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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    He had more than 100 files on CDs and a flash drive, the attorney general's office said

    A former state employee admitted in court on Friday that he had child pornography at his desk at work.

    Kevin Smith, 66, of Westmont, Haddon Township, pleaded guilty to third-degree possession of child pornography, the state Attorney General's office said.

    He pleaded before Judge Francisco Dominguez in Superior Court in Camden County, and the state will recommend a four-year sentence. He will be barred from public employment and the state will request he register as a sex offender.

    kevin-smithjpg-db54f3906bb53c82.jpgKevin Smith 

    Smith was an executive assistant with the Division of Income Security in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

    He had more than 100 files on discs and a flash drive in his work cubicle, according to the AG's office.

    "Anyone who views and downloads child pornography online participates in the cruel exploitation of children, but Smith's case is especially egregious because he engaged in this conduct at his state workplace using taxpayer-funded computer equipment," Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said when announcing the plea.

    The State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit investigated Smith after getting a tip that Smith was viewing inappropriate material at work. His computer and the disks were taken to the Forensic Technology Complex and analyzed. Those examiners found the files and also prior searches for child porn.

    Smith was suspended and then retired after his supervisors received the tip. He was arrested in November 2016.

    He made about $110,000 annually when he retired, and currently receives a monthly retirement pension of about $4,178, state records show.

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

    Have a tip? Tell us.

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    BB&T Bank on Route 33 in Hamilton was robbed Friday afternoon

    A woman is on the run after robbing a bank in Hamilton Friday afternoon, police said.

    The woman, wearing a red knit hat, dark blue sweatshirt and gray sweatpants entered the BB&T Bank on Route 33 shortly before 1 p.m., showed a handgun and demanded money.

    She had a blue bandana covering her face.

    After receiving the cash, she fled out the front door and headed around the back of the building. It's not clear if she had a vehicle.

    Police also did not say how much money was taken.

    Anyone with information can call Detective Matt Donovan at 609-689-5824 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at 609-581-4008.

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

    Have a tip? Tell us. 

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    Cops raided 5 homes, 2 Chinese restaurants and a spa in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

    The tip was called in to Lawrence police.

    Check out a home on Lakedale Drive in the Colonial Lake neighborhood, the person said. They'd seen a lot of people coming and going, and climbing in and out of vans.

    That was over two years ago, in September 2016.

    Police did check it out, and on Friday said that little bit of information led them to a pretty big case, which grew into into human trafficking, prostitution and money laundering, and has tentacles to a Chinese restaurant, a spa and five homes in Mercer County, and another restaurant and Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

    "Residents are our eyes and ears, and continue to be a valuable asset to public safety," Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said Friday in announcing three arrests and searches at eight locations on Thursday.

    One arrest was Chin Pang Liu. He owns the Lakedale house, and is the principal owner of Fusion House, a Chinese restaurant across Brunswick Pike from the neighborhood. He also owns Golden China Restaurant on Floral Vale Boulevard in Lower Makefield, Pennsylvania, just outside of Yardley.

    Prosecutors say he was transporting workers at his restaurants and they were employed fraudulently: they were paid below New Jersey state minimum wage in payments that were not taxed and "under the table," and the fulltime employees had no employment benefits.

    Liu owned and operated the vehicles coming and going from the Lakedale house.

    At Liu's primary home, on Mink Court in Lawrence, detectives found large sums of packaged U.S. cash, which totaled about $50,000.

    And detectives pulled his 2016 personal tax returns, which show he reported about $100,000 that year. The financial documents and the cash s, prosecutors say, leads them to believe he underreported his income.

    Chin Liu, 47, is charged with first-degree human trafficking and failure to pay taxes. 

    "This is classic case of people being isolated, exploited and trapped in a forced-labor situation," Onofri said. "We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to rescue these vulnerable victims and ensure human traffickers face strict punishment."

    While surveilling the locations during the past two years, detectives watched as one of Liu's employees, Yonglian Liu, 34, frequently went to Anna Nails and Massage, also on Brunswick Pike, and often took what appeared to be cash from the spa to Golden China.

    Anna Nails and Spa, prosecutors say, was offering prostitution services.

    Yonglian Liu and the spa's owner, Dong Teng, 45, are each charged with promoting prostitution and maintaining a residence as a place of prostitution.

    Police also executed search warrants at homes on Fountayne Lane and Glenn Avenue in Lawrence Thursday

    The investigation is ongoing, and being led by Lawrence Detective Sean Kerins and prosecutor's Detective David Petelle, and Assistant Prosecutor Rachel Cook.

    A number county, state and federal authorities assisted in the investigation on both sides of the Delaware River.

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

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    CEOs of dozens of industries - high-paying industries -- are desperate for adequately trained workers but find it almost impossible to fill that demand.

    You worked for years at the same job. Your attendance record was stellar, your productivity unrivaled. You were a valued employee - until you weren't.

    Now you send out resume after resume, chasing the job that will let you feed, clothe and house your family, and maintain your sense of worth. The resumes yield ... nothing.

    Welcome to the ranks of the long-time unemployed.

