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    Bloomfield High School held its 2018 prom on May 31st at the Westmount Country Club. The students danced to the music played by Jimmy Hemp Productions. Be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at nj.com/prom. Bloomfield 2017 prom (PHOTOS) Bloomfield 2016 prom (PHOTOS) Bloomfield 2015 prom (PHOTOS) Bloomfield 2014 prom (PHOTOS) BUY THESE PHOTOS Are you one of the people pictured at this...

    Bloomfield High School held its 2018 prom on May 31st at the Westmount Country Club. The students danced to the music played by Jimmy Hemp Productions.

    Be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at nj.com/prom.

    Bloomfield 2017 prom (PHOTOS)

    Bloomfield 2016 prom (PHOTOS)

    Bloomfield 2015 prom (PHOTOS)

    Bloomfield 2014 prom (PHOTOS)

    BUY THESE PHOTOS

    Are you one of the people pictured at this prom? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Look for the blue link "buy photo" below the photographer's credit to purchase the picture. You'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.

    Aristide Economopoulos can be reached at aeconomopoulos@njadvancemedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @AristideNJAM and Instagram at @aeconomopoulos  Find NJ.com on Facebook


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    Hatchet houses that offer ax throwing are cropping up across the state, inviting locals to try their hand at lodging the metal implements in wood targets. From Stumpy's Hatchet House to Bury the Hatchet, Axehole's Hatchet House and Chopper's, there's no shortage of ways to throw an ax in New Jersey.


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    The Greater Newark Conservancy says the future of its urban farm is not certain in city plans for a development project.

    Newark's first urban farm is facing a development quandary after eight years on city land.

    It's the baby of the Greater Newark Conservancy, an environmental steward that has turned nearly an acre of land into a fresh food haven behind the vacant Krueger-Scott Mansion, a historic home on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Court Street.

    Conservancy Executive Director Robin Dougherty said she wants that to continue as the city moves forward with its plans with a developer -- Avi Telyas of Seaview Development Corp., in New York -- to restore the mansion and construct a multi-residential complex with an entrepreneurial component.

    MORE: Recent Barry Carter columns  

    Carmelo G. Garcia, the deputy mayor/director of economic and housing development, said this isn't a problem. Jennifer Carrillo-Perez, attorney for the developers, concurs.

    Both said the farm, to be managed by the conservancy, is part of the project. It would be housed in a year-round greenhouse facility on a campus setting that has a trendy plaza, 16 workshops spaces for entrepreneurs and a seven-story building with apartments that have live-and-work spaces for entrepreneurs.

    The problem for Dougherty is that the farm and a greenhouse are not the same conceptually, nor are they equal in size as the city and the developer claim.

    The entire farm, she said, is just under 40,000 square feet. But Garcia said the space the conservancy uses to grow vegetables could be accommodated in the proposed  7,946-square-foot greenhouse facility.

    Garcia said Dougherty's position is surprising, because the city, developer and Dougherty agreed the urban farm would be in the greenhouse facility and that the conservancy would be a partner.

    "In our eyes, and based on what we had discussed, she was on board," Garcia said. "We wouldn't move forward without them (the conservancy). That was one of the pieces that was instrumental to get the project signed-off on."

    Dougherty acknowledged discussion about a greenhouse and a possible partnership, but she said nothing is in writing.

    "The intention is there, but that doesn't translate into anything," she said. "I'm not trying to stop the developer or ruin the development. As far as I'm concerned, we don't have a space."

    She's looking for a memorandum of understanding agreement, which Garcia said would occur after the site plan is approved by the Central Planning Board.

    Clearly, additional conversation is necessary.

    Residents get their chance at 6 p.m. today during a community meeting at Abyssinian Baptist Church on West Kinney Street. The project, a development the city believes will revitalize the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridor, will be presented again on Monday to the Planning Board.

