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    Here's a look at the outcomes of the wildest local New Jersey races this year.


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    Two New Jersey universities are among more than 100 schools named in the leaked Paradise Papers.

    Rutgers University and Princeton University are among the top U.S. colleges using offshore secretive investments to make money while avoiding tax scrutiny in the U.S., according to leaked documents.

    More than 100 universities are included in a trove millions of documents -- dubbed the Paradise Papers -- that detail how wealthy individuals and organizations use a complex network of overseas investments and accounts to legally make money out of the public eye.

    Rutgers and Princeton are named in the leaked data from Appleby, a law firm based in Bermuda that specializes in offshore accounts, according to reports Wednesday in the New York Times and the Guardian.

    The law firm used offshore entities, including private equity and hedge funds in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, to help institutions invest their money, the reports said. Other universities in the documents include Columbia University, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State.

    Here's how much N.J. colleges made and lost

    Rutgers officials declined to detail the university's offshore investments to NJ Advance Media.

    "In general, it is not our policy to comment on specific endowment investments. Rutgers University manages its endowment pursuant to the university's Investment Policy, and adheres to all applicable laws and regulations governing public university endowments," the university said in a statement.

    Princeton University officials did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

    The reports did not detail how much each university invested in offshore funds.

    Though non-profit universities are usually tax-exempt in the U.S., they could be required to pay tax on investments their endowments make in lucrative private equity and hedge funds.

    Rutgers was listed among the universities investing in EnCap Energy Capital Fund IX-C, a hedge fund based in the Cayman Islands that primarily invests in oil and gas companies, the Guardian reported. It is known as a "blocker corporation" because its offshore location could block any money an investor earns from being taxed in the U.S.

    University endowments across the country have swelled in recent years. Last month, Princeton announced its endowment had earned a 12.5 percent investment gain over the last year. The Ivy League school's endowment swelled to $23.8 billion, or $1.6 billion more than last year, making it one of the largest university endowments in the world.

    Rutgers has been striving to add to its coffers in recent years. The state university's endowment was valued at $1.2 billion as of June 30 after Rutgers posted a 12.4 percent gain on its long-term investments over the last year.

    Republican lawmakers are pushing for the government to tax wealthy colleges for the investment income they make on their endowments. The current House Republican tax plan calls for a 1.4 percent tax on investment income at elite private colleges with large endowments. Public colleges would be exempt.

    However, offshore accounts similar to ones named in the Paradise Papers would not be taxed.

    Many university officials are opposed to any tax on college endowments. The Association of American Universities, which includes Rutgers and Princeton, released a letter earlier this week opposing the legislation calling for a tax on endowments. 

    "This legislation, taken in its entirety, would discourage participation in postsecondary education, make college more expensive for those who do enroll, and undermine the financial stability of public and private, two-year and four-year colleges and universities," the letter said.

    The Paradise Papers were leaked to a German newspaper, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. They have produced several reports in recent days, including details about the offshore investments of Queen Elizabeth, U2 singer Bono and members of the Trump administration.

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

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    An investigation into the Parsippany lab has led to more than 50 convictions

    NEWARK -- A doctor of internal medicine with a practice in Staten Island will serve nearly three years in prison for taking more than $60,000 in bribes from a medical laboratory in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in work, Acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick said.

    Blood, bribes and strip clubs 

    Ahmed El Soury, 45, of Monmouth Junction, had previously pleaded guilty for channeling $650,000 in business to Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services of Parsippany in violation of the Anti-Kickback  Act and related laws. The offenses occurred for two years beginning in March 2011.

    El Soury is one of 37 doctors convicted in connection with a sprawling bribery and kickback scam involving the laboratory, which received $100 million in payments from Medicare and private insurance for work obtained through bribery. BLS pleaded guilty last year and was required to forfeit all its assets.

     

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    A five-month investigation into a Central Jersey drug and gun distribution ring resulted in charges being filed against 20 people, Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson announced on Nov. 8, 2017.

