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    There was plenty of movement after half the teams in the rankings suffered a defeat last week.


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    The 1995 production returns to the Luna Stage with reflection and humanity for the American icon

    To render a saint in human form is always a dangerous prospect, but Craig Alan Edwards's "The Man in Room 306" wades eagerly into that potential sea of trouble. Edwards's only character is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself, alone in his Memphis hotel room on the eve of his murder, finding himself wracked by fear, exhaustion, paranoia, and frustration. Edwards skillfully avoids both blind hagiography and blasphemous character assassination by crafting a Martin Luther King that is as recognizable for his human foibles as for his ambition.

    Returning to Luna Stage in West Orange, the sight of its 1995 world premiere, under the direction of Jerome Preston Bates and starring Jamil A.C. Mangan, "The Man in Room 306" shows itself enduring in its project of humanizing Dr. King. The play opens with King waking fitfully from a nightmare, answering the phone and having a conversation about bad press, scheduling hassles, and other everyday trivialities, except for one detail: the death of Larry Payne, a sixteen-year-old man who had been killed the week earlier when a demonstration lead by King turned violent. That fact sends King into the whirlwind of self-reflection, occasional self-doubt, and ultimate resolution that carries the play.

    After he hangs up the phone, King speaks directly to the audience, telling his story and sharing his fears and hopes as if trying to convince himself as much as he is his audience. Set designers, Christopher and Justin Swader, have designed room 306 of the Lorraine Motel with an unfussy realism. This stage looks entirely and appropriately like a drab, serviceable motel room, increasing the intimacy the audience shares with King: we are behind closed doors, hearing what seems like a private soliloquy.

    Edwards's script is strongest when King is most self-reflective. Long passages of King delivering familiar stories about the history of his life and work grow tiresome, but Mangan certainly makes clear that these passages are important to King. Throughout, Mangan shows king in a process of self-discovery through self-reckoning, so even the moments when the script seems thin have clear significance to the character. Together with Bates, Mangan offers a King that at times seems desperate to convince himself and others that his everyday human struggles are real, but that his conviction remains nonetheless strong.

    Inventive in concept in 1995, "The Man in Room 306" cannot but now draw comparisons to what is likely a more famous successor, Katori Hall's 2009 play, "The Mountaintop," which is set in the same motel room on the same night. Hall pairs King with one other character (the play starred Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Basset on Broadway) who helps give more credence to his reflexivity, but Hall also stretches the bounds of realism to which Edwards is quite committed. In this regard, "The Man in Room 306" comes out of the comparison as less compelling and less challenging, if nonetheless impactful.

    In honor of the 50th anniversary of King's assassination, Luna has chosen perhaps the safer of the two recent plays set in this particular motel room, but this production nonetheless succeeds in its efforts to humanize a person spoken of so often in the loftiest of registers. Edwards's King is a man with all the challenges and limitations of most other men, a reality that helps underscore the great degree of King's achievements.

    THE MAN IN ROOM 306

    Luna Stage Company

    555 Valley Road, West Orange

    Tickets available by phone: (973) 395-5551. Running through May 13.

    Patrick Maley may be reached at patrickjmaley@gmail.com. Find him on Twitter and Instagram @PatrickJMaley. Find NJ.com/Entertainment on Facebook.


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    The buzz is just starting around the guys on this list.


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    Doors open at 7 p.m. for a basket raffle with the main show starting at 8 p.m.

    gfp.jpg 

    MONTCLAIR -- PAWS Montclair will benefit from the proceeds of "Guffaws for Paws 2018," taking place at First Congregational Church in Montclair on May 11.

    Featured entertainers include East Coast LGBT Pridefest host Sharon Simon, Doug Adler of Comedy Tie TV and Chris Monty, whose television credits include "Kevin Can Wait" and "The Blacklist."

    Doors open at 7 p.m. for a basket raffle with the main show starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door and can be purchased at guffaws-for-paws2018.eventbrite.com.

    The First Congregational Church is located at 40 S. Fullerton Ave.; the show will take place in the Guild Room at the rear of the church.

    Shelters interested in placing a pet in the Paw Print adoption column or submitting news should call 973-836-4922 or email essex@starledger.com.

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


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    Who are the best alums playing college lacrosse? We break down the Top 50.


