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    A committee of residents is trying to oust Mayor Dwayne Warren from office and hold a special election to replace him.

    A group of residents is seeking to recall Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren from office, NJ Advance Media has learned.

    The city clerk confirmed Tuesday that she had certified a notice of intent to recall the mayor and approved the petition language last week. Clerk Joyce Lanier said the recall committee must collect signatures for 25 percent of all voters registered for the last general election, or about 4,051 signatures. 

    Dwayne Warren headshot.jpgOrange Mayor Dwayne Warren  

    Warren, a Democrat, was first elected in 2012, after ousting incumbent mayor Eldridge Hawkins Jr. He was re-elected in 2016 for a second term. Warren also works as a senior partner at the law firm Mizrahi Warren, is a municipal prosecutor in Plainfield and an adjunct professor at Essex County College. 

    Orange spokesman Keith Royster said the administration was aware of the petition.

    "Mayor Warren has always been a leader who leads our city through unity and citizen input. In the spirit of collaboration, the Mayor asks any and all residents to join him in meeting the challenges we must face together, as one community," Royster said in an emailed statement.

    "Those few individuals who want to engage in political theatre choose to ignore the will of the people who voted in the 2016 municipal election."

    But organizers of the recall say Warren's tenure in Orange has been marked by federal investigations, mismanagement of city coffers and a recent spike in crime. 

    "We felt the need to ask for an election, a recall election as soon as possible due to many citizens' frustration with how the city is being run," said resident Tyrone Jon Tarver, who is leading the recall efforts. "It's really his choice on how he runs the city, how he mishandles and misappropriates the finances of the city." 

    Orange had four homicides in the first six months of 2018, compared with none in the first six months of 2017, records from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office show. 

    "It's come to an apex where (his decisions) are hurting the city," Tarver, who was elected to the School Board last year, said. Tarver pointed to the city's deficit and the potential layoffs that could come with it.

    But Royster said Orange had withdrawn its layoff plan and was able to deliver a balanced budget through other departmental cuts.

    The city is also the focus of a wide-ranging federal probe as the FBI investigates alleged misused of government funds, among other things. In recent months the city has received additional subpoenas in relation to the investigation, according to a city official.

    Warren's administration has been marked by fights with the city council over his hiring of top administrators to highly paid jobs that weren't on the books. The Appellate Division recently affirmed a lower court's decision ruling that the city's former deputy business administrator, Willis Edwards III, was not lawfully appointed and had to pay the city back his salary.  

    "Many people are unhappy with our municipality's situation," Tarver said. "Everybody's pretty fed up."

    The recall committee, which Tarver said is not politically affiliated, has 160 days to collect the required signatures. If the required signatures are verified by the clerk, the mayor has five days to resign. He can also challenge the validity of the certification in court. 

    Karen Yi may be reached at kyi@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook

     

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    When students were embarrassed to attend high school because their clothes were dirty and because they would get bullied, their high school principal was able to get washing machines and dryers to remove that barrier. Watch video

    The Facebook picture of Akbar Cook standing in front of washing machines and dryers looked rather odd at West Side High School in Newark.

    Not to Cook, who is the school's new principal this school year. The appliances are not out of place at all. In fact, he said, they're needed to remove a barrier that kept students from coming to school when he was vice principal.

    Students couldn't afford to wash their school uniforms, a financial situation at home that was made worse when they did show up to school.

    Wearing a dirty school uniform opened them up to bullying, teasing and jokes that didn't end when school was over, Cook said. Students snapped cellphone pictures of a classmate's dirty collar or stained Khaki pants and posted them to social media.

    "They were choosing to stay home rather than coming to school to be bullied or ridiculed,'' Cook said. "We didn't know until we started making calls,'' home to find out why students weren't in school, he said.

    He relayed this story two years ago during an advisory council meeting of the MCJ Amelior Foundation, which has adopted the school and funds some of its academic and enrichment programs.

    The PSEG Foundation was at the table and wanted to help. It later provided a $20,000 grant for the appliances -- five washing machines and five dryers --  and materials along with advice on how to convert the football locker room into a laundry room.

