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    The driver was also charged with having a fake Maryland drivers license

    A woman already charged with drunken driving in a crash that killed her passenger friend has been additionally charged with aggravated manslaughter, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office announced Wednesday.

    Ashley Gergits, 20, was driving south on Route 27 just before midnight on Feb. 16 n Highland Park when she struck a bridge abutment at River Road. Her vehicle then collided with a car stopped at a red light at the intersection.

    Gergits' front-seat passenger, her friend Jenna Adamousky, 21, of Edison, was killed in the impact, and pronounced dead at the scene, police have said.

    In addition to the new manslaughter charge, Gergits, also of Edison, was charged with possessing a fraudulent document - a fake Maryland drivers license, the prosecutor's office said.

    The two other passenger in Gergits' car, men ages 20 and 21 from Highland Park, suffered minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital. The driver of the car Gergits struck was also treated at a hospital.

    Adamousky worked at Ulta Beauty and studied cosmetology at Parisian Beauty Academy in Hackensack, according to her Facebook page. Gergits is a student at Rutgers University.

    They were friends, according to their Facebook pages.

    The investigation into the crash is ongoing. Anyone with information about it can call Highland Park Officer David Officer Soden at 732-572-3800, or prosecutor's Detective Donald Heck at 732-745-8842. 

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

     


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    What we pick out to wear each day is a kind of uniform of our own choosing.

    When we think about people who regularly wear uniforms, our thoughts likely turn to military personnel, police, fire and rescue workers. Other professionals that might come to mind are doctors and nurses. But the list of vocations where employees don uniforms is lengthy.

    Let us consider employees in the food service industry, postal workers and people who deliver packages. And, although office workers don't wear uniforms, there was a time when the de facto garb at an office, for men, was a white shirt and black tie.

    shhs.jpgAlert: An unauthorized school uniform accessory violation, headwear section has been spotted! 

    Children wear uniforms to school and as members of scouting groups and organized teams. Adults who belong to organizations often were uniforms, too. Think of the distinctive hats worn by the Shriners or aprons worn by Freemasons.

    What we pick out to wear each day, whether we know it or not, is a kind of uniform of our own choosing.

    According to Dr. Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, "When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it's 'professional work attire' or 'relaxing weekend wear', so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning. It's the reason why we feel fitter in our sports clothes, or more professional in work wear."

    Here's a gallery of people in uniform and uniform attire in New Jersey, and links to other similar galleries you'll enjoy.

    Vintage photos of what people wore in N.J.

    Vintage photos of fashions and styles in N.J.

    Vintage photos of styles and fashions in N.J.

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    Should schools warn parents before lockdown and active shooter drills?

    Every month in Jessica DeLuca's first-grade classroom at Paul Robeson Community School in New Brunswick, the 6- and 7-year-old students huddle in the corner with the lights out, unsure if there's actually a shooter in the hallway, she said. 

    "Even if I try to hide it, the kids can see that I'm scared, too," DeLuca said. 

    For years, New Jersey schools have participated in such surprise lockdown- and active-shooter drills, putting students as young as pre-K in a potentially traumatic atmosphere.

    What's also notable about the drills: Parents are often told nothing about the details. Many likely wouldn't even know it happened until after their child comes home and talks about it. 

    A State law passed in 2010 requires schools to hold monthly security drills, but administrators are not obligated to notify parents in advance. In fact, it's widely considered better practice to wait and tell parents after the drill happened, while keeping specific details secret. 

    Part of the thinking behind that is parents themselves could someday become the threat and the fewer people who know the security measures, the better. 

    But keeping parents out of the loop could be make the drills even scarier and potentially damaging for students, mental health experts say. In the wake of yet another school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida, they suggest schools should tell parents more about security drills, consider notifying parents before they happen and possibly allow some students sit out of the most intense activities. 

    "If I were a parent, I would demand that the school inform me about what their plans are, how they are going to conduct the drill and what to expect so I know how to handle it with my child," said Cheryl Kennedy, an associate professor of psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark. 

    NJEA: Don't arm teachers with guns

    Some schools are trying to split the difference: After the Florida shooting, Metuchen school officials sent a letter to parents with an overview of the district's school security efforts. But they stopped short of providing specifics, saying the local police department advised them not to provide details of their protocol. 

    The other question surrounding drills is the age-old risk-versus-reward one: Is the trauma kids are experiencing during these drills worth the potential upside?

    President Donald Trump publicly considered the question after the Parkland shooting. 

    "I wouldn't want to tell my son that you are going to participate in an active shooter drill," Trump said. "I think's crazy. I think it's very bad for children."

