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    The Oak Ridge resident was hit in East Orange near the Brick Church station

    The person struck and killed by a New Jersey Transit train Tuesday evening has been identified as a 20-year-old woman.

    Skyla Giles, of Oak Ridge, was hit by a Morris & Essex line train at about 6 p.m. near the Brick Church station in East Orange, a New Jersey Transit spokeswoman said Wednesday afternoon.

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    The train was headed from headed from Hoboken to Lake Hopatcong. Trains were delayed for about two hours as authorities investigated. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

     


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    A look at the divisional races across New Jersey through Oct. 2.


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    An international traveler with measles may have exposed others at Newark Liberty International Airport to the highly contagious disease last month, officials said Wednesday.

    An international traveler with measles may have exposed others at Newark Liberty International Airport to the highly contagious disease last month, officials said Wednesday.

    The man, whose name was not released, arrived at Terminal B from a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel on Sept. 28, the New Jersey Department of Health said.

    "The individual was infectious on that day and may have traveled to other areas of the airport," a release from the department stated.

    The infected man then traveled on to Rockland County, NY, and there were no further exposures in New Jersey, the state said. 

    The department said anyone who was at the airport on Sept. 28 between 5:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m could have been exposed to the disease. 

    Anyone who was infected at the airport could develop symptoms as late as Oct. 19.  

    Symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes and it can can cause more serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis, according to the department of health.

    People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person and anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not had measles was at risk if they were exposed.

    "Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles," state epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan said in the release. "We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations."

    This is not the first time this year that people at Newark airport may have been exposed to measles as the the department of health sent out a similar warning in May.  

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

     


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    These guys may not possess prototypical size for their positions, but they measure up as top-rate football players by all other standards


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    Video surveillance cameras captured a young man rushing into the diner about 10:30 a.m. Monday to swipe the bear

    It was a tasteless social media prank with a happy ending.

    A prankster who stole an autism awareness teddy bear from the Allwood Diner in Clifton -- then posted about it on Instagram -- came back to return the mascot after his face was shown online and in the media.

    "Teddy was returned safe-and-sound earlier this afternoon and he is currently back in his spot at the Allwood Diner lobby!" the diner posted on its Facebook page Wednesday afternoon.

    Video surveillance cameras captured a bushy-haired young man rushing into the diner about 10:30 a.m. Monday, swipe the bear and running off to a waiting blue Ford Mustang driven by an alleged accomplice.

    The diner called it a poorly conceived prank.

    The thief on Wednesday returned the bear to the diner after video taken inside the blue Mustang was posted to Instagram, the diner said on its Facebook page.

    "It was clear they were having much fun 'bearnapping' our mascot and were even more proud to post their accomplishment," the diner wrote.

    One person who saw the Instagram video identified the suspect as an 11th-grader at Belleville High School who has posted video of his other pranks online.

    "I believe what he did was outrageous and disrespectful," wrote Kenneth Perez in an email to NJ Advance Media. "On his Instagram page you can find many other videos of him doing idiotic stunts and (he) is going around being a nuisance trying to be funny and get famous on the internet."

    After learning the bear had been stolen, members of the community replaced it with others, each with a Batman shirt the original bear had been wearing.

    Diner manager Joseph Villanueva said the bear had been in the vestibule for more than year and helped the business raise money for autism awareness.

    Villanueva said the diner's owner, Gus Logothetis, has been raising money for autism awareness charities for years.

    The teddy bear in the vestibule caught the attention of patrons, who often donated money when arriving or leaving the business, Villanueva said.

    Clifton police Lt. Robert Bracken confirmed the bear was returned on Tuesday by a juvenile suspect, but he did not respond to questions about whether charges had been filed.

    On Wednesday, Bracken had said the incident was being treated as a theft.

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

     

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    The bus and the car brushed against each other near 12th Avenue and Bergen Street this morning

    Two passengers on a New Jersey Transit bus suffered minor injuries when the bus and a vehicle collided on Thursday morning in Newark. 

    The No. 34 line bus, which travels between Newark and Bloomfield, with a car "made contact" with a car near the intersection of 12th Avenue and Bergen Street around 7:17 a.m., NJ Transit spokesman Jim Smith said

    NJ Transit audit ordered by governor may be public this week. Here's what to expect.

