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    Elvira Marques was last seen June 11 near South and Broad streets in Newark

    Police are asking for the public's help as the try to find a 53-year-old Newark woman who has been missing for more than two months.

    Elvira Marques was last seen at about 6 a.m. on June 11 in the area of South and Broad streets in Newark. She was reported missing two days later.

    Described as 5-feet-6-inches tall and about 140 to 150 pounds, Marques has brown eyes, black hair worn in a bob-cut style and a tattoo on her left arm. She was wearing blue jeans when she was last seen. 

    Anyone with information is asked to call the Newark police's 24-hour Crime Stopper tip line at 1-877-695-8477 or 1-877-695-4867.

    Newark police didn't immediately respond to a request from NJ Advance Media seeking additional information. 

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

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    New Jersey's best burger spot is in the southeast corner of the state, according to one website.

    If you're looking for the best burger in New Jersey, you'll also be able to get some gambling in as well. Because according to one notable travel site, the top burger joint in the state is in Atlantic City.

    TripAdvisor recently released list of where to get the best burger in every state. And while New Jersey is home to countless classic burger joints, the site named Gallagher's Burger Bar in Atlantic City as the top spot in the Garden State.

    The site used reviews and opinions of TripAdvisor diners, taking into account the ratio and quality of good burger reviews in comparison to overall reviews along with quality and quantity of reviews received in the past year, ending in May of 2018. Featured restaurants on the list have a minimum of four out of five bubbles, 100 reviews and 10 locations or less as of June 2018.

    Gallagher's has four and a half out of five bubbles on TripAdvisor, with 55 percent of reviews calling the restaurant "excellent" and 27 percent calling it "very good."

    Located in the Resorts Casino Hotel, Gallagher's is an offshoot of Gallagher's Steakhouse and it has nine different burgers on its menu -- The Prime Beef Burger, Gallagher's Stuffed Burger which is filled with bacon and onions, the Beef Slider Trio, the Sunny Up burger with bacon, a fried egg and cheese, the Mushroom Burger, the Thai Burger topped with jalapeno peppers, cheese, pickled cabbage and sriracha aioli, and the Double Meat Burger with cheese, shredded beef, onions and peppers. There are also chicken burger and veggie burger options available.


    New Jersey is no stranger to burger fame. Thrillist recently named White Manna in Hackensack as one of the best 31 burger joints in the country. The Daily Meal also honored White Manna, naming it the 13th best burger in the United States.'s Pete Genovese has ranked the best burger chains in the past, and named the best burger in each of the state's 21 counties as well. But before that, he named Krug's Tavern in Newark the best burger joint in the state in 2015.

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

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    Prosecutors say they stashed drugs and guns inside apartments at the affordable housing development.

    Federal prosecutors in Newark on Tuesday charged 16 alleged members of the Bloods street gang with drug-trafficking crimes, bringing to 27 the number of defendants charged in what the FBI described as an elaborate crime ring run from an affordable housing development.

    Keith Herd mugKeith Herd, the drug ring's alleged leader. (Essex County Correctional Facility)

    The U.S. Attorney's Office in a statement said the alleged members of the Brick City Brims, a local set of the Bloods, had controlled the sales of heroin and crack cocaine around the New Community Corp. development, near 14th Avenue and Hayes Street in the city's Central Ward.

    In addition to their retail customers, authorities said, gang members operating from the New Community Manor apartment building at 72 Hayes St. also sold their wares to other dealers.

    Reached by email, a spokesperson for New Community Corp. said officials were not available to comment on the investigation Tuesday afternoon.

    Investigators believe the gang sold roughly 600 bricks of heroin a week for the length of the conspiracy, which prosecutors said they penetrated with the aid of surveillance, informants and telephone wiretaps.

    Prosecutors said the 16 newly charged defendants had been led by Keith Herd, also known as "Beefy," who was charged in March along with 10 other alleged members of the organization, one of whom has since pleaded guilty to drug charges.

    A detailed 16-page affidavit filed with the most recent criminal complaint shows federal agents have had their eye on the alleged dealers as early as November 2016.

    Investigators spent more than a year using cooperating witnesses to make controlled buys from the dealers, an FBI agent wrote, using hidden audio-video equipment to record each purchase.

