14-year-old Trenton resident Jennie Hightower - was killed. 

    The incident caused strife in the city, and in relations between the police department and then Mayor Doug Palmer, who publicly questioned police tactics. 

    The incident was also a major part of Palmer's successful push for the creation of a civilian police director and the elimination of the position of police chief.

    Moore, in 2002, was sentenced to 14 years in prison on aggravated assault and eluding police convictions, and before his final sentencing, he pleaded guilty to additional burglary-related charges.

    In 2005, Moore escaped from a state prison halfway house, but was recaptured about 37 hours later at a family home in Trenton.

    And in January 2011, just three months free from prison -  Moore was arrested on drug charges in Trenton.

    At some point, he moved south to Burlington City.

    Early in 2017, he was busted again.

    Burlington County narcotics officers investigated him and found drugs and a loaded gun when they searched his Burlington City home, including nearly 900 ecstasy tablets a pound of marijuana and a taser gun.

    The exact status of that case, initiated in January 2017, were unclear. But Moore was also arrested in August, in Burlington City, on another drug and gun possession case, court records show.

    Anybody with information for investigators is asked to call Burlington City police at 609-386-0262 ext. 233. Prosecutor's Detective Tom LaRosa and Burlington City Detective Corporal Ann Czajka are the lead investigators.

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

     

     


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