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    The owners of an adult medical daycare in Edison have agreed to pay a $2.72 million settlement over allegations they improperly billed and received Medicaid payments.

    NEWARK -- The owners of an adult medical daycare in Edison have agreed to pay a $2.72 million settlement over allegations they improperly billed and received Medicaid payments.

    The current and former owners of Edison Adult Medical Daycare have agreed to pay the settlement to resolve allegations that the daycare billed and received Medicaid payments after former owner Dinesh Patel was excluded from participating in the healthcare program following a 2012 conviction for accepting kickbacks, authorities said.

    For more than three years, the daycare claimed and received the payments under the supervision of Patel, who in 2012 pleaded guilty to accepting cash kickback payments from Orange Community MRI LLC in exchange for patient referrals, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

    He was sentenced to three months in jail and two years of supervised release, and later was excluded from participating in the Medicaid program, authorities said. Five days after the exclusion, he transferred his 50 percent ownership interest in the daycare to his wife, Daxa Patel.

    The settlement also resolves allegations that the current owners, Daxa Patel and Satish Mehtani, had full knowledge that Dinesh Patel was managing the daycare while he was an excluded Medicaid provider.

    Dinesh Patel has agreed to another five-year exclusion from participating in all federal health care programs until 2022, acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick said.

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Northeast Corridor trains are halted between Trenton and New Brunswick due to the incident

    WEST WINDSOR -- A person was struck by a train near the Princeton Junction station in West Windsor Thursday afternoon, NJ Transit said.

    The agency tweeted at about 3 p.m. that their Northeast Corridor trains were halted between Trenton and New Brunswick due to the incident.

    More information about the incident was not immediately available from NJ Transit.

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at orizzo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find NJ.com on Facebook

     

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    Raquel Guarderas, 39, was arrested after police responded to a stabbing Wednesday night in East Brunswick, police said.

    EAST BRUNSWICK -- A 39-year-old township woman has been arrested on charges she stabbed a person late Wednesday night, police said. 

    Raquel Guarderas was arrested after police responded to a stabbing at 11:56 p.m. at 14 Rodney Road, authorities said. At the scene, officers found a male victim in front of the home where Guarderas lives with a stab wound to his abdomen.

    Officers rendered first aid to the victim until he was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University in New Brunswick, where he remained Thursday in stable condition.

    Guarderas was charged with aggravated assault, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, police said. 

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Jian Yang Zhang, a/k/a "Kevin Zhang," 37, was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni in federal court Thursday

    EDISON -- A township man has been accused of hacking into his former company's servers and setting up email forwarding to his private accounts, authorities said. 

    Jian Yang Zhang, a/k/a "Kevin Zhang," 37, was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni in federal court Thursday on charges of unauthorized access of a protected computer and interception of electronic communications, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick said in a release. 

    Zhang allegedly set up a backdoor into his New Jersey company before he sold his stake in the business in 2015 and accessed server numerous times over 14 months to forward emails from a number of employees, Fitzpatrick said.

    The Jersey-based company, which was not named, imported products to dollar stores, discount stores, and wholesalers across the United States, according to the release. 

    Zhang faces up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $500,000. 

    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.

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    Check out all the results, stories, photos and more

    WEEK 4 KEY LINKS

    20 bold predictions
    26 must-see games
    Top 20 picks and schedule
    Statewide Stat Leaders
    Quick picks
    Top 20 picks
    Power points
    Top 20, group and conference rankings

    THURSDAY'S FEATURED GAMES

    No. 11 Rancocas Valley at Washington Twp., 7

    • Game story
    Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Middletown South at Rumson-Fair Haven, 7

    • Game story
    Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Morris Hills at Sparta, 7

    • Game story
    Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Hillsborough at Phillipsburg, 7

    • Game story
    Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Robbinsville at New Egypt, 7

    • Game story
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Immaculata at North Hunterdon, 7

    • Game story
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Caldwell at West Essex, 7

    • Game story
    • Live updates
    • Box score

    Old Tappan at Ridgewood, 7

    • Game story
    • Live updates
    • Box score

    JP Stevens at Iselin Kennedy, 7

    • Recap
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Germantown Academy at Pennington, 4

