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    The 55-year-old was arrested in Cuba last week by the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

    A Superior Court judge is expected to decide Tuesday whether a Montclair lawyer accused of killing the mother of his child should stay jailed pending trial.

    James Ray IIIJames Ray III. (Essex County jail)

    James Ray III, 55, is scheduled to appear at the Essex County Veterans Courthouse in Newark for a hearing on prosecutors' motion to detain him before trial, authorities told reporters last week.

    Ray, who was handed over to FBI and Homeland Security Investigations agents last week by authorities in Cuba, has been charged with murder in Bledsoe's Oct. 22 fatal shooting.

    Under statewide criminal justice reforms that took effect last year, Ray is likely to remain behind bars for the duration of his case unless his attorney can convince the judge he's neither a public safety threat nor a flight risk.

    Court documents obtained by NJ Advance Media and other outlets say Ray -- in a note found by a family member -- confessed to killing Bledsoe and expressed a fear of prison time.

    Affidavit: Lawyer admitted killing girlfriend

    The note, a detective wrote, led Ray's sibling to call police, who discovered Bledsoe in the couple's North Mountain Avenue home suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. She died of her injuries not long after.

    The Essex County Prosecutor's Office last week told reporters Ray had been detained by Cuban authorities when he arrived in the country on Oct. 28, after Interpol issued a worldwide "red notice" alerting member countries of his wanted status.

    Ray, who maintained a law practice in Manhattan, previously drew media scrutiny in 2013 when a paralegal he formerly employed sued him for sexual harassment.

    The paralegal, who later settled the case out of court, claimed Ray had subjected her to unwanted conversations about polygamy and pornography, and pressured her to become his "third wife."

    Ray remained jailed at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark as of Monday afternoon.

    If convicted of murder, he faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in state prison and a maximum of life.

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

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    The Essex County executive says the county sheriff's office will be making sure dog rules are followed

    If you lived in New York City and could afford it, would you cough up $100 a day to send your dog to "hike" around in New Jersey?

    You would probably want to take man's best friend to one of the city dog parks or leave them at a doggie day care, right?

    Nah. We're talking about New York!

    According to a story in The New York Times (and I'm paraphrasing here), some New York dogs are like the Giants and Jets -- they're New York in name but they do all their playing in Jersey.

    That story reports that services like My Dog Hikes are bringing New York pups to New Jersey parks, where they run around without leashes, and if one Facebook comment is to be believed, pooping everywhere.

    Jerseyans and a county executive are not happy.

    Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. took to Facebook Monday to respond to what he read in the report.

    "Having dogs run free is not allowed in Essex county parks, including South Mountain Reservation, and poses a safety risk for other people enjoying our open spaces as well as the dogs," he said. 

    Just go to one of the four dog parks if you want to run the dogs off leash, he said: one each at South Mountain, Brookdale Park, Hilltop Reservation and Watsessing Park.

    He even mentioned siccing the Essex County Sheriff's Office on dog walkers. Officers, he said in his post, will be making sure, "our rules are followed."

    My Dog Hikes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. 

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    The Essex County Prosecutor's Office was investigating the woman's death but did not have many details to share.

    A woman was found stabbed to death in a Montclair apartment complex Monday morning, officials said.

    The woman, whose name was not released, was found at 11:45 a.m. in the complex near the corner of Greenwood and Glenridge avenues, Essex County Prosecutor's Office Spokeswoman Katherine Carter said.

    Carter said no arrests were made as of 9 p.m. and that no further information could be released at this time.

    The death comes just a few weeks after a woman was killed in her Montclair home. James Ray, 55, was arrested in Cuba last week and charged with the crime.

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


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    Riders on the Montclair-Booton line are facing 45 minute delays after a person was struck and killed by a New Jersey Transit train on Nov. 13, 2018.

    A person was struck and killed by a New Jersey Transit train in Montclair on Tuesday morning, officials said. 

    The person was hit in the area of Watchung Avenue around 5:15 a.m.. 

