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    Newark Police say Zuzana Bracok, 37, and Taquan Holley, 35, were arrested for possession of a loaded 9mm handgun.

    A Newark teacher and a city resident were arrested on Saturday following a traffic stop in which police discovered a loaded handgun. 

    Police say Zuzana Bracok, 37, of Union, and Taquan Holley, 35, of Newark, were charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.

    pjimage.jpgFrom left, Zuzana Bracok, 37, and Taquan Holley, 35. 

    Officers pulled over a 2006 BMW between North Munn and South Orange avenues around 1 a.m. because it was missing a license plate and had tinted windows, according to Newark Police.

    They discovered a loaded 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun inside the vehicle and arrested Bracok and Holley.

    Police confirmed that Bracok, 37, is a teacher at a charter school in Newark, but did not say where.

    Records indicate that Bracok's certificate to teach English was suspended by the state Department of Education for two years in 2012 because of two disorderly persons offenses.

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

    Find on Facebook  

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    Or, at least God Bless New Jersey. While Trump spews hate and lies, Gov. Phil Murphy signs a law helping these ambitious kids get to college.

    During the Reagan era, I traveled a good deal in Central America, and ran into a bunch of Americans who pretended to be Canadian because they were so horrified by U.S. support for right-wing rebels in Nicaragua.

    Not me, I told them. America is much more than that mistake.

    I was reminded of that last week when Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that allows Dreamers to get college scholarships to public colleges and universities in New Jersey.

    We have a cruel and ignorant president, and he's at his worst when it comes to immigrants. He takes every chance to smear them with his lies, like the myth that they are more likely to commit crimes.

    But we are much more than Trump, as we saw last week.

    "What do we stand for?" asked Assemblyman Gary Schaer, D-Passaic, the sponsor of the bill. "What's the America I want my grandchildren to inherit?"

    The first thing to know about the bill Murphy signed last week is that it will not exclude any citizen from getting a scholarship. Grants are awarded based on need, and anyone who qualifies gets one.

    What it will do is increase costs. The Office of Legislative Services puts the number at $4.5 million, but that assumes no increase in the number of undocumented students enrolling in college. That's not realistic, given that the purpose of the bill is to help more of them enroll. So, let's assume the cost is double that, or $9 million.

    Is it worth it? It's a fair question, in tough budget times.

    Start by putting the number in perspective. The state spends $9 million every two hours, roughly. The surplus in Murphy's budget is $743 million, so reducing that by $9 million is not exactly a run on the bank.

    Gov. Chris Christie spent more than $9 million paying a fancy law firm to produce a whitewash of his sins during the Bridgegate scandal. Republicans didn't complain about that.

    But they did complain about this bill, which drew almost no GOP support. The charge was led by Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, who is running for Congress.

    "Treating non-citizens better than citizens, I think, is fundamentally wrong," he said.

    I can't argue with that principle. But the bill does nothing of the sort. It does the opposite, putting everyone on an even-footing by opening the door to undocumented immigrants who graduate high school here, after at least three years in New Jersey.

    Webber is the guy who is fundamentally wrong. I called and e-mailed him repeatedly over two days, at his legislative and campaign offices, asking to hear him out. No luck.

    But he loves Trump, and now I see the similarity. Running in a GOP primary, he wants to whip up resentment against immigrants to rally the party base -- even if the charge is a Fox News fantasy.

    I talked to one of the Dreamers who might benefit from this, Sara Mora, age 21. She's a graduate of Hillside High School who arrived in New Jersey from Costa Rica illegally at the age of four with her parents. Her dad has worked a series of spot jobs, from fixing cars to washing dishes. Her mom cleans houses when her health allows it.

    "My mom and dad are really good parents," she says. "But it was rough. They both don't speak English and don't have an education. So, I grew up understanding that I'd have to really work hard if I wanted a different life. But it wasn't unhappy. We made the best of it."

    If that does nothing for you, then check your passport to make sure you are American.

    Mora has no memory of Costa Rica. Her home is Hillside, and she says she never felt unwelcomed, and is taken aback by the support for Trump.

    "I always felt included," she said. "I can honestly say I've never been so focused on the fact that I'm an immigrant until now."

    She got through two years of community college before running out of money. Now she's applying for a scholarship, hoping to enroll at Rutgers-Newark in the fall, and maybe become a lawyer someday.

    Back to the money: New Jersey spent about $230,000 to educate Mora from kindergarten through high school. Last year, the average award in the state's main college scholarship program was $7,451.

    Adding this small increment will likely boost her earnings all her life, and even pay for itself in the long run by generating an average of $1,100 in added tax revenue each year, according to the OLS.

    "That's number one - this inures to the benefit of the state," Schaer says.

    Schaer's grandfather fled pogroms on Austria to find haven in America. My people fled the potato famine in Ireland. If you try even a little, it's easy to feel kinship with Mora and her family.

    Two years ago, Christie went halfway to this point, signing a bill that allowed Dreamers to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. This just completes the circle.

    Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, R-Union, says this bill could have drawn some GOP support if it established a more limited fund for immigrant scholarships, or required that parents show proof of having paid taxes.

    "Why can't there be a middle ground?" he asks. "These policies will come back to haunt Democrats."

    America's complicity in creating illegal immigration

    It's possible, but I doubt it. Polls show that 60 percent of Americans want families like Mora's to have a path to citizenship, and that most view immigration as a net benefit to the country.

    Trump speaks for the Republican base, not for America. He's not even trying to reach the rest of us. He's content to watch us rip ourselves apart, as long as he emerges as the winner. And it is nowhere more ugly and obvious than on immigration.

    But if you're traveling, please don't pose as Canadian. If anyone asks, just tell them we are much more than Donald Trump.

    More: Tom Moran columns 

    Tom Moran may be reached at or call (973) 836-4909. Follow him on Twitter @tomamoran. Find Opinion on Facebook.

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    First Avenue School teacher named the city's Teacher of the Year.


    NEWARK -- First Avenue Elementary School teacher Lourdes Reyes has been named the Newark Public School Teacher of the Year for 2018.

    A teacher for 20 years, Reyes has taught first and second grade at Newark's First Avenue School for 15 years.

    "Ms. Reyes brings out the best in every student through unique and engaging lessons. She is patient, kind, thoughtful, compassionate and excited about teaching - and her love of her students engages the entire family in her class," said principal Jose Fuentes, who nominated Reyes for the annual recognition program.

    Reyes was surprised with the honor May 7 when Newark Public Schools interim superintendent Robert Gregory, Fuentes, school administrators and Reyes' daughter, Ivelisse Cruz, presented her with balloons and a bouquet of flowers prior to the start of the school day.

    Gregory said, "Ms. Reyes represents the best in teachers in Newark Public Schools."

    "I am proud and honored to serve the children of Newark and First Avenue School," Reyes said.

    The district will recognize teachers of the year from all Newark Public Schools at a luncheon on May 30.

    To submit school news send an email to

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    Everything you need to know about NJPAC this season.

    The New Jersey Performing Arts Center celebrates its 21st year in Newark this year, and the lineup this season is more diverse than ever, featuring more than 150 events. 