    • Game story
    • Box score
    :
    Burlington Township at Hightstown, 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Ewing at Willingboro, 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Princeton at Lawrence, 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Cinnaminson at Glassboro, 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Voorhees at Rahway, 6

    • Game story
    • Box score


    WEEK 4: Mega-coverage guide


    TOP 20 SCOREBOARD

    No. 11 Rancocas Valley at Washington Twp., 7
    No. 13 Montclair vs. Union City at Foley Field (Bloomfield), 7
    No. 17 River Dell at Shippensburg (Pa.), 6
    No. 18 Westfield vs. Watchung Hills, 7

    FRIDAY'S FEATURED GAMES

    No. 8 Paramus Catholic at No. 2 St. Peter's Prep, 7

    • Game story
    • Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    No. 10 Vineland at Cumberland, 6

    • Game story
    • Box score

    New Milford at Pompton Lakes, 2:30

    • Game story
    • Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Elizabeth at Linden, 7

    • Game story
    Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Sterling at Deptford, 7

    • Game story
    • Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Delsea at Holy Spirit, 7

    • Game story
    • Live updates
    • Box score

    Long Branch at Wall, 7

    • Game story
    • Live updates
    • Box score

    Malvern Prep at Peddie, 3:45

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Hopewell Valley at Allentown, 5

    • Game story
    • Box score

    WW-P South at Ocean City, 5:30

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Pleasantville at Schalick, 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Florence at Holy Cross, 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Paul VI at Notre Dame , 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Gateway at Maple Shade, 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Johnson at Delaware Valley, 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Collingswood at Buena, 7

    • Recap
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    TOP 20 SCOREBOARD

    No. 8 Paramus Catholic vs. No. 2 St. Peter's Prep, 7
    Hudson Catholic at No. 4 DePaul, 7
    No. 10 Vineland at Cumberland, 6
    Freehold Borough at No. 12 Manalapan, 7:30
    Delbarton at No. 14 Don Bosco, 7
    No 16 Red Bank Catholic at Colonia, 7
    Toms River North at No. 19 Howell, 7

    SATURDAY'S FEATURED GAMES

    No. 1 St. Joseph (Mont.) at No. 3 Bergen Catholic, 1

    • Game story
    • Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    No. 6 Pope John at Seton Hall Prep, 1

    • Game story
    Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    No. 7 Millville at Willilamstown, 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Barnegat at Manasquan, 1

    • Game story
    • Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Salem at Woodbury, 10:30 am

    • Game story
    • Live updates
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Friendship Academy at Hun, 3:30

    • Game story
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Pennsville at St. Joseph (Hamm.), 12

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Somerville at Warren Hills, 7

    • Game story
    • Box score

    Camden at Cedar Creek, 1

    • Recap
    • Photo gallery
    • Box score

    TOP 20 SCOREBOARD

    No. 1 St. Joseph (Mont.) at No. 3 Bergen Catholic, 1
    No. 6 Pope John at Seton Hall Prep, 1
    No. 7 Millville at Williamstown, 7
    No. 15 Irvington at Nutley, 1

    Bill Evans can be reached at bevans@njadvancemedia.com or by leaving a note in the comments below. Follow him on Twitter @BEvansSports. Find the NJ.com High School Football page on Facebook by following this link.


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    Joseph Reiman, 31, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday on charges of aggravated assault and three counts of official misconduct Watch video

    CARTERET  -- A borough cop accused of beating a teen during an arrest that captured on video was indicted Thursday by a grand jury in Middlesex County.

    Joseph Reiman, 31, was charged with aggravated assault and three counts of official misconduct in June, two days after NJ Advance Media reported the alleged assault and interviewed the 16-year-old and a neighbor, who claimed to have witnessed the encounter.

    The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said the dashboard camera from Reiman's car confirmed the teen's account, and in July released the videos, which showed the officer climb on top of the teen and punch him more than a dozen times. 