    Service was suspended earlier on the Montclair-Boonton line but has since resumed with 45 minute delays, according to NJ Transit

    Train passes can be used on NJ Transit and private buses. 

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



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    Amazon finally made it's big decision on where it will open its HQ2.

    They didn't pick us.

    It's official, Amazon will split its second headquarters between New York City and Northern Virginia, Amazon announced today, capping off a yearlong search that set off a public contest among 20 finalist cities -- including Newark.

    Amazon is also planning a new operations center in Nashville, Tennessee, that will create more than 5,000 jobs. 

    "These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come," Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon said in a statement. "The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities."

    More than 25,000 employees will be hired in each of two sites, officials said. 

    As Amazon neared its decision this month, state and local officials here pitched a partnership with New York to help alleviate any concerns of locating to a dense urban area. Officials doubled down on that strategy after reports that the online commerce giant was leaning toward Virginia's Crystal City neighborhood and Long Island City in New York. 

    City and state leaders were hoping to draw the retail behemoth's promised $5 billion and the 50,000 jobs projected for HQ2 -- or at least get a portion of it. 

    "No other city on the list can be transformed like the city of Newark can," one source involved in the negotiations previously told NJ Advance Media. 

    Reports of Amazon investing in at least one other city buoyed hopes for New Jersey's largest city but those were dashed after the company made its announcement in a blog post shortly before 10 a.m. 

    Newark was one of 20 finalist cities named by Amazon in January but was only a handful of locations that received a second, unannounced visit from company representatives.

    Local leaders pointed to the list as proof that Newark was finally seeing its long-promised renaissance, amplifying their message of a city on the rise. Business and education heads, too, buzzed about the prospect of having Amazon as a key institutional anchor in the city. 

    Ask Alexa

    When Amazon representatives visited Newark in April, they met a parade of local and state influencers and dined at Mompou, a popular tapas bar in the city's Ironbound neighborhood. 

    Among those part of the pitch to Amazon: businessman and philanthropist Ray Chambers, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Gov. Phil Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. 

    Company representatives visited Newark again in late summer but did not involve local officials. 

    Newark, together with the state, offered Amazon a $7 billion incentive package that dwarfed deals offered by other states. Of that, $2 billion was offered by the city in payroll tax waivers and other tax abatements. 

    But losing out on Amazon's second and third headquarters may not be the end for Newark reimagining itself as a tech hub. 

    "We're just glad to be here, we have already benefitted from being in the running," Baraka said this month as news emerged that Newark may be out of the running. 

    James Barrood, CEO of New Jersey Tech Council, a nonprofit trade association, previously told NJ Advance Media that tech companies will still be drawn to Newark's other anchor institutions like Audible (owned by Amazon).

    "The future is very bright for Newark," he said. 

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


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    Watch lots of championship soccer, LIVE and on-demand, on any device.

    Get ready to watch some state championship soccer.

    Starting Tuesday, you'll be able to watch an unprecedented number of boys and girls soccer state playoff games on, LIVE or on demand, on any device, brought to you via NJ High School Sports Live.

    We will have broadcasts from two of Tuesday's seven Group semifinals doubleheader sites, making available two boys games and two girls games.  Over the weekend, we will have every Group final from Kean University - four boys finals on Saturday and four girls finals on Sunday.

    Here's the full lineup:

    TUESDAY, NOV. 13

    Group 4 semifinals, at Franklin

    Boys: Morris Knolls vs. No. 14 Elizabeth, 5 p.m.
    Girls: No. 3 West Orange vs. No. 1 Bridgewater-Raritan, 7:30 p.m.

    Group 2 semifinals at Hopewell Valley

    Boys: No. 3 Holmdel vs. No. 8 Delran, 5 p.m.
    Girls: Gov. Livingston vs. Delsea, 7:30 p.m.

    SATURDAY, NOV. 17 at Kean University
    Boys Group finals, matchups TBD

    Group 4 final: 10 a.m.
    Group 1 final: 12:30 p.m.
    Group 2 final: 3 p.m.
    Group 3 final: 5:30 p.m.

