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    There were more guns than I could count at the expo just outside the crowded downtown Gettysburg on Memorial Day Weekend.

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    New Jersey's own The Gaslight Anthem and Halsey were huge highlights at Governors Ball in 2018

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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    There's summer heat, and then there's oppressive summer heat.

    We're beginning to experience some of the latter, and while we do everything we can to keep ourselves cool, it's important to remember our pets as well.

    "If it's hot to you it's just as hot for your dog or cat, and probably even worse," said John Gickling, a board certified veterinarian in emergency and critical care. "We're better equipped to handle the heat because we perspire."

    Some tips on making sure your pets can deal with excessive heat:

    * If you walk your dog, pick the coolest time of the day, follow a shady route and bring water for your pet.

    * Older pets, overweight animals and dogs with short snouts suffer more in high heat.

    * If your pet is outdoors, make sure it has a cool place to lay and that water is always available. Avoid taking your pets anywhere that has concrete or blacktop until temperatures normalize.

    * Dogs may be overheating if they can't get up, aren't alert or can't stop panting. If you suspect overheating, hose your dog off but never use ice water, which worsens the situation. If this doesn't work, a visit to a veterinarian is important.

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    Your neighbors lean red or blue? Here's how many Republicans and Democrats are in all 21 counties.

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    Community Middle School places third at National Science Olympiad.

    mx0603schoolplainsboro.jpgCommunity Middle School students, back, Eric Yang, Allen Chang, Ria Verma, coach Lisa Sacca, Akhil Paulraj, Parth Shastri, Vivek Vajipey and Keshav Ratra; front, Anant Matta, Srinivas Sowmiyanarayanan, Aloha Das, Lawrene Xu, Jason Chang, Arvyn De, Kohav Dantara, Sreyash Singh, Akash Chakka and Kyle Guo, finished third at the National Science Olympiad.

    PLAINSBORO -- A team of students from Community Middle School took third place overall at the 34th National Science Olympiad, a scholastic competition held May 18 and 19 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

    The Science Olympiad pits the winners of the regional and state tournaments against one another in a hands-on competition consisting of 23 events that test the teams on their science knowledge.

    The Community Middle School students took third place in the Division B category among middle school students, while a team from West Windsor-Plainsboro North High School in Plainsboro finished in eighth place in Division C for high school students.

    Community Middle School and West Windsor-Plainsboro North advanced to the nationals after winning the New Jersey Science Olympiad, held March 15 at Middlesex County College.

    To submit school news send an email to

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    Despite the serious crash, the off-duty officer was able to drive away from the scene.

    An Elizabeth cop who caused the death of a motorcyclist while driving drunk in October looks to be out of a job and headed to jail for a year.

    The recommended sentence and plea deal Romulo Meneses-Alvarez agreed to Monday in Union County Superior Court likely means he's escaped what could have been a prison term of at least several years.

    Meneses-Alvarez, 30, of Elizabeth, admitted he caused the death of Jairo Lozano, 29, of Elizabeth, on Oct. 31, 2017, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

    The off-duty officer was under the influence of alcohol when his Jeep Wrangler turned left in front of Lozano's motorcycle on Elmora Avenue in Elizabeth, causing the collision.

    Meneses-Alvarez pleaded guilty Monday to strict liability vehicular homicide in the third degree, tampering with physical evidence in the fourth degree, and driving while intoxicated as part of the plea agreement.

    When he is sentenced July 13, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Keith Abrams will recommend Meneses-Alvarez serve 364 days in county jail as a condition of probation, according the Middlesex prosecutor's office. (Middlesex prosecuted the case due to an undisclosed conflict of interest with the Union County Prosecutor's Office.)

    Meneses-Alvarez also agreed to give up his job with Elizabeth Police Department, from which he's been suspended without pay. The prosecutor's office also said he will lose his license for one year for the drunk driving conviction. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor said the judge will decide the length of the probation term.

    Many details of the Halloween crash and the investigation remain unclear, but police documents and indictments allege that Meneses-Alvarez left the scene after the crash and hindered the investigation by preventing police from checking out his Jeep Wrangler.

    EPD crash report-0.jpgA diagram from the police report about the crash. (Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office) 

    After the Jeep and the 2005 GSX Suzuki motorcycle collided, Lozano was taken to Trinitas Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

    A police narrative in court documents said Meneses-Alvarez gave his information to police at the scene but then left.

