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    Police have not yet released the identities of the victims

    Authorities say two bodies were found in a lake in Weequahic Park Saturday.

    The woman and man, both who have not been identified, were pulled from the lake after authorities were called to the area over reports of a body floating in the lake, according to Thomas Fennelly, the agency's chief assistant prosecutor.

    The woman was found first and pronounced dead at 11:25 a.m., authorities said in a release.

    The man was found later as Essex County Sheriff's officers and Newark firefighters searched the lake and park. He was pronounced dead at 3:03 p.m., the release said. 

    The cause and manner of death will be determined by an autopsy by the Regional Medical Examiner's Office, Fennelly said. 

    Both incidents are being investigated by the prosecutor's office. 

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyo.

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    Did your school beat the state average?

    Even if your high school didn't make the list of N.J.'s 50 best SAT scores, there's a chance its results were still pretty good. 

    The state's Class of 2107 posted an impressive average score of 1,103 out of 1,600. That's with an average score of 551 in reading and writing and a 552 in math.

    Scores at individual schools followed a predictable pattern as magnet schools or academies with selective enrollment achieved the state's best results. 

    Results at traditional high schools continued to correlate to demographics.  Students are more likely to score well if they have parents who attended college and a high family income, according to College Board data. 

    Use the tool below to find the SAT scores for each of N.J.'s public high schools. 


    Carla Astudillo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @carla_astudi. Find her on Facebook.

    Adam Clark may be reached at Follow him on twitter at @realAdamClarkFind on Facebook.


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    Newark's My Brother's Keeper program connects young boys and men of color to a pipeline of opportunity.

    Tajamir Felder walked into the Prudential Center last Tuesday thinking he was just going to receive information about Newark's summer job program.

    It couldn't hurt. The 17-year-old senior at Bard High School Early College in Newark had been looking for after-school employment for six months and was getting frustrated.

    "It shouldn't be like that,'' he said.

    Newark representatives were in the house, but so were more than 55 other employers and community organizations that Felder didn't expect. To his surprise, he walked into an all-day summit geared to place young men of color like him on a pathway to success through employment, mentoring, leadership development and access to community resources.

    "I wasn't expecting to get hired,'' said Felder, who received a job offer from Starbucks.  "I'm about to jump out of my body.''

    MORE: Recent Barry Carter columns  

    Felder's opportunity is what President Barack Obama had in mind four years ago when he created the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, now an initiative of his foundation, to help close the social and economic gaps faced by African-American and Latino boys and young men ages 16 to 29.

    In a video message broadcast from the Prudential arena scoreboard, Obama said as much as the young people, mostly from Newark, paused in the arena to listen to his greeting.

    "In a country as prosperous and dynamic as ours, we all have an obligation to lift up communities that consistently have the odds stacked against them,'' he said.

    MBK Alliance has held opportunity summits in Oakland, Detroit and Memphis. Newark, which joined the MBK challenge in 2014, was the last stop in the series and had the largest turnout last week with 1,300 participants.

    Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said he hopes young people understand that there's a system of people interested in their well-being.

    "We want to make an impact on them, so they begin to understand why this is important, why this is necessary, why this has to happen,'' he said.

    Manuel Mejia, 19, a freshman at Rutgers University, gets it. He's the first among his seven siblings to graduate high school and attend college.

    "I have a lot to live up to," said Mejia, who is determined to be a success. "I don't want to go to college and still be poor.''

    He was among 650 people interviewed who were looking to get hired, network and be exposed to a pipeline of employers and organizations that could help them in the future. At the end of the day, there were 300-plus job offers, and several participants were hired on the spot.

    Sebastian Mosquea, 18, a junior at Essex County North 13 Street Tech, was one of them as he talked about a package handler position at Federal Express.

    "I felt like a professional job applicant,'' said Mosquea. "Now, I can save up for college and help out the family.''