    Built in 1888 by beer baron Gottfried Krueger, the mansion has been an eyesore since its last owner, Louise Scott, died in 1983.  When the city foreclosed on the property, vandals destroyed the Victorian-era home and the city's restoration efforts failed, wasting $7 million in taxpayer money.

    The farm, however, became the bright spot and a community staple, producing 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of food annually in the Central Ward.

    It grows everything from asparagus to zucchini. There are peach, cherry and pear trees, and bushes that grow raspberries and blueberries. Abundant strawberries hang from floppy stems.

    Need eggs? The farm has chickens, too.

    A lot went into getting the farm started for a community that has taken to its benefits. The conservancy set up youth farm stands that taught high school and college students how to market and sell the homegrown food.

    Seniors from a nearby townhouse development lined up to purchase the goods. On many occasions, the conservancy gave the food to seniors for free.  It also held classes to teach them to prepare meals, and often let them come to the farm and the pick fruits and vegetables they wanted.

    "I'm a city boy," said Richard Dixson, 77. "I had never done something like that."

    If seniors didn't want to go to the farm, 80-year-old Myrtle Gainer said, they could pick from their own garden, which the conservancy helped them cultivate.

    "They taught us how to grow our own food," she said.

    MORE CARTER: Newark homeless plead with city to keep temporary shelter open | Carter

    The farm was for more than growing food.  It was a place for residents to sit and relax,  or to volunteer, like Patrick Tomlinson would do often. On a greater scale, it saved the lives of men returning home from prison. They were part of a Clean & Green prison re-entry program that trained them on the farm for landscaping and horticulture jobs.

    Mark Kearney, a Newark resident who was the program supervisor, said those men were able to gain future employment when they left the program because the conservancy gave them a chance when no one else would. He knows. He was one of them.

    Not only did it teach the men to eat better and help bond with their families, Kearney said, the farm was a safe zone. Street disputes, he said, stayed away from the area and the farm.

    "I've seen what it can do for the community," Kearney said. "We need one in every ward.''

    Now it needs a resolution.

    Until that happens, Dougherty said the conservancy is taking care of what's left at the farm and looking to find another place not earmarked for development.

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

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


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  • 06/01/18--05:05: Happy hound needs a home
  • Betty Boop doesn't mind other dogs but doesn't get along with cats.

    ex0603pet.jpgBetty Boop 

    BLOOMFIELD -- Betty Boop is a basset hound/beagle mix between 2 and 3 years old at the Bloomfield Animal Shelter.

    Volunteers say she is "a fun and friendly dog" who doesn't mind other dogs but doesn't get along with cats.

    An owner experienced with hounds would be ideal for Betty Boop, who has been spayed and is up-to-date on shots.

    To meet Betty Boop and other adoptable pets, visit the Bloomfield Animal Shelter, located at 61 Bukowski Place, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 973-748-0194 or go to njhumane.org.

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

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


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    BLOOMFIELD -- This photo was taken at Broad Street in downtown Bloomfield in 1960. MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey The cannon pictured is part of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, erected during the town's Centennial Celebration in 1912. If you would like to share a photo that provides a glimpse of history in your community, please call 973-836-4922 or...

    BLOOMFIELD -- This photo was taken at Broad Street in downtown Bloomfield in 1960.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    The cannon pictured is part of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, erected during the town's Centennial Celebration in 1912.

    If you would like to share a photo that provides a glimpse of history in your community, please call 973-836-4922 or send an email to essex@starledger.com. And, check out more glimpses of history in our online galleries on nj.com.

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


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    Many New Jersey celebrities have listed their luxury homes this spring real estate season.


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    The annual 40-round Major League Baseball amateur draft will be held June 4-6 in Secaucus.


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    Kori Scott of East Orange will be 'Mayor for a Day' after using the technique to prevent a fellow 3rd grader from choking Watch video

    Kori Scott remembered the time six years ago when her father performed the Heimlich maneuver to save her from choking, so she recognized what was happening and knew what to do when a friend eating a burrito jumped up without a word and ran out of the school cafeteria.