    Research shows lockdown drills can save lives, according to a report by the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Resource Officers. But the same report suggests drills not conducted appropriately may cause physical and psychological harm to students and staff. 

    Jill Schwarz, a former school counselor, can remember students with anxiety problems having panic attacks over basic fire drills.  So, lockdowns and active shooter drills only raise the risk of potential emotional harm to students, said Schwarz, now a professor of education at The College of New Jersey. 

    "Particularly for children who have experienced trauma before, those types of events can be very triggering," Schwarz said. 

    DeLuca has seen the emotional impact on students firsthand, she said. 

    "No matter what I say or how I try to down play it, the students know we are trying to hide from someone who wants to hurt them," DeLuca said. "They are scared."

    Though the drills might be scary for some children, they're also necessary to keep those kids safe, argued Thomas O'Reilly, director of The Police Institute at Rutgers University. 

    "If prevention fails and the shooter gets into the school, then shame on us if we haven't given the students the ability to get out of harm's way," O'Reilly said. 

    The drills could make a student feel safer, knowing there's a plan in place for every emergency, added Tolga Taneli, director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

    Still, practicing for an event that's probably unlikely to occur could also put students on edge when they walk into school, thinking the worst is about to happen, he said. 

    "In reality, it's probably one of your lowest risk places to be," Taneli said. 

    It does not appear as if the dilemma is going to be resolved anytime soon, especially given the range of options on the matter. Taneli thinks parents should receive notification before security drills and have the option to keep their children out of drills that could be too intense, he said. 

    But Vincent Bove, the school security chairperson for Bergen County Police Chiefs Association, says students absolutely have to particulate in drills, regardless of concerns about emotional damage.

    "In the event of a real emergency, that person is causing confusion at the school if he or she does not know what to do," Bove said.

    DeLuca agreed parents could benefit from knowing more about their school's security protocol. But she understands why drills should be unannounced and feel real -- even if she wishes her students lived in a world where they weren't necessary, she said. 

    "With the frequency that these events are occurring, it would be foolish to not be prepared," DeLuca said. 

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


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    Most have been charged as juveniles, although at least two are facing indictable offenses as adults in state Superior Court

    Charges have been filed against at least 16 young people and one teacher for alleged threats against schools in New Jersey since a Valentine's Day shooting claimed the lives of 17 people at a high school in Florida two weeks ago.

    "This is not unusual," Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino told reporters on Tuesday at press conference to confirm details of four such arrests in his own county. "In the case of mass shootings, there is usually a spike in such calls for up to 30 days following such a tragedy."

    John Rafanello and Michael SchmittJoseph Rafanello (left) and Michael Schmitt. (Police photo)

    Michael Schmitt, 18, of West Caldwell, is the second person scheduled to appear before Superior Court Judge Peter V. Ryan in Newark this week on a charge of creating a false public alarm by making social media threats against a local high school.

    Schmitt, who is scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning, follows Joseph Rafanello of Nutley, who was placed on home detention by Ryan on Wednesday following a detention hearing.

    Rafanello, also 18, has been accused of posting on Instagram a threatening video he later deleted.

    Most of those against whom authorities have publicly announced charges are juveniles whose names have not been released. They include:

    The Courier-Post reported Wednesday that Williamstown Middle School teacher Paul VanHouten was arrested by Monroe Township police on Feb. 16 on a charge of creating a false alarm after he allegedly spread on social media a rumor about gun violence at the school.

    Authorities have indicated that a number of other reported threats remain under investigation, including what local police said was a "concerning statement" made on an unspecified social media platform by a student at Cedar Grove Memorial Middle School.

    In another case, a threat written on a bathroom stall at Memorial Middle School in Point Pleasant Borough led authorities on Monday to lock down the school and order the student body and teachers to "shelter in place" during a search. Police said that investigation also remains ongoing.

    Thomas Moriarty may be reached at tmoriarty@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriarty. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    Sorting through the madness and breaking down some of the best state tournament action so far.


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    An in-depth look at the storylines and statistics for the biggest weekend of the season.


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    Check out the NJ.com mega-coverage guide, showing what we've done so far previewing the State Wrestling Championships at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on March 2, 3 and 4 and what's yet to come.

    Welcome to our complete preview coverage. For current live coverage of the 2018 NJSIAA State Wrestling Championships at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, check out NJ.com's wrestling homepage.