    Joshua McMahon, an attorney for Lozano's family, said a witness and body camera footage revealed that another Elizabeth police officer told Meneses-Alvarez to leave. NJ Advance Media was unable to confirm this because a records request for the video footage was denied.

    A grand jury returned seven indictments against Meneses-Alvarez in April, making reference to him leaving the scene and not returning. He was indicted for hindering for allegedly lying to an officer when he said he was returning to the crime scene, one indictment said. Another indictment claimed there was evidence he tried to tamper with evidence by altering, destroying, concealing or removing his Jeep during the investigation.

    The criminal complaint said that police got a warrant to take a blood sample from Meneses-Alvarez and he was taken to the hospital several hours later. The complaint did not say where officers located him.

    All but three of the charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement, including a first-degree vehicular homicide within 1,000 feet of a school, which could have meant a double-digit prison sentence if he was convicted.

    McMahon said that Meneses-Alvarez admitted in court Monday that he was drinking at Central Park, a bar in Roselle, before the crash.

    Central Park was one of two bars where former Linden cop Pedro Abad was drinking in 2015 before he drove the wrong way on a highway leading to a head-on crash that killed two fellow officers. He was sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison a year ago.

    "The family was heartened to hear the Defendant take responsibility, and appreciates the efforts of the Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutors to facilitate this negotiated resolution," McMahon said. "That said, given what has happened here as well as the Abad incident, we intend, through the civil arena, to fully explore the role that Central Park bartenders played in this Defendant committing another off-duty, drinking-related homicide."

    After Abad's crash, an officer who was injured but survived and the family of one of the deceased officers filed civil suits against Central Park and Curves, a Staten Island strip club where Abad was also served alcohol.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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    Seven people were arrested following a fight involving about 200 teens at Hamilton Mall in Atlantic County on Saturday night.

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    Gear up for Saturday's action at Northern Burlington

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    "OK, officially, I now hate white people," the professor said to start his Facebook post.

    Rutgers University is investigating whether a white professor who took to social media to condemn "little Caucasian a--holes" broke university policies for discrimination and harassment. 

    The history professor, James Livingston, ranted on Facebook on Thursday night after getting a burger to-go at Harlem Shake in New York, according to a screen shot published by The Daily Caller, a conservative website. 

    "OK, officially, I now hate white people," Livingston began his post. 

    He continued to say the burger shop was "overrun with little Caucasian a--holes who know their parents will approve of anything they do."

    "Do what you want, nobody here is going to restrict your right to be white," Livingston wrote.  

    He then added: "I hereby resign from my race. F--- these people." 

    Livingston's post was later removed by Facebook, he said in a subsequent post. 

    "I just don't want little Caucasians overrunning my life, as they did last night," he wrote in a post the following morning. "Please God, remand them to the suburbs, where they and their parents can colonize every restaurant, all the while pretending that the idiotic indulgence of their privilege signifies cosmopolitan--you know, as in sophisticated 'European'--commitments."

    University officials are reviewing the Facebook rant, according to statement from Rutgers. 

    "There is no place for racial intolerance at Rutgers," the statement said. 

    Livingston could not immediately be reached for comment. 

    Adam Clark may be reached at Follow him on twitter at @realAdamClarkFind on Facebook


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    Police learned of the alleged conduct after officers responded to an incident between the teacher and the student on his front lawn

    A Hillsborough High School teacher is charged with inappropriate sexual conduct involving a 17-year-old female student, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday afternoon.

    Kenneth Shindle.jpgKenneth Shindle (police photo)

    Kenneth Shindle, 27, of Plainsboro, was arrested Tuesday and charged with two second-degree counts of endangering the welfare of a child. One count was for sexual conduct that would "impair or debauch the morals of the child," and the other alleges abuse or neglect.

    Shindle has been suspended from his English teaching position at the high school, where he's taught for five years and has tenure.

    Police learned of the alleged conduct after officers responded to an incident between Shindle and the student on his front lawn.

    A police investigation found the 17-year-old made unsupervised visits to Shindle's home between January and May of this year.

    The prosecutor's office did not say exactly when the incident on the front lawn occurred.

    Shindle's lawyer, Joseph J. Compitello, said late Tuesday: "Mr. Shindle categorically denies any wrong doing with respect to the teen and is confident that he will clear his name."

    Shindle is being held at the Middlesex County jail in North Brunswick, and will make his first court appearance on Wednesday.

    The investigation is ongoing, the prosecutor's office said. 