    Those charged Tuesday, authorities said, were:

    • Anthony Brinson, 27, of Newark
    • Kayron Caldwell, 26, of Newark
    • Calvin Cheek, 47, of Newark
    • Murad Fleming, 18, of Newark
    • Sherod Green, 25, of Newark
    • Furad Loyal, 30, of Newark
    • Jaquwin Marlin, 30, of Newark
    • Khalif Nash, 20, of Newark
    • Zahir Nash, 19, of Newark
    • Dimani Newby, 25, of Newark
    • Nasir Sanders, 21, of Newark
    • Shawn Scott, 32, of Newark
    • Kahlid Windley, 31, of Newark
    • Stephan Young, 19, of Newark
    • Jeray Alson, 28, of Vauxhall
    • Sean Collins, 50, of East Orange

    In the affdavit, an FBI agent said each member of the gang was provided with five to 10 bricks of heroin a day for sale, and could obtain more when needed from drug supplies stashed in certain apartments.

    It was in one of those apartments that investigators conducting a raid of the building in November found Loyal, a previously convicted felon, hiding near a 9mm handgun, 17 rounds of ammunition, nine bricks of heroin and approximately $10,000 cash, the agent wrote.

    He faces federal weapons offenses in addition to drug possession and conspiracy charges, prosecutors said.

    Of the 16 new defendants, nine were in custody as of Tuesday morning, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Cheek, Loyal, Marlin, Scott, Windley and Young were expected to make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court before a magistrate judge that afternoon.

    It was unclear from court records whether any of the six had attorneys who could comment on the charges.

    Note: The headline has been corrected to reflect that only nine of the 16 defendants were in custody as of Tuesday morning.

    Thomas Moriarty may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriartyFind on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us.


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    The worker was fatally stabbed by a man who did odd jobs at the deli, prosecutors say.

    A 55-year-old Newark man was arrested and charged with fatally stabbing a deli worker in East Orange last week. 

    Ubiera_cropped.jpgRoberto Ubiera, 55, of Newark. (Essex County Prosecutor's Office)

    Roberto Ubiera was charged with murder in the slaying of Tarlok Singh, 55, of East Orange, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office announced on Tuesday.

    Singh, who worked at the Park Deli & Grocery on North Park Street, was stabbed Friday morning around 7:30 a.m., prosecutors said.

    He was pronounced dead at the deli. 

    Ubiera did odd jobs at the deli, according to the prosecutor's statement. 

    He is being held at the Essex County jail and is scheduled to have a detention hearing on Aug. 23. 

    Singh was a well-liked member of the community who was kind to everyone, residents told ABC7.

    Following the attack on Singh, members of the Sikh community took to social media to condemn the attack. It had been the third violent attack on a Sikh in the United States in three weeks. 

    Prosecutors did not state a motive for the attack on Singh. 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us.

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    Feeling the heat, Donald Trump's man in the NJ 7th is trafficking in distortion. Watch video

    Rep. Leonard Lance is allowing a super PAC to lie about his opponent as he defends his 7th District seat, and someone should alert him that it's best to rise above the stink bombs mass-produced by greasy political gasbags. 

    This is the campaign's silly season, but that doesn't excuse Lance from allowing his own good name to be soiled by an allegation that Tom Malinowski - a candidate who has dedicated his career to human rights and public service - is "so out of touch, he lobbied for terrorist rights," as suggested in a deceitful ad produced by a PAC affiliated with Paul Ryan.

    The ad assails Malinowski's support for Guantanamo detainees to receive due process by citing his 2006 lobbying disclosure report with Human Rights Watch, where he was Washington director for 12 years and spearheaded the bipartisan effort to ban torture. 

    No doubt, Lance's noxious messengers at the Congressional Leadership Fund are counting on viewers to clutch their pearls at the mention of "terrorists' rights."

    But Malinowski's efforts to give detainees access to federal courts is something that even the most prominent Republicans agree to.

    Start with the Supreme Court decisions in the 2004 Hamdi and 2006 Hamdan Cases, which affirmed the right of habeas corpus for suspected terrorists brought to Guantanamo, giving them the basic ability to challenge their detention before federal courts. The only issue Congress and the courts have debated since then is the quality of that access.

    So with due process for detainees largely settled, fast forward a few years: Who voted for the Military Commissions Act of 2009, which actually provided higher due process standards for terror suspects?

    Leonard Lance, of course.

    And if, perchance, the ad is referring to Malinowski's historic effort to ban torture by our government - which was supported by 90 senators and 308 House members, including Ryan - does this mean CLF candidates support such tactics being used in times of war, even against our troops? 