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    City officials proposed six different locations in two districts for a new Amazon headquarters.


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    NJ Advance Media has put together a list of the top girls lacrosse seniors. Vote for the No. 1 player at the bottom.


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    A Union County man who robbed two Jersey City banks in a four-day span has been charged after an investigation by Jersey City police, officials said.

     

    An Essex County man who robbed two Jersey City banks in a four-day span has been charged after an investigation by Jersey City police, officials said.

    Police say Mark Macon, 45, of Irvington, is now charged with at least three bank robberies, police spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said. Macon was arrested this morning by the department's Major Case Unit, with the assistance of the Street Crimes Unit and the FBI, Wallace -Scalcione said.

    Wallace-Scalcione said Macon robbed $700 from the TD Bank on 18th Street on April 19 and on April 23 he robbed $1,000 from the Chase Bank on Washington Boulevard. In both cases, Macon gave the bank teller a note demanding money. 

    Macon is also being investigated for a bank robbery in Union on Jan. 13.


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    They died hours after they were wounded

    Two young men who were shot and killed in Newark Wednesday night were brothers, Essex County authorities said.

    Quan Harmon, 20 and Quamir Harmon, 21, were struck by bullets on the 900 block of Bergen Street at around 9:30 p.m, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said Thursday.

    They were both transported to University Hospital, prosecutors said. Quan Harmon was pronounced dead shortly after arriving and Quamir Harmon died about two hours later. 

    On Thursday, prosecutors were unaware of the cause of the shooting, and said the investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been made. 

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office  tip line at 1-877-847-7432.

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @By_paigegross. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The EPA is handing out $800k worth of grants to help cleanup four polluted brownfield sites in New Jersey.

    What do a meat processing site, an abandoned gas station and two abandoned industrial sites have in common? They're all getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grant money dedicated to cleaning them up.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that four New Jersey brownfield sites, two in Newark and two in Camden, were each being awarded $200,000 in federal grants to help cover cleanup costs.

    Going forward, the cities will be primarily responsible for cleaning up the sites while the EPA will hold an oversight role.

    These kind of cleanup projects typically take about two years to complete, said Walter Mugdan, the acting deputy regional administrator for EPA Region 2.

    EPA touts N.J. Superfund site as ready for redevelopment

    The announcement was made at the site of the former Berkowitz Fat Company in Newark's Ironbound neighborhood. Owned by Seymour Berkowitz, the company was a meat rendering operation that turned meat scraps into oils, tallow for candles and other animal products. The Berkowitz operations began in the 1970s.

    From 2005 to 2007, the site was repeatedly inspected by NJDEP, which resulted in more than $2 million in pollution fines.

    Now the site is largely vacant, though it does serve as a storage area for heavy construction equipment. But more cleanup still needs to be done, and the EPA grant money will help the city remove a dozen underground and above ground storage tanks.

    Beyond the $200,000 EPA grant, Newark has applied for $83,000 in funding from NJDEP for the cleanup of the Berkowitz site according to Bill Lindner, the NJDEP's Office of Brownfield Reuse manager.

    "This piece of property is the only thing [Berkowitz] left behind, and the city now owns it," Mugdan said.

    The other Newark site is the former Allen's Amoco gas station site at 861-869 Clinton Avenue. The gas station was operational from its opening in 1937 to its abandonment in 1991, when the structures were demolished but the six underground storage tanks were left behind.

    "We're excited to put these resources to use as part of our overall strategy as we're currently cleaning up 35 acres of brownfields within the city," said Carmelo Garcia, Newark's deputy mayor for economic and housing development, of the new EPA grants.

    Since 2008, EPA has provided 23 brownfield grants to Newark for a total of $5.75 million, according to Mugdan.

    Two former industrial sites were the grant winners in Camden. The first site, a parcel at 726 Kaighn Avenue in the Bergen Square neighborhood, was home to an electroplating facility that shut down in 2004.

    "The property has been vacant and a blight on our community for decades, attracting nothing but trash and drug activity," Camden Mayor Frank Moran said in a press release.

    The Kaighn Avenue property will be cleaned up to create a new industrial park at the site, with the hopes of bringing new manufacturing jobs to Camden.

