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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    "Veterans Day ... is a day for all of us to begin our journey of protecting our freedom and the freedom of many future generations."

    Special thanks to vfwauxiliary.org for this explanation of the importance of Veterans Day to military veterans and civilians alike.

    "On the 11th hour...of the 11th day...of the 11th month...the fighting of World War I ended in 1918.

    american-flag-unfurled.jpg 

    "Due to the conclusion of 'the War to end all Wars,' November 11th became a universally recognized day of celebration.

    "The day was originally declared 'Armistice Day' 8 years after the end of World War I and honored only veterans of that war. Then in 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, it was renamed 'Veterans' Day' to honor all veterans who served America in war and defended democracy.

    "So, today we honor all of our veterans ... who unselfishly placed their lives on the line for our freedom.

    "Those men and women were ordinary people... until they heard the call of duty and answered it. They left their families ... their homes ... and their lives ... not for recognition or fame or even the honor we bestow upon them today. They fought to protect our country ... to maintain our way of life.

    "As we honor our veterans and remember their great deeds, let us also salute those who are currently fighting for our freedom.

    "The War on Terrorism has helped us all realize how truly unique the American way of life is. The freedom we enjoy is extremely special, and that is why we must defend it.

    "So, now is the time to not only honor those have fought or are fighting for our freedom...it is also the time for each of us to take part in protecting it.

    "The defense of freedom is not just for those in the military; each of us shares that duty and that responsibility. We don't have to join the army or the navy or any other organization of defense to actively defend our way of life. We can protect our freedom simply by maintaining it here in America.

    "If we want to preserve our freedoms, we must put them into action - for example, by voting in elections or speaking out against injustices. We must also ensure that everyone feels the benefits of freedom. And we can do that by volunteering in our communities or teaching our children what it really means to be an American.

    "Veterans' Day isn't just a day for veterans - it's a day for all Americans. It's a day to remember why they were fighting and a day for all of us to begin our journey of protecting our freedom and the freedom of many future generations.

    "Thank you for honoring our veterans today. Let us walk toward tomorrow still honoring them...by living in the freedom they protected."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Here are links to other related galleries:

    Vintage photos of Medal of Honor recipients from N.J.

    Vintage photos of women and the war effort in N.J.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at greghatalagalleries@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    N.J. has the most top-rated rated hospitals for safety in the nation, according to The Leapfrog safety study.


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    There were 10 state Legislature seats on the ballot Tuesday.


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    A group of activists are giving up eating, some for as long as two weeks, in the hope that Gov. Murphy will stop fossil fuel development.

    They're giving up food and they want Gov. Phil Murphy to notice.

    A coalition of environmental groups gathered outside of the State House on Wednesday to announce the start of Climate Fast NJ, a two-week-long protest fast aimed at pressuring Murphy to take more immediate action on climate change.

    The press conference was capped off with coalition members walking to Murphy's office to hand-deliver their demands.

    Their specific goals are lofty: Climate Fast NJ is calling for Murphy to back a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure projects like power plants and pipelines.

    Murphy's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The impetus for Climate Fast NJ, according to organizers, was the release of a dire new report from the International Panel of Climate Change.

    Here's how climate change will make N.J. deadlier in your lifetime

    "The climate crisis is the defining moral and economic issue of our time, and every new piece of dirty energy infrastructure makes this crisis worse," said Matt Smith, a senior organizer for the activist group Food & Water Watch. "Governor Murphy has made some early moves on clean energy, but they will get us nowhere if he approves the fossil fuel projects driving us towards catastrophe."

    About 30 people have committed to the fast, though to varying degrees. Only two, Bloomfield activist Ted Glick and a member of the Ramapough Lenape Nation named Owl, will go on water only for the full 14 days.

    "Fasting to call for change is not something ordinarily done. It's done when a situation is urgent," Glick said. "That is without question our situation today when it comes to climate change and health and safety risks from fossil fuel infrastructure."

    Glick has a history of fasting for social justice causes.

    In December 2007, Glick embarked on an open-ended fast after being frustrated by a lack of Congressional action to address climate change. Glick went with just water for 25 days before transitioning to a liquid diet; the total fast lasted 107 days.

    His last fast was in 2015, when he went without food for 18 days to protest the infrastructure approval processes of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

    The influential power of fasting in protest is real, at least if you ask Glick. He says that the fasts hold a sort of moral sway over people in power.

    "It kind of works on people, from my experience," Glick said.

    Glick is also the coordinator of Roseland Against The Compressor Station.

    Glick's group is just one of the coalition making up Climate Fast NJ. Other organizations include Food & Water Watch, Greenfaith, the Ramapough Lenape Nation, ClimateMama, Waterspirit, the New Jersey Industrial Union Council, 350NJ-Rockland and the Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains.

    A variety of energy infrastructure proposals across the Garden State would be put on hold under the environmentalist's desired moratorium.

    The major proposals include the PennEast Pipeline, a proposed $1 billion natural gas pipeline that would run 120 miles from Pennsylvania to Mercer County, and North Bergen Liberty Generating, a proposed natural gas power plant in Hudson County that would send electricity to New York City.

    Read the letter delivered to Gov. Phil Murphy's office by Climate Fast NJ activists below:

    Michael Sol Warren may be reached at mwarren@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MSolDub. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Voter turnout nationwide for the 2018 elections soared to amazing heights, fueled largely by Donald Trump's scandal-plagued presidency.

