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    The vehicle crashed off Halsey Reed Road Tuesday

    An 18-year-old East Windsor man suffered serious injuries when his vehicle struck a tree at 4 a.m. Tuesday, Monroe police said.

    The driver was heading east on Halsey Reed Road when his vehicle left the road to the right  and slammed into the tree. Police said it's unknown why he lost control of the car.

    He suffered severe injuries to his legs and internal organs and was taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick for treatment.

    Anyone who might have witnessed the crash is asked to call Monroe police's traffic office at 732-521-0222 ext. 126 or 242.

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


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    The man was last seen on North Oaks Boulevard in North Brunswick.

    Zion Westbrook 

    North Brunswick police are continuing to search for a missing 18-year-old man.

    Zion Westbrook was last seen around 6 p.m. on Wednesday near North Oaks Boulevard in North Brunswick, police said in a post on Facebook.

    He is described as black, 5 feet 5 inches, about 130 pounds, last seen wearing a mustard-colored hooded sweatshirt and pajama pants, police said.

    Anyone with information call 911.

    Spencer Kent may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find on Facebook.

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    A wedding brawl, a botched getaway and a cop and a pig together.

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    Residents are prepaying their property taxes before new deduction caps set in on Jan. 1 as part of the GOP tax bill. Watch video

    The last week of the year inside the Montclair tax collector's office is usually a quiet one, interrupted by the occasional shuffling of old paperwork. 

    But this year, the six-member staff is all hands on deck. Residents, worried about the impact of a tax bill championed by President Donald Trump are rushing to prepay their property tax bills, hoping to cash in on full deductions before new caps set in.

    The blitz is happening across New Jersey -- the state with the nation's highest property taxes.

    "We are getting a ton of phone calls, a ton of emails and a lot of traffic in person," Montclair's tax collector Lidia Leszczynski said Wednesday. "Absolutely nonstop."

    To assist property owners, Gov. Chris Christie Wednesday issued an executive order directing municipalities to accept pre-payments from taxpayers for at least the first and second quarters of 2018. The tax payments must be postmarked before the end of the year Sunday.

    Those who prepay hope they will be able to claim the payments on their 2017 federal income tax returns, before the new law kicks in on Monday. However, it's not yet clear whether the IRS will allow all who prepay to take advantage of the deductions remains uncertain. 

    The GOP-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts caps the total deduction for state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes at $10,000 -- less than half of what an average New Jersey homeowner claims, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

    Currently, there is no limit on how much New Jersey homeowners can claim in property taxes on their federal income tax returns. 

    Leszczynski said at least 50 people a day are showing up in her Montclair office, and all six of her staff members are chipping in to help process tax payments.

    "Usually, it's nothing at all like this. It's quiet toward the end of the year, we start setting up for next year and filing stuff away," she said. "This has been maybe even busier than the tax quarter."

    Rumson's tax office said its phones have not stopped ringing all week. Loch Arbour, Alphine, Deal, Tenafly, Middletown and Princeton all confirmed an increase in people coming to prepay their property taxes. Essex Fells said twice as many people are prepaying their taxes, compared to last year.

    "The lines have been out the door and we're taking in a few million (dollars) more this year," said Summit spokeswoman Amy Cairns.

    Mike Cerra, assistant executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, said while prepaying is not common, it's not unprecedented.

    "Snowbirds often do it," he said. "They want to take care of it in advance and not have to think about it until they get back." He said media attention has prompted more questions from residents and municipalities.

    "I think when all is said and done, the universe that's able to take advantage of this is probably relatively small," Cerra said.  

    Montclair resident Sharyn Taylor told NJ Advance Media she paid her 2018 property taxes in full on Wednesday. Taylor said her accountant sent an email to her clients last week recommending they prepay their property taxes if they exceed $10,000.

    "I'm hoping to take the most advantage, I'm hoping to pay fewer taxes and be able to take the deduction this year," said Taylor.

    Millburn and Old Tappan said they, too, have had residents pay property taxes for the entire year, not just the first two quarters. Millburn Business Administrator Alex McDonald said the prepayment spike was a result of tax code overhaul.

    "That could be the only explanation there is," McDonald said. "I think they're just being cautious in case they have the ability to deduct some of their property taxes from 2017."