    Since the recession of 2008, those ranks have swelled, particularly in New Jersey. And the outlook is grim: One study found that job-seekers who had been out of work for eight months received a call-back for interviews only about half as often as candidates who had been laid off for a month.

    Another poll, this one by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revealed that chances of landing a job decrease significantly after six months of unemployment.

    Is the U.S. heading toward another recession?

    Meanwhile, CEOs of dozens of industries - high-paying industries -- are desperate for adequately trained workers but find it almost impossible to fill that demand.

    If only there were a way to bring these two elements together ...

    Meet Troy Singleton and Linda Greenstein, would-be matchmakers looking to create a mechanism to make it easier for employers to identify qualified workers, and vice versa.

    The two Democratic state senators - Singleton from Burlington County and Greenstein from Middlesex County - are sponsoring a bill designed to provide short-term training in mathematical, literacy or technical skills for people who have been out of work for way too long.

    The lawmakers envision a pilot program that would include at least 20 industry-recognized certificate programs, which a participant would be able to complete within 12 months.

    Under the legislation, county colleges, county vocational school districts and adult education programs could choose to implement one of more of the certificate programs.

    Preference would be given to training for industries on the state's Demand Occupation List, compiled annually by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

    Included on the list are such positions as administrative assistant, customer service representative, food preparer, tractor-trailer truck driver and teacher's assistant.

    Not only would this training benefit prospective employees and the companies that hire them, but it would also be a shot in the arm for the state's economy, Singleton notes in his newsletter to constituents.

    The sad truth is that many Garden State residents continue to struggle a decade after the recession hit hardest. For them, and for their families, the program outlined in the Greenstein-Singleton bill would be a godsend.

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


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    The test administered was from 1995, way outdated, the state paramedic director said

    It's already known that the Delran Emergency Squad was in trouble.

    The squad's former chief - a retired police chief - was arrested last month and faces several charges including terroristic threats. Authorities say he threatened state staffers and lied about fudging paperwork.

    The squad was suspended and is now staffed by EMTs from other squads in Burlington County, the prosecutor's office has said.

    But now, another scolding letter from the state Department of Health, recently posted on its website offers more detail about blunders in the squad's emergency services training.

    The June 28 letter from Scot Phelps, the state's paramedic director, alleges that everyone who took a training "refresher course" at Delran received a 100 percent score on the final exam.

    Ask Alexa

    He said Denise Horner, who headed the training course, "went over the exam and ensured students were given the right answer...thus compromising the exam process and falsifying an examination score."

    The state found a number of other deficiencies.

    For example, Phelps also wrote that the test was from 1995 and therefore outdated.

    Student files also lacked documentation, he said.

    He concluded the letter with a 16-step plan to correct the flaws the audit found.

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

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    Fall has finally arrived in the Garden State, which means stunning hues of red, orange and yellow are taking over the trees.

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    The winger now has goals in four straight Premier League games, after his first half goal turned the tables in a 2-1 win.

    After 30 minutes of play Saturday, to kick off the longest Premier League day of the season so far, it looked like Manchester United would be in trouble.

    But with Martial F.C. in full effect, and Marcus Rashford getting a late 21st birthday present in stoppage time, the Red Devils got a much-needed victory before they head to Turin, Italy for a huge UEFA Champions League match midweek with Juventus.

    But the early game was one of just four time slots on this Saturday, part of the new TV deal that has two later kickoffs after the usual 3 p.m. English time starts.

    There is just one winless team left in the league, after Newcastle finally got a victory, while Everton got another outstanding performance from Richarlison in a win.

    Leicester City played just one week after its chairman and owner died, and continued his legacy in the best possible way, with a 1-0 win reminiscent of the Foxes' 2015-16 Premier League title run.

    The headline game came in London, with a resurgent Arsenal team taking on unbeaten Liverpool. The teams had to share the spoils, after a late Alexandre Lacazette goal drew the Gunners even.


    Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester United

    Cardiff City 0-1 Leicester City

    Everton 3-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

    Newcastle United 1-0 Watford

    West Ham United 4-2 Burnley

    Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

    Wolverhampton vs. Tottenham 


    Tottenham 0-1 Manchester City



    Burton 3-2 Nottingham Forest

    Leicester City vs. Southampton, PPD. to 11/27


    Arsenal 2-1 Blackpool

    Chelsea 3-2 Derby County

    West Ham United 1-3 Tottenham

    Middlesborough 1-0 Crystal Palace


    Manchester City 2-0 Fulham


    All games 12/18

    Middlesborough vs. Burton Albion

    Leicester City/Southampton vs. Manchester City

    Chelsea vs. Bournemouth

    Arsenal vs. Tottenham


    Felipe Anderson, West Ham United

    Two goals, including the game-winner in the 84th minute, to give Hammers a huge 4-2 win over Burnley. He was the Man of the Match with a 9.53 rating. 

    Anthony Martial, Manchester United

    Martial F.C. is back in a big way. The winger now has goals in four straight Premier League games, after his first half goal turned the tables in a 2-1 win. Martial was the Man of the Match with a 7.97 rating.

