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    NJ Advance media investigates and reports the latest on the controversy


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    Students make sushi as part of the school's Woodbridge Discovery Kitchen program.

    mx1029schoolwoodbridge.jpgWoodbridge High School chef Eric Gurny watches as senior Keith Gilmore makes an avocado sushi roll.

    WOODBRIDGE -- On Oct. 20 students in Natisha Versuks' professional foods classes at Woodbridge High School received a lesson on making sushi from Chartwells K12, the school's dining services, as part of their Woodbridge Discovery Kitchen program that provides students with lessons on new foods and healthy meal options.

    The students made avocado sushi rolls with brown rice, and, keeping in mind that October is Farm-to-School month, made their sushi using locally sourced radishes and cucumber for garnishes.

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


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    Jabbar Manning, 43, of Trenton, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

    EAST BRUNSWICK -- A 43-year-old man driving a motorcycle died Sunday after he struck a deer, was thrown from his bike and was hit by a sedan on the New Jersey Turnpike, State Police said. 

    Jabbar Manning, of Trenton, was pronounced dead at the scene after he was struck by a Honda Sedan on the Turnpike in the township, Sgt. Lawrence Peele said. Manning hit a deer before he was struck by the sedan, Peele said. 

    The crash occurred at about 1:38 a.m. Sunday on the southbound side of the Turnpike near milepost 80, authorities said. The left and center lanes were closed while police investigated the crash. 

    The driver of the sedan was not injured, Peele said.

    No charges have been filed. The investigation is ongoing. 

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Ernie and Anthony Lunardelli are asking to go back to being anonymous in a statement sent to media through their attorney.

    Last Friday night, a father-son duo of high school football officials ignited a national firestorm when they walked off the field in protest after seeing players from Monroe High School kneel during the national anthem before their game against Colts Neck High.

    The officials -- Ernie Lunardelli, 54, and his son, Anthony Lunardelli, 27 -- said they were exercising their right to protest in response to the players kneeling. Ernie Lunardelli said he's against "anyone disrespecting our country, our flag, the armed forces."


    RELATED: Refs who walked off in protest removed from working any more games this season


    In three days since the display, the Lunardellis have come under the microscope. They have been removed from working any future games this season. And a look at their social media accounts showed both men have made racial and incentive remarks, although Ernie Lunardelli alleges his account was hacked.

    Now, the Lundardellis are asking to go back to being anonymous.

    Below is a statement from the pair, sent through attorney Michael Dowgin.

    "My son and I love our country, love football and, in particular, we love youth football. I coached Pop Warner football for 15 years and I have been a high school football official for over 18 years. We are not racists and never intended to make any statement, by our words or actions, against anyone based on their race, color or creed. Our point was that we do not understand why these young players' protest needed to be taken during the national anthem. We did not see the connections and we elected to then exercise our right to protest. That is America.

    "We read what Coach Darian Barnes of Colts Neck High School said to the newspaper about Friday night's incident and we can agree with a lot of what he said. However, we do not hate any young players and we did not hate the young players that kneeled during the national anthem last Friday night. We do, though, strongly disagree with when they kneeled. The angry looks or words, we believe, came from the other team's coaches, adults; and maybe none of the adults involved looked that great to the game's players during these exchanges. We are sorry for any role we played in that scene.

    "We also agree that a discussion might be appropriate and where we can better understand why young players kneel, and why they kneel at the time they do. Also, where they can maybe understand why we refused to officiate a football game, and why we did it at the time we chose. There are rights and wrongs on both sides and we would welcome that discussion if an appropriate forum could be arranged.

    "While we welcome such a discussion in the future, we would like to stay out of the media from now on. We may have asked for it, but now would like to go back being anonymous. We also would like to go back to officiating games. We do not believe we have done anything that should deny us that right.

    "The bottom line, we believe, is that with all of its faults, we are all Americans. The other common thread is that everyone out there in Monroe Township last Friday night loved football. Hopefully we can all go back to it."

    -30-

    Matthew Stanmyre may be reached at mstanmyre@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattStanmyre. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    If all goes well, the world could be munching on hazelnuts grown on trees developed in New Jersey within a few years.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- Rest easy Nutella fans, Rutgers University has a plan to save the world from a hazelnut shortage.

