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    Tarana Burke discussed what she said are misconceptions about the anti-sexual violence movement she began a decade ago.

    The #MeToo movement has empowered millions of women to share stories of sexual violence and shined light on misconduct by powerful men, but the movement's founder is just as interested in talking about what it is not as she is in discussing what it is. 

    The movement is not just for women and specifically is not just for the famous, white, cisgender women whose experiences have attracted so much attention since the hashtag went viral in October, Tarana Burke told roughly a thousand people at Rutgers University on Monday. 

    It is not a witch hunt or an attempt to take down men, she said. It is not only about sexual harassment in the workplace. 

    And it is not just for people who choose to talk about their experiences, Burke, 44, said in a passionate speech at the College Avenue Gym in New Brunswick. 

    "The work of #MeToo is about healing," she said. "It's about healing as individuals and healing as communities. And it's about interrupting sexual violence wherever it lives." 

    Speaking to a receptive crowd that was about one-third men and two-thirds women, Burke said the movement must center on marginalized women, particularly women of color, queer and transgender women, and women with disabilities, whose stories are often overlooked. It has to also include men, whose experiences with sexual violence she said are often childhood abuse. 

    When men are held accountable for sexual violence by being fired from their jobs or removed from an organization, those are corporate responses to women sharing their experiences and not the point of disclosure, Burke said. 

    "I've never had a person come to me and say, 'I want to take down this person,'" Burke recalled. "They come and say, 'I need help. This thing is killing me, it's weighing me down, it's sitting in the pit of my stomach.'" 

    While working at a leadership camp in Selma, Alabama, in 1996, Burke met a girl who disclosed she was being sexually abused at the hands of her mother's boyfriend. Then 22 years old, Burke said she felt immediately connected to the girl and, overwhelmed with emotion, sent her away without saying much. 

    "Really, all I wanted to say was, 'Baby, me, too. ... This is something that I know and I get, and I hear you and I believe you,'" Burke told the crowd. "That's what I wanted to say, but I didn't have the wherewithal to say it." 

    A decade later, Burke founded the nonprofit organization Just Be Inc. to support women -- particularly women and girls of color -- who have experienced sexual violence. She said her work focused on strengthening their sense of self-worth so they would believe they were valuable just for existing, despite societal pressures telling them they were not. 

    The movement also entailed giving girls language to process and understand that what they were going through was sexual assault and was not okay, Burke said. She said she used her own experience with sexual violence to inform what she taught them. 

    "These girls would disclose their experience with sexual violence, except they didn't know it was sexual violence. They didn't use those words," Burke said. "I had 12-year-old girls telling me they had 21-year-old boyfriends." 

    On Oct. 15, 2017, triggered by public sexual assault accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, a tweet by the actress Alyssa Milano made viral the empathy and solidarity movement that Burke had begun a decade earlier. Burke's first reaction upon seeing women tweeting "me, too" en masse, she said, was to panic. 

    She feared her efforts would be overshadowed, as she had seen happen to black women's work many times before. Burke followed the hashtag obsessively for hours, she said, until she was struck by a woman who had not only tweeted the words "me, too," but also had shared a deeply personal story of sexual violence. 

    Burke said she decided then that the focus of her work would not be on who got credit. 

    "Was I going to be in conflict, or was I going to be in service?" she said. "Because it would have been very easy for me to make this a fight about whose property this is, who did it first." 

    Milano soon learned Burke had used the phrase "me, too" years before and publicly credited Burke with starting the movement. 

    The #MeToo movement alone will not end sexual harassment and assault, Burke told her audience at Rutgers. The fervent focus currently on it will not last forever, she said, and many of the people who are now active in combatting sexual violence will likely fade into the background. 

    "If this went away tomorrow, and if we got 1 percent of those people to continue to engage in this work, we have built an army that we didn't have before," Burke said. "Those of you who are new to this, I need you to stay in it when the attention goes away." 

    Marisa Iati may be reached at miati@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Iati or on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook

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    Police are investigating an aggravated assault after a group of Rutgers University affiliates were hit with paintballs while walking off-campus, officials said.

    Police are investigating after a group of people were hit with paintballs while walking near Rutgers University's campus in New Brunswick on Monday evening, officials said.

