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    An off-duty Newark Police officer shot and injured a man who attempted to rob him at gunpoint at a barber shop in Newark on May 1, 2018.

    An off-duty Newark Police officer shot and wounded a man who attempted to rob him at gunpoint in Newark Tuesday night.

    Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said the robbery attempt occurred at a barber shop on Orange Street. The officer, whose name has not yet been released, shot the suspect in the face, Ambrose said. The name of the man taken into custody was also not released.

    Ambrose said the man ran to McCarter Highway, but officers were able to locate and arrest him. The man is in stable condition. Ambrose said police have recovered a gun.

    Essex County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly said his office is investigating the shooting, but said he could not provide any further details as of Tuesday night. is reporting that McCarter Highway is closed between County Road 508/Bridge Street and Clay Street/Mount Pleasant Avenue due to "police department activity."

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find on Facebook.


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    The new program gives citizens 24/7 access to cameras all over Newark. The ACLU says the program is an invasion of privacy and the Fourth Amendment. Watch video

    All eyes are on the city of Newark, literally. 

    The city recently revealed its new "Citizen Virtual Patrol" program, which places 60 cameras around the city's intersections, putting the city's streets, and those who venture out on them, on display seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

    That isn't startling, as cameras have been up in the city for the past dozen years, says Anthony Ambrose, the city's public safety director.

    What is new, and not found in other cities, is that police officers won't be the only ones trolling for criminals. Now, anyone who's willing to submit their email address and upload an app onto their home computer or phone, can watch those cameras.

    Citizens can then alert police when they see suspicious activity and remain anonymous.  

    Newark Det. shows Newark camerasDet. David Dos Santos of the Newark Police Department shows how someone can use the city's new Citizen Virtual Patrol Program remotely.  

    "Right now, in this era of society, it's impossible to be outside without being recorded," said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. "We need to be able to use that technology to allow the police to do their job more efficiently and more cost effective." 

    Ambrose noted that 60 percent of crimes in Newark are solved through video surveillance, either through the assistance of residents' home surveillance videos, or videos through the private sector such as from businesses. 

    Those extra eyes, however, come at a cost. The cameras could also provide stalkers with their victim's whereabouts, show intimate scenes and even when residents leave their homes vacant as they head out on vacation.

    The American Civil Liberties Association of New Jersey is asking Newark to end the program, saying it's a violation of privacy and the Fourth Amendment.

    "Newark is crowdsourcing it's responsibility to the public instead of engaging in policing," said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. 

    "There's a fundamental difference between a civilian using their phone to record a certain area than government having cameras where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy," Sinha said.

    Many municipalities in New Jersey, such as Morris Township, Fanwood, Wayne and Denville have "camera share programs" where home and business owners can voluntarily give police access to residents who have their own camera surveillance. 

    "Everybody has their own way of describing someone. This gives us the ability to take out the human element of perception," said Detective Sgt. Heather Glogolich of Morris Township, noting their camera share program has helped them catch burglars.

    "We're only going to ask for it if it's going to assist with an investigation." 

    In other major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Chicago police have similar surveillance cameras to those in Newark. 

    However, what makes Newark's program distinctively differently from other programs in New Jersey, the rest of the U.S. and possibly even the world, is that the cameras gives both police and citizens access according to Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the ACLU in Washington, D.C.

     "It's kind of a Wild West when it comes to video technology," said Stanley. "At this point, it's up to individual communities and democratic political process to push back." 

    Newark officials say there's no reason to push back, and that residents will likely embrace the program, funded not with city money, but partially through a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice as part of its SMART Policing Initiative (SPI) and cameras donated by Panasonic. 

    Baraka said he was sure residents would be receptive of the program noting the town's public safety academy has graduated over 400 residents and residents wanted to "take ownership" of their communities. 

    Nearly every resident along Newark's busy intersection of Broad and Market streets on Tuesday said they supported the new program. 

    "There are pros and cons to it, but I definitely think it's a good thing," said Dan Phillips II, owner of Dan's Hats and Caps. "It's the society we live in. Technology can help keep us safer." 

    The cameras have been an important part of the department for several years. However, in 2010, when the department laid off 167 officers, Ambrose said, the department didn't have the resources to watch the cameras. And in 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed most of them. He said the department is now upgrading the resolution on some of the cameras and replacing them.