    NJPAC announces this weekend its 2018-19 season schedule, featuring performances that range from Bollywood to ballet, from hip-hop to K-pop and from comedians like Trevor Noah to important political figures like James Comey.

    "We're always keen to find the next great thing for audiences," NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber said. "We're delighted by what's on offer today and even more excited by the shows in the pipeline. NJPAC may be formally announcing a season, but we're always 'announcing' because every week concerts or events are being added."

    Here's a look at the shows that make NJPAC's new season special. 

    "It's such a unique canvas," Executive Vice President and Executive Producer David Rodriguez said. "There really is something for everyone."


    James Comey speaks, as part of the New Jersey Speakers Series
    One of the most prominent figures in United States politics, the former Director of the FBI was dismissed by President Donald Trump last May and has been at the center of the political landscape ever since. New Jerseyians will get a chance to hear his thoughts on the Hillary Clinton email scandal as well as the Russia investigation.

    Oct. 4 at 8 p.m.; Full series tickets: $275-475, provides access to each of six events.

    2018 MONSTA X U.S. Tour 

    You may know pop. You may know hip-hop. But do you know K-pop, the South Korean pop music that's becoming increasingly popular in the U.S.? One of the genre's biggest artists will be coming to Newark as part of its U.S. tour. This show highlights NJPAC's diversity and versatility well, as Rodriguez says, "you can have Yo Yo Ma performing live one evening, and K-pop the next evening."

    July 22 at 8 p.m.; tickets $61-$201

    Antonio Sanchez: "BiRDMAN LiVE," part of the Seventh Annual James Moody Jazz Festival

    NJPAC is proud to honor Newark's jazz heritage with this multi-part event that is one of the most popular showcases of the season. A special screening of the Oscar-winning film, featuring the score performed live by composer Antonio Sanchez might be the most captivating show of the series.

    Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m.; tickets $49-$69 

    Trevor Noah of 'The Daily Show' comes to Newark

    There are several popular comedians taking the stage in Newark, and Noah is one of the biggest up-and-comers. The man who took over for Jersey native Jon Stewart at The Daily Show, his stand-up is irreverent and hilarious as he brings a South African perspective to American life. 

    Sept. 7 and 8 at 8 p.m.; tickets $39-$99 

    The evolution of "The Nutcracker"

    What's cooler than "The Nutcracker" during the holidays? How about two performances, one being a hip-hop rendition and the other being the classic version. Kurtis Blow emcees the hip-hop version followed by the State Ballet of Russia performing as it was originally produced at Moscow's Mariinsky Theatre to Tchiakovsky's original score. Dec. 14 at 8 p.m.; Tickets $29-$79. Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; $29-$79 


    SUMMER 2018

    Felix Hernandez's "Rhythm Revue Dance Party"

    Thursday, July 12 / 5-9 p.m.
    The popular live version of the metro area's first and longest-running radio show dedicated to classic soul and R&B. Part of the Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City free outdoor concert series

    Chambers Plaza / FREE

    Dan & Phil World Tour 2018: "Interactive Introverts"

    Saturday, July 14 / 7:30 p.m.
    These phenomenal YouTube stars arrive direct from the UK with their brand-new IRL world tour, "Interactive Introverts."

    Prudential Hall / $33-$99

    EPMD / Universal Hip Hop Museum                 

    Thursday, July 19 / 5-9 p.m.
    Chambers Plaza / FREE

    Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City, NJPAC's free outdoor music series, continues with this evening of red-hot hip hop, featuring EPMD as well as performers from the Universal Hip Hop Museum.


    "Bring It! LIVE"            
    Friday, July 20 / 8 p.m.
    By popular demand, legendary Coach D and the Dancing Dolls of Lifetime's hit series "Bring It!" return to NJPAC with their spectacular, all-new live tour, an evening jam-packed with high-energy dance routines, audience interaction, and more.
    Prudential Hall / $50.75 -$60.75


    "2018 MONSTA X U.S. Tour"                
    Sunday, July 22 / 8 p.m.
    MONSTA X, one of the hottest K-pop bands under the management of Starship Entertainment, is coming back this summer to launch their second U.S. tour in seven major cities across the country. Part of the American Express World Music Series.

    Prudential Hall / $61-$201


    Tank and the Bangas                

    Thursday, July 26 / 5-9 p.m.
    Soul and spoken word with the New Orleans band Tank and the Bangas. Part of the Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City free outdoor concert series.

    Chambers Plaza / FREE


    Saturday, July 28 / 8 p.m.
    An evening of romantic music with Shaan - the "Golden Voice of India" and one of Bollywood's most versatile vocalists. Part of the American Express World Music Series.

    Prudential Hall / $39-$159

    Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra              

    Thursday, Aug. 2 / 5-9 p.m.
    Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City, NJPAC's free outdoor music series, hosts Brooklyn-based Afrobeat unit Antibalas.

    Chambers Plaza / FREE

    Maceo Parker              

    Thursday, Aug. 9 / 5-9 p.m.
    Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City, NJPAC's free outdoor music series, welcomes soul and funk saxophonist Maceo Parker.

    Chambers Plaza / FREE


    Beres Hammond & Chronixx: "All Love Tour 2018"                  
    Friday, Aug. 10 / 8 p.m.
    Revel in a night of feel-good reggae and "lovers' rock" with Grammy Award nominees Beres Hammond ("One Love, One Life," "Rockaway") and Chronixx ("I Can," "Skankin' Sweet"). Part of the American Express World Music Series.
    Prudential Hall / $63 -$123

    Frankie Negron                        

    Thursday, Aug. 16 / 5-9 p.m.
    An evening of contemporary salsa with Newark's own Frankie Negron, part of the Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City free outdoor concert series. Funk Salsa Urban is the opener.

    Chambers Plaza / FREE

    Rah Digga                    

    Thursday, Aug. 23 / 5-9 p.m.
    An evening of rap featuring Newarker Rah Digga. Part of the Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City free outdoor concert series

    Chambers Plaza / FREE

    Jon B.              

    Thursday, Aug. 30 / 5-9 p.m.
    Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City, NJPAC's free outdoor music series, welcomes Grammy-nominated R&B sensation Jon B.

    Chambers Plaza / FREE


    SEPTEMBER 2018

    Trevor Noah
    Friday, Sept. 7 / 8 p.m.
    Saturday, Sept. 8 / 8 p.m.

    The host of Comedy Central's Emmy-winning "Daily Show" returns to NJPAC with an evening of hilarious stand-up.
    Prudential Hall / $39 -$99


    Jo Koy: "Break the Mold Tour"
    Friday, Sept. 14 / 7 and 9:30 p.m.
    Stand-up sensation Jo Koy, a regular on "Chelsea Lately," Netflix, Comedy Central, and "The Adam Carolla Show," makes his NJPAC debut with his hilarious "Break the Mold Tour."
    Prudential Hall / $39 -$59

    "Laura Osnes Hosts the Broadway Princess Party"
    Featuring Susan Egan and Courtney Reed
    Saturday, Sept. 15 / 7 p.m.