    SUNDAY, NOV. 18 at Kean University
    Girls Group finals, matchups TBD

    Group 4 final: 10 a.m.
    Group 1 final: 12:30 p.m.
    Group 2 final: 3 p.m.
    Group 3 final: 5:30 p.m.

    Games below are available as on-demand replays

    SUNDAY, NOV. 11

    Boys Non-Public A final
    No. 1 Delbarton vs. No. 12 Christian Brothers 

    Girls Non-Public B Final
    Pingry vs. Oak Knoll

    Boys Non-Public B final
    Gill St. Bernard's vs Rutgers Prep 

    Girls Non-Public B Final
    Morristown-Beard vs. St. Rose 


    North 2, Group 3 final (boys soccer)
    9-Cliffside Park at 3-Millburn, 1 p.m.

    North Jersey, Non-Public A final (boys soccer)
    3-Seton Hall Prep vs. 1-Delbarton at Millburn, 3 p.m.

    North Jersey, Non-Public A final (girls soccer)
    5-Oak Knoll vs. 2-DePaul at Millburn, 5:30 p.m.

    Richard Greco covers boys soccer and may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Richard_V_Greco. Find on Facebook.

    Girls Gr

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    It's not you, Amazon, it's us. We don't want you. Don't come to Newark. Is reverse psychology working?

    Newark has been holding its breath for more than a year, hoping to win the bid for Amazon's "HQ2" headquarters. New Jersey's largest city was the state's lone bid for the project, and even made the cut to be one of 20 finalists.

    Well, Brick City, you can exhale. Amazon ain't comin'.

    According to reports, the online shopping conglomerate has decided to split HQ2 into two cities -- Long Island City in New York and Arlington, Va. 

    And you know what? That's fine. We're happy without you, Amazon. Who the hell needs ya?

    Would HQ2 have potentially revitalized a city in dire need of an economic catalyst? Maybe. Would it have meant 50,000 jobs for the state? Sure.

    All good. We'll find another massive online retail company that wants to call Brick City home.

    I mean, unless, you get lonely in New York and Virginia. In which case, you still have our number right?

    Actually, if you don't, whatever. It's seriously no big deal.

    But we just gotta know. Was the $2 billion in potential tax breaks and $5 billion in tax incentives not enough for you? That's billion, with a "b." We know your company is worth around $1 trillion (with a "t"), but c'mon, those breaks and incentives would have made for some serious profitability in the Garden State. And trust us, getting tax breaks in Jersey can be tough. Just ask Jared Kushner.

    Fine, that's obviously not enough. What more can we give you? Let's see ... we have this Cory Booker fellow, have you heard of him? He may run for president. And he was the mayor of Newark! Maybe he could pull some strings and score you some extra coin.

    No? Alright. So you're heading to New York. You know Long Island City is in Queens, right? That's, like, the third-coolest borough. And Alexandria? Do you know what the commute to D.C. on the Metro is like? It makes NJ Transit look like a freaking bullet train. It literally catches on fire so often that the website "" became a thing. We're not joking.

    But we get it. We've seen plenty of people pick New York over New Jersey. Just saying, it could be an absolute nightmare. LIC is an up-and-coming neighborhood, but adding this much this fast could mean massive gentrification and traffic. The 7 train is rough as it is -- it will be unbearable if this plan goes through.

    If we're being honest, Newark really does need a company like Amazon way more than New York and Virginia. You'll just be another fling. Amazon isn't going to change the culture in Queens or Alexandria. Newark, on the other hand, would sincerely benefit. You're the economic engine this long-struggling city has been looking for, injecting jobs and commerce where it's needed most.

    "Newark boasts a highly-educated workforce, robust transportation systems, and thriving technology networks that provide many strategic benefits to companies that call our city home," Booker said in April when he, along with Gov. Phil Murphy and Mayor Ras Baraka, met with Amazon officials.

    Also, you clearly haven't had a burger at Krug's Tavern or Portuguese food in the Ironbound. Workers getting off late shifts can hit Tops Diner, which is open past midnight every day and is one of our finest establishments. 

