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    EAST BRUNSWICK -- Kevin Hart, center, checks out the prizes at one of the game-of-chance booths at the Middlesex County Fair in 1978. MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey Middlesexcountyfair.comnotes that the event was founded by the Milltown Grange in 1938 as a successor to their Flower and Crop Show which had been held at the grange in 1937. The...

    EAST BRUNSWICK -- Kevin Hart, center, checks out the prizes at one of the game-of-chance booths at the Middlesex County Fair in 1978.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Middlesexcountyfair.comnotes that the event was founded by the Milltown Grange in 1938 as a successor to their Flower and Crop Show which had been held at the grange in 1937.

    The fair is still held annually at 655 Cranbury Road in East Brunswick.

    If you would like to share a photo that provides a glimpse of history in your community, please call 973-836-4922 or send an email to middlesex@starledger.com. And, check out more glimpses of history in our online galleries on nj.com.

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


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    Michael Dotro was charged with witness tampering and conspiracy

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- The former Edison police officer already facing attempted murder and official misconduct charges will remain in jail until next week over a set of new charges that he tried to intimidate a witness days before his trial was set to begin.

    Wearing green jailhouse scrubs, Michael Dotro, 40, appeared emotionless at an initial hearing Friday afternoon as a judge read him the new charges of witness tampering and conspiracy, both third-degree crimes.

    Assistant Prosecutor Russell Curley said during the hearing that the investigation into the matter was "rapidly unfolding" and that he anticipates additional charges to be filed soon.

    Dotro appeared via a closed-circuit television link from the Middlesex County jail where he has been held since his arrest on Thursday. He is accused of working with an unnamed person to intimidate a witness set to testify at his trial over the next few weeks. According to Curley, the witness had received a call from someone using a fake name.

    Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Toto scheduled a detention hearing on the new charges against Dotro on Tuesday -- the same day his trial is set to begin in a separate case involving him and his wife. Dotro and his wife, Alycia, are accused of threatening a woman who worked in the police department, slashing her tires and reading through police reports to see if they were the suspects.

    Dotro is also facing five counts of attempted murder and an official misconduct charge for allegedly setting a police cpatain's house on fire while his wife, children and 92-year-old mother were asleep.  

    Days before the fire, Edison police Capt. Mark Anderko ordered Dotro to undergo a fitness-for-duty evaluation with a psychologist, stemming from his 11th excessive force complaint, authorities said. 

    Dotro resigned from the department in September last year after accepting a plea deal for his role in a plot to get payback on a fellow officer who arrested a family member for a DUI.

    Dotro is also facing charges alleging he plotted to firebomb another superior's home in April 2013. 

    Spencer Kent may be reached at skent@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Police were gathered at the Thomas Edison rest area Friday night.

    WOODBRIDGE -- Two people were injured in a shooting Friday night at a rest area near the New Jersey Turnpike in Woodbridge, State Police said. 

    Authorities released a brief statement announcing the investigation. A State Police spokesman declined to disclose additional information. 

    More than a half-dozen State Police vehicles were seen clustered at about 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Thomas Edison service area on the southbound side of the Turnpike.

    Police taped off the main entrance to the rest area as officers interviewed at least four people. 

    Staff writer Paul Milo contributed to this report. 

    Luke Nozicka can be reached at lnozicka@njadvancemedia.com or on Twitter @lukenozicka.

    Find NJ.com on Facebook and Twitter


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    NJ Advance Media asked its readers to submit photos that celebrate New Jersey in honor of World Photo Day


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    Robert Perniola, 58, of Pompano Beach, turned himself in Wednesday and faces charges of theft and money laundering.

    SAYREVILLE -- Authorities say a Florida man took more than $75,000 from a borough couple to refinance their home but instead kept the money, using the funds for personal purchases.

    Robert Perniola.jpgRobert Perniola (MCPO)
     

    Robert Perniola, 58, of Pompano Beach, turned himself in Wednesday at Middlesex Superior Court and faces charges of theft and money laundering, both second-degree crimes, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

    Perniola, formerly of Manalapan, allegedly ran the mortgage scam from Jan. 13, 2012 to Feb. 28, 2014.