    The second Camden site is the Camden Laboratories site at 1667 Davis Street that has been vacant since 2008. The city plans to clean the soil and groundwater at the nearly 4 acre large site before making the property an expansion of Whitman Park.

    "The presence of the dilapidated structure has long been an eyesore next to the adjacent Whitman Park recreational fields and a nuisance to the surrounding residential neighborhoods," Moran said. "Our vision calls for the extension of the recreational fields in order to provide greater usage by the community."

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


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    Jackie Beard Robinson, a former business partner of Melissa Gorga, sued the Bravo star and Andy Cohen for defamation, infliction of emotional distress and harm to her business and reputation after both Cohen and Gorga made comments about her on 'RHONJ' and 'Watch What Happens Live.'

    Despite her claims that the reality show advanced malicious and defamatory statements about her, a former business partner of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Melissa Gorga will not get her day in court. 

    A judge has ordered that Jackie Beard Robinson, who brought a $30 million lawsuit against Gorga, NBCUniversal (parent company of the show's Bravo network), Andy Cohen, the show's executive producer, and Dorothy Toran, a producer of the show for Sirens Media, settle her complaints in arbitration.

    In December, Robinson, Gorga's former partner in the Montclair clothing boutique Envy, filed a lawsuit in federal court for the Southern District of Florida. She sued for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and harm to her "professional, business and personal reputation and livelihood" after Gorga and Cohen made statements about her on "RHONJ" and "Watch What Happens Live," a talk show that followed an episode of the show. 

    In the season eight premiere of the show in October 2017, Gorga, who lives in Montville, claimed Beard Robinson "snuck in in the middle of the night and took all the clothes" from Envy.

    "Wow, so, that lady (Beard Robinson) wound up kinda ripping you off?" Cohen said to Gorga on a post-show episode of "Watch What Happens Live." Gorga said yes. 

    In the lawsuit, Robinson countered that she had already parted ways with Gorga, who assumed ownership of the store on Jan. 1, 2017, before she went to the boutique "in broad daylight" to gather "her belongings," and that Gorga's lawyer had emailed her to say she could sell the merchandise. One "RHONJ" plotline centered on Robinson teaming up with Kim DePaola -- a nemesis of Gorga in the Bravo show -- to liquidate the Envy merchandise at Posche, DePaola's Allendale boutique.

    Lawyers for Cohen, Gorga and NBCUniversal had maintained that Robinson, who had previously appeared on "RHONJ," had signed releases that stipulate arbitration must be conducted in New York to address any complaints arising from the show. 

    But in the lawsuit, Robinson, who previously owned a boutique in Delray Beach, Florida, said that since the shows were broadcast across the country, they damaged her "reputation and goodwill nationwide," especially in her local Florida community.

    According to an April 19 court filing, lawyers for Robinson and Gorga, Cohen and company are required to file a joint-status report within 14 days of the end of arbitration. 

    The move to arbitration may be something of a win for Gorga, 39. But the reality star recently admitted to selling counterfeit merchandise at Envy, the same Bloomfield Avenue store that is at the center of her dispute with Robinson. 

    "Chanel has informed Envy by Melissa Gorga that all of the Chanel branded goods previously offered and sold by our company were counterfeit and illegal," Gorga posted on Instagram. "As such, we have ceased all sales of Chanel branded goods and will not be carrying any such goods in our store in the future." 

    Comments appeared to be disabled on the post. 

    It is, in fact, possible that this little tidbit -- if not the legal troubles involving Robinson -- could make it into the Bravo show, which recently started filming for season nine. 

    A post shared by Melissa Gorga (@melissagorga) on

     

    Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at akuperinsky@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmyKup or on Facebook.

     


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    Two Newark men are facing murder charges on April 26, 2018, for the 2017 killing of Denzel N. Uwubiti, 29, also of Newark.

    Two men were arrested Thursday and charged in the fatal shooting of a Newark man in 2017.

    Lenwood Thompson, 39, and Chance Venable, 47, both of Newark, have been charged with murder, according to a release from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

    Police responded to a call about a shooting in progress at 2:40 a.m. on Sept. 10, 2017, on North 5th Street, according to a news release. Officers found Denzel N. Uwubiti, 29, also of Newark, "unresponsive" in a car. He was taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:11 a.m.