    Two-time Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes (star of "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella") is joined by pals Susan Egan (the original Belle in "Disney's Beauty and the Beast") and Courtney Reed (the original Princess Jasmine in "Disney's Aladdin") at a magical musical theater event.
    Victoria Theater / $59 -$79

    Oscar D'Leon
    With special guest Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno
    Saturday, Sept. 22 / 8 p.m.
    An evening with three of salsa's hottest acts: bassist-vocalist Oscar D'Leon, vocalist Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno. Sponsored by Goya.
    Prudential Hall / $49 -$89

    The Gipsy Kings
    Featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonnino Baliardo
    Sunday, Sept. 23 / 7 p.m.
    Flamenco, Latin rhythms and Western pop come together in the irresistible music of the Gipsy Kings, the Grammy-winning, chart-topping world music superstars. Part of the American Express World Music Series. In association with John Scher/Metropolitan Entertainment
    Prudential Hall / $41.50 -$121.50

    Cafe Tacvba
    with special guest Ruen Brothers
    Tuesday, Sept. 25 / 8 p.m.
    "Cafe Tacvba has earned its reputation as Mexico's most visionary rock band," says The New York Times. Sponsored by Goya.
    Prudential Hall / $49 -$59

    OCTOBER 2018

    James Comey
    Thursday, Oct. 4 / 8 p.m.
    Former Deputy U.S. Attorney General and FBI Director (2013-2017). Part of the New Jersey Speakers Series
    Prudential Hall / Series $285 -$485*

    "Whose Live Anyway?"
    Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Jeff B. Davis and Joel Murray
    Tuesday, Oct. 9 / 7:30 p.m.
    The current cast of television's hit series "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" brings their new improv tour, "Whose Live Anyway?"
    Prudential Hall / $39 -$99

    "Lotus Land: The American RUSH Tribute"
    Saturday, Oct. 13 / 8 p.m.
    Lotus Land - the American RUSH Tribute Band - brings the full force of live RUSH to the concert stage with a night of progressive rock classics like "Subdivisions," "New World Man," "The Spirit of Radio," "Time Stand Still," "Limelight" and more. In association with John Scher/Metropolitan Entertainment
    Victoria Theater / $39.50-$49.50

    "Baby, Dream Your Dream: Great Women Writers of the American Songbook"
    Featuring Margo Seibert, Emily Skinner, Karen Ziemba and more
    Hosted by Deborah Grace Winer
    Saturday, Oct. 13 / 6 and 8:30 p.m.
    A trio of Broadway's top leading ladies celebrate immortal women songwriters in this delightful cabaret performance.
    Chase Room / $50 -$70

    The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival
    Oct. 18-21 / Times and venues vary
    The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival returns for four days of poetry readings and discussions at NJPAC and throughout Newark's downtown arts district. Poets include President Obama's first inaugural poet, Elizabeth Alexander; best-selling authors Sandra Cisneros, Claudia Rankine and Sapphire; former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera; literary legends Eileen Myles and Ntozake Shange; Pulitzer Prize winner Gregory Pardlo; NPR's Krista Tippett and many more.

    Doris Kearns Goodwin
    Thursday, Oct. 25 / 8 p.m.
    Acclaimed biographer and Pulitzer-winning author of "No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt." Part of the New Jersey Speakers Series
    Prudential Hall / Series $285 -$485*

    "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Live in Concert"
    with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
    Saturday, Oct. 27 / 7:30 p.m.
    Don't miss the fourth installment of "Harry Potter in Concert" when NJPAC hosts the full-length film "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," projected in high-definition on a giant screen, with Oscar-nominated composer Patrick Doyle's masterful score performed live by the NJSO. Presented in collaboration with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
    Prudential Hall / $39-$89
    HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and (c) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights (c) JKR. (s16)
    Presented by CINECONCERTS

    "Too Marvelous for Words: Christine Ebersole and Robert Kimball Celebrate Johnny Mercer"
    Saturday, Oct. 27 / 3 p.m.
    Two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole arrives with musical theater historian Robert Kimball and a cabaret performance devoted to the work of Johnny Mercer.
    Chase Room / $50-$70

    Michael Feinstein: "Celebrating the Crooners - Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Bing Crosby & more"
    Sunday, Oct. 28 / 3 p.m.
    Michael Feinstein pays tribute to the immortal crooners: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Bing Crosby and others.
    Prudential Hall / $39-$79

    NOVEMBER 2018

    Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance: Nimbus Dance Works
    Thursday, Nov. 1 / 7 p.m.
    Two provocative dance works from the Jersey City-based company Broadway World describes as "gorgeous (and) exquisite." This performance is presented at NJPAC in association with the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture & the Modern Experience at Rutgers University-Newark.
    Victoria Theater / FREE

    The Mariinsky Orchestra
    Conducted by Valery Gergiev
    Denis Matsuev, piano
    Saturday, Nov. 3 / 8 p.m.
    Debussy: Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune
    Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
    Mahler: Symphony No. 5
    Part of the Bank of America Classical Series
    Prudential Hall / $25 -$99

    Bethany Vespers: Roy Hargrove Quartet
    Saturday, Nov. 3 / 6 p.m.
    For three decades, Grammy winner Roy Hargrove has been one of America's premier jazz players, a hard bop specialist London Jazz News calls "brassily brilliant ... one of the greatest trumpeters of our day." Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Bethany Baptist Church, 275 W. Market St., Newark / FREE

    Kathleen Madigan: "Boxed Wine & Bigfoot"
    Saturday, Nov. 3 / 7 and 9:30 p.m.
    Longtime stand-up star Kathleen Madigan makes a welcome return to NJPAC with her hilarious new show, "Boxed Wine & Bigfoot."
    Victoria Theater / $49-$59

    Bobby Sanabria & IQuarteto Ache!
    Wednesday, Nov. 7 / Noon
    Red-hot Latin jazz with Grammy-nominated drummer, percussionist and composer Bobby Sanabria, who performs with his IQuarteto Ache!, a high-energy group hailed a "classic" by Modern Drummer magazine. Presented by WBGO Jazz 88.3FM. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Gateway II, 2 Gateway Center, Newark / FREE

    Antonio Sanchez: "BiRDMAN LiVE"
    Thursday, Nov. 8 / 7:30 p.m.
    Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Oscar-winning film like you've never seen it before at a special screening featuring the acclaimed score performed live by its composer, jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Victoria Theater / $49 -$69

    A special screening of the Oscar-winning film, featuring the score performed live by composer Antonio Sanchez.