    Other citizen-centered police efforts have been rolled out recently, as well. Last year, the department released a mobile app allowing citizens to file police reports, reducing some paperwork by officers. Live red-light cameras were activated in the city in 2009. 

    By Oct. 1, approximately 125 cameras will be set up around the city, Ambrose said.

    And over the next three years, "Newarkers" (and the rest of the world) will be able to access approximately 325 cameras around the city if the department receives enough grant funding.

    The city also plans to launch a campaign informing residents about the cameras. 

    "It's about transparency," Ambrose said. "We're not saying we put cameras out there and you don't know where they are at, we're telling you." 

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


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    The 19-year-old flashed the gun in the cafeteria at Bloomfield High School, according to police

    A 19-year-old Bloomfield High School student was charged with waving a BB gun, which police say looked like a Glock handgun, in the school cafeteria, authorities said. 

    Angel Perdomo was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon at an educational facility, Bloomfield police said in a statement. He was held at the township police station before being brought to the Essex County jail.

    Student, 15, charged with making threats at high school

    Police learned of the incident after someone made an anonymous post on Bloomfield's crime tip app, TIP411.

    "Fortunately, this incident did not involve a deadly weapon, but I am proud that our officers conducted themselves in a way to ensure everyone's safety regardless of what type of weapon it was," public safety director Sam DeMaio said.  

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.



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    Richard Corbett leaves Roselle with two years left in his contract.

    The superintendent of Roselle's school district resigned Monday with two years left in his contract, becoming at least the third employee this year to separate from the district abruptly. 

    The Union County borough's school board unanimously accepted Dr. Richard R. Corbett's resignation, effective June 30, after a year and a half in the school district. 

    "Until my last day, ... I remain committed to the mission of this district: to prepare students for college, work and life," Corbett, 57, said in an emailed statement. "I also intend to facilitate a smooth transition to new leadership which will benefit our students and community. Over the next two months, these will be my priority."  

    The district now will create a committee made up of community leaders, administrators, teachers and students to search for a new chief administrator, the school board said in a news release. 

    Patricia Fabrizio, the board's president, said in the release that Corbett "arrived in Roselle during a time of great transition and he leaves us with a clearer picture on what we need to do to move forward and continue and grow our tradition of education excellence in Roselle." 

    Board Vice President Donna Eleazer said in the release that under Corbett's leadership, the district had increased graduation rates and standardized test scores while decreasing absenteeism. 

    Neither responded to requests for additional comment. 

    Not everyone had such positive words to share at the news of his departure.

    In a public Facebook post, board member Archange Antoine said Roselle needs "more administrators who will not be the puppet of elected officials." 

    Those have not been the only negative remarks regarding the superintendent. At a school board meeting in March, the president of the Roselle Education Association said teachers had worked without a contract since June, received their paychecks late, been denied overtime and faced "ineffective and tyrannical administrative leadership, including, but not limited to, the superintendent of schools," video of the meeting shows. 

    Corbett's departure marks the third high-profile one from the district over the last few months.

    Corbett on Jan. 30 removed the designated responsibilities of his business administrator, Jason Jones, and Jones's secretary, Jade Wilson, without explanation. He said in February that the district and "an outside agency" that he did not name would analyze the district's practices. 

    "There's always a review of practices," Corbett said. "You're always looking at what could have been done better. That's kind of standard operating procedure." 

    The school board voted in March to terminate Jones and Wilson, effective May 19, TAPintoRoselle reported. 

    Jones, who also serves on the Neptune school board, in February said he had been put on paid leave after beginning work with the school district in July. 

    "Right now, it's kind of messing up my life," he said. "The rumors get out faster than the truth, so everybody is calling me, asking me." 

    Jones and Wilson could not be reached Tuesday.  

    The school board in February hired the Bayonne-based accounting firm of Donohue, Gironda, Doria & Tomkins to perform an audit of the district, Union News Daily reported. 

    A call made to the firm Tuesday seeking information about the audit was not returned. 

    An agenda for a Feb. 26 school board meeting included a resolution to hire the firm for a forensic audit of "certain Board business and financial records." The resolution proposed a maximum of $25,000 of compensation for the firm's work. 