    Thompson and Chance were arrested Thursday by Sgt. Christopher Smith of the Essex County Prosecutor's Office and members of the FBI Fugitive Task Force, according to the news release.

    They have been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Thompson was also charged with aggravated arson.

    Both are being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at csheldon@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    A man was shot and killed in Newark on April 26, 2018, less than 24 hours after two brothers were killed on April 25, 2018.

    A man was shot and killed Thursday morning in Newark; the third homicide in the city in less than 24 hours.

    Essex County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Kathy Carter said the shooting was reported on South 20th Street around 10:50 a.m.

    Carter said the man, whose name is not being released at this time, was found outside a car. He was taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    2 men charged in 2017 shooting death in Newark

    Carter said no further information is being released at this time and no arrests have been made.

    Two brothers were shot and killed in Newark on Wednesday night, Essex County authorities said Thursday. No arrests have been made in that shooting as of 9 p.m. Thursday. It is unclear if the shootings are related.

    So far this year, there have been 22 murders in Newark, according to statistics released by the Newark Police Department.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at csheldon@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Brianna Aaron, a senior at Science Park High School in Newark has won the 2018 Dukes and Bailey Cup, making her the best Lincoln Douglas debater in the country for the 2017-2018 school year.

    Brianna Aaron wasn't on her game at the start of the high school debate season.

    The Science Park High School senior from Newark couldn't get past the early rounds at three major tournaments in the fall. Each time, she'd come up short and was eliminated. Aaron, 18, was frustrated and questioned her ability.

    "I was kind of depressed. Like, wow, I'm a terrible debater," she said.

    No one in debate circles expected that kind of slump, either, from one of the top five Lincoln Douglas debaters in the country. This was her specialty -- debating one on one, taking on a moral issue -- and she was struggling.

    MORE: Recent Barry Carter columns

    "Everyone had high expectations of me, and I just flopped," Aaron said. "I just had to get out of that groove in order to bounce back."

    Forget bounce; she went on a tear. After a mental reset, Aaron began racking up debate points at major tournaments to capture the Dukes and Bailey Cup, which means she is the best Lincoln Douglas debater nationally for the 2017-18 school year.

    Winning the cup is highly competitive, with little room for error. It is given annually at the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) tournament to the debater who has accumulated the most points during his or her top five tournaments.

    Aaron won by more than 100 points, but here's what makes her victory stand out:

    "To lose three tournaments at the beginning of the season, it's almost unheard of to actually come back and be awarded the overall season-long excellence award," said NDCA chair Shunta Jordan. "It was a phenomenal feat."

    And Aaron did it at the most prestigious and largest tournaments in the country, one of the criteria the association takes into account when points are earned.

    Aaron faced top debaters, many from some of the wealthiest public- and private-school programs. She made it to the final round of the five tournaments, winning two of them, against more than 100 participants each time out.

    "To be able to get into five final rounds at major national tournaments all over the country is incredible," said Jonathan Alston, debate coach for Science Park. "Her overall performance was better than everyone else."

    Aaron went back to the basics to get out of her debate funk. She crafted her own affirmatives on topics. She spent time answering the opponents' arguments, pre-empting them, too. Lastly, Aaron said, she focused only on winning each round and didn't allow herself to think ahead.

    The breakthrough came at a national tournament that she won in Apple Valley, Minnesota. From then on, Aaron was on a roll, with stellar performances at the next four major tournaments in Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

    Aaron advanced her arguments, using critical race issues to debate several topics. One of them was should plea bargaining be abolished from the criminal justice system in the context of reproductive rights.

    In her research, Aaron learned that prosecutors have made sterilization of women and men part of plea negotiations. Prosecutors in Nashville, Tennessee, did it at least four times dating to 2010, and, in 2014, a man in Virginia agreed to have a vasectomy in exchange for less prison time in a child-endangerment case.

    In the debate room, Aaron would be aggressive, making her point that the practice should end. That's her style -- to be confrontational and to attack.

    "I like to clash with people," she said. "It's about being able to control the room."

    "From the time the debate starts, she's taking shots," Alston said. "She punches you from the beginning and keeps punching until the end."

    In Lincoln Douglas debating, Aaron thrives on the fact that she is solely responsible for her success or failure. There's no one to blame for mistakes except herself, she said.

