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    N.J.-based footwear firm files for bankruptcy

    New Jersey-based women's footwear chain Aerosoles has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will close a "significant" number of stores.

    While the Edison company didn't disclose how many of its 88 locations will be shuttered, it said it will maintain four flagship stores in New Jersey and New York as well as continue to offer online shopping.

    Retail collapse: The 31 biggest chains closing stores this year

    Aerosoles, in a statement Friday, said it will take four months to restructure and that liquidation sales have begun.

    It has New Jersey locations in Denville, Edison, Elizabeth, Shrewsbury, Sea Girt and Jackson. Aerosoles products are also sold in department stores.

    Founded in 1987, Aerosoles is the lead brand of Aerogroup International, which also includes A2, Aerology, and WhatsWhat.

    Earlier this year, Payless ShoeSource also declared for bankruptcy and announced it will close 10 New Jersey stores. 

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



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    Here are 19 must-see boys soccer games this week.

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    One of five suspects in the beating was described to police as having a multicolored goatee.

    NEW BRUNSWICK - A man described by police as affiliated with Rutgers University was hospitalized Saturday after he was beaten by five men near the university's College Avenue campus, police said.

    The man was struck several times by the attackers at 12:58 a.m. after a dispute on Easton Avenue, between Mine and Hamilton streets, as the victim was waiting to enter Olde Queens Tavern, authorities said. The five then fled the scene.

    No weapons were used in the incident. The victim was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

    Rutgers student charged in stabbing outside fraternity party, report says

    City police are investigating the incident as an aggravated assault.

    One of the men was described to police as wearing a striped shirt and another as having a multicolored goatee.

    It is unclear how the victim is affiliated with Rutgers. 

    New Brunswick police are asking anyone with information to call the department's Detective Bureau at 732-745-5217.

    Luke Nozicka may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @lukenozicka.

    Find on Facebook.


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    Kushner Cos. spending $190M to buy 1,032 unti complex near Princeton

    PLAINSBORO -- The real estate company owned by the family of Jared Kushner is expanding its garden apartments holdings with the purchase of a 1,032-unit complex in southern Middlesex County.

    The Kushner Cos. says it's paying $190 million for Quail Ridge in Plainsboro. The purchase follows a deal for a 5,517-unit complex in Maryland earlier this year.

    Kushner discloses $10M more in assets

    President Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner stepped down as CEO of the Kushner Cos. in January before becoming a senior adviser to the president. The company owns more than 20,000 garden apartments in several states.

    The Kushner Cos. says it has struck more than $2 billion in deals in two years.

    Quail Ridge is being sold by Angelo, Gordon & Co. The complex used to be owned by Kushner Cos. 11 years ago.


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    Hitler Santana was sentenced on a charge he endangered the welfare of a deaf and mute teenage girl who accused him of sexual abuse.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- A 36-year-old man has been sentenced to five years in prison for endangering the welfare of a deaf and mute teenage girl who accused him of sexual abuse.

    Hitler Santana, also known as Luis Camacho, was sentenced earlier this month by Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves on a second-degree charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

    "You committed this crime against someone who was unable to speak out as anybody else could," Nieves said.

    Santana, of the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick, will be eligible for parole after about a year, the judge said.

    The defendant, who has maintained his innocence, was accused by the teenage girl of touching her on numerous occasions over a five-year period. The case hinged on the girl's testimony in April.

    Man used fake company scam to pay off $150K in bar tabs, bills, cops say

    The defendant waived his right to a jury trial in May and requested a bench trial, where the judge decided the verdict.

    Nieves found Santana guilty of the endangerment charge and dismissed three other sexual assault charges.

    Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Carver said while the judge did not convict Santana of the other charges, he found that Santana committed the sexual acts as described by the victim.

    "I will remember her because of her innate strength and her determination to speak the truth, to finally say what happened to her," Carver told the judge.

    Santana's defense attorney, Michael Allongo, said his client has maintained that the events described by the teenager never happened. He said he plans to appeal.

    "From day one, this is somebody who has said, 'I'm not interested in any plea offer. ... I can't swear I did something I didn't do,'" Allongo said of Santana.

    Speaking through a Spanish interpreter before he was sentenced, Santana said he has a lot of respect for the judge and asked Nieves to show compassion when deciding the sentence.