    Richarlison, Everton

    A brace for the winger in a 3-1 win over Brighton. He was the Man of the Match with an 8.96 rating

    Leicester City tragedy overshadows Premier League Sunday


    It has been a tough week for the Leicester City football team.

    The Foxes had to deal with the death of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in last week's helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium, but they came out Saturday and played valiantly in his memory.

    Leicester City got a 56th minute goal from Demarai Gray in a 1-0 win over Cardiff City, after the Foxes midweek Carabao Cup match was postponed. It was a goal that set off emotional celebrations all around the pitch and with the visiting supporters.

    "It was a matter to keep our self control," Leicester City manager Claude Puel said after the victory. "If we play on just emotion, we will not win. (But) if we balance between emotion and self control, desire and aggressiveness, then we have a chance.

    "It is fantastic to finish this situation with a good win. At the end, it was fantastic to share our feelings with the staff, the fans. I am so proud of my players."

    Newcastle United moved out of the relegation zone with its first win of the season. Ayoze Perez scored in the 65th minute, and the Magpies made the lone goal stand.


    Manchester City vs. Southampton, 10 a.m. EST NBC Sports

    Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace, 11 a.m. EST NBC Sports Gold

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

    0 0

    Princeton, now 8-0, plays at Yale next weekend and closes its season at home against Penn

    Princeton came into Saturday's Ivy League football game with a scoring average of 50.7. Dartmouth came in averaging 35.3. So something had to give.

    Turns out it wasn't defense. Princeton, scoring a touchdown with just 2:03 remaining in the game, held on for a 14-9 old-school struggle at Princeton Stadium.

    Both teams were unbeaten and each has two games remaining in the season. Princeton, now 8-0, plays at Yale next weekend and closes its season Nov. 17 at home against Penn.

    "It felt like Rocky I,'' Princeton coach Bob Surace said. "Two teams slugging it out. That was a slug fest. Every play counted in terms of that. And nobody panicked.''

    The Tigers certainly could have done that, especially when they trailed at halftime 9-7. Especially when they went scoreless in the third quarter. Especially when they drove 92 yards in the fourth quarter (23 plays), went for a first down on a fourth and one at the Dartmouth six - opting not to try the go-ahead field goal -  and were stopped. With under nine minutes to play.

    That's when the Princeton defense really came up big, immediately forcing Dartmouth to punt from its own end zone. The punt return left the ball at the Dartmouth 34, but a facemask penalty on the Big Green moved the ball down to the 19.

    Four plays later quarterback John Lovett scooted in from the five, giving Princeton its first lead of the breezy and chilly day.

    But it was the defense, holding Dartmouth to 213 total yards - 138 after it went 75 yards for a score on the game's opening drive - that saved the day. Because while the offense was getting loads of attention from its gaudy average, quietly in the shadows was a defense that was allowing just 9 points a game.

    And still is.

    "Our stress was being where we needed to be and doing our jobs, and we were able to do that on most plays,'' senior middle linebacker Tom Johnson said. "We focused on what we needed to do to stop them and put us in a position to win, and at the end of the day we were able to do that.''

    Ranked No. 14 nationally in the FCS Coaches Poll, Princeton had tied the score at 7 the first time it had the ball while going 75 yards in 12 plays. Dartmouth took Lovett down in the end zone early in the second quarter to take a 9-7.  

    That was it until the brawl finally ended with only a couple of minutes left.

    "We're playing with the edge and the passion that you need to do to win a game like this,'' Surace said. "And the season isn't over, obviously, by any means.''

    But in their defense, the Ivy League title is in their hands.


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    The team is a blend of youth and experience

    Coming off a 13-16 record, the Princeton University men's basketball team has nowhere to go but up. That's exactly where they plan on going.

    "We have what you need to be successful,'' coach Mitch Henderson said Thursday at the team's Media Day event.

    That includes a new video board, the largest in both the Ivy League and the state, as well as 1,200 chairback seats on the north and south sides of Jadwin Gymnasium.

    New season, new look.

    Gone is Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Amir Bell - now playing professionally in Italy - but returning are a pair of talented seniors in Myles Stephens and Devin Cannady, as well as 75 percent of Princeton's offense.

    Though young (nine underclassmen), Princeton returns two-thirds of its minutes played. Six players saw time in at least 27 games.

    "It starts with leadership, and we are leaning heavily on Myles and Devin and their leadership. There are a lot of fresh faces,'' Henderson said, "but when the rubber hits the road it's those two.

    "I love the team and the way they go about our business. They really connect with each other,'' he added. "We're excited to get going.''

    The season starts here Nov. 9 against Desales University (Pa.), although there will be only four home games before the Ivy opener against Penn Jan. 5. Princeton will certainly be tested, its non-league schedule including road games against the likes of St. John's, Duke and Arizona State.

    The Tigers got off to a rough start last season in losing six of their first eight games. The end of the season was just as bad as they lost eight of their final 10. Four of those loses were in overtime.