    Either way, it matters little whether Lance agrees with CLF's nuanced policy analysis.

    Lance, facing anti-Trump wave, is in grave danger | Moran

    What matters is that he is now running away from it. His campaign would only say that "the ad was produced by CLF and we are prohibited by law from any involvement or collaboration," and we're supposed to ignore how Lance HQ tweeted out the same distortion anyway.

    Lance regards himself an independent thinker, and it's true that he broke with his party by voting against the Affordable Care Act repeal and the Trump tax plan that passed anyway. Despite that, he is a party-over-principle partisan who voted with President Trump 88 percent of the time during this session.

    And given the realities of this race - where polls and fundraising are trending sharply toward his opponent - he is hearing bloodhounds in the distance, which makes it more tempting to take $2.1 million from Ryan and his fiction writers. 

    But the congressman should denounce this ad, and he should do it publicly. People will respect him more for it, and 76 days before the election, it cannot hurt: Lance has gone from an 11-point winner in 2016 to a pick-'em wager in the 2018 midterms, poised to get dragged beneath a blue wave by a very formidable opponent, and everybody knows it.

    As Lance has said, more than once, "I have an incredibly sophisticated well-educated district."

    Sophisticated enough, at least, to make the connection between the salesman and the product. And voters in the 7th aren't likely to buy a Trump-backed candidate tethered to a lie.

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



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    New Jersey's five dioceses have had to tap into their insurance policies and reserves to pay alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests.

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    The state's top QBs over the last three decades

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    The plane with 225 people on board flying from Newark airport had a hydraulic issue and landed safely in Jacksonville

    Authorities say a Spirit Airlines flight from New Jersey to South Florida made an emergency landing at Jacksonville International Airport due to a hydraulic issue.

    Jacksonville airport spokesman Michael Steward tells First Coast News that no one was injured when Spirit Airlines Flight 521 landed on Wednesday morning. The plane was carrying 225 people from Newark, New Jersey, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

    Stewart says passengers will be placed on another flight to Fort Lauderdale and that operations are running normally at the Jacksonville airport.

    No additional details were available.


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    If you were planning on seeing Nicki Minaj in Newark this fall, here's some bad news

    The self-proclaimed queen of hip-hop will not be visiting New Jersey this fall.

    The rap superstar Nicki Minaj announced Tuesday night that she has postponed her NICKIHNDRXX tour with rapper Future -- which would have hit Prudential Center in Newark Oct. 7 -- until May 2019, citing lack of rehearsal time. 

    "(Minaj) has decided to reevaluate elements of production," tour promoter Live Nation said in a statement, as reported by Yahoo. 

    Minaj posted a video to her fans on Twitter Tuesday night citing the delay of her new album, "Queen," as the cause for scheduling issues: "This is all happening because I pushed my album back two months, and I just finished writing and recording literally hours before the album came out. So now, I just simply don't have the time to rehearse and be on the road in time to give you guys the level of a show I need to give."

    While tickets will be cross-honored or refunded at point of purchase, the new tour dates have yet to be announced. Co-headliner Future will not appear when the tour comes to the U.S. next spring.

    The news follows rumors of poor ticket sales for the fall tour, as reported by Page Six.  An anonymous source from Live nation claims initial sales for the New York rapper's tour were "in the toilet."

    "These are big arenas with up to 20,000 capacities. Sales for opening night in Baltimore is 2,000 tickets. LA is 3,400, New Orleans 1,000, Denver 1,300, Chicago 3,900. Even her hometown Brooklyn is only 5,050."

    Minaj has also made headlines of late for her railing against fellow emcee Travis Scott, whose new No. 1 album "Astroworld" has kept "Queen" from claiming the top spot on the Billboard Albums chart. Minaj said on her weekly "Queen Radio" show that the Houston rapper had manipulated album sales totals by selling merchandise that includes digital downloads for his album. 

    Minaj, 35, is the best-selling female rapper of all time, having sold more than 60 million singles worldwide. She performed a medley of "Queen" songs at the MTV Video Music Awards Monday night. 

    Bobby Olivier may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BobbyOlivier and Facebook. Find on Facebook  

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    Which top returning goal scorer will light up the state again in 2018?

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    Investigators were still searching Wednesday for the person who shot and killed a woman in Newark this week.

    Investigators were still searching Wednesday for the person who shot and killed a woman in Newark this week.

    Michelle Newkirk, 26, of Newark, was shot near 35 Norwood St. around 2 a.m. on Tuesday and died 10 hours later at University Hospital, officials said Wednesday.