    Santana, who is not an American citizen, was charged with aggravated sexual assault and burglary in 2005 in Florida, the judge said. A jury later found him not guilty. He has no previous convictions and has led a law-abiding life, his defense team argued.

    Luke Nozicka may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @lukenozicka

    Find on Facebook.

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    Which players had the biggest games?

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    The seizure of 270 pounds of drugs including 141 pounds of pure fentanyl had a street value estimated at $30 million

    NEW YORK -- A pair of huge drug busts that led to the seizure of 270 pounds of drugs, including 141 pounds of pure fentanyl, were made after key transactions were witnessed by investigators in parking lots of a Walmart and Home Depot in New Jersey, authorities said.

    The first -- the largest fetanyl bust in New York City history -- occurred Aug. 1 and involved a shipment that two alleged traffickers picked up outside a Walmart in the Manahwakin section of Stafford, according to authorities.

    The second bust occurred Sept. 5 after New York narcotics officers and members of the New Jersey Drug Enforcement Association watched two Bronx men pick up a duffel bag from a tractor-trailer in a rear parking lot of the Home Depot on Route 9 in Woodbridge, according to authorities.

    The total take from the busts was 270 pounds of drugs with an estimate street value of $30 million. Four New York residents face multiple charges, the New York Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor said in a statement Monday.

    In the arrests linked to the Walmart drop in Ocean County, Rogelio Alvarado-Robles, 55 and Blanca Flores-Solis, 51, both of Queens, N.Y., picked up a shopping bag authorities said contained drugs from an unidentified man as they were being watched by detectives from the New Jersey Drug Enforcement Administration.

    The pair then got back into a silver Mercedes with Florida license plates and returned to their apartment in the Kew Gardens section of Queens. Cops seized the shopping bag, which had been placed in a backpack and contained more than two pounds of cocaine, according to the prosecutor.

    N.J. man indicted after 'record-setting' fentanyl seizure, AG says

    Police then obtained a search warrant and found four suitcases and a purse inside one of the bedrooms in the apartment. The suitcases and purse contained 97 packages of drugs, 86 of which included fentanyl, authorities said. 

    The packages had more than 141 pounds of pure fentanyl and more than 48 pounds of fentanyl mixed with heroin, the synthetic opioid tramadol and the tranquilizer ketamine.

    The pure fentanyl seized could have produced about 32 million lethal does, officials said. 

    Alvarado-Robles and Flores-Solis were each charged with two counts of first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and two third-degree counts of the same offense.

    In the arrests from the Home Depot parking lot exchange, Edwin Guzman, 35, and Manuuel Rivera-Santana, 32, retrieved the drugs from the tractor trailer and left in a Toyota Sienna.

    Detectives and agents pulled them over near the 161st Street exit on the Major Deegan Expressway, not long after they crossed the George Washington Bridge.

    Officers got a search warrant and found the duffel bag, which they said contained 25 brick kilogram-size packages. Each had pure fentanyl or a fentanyl/heroin mixture.

    Guzman and Rivera were each charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts criminal possession of a controlled substance.

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


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    Check out where Anne Hathaway, Martha Stewart, Mike Trout and others grew up

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    See which players were tabbed as's Player of the Week in every conference.

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    Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican nominee for New Jersey governor, was scheduled to appear in New Brunswick next week.

    TRENTON -- Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican nominee in this year's race to succeed Chris Christie as New Jersey's governor, has canceled a scheduled appearance next week at a town hall on the campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. 

    Ricky Diaz, a spokesman for Guadagno's campaign, said via email scheduling issues forced the candidate to drop out of the event, which was slated for Sept. 28 at Rutgers' Eagleton Institute of Politics.

    "We apologize for any inconvenience, but the demands on the schedule are only getting heavier the closer we get to Election Day. We appreciate the invite as well as your time in planning this event. Again, we extend our sincerest apologies," Diaz wrote in an email to the event coordinators. 

    He did not respond to phone calls or emails to elaborate what Guadagno would be doing that night., along with the Eagleton Center on the American Governor, were co-sponsoring the free event. It would have live-streamed on's Facebook Live page. It was to have been moderated by Tom Moran, the editorial page editor of The Star-Ledger, who with an NJ Advance Media reporter were to interview the candidate, using some questions taken from the audience. 

    Democratic nominee Phil Murphy will still appear at a similar town hall, scheduled for Sept. 27 at Eagleton. That will be live-streamed on's Facebook page. Both events reached maximum capacity less than a week after they were announced on Sept. 8. Some 170 people registered for Guadagno's event.