    The growing popularity of Nutella, the creamy hazelnut and cocoa spread, has maxed out the world's supply of hazelnuts in recent years. That has sent prices soaring and led to fears there are not enough trees to supply surging demand for the popular nut.

    Enter Rutgers researcher Tom Molnar. After decades of study, Molnar and his team at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station say they have developed a new kind of hazelnut tree that can grow in New Jersey and the Northeast.

    NR17MolnarThomas9330R.jpgTom Molnar, a Rutgers University researcher, holds hazelnuts from this year's harvest from trees developed at the university. (Rutgers University photo) 

    "We are getting so close to being able to get a new agricultural industry off the ground in New Jersey,'' said Molnar, head of Rutgers' hazelnut tree breeding program.

    Most of the world's commercially harvested hazelnuts are currently grown in Turkey and a section of Oregon, some of the few places on the planet where the trees can thrive. A fungus called Eastern Filbert Blight has made it impossible for hazelnut trees to be grow commercially in much of the United States, researchers said.

    Molnar says his team has spent years breeding a blight-resistant tree they believe will grow in New Jersey and nearby states. They are preparing to distribute the trees to Garden State farmers next year to test.

    The Italian-based company Ferrero, the makers of Nutella, have taken notice of the Rutgers research. Company officials have been visiting Molnar's growing fields twice a year as he tests out his trees.

    "We have been carefully observing the progress of the program managed by Professor Molnar and we strongly believe in his plans and results," said Michele Pisetta, a manager of sustainability at Ferrero, which currently buys a quarter of the world's hazelnut crop every year to produce Nutella and its other products.

    "At Ferrero, we hope the development of new varieties Professor Molnar is working on will be successful and open new areas for planting hazelnut worldwide," Pisetta said.

    Molnar and his team developed the new hazelnut tree by collecting seeds in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Crimea, growing thousands of trees and cross breeding until they came up with a blight-resistant variety. The Rutgers researchers also used pollen from fellow researchers at Oregon State University.

    Rutgers' hazelnut research was first launched by C. Reed Funk, the legendary reseracher who developed varieties of turf grass at the university. Funk's highly-successful grass varieties are used at Yankee Stadium and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and have been a big money-maker for Rutgers.

    Some of the $60 million Rutgers has made on the turf grass helped fund the hazelnut research, university officials said.

    Molnar said he is excited to see decades of work turning into a useable product grown right in the United States.

    If all goes well, in a few years the world could be munching on Nutella made with hazelnuts grown on trees developed at Rutgers, he said.

    "To be able to bring a new crop to a region doesn't happen very often,'' Molnar said.

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

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    Urooj Aftab was shot to death in her home

    PERTH AMBOY -- A 34-year-old New Jersey man who allegedly shot and killed his sister in their home was arrested later Monday as he tried to enter Canada with a gun, authorities said

    Arun Aftab, of Perth Amboy, was taken taken into custody by the Canadian Border Patrol, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

    His 32-year-old sister, Urooj Aftab, was found shot at 12:10 a.m. Monday and pronounced dead 39 minutes later. 

    Police showed up at the home to check on the woman's welfare after a concerned family friend called authorities.

    Arun Aftab is charged with murder and weapons offenses. He is being held in Canada before he is extradited to New Jersey.

    A motive has not been disclosed. 

    Anyone with information is asked to call Perth Amboy police Det. Frank Cristiano of  at 732-324-3837, or Det. David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at 732-745-4436.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

     

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    NJ.com names its top, statewide, individual football performances from Week 8.

    Football: Colonia at Woodbridge, Sept. 8, 2017Colonia QB Taj-calvin Johnson fakes a pass during the first half of the football game between Woodbridge and Colonia at Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge, NJ on 9/8/17. (Chris Faytok | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)  

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    Did you know that there are two service areas on the Garden State Parkway that aren't officially franchised and owned by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority? Watch video

    Did you know that there are two service areas on the Garden State Parkway that aren't officially franchised service areas owned by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority? In fact, they aren't even on authority land.

    So how did they get there?

    Other Parkway service areas are owned by the Turnpike Authority, and they house Sunoco gas stations. 

    But service areas on either side of the Parkway in Woodbridge contain both Exxon and Shell stations, as well as a Circle K and a planned Dunkin' Donuts.

    So what gives?