    LIVE COVERAGE & MORE
    • Coming Friday

    STATE TOURNAMENT ESSENTIALS
    Full weekend schedule in Atlantic City
    Complete, interactive list of all 448 AC qualifiers
    All 14 state tournament brackets

    SPECIAL LOOKS
      Weighing-in: Video previews for all 14 classes

    STATE TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS
    Fantastic Friday: 25 best matches on Opening Day
    • Almost automatic to zero losses: A-to-Z guide to the finals
    Who are the 44 wrestling medalists returning to Atlantic City?
    State final bouts that we'd most like to see in A.C.
    35 unranked wrestlers who would make noise in Atlantic City
    Heading to A.C.: The top 8 wrestlers ranked at every weight class
    P4P wrestler rankings: Atlantic City shuffle, final 5 additions
    The final wrestling Top 20 of 2017-2018: The last shakeup after Toms River
    A look back at live updates from the NJSIAA seeding meeting

    REGION REWIND
    • Pope John's Rotunda, year after AC injury, aims to atone
    EPR's Babin defeats Bierdumpfel again
    • Westwood's Furman, Pompton Lakes' Flynn stay unbeaten
    Bergen Catholic's McKenzie goes from not wrestling to region champ
    • Hasbrouck Heights' O'Malley again leaves no doubt claiming 170 title
    • 'Little setback for major comeback.' Fair Lawn's Cedeno wins 113, eyes A.C. run
    WATCH DePaul's Ricky Cabanillas beats buzzer, former teammate
    •  WATCH Tempers flare in 126-pound final between N. Cabanillas, D. Weaver
    Hackettstown's Carida tops Delbarton's Tavoso in marquee bout
    • Delbarton, P'burg fulfill expectations, send 12 & 6 to AC
    • HP's Olivieri earns tough title, eyes AC debut
    •  WATCH: NP's Smith, Colonia's Poznanski provide stunning turns
    •  WATCH: Woodbridge's Nyers pulls 2 upsets to win 220 title
    •  WATCH: SPF's Wustefeld nails down 195 title
    •  WATCH: Joe Heilmann edges Kelly for title
    • Cunningham of SHP stops Fierro again to win at 132
    • Armamento pulls stunning comeback to win 120 title
    Wrestlers from Woodbridge have big day at Region 4
    • Coleman completes 1-2 takedown, wins at 138 as 4 seed
    • Voorhees big man rolls on
    • Monroe's Bradley, between anthem statements, earns title
    Casey wins 4th straight title, returning champs go 5-for-5
    • RFH freshman Brignola places 3rd as the 126 8 seed
    • HC freshman Ungar wins 106 title
     Hayes, Lamparelli, Bobchin are Mercer County winners
      WATCH: Bound Brook's Casey completes 4-peat at 152
      WATCH Raritan's Acevedo, a 10 seed, keeps amazing run going
      WATCH: Raritan's Wolf wins 220 title
      WATCH: Bound Brook's Sistrunk wins 285 title in UTB
    • Messina win's 1st region title for Freehold Borough since 1964
    Delran's Miraglia knocks off unbeaten Slendorn
     Hayes, Lamparelli, Bobchin are Mercer County winners
      WATCH: CBA's Koehler wins 3rd title; Ocean's Benner rolls to 2nd-straight

      WATCH: Wall's Kelly score big in 2nd on way to 145 title
    • No. 4 Paulsboro wins 2 titles, sends 8 to Atlantic City
    • Lacey wins 2 championships, sends 3 to AC
    • No. 18 Camden Catholic wins 2 titles, sends 5 to states (PHOTOS)
    • Lacey 145-pounder Luke Gauthier wins MOW
     State champs prevail: Kinner wins 4th, Mininno, Janzer earn 3rd
     WATCH: Gateway's Mininno, Kingsway's Kinner prevail in finals
    O'Connell's redemption keys Southern's big day
    •  Region 2 photo gallery
    •  Region 3 photo gallery
    •  Region 6 photo gallery
    •  Region 7 photo gallery
    •  Region 8 photo gallery

    Pat Lanni may be reached at planni@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatLanniHS. Like NJ.com High School Sports on Facebook.

    Blll Evans can be reached at bevans@njadvancemedia.com or by leaving a note in the comments below. Follow him on Twitter @BEvansSports.

    JJ Conrad may be reached at jconrad@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @jj_conrad. Like NJ.com High School Sports on Facebook.

    Joe Zedalis may be reached at jzedalis@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @josephzedalis


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  • 03/02/18--05:05: Lovable kitten needs a home
  • Martha is "petite and lovable and loves to be held and petted."

    mx0304pet.jpgMartha 

    EAST BRUNSWICK -- Martha is a 10-month-old tabby in the care of New Beginnings Animal Rescue.

    Volunteers say she is "petite and lovable and loves to be held and petted." Martha, who is good with children and gets along very well with other cats, should make a good pet in most any home.

    She is FIV/FeLV negative, spayed and up-to-date on shots.