    Gregory Porter and Dianne Reeves
    Thursday, Nov. 8 / 8 p.m.
    This concert stars two of the greatest vocalists in jazz: Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Gregory Porter, whose latest LP is the acclaimed "Nat King Cole & Me," and five-time Grammy winner and 2018 NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Prudential Hall / $29-$89

    "Guitar Passions"
    with Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan & Romero Lubambo
    Friday, Nov. 9 / 7:30 p.m.
    Jazz, classical, rock and Brazilian styles with three brilliant players Guitar World says "were meant to play together." Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Victoria Theater / $49-$59

    "Congas y Canto: An Evening of Latin Jazz"
    Sheila E., Eddie Palmieri and Tito Nieves
    with the Christian McBride Big Band
    Friday, Nov. 9 / 8 p.m.
    Latin rhythms with superstar drummer Sheila E. ("The Glamorous Life"), Grammy-winning pianist and composer Eddie Palmieri, and legendary salsa vocalist Tito Nieves, all backed by NJPAC favorite Christian McBride and his Big Band. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Prudential Hall / $25 -$79

    WBGO Children's Concert: Oran Etkin
    Saturday, Nov. 10 / 1:30 p.m.
    Multi-instrumentalist, composer and rising world music star Oran Etkin takes young audiences on an interactive, musical journey around the world. Presented by WBGO Jazz 88.3FM. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Victoria Theater / FREE

    "Look for the Silver Lining: A Tribute to Jerome Kern"
    with Daryl Sherman
    Saturday, Nov. 10 / 3 p.m.
    Vocalist and pianist Daryl Sherman makes her NJPAC debut with a tribute to American musical theater icon Jerome Kern. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Parsonnet Room / $25

    Marcus Miller & Friends
    with special guest David Sanborn
    Saturday, Nov. 10 / 8 p.m.
    Grammy-winning, genre-busting multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller will share the stage with some of his favorite musicians, including longtime friend and collaborator David Sanborn, a six-time Grammy-winning sax superstar known for his smooth blend of jazz, pop and R&B. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Prudential Hall / $29-$79

    "Sarah 'Sassy' Vaughan: The Life and Legacy of Newark's Own"
    Newark History Society
    Tuesday, Nov. 13 / 7 p.m.
    Celebrate this legendary lady of song at a panel discussion featuring author Elaine Hayes ("Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan"), jazz historian Barbara Kukla and additional guests. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Chase Room / FREE

    Jazz Jam Session
    Thursday, Nov. 15 / 5:30 p.m.
    Ace musicians and students from New Jersey and beyond play alongside their musical heroes. Curated and directed by pianist and bandleader James Austin, Jr., in consultation with the Jazz Advisory Committee of NJPAC's Community Engagement Department. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Clement's Place, Rutgers-Newark, 15 Washington St., Newark / FREE

    NJMEA All-State Jazz Band & Honors Choir Concert
    Friday, Nov. 16 / 7 p.m.
    This dynamic concert gathers some of New Jersey's best young jazz musicians, this year joined by special guest Javon Jackson. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Chase Room / $30 adult, $13 child

    Cecile McLorin Salvant
    Friday, Nov. 16 / 7:30 p.m.
    A woman lived in the woods on the outskirts of town. / Her skin was chocolate brown. / Upon her head she wore a crown of bones. So begins the song cycle "Ogresse," written and performed by Cecile McLorin Salvant, arranged and conducted by Darcy James Argue. One of the jazz world's brightest new stars, Grammy winner Cecile McLorin Salvant is a powerhouse vocalist whose distinctive repertoire blends standards, blues and more with her own compositions. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Victoria Theater / $65

    Steve Martin & Martin Short
    "An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life"
    Featuring The Steep Canyon Rangers and Jeff Babko
    Friday, Nov. 16 / 8 p.m.
    These big-screen funnymen and "SNL" co-stars reunite for an evening that includes stand-up, film clips, music and more. Part of the Bank of America Headliner Series.
    Prudential Hall / $59 -$249

    Dorthaan's Place: Eric Alexander Quartet
    Sunday, Nov. 18 / 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
    Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, known for his incredible agility with both hard bop and post-bop jazz, performs with his all-star quartet featuring pianist Harold Mabern, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    NICO Kitchen + Bar at NJPAC / $45 adult, $15 child

    Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition: The SASSY Awards
    Sunday, Nov. 18 / 3 p.m.
    An exciting evening of performances by finalists in the seventh annual competition. Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
    Victoria Theater / $29 -$39

    Gloria Steinem
    Thursday, Nov. 29 / 8 p.m.
    Journalist, activist and nationally recognized icon of the women's liberation movement. Part of the New Jersey Speakers Series
    Prudential Hall / Series $285 -$485*

    DECEMBER 2018

    "A Chanticleer Christmas"                   
    Saturday, Dec. 1 / 8 p.m.
    This Grammy-winning, 12-man vocal ensemble makes its NJPAC debut with a holiday program as festive as it is eclectic, ranging from Gregorian chant to rousing American spirituals. Part of the Bank of America Classical Series.
    Victoria Theater / $59 -$79

    An Evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson               
    "Cosmic Collisions"
    Wednesday, Dec. 5 / 7:30 p.m.

    The famed astrophysicist and television host explains "Cosmic Collisions" - all the things that go bump in the night (and in the day). Part of the Bank of America Headliner Series.
    Prudential Hall / $39-$99

    Jerry Seinfeld              
    Friday, Dec. 7 / 7 and 9:30 p.m.
    This living legend of comedy, co-creator of the iconic television series "Seinfeld," returns with a night of stand-up.
    Prudential Hall / $78-$177

    "PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue"            
    Saturday, Dec. 8 / 2 and 6 p.m.
    Sunday, Dec. 9 / 10 a.m. and 2 and 6 p.m.
    Ryder and the rescue dogs of Nick Jr.'s hit animated series "PAW Patrol" return with their action-packed live tour.
    Prudential Hall / $23 -$79

    "Scott, Garner, Gray, Says Jimmy Baldwin"                  
    Trilogy: An Opera Company
    Sunday, Dec. 9 / 7 p.m.

    This opera, told through the words of writer James Baldwin, examines injustice in the deaths of 3 black men by the police.
    Victoria Theater / $44-$54

    "The Hip Hop Nutcracker"                   
    Featuring guest MC Kurtis Blow
    Friday, Dec. 14 / 8 p.m.

    NJPAC's holiday original is an urban mash-up that reimagines Tchaikovsky's classic score with explosive hip-hop choreography.
    Prudential Hall / $29 -$79

    "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Live in Concert"
    with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
    Conducted by John Mauceri
    Saturday, Dec. 15 / 7:30 p.m.

    See the Disney/Tim Burton holiday classic with the full score performed live by a full orchestra and choir.
    Prudential Hall / $35-$89
    Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts. All rights reserved. (c)Disney

    Forces of Nature Dance Theatre                       
    Kwanzaa Celebration
    Saturday, Dec. 15 / 2 and 7:30 p.m.

    Celebrate Kwanzaa with this dazzling dance company that The Washington Post calls "nothing short of spectacular!"
    Victoria Theater / $29-$45

    "The Nutcracker"                    
    State Ballet Theatre of Russia
    Sunday, Dec. 16 / 2 and 7 p.m.