    Since the crash took place next to University Hospital, 12 others walked over to get checked

    The vehicle had minor damage.

    Smith referred other questions to Newark police, who couldn't immediately provide additional details.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

     


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    Justice Samuel Alito, who sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee more than a decade ago (and was questioned by many of the same senators presiding over the Kavanaugh hearings, never once mentioned beer. It turned out, caffeine was his drink of choice for the one-time federal prosecutor from New Jersey...

    U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was forceful when questioned by the Judiciary Committee.

    "I like beer," he declared. "I still like beer."

    It soon became the defining moment of his testimony.

    But for Justice Samuel Alito of New Jersey, his favorite brew comes out of a coffee pot. It was never part of his confirmation hearing, but coffee soon became a talking point at the local Newark shop that concocted the blend of dark Papua New Guinea, Celebs Kalossi, Java, Italian Roast and espresso beans that soon became his go-to beverage.

    During Alito's 2006 confirmation hearings, where he was questioned by many of the same senators who still sit on the Judiciary Committee today, the focus was on the judge's conservative ideology.

    Nominated by President George W. Bush, the long-time appellate judge, former U.S. Attorney in New Jersey and Reagan administration lawyer was challenged by Democrats and liberal interest groups who saw Alito as an extremist who would erode individual rights.

    Supreme Court AlitoSupreme Court Justice Samuel Alito last year at Georgetown Law School. Cliff Owen | AP file photo)

    The Bush White House and Republicans hailed him as a mainstream conservative who had consistently demonstrated judicial restraint.

    Ultimately confirmed and sworn in, Alito's personal blend of coffee was what soon became big news back home.

    The brew was called Bold Justice, and was created for Alito by the T.M. Ward Coffee Co. in downtown Newark, where the former appellate court judge had been a regular customer at the store on Broad Street for many years. Amid news of his nomination to the Supreme Court, sales of Bold Justice took off, with orders for the coffee coming in from around the country.

    Bold Justice came about after Alito, following years of drinking through Ward's catalog of beans, found many too strong, too weak or too bitter. As a birthday gift, one of his clerks picked a blend of beans that Alito apparently came to favor.

    It was not a drink for the faint of heart, a Star-Ledger reporter wrote at the time, finding the beans "robust, full-bodied, strong and extremely caffeinated. Without sugar or cream, the taste is extremely bitter and will surely snap sippers out of a sleepy haze at their desks."

    After leaving New Jersey for Washington, Alito ordered 44 pounds of the blend -- at $7.95 per pound.

    Rob Sommer, one of the owners of the nearly 150-year-old coffee company, said the Supreme Court justice no longer comes in for coffee these days.

    "But his friends come in and buy it for him. So he's still drinking it," said Sommer.

    Ted Sherman may be reached at tsherman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL. Facebook: @TedSherman.reporter. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Look at the top juniors in the state and cast your vote for the best of the best.


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    A handful of stunning upsets paved the way for a very different-looking Top 20 this week.


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    Residents are pleading with officials in East Orange to cap parking fees.

    It's tough to park in East Orange, and expensive, too -- especially if residents have more than one car and if they're on a fixed income.

    East Orange Councilwoman Tyshammie Cooper shared a story this week during a council meeting about a senior citizen paying $170 to park one vehicle at her apartment building and a $130 for the second car.

    "That's $300 a month," said Cooper, chair of the council's parking committee. "That's obscene. Even if she wasn't retired, that's an outrageous amount of money to pay to park."

    Do the math: That's $3,600 annually.

    Her example is the backdrop for an ordinance the council is considering that limits parking fees in apartment buildings to $50 per month, per car.

    Seniors like Rebecca Doggett, a resident on South Harrison Street, welcomed the proposed legislation. It would cut her cost, now $100 a month, in half.

    "This will give us relief," said Doggett, who has lived in her building 20 years. "Many of us have been paying exorbitant parking for a long time."

    But, the East Orange Property Owners Association - an organization of multi-family buildings in the city - doesn't like this idea at all.

