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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey need homes.

    Thanksgiving is coming. And as with any holiday - and the celebrations that go along with a holiday - the festivities and pets may not necessarily mix.

    Here are some reminders to help keep your pet from becoming a medical emergency:

    * It's not unusual for emergency veterinarians to treat dogs for a chicken or turkey bone they have swallowed. Dogs getting a hold of bones can lead to major problems. Make sure to keep them and finished plates where pets can't reach them.

    * Dogs are naturally going to want to participate in the vittles at a gathering and some folks give them as treats, but be aware of things a pet can't eat. Foods that can sicken dogs include: avocados, apple seeds, caffeinated beverages or alcohol, onions, potatoes, grapes, tomatoes and chocolate.

    * Comings and goings are a natural part of parties, whether its guests arriving or perhaps people stepping outside for a smoke. Pets that live indoors may be excited by all the company ... and bolt out an open door. If your pet isn't supposed to go out, make sure you and your guests don't leave doors open for very long.

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

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    Elementary school parents in Mahwah does not like a policy that reduces library time for children.

    Every week, students at elementary schools in Mahwah could take out books from the school library. That changed at the start of this school year, and parents are concerned as to why. Some are downright angry.

    Under a policy shift to have students receive more technology instruction, students in grades K-3 now take out books every other week and students in grades 4-5 take out books every three weeks.

    "We're hearing a lot of words and they're the right words," said Matthew Park, a parent attending a board of education meeting last week.

    "And we hear people talk about how much they love reading and how (they) don't want to take books out of kids hands. What's being said is not matching up with objective reality and the reality is kids are getting fewer and fewer books into their hands."

    Superintendent C. Lauren Schoen said the district does not devalue reading and the policy change to check out books was not done to get rid of the library and media program, or the specialist position or to deprive students of books or reading time.

    "Students access to books has not been dramatically limited," she said. "Students still have access to books."

    Not enough, though, for Robin Canetti, a former librarian at Joyce Kilmer, one of the Mahwah elementary schools that's affected.

    Canetti, who retired two years ago, said the shift is disturbing. Toward the end of her career, Canetti said the majority of her lessons were technology, but she still had 10 minutes at the end of a class period to let students look for books.

    She said the technology standards from the state introduce students to excel and data, not realizing having a book is just as valuable.

    "Teach what you need to teach, but don't sacrifice their time with books," she said. "Our goal (as librarians) is to find the kid and the book and put them together. That doesn't happen instantly. It happens over time."

    It's already happened with students, she said, including some who read letters to the board, expressing why they like to get books out of the library.

    "My concern is what affect is this going to have on our children's literacy and educational career as they continue into college?'' said Jen Park, a parent, who is also a college librarian and wife of Matthew Park.

    The district said it will review the policy again in January, but another parent, who didn't want to be identified, questions how that will be done.

    "How do you evaluate the change?" she said. "They don't know what they're looking for. That kind of concerns me."

    Read More

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



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    Some gripping videos of police officers caught in action

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    The shooting occurred at Bloomfield Avenue and Mission Street

    Montclair police are searching for a 28-year-old gunman they allege wounded a victim who collapsed on the floor of a barbershop Saturday evening. 

    Rueben Moore.pngRueben Moore, Montclair police

    Police were called to the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Mission Street Saturday around 7 p.m., police spokesman Detective David O'Dowd said Monday. 

    There, they found a 26-year-old Montclair man laying on the floor of a barbershop, suffering a gunshot wound.

    Investigators determined that the man had been shot on Bloomfield Avenue and made his way into the shop before collapsing, O'Dowd said. 

    Police are now looking for Rueben Moore, 28, of Montclair, who they allege is the gunman. 

    Moore has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons offenses. 

    The incident is still under investigation, and anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Moore is encouraged to contact the Montclair Police Department at 973-744-1234.

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.comFollow her on Twitter @By_paigegross. 

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    All five New Jersey dioceses will review their files and release the names of priests accused of abuse early next year, Cardinal Joseph Tobin announced.

    The names of every priest and deacon "credibly accused" of sexually abusing a child will be made public by New Jersey's five Catholic dioceses early next year, church officials announced Monday.

    The dioceses -- Newark, Camden, Paterson, Metuchen and Trenton -- are also establishing a victim compensation fund and counseling program for victims of sexual abuse by clergy and other church employees, said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the head of the Archdiocese of Newark.

    "The dioceses will undertake this action in coordination with the attorney general of New Jersey's ongoing task force examining the issue of clergy sexual abuse. It is hoped that these steps will aid in the process of healing for victims, who are deserving of our support and prayers," Tobin said in a statement.

    Tobin did not give a date for the release of the names or indicate how many priests and deacons may be on the list.