    Corbett, who formerly served as the superintendent in East Newark and Hardyston, took the helm in Roselle after the previous superintendent, Kevin West, left in late 2016 to head East Orange's schools.

    The board appointed Corbett to work as an interim superintendent beginning in December of 2016 and awarded him a three-year contract in July of 2017. He was earning $127,200 annually as of December, state data shows.

    Roselle's public schools educate roughly 2,845 students, three-quarters of whom are considered economically disadvantaged, according to state Department of Education data. About 86 percent of students graduate in four years, and 10.7 percent of students are chronically absent. 

    The district has an operating budget of almost $54 million for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year. 

    The school district recently has faced other challenges, as well. Plans for a $56 million community center with classrooms, intended to be a joint operation of the district and the borough, were quashed in December when a judge ruled a lawsuit filed against the controversial project could continue. 

    Mayor Christine Dansereau last month told TAPintoRoselle the center, called the "Mind and Body Complex," would not be built

    Marisa Iati may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Iati or on Facebook here. Find on Facebook

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    Who is the top team in's latest rankings?

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    Who is standing out midway through the season.

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    From a distance double to the shot put champion, New Jersey was well-represented at the 124th running of the Penn Relays.

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    Construction started in early April and is scheduled to be completed this summer.

    636604375199625990-IMG-2801-1-.JPGThe Hilltop Dog Park will be slightly less than 35,000 square feet. 

    CALDWELL -- Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. announced on April 27 that a new off-leash dog park is being developed in the Hilltop Reservation.

    This will be the fourth dog park in the Essex County Parks System; the Watsessing Dog Park in Bloomfield/East Orange opened in 2005, the South Mountain Dog Park in Maplewood/Millburn opened in 2006 and the Brookdale Dog Park in Bloomfield/Montclair opened in 2007.

    The Hilltop Dog Park will be slightly less than 35,000 square feet and will be divided into separate areas for small and large dogs. The entire area will be fenced to prevent dogs from running away. Construction started in early April and is scheduled to be completed this summer.

    For more information on the Essex County Park System, go to

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

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    Make your voice heard! Who is the state's best sophomore player?

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    The suspect was able to flee after being shot in the face by the officer, but Newark police caught him shortly afterwards.

    A Newark man is being charged after police say he attempted to rob a barbershop where an off-duty officer was a customer, authorities said. The officer shot the suspect in the face, injuring him.

    Police identified the robbery suspect as Phillip Hedgespeth, 42, of Newark.

    Hedgespeth, was treated for a non-life threatening gunshot wound and charged with robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. 

    The name of the the off-duty officer involved has not been released yet because it is an ongoing investigation, said Thomas Fennelly, the county's chief assistant prosecutor,. 

    A second person of interest, who also has not been identified, has also been detained, police said.

    Around 9.p.m. on Tuesday, police say Hedgespeth, who was armed with a handgun, attempted to rob the barbershop on the 400 block of Orange Street. 

    The officer shot Hedgespeth in the face, and Hedgespeth fled the barbershop. 

    Police caught Hedgespeth around the 1100 block of McCarter Highway and arrested him.

    After being treated, the suspect was remanded to the Essex County Correctional Facility.

    He is currently pending an appearance in the Essex County Central Judicial Processing Court. 

    The investigation into this incident is active an ongoing. Additional arrests are possible.

    Anyone with additional information may contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Professional Standards Bureau at (862) 520-3700.

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


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    The site of a former factory is expected to rise as a mixed residential and retail and office tower in downtown Newark.

    The old Westinghouse plant next to the Newark Broad Street Station has sat unused for decades after the factory that made electrical products shut down and was sold off in the 1980s.

    Plans to replace the plant with a 25-story residential building fizzled out a decade ago, although the old factory walls were eventually torn down. 

    Now there's a new proposal on the horizon - and it could mean as much as $1 billion being invested in Newark's downtown. SJP Properties and Aetna Realty announced plans this week to build a 2 million square-foot tower with office, retail and residential spaces. 

    A rendering of the plans shows two tall residential towers sitting atop several floors of office and retail space, with an outdoor public plaza. 

    "This property's exceptional transit-oriented location positions it as one of the best development opportunities in a city currently experiencing an unprecedented revitalization," said David Braka of Aetna Realty. 