    Before anyone sat down for an interview or to collect an information pamphlet from an organization, young people walked past a receiving line of praise leading to the arena. Adult volunteers stood on each side of a red carpet, clapping and cheering them on.

    "Go get that job, go get that job," the volunteers shouted, dishing out fist- bumps and high-fives.

    "This is awesome,'' said Malik Bailey, 27, of Maplewood, who was looking for a marketing or public relations position. "I was like wow, I feel the positivity."

    There wasn't a place in the arena that didn't have a personal touch provided by Prudential Financial Inc. and the Obama foundation. On the concourse, young men were fitted with navy blue sport jackets that they could keep. Downstairs on the arena floor, the fellas received a free shoeshine, a necktie, a haircut and help with their resumes, all the trimmings needed to make a good impression.

    The impression, though, also was made on them.

    For Damon Pettiford, 18, of Lead Charter School in Newark, the blazer conferred on him true adult status.

    "It made me feel like a man,'' he said.

    His classmate, Bilal Abdul-Rashid, 17, was stunned by the shoeshine station. He didn't realize it existed, let alone that people made a living from it, still marveling hours later at the sparkle on his black leather footwear.

    Equally important, however, was the bevy of community organizations with leadership programs and services available to develop young men holistically.

    MORE:  Newark planning board rejects plan for homeless veteran shelter

    "It was inspiring for young men to know that there was support around them that they traditionally and historically have not seen,'' said Will Simpson, director of collaborative action for My Brother's Keeper in Newark.

    Prudential has been with Newark from the outset, spending $1 million in grants to help MBK Newark get started as a community initiative and usher in last Tuesday's event.

    Rancell Romero, 17, of Barringer High, didn't expect any of it, especially the grand scale of the gathering.

    Romero did his resume, set up a LinkedIn account with his picture, got his shoes shined and talked to a lot of people who cared.

    "Everything was amazing,'' he said.

    No doubt, Romero. At some point, this event definitely needs to happen again. In the meantime, go get that job!

    Barry Carter: (973) 836-4925 or or or follow him on Twitter @BarryCarterSL

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    Highlights from the state tournament.

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    Janell Robinson, 42, of Newark, allegedly paid the former director of the Newark Watershed kickbacks in return for no-work security contracts.

    An ex-Newark police officer is the latest to be ensnared in the million dollar kickback scheme that helped capsize the city agency responsible for treating and delivering water to parts of New Jersey. 

    Janell Robinson, 42, of Newark, was indicted by a federal grand jury Monday for allegedly giving kickbacks to the former director of the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp. in exchange for no-work contracts and inflated invoices, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a release.

    Robinson's attorney, Cynthia Hardaway, declined to comment when reached by phone Monday. 

    Linda Watkins Brashear, the former director of the watershed corporation is serving more than eight years in federal prison for taking bribes in return for giving no-work contracts to her friends. Other managers, contractors and consultants affiliated with the agency have also pleaded guilty or been sentenced for their role in the bribery scheme. 

    Robinson is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the watershed corporation, two counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion affecting interstate commerce.

    Between March 2010 and March 2013, when Robinson worked as a city police officer, she received $289,130 from the watershed corporation, documents show. Robinson owned Protected and Secured Services, LLC, a security consulting company whose only client was the watershed corporation. 

    Brashear helped secure a contract for Protected and Secured Services, approving fraudulent and inflated invoices in exchange for kickbacks averaging about $3,000 each payment, according to the indictment.

    No services were ever performed for six of the payments that totaled $89,000, records show. 

    Robinson tried to hide who controlled her company by naming relatives on the corporation documents, the indictment said. 

    In 2012, the watershed entered into another contract with Protected and Secured Services for security patrol services on watershed property. Robinson agreed to hire a friend of Brashear's boyfriend from Hillside who was the only person who provided services to the watershed, according to the indictment. That person was not named.