    SOMERVILLE - A five-month investigation into a Central Jersey drug and gun distribution ring resulted in charges being filed against 20 people, Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson announced Wednesday.

    The arrests across Somerset, Middlesex and Bergen counties helped bring down a group distributing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, oxycodone pills and firearms in Somerset and Middlesex counties, the prosecutor's office said. Called Operation Bird Cage, the investigation involved police and prosecutor's offices in Somerset, Middlesex and Bergen counties, the New Jersey State Police and U.S. Postal Inspector.

    Bird Cage mug shots.pngPictured (from left) are Robert Cardinal, 40, and his mother, Georgiann Cardinal, 69, both of Dunellen; Leon Blue, Jr., 52, of Dumont; Michael "Low Rider Mike" Wayne, 42, of South Bound Brook; and, Timothy "TJ" Jenkins, 47, of Hillsborough. (courtesy photo)

    During the investigation, police seized over 1 kilogram of cocaine, methamphetamine, 1 pound of marijuana, 2,010 bags of heroin, 298 Oxycodone pills, six Roxycodone pills, 48 morphine pills, 15 ecstasy pills, 247 Suboxone films, 294 unidentified pills, a hydraulic kilo-press and various other drug manufacturing equipment, according to the prosecutor's office. The drugs have a combined estimated street value of $370,745.

    A total of 19 weapons - from handguns to rifles, shotguns and assault weapons - were also seized, along with $98,159 and nine vehicles, it was reported.

    Among those arrested were Robert Cardinal, 40, and his mother, Georgiann Cardinal, 69, both of Dunellen; Timothy "TJ" Jenkins, 47, of Hillsborough; Leon Blue, Jr., 52, of Dumont; and, Michael "Low Rider Mike" Wayne, 42, of South Bound Brook, according to the prosecutor's office.

    Robertson said in addition to assistance from police in Hillsborough, South Bound Brook, Dunellen and Middlesex, SWAT teams in Somerset, Middlesex and Bergen counties also took part in the operation, as did the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's New Jersey HIDTA Group 3, K-9 units from Bound Brook and the prosecutor's offices of Somerset and Bergen counties, and police in Houston, Texas, and Greenville, South Carolina.

    According to the prosecutor's office:

    • Robert Cardinal faces charges of first-degree leader of a narcotics-trafficking network, promoting organized street crime, maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility, and third-degree unlawful transfer or sale of an assault firearm, possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, financial facilitation of criminal activity, and second-degree conspiracy.
    • Georgiann Cardinal faces second-degree promoting organized street crime and conspiracy, and third-degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and financial facilitation of criminal activity.
    • Jenkins was charged with first-degree leader of a narcotics trafficking network and promoting organized street crime, and second-degree conspiracy to possess a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute and conspiracy, and third-degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and financial facilitation of criminal activity.
    • Blue was charged with second-degree promoting organized street crime, possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance and conspiracy, and third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance and financial facilitation of criminal activity.
    • Wayne was charged with two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of an assault firearm and conspiracy, and third-degree unlawful manufacture, transfer or sale of an assault firearm, and fourth-degree transfer or sale of a large capacity magazine.

    Others also arrested and charged with various drug-related, weapons and possession offenses include:

    • Anthony Alston, 38, of Elizabeth - second-degree promoting organized street crime and conspiracy, third-degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and financial facilitation of criminal activity.
    • Eric Ward, 48, of South River - third-degree manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance and 3rd degree conspiracy.
    • Anthony Mastroserio, 31, of South Bound Brook - third-degree unlawful transfer or sale of an assault firearm, two counts of conspiracy, and fourth-degree transfer or sale of a large capacity magazine.
    • Kelly Smith, 52, of Hillsborough - third-degree receiving stolen property.