    The developers are still waiting to secure an office tenant (occupying about 200,000- to 250,000-square-feet) to anchor the property before breaking ground on the project.

    The proposed concept for the 3.7 acre site includes 1.1 million square feet of office and retail space, with the remaining used for residential purposes. 

    A representative for the developer said it was too early to say whether the apartments will have any low- or moderate-income units. Under the city's new inclusionary zoning law, any development with more than 30 units that needs either a variance from the planning or zoning boards or a tax abatement from the city must provide affordable housing. 

    Developers for the property say they want to create a "transit-oriented" redevelopment hub that will reduce the need for cars and encourage more foot traffic in the area. The site sits steps from the NJ Transit commuter and light rail station.

    "Creating 'transit villages' around both of our train stations is a high priority for my administration," Mayor Ras Baraka said. "This strategy increases public transportation ridership, reduces automobile air pollution, and creates more affordable housing and vital new neighborhoods."

    The Westinghouse redevelopment project comes on the heels of other high-rise towers, including "Shaq Tower," a 22-story high rise on Rector Street, and a 19-story luxury tower on Halsey and Williams streets targeted toward Millennials.

    Steven J. Pozycki, CEO of SJP Properties, said Newark has "established itself as a city on the rise, with a growing number of corporations realizing that Newark offers exceptional access to a highly skilled workforce and accessibility."

    Westinghouse at one point employed 3,000 and the redevelopment project would help draw a new group of workers back to the site. 

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

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    From opening bell to dismissal, and everything in between.

    I had the opportunity last summer to visit the schools from my youth. It was bittersweet as both St. Francis of Assisi School and Sacred Heart High School have closed.

    It was at St. Francis that I realized something I hadn't before; elementary school -- especially for those of us who attended grades 1 through 8 in the same building - is a long stretch for a kid to spend in one place.

    DSC_7242 - Copy.JPGFormerly St. Francis of Assisi School, the building is now home to the Compass Academy Charter School. 

    The building that was once home to St. Francis of Assisi School looked almost the same last summer as it did when I attended decades ago. Except for air conditioners and a new sign for the current occupants, a public charter school, it appeared virtually unchanged.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    But it also occurred to me just how much a child's life changed along the length of the single hallway inside that building.

    We entered as babies, really, first graders who were spending most of the day away from home for the very first time. We progressed up that hallway, and eventually left at the other end of the building as teenagers, only a few years short of adulthood.

    Eight of the most important years of our lives, measured in numbered doors alternating even and odd along an unchanging hall.

    Funny - so many times back then, I couldn't wait to get out; that day this past summer, I almost couldn't bring myself to leave.

    Here's a vintage gallery of schools, students and activities in New Jersey. And here are links to other school galleries you'll enjoy.

    Vintage photos of education in N.J.

    Vintage photos of N.J. schools and schoolchildren

    Vintage photos of going back to school in N.J.

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

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    Which teams moved up? Which slipped down the list? Find out here.

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    A month into the 2018 season updates the draft outlook of N.J.'s top high school seniors

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    NJ Advance Media ranks each county by its alums playing college lacrosse.

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    See and vote for N.J.'s best sophomores in girls lacrosse this season.

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    For the second straight day, daily temperature records have been broken across New Jersey as the intense summer-like heat continues in early May.

    Do you hear that hum? That's the sound of a million air conditioners working overtime around New Jersey as an unusual blast of summer weather has pushed temperatures up as high as 94 degrees in parts of our region Thursday afternoon, breaking several record highs for May 3.

    The latest records to be shattered were at the airports in Newark, Trenton and Atlantic City, as well as in New Brunswick, according to data from the National Weather Service and the New Jersey Weather & Climate Network at Rutgers University.

    At Atlantic City International Airport, located inland in Pomona, the mercury hit 90 degrees at about 1 p.m., then rose to 92 degrees during the next two hours, breaking the airport's previous record high for May 3 by three degrees. The old record of 89 degrees was set in 1913, then matched in 2001.

    At Newark Liberty International Airport's climate station, located in the Elizabeth section of the airport, the temperature rose to 92 degrees shortly before 2 p.m., then climbed to 93, the weather service reported. The airport's previous record high for May 3 was 91 degrees, set in 2001.