    Reiman, the younger brother of Carteret Mayor Daniel Reiman and Officer Charles Reiman, has since been suspended with pay pending the investigation. He joined the force in July of 2015 as a disabled veteran after serving eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, according to state and federal records. 

    The encounter occurred in the early hours of May 31 after the unlicensed teen crashed his parents' car into a suspension wire on a utility pole at the corner of Bergen and Edwin streets after a brief police chase. 

    The teen, who has not been named because he is minor, was mailed traffic tickets after the incident. The teen's father told NJ Advance Media his son was not charged with any crime. 

    Reiman has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include failing to turn on his body camera. 

    His lawyer, Charles Sciarra, says the officer was following his training and that the case is already on "shaky" ground, referring to the teen's account, in which he said he he got out of the car with his hands up. 

    The dashboard video appears to show the teen obeying commands by moving to the ground with his hands at his waist after getting out of the crashed car.

    Richard Watkins, whose front door is about 35 feet from where the incident occurred and the only witness interviewed by NJ Advance Media who said he saw the alleged assault, said previously he went outside after hearing screams.

    Watkins described the force used during the arrest as "excessive" but did not see the initial moments of the encounter.

    The majority of the incident was captured in the videos released on July 20. However, some parts of the encounter are out of frame, leaving some unanswered questions about the teen's and Watkin's narrative of the events that night. 

    The teen has admitted that he wasn't wearing his seatbelt but says he was uninjured in the crash, which caused both airbags to deploy. 

    Sciarra, the attorney, has challenged the extent of the teen's injuries in the accident. 

    The state has argued the teen's injuries were not consistent with an accident but of an assault.

    The teen also claims he was kicked by one of the four officers during his arrest, however, the dashboard videos from that night do not show a kick. 

    No other details about the brief police chase have been released about the incident from local 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.

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    Brian Nielsen, the computer network administrator of Bernards Township's Board of Education, was arrested Thursday at his home in Woodbridge.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- The computer network administrator of Bernards Township's Board of Education was charged Thursday with possession of child pornography, authorities said. 

    Brian NielsenBrian Nielsen (Photo provided by the prosecutor's office)
     

    Brian Nielsen, 55, was arrested Thursday at his home in Woodbridge, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey said. 

    Nielsen has been employed at the Bernards Township Board of Education for more than 10 years, the prosecutor's office said. He is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending his first court appearance. 

    The investigation began as a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Carey said. 

    The FBI and Woodbridge police assisted in the investigation. 

    Authorities described the investigation as active. The prosecutor's office is asking anyone with information to call Detective Erik Larsen at 732-745-3263 or Detective Joseph Chesseri at 732-745-3287.

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    The officers come from several police and sheriff's departments in central and north New Jersey

    WEST WINDSOR -- Newly minted NJ Transit Police Officer Brian Morgenstern asked the Mercer County Police Academy graduation audience if they said what he did growing up: "I want to be a cop."

    He asked the question several times in his address as class speaker Thursday morning at the ceremony at Mercer County Community College. At the end, he said he didn't need to say it anymore.

    "I am a cop," he said to applause.

    Morgenstern was one of 68 new officers to graduate, sent to the academy by several law enforcement agencies across central and north New Jersey.

    "When the public perception falters due to the negative actions of a few, you go out of your way to show the compassion you hold and the desire to help the community," Morgenstern said in his address.

    See every graduate of Class #17-17

    An assortment of local police officials, politicians and and other officials attended the graduation.

    The officers are from the following police departments: Hamilton Police Dept., Ewing Police Dept., Freehold Borough Police Dept., South Amboy Police Dept., Perth Amboy Police Dept., Cinnaminson Police Dept., NJ Transit Police, Stockton University Police Dept. and Rutgers-Camden Police Dept.

    And the sheriff's offices in Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon and Warren counties. Two officers went through the academy in the alternate route program.

    - Staff Photographer Michael Mancuso contributed to this story.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The latest coaching change at St. Joseph has turned major heads.

    Dave Turco, who led St. Joseph (Met.) to three state titles and the first Tournament of Champions title in program history, has been replaced as the team’s coach.