    Ellen Lambert, who has retired from the foundation as its president, said "it made great sense" for the foundation to get involved when she listened to Cook explain the challenges he faced combatting attendance.

    "We take things for granted that are easy for us. He (Cook) doesn't. You want everyone to succeed, especially young people. He finds those places where success doesn't happen and he figures out why and he goes after it.''

    The Newark public school's facilities team did the work to create the laundry room, but Cook said students will be working, too, now that's it's done.

    westdetergeant1ax243_08a9_9.jpgAmadu Benbow, left, and Yasim Hooker bring in laundry supplies that were donated by a local UPS store. West Side High School was having a problem with students not coming to school because they had dirty clothes and they did not want to be subjected to getting bullied by classmates on social media. The principal, Akbar Cook, has solved that problem. He was able to get a grant to purchase washing machines and dryers to eliminate that barrier. Monday August 13, 2018. Newark, NJ, USA
     

    He said students can't just wash clothes, leave and play on their cell phones. In an adjacent room called the Makerspace, Cook said a teacher will be assigned before and after school to work with students on STEM projects and explore academic interests while they wait for their laundry.

    A couple of students did some STEM work Monday when Cook had a preliminary opening of the laundry room during the school's summer Lights On Program that he started three years ago to keep kids off the street. The building is open three nights a week from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The place is buzzing with activity from open gym, yoga and video games to exercise classes, dancing and sessions on henna designs.

    In the laundry room, though, Kalim Harvey-Belcher, 16, tinkered with a STEM design after tossing in a load. He's never been teased by anyone for not having clean clothes, but Harvey-Belcher said he did miss a few days of school last year because his uniform was not up to snuff.

    "With the laundromat, it'll be a benefit to students because they're still getting their education and they're getting their clothes cleaned,'' said Harvey-Belcher, who will use the machines this year if necessary. "You can come to school smelling like Tide every day.''

    Curtis Hill, 20, wished this project was in place when he was a student two years ago at West Side.

    "I was getting teased, my clothes were smelling,'' said Hill, who was living on his own in a group home.

    westbelcher1ax252_0533_9.jpgKalim Harvey-Belchner, 16, , works on a bridge construction set in the Maker Space STEM area adjacent to the laundry facilities. West Side High School was having a problem with students not coming to school because they had dirty clothes and they did not want to be subjected to getting bullied by classmates on social media. The principal, Akbar Cook, has solved that problem. He was able to get a grant to purchase washing machines and dryers to eliminate that barrier. Monday August 13, 2018. Newark, NJ, USA 

    He missed days, too, but said but he found a way to ignore the critics when his clothes were not fresh.

    For other students, Cook gave them clothes to wear from the school store, which sold West Side t-shirts and sweatpants. If they needed deodorant or soap to wash up, Cook had that, too.

    "I refuse to let a kid come to school smelling or dirty and I'm sitting on a shirt that says 'West Side on it," Cook said.

    With the school year weeks away, students and Cook believe the laundry room will remove a social stigma and change a culture of bullying.

    "Principal Cook exemplifies the very best of Newark's principals and is evidence of what happens when passion meets progress for our students -- the community becomes the greatest beneficiary," said Newark's Superintendent Roger Leon. 

    "His leadership, dedication, commitment, and spirit early on with this project embody basic yet key essentials to increasing student attendance which will yield student achievement and academic success.''

    Word is spreading about the laundry room beyond the school walls.

    Catresa McGhee, a human resources supervisor for United Parcel Service in Newark, saw the Facebook picture, too, of Cook standing in front of the washing machines.

    She showed up to school Monday night with plenty of laundry supplies donated by employees who want to help West Side get off to a clean start.

    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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    Who is back from NJ.com's postseason selections following the 2017 season?


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    The 43-year-old man was apparently trying to flee a gunman when he was struck by a vehicle

    A 43-year old Irvington man died after he was shot and run over by a vehicle Tuesday night in Newark, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday. 

    Just before 9 p.m., prosecutors say, Rodney O'Neal was shot it the 300 block of Schley Street in the city's South Ward. 

    Authorities say O'Neal was struck by the vehicle while apparently attempting to flee the shooter. He was rushed to University Hospital in Newark, and pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m. 