    For more information on Martha, call 732-238-1348 or email info@newbeginningsanimalrescuenj.org. 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 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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    Timothy Simon, 29, of Paterson, was charged with burglary, impersonating a law enforcement officer and theft. Another impersonator is at-large, police said

    Two men posed as cops to conduct a phony prostitution raid at a Clifton hotel and made off with cash, electronics and car keys, authorities said Friday. 

    The police impersonators told a woman at the hotel they were conducting a raid on Jan. 26 at the Howard Johnson's on Route 3, according to Clifton police Lt. Robert Bracken.

    "While one of the suspects 'guarded' the victim, the other suspect proceeded to ransack the hotel room," Bracken said in statement."When the victim observed the suspects fleeing from the scene, she realized that the whole incident was a ruse and that she had been victimized by police impersonators."

    Bracken wouldn't say if the woman was working as a prostitute at the time.

    Clifton police learned the ruse had occurred at several other New Jersey hotels, although they did not release specifics.

    Working with the FBI, police began surveillance of hotels in Bergen, Hudson and Middlesex counties, Bracken said.

    On Feb. 17, Clifton detectives and Garfield police pulled over a car parked at the hotel in Clifton during a robbery.

    Two men in the car were arrested after police found law enforcement equipment and stolen property, including identification and credit cards, Bracken said.

    Timothy Simon, 29, of Paterson, was charged with burglary, impersonating a law enforcement officer and theft stemming from the Howard Johnson's robbery, Bracken said.

    Maurice Cunningham, 21, also of Paterson, was charged with possession of stolen property. Police said Cunningham was not involved in the Howard Johnson's robbery.

    Bail information was not immediately available.

    Bracken said the investigation is ongoing to identify the other suspect at the Clifton hotel.

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


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    NEW BRUNSWICK -- Members of the first women's basketball team at Douglass College in New Brunswick, wearing uniforms with accessories not necessarily beneficial to playing the sport, are shown in 1922. MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey According to fs.ncaa.org, women played under a variety of rules until 1922, when standardized rules were adopted in most states. However, there...

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- Members of the first women's basketball team at Douglass College in New Brunswick, wearing uniforms with accessories not necessarily beneficial to playing the sport, are shown in 1922.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    According to fs.ncaa.org, women played under a variety of rules until 1922, when standardized rules were adopted in most states. However, there was still an element of vagueness; a section of the rules from that year reads, "There must be at least six players on a side; maximum of nine remains. Tie games are allowed to stand 'to minimize the emphasis on winning.'"

    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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    Full coverage from the Championships in Atlantic City

    NOTE: Friday's wrestling is over and the coverage has wrapped up as well.

    This will be the spot to be Saturday morning for wrestleback coverage at 9 a.m. and then LIVE UPDATES from the quarterfinal round at 12:30.

    Welcome to NJ.com's coverage of the 2018 NJSIAA State Wrestling Championships from Atlantic City. We have a talented group of reporters, photographers and videographers at the arena, ready to provide live updates and keep wrestling fans informed on the top stories coming out of Boardwalk Hall.  


    NEW: Highlights & hot takes from Friday night


    2018 State Championship brackets
    Updated continually

    106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145
    152 | 160 | 170 | 182 | 195 | 220 | 285

    FRIDAY'S TOP LINKS
    NEW: Hot takes & highlights from Friday (refresh often)
    •  Friday photo gallery 
    • Friday's most pins in the least time
    • Who were the most dominant wrestlers on Friday? Here's the list

    Look back at live updates 

    FRIDAY'S RESULTS AND PAIRINGS
    • Quarterfinal round pairings
    • Pre-quarterfinal round results
    • First round results 

    FRIDAY'S VIDEOS
    •  Beyond whistles: WATCH 2 mic’d wrestling refs in action 
    •  Pat Glory wins both Friday bouts by tech fall on Friday 
    •  Andrew Gapas wins by fall in 138 prelim
    •  Josh McKenzie wins pre-quarterfinals bout by fall 
    •  Gerard Angelo wins pre-quarterfinal bout
    •  Lewis Fernandes wins 285 pound pre-quarterfinal bout

    TOURNAMENT ESSENTIALS
      Weighing In - NJ.com's predictions for the tourney 
    Full weekend schedule
    • Complete list of AC qualifiers
     Mega-coverage guide - Full preview & all you need to be ready for the finals


    RELATED: Who are the 44 wrestling medalists returning to Atlantic City?