    While the news has been announced to the team and reported by the media, Turco says the athletic department had yet to give him official word as of late Thursday evening — and some of his former players, current NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns and Wade Baldwin, are not pleased.

    "Can't tell you how furious and disappointed I am," Towns told NJ Advance Media.

    Turco, who has been replaced by St. Joseph grad and former assistant coach Mike Thompson according to a report from MyCentralJersey.com, first found out he had been replaced when he heard from someone not associated with the athletic department that a team meeting was being held on Thursday to announce a new coach.

    "The way this whole thing went down could've all been avoided. For my 12-year tenure to come to an end this way is hard for me to come to grips with it," Turco told NJ Advance Media via email. "To go through the process of hiring someone before informing the other party that they have been relieved of their duties is not the proper way to handle the situation. That is not the 'St. Joe's way of the past.'"

    St. Joseph Athletic Director Mike Murray did not return multiple messages seeking comment.

    Turco had worked with the team throughout the summer and was hoping for a meeting with the school's new administration to discuss his future, but it never took place. He said that he was removed because he was "the last piece of the old regime."

    The replacement of Turco is the latest in the athletic upheaval at St. Joseph. It was announced in August that long-time athletic director Jerry Smith was not being rehired for this school year. Smith said at the time he was not stepping down or retiring, and did not know why he was being replaced.

    Murray, the St. Joseph baseball coach, was named athletic director, with former soccer coach Michael O'Boyle being named associate athletic director. This comes months after football coach Casey Ransone left to coach at Hunterdon Central.

    "I wasn't planning on going back if I didn't have the support and resources of everyone like I had in the past. I wouldn't want to stay and see all the stuff I built crumble," Turco said. "I was moving forward like I was the basketball coach up to last week. I had the kids in our normal fall league, I set up a trainer to work with them off campus if they were interested and kept them updated with what was going on — just like I have the last 12 seasons."

    Turco, a member of the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, has a 448-121 career coaching record, and led the Falcons to the 2014 Tournament of Champions title. Towns and Baldwin, two of the key players on that team who went on to be NBA first-round draft picks, were not pleased when they heard what happened at their alma mater.

    "I am extremely disappointed. Dave Turco is a Hall of Fame coach and they did not treat him in a Hall of Fame way. They talk about the 'St. Joe's Way,' but they did not live up to it this time. They did not live up to the high standards they usually set," Towns said. "Why not say, 'Hey thank you for leading St. Joe's to its only Tournament of Champions trophy, but,' why not say, "Thanks for putting St. Joe's on the state map or thanks for caring for all the kids and doing everything you could to get them into college, or thanks for giving St. Joe's the exposure you did by being a Hall of Fame coach. Instead they just drop you and treat you like trash."

    Baldwin, who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the move, as did Towns.

    "I played at Kentucky and we went to the Final Four and set all kinds of records, I've played two years in the NBA and won a Skills Challenge, but my best time playing basketball was with Turk. He is a friend for life. We went to Cancun last summer for a week together," Towns said. "Turk was the one who got me to go to St. Joe's. I was never going to go there, but he convinced my family and me that it was the place for me and it was the greatest decision I ever made. I feel like a part of me has left St. Joe's."

    With the change happening so close to the start of basketball season, Turco says it's too late for him to find a new coaching job for this year. And while he looks back fondly on what he accomplished in Metuchen, he never thought his time there would end like this.

    "I'm proud of the things we accomplished here — winning seven Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament finals in 10 years in the finals, the first three Non-Public A tiles in school history and brought home the only T of C gold ball. But I am more proud of the relationships I have with my players, their parents and all my assistant coaches. It's not about the overall record I had. It's how I conducted myself everyday and the respect I brought to the school. I think I earned more respect than they have decided to show me."