    Calvin Souder, an attorney for the association, said it's unconstitutional because the legislation sets a price. It prevents landlords, he said, from collecting parking revenue they need to pay off bank loans.

    "It is very likely that many banks - the day after the law is passed - would either tell them they need to sue the city or they as a bank would be within their right to recall the loan," Souder said. "This will dissuade new real estate developments from coming into the city."

    Cooper said the $50 ordinance passed on first reading but stalled on second reading when the property owners' association stated its objection, claiming the fee is too low for them to generate revenue to handle their debt and operating costs.

    "None of them have submitted proof," she said. "We want to be fair, but we're tired of our residents getting gouged."

    Souder's said the association would be able to submit financial records or bring bank representatives to a meeting to discuss the issues. He said the association doesn't represents all of the landlords, some of whom are taking advantage of residents.

    Everyone agrees parking is a problem and that something needs to be done.

    "To me it makes absolutely no sense," said Ruth Claud-Thomas, a senior. "We don't need to pay all of this extra stuff."

    Under city ordinances, landlords can charge a four percent annual increase in rent and four percent for parking fees. Residents say it's becoming a financial strain and some have given up the second car in their retirement years.

    Why is parking such a mess?

    The city has an ordinance that prohibits overnight parking on the street. This means residents who live in a building where they pay for parking, can't park on the street. Residents who don't live in a building with parking on the premises can purchase an annual permit for $150 permit.

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    Even with the permit, though, residents still are not much better off. City officials and council members say there are not enough parking spaces on the street.

    Souder said the city had a study done to address the problem, but City Administrator Solomon Steplight said the 2015 report only looked at metered parking, the city's parking infrastructure and parking fees. It didn't provide recommendations on how to fix the city's overall parking problem.

    But, Steplight said the study put a statistical face on the issue. He said there are 261 spaces for on-street parking out of 953 total parking spaces around the city.

    Since the study, he said there are new residential developments with families who have more than one car in the household. If the dwelling only has one parking space for each unit, residents with an additional car park on the street and wind up getting a ticket. Solomon said the city plans to have a comprehensive study done, hopefully within the next six months.

    "Millennials are taking a beating," said Khalfani Alleyne, a resident who raised the parking ticket issue in an unsuccessful bid for a city council seat. "We don't have the luxury of pulling into a driveway or a garage."

    Bergson Leneus, a third ward councilman who lives in a high-rise building, said the city should look at public-private partnerships for parking, consider vacant lots or think about alternate street parking.

    Apartment building owners, he said, have a right to charge for parking but residents also should have the right to not pay it if they could park on the street.

    "People will give up their parking spaces in droves, then it would ultimately force the landlords to look at these exorbitant amounts," he said.

    Souder said the association suggested some of the same ideas to the council, but Cooper said they do not affect what residents pay for parking.

    The council is still pursuing the $50 cap, but Cooper said there's another proposal for limiting parking fees to $75. This figure surfaced, she said, because the average price for parking is $50 to $75 and some council members see that as a compromise.

    Cooper also doesn't have enough votes to pass the $50 ordinance, but says she believes she has an outside chance of convincing council members to change their minds.

    Read More

    Barry Carter may be reached at bcarter@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BarryCarterSL. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Michellene Davis, an executive vice president for RWJ Barnabas, made the comment on Facebook on an article about armed police being assigned to schools

    A top executive at RWJBarnabas Health issued an apology Thursday for a comment she posted on social media about police training and race, calling her words "insensitive and offensive."

    michellene-davis.jpgMichellene Davis, an RWJBarnabas health executive, issued an apology Thursday morning after posting a comment to Facebook about police shooting black children.  

    Michellene Davis, an executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer for RWJ Barnabas, made the comment from her personal Facebook page after a friend shared a NorthJersey.com article about plans for armed police officers at schools in Fair Lawn. 

    "Who is going to train them not to shoot black children first?!?" she said in the comment. The comment did not appear on a public post, but screenshots were circulated on social media.

    She posted a public apology to her Facebook page Thursday morning.

    "I want to publicly apologize for an extremely insensitive and offensive comment posted on facebook," she wrote. "My concern for the safety of schoolchildren and gun violence led me to react to a headline without thinking. Having a late sister and other family in law enforcement I deeply respect the law enforcement community and appreciate their service and admire their sacrifice."

