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    Carey has been Middlesex County's top law enforcement officer since 2014

    Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey was recently honored by the New Jersey Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association as their 'Prosecutor of the Year."

    The organization said in a letter to the Carey he'd made great strides in combatting crime in Middlesex, and that he'd fostered cooperation among law enforcement agencies.

    Carey was named acting prosecutor in May 2013 and was confirmed as prosecutor in June 2014. Before being named to the post, he was a federal prosecutor.

    And before that, Carey was an assistant district attorney in New York City.

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Former Edison officer Anthony Sarni, retired Cape May cop John Campbell and ex-corrections officer Castulo Matos were all approved for reduced pensions

    The former Edison cop who admitted to pressuring a woman at a hotel to model underwear for him while in uniform, prompting the nickname the "lingerie cop" in the news, and later paid by the town to retire will get a state pension.

    Anthony Sarni, who spent 13 years on the force before his hotel scandal, was granted an ordinary disability pension, according to the minutes from the Board of Trustees and Commission's meeting on Monday.

    He will receive $52,096 per year -- 40 percent of his final salary, $130,240 -- said Jennifer Sciortino, a spokeswoman for New Jersey's Department of Treasury. 

    The 43-year-old former cop claims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, Sarni's ex-wife, Melissa Sarni, told NJ Advance Media.

    Sarni, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, settled his suits with the state's fifth-largest municipality in 2016 for more than $200,000 over the hotel incident in which he was never charged criminally. As part of the deal, Sarni would retire and the two lawsuits -- one over patrolman's suspension in 2012 and the other over his eventual firing -- were dismissed.

    In January, he made news again when he filed a suit in Middlesex County Superior Court claiming the township ran an "orchestrated campaign" to force him to retire. The suit was never served and dismissed within weeks. 

    The lawsuit was filed three days before the pension board first rejected Sarni's application for ordinary disability in closed session. 

    In addition to the lingerie cop, two other disgraced law enforcement officers, both of whom were criminally convicted, received reduced pensions. 

    John Campbell, 49, of Cape May, a retired officer who stole $105,000 from his police union had his pension approved in which he will continue to receive a pension with a reduced rate, retroactively reducing it as if he retired January 1, 2012, when the first crime was committed, Sciortino confirmed.

    His previous pension paid out $69,078 annually, according to state records.

    Campbell was the president and state delegate of PBA Local 59 in Cape May when he stole from his the union. He was sentenced to six months of home confinement and five years probation and ordered to pay a fine of $5,000 and repay the money he took. 

    Castulo Matos, 48, of Egg Harbor City, who admitted to criminal sexual contact with a female inmate will also get a pension. 

    The former Atlantic County corrections officer, who spent 21 years working in the county jail, will receive a monthly allowance as if he retired after 19 years on the job, according to Sciortino. 

    Campbell's and Matos' pension amounts will be calculated within several weeks, Sciortino said.

    The three former officers will not receive medical benefits, according to Sciortino.

    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.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    Traffic alert: A truck spilled garbage along the Turnpike after being hit by a car and flipping

    A tractor-trailer overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike near Interchange 10 in Middlesex County has forced the closure two southbound lanes with piles of garbage strewn along the highway. 

    Two people in a car that collided with the truck were hospitalized with injuries, according to WABC-7 in New York. In all, there were three injuries, the television station said. 

    The crash took place just before 6 a.m. in Woodbridge and has the right and center lanes of the outer southbound roadway blocked, according to 511nj.org, the state department of transportation's traffic website. 

    An overhead photos shows skid marks from the truck leading into the shoulder and the overturned tractor-trailer facing the wrong way on its side.

    Southbound traffic is backed up at least 3.5 miles to around Exit 12 in Carteret, according to Sigalert.com.

    State Police couldn't immediately be reached for additional information. 

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

     

     

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    Counting down from No. 50


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    Jamesburg students are staying home today while the whole borough makes do with limited water.

    Call it a free snow day, or - er, water day? 

    For kids in Jamesburg hoping for a break from school, a borough-wide issue with water pressure might feel like a blessing. For parents of small kids, not so much. 

    The district's schools are closed Wednesday due to "low or no" water pressure Wednesday morning in the Middlesex County borough of about 6,000 people, the district said on Facebook. 

    New Jersey American Water, which services Jamesburg, said on Facebook that the water system had experienced a valve malfunction. 

    Jamesburg's schools superintendent, Brian Betze, said district officials realized at about 6 a.m. that there was no water anywhere in the borough and decided they could not open their two schools. 

    "Knowing that we had no water, you can't open a school because there are sprinkler systems, there are hygiene issues to worry about," Betze said by phone. "We weren't sure, even, if fire hydrants in town are hooked up to that system, so you just can't open up a building with hundreds of people."