    The announcement comes as the Catholic Church has been under increasing pressure in New Jersey and worldwide to be more transparent about its efforts to address clergy sexual abuse.

    Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced in September that a state task force will investigate how the Catholic Church in New Jersey handled sexual abuse claims. The grand jury investigation is modeled on a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation that found more than 300 priests sexually abused more than 1,000 children over several decades as many church leaders covered up the problem.

    The New Jersey task force's hotline-- (855) 363-6548 -- set up in September was immediately flooded with calls from victims. The Archdiocese of Newark has also received what is expected to be one of multiple subpoenas to Catholic dioceses to turn over records of abuse allegations to state investigators.

    New Jersey's five dioceses will review decades of records before releasing the names of the accused priests and deacons next year, Tobin said.

    The details of the new compensation fund for victims will be released when they are finalized, the archdiocese's statement said.

    "This program will provide the resources to compensate those victims of child sexual abuse by clergy and employees of the dioceses in New Jersey whose financial claims are legally barred by New Jersey's statute of limitations," Tobin said. "This will give victims a formal voice and allow them to be heard by an independent panel."

    The new fund will expand the church's current compensation program, which has already paid about $50 million to victims who filed lawsuits or complaints in the five New Jersey dioceses, church officials said.

    "The program also will be a resource to provide permanent funding for necessary counseling to those who have been victimized. Such counseling so often is needed to help in the healing of those who have been harmed," Tobin's statement said.

    The statement did not say how the Catholic Church will pay for the new fund for New Jersey victims.

    Much of the money for the $50 million already paid out to victims in New Jersey came from the dioceses' insurance policies and self-funded insurance reserves, church officials said.

    At least 19 Catholic dioceses nationwide have filed for bankruptcy to help cover the cost of sexual abuse settlements. But none of New Jersey's dioceses have run out of money.

    In New Jersey, there is no statute of limitations in rape cases, meaning victims can go to police at any time to try to pursue criminal charges.

    However, victims who want to file civil lawsuits have just two years to come forward under New Jersey's laws. Some lawmakers are trying to remove that statute of limitations.

    New Jersey is one of several states, including New York, where officials have recently launched statewide investigations into how the Catholic Church handled sexual abuse allegations.

    In the Archdiocese of Newark, Tobin promised reforms after the resignation of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick earlier this year.

    McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Newark and Bishop of Metuchen, was accused of sexual abuse and harassment of a string of altar boys, seminarians and fellow priests. He is awaiting a church trial.

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


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    Newark changed the water's chemistry to address one issue, which likely caused elevated lead levels, a study found.

    As Newark is in the midst of a hefty $75 million fix to address elevated lead levels in its drinking water, a new study probing how the lead problem came up in the first place has provided an unexpected answer. 

    When Newark officials made moves to reduce the amount of a different chemical contaminant in the city's water supply six years ago, they may have inadvertently caused lead levels to spike -- an issue that has been plaguing the drinking supply since 2017.

    Last month officials said a study they commissioned concluded that the method used to prevent lead from leaching into the tap water stopped working. So, as water flowed through the distribution system, it corroded old lead pipes and caused lead to dissolve into the water.

    But an NJ Advance Media review of the study found it also pointed to a key reason as to why the treatment, known as corrosion control, likely failed: In or around 2012, Newark changed the water's acidity levels, or pH, in order to avoid violating another federal standard, one that restricts levels of possibly carcinogenic chemicals that can form when water is disinfected. Experts say the altered pH likely made the water more corrosive -- and more likely to eat at the pipes, flaking lead into the supply.

    In other words, the city's corrosion control didn't just stop working. Newark changed the chemical makeup of the water, which likely rendered the lead treatment less effective over time. 

    City spokesman Frank Baraff referred comment on the matter to Carol Rego, a corrosion expert at CDM Smith, the consulting firm that wrote the report. Rego said the city didn't have all the facts before now to "fully understand the cause of elevated lead levels and address them correctly."

    In a written explanation, Rego said a misunderstanding of how the city's corrosion control worked meant officials could not have known that its pH adjustments would have these consequences.

    She said the city's corrosion treatment, sodium silicate, is approved by the federal government and has been used for 20 years. The city believed silicate was the "main driver" in creating a protective layer to prevent lead pipes from leaching into the water.

    But, this September when the pipes were analyzed, the city learned it wasn't the silicate that had coated the lead pipes all those years. Another compound -- that forms at higher pH levels -- was most likely protecting the water instead.

    "This was a critical piece of information that ultimately shaped the city's plan for corrective action," Rego wrote in an emailed response forwarded by the city.

    Lowering pH increases acidity and can make water more corrosive, outside experts told NJ Advance Media.