    "To all law enforcement families, the community, and to my employer, RWJBH I offer a sincere apology," she said. 

    Davis did not immediately respond to messages Thursday seeking additional comment.

    Before the apology appeared Thursday morning, apparently after Davis posted a message saying she was hacked, according to screenshots obtained by Fair Lawn-Glen Rock Daily Voice.

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    RWJBarnabas issued a brief statement on Facebook Wednesday and a spokeswoman declined further comment on Thursday morning.

    "Statements posted by RWJBarnabas Health official social media pages are the only statements that represent the views and policies of our organization," the organization wrote on its Facebook. 

    The Fair Lawn PBA Local 67 denounced Davis's comments in a Facebook post Thursday morning, shortly after she issued her apology. The statement, from president Luis Vasquez, said the union learned of the comment Wednesday, calling it "disgusting."

    "We are held to the highest standards and pride ourselves in our professionalism and our love for our community, especially our schools and children," his statement said. "Michellene Davis is also a professional and is held to those same standards as every civilized human being should be. An apology was issued and it is a step in a positive direction."

    Before she joined RWJBarnabas, Davis served as the first African-American chief policy counsel to former Gov. Jon Corzine, as well as acting state treasurer.

    She was also the the first woman and person of color "to be named to the senior-most level of the State of New Jersey's largest healthcare system," according to her website. 

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find NJ.com on Facebook

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    Baptist Bishop Jethro James is upset he was criticized for hosting Republican Bob Hugin.

    Several polls out this week weren't good news for Sen. Bob Menendez. One even showed him neck and neck with Republican Bob Hugin -- a startling turn of events in the year of an expected blue wave across the country.

    Here's some worse news. Menendez might be seeing a key building block of his normally sturdy base eroding right before his eyes.

    Bishop Jethro James, leader of an 86-member black pastors' association, is upset  the Menendez camp seems to assume they have the black vote wrapped up.

    "The Democrats have been taking the African-American vote for granted for too long," he said in his office at Paradise Baptist Church in Newark. "It's an insult. Some folks in the two-party system think this is like a political plantation: 'You do what we say.' We are long past that."

    The source of James' ire was a call he received from T. Missy Balmir, a senior adviser for Menendez and veteran player in Democratic state politics. The call came after James hosted Hugin in his 400-member church a few weeks ago.

    "They basically said, 'Why did you invite him to your church? Why did you have a Republican in?'" James recalled.

    Balmir is no rookie. According to her LinkedIn, she is a "political operative in nearly every statewide election in NJ for the past 15 years." She worked in Gov. Jon Corzine's administration and was senior adviser to state Senate President Steve Sweeney.

    She was also the African American Base Vote program director for Rep. Rush Holt, and for Menendez and Cory Booker in their Senate races. In effect, she's charged with making sure a core part of the Democratic base comes out to vote.

    But the call left James angry.

    "I like Missy. I don't want to throw her under the bus. But you don't make a call like that without getting someone's permission," James said, intimating it might have come as a directive from Menendez or another top member of his team.

    Steven Sandberg, the communications director for Menendez, acknowledged the conversation happened, but said it was described to him by Balmir as "cordial."

    "It was just a conversation among friends," Sandberg said. "It wasn't a scolding or threatening in any way whatsoever. That's not Missy's M.O."

    But the larger question of whether Menendez takes black voters of New Jersey for granted is one that lingers, especially in a year when Democrats are fighting tooth-and-nail to upset the current balance of the U.S. Senate, where Republicans hold an advantage. Seats initially expected to go to Republicans, such as in Nevada, Arizona and Missouri, all now appear to be trending Democrat. In all, Democrats are trying to hold 10 seats in states won by President Donald Trump.   

    It would be an irony of epic proportions if the Democrats were to lose the Senate because of New Jersey -- a state that hasn't elected a Republican senator in 46 years.

    "You know how many times I invited Bob Menendez to my church?" James said. "You know how many times he's come? None. But at election time, they want our endorsement."

    Regarding the decision to invite Hugin to his church, James said he simply wanted to give his congregation a chance "to make an informed decision."