    Jeremy Schneider may be reached at jschneider@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @J_Schneider. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    NEW BRUNSWICK -- Timmy is an 8-week-old male kitten in the care of Scarlet Paws Rescue, one of several kittens found abandoned on the Rutgers campus after a recent rainstorm. Timmy and the other rescued kittens will be fully vetted and neutered before adoption. For more information on Timmy, call Scarlet Paws at 609-575-5428 or email mcancio@comcast.net. Scarlet Paws is...

    mx1001pet.jpgTimmy 

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- Timmy is an 8-week-old male kitten in the care of Scarlet Paws Rescue, one of several kittens found abandoned on the Rutgers campus after a recent rainstorm.

    Timmy and the other rescued kittens will be fully vetted and neutered before adoption.

    For more information on Timmy, call Scarlet Paws at 609-575-5428 or email mcancio@comcast.net. Scarlet Paws is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing strays and the humane treatment of domestic animals.

    Shelters interested in placing a pet in the Paw Print adoption column or submitting news should call 973-836-4922 or email middlesex@starledger.com.

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


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    These teams and players had noteworthy performances in Week 4


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    Puerto Rico has already been shortchanged. Trump, who flew to Louisiana and Texas only a few days after Hurricane Harvey, has said he will not visit Puerto Rico until Tuesday.

    By Craig Coughlin  

    While President Donald Trump was busy on Twitter last weekend verbally assaulting professional athletes, a nonmanufactured crisis was brewing to our south. Days after a Category 4 hurricane slammed into Puerto Rico, the island's electric grid remains eviscerated and many of its 3.4 million American citizens are without food, water and shelter.

    On Monday, the president finally took a few moments away from criticizing the NFL to acknowledge the devastation that Hurricane Maria delivered to the island, but then he took to Twitter to disparage Puerto Rico as having had an "old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape," and claiming "much of the island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with."

    For many of my constituents, the president's abdication of any responsibility and the casual contempt directed toward Puerto Rico are not just academic. My district, which includes the city of Perth Amboy, has one of the largest Puerto Rican communities in New Jersey. Over the past week, I have heard countless stories about families frantically trying to reach loved ones on the island, to no avail, even as Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello has said the situation is approaching a humanitarian crisis.

    Earlier this month, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Congress passed a $15 billion relief bill to keep afloat the Federal Emergency Management Administration. As of early this week, FEMA confirmed that nearly a third of that money was uncommitted, which means it could go to relieve the short-term suffering of Puerto Ricans.

    Yet even with respect to the short-term response, Puerto Rico has already been shortchanged. Trump, who flew to Louisiana and Texas only a few days after Hurricane Harvey, has said he will not visit Puerto Rico until Tuesday, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria's landfall. Instead, he has been focused on tweet-storming insults against football and basketball players and campaigning for his chosen Senate candidate in the Alabama Republican primary (who lost), with scant attention paid to Puerto Rico's plight.

    Fewer than 10 percent of FEMA's workers have been deployed to carry out search-and-rescue missions and to bring basic supplies to the island. Rossello, the island's governor, has called on our military to provide more search-and-rescue teams, but it is unclear that the help is coming. On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security denied a request to waive shipping restrictions that would have facilitated getting fuel and food to Puerto Rico, though it had waived the same restrictions in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to get supplies to Louisiana, Florida and Texas.

    We in New Jersey remember well the disgraceful debate in Congress about providing relief to our state in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Many Republicans refused to vote for a package that would have helped us recover. Now, some of those same Republicans are hypocritically asking for the federal government's help in the wake of hurricanes that affected their states. If they refused to help New Jersey, what hope is there that they will have seen the light after their own states suffered from a natural disaster and provide aid to their fellow Americans in Puerto Rico?

    Who will advocate to strengthen Puerto Rico's infrastructure and power grid to prevent another tragedy like this on its behalf? While Texas and Florida have large federal delegations that can negotiate funding to repair the long-term damage from their storms, Puerto Rico has one nonvoting delegate in Congress. More than 3 million Americans there have to rely on others to help them recover.

    The people of Puerto Rico are suffering and their families, who are based in my district and across our state, are suffering alongside them, unable to establish contact and fearing the worst. Only the federal government can provide the long-term funding necessary to save the millions who call this island home. We already know there are forces in Congress, and perhaps even in the White House, who forget that Puerto Ricans are our fellow Americans, who believe that simply because they speak a different language and have no congressional representation, they are somehow undeserving of our aid.