    Stephens, from Lawrenceville, averaged 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds a game last season, while Cannady put up 16.7 and 5.4. Sophomore Sebastian Much, 6-foot-8, averaged 7.1 and 2.7, and 6-foot-7 classmate Jerome Desrosiers put up 6.2 and 2.7. Both averaged fewer than 20 minutes.

    IMG_0730.JPGPlayers on media day in Jadwin Gym, playing below the new video board. (Paul Franklin photo)

    Of the five freshman, making the most impact should be 6-foot-2 guard Jaelin Llewellyn. Aside from having blood lines from his father Cordell (played at Wake Forest and Rhode Island), the Canadian comes in a four-star recruit by 247sports and an ESPN Top 100 recruit.

    Also contributing will be a couple of other players with Mercer County ties. Junior guard Jose Morales attended Hun School, and 6-9 junior center Richmond Arirguzoh, from Ewing, played at Trenton Catholic. Another player who should play significant minutes is 6-10 junior Will Gladson. He started nine games but played in only 15 due to an injury. 

    Princeton averaged 73 points, shot 45 percent overall and 37 percent from three, but only hit 71 percent in free throws.

    It will be able to score from inside and out, as Cannady and Stephens are terrific shooters.

    "We have a lot of strengths,'' said Henderson, starting his eighth season as head coach. "We can run, shoot threes, and score inside. I don't know how many wins we're going to get, but I think it's gonna' be a fun season.

    "If you're going to be really good in this league you have to defend; anywhere in the country. We can score, and I think we have the ability to be a very tough-nosed defensive team. We gotta' drink it.''

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    That may not be known for awhile. But with more stories, and more leaks, coming soon, football may be changed forever.

    On the pitch, this weekend proved to be another display of Manchester City's dominance at the top of the Premier League.

    The Cityzens routed Southampton 6-1, to continue their unbeaten start to the league campaign. City sits on top of the Premier League table, two points ahead of second place Chelsea and third place Liverpool.

    But off the field, it was a disaster for Manchester City, as well as Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint Germain.

    New Football Leaks, of more than 70 million documents, were reported on by German magazine Der Spiegel, along with 14 other news agencies around Europe. The stories, which will continue all week, have exposed the dealing of the two clubs, along with plans for a European Super League that would begin in 2021.

    So what will the repercussions be?

    That may not be known for awhile. But with more stories, and more leaks, coming soon, football may be changed forever.


    Manchester City 6-1 Southampton

    Chelsea 3-1 Crystal Palace


    Huddersfield Town 1-0 Fulham


    Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

    One goal, two assists, and a perfect 10 rating on for the City forward. Even with the perfect score, he was not the man of the match.

    Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

    But Sterling was: the forward had two goals and two assists, for another perfect 10 rating. He was the Man of the Match.

    Pedro, Chelsea

    He had a goal and an assist, in the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace. Pedro beat two-goal team mate Alvaro Morata to the Man of the Match with a 9.18 rating.

    Premier League weekend kickstarted by Marcus Rashford's winner


    Did Manchester City lose this weekend?

    On the field? No. The Cityzens rolled Southampton 6-1, and are now 11 games unbeaten in the Premier League. City sits at the top of the table, ahead of the two other unbeaten teams Chelsea and Liverpool by two points, with a vastly superior goal difference of plus-29 (33 goals scored, four allowed).

    Off the field? That is a different story. How will these damaging stories coming out daily from Der Spiegel impact Manchester City for the rest of the season, especially in the one competition it has not won, the Champions League?

    Probably very little. This team is a machine, with so much depth available. Manchester City will host Shakhtar Donetsk Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League, with a chance to advance to the knock out stage, then see Manchester United head to the Etihad before the international break.


    (All times 3 p.m. EST unless listed)


    Group A

    Monaco vs. Club Brugge, 12:55 p.m. EST (Galavision)

    Atletico Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund, (Galavision)

    Group B

    Tottenham vs. PSV Eindhoven, (Galavision)

    Inter vs. Barcelona, (Univision)

    Group C

    Red Star Belgrade vs. Liverpool, 12:55 p.m EST (TNT, UniMas, Univision) 

    Napoli vs. PSG, 3 p.m. (TNT and UniMas)

    Group D

    Schalke 04 vs. Galatasaray 

    Porto vs. Lokomotiv Moscow


    Group E

    Bayern Munich vs. AEK Athens

    Benfica vs. Ajax

    Group F

    Lyon vs. Hoffenheim

    Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk, (Galavision)

    Group G

    CSKA Moscow vs. Roma, 12:55 p.m. EST (TNT and Galavision)

    Viktoria Plzen vs. Real Madrid, (UniMas)

    Group H

    Valencia vs. Young Boys, 12:55 EST (UniMas and Univision)

    Juventus vs. Manchester United, (TNT and Univision)


    Here is a list from showing which teams can advance or be eliminated on UEFA Champions League match day four. 

    For Tottenham, it is simple: the Spurs need wins at Wembley against PSV Eindhoven Tuesday, and a win at Wembley on match day five November 28 against Inter. Anything less than that will mean qualification would be all but over.