    The prosecutor's office is still investigating the incident and asks anyone with information to call Detective Kevin Schroeck of the prosecutor's office at (732) 745-3927.

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    A 31-year-old city man was killed in the first shooting at about 11 p.m. Friday, authorities said.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- A 31-year-old man was killed and another was injured in separate shootings overnight in the Hub City, authorities said. 

    Hakim Williams, of New Brunswick, was found dead inside his car in the 100 block of Fulton Street after a resident reported hearing gunshots at about 11 p.m. Friday, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said.

    Williams was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene at 11:03 p.m., Carey said. An autopsy is pending, he said. 

    Authorities appeared to focus their investigation on a silver Nissan Altima. 

    The rear driver's side window of the car was shattered and a white sheet was draped over the front windshield. At least eight evidence markers were set up on the street near the vehicle.

    After midnight, two women and a man pulled up to the scene. 

    In tears, one of the women grabbed a police officer and screamed that she wanted to see the victim. The three drove away after the distraught woman pleaded with officers for about 10 minutes.

    The trio's connection to the victim was not known.

    Another person was shot at about 4:15 a.m. Saturday on Jennings Court, Capt. J.T. Miller said. The victim's injuries were non-life threatening, he said. 

    The incident is under investigation by New Brunswick police.

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    It was the game where you controlled the action, sort of. In 1948, Norman Sas of Alpine, N.J., came up with a game that most every male child (and, some girls) played -- electric football. An employee at the Sas family company, Tudor Metal Products, had tinkered with vibrating electric games in the 1940s, but Sas' brainstorm of applying...

    It was the game where you controlled the action, sort of.

    In 1948, Norman Sas of Alpine, N.J., came up with a game that most every male child (and, some girls) played -- electric football.

    An employee at the Sas family company, Tudor Metal Products, had tinkered with vibrating electric games in the 1940s, but Sas' brainstorm of applying it to football led to the development of a toy that remained popular into the 1980s.

    It was a simple but ingenious concept, requiring almost no changes from its invention through the decades of sales that followed. Players with small plastic "brushes" on their bases were lined up on a metal playing field. When everything was set up, the flick of a switch started the field vibrating, making the players move forward, at least when the game was new.

    electricfootball02.jpgNorman Sas, far right, in 1971 with electric football fans, including Pete Rozelle, second from left. 

    The play ended when a player on the defense came in contact with the ball carrier, the "ball " being a football-shaped piece of felt that fit in his plastic arm. The game itself often ended when player figures with older, worn-out bases began moving backward or in endless circles.

    Over the years, the game evolved, with quarterbacks and their spring-loaded arms able to throw the ball (pass complete if it hit an eligible receiver) and spring-loaded kickers able to attempt field goals. Attachments that replicated scoreboards, clocks and even fans were included in later versions.

    By 1967, Sas had signed a deal with the National Football League to add official team colors and logos. More than 40 million versions of the game were sold over the years with perhaps just as many little felt 'footballs' lost and eventually replaced with wadded-up paper.

    Sas died in 2012, and was posthumously inducted into the Miniature Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

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


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    Four New Jersey students take part in a two-week science program.

    mr0820schoolmadison.jpgRising high school seniors Ryan Schmidt of Oak Ridge, Carrie Davis of Dover, Hetal Lad of Iselin and Thomas McBride of Morris Plains at the BASF Science Academy.

    WOODBRIDGE -- Four New Jersey students were among 20 students from North America and Puerto Rico to participate in the BASF Science Academy, a two-week advanced level science program that wrapped up earlier this month at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison.

    Rising seniors Hetal Lad of John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Iselin, Carrie Davis of Morris Hills High School, Thomas McBride of Whippany High School, and Ryan Schmidt of Jefferson Township High School were chosen from a pool of 76 candidates to take part in the on-campus residential program sponsored by BASF and Fairleigh Dickinson. The program, now in its seventh year, is designed to give participants a taste of college life and spark their interest in a STEM-related career.

    At the academy, students worked in teams to develop their own personal care product using BASF chemistry and then came up with a marketing plan for their new product, which they presented to a panel of BASF executives and FDU academic leaders at the program's conclusion.

    "Science Academy is a great, noncompetitive environment where students from diverse backgrounds work together in a dynamic team environment," said Davis.