    Water pressure was returning to both of the district's schools Wednesday afternoon, Betze said. 

    He said the district would add a school day to the academic year's calendar, ending with an early-dismissal day on June 28, instead of June 27. 

    A spokeswoman for New Jersey American Water on Wednesday afternoon said water had returned to the borough.

    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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    The 46-year-old's friends and family learned on social media that South Brunswick police were looking for him

    The 46-year-old man who allegedly tried to grab a police officer's tie and drag the detective while fleeing a traffic stop in South Brunswick on Tuesday afternoon surrendered early Wednesday afternoon.

    fratello.jpgAlan Fratello Jr. (Photo courtesy South Brunswick police) 

    Alan Fratello Jr., of the Monmouth Junction section of South Burnswick, was accompanied by his attorney when he turned himself in at police headquarters around 12:20 p.m, Deputy Chief James Ryan said.

    Police had posted Fratello's picture and details of the incident on various forms of social media as they sought the public's help to find him.

    "His family and friends were well aware we were looking for him and he felt the pressure to surrender," Ryan said. 

    Fratello had been sought since 3:45 p.m. Tuesday when he took off after being pulled over for allegedly driving erratically on Route 32 east near the intersection of Route 535, authorities said. 

    He pulled Det. Eric Tighelaar's necktie when the officer approached the car and then began driving away, police said. The officer was forced to to briefly run alongside the vehicle before he freed himself. Fratello then drove over the center median and back toward Route 130.  

    Fratello is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and eluding. He also is charged with motor vehicle offense such as careless driving, reckless driving and driving without a license, Ryan said. 

    The passenger in the car, Jacqueline Smith, 41, of South Brunswick, is still being sought by police. 

    In April, South Brunswick police used Narcan to revive him in his home after he overdosed on drugs, Ryan said. 

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

     

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    Americana? Something that makes you feel 'at home.'

    "Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" - Chevrolet commercial first aired in 1974

    The term "Americana," which covers a diverse range of things, is often the result of the mixing of cultures that make up America. I say it's something that makes you feel "at home."

    As far as I can tell, even if something wasn't truly born in the U.S.A., but makes you think "homegrown," it qualifies as "Americana."

    For instance, it has now been pretty much conclusively established that Abner Doubleday did NOT invent baseball in Cooperstown in 1839; the game evolved from ball games played in England, France and Germany.

    Hot dogs are, of course, frankfurters named for the German city where they originated. Apple pie has been baked anywhere apples grow as long as there have been pies; according to yara.com, China outproduces U.S. growers, and supplies 40% of the world's apples.

    And since I'm on a roll, Louis-Joseph Chevrolet was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and developed his mechanical skills in France. Hot dogs WERE first put 'on a roll' in the U.S.; at least there's that.

    Americana? If it takes place in the country and makes people feel good, it can be almost anything at any time.

    In this gallery, we've touched on just a few of the countless ways 'Americana' could be illustrated. If you've got photos that you think would do the job, send them in -- Americana comes from everywhere.

    And here are some links to other galleries you might like.

    Vintage photos of N.J. Americana

    Vintage photos of how things have changed in N.J.

    Vintage candid photos from N.J.

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


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    A second nearby crash will worsen traffic through Perth Amboy

    A man riding motorcycle was killed in a crash along Route 440 in Perth Amboy on Thursday morning.

    The crash took place on the ramp to State Street, State Police said. All lanes and the ramp remain closed as of 9:15 a.m. as police investigate.

    To complicate matters in the area, there was also a crash on the nearby Outerbridge Crossing, which connects Perth Amboy to Staten Island, New York. That accident occurred on the New Jersey-bound side of the bridge. 

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

     

     


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    NJ.com releases its final high school baseball rankings for 2018: The Top 50

    NJ.com Baseball Top 50 201852.JPG 

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    Buster needs a home that can give him consistency.

    mx0617pet.jpgBuster 

    SAYREVILLE -- Buster is an adult male English bulldog mix in the care of Sammy's Hope.

    Volunteers say he is extremely playful and "a handful and a half but worth every bit of effort you will put into his training."

    Buster needs a home with a dedicated person or persons who can give him consistency. He has been neutered and is up-to-date on shots.

    For more information on Buster, contact Sammy's Hope at 732-518-2313, email info@sammyshope.org or go to sammyshope.org. Sammy's Hope is a volunteer group in Middlesex County that fosters homeless animals and also cares for them at its shelter at 1400 Main St. in Sayreville.

    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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    Contestants perform during the opening night of the Miss New Jersey Pageant in Ocean City. Watch video

    Miss Coastal Shores Natalie Ragazzo, of Ocean City, Miss South Shore Jaime Gialloreto, of Woolwich Township, and Miss Seashore Line Kyra Seeley, of Middlesex, were the big winners during the first night of preliminary competition for the 2018 Miss New Jersey Pageant

    Ragazzo, 22, wearing a pink bikini, and Gialloreto, 19, wearing a peach bikini with blue trim, tied for the swimsuit award. Seeley took home the talent award for her Irish dancing routine.