    Liverpool has to win convincingly this week in Serbia, and hope one of the two other teams, Napoli or PSG, win this week. Liverpool will visit Paris on match day five, and host Napoli on match day six.

    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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    New Jersey's environmental activists are concerned that those charged with the stewardship of the Pinelands have bungled the job.

    The million-plus acres of pinelands sprawling across 56 communities and seven Garden State counties represent one of the most highly protected environments in the country. And for good reason.

    Rare species of plants and animals flourish in its leafy expanses, trillions of gallons of water flow under its sandy soil.

    But many of the state's environmental activists are rightfully concerned - if not downright angry - that the men and women charged with the stewardship of this precious jewel have bungled the job.

    They're calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to overhaul the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, the 15-member panel charged with preserving, protecting and enhancing the natural and cultural resources of the vast parcel of land that more than 40 years ago became the country's first National Reserve.

    At a fiery rally in front of the annex of the State Capitol last month, speaker after speaker urged Murphy to undo damage inflicted by his immediate predecessor, whose appointments to the commission often seemed driven less by protection than by politics.

    The 8 beautiful blooms to spot during a drive in the Pinelands

    Seven of the members are appointed by the governor. Seven others are named by freeholders from the counties within the Pinelands - Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Ocean - while one is appointed by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

    Under the watch of former Gov. Chris Christie, the panel has repeatedly approved gas pipeline measures, such as the New Jersey Natural Gas Southern Reliability Link Pipeline, and has fallen short on protecting the supply of fresh water that lies beneath the Pinelands.

    Moreover, rally speakers pointed out, individuals and environmental organizations have been repeatedly shut out of the decision-making process, leaving the commission without a full understanding of the facts before members make critical decisions.

    Doug O'Malley, director of the watchdog organization Environment New Jersey, took aim at Christie's appointments, individuals he charged were part of a "clear attempt to undermine the Pinelands."

    And he decried the firing of several long-term commissioners, among them Bob Jackson, the only African-American on the panel, whose only "crime" was to stand up for the ideals of preservation and the future of the Pines.

    "Gov. Christie played Bridgegate-like politics with the Pinelands, and with Pinelands commissioners," O'Malley charged.

    All seven of the commissioners chosen by the Republican governor are now serving under expired terms. They include its chairman, Sean W. Earlen, the mayor of Lumberton and a vice president of a Pennsylvania construction firm.

    We're not sure why Murphy, with all his progressive zeal, has failed to put his own stamp on the commission 10 months into his tenure. But it's not too late.

    The coalition that rallied in Trenton last month was so right. It's time for new leadership to assure that this remarkable gem within our borders remains an ecological wonder, and not a developers' playground.

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


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    Injuries are not slowing their enthusiasm

    Here's all you need to know about this season's version of the Princeton University women's basketball team: Last year they won the Ivy League championship and played in the NCAA Tournament.

    "This team," coach Courtney Banghart said Thursday, "is more talented than last year's.''

    That's obviously saying a lot, considering last year the Tigers went 24-6 overall and 12-2 in the league. It's also saying a lot since in her 11 seasons as head coach she has led them to seven NCAA appearances.

    It is saying even more since during the team's afternoon practice, Ivy League Player of the Year Bella Alarie was taking left-handed layups on a basket behind Carril Court. Alone. Wearing a cast on her shooting arm.

    The junior standout broke her arm early last month during practice and will not be available when the season starts Tuesday night at Rider. Though Banghart said it, "Won't be much longer,'' the team continues to practice without her.

    What they do have, what they go into the season with, are six freshmen. Nine underclassmen.

    Ah, but what they also have are an extremely multi-talented sophomore point guard in Carlie Littlefield, and a senior leader in six-foot Sydney Jordan; a defensive ace and flat-out winner. Both started 29 games last season.
    What Banghart also has is a team she can't praise enough.

    "There are three types of people,'' she said during a Media Day session. "There are quitters, the complacent ones, and the climbers. When I think about this group, the way they've handled some adversity early on, consistently they keep climbing; led by our senior class.

    "I knew our leadership would be good, but it's tremendous. We have a lot of young talent, a lot of young people. We have eight people total who have played less than 50 minutes from the year before.''

    Courtney BanghartPrinceton head coach Courtney Banghart (File photo)

    Add to that the loss of sophomore Abby Meyers, out for the season to an academic "separation'' from the university. Though she can return next year with three years eligibility remaining, she contributed in 28 games a year ago. Inside help will come from junior Taylor Baur. Already having missed freshman year with a knee injury, she had another injury this preseason but is rounding into shape.

    Seniors Gabby Rush and Qalea Ismail are certainly in the mix. Rush can shoot it, and, despite nagging injuries, Ismail managed to start 13 games a year ago.

    "There's an urgency to be a senior,'' Banghart noted. "The urgency of seniors is hard to replicate in other classes.''

    And yet, "The freshmen class is as talented as we hoped,'' Banghart said. "We're still finding our identity, but we are exactly where we should be. Actually we're ahead of where we should be.''