    Still, another $200,000 in fraudulent invoices were submitted to the watershed corporation and exceeded payments outlined in the contract, the indictment said.

    The watershed corporation, which serviced half a million northern New Jersey residents, dissolved in 2013 after widespread charges of corruption and mismanagement were detailed in multiple investigations of the agency, including by The Star Ledger and resident-led The Newark Water Group. In a blistering report, the state Comptroller's Office in 2014 found the agency was siphoning millions of public dollars and making illegal payments and sweetheart deals.

    Robinson could face up to 20 years in prison for each count and a $250,000 fine. 

    Karen Yi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook


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    Ali Muhammad Brown faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison without parole.

    The man accused of killing 19-year-old Livingston native Brendan Tevlin three years ago in a terror-inspired slaying abruptly pleaded guilty during jury selection Tuesday to four murders.

    The plea by Ali Muhammad Brown, 33, of Seattle, Washington, to charges of terrorism, murder, carjacking and robbery guarantees a sentence of life in prison without parole.

    Jury selection for Brown's trial in the fatal shooting of Tevlin on June 25, 2014, began last week in front of Superior Court Judge Ronald D. Wigler, who has presided over the case in Newark.

    Had he taken his case to trial, Brown faced overwhelming prosecution evidence -- including his own jailhouse admission that he killed Tevlin as an act of vengeance for lives lost to U.S. foreign policy actions in the Middle East.

    Authorities have said Tevlin's killing was part of a cross-country crime spree that began with the fatal shootings of three men in two separate incidents in the Seattle, Washington, area in April 2014.

    In addition to aggravated murder charges in Washington state in those slayings, Brown also faces charges in Ocean County stemming from an armed robbery in Point Pleasant Beach. 

    During his plea Tuesday, Brown -- dressed in a blue dress shirt and grey dress pants -- matter-of-factly admitted to killing those three victims as well as Tevlin. 

    Brown, who has been escorted to recent court appearances by body armor-clad state corrections officers, is already serving a 36-year state prison sentence for another armed robbery in West Orange. He refused to attend his own trial in that case.

    Thomas Moriarty may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriarty. Find on Facebook.

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    Some Essex County school districts announced closings ahead of Wednesday's snowstorm.

    As the northern half of New Jersey braced for another big coastal storm bringing a mix of snow, rain and wind on Wednesday, Essex County school districts announced closings and delayed openings.

    The following Essex County schools are closed or have delayed openings for Wednesday, March 7:


    • Bloomfield School District
    • Montclair School District
    • Newark Public Schools 
    • Nutley School District
    • Caldwell - West Caldwell Schools
    • Caldwell University
    • Belleville Public Schools
    • Rutgers-Newark
    • NJIT
    • Academy360 Upper School - Livingston 
    • Essex County College
    • Cedar Grove Township
    • St. Peter Elementary School - Belleville
    • Trinity Academy - Caldwell
    • The Pingry School - Short Hills
    • Millburn Township
    • St. Joseph - East Orange
    • West Essex Regional
    • Trinity Academy - Caldwell
    • Irvington Public Schools
    • Glen Ridge Public Schools
    • Livingston Public Schools 
    • West Orange Public Schools
    • Orange Public School District
    • Cedar Grove Schools


    If you know of any delays or closures not on this list, let us know in the comments.

    Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find on Facebook.


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    Brendan Tevlin's murderer enter guilty plea, will spend life in prison

    The first tears came from Allison Tevlin, when her son's killer admitted to the murder charge in the death of Brendan Tevlin four years ago.

    "I killed him. I shot him to death," Ali Muhammad Brown said during his guilty plea today in Essex County Superior Court.

    At those words, said matter-of-fact with no emotion or remorse, Allison Tevlin clutched a handkerchief to her mouth and nose to muffle her sobs. Her husband Michael, sitting next to her, reached over to comfort her, and gain comfort from her.