    When a pH decreases, it can cause "the dissolution of lead that is on the piping to dissolve into the drinking water," said Ngai Yin Yip, an environmental engineering professor at Columbia University.

    Water treatment plants are responsible for treating and distributing water to customers. That typically includes removing organic matter (like leaves and dirt) from the water, disinfecting it of bacteria and adding chemicals to reduce the water's corrosive properties and prevent lead from leaching into the water.

    Newark serves 300,000 customers through two sources, the Pequannock Water Treatment Plant in West Milford and the Wanaque Water Treatment Plant. The pH levels decreased at Pequannock, which pumps water to areas of the city's North, Central, West and South wards -- the same areas that have lead issues. 

    The Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp., a nonprofit which dissolved in 2013, used to oversee water treatment for the city. During former Mayor Cory Booker's term, the nonprofit was rife with corruption and eventually declared bankruptcy. Newark's department of water and sewer took over treatment and distribution services in 2013. 

    Erik Olson, a representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is suing the city over its lead issues, said it was "entirely predictable" that lowering the pH would increase the water's corrosivity. 

    "That was going to have a profound effect on corrosion control and (the city) obviously took no steps to address that problem which is a serious issue," he said. 

    The state Department of Environmental Protection said it was reviewing its records to see what, if any, discussions state regulators had with Newark regarding lowering pH levels.

    "Until 2017 Newark did not have any lead action level exceedances to indicate to DEP that there was a concern with Newark's water chemistry," the DEP said. 

    State DEP officials said lowering pH is one of the "common and accepted ways to adjust water chemistry" and comply with rules that limit the amount of disinfection byproducts. Those byproducts, formed when chemicals used to disinfect water combine with organic matter, can cause cancer if people are exposed to them for extended periods of time.

    Though other alternatives exist to mitigate the amount of byproducts, Rego said for Newark, it would "require capital improvements, which take time to implement."

    Newark recently violated the disinfection byproduct standard, reporting elevated levels of chemical byproducts in its water; Rego said the city is currently developing a plan to address it.

    A 'widespread problem'

    Tap water samples in the city have exceeded the federal action level for lead since January 2017 and the most recent six-month monitoring period shows continued spikes. About 45 percent of 133 samples taken since July exceeded 15 parts per billion, the federal action level for lead that requires additional precautions. 

    One July sample recorded lead levels at 250 parts per billion -- more than 16 times the federal action level, data show. Lead can cause brain and kidney damage and is particularly harmful for young children and pregnant women.

    CDM Smith released its draft report to the city last month, which prompted officials to give away 40,000 water filters to affected residents. So far, more than 13,000 have been distributed. 

    Mayor Ras Baraka previously said it wasn't until he saw the report that he realized the city had a "widespread problem."

    Officials are switching the water system's corrosion control treatment to orthophosphate that will be more effective. The new system should be up and running less than four months, they say.

    The city also plans to replace between 15,000 and 18,000 lead service lines over the next eight years through a $75 million bond program. Residents will be responsible for paying up to $1,000 each to replace lines connecting to their homes.

    That's about half of the pipes that connect underground water mains to individual homes in the city. 

    It's still unclear when corrosion control failed, but Rego said it likely stopped working before the city's lead levels spiked in 2017. 

    "The mechanism of knowing whether things are working right are these samples that are taken at people's homes. It's what is at the tap," Rego said. 

    Experts cautioned that water systems often have to comply with multiple federal standards simultaneously and changing one chemical to tackle a problem can inadvertently create another problem.

    "The whole chemistry that happens when the drinking water passes through the distribution pipes, that is highly complex. You have tons of different chemical species in the drinking water and all these species reacts with one another and react with the pipes as well," Yip said. 

    Staff reporter Michael Sol Warren contributed to this report. 

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



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    Officers in both cities will patrol the border together seven days a week from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.

    Officials in Newark and East Orange came together Tuesday to announce a new initiative that partners police officers in both cities to patrol areas along the border.

    The Border Patrol Program will ensure that anywhere from eight to 10 officers from Newark police's 6th and 7th precincts and the East Orange Enhanced Community Safety team will ride together along the border seven days a week from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.

    "It's important because crime has no boundaries," Newark's Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said at a press conference at East Orange police headquarters. "We've had some significant success in the City of Newark in the last year with crime reduction and it's about partnerships. We can't do it alone."

    Newark has similar border patrol initiatives with Irvington, Bloomfield and Belleville, Ambrose said.

    Overall crime in Newark is down 14-percent from 2017 year-to-date, according to statistics on the Newark Police Department website. Eleven percent of Newark's crime comes from the area covered by the city's new police precinct in the city's North Ward, which covers parts of the West and Central wards as well.

    Newark also debuted a new police precinct in the Vailsburg section in March.