    As many residents of Perth Amboy and other cities across New Jersey can attest, Puerto Ricans are as American as anyone born in Texas, Florida or New Jersey. They deserve nothing less than the help we would give to any of our fellow countrymen and women.

    Assemblyman Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, represents the 19th Legislative District.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.

     

     

     


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    The former vice president will talk to students about his "It's On Us" campaign.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- Former Vice President Joe Biden will bring his message about ending sexual assault on college campuses to Rutgers University next month.

    Biden will speak Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. on the College Avenue campus in New Brunswick on his "It's On Us" campaign to prevent sexual violence. He has made headlines at colleges around the country with his blunt speeches about rapes on campus.

    The event will be open only to students on the New Brunswick campus, school officials said. Students can get a free ticket online starting Oct. 2 at 11 a.m. The location of the event on campus has not been finalized.

    Biden's appearance was arranged by the Rutgers University-New Brunswick Division of Student Affairs. The former vice president will not be paid for his speech.

    The event is part of the End Sexual Violence Campaign and Turn the Campus Purple Week, an initiative where people display a purple light in windows to raise awareness about dating violence.

    Biden, 74, and President Barack Obama helped launch "It's On Us" in 2014 after a White House task force recommended ways to address sex assault. The campaign asks students, schools,  organizations and companies to step up and change the culture surrounding sexual violence.

    Kelly Heyboer may be reached at kheyboer@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @KellyHeyboer. Find her at KellyHeyboerReporter on Facebook.


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    SOUTH BRUNSWICK -- Mrs. B. Zimmerman's beer wagon is shown making a delivery to the Beekman Hotel in South Brunswick in this photo from June 1906. MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey Mrs. Zimmerman, whose first name is not provided, sold mineral water, ale, porter and lager beer. If you would like to share a photo that provides a glimpse...

    SOUTH BRUNSWICK -- Mrs. B. Zimmerman's beer wagon is shown making a delivery to the Beekman Hotel in South Brunswick in this photo from June 1906.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Mrs. Zimmerman, whose first name is not provided, sold mineral water, ale, porter and lager beer.

    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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    Emilio Perez, who taught at Middlesex County Vocational and Technical High School, was convicted of harassing students to the point one attempted suicide

    PERTH AMBOY -- A former high school teacher who harassed his students with racial, religious and homophobic slurs has lost another bid to get back in the classroom after years of fighting authorities' decision to bar him from New Jersey public schools. 

    Emilio Perez, who taught at Middlesex County Vocational and Technical High School, has his computer science technology teaching certificate revoked by the state board of examiners as of Sept. 15.

    Perez was convicted on a number of harassment complaints, including telling a Jewish student to "go count your money, that's all you're good for," saying to an African-American teen "we all know that black people steal" and calling a student by a homophobic slur.

    The courts ruled that Perez's harassment led to one student having suicidal thoughts and another to slit her wrists.

    "There can be no argument that Perez' conduct, as evidenced by his convictions, amply demonstrates his inability to be a role model," the board wrote in its opinion. 

    Therapist who sexually assaulted 8 kids has school counselor license revoked

    Perez, who was permanently disqualified from holding a public position after his 2013 harassment conviction, had applied for duplicate teaching certificate that year and checked no to being convicted of a crime.

    The former teacher has argued that his sentence was disproportionate to the level of his low-level conviction and has been appealing the ruling for three years.

    The district also levied nearly a dozen complaints against the teacher, who got his license in 2002, including keeping porn in a locked cabinet in his classroom. 

    Perez could not be reached for comment Friday morning. 

    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.

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    Check out the latest hot topics in girls soccer.


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    Christian Pedana, who authorities say plotted with officer Michael Dotro in his scheme to set fire to a supervisor's home, avoided prison Friday.

    Correction: Based on incorrect information, a previous version of this story incorrectly described the officer's current status with the police department. Christian Pedana retired from the force in March.

    EDISON -- A former township police officer accused of scheming to set fire to his captain's house avoided prison Friday after agreeing to testify against an ex-cop convicted in a series of vengeful plots.

