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    NJ Advance Media ranks all the counties with D1 women's soccer players.

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    A school bus driver in Old Bridge was suspended Tuesday after community members provided video showing driving with mobile phone in hand Watch video

    OLD BRIDGE -- A school bus driver was suspended Tuesday after a video surfaced showing the woman reading messages on her mobile phone while driving with students on board, according to the bus company.

    The video, posted Tuesday morning in a private Facebook group created for parents in Old Bridge, showed the woman driving the bus with her left hand on the steering wheel while holding her phone in the right hand.

    She appeared to glance at the phone while driving with a text message app on the screen.

    Linda Scott, the manager of the Shamrock Stage Coach bus service, said the driver has been suspended until further notice. The driver, who has not been named, has worked for the busing company for about four years and has "never had a problem," Scott said.

    In a statement on Twitter, district Superintendent David Cittadino apologized for the incident and thanked the community for sharing the video, which he said was recorded by a student.  

    "I am deeply disturbed by this lack of concern for student safety by an adult who must have known better," Cittadino said. "I cannot stress enough that school safety is my greatest priority."

    The district has talked with the township's police department, Cittadino said. A police spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

    The busing service based in Keansburg has reviewed video cameras from inside the vehicle, which Scott said appeared to show the driver was reading, not texting.

    Shamrock has provided busing for the school district for about 10 years, Scott said. It has 15 vehicles that each operate routes in Old Bridge, she said.  

    "The children's safety is our top priority," she said.  

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

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    Start making videos.

    It's time to settle all those backyard arguments: Who is N.J.'s best high school mascot?

    This is the official start of the Mascot Challenge, a competition involving entire school communities, and, of course, mascots themselves, to determine which mascot is tops in the state.

    Nominations are now open. Here's how you nominate and how the whole thing works.

    1. Post a 30-60-second video on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #NJmascotchallenge. The video should be of your mascot doing its thing. Maybe it's spontaneous live action at a game, or maybe it's staged and carefully edited - maybe it's a combination. It's up to you. We will be watching #NJmascotchallenge and your video will become the nomination. Make sure you identify the school and the mascot in your post. Deadline for nominations is Monday, Oct. 23 at 10 a.m.

    • Students should get permission from the appropriate school official to make a nomination video.
    • Videos should be G-rated. Inappropriate content will disqualify a nomination.
     Safety first! Videos showing unsafe behavior will be disqualified.

    2. Nomination videos will be gathered together for a lightning round of voting, Oct. 23-26. The top finishers will be considered by our staff, who will name four finalists by Oct. 27. 

    3. NJ Advance Media will work with the finalist mascots and officials at their schools to schedule our own video crew to film each finalist. 

    4. Our videos of the finalists will be displayed for a final round of voting to determine N.J.'s best HS mascot. Dates to be determined.

    See additional details.

    So, mascots, do your thing and make those nomination videos!

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    Thomas Busco Jr. was given Narcan by emergency responders after the first officer on scene found the 49-year-old unresponsive at the crash

    perrineville-schoolhouse-intersection.jpgThe intersection of Perrineville and Schoolhouse roads. (Google Maps)

    JAMESBURG - A former borough councilman busted with cocaine after a crash in July was in another accident Tuesday morning where he allegedly crashed his pickup into a neighboring town's football scoreboard while high on drugs, authorities said.

    Thomas Busco Jr. was given Narcan by emergency responders after the first officer on scene found the 49-year-old unresponsive at the crash, Monroe police Lt. Lisa Robinson said.

    Busco resigned from his seat as a Jamesburg councilman on Sept. 7, according to borough Business Administrator Scott Frueh. A month earlier, police charged Busco with cocaine possession after a crash.  

    The accident Tuesday occurred just before 10:30 a.m. when Busco hit a curb on Perrineville Road in Monroe and drove his Ford F150 off the road, according to Robinson.  

    An officer responding to a separate incident saw Busco continue across the grass at the intersection, heading toward Monroe Township's Middle School football field when his pickup hit a tree and the metal support on the scoreboard, police said.

    The officer arrived at the crash and performed CPR on Busco, who was not breathing and did not have a pulse, according to police. 