    Both of these precincts cover areas that share a border with East Orange, Mayor Ras Baraka said.

    "We'll be working closely with East Orange ... to maintain public safety and quality of life of those residents that live in and around that area," Baraka said. "No longer will our criminals or people who feel like they can break the law ... will have the ability to move from city to city without being detected."

    In East Orange, overall crime is down 19 percent this year, said Jose Cordero, the city's public safety liaison.

    He said 74 percent of residents said in a recent survey that they now feel safe walking the streets at night.

    "Reducing crime is important, but if people don't feel safe, it really doesn't matter," Cordero said.

    East Orange Mayor Ted R. Green said criminals take advantage of his city bordering Newark. Criminals, he said, think that they can evade police by committing a crime in one city and easily escaping across the border.

    "As we know, criminals don't have a boundary," Green said. "The message we're sending today, the partnership, is that we don't have a boundary."  

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

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    Bloomfield purchases its water from Newark -- both towns have elevated lead levels in the drinking water.

    As New Jersey's largest city continues distributing water filters to more than 40,000 residents to mitigate elevated lead levels in its drinking water, a neighboring town that buys water from Newark will now offer free filters, too. 

    Starting next week, Bloomfield will hand out filters to residents concerned about lead build-up in their homes. The township reported elevated lead levels in its tap water last year and in the first six months of 2018. 

    Recent drinking water samples show 16 of 61 homes exceeded federally accepted levels for lead contaminant between January and June 2018, state data show. If 10 percent or more of a municipality's samples have more than 15 parts per billion of lead, that triggers a violation and requires public notice

    "The township is definitely concerned with anything that affects public health and this is something that we're becoming more aware of. It's something that a lot of older townships are facing," Bloomfield spokesman Dan Knitzer told NJ Advance Media. "We're trying to be proactive with it."

    Knitzer said the township ordered more than 100 filters with the option to buy more depending on need. They'll arrive next week.

    Bloomfield officials said old lead plumbing and lead fixtures are causing the elevated lead levels, not the township's water mains. Officials say distributing filters is the latest step to help residents mitigate water issues. The township is also working with residents to replace old lead plumbing. 

    "We are hopeful that our homeowners work with us to ensure that lead is removed from their homes," Mayor Michael Venezia said in a statement. 

    Bloomfield purchases pre-treated water from Newark's Pequannock Water Treatment Plant. Newark has reported elevated lead levels in its tap water since 2017 caused by more than 15,000 lead service lines and ineffective water treatment. 

    A recent study, commissioned by Newark, found the method used to treat Newark's water to prevent lead from leaching into the tap water, known as corrosion control, stopped working. When water is not effectively treated for its corrosive properties, it will eat away at lead pipes as it makes its way through the distribution system, dissolving lead into the drinking water.

    An NJ Advance Media review of the study, however, also found that it pointed to the likely cause as to why Newark's corrosion control stopped working. 

    Newark lowered the water's pH in 2012 in order to avoid violating another federal standard, one that restricts levels of possibly carcinogenic chemicals that can form when water is disinfected. Those moves made the water more acidic and corrosive, likely rendering corrosion control less effective over time. 

    Newark is in the process of changing the way it treats its water to prevent lead leaching. 

    Bloomfield's tap water also contains elevated levels of haloacetic acids, a group of five possibly carcinogenic chemicals that are byproducts of the water disinfection process. The township has violated the disinfection byproduct standard that regulates the amount of the contaminant repeatedly since 2017.

    Elevated levels of haloacetic acids have been found in Newark as well. 

    The PUR filters are nationally certified to remove 99.99 percent of lead from tap water and also remove disinfection byproducts. Township officials are encouraging residents who pick up a filter to agree to have their water tested for lead. 

    "Everyone is concerned about these issues, and we have a program for testing lead levels but we have a shortage of volunteers willing to participate," Bloomfield Township Administrator Matthew Watkins said. 

    "We are asking residents receiving free PUR water filters to participate in the lead testing program."

    Filters can be picked up at the health department located at 1 Municipal Plaza between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Residents need to bring proof of residency. 

    For more information, residents can call 973-680-4024.

    Read more: 

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


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    Holiday shopping never used to start so early.

    It's an unfortunate fact that many of the traditions of Christmas shopping are fading away.

    For decades, the holiday selling season began with decorations and lights ... but it wasn't usually until after Thanksgiving. It's not considered unusual anymore for holiday decorations and items to begin appearing in stores in October.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Window shopping was once a magical time for children, strolling past stores with intricate displays of the season's new toys. And there were always the Sears and Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogs to set children dreaming of what might be under the tree Christmas morning.

    There simply aren't as many retailers as there once were, and online shopping takes a bigger bite from them each year. Here's a look at stores -- large and small -- where New Jerseyans shopped in years past.