    The victims, described as affiliated with Rutgers University, were walking on Bristol Street between Guilden and Delafield Street at 6 p.m. when they were hit with paintballs about five blocks away from the College Avenue Campus, Rutgers University Police Chief Kenneth Cop said.

    The victims believe the shots came from a dark sedan with tinted windows idling in the area, occupied by two men, Cop said. No description of the men was available.

    No one was injured in the incident.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Brunswick Police Department Detective Bureau at 732-745-5217.

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

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    The head volleyball coach at Millburn High School engaged in sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl after giving the teen alcohol, authorities have charged.

    The head volleyball coach at Millburn High School engaged in sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl after giving the teen alcohol, authorities have charged.

    Peter Nguyen[1].jpgPeter Nguyen (Courtesy of Middlesex Co. Prosecutor's Office) 

    Peter Nguyen, 50, of Edison, also served as a coach at the all-girls Impact Volleyball Club in Rahway, where the teen was a player, authorities said.

    He also worked as a bookkeeper for the Millburn Board of Education.

    Nguyen twice took the girl to his home, gave her alcohol and inappropriately touched her, the Middlesex County prosecutor's office said in a release.

    An investigation began after the victim's parents notified authorities at the Woodbridge Police Department, authorities said.

    Nguyen is charged with two second-degree counts of endangering the welfare of a child, one for the alleged sexual contact and one for allegedly giving alcohol to a minor.

    He is also charged with third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact.

    Nguyen has been coaching at Impact Volleyball Club as well as Millburn High School for nearly three years. 

    Nguyen is being held in Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center. 

    A detention hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16. 

    The investigation is ongoing. 

    Alexis Johnson may be reached at ajohnson@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexisjreports. Find her on Facebook.

     

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    A section-by-section look at the key players in this year's state tournament.


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    Miss America 2018, Cara Mund, the National Goodwill Ambassador for children's Miracle Network Hospitals vistied patients at PSE&G Children's Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick. Watch video

    The young patients at the PSE&G Children's Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick were treated to the princess treatment Tuesday, thanks to a visit from Cara Mund, Miss America 2018.

    Mund, the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, met some patients in their rooms and also participated in a Valentine's Day craft activity during her visit.

    PHOTO GALLERY: See more from Miss America's visit

    Two-year-old Gigi Marquez wore her own pink and silver crown to greet Miss America.

    Mund said she enjoyed spending time and speaking with each patient.

    "As Miss America 2018, I'm honored to have the opportunity to visit and  brighten the day for these children," Mund said.

    "The Miss America Organization has a long standing history of supporting Children's Miracle Hospitals, and I could not be more proud to be a part of the organization's mission to support the hospitals' efforts. These children are going through the toughest time in their lives, and I'm always more than happy to do anything I can to make their days a little brighter."

    Patti Sapone may be reached at psapone@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Instagram @psapo, Twitter @psapone.  Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Check out the latest reshuffling and who are the latest additions?

    New p4p02.JPGWilliamstown's Bryan Martin celebrates after pinning Rancocas Valley's Nick Maffetone in the 195-lb bout during a South Jersey Group 5 quarterfinal wrestling match, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018.  

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    Picks and previews for all 12 meets of the indoor track state championships


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    Behind Laiona Michelle's electric performance, the closing half hour of this play very abruptly becomes great theater

    For about 70 minutes, Laiona Michelle as Mary simmers and crackles as a live wire at the center of Christopher Demos-Brown's "American Hero." Her presence is foreboding and volatile, mostly for what she seems to be struggling to keep contained below the surface. She clearly challenges the suburban bliss of the play's setting, but she's pleasant enough: cracks some jokes, enjoys some drinks. But then something in Mary snaps, Michelle goes to work, and "American Hero" on the George Street Playhouse stage achieves sudden, unexpected grit and depth. Behind Michelle's electric performance, the closing half hour of this play very abruptly becomes great theater.

    Mary is a combat veteran of Afghanistan with a scarred face, scattered psyche, and an eagerness for whiskey who shows up unannounced to the home of Rob (Armand Schultz). The two got tied up in the same violent battle that left Rob in a wheelchair with the Medal of Honor around his neck and Mary with a drinking problem and, as it turns out, legal trouble. The play juxtaposes the post-war life Rob has built with a smart daughter, Shawn (Kally Duling), and a chain of home-improvement stores, with Mary's decidedly less quiescent experiences. She has shown up to his home unexpectedly (during the war he gave her a key), and it does not take long for us to discover that the situation is darker than a social call.