    Monroe First Aid and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital paramedics responded and gave Busco, who had started to breathe, a dose of Narcan before taking him to Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge.    

    Busco was charged with DWI in a school zone, reckless and careless driving and other traffic violations, police said. 

    The crash remains under investigation. Police ask that anyone with information about the incident call 732-521-0222 Ext: 126.

    Reporter Luke Nozicka contributed to this story.

    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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    Richard Dalcourt was a West Windsor-Plainsboro graduate

    A Temple University freshman from New Jersey died Tuesday morning after falling from a window in his residence hall, the university said.

    Richard Dalcourt, 19, graduated from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, in Plainsboro, in June.

    Dalcourt is from Plainsboro.

    Dalcourt was in his first semester at the university and was studying mechanical engineering, Temple's President Richard M. Englert said in a statement.

    The president issued a statement encouraging the community to keep Dalcourt and his family in their thoughts. reported that Dalcourt fell from a fifth-floor window in the 1940 Residence Hall on Liacouras Walk at about 10:30 a.m. The cause of the incident was under investigation Tuesday.

    Support services and counseling will be provided to students and staff, as needed at Temple and in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional District.

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find on Facebook


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    Three people remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon after a morning crash involving a box truck sent five people to the hospital, police said.

    SOUTH BRUNSWICK -- Three people remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon after a morning crash involving a box truck sent five people to the hospital, authorities said. 

    CrashThose injured in the crash were airlifted to a local hospital. (Photo provided by South Brunswick police)

    The crash was reported to police shortly after 6:30 a.m. after a 2016 Hyundai Elantra traveling north on Herrod Boulevard and a 2013 Freightliner heading west on Stults Road collided at the intersection, Capt. James Ryan said.

    The box truck came to a stop on top of the car after pushing it to the side of the road, trapping the car's driver, a 23-year-old Union County woman, and her three female passengers from Mercer County, who are 17, 18 and 23.

    Within minutes, a towing company worked with fire agencies to lift the box truck off the trapped passengers, police said. 

    Once the passengers were freed, numerous emergency medical agencies airlifted the injured to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where the three passengers remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon.

    The driver of the Hyundai Elantra remained in stable condition and the truck driver, a 36-year-old Middlesex County man, was treated and released from a hospital.

    Police earlier in the day said the crash was expected to snarl traffic in the area, affecting routes 130 and 535 for about five hours.

    South Brunswick police's Traffic Safety Bureau is asking anyone with information to call Officer William Merkler or Sgt. Gary Holsten at 732-329-4000 ext. 7472.

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

    Find on Facebook.


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    American Repertory Ballet's premiere features handmade dresses - one with a 22-foot train

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    Seven things we learned from an interview with the new chancellor of Rutgers' campus in New Brunswick.

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    Giver Quiroz-Vasquez was convicted Tuesday on charges of murder and stalking in the death of Alicia Martinez-Izaguirr in June of 2015

    SOUTH BRUNSWICK -- A jury has found New Brunswick man guilty in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend two years ago outside the warehouse where she worked.

    Giver Quiroz-Vasquez, 28, was convicted Tuesday on charges of murder and stalking in the death of Alicia Martinez-Izaguirr, 24, of New Brunswick, in June of 2015,  Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said.

    Vasquez had been following his ex from her new boyfriend's house to her job that day and shot her three times outside a warehouse in an industrial complex in South Brunswick, Carey said in a release.

    Authorities arrested Vasquez the next day in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He was at an acquaintance's home after he abandoned another friend's car, which he used for the shooting, according to the release.

    Vasquez, who was also found guilty on two weapons counts, faces 30 years to life when he is sentenced by Superior Court Judge Pedro J. Jimenez Jr. on Jan. 18. 

    The murder was the first shooting death in the township on 26 years. 

    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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    St. Peter's Prep vs. DePaul, Lenape vs. Rancocas Valley are among the 28 can't miss football games in Week 5, the weekend of Oct. 6-7, 2017

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    Which players have emerged as the leaders in statistics in boys soccer this year?

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    Photos we've snapped since 2010, and we want yours too.