    Their oldest son was 19 on June 25, 2014, when Brown stepped out of the shadows on a West Orange street and began shooting at the young man, who was sitting in his car, stopped for a red light.

    Exactly one month later, Brown gave a statement to detectives admitting to Tevlin's murder and three other killings in Washington State, characterizing them as part of jihadist mission.

    Guilty plea in Tevlin murder

    It was that statement that put teeth into the terrorism charge Brown faced, along with other charges for murder, felony murder, weapons possession,  robbery and carjacking. Many of those charges carried minimum sentences that, if imposed consecutively, would have kept Brown, 34, in prison into the next century. 

    But the terrorism charge, because it resulted in death, is a mandatory life sentence without parole.

    MORE: Recent Mark Di Ionno columns

    Brown's plea, which came as jury selection was under way for his trial, guarantees he will die in prison.

    It also spares the Tevlin family the pain of sitting through the trial.

    Homicide trials are brutal for the victims' families. They must endure detailed and explicit testimony and autopsy reports and pictures. Evidence, such as bloodstained clothing and murder weapons are introduced in court.

    In many ways, a trial colors-in the horrific details that a family may know only in the abstract.

    In the Tevlin case, this was apparent late last year when Brown's confession was ruled admissible.

    Michael Tevlin sat through that, wincing as Brown's taped statement was played about the shooting and the aftermath -- words that, for the victim's father, could never be unheard, creating images never to be unseen in the mind's eye.

    Michael and Allison Tevlin, and their three remaining children, and their extended family of Brendan's grandparents, aunts and uncles, were braced for trial. Brown's decision to plea out was an unexpected relief.

    "I was dreading it," Allison Tevlin said during a private meeting between the family, the prosecutors and detectives who worked on the case. "I didn't want to go through the play-by-play.

    "I was mostly worried for our kids," she said. "It affects them, even though they say it doesn't."

    All three Tevlin children are in school.

    Brian is freshman at Yale. Michaela is at the University of Richmond, where Brendan had just completed his freshman year when he was killed. Sean is a junior at Seton Hall Prep, which his two older brothers attended.

    "They're all having midterms," Allison said.

    The Tevlins have always been careful to allow life to go on for their other kids.

    "They don't even know we're here," Michael added. "I didn't want to tell them until we know it went through. I have to text them now."

    The Tevlins got word that Brown was considering a guilty plea on Friday. But due to the erratic nature of someone who goes on a domestic, jihadist killing spree, they took a cautious, "We'll believe it when we see it" position.

    During his plea, Brown rambled about "being stupid" and "ignorant" during his murder rampage. He denied being a terrorist, now, and tried to skate around the issue several times. He said going on the internet and watching jihadist videos overwhelmed his mind. He said he never wanted to kill Americans - "even white ones" -- because he was an American, too. He said all of it was a mistake out of ignorance. He admitted to killing three men in Washington State, two of them because they were "homosexual."
    While saying "I'm not a scumbag or an evil-doer," he also acknowledged he deserved to spend the rest of his life in jail.

    One thing Brown never said, however, was that he was sorry.

    In the post-plea meeting, prosecutor Jamel Semper told the family, "He's trying to make himself a martyr. But it doesn't matter what he says. He'll never see the light of day."

    During the meeting, Michael Tevlin asked if Brown could recant his pleas.

    Semper said it was possible, but case law shows withdrawals of such detailed allocutions are rarely allowed.

    "The bottom-line is, he's going to die in jail," Semper assured them.

    At this point in the meeting, more tears came. Michael Tevlin got choked up, thanking Semper and the prosecutor's office team.

    "Jamel, you've been with us every step of the way," he said. "We were blessed you were assigned to the case."

    He thanked Lt. Tom Kelly, the homicide detective who led the case. Kelly, who looks like a prototype cop with his crew cut and door-wide shoulders, began wiping tears from his eyes.