    "Science Academy is not only a bridge between the classroom and hands-on science work, but also between people from different regions and cultures across North America," said McBride.

    To submit school news send an email to middlesex@starledger.com.


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    Authorities had initially reported that two people were shot while at a rest stop on the southbound side of the Turnpike in Woodbridge.

    WOODBRIDGE -- Three people were injured in a shooting Friday night while in a vehicle on the New Jersey Turnpike, State Police said. 

    The three, who sustained non-life threatening injuries, were shot in the area of Interchange 14 in Newark, police said Saturday. 

    Authorities had initially reported that two people were shot while at a rest stop on the southbound side of the Turnpike in Woodbridge. 

    At about 6:40 p.m. Friday, State Police were called to the Thomas Edison service area in Woodbridge for medical assistance stemming from a car accident. When they arrived, officers discovered that three people had been shot while in a vehicle in the area of Interchange 14 in Newark. 

    The victims were then taken to area hospitals, authorities said.

    More than a half-dozen State Police vehicles were clustered at the service area as officers taped off the main entrance to the rest stop. Detectives could be seen interviewing several people and searching trashcans with flashlights near the entrance.

    No other information was available as of Sunday morning. 

    State Police are asking anyone with information to call their Cranbury station at 732-441-4500 ext. 4400. 

    Luke Nozicka can be reached at lnozicka@njadvancemedia.com or on Twitter @lukenozicka.

    Find NJ.com on Facebook and Twitter


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    The solar eclipse today -- Monday, August. 21, 2017 (8/21/2017) -- will mean different things in different parts of the country. This map shows the eclipse's projected path and a searchable cloud cover forecast. Use this map to check cloud cover along the path of the solar eclipse. Watch video

    How to use this 2017 solar eclipse map and forecast: Click on any location included in the map for more information when it's time to view the solar eclipse of 2017. Our eclipse viewing map was last updated Monday morning and you can use it today when it's time to view the eclipse.

    The Great American Eclipse -- or 2017 solar eclipse, if you prefer -- has clear viewing winners and losers now that we have a forecast for Monday. 

    Data from the National Weather Service shows that the pacific northwest, the northeast (including New Jersey) and parts of Appalachia will likely be the prime spots to watch the complete solar eclipse on Monday, with mainly sunny skies expected to prevail. 

    Things get iffy across the Great Plains and southeast, where significant cloud cover could provide an extra -- and unwanted -- layer of obstruction to the celestial show.  

    Using tens of thousands of data points from the National Weather Service, NJ Advance Media compiled an interactive map (above) that shows what percent of the sky is expected to be obscured by clouds on the afternoon of Aug. 21.

    The eclipse will be visible across the United States from about 10:15 a.m. to about 4 p.m., depending on your location. In New Jersey, the eclipse will begin at 1:22 p.m., reach is maximum obscuration (about 75 percent of the sun will be covered) at 2:45 p.m. and come to an end around 4 p.m.

    Whether you're traveling for the eclipse or just staying home, use the map above to see how the forecast for the big day evolves.

    23 great spots to watch the solar eclipse in N.J.: A statewide guide

     

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    Just some of the thousands of pets in need of adoption in New Jersey.

    There's summer heat, and then there's oppressive summer heat.

    While we do everything we can to keep ourselves cool, it's important to remember our pets as well.

    "If it's hot to you it's just as hot for your dog or cat, and probably even worse," said John Gickling, a board certified veterinarian in emergency and critical care. "We're better equipped to handle the heat because we perspire."

    Some tips on making sure your pets can deal with excessive heat:

    * If you walk your dog, pick the coolest time of the day, follow a shady route and bring water for your pet.

    * Older pets, overweight animals and dogs with short snouts suffer more in high heat.

    * If your pet is outdoors, make sure it has a cool place to lay and that water is always available. Avoid taking your pets anywhere that has concrete or blacktop until temperatures normalize.

    * Dogs may be overheating if they can't get up, aren't alert or can't stop panting. If you suspect overheating, hose your dog off but never use ice water, which worsens the situation. If this doesn't work, a visit to a veterinarian is important.

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


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    Nearly 50,000 people donated to the state university over the last year.