    We asked John O'Hern, deputy executive director of the Turnpike Authority, how those service centers came to be. The twin service areas, he said, were on the highway that predated the Parkway, he said.

    "They're on private property. They were pre-existing, non-conforming uses. Our right-of-way surrounds them," O'Hern said. "It's a donut hole on private property. We are required by statute to provide access."

    First, a little history of the Parkway is needed to understand how the two service areas came to be there. They go back to unsuccessful attempts by the state to build the Route 4 Parkway during the mid-to-late 1940's. Construction started in Clark and nine miles of the Route 4 Parkway were built in Middlesex and Union counties.

    Only 18 miles of the proposed 165-mile north south highway was constructed by 1950, according to historical accounts and the state DOT website

    "It was built by what became the DOT," O'Hern said. "The state tried to build that first section (of the Route 4 Parkway) and stopped. It created the Highway Authority to complete it."

    The New Jersey Highway Authority was created in 1952 to finish the Garden State Parkway. Completed sections of the Route 4 Parkway became pieces of the Garden State Parkway, according to the state archives.

    The service areas were built along the side of what was the Route 4 Parkway, O'Hern said.

    "The Highway Authority took over that state section in Union and Middlesex," O'Hern said. 

    According to Middlesex County Clerk's records, the gas stations carry a street address of Garden State Parkway. And unlike the franchised service areas on the Parkway, gas prices in the two Colonia service areas aren't regulated by the Turnpike Authority, he said.

    The four gas stations in the two service areas are owned by three limited liability corporations. PMG New Jersey II LLC owns the two Exxon stations, which were part of the 117 stations in the state that the company acquired from Exxon when the giant divested 2,200 stations in 2012.

    The Shell station at the Colonia North service area is owed by 133 Colonia LLC, and the station ion the southside is owned by 82 Iselin LLC, said Tom Feeney, a Turnpike Authority spokesman.

    The service areas only had gas stations until Exxon approached the authority about adding a convenience store sometime in the late 1990's to early 2000's, O'Hern said.

    "That needed our approval. We get a little money for the right to do that," he said.

    Larry Higgs may be reached at lhiggs@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @commutinglarry. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Who made NJ.com's "Superhero Squad"?


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    Jake Pascucci, 28, was driving his 2016 Jeep on Ocean Boulevard when he fatally struck Karen Borkowski. Watch video

    LONG BRANCH - An off-duty Long Branch police officer who was allegedly drunk when he hit and killed a woman who was crossing the street in the city last month was charged Tuesday with vehicular homicide, authorities announced.

    Jake Pascucci, 28, was charged Friday with DWI, adding to his municipal charges of reckless and careless driving in the Sept. 22 death of Karen Borkowski, according to the summonses obtained by NJ Advance Media through an Open Public Records Act request.

    Pascucci_thumb.jpgLong Branch police Officer Jake Pascucci. (Long Branch Police Department)

    The upgraded criminal charge of third-degree strict liability vehicular homicide caused by driving while intoxicated or under the influence was filed by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, which is handling the investigation. The investigation shifted hands from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office after that office realized Pascucci had worked with them on an investigation.

    Borkowski, 66, of Stanhope, was crossing Ocean Boulevard at Broadway in Long Branch around 8:15 p.m. to go to the CVS store for some bandages for her husband when she was struck by Pascucci's 2016 Jeep, according to her husband, Ed Borkowski, and police.

    Pascucci told officers at the scene he had a green light and that Borkowski was jaywalking, according to dashboard camera video from police at the scene.

    "She walked right in front of me, jaywalking," he can be heard saying in the video. "I have a green light, going this way, southbound. She walked right out in front of me."

    The report from Long Branch police, obtained by NJ Advance Media, and the complaint summons filed on Tuesday contains no information about the speed Pascucci was traveling or his blood alcohol level.

    The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office rejected NJ Advance Media's OPRA request for the results of Pascucci's toxicology test.

    Long Branch acting police Chief Jason Roebuck said on Friday that discussions are still ongoing about Pascucci's job status and a decision on his employment would be made this week.

    Roebuck did not immediately respond to a request for that information on Tuesday afternoon. 

    The investigation remains ongoing. 

    Authorities urged anyone with information to call Detective Donald Heck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at 732-745-8842.

    Pascucci is scheduled to appear in Middlesex County court on Dec. 12. He faces between three to five years in prison. 