    He thanked the other homicide detectives -- Jim Ventola, Wilfredo Perez, Sgt. Tom McEnroe of the State Police and Ryan Funk of the West Orange police - who all sat in court during the plea.

    Around the table there were tears of relief, from Brendan's grandparents, Tom Tevlin, Sr. and Neil McNulty and Barbara McNulty, and a number of uncles and aunts.

    They had justice for their beloved young man -- a Shillelagh Club bagpiper, an athlete whose name is memorialized atop Seton Hall Prep's athletic stadium, a popular kid with a blazingly bright future.

    Justice won't bring him back, but it spared them the further agony of trial.   

    And, as it always does with families that stick together through these kind of things, some humor began to emerge.

    One of the members of the big Irish family complimented Semper on the tie he chose to wear to court.

    It was emerald green, the color of a shamrock.

     Mark Di Ionno may be reached at Follow The Star-Ledger on Twitter @StarLedger and find us on Facebook.


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    Amazon is visiting cities included in its finalist list for its new HQ2 headquarters, putting everyone on edge about whether the company has its sites set on the Washington metropolitan area.

    The competition for Amazon's new HQ2 offices is heating up.

    Executives from the company are in the midst of discreetly visiting finalist cities, raising questions about whether the online retail giant is ready to commit, even privately, to a specific location.

    Last week, Amazon visited Washington, Montgomery County, Md., and Northern Virginia. While no final decision has been announced, experts say the fact that the company has listed three finalists in the same area indicates it is seriously considering it as a home for its new offices.

    That is not welcome news in Newark.

    "It is all just scuttlebutt. But it wouldn't be surprising if the company ended up in the Washington area," said Gordon MacInnes, director of New Jersey Policy Perspective, a left-leaning think tank. "(Newark) was always a bit of a long shot."

    The Brick City was one of 20 finalists announced in January, three months after cities across the country submitted their bids. Other finalists include Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago.

    In late October, New Jersey submitted its proposal to Amazon and publicly offered the company $7 billion in tax breaks if it were to decide on Newark.

    Since then, few details of Newark's Amazon HQ2 bid process have slipped out. Amazon held a call with Newark and told the city the remaining HQ2 process would be kept quiet, according to ROI-NJ. 

    Amazon executives were set to visit Newark this week but had to reschedule because of bad weather, according to an individual involved in the discussions who requested anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak on the matter. 

    "Amazon is working with each HQ2 candidate city to dive deeper on their proposals and share additional information about the company's plans. We're excited to visit each location and talk about how HQ2 could benefit our employees and the local community," Amazon said in a statement.

    A request for comment to the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, the city's nonprofit redevelopment arm spearheading the Amazon bid, was not immediately returned.

    Analysts said that while Newark offers Amazon a massive tax incentive, as well as an educated workforce and proximity to New York, there are factors that put it behind other finalists such as those in the Washington metropolitan area.

    "Bezos owns a home in D.C. He owns The Washington Post," said John Boyd, a corporate site selection expert and principal at Princeton-based The Boyd Company. "Amazon is a company with a long list of lobbying priorities and being in the Beltway would be good for its brand in terms of it being in the inner workings of our nation's policy making." 

    Economic analysts said the Washington metropolitan area also has a more reliable, updated transit system.

    "I wouldn't be totally surprised if Amazon looked at our transit system and said, 'wait a minute, you guys aren't investing enough in this'" said Peter Kasabach, the executive director of New Jersey Future, a non-profit research and policy institute. 

    Beyond the comfort that the Washington metropolitan area could provide Bezos and his employees, it also offers a range of living options, including some towns with lower taxes than those in New Jersey.

    And then there's the financial incentives. Newark isn't the only contestant using tax incentives as a way to sweeten the deal for the company. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has publicly offered a $5 billion incentive package.

    If Newark loses the Amazon bid, there are still other opportunities for economic growth, experts say.