    Kori was just three years old when her father dislodged the clump of beans and rice from her windpipe, and later trained her in the Heimlich maneuver. So she was all of 9 when, on May 14, she called on her own experience and Heimlich training from her parents to save a fellow third grader at the Edward T. Bowser Elementary School in East Orange.

    Kori Scott smile.jpgKori Scott, a third-grader in East Orange, was named "Mayor for a Day" by Mayor Ted Green, left, after preventing a classmate from choking by performing the Heimlich maneuver. Her mother, Kiana Scott stood behind her. Her father, Roy Scott, is behind the mayor, in white. 

    "Well, me and my friend, we were in the cafeteria a few days ago, and she started choking, so I started panicking myself because I felt like it was me who was the one choking, because she's my closest friend," Kori said in an interview outside East Orange City Hall, where she was honored on Thursday.

    "Then she ran out, and she started pounding on a railing and bending her head down, and blinking off and on, like that," Kori explained, blinking her eyes. "So I pulled her away (from the railing), and did the Heimlich maneuver on her and I saved her. And she gave me a big hug and said 'You're a life saver.'"

    Kori got a big collective hug on Thursday from the City of East Orange, when Mayor Ted Green issued a proclamation naming her "Mayor for a Day" for Friday, which happens to be, not coincidentally, Heimlich Maneuver Day.

    "When these things do happen, we have to recognize what happened and the young people involved," Green said at an afternoon press conference. "They are our heroes."

    Kori's parents, Kiana and Roy Scott, beamed with pride as the mayor read the proclamation and presented it to their daughter. As mayor, Kori said one of the things she planned to do was eat cookies. 

    The Scotts are both security guards -- she for East Orange Public Schools and he for St. Ann's Community Day Center in Newark -- and both are professionally trained in the technique developed in the 1970s by Henry Heimlich, an American thoracic surgeon and researcher, who died in 2016 at age 96.

    Steve Strunsky may be reached at sstrunsky@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveStrunsky. Find NJ.com on Facebook


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    In December, Lange pleaded guilty to heroin possession months after State Police stopped the comedian on the Garden State Parkway and found him with 81 decks of heroin. Lange, who has a long history of drug addiction, has addressed the issue on HBO's 'Crashing.'


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    IRVINGTON -- David Ahr, right, received his First Communion at age 7 in April 1951 at St. Leo's Church in Irvington. Also pictured are his 6-year-old brother Paul, left, and Peter, 10, who was an altar server for the ceremony. MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey St. Leo's is located at 103 Myrtle Ave. and was founded in 1878. If...

    IRVINGTON -- David Ahr, right, received his First Communion at age 7 in April 1951 at St. Leo's Church in Irvington. Also pictured are his 6-year-old brother Paul, left, and Peter, 10, who was an altar server for the ceremony.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    St. Leo's is located at 103 Myrtle Ave. and was founded in 1878.

    If you would like to share a photo that provides a glimpse of history in your community, please call 973-836-4922 or send an email to essex@starledger.com. And, check out more glimpses of history in our online galleries on nj.com.

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


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    Toni Ann Branca, of Livingston, plead guilty to second-degree theft by deception and has been sentenced to three years in state prison.

    A former administrative assistant for Apple has been sentenced to three years in state prison for charging $243,000 on a company credit card for luxury personal items at stores such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Victoria's Secret. 

    Toni-Ann-Branca.jpgToni Ann Branca, 41. 

    Toni Ann Branca, 42, of Livingston, admitted to second-degree theft by deception in January. In addition, she paid $95,000 in restitution to the company.

    Branca worked mostly from home, arranging employee training, travel, and parking while between 2013 and 2016. She was issued a company American Express card to pay for employee expenses such as conference rooms and parking as well as to shop for clothing, electronics, and furniture.

    Apple began to investigate Branca after discovering numerous Victoria's Secret charges on her company-issued card.