    "We're disappointed that Lt. Gov. Guadagno can't participate and hope that her schedule will open up to enable her to visit Eagleton," said John Weingart, director of the Center on the American Governor at the Eagleton. "We look forward to the session with Ambassador Murphy on Sept. 27."

    Negotiations for Guadagno to appear at this month's town hall began a few days after she won the primary election in June. Her campaign accepted the invitation for the town hall on July 28. Diaz had accepted the invitation on behalf of Guadagno pending Murphy's confirmation to attend. "I would like to do it, if he also agrees," he wrote in an email.

    Prior to the primary election on June 6, Guadagno had accepted's invitation to a town hall similar in format, also at Eagleton, for mid-May. She later withdrew after learning Murphy declined to attend. stopped production of that event, instead focusing on the possibility of a forum for the general election. 

    Guadagno is trailing Murphy by double digits in all polls. 

    The two will still face off in a pair of televised debates, on Oct. 10 and Oct. 18.

    The Nov. 7 election determines who succeeds Gov. Chris Christie, the term-limited Republican who will leave office Jan. 16.

    Brent Johnson may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01. Find Politics on Facebook. 

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    Get a look at who made their mark during the second week of the season.

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    Shyam Sridhar, who is accused of setting a university building in Piscataway ablaze in December 2014, has a history of mental disease, his attorney said.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- A former Rutgers University student who was indicted on charges he set fire to a campus building, trying to kill a student and five faculty members, suffered from a mental disease, his attorney said.

    Shyam Sridhar, who is accused of setting a university building in Piscataway ablaze in December 2014, has a history of mental disease that includes schizophrenia, in which he experienced paranoid delusions and hallucinations, his defense team said.

    "We don't dispute the facts the state has laid out to you with respect to how this incident happened and what happened on that day," Sridhar's attorney, William Fetky, told Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves on Tuesday during opening arguments in Sridhar's trial.

    Sridhar, 24, of Edison, was charged with six counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated arson and other charges after police conducted a search warrant at his home.

    Prosecutors said Sridhar set fire to a 30-foot section of a hallway and an adjoining classroom on the second floor of the Allison Road Classroom Building on the Busch Campus. The fire set off an alarm, forcing the evacuation of about 200 people, including students taking an exam.

    Sridhar attempted to cause the deaths of a student who was studying on the second floor, as well as a professor and four proctors who were monitoring a test on the first floor, prosecutors have said. It was unclear what Sridhar's motives were for his actions, authorities said. 

    No one was injured. Cleanup and repairs costed $250,000, Rutgers said. 

    At the scene, officials found a used cardboard match, items with gasoline on them and the word "Fry" written in white, chalky substance in two locations, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Scott LaMountain said.

    Authorities obtained the search warrant after an Edison police officer, who has responded to calls involving Sridhar's family, identified a vehicle seen leaving the building as the SUV of Sridhar's father.

    At the home, authorities found clothing they said Sridhar wore on the day of the fire, including a Miami Heat hat, and a receipt from Walmart that showed the purchase of a two-and-a-half-gallon gas can. The gas can was purchased with a debit card found at the home, prosecutors said.

    Sridhar on Tuesday requested a bench trial, where the judge will decide the verdict.

    Fetky said Sridhar had been hospitalized for his mental disease and continues to receive treatment.

    A report from Sridhar's psychiatrist said he is not a danger to other people or property as long as he continues his medication, something with which a doctor hired by the prosecutor's office agreed, Fetky said.

    Sridhar's next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4. 

    Luke Nozicka may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @lukenozicka.

    Find on Facebook.


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    In their respective counties, average property tax bills in these 21 towns represent the smallest share of median income.

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    The cause of the fire was not known.

    SOUTH PLAINFIELD -- Forty people were displaced from a condo complex in South Plainfield after a fire Tuesday evening, News 12 reports. 

    South Plainfield officials could not be reached Wednesday morning. No injuries were reported. 

    The cause of the fire was not known. 

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

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    The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services filed a civil denaturalization complaint against Baljinder Singh, 43, Tuesday

    CARTERET -- A Carteret man is accused of entering the country under an alias to avoid deportation for decades, authorities said.  

    The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services filed a civil denaturalization complaint against Baljinder Singh, 43, Tuesday accusing the India native of breaking America's immigration laws. 