    This company of more than 55 performers arrives with its staging of the holiday classic, set to Tchaikovsky's timeless score.
    Prudential Hall / $29-$79

    "Cirque Dreams Holidaze"                   
    Wednesday, Dec. 26 / 7 p.m.
    Thursday, Dec. 27 / 7 p.m.
    This holiday extravaganza is a cirque spectacle, a Broadway musical, and a fun-filled family show - all rolled into one!
    Prudential Hall / $29-$69

    JANUARY 2019

    "The Best of MOMIX"
    Saturday, Jan. 19 / 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, Jan. 20 / 2 p.m.
    The endlessly inventive dancer-illusionists of MOMIX arrive with a mind-bending program of their greatest hits.
    Victoria Theater / $59-$89

    Jeb Bush
    Thursday, Jan. 31 / 8 p.m.
    Florida's first two-term Republican governor and 2016 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Part of the New Jersey Speakers Series
    Prudential Hall / Series $285-$485*

    FEBRUARY 2019

    Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
    "Year of the Pig"
    Saturday, Feb. 2 / 2 p.m.
    Sunday, Feb. 3 / 2 p.m.
    Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company celebrates the Year of the Pig with a program of traditional and contemporary dance and music.
    Victoria Theater / $27-$35 adult, $17 child

    Vic DiBitetto               
    Friday, Feb. 8 / 8 p.m.
    Saturday, Feb. 9 / 8 p.m.
    Known as "The Italian Hurricane," Vic DiBitetto was featured in "Mall Cop 2" with Kevin James and has been viewed on YouTube over 500 million times worldwide.
    Victoria Theater / $39.50

    "National Geographic: Symphony for Our World"                    
    Saturday, Feb. 16 / 8 p.m.
    Take a breathtaking, live multimedia journey through some of the world's most incredible wildlife spectacles.
    Prudential Hall / $49-$104

    Ian Bremmer
    Thursday, Feb. 28 / 8 p.m.
    Founder of Eurasia Group, the global political risk research firm. Part of the New Jersey Speakers Series
    Prudential Hall / Series $285-$485*

    MARCH 2019

    Rennie Harris Puremovement
    Saturday, March 2 / 7:30 p.m.
    Rennie Harris and the exhilarating dancers of Puremovement bring a new, evening-length work, set to house and gospel.
    Victoria Theater / $49-$69

    NJPAC Stage Exchange
    Friday, March 8 / 7 p.m.
    Friday, April 5 / 7 p.m.
    Friday, May 3 / 7 p.m.
    Cutting-edge play development meets insightful community dialogue at NJPAC Stage Exchange, a collaboration of three professional New Jersey theaters and a talented trio of Garden State playwrights. Co-produced with New Jersey Theatre Alliance and sponsored by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and ADP, Official Community Engagement Partner
    Chase Room / $5

    Ryan Hamilton
    Saturday, March 9 / 8 p.m.
    Don't miss the NJPAC debut of stand-up sensation Ryan Hamilton, classified by Rolling Stone as one of "Five Comics to Watch."
    Victoria Theater / $39

    The Philadelphia Orchestra
    Conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin
    Jan Lisiecki
    , piano
    Friday, March 15 / 8pm
    : Overture to L'isola disabitata
    Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1
    Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C ("The Great")
    Part of the Bank of America Classical Series
    Prudential Hall / $25-$99

    "An Evening with Linda Eder"
    Saturday, March 16 / 7:30 p.m.
    "The tradition of Garland and Streisand lives on when Linda Eder steps before the microphone," says The Chicago Tribune.
    Victoria Theater / $57-$77

    Bryan Stevenson
    Thursday, March 28 / 8 p.m.
    Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. Part of the New Jersey Speakers Series
    Prudential Hall / Series $285-$485*

    "Mandy Gonzalez: Fearless"
    Saturday, March 30 / 6 and 8:30 p.m.
    One of Broadway's most powerful, versatile leading ladies, currently starring as Angelica in the smash hit "Hamilton," makes her NJPAC cabaret debut.
    Chase Room / $50-$70


    APRIL 2019

    Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance: Carolyn Dorfman Dance
    Saturday, April 6 / 7 p.m.
    New Jersey's own Carolyn Dorfman Dance is known for high-energy, technically demanding dance and powerful storytelling.
    Victoria Theater / $30-$45

    "The Rainbow Fish"
    Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia
    Saturday, April 13 / 11 a.m.
    An enchanting, puppet-filled adaptation of Marcus Pfister's beloved children's book, from Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.
    Victoria Theater / $20 adult, $13 child

    Jay Leno
    Thursday, April 25 / 8 p.m.
    Stand-up comedy legend and former host of "The Tonight Show." Part of the New Jersey Speakers Series
    Prudential Hall / Series $285-$485*

    Shen Yun
    Friday, April 26 / 8 p.m.
    Saturday, April 27 / 2 and 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, April 28 / 1 p.m.
    Thursday, May 2, 2 p.m.
    Friday, May 3 / 8 p.m.
    Saturday, May 4 / 2 and 7:30 p.m.
    An extraordinary journey in music and dance through China's 5,000 years of divinely inspired civilization.
    Prudential Hall / $84-$204

    Zakir Hussain's Masters of Percussion
    Saturday, April 27 / 2 and 7:30 p.m.
    The London Telegraph calls Zakir Hussain "the presiding genius and global ambassador for North Indian classical music." Part of the American Express World Music Series.
    Victoria Theater / $49-$79

    MAY 2019

    Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
    On sale June 2018
    "Movement that'll move you" (New York magazine) is guaranteed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's annual engagement at NJPAC: dazzling programs that combine new works with masterpieces like "Revelations."
    Prudential Hall / Ticket prices N/A

    The Bell Trio
    Joshua Bell (violin) / Jeremy Denk (piano) / Steven Isserlis (cello)

    Sunday, May 5 / 3 p.m.
    : Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49
    Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67
    Trio elegiaque No. 1 in G minor
    : Piano Trio in A minor
    Part of the Bank of America Classical Series
    Prudential Hall / $25-$99

    "The Magic Tree House: Showtime with Shakespeare"
    A co-production with George Street Playhouse
    Friday, May 31 / 7 p.m.
    A new hip-hop musical for the entire family, adapted from an adventure in Mary Pope Osborne's best-selling "Magic Tree House" book series.
    Victoria Theater / $25 adult, $13 child

    JUNE 2019

    "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Live in Concert"               
    with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
    Saturday, June 1 / 7:30 p.m.

    NJPAC welcomes the fifth installment of "Harry Potter in Concert" with the full-length film "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," projected in high-definition on a giant screen, with Grammy-nominated composer Nicholas Hooper's spellbinding score performed live by the NJSO. Presented in collaboration with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
    Prudential Hall / $39-$89
    HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and (c) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights (c) JKR. (s16)
    Presented by CINECONCERTS

    "Jersey NEW Moves! Emerging Choreographers"
    Friday, June 14 / 7 p.m.
    The fifth edition of NJPAC's annual contemporary dance series showcases six of New Jersey's best up-and-coming choreographers.
    Victoria Theater / $34

    Jeremy Schneider may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @J_Schneider. Find on Facebook.

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    Andy Fagioli dressed as the Montclair State University mascot on Monday to propose to his girlfriend, Stacy Albanese. Watch video

    The person in the red hawk costume bounced over to Stacy Albanese's cubicle at Montclair State University with a basket of lollipops in hand -- er, claw. 