    An autopsy is pending to determine the exact cause of O'Neal's death.

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

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.  

     

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    More hot fun in the summertime.

    This is a photo of the house I grew up in on Chimes Terrace in Vineland. Do you see that strip of sand alongside the street in front of our house?

    Chimes_Terrace.jpg 

    Obviously, we didn't have sidewalks. We also didn't have a swimming pool and my sister and I usually were limited to running through the sprinkler or shooting water pistols at each other to keep cool.

    But with regularity, it being summer, a thunderstorm would pass through.

    Thunderstorms are usually over pretty quickly; after it passed, a river of water would be running down the side of our street. That water and that sand became our special summer fun.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    We could form little canals or dam up the water and make a small lake. If it was a particularly hard rain, you could sail little sticks as if they were boats. Even if the rain wasn't quite over, it was a cooling summer rain you didn't mind and the steam rising off the asphalt added to the things you could imagine. Traffic wasn't nearly as dense as it is today, and drivers were aware of us - they weren't staring at cell phones.

    And every time there's a summer shower, even to this day, I think back to that simple summer fun.

    In this gallery of vintage photos from around New Jersey, we can see that summertime fun can be anything anyone wants it to be when the weather's fine. And here are links to other galleries you'll enjoy.

    Vintage photos of taverns and bars in N.J.

    Vintage photos of the 1970s in N.J.

    Vintage photos of a day in N.J.

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


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    The city plans to replace its 15,000 lead service lines at a cost of $75 million. The lead service line inventory obtained through a public records request, shows some pipes some date to the 1880s.


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    Gov. Phil Murphy's announcement that an outside monitor will oversee University Hospital was a gut punch to New Jersey's only public hospital.


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    The Queen of Soul died Thursday, and all I can think about is the chat we had in 2015.


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    Find out which teacher from your county made the cut.


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    The name of the boy has not been released because of his status as a juvenile

    A 16-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with the murder of a 58-year-old man in Newark, according to a statement from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office. 

    Prosecutors say on Aug. 2 around 2 p.m., the teen fatally shot Craig Dorrah near Crane Street in Newark in the city's East ward. 

    Prosecutors have not released his name because he is a juvenile. They are reviewing the case to determine if it should be waived to adult court. 

    In addition to the minor's murder charge, he also faces charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

    He is currently being held at the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center in Newark.

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at tharris@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyoFind NJ.com on Facebook. 

     

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    Kwasi Mack, a member of Newark's Grape Street Crips known as "Welchs," was among more than 70 members of the Crips arrested as part of a multi-year federal takedown of the violent street gang.

    The bullets spewed out in rapid fire in broad daylight at a neighborhood cookout in a Newark public housing complex, as children played nearby.

    The gunman was Kwasi Mack, a member of Newark's Grape Street Crips known as "Welchs," who was armed with an automatic assault rifle and was out for blood. His target--a fellow gang-member who had cooperated with authorities in a murder investigation and whose loyalty to the gang was in question.

    He had been released from prison just three months before the Columbus Day 2011 shooting.

    On Thursday, the 29-year-old high-ranking gang member was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison for a violent crime spree of assaults and murders, including the fatal shooting of a teenager who cried for his mother as Mack--who laughed about it later with another gang member--pulled the trigger.

    Mack pleaded guilty in October to eight counts charging him with murder and attempted murder, assaults, and conspiracy to distribute heroin.

    He was among more than 70 members of the Crips who were arrested in a multi-year federal takedown that recently ended with the conviction of Corey Hamlet, the leader of the violent street gang that controlled much of the heroin trade in Newark and its nearby suburbs, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

    Mack admitted to a deadly series of assaults that began as far back as August 2006, when he shot and killed the teenager, a rival gang-member, and shot and paralyzed another young man.

    He also pleaded guilty to the October 2011 shooting in Newark at the Kemsco Village housing complex. While nobody died, Mack shot eight people, with at least two of suffering permanent or life-threatening injuries.

    Prosecutors said after being charged with attempted murder, he discovered the identity of the only person willing to testify against him and ordered fellow gang-members to kill the witness. While gang-members took steps to carry out Mack's orders, prosecutors said the murder never took place.