    While McDonald said while his office can't give tax advice, it is telling residents to seek guidance from their tax consultants or other appropriate people.

    The Montclair tax collector's office is extending its hours to Saturday and will be open from 10 - 3 p.m.

    "We've never been open on Saturday before, it's never happened before," Leszczynski said.

    Staff writers Samantha Marcus, Claude Brodesser-Akner and Brent Johnson contributed to this report. 

    Karen Yi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyo.

    Find on Facebook.

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    The best of 2017.

    We reach the end of another year and the end of another series of galleries featuring vintage photos from New Jersey; here's a group of our favorites snapshots from 2017.

    Why these? There really isn't any criteria - they're just the photos that touched an emotion as we sorted through thousands throughout the year.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    I know our readers have countless wonderful photos that would be perfect for the galleries we do. And, I invite you to submit them for possible publication.

    At times, people will ask what types of photos we look for. The answer is rather simple - any picture taken in New Jersey prior to 1988.

    Having said that, I will add that we especially like un-staged photos of people going about their daily lives at school, at work, relaxing outdoors or kicking back inside. Photos from going down the shore or enjoying recreational activities in the summer and winter; photos of and from the great bars and taverns around the state. Pictures of patriotic celebrations and observances, photos from proms and graduations.

    The best answer? We're looking for photos that you think others would enjoy seeing. All you need to do is scan them and send them to me at with as much background information as you can provide, such as the names of the people in the photo, where and when it was taken and memories you have about it.

    Help make 2018's galleries even better than this past year's - send in your vintage New Jersey photos. And here are some favorites from past years.

    Our favorite photos: 2016

    Our favorite photos: 2015

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

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    A public viewing will be held for Thomas Vuocolo in Parlin on Dec. 28, 2017.

    Funeral services have been announced for the man involved in an apparent murder-suicide that happened in Old Bridge on Christmas Eve.

    A viewing for Thomas Vuocolo, 55, will be held Friday at the Carmen F. Sprezzi Funeral Home in Parlin, according to an obituary posted on the the funeral home's website.

    Vuocolo will be buried at Saint Joseph Cemetery in Keyport.

    Funeral details for Marcinczyk were not available as of Thursday.

    Vuocolo was found dead in his Old Bridge home in the Cliffwood Beach section of township, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office previously confirmed. Cindy Marcinczyk, 47, and their dog were also found shot to death in the home.

    Another dog was shot at the home on Hilltop Boulevard, and was recovering at a local animal hospital, it was previously reported.

    Couple, dog found dead in their home on Christmas Eve

    Old Bridge Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office did not have an update on the investigation on Thursday.

    Friends remembered the pair as dog lovers, avid motorcycle riders, and a quiet couple that kept to themselves.

    "My heart is sad for them," said Carolina Puntorno, whose brother-in-law rode with them. "We are both dog lovers, so that created a bond."

    Richard Winant attended Sayerville War Memorial High School with Vuocolo, who was known as Tucker, as a quiet person who loved to work on cars and motorcycles.

    "(I'm) heartbroken and still can't believe it," Winant said. "It's really sad that this happened."

    Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at Follow her at @snietomunoz. Find on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us.

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    EAST BRUNSWICK -- Pearl is a 9-year-old cat in the care of New Beginnings Animal Rescue. She was surrendered by her previous owners for undetermined reasons a year ago and has been at the shelter ever since. Pearl should make a good pet in most any home; her adoption fee will be waived for an approved adopter. She is FIVFeLV...


    EAST BRUNSWICK -- Pearl is a 9-year-old cat in the care of New Beginnings Animal Rescue.

    She was surrendered by her previous owners for undetermined reasons a year ago and has been at the shelter ever since.

    Pearl should make a good pet in most any home; her adoption fee will be waived for an approved adopter. She is FIVFeLV negative, spayed and up-to-date on shots.

    For more information on Pearl, call 732-238-1348 or email New Beginnings is an all-volunteer group committed to finding homes for pets in Middlesex County. The group is currently caring for 40 cats and five dogs.

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

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

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    The bizzarre, offbeat stories that could only happen in the great Garden State.

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    The surgeon allegedly used this dangerous practice over a 10-month period.

    Middlesex County surgeon has had his medical license temporarily suspended for allegedly reusing disposable one-use anal catheters on multiple patients, Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced in a statement.