    Some are adorable. Some are kind of scary. Some are a little puzzling. They're almost all fuzzy.

    These are New Jersey's high school mascots. The ones we've photographed since 2010 are in the photo gallery above, and, we know - we're a little heavy on cardinals, or Kardinals, as the case may be.

    RELATED: Nominations open for the HS Mascot Challenge

    We know there are more out there than these for the 37 schools represented above, so we're looking for some help from you. When you're out there over the next few weeks enjoying some high school sports, scan the venue for something bigger, brighter and fuzzier than your typical athlete.

    When you find something, snap some pics and then use the form below to send them to us, and we'll add them to the photo gallery.

    And while you're at it, think about shooting some video, because a video is what's needed to nominate that mascot for the HS Mascot Challenge. All the details about that project, including the Oct. 23 deadline for videos to be posted with the #NJmascotchallenge hashtag, are at the link above.

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    The warrant for Jose Sanchez-Texidor, who had given a fake name, was found while he was being processed

    EAST BRUNSWICK -- A man wanted in connection with a double murder in Puerto Rico more than a decade ago was arrested Wednesday after being stopped for not wearing his seatbelt.

    texidor.jpgJose E. Sanchez Texidor in a 2015 press release. 

    Jose Sanchez-Texidor, 32, and Jose Jimenez-Castro, 28, both of South Bound Brook, were stopped on Highway 18 just before 9 a.m. while driving a box truck near Tices Lane, Lt. Sean Goggins said in a release. 

    When the officer walked up to the truck, he reported smelling marijuana and arrested the pair on pot and paraphernalia possession charges, according to Goggins. 

    The warrant for Sanchez-Texidor, who had given a fake name, was found while he was being processed, according to the release.

    Sanchez-Texidor is accused of shooting Efren Lamberty, 20, and Rickmar Ruiz Toro, 17, after an argument over an illegal gun sale, according to police in Puerto Rico. 

    Toro was shot 15 times while trying to run and Lamberty was found shot twice in the head, according to the police. 

    Sanchez-Texidor was jailed at Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center.

    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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    Customers urged to monitor payment card statements.

    Taprooms and full table-service eateries at three New Jersey Whole Foods locations were affected by a credit and debit card breach, the company said.

    The BBQ Venue and Clark Bar at Whole Foods in Clark (1255 Raritan Road), Metuchen Whole Foods Mexican Venue (645 Middlesex Avenue) and Milburn-Union Whole Foods BBQ Venue (2245 Springfield Avenue, Vauxhall) were locations in the state hit by the payment information breach.

    Whole Foods price cuts have cost Walmart, Trader Joe's big time, study finds

    Whole Foods said the bar and restaurant areas of its stores use a different point of sale system than its checkout lanes, which were not affected.

    "The company's investigation is ongoing and it will provide additional updates as it learns more. While most Whole Foods Market stores do not have these taprooms and restaurants, Whole Foods Market encourages its customers to closely monitor their payment card statements and report any unauthorized charges to the issuing bank," Whole Foods said in a statement.

    There are 17 Whole Foods stores in New Jersey.

    Noah Cohen may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @noahyc and on Facebook. Find on Facebook.

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    Where weird is a compliment.

    Ask someone who isn't from New Jersey what makes the state unique and you'll likely hear a litany of the same old cliches. Ask some who IS from the state, and you most likely will get a variant on this theme: we're unique because we don't mind being unique.

    "Weird NJ" began in 1989 as a personal newsletter sent to friends by Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman, pasted together on a kitchen table and run off on copiers. Today, it's a semi-annual magazine that spawned books about New Jersey as well as "Weird" coverage of Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas, California and New England. In 2005, there was a series on the History Channel starring the two Marks.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    This gallery offers something similar, though not the same. Here, we have culled together photos from some "unique" places that spot the state. We like that these places make us different from every other state in the union. We hope you do, too.

    Here's a gallery of some of the unique things in New Jersey. And, here are links to other galleries you might find interesting.

    Vintage N.J. photos that deserve a second look

    More vintage N.J. photos that deserve a second look

    Vintage scary photos from N.J.