    Playwright Demos-Brown was last at George Street with "American Son," a play examining the clash between black youth and white police (the two plays are part of a planned "trilogy exploring American injustice"). Much of this play's first hour suffers from the same ills as "American Son": the dialogue is overwritten and forced, the characters are painted in broad, simple strokes.

    But then Mary, alone in the night, gets off the couch and everything changes. Soon Mary and Rob clash, and Michelle's performance challenges and invigorates Schultz to raise the stakes of his own acting. We learn far more about these characters and their struggles in the closing scenes of the play than we could have imagined we would have. Director David Saint, who had shrewdly built to this moment by frequently leaving Mary on stage to brood silently in the dark when the scene shifts, brings the two performers to center stage and lets go of any restraints. Emotions grow raw and fray as Schultz and Michelle make clear that both these characters are fueled by desperation to overcome their vulnerabilities in a way that prevents the cultivation of any productive common ground.

    The world of "American Hero" changes irreparably after the clash of Mary and Rob, and a brief closing scene featuring John Bolger (a George Street regular who does fine work here in a variety of roles) as a policeman fawning over the Medal of Honor winner that would have seemed heavy-handed earlier now offers a sharp critique of American values.

    "American Hero" may be a slow, occasionally wearisome burn towards an explosive conclusion, but behind Michelle's lead, the play's climax manages to be wrenching, haunting, and wonderful.

    'AMERICAN HERO'

    George Street Playhouse

    103 College Farm Road, New Brunswick

    Tickets online www.GSPonline.org or by phone (732) 246-7717. Running through Feb. 25th.

    Patrick Maley may be reached at patrickjmaley@gmail.com. Find him on Twitter and Instagram @PatrickJMaley. Find NJ.com/Entertainment on Facebook.


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    The Perth Amboy man suffered minor injuries after refusing to stop

    A driver who tried to elude troopers veered off the Garden State Parkway and crashed into the woods before being arrested on Wednesday morning, authorities said. 

    State Police didn't disclose the name or age of the Perth Amboy man who refused to stop when troopers tried to pull him over near milepost 134 in Woodbridge around 10:45 a.m.

    He suffered minor injuries, Lt. Ted Schafer said. Schafer didn't yet have information on charges against the man or why State Police attempted to stop him. 

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

     

     


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    Norman Brown, 44, of Perth Amboy, was charged Wednesday with two counts of assault by auto

    A Highland Park police officer has been charged with drunk driving in an off-duty crash on New Year's Eve that sent two to the hospital, authorities said. 

    Norman Brown, 44, of Perth Amboy, was charged Wednesday with two counts of assault by auto and driving while intoxicated, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said in a release. 

    Brown allegedly ran a stop sign coming off the exit ramp of Route 9 in Woodbridge and crashed into a car at the intersection of New Brunswick Avenue at 1:42 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2017, the release said. 

    Both passengers in the car that was hit -- a 19-year-old from Woodbridge and a 22-year-old from Perth Amboy -- were taken to Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick after the crash. The extent of their injuries was unclear, however, one had to be airlifted due to the severity of her injuries, according to authorities. 

    Brown has been suspended without pay as a result of the charges, according to Highland Park Police Chief Stephen Rizco. A 12-year veteran of the force, Brown has an annual salary of $112,355, according to state pension records. 

    The officer is scheduled to appear on the summons in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick on March 1. 

    The accident is still under investigation. Anyone with information can call 732-634-7700 or 732-745-8842.

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    When he announced the audit on Jan 23, Gov. Phil Murphy hinted he would expand it in myriad ways, including loosening the monthly two-ounce limit on per-patient sales.

    New Jersey would drop the two-ounce monthly limit on medical marijuana sales under legislation requested by parents who said the restriction interfered with their attempt to reduce their 7-year-old son's pain before he died of cancer last month.

    Mike and Janet Honig of Howell bought dried cannabis and made their own oil for their son Jake, nicknamed "The Tank." But they said the two-ounce limit set by state law and regulation, didn't get them through the month.

    "Although medical marijuana proved to be an effective treatment for Jake, his parents noted the difficulties they encountered with the cost, quantity limits, and issues related to producing their own cannabis oil to administer to Jake," said Assemblywoman Joann Downey, D-Monmouth.  