    MORE PREVIEWS
     National No. 1 Kinner, Glory cap road show in Atlantic City
     Can Bryan Martin's magical season end with a state title?
     Gateway state champion wants rematch with Bergen Catholic national No. 1
     Delsea's Billy Janzer ready to join program's elites
     Fantastic Friday: 25 best matches on Opening Day
    • Almost automatic to zero losses: A-to-Z guide to the finals
     Who are the 44 wrestling medalists returning to Atlantic City?
     State final bouts that we'd most like to see in A.C.
     35 unranked wrestlers who would make noise in Atlantic City
     Heading to A.C.: The top 8 wrestlers ranked at every weight class
     P4P wrestler rankings: Atlantic City shuffle, final 5 additions
     The final wrestling Top 20 of 2017-2018: The last shakeup after Toms River


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    The daily expense of supervising a probationer is 20 times less than the average cost of supervising a person in jail, according to the New Jersey Reentry Corporation. Watch video

    In the United States, some 12 million people are released from jails or prisons every year.

    What happens to these ex-cons - and their families - after they've done their time depends heavily on whether they can find paying jobs to help them make their way back into society.

    That's when the New Jersey Reentry Corporation steps in.

    With offices throughout the state, the nonprofit offers job training, counseling, social work services and legal support to help these men and women get back on their feet.

    The corporation also offers them a vision of what their new futures look like. And sometimes we mean that literally.

    Most recently, Kedar Hall got out of prison, only to confront a stark reality: He was losing his eyesight.

    McGreevey's prison reentry program opens new office

    Fortunately for him, former Gov. Jim McGreevey, who heads up the corporation, was there to lend Hall his own glasses. Then the agency helped arrange for Hall to get new prescription glasses, in effect allowing him to take the first steps toward his new life.

    "This here is a second sight, this is a second chance," the grateful ex-prisoner said recently at the opening of the organization's ninth office, this one in a basement in downtown New Brunswick.

    Already operating out of Elizabeth, Hackensack, Jersey City, Kearney, Neptune, Newark, Paterson and Toms River, the NJRC works with about 2,500 formerly incarcerated clients. The number is expected to grow as more people are released from prison in the next few years.

    The organization began life as a pilot program in Hudson County in 2014, with support from the Christie Administration.

    Since then, the U.S. Department of Justice has singled it out as being in the forefront in the reentry field; the program is one of only seven in the country recognized by the National Institute of Justice, the research, development and evaluation agency of the Justice Department.

    Many ex-inmates will run up against seemingly insurmountable challenges: finding housing, finding a job, dealing with health issues and addictions, readjusting to family life after months or years behind bars.

    The odds are stacked against them. The Reentry Corporation exists to help even out those odds. Everyone in the state benefits if the mission succeeds.

    The daily expense of supervising a probationer is 20 times less than the average cost of supervising a person in jail, according to the organization's research. Teaching a client how to find a job - and how to keep it - helps guarantee that the individual will stay on the right side of the law.

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

     

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    High school girls in Mercer and Middlesex counties will soon be able to choose prom dresses from donations

    The Princess Prom Project recently announced dates for its seventh year of assisting girls in the local community in finding affordable dresses for their proms and other formal events of their youth.

    The annual drive, launched in the spring of 2011 by Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo (D-Hamilton), aims to alleviates the financial worry that young ladies may face when shopping for dresses.

    "Over the last seven years, the generosity of individuals donating new or gently worn dresses to the Princess Prom Project has helped put smiles on faces of countless young ladies who have found the perfect dress for a special night," DeAngelo said.

    According to DeAngelo, the project has grown every year.

    "Our dress room is bursting at the seams with beautiful dresses of all designs and sizes perfect for any youth formal occasion," he said.

    The project assists the young ladies and their families to browse through their large collection of dresses - provided at not cost to them - by hosting "shopping parties" during the afternoons on several dates before their proms.

    "As a father of two daughters, I know how important these special occasions can be in creating treasured high school memories. The Princess Prom Project continues to be a great avenue for families who want their daughters to have memorable evening that will last a lifetime without the burden of an overwhelming price tag," DeAngelo said.

    The Princess Prom Project is opened to high school girls who live in the 14th legislative district, in Mercer and Middlesex counties - Cranbury, East Windsor, Hamilton, Hightstown, Jamesburg, Monroe, Middlesex, Plainsboro, Robbinsville and Spotswood.

    This year's shopping parties will be held at the 14th Legislative District Outreach Center at 4621A Nottingham Way, Hamilton, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 5; March 28; April 10; April 26; May 9; May 17; May 30; and June 7.

    Families may also schedule appointments by calling the outreach office at 609-631-7501.

    Individuals who would like to support the Princess Prom Project may do soat the outreach center as well. They will accept all size dresses that are in good condition and previously cleaned, to add to their "dress collection."