    The average waiting time to vote in Georgia's election on Tuesday was three hours.

    In New York, electronic ballot scanners rebelled after being fed too many sodden paper ballots, and in Florida, a voting center in Palm Bay was forced to close while police dealt with a man with a gun in parking lot.

    The good news is that voter turnout nationwide for the 2018 elections soared to amazing heights, fueled largely by Donald Trump's scandal-plagued presidency.

    The better news is that New Jersey is not Georgia, New York or Florida - or any of the many states whose voters encountered irregularities and obstacles as they participated in democracy's greatest privilege.

    But don't pat yourself on the back just yet. The Garden State didn't escape totally unscathed.

    In Franklin Township Somerset County, residents who woke before dawn to vote at the municipality's senior center were greeted by locked doors at 6:30 a.m., half an hour after polls were to open.

    Polling staff chafed beside would-be voters until the facility opened. But by then it was 7:15, and many people had already left to reach work on time.

    3 things N.J. can do to fix early voting

    Voting machines in Mercer and Middlesex counties failed to function, forcing voters to resort to emergency ballots. At one polling place in Hoboken, tables representing voting districts were not labelled, leading to confusion and frustration.

    In our reliably blue state, the Republican-led voter suppression efforts that marred races in many areas of the South and the Midwest were blessedly absent. What problems existed here this year were mainly a byproduct of a well intentioned law Gov. Phil Murphy approved regarding mail-in ballots.

    Under the new legislation, anyone who voted by mail in the 2016 or 2017 elections automatically is sent a ballot in advance of subsequent elections. Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro (D-Salem), the bill's sponsor, promoted it as a way to help boost voter turnout and involve more citizens in the electoral process.

    But that also meant some voters headed to the polls unaware they were signed up for automatic voting by mail - only to be turned away.

    "They basically said I am out of luck," said one Middlesex County voter - this although he had faxed the county clerk's office not once but twice, and followed up with a phone call to ensure he was removed from the list of mail-in voters.

    He, like many others, eventually was allowed to cast a provisional vote. But the episode left him confused, frustrated, and worried that his vote would not be counted.

    These are minor glitches compared with those in other states - notably Georgia, whose voting process shamelessly was overseen by a secretary of state who also happened to be the GOP candidate for governor.

    But the problems demand attention before New Jersey heads out to vote in 2020, hopefully in even greater numbers.

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

     

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    The 55-year-old lawyer, accused in his girlfriend's killing, was brought back to New Jersey on Tuesday.

    Cuba's release of a Montclair homicide suspect to FBI agents Tuesday was the result of an Interpol notice and recent agreements with the United States, the Cuban government said.

    While the country has defended the political asylum granted to New Jersey fugitive Joanne Chesimard more than 20 years ago, Cuban officials in a statement Wednesday said the transfer of James Ray III -- whom they did not identify by name -- was surrendered in keeping with "Cuba's full compliance with its international legal obligations" and law enforcement agreements with the U.S.

    Ray, a 55-year-old lawyer charged with murder in the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Angela Bledsoe last month, was detained after he arrived in the country on Oct. 28. Investigators on Wednesday said Ray was arrested before he could go through Cuban customs.

    Joanne ChesimardJoanne Chesimard, now known as Assata Shakur. (New Jersey State Police)

    Cuba's cooperation in Ray's case stands in marked contrast to U.S. authorities' decades-long struggle to extradite Chesimard, now known as Assata Shakur, who was granted asylum in Cuba in 1984 after escaping from state prison in New Jersey.

    Shakur was convicted in connection with the killing of State Trooper Werner Foerster, who was shot to death on the Turnpike in 1973. Foerster was killed by Sundiata Acoli, who remains in New Jersey State Prison. Shakur, who was at the shooting scene, was also convicted of Foerster's killing and sentenced to life in prison.    

    She is now 71 and believed to still live in Cuba. She remains on the FBI's list of "most wanted terrorists," and there's a $2 million reward for her capture and return.

    Cuban officials have rebuffed repeated requests to extradite Shakur, a former member of the Black Liberation Army, maintaining she is a victim of political persecution and has a legitimate basis for an asylum claim. In the 1960s and 70s, Fidel Castro granted asylum to other African Americans as well, all considered to be freedom fighters who committed "political crimes." 

    Since the countries re-established diplomatic ties recently, Cuban authorities have handed over a number of fugitives to the U.S. under similar circumstances as the return of James Ray lll.

    "This is not the first time we've dealt with (the Cuban government) on this front," FBI Special Agent in Charge Gregory Ehrie told reporters of Ray's arrest. "But this seems to be an easing, if you will, of the relationship."

    Lawyer charged in Montclair killing arrested in Cuba

    The U.S. and Cuba, in one of the Obama administration's last acts, signed a law enforcement agreement to cooperate in the prosecution of "serious crimes," the phrase Cuban officials used to describe the charges against Ray.

    Cuba has maintained since the signing that they would not reverse the asylum given to Shakur and others, and law enforcement leaders have criticized the agreement for not requiring Shakur's extradition.

    Officials Wednesday said the process of returning Ray to the U.S. began with federal prosecutors obtaining a warrant for his arrest on a charge of "unlawful flight to avoid prosecution."