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

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    Police responded around 10:35 p.m. to a report of shots fired in the area

    A 29-year-old Newark man was fatally shot Wednesday night, investigators said.

    City police found Tylier R. Moore unresponsive and suffering from gunshot wounds in the 100 block of Hobson Street when they arrived around 10:35 p.m. on a call of shots fired, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

    Moore was pronounced dead at the scene, the prosecutor's office said.

    Authorities said the shooting is under active investigation by the county Homicide Task Force.

    Investigators have asked anyone with information to call the prosecutor's tip line at 877-847-7432.

    Carla Astudillo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @carla_astudi. Find her on Facebook.

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    Pets throughout New Jersey await adoption from shelters and rescues.

    Here is this week's collection of some of the dogs and cats in need of adoption in New Jersey.

    We are now accepting dogs and cats to appear in the gallery from nonprofit shelters and rescues throughout New Jersey. If a group wishes to participate in this weekly gallery on, please contact Greg Hatala at

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

    0 0

    The logic is the same as in criminal court: Lives hang in the balance, and we are national of laws.

    Federal immigration agents make mistakes all the time. They even wrongfully arrest American citizens.

    Since 2012, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released more than 1,480 people after investigating their citizenship claims, a disturbing LA Times report found.

    Hundreds more spent months or years in detention before they could prove they are Americans. ICE often uses outdated government records and bad data and does cursory investigations. And it's not just citizens who have a legitimate claim to fend off deportation.

    Murphy doles out $2M for legal help to undocumented immigrants facing deportation
    So do other immigrants. Like Ahmed Abdelbasit, a Union City physics teacher and father of three who was sentenced to death in Egypt. Had a lawyer not helped win him asylum, he could have been deported and hanged.

    Or Emilio Gutierrez Soto, a journalist who fled death threats in Mexico, and was lucky enough to be represented by the Rutgers law clinic. A federal judge agreed there is compelling evidence that he was arrested by ICE because he was critical of our government. The denial of his asylum case was overturned, and he awaits a new decision.

    Or the church volunteers that ICE arrested in Highland Park, including the father of an American 13-year-old. They fled religious persecution in the late 1990's, entered the U.S. legally, and missed the deadline to file for asylum because they didn't know about it. Then they trusted our government enough to come forward and register.

    They deserve a fair hearing before being separated from their kids. And given the Trump administration's amped-up deportations of harmless long-time residents, the least we can do is ensure they have lawyers. Immigration law is complicated enough without having to plead your own case.

    All this is why Gov. Phil Murphy and state legislators are allocating $2.1 million of taxpayer money to get lawyers for immigrants facing deportation who can't afford them. It's about justice, not a craven embrace of law-breaking.

    Conservatives argue this is nuts, that we'll be footing the bill for prosecution and for defense. But the logic is the same as in criminal court: Lives hang in the balance, and we are a nation of laws.

    Pundits like Judi Franco from 101.5 brush this off as, "Your hard-earned money will be used to help an illegal 'lawyer up.'" But whether people are, in fact, here properly is exactly the issue to be determined. Why is it that conservatives assume ICE never makes an error that a court might correct? Aren't they supposed to think government is inept?

    It's fair to ask whether this spending deprives other lower income families who are citizens from receiving legal aid, like people being evicted from their homes. But it doesn't. No money was taken away from Legal Services, the main nonprofit providing pro-bono lawyers, and redirected to immigrants. In fact, the nonprofit got an even larger increase in state funding, $2.5 million, for other people's legal problems.

    Of course, it always needs more. In a rational world, the cost of fair representation in immigration court should fall to the federal government. But that isn't going to happen under President Trump. Meanwhile, New Jersey counties like Essex are making a killing, taking in millions of dollars a month from ICE to hold churchgoers and pizza guys in their jails.

    They should use some of this "blood money" to throw in their own grants, since $2 million likely won't be enough. A spokesman for Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo previously told us he'd consider providing free lawyers to immigrants in his jail. Last week, he said the "answer is still yes, and a decision hasn't been made about how much."

    Now is the time to act. At least the state is stepping up to do the right thing.

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

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    Who wants to rock and roll all night at The Rock?

    One of the biggest rock bands in history will visit The Rock next year.

    KISS announced on Monday that the second leg of its farewell "One Last Kiss: End of the Road World Tour" tour would include a stop at Prudential Center in Newark on Aug. 14, 2019.

    Tickets will be made available to the general public on Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. at or by calling 1-800-745-3000. The Prudential center box office will have tickets starting Dec. 4 at 11 a.m.

    But if you can't wait that long, KISS Meet & Greet Experiences will be available Tuesday, November 27 at 10 a.m. local time through, and KISS Army fan club presales will begin Thursday, November 29 at 9 a.m.