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

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    For the first time in six years Bon Jovi is nominated

    For the second time in nine years of eligibility, Bon Jovi has been nominated for entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But do Jon, Richie, Tico and David deserve entry into the coveted hall?

    It's the debate we have every year around this time, and usually the point is moot -- the iconic Jersey rockers were last nominated in 2011 and have been annually snubbed ever since. 

    But now the band formed in Sayreville has a real shot, as the "Livin' on a Prayer" hair-metal legends are part of a nominee class of 19, announced Wednesday night: other bands include Kate Bush, The Cars, Depeche Mode, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, The J. Geils Band, Judas Priest, LL Cool J, MC5, The Meters, The Moody Blues, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Link Wray and The Zombies.

    So let the arguments ensue once more; Since forming in 1983, the band has sold more than 37 million albums in the U.S. alone, Billboard says, and continues to book stadium and arena tours worldwide. Is that enough? Has Bon Jovi provided enough sonic influence aside from its commercial success? 

    Last year Jon Bon Jovi took to the Howard Stern radio show to vent his frustrations.

    "I had a big falling out with one of the guys that runs (the hall)," Bon Jovi said on the Show.

    "The criteria is actually that your music had an influence on generations that came after you, and that it's still out and very present," Bon Jovi continued on the SiriusXM show. "Yeah, we have every criteria."

    The 2018 induction class will be announced in December. Last year, six bands and artists were inducted. My prediction is that Radiohead will enter the hall in its first year of eligibility, followed by the J. Geils Band -- who has been nominated four times before -- Depeche Mode, Judas Priest (how is JP not in already?) and LL Cool J swipes the hip-hop vote. 

    And you know what? I have a feeling this is Bon Jovi's year. I think last year's "This House Is Not For Sale" album and the success of the tour that followed put the Jersey boys over the top. What do you think? Take our poll!

    Bobby Olivier may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BobbyOlivier and Facebook. Find on Facebook.


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    New Brunswick's housing authority didn't follow federal rules in buying goods and services.

    WASHINGTON -- The New Brunswick Housing Authority may have improperly spent more than $1 million and should be required to provide documents to support those expenditures, according to a federal report.

    The inspector general of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said the housing authority "did not fully understand HUD requirements and did not have adequate controls to ensure compliance with all requirements."

    As a result, the authority did not follow proper procedures in purchasing goods and services, including failing to look for cheaper prices and limiting competition; did not meet deadlines for approving funds; charged excessive management fees; and did not make sure its financial reports and accounting data were current.

    The report recommended that HUD require proper documentation for the purchases or else pay back the money with non-federal funds, and that staff be properly trained in how to follow federal requirements for obtaining goods and services.

    The inspector general had audited the authority because it was designated in 2015 as "a troubled public housing agency." 

    In response, Authority Executive Director John Clarke said many of the problems stemmed from the "substantial damage" suffered under Hurricane Sandy. Even so, the recommendations would be followed and the staff properly trained, he wrote.

    Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JDSalant or on Facebook. Find Politics on Facebook.

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    We make our predictions.

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    A look at the top 75 juniors in N.J. girls soccer.

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    Richard Dalcourt's family urged others to recognize the signs of depression and seek help immediately

    The death of a Temple University student from New Jersey who fell from the sixth floor of a dormitory building on the Philadelphia university's campus has been ruled a suicide, the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office said.

    dalcourt.jpgRichard Dalcourt 

    Richard Dalcourt, 19, graduated from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, in Plainsboro, in June.

    He fell from a window in the 1940 Residence Hall on Liacouras Walk at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

    In his obituary, his family wrote that he was a quiet, kind and caring teen who loved video games, action movies and his cat, Heart. He loved spending time with his sisters and playing pool.

    He was a lifelong resident of Plainsboro.

    "Rick made a positive impact on people's lives and he will be sorely missed. His parents urge others to recognize the signs of depression and seek help immediately," the obit says.

    It asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

    Dalcourt was in his first semester at the university and was studying mechanical engineering, Temple's President Richard M. Englert said in a statement. The university is providing support services and counseling to students and staff.

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find on Facebook

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