    The federal statute, known as UFAP, allows federal law enforcement agencies to directly help local authorities track down fugitives.

    Ehrie, the FBI's top agent in Newark, said Interpol issued a "red notice" for Ray based on the warrant. The notices, transmitted to all 192 of Interpol's member countries, are sent to border officials as well as law enforcement agencies to alert them of a fugitive's wanted status.

    FBI agents brought Ray back to New Jersey Tuesday on a flight to Teterboro Airport, officials said. He was turned over to Essex County authorities and lodged in the county jail in Newark.

    Ray is scheduled to appear before Superior Court Judge Martin G. Cronin in Newark for a detention hearing, authorities said.

    It was unclear as of Thursday whether he had an attorney who could comment on the charges.

    Thomas Moriarty may be reached at tmoriarty@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriartyFind NJ.com on Facebook

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    They often charge $1,500 or more for services that legitimate providers do for free, or a small fee

    In Latin American countries, "notarios" are lawyers who can provide legal services to clients.

    In this country, though, notaries, or notary publics, cannot. They're not lawyers, and can only witnesses the signing of documents.

    But across New Jersey, some people or storefront shops that use that word "notario," mainly in urban areas, are fraudulently offering immigration and legal services.

    They prey on the immigrant community and Spanish-speaking customers, who believe they're being represented by a lawyer of someone with special knowledge of immigration procedure, state authorities alleged Friday.

    Some of the businesses were charging $1,500 or more for immigration services that, by law, can only be provided by licensed lawyers or representatives accredited by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and working for DOJ-recognized organizations, the state' Division of Consumers Affairs said in a statement that.

    The division has identified 28 of these businesses or individuals, and are going after them with violations and fines.

    The violations total $326,000 in civil penalties, ranging from $6,000 to $16,000 per person or business.

    The actions are the result of a months-long undercover operation, based on tips, consumer complaints and investigators checking out the places, which often hold themselves out as tax preparers or travel agencies and offer notary public and immigration assistance for sale.

    IMG_1968.jpgOne of the targeted businesses, Mundo Travel Agency in Trenton. (Kevin Shea | NJ Advance Media) 

    Typically, the organizations offer their services for free or a small fee.

    Some of the businesses leave their clients without money or irreplaceable documents like birth certificates or passports, and expose them to possible immigration detention or deportation.

    Some unauthorized practitioners are predators looking for victims to scam and charge high fees and pocket the money without doing any work.

    Others are well-meaning who make mistakes, file incorrect or incomplete forms and miss deadlines.

    Either way, people who need real representation often find out too late, after missed deadlines, the state says.

    "Today we are reinforcing our commitment to protecting all New Jersey residents, regardless of their legal status, from financial predators," Paul R. Rodriguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs said in a statement.

    "All New Jersey residents who fall victim to fraud or other unlawful conduct should know that they can safely report the matter to law enforcement. We are here for you," he said.

    The businesses that face fines from the state:

    • A.A.N. Accounting & Multi-Service, Kearny
    • A & A Consultants, Elizabeth
    • AC Velox Multiservice, Elizabeth
    • Airsealand Tours, Inc. / Air Sea Land Travel & Tax, Kearny
    • AMC Immigration Services, Garfield
    • Angel Financial Services, Elizabeth
    • Borche's Service Express Travel / Services Express Corporation, Plainfield
    • Consuelos Travel & Consuelos Immigration Services, Lakewood
    • D' Vazquez Tax Solutions / D'Vazquez Tax Solutions / E.C.T.A. Envios El Costeno, Garfield
    • Dieugrand Insurance Agency, Jersey City
    • Foto-Loft / Photo Loft, Newark
    • IG Tax Multiservices LLC / IG Tax Multi Services, North Bergen
    • J.V. Services / JV Typing Services, Elizabeth
    • La Feria Services, Plainfield
    • Miriam Caso / Bookkeeping & Tax Services, West New York
    • Master Agency, Paterson
    • MIA Services, Union City
    • Nancy Tax Services, Union City
    • N-VIA Travel & Associates, Trenton
    • P & L Multiservices, Garfield
    • Pro Immigrants Foundation, Elizabeth
    • QAP Total Services, Elizabeth
    • Kenny Tax Service, Paterson
    • Mundo Travel Agency, Trenton
    • SS Professional Services, Jersey City
    • Sylvana's Multiservices / Marilyn's Services, Elizabeth
    • Time Travel, Long Branch
    • West Side Brokerage, Jersey City, NJ

    Anyone seeking immigration services can use the following services to find a legitimate provider at www.USCIS.gov/immigrationpractice or call the USCIS at 800-375-5283.

    And consumers can see a list of New Jersey-based organizations recognized by the DOJ that offer non-attorney staff members or volunteers here.

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


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    Scott L. Mielentz held off police in the Princeton restaurant earlier this year Watch video

    For hours, Scott L. Mielentz repeatedly begged police officers to shoot him.

    And for hours they did not.

    Scott Mielentz.jpgScott Mielentz 

    He was holed up inside the Panera in Princeton this past March, and he had a handgun that he showed to police, waving it around while discussing his woes.

    Instead of firing, officers talked to him, negotiated, appealed to anything they could learn about him, and resisted his suicidal wishes.

    "Just kill me. Do it for me, guys," Mielentz said once.