    To help complete the perfect head-to-toe look, they will also accept gently worn or new accessories such as purses and jewelry.

    Follow NJ.com on Twitter @njdotcom. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    The case involves a 911 call made before police shot and killed a knife-wielding man in his Old Bridge home.

    A New Jersey county prosecutor's office must pay two news organizations more than $100,000 in attorneys' fees in a dispute over the recording of a 911 call involving a fatal police-involved shooting, an appeals court ruled Friday.

    The 911 call was made in January 2015 before police shot and killed a knife-wielding man in his Old Bridge residence. The news organizations sought the 911 tape under the state's Open Public Records Act.

    The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office sought to block the release of the call on the grounds that it revealed personal information. The office eventually released an edited version after a judge denied its request to keep the tape private.

    The Home News-Tribune and NJ Advance Media had argued the entire call was a matter of public interest because it involved a person who was killed by police. They also argued that the identity of the caller was public information, therefore pre-empting any argument based on privacy concerns.

    Friday's ruling by a three-judge appellate panel upheld a judge's 2015 decision that awarded about $71,000 in costs and attorneys' fees to the Home News-Tribune and about $39,000 to NJ Advance Media.

    Cop cleared in death of knife-wielding elderly man

    "There is ample support in the record for the judge's determination that the newspapers were prevailing parties under OPRA and, thus, entitled to recover legal fees and costs," the judges wrote.

    An attorney representing the prosecutor's office didn't return a message seeking comment Friday.

    According to an investigation by the prosecutor's office, officers responded to a 911 call of a domestic disturbance and found 75-year-old Talbot Schroeder armed with a knife.

    Schroeder repeatedly ignored police commands to drop it, and threatened the officer with the knife, according to the report. He had already exhibited a willingness to use it by slitting his wrists and stabbing himself.

    The officer, who wasn't named, shot Schroeder after the officer was forced into a position against a wall in which he could not retreat, the report concluded. The report found the officer was justified in using force.


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    Highlights from the state tournament.


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    Authorities say Joseph P. Martinelli faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after he extorted about $15,000.

    A Roxbury Township man on Friday admitted in Newark federal court that he conspired with a former Middlesex Borough fire inspector to commit extortion using threats of force, violence and fear. 

    Joseph P. Martinelli, 64, conspired to extort cash payments from the owner of a real estate development company from December 2016 through June 2017, the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey said in a statement. 

    Prosecutors said Martinelli, of the Kenvil section of the township, conspired with Billy A. Donnerstag, 49, of Hackettstown, who was then a fire inspector for Middlesex Borough and other municipalities and has alleged mob ties.

    The pair extorted the owner and operator of a real estate development and construction company, prosecutors said. They said the extortion scheme started after they falsely told the company owner he didn't pay enough for a property he bought from Martinelli in 2007. 

    In total, authorities said Martinelli and Donnerstag extorted $15,000 in cash from the company owner. The money had been provided by the FBI, prosecutors said.

    Through a number of phone calls and in-person conversations, Martinelli and Donnerstag allegedly demanded money from the owner by suggesting that Donnerstag would physically harm him if he refused.

    Martinelli pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo.

    He is scheduled to be sentenced June 12, when prosecutors said he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from his crime.

    Donnerstag remains charged by indictment. 

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at tharris@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyoFind NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said his office sought to block its release because it revealed personal information.

    A New Jersey county prosecutor whose office was ordered to pay attorneys' fees to news organizations is defending his decision against releasing the recording of a 911 call involving a fatal police shooting.

    The call was made in January 2015 before police shot and killed a knife-wielding man. Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said his office sought to block its release because it revealed personal information. An edited version was eventually released.

    Carey said the law on whether the recording was subject to disclosure wasn't clear at the time, and the family didn't want it released.

    Carey said the litigation had little to do with First Amendment rights and "everything to do with common decency and protecting the privacy rights of those who may find themselves in a horrific situation."

    The Home News-Tribune and NJ Advance Media had argued the entire call was a matter of public interest because it involved a person who was killed by police. They also argued that the identity of the caller was public information, therefore pre-empting any argument based on privacy concerns.

    Friday's ruling by a three-judge appellate panel upheld a judge's 2015 decision that awarded about $71,000 in costs and attorneys' fees to the Home News-Tribune and about $39,000 to NJ Advance Media.


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    "They know how he is, and they just let him continue," an officer says in an unreleased police video, according to an amended complaint that provides more insight into a Carteret incident in which an officer faces criminal charges Watch video

    Unreleased police videos raise a host of additional allegations in the violent arrest of a Middlesex County teen last year and provide a pinhole view into the culture on the Carteret force where officers believed the mayor's police officer brother was protected, according to court documents. 