    Police had not identified any suspects and no arrests were made as of Wednesday afternoon, the Essex County Prosecutor's office said.

    The office did not release any other details but said more information would be released "as it becomes available."

    The shooting was being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide - Major Crimes Task Force, which also includes Newark Police detectives.

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

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


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    He was one of two people arrested at the airport in October with the same illicit baggage, authorities said.

    One Dominican man won't be resting easy after admitting in court Wednesday he planned to smuggle roughly more than 6 pounds of cocaine through Newark airport customs inside a neck pillow.

    Rafael Francisco Bautista Perdomo, 21, was one of two people arrested at the airport in October after Customs and Border Protection officers found more than 6-1/2 pounds sewn inside each of their respective pillows, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

    Prosecutors said Perdomo, who was represented by the Federal Public Defender's Office, on Wednesday pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to a drug conspiracy charge that carries a potential sentence of up to 40 years in prison and a mandatory minimum of five.

    Perdomo and his co-defendant Brenda Mancebo were stopped at baggage screening checkpoints after arriving on a flight from Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, authorities said at the time.

    Perdomo, who has been held in federal custody since his arrest, admitted to investigators he had agreed to smuggle the drugs to the U.S. for $10,000, a Homeland Security agent wrote in a criminal complaint.

    Court records show Mancebo previously pleaded guilty to the same charge as her co-defendant. Both she and Perdomo are scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 12.

    Thomas Moriarty may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriartyFind on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us.


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    And hopefully not a 'slow burn.'

    Vaudeville is the name given to a genre of variety entertainment that flourished in North America from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Programs could include singers, dancers, actors performing Shakespeare, magicians and the form of entertainment remembered most from the period, comedy.

    Kenneth McIntyre 1938 ac.jpgThe Three Stooges clown with model Barbara Bradford Mann in Atlantic City in 1938. 

    Acts like the Marx Brothers, Ritz Brothers and George Burns and Gracie Allen got their start in vaudeville, as did the Three Stooges, who would epitomize the genre known as 'slapstick' comedy

    Slapstick: split a long stick or strip of wood down the middle but not all the way; when hitting another performer with it, a loud striking sound is made without causing (too much) pain to the strike.  (source:

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Because the comedians were performing to a large audience that might not be maintaining respectful silence, their volume was loud and motions were exaggerated. One of the most well-known comedic motions would be the double-take:

    Double-take: looking at something or someone, coming to sudden realization, then looking at it again in surprise.       (source:

    Hopefully, some of these photos might also make you come to a realization and look again in surprise. And below are links to some other galleries you'll enjoy.

    Vintage photos from N.J. that might make you do a double-take

    Vintage photos of 'sketchy' N.J. activities

    Vintage N.J. photos that deserve a second look

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

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    Samuel Reed was previously convicted of sexual assault in 2009 and sentenced to serve four years in prison.

    A Newark man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman in an abandoned apartment building in Irvington in 2017, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said. 

    Samuel Reed was previously accused of other sexual assaults as well in the early part of 2017, in Irvington, when he was arrested in March of that year, authorities said.

    He recently pleaded guilty to sexually and kidnapping one woman, who he did not know, on the night of March 5 into March 6, in 2017, according to prosecutors.

    Photo of Samuel Reed.jpgSamuel Reed 

    The prosecutor's office said the woman was walking along Clinton Avenue when Reed approached her asking for a light for his cigarette.

    While she started to search her purse for a lighter, Reed pulled out a weapon and held it to her head.

    The office said he led her to an abandoned apartment on Grove Street and sexually assaulted her throughout the night. 

    He turned himself into police a day after the sexual assault in March, according to police.

    Reed had already served four years in prison for a 2009 sexual assault conviction.  

    "We are satisfied with this resolution which gave the victim closure as to this aspect of the incident, and the ability to feel safer once again," said the assistant prosecutor who handled the case, Jenna Gouck. 

    Under New Jersey law, he must serve 85 percent of the sentence before being eligible for parole.

    He also will be required upon release to register under the state's Megan's Law sex offender registry and will be subject to parole supervision for life.

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

    Find on Facebook. 


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    A family in Clark still can't say enough to thank an R&B legend for saving their son when he pulled him from a burning car. Watch video

    It's been a little over month, and Rose DiMeo still can't say enough about an R&B legend who is responsible for her son being alive.