    "Put the gun down!" state troopers responded.

    "Just do this, guys. I'm going to shoot you, guys. Don't make me do this," Mielentz said another time. And, "It's either going to be you or me."

    "Soldier, put that gun down!" the troopers and negotiators tried.

    Mielentz, 56, of Lawrence, had said he was a Vietnam veteran, a claim later proved false.

    During his final, fatal encounter with officers on March 20, the SWAT team troopers could not hold their fire, the state Attorney General's Office said Friday in justifying their actions.

    At about 2:56 p.m., Mielentz walked out of the dining area where he'd been and held his gun at a downward angle.

    He smoked a cigarette, crushed it out on the floor, spread his stance and - and as he'd done before - counted down from five.

    The he started raising the gun, hesitantly, as troopers pleaded with him not to do it. 

    When it was aimed at them, two troopers fired five times, Trooper William Kerstetter fired four and Trooper Joseph Trogani one.

    Mielentz was dead at the scene.

    His gun? A Crosman PFM BB pistol. 

    All of the law enforcement witnesses, the state said, reported to investigators that they believed throughout the standoff that it was an actual firearm.

    The investigation into the shooting, conducted by the state Division of Criminal Justice, found "undisputed facts" that the use of force was justified under the law, and therefore did not need to be presented to a grand jury.

    "I have a gun. Everyone out."

    The incident began earlier that morning, when the state says Mielentz started telling friends he wanted to die, the state says.

    At about 9 a.m., he texted a friend saying he was ready to "depart this life."  Mielentz called that woman during the standoff, investigators later learned, and told her he wanted the police to shoot and kill him. 

    And about 10 a.m., Princeton police received a 911 call from a friend of Mielentz's, who said he got a suicidal text from him. That call led Princeton police to start looking for him.

    At about 10:30 a.m., Mielentz met another fried at the Panera on Nassau Street, across from Princeton University. Mielentz began talking about suicide and told the friend he had a gun. Then he drew it, a black pistol and shouted, "I have a gun. Everyone out."

    Princeton police got a 911 call at 10:28 a.m. from a man who said, "There's a guy with a gun at Panera."  Employees and customers escaped without injury.

    Man shot in Panera standoff had anxiety, 'fear he could not explain'

    A Princeton officer was the first to arrive at Panera and went inside and saw Mielentz, who pointed his gun at her. She retreated without firing, went outside and evacuated the area.

    Other Princeton police officers went into the rear of Panera and tried to get a conversation going with Mielentz, who responded with: "Shoot me, just shoot me."

    He told the officers he was in pain, the government had cut off his Oxycontin and that he was a Vietnam veteran who'd killed 1,000 people during the war. 

    The state police's SWAT team, called TEAMS, later took over the incident.

    For the next four hours, troopers and negotiators - one a state police officer and one a Princeton officer - tried a variety of ways to end it peacefully, the state said. A TEAMS member in the rear of the restaurant evaluated whether he could use a stun gun on Mielentz, but determined he was too far away.

    Once, they asked Mielentz if they could help him in any way, and he responded "Yes, shoot me." 

    During the standoff, Mielentz repeatedly said he wanted to die and threatened to shoot an officer if the officers did not shoot him.

    He repeated a routine at times, the state said. "He would stand up, begin to raise the gun toward the officers, sit down, put the gun down, pick it up again, smoke a cigarette, and then repeat the cycle.  He repeatedly put the barrel of the gun to his chin or head.  Officers said he seemed to be building up his courage," a press statement said.

    At one point, Mielentz held up a check and told negotiators it was for $5,000 and he wanted it to go to his son when he died.

    Another time, he again said he was a soldier and a marksman, falsely asserting again that he had killed hundreds in the military, and said he could be an advocate for those suffering from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. 

    Toxicology tests on his body found one drug in his blood, the anti-anxiety medication diazepam, commonly known by the brand name Valium.

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


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    "We run in sports bras because we are confident, hardworking student-athletes," Runner Gina Capone wrote Thursday in the blog. Later that day, the covering up rule was dead.

    An unofficial policy that banned female cross country athletes at Rowan University from training in their sports bras will come to an end after a runner unleashed on the rule in a blog post. 

    Women on the cross country team were told earlier this season that training in just sports bras would no longer be allowed.

    In a piece for the blog Odyssey Online, dietetics major and cross country runner Gina Capone aired her issues with the policy. 

    "We run in sports bras because we are confident, hardworking student-athletes," Capone wrote in the blog, which was published Thursday. "We do not run in a sports bra as a way to show off our bodies in attempts to distract men." 

    Ali A. Houshmand, president of Rowan University, said Friday that the rule is headed for the trash. The requirement came from a longstanding Athletic Department "verbal policy" requiring shirts at practice. 

    It was intended to keep "a level of standards throughout its men's and women's programs," he said in an email. When that old verbal policy was brought back into play, students thought it was a new rule. 

    The rule had nothing to do with gender, Joe Cardona, a spokesman for the school, said Friday. The shirt requirement also applies to men, and was intended to get NCAA student athletes in a more professional mindset, he said. 

    All of the confusion started one afternoon this fall. When runners went to the Glassboro track, where they practice during football season, they found it locked. Their coach moved them back to Rowan, and the women started warming up while the football team was still practicing, Cardona said. 

