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    Dogs and cats at shelters await adoption.

    Holmdel volunteer wins international award in dog photography competition

    The Kennel Club in London recently announced the winners of its annual Dog Photographer of the Year competition with Sonya Kolb of Holmdel selected as the winner of the competition's "Rescue Dog" category.


    The award comes with a PS500 prize for the charity of the winner's choice. Kolb has chosen to donate the money to the Monmouth County SPCA, where she has been taking photos for seven years.

    The dog in Kolb's winning photograph is rescue dog Cooper, whose family adopted him after their first rescue dog tragically died before they had even brought him home.

    "I am extremely grateful to have won the Rescue category in the Dog Photographer of the Year competition," said Kolb. "I can remember every second of this photo shoot as if it were yesterday. This image reveals what is so important in life - our emotional connections with others. Dogs fulfill our deepest emotional needs, giving us so freely an abundance of love, comfort and joy. I love creating images that spread happiness and connect us heart to heart, hand to paw, with our most positive emotions."

    Monica van der Maden from the Netherlands was chosen overall winner of the competition with an image of Noa the Great Dane which placed first in the "Oldies" category. The other first place category winners were:

        Elinor Roizman, Israel, "Dogs at Play";
        Klaus Dyber, Germany, "Puppy";
        Carol Durrant, the UK, "Portrait";
        Tracy Kidd, the UK, "Dogs at Work";
        Joana Matos, Portugal, "Man's Best Friend";
        Dean Mortimer, the UK, "Assistance Dogs";
        Tamara Kedves, Hungary, "I Love Dogs Because...";
        Mariah Mobley (age 11), United States, "Young Pup Photographer"

    All of the winning images plus the photos that placed second and third for each category will be on display at the Kennel Club in London from through Oct. 5. To view all the winning images, go to

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

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    Bergen Catholic's reign is over. Who is the new No. 1?

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    Here are the 30-best boys soccer games coming up this week.

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    Who still has an unbeaten streak alive in the state ? NJ Advance Media takes a look.

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    Neighbors told the injured man may have been attempting to steal copper pipes from the abandoned house

    A man was hurt when an abandoned home in Newark exploded on Sunday afternoon, according to police.

    Authorities aren't sure yet why the house on South Devine Street collapsed around 5:19 p.m. The explosion broke windows and damaged the siding of adjacent residences, though. 

    26-year-old charged following explosion in Cranford

    The injured man was questioned but not charged, a Newark police spokeswoman said. His injuries were not considered life-threatening. 

    Neighbors told WABC-7 the man was inside the house and might have been attempting to steal copper pipes to sell as scrap metal. People playing softball at Vailsburg Park across the street chased the man and held him until police arrived, the television station said.

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



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    Wild plays, great saves and stellar finishes top this week's Top 10 plays.

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    The best matchups of the third week of the season

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    The device was discovered at a Newark cemetery during the annual Newark Cemetery Visiting Day.

    A homemade explosive device found at a Jewish Cemetery in Newark Sunday morning forced the evacuation of an event while the Essex County Bomb Squad removed the non-working bomb.

    The device was found on a headstone at the B'nai Abraham Cemetery on South 19th Street at South Orange Avenue during Newark Cemetery Visiting Day, an event organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest NJ at 10:45 a.m., according to a Facebook post from the group's CEO Dov Ben-Shimon. 

    Visitors were asked to leave the as police investigated the find, which was described by Ben-Shimon as a "homemade explosive device consisting of a non-military firework mortar taped to a container of commercial lubricant."

    The device would not have been able to explode as constructed, he said.

    "There is no indication at this time that the device was targeted as a bias/hate crime incident, but we will be following up with our law enforcement partners at Homeland Security to advise them of the incident," Ben-Shimon said.

    The bomb squad removed the device to dispose of it in a "safe manner" and the the cemetery was reopened an hour later after police checked the rest of the cemetery, he said.

    Calls and emails to the Essex County Sheriff's Office seeking further information were not returned Monday night.

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



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    Check out which teams made the cut in the third Top 20 of the season.

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    Nathaniel J. Lewis, of East Orange, didn't disclose his sex offender status when he applied for a job

    A 37-year-old man failed disclose he was a convicted sex offender before being hired by the Clifton parks and recreation department, authorities said. 

    lewis.jpgNathaniel J. Lewis (Passaic County Prosecutor's Office) 

    Nathaniel J. Lewis, of East Orange, was charged last week with failure to register as a sex offender and unlawfully obtaining employment in a youth serving organization, the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement Monday. 

    Lewis was previously convicted in Virginia in 2009 of taking indecent liberties with children, according to the Virginia State Police sex offender registry. The registry lists Lewis as wanted and notes his last known place of employment was a church in East Orange.

    Lewis failed to disclose his sex offender status when he applied for work in Clifton, officials said.

    He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on both third-degree charges.

    Lewis is due in Superior Court in Paterson on Tuesday morning. 

    A spokeswoman for the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office declined to provide additional information ahead of Tuesday's hearing. 

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



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    Essex County is in deals to take control of the police academy back from Essex County College.

    Essex County officials plan to take back control of the public safety academy -- currently run by the county college -- more than two decades after the building was sold off to plug a budget hole. 

    "We're going to totally take it over," Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. told NJ Advance Media on Monday. "It was never the right thing for the college to do. Now, we're straightening it out."

    Essex County College's Board of Trustees will vote Tuesday to discontinue operations at the Cedar Grove academy by January 2019 and lay off its director, Rocco Miscia. 