    "Doesn't Stacy get a Tootsie Pop?" asked a woman videotaping the Monday afternoon office visit. 

    "I don't," Albanese interjected. "I don't need one, but -"

    Before she could say more, the hawk was down on one knee, opening a ring box as his boss pulled off the costume head to reveal the university mascot's identity: Andy Fagioli, Albanese's long-term boyfriend. 

    Thus began the creative marriage proposal that saw Albanese, 31, stare at her soon-to-be fiance in shock for a few seconds and ask if this was "real life" before nodding her head "yes" and starting to tear up. 

    "I couldn't even process what was happening," Albanese said Saturday. "I've never been that surprised in my entire life. It's hard to keep secrets from me, so it was incredible." 

    It was fitting that the couple's engagement centered on the university where they both earned degrees and now work, they said. Albanese earned bachelor's and master's degrees there and is now the associate director of alumni relations, while Fagioli got his bachelor's degree at the university and works as a web and media developer. 

    The pair said they met in 2006 through a mutual friend, but lost touch. A shared love for the popular book series "The Hunger Games" reunited them in 2012, however, when Albanese posted about it on Twitter and Fagioli responded. Their first date -- coffee and a walk around a park in Nutley -- followed soon after. 

    Fast forward six years, and the couple lives together in Little Falls. Albanese said she knew a proposal was in the near future. 

    "I was sort of on high alert any time we'd go out to dinner or took a walk," she said. "But I certainly was not on high alert when I was at work. We both work at Montclair, but we're in different buildings, ... so it was sort of the last thing in my mind." 

    Fagioli, meanwhile, had been mulling over how he wanted to ask Albanese to spend forever with him, and he decided to dress up as Rocky the Red Hawk to make the school a part of their engagement story. Albanese has a lot of pride for her alma mater, Fagioli said. 

    Part of his job is managing the mascot, and his boss made sure the costume was clean and ready to go for his big moment. Albanese's colleagues peeked at her online calendar to make sure she wouldn't be in a meeting when Fagioli, 30, arrived. 

    He dressed in the costume on Monday and waved to students passing by as his colleague drove him to the building where Albanese works. He said he carried the basket of Tootsie Pops around the room, pretending to "spread the love" at the beginning of another work week. 

    "I had been in meetings all day, I hadn't even eaten lunch yet, I was doing a million things," Albanese said of the moment when the mascot arrived at her office. "Andy did mention to me that Rocky was going to be in my building, which is not out of the normal. ... I didn't think anything of it."

    Fagioli said he circled the room, passing out lollipops and avoiding Albanese until she was at her desk. Then, he said, he got down on one knee and popped the question. 

    "It was very nerve-wracking because I was down there for awhile," Fagioli said, laughing. "No, I knew she'd say yes." 

    Albanese said the couple were grateful that some of their friends were present to witness their engagement. They hope to get married in the fall of 2019. 

    So, will the couple's favorite mascot be at their wedding? 

    "Rocky will most likely be on the guest list," Fagioli said. 

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

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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption in shelters and rescues.

    Pet facts:

    * Dalmatians are born without spots. They are born with plain white coats with their first spots appearing after they are 1 week old.

    * Cats spend approximately 30% of their waking hours grooming themselves.

    * Greyhounds are the world's fastest dogs with the ability to reach up to 45 mph.

    * Cat whiskers are so sensitive they can detect the slightest change in air current.

    * Nine percent of dog owners will have a birthday party for their pet.

    * "American Shorthair" is the designation reserved for pedigreed cats, while similar-looking cats of mixed or unknown origin are called "domestic shorthairs."

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

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    Ulises Yance, 16, Alex Lopez, 15, and Alexa Arenas, 16, were reporting missing last week

    Three teenagers reported missing last week - along with $8,000 belonging to the father of one - have been found, police said.

    Ulises Yance, 16, Alex Lopez, 15, and Alexa Arenas, 16, were believed headed to New Mexico, police said. Arenas was last seen Thursday and Yance and Lopez were last seen Friday morning, police said.

    Yance's father had reported that about $8,000 was taken from him before the teens fled, according to a township news release.

    "All juveniles have been located and are safe! Thank you for your assistance," Bloomfield police said in a Facebook update.

    Alexa's father, Carlos Arenas, said Monday the teenagers had taken a train from Bloomfield to Philadelphia, where they spent a day or two. 

    Arenas said some of the money was recovered from the teenagers when they were found in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, apparently attempting to board another train.

    The amount of money taken was in dispute, Arenas said, adding it may have been less than $8,000.

    No charges were filed and the teens were all safe at home on Monday, Arenas said.

    Police on Monday were not immediately available to comment.

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

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    Another week of upsets twists up the Top 20 again.

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    See the favorites, contenders and more from each section of the girls lacrosse state tournament.

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    Hip-hop icon and Newark native Queen Latifah urged Rutgers-Newark graduates to pay it forward "because in a world of bullets ... we need more citizens." Watch video

    You can call her doctor, now. 

    "I'm always asked by people what should I call you? Queen? Latifah? Dana? After today, you can just call me doctor," Newark native Queen Latifah told graduates of Rutgers-Newark Monday morning, after receiving an honorary doctorate degree in fine arts. 

    Born in Newark and raised in East Orange, Latifah impressed upon the black-robed graduates, who gathered for their commencement at the Prudential Center, the importance of home.

    "I'm a Jersey girl, born and bred ... I couldn't be more proud to be one of Newark's own today, this is home," she said of her homecoming. "Today's Newark is stirring again, stirring because our greatest export was never a product, it's always been the people. People like each of you -- unique, strong, creative individuals."

    Queen Latifah speaks at Rutgers University-Newark Commencement 2018Rutgers Newark commencement speaker Queen Latifah reat the Prudential center in Newark, NJ. Monday,05/14/2018 

    A hip-hop icon, Grammy-award winner and Golden-Globe winner, Latifah is also a philanthropist who founded a scholarship for low-income youth. She said the lessons she learned in New Jersey make her who she is. 

    In school, Latifah said she was taller, bigger and different than the other girls. "By the time I was 13, I had body, all of it, it was all there," she said. "It still is, and I'm damn proud of it," she added, placing her hand on her left hip.

    Latifah said she grew confident when she took the stage as one of the Dorothy's in her school's production of "The Wiz." 

    "Graduates, home shapes you, make sure you shape it back," Latifah said. "Take a chance on that next kid who comes along the way, the way someone took a chance on you, the way someone took a chance on me."

    Rutgers University-Newark Commencement 2018Rutgers Newark commencement at the Prudential center in Newark, NJ. Monday,05/14/2018 

    Safika Frazier, 39, was graduating on Monday with a masters degree in public administration. Her graduation cap was glittered red, with photos of her two daughters (ages 13 and 15) and her late mother. 

    "My children are my inspiration," Frazier, of Newark, said. She said having Latifah as the commencement speaker was an honor. 

    "She makes me proud, definitely proud of my city," she said. "It's good to have someone here representing the city in a positive light."