    Gianluca D'Elia may be reached at gdelia@njadvancemedia.comFollow him on Twitter @gianluca_delia. Find on Facebook.


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    Unofficial results for races in Middlesex County's June 5 primary election.

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    Highlights from the state tournament.

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    Matthew Bailly, a retired officer, started telling the State Trooper about how he helped deliver a baby 27 years ago as a rookie cop.

    A New Jersey State Trooper stops hundreds of cars yearly. But what are the chances that you'll pull over the guy who helped give you life? Well, it happened to a trooper a few days ago.

    On Friday, Trooper Michael Patterson pulled over Matthew Bailly in Kingwood Township for tinted windows. 

    Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 3.11.58 PM.png(Right to left) State Trooper Michael Patterson and Matthew Bailly, a former police officer.  

    They started talking and Bailly said he was a retired Piscataway police officer. Patterson, a Piscataway native, told the retired cop he was from the same town.

    Interest piqued, Bailly asked the trooper where he grew up. Poe Place, Patterson said.

    That was a familiar street to the longtime cop. When he was a rookie, he got called to a house on that street 27 years ago and helped to deliver a baby.

     After Bailly told his story, Patterson reintroduced himself. "My name is Michael Patterson, sir," he told him. "Thank you for delivering me."

    In Oct. 5, 1991, Patterson's mother Karen had rushed home from shopping and found that she was in labor. Her husband, Bobby, took her into the house and called police and their doctor.

    Bailly was the officer who responded, and the Patterson's doctor talked Bailly through the delivery. 

    After that revelation about their connection, Patterson delivered Bailly a first-class handshake instead of a summons.

    And later, Trooper Patterson and his mom visited Bailly and his wife to revisit a key moment in the law enforcement officers lives.

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

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    What folks wore in the Garden State.

    The NPD Group, an American market research company, notes that "No other industry changes as rapidly as fashion. What's hot today is blase tomorrow. Innovation becomes retro. Seasons change. Hemlines rise and fall ... and so do sales figures. A celebrity makes a fashion statement on the red carpet and suddenly financial statements are covered in red."

    callahan's fort lee 70s VBC.jpgMenswear in the '70s ... when print was king. 

    I might add that it's not only celebrities on the red carpet who make fashion statements. Politicians, musicians and athletes heavily influence what the rest of us choose to wear. And, there is a uniquely 21st century movement that allows others to influence styles and make fashion trends almost instantaneous: social media and the internet.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    AdWeek points out "If you see a blogger wearing an outfit you love on Instagram, you can find and purchase the items right from your phone and have them delivered to your door thanks to shoppable applications that integrate with social media, like rewardStyle, ShopStyle and"

    In this gallery, we look at apparel from the past, as worn by folks in New Jersey. Some people in the gallery don statement pieces, others wear that which was strictly utilitarian; all make for interesting viewing.

    And here are some links to other similar galleries.

    Vintage photos of what N.J. people wore

    More vintage photos of what N.J. people wore

    Vintage photos of fashions and styles in N.J.

    Vintage photos of styles and fashions in N.J.

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

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    A review of the department's payroll records found there are more cops doubling, or in one case tripling, their salary with extra work.

    More Edison cops are expected to join the tarnished ranks of the force -- and soon -- as the latest corruption investigation over alleged no-show side jobs expands to ensnare more officers, county officials told NJ Advance Media. 

    A review of the department's payroll records -- including base salary, overtime and side-job pay -- by the news outlet since the recent arrests found that the five officers facing official misconduct charges were not the only cops nearly doubling their salary with extra work. 

    While no other officers have been accused of any wrongdoing, experts questioned if the workloads of these top-earning officers logged were even possible, and said, if the hours were verified, it's a dangerous practice.

    Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey, when asked Wednesday about the news outlet's findings, said his office's investigation is "very active" and anticipated "additional officers will be charged in the near future." It was unclear who the agency is expecting to charge. 

    The county prosecutor admonished top officials in the township on Friday when his office charged the first five officers with theft and denounced the township's system -- or lack thereof -- that allowed these cops to pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars on alleged no-show side-job details. 

    In the scathing, singular statement from Carey -- who has stood by Police Chief Thomas Bryan as the town's top cop attempted to rehabilitate a police force that has been embroiled in scandals for years -- said the structure of assigning off-duty jobs has led to corruption and nepotism.

    And the broken system matters because the pay from off-duty details is no small sum-- it's millions of dollars.