    The investigation found that she had submitted dozens of duplicate requests for reimbursement of business expenses causing Apple to make duplicate payments to her bank account. She then used the money for personal shopping trips.

    Apple conducted an internal investigation and then referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice. 

    "Branca went on a lavish shopping spree at the expense of her employer, but ultimately she bought herself a state prison term," said Veronica Allende, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. "Our financial crimes bureau will continue to uncover these fraud schemes and bring those responsible to justice."

     

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    Tyheed Jefferson, arrested last July, admitted to illegal possession of weapons and meth

    Tyheed "Solo" Jefferson is from Georgia, but last summer he was caught with dozens of guns in New Jersey when authorities arrested him and three others in a guns and drugs operation.

    On Thursday, he admitted to illegally owning 28 of them, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

    Jefferson, 34, of Albany, Ga., pleaded guilty to six counts of being a felon in possession of a weapon, as well as one count of possession of methamphetamine on May 31.

    tyheed.jpgTyheed Jefferson (Essex County jail photo)

    Federal authorities allege the four were part of the gun trafficking ring that used "straw purchasers" to buy and transport.

    Straw purchasing involves using a buyer to purchase weapons for another person, who may want to avoid background checks or illegally sell the guns in another state.

    He was accused of a gun trafficking scheme in July 2017, along with two other men from Georgia and an Irvington woman -- Nakiya Glenn, 29, who allegedly distributed guns to a confidential informant in a pink shoebox last July -- the office said.

    A criminal complaint against Jefferson noted his colorful use of nicknames for guns and drugs. He referred to Glock handguns as "shot glizzies" and ecstasy (MDMA) pills as "Skittles" and "Flintstones."

    Jefferson was first arrested in connection the weapons in July 2017, following a 10-month investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in New Jersey, Georgia and Alabama.

    His prior felony convictions are from distribution of drugs on school property and related charges in 2006 and 2008 in Essex County, according to the N.J. Department of Corrections. 

    A confidential informant purchased multiple firearms, mostly handguns, from Jefferson between January and June 2017, according to the criminal complaint. He admitted to possessing the 28 guns from May to July 2017.

    Each of Jefferson's counts of firearm possession carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine while the count for 50 grams of methamphetamine carries a maximum sentence of 40 years and a $5 million fine.

    Jefferson remains incarcerated in the Essex County jail and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 12.

    The two other Georgia natives accused in the trafficking conspiracy -- Carnell Jefferson, 26, of Albany, and Mathias Connor, 42, of Atlanta -- pleaded guilty in the case in November 2017 and January 2018.

    Glenn pleaded guilty on Feb. 28, and her sentencing is scheduled for June 6.

    Gianluca D'Elia may be reached at gdelia@njadvancemedia.comFollow him on Twitter @gianluca_delia. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Terrell S. Boone, 34, was shot outside a deli in East Orange Thursday night.

    A Newark man was shot and killed outside a deli in East Orange Thursday night, Essex County authorities said on Friday.

    Terrell S. Boone, 34, was shot on North 19th Street at 8:09 p.m. and transported to the University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:12 p.m.

    An investigation into the shooting is continuing, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office stated in a news release. No arrests have been made.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crime Task Force tips at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.

    Delaney Dryfoos may be reached at ddryfoos@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @delaneydryfoos. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Stewart Weldon, 40, is from Montclair where he was previously arrested for allegedly kidnapping an 18-year-old woman.

    Three bodies have been found at a home in Massachusetts where a former New Jersey man lives.

    Police in Springfield, Massachusetts, arrested Stewart Weldon, 40, Sunday when they found a woman brutally beaten in his car after a police chase that started as a traffic stop for a broken taillight.

    A search of Weldon's home that began Wednesday has so far turned up three bodies. Investigators continue to scour his property on Friday.

    Weldon previously lived in Montclair, and was arrested by Montclair police in 1997 after he allegedly refused to let an 18-year-old woman leave his car. He was charged with sexual assault, according to court records. 