    Rutgers officials said the class of 2018 was the largest and most accomplished class in the university's history. At Rutgers-Newark, 97 received phD degrees, 77 received masters degrees and 15 maters in fine arts. 

    "In a world of bullets and divisions and distractions, we need more citizens pulling us together instead of trying to pull us apart," Latifah said. "Give back to your home."

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

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    A Newark woman who showed up at a Jersey City car dealership in a Mercedes bought using a stolen identity was arrested as she tried to buy another car using the same stolen identity, police said.

    JERSEY CITY -- A Newark woman who showed up at a Jersey City car dealership in a Mercedes she bought with a stolen identity was arrested as she tried to buy second car using the same stolen identity, police said. 

    On Thursday, Shannon M. Stevens, 31, of Wainwright Street, went to a Toyota dealership on Route 440 and filled out a credit application to buy a RAV4 using an identity stolen from a woman, a criminal complaint said.

    But when the application was processed, the victim was send a fraud alert that she set up after the Mercedes was purchased from a Hillside dealership in her name, the complaint said.

    She called Hillside police, Hillside police called the Toyota dealership and the Toyota dealership called the Jersey City Police Department, which sent officers to the dealership, the complaint said

    When approached, Stevens gave police the other woman's name, but officers soon determined her identity and she was arrested. Stevens also handed over the keys to the Mercedes and officers found it parked nearby, the complaint said.

    Stevens was charged with counts that include theft, receiving stolen property, credit application fraud and providing a false government document – a driver's license, the complaint says.

    Stevens made her first appearance on the charges on Friday in Criminal Justice Reform Court in Jersey City via video link from Hudson County jail in Kearny. At the hearing, she was ordered released with conditions of supervision pending trial.

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    Hungry? Chase after these mobile eateries, which are the best around, according to the website.

    Are you a food truck connoisseur? Then perhaps you've heard of these six legendary N.J. trucks, which the Daily Meal says are among the top 101 in the country.

    Just making the list at number 100 is Aroy-D, the Thai Elephant, out of Verona, which serves up pad thai, drunken noodles, pad see ew, dumplings and more. Aroy-D, which is Thai for "very yummy" claims to be "New Jersey's first and only authentic Thai food truck." 

    "Thailand-born Pupay moved to the United States in 2006 and soon began longing for her native Thai food, which she started making at home. One day she sent food into the office of her husband, Jon, and his co-workers went crazy for it," the Daily Meal says.

    The truck, launched in 2011, was also part of the Food Network's Great Food Truck Race.

    Next on the list at number 95 is Cupcake Carnivale, for the sweets lovers. With a home base in Princeton, this truck cruises through Jersey and Philly. 

    "Cupcake Carnivale's cupcake varieties -- from "That's S'more" to "Not Your Father's Root BEER Float" to "Strawberry Oreo Cookies & Cream" and about 50 others -- are some of the most imaginative creations we've ever seen, and among the most delicious around," the ranking says. 

    Two notches up the list is Mannino's Cannoli Express, number 93, serving Gaby Mannino's famous cannoli for the past eight years.

    "She buys shells baked in Sicily (which are wider than most domestically made shells) and makes the filling in her family's Italian restaurant, in alternate varieties like chocolate and blueberry," the Daily Meal says.

    Then comes the Polkadot Cupcake Shop out of Nutley, which landed at number 51 in the list. The ranking says folks reached out in droves to add the truck to last year's ranking. 

    It scored for "classics like the signature red velvet and birthday cake varieties; specialty creations like "Better Than Sex" (with chocolate cake, mousse, frosting, drizzle, and sprinkles), PBJ, and salted caramel peanut butter pretzel; cocktail cupcakes made with booze; and a monthly special."

    Closer to the top at number eight is the Cinnamon Snail, originally out of New York City (with a brick-and-mortar store in Penn Station), but now serving Red Bank and surrounds with vegan goodies.

    "Try the red curry grilled tofu on a grilled pretzel bun with pickled jalapenos and carrots, curried cashews, arugula, and Sriracha mayonnaise," suggests the ranking. "How about a burger? Go for the smoked sage seitan burger with sage seitan sausage baked ziti, marinated kale, smoked chili coconut bacon, and roasted garlic aioli. Gluten-free? Replace any bun or bread with millet flax bread or have your meal served over greens and red quinoa pilaf."

    And the best of the bunch?

    According to the Daily Meal, the top food truck in Jersey is ... drum roll ... Oink and Moo BBQ, at number five in the country, which has "operated in New Jersey since 2012, enjoying its status as a well-kept Garden State secret in towns like Hoboken and Asbury Park."

    The Daily Meal says that after the truck expanded to serving Philly, it won a "Vendy award" for Rookie of the Year: "The concept is simple: beef brisket or pulled pork barbecue done well (not well-done) in the form of sliders, chili, tacos, quesadillas, and ribs."

    What's your favorite Jersey food truck? Tell us in the comments.

    Jessica Remo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @JessicaRemoNJ. Find on Facebook.

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    See the favorites, contenders and more from each section.

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    The first class of inductees to Audible's 'Narrator Hall of Fame' got a tour of the new Audible Studios and a glimpse of Newark.

    Their voices have reached millions, filling silences during long car rides or commutes, booming through headphones or homes on quiet Sunday mornings. 

    The narrators for Audible's audiobooks for years have brought stories to life through the power of sound. Now, more performers will have the chance to record at the company's headquarters in Newark -- in a brand new and expanded studio space. 

    "Having more studio space lets us tell more stories," said Kat Lambrix, director of Audible Studios. The Newark office on 1 Washington Street now boasts of 10 studios, including a multi-cast space where performers can interact with each other without cramming into smaller, individual booths. 

    StudioTour-12.jpgAudible's new studio space will allow more narrators to record in Newark. (Courtesy: Audible)

    Audible, headquartered in Newark, debuted its new state-of-the-art studios last week as it welcomed its inaugural class of 20 inductees to its "Narrator Hall of Fame." The narrators -- picked for their bodies of work, listener reviews and exceptional performances -- were given among the first public tours of the space before being honored steps away at the Newark Museum. 

    "It's unreal," said Prentice Onayemi, one of the 20 narrators inducted into the Hall of Fame. "Growing up my mom was addicted to audiobooks and I grew up hearing so many of the voices being honored today."

    Onayemi said he was already scheduled to record Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World  (an Audible original) by Scott McCormick, a children's book on famous rivals in history the following day in the new studio space. 

    Audible StudiosThe new studio space at Audible.  

    During the tour, the inductees weaved through the sleek, new studio, awed by the silence and the space in the multi-cast room. At least two of the studios were already in use; a narrator was seen reading off an iPad while the director/engineer sat across a glass pane. 

    Books on average take about three days to record, Lambrix said. And with a larger in-house studio, there will be more opportunities to bring performers to Newark. 

    "Everyone we've brought out here says it's such an easy trip," she said.  

    The night was also a celebration of Newark, home to Audible since 2007.

    Honorees came from as far as London and California and stayed at the Hotel Indigo. The ceremony was held at the Newark Museum and each of the new studios (as are all the conference rooms) is named after a famous Newarker. Even the glass awards were made by Newark-based GlassRoots.