    At Trenton-Mercer Airport in the West Trenton section of Ewing, the very old record high of 90 degrees, set in 1913, was broken in the late afternoon, when the airport's thermometer reached 91degrees. 

    Hottest places in N.J.

    The steamiest places in New Jersey Thursday afternoon were Sicklerville, Teterboro and Toms River, where the mercury soared to 94 degrees. Checking in at 93 degrees were Haworth, Oceanport, Oswego Lake, Sea Girt and Vineland.

    And these are among the many towns that hit 92 degrees: Berkeley Township, Cedar Bridge, Hamilton, Hawthorne, Hillsborough, Hopewell, Howell, Jersey City, Upper Deerfield, Walpack, Wayne and West Deptford.  

    All of this hot air is flowing into New Jersey from the south and west, thanks to a large dome of high pressure that's stationed off the Carolina coast. Known as a "Bermuda high" because of its proximity to Bermuda, this type of weather pattern is more common during the summer months than early spring.

    New Jersey can expect one more day of summer-like temperatures -- and higher humidity -- on Friday, before things return to normal this weekend, when highs will be in the upper 60s and low 70s.

    Len Melisurgo may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @LensReality or like him on Facebook. Find on Facebook.

    0 0 takes a look at the top 80 sophomores in the state.

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    New Jersey's capital shares with Newark a diverse work force, making it attractive to a tech industry trying hard to atone for a paucity of female and minority entrepreneurs among its ranks.

    If someone had told you five years ago that Newark would be among the 20 finalists in Amazon's high-profile search for a second headquarters, you'd have laughed yourself silly.

    If New Jersey's governor had referred to Newark as "a city clearly on the rise," not to mention a "model for urban revitalization," you'd have questioned his grip on reality.

    Yet both of those things have come to pass as the metropolis known as the Brick City has seen the infusion of billions of dollars in new investments as its ticket back to prosperity.

    And so the question begs to be answered: Could Trenton be next?

    At a forum this week sponsored by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association as well as by Audible, the audiobook company based in Newark, Gov. Phil Murphy suggested that the Cinderella tale in Newark could be duplicated elsewhere in the Garden State.

    "The real beauty is that it doesn't just have to be a Newark story," he said. "Cities once were the economic engines of our state, and they will be again."

    Newark's leading the way and others should follow, Murphy says

    Newark's leaders have worked diligently to brand the city as a high-tech center; the high-capacity internet fiber snaking beneath its sidewalks is a case in point.

    In addition to Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon that employs 1,400 workers, Newark calls itself home to such industry standouts as Prudential, Panasonic Corporation of North America, IDT Corporation and Manischewitz.

    In touting Newark's appearance on Amazon's Top 20 List, the governor rattled off a string of strong selling points: proximity to New York City, the presence of major highways, access to a major airport and a major port, and an abundance of universities providing a steady stream of brain power.

    To a greater or lesser degree, Trenton can claim many of the same attributes, with the added bonus of our closeness to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

    While Newark boasts such entertainment venues as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Symphony Hall and the Prudential Center, Trenton's burgeoning arts scene is increasingly putting our city on the map.

    An April story in The New York Times carried the headline: "Art, Punk Rock & a New Governor Reinvigorate Trenton." It highlighted such venues as the pioneering Artworks Gallery for local, national and international artists, and the newly launched BSB Gallery, a reincarnation of a long-empty bank building.

    Moreover, New Jersey's capital shares with Newark a diverse work force, making it attractive to a tech industry trying hard to atone for a paucity of female and minority entrepreneurs among its ranks.

    Could Trenton be the next Newark? Hell, yes, with a little vision and a lot of imagination.

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


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    For 50 years, Newark has been this mailman's stomping grounds. Jerome Alexander was honored by the United States Postal Service for his dedication to the job.

    Jerome Alexander has a standard answer for anyone who asks him about retirement.

    "I tell them another six months," Alexander said.

    It pretty much means stop asking, because this 72-year-old Irvington resident doesn't plan on leaving his job as a letter carrier in Newark anytime soon.

    "I love my job," he said.

    It's a job he's been doing for 50 years, a milestone achieved by only a handful of letter carriers in the state.