    Dr. Sanjiv K. Patankar, an East Brunswick-based colon and rectal surgeon, allegedly washed and reused the small, flexible catheters that are "inserted into patients' rectums during medical procedures," the statement said.

    During a Dec. 19 hearing, the state says documented evidence allegedly showed that although 82 procedures were performed in Patankar's office between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, only five catheters were ordered in that period.

    After reviewing evidence and hearing testimony last week, the state Board of Medical Examiners unanimously found that Patankar's reuse of the catheters demonstrated a lack of judgment, and "placed patients in clear and imminent danger."

    "It is appalling that a doctor would engage in such an unsanitary and dangerous practice," Porrino said in the statement. "Through his alleged conduct, Dr. Patankar has demonstrated a reckless disregard for public safety that placed countless patients at risk of communicable diseases."

    The catheters are used to evaluate patients with constipation, fecal incontinence or other possible disorders, according to officials.

    Doctor loses license over 'indiscriminate' painkiller prescriptions, AG says

    Patankar's license will remain temporarily suspended pending a full hearing in the state Office of Administrative Law, and until the Board of Medical Examiners takes final action based further findings.

    Patients who suspect they were treated by a licensed health care professional in an improper way can submit an online complaint with the state Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll-free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.

    Spencer Kent may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find on Facebook.


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    Though it will be as low as 13 degrees Friday, outdoor workers are enduring the bone-chilling day for their jobs.

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    This list includes those facing charges ranging from murder to terroristic threats. This selection of New Jersey's most wanted is sourced from the FBI, New Jersey State Police and most wanted lists from the top five most populous counties across the Garden State.

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    New Jersey has plenty of beautiful spots, but here are the top 15 posted on Instagram.

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    A new year to find homes for dogs and cats throughout New Jersey.

    What can responsible pet owners do to make sure they are keeping their pets safe from frostbite and other winter dangers?

    Here are some tips from BluePearl Veterinary Partners to help pet owners protect dogs and cats in winter.

    * Limit time outside for your dog or cat. A dog might spend all day in a doghouse or the backyard on some spring or fall days, but definitely not in the freezing cold. Animals can experience hypothermia; they also can get frostbite.

    * It's fine to let your dog outside to do his business, or to go on a walk, even in the snow. But don't make it an 8-hour hike, even if you're up for it yourself. And don't let a dog run off a hiking trail into the snow; you never know how deep the snow is going to be.

    * When pets are outside, make sure to give them plenty water. Staying well hydrated is important to circulation, and good circulation helps keep the body warm.

    * If a de-icer is used on your driveway or the sidewalk outside your apartment, make sure it is a pet-friendly variety. Many types are toxic to dogs, who will lick the salt from between their toes after getting back inside. Talk to your landlord about this if necessary.

    * Winter creates a range of hazards for pets. Cats love to find a warm auto engine to curl up in - which can be tragic when starting the car. Antifreeze, which sometimes pools on the garage floor, seems tasty to pets but is deadly. If possible, don't leave pets unattended in the garage.

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    From Sussex to Atlantic Counties, New Jersey's newest residents arrive within the first few hours of 2018.

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    There was a shakeup from our preseason selections.

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    Who's in the top eight?

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    The must-see girls basketball games across the state this week.

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    Unpack grand-momma's radio, Gaslight fans -- the boys are back!

    Oh, Gaslight Anthem fans, 2018 is gonna be a good year. 

    Diehards of the beloved New Jersey rock group have whispered since last year that perhaps Gaslight -- which announced an indefinite hiatus in 2015 -- would reunite for the 10-year anniversary of its breakthrough album, 2008's "The '59 Sound."

    Well, the sprawling New York City festival Governor's Ball released its lineup Wednesday morning and guess what? The Gaslight Anthem is slated to perform and will perform its most popular LP in its entirety. 

    Governor's Ball runs June 1 to 3 on Randall's Island in NYC, and a three-day pass will run you a steep $275. Headliners this year include Eminem (who is also headlining Coachella in 2018), Jack White and Travis Scott.

    But bargain-hunting Gaslight fans needn't fret too much about this being a one-off performance. The band wrote on Facebook Wednesday that more shows would follow -- expect some huge hometown Jersey show where fans will bop to the pumping, nostalgia-laden rock songs, like "Great Expectations" and "Miles Davis and The Cool," that helped the New Brunswick four-piece become the most popular Garden State band of the past decade.