    Of specific interest to James was Hugin's stance on health care and the legalization of marijuana, though U.S. senators have no sway in New Jersey's current conversation.

    "I met him several weeks ago and I was interested in what he had to say," James said.

    And, as it turned out, James seemed to like a lot of what Hugin -- the former chairman and CEO of Celgene Corp., a New Jersey biotech company specializing in drugs for cancer and chronic disease -- had to say.

    "We (African-Americans) are 40 percent more likely to get cancer," James said. "I'd say about 40 percent of the women in my congregation have had breast cancer. I myself had prostate cancer. Bob Hugin's company made the drugs that saved my life."

    Hugin's campaign literature says he wants to go to Washington to fix health care and make it more accessible and affordable.

    "He talked about all the urban hospitals that have closed down," James said. "He seems to have ideas that will help our community. Why not listen to him?"

    Does the story of Bishop Jethro James represent a kind of canary in the coal mine? After all, this is a man whose office looks like a Democrats' Hall of Fame.

    He has pictures with Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Frank Lautenberg, Jesse Jackson,  Booker and Menendez. He has a congratulatory letter signed by Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Elijah Cummings and Ted Daschle.

    James said he is no longer a registered Democrat.

    "I'm an independent," he said. "I don't want to vote for a party. I want to vote for a person. I am voting for the integrity of the person."

    Sandberg said Menendez has met with James "multiple times" personally and as a part of larger discussions.

    "They've had a good relationship," Sandberg said.

    But James said "party politics" has led to acceptance of substandard conditions for African-Americans.

    "I can't endorse anybody who tells me, 'Line A all the way,'" James said, referring to the days when Essex County Democrats had an uncanny knack for getting the top line in the voting booth. "That's an insult to our intelligence. It says you don't trust us to make our decision based on information."

    Mark Di Ionno may be reached at mdiionno@njadvancemedia.comFollow him on Twitter @MarkDiIonno. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The mayor of the state's largest city fired back days after the President said Cory Booker ran Newark into the ground.

    Come at us, Mr. President.

    That was basically the message Newark Mayor Ras Baraka sent in a statement Thursday, several days after President Donald Trump said Sen. Cory Booker - who previously served as mayor - ruined the state's largest city.

    In his statement Thursday, Baraka first defended his turf.

    "Newark is a national leader in developing new ways to create affordable housing, building trust between community and police, enlisting corporations to hire local residents, protecting undocumented immigrants and bringing the arts to every neighborhood. There are construction cranes everywhere, billions of dollars in development is taking place, crime is down, and we have the nation's fastest fiber internet network."

    He credited his and Booker's administrations with the accomplishments he laid out, and challenged Trump to visit Newark to see the city for himself.

    "This success is the result of the work of my administration, the collaboration of our stakeholders and residents, the momentum begun by Senator Cory Booker when he was mayor and his continued effective work to deliver for Newark. If Donald Trump thinks otherwise, he should come to Newark and see the amazing things happening here with his own eyes."

    Earlier this week, Trump, a Republican, took shots at Booker - a potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominee and vocal opponent of Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

    "Take a look at Cory Booker," Trump said earlier this week. "He ran Newark, New Jersey, into the ground; he was a horrible mayor..."

    Though Trump takes frequent trips to New Jersey, to his golf club in Bedminster, he does not spend much time in the Brick City.

    Baraka, a former councilman, was a former rival of Booker's, but the two have since formed a political bond, with the senator supporting the mayor during his reelection bid earlier this year.

    Plenty of people took to social media to back Newark.

    Some, however, agreed with Trump.

    Jessica Mazzola may be reached at jmazzola@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @JessMazzola. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Michellene Davis commented on an article shared on Facebook about plans for armed police officers at a school. "Who is going to train them not to shoot black children first?!?" she asked.

    A healthcare executive who made a statement on Facebook about police shooting black children has been placed on administrative leave, according an RWJBarnabas spokeswoman. 

    Michellene Davis, an executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer for RWJ Barnabas, "has been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation," spokeswoman Ellen Greene told NJ Advance Media in a statement late Thursday afternoon. 

    michellene-davis.jpgMichellene Davis, an RWJBarnabas health executive, has been placed on administrative leave after making comments about police and race.  