    Bodies In HomeStewart Weldon. (Springfield Police Department via AP)

    Weldon, who was 19 at the time, was with another man when they picked up the Bloomfield woman after a party and allegedly blocked her from leaving their car, according to reports in The Star-Ledger at the time.

    Weldon and Dwight Pottinger met the woman and her friends at the Lackawanna Plaza shopping center in Montclair. The two men drove the other teens to their homes before locking the car doors and refusing to let the Bloomfield woman leave, police said.

    Pottinger and Weldon drove the woman back to Montclair, police said. Pottinger threatened her with a gun and sexually assaulted her in the car before Weldon drove her to her parents' house in Bloomfield, the newspaper reported at the time. Pottinger was charged with making terroristic threats, aggravated criminal sexual assault and kidnapping. Weldon was charged with sexual assault. The outcome of the case is unclear.

    NJ Advance Media reached Pottinger, who now lives in Jamaica, on Facebook. When asked if he was surprised that three bodies were discovered at Weldon's Massachusetts' home, he responded: "Not really."

    Pottinger said the two were good friends when they lived in Montclair, and they used to go out together, and that Weldon's mother used "to take care of me." 

    "We were young, drinking, smoking," Pottinger said. "He was a ladies man."

    Weldon, he said, was spoiled by his mother after his father died in 1996.

    Weldon again got into trouble in 1997, in East Orange. He pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a weapon and was sentenced to three years of probation. He was also charged with kidnapping in East Orange but the result of the charge is unclear.

    Weldon also got into legal trouble in Bergen County. He pleaded guilty to a burglary charge in Maywood Borough and was sentenced in 2006 to 367 days in jail, court records show. 

    Masslive.com reported that Weldon was arrested by Springfield police three times in 2017. The most recent offense was for assaulting a woman on a street on Oct. 14 just before 10 p.m., the newspaper said. He also had several charges in Westfield, Massachussetts, Masslive.com reports.

    Now, Weldon is accused of kidnapping the Massachussetts woman and then raping, stabbing and beating her with a hammer and other weapons. The arrest report from authorities in Springfield says the woman found in Weldon's car was "extremely distraught ... and crying uncontrollably" and had bruises, scabs and other signs of prolonged physical abuse.

    bodies-in-home.jpgSpringfield police at the home of Stewart Weldon on Thursday, May 31, 2018. (Don Treeger/The Republican via AP)  

    Weldon, who is being held on $1 million bail, has been charged with kidnapping with serious bodily injury, threat to commit a crime (murder), resisting arrest and five related charges.

    He has not been charged as of Friday afternoon with the bodies discovered at his home. 

    Investigators continued to search the residence on Friday, using ground-penetrating radar to gather evidence. State authorities also took a child found at the home into custody

    Staff writers Taylor Harris and Vinessa Erminio contributed to this report.

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    One man was killed and another was wounded after a shooting in Newark Thursday night, authorities said.

    One man was killed and another wounded after a shooting in Newark Thursday night, authorities said.

    Alif Carr, 38, of Newark, was shot and killed while standing outside a parked car in the area of Hunterdon Street and Lehigh Avenue at 7:57 p.m., according to a release from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

    Carr was transported to University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:23 p.m., it was stated in the release.

    A second victim was shot but survived, authorities said. Neither the second victim's name nor their condition was released by the prosecutor's office.

    The investigation is into the shooting is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

    Anyone with information can to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.

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

     

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    Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law extending the state's Urban Enterprise Zone program.

    The sales tax in five New Jersey cities is being cut in half again. 

    For three decades, businesses in Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfeld, and Trenton were allowed to levy half the state's sales tax because they took part in the state's Urban Enterprise Zone program, which is designed to help boost economically struggling areas.

    That changed early last year, when the program expired in those cities -- the original five that took part in the 34-year-old program -- and then-Gov. Chris Christie declined to renew them.

    But Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law this week to restore UEZs there for five years and extend the program until 2023 for other areas where the program was set expire before that time.