    The focus should not be on how to make cities in New Jersey more desirable to massive companies, MacInnes said. Instead, he said, the state should focus on reinvesting in itself -- in educational facilities and infrastructure projects -- as a way to spur economic growth organically.

    "We've been neglecting the things that have made New Jersey an economic powerhouse in the past," he said. "If you don't pay a steady attention to investing in your assets you are going to be in the condition the state is in now."

    Part of helping revitalize the economy in cities such as Newark requires the state to invest in helping smaller start-up companies, Kasabach said.

    Sam Caucci, CEO of 1Huddle, a tech company focused on workforce training, said Newark is attractive to companies like his. He relocated the company to Newark in 2016 from New York City. 

    "In New Jersey and especially in Newark, you have a community that is going to make some really exciting things happen in the next five to ten years and they would be silly not to really consider being a part of that," Caucci said. "Being a start up ... you are an underdog story. Newark has a lot of the same traits. It is trying to fight back, and I dug that." 

    Erin Banco may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ErinBanco. Find on Facebook.

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    Snowfall totals predicted by the National Weather Service, AccuWeather, and TV meteorologists from New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia.

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    Ali Brown on Tuesday pleaded guilty to charges that included terrorism, murder and carjacking in the Livingston teen's killing Watch video

    When a Seattle, Washington, man pleaded guilty Tuesday to fatally shooting Livingston native Brendan Tevlin three years ago, he was the first in the state to admit taking a life in support of a terrorist cause.

    "This is the first conviction in the history of the state of New Jersey under our state terrorism statute," Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino told reporters at the Veterans Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon.

    Ali Muhammad Brown, 34, who pleaded guilty earlier Tuesday to charges that included terrorism, murder and robbery, killed Tevlin, 19, as part of a cross-country crime spree in which he also fatally shot three other men in Washington state, he admitted in court.

    In court filings, authorities said Brown was arrested with a journal in which he referenced the Islamic State, and said he called the killings acts of vengeance for lives lost to U.S. government actions in the Middle East.

    In court Tuesday, Brown said he had killed two of the men because he thought they were homosexual. "The mistake that I made is I thought I was fighting jihad," he said.

    Laurino said the decision by prosecutors to file terrorism charges against Brown came only after the state Attorney General's Office authorized the Essex County Prosecutor's Office to do so.

    The prosecutor's office did not enter into a plea agreement with Brown, whose decision to plead guilty came abruptly at the start of the second week of jury selection for his trial. Brown, who faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 1.

    Thomas Moriarty may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriarty. Find on Facebook.

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    Newton Mayor Wayne Levante left his math teaching job in Newark after just four months Watch video

    The Newton mayor who was censured and urged to quit by his colleagues says he lost his Newark public school teaching job as payback for challenging how the state allocates school funding.

    Wayne Levante brought up his departure from Newark in January, four months after starting a new job as a math teacher, before the Town Council asked him to step aside as mayor Monday night.

    newt07.JPGNewton Mayor Wayne Levante at a Town Council meeting, March 5, 2018 

    Levante, who rejected the request to step down from the appointed mayoral position and is seeking re-election to the council in May, drew scrutiny after sharing to his Facebook page debunked "crisis actor" conspiracy theories about a 17-year-old survivor of the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting Feb. 14.

    During a contentious, 2-and-a-half hour special council meeting Monday night, Levante announced he left his Newark job one week after speaking in Trenton in support of Newton's state school aid challenge.

    "I was retaliated by the Newark public schools and had an ordeal with them where I had to resign," Levante said, without further elaborating.

    A spokesperson for the Newark school district confirmed he worked as a math teacher from September until January, but did not provide additional information.

    Newton is the lead petitioner, among more than a dozen municipalities and school districts, in an ongoing appeal to the state education commissioner targeting a funding formula that some say favors cities over rural areas.

    Levante previously was a public school teacher in Paterson.