    "All that we have built and all that we have conquered over the past four decades could never have happened without the millions of people worldwide who've filled clubs, arenas and stadiums over those years," the band said in the announcement. "This will be the ultimate celebration for those who've seen us and a last chance for those who haven't. KISS Army, we're saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet and we'll go out the same way we came in... Unapologetic and Unstoppable." 

    The tour kicks off on Jan. 31 in Vancouver, and the first leg will include stops at New York's Madison Square Garden on March 27 and Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on March 29.

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

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    Angela Bledsoe, 44, was shot once in the jaw and three times in the back, a prosecutor said.

    A Montclair lawyer arrested in Cuba earlier this month admits fatally shooting his girlfriend, but claims her killing was self-defense, his own attorney told a judge in Newark Monday.

    Superior Court Judge Ronald D. Wigler, however, said the state's evidence was more than sufficient to keep James Ray III behind bars while awaiting trial on murder and weapons charges.

    "I really haven't heard anything that convinces this court you have overcome the presumption for detention," Wigler told Ray, who stood before the court in a green jail uniform, guarded by Essex County sheriff's officers.

    Ray, 55, is charged with first-degree murder and unlawfully possessing a weapon in the death of Angela Bledsoe, whom Montclair police found fatally shot inside the couple's North Mountain Avenue on Oct. 22.

    Ray was arrested by FBI and Homeland Security Investigations on Nov. 6 following his detention by Cuban authorities on an Interpol "red notice."

    Ray's attorney, Thomas R. Ashley, argued his client had been cleaning several guns he owned when Bledsoe took one and pointed it at Ray. Ray fired at her with the gun he was holding only to defend himself, Ashley said.

    Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Shaughnessy, however, said Bledsoe, 44, was shot four times: once in the jaw and three times in the back.

    Ashley said his client had planned to return to the United States and that he left the country only for fear authorities wouldn't believe his story.

    "This court well knows that flight alone is not an indication someone is necessarily guilty," he said.

    The judge appeared skeptical of the argument.

    "There's really no indication you had any intention of coming back to face these charges," Wigler said.

    Prosecutors have said Ray, who has been jailed at the Essex County Correctional Facility, wrote a note admitting fatally shooting Bledsoe.

    The note, found by Ray's sibling in the suitcase of the lawyer's 6-year-old child, said Ray was feeing specifically to avoid a lengthy trial and the possibility of jail time, authorities said.

    The handgun used to kill Bledsoe has not been recovered. In the note, Shaughnessy said in court Monday, Ray admitted disassembling the gun and disposing of the parts in Philadelphia, where he briefly lived on the street after Bledsoe's death.

    If convicted of murder, the judge noted, Ray faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison without parole.

    Thomas Moriarty may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriartyFind on Facebook

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    'Our heart stopped pumping and all of our arteries got clogged,' a Newark official said.

    New Jersey's largest city was paralyzed when the mid-November storm took officials by surprise and forced the state to shut down four major highways that lead in and out of Newark.

    As Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose put it: "Our heart stopped pumping and all of our arteries got clogged."

    Hoping to avoid another gridlock, Mayor Ras Baraka on Monday announced a new regional task force among local and county leaders in the public and private sectors to plan for unanticipated emergencies -- whether natural disasters or terrorism-related.

    "Every institution in the city has an emergency preparedness plan," Baraka said during a planning meeting he called with city stakeholders at NJIT. "What we need is an emergency preparedness plan that involved us all."

    Newark, he said, has about 50,000 people who work in the city but don't live there. That's in addition to its 280,000 residents and all the students who attend the city's colleges and universities.   

    Among Baraka's suggestions: Staggering times when people leave work; opening buildings for stranded motorists to go to the bathroom, shelter or rest; and better communicating with local partners. 

    During the Nov. 15 storm, the state closed Routes 280, 78, 21 and 22 because of safety concerns. That meant those trying to get out of Newark were stuck. 

    Even Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said he was stalled in traffic for 10 hours. 

    "When you had school get out, employees getting out, it was a bottleneck," he said. 

    Baraka said the city needs to partner with the its anchor institutions and businesses to "have places people can go if they're stuck."

    "We have to have our buildings open, we have to be open for business," he said.

    Ambrose said in his 33 years of public service, he's never seen all four major highways close. But, he warned, it could happen again and everyone needs to be prepared. He urged motorists to carry kits in their cars that include medicine, water, snacks and phone chargers.

    Ambrose said 145 officers were on duty that day but some were stuck in traffic themselves. One officer was injured while directing traffic and suffered a concussion, he said. 

    He said the biggest issue was communicating with residents and businesses so they understood what was causing the delay. 