    That crossover led to discussions about field use between coaches, and someone brought up the unrelated shirt requirement, noting the female runners had violated it. 

    The sudden resurgence of the rule and its enforcement led to student outcry. 

    "The question becomes, does the sports bra constitute as a shirt?" Cardona said. "Of course it does. The issue came up as a broader conversation about the field use." 

    It was Capone's blog, though, that brought the issue to the administration's attention, he said. 

    It also struck a nerve with alumni and others who heard of the policy from her first.  

    "The problem here is not the women on the team," Capone continued in the piece. "The problem is not the women wearing sports bras. The problem is not women's bodies. Rape culture is the problem." 

    She could not be reached for comment Friday morning. 

    Rowan will enact a formal policy protecting female athletes who wish to practice in sports bras. 

    "The University recognizes that while the verbal policy attempted to set standards, it could be misunderstood and does not accommodate today's training practices across sports," Houshmand said in his email.

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find NJ.com on Facebook

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    The 21-year-old suspect is accused in a killing last month in York

    Federal authorities arrested a man in Trenton early Friday who was wanted on murder charges in York, Pennsylvania.

    milo.jpgLegette, police photo 

    Myannh "Milo" Legette, 21, was apprehended at about 6 a.m. in a home in Trenton, according to the U.S. Marshals, who said an agency task force tracked him to the city.

    Authorities did not say exactly where in Trenton he was apprehended.

    Legette will be charged with homicide, robbery and related charges when he returns to York, several York-area media outlets reported.

    He's implicated with two other men in an Oct. 7 shooting that killed a York man in that city, media in York reported. 

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


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    Peak fall foliage season is rapidly fading in New Jersey from north to south. But there's still time to check out these beautiful spots


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    A bill would establish an annual grant program to recognize public colleges and universities that offer a wide variety of programs and services to veterans.

    What do we owe the military women and men who sacrifice so much to keep us safe at home - besides our most profound thanks?

    At the very least, we owe them the chance to find jobs that are satisfying and rewarding, not just monetarily but emotionally as well.

    And we owe them access to New Jersey's institutions of higher learning, so they can qualify for those jobs.

    A bill working its way through the state Legislature would establish an annual grant program to recognize our public colleges and universities that offer a wide variety of programs and services to veterans.

    Working through the "Troops to College Grant Program" established in 2009, the initiative would target up to three such institutions to receive grants of $150,000 each to step up their efforts, in essence taking their services to the next level.

    Sponsored by Senators Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Camden and Gloucester) and Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), the measure would allow veterans to chose a school that offers a culture friendly to vets and an academic program most likely to allow them to excel in their chosen fields.

    Vintage photos of N.J. veterans

    The bill instructs the state's Secretary of Higher Education, working with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, to select schools based on a variety of criteria.

    Among other things, these would include the number of scholarships offered to veterans, the graduation rates of vets, the amount of funds dedicated to supporting vets, and the institution's policy regarding waiving application fees to veterans.

    To their great credit, the state's colleges and universities have made strides in these areas over the past decade or so.

    The College of New Jersey and Rutgers University regularly win high grades in this arena, as do Stockton and Monmouth universities.

    To get the most out of the higher education experience, veterans look for faculty and staff members who recognize their needs. They look for affordability; mental and physical health services; clubs or activities geared specifically to them, and the flexibility provided by online courses or short-term certification programs.

    The Singleton-Cruz-Perez bill passed the Senate unanimously earlier this year and is now before the Assembly Military Affairs Committee. It aims to make the transition from military duty to a civilian environment as seamless as possible.

    "Because they have given so much of themselves, I believe it is ... our obligation to offer them a bridge across the waters they cross once they re-enter civilian life," Singleton wrote in a newsletter to constituents.

    This Veterans Day, let's pledge not only to thank our veterans for their service, but also to redouble our efforts to assure them and their families a better future.

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


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    Pep Guardiola's side finished off its result in the Manchester Derby with an 86th minute goal finished by Ilkay Gundogan after 42 passes.

    After 12 matches, which is nearly one third of the Premier League campaign, there are still three teams left unbeaten.

    But there are miles between Manchester City and the two teams chasing the Cityzens, Liverpool and Chelsea.

    Pep Guardiola's side finished off its result in the Manchester Derby with an 86th minute goal finished by Ilkay Gundogan after 42 passes.

    Liverpool tried to keep pace with its easy win over Fulham, which now sits at the bottom of the table with just five points and a goal difference of minus-20. Chelsea drew with Everton, and is now four points behind the leaders with 28 points.

    At the bottom of the table (bar Fulham), six teams are separated by just two points. It may be like last season, where each week sees teams moving up or down four to five spots in the table.

    At least that race will be exciting, because no team is pipping Pep's side to the title.

    WEEKEND RESULTS

    Saturday

    Cardiff City 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

    Hudderfield Town 1-1 West Ham United

    Leicester City 0-0 Burnley

    Newcastle United 2-1 Bournemouth

    Southampton 1-1 Watford

    Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham

    Sunday

    Liverpool 2-0 Fulham

    Chelsea 0-0 Everton

    Arsenal 1-1 Wolverhampton

    Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United

    WEEKEND'S THREE STARS

    Lewis Dunk, Brighton

    Had the Seagulls goal, and defended valiantly, as they tried to hold on for an hour a man down: it took an offside goal to beat Brighton. He was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with an 8.70 rating.