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    Today is the day, New Jersey. On Monday, August 21, 2017 (8/21/17) the solar eclipse will mean different things, depending where in the country you're watching. In New Jersey, we'll get about 75 percent of the show. Here's more on how to watch, when the eclipse will happen, what to do if you don't have glasses, and the best places to see the solar show.


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    The Great American Solar Eclipse happens today, Monday, August 21, 2017 (8/21/17). If you're curious about how to watch the eclipse, what you'll see, what happens if you look at the eclipse without proper glasses or eye protection, or if you have any other questions, use this guide to get the answers you need.


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    The suspects took two laptops and $70, police said.

    SOUTH BRUNSWICK -- Township police are investigating a reported burglary after residents of a Brookwood Court home threw a party while their parents were on vacation, police said.

    Authorities responded Thursday evening to the home in the Princeton Walk Development, Capt. James Ryan said. There, two residents told police they came home from walking their dog and found their front door partially open.

    Police searched the house and found some rooms had been ransacked, Ryan said.

    The residents, whose parents were away on vacation, had thrown a party the night before, police said. About 50 high schoolers attended but the residents did not know most of them, they told authorities.

    The party was advertised on Snapchat and people showed up from several towns, including Montgomery, Hillsborough and South Brunswick, police said. The two said some thefts occurred during the party but were unsure what was taken.

    Multiple doors and windows were unlocked in the home and the suspects took two laptops and $70, police said. 

    Neighbors told police the residents had held several gatherings since their parents went on vacation.

    Police are asking anyone with information to call Detective Tim Hoover at 732-329-4000 ext. 7443.

    Luke Nozicka can be reached at lnozicka@njadvancemedia.com or on Twitter @lukenozicka.

    Find NJ.com on Facebook and Twitter

     

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    Michael Dotro pleaded guilty Monday to attempted murder, among other charges, and faces 20 years in prison, authorities said.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- A former Edison officer struck a deal with the prosecutor's office Monday resolving two arson cases and a host of charges, including multiple counts of attempted murder in the firebombing of his supervisor's house four years ago.

    Michael Dotro, 40, of Manalapan, pleaded guilty to attempted murder and second-degree arson in the May 2013 incident where the ex-cop set fire to Mark Anderko's house while his family slept inside, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said.

    The prosecutor's office has said Dotro was angry with Edison's then-deputy chief, who, days before the fire, had ordered the 10-year veteran of the force to undergo a fitness-for-duty evaluation with a psychologist after his 11th excessive force complaint, authorities said. 

    Under a plea agreement, Dotro will be sentenced to 20 years in state prison, Assistant Prosecutor Russell Curley said. He must serve 17 years before he is eligible for parole.

    Dotro's attorney, Robert Norton, said while he and his client were not happy with the results of the plea agreement, it ends a four-and-a-half-year battle and multiple charges and allegations.

    "It was a global resolution of all charges," he said.

    Dotro also pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree official misconduct as part of the trial in which he and his wife are accused of slashing the tires on a woman's car and checking police records illegally for a suspect, according to authorities. 

    The couple, whose trial had opening statements scheduled for Tuesday, was accused of threatening the woman who worked in the police department and had an affair with Dotro

    The charges against his wife, Alycia, are still pending, the prosecutor's office said. Her attorney, Richard Incremona, did not return calls for comment. 

    The accusations of misconduct against Dotro, which included buying marijuana while in uniform -- allegedly for his wife -- and possessing the drug, came out in the months after the arson charges as the prosecutor's office probed the officer's history in the department. 

    He was also charged with having illegal weapons as an officer, including a blackjack and brass knuckles. All of those charges will be dismissed as part of the plea. 

    In addition, Dotro admitted to trying to intimidate a witness scheduled to testify at his trial, the prosecutor's office said. Authorities charged Dotro with third-degree conspiracy to tamper with a witness on Thursday, two days after jury selection started in the misconduct trial. 

    He was jailed since Friday on the charges

    The plea deal also dismisses charges in connection to an additional alleged arson plot in which the officer is accused of working with a fellow cop to burn down another supervisor's house. The plot never materialized but authorities said they found evidence of the plan last November. 

    Dotro will be sentenced Dec. 7 in New Brunswick by Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez.