    The prosecutor's office said arrest warrants have been filed against three people who are still being sought:

    • Shawn Page, 46, of West 116th Street, New York City, third-degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and conspiracy.
    • Andres Nazario, 49, of Oak Place, Piscataway, third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance and conspiracy.
    • William Keithley, 47, of Orlando, Florida, third-degree unlawful transfer or sale of an assault firearm and conspiracy.

    During the investigation eight people were arrested and charged with third-degree conspiracy and attempt to possess drugs: Alan Lisezewski, 35, and Daniel O'Brien, 53, both of Piscataway; George Walling Jr., 27, of Union Beach; Antonio Esposito, 55, of South Plainfield; Arthur Kamenetsky, 33, of Parlin; Mark Hall, 33, of Middlesex; Maria Saltsides, 37, of Rahway; and, Gerald Sullivan, 59, of Hillsborough.

    Craig Turpin may be reached at cturpin@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @NJeditor.

    Do you have a story we need to know about? Send us your tips. Here's how.

     

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    Wild first three rounds dramatically changed the boys soccer Top 20.


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    Women have been an integral part of the nation's war effort since the American Revolution.

    Women have been an integral part of the nation's war effort since the American Revolution. Here, we will scratch the surface of the ways women have served since World War I:

    * World War I saw 20,000 women nationwide serve in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, with 10,000 stationed overseas, often close to the frontlines.

    * In World War II, aside from nursing units, there was the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), which gained full military status as the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in 1943. There was the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), the women's branch of the United States Naval Reserve, the Marine Corps Women's Reserve (USMCWR), United States Coast Guard Women's Reserve and the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs).

    While men went off to fight the war, these organization provided vital support services. And, the women were not necessarily safe; WASPs, for example, flew aircraft around the country for training and shipment overseas. "Women who stepped up were measured as citizens of the nation, not as women," said Oveta Culp Hobby, the first director of the Women's Army Corps. "This was a people's war, and everyone was in it."

    * While 350,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, women also took on vital manufacturing jobs in a workforce depleted by the draft and volunteers. Between 1940 and 1945, the female percentage of the U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent.

    * Women were also recruited into the Women's Land Army at home, taking on countless agricultural jobs vacated by men fighting overseas.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    * Women continued to serve through Korea and Vietnam, and the Gulf War included an unprecedented proportion of women from the active forces (7 percent) as well as the Reserve and National Guard (17 percent). According to American Women in Uniform, it was the largest female deployment in U.S. history.

    * In 2013, the United States removed the military's prior ban on women serving in combat.

    * Currently, women make up 14 percent of the military's 1.4 million active members and more than 280,000 of them have done tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan or on overseas bases.

    We salute the women from New Jersey who assisted in American war efforts. Here's a gallery of just a small sampling of them.

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


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    NJ.com's six high school football reporters make their picks in each of the 23 brackets.


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    Which players will have the biggest impact on each of Thursday's 20 sectional finals.


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    A judge ruled evidence from the bodies of a South Brunswick man's parents can be used during his murder trial early next year.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- A Superior Court judge on Wednesday ruled that evidence from the bodies of a South Brunswick man's parents can be used in his murder retrial early next year. 

    Michael Maltese, 29, whose murder conviction for strangling his parents in 2008 was overturned by the state Supreme Court, will be tried again in January.

    Because Maltese's inadmissible confession led authorities to his parent bodies, the dispute about whether the remains could be used during his Jan. 16 retrial centered around one hypothetical question: Would police have found the bodies without his confession? 

    "I think the answer is clearly yes," Judge Joseph Rea in Middlesex County said Wednesday. "Given the facts and the circumstances in this case, I have no doubt that these bodies would have been located even if the defendant never gave any statements to the police."

    Had the judge ruled the other way, prosecutors would have had to build a murder case against Maltese without acknowledging that the bodies of his parents -- crucial evidence in the state's case -- were discovered. 

    Maltese is accused of strangling his parents Oct. 8, 2008, during a violent argument with his father. He and his girlfriend then buried their bodies in a local park and went on a shopping spree with his parents' credit cards, prosecutors said.