    That means those five cities will rejoin the other UEZ areas throughout New Jersey where shoppers have to shell out only half the state's 6.62 percent sales tax -- 3.3 percent.

    The new law (S846/A3549) -- which took effect immediately --  also requires the state to produce a report on whether the program should continue, be amended, or be discontinued. 

    Christie rejects sales tax cut for 5 N.J. cities

    Democratic state lawmakers who sponsored the measure praised Murphy for signing it into law Thursday, saying it will help attract new businesses and bring customers to areas that need help.

    "Urban Enterprise Zones have been an integral part of urban revitalization for many years now," said state Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, D-Hudson. "Extending their designation will help many cities remain economically competitive while spurring job growth and economic development."

    The measure passed both houses of the Democratic-controlled state Legislature in April -- 54-19-0 in the Assembly and 27-5 in the Senate.

    About 6,800 businesses in 23 UEZs in 32 municipalities across the state take part in the UEZ program, which began in 1983.

    The sales-tax discount has been the most attractive part of the program, but it also includes other incentives -- such as a break on energy taxes, a subsidy for unemployment insurance, and tax credits for certain hires.

    Though the program was originally supposed to end in 2003, state lawmakers voted in 2001 to extend it another 16 years.

    But Christie, a Republican, did not take action on a bill last year that would have extended the program another two years when it expired in the original five cities. 

    Christie said the program faced "apathetic participation" and had a "devastating impact on state revenues without any demonstrable benefit" to the cities.

    He added that the state faced losing $40 million in "retail sales tax alone" if the program was extended in those cities.

    Other areas that joined the program after 1983 were allowed to continue, though many were set to lose their status between 2019 and 2026.

    Murphy, a Democrat who succeeded Christie in January, said during a radio interview earlier this year that the program is "smart policy."

    "It gets action in downtown areas," he said in March. "It's a good economic proposition and it's particularly good for our urban communities." 

    The question now is: What will the state's sales tax be a few months from now?

    Currently, the sales tax in 6.625 percent. But Murphy has proposed returning it to 7 percent, reversing a deal Christie and Democratic lawmakers cut to reduce it in 2016 in exchange for a 23-cent hike in the state's gas tax. 

    But Democratic leaders of the state Legislature continue to oppose Murphy's plan with a month to go before they must agree to a state budget by June 30.

    Brent Johnson may be reached at bjohnson@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.


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    Alejandro, an 8-year-old Pomeranian, had just gotten a clean bill of health from a veterinarian.

    Alejandro, an 8-year-old Pomeranian, got a clean bill of health from a veterinarian before his Delta Airlines flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Newark Liberty International Airport Friday.

    But he never made it to Newark, where owner Michael Dellegrazie was ready to pick him up.

    Alejandro died in his kennel in the plane's cargo area, according to the owners' attorney, Evan Oshan.

    "They're devastated," he said of Dellegrazie and his girlfriend, who were moving from Phoenix to Staten Island. "This is affecting their whole lives."

    Oshan said they want answers from Delta and to do an independent necropsy to determine how the dog died.

    Dellegrazie's girlfriend brought Alejandro, happy and healthy, to the airport in Phoenix, and Dellegrazie was going to meet the plane in Newark.

    Oshan said Delta officials told him that when the plane made a transfer stop in Detroit, a staff member checked on him around 6 a.m. and he appeared to be fine. But when another person checked him around 8 or 8:30 a.m., he was dead, with vomit in his kennel, Oshan said.

    He said the airline has offered to have a necropsy done, to determine the cause of death, but his clients have declined because they want an independent examination done.

    After learning of this, he said, airline officials said they wouldn't let the owners' collect Alejandro's body unless they could get a copy of the necropsy results.

    "We want the dog returned without conditions," Oshan said. When he flew to Detroit to retrieve the dog, Delta staff told him to leave or they'd call a sheriff, he said. 

    Delta has declined to go into specifics of the incident, but issued a statement Saturday.