    Salomon Rondon, Newcastle United

    His first half brace allowed Newcastle to finally move out of the bottom three, and all the way up to 14th. Rondon was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with an 8.33 rating.

    Bernardo Silva, Manchester City

    Winger had two assists in City's 3-1 win over United. He was the Whoscored.com Man of the Match with an 8.68 rating.

    Champions League: Manchester United smash and grab in Italy

    MANCHESTER CITY WEEKLY PREMIER LEAGUE UNBEATEN WATCH

    Did Manchester City lose this weekend?

    No. The Cityzens beat city rival Manchester United 3-1, although it was not decided until an 86th minute goal. 

    City will have two of its next nine games against the other two unbeaten sides: away to Chelsea on Saturday, December 8, and at home against Liverpool on Thursday, January 3.

    If the Cityzens are still unbeaten on January 4, the Arsenal Invincibles might have some company in the record books.

    WEEKEND RECAP: NEWCASTLE JUMPS TO 14TH, FULHAM SINKS TO 20TH

    The relegation battle is already heating up, and some teams that struggled for months now look much better.

    Newcastle won its second match in a row, after 10 winless to start its campaign, to jump up the table.

    Only two teams in the bottom eight spots lost this weekend: Crystal Palace (16th) and Fulham (20th). Both teams, who many people expected to be mid-table at worst, have struggled mightily at the start of the season.

    With the crowded festive fixture list starting after the break, how will the bottom of the table look before the F.A. Cup third round weekend January 4-7.

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR NEXT WEEK

    The last international break of the year will see the Premier League go dark until Saturday, November 24. 

    The league returns with six games at 10 a.m. EST that day.

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSeaHis 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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    Animal shelters continue to be the leading source of pets.

    Facts on animal shelters from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA):

    * Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. The number is evenly split between dogs and cats. A positive note is that the number of dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 7.2 million in 2011.

    * Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year, again with an even split between cats and dogs.

    * About 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. In this, we don't find so even a split; 620,000 of the returned animals are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.

    * Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). The number of dogs and cats euthanized in U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 2.6 million in 2011. This decline can be partially explained by an increase in the percentage of animals adopted and an increase in the number of stray animals successfully returned to their owners.

    These are the most common sources from which primary methods cats and dogs are obtained as pets (this information was based on a multiple response question, which results in the total percentage exceeding 100% individually for cats and dogs. In addition, the 'other' category includes all source categories that were reported by less than 10% of both dog and cat owners):

    Animal Shelter/Humane Society

    Dogs      23%   Cats     31%

    Friends/Relatives            

    Dogs     20%   Cats     28%

    Breeder              

    Dogs     34%   Cats     3%

    Stray

    Dogs     6%   Cats     27%

    Private Party

    Dogs     12%   Cats     6%

    Other

    Dogs     32%   Cats     39%

    Greg Hatala may be reached at greghatalagalleries@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    The deadline is Dec. 1, 2018, so tickets and arrangements can be made for the holiday season

    The Knights of Columbus in New Jersey are looking for donations to help send active duty military personnel home for the holidays.

    It's the Knights' sixth year buying bus, train and plane tickets for service members. In five years, they've raised almost $120,000 to get 216 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members to their families.

    The program is specially for junior enlisted members with a rank no higher than E3.

    The program's primary focus is Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and they work with base chaplains to identify recipients.

    The average ticket price the Knights purchase is about $500, and anyone wishing to make a donation - no matter how large or small - can contact Thomas Ponting at 609-695-5081 or at aponting@gmail.com.

    Mailed donations can be sent to made to "Send a Heron Home," c/o William Horton, PO Box 175, Keyport, NJ 07735.

    The deadline is Dec. 1, 2018, so tickets and arrangements can be made for the holiday season.

     

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    No one was injured, the amusement park said Monday.

    Ten park-goers at Six Flags Great Adventure location in Jackson experienced the wrong kind of fear on a amusement ride Sunday night when the ride broke, leaving them suspended 100 feet in the air on a chilly night.

    One of the SkyScreamer's safety sensors detected an error and made an emergency stop, Kaitlyn Pitts, a Six Flags spokesperson, said Monday.

    Pitts said the ride was stopped mid-air, about half-way up the 242-foot tower. 

    No one was injured during the incident, and the the issue was resolved after about nine minutes, Pitts said. 

    "Our team returned the ride to its home position and guests safely exited the ride on the ground," she added.

    Six Flags' website describes the SkyScreamer as a swing-based ride that spins at about 40 miles per hour, 24 floors above the ground. 

    A video obtained by nj101.5 showed riders being lowered back to the ground and exiting the ride.

    One rider can be heard screaming "get me out of here," once the ride landed, at about 7:30 p.m.

    Pitts said the ride was back to fully operating about 20 minutes later. 

    The park was open Sunday, a week before its "Holiday in the Park" schedule begins.

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


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    Women helped pull off some remarkable feats in the mid-term election, according to statistics compiled by the Democratic National Committee.

    They marched. They rallied. They canvassed. They hand-wrote, addressed and stamped postcards - thousands of postcards.

    They protested outside of congressional offices. They besieged lawmakers with emails and phone calls. They organized. They organized. They organized.