    Earlier this year, Dotro pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, admitting he sought to get payback against a North Brunswick officer who had ticketed his family member for drunk driving, authorities said.

    Three other Edison cops admitted to their roles in the plot as part of the plea deal, which required all the officers to resign in September

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here

    Luke Nozicka can be reached at lnozicka@njadvancemedia.com or on Twitter @lukenozicka.

    Find NJ.com on Facebook and Twitter


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    Jerome Davis is accused of fatally shooting a 57-year-old in the head with a handgun May 14 in the victim's home in North Brunswick.

    NORTH BRUNSWICK -- A Piscataway man pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he fatally shot a 57-year-old township man in May.

    Jerome Davis Jerome Davis (New Jersey Department of Corrections)
     

    Jerome Davis entered the not guilty plea before Superior Court Judge Colleen Flynn in New Brunswick through his attorney, Vernon Estreicher. Prosecutors had offered a plea agreement of 30 years in prison without the possibility for parole, Estreicher said. 

    Davis is accused of fatally shooting Patrick Olarerin in the head with a handgun May 14 after breaking into the victim's home on Birchwood Court, according to a criminal complaint. Olarerin was found at 5:15 a.m. that day, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said.

    Police took Olarerin to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, where he died a short time later, the prosecutor's office said. 

    On the day of the shooting, officers retrieved a .40-caliber handgun, ammunition and magazines after carrying out a search warrant at the defendant's home on North Randolphville Road, according to a separate criminal complaint.

    Davis was charged with murder after being held by authorities for five days, Carey said.

    He was indicted on charges of murder, burglary, unlawful possession of a handgun and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes in early August, according to court documents.

    He is scheduled to appear before Flynn again Sept. 11.

    Luke Nozicka can be reached at lnozicka@njadvancemedia.com or on Twitter @lukenozicka.

    Find NJ.com on Facebook and Twitter

     

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    Hundreds of plaintiffs in other suits claim the popular product caused cancer

    A jury awarded a California woman $417 million after she developed ovarian cancer she claimed was caused by baby powder manufactured by New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson, CNN reported.

    Eve Echeverria, a 63-year-old Los Angeles woman, said she had been using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for feminine hygiene since she was 11 years old but stopped in 2016 after reading a news story of another woman who used the product and also developed ovarian cancer.

    The company faces hundreds of similar lawsuits in state and federal courts. Eccheveria's was the first of hundreds of cases in California to be decided.

    Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that it will begin the appeals process in the California case.

    "Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by this disease," Carol Goodrich, a representative for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., said in a statement. "We will appeal today's verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder. In April, the National Cancer Institute's Physician Data Query Editorial Board wrote, 'The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.' We are preparing for additional trials in the US and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder."

    Earlier this year a St. Louis jury awarded another plaintiff what was at the time a record-setting settlement of $110 million in a similar suit.

    Paul Milo may be reached at pmilo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@PaulMilo2. Find NJ.com on Facebook.  

     

     

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    After more than four years and dozens of charges a former Edison cop pleads guilty to attempted murder and arson


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    Ryan Houser will be honored at a national convention in Las Vegas in October

    MORRISTOWN -- A member of the Morris Minute Men First Aid Squad who is a full-time Rutgers University student has been named EMT of the Year by a national association.

    Ryan HouserRyan Houser

    Ryan Houser, of Morristown, will be honored during a ceremony in Las Vegas in October for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technician's 2017 National EMS Awards of Excellence, the group said in a news release.

    Houser, who has worked with emergency medical services since the age of 16, is an assistant captain with the Morris Minute Men.

    Houser "has aspirations of becoming a neurosurgeon, working in federal law enforcement, and advancing the field of tactical medicine," according to NAEMT.

    Houser is also a certified firefighter with Morris Township Fire Department, and an instructor in terrorism response courses, the group said.

    Colleague Kendall Sarson told the group Houser "dedicates considerable time to his pursuit of providing exceptional patient care to individuals in the prehospital and hospital setting."

    Sarson continued: "Ryan has truly modeled his entire life around helping others, whether patient or peer, and his work as an EMT has become one of the most significant parts of his identity."

    Justin Zaremba may be reached at jzaremba@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinZarembaNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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