    MORE CARTER: N.J. woman speaks her truth about sexual assault | Carter

    Aaron had her share, and the early errors in the season made her think she didn't have a shot at the Dukes and Bailey Cup. But, as she began to amass points, Aaron could see her ranking improve: top five, then three, then two.

    "I said 'I want to get this award,' " she recalled. " 'I want to be the number one debater,' and I ended up doing it."

    Six years of hard work, starting in middle school, would not be wasted. She finished the regular debate season 49-6.

    Her talent, not surprisingly, continues the legacy of Science Park debaters, who are known across the country as a winning program.

    Aaron, however, stands alone in her achievement. No one in Newark or at Science Park has won the Dukes and Bailey Cup.

    She's not satisfied, though. The Tournament of Champions competition, held after the scholastic debate season, is this weekend in Kentucky. She's one of 80 debaters nationally vying for that Lincoln Douglas crown.

    Whatever happens, Aaron has had a great run during her final year as a nationally ranked high school debater.

    Next season is going to be just as challenging, too. Aaron will be in North Carolina, on a debate scholarship, crafting arguments for Wake Forest University.

    Barry Carter: (973) 836-4925 or bcarter@starledger.com or 

    nj.com/carter or follow him on Twitter @BarryCarterSL


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    An international pipeline. A scandalous photograph. Racial taunting. See which New Jersey sports scandals over the past decade have resonated the most.


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    These districts aren't getting anywhere close to what they should from the state.

    It's springtime in New Jersey, which means the annual fight over school funding is already in full swing. 

    Though Gov. Phil Murphy's budget increases school aid by $283 million, school officials are calling for more, and some districts can make a stronger case than others. 

    Districts with major enrollment booms over the past decade, significantly changing demographics or weakening tax bases have been especially shortchanged as the state routinely underfunded it formula for allocating school aid. 

    Check out the list below to see the 10 districts who are cheated the most, according to an NJ Advance Media analysis of state data. 

    The ranking is based on how much state aid each district received this school year compared to how much it would be owed if the state fully funded its formula, including abolishing all limits and caps on annual increases.                         

    Top 10 underfunded by percentage 

    1. Chesterfield Township School District

    Percent funded: 19.8 percent 

    2018 state aid: $821,188

    Full aid owed: $4.1 million 

    2. Atlantic City School District 

    Percent funded: 22 percent 

    2018 state aid: $24.3 million

    Full aid owed: $110.6 million

    3. River Edge Public Schools 

    Percent funded: 22.6 percent 

    2018 state aid: $752,750

    Full aid owed: $3.3 million

    4. Elmwood Park Public Schools 

    Percent funded: 24.9 percent 

    2018 state aid: $4.7 million

    Full aid owed: $19 million

    5. Atlantic County Vocational School District 

    Percent funded: 25 percent 

    2018 state aid: $4.9 million

    Full aid owed: $19.8 million

    6. Robbinsville Public School District  

    Percent funded: 25.8 percent 

    2018 state aid: $3.1 million

    Full aid owed: $12 million

    7. Rockaway Borough School District

    Percent funded: 27 percent 

    2018 state aid: $584,221

    Full aid owed: $2.2 million

    8. Little Ferry Public Schools 

    Percent funded: 29 percent 

    2018 state aid: $2.1 million 

    Full aid owed: $7.4 million

    9. Absecon Public School District 

    Percent funded: 32.1 percent 

    2018 state aid: $1.7 million

    Full aid owed: $5.3 million

    10. North Brunswick Township Public Schools

    Percent funded: 32.6 percent 

    2018 state aid: $14.6 million 

    Full aid owed: $44.8 million

    Largest dollar differences 

    Another way to look at getting shortchanged is by the total dollar amount.

    These large districts already receive substantial state aid but would be in line for the biggest dollar increases if the formula is eventually fully funded. 