    Ted Wizard Mills, the original lead singer of R&B group Blue Magic, pulled her 20-year-old, son, Joseph, from his car before it burst into flames July 14 on Route 22 in Hillside.

    "He's my son's angel,'' said DiMeo, a Clark resident.

    "Because of him, he's still here,'' she said.

    Since the accident, DiMeo said her son is in critical condition and has had multiple skin graft surgeries for severe burns at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.

    Police Chief Vincent Ricciardi said a preliminary investigation determined the 2013 Dodge Charger was being driven eastbound at a high rate of speed just prior to the driver losing control, striking the curb, and then striking a utility pole which caused the vehicle to overturn and catch fire.

    The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

    "I knew it was somebody trapped in there and needed help getting out,'' said Mills, a Summit resident. "It was flipping in the direction that I was driving.'' 

    When the car stopped, Mills said Joseph somehow managed to get halfway out of his car. Mills said he then jumped over the highway divider to pull him out of the car, worrying that the car would explode.

    When officers arrived, Ricciardi said motorists, including Mills, were attempting to aid the young man. Hillside Fire Department responded to extinguish the flames.

    "Thanks to the kindness and quick actions of these citizens to help someone they didn't know, they've given this man a chance to survive a very serious crash,'' Ricciardi said.

    Until that day, DiMeo said she didn't know much about Mills, whose falsetto voice can be heard on Blue Magic's soulful ballads such as "Side Show" and "What's Come Over Me.''

    DiMeo searched his name on the internet, not thinking she'd get to meet the man she saw saving her son in a video that someone sent to her.

    Two days after the accident, though, she and her husband John, were walking into the Hillside police department on July 16.

    Mills was on his way out of the building when she spotted him, but she wasn't really sure if the man she walked past was Mills.

    "I said, I think that's Blue Magic,''DiMeo recalls. "I threw my stuff on the chair and ran out outside.''

    Mills was curious, too, about the woman approaching him as her husband and a few officers followed behind.

    She introduced herself, asking Mills if he was the man she saw in the video pulling Joseph from the car.

    "'I believe you saved my son,''' DiMeo recalled saying. "Then I just hugged him and cried.''

    Mills and the DiMeos then took a picture together outside of the police department. Since that day, the family has stayed in touch with Mills, giving him text message updates on how their son is progressing. She said he has a long recovery but he's a strong young man and a fighter.

    He always went to the gym, bringing his mother along to help her get in shape. Under his guidance, DiMeo said she lost 72 pounds.

    "He was my motivation,'' she said.

    He encouraged her to cut out junk food, soda and to eat more vegetables and drink more water.

    "He even took the skin off the chicken."

    Joseph has always been conscientious. When he graduated high school, DiMeo said her son moved out with money he saved from a pizza delivery job a year earlier.

    "He was very independent,'' she said.

    He had his own apartment and car. When the accident happened, DiMeo said her son was saving up to buy a house.

    There's no timetable on his recovery. DiMeo and her husband are at the hospital daily and forever grateful to Mills.

    "I can't thank him (Mills) enough,'' she said. "How can you thank somebody that saves your son's life?''

    Read More 

    He took out his revenge on her through a vulgar campaign of online harassment

    Students were bullied because of dirty clothes. Washing machines in the locker room will change that.

    An Army sergeant changed the lives of these orphans. After 40 years, they got to thank him.

    Barry Carter may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BarryCarterSL. Find on Facebook.


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    The 36 midfielders on the verge of big seasons

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    Which top returning stat leader will light up the state again in 2018?

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    A Newark law firm will do an independent investigation following allegations former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and other priests.

    Seton Hall University has hired a Newark law firm to independently investigate sex abuse allegations that may have involved some of the Catholic university's seminarians, the school's president said.

    Christine Amalfe, an attorney at the law firm Gibbons P.C., will oversee the independent review of incidents involving seminarians at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and the College Seminary at Saint Andrew's Hall on the South Orange campus, school officials said.

    "Among the many disgraceful incidents that have shaken our collective consciousness, we at the university are particularly concerned with recent accusations against Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Newark, and other priests of the archdiocese," Mary Meehan, Seton Hall's interim president, said Wednesday in a letter to the university community.

    The probe will be conducted by attorney Ted Wells. He previously led the National Football League's "Deflategate" investigation into the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady and has represented several high-profile clients in criminal cases, including former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

    N.J. dioceses have paid abuse victims $50M

    Meehan did not provide any details about the number or nature of the allegations the law firm will be investigating.