    But first, gritty singer Brian Fallon has his own music to handle; Fallon's second solo LP "Sleepwalkers" is due out early this year, following the success of his 2016 solo debut "Painkillers" and the heaps of touring that have followed. Fallon now plays with a collection of past Gaslight and other project members called The Howling Weather. Past iterations were The Crowes, The Horrible Crowes and Molly and The Zombies. Fallon plays Starland Ballroom in Sayreville April 29. 

    And for those Gaslight fans who could use a reminder, here's the original "'59 Sound" track listing. The album was released Aug. 19, 2008.

    "Great Expectations"

    "The '59 Sound"

    "Old White Lincoln"

    "High Lonesome"

    "Film Noir"

    "Miles Davis And The Cool" 

    "The Patient Ferris Wheel"

    "Casanova, Baby!" 

    "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" 

    "Meet Me By The River's Edge" 

    "Here's Lookin' At You Kid"

    "The Backseat"  

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

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    Find out where college students are getting the most bang for their buck.

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    Much of the trial revolves around the question of when Adison Trigueno's boss' died.

    Opening statements began Tuesday in the trial of an Irvington day laborer accused of stabbing his boss at least 40 times in a home being renovated in Carteret in 2015, and then calling 911 to report the man's death.

    Adison Trigueno has been charged with murder in the death of Colonia contractor Tony Mocci, as well as unlawful possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, theft and two counts of forgery.

    Prosecutors argued Tuesday in Middlesex County Superior Court that Trigueno actually murdered Mocci the evening before that 911 call, and that days later Trigueno forged a check for $4,300 to pay four months' back rent that Trigueno owed.

    "He believed he was going to get away with murder. Just like on the TV show, 'How to Get Away With Murder'," Middlesex County's Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Christie Bevacqua told he jury during opening statements Tuesday. "You see, after he brutally murdered Tony Mocci he began an elaborate cover up."

    Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 12.37.14 AM.png 

    Trigueno's attorney, Joseph Mazraani, set out to dismantle the prosecution's timeline of events leading to Mocci's death, arguing that Mocci was murdered only hours before Trigueno made that 911 call, and that Trigueno was home at the time of Mocci's death. Mazraani said he would use science to prove his case.

    The call came into 911 came at 8:15 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2015. Trigueno, then 25, told the dispatcher he had found his 50-year-old boss laying in a puddle of blood at a job site. Trigueno spoke excitedly, and the dispatcher tried to calm him several times.

    Days after the killing, Mocci 's wife of 26 years, Lisa, discovered money missing from their bank account. Police discovered a $4,300 check deposited in Trigueno's name and soon went to his Irvington studio apartment to arrest him for forgery and theft and while also searching for evidence of murder, prosecutors said.

    Prosecutors, however, said police did not find any fingerprints or DNA evidence at the scene of the crime or in Trigueno's home. Police did find a tape measure in Trigueno's vehicle with Tony Mocci's blood on it. Neither police not prosecutors have described the murder weapon. 

    The prosecution opened its case by describing Mocci as a father, husband and tough boss. His wife, Lisa served as president of Superior Choice LLC and Mocci was a general contractor. Mocci hired Trigueno in September 2014.

    The jury also heard a number of recordings, including the 911 tape and a number of calls Trigueno made from jail, in which he said, "I have nothing to worry about," and "I'm going to get away with it." Mazraani countered that his client's statements were taken out of context.

    In his openings, Mazraani told the jury that if Mocci was killed at 7 p.m., and it was 12 degrees outside that day. He said investigators reported that the body's temperature was 74.8 degrees when police arrived at the scene. Mazraani argued that Mocci's body would have been much colder if he had been killed the previous night. 

    "The best thing about science is that it doesn't lie. It doesn't feel. It doesn't have motives," Mazraani told the jury. "Science will tell you that when Mr. Mocci was killed, Adison was home in bed, fast asleep."

    The prosecutor's first witness attacked Mazraani's assumption. Mocci's physician testified that she diagnosed Mocci with the flu hours before the prosecution says he was killed, and that his temperature was 100.4 degrees.

    The trial is expected to continue Wednesday morning.

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyo.

    Find on Facebook.

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