    Before an interview with investigators, Maltese asked that a camera be turned off as he spoke with his uncle. Officers agreed, but secretly recorded the conversation, in which he confessed.

    In November 2010, Maltese was convicted of passion provocation manslaughter in the death of his father and murder in the death of his mother. He was sentenced to 64 years in state prison.

    His convictions for killing his parents were overturned in 2015 by the N.J. Supreme Court, which ruled his confession was inadmissible because police secretly recorded one of his conversations to help their investigation.

    Judge Rea said it is plausible that rain or animals would have exposed the bodies, considering they were buried about a foot below the ground with a thin layer of dirt. The judge said the remains also would have smelled, arguing that people walking by the hole in which they were stacked at Beech Woods Park would have found them.

    Law enforcement officials called to the stand in August said they were confident they would have located the remains of Maltese's 58-year-old father, Michael J. Maltese, and his 54-year-old mother, Kathleen Maltese, had their son not led them to the scene.

    "I'm 100 percent convinced we would have found them," South Brunswick Capt. James Ryan said in court, estimating it would have taken authorities about two weeks to find the corpses.

    The bodies were found stacked in a hole at the park less than two miles from the couple's home on Maple Street in the Monmouth Junction of the township. Had Maltese not confessed, police would have searched two to three miles in every direction around the residence, eventually investigating the park, Lt. Louis Andrinopoulos, of State Police's missing persons unit, testified. 

    "They had a plan," the judge said. "They basically would have turned over every leaf."

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    A look at every section.

    The NJSIAA football playoffs are about to begin and NJ.com has you covered with wall-to-wall coverage throughout the tournament, and that starts with previews for every section.

    Below you will find the previews for all 23 playoff sections that kick off this weekend with quarterfinal games. Keep checking back as links will be added throughout the day Tuesday and Wednesday.

    All previews are now linked below.

    SECTION PREVIEWS 
    North 1: Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 | Group 5
    North 2: Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 | Group 5

    Central: Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 | Group 5
    South: Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 | Group 5
    Non-Public: Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4

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


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    A borough fire inspector who was fired the day after he was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion has been indicted on the federal charge, court documents show.

    NEWARK -- A Middlesex Borough fire inspector who was fired the day after he was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion has been indicted on the federal charge.

    Billy A. Donnerstag, 49, of Hackettstown, was indicted last week on the charge for allegedly using threats of force and violence against the owner of a real estate development and construction company, court documents show. 

    Donnerstag was hired in Middlesex Borough's construction department in April 2016 and made $83,200 a year, according to borough data. He was fired a day after the charges were made public, Mayor Ron DiMura said. 

    Joseph P. Martinelli, 64, of Kenvil, was also charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, the U.S. attorney's office said. 

    Authorities claim the two men threatened the owner of the real estate development and construction company with physical harm if he or she did not pay them thousands of dollars, according to a complaint. They told the victim they had connections to organized crime, according to court documents.

    During two meetings that authorities said were legally recorded, Donnerstag and Martinelli obtained $15,000 in cash from the victim. The men wanted the victim, who authorities did not identify, to pay up because he or she had not paid Martinelli enough money for the sale of a property a decade earlier, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick said in July. 

    In telephone and in-person conversations with the victim, Donnerstag told the victim he was a fire inspector for Middlesex Borough and a collector of debts who operated outside of the legal system, authorities claim. 

    I'm "not somebody who's in the yellow pages," Donnerstag told the victim, authorities said. He also described himself to the victim as "the guy that you don't want to see" and "a problem for you right now," according to the complaint.

    Donnerstag also told the victim his father is Gerald Donnerstag, who went by "Jerry the Jew" and had ties to organized crime, Fitzpatrick said. The elder Donnerstag was convicted of murder in the 1970s in Scranton, Penn., and theft in Essex County, the U.S. attorney's office said. 

    If found guilty, Donnerstag and Martinelli face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, authorities said. 