    The move comes after Davis commented on a NorthJersey.com article that her friend shared on Facebook. It detailed plans for armed police officers at schools in Fair Lawn. 

    "Who is going to train them not to shoot black children first?!?" Davis said in the comment. It did not appear on a public post, but screenshots were circulated on social media.

    Davis posted a public apology to her Facebook Thursday morning, calling her own words "extremely insensitive and offensive," and proclaiming her respect for those working in law enforcement. 

    By Thursday afternoon, her Facebook page appeared to have been deleted. 

    Before she joined RWJBarnabas, Davis served as the first African-American chief policy counsel under former Gov. Jon Corzine, as well as acting state treasurer.

    She was also the the first woman and person of color "to be named to the senior-most level of the State of New Jersey's largest healthcare system," according to her website. 

    Multiple requests for comment sent to Davis throughout the day Thursday were not returned. 

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find NJ.com on Facebook

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    Do you agree with our predictions for Week 5?


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


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    With that number of bodies comes the hundreds upon hundreds of times he broke the news to families, interviewed witnesses, interrogated suspects, and gathered and followed evidence.

    In 19 years as a homicide detective, Mike DeMaio estimates he's seen about 1,000 dead bodies, people killed in a variety of ways and in various forms of decomposition.

    About 1,000 people who were alive one minute and not the next, people whose lives took a violent turn in the most unforgiving, and sometimes capricious, way.

    With that number of bodies comes the hundreds upon hundreds of times he broke the news to families, interviewed witnesses, interrogated suspects, and gathered and followed evidence.

    For 19 years, he got up every morning to do it again, knowing the new day could be someone's last, or the worst ever for their family.

    He left his house every day, not knowing when he would return, and went to bed every night not knowing if he would get a full night sleep. Murder never rests, be it through domestic violence, nightclub fights or gang warfare for drug territory.

    But of all the things DeMaio has seen, there is one thing, especially, he can't unsee.

    It was a thumb print, a deep indentation on a child's neck.

    "That one, I'll never forget," DeMaio said. "I kept thinking, what was that baby thinking as she fought for her life. What was going through that poor kid's head."

    The girl was Kelly Reilly, 5, who was drowned with her sister, Meghan, 6, by their father, Thomas Reilly. Meghan had graduated from kindergarten that morning in June 2007. Both girls were wearing their soccer team shirts and were waiting for their mother to take them to a birthday party. A happy day, gone incomprehensibly mad.

    "We found him hanging in the attic," DeMaio said. "He should have done that first.

    "That was a tough one. I thought, how could that happen? How could a father do that to his children?"

    DeMaio retired in May. This was the first summer of city violence he sat out in two decades.

    "I don't miss it," he said. "I miss the guys, but I'd had enough."

    He went out as a deputy chief of detectives for Essex County and the commanding officer of the homicide task force. The Essex homicide unit handles Newark, which on typical years, has more murders than Camden, Paterson and Jersey City combined. 

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    In the living room of DeMaio's home, impeccably renovated over time with his own two hands, are pictures of his family through the years. All celebrations and smiles.

    In one corner, there is his Newark police rookie picture and his retirement plaque, the only evidence of DeMaio's day-to-day life. Among the pictures is a framed multi-colored expression.

    It says, "The sign of a beautiful person is that they see beauty in others."

    One thousand bodies equal 1,000 killers. How do you see beauty after all that?

    "Twenty years in homicide," DeMaio said. "Yeah, it does something to you."

    The worst of it were the images, especially in the murders of children and teens.

    "Sometimes I'd picture a murder scene at night, and my kids were in it," he said. "Like it was one of them lying there dead. The kid murders were the worst. You have to deal with those demons."

    He never saw a counselor.

    "That would be weak," he said, the very typical police or military response.

    Instead, it was his faith and his wife, Carol, who walked him through the rough times.

    "When you see a body, especially a child, you have to believe their soul has been released to God," he said. "You have to believe they are in God's hands."

    In the physical world, he has relied on his wife.

    "I know it's cliche but for us it's really true," he said. "She is my best friend. She put up with it for a lot of years."