    Mack admitted as well to a 2013 plot to kidnap and rob a major heroin-trafficker, and ordering the murder of two other gang-members.

    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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    A former Newark judge is suing the city for wrongful termination.

    A former Newark municipal judge is suing the city and its officials for wrongful termination, claiming she was falsely accused of drinking on the job and then fired for it. 

    Vanessa Williams Powell, who was appointed to the bench in 2002, alleges the city discriminated against her, violated her civil rights, defamed her and inflicted emotional distress, according to a lawsuit filed in Essex County Superior Court in July. 

    The case was moved to federal court this month, records show. 

    The lawsuit alleges that in early May last year, Judge Victoria Pratt asked Powell if she had been drinking before work because she "smelled a whiff of alcohol." Powell said no, the complaint said. 

    A few weeks later, however, Powell, who earned $128,000, was told her services were no longer needed in a letter from Mayor Ras Baraka, the complaint said. 

    When Powell tried to find out the reason for her termination, she was told Pratt wrote a letter to Baraka complaining that she was drunk on the job and also previously complained to the mayor that Powell had a drinking problem, the suit said. 

    Powell claimed she was not allowed into the City Council's executive session later that month when they were discussing her position, the lawsuit said. The council then voted to confirm Judge Ashlie Gibbons to replace her. 

    According to the case, Powell became depressed and began sleeping on her living room floor after she was terminated. She has not been employed since. 

    Though she denies the drinking accusations, Powell's suit accuses city officials of discrimination based on her perceived drinking problem; alcoholism is a disability under the state discrimination laws, the case said. 

    Christoper Roberts, who is representing Powell, declined to comment. A city spokesman and the attorney representing Pratt declined to comment. The attorneys representing the city, the council and other officials did not return requests for comment. 

    Powell is seeking damages and her job back. 

    Karen Yi may be reached at kyi@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook

     

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    See how the new divisional realignment cycle could alter the boys soccer landscape this season.


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    The 55-year-old employee was pronounced dead at the scene.

    A 55-year-old grocery store employee was killed Thursday morning in East Orange, authorities said. 

    Tarlok Singh, who worked at the Park Deli & Grocery on North Park Street, was pronounced dead at the deli on Thursday morning, according to a statement released from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office. 

    He was killed at about 7:30 a.m., authorities said.

    Singh's death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, the statement said.

    Authorities did not say how Singh was killed. A spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, Katherine Carter, said, "We are not releasing that information at this time." 

    A cousin, Karnail Singh, told ABC7 that Tarlok Singh was stabbed in the chest.

    Residents told the news station that Singh was a well-liked member of the community who was kind to everyone. 

    This Sikh community took to social media to condemn the alleged attack against Singh, which is reportedly the third violent attack against a Sikh in three weeks. 

    Two men were attacked in separate incidents in California. In one of the incidents, a 50-year-old man was assaulted as his assailants yelled, "go back to your country" and spray painted a white supremacist symbol on his truck.

    "We share our deepest condolences to Mr. Singh's family, friends and local community and we will provide updates when they become available," The Sikh Coalition wrote on Facebook

    The Sikh Coalition reported earlier this year that Sikhs living in the United States experience an average of one hate crime per week. The group said anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000 Sikhs are living in the country. 

    One of the most recent publicized discrimination incidents against a Sikh in New Jersey came in July when the state's attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, was the target of racist remarks by two NJ101.5 hosts. 

    Authorities in Essex County have not stated a motive in the killing of Singh. 

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

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


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    The woman has not yet been identified

    A motorist discovered a woman's body on an Irvington street Friday morning, the Essex County Prosecutors Office said

    Investigators found she'd been shot several times. 

    The woman, who police had yet to publicly identify as of Friday evening, was found on Krotik Place at approximately 8:55 a.m. The street parallels the Garden State Parkway between Chancellor Avenue and Mill Road.

    The investigation into the woman's killing is active and ongoing, the prosecutor's office said Friday evening.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the prosecutor's office's Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at tharris@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyoFind NJ.com on Facebook.