    Christian Pedana, 45, was fined $1,125 for obstructing the administration of law as part of a deal that Superior Court Judge Benjamin Bucca said could be perceived as a "slap on the wrist."

    Although the plan never materialized, authorities said Pedana plotted to burn down Capt. Matthew Freeman's home in April 2013 with Michael Dotro, the former Edison cop who admitted to a series of misconduct charges, including setting fire to another supervisor's home.

    "Your cooperation, ultimately, was the key moment in the successful prosecution of officer Dotro," Bucca said of Pedana's deal, which downgraded his initial charge of conspiring to commit an aggravated arson. 

    Firebombing ex-cop's plea closes chapter on astonishing record of misconduct

    Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Russell Curley said Pedana's cooperation was integral to the county's case against Dotro, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison as part of a plea deal that wrapped up numerous misconduct charges against the former officer.

    Pedana's defense attorney, Jeffrey Garrigan, said Pedana agreed to testify against Dotro at trial. 

    Pedana, who retired from the force in March, became aware that Dotro had "hatched some sort of scheme" to burn down his supervisor's home, but did not report the plan because he did not believe Dotro would go through with it, his defense team said.

    The fire was never set and the supervisor was not injured. 

    When Pedana was questioned by the prosecutor's office, he was not forthcoming and obstructed the investigation, but later agreed to testify against Dotro, Garrigan said.

    Pedana has suffered significant financial damage as a result of the case and may lose his pension, his defense team said. 

    Before he was sentenced, Pedana apologized to the court for his behavior.

    Garrigan said Dotro manipulated Pedana, something with which the assistant prosecutor agreed.

    When Dotro first appeared in court, the room was full of supporters from the force. But when he was sentenced in September after pleading guilty to attempted murder and arson, no one showed.

    "When you see the aftermath of a tornado and the path of destruction that was left behind, anyone who was associated with Mr. Dotro is now living in the aftermath of that destruction," Curley said. 

    In a statement, the police department said Pedana was suspended from his $124,668 job after the prosecutor's office filed the charges. He voluntarily retired from the force March 1. 

    "With today's sentencing of this former officer finished, our police officers and command staff can now move ahead with rebuilding our public image, regaining public trust and focusing on our top priority: Improving public safety throughout our community," Edison police Chief Thomas Bryan said.

    Staff writer Craig McCarthy contributed to this report. 

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

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    Frank Polera, 31, is accused of killing Patricia Polera on Nov. 26 in the home they shared on Kirschman Drive in Old Bridge.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- Prosecutors have offered an Old Bridge man accused of killing his 61-year-old mother over Thanksgiving weekend a 30-year plea deal.

    Frank Polera, 31, is accused of killing Patricia Polera on Nov. 26 in the home they shared on Kirschman Drive. He has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

    During a brief hearing Friday, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Vanessa Craveiro told Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez that prosecutors are offering Polera a 30-year plea deal.

    Polera's defense team said preparations for the trial have not been completed. He will appear in court again in November. 

    When police arrived at their home shortly after 8:45 p.m., authorities found Patricia Polera dead. Frank Polera was arrested the next day after his mother's death was ruled a homicide by asphyxiation, police said.

    Frank Polera called police that night to report that his mother had fallen out of bed, prosecutors said. Despite numerous attempts by police on the phone to walk Frank Polera through CPR, he was not interested and seemed more concerned about taking care of his dogs, Assistant Prosecutor Scott LaMountain said. 

    The door was locked when police arrived at the home, LaMountain said. Officers were left outside for so long, they eventually contacted headquarters to make sure they had the correct address, the prosecutor said. 

    Patricia Polera had worked at Newark Liberty International Airport as a customer service supervisor for United Airlines. She lived in the neighborhood on the border of Matawan for nearly two decades.

    Neighbors and co-workers remembered Patricia Polera as kind and welcoming.

    "Pat was loved by everyone," said Luciana Moreira, one of her co-workers at Untied. "She will be missed." 

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

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    The situation at St. Joseph continues to get more confusing.