    Carol DeMaio comes from a police family. Her father is a retired Newark cop. Her brother is still on the force.

    "Believe me, I heard all the stories," she said of the problems that follow some police home. Drinking. Abuse. Cheating. Divorce. "I never worried a minute about Michael that way. He's very grounded. He's a family man. These kids couldn't have had a better father."

    She does say, though, that the job consumed him.

    "He used to golf and he stopped that," she said.

    He was also an avid hunter.

    "I gave it up," he said. "I've seen enough killing."

    For two decades, the killing kept coming.

    "This goes back to Cain and Abel," DeMaio said.

    Some cases were closed quickly. Some never were. Because of those, DeMaio never took a day off.

    "He was always on the phone," she said. "We'd go to Hersey Park, he's on the phone. At Disney, he's on the phone. I'd say, Michael, put down the phone. Your family is here."

    Mike DeMaio admits to it.

    "Sometimes, I just wasn't present in my own life," he said. "My mind was always back on the job, thinking about the case."

    Another aspect of seeing what DeMaio saw in his daily life left him vulnerable to "catastrophic thinking" linked to post-traumatic stress disorder.

    "You get overprotective and overbearing," he said. "One of my boys would get hurt in football, and I'd say, 'Maybe you should quit before you get paralyzed.'

    "When my daughter got her driver's license, I brought her pictures of drunk driving accidents. Not just once, a bunch of times. I said, 'Look, this is what can happen.' When she went out, I would be on top of her. 'Where are you going? Who are you going with? What time are you coming home?' I was relentless. I was driving everyone nuts. And it created tension with my wife. She'd say, 'Take it easy, will you? Leave the kids alone.'"

    Carol DeMaio said at first she would say, "Are you nuts? Showing this to our kids. But later I went along with it," she said. "In the world he was in, naturally he always thought the worst."

    18 dicol ARISTIDE.JPGCapt. Mike DeMaio, right, talks to Detective Telmo Silvestri about photographing the evidence at the Newark scene where Al-Aziz Stewart, 15, was killed and seven others wounded on July 12, 2011. (Star-Ledger file photo)

    The first time Mike DeMaio returned to that world was last month, being interviewed for this column. His first year in homicide was 1998, a dozen years before the Essex task force was formed. Behind the wheel of his SUV, driving into the hard streets of Newark, is not a pleasant trip down memory lane.

    "Broadway Homes," he said as he passed the site in North Newark. "We did a lot of jobs in there. Lot of drugs, lot of turf war."

    On another block.

    "Chicken shack robbery. A guy was killed."

    On another block.

    "We had a guy dumped on the street in broad daylight. How does nobody see a guy dumped on the street."

    On another block.

    "The suspect got shot. We tracked his blood like we were tracking a deer."

    This was less than a half-mile into the city.

    "I could go through the city and say, I had a job here, I had a job there," he said. "Countless jobs."

    He stopped outside Central Avenue High School where rival drug gangs had a running gun battle. One man was killed, and another seriously injured.

    "They were using 7.62s (assault rifles)," he said. "We had shell casings for a block and a half. It was crazy. And I remember thinking, 'We're outgunned.'"

    All those jobs all had two things in common, DeMaio said. The shock and despair of the family and the assault on the human belief that life is precious.

    "A human life was taken. That is the ultimate crime," he said. "It doesn't matter if it was a drug dealer or a gang guy. His mother didn't give birth to a drug dealer or gang guy. My job was to find out who killed him, who took that human life.

    "When we would go in to notify the families, the first thing the mother or grandmother always said was, 'Please, find out who did this.' You'd feel responsible."

    With all he saw, all those bodies, DeMaio said he never got jaded and lost sight of people's loss.

    "Being a homicide cop is the pinnacle of police work," he said. "It's got to be in you. When you see all this senseless death, you work to set things right. You do it for the families. You imagine what it would be like if you were them. You have to want to set things right. If you don't, you don't belong in the business."

    READ MORE MARK Di IONNO

    Kavanaugh hearings show politics and media at ugly worst.