    Singh is accused of coming to the United States from Hong Kong in 1991 and giving the name Davinder Singh at San Francisco International Airport where he arrived without any proof of identity, according to the complaint. 

    Federal authorities say Singh was given an immigration hearing but failed to appear and a deportation order was issued. Four weeks later, on Feb. 6, 1992, Singh filed an application for asylum under the name Baljinder Singh. 

    Singh married in 1996 and gave up his asylum application, the complaint says. He became a naturalized citizen in 2006 with his wife filing a visa petition on his behalf. 

    "The Justice Department is committed to preserving the integrity of our nation's immigration system, and in particular, the asylum and naturalization processes," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department's Civil Division. 

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

    Have a tip? Tell us.


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    Where are Jersey's top high school alums playing college soccer?

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    Check out the best the state has to offer in Week No. 3

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    A 20-year-old man remained in serious condition after a shooting Monday night that injured two other men, police said.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- A 20-year-old man remained in serious condition after a shooting Monday night that injured two other men, police said.

    City police responded to the shooting at 9:30 p.m. at Throop Avenue and Hale Street.

    Two New Brunswick men, 20 and 21, sustained non-life threatening injuries. A 20-year-old man from Somerset remained in serious condition Wednesday afternoon at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, police said.

    The shooting was not a random act, authorities said. Numerous suspects targeted multiple victims, Capt. J.T. Miller said.

    Authorities spent more than two hours Tuesday night investigating near the intersection, taping off Throop Avenue from Hale to Baldwin streets near Feaster Park.

    Investigators placed at least 12 evidence tags on the street.

    One suspect was described by police as wearing a black and white bandana to cover his face.

    Authorities are asking anyone with information to call Detective Kenneth Abode at 732-745-5217.

    Luke Nozicka may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @lukenozicka

    Find on Facebook.

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    A tractor trailer hauling car batteries ignited when it crashed in the three-vehicle pile up. Watch video

    EAST WINDSOR -- A 5-year-old girl was killed when she was ejected from a vehicle during the fiery, multi-vehicle pileup on the New Jersey Turnpike near exit 8 early Wednesday, police said.

    The girl was driving in an SUV with Ana Alvarez-Marquina, 36, of Rahway. Their relationship was not immediately known, the New Jersey State Police said.

    The SUV collided with concrete barrier on the right side of the outer lanes at about 3 a.m., the State Police said. The SUV became disabled and was was sprawled between the outer lane and one of the center lanes.

    Adad Ortega, 49, from Corona, N.Y., was driving a tractor trailer in front of the SUV. He stopped when he observed the crash behind him. 

    A third southbound tractor tailer - driven by Lawrence Kulakowfki, 69, of Philadelphia - was behind the other two vehicles and struck the SUV, which struck the tractor trailer ahead of it, police said, and wedged the SUV between the trucks and the concrete barrier. 

    At some point in the crash, police said, the 5-year-old girl was ejected from the SUV, and sustained fatal injuries. 

    Police believe one of the trucks was transporting car batteries, which ignited in the crash and caused all three vehicles to be engulfed in flames. They burned until about 5:15 a.m.

    Kulakowfki, Ortiga and Alvarez-Marquina were injured, but police were unsure where exactly they were treated. 

    State Police, Turnpike officials and several local fire companies responded to the incident. Two lanes of the turnpike near exit 8 remained closed for about seven hours. 

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


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    Some we miss, and we're glad others are gone.

    2015-candid019-bradleybeach.JPGAnd some just didn't make any sense at all. Courtesy of the Ayres collection 

    Times certainly have changed.

    When I was a kid, a "hand-held device" would've been an Etch-A-Sketch. The mechanism on a car that warned you when you were drifting out of your lane was the horn on the car you were about to bang into. And a mobile phone was one that wasn't attached to the wall in the kitchen.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    In this gallery, we look at a variety of things from the past, divided between those we were sorry to see go and those we waved "bye-bye" to happily. Some things that seemed to be gone forever are starting to make a comeback, like home delivery of milk; others are just distant and unpleasant memories, like stepping on a pull tab while barefoot or climbing on the roof to adjust the TV antenna.

    What have we missed? Let us know in the comments. And here are some related galleries you might enjoy:

    Vintage photos of how things have changed in N.J.

    Vintage photos of 'sketchy' N.J. activities

    Vintage photos of New Jerseyans engaged in 'dicey' activities

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

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