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook and Twitter

     

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    Long Branch police Officer Jake Pascucci was drunken driving when he fatally struck a 66-year-old woman, authorities have said Watch video

    LONG BRANCH - An off-duty city police officer who authorities say was driving drunk when he fatally struck a woman crossing the street in September remains on duty, officials said.

    Officer Jake Pascucci, a detective who has been a member of the Long Branch police force since 2014, is on duty in "a support capacity," according to a statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. 

    The office did not provide additional information on his status. 

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

    Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider said Pascucci is not on patrol. 

    "There is other work for an officer to do," he said. "There are rules and this has been run by the labor counsel."

    According to the state Attorney General's Internal Affairs Policy & Procedures, an employee can be suspended after he or she has been charged with a first, second or third-degree crime. 

    "The decision whether or not to continue to pay an officer who has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation rests with the law enforcement executive and appropriate authority, who should carefully consider all ramifications of these choices," the policy states. 

    Pascucci, 28, was charged with third-degree strict liability vehicular homicide caused by driving while intoxicated or under the influence by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, which is handling the case due to a conflict Pascucci has with the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. A spokesman for that agency, Charles Webster, has said that Pascucci worked on an investigation with the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.

    Pascucci had been charged with reckless driving, careless driving and DWI in the Sept. 22 death of Karen Borkowski, authorities have said.

    Borkowski, 66, of Stanhope, was crossing Ocean Boulevard at the intersection with Broadway in Long Branch around 8:15 p.m. when she was struck by Pascucci's 2016 Jeep Cherokee, according to authorities.

    Her husband, Ed Borkowski, told NJ Advance Media that his wife was crossing the street to get him bandages from CVS because he suffers from lymphedema, which causes severe blisters on his legs.

    The couple was in Long Branch for the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey conference, Ed Borkowski said. 

    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, obtained by NJ Advance Media through the state's Open Public Records Act (OPRA). 

    "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 footage shows severe front-end damage to Pascucci's vehicle. 

    The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office rejected NJ Advance Media's OPRA request for the results of Pascucci's toxicology test. And the reports obtained by NJ Advance Media do not list the speed at which Pascucci was traveling at the time of the crash.

    Pascucci earns a salary of $62,724, according to state pension records.

    He is due in court on Dec. 12 and faces between three to five years in prison. 

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


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    Carteret reached a $7.4 million settlement with the owner of an old metals-refining factory to complete its cleanup of contaminated areas at its former smelter site.

    CARTERET -- The borough has reached a more than $7 million settlement with the owner of an old metals-refining factory to complete its cleanup of contaminated areas at its former smelter site. 

    USMR 1.jpg(Photo provided by Carteret Mayor Daniel J. Reiman's office)
     

    The settlement requires U.S. Metals Refining Company to pay $4.25 million to end further litigation and to fund environmental and public health initiatives in the borough, Mayor Daniel Reiman said. The company will also pay an additional $3.15 million during the next 10 years.

    U.S. Metals is the former operator of a smelter plant at 300 Middlesex Ave. that shut down more than 30 years ago. It operated in the borough from 1903 to 1986. 

    The company, a subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan, first entered a consent order to clean the site with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 1988.

    But there was no plan to address potential contamination in hundreds of public and private areas, including the yards of residential homes, that may have migrated off-site, the mayor said. So the borough in 2012 reached an agreement with the company to investigate and clean possible off-site contamination. 

    In a statement, the mayor said for 20 years the state Department of Environmental Protection had "largely forgot about the borough and its long-gone smelter."

    The latest agreement, the mayor's office said, ensures the borough's environmental experts can monitor the cleanup work without the use of taxpayer money.

    "We appreciate the willingness of the current owners of U.S. Metals to respond to the concerns of our community, which hosted the smelter operation for more than 80 years," Reiman said.

    Earlier this year, alarmed borough homeowners banded together to file a suit against the former refinery's parent company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. 