    Alas, we fear you still won't come to our side of the Hudson. We give up. 

    We should have known that this whole "nationwide search" was really just a rouse, a bait-and-switch to get attention for the company and raise the hopes of cities across the country that could truly benefit from a company like Amazon building a home there, just to pick not just one but two of the biggest and most obvious candidates. You were never going to pick us, no matter how many times we scribbled "NJ + Amazon = <3" on our notebooks.  

    So good riddance, Amazon. I'd say we're cancelling our Prime membership, but that two-day shipping really comes in handy.

    Also, if Queens doesn't work out, the PATH to Newark runs 24/7 if you ever change your mind.

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

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    Gerard Sorell, a World War II veteran, was honored 73 years later with the Bronze Star.

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    Newark residents use water filters as city works on its corrosion treatment for lead.

    Stacey Goods didn't think anything of the Facebook posts she read about lead being in Newark's drinking water. Nor did she think the three-family house - where she is a tenant - was affected in the West Ward.

    "People play too much," Goods said.

    The social media threads compared Newark to Flint, a narrative Mayor Ras Baraka continues to lash out against.

    "What they did was purposeful and deliberate to save money," Baraka said during a press conference last week.

    Goods heard him say the same thing hours later that night at a meeting at Berean Baptist Church in her ward. She went to the meeting to learn about lead and because she heard the city had been giving filters to residents in homes with lead service lines and elevated levels of lead.

    Newark officials, including Baraka, told residents what the city had been doing when it thought initial elevated lead levels were coming from old pipes. But when a consultant's study showed that Newark's water treatment system was not working, the city began to distribute filters last month.

    Kareem Adeem, the city's deputy director of water and sewer, said Newark's corrosion control treatment - sodium silicate - was not providing a protective coat inside the pipe to prevent lead from entering the water.

    "The silicate was losing its effectiveness," Adeem said.

    watermeetingfile-6[2].jpegNewark residents attend meeting at Berean Baptist Church to listen to city officials explain what they have done about elevated levels of lead in drinking water. 

    After the meeting, Goods was shocked to see her home on the list of some 15,000 to 18,000 homes Newark has identified with lead.

    "I said OMG."

    Since October, Newark has handed out 13,129 filters -- a figure activists say should be higher by now.

    Kim Gaddy, the environmental justice organizer for Clean Water Action, said her organization will be going door to door with the consultant that the city hired to do the water study.

    "We're getting calls from folks that don't know how to install it," Gaddy said. "It's too serious of an issue to think you're protected, but your filter is not working," Gaddy said.

    If the light is green, it's working. Yellow means the filter is losing effectiveness; red is time to replace it.

    See our inventory of lead service lines in Newark

    Adeem said the city will canvass neighborhoods, too, to get the word out and he demonstrated how it should be used.

    Jacqueline Bussey was at same meeting, waiting patiently to see if she needed one of the 40,000 filters that Newark has made available.

    "All we can do is hope and pray that everything works out," she said after learning her house was affected.

    She was nervous at first about the filter but felt better after the meeting.

    "I'm not sure how this is going to play out," Bussey said. "They're doing what they can to rectify the situation."

    waterpipefile-10[5].jpegSample of lead service lines that need to be replace in Newark homes, which have elevated levels of lead in the drinking water. 

    Baraka said Newark sent its pipes to the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency and it rolled out a lead service replacement pipe program. It will be funded with a $75 million bond to replace lead service lines connected to affected homes. The cost to homeowners is a maximum of $1,000 each.

    In the meantime, the filters are for a year, or at least until the new corrosion treatment takes hold in the city's Peqaunnock water system, which serves parts of every ward except for the East.

    Adeem said the new corrosion inhibitor - an orthophosphate - takes about three to eight months to form a wall inside the pipes. That treatment is already used in the city's Wanaque plant, its second water system that serves the East Ward, and parts of the North, Central and South.

    Gwendolyn Lynn, a resident, isn't nervous that she has had to attach a filter to her kitchen faucet. She uses bottled water and has had a water cooler.