    The new crime of third-degree strict liability vehicular homicide was created in July in response to the outcry over light sentences that some drunken drivers have received because their crimes didn't rise to the level of the state's first- or second-degree offenses addressing driving under the influence. Until this new law, the only other offense jurors, judges and prosecutors could consider was drunken driving, which carries a penalty of up to 30 days in jail.

    Third-degree crimes generally do not require jail or prison time for a first-time offender but Ralph and David's Law calls for mandatory incarceration of between three and five years.

    The new law allows prosecutors to charge offenders with strict liability vehicular homicide or reckless vehicular homicide, depending on the circumstances. Reckless vehicular homicide would involve negligence on the part of the driver or boat operator.

    NJ Advance Media reporter MaryAnn Spoto contributed to this report.

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    After racist comments surface on social media from a pair of officials, coaches from urban and suburban schools alike said they would have second thoughts about them working their games.

    A pair of New Jersey high school football referees who walked off the field in protest after seeing players kneel during the national anthem came under fire this week when it was revealed they made racist comments on their social media accounts.

    The referees — Ernie Lunardelli, 54, and his son, Anthony Lunardelli, 27 — will plead their cases Wednesday during a hearing to determine if they face punishment or expulsion from their local officials chapter.

    But whether or not the Lunardellis are punished, New Jersey football coaches — black and white, urban and suburban — said they would be uncomfortable if they ever officiated one of their games in the future. Some coaches even said the Lunardellis should never be allowed to referee in the state again.


    RELATED: Refs walk off in protest after players kneel during national anthem


    “They shouldn’t be allowed to officiate because they don’t have the moral capacity to do that,” said Robert Hampton, the coach of Lincoln High in Jersey City. “For you to have those type of viewpoints and you’re around children, that’s not cool.”

    On two separate Facebook posts from Jan. 20 — President Donald Trump’s inauguration day —  and Jan. 21, Ernie Lunardelli wrote “Back to the zoo!” on posts about President Barack Obama. Anthony Lunardelli also described Giants quarterback Eli Manning as having “jew luck” in a Facebook comment from February 2012.

    Ernie Lunardelli claimed his account was hacked and he did not make those posts, and Anthony Lunardelli did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.

    “The Obamas were in the highest office in the land, so it makes you wonder what they think about our regular kids just out here trying to play the game the right way,” said Darnell Grant, the coach at Shabazz High in Newark. “Now that these guys were exposed on feeling how they feel, I don’t think any team with any diversity on it — or any team, period — can feel like you’re getting objective decision making during the game.”

    Bernards coach Jon Simoneau, who is white, said he felt “weird knowing that anybody made racist statements and was involved in any type of student activity.”


    RELATED: Refs: Why we walked on kneeling players and what we want next


    “The kids shouldn’t be subjected to that,” Simoneau added. “After you’ve said that publicly, if you had a mostly one race team versus another mostly one race team and you make a call, what’s everybody’s reaction going to be? I don’t know how you come back from that and officiate.”

    The situation with the Lunardellis exploded Friday night, when they walked off the field after seeing players from Monroe High kneel during the national anthem before their game against Colts Neck. Ernie Lunardelli said this weekend he’s against “anyone disrespecting our country, our flag, the armed forces.”

    Two days later, on Sunday, the racist comments from the Lunardellis came to light, and the following day the pair was removed from officiating any more games this season.

    Scott Heiser, chairman of the Central Jersey chapter of the New Jersey Football Officials Association, said the hearing Wednesday will investigate the situation and determine punishment or course of action for the Lunardellis. Heiser said the officials could be reinstated this year and also could face permanent expulsion from the chapter.

    Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s hearing, New Jersey coaches said it would be hard to imagine the Lunardellis officiating one of their games down the line. The coaches said they think of officials as unbiased observers and the social media comments plant seeds of doubt.

    “You’re there as an impartial grownup at a football game with a black and white uniform to make sure nothing gets out of line,” Hampton said. “You’re the most important guy on the field next to the players.”


    THE LATEST: H.S. refs walk out of game, spark national firestorm


    Hampton also pointed to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s strict rules against biased and discriminatory language at high school sports events. Before every game, officials read the rules to players and coaches, and the same message often is delivered over the loudspeakers for spectators.