    The class action suit alleges that 80 years of extracting copper has polluted nearby properties, exposing residents to unsafe levels of lead and arsenic.

    "This kind of contamination can be crushing to property values," Steve German, an attorney for the residents, has said. "People have invested in their homes. This is where their lives are. This lawsuit is about people who are fearful for their health in the future."

    The lawsuit filed in Middlesex County Superior Court in January seeks damages for the Carteret residents whose property's value may have decreased around the former smelter. The suit has since been moved to federal court. 

    The suit also seeks to force the company to cover the costs of specialized medical monitoring for the residents, which could total to about 100 people.

    German said it was necessary for residents to continually monitor their health for any possible sicknesses beyond standard physicals because of toxic and hazardous materials from the refinery.

    A judge ruled in 2009 that the company's contamination safeguards were "inadequate, defective and often non-functional," and that its "smelter spewed forth enormous amounts of contaminating materials."

    In a statement about the latest settlement, Joseph Brunner, who oversees discontinued operations for U.S. Metals, said the company was committed to "remediate soils impacted by historic smelter operations in the Borough of Carteret."

    "We appreciate the spirit of cooperation that made this agreement possible," Brunner said. 

    After news of the settlement broke, Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, an environmental organization, said U.S. Metals was "getting off easy." He called the smelter "one of the biggest sources of lead pollution on the Eastern Seaboard" and said the state Department of Environmental Protection should have sued the company. 

    "While the company gets to settle for pennies on the dollar, the citizens will continue to live in this toxic mess they've created," Tittel said in a statement. "You don't have to be a Whiz to know this is a bad deal."

    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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    The previous largest donation was $27 million.

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- Rutgers University will receive an estimated $34 million collection of Soviet nonconformist art, the largest gift in Rutgers history, the university announced Thursday.

    The donation comes from Nancy Dodge, the widow of famed economist and art collector Norton Dodge, and includes 17,300 works to be displayed in the university's Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum.

    Rutgers will also receive a separate $10 million donation from the Avenir Foundation to maintain the collection, which will make the Zimmerli museum the world's principal site for studying underground art produced in the Soviet Union, the university said. 

    "This remarkable gift underscores our university's cultural and educational value to our global society," said Deba Dutta, chancellor of Rutgers' New Brunswick campus. 

    ZIMMERLI 1 -- Pivovarov D06816.002 copy.jpgOne of the pieces of Soviet nonconformist art that has been donated to Rutgers University. (Courtesy of Rutgers University)
     

    Norton Dodge, the eccentric economist, and his wife Nancy had amassed one of the world's largest collection of Soviet nonconformist art, which often used images of Communist propaganda to mock the system. 

    The Dodge's previously donated about 4,000 works from their collection to Rutgers in 1991 and the new gift unites the family's entire collection. 

    "My husband Norton and I felt it was our mission to bring to light these remarkable works that had been consigned to obscurity, and to honor artists of exceptional talent who had been suppressed and defamed," Nancy Dodge said. 

    The collection includes paintings on canvas and panel, sculptures, assemblages, installations, works on paper, photographs, videos and artists' books. The work was produced in the Soviet republics of Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

    "It is staggering to have the entire collection brought together at last," said Thomas Sokolowski, the museum's director. 

    Some of the work is already on display at the on-campus museum on the corner of Hamilton and George streets adjacent to Voorhees Mall.

    The estimated $34 million gift tops Rutgers previous largest donation, a $27 million gift from an anynomous donor in 2011 to fund endowed chair positions. 

    Adam Clark may be reached at adam_clark@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on twitter at @realAdamClarkFind NJ.com on Facebook

     

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    With the start of the state playoffs Friday night, NJ.com names the 35 players across the state who are worthy the price of admission by themselves.


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    Saint Peter's, a 478-bed teaching hospital, is one of the last remaining independent community hospitals in New Jersey.

    TRENTON -- Saint Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick is cutting 108 jobs this week, including 66 layoffs of full-time workers, hospital officials confirmed Thursday.