    Details of the videos emerged Wednesday in an amended lawsuit against officer Joseph Reiman regarding the May 31, 2017, arrest. However, the additional police body camera and dashboard videos have not been publicly released, and a judge has marked them confidential in the civil case.

    NJ Advance Media has not viewed the videos but learned of their contents from the suit that describes at least four police recordings from the arrest and in the hours that followed. 

    "They know how he is, and they just let him continue," one of the officers can be heard saying about Reiman on one of the recordings, according to the complaint.

    064_aacop_2reimanstatus_miller_37.JPGCarteret Police officer Joseph Reiman appears in Judge Joseph Paone's courtroom on charges of official misconduct at Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick on Friday, February 9, 2018.  

    Reiman, 31, the youngest brother of Carteret's longtime mayor, has been charged criminally in the incident in which the prosecutor's office says dashboard videos have confirmed the teen's account, who has not been named because he is juvenile. 

    The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office has since released recordings from two police cruisers -- Reiman's and from the second officer on scene, the middle Reiman brother, Charles.

    The nighttime videos show much of the encounter, but portions are hard to make out and parts occur outside of the frame.

    The pieces of unreleased videos described in the complaint, though, reveal more details of the incident and shed light on Reiman's reputation on the force through apparent candid conversations and statements by officers. 

    "[The teen] looked like he went 10 round with Mike Tyson," an officer can be heard saying on one of the recordings, according to the suit that alleges several officers participated in the "savage beating," including the other Reiman officer, Charles, and Antonio Dominguez.

    Kevin Horn, a special law enforcement officer, allegedly held the teen's arms down as he was being punched, the suit says. 

    No other officers have been accused of wrongdoing in the arrest. 

    One officer can be heard on an unreleased video saying, "Joe is just punching the kid in the face and is not attempting at all to get control of his arms... If you look at this kid, this kid is not overpowering Joe," the suit says.

    "He was face down in a rock bed. Blood all over the [expletive] place," another officer can be heard saying, according to the suit.

    At one point, an officer says, the complaint states, "You're not getting those [expletive] facial injuries from a motor vehicle [accident]." 

    The lawsuit also alleges the videos capture several officers who "stood by and watched" out of fear that if they stepped in they'd face retribution from the mayor.

    In Carteret, indicted cop accounted for fifth of arrests involving force

    "There's people at the scene; you know all the neighbors come out, Joe's cursing and screaming at them," one officer can be heard saying, according to the complaint, which claims that no statements were taken from several witnesses.

    In the hours after, officers can be heard discussing the arrest when they "implicate Joseph Reiman in criminal behavior in this incident and prior incidents," according to the lawsuit.

    "What do you want to bet they are all sitting around the table . . . trying to get their [expletive] story straight" an officer can be heard saying in one of the unreleased dashboard videos that was still recording while the officers were at the hospital, according to the suit. 

    The new details in the lawsuit, which was first filed in federal court on June 14, also contradict Mayor Dan Reiman's statements about his involvement in any potential police discipline of his brother.

    The mayor said via email Wednesday, despite the daily summary submitted to him detailing police activity and any actions taken by the deputy chief, he has never intervened in police matters for his brother and denied the suit's accusations. 

    In a statement, the mayor described the lawsuit as financially motivated and said: "This amended lawsuit names everybody and anybody from Donald Duck to Jane Doe and John Q. Public, and it is obviously part of the plaintiff's attorneys plan to extort money from the borough and its insurance company."

    The suit says the mayor had referred to his brother as a "scapegoat" during an internal affairs investigation into officer Reiman's excessive force allegations in an attempt to influence both the internal and criminal investigation. 

    The civil suit alleges: "With the protection of the Carteret Police Department and the Mayor of the Borough of Carteret, Joseph Reiman was allowed to remain on the force, even in the face of multiple excessive force complaints."

    Officer Reiman faces three other lawsuits over alleged excessive force during his 23 months on the police department, according to court records.

    NJ Advance Media previously reviewed Reiman's use-of-force records and found the officer had accounted for more than a fifth of all arrests involving force. Two of the people featured in that investigation filed suit last year. 

    Carteret cop charged with assaulting teen during arrest back on payroll

    William Connell, Reiman's attorney in the civil case, did not return a call for comment.

    The teen's attorney, Eric Pennington, confirmed the details in the videos but did not comment further. 

    NJ Advance Media has not obtained or been able to review the footage due to a judge's order. It previously requested all video records from the borough relating to the incident but was not told of the additional recordings, which only became known through the discovery process in the civil suit.