    Part of the problem, Baraka said, is that the city didn't treat the storm as an emergency, "we looked at it as a traffic jam." 

    Performances at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center were only delayed and not canceled because no state of emergency was declared, which meant people were making their way into the city for those, too. 

    "Hopefully this doesn't happen again but if it does, next time we'll be ready," Baraka said. 

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

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    The crash occurred between High Street and Hillside Avenue

    Two people were killed Monday night in a crash in Glen Ridge that took down trees and left car parts scattered across Bloomfield Avenue.

    The crash occurred about 10 p.m. between High Street and Hillside Avenue.

    The victims were the driver and his passenger, according to Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

    "They hit a pole," Carter said.

    News video from showed debris including car parts, a downed pole and tree branches.

    Authorities did not release the names of the victims Tuesday morning, saying they were making notifications to family members. 

    Carter said only the victims were men.

    glen-ridge fatal.jpgWreckage from the scene of an apparently fatal crash Monday night on Bloomfield Avenue in Glen Ridge. (Armando Diaz | TAPinto) 

    News12 New Jersey reported a 25-year-old man from Harrison died in the wreck.

    Carter said the cause of the accident is under investigation.

    The crash closed part of Bloomfield Avenue - a major thoroughfare connecting several Essex County towns - for much of the night.

    car-fatal3.jpegDebris was scattered over the road after an apparently fatal accident Monday night in Glen Ridge. (Armando Diaz | TAPinto) 

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

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    The health department first learned about the outbreak and the first child's death from an anonymous employee.

    Two more infants who had spent time at University Hospital in Newark died last week, bringing the total to three deaths related to a bacterial outbreak inside the neonatal intensive care unit since September, the state Health Department announced Tuesday. 

    The health department sent an inspection team to the hospital Tuesday after learning University's own infection control program had not been informed two more babies had died.

    "A Department survey team is on-site today to investigate the hospital's internal notification policies, governance, and other factors that relate to reporting of deaths of cases during an ongoing outbreak," according to the announcement.

    The cause of death is unclear because these were premature babies with other medical problems, according to the health department's announcement. Two of the infants died after being transferred to other hospitals.

    A total of four infants have been exposed to the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria, a hospital-acquired infection, since September. The two babies who died last week contracted the infection six weeks ago. 

    The fourth child exposed was discharged from the hospital last month, Health Department spokeswoman Donna Leusner said.

    Anonymous 'concerned employee' alerted state to outbreak in hospital 

    Dana Yeganian, a hospital spokeswoman, said the staff "have worked diligently since the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria was discovered in our neonatal intensive care unit to control the outbreak, and there have been no new cases in the NICU since October. We continue to reinforce proper procedures and protocols with our team."

    Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal last month ordered the hospital to hire a full-time certified infection control practitioner after an inspection uncovered "major infection control deficiencies" with "hand hygiene, personal protective equipment and cleanliness."

    Hiring the infection control practitioner was part of the state's "plan of correction" for New Jersey's only public hospital.

    The health department first learned about the outbreak and the first child's death from an anonymous employee, Elnahal said.

    The state Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee is holding a hearing Monday on the rash of unrelated outbreaks at health care facilities treating children: University Hospital, the Wanaque Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where 11 children have died, and the Voorhees Pediatric Center where 13 children have been infected but none have died.

    Susan K. Livio may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio. Find Politics on Facebook.  

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    Investigators said the woman's death was still under investigation as of Tuesday afternoon

    A 70-year-old woman was fatally struck by a car in Millburn Monday night, authorities said.

    Virginia S. Thaler, of Brooklyn, New York, was was attempting to cross the street in the area of Lackawanna Place when she was struck by a car around 8:45 p.m., the Essex County Prosecutor's Office and Millburn police said in a statement.

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    The driver stopped and called for help, investigators said. First responders took Thaler to Morristown Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at at 9:54 p.m., according to the prosecutor's office.

    Authorities said Thaler's death is still under investigation, and no charges had been filed as of Tuesday afternoon.

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


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    Two Jersey City men charged with murdering a 17-year-old girl will be detained through the course of their prosecution.

    JERSEY CITY -- The two Jersey City men charged with gunning down a 17-year-old girl on Brinkerhoff Street in October will remain behind bars through the course of their prosecution, a judge ruled Wednesday. 

    Alterik Ellis, 25, and Travis Defoe, 28, were ordered to be detained when they appeared before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Paul Depascale for a detention hearing Wednesday morning. 

    Both are charged with the Oct. 26 murder of Lincoln High School senior Jade Saunders who was hanging out with friends in a building's vestibule when authorities say Ellis and Defoe opened fire from a vehicle.

    Investigators said Saunders died at the scene in front of her friends.