    "I'm going to do what they say, even though I don't like it," said Lynn, who's satisfied with how Newark has informed the public.

    "It's almost too much information," she said.

    Goods is not panicking, either, even though she had some initial worry. In the past month, Goods said she used tap water to cook a few times when she ran out of bottled water that she's been using for years.

    "How much of this have I consumed?" she thought.

    Goods will attach the filter, but doubts she'll be using it much. Her reliance on bottled water is a way of life after her son, now a college student, tested positive for lead when he was in elementary school in Orange. At the time, the home where she lived had to be abated.

    This situation, she said, is "spooky," but she's she's okay.

    "When he (mayor) broke it down, I was put at ease when he said this is not Flint."

     Read More

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


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    No arrests had been made as of Tuesday afternoon.

    Essex County authorities have identified a 41-year-old woman found stabbed to death in Montclair on Monday.

    Township police on Monday morning found Tameeka Johnson suffering from stab wounds inside her Greenwood Avenue apartment, the county prosecutor's office said in a statement.

    Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:35 a.m., the prosecutor's office said.

    Authorities said no arrests had been made as of Tuesday afternoon.

    The prosecutor's office has asked anyone with information about Johnson's death to call the Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-846-7432 or 1-877-TIPS-4EC.

    Johnson's killing was the second homicide in Montclair in the past month. James Ray III, a 55-year-old lawyer, has been charged with murder in the Oct. 22 fatal shooting of Angela Bledsoe, 44, inside the couple's North Mountain Avenue home.

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



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    The car struck her on Central Avenue, right next to campus.

    Newark and Essex County authorities are searching for a driver who hit and killed a 25-year-old New Jersey Institute of Technology student Tuesday night. 

    Essex County prosecutors say the driver struck Naomi R. Segura, of Byram Township, around 9:20 Tuesday night, near Central Avenue and Summit Street in Newark. 

    Authorities say the car that struck her did not stop, but a second car at the scene stopped and called for help. 

    Segura was rushed to University Hospital, but succumbed to her injuries Wednesday at around 1:10 a.m.

    A spokesperson for NJIT confirmed Segura's death Wednesday morning. 

    Dean of Students Marybeth Boger said she was "deeply saddened" to share the news with the school community. 

    Boger said Segura, a senior majoring in law, technology and culture, was very involved at the school's Murray Center for Women in Technology. 

    The university is offering support staff to students in the Murray Center Wednesday until 5 p.m., and Boger encouraged students seeking support to also contact the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services.

    "Please join me in honoring Naomi and supporting her friends and loved ones as best we can," Boger said in her statement to the school community. 

    The Essex County Prosecutor's Office did not have a description of the vehicle and said in a statement Wednesday that the investigation is active and ongoing. 

    Those who may have information about the incident are asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-8477432.

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


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    Special government privileges degrade our democratic ideals. Because we allow politicians to offer special privileges, corporations lobby hard for them.

    By Michael Farren and Anne Philpot

    Just over 106 years ago the Titanic sailed on her ill-fated maiden voyage. But by happy accident industrialists J. P. Morgan and Milton Hershey literally missed the boat. In more recent news, Newark learned this week that it's no longer a candidate for Amazon's expanded headquarters, HQ2.

    Perhaps Newarkers should breathe a sigh of relief. The resulting subsidies could have sunk the city's finances.

    Sure, politicians from sea to shining sea offer corporate tax breaks and other handouts all the time. Paying businesses to relocate and allegedly create local jobs is good politics, even if the facts tell us it isn't good economics. The sheer size of the Amazon subsidies makes an already-shaky policy potentially catastrophic.

    Newark and New Jersey's bids for HQ2 (totaling $7 billion) were disclosed to the public, but in many places even city councils didn't know what was offered. The few publicly available bids initially made by semifinalist cities and states averaged a staggering $8.9 billion over 15 years. Amazon eventually required non-disclosure agreements of all 20 semifinalists, so the clandestine final offers were almost certainly even larger.