    Charles Reiman and Dominguez used a compliance hold and his hands or fists during the arrest, according to their use-of-force forms obtained through a records request. Horn also responded and used a compliance hold during the encounter, the police records show. 

    Those officers, as well as six other officers, Mayor Reiman, two EMTs and the borough are named in the suit. A number of other officers had responded to the scene, according to a review of the released dashboard videos.

    The suit also alleges the police and EMT documents were changed or not filed to cover up the incident. 

    The teen said in an interview with NJ Advance Media days after the arrest he was kicked by one of the officers as he was being cuffed. None of the published videos or videos described in the lawsuit capture a kick.

    Joseph Reiman has since been suspended. His pay was reinstated last June after a hearing and is currently on the borough's payroll with an annual salary of $49,266. He is also working a job in Perth Amboy doing manual labor, according to his attorney. 

    Reiman faces charges of aggravated assault and official misconduct, which include accusations of records tampering and failing to turn on his body camera during the incident.

    The officer's attorney in his criminal case, Charles Sciarra, has argued that the teenager's injuries occurred in the car crash that ended a brief police pursuit between the unlicensed teen and Reiman.

    The state has said the teen's injuries were consistent with an assault, not an accident.

    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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    Howard Unruh killed 13 people in 1949, including relatives of a student who survived the Parkland school shooting.


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    In the cafeteria of the Hackensack Meridian Health JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison, an inspirational story could be found by talking to any one in the room.

    They're earning scuba diving certifications, DJ'ing at parties and playing bocce ball with their girlfriends on the weekends. A limb short.

    These were some of the accomplishments shared last week at a support group for amputees, at its third "ampuversary." In the cafeteria of the Hackensack Meridian Health JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison, an inspirational story could be found by talking to anyone in the room.

    ampuversary1.jpegDr. Heikki Uustal, medical director, of the prosthetic/orthotic team, shows off the different types of prosthetics. (Sara Jerde | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
     

    "The people here, they're so wonderful. They bring me back," said Janet Stubbs, who says she is "almost 76," though that might be difficult to believe once you hear her weekend plans, which include bocce ball and drumstick workouts.

    "Me!" interjected her friend Joan Myers, who sat across the table from her, munching on some of the provided snacks.

    "It's why I keep coming back," Stubbs said, who recently moved, but still makes the hour and 15 minute drive from her new home in Manchester.

    Wearing a shirt that said, "Quit pulling my leg... seriously it comes off," Stubbs recounted how a MRSA diagnosis led to her decision to have her leg removed below the knee. It made her one of the "lucky" ones who got to choose what came off, Stubbs said, but it also made her the butt of the joke among her amputee friends. She's the "wannabe amputee."

    The joke makes her smile.

    "You can choose to stay down, or you can get up and say, 'I wanna live my life,'" Stubbs said.

    She sat across from Myers, as they swapped jokes and showed pictures on their phones. Just a few minutes before a nosy reporter interrupted their conversation, Myers, 59, had been on the dance floor grooving to a Bee Gees remix.

    She's a certified scuba diver and is working her way up to again using the brand new skis and snow boots that she only used once. She lost a leg after a complication brought on by diabetes.

    "This group allows you to be with people who are the same, but different," Myers, of Edison, said. "You come to understand what happened to you and it challenges you, yet it allows you to be yourself."

    Thousands of amputations are performed in New Jersey every year due to complications from health conditions that range from diabetes to peripheral arterial disease, according to data from the Amputee Coalition.

    Those who came to the support group's event ranged in age, ethnicity, gender and profession.

    "It allows patients to come together because they now get to share their stories, share their experiences, they learn from each other," said Dr. Heikki Uustal, medical director of the prosthetic/orthotic team at the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute.

    "... We as the educators learn just as much from them because they tell us little tricks on how they do stuff because when you have two legs, two arms, you don't think about, 'how do I put my clothes on when I'm wearing a prosthesis.'"

    Uustal said he works with his patients to determine the best prosthesis to fit their daily routine.

    After trying dozens of sockets, Sam Ghatas, 37, of Edison, said he finally has found a leg that works. He was DJ'ing the event on Tuesday.

    "Having a bad fit is not the best for me. It's reflected in everything you do," Ghatas said, after explaining how cancer took his leg. "But it feels good now, you can walk around like normal."

    Margaret Anderson, 48 of Metuchen, also knows what it's like to go through some legs. She told the doctor that she liked to go to the beach, so she was outfitted with legs that allow her to walk on the sand.

    With her children by her side on Tuesday, she remembered how septic shock required her to have a double amputation. At the time, her daughter was three months old.

    "The running joke was 'who's gonna walk first?'" Anderson said. "I beat her!"

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

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