    "We know pets are an important member of the family and we are focused on the well-being of all animals we transport. Delta is conducting a thorough review of the situation and have been working directly with Alejandro's family to support them however we can. As part of that review, we want to find out more about why this may have occurred to ensure it doesn't happen again and we have offered to have Alejandro evaluated by a veterinarian to learn more."

    Oshan also represented the owners of a 10-month-old French bulldog that died in March after a United flight attendant reportedly instructed the dog's owner to put the dog's carrying case in the overhead bin. He said that family reached a settlement with United last month.

    Oshan said that unfortunately, these incidents are not isolated.

    "We are very concerned with how pets are handled across the board in the airline industry. That needs to be looked at very seriously," he said. "There's a rampant disregard for pets."

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at reverett@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    There were more guns than I could count at the expo just outside the crowded downtown Gettysburg on Memorial Day Weekend.


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    For Newark kids, 20 new soccer pitches will create a safe place to play.

    As soccer balls flew across a pitch emblazoned with the New York Red Bulls logo on Wednesday, Wellington Morales took a break from running around to express his feelings toward playing with the pros. 

    "It's awesome," he said, "because it gives you that feeling like, 'What?!'" 

    Morales, an eighth-grade student at Rafael Hernandez Elementary School, is one of more than 2,500 Newark students the U.S. Soccer Foundation expects to participate in its after-school soccer program on 20 mini-courts it plans to build across the city. 

    The foundation intends to partner with the Red Bulls and the Newark school district to erect the pitches over the next five years so students will have safe places to play, learn teamwork, make friends and exercise. The Red Bulls and the U.S. Soccer Foundation have committed to fully funding the mini-pitches, which are outdoor hard surfaces. 

    Total investment in the school district between the mini-pitches and the after-school program is expected to top $1.5 million, the organizations said. 

    "This day is for you," incoming Superintendent Roger Leon told students Wednesday at a ceremony celebrating the first pitch built as part of the initiative. "This mini-pitch behind me is brought to this school and to this city for a purpose." 

    The school district plans to use its mini-pitches during recess and physical education class, in addition to during the after-school program, Leon said in an interview after the ceremony. He said they will be particularly useful after classes, when students may not have other options for safe activities. 

    The U.S. Soccer Foundation will train Newark community members to lead its after-school program, called "Soccer for Success," Ed Foster-Simeon, the organization's president and CEO, said in an interview. Eighty-six percent of students who participate in the program see increased development outcomes, like avoiding fighting, and 83 percent see health improvements, he said. 

    Newark is the third U.S. city to commit to building these mini-pitches and expanding soccer programs in underserved communities, according to the U.S. Soccer Foundation. Chicago and New York City each plan to build 50 pitches as part of the foundation's goal to build 1,000 safe places to play soccer by 2026. 

    The foundation has already built other pitches in New Jersey, including in Newark, East Newark and Kearny, but Wednesday's launch symbolized the organization's new push to drastically expand its pitches and the number of students its program serves. 

    Foster-Simeon said the foundation's goal is to make soccer "everyone's game" by creating spaces for it in communities that may not otherwise have safe areas in which to play. 

    "Soccer and sport is really an extension of the classroom," he said during the ceremony. "We learn teamwork, we learn perseverance, we learn grit. We learn how to lead, we learn when to follow." 

    Connor Lade, a defender for the Red Bulls who was born in Morristown, said creating this initiative in Newark was special to the team because their arena in Harrison is so close by. Soccer taught him a lot of life lessons, he said in an interview, and he was happy to see the joy on the students' faces as they kicked the ball around Wednesday. 

    Plus, Lade said he had already noticed a ton of soccer talent on the mini-pitch.  

    "Maybe we won't have our jobs too much longer," he said, laughing. 

    NJ Advance Media reporter Delaney Dryfoos contributed to this report.

    Marisa Iati may be reached at miati@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Iati. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Three bodies have been found at a home in Massachusetts where a former New Jersey man lives.


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