    No services or programs will be eliminated, according to a statement from the parent company, Saint Peter's Healthcare System.

    N.J. hospital gave its CEO $400K loan for apartment he never bought

    The job losses are needed "to remain competitive in an extremely challenging and complex environment," Leslie D. Hirsch, interim CEO and president said in a statement.

    In addition to the layoffs, the action includes eliminating 42 other positions. Some workers will be offered part-time positions. 

    Saint Peter's, a 478-bed teaching hospital, is one of the last remaining independent community hospitals in New Jersey -- a state that has been the home of a frenzy of mergers and acquisitions since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The landmark health law has forced hospitals to discourage admissions when possible and expand outpatient care.

    Across town, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, is one of the flagship facilities in RWJBarnabas Health, the largest chain in the state.

    Saint Peter's is also embroiled in a lawsuit against Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey for denying the hospita top-tier status to the insurer's OMNIA plans. Hospital officials said their bottom line would be hurt because Horizon members would be forced to pay more to use Saint Peter's, relegated to less-than-impressive sounding "tier 2" status.

    "Tiered and narrowed networks, such as OMNIA, are part of the dynamics of the current marketplace. They do not have a positive effect on hospitals that are excluded from Tier 1 status," said hospital spokeswoman Michelle Lazzarotti.

     "We understand the impact that this announcement has on our Saint Peter's community," Hirsch said. "We must continue to grow and manage cost in the context of the changing dynamics of the industry, and at the same time, plan for Saint Peter's future. Most importantly, we remain steadfastly committed to our mission of providing quality patient care and access to services for our community."

    The 66 job cuts targeted employees "from across the organization, including a number in management," the hospital's statement said. Some people have been offered part-time or other full-time positions.

    The hospital and its affiliated entities admit 23,000 patients and treat 245,000 on an outpatient basis.

    Susan K. Livio may be reached at slivio@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.


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    This year's crop of political hopefuls did not invent the art of mud-slinging, but they certainly engaged in it to a terrifying degree, mustering all the venom and playing into the same fears that drove Donald Trump into office in 2016.

    Negative campaigning has a long and (dis)honorable history in our country.

    As far back as 1828, John Quincy Adams was railing against his opponent Andrew Jackson, labelling Jackson's mother a prostitute and his wife an adulterer. In 1964, LBJ aired the now-infamous "Daisy" commercial, which suggested that a win for Barry Goldwater would propel the country into nuclear war.

    No, this year's crop of political hopefuls did not invent the art of mud-slinging, but they certainly engaged in it to a terrifying degree, mustering all the venom and playing into the same fears that drove Donald Trump into office in 2016.

    Matters got particularly ugly in Edison, where some bozo distributed anonymous fliers emblazoned with the words "Make Edison Great Again" and bearing pictures of two school board candidates - one Chinese-American and the other Indian-American - with the word "Deport" scrawled under their images.

    Not far away in Hoboken, fliers pictured a turban-wearing Ravi Bhalla, a Sikh running for mayor, and urged voters: "Don't let Terrorism take over our town!"

    Racist election mailers part of rise in bias rhetoric: group

    On the statewide level, gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno went all-Trump on us with a political ad falsely accusing Phil Murphy of "having the back" of a convicted killer and undocumented worker.

    The ad continued to run despite protests by Latinos, legislators and union leaders that its message, designed to stir up primitive emotions among voters, was racially insensitive at best, an instance of fear-mongering at worst.

    At least one veteran political observer knows where the blame lies.

    "I certainly have not seen fliers this explicitly racist in the past, and I do think it's an outgrowth of the 2016 campaign and the language and policies being advanced by the administration," says Scott Novakowski, associate counsel for the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

    Novakowski worries that the current climate is "normalizing" racism, making it all the more essential to push back.

    All of this has resonance in New Jersey, which likes to pat itself on the back for being one of the most ethnically diverse states in the union.