    In just under a 2 1/2-year span, officers pulled in nearly $8 million at these off-duty details in which a third party pays through the township for private security and shifts monitoring road construction and utility work, according to public records obtained through the Open Public Records Act.

    Aside from the charged cops, four of the top-earning officers in 2017 would have had to work more than 50 hours per week, using all of their vacation, personal and sick time to clock in at side jobs to earn their total pay that year. 

    Officer Jason Eckert, who doubled his base salary with overtime and off-duty work on his third year on the job, would have had to work more than 55-hours a week with no paid days off.

    Both officers Melvin Dixon and Robert Dipple Jr., earned more than $230,000 in 2017, about $100,000 above their base pay. 

    So far, Officer Paul Pappas, 43, Sgt. Ioannis "John" Mpletsakis, 38, Officer James Panagoulakos, 32, all of Edison Township, Officer Gregory Makras, 33, of Cranford, and Sgt. Brian Rossmeyer, 41, of Bedminster, face allegations of taking pay from extra-duty jobs without working the shifts.

    The charged officers, who have all been suspended without pay, netted more than $840,000 in extra-duty work over the last two years, according to records. 

    Bryan, whose force of 170 patrols the fifth-largest municipality in the state, said Wednesday the department has capped the amount of off-duty hours an officer can log, limiting cops to 20 hours extra a week, but did not respond to specific questions about the news outlets findings or officer fatigue. 

    A dozen Edison officers averaged more than 50 hours per week for the entirety of 2017 with no paid days off, according to NJ Advance Media's analysis of the department's base salary, overtime and side-job pay. 

    The average employee, who only works a 40-hour workweek, is paid for 2,080 hours per year. While on Edison force, three dozen logged an extra 500 hours -- or nearly three weeks on the clock -- more than the average person last year.

    The scheduling, which Carey said had little oversight, was handled by retired Edison officer, Andres Rosa. Rosa retired in 1995 and has been running the side-job operation in the department for more than 20 years with an annual salary of $51,868.

    Since news broke last week of the alleged mismanagement and charges against five officers, the township has taken steps to soon replace Rosa.

    Mayor Thomas Lankey is expected to ask the Edison Township Council next week to allow the township to solicit bids for a third-party vendor to handle the scheduling, Edison Business Administrator Maureen Ruane said in a statement. 

    The latest scandal is believed to have come out of authorities probe into Pappas's alleged tire slashing incident that also led to seven officers being placed on desk duty over accusations of illegal steroid use. Those officers' names have not been released. 

    "I'd like to see the officer convince a jury those are legitimate working hours," Jon Shane, a retired Newark police captain who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "You would have no time for anything else."

    In Newark, Shane said officers were capped at 20 additional hours a week. 

    "It's unheard of," Dr. Maria Haberfeld, a professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said of the data showing officers who doubled their salary. 

    In New York City, Haberfeld said, police officers often earn an extra 30 to 40 percent of their salary. 

    "It's not just about how much they are working, but how much they can sleep," said Stephen James, an assistant research professor at Washington State University whose studies have focused on officer fatigue. 

    The three experts interviewed each equated the dangers of overworking police to other industries in all of which the hours are strictly monitored, such as truck drivers, airline staff and physicians.  

    There is no statewide regulation limiting hours worked by officers, according to the experts, and any cap on hours would vary from department to department, despite the safety risks.  

    James said overworking and lack of sleep can affect an officer's driving, demeanor in how they interact with the public and their decision to use force. 

    Being awake for 24 hours impairs someone's driving similarly to blowing a .10 on a Breathalyzer machine, according to James. 

    It's not uncommon for departments to outsource the assigning and tracking of these volunteer jobs to companies to prevent any appearance of favoritism. The off-duty shifts are processed through the township's payroll but paid by a third-party and does not add to an officer's pension. 

    The new cap on the side jobs does not limit an officer's overtime. 

    Editor's note: A previous version of this article calculated Edison officers' total pay on inaccurate information provided by the township. This story has since been updated to reflect the correct salaries. 

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

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    A proposed restriction on gun retailers is likely to draw a fresh round of controversy when it comes up for a vote next week.

    The contentious Democratic primary in Piscataway is over, but a proposed restriction on gun retailers is likely to draw a fresh round of controversy when it comes up for a vote next week.

    Four council members held off a strong challenge from a slate of progressive Democrats on Tuesday.