    And then they celebrated, these New Jersey women - many of them political novices - who helped flip four (and possibly five) of our congressional seats, proving that grassroots activism is a power that can move mountains.

    And motivate voters.

    "Make no mistake: Women were the driving force behind the so-called blue wave that propelled Democrats into the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives," Dena Mottola Jaborska, associate director of New Jersey Citizen Action said at a news conference in Trenton after the mid-term elections last Tuesday.

    Jaborska's organization was one of dozens that sprang up in the state in the wake of the 2016 elections, many of them hastily formed by women appalled when the 45th president of the United States rode into the White House carrying the stench of sexual assault and misogyny.

    Democrats flip the House with Jersey's help

    Like their counterparts across the country, these newly energized voters also were frightened and appalled by the gun violence around them, haunted by the specter of losing hard-won health coverage, and propelled by the threats to their environment their children and their children's children live in.

    In the Garden State they adopted names such as NJ 11th For Change, NJ 7 Forward, Action Together Burlington County. Connecting over social media and gathering in church basements, community houses and private homes, they drew on the experience of older, more seasoned groups.

    Seasoned leaders such as Analilia Mejia's, director of New Jersey Working Families, were a valuable resource as the new entities gathered steam.

    With a large presence already established in the state's urban areas, Mejia's organization has lobbied for issues such as affordable housing, criminal-justice reform and a decent minimum wage. She says she welcomed the presence of her suburban sisters to help fight the good fight.

    And fight they did. Nationwide, women helped pull off some remarkable feats, according to statistics compiled by the Democratic National Committee. Among them:

    At least 29 House seats flipped, 19 of them to be occupied by women.

    Seven governor seats flipped. Four Attorney General seats flipped.

    Six legislative chambers flipped. Three state Supreme Court seats flipped.

    Historically, upsets are common in mid-term elections, especially when a president is as deeply unpopular as this one is.

    But we have a hunch that what happened this year was more than a referendum on a failed presidency. It was a wake-up call to both parties: Underestimate the strength of empowered women at your own risk.

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

     

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    Michelle Obama's new book, "Becoming," gives her most extensive account of her four years in New Jersey.

    Michelle Obama is one of the most famous graduates of Princeton University, but the former first lady has largely stayed away from campus since her 1985 graduation.

    Even after becoming First Lady, Obama didn't return to Princeton to give any speeches or accept any honorary degrees. She declined to attend any class reunions.  

    She has hinted in the past that her time at Princeton, where she was one of a few minority undergraduates, was deeply painful. Even her senior thesis was about the difficult time black students had at the Ivy League school.

    In "Becoming," her new biography released Tuesday, Obama gives her most extensive account yet of her years in New Jersey.

    Among the revelations:

    Obama had few white friends at Princeton.

    Obama, then known as Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, arrived as a Princeton freshman in 1981 and found the Ivy League campus a scary place.

    As a black student from Chicago, she says she didn't realize how much more prepared her classmates would be for college. Many had gone to prep schools, had SAT tutors and arrived at college socially and academically ready for the rigors of Princeton.

    Obama found a group of minority friends through the Third World Center, a Princeton activity center for minority students, and ate dinner with them nightly. She rarely socialized with anyone outside the group.

    "I didn't in fact have many white friends at all. I realized in retrospect it was as much my fault as anyone's," she writes in "Becoming."

    Obama was solidly in the minority. Black students made up less than 9 percent of the freshmen class. Men outnumbered women two to one.

    Obama's white roommate moved out. She didn't learn why for 27 years.

    Obama was assigned a triple room in Princeton's Pyne hall as a freshman with two white roommates. Halfway through the semester one of the roommates, Cathy, was moved to another room, Obama writes.

    It wasn't until the roommate, Catherine Donnelly, and her mother were interviewed by reporters during the 2008 campaign that Obama said she learned the truth.

    Donnelly's mother, a school teacher from New Orleans, went to the Princeton housing office and demanded her daughter be moved, she told reporters.

    "I said I need to get my daughter's room changed right away," Alice Brown, the mother, told the Boston Globe in 2008. "I called my own mother and she said, 'Take Catherine out of school immediately. Bring her home.' I was very upset about the whole thing."

    Brown said in 2008 she came to regret the decision and was considering voting for Barack Obama. Her daughter said she rarely spoke to Michelle Obama after moving out and regretted not trying harder to become friends with her at Princeton.

    For Michelle Obama, the incident illustrated how difficult it was to be black at Princeton in the early 1980s, she says in her book.

    The future first lady was grateful, in retrospect, that the truth behind her roommate's sudden departure was kept secret.

    "I'm happy to say that I had no idea why," Obama writes.

    Though she was a top student at Chicago's first magnet high school and her older brother had gone to Princeton on a basketball scholarship, Obama writes she and other minority and low-income students were at a permanent disadvantage at the university.

    "It was like stepping onstage at your first piano recital and realizing that you'd never played anything but an instrument with broken keys," she writes.

    She says some students arrived at the dorms on the first day in limos with racks of clothes.

    Obama would not have applied to Princeton if she'd listened to her guidance counselor at her Chicago high school.

    "'I'm not sure,' she said giving me a perfunctory, patronizing smile, 'that you're Princeton material.' Her judgement was as swift as it was dismissive, probably based on a quick-glance calculus involving my grades and test scores," Obama writes.