    "It's really heartening to see the strength of leadership, especially political leadership and this willingness to collaborate," Onayemi, 32, said. "It's lovely to see the energy."

    During the Hall of Fame ceremony Thursday night, the honorees included performers like Jim Dale, known for bringing the Harry Potter series to life, and Edward Herrmann, who passed away in 2014, but was known for reading histories and biographies. Herrmann also starred in hit series, "Gilmore Girls." His wife accepted the award on his behalf and said of Herrmann, "He loved reading and he would have loved this place."

    GlassRoots.pngThe awards for the Narrator Hall of Fame were made by Newark-based GlassRoots. (Courtesy: Audible).

    The Narrator Hall of Fame inductees also included: 

    • Vikas Adam 
    • Andi Arndt
    • Scott Brick 
    • Cassandra Campbell 
    • Alan Cumming 
    • Luke Daniels 
    • Jonathan Davis 
    • Dion Graham 
    • George Guidall 
    • Katherine Kellgren 
    • Lorelei King 
    • Rick Lewis 
    • Robin Miles 
    • Frank Muller
    • Davina Porter 
    • Barbara Rosenblat 
    • Bahni Turprin
    • Simon Vance

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

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    The Belleville Police are searching for a woman who stole a package from the front door of a home last week.

    The Belleville Police are seeking the public's help to identify a woman who was seen stealing a package from the front door of a home last week.

    Police released photos of the woman captured by a security camera on May 11 at the Dewitt Avenue home on the department's Facebook page on Monday.

    Anyone who recognizes the woman can contact the Belleville Police Department at 973-450-3361.

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

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    Prosecutors said they entered the home of an acquaintence looking for drugs and cash

    When Lavelle Davis and Jimmy Mays entered 38 Van Ness Court in Maplewood on Jan. 29, 2017, they were looking for drugs and cash.

    Lavelle Davis and Jimmy MaysLavelle Davis, left, and Jimmy Mays

    What they found, prosecutors said, were three people whose lives would soon end at their hands.

    After a week of deliberations, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement, a jury in Newark late Friday night found both men guilty of murder, robbery and other charges in the killings of Michael Davis, 45, Roshana Kelson, 30, and Lance Fraser, 44.

    Mays and Lavelle Davis were accompanied by a still-unidentified accomplice when they entered Michael Davis' apartment, authorities said.

    At trial before Superior Court Judge Richard T. Sules, assistant prosecutors Carlo Fioranelli and Sean Dickson, produced evidence that the trio -- who knew Michael Davis -- fatally shot him and Kelson, who were in a relationship, before torturing and then killing Fraser. The trio left after ransacking the house, authorities said.

    Firefighters conducting a welfare check at Michael Davis' apartments, after the victims' families were unable to reach them, found the bodies the next day.

    While describing the killings as out of character for the neighborhood, residents nearby said they had noticed an unusual amount of traffic in the cul-de-sac near the Gardens at Maplewood complex in which Michael Davis lived.

    Mays, 34, formerly of Egg Harbor Township, was arrested by local and federal authorities in Columbia, Maryland, two weeks later. Lavelle Davis, 37, of Galloway, was arrested in Yonkers the day after Mays.

    At sentencing, Mays and Davis -- who are represented by defense attorney Michael Robbins state Public Defender Joseph Krakora, respectively -- each face possible life sentences.

    Mays has four prior felony convictions, while Davis has two for conspiring to commit aggravated assault and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, the prosecutor's office said. 

    The sentencings of both Mays and Davis have been scheduled for June 26, according to the prosecutor's office.

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

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    Edwin Hernandez, 26, of Newark, was captured about 7 p.m. Monday in Newark Penn Station

    A drug suspect escaped police custody after being brought to court Monday and managed to elude capture for several hours before officers caught him at Newark Penn Station, authorities said.

    edwin-hernandez.jpgEdwin Hernandez 

    Edwin Hernandez, 26, of Newark, was captured about 7 p.m. in the station, which is one of the busiest transportation hubs in New Jersey.

    "While attending court today, Hernandez managed to escape police custody," Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said in a statement.

    Hernandez had been arrested Sunday night. He was in court on charges of selling drugs on school property, possession, resisting arrest and for several outstanding warrants, police said.

    Newark police declined Tuesday to provide details of how Hernandez escaped their custody.

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

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    These 50 players could be X-factors in the boys lacrosse state tournament

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    The prestigious New Jersey private school agreed to improve its safety programs to help prevent future sexual abuse.

    One of New Jersey's most elite private schools says it will improve programs to protect students on its campus as part of a settlement reached last week with 21 victims of alleged sexual abuse at the school.

    The Pingry School also reached a financial settlement with the victims for an undisclosed amount, according to a statement released Friday.

    "We are deeply sorry for the abuse the survivors experienced while at our school and the pain they have endured since. Their courage in coming forward is extraordinary," Jeffrey Edwards, chairman of Pingry's board of trustees, said in the statement.

    Pingry released a report last year that said a popular teacher and Boy Scout leader at the school was accused of abusing at least 27 boys over six years in the mid 1970s.

    27 victims claim abuse by Pingry teacher

    Thad "Ted" Alton allegedly targeted preteen boys in his class at the school's Short Hills campus and in his Boy Scout troop. Some students allege they were assaulted anywhere from 25 to 100 times.

    The investigative firm Pingry hired to write the March 2017 report also found alleged sexual misconduct by two other teachers at the school.

    Pingry officials were not aware of the alleged abuse at the time, except for one board member who heard about Alton's behavior, but never officially reported it, the internal investigation found.

    The alleged victims filed a lawsuit in March alleging the sexual misconduct and abuse was well known at the elite school, though no one did anything about it.

    Alton, now in his 70s and self-employed in New York, was not named as a defendant in the suit. He is a registered sex offender because of a 1990 conviction for deviate sexual misconduct in upstate New York.

    As part of the settlement, Pingry will put new safety measures in place and review its current policies on protecting students from abuse.

    "Pingry and the survivors will work together in a variety of ways, including establishing a Student Safety Advisory Committee to identify ways to further improve safety initiatives at the school," the victims' statement said. "As a result of their input, the school will also undertake an audit of its child protection policies, including a review of existing methods to report suspicions of abuse or inappropriate behavior, among other actions."

    The attorneys representing the victims praised the group for coming forward decades after they were allegedly abused.

    "We also are pleased that the Pingry School has heard our clients and taken measures to acknowledge their pain. Most of all, we are hopeful because the survivors and the school have agreed to important steps to meet their ultimate common goal-- making sure that the Pingry School is as safe as possible and ensuring that this history can never be repeated," attorneys Stephen Crew and Peter Janci said in a statement.

    The settlement was reached with the help of a mediator based in Boston, the attorneys said.

    Pingry, founded in 1861, has a lower school in the Short Hills section of Millburn and a middle and upper school campus in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township. Tuition for its 1,100 students ranges from $33,748 to $39,523 a year.

    The school has a $93 million endowment, Pingry officials said.

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

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    30 N.J. softball alums and their prospects in the tournament

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