    The team is coming off a season in which they out-rebounded teams by seven per game, kept them below 37 percent shooting and caused an average of 15 turnovers.

    Despite the best player in the league, despite perhaps the best point guard in the league, it is the seniors, as usual, who will drive the striped bus.

    "Seniors determine your journey in this league,'' Banghart said. "Any Courtney-coached team is going to be a senior-led team. The urgency and competitive spirit this senior class has brought...I'm all in. The years we've been 'bad,' we didn't have that competitiveness and leadership. And I'm really competitive. So to match me is hard to do, and this senior class matches it. So our potential is in their hands, and where they've brought us so far is why I'm so excited.

    "With what we've gone through injury-wise you'd think I wouldn't be excited for opening day. But I can't wait. I mean, I just can't wait."

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    The exit by New Jersey-based QuickChek from the pharmacy business will result in the elimination of 60 jobs.

    QuickChek plans to close its pharmacy departments in nine New Jersey stores later this month in a deal with CVS that also calls for one QuickChek location to be sold outright to the pharmacy chain, company officials said.

    The move affects 60 QuickChek employees whose positions will be eliminated. CVS plans to interview those workers for jobs as part of the transition, QuickChek officials said in a statement.

    QuickChek will transfer its prescription records to CVS and notify customers about the change.

    The QuickChek stores with pharmacy departments closing in late November are:

    • Bayonne
    • Beachwood
    • Ewing
    • Fords section of Woodbridge
    • North Bergen
    • Passaic
    • Point Pleasant
    • Scotch Plains
    • Totowa

    Those stores will be remodeled to match a new design unveiled last year at other locations. QuickChek, which is based in Hunterdon County, has 159 locations in New Jersey and New York.

    The QuickChek store in Washington, Warren County will be purchased by CVS and operated by the pharmacy retailer. The date of the sale and transition to a CVS store was not announced.

    Listen to on Alexa, or via a daily podcast

    "CVS Pharmacy will continue to meet the pharmacy and health care needs of our customers, as well as provide career opportunities for our pharmacy team members," said QuickChek Director of Pharmacy Mike Wunder.

    The companies did not announce the terms of the deal.

    QuickChek is opening a new store on Tuesday in North Plainfield, its eighth new location in the last 10 months. Another eight new stores are planned for 2019, officials said.

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    Voters are hitting the polls in full force this morning, but some N.J. residents have had to jump through hoops to make sure their ballot is cast.

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    The 2018 finalist needed a result in Serbia, but will come home embarrassed, as Red Star Belgrade got a brace from Milan Pavkov.

    Tuesday brought us halfway through UEFA Champions League match day four, and the cream has started to rise to the top of some groups.

    Others? It may come down to the final minutes of match day six.

    Porto has all but assured itself of moving on from Group D, after another dominant performance. Will Schalke 04 join the Portuguese side?

    Barcelona will advance with a win in its next game, as will Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and Inter. 

    Group C is all to play for, after a stunning result in Serbia, and another draw in Italy.

    What surprises will Wednesday bring?


    Group A

    Monaco 0-4 Club Brugge

    Atletico Madrid 2-0 Borussia Dortmund

    Group B

    Tottenham 2-1 PSV Eindhoven

    Inter 1-1 Barcelona

    Group C

    Red Star Belgrade 2-0 Liverpool

    Napoli 1-1 PSG

    Group D

    Schalke 04 2-0 Galatasaray 

    Porto 4-1 Lokomotiv Moscow


    Harry Kane, Tottenham

    With his team's qualification hopes hanging by a thread, Kane came through once again to save the Spurs. Two goals, one in the 78th and one in the 89th, gave Tottenham a 2-1 win. He was the Man of the Match with a 9.30 rating

    Milan Pavkov, Red Star Belgrade

    The lone striker was the lone goal-scorer, as his brace stunned Liverpool 2-0. He was the Man of the Match with an 8.84 rating.

    Hans Vanaken, Club Brugge

    The attacking midfielder helped wreck Thierry Henry's Monaco side 4-0. Vanaken had two goals, and was the Man of the Match with an 8.66 rating.

    Der Spiegel blows lid off Manchester City, PSG title reigns


    Has Liverpool lost its mojo?

    Jurgen Klopp thinks so.

    The 2018 finalists needed a result in Serbia but will come home embarrassed, as Red Star Belgrade got a brace from Milan Pavkov to shock Liverpool 2-0 in Group C play.

    The English side still sits on top of the Group with a plus-two goal difference, tied on points with Napoli after the Italian side drew at home with PSG.

    But Liverpool has to visit Paris on match day five, while Napoli hosts bottom side Red Star.

    Wins for PSG and Napoli on November 28 will set up match day six battle to advance between Liverpool and Napoli, if PSG takes care of business away to Red Star. 

    Can the Reds find themselves in the UEFA Europa League come February? It is a distinct possibility.

    At Wembley, Harry Kane saved Tottenham's season with two late goals. But the Spurs still have a lot of work to do. They sit on four points in Group B, with games left at Wembley against Inter (second place, seven points), and away to Barcelona (first place, 10 points). 