    MORE: Recent Barry Carter columns  

    The U.S. Postal Service put down its letter-scanning devices and mailbags on Wednesday to salute this public servant for joining an exclusive club. At the main post office in downtown Newark, where he works, family, friends, co-workers and postal officials acknowledged Alexander's years of federal service.

    "You are the face of the postal service for the public," said Ed Phelan, vice president of the Northeast region.

    "He's a model of how you get to 50 years. He's even-keel all of the time," said Mike O'Neil, president of the New Jersey Merged Branch 38 of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

    After all the accolades, guess what? Alexander -- known as "Big A" on the job -- went right back to work.

    Why not? 

    Alexander credits God for his longevity.

    "It's not me. It's God allowing me to do this," said Alexander, who is a deacon at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church in Newark. "I've been blessed to not have any problems."

    He's in good health, doesn't smoke or drink. Aside from callouses on his feet, Alexander is unaffected by the demands of the job, pacing himself with his mailbag slung over his shoulder.

    Customers on his route in downtown Newark look forward to seeing Alexander, especially Athena Zois and Peggy Capko, two sisters who own Washington Florist Inc. on Broad Street.

    They said Alexander saved their lives four years ago when he thwarted a robbery at the store. He arrived earlier than usual and saw a man with his arm around Zois' neck.

    "He first started choking me," Zois said. "Peggy tried to run for help, then he tackled her. And then we looked up and coming through the door was Jerome."

    Alexander, who was 68 years old at the time, said he had no choice but to act. The robber charged and swung at him, but he ducked the blow.

    "I hit him about four or five times," Alexander said.

    The two men fell to the floor and into the front-window display until the robber finally got up and ran away. The sisters call Alexander their "guardian angel" and treat him like one. Every holiday, they send him flowers. They sent some again Wednesday for the ceremony at the post office.

    The flower shop encounter wasn't Alexander's only confrontation in a lengthy career. The first one, about 10 years ago, was rather comical when he had to scold a woman in her 60s for attempting to walk off with his mail-filled pushcart.

    "I said, 'What are you doing?' " Alexander said. "She was getting ready to push it down the street. I was just looking at her."

    As Alexander made his rounds Wednesday, customers and workers he encountered were surprised to learn how long he has been on the job. He's working all the time, and they see his dedication.

    "He could come in a storm to bring one envelope. It doesn't matter," said Ana Maria, receptionist for 32BJ Service Employees International Union.

    "We can't let him retire," said Peter Learmont, owner of Porta-Print Publishing. "We'll be in trouble."

    It's easy to see why Alexander is passionate about his job. He's around people all day and has the temperament for this kind of work.  Alexander is a laid-back man with a pleasant disposition that evokes praiseworthy adjectives.

    Humble. Beautiful person. Family man.

    Alexander has four children and has been married 37 years to his wife, Rosie, who said he's a good husband and a good father.

    If she had a choice, he would be retired because he's getting up there in age. But she, too, knows the standard answer.

    "That's what he enjoys, so let him work."

    Alexander's steady and reliable work ethic rubs off on co-workers, making him an employee to emulate.

    Kyle Butler, 59, has known Alexander since he was a kid, but didn't realize Alexander worked at the post office until he reported there for work 34 years ago.

    MORE CARTER: Newark symposium tackles chronic absenteeism in school | Carter

     "He taught me the ins and outs of the post office," Butler said. "I always came to work because I followed him every day. If I see him doing it, why can't I do it?"

    The irony in Alexander's journey is that he didn't want to work at the post office when a friend suggested it.

    After two years of Army service in South Vietnam, Alexander, a Newark native, found a job at Kraft Foods and was earning more as a laborer than he would have made at the post office.

    But when Kraft moved to Pennsylvania, Alexander needed work and was hired by the post office.

    He was 22 years old.

    Fifty years later, Alexander said, he couldn't be more fortunate and content, noting that not too many people can say they love their job and co-workers.

    His co-workers are his family, and a few of them took time Wednesday to reinforce the bond by teasing him.

    Alexander cracked up, but he had the last word, revising his retirement schedule. Six months, it seems, is off the table.

    "Now that you all have inspired me," Alexander said, smiling, "I'm going to work another 50 years."

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

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