    The county, meanwhile, plans to apply to for a certification from the New Jersey Police Training Commission, the agency that regulates officer training, so the county Department of Corrections can assume ownership next year. 

    "It's a win-win," DiVincenzo said. He said the college was losing about a million dollars running the facility and county corrections officers often had to train elsewhere.

    "Sometimes, we couldn't get in," he said. "Now, we're going to be able to take care of own in our county."    

    Phil Alagia, the county's chief of staff, said the county plans to purchase the building back from the college but was still in negotiations. The county sold the facility to the college in 1997 to fill a $4 million budget gap.

    As the county's sole public safety academy, the facility graduates about 300 recruits every year, including corrections officers, school resource officers and police officers, among others. 

    But this summer, the academy was forced to restrict its course offerings after the Police Training Commission raised concerns that the college, citing fiscal woes, had slashed the associate director position.

    The agency cited the college for not having a viable plan to transition those duties to someone else and temporarily banned the academy from offering additional certified courses. 

    "There was no consultation, no heads up, no input from (Miscia) or anyone else that I know of and what the consequences and downside would be," Paul Costello, the academy's former associate director previously said about the staff changes. 

    On Tuesday, the Board of Trustees will move to eliminate the director's position. When reached by phone, Miscia said he was placed on administrative leave by the college on Wednesday but declined to comment further.   

    Lori Apicelli, Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura's daughter who works at the college, has been named interim director. 

    ECC spokesman Wayne Yourstone said the college does not comment on personnel matters. He said the academy "has provided a rigorous, quality education to law enforcement recruits" and more information would be available at its board meeting Tuesday. 

    Alagia said the county is working out an agreement with the college to place county personnel at the academy to help with the transition this year. 

    "Let's get them get there early, so they hit the ground running," he said. Alagia said the current class of 70 police recruits will not be affected and graduate in December as planned.  

    The city of Newark will also pay for an administrative position at the academy and is planning to build its own $49 million police and fire training complex in the South Ward.

    [Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information.]

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


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    Here are the players and keepers of the week in every boys soccer conference.

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    The facility at 224 Sussex Avenue, which originally opened as a temporary winter shelter last December, closed Sept. 15, city officials said Monday.

    After months of extensions and a brief closure, Newark's temporary homeless shelter has officially shut its doors. 

    The facility at 224 Sussex Avenue, which originally opened as a temporary winter shelter last December, closed Sept. 15, city officials said Monday. 

    Of the 194 residents, some have been reassigned to other shelters while others qualified for housing vouchers or financial assistance. About 90 residents, however, have no housing alternative, Dr. Mark Wade, director of the department of health and community wellness said. 

    The city, meanwhile, is reviewing 10 proposals from shelter operators that can house the remaining residents -- likely at multiple locations -- starting Nov. 1. 

    "The city is embarking on a different strategy. We're not going to fund a single shelter but we're going to fund a variety of shelters to serve the same population," city spokesman Frank Baraff said. "It's not a single fix."

    The Central Ward shelter principally targeted the homeless population who had nowhere else to go and were not eligible for federal assistance. 

    The Sussex Avenue facility was slated to close in March but the city was able to find additional money to keep it open through June. It then closed in the middle of a heat wave because it had no more funds to stay open until private donors helped open the building's doors for a few more weeks.  

    The shelter was scheduled to shut down at the end of August but the building's owner agreed to give residents another two weeks -- free of charge. 

    Community activists for weeks been rallying to keep the shelter open. On Monday, some of the shelter residents who had nowhere to go camped out in the park across from the Sussex Avenue building. 

    City officials said about 30 percent of those staying at the shelter did not return in September after learning about the facility's imminent closure, another 19 percent were reassigned to other shelters and 5 percent received vouchers, employment and/or financial assistance.

    Baraff said the city and the county would continue to find placements for residents with nowhere to go.

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

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    Darren Black is accused of shooting her to death, moving the body.

    An East Orange man has been arrested for the shooting death of a 38-year-old Orange woman whose body was found dumped in the middle of a street in Irvington.


    Darren Black, 37, was charged with the murder of Shafeqah Cooper, who was killed on Aug. 17, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens,II, and Irvington Police Director Tracy Bowers said in a statement Tuesday.

    Cooper was killed in the area of Valley Street and Argyle Avenue in Orange, prosecutors have determined. However, her body was found by a motorist in Irvington on Krokit Place. She had been shot several times.

    Black was arrested in Princeton by detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force and the FBI Fugitive Task Force, officials said.

    Cooper was the mother of an 8-year-old son who was "the love of her life," according to her obituary. She also was an avid reader, an animal lover, a pool player, a lover of poetry and a Cowboys fan.

    In addition to murder, Black was charged with concealment and removing human remains, illegal possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

    Black is being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility.

    Robin Wilson-Glover may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @RobinGlover. Find on Facebook.

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    The flight was headed to New Jersey from Los Angeles

    A United Airlines flight bound for Newark had to make an unscheduled stop in Denver due to a mechanical issue, officials said. 

    Flight 1640, a Boeing 757-200 that originated in Los Angeles, landed safely in Colorado at 11:43 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time and passengers exited normally, according to United.  

    It then departed Denver at 1 p.m. and is due to touch down at Newark Liberty International Airport at 6:43 p.m. local time. 

    The flight, which took off from Los Angeles at 7:45 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, was originally scheduled to land in Newark at 4 p.m. local time. 

    NBCNewYork,com reported that the plane had to be diverted to due "fumes" or a "peculiar smell."

    The Federal Aviation Administration didn't immediately return message from NJ Advance Media seeking information. 

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