    Tottenham needs to win on November 28, and hope that Barcelona sits some players on the final match day of the group stage.


    (All times 3 p.m. EST unless listed)

    Group E

    Bayern Munich vs. AEK Athens

    Benfica vs. Ajax

    Group F

    Lyon vs. Hoffenheim

    Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk, (Galavision)

    Group G

    CSKA Moscow vs. Roma, 12:55 p.m. EST (TNT and Galavision)

    Viktoria Plzen vs. Real Madrid, (UniMas)

    Group H

    Valencia vs. Young Boys, 12:55 EST (UniMas and Univision)

    Juventus vs. Manchester United, (TNT and Univision)


    Will Manchester United's new quicker front three give Juventus problems?

    The Italian champions have been stingy defensively, but Anthony Martial has been on fire for the Red Devils. Romelu Lukaku will miss out, giving either Marcus Rashford or Alexis Sanchez a chance to play as a striker.

    Can Manchester City handle its tough week off the pitch?

    The Cityzens are in the middle of a firestorm due to the Der Spiegel stories coming out daily, but they routed Southampton 6-1 Sunday. Expect the same Wednesday.

    Can Ajax continue its fantastic start? A win for the Dutch side at Benfica will see it advance to the knock out stage, and set up a match day six Group E title match with Bayern Munich.

    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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    Unofficial results for races in Mercer County's Nov. 6 general election.

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    Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, New Jersey's longest-serving member of Congress, beat back a tough challenge Tuesday.

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    The woman from Trenton was killed in a Hopewell Township home last year Watch video

    A Mercer County assistant prosecutor laid out graphic details to a jury Wednesday morning about the slaying of a 37-year-old Trenton woman in a Hopewell Township home last spring.

    Investigators Laura Perez's body under a mattress in one of the home's bedrooms on April 25, 2017. Her skull was fractured and her face mutilated.

    Perez's attacker, "struck her in the face over and over and over, causing horrific and devastating damage," Assistant Prosecutor Michael Grillo told the jury during his opening statements in the trial of Brian Sheppard.

    The 54-year-old Sheppard, who was renting a room in the Hopewell home, turned himself in to police two days after the body was found, and after two high-speed police chases, authorities said.

    Sheppard was first charged with leading police on the chases in his landlord's stolen black 2010 pickup truck. Further investigation lead to officials charging him for Perez's killing a week later.

    He was indicted in July 2017 on opted for a trial on five charges: first-degree murder, two counts of weapons charges and two counts of eluding police.

    Grillo said that bloody clothes left at the murder scene -- in Sheppard's bedroom -- and DNA matching Sheppard's found under Perez's fingernails will prove he's guilty of the charges. 

    "This defendant murdered a 5-foot-3-inch, 110-pound woman with a claw hammer in a brutally violent attack, that left Laura Perez unrecognizable." Grillo told jurors. "It is my honor and my privilege to prosecute this defendant."

    But Sheppard's attorney, Malaeika Montgomery, had other ideas for the jury of nine women and five men.

    She told them that the burden of reasonable doubt and the presumption of innocence were paramount in this case.

    "Grillo wants you to believe this is an open-and-shut case," Montgomery said to jurors. "We know the what, the where, the when of this case, but we don't know the who - who killed Ms. Perez."

    Owner of home where woman was killed dies from fall at work

    She continued, telling jurors that the house would of course be covered in Sheppard's DNA because he lived there. Montgomery also said the charges he faces for eluding police should be considered completely separate from those stemming from the murder. 

    The prosecution's first witness was Hopewell Township Police Officer George Peterson, who was called to the house on April 25 on a report from homeowner Anthony L. Olswfski Jr., who thought his 2010 pickup truck had been stolen.

    Olswfski died shortly after the crime in an unrelated workplace accident.

    Peterson testified that he entered the home and talked with Olswfski about the missing vehicle and his roommate, Sheppard, who was not home.

    Olswfski pointed Peterson toward the bedroom he rented, and Peterson said he noticed blood on the entryway of the closed door.

    "I opened the door and saw the bedroom in complete disarray," Peterson testified. 

    Jurors saw photos of the scene -- a small bedroom with a bed that's mattress was exposed and linens were bloodied. Light sprays of blood could be seen on the walls and the blinds had been broken. 

    Peterson said he did not enter the room, but instead looked in the bathroom of the first-floor hallway. There, he testified, he saw what he thought were small amounts of blood on a bath mat and in the bathtub.

    Peterson said he scanned the bedroom again, this time with a flashlight. He told jurors that's when he spotted an arm.

    "I thought, 'I have a body,'" he said.

    The Mercer County Homicide Task Force was called in, and Peterson said he initially thought the body was Sheppard, because his roommate said he was missing.

    But investigators soon discovered it was instead the maimed body of Perez.

    "This is an unfortunate scene, without question" Montgomery told jurors. "But the presumption of innocence is a blanket. It covers him now, during deliberations, witness testimony, during deliberations. It does not leave him unless you find him guilty."

    Testimony in the case continues Thursday in front of Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Bingham.