    IMG_1006.jpgFrom left to right, Piscataway council members Frank Uhrin, Jim Bullard, Steven Cahn and Michele Lombardi on primary night 

    The all-Democratic council will vote June 14 on an ordinance, believed to be without precedent in New Jersey, banning gun shops from opening within within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, houses of worship and other locations in the township.

    It was introduced in a 7-0 vote on May 8.

    Scott Bach, director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, told NJ Advance Media that he believes the Piscataway proposal is unconstitutional.

    There are currently no gun shops in Piscataway.

    Councilman Steven Cahn helped write the proposal and was among the four Democratic incumbents on the ballot Tuesday.

    He received 55 percent of the vote against Staci Berger, president & CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.

    Berger, in an interview last week, said she supports the aim of the ordinance but questioned whether political motivations played a factor in the timing. Cahn countered that the primary had nothing to do with the proposal.

    Contacted Wednesday, Berger said she was encouraged by strong voter turnout and a better showing for the progressive group than last year, when it fielded a slate in Democratic county committee races.

    "We are really heartened by the results," she said.

    Cahn, elected in 2001, is the longest-serving member of the council.

    "I'm happy that we all won and I'm looking forward to another four years," he said on Wednesday.

    Piscataway is a Democratic stronghold where Hillary Clinton received nearly three times as many votes as President Trump in the November 2016 election. No Republicans were on the primary ballot in any of the four council races.

    Below are the outcomes in the other three council races:

    • In Ward 1, Piscataway Councilman received 546 votes (58 percent) to 396 votes (42 percent) for Jacqueline Littlejohn
    • Ward 2 Councilman Jim Bullard received 760 votes (61.2 percent) to 482 votes (38.2 percent) to Tom Connors
    • In Ward 4, Councilwoman Michele Lombardi received 535 votes (71.8 percent) to 210 votes (28.2 percent) for Mohammed Raqeed.

    Rob Jennings may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RobJenningsNJ. Find on Facebook.

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    Check out previews and picks for each event at the 2018 Meet of Champions.

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    Nicholas Coble was hit by a passing vehicle as he was readying a car to be towed

    State Police have identified the tow truck driver killed after being struck by a car along Route 287 on Wednesday as a 24-year-old Piscataway man.

    Nicholas Coble was standing behind his truck preparing to tow a car involved in an earlier accident near mile marker 18 in Bridgewater when he was hit, State Police said.

    Coble was struck about 1:45 p.m. in the southbound outer roadway by a Chevrolet sedan driven by a 64-year-old Chestnut Ridge, New York, woman. 

    A box truck driven by a 34-year-old Toms River man then struck the Chevy. The New York woman suffered minor injuries, while the truck driver was unhurt. 

    The crash, which remains under investigation, closed the highway for about four hours on Wednesday. 

    Coble is survived by his fiancee and three children, according to a GoFundMe page.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.


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    "It is insane. That's our country now, it's insane. You don't know what to expect anywhere," Capt. Joe Mandola of the Old Bridge police said.

    Police are investigating what they determined was the shell of a homemade explosive device found inside a pickup truck that was left parked at an apartment complex in Middlesex County Thursday afternoon.

    Maintenance workers found what looked like a homemade bomb sitting in a red pickup truck that was a parked at 901 Downing Street in the London Terrace apartments complex shortly after 12 p.m., according to Capt. Joe Mandola of the Old Bridge police department.

    Mandola said the owner of the truck moved out of that address more than 30 days ago, and that the truck had been parked in the same spot since then, prompting maintenance to check it out. 

    Officers secured the area as New Jersey State Police and FBI Homeland Security determined it was an explosive device, but it did not appear to be active or filled with explosive powder, Mandola said. 

    They did not provide details about the device.

    "It is insane. That's our country now, it's insane. You don't know what to expect anywhere," Mandola said. 

    Neighborhood residents stood outside and looked on as State Police towed the truck away with the device still inside. 

    Police said they have determined who the owner of the vehicle is and are working to locate them. 

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

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    Found as a stray, volunteers say Rudy loves kids and other cats.


    EAST BRUNSWICK -- Rudy is a 7-month-old male buff tabby kitten in the care of New Beginnings Animal Rescue.

    Found as a stray, volunteers say Rudy "is super-friendly and gentle, loves kids and other cats and is just adorable." He is FIV/FeLV-negative, neutered and up-to-date on shots.

    For more information on Rudy, 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 50 cats and four 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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