    If anyone utters a racial slur during the game, they face immediate ejection.

    “You’re reading stuff to the kids, but you’re engaging in stuff in social media that they would get kicked out of the game for saying,” Hampton said. “It doesn’t add up.”

    Boonton coach Bryan Gallagher, who is white, said one of his favorite parts of football in New Jersey is the diversity. Race and ethnicity doesn’t factor in when teammates are counting on each other to execute plays, he said. He also said he relishes the opportunity to play a diverse schedule that includes games against Newark schools Shabazz and Weequahic.

    “It comes down to being able to have some sort of empathy, to be able to understand that not everyone’s experience is the same as yours,” Gallagher said. “The world that the officials were raised in and live in, it might be very different from those players from Monroe.”

    Matthew Stanmyre may be reached at mstanmyre@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattStanmyre. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    See what the biggest wins and most surprising results were through the first round of the boys soccer state tournament.


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    The man underwent back and neck surgery after slipping on black ice in a parking lot in Woodbridge, his attorney said.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- A jury has awarded $2 million to a man who underwent back and neck surgery after he slipped on ice in a shopping center parking lot in Woodbridge, his attorney said. 

    George Adams, 51, of Edison, slipped on the ice Feb. 7, 2014, at The Plaza at Woodbridge after shopping for his wife for Valentine's Day, said his attorney, Nicholas J. Leonardis.

    Adams fell while approaching a pedestrian walkway that was covered in run-off water from a nearby 12-to-15-foot pile of snow, creating a pool of ice that Leonardis described as "a skating rink."

    A contractor warned the owner of the property, A&R Woodbridge, to move the snow, but the owners declined because it would lose them parking spaces, Leonardis said. 

    "This was a recipe for disaster," the attorney said. 

    After he fell, Adams crawled several feet before he could get off the ice, Leonardis said. A good Samaritan helped him up and he was taken to JFK Medical Center in Edison.

    Adams, a retired corrections officer who now drives a van for children with special needs, underwent spine and neck surgery, his attorney said. 

    The mall ownership claimed in court that Adams' back and neck problems stemmed from two previous motor vehicle crashes. Leonardis argued Adams had been treated and returned to work before he slipped on the ice. 

    The jury returned the verdict last week before Superior Court Judge Lisa Vignuolo after they found A&R Woodbridge, which Leonardis said owns seven malls in New Jersey, liable in the case.

    An attorney who represented A&R Woodbridge could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning. 

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Crucial contests to make the state tournament and determine seeding


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    The former investigator claimed he was regularly bullied by nine superiors for 11 years because of his medical condition.

    MIDDLESEX COUNTY - A former sheriff's office investigator who claimed he was harassed by colleagues for more than a decade because he suffered from diabetes was awarded $885,000 by a jury following a civil trial.

    Joseph Iko, who worked for the county from 1992 until he retired in August, claimed he was regularly bullied by nine superiors for 11 years because of his medical condition, which affects his vision. 

    Iko, of South River, said his managers referred to him as "walking dead," "half-dead," "Mr. Magoo" and "Stevie Wonder," among other names.

    Another officer also pointed a loaded gun at Iko's head as part of the hostile work environment, according to the 2015 civil suit. 

    Middlesex County officials have denied the claims in court filings. The county plans to appeal the verdict. 

    Iko was awarded $640,000 in emotional distress damages and $245,000 in punitive damages. The total award, once the county pays his attorney fees, will surpass $1 million, according to Iko's attorney, Paul Castronovo.

    Castronovo, who worked the case with Tom McKinney, said the Somerset County jury was outraged last week after the six-day trial before Judge Edward Coleman. He said the jurors saw Iko was "broken down as a person."

    The lawsuit also claimed that in the years after Iko's pancreas transplant, Director Tom Farrell, who at the time was a sergeant, used racial slurs toward the investigator and ridiculed the race of his organ donor.

    Additionally, the suit claimed Iko was put on cell cleaning duty during flu season because his immune system was compromised from the transplant. 

    Iko said he was "humiliated and abused" for years about his disability. He was given undesirable assignments, including picking up dead rats, shredding papers and moving furniture, according to the court filing.

    When he complained to his union, Iko said he was told, "You're lucky to have a job. You're half dead."

    Castronovo said he hopes the verdict will encourage the sheriff's department to make significant harassment policy changes.