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

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    But the Red Devils had other thoughts; two goals in three minutes blew open the race for top spot in the group.

    Juventus has all but locked down the Allianz Stadium since it opened in 2011.

    In 188 matches there coming into Wednesday, the Italian side had lost just nine times on its home pitch. 

    So with a lead in the 85th minute against Manchester United on match day four of the UEFA Champions League, knowing a victory would lock up Group H, most expected the Italian champions to shut the door like they have all season.

    The Red Devils, however, have some famous wins in Turin over the years, including a comeback win in the 1999 Champions League semifinal that set the stage for a treble.

    Now they have another one; two goals in three minutes blew open the race top spot in the group, and set the stage for two more huge contests Tuesday, November 27.

    In other action, Manchester City and Real Madrid were rampant, while Bayern Munich took control of Group E with an easy win over AEK Athens.

    The continent's best teams are starting to make their moves toward knock out stage qualification.

    Now, the competition takes a three-week sojourn, with the final international break of the year, while the UEFA Europa League takes center stage Thursday.


    Group E

    Bayern Munich 2-0 AEK Athens

    Benfica 1-1 Ajax

    Group F

    Lyon 2-2 Hoffenheim

    Manchester City 6-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

    Group G

    CSKA Moscow 1-2 Roma

    Viktoria Plzen 0-5 Real Madrid

    Group H

    Valencia 3-1 Young Boys

    Juventus 1-2 Manchester United


    Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City

    A hat trick, although one came on a dubious penalty. He rated out at a 9.41 on

    Toni Kroos, Real Madrid

    A perfect 10 performance, with one goal and two assists, as Kroos powered Real Madrid to the top of Group G with a 5-0 win. He was the Man of the Match with a 10 rating.

    Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City

    A goal and two assists for the City winger in the 6-0 rout of Shakhtar. He was the Man of the Match with a 9.81 rating.

    UEFA Champions League: Red Star stuns Liverpool; Tottenham escapes


    It was a great day for the English sides in Europe, as City got a hat-trick from Jesus, and goals from Mahrez, David Silva, and Raheem Sterling.

    But the Cityzens win will be overshadowed by Manchester United's stunning comeback in Turin. Down 1-0, Jose Mourinho sent on Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata in the 79th minute. The move worked, as Mata's expertly taken free kick found the net in the 86th minute.

    Fellaini then caused chaos in the box on Ashley Young's free kick in the 89th minute, which bounced around and hit multiple players before nestling into the net for a 2-1 lead.

    "It was very good game, a high-level game," Mourinho said. "We performed at a high level. After their goal, we had five minutes to wake up again. But the team was there from the first minute until the last.

    "Of course Juve have power and quality all over the park and an amazing bench. This is a big big victory for us. We have a final now to play at home. We thought we would have two finals, but now we have one. If we win that final against Young Boys, we go through."


    All games listed here.


    Can Arsenal and Chelsea win their groups, and go back to focusing on the Premier League?

    A victory by the Gunners at home Thursday over Sporting would lock up Group E, while Chelsea can do the same in Group L with a win at BATE Borisov.

    The two London sides can then get back to their top four pursuit, and rest some of their players over the final two Europa League match days.

    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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    Hamilton is close to consolidating its obsolete fire districts into a modern, streamlined firefighting force.

    Hamilton is so close to consolidating its obsolete fire districts into a modern, streamlined fire force that you can almost see it, feel it, even taste it. But will it really happen?

    After years of toying with the idea of consolidation and a few more years of petitions and studies, an ordinance to do just that was finally introduced at a township council meeting in September. The measure set a target date of Jan. 1, 2019, to dissolve the old districts and replace them with a unified department.

    The concept of consolidation has gained a lot of bipartisan support from fire officials, union leaders and the township administration that it would seem a slam-dunk to become a reality at the start of the year. There are still a few I's to be dotted and T's to be crossed under the terms of the ordinance, such as approval from the Local Finance Board and Civil Service, but there is one big hurdle ahead.

    The ordinance stipulates that the fire unions and township will have to have a contract agreement in place before consolidation can take place.

    Mayor Kelly Yaede has called this provision a "poison pill" that could delay implementing a townshipwide fire department. She warned that further delays will cost taxpayers significant savings.

    "We were on the verge of giving the largest tax break ever to Hamilton residents," Yaede said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this opportunity has been lost by the council."

    But Council President Anthony Carabelli, Jr. was more upbeat.

    "This ordinance marks an important step as we move closer to a municipal fire department," he said as he thanked those who worked on the measure.

    This rift between a Democratic-controlled council and Republican mayor in some ways mirror the widening political gap we are seeing on the national level, where a lack of compromise is creating a toxic atmosphere in Washington.

    But it doesn't have to be that way, particularly in our own back yard where our local leaders live near and know each other. Politics should take a back seat to doing what is best for our neighborhood.

    There is adequate time for the unions and administration to come to terms on contract matters if everyone negotiates in good faith.

    The residents of Hamilton deserve fire service that is efficient, professional and affordable.

    Let's get this done.

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


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