    Corporate handouts suffer from three fundamental problems:

    First, they don't actually work. Companies relocate for profitability reasons, and local tax policy is only one small part of that. The availability of a skilled workforce, access to resources, and opportunities to work with nearby industries usually outweigh any subsidies. Tax incentives are at best a tiebreaker and more often than not simply a waste of public money.

    Even worse, the academic research on corporate subsidies generally finds that while they benefit the company on the receiving end--obviously--they don't actually improve community welfare.

    Second, giving tax privileges to one company imposes costs on other businesses and residents. Locals must either pay more for a given level of public services, or accept a reduction in service quality and quantity. Newark's $2 billion Amazon bid could instead fund 560 additional  police officers--a 50 percent increase--or pay for the cost of educating 3,100 public school students for 20 years.

    And since New Jersey offered its own subsidies, people across the state would have suffered these same kinds of tradeoffs. For its $5 billion Amazon bid, New Jersey could fund 11,800 full tuition scholarships at Rutgers University for 20 years or pay for all highway maintenance for the next six years.

    Or instead, why not cut state corporate income taxes by 15 percent for 20 years? Reducing taxes for every business is better for economic growth--and more democratic--than giving that entire benefit to a single company. Lowering the cost of doing business for home-grown enterprises would help them expand into the Amazons of tomorrow.

    The higher taxes to fund the subsidy and the long-run costs of reduced public services generally outweigh any extra tax revenue that might be generated, meaning these schemes don't actually pay for themselves.

    Third and most importantly, special government privileges degrade our democratic ideals. Because we allow (and often encourage) politicians to offer special privileges, corporations and special interest groups have all the motivation they need to lobby hard for them.

    Many politicians and economic development officials see the ruse for what it is, but they feel trapped because every other city and state is also doing it. Politically, they can't risk letting their neighbors outcompete them.

    Economists call this kind of problem a "prisoner's dilemma." Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom illustrated that mutual cooperation is the solution, but it requires clear lines of communication and credible commitments from all parties involved. An interstate compact that forbids the use of public funds to privilege any business or industry -- compelling policymakers to treat every company equally--offers one way out.

    In the end, Newark may be better off without Amazon -- especially given the exorbitant subsidies offered -- even if the rejection stings. Sometimes missing the boat is the best thing that can happen to you.

    Michael Farren is a research fellow and Anne Philpot is a research assistant with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.


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

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    Several bishops called for a formal rebuke of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was once the head of New Jersey's largest diocese.

    At a national assembly focused on the sex-abuse crisis, numerous U.S. Roman Catholic bishops called Wednesday for a formal repudiation of Theodore McCarrick, the ex-cardinal facing allegations of sexual misconduct over a long stretch of his career.

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, nearing the close of its three-day meeting in Baltimore, has been striving to show a commitment to combating clergy sex-abuse even though the Vatican ordered it to delay votes on two key anti-abuse proposals.

    While the abuse scandal has affected many dioceses nationwide, the bishops appeared to be most angered and embarrassed by McCarrick, who allegedly abused and harassed youths and seminarians over many years as he rose to be archbishop of Washington and a member of the College of Cardinals until his removal by Pope Francis in July.

    McCarrick, the former head of the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen, is also accused of sexual misconduct with priests and seminarians during his time in New Jersey and New York. He is awaiting a church trial.

    Several investigations, including one at the Vatican, are underway to determine who might have known about and covered up McCarrick's alleged misconduct. The U.S. bishops expressed eagerness to learn details of the Vatican probe but defeated a motion pressing for access to information uncovered in that process.

    "We have taken no official action to distance ourselves form the shameful behavior of one of our own," said Bishop Liam Cary, of Baker, Oregon. "What do people make of our silence?"

    Bishop Michael Olson, of Fort Worth, Texas, noted with regret that McCarrick has not been defrocked and would have been eligible to participate in this week's assembly.
    "He is not welcome," Olson said. "We should say that for his sake, and out of respect for those he has harmed."