    "In honor of Jake, who passed away in January, this bill seeks to remove certain restrictions on access to medical marijuana in order to reduce the suffering experienced by, and improve the quality of life of, New Jersey patients, like Jake, seeking treatment for a life-threatening medical condition."

    Phil Murphy moves to expand access to medical marijuana in New Jersey

    Downey's bill would also repeal the rule imposed by Gov. Chris Christie that limited the sale of edible products to patients under age 18.

    "There are many patients like Jake and his family in New Jersey who deserve to make their own choices on whether to make medical marijuana a part of their medicinal regimen. They must also have access to other types of products, not just in capsule form," Downey said.

    Jake was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in 2012, a cancer rarely found in the brain. He underwent dozens of rounds of chemotherapy, proton radiation and surgeries at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

    Downey's bill is likely to be embraced by Gov. Phil Murphy.

    The Murphy administration is nearly halfway through a 60-day audit of the medicinal marijuana program. When he announced the audit on Jan. 23, Murphy hinted he would expand it in myriad ways, including loosening the monthly two-ounce limit on per-patient sales.

    Jake's parents and sister attended the announcement, and spoke about how frustrating it was to run out of cannabis mid-month.

    Murphy also said he would consider allowing home delivery and expanding the number of licensed dispensaries to improve patient access, as well as allowing existing dispensary owners to open satelite retail shops.

    Sen. Joseph Vitale D-Middlesex, chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, said he is also drafting legislation to improve the medicinial marijuana program.

    Ideas include allowing dispensaries to shed their nonprofit status, in order to allow the owners to deduct expenses and seek more competitive lending rates.

    "Right now, they are paying loan-shark rates," Vitale told NJ Advance Media.

    Vitale said he also wants to expand the number of licensed dispensaries to improve patient access. Only five serve the entire state, including two located in Middlesex County. The program serves roughly 16,000 patients, and many have complained they drive an hour or more to buy their medicine.

    "We want to encourage competition for quality and cost, but we don't want to create an environment where there are too many" dispensaries, Vitale said. 

    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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    He was hit by an Amtrak train from D.C. traveling to Boston at about 1 a.m. Saturday.

    A 23-year-old man is in the hospital after he was hit by a train early Saturday morning, Amtrak said Wednesday.

    The Plainfield man was hit by an Amtrak train from D.C. traveling to Boston at about 1 a.m. Saturday near Metuchen, Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said in an email on Wednesday.

    The train "came into contact" with the man, Abrams said. He is alive and at Robert Wood Johnson hospital, Abrams said. The hospital would not release his condition.

    Officials had previously said a body was found on the tracks at about 5 a.m. on Saturday. The discovery caused about an hour suspension to service on the Northeast Corridor line.

    Sara Jerde may be reached at sjerde@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @SaraJerde.

    Have information about this story or something else we should be covering? Tell us: nj.com/tips

     

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    We don't always assign proper value to some of the relationships in our lives.

    I had a conversation with an old high school friend recently and we bemoaned the fact that so many of us spent SO much time and effort on finding a boyfriend or girlfriend back in the day that we almost certainly missed out on some truly wonderful friendships.

    de909e6e73d1bd03aea508f139490ef0--vintage-artwork-vintage-illustrations.jpg"Mom! I don't have enough for the whole class!" Well, yeah, when there were 55 KIDS in your class .... 

    We joked about how we were probably better off in our pre-teen days when we gave a Valentine's Day card to everyone in the class instead of focusing on one person.

    This is to say that perhaps we didn't assign proper value to some of the relationships in our lives at that time.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    In this gallery, we illustrate a variety of important pairs - sweethearts, parent and child, best friends, co-workers, brother and sister, and the list goes on. And, here are links to other galleries you may enjoy as well as a vintage New Jersey Valentine's quiz.

    Vintage photos of Valentine's Day couples in NJ

    Vintage photos of couples in N.J.

    Stop, in the name of love ... and take our Valentine quiz on Jersey couples

    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 looks at its choices for the 10 toughest districts statewide in N.J. wrestling.


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    Proceeds benefit New Beginnings Animal Rescue.

    178536812 

    EAST BRUNSWICK -- New Beginnings Animal Rescue will host a "Night of Shenanigans" fundraiser and "Pot of Gold" Raffle at the 4-H Center at 645 Cranbury Road in East Brunswick on March 9.