    1. Newark Pubic Schools 

    Gap in state funding: $167.5 million

    2. Elizabeth Public Schools 

    Gap in state funding: $114.6 million 

    3. Paterson Public Schools 

    Gap in state funding: $92.6 million

    4. Atlantic City School District 

    Gap in state funding: $86.3 million

    5. Plainfield Public School District 

    Gap in state funding: $63.9 million 

    6. Trenton Public Schools 

    Gap in state funding: $54.9 million

    7. Woodbridge Township School District 

    Gap in state funding: $52.4 million 

    8. Bayonne School District 

    Gap in state funding: $46.5 million 

    9. Clifton Public Schools 

    Gap in state funding: $44 million 

    10. New Brunswick Public Schools 

    Gap in state funding: $42.5 million 

    Adam Clark may be reached at adam_clark@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on twitter at @realAdamClarkFind NJ.com on Facebook

     

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    Garfield and his brother Ricky have been described as "sweet and affectionate."

    ex0429pet.jpgGarfield 

    MILLBURN -- Garfield is a 1-year-old purebred cream-colored Persian cat in the care of the Homeless Animal Rescue Team.

    He and his brother, Ricky, were purchased from a pet store with papers but, the rescue notes,  "relinquished when a baby came into the household and the family decided they would not have time for the cats."

    Both cats have been described as "sweet and affectionate" and, ideally, would be adopted together. They are FIV/FeLV negative and up-to-date on shots.

    HART will hold an adoption event with Garfield, Ricky and other felines  today and May 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Pet Adoption Center, 187 Millburn Ave. For information on adopting or volunteering, call 908-337-0477 or email hartrescue213@yahoo.com.

    Shelters interested in placing a pet in the Paw Print adoption column or submitting news should call 973-836-4922 or email essex@starledger.com.

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


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    Two players with New Jersey ties were selected Thursday night in the first round of the NFL Draft. How many others from the Garden State will be chosen this weekend?


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    No-hitters from the 2018 season.


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    The Newark boxer is ready for big things. But first: An eight-round fight in Philadelphia on Saturday night. Watch video

    Shakur Stevenson already looks like a world champion. Now, as the Newark native heads into his second year as a professional boxer, he is starting to sound like some of the best, too. 

    He is still the gracious kid who rose from the city's projects to an Olympic silver medal in Rio de Janeiro. But he isn't about to shy away from a controversial comment about an upcoming opponent or future rival -- and, in boxing, that's part of the game.

    "I know it's a 12-0 opponent, but honestly, I don't think he's that good," he said of Roxberg Riley, his opponent on Saturday in an eight-round featherweight fight. "I don't think he'll make it through eight rounds. I'm trying to punch right through this dude."

    The fight, at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, will be Stevenson's sixth since beginning his pro career last spring. He is 5-0 with two knockouts and one hell of an impatient soul. 

    He understands that he is still two months shy of his 21st birthday, and his handlers at Top Rank are bringing him along slowly for a reason. He'll likely graduate to 10-round fights in the coming months with an eye on 12 rounders next year.

    If all goes as planned and he continues to develop? Stevenson will be headlining his own card soon enough, maybe even one in the city he carries with him everywhere he goes. 

    13 things about Shakur Stevenson

    Still: Waiting is no fun.

    "I feel like I've just got to stay patient but I'm just not a patient person," he said over the phone during a break in training last week. "I'm ready to fight for a world title, because honestly, I feel like there are some world champs I can beat already."

    Which ones?

    "All of them, really," he replied. 

    He mentioned one by name: Lee Selby, the IBF featherweight title nicknamed "the Welsh Mayweather." Selby is 26-1 with more than a decade of experience, but he's not the only boxer that Stevenson, from a far, wants to his chance to meet in the ring. 

    That list includes Michael Conlan, the undefeated Irish boxer who, like Stevenson, signed with Top Rank after the Rio Games. Stevenson agreed at the time that the judges had robbed Conlan of a shot to face him in the Olympic semifinals -- a controversial decision that led to a profanity laced tirade from Conlan -- but now he's not so sure. 

    "I can't think it was that big of a robbery," Stevenson said. "He had a tough fight and lost on a tough decision -- that happens in boxing. I think (Conlan) knows deep down that he can't beat me."

    All of that talk would make for a wonderful buildup to a Stevenson-Conlan bout, with Madison Square Garden as the perfect venue, but that's years away. For now, Stevenson needs to build up his punching strength and continue to dominate the opponents in his path now. 

    Up next: Roxberg Riley, on an undercard in Philly, where Stevenson will have plenty of his hometown fans making the drive to watch. After that? He can hardly wait to find out. 

    Steve Politi may be reached at spoliti@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevePoliti. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     


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