    One day after St. Joseph (Met.) announced it would have a new basketball coach this season, the circumstances surrounding how it let go of the old one got even more confusing.

    Dave Turco told NJ Advance Media Thursday evening that St. Joseph never formally told him he was being replaced after 12 seasons, even after the school had met with players to tell them they had a new coach. On Friday, the school issued a statement admitting it had not directly communicated the change to Turco.

    But the school's statement also alleges the athletic department had made attempts to communicate with Turco, to no avail.


    READ: Karl-Anthony Towns furious as HOF hoops coach ousted at St. Joseph


    "To the extent Coach Turco represents that no Saint Joseph representative had a discussion with him, that much is true," St. Joseph President Greg Brandao said in a statement. "However, our incoming athletic directors made repeated attempts during the past three months to meet with Coach Turco to discuss the basketball program. Though several meetings were scheduled, Coach Turco did not attend."

    Turco says he was never made aware of any scheduled meetings.

    "If a date and time for a meeting with the St. Joseph athletic department had ever been determined and communicated to me I would have done everything in my power to attend," Turco told NJ Advance Media. "This doesn't only affect me and my family but it affects my players and their families as well."

    When asked by NJ Advance Media to elaborate on the planned agenda or communications surrounding the disputed meetings, St. Joseph declined to comment further. (The complete statement from Brandao is at the bottom of this post.)

    Turco, who has been replaced by St. Joseph grad and former assistant coach Mike Thompson according to a report from MyCentralJersey.com, led St. Joseph to three state titles and the first Tournament of Champions crown in program history.

    The replacement of Turco is the latest move in the upheaval at St. Joseph. It was announced in August that long-time athletic director Jerry Smith was not being rehired for this school year. Smith said at the time he was not stepping down or retiring, and did not know why he was being replaced.

    Murray, the St. Joseph baseball coach, was named athletic director, with former soccer coach Michael O'Boyle being named associate athletic director. This comes months after football coach Casey Ransone left to coach at Hunterdon Central.

    Complete statement from President Brandao:
    "We are grateful to Coach Turco for his many contributions to Saint Joe's and for leading the basketball team for 12 successful seasons.

    It is the policy of Saint Joseph High School to not comment on personnel matters.

    To the extent Coach Turco represents that no Saint Joseph representative had a discussion with him, that much is true. However, our incoming athletic directors made repeated attempts during the past three months to meet with Coach Turco to discuss the basketball program. Though several meetings were scheduled, Coach Turco did not attend."

    Jeremy Schneider may be reached at jschneider@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @J_Schneider. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Sigma Chi is under investigation for "potential violations of university policy," Rutgers officials said.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- One of Rutgers University's fraternities has been ordered to "cease and desist" holding parties and other social events as campus officials investigate allegations the group broke school rules.

    Sigma Chi, which has a fraternity house on Hardenberg Street in New Brunswick, are not permitted to hold any events under the order, Rutgers officials said Friday. The fraternity traditionally runs the campus' popular Derby Days, a multi-day charity fundraising event held in November.

    "The Office of Student Conduct is investigating Sigma Chi for potential violations of university policy. The university has issued a Cease and Desist Order while the investigation is taking place. An organization cannot hold events while under a Cease and Desist Order," Rutgers officials said in a statement.

    A Rutgers spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about what policies the fraternity is accused of violating or how long the organization has been under investigation.

    Officials with the national Sigma Chi Fraternity headquarters in Illinois did not respond to requests to comment.

    Sigma Chi is one of nearly 40 recognized Greek chapters that make up Rutgers' Interfraternity Council.

    Two years ago, Rutgers banned all fraternity and sorority parties for the spring semester after several alcohol-related incidents on campus. That ban was lifted at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

    Sigma Chi reported the group raised more than $300,000 for a children's charity last November during during its annual Derby Days event at Rutgers, which includes a lip-synching competition and other fundraising contests for fraternities and sororities.

    Kelly Heyboer may be reached at kheyboer@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @KellyHeyboer. Find her at KellyHeyboerReporter on Facebook.
     

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