    Admission includes a hot buffet, soft drinks, coffee and dessert, with BYOB welcome. Entertainment will be by DJ Mike the Apeman with dancing, trivia contests and prizes, including the 9:30 p.m. drawing for a $1,000 grand prize.

    Tickets are $25 for the event that runs from 7 to 11 p.m. and can be purchased by calling Joanne at 732-261-1887 or by email at joanne@itsurwrap.com. Tickets are also available at New Beginnings Animal Rescue, 706R Cranbury Road in East Brunswick. .

    For more information, call 732-238-1348.

    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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    The South Brunswick man is a former Sunday school teacher at North Brunswick church

    A volunteer soccer coach who was also a former Sunday school teacher at a church in Middlesex County has been arrested on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography, authorities said. 

    Waldo Milla-Guerra 

    Waldo Milla-Guerra, 49, of South Brunswick was taken into custody at his home Thursday after a search warrant was executed, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement. 

    Milla-Guerra is a volunteer coach with the South Brunswick Soccer Club and formerly taught Sunday school at Central Jersey Church of Christ in North Brunswick.

    He was held at the Middlesex County jail in North Brunswick and is scheduled to appear in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick on Friday.

    The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Dennis Yuhasz of the South Brunswick police at 732-329-4646 or Det. Joseph Chesseri of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at 732-745-3287. 

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

     


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    Lydia Comtois, 19, was reported missing to police after leaving New Brunswick on Wednesday evening, authorities said.

    A 19-year-old woman reported missing on Valentine's Day was found dead Thursday in a wooded area of Bernards Township, authorities said.

    A search dog, along with police and volunteers found the body of Lydia Comtois in a remote area in the Liberty Corner section of the township, acting Chief of Police Michael Shimsky said in a statement.

    comtois-mug.jpgLydia Comtois

    "Preliminary investigation indicates nothing suspicious about the death and there is no evidence of foul play at this time," Shimsky said.

    Comtois was last heard from around 5 p.m. on Wednesday when she left New Brunswick headed for Bernards Township.

    Shimsky said Comtois was reported missing to police several minutes before midnight.

    Less than a day after her body was found, more than $4,000 had been raised on GoFundMe to pay for Comtois funeral costs.

    "Lydia was one of the kindest souls anyone ever had the opportunity of coming in contact with," wrote James Davidson, who started the fundraiser. "She loved all of her friends deeply as her friends loved her deeply as well."

    A prayer service was held Thursday night at Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church, according to Cyndee Whitaker Cordivari, a local resident.

    Funeral plans had not been announced by early Friday, Cordivari said.

    Bernards Township Police, the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office and the New Jersey Medical Examiner's Office continue to investigate.

    Anyone with additional information should contact the Bernards Township Police at 908-766-1122.

    Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at tattrino@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Brutus warms up to people as he gets to know them.

    mx0218pet.jpgBrutus 

    OLD BRIDGE -- Brutus is a 3-year-old orange tabby at the Old Bridge Animal Shelter.

    Rescued as a stray in the Cliffwood Beach section of Old Bridge as a kitten, he has been at the shelter for nearly his entire life.

    Shelter workers describe him as "shy and introverted" but he warms up to people as he gets to know them. Brutus is FIV/FeLV-negative, neutered and up-to-date on shots.

    To meet Brutus and other adoptable pets at the Old Bridge Animal Shelter, visit the shelter at One Old Bridge Plaza. The shelter is open every day from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call 732-721-5600, ext. 6300 or email mjeffries@oldbridge.com.

    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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    Which is the matchup you should be sure to be in your seats for? Check out our list.


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    CARTERET -- Rose and Vic Osipovitch were captured in a photo while visiting relatives in Carteret in 1940. MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey Vic, a World War II veteran and survivor of Iwo Jima, and Rose were married for 70 years until Vic's death in 2016. If you would like to share a photo that provides a glimpse of...

    CARTERET -- Rose and Vic Osipovitch were captured in a photo while visiting relatives in Carteret in 1940.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Vic, a World War II veteran and survivor of Iwo Jima, and Rose were married for 70 years until Vic's death in 2016.

    If you would like to share a photo that provides a glimpse of history in your community, please call 973-836-4922 or send an email to middlesex@starledger.com. And, check out more glimpses of history in our online galleries on nj.com.

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


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