    Later in the day, the bishops discussed the two anti-abuse proposals that initially had been scheduled for votes. One would establish a new code of conduct of individual bishops; the other would create a nine-member special commission, including six lay experts and three members of the clergy, to review complaints against the bishops.

    Leaders of the conference said the Vatican intervened to ensure that steps taken by the U.S. bishops would be in harmony with steps decided at a Vatican-convened global meeting on sex abuse in February. They also said more time was needed to vet aspects of the U.S. proposals that might conflict with church law.

    Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, was among many bishops urging the assembly to find some informal way of endorsing the proposals despite the Vatican order of a delay.

    "Frustration is a luxury I feel I can't afford," he said in an interview. "I wanted to offer a pathway forward for us to take up the discussion as a body, make some decisions ... but also say something to our people."

    In other action, the bishops approved a pastoral letter condemning racism, the first time they have spoken as a group on that issue since 1979.

    The final text was not immediately released because amendments were being added, but Catholic News Service reported on a draft version of the letter.

    "Every racist act -- every such comment, every joke, every disparaging look as a reaction to the color of skin, ethnicity or place of origin -- is a failure to acknowledge another person as a brother or sister, created in the image of God," the draft said.
    It also denounced racial profiling of Hispanics and African-Americans and decried "the growing fear and harassment" of people from Muslim countries.

    The bishops also voted to endorse a campaign seeking sainthood for Sister Thea Bowman, a Mississippi-born descendant of slaves who became the first black member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and -- in 1989 -- the first black woman to address a national meeting of the bishops conference.

    Among the bishops elected to USCCB posts was Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who will head the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. Cordileone, an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, suggested Tuesday that the bishops commission a new study on whether there's a link between clergy sex abuse and the presence of gays in the priesthood. A church-commissioned study in 2004 determined there was not a link.

    Not far from the assembly venue, a Minnesota attorney who handles sex abuse cases nationwide and three men who say they were abused by clergy during their boyhoods gathered to announce a lawsuit against the bishops conference, accusing it of hiding the crimes of predator priests.

    Jeff Anderson, who filed the lawsuit this week in federal court in Minnesota, said the bishops were named because their dioceses kept secret files about clergy whose misconduct might expose the church to more abuse accusations.

    "We are taking the opportunity to do everything we can together to protect kids, to disgorge the secrets," Anderson said.

    Staff writer Kelly Heyboer contributed to this report.

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    The suspect remains hospitalized in stable condition

    Essex County authorities are probing the shooting of an allegedly armed suspect by at least one East Orange police officer Tuesday night.

    The county prosecutor's office said the officer, whom authorities did not name, encountered the suspect in the area of Park Avenue and North Walnut around 9 p.m. when responding to a report of shots fired.

    The suspect, whom investigators also did not name, was armed with a gun when officers encountered him, the prosecutor's office said.

    At least one of the officers fired their service weapon and struck the suspect, who has been hospitalized in stable condition.

    The prosecutor's office said no charges have been filed in connection with the case, which is still under investigation.

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

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    Photos of dozens of signings plus sport-by-sport lists

    (Please refresh for updated photos over the few days)

    The time is here for high school athletes to make it official.

    The stars of so many sports from New Jersey high schools go from recruits to signees on Wednesday, National Signing Day for the fall's early signing period.

    The fall signing period runs through Nov. 21 for Division 1 boys and girls basketball and to Aug. 1 of 2019 for other Division 1 and 2 sports. This is for all sports with the exception of football, which has its early signing period from Dec. 19 to Dec. 21.

    Athletes who have made verbal commitments to a university can officially accept a scholarship by signing with their chosen school during these periods.

    We plan to bring you stories, photos and videos from around the state of Signing Day ceremonies. As such, we invite all athletes, administrators, parents and other supporters of the high school programs and athletes to send us anything you would like to see included in our coverage by filling out this form.

    SEND SIGNINGS: will post signings and Signing Day photos

    A breakdown of the state's student-athletes who are expected to sign, starting Wednesday.

    Please refresh throughout the day for updates on signings, photos and videos.