    She ended up getting in, but she was invited by Princeton to a special three-week summer orientation program to close a "preparation gap" for freshman who might need extra time settling into college, she said. It was mostly minority and low-income students.

    Obama revealed she was a pot smoker with David, her boyfriend from Chicago as she entered college.

    "We went on real dates, going for what we considered upscale dinners at Red Lobster and to the movies," Obama writes. "We fooled around and smoked pot in his car."

    Her boyfriend helped drop her off at Princeton, but they broke up as she started her new life in New Jersey.

    Obama never joined one of Princeton's eating clubs.

    Princeton's fraternity-like eating clubs are one of the centers of social life at the university. They are where the majority of students eat, party and socialize.

    Obama said she passed on "bicker," the process of joining one of the clubs. Instead, she stuck with her friends at the university's Third World Club.

    "I was happy with the community of black and Latino students I found through the TWC, content to remain at the margins of Princeton's larger social scene. Our group was small but tight," she writes.

    Obama said she felt her classmates and some of her professors scrutinizing her and concluding she was only at Princeton because of affirmative action.

    Some of her friends experienced blatant racial discrimination at the university, she said.

    Her friend, Derrick, remembers white students refusing to yield the sidewalk to him, she writes. Another friend had six friends to her dorm room one night to celebrate her birthday and got called into the dean's office because her white roommate was uncomfortable with "big black guys" in her room.

    The racism motivated Obama to work hard, she said.

    "If in high school I'd felt as if I were representing my neighborhood, now at Princeton I was representing my race," she wrote.

    One of her college roommates prepared her for living with Barack Obama.

    Obama eventually moved in with a close friend, Suzanne Alele, a Nigerian-born student who grew up in Jamaica. She was lighthearted, loved parties and was always in pursuit of things that made her happy, Obama writes.

    She was also messy, cluttering their dorm room with piles of clothes and other messes. That clashed with Obama's "control freak" personality, she said.

    "Years later, I'd fall in love with a guy who, like Suzanne, stored his belongings in heaps and felt no compunction, really ever, to fold his clothes. But I was able to coexist with it, thanks to Suzanne," she writes. "I am still coexisting with that guy to this day."

    One of her fondest memories was running through a New Jersey field.

    Obama describes herself as a "box checker" who went through life doing what she was supposed to do, rarely straying from the path.

    Obama's college boyfriend, Kevin, was a Princeton football player and a free spirit, she said. One spring day he took her driving in his little red compact car.

    "He halted alongside a wide field, its high grass stunted and straw-like after the winter but shot through with tiny early-blooming wildflower," Obama writes.

    He tells her they are going to run through the field.

    "And we do. We run through that field. We dash from one end to the other, waving our arms like little kids, puncturing the silence with cheerful shouts," Obama writes.

    The moment has stayed with her throughout her life.

    "It's a small moment, insignificant in the end. It's still with me for no reason but the silliness, for how it unpinned me just briefly from the more serious agenda that guided me every day," she writes.

    Obama went right from Princeton to Harvard Law School, though she admits she was less interested in the law than getting other people's approval.

    "I was applauded just for getting in, even if the truth was I'd somehow squeaked in off the wait list. But I was in. People looked at me as if already I'd made my mark on the world," she wrote.

    Though she didn't have much passion for the law, her degree led her to a job at a high-end law firm in Chicago. There, she was asked to mentor a summer associate named Barack Obama.

    Kelly Heyboer may be reached at kheyboer@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @KellyHeyboer. Find her at KellyHeyboerReporter on Facebook.


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    Authorities on Tuesday asked for the public's help to identify two vehicles involved in a hit-and-run that killed a woman as she crossed I-676 in Camden with her son.

    Authorities on Tuesday asked for the public's help to identify two vehicles involved in a hit-and-run that killed a woman as she crossed I-676 in Camden with her son.

    Crystal Kelley was driving a GMC Terrain north on the highway around 4:45 a.m. Monday when she got into an accident that left her SUV disabled in the left lane against the concrete median, according to New Jersey State Police.

    Following the crash, Kelley and her 13-year-old son climbed over the highway barrier and were walking across the northbound lanes when the 46-year-old Princeton mom was struck by three vehicles, according to authorities.

    "The second vehicle remained at the scene after the crash, but the first and third vehicles continued traveling northbound on I-676," police said in a statement.

    Kelley died at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, police said. Her son was not hit, but suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the initial vehicle crash.

    Police described the first car that hit Kelley as dark-colored. The third vehicle was possibly a dark-colored 2009-2015 Nissan Maxima.

    Anyone with information was urged to call troopers at the Bellmawr Station at 856-933-0662. Callers can remain anonymous.

    Noah Cohen may be reached at ncohen@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahycFind NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    No arrests have been made, police said Watch video

    Two men were shot in broad daylight Tuesday morning in Trenton's Wilbur neighborhood, a few blocks away from the Trenton Central High School construction site, Trenton police said. 

    At the scene,  a white sedan had crashed into a fence on the 500 block of East State Street and was spattered with blood. 

    Trenton police said that two men had been shot, but had survived their injuries.

    Police had a crime scene taped off on Chambers Street for several blocks between Greenwood Avenue and East State Street.

    No further information was given surrounding the circumstances of the shooting, and no arrests have been reported. 

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


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