    Mark Di Ionno may be reached at mdiionno@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarkDiIonno. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The victim was waiting for a bus in Newark to take her to her second job

    An Irvington resident was sentenced to four years in prison for fleeing after a crash last year that left another woman dead.

    wilkes.jpgAliyah Wilkes (Essex County Prosecutor's Office) 

    Aliyah Wilkes, 23, was driving without a license when she lost control of the car, hitting a building before striking Wanda Dallas, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement Friday. 

    Dallas, 49, of Newark was standing at the corner of 16th Avenue and South 18th at 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 9, waiting for a bus to take her to her second job at FedEx, officials said. She was later pronounced dead at University Hospital. 

    Wilkes, who had two passengers in her BMW 530i, drove for several blocks before abandoning the damaged car. 

    She later turned herself in after police put a description of the car on social media. Wilkes, who had already been identified as vehicle's owner prior to her arrest, pleaded guilty on Aug. 3. 

    "This case tragically underscores why drivers who are involved in accidents must stop and render aid," Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Tara Creegan said. "Do not leave the scene of an accident; call for help. It's not just the moral thing to do but failing to do so has serious criminal consequences

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    One boy is from Newark, the other Barnegat

    The search is on for two New Jersey teenagers who went missing about 80 miles apart on Thursday afternoon.

    missing-boys.jpgDaniel Napolean, left and Michael Briganti (police photos) 

    While the cases are unrelated, police in Newark and Barnegat are both asking for the public's help as each continues to attempt to locate a missing boy.

    Daniel Napolean, 13, was reported from his home the 100 block of Sunset Avenue in Newark around 1 p.m. Thursday. 

    In Ocean County, Barnegat police say Michael Briganti, 14, ran into the nearby woods from his home on Tedesco Way around 5 p.m. 

    The 5-foot-5, 125 pound Napolean was wearing a blue Dallas Cowboys shirt, black Adidas pants and blue Jordan sneakers.He also has a mole on his left lower lip, police said.  

    Briganti, who is about 5-foot-6, 127 pounds, was clad in a white Brackman Middle School sports jersey with the No. 25, white soccer shorts, white socks and black Nike sneakers. Barnegat police are getting assistance from State Police and the Ocean County Sheriff's Office, using a drone and a helicopter to search the heavily wooded area. 

    Anyone with information about Briganti is asked to call Barnegat Police at 609-698-5000.

    Newark police ask anyone with information abut Napolean to call 877-695-847 or 973-733-7273.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Plus, there a Saturday matchup you can't miss

    Two top-ten matchups from the NJ.com Top 20 are on tap this week and you can watch the games from the comfort of your own home.

    In all NJ High School Sports Live will broadcast live from eight games this weekend. Friday's main event is No. 3 St. Peter's Prep vs. No. 9 Don Bosco Prep at 7 p.m.. Saturday's lone game is a huge one: No. 1 St. Joseph (Mont.) vs. No. 4 Bergen Catholic. Just another football weekend in New Jersey's Super Football Conference.

    Another six games are on the slate Friday night. The full schedule is below.


    MORE: Learn about NJ High School Sports Live


    If you can't make it to the games or want to watch an on-demand replay, NJ High School Sports Live was made for you. Our technology allows us to broadcast from member schools and a handful of select games, such as St. Joseph (Mont.) and Bergen Catholic. You can watch on your computer, phone or tablet - and you can watch live or on demand. Our season pass also give you access to any in-network game. The schedule is listed below, click on the links to watch.

    FRIDAY, OCT. 5
      Holmdel at Donovan Catholic, 6:30 p.m.
      Long Branch at No. 10 Red Bank Catholic, 7 p.m.
      No. 3 St. Peter's Prep at No. 9 Don Bosco Prep, 7 p.m.
      Iselin Kennedy at Montgomery, 7 p.m.
      Secaucus at New Milford, 7 p.m.
      Point Pleasant Beach at Shore, 7 p.m.
      North Bergen at Irvington, 7 p.m.

    SATURDAY, OCT. 6
      No. 4 Bergen Catholic at No. 1 St. Joseph (Mont.), 2:30 p.m.

    Andrew Koob can be reached at akoob@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewKoobHS. Like NJ.com High School Sports on Facebook

     


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