    A report by the Catholic News Agency published last week detailed alleged sexual misconduct by some priests in the Archdiocese of Newark, including a priest who was allegedly removed after he hid a camera in the room of a young priest at the College Seminary at Saint Andrew's Hall. 

    Cardinal Joseph Tobin, head of the Archdiocese of Newark, "is aware of and approves of the decision" to launch the investigation at Seton Hall, said James Goodness, Tobin's spokesman.

    McCarrick, the former head of the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen, resigned as a cardinal in July after he was accused of sexually abusing at least two boys decades ago.

    The former cardinal was also accused of sexual misconduct with priests and seminarians during his time in New Jersey, including inviting young priests-in-training to his beach house in Sea Girt, where they were expected to share his bed.

    After McCarrick was removed from ministry, the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen revealed he had been accused of sexual misconduct three times in the past with adults. Two of those complaints, both involving former priests, reportedly resulted in financial settlements totaling $180,000

    McCarrick, who is living in a retirement home in the Archdiocese of Washington, has not commented since his resignation. Pope Francis has ordered him to live a life of penance and prayer until a church trial on allegations he sexually abused an altar boy in New York nearly 50 years ago.

    During his time in New Jersey, McCarrick was a frequent presence on the Seton Hall campus, where he was president of the board of trustees while he served as Archbishop of Newark.

    Meehan's letter provided phone numbers where victims can report or get counseling for sexual harassment or abuse of any kind.

    "These are difficult days for all victims of abuse, and for our church," Meehan wrote.

    Seton Hall's investigation follows Tobin's announcement earlier this month that the Archdiocese of Newark will hire an outside firm to audit past sexual abuse cases and personnel files.

    Once that audit is completed, the archdiocese will decide whether it will release names of those accused, an archdiocese spokesman said.

    The Diocese of Metuchen also announced it will review its procedures for how priests and seminarians can report allegations of abuse by fellow priests without worrying about retaliation within the church.

    "I have begun to bring together a senior team of advisors to examine reporting processes. Clearly, the safety of an independent reporting structure that allows for anyone to bring an allegation forward without the fear of retribution of any kind is needed," Metuchen Bishop James Checchio said in a letter to the diocese earlier this month.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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


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    FEMA representatives are touring New Jersey to assess flood damage after some towns got up to 8 inches of rain, causing millions in damage to hundreds of homes and businesses.

    New Jersey resident across five counties who pleaded to Gov. Phil Murphy for aid after flash floods devastated their homes and communities may finally see some relief. 

    FEMA representatives are touring Bergen, Essex, Monmouth, Ocean and Passaic counties to assess flood damage after some towns got up to 8 inches of rain during torrential rainstorms less than two weeks ago, causing millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and businesses. 

    The state contacted FEMA on Monday to request Preliminary Damage Assessments in the five counties, and tours began Thursday morning.   

    Brick residents return to flood-ravaged homes

    Murphy declared a state of emergency in those counties where towns like Brick, Howell, Little Falls and Woodland Park saw the worst of the storm.

    On Thursday, FEMA made stops in Little Falls and Brick in a joint effort with local emergency management and state officials to asses damages. 

    "If the damages are determined to be of a magnitude beyond state and local resources, the governor may request federal assistance in designated areas to assist in recovery," said FEMA Region II External Affairs Deputy Director Lauren Lefebvre.

    There is no concrete formula to determine if residents in those counties will be approved for individual federal assistance, Lefebvre said. 

    Six different factors are considered when FEMA asses damages - concentration of damage, trauma, special population (for example, large numbers of low income families, elderly residents or high unemployment among the local population), the amount of voluntary agency assistance in that area, how many properties have insurance, and the average amount of individual assistance provided by the state.

    "FEMA is there to verify that they are seeing the same damage as the state. Once those factors are assessed, we will go from there. But this is the first step in that process," she said. 

    Here's how you can help the N.J. residents devastated by flash floods

    Assistance to cover damage to municipal-owned property has not been requested, but there has been request for an assessment by the Small Business Administration. 

    State officials planned to take the teams to visit Ocean, Essex and Passaic counties on Thursday. On Friday, they will tour Bergen and Monmouth counties, according to Sgt. Jeff Flynn of the New Jersey State Police. Those interested in donating or volunteering can register through

    Alexis Johnson may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @alexisjreports. Find on Facebook.

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    Who is heading back to the high school gridiron after earning All-State honors last season?

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