    The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the Edison fliers, trying to determine whether a chargeable bias crime or other crime was committed by their being circulated anonymously. The state's Division of Elections has also been called in; a spokeswoman said the "appropriate authorities" are reviewing the materials.

    Perhaps the most promising thing to come out of this hate-filled campaign season is that although desperate candidates often turn to negative ads as a last resort, what happened Tuesday suggests that voters aren't always buying the scare tactics the ads are peddling.

    They didn't in Edison and Hoboken, where victory went to Bhalla, Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel, and they didn't when it came time to choose their new governor, either.

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


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    Prieto said it's time for the body to get behind Assemblyman Craig Coughlin, who said he had the support to oust Prieto.

    TRENTON -- Embattled state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, New Jersey's third-most powerful elected official, announced Thursday he's giving up the fight to keep his leadership job. 

    Prieto lacked the votes in the Assembly to withstand a challenge from Assemblyman Craig Coughlin, a central Jersey Democrat who is said to have assembled enough support from lawmakers across the state to overtake Prieto as speaker.

    "Today I am announcing that I will no longer be seeking a new term as speaker, and that myself and the rest of the Democratic caucus will support our colleague Craig Coughlin," he said. "I look forward to working with Assemblyman Coughlin to ensure a smooth transition."

    Will N.J. Democrats vote today to replace Prieto?

    The Hudson County Democrat made a last-ditch effort to save his post by putting money into north Jersey Assembly races, hoping to flip a few seats and pick up new Democratic allies, but Republicans held on in the targeted districts.

    Newly elected lawmakers were expected to convene at the Statehouse, where Democrats who control the Assembly would select a new speaker to assume the office after all 120 lawmakers are sworn in Jan. 9.

    Multiple sources told NJ Advance Media that Coughlin, D-Middlesex, was assured the job.

    With the writing on the wall, Prieto issued his announcement Thursday afternoon that he would not seek the job. 

    The Democratic caucus will meet Monday morning for a vote.

    As speaker, Prieto often clashed with Republican Gov. Chris Christie. This summer, Christie commissioned posters of a grinning Prieto and plastered them on shuttered state parks and office buildings around the state to tag the speaker with blame for a government shutdown the weekend before the Fourth of July.

    The two men traded insults then and in a fight over Christie's plans to take over Atlantic City.

    Prieto made fighting poverty a centerpiece of his tenure, pushing legislation to raise the minimum wage, increase the earned income tax credit for the working poor, and expand paid family leave. 

    "Serving as the speaker of the New Jersey Assembly for the last four years has been the greatest honor of my professional life, and I am so proud of what we accomplished over that time," Prieto said.

    "We reached a historic agreement to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund, worked to expand the middle class and support the most vulnerable in our state and re-established the Assembly as a co-equal branch of our state government, which was my stated intention from the beginning."

    NJ Advance Media staff writer Brent Johnson contributed to this report.

    Samantha Marcus may be reached at smarcus@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @samanthamarcus. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.


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    WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP -- Lara is a 6-year-old tabby cat in the care of Angel Paws Rescue. Abandoned in an apartment complex, she hung around the office until shelter workers picked her up. Lara has been described as "mellow, liking people, cats and dogs; she loves to watch birds out the window." She has been spayed and is up-to-date on shots....

    mx1112pet.JPGLara 

    WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP -- Lara is a 6-year-old tabby cat in the care of Angel Paws Rescue.

    Abandoned in an apartment complex, she hung around the office until shelter workers picked her up.

    Lara has been described as "mellow, liking people, cats and dogs; she loves to watch birds out the window." She has been spayed and is up-to-date on shots.

    For more information on Lara, call 732-340-1199, email info@angelpaws.org or visit the Pet Adoption Center at 490 Inman Ave. in Colonia. The center is open weeknights from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and weekends from noon to 3 p.m. The shelter is supported by the efforts of Angel Paws Rescue and is currently caring for 51 cats and kittens.

    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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