    In an interview last summer, Levante said he worked in Paterson for nine years, leaving in 2012, and had been hired as a seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher in Newark starting in September.

    His biography on Newton's official website says he holds five state certifications in teaching and administration.

    None of the four other council members responded to Levante's remarks about his former job.

    PHOTOS: Newton censures mayor, asks him to resign

    Levante was named mayor by the council without opposition July 1. His one-year term as mayor, and four-year council term, both run through June, and he is among seven candidates seeking three council seats in the May 8 municipal election.

    He has frequently spoken out on education since becoming mayor, most notably in support of an unprecedented proposal to eliminate all 25 local school districts in Sussex County and establish a single, county-wide school district.

    He opposed an $18 million school construction referendum, supported by Newton Superintendent Ken Greene, that was resoundingly defeated by voters Sept. 26.

    Yet Levante found himself on the same side as Greene four months later when Newton took the lead on the state school aid funding appeal. 

    "After being jilted by Trenton for eight years, at a cost of 30-plus million dollars, with no one willing to do anything, I stood alone at the capitol building, in Trenton, to issue the lawsuit against the state department of education, and there was no other council members there," Levante said.

    He appeared with Greene and others in Trenton Jan. 12. One week later, he was out of a job in Newark.

    As for what he is currently doing, Newton's website describes Levante as "the owner and operator of an Internet based small business dealing in the sales of vintage electronics."

    Before being censured Monday night, Levante took issue with an assertion in the resolution that, in addition to referencing his Parkland posts, accused him of worsening the municipal government's relationship with the school district.

    "To claim that I have not been working with the board of ed is just not accurate," said Levante, who cast the lone dissenting vote against the censure and a related no-confidence motion.

    However, Levante received no support at Monday's meeting from Ray Morris, a Newton school board member.

    Morris said that some defending Levante's free speech rights over his Facebook posts had criticized his right, as a school board member, to "do things like comment on the questionable school consolidation issue" that the mayor supports.

    Rob Jennings may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RobJenningsNJ. Find on Facebook

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    The alleged incident took place Jan. 1, authorities say.

    JERSEY CITY -- A 42-year-old Newark man has been charged with threatening to shoot a Hoboken woman in front of her children while brandishing a gun during an internet video call in January.

    Ivan Arias, of 16th Street, is accused of "threatening to shoot at the victim... even if she's in the company of her children and/or grandchildren," according to the criminal complaint that describes the alleged Jan. 1 incident.

    He is charged with making terroristic threats and weapons offenses related to a handgun he allegedly displayed during the call, the complaint states. 

    The court document does not indicate when Arias was arrested. He made his first appearance on the charges in Criminal Justice Reform Court via video link from Hudson County jail on Thursday.

    At the hearing, the state moved to detain Arias through the course of his prosecution.

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    Highlights from the state tournament.

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    The lawsuit comes nearly a year after an investigation commissioned by the prestigious prep school detailed alleged sexual misconduct by three teachers

    The alleged sexual abuse, as well as other "abusive behavior," in the 1970s at the Pingry School was well-known among the staff and student body, but the elite institution ignored the misconduct, a new lawsuit alleges.

    The lawsuit comes nearly a year after an investigation commissioned by the prestigious prep school detailed alleged sexual misconduct by three teachers, involving more than two dozen boys, and is the first accusing the private school of wrongdoing. 

    "As we continue to prioritize the culture of safety and well-being that our students deserve, we will review this claim with the same attention and compassion with which we have approached our other survivors," Nathaniel E. Conard, the headmaster of Pingry School, said in a statement.

    The complaint, filed Tuesday in Essex County Superior Court, confirms the investigation's findings but also claims there was "rampant other sexual abuse, physical abuse and inappropriate behavior" at the elite prep school that didn't appear in the report. 