    Staff writer Craig McCarthy contributed to this report. 

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    I don't know about you, but I'm having serious trouble keeping up with acronyms associated with texting. The "B" ones alone are like learning a new language. BAE, BOO, BRB, BTW ... and our topic today, BFF, otherwise known as Best Friends Forever. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines BFF as an informal term for "a very close friend," and say its...

    I don't know about you, but I'm having serious trouble keeping up with acronyms associated with texting.

    The "B" ones alone are like learning a new language. BAE, BOO, BRB, BTW ... and our topic today, BFF, otherwise known as Best Friends Forever.

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines BFF as an informal term for "a very close friend," and say its first known use was in 1987, providing a sentence to show its usage: "A BFF doesn't gossip about or lie to you. She doesn't share your secrets on her MySpace page."-- Girls' Life

    MySpace ... heh, heh.

    In a Sept. 18, 2017, article in Business Insider, Merriam-Webster associate editor Emily Brewster was quoted as saying, "Our job as lexicographers is to follow the development of language, defining the words people are likely to encounter." She noted that words are added to the dictionary "because they have established themselves in the English language, and are part of the current, active vocabulary of America." BFF is certainly a part of our vernacular.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart sang "Because a friend would never doubt you or ever put you uptight," and grammar aside, that's the definition of BFF long before the acronym came into use.

    We, of course, really can't tell for sure if all the people we've pictured were truly 'BFFs' ... but there's something about their facial expressions and body language that makes us think they were.

    Same gender or different, pairs, trios or large groups, even dogs and cats -- BFFs are those you know will always be there when you need them.

    Here's a gallery of New Jersey BFFs. And here are links to other galleries you might like.

    Vintage photos capturing candid slices of life in N.J.

    Vintage candid photos and photobombs in NJ

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


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    Nearly half of the state's fifth-largest municipality is Asian

    EDISON - An unknown group sent anti-Indian and anti-Chinese campaign mailers to homes in Edison proclaiming "Make Edison Great Again" and calling for the deportation of two Asian school board candidates.

    The postcards say, "The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town. Chinese school! Indian school! Cricket fields! Enough is enough."

    Above those words are pictures of board of education candidates Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel. The bottom of their photos are partially covered by the words "deport" in what's presumably an image of a passport stamp.

    The ads don't identify the group that paid for them, which violates state election law.

    The back of the postcard reads:

    "Stop the overcrowding! Stop taking over our sports fields! Stop the McMansions! Stop the multiple families living in the same house! Stop wasting school holiday! Stop the outsiders!

    "Let's take back Edison and our schools!

    In response to the mailer sitting mayor, Thomas Lankey, issued a statement calling the campaign flyer "despicable."

    "Edison has proudly embraced our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity," he said.

    "It has become a sad reality that in our polarized political atmosphere, some people suddenly feel empowered to publicly express these vile nativist ideas. Make no mistake, we will do everything we can to expose the shameful people behind this."

    The Republican candidate for mayor, Keith Hahn, called for the "faceless cowards" to be exposed.

    "This flier is shameful and disgraceful," he said.

    Patel, a Democratic committeewoman and immigration lawyer, says she's disgusted by the pamphlets. Both mayoral candidates have also denounced the mailers.

    Nearly half of Edison's approximately 102,000 residents are Asian, according the the U.S. Census. About 45 percent of the town's residents are foreign born.

    Edison is the fifth-largest municipality in the state and is New Jersey's most populous suburb, according to 2016 census estimates. 

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     


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    How did 9 new county champs jostle the rankings?


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    A look at the playoff picture.

    There is just one week left in the regular season, and the New Jersey football playoff picture is starting to take shape. NJ Advance Media has you covered for the final week, with power point breakdown of every section with a look at how every bracket can shake out.


    PLUS: Updated power points after Week 8


    Be sure to check back often as projections are posted.

    NORTH JERSEY, SECTION 1
    Group 5
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2
    • Group 1

    NORTH JERSEY, SECTION 2
    Group 5
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2
    • Group 1

    CENTRAL JERSEY
    Group 5
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2
    • Group 1

    SOUTH JERSEY
    Group 5
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2
    • Group 1

    NON-PUBLIC
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2

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


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    Who moves on in the 2017 NJSIAA tournament? NJ Advance Media makes its picks


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