    Ellis and Defoe are also charged with wounding a 26-year-old Jersey City man two and two 19-year-olds when one of the men opened fire from a Toyota Camry registered to a Nutley resident and reported stolen Newark days earlier.

    Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Roe said Jersey City police were already on the lookout for the car because it was believed to have been involved in a another shooting.

    During the probable cause portion of Wednesday's hearing, Roe told the judge there is extensive security video evidence that detectives recovered from multiple locations in Jersey City and Newark. According to criminal complaints charging Ellis and Defoe, the footage revealed they had gotten into the car on Oak Street at 11:26 p.m. that night and turned onto Brinkerhoff from Monticello Avenue just prior to the 11:35 p.m.

    Security cameras later captured Ellis getting out of the vehicle and walking to an apartment on Lexington Avenue in Newark. Defoe was spotted walking from the vehicle to Penn Station in Newark and boarding a PATH train before arriving at Journal Square at 12:45 p.m., according to the complaints.

    Defoe's lawyer, Whitney Flanagan, and Ellis' attorney, Jason LeBoeuf, asked Depascale to release their clients with conditions for supervision pending trial.

    There is a presumption of detention in homicide cases because defendants face up to life in prison and are therefore flight risks. Depascale said the defense lawyers had not overcome that presumption.

    The two men will return to court on Dec. 6 for an early disposition hearing, where defendants typically receive their best plea offer from the prosecution. 

    Ellis and Defoe are each charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, three counts of aggravated assault, firearm offenses and theft related to the vehicle used in the shooting.

    Ellis and Defoe stood beside their attorneys at the defense table Wednesday and said nothing during the hearing. The Hudson County Prosecutor's Office has not commented on a potential motive for the shooting. 

    Saunders hoped to be a hair stylist after graduation. Her family members said she was in the wrong place at the wrong time when she was shot dead. Investigators said she did not know Ellis or Defoe.

    The Camry was recovered in Newark after the shooting on Brinkerhoff. 


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    The attacks cost victims more than $6 million in ransom payments and more than $30 million in damages, prosecutors said

    Two hackers in Iran were behind an international wave of ransomware attacks that shut down Newark's computer systems until the city paid $30,000 last year, federal and local officials said Wednesday.

    An indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Newark accuses Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri of running what Assistant U.S. Attorney General Brian Benczkowski called "an extreme form of 21st century digital blackmail," using the SamSam ransomware to target vulnerable institutions across the U.S. and Canada.

     Both men are still at large. Authorities were hopeful the two could be arrested while they traveled or through other means, Benczkowski told reporters in Washington.

    The ransomware, which encrypts the files of a target computer until the victim pays the hackers, was also used to attack the computer systems of the city of Atlanta, Georgia, the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and numerous hospitals, among other victims.

    Craig Carpenito, the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, told reporters at the Justice Department's Washington headquarters the hackers had looked for institutions "that could least afford to have downtime."

    Prosecutors said Savandi and Mansouri directed their victims to download the encrypted Tor internet browser and navigate to hidden web pages, where they were instructed to pay a designated ransom amount in Bitcoin, a so-called "cryptocurrency."

    The hackers used European-based servers to launch the attacks outside of their victims' regular business hours, scanning for vulnerabilities in the targeted computer systems, Carpenito said.

    The men allegedly targeted computers on Newark's city systems on April 25, 2017.

    "These attacks seriously compromised our networks and disrupted vital services that we provide to residents," Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement. 

    He said the city ultimately paid the hackers a bitcoin ransom worth about $30,000 as recommended by law enforcement "in order to prevent long term disruption."

    "Both the FBI and Department of Justice were extremely helpful in guiding us every step of the way and assisting in a situation we had never faced before," Baraka said. "The city of Newark has significantly strengthened its cyber defenses and learned a great deal from having gone through this experience."

    Newark SamSam ransomware messageThe ransom note displayed on Newark city computer systems hijacked in a 2017 attack using the SamSam ransomware. (U.S. Justice Department)

    The attacks ultimately cost the hackers' victims more than $6 million in ransom payments and more than $30 million in losses from lack of access to their data, according to the indictment.

    Savandi, 34, and Mansouri, 27, developed the ransomware in 2015 and first used it a year later against a business in Mercer County, according to the six-count indictment.

    The two men have been charged with conspiracy, intentionally damaging protected computers and demanding ransom in relation to the damage.

    The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday also announced sanctions against two Iranian nationals accused of processing the bitcoin payments of SamSam victims, accusing them of providing material support to cyber criminals.

    Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan used two digital addresses to process more than 7,000 bitcoin transactions worth millions of U.S. dollars, officials said in a statement.

    The sanctions mark the first time specific digital currency addresses have been attributed to foreign individuals sanctioned by the Treasury Department, officials said.

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


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