    The suit, which was filed on behalf of a former student at the Short Hills school and his father, both of whom are only referred to by initials, accuses Thad "Ted" Alton of sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior during the student's fifth- and sixth-grade years. 

    Alton -- one of the teachers named in the school's report, which was written by T&M Protection Resources, a New York private investigating firm -- served as the boys' lacrosse coach, scout leader, teacher and advisor. 

    The boy stopped playing lacrosse and dropped out of scouts halfway through the sixth-grade to avoid Alton, according to the suit. 

    It wasn't until Pingry officials first informed the school's alumni in April 2016 that the memories returned to the former student, the complaint says. 

    The former student "is now able to see how many of the problems he has experienced in life are connected to the fact he was sexually abused as a young child," according to the complaint.

    Alton, now 71 and self-employed, is not named as a defendant. 

    The lawsuit claims the faculty at the elite school knew of the sexual misconduct but did not act and failed to protect its students. 

    Alton was criminally charged by the Essex Prosecutor's Office in 1979 for alleged "acts of lewdness," including masturbation, while employed by the school, the suit says and claims, it was "completely implausible that Pingry was never contacted or notified" by authorities during the investigation.

    The complaint says, "Pingry ignored the extensive abuse that occurred by multiple teach, even though it was widely known by the student body and teachers that the abuse occurring. Even when the abuse was reported to teacher or administrators, it was completely ignored and the abusers were allowed to continue their misconduct, as well as their tenure at the school."

    The former student recalled of the "abusive school environment," according to the lawsuit, that students were once forced to stand naked around a pool and swing their arms in circles until it hurt as a punishment. 

    According to the complaint, it was well-known that a teacher on the Elizabeth campus would have sexual relationships with young girls in his office, but was never punished. 

    One teacher allegedly threw eraser, chalk and other items at students, the complaint says. Another once held a student out a second-floor window and threaten to drop the boy if he didn't behave, the suit says. 

    The school should have told the parents of the complaints of abuse, the complaint says. 

    "Pingry shall be held accountable for the consequences of permitting and concealing for decades the shameful and widespread sexual abuse of young students," said Justin P. Walder, the attorney for the former student and his father. 

    The school's headmaster said in a statement: "We deeply regret the pain our survivors experienced while at The Pingry School, and we are grateful for their bravery in having come forward. We are steadfastly committed to helping our survivors to heal and move forward."

    Pingry officials did not immediately respond to comment. Last year, it launched a website addressing the alleged abuse.

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us.


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    What you need to know from the state tournament

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    Check out what the weather looked like this morning in different areas of the state, where some already have their shovels out while others are still waiting for the snow to start.

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    One last assessment of N.J. hockey's best teams in 2017-18.

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    The incidents do not appear to be related, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said.

    Authorities have identified the male whose body was found in a lake in Weequahic Park Saturday as Antoine Bennett, 24, of Newark.

    Investigators continue to identify a woman found dead in the lake the same day, March 3. The incidents do not appear to be related, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said.

    Essex County sheriff's officers were alerted to a body floating in the lake at about 11 a.m. Saturday. Shortly after arriving, the officers, with Newark firefighters, pulled a woman's body out of the water.

    While at the scene investigating, detectives found a male - Bennett - floating in the water in another part of the lake, at about 3 p.m.

    The prosecutor's office said the condition of the bodies suggests they were dumped at substantially different times. The cause and manner of death are pending toxicology reports for both.

    Anyone with information about the incidents can call the prosecutor's tipline at 877-TIPS-4EC (877-847-7432).

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


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    The nor'easter hit New Jersey on Wednesday, bringing rain, snow and high winds.

    As communities were hit hard by Wednesday's nor'easter snow storm, many Essex County schools announced closings and delayed openings for Thursday.

    The following Essex County schools are closed or have delayed openings on Thursday, March 8:


    • Caldwell University


    • No announcements yet

    If you know of any delays or closures not on this list, let us know in the comments.

    Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find on Facebook.


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