    Miss New Jersey 2017 Kaitlyn Schoeffel opened the night with her dance routine that helped her to place second runner-up to Miss America 2018, Cara Mund. 

    The first of the night's competitions was the swimsuit portion, as 14 of the 28 contestants walked the stage before the judges. The same group finished the night out with the evening gown competition. The second group participated in the talent and on-stage question. 

    The swimsuit and evening gown portions of the Miss New Jersey pageant remain in place for this year's competition because the announced changes for the Miss America pageant came too late to be implemented at the state level. 

    The new leaders of the Miss America Organization decided to eliminate the swimsuit competition and revamp the evening gown portion when the 2019 Miss America pageant begins in September in Atlantic City.  

    The second night of preliminary competition begins Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier. 

    Tim Hawk may be reached at thawk@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Instagram @photog_hawk and Twitter @photogthawk. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips.


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    PERTH AMBOY -- This square dance took place at First Presbyterian Church in Perth Amboy in 1951. MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey History.com notes that while square dancing dates back to the 1600s in Europe, "callers began developing standards for square dancing across the United States in the 1950s, allowing dancers to learn interchangeable routines and patterns." MORE: Glimpses...

    PERTH AMBOY -- This square dance took place at First Presbyterian Church in Perth Amboy in 1951.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    History.com notes that while square dancing dates back to the 1600s in Europe, "callers began developing standards for square dancing across the United States in the 1950s, allowing dancers to learn interchangeable routines and patterns."

    MORE: Glimpses of history from around New Jersey

    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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    The 41-year-old Old Bridge man was thrown from his motorcycle before being hit by a car

    State Police are looking for the driver who fled a hit-and-run crash on northbound Route 440 in Perth Amboy on Thursday morning that left a motorcyclist from Old Bridge dead.

    Rafal Nowak, 41, lost control of his motorcycle on the State Street exit ramp and was thrown from the bike before being struck by a car that didn't stop, authorities said. 

    Nowak was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:43 a.m., 24 minutes after the crash was reported, Lt. Ted Schaefer of the State Police said Friday.

    The ramp was closed for four hours Thursday morning as police investigated, Schaefer said.

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

     

     


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    Harry Ragubeer says he ran from room to room, pounding on doors, yelling for his fellow occupants to get out.

    After a small fire broke out at the Grand Lake Chateau's motel in Woodbridge Friday, an off-duty Lyft driver leaped into action to make sure everyone was safe.

    Harry Ragubeer of Allentown, Pa., was staying with his friend in room 31 when he spotted smoke and a fire through the sliding door of room 32 around 11 a.m., he said. Ragubeer dialed 911 while simultaneously sprinting to the motel's office. When no one answered the 45-year-old's knocks, he ran from room to room, pounding on doors, yelling for his fellow occupants to get out.

    Two people heard his pleas and came outside to the parking lot, Ragubeer said. One of them, an ex-EMT worker, kicked open the door to room 32. Smoke came out, but no one was inside, he said. Officials arrived within minutes of Ragubeer's call and put out the flames.

    "I feel good," Ragubeer said about his mid-morning rescue mission. "I feel like I did something good."

    A Grand Lake Chateau employee, who refused to give his name, said it was a "minor" fire, likely involving debris. There were no reported injuries and the employee suspects the only property damage may be a bit of smoke damage to the room.

    Cassidy Grom may be reached at cgrom@njadvancemedia.com Follow her at @cassidygrom. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Yan Shi, 36, and her husband Weiping Liu, 40, of Plainsboro, were arrested Thursday

    A Middlesex County couple has been charged with making millions of dollars by selling knockoff designer products from China on eBay, authorities said. 

    Yan Shi, 36, and her husband Weiping Liu, 40, of Plainsboro, were arrested Thursday on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to violate state trademark laws, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said in a statement. 

    Investigators seized Longchamp, Vera Bradley and Uggs products from the couple's home during a court-authorized search.

    Yan Shi was also charged with violating the New Jersey Trademark Counterfeiting Act, Carey said. 

    The couple's alleged operation, in which Yan Shi used multiple aliases to avoid being caught, netted $8 million in profits, according to the release.

    About $3 million was also illegally sent to people in China, authorities said. 

    The couple is set to appear in court on July 5 in Middlesex County. 

    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.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    As prom season winds down, NJ.com compiled a collection of some of the wildest, unique and fun moments from many of the events.


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    The second night of competition was held at the Music Pier in Ocean City. Watch video

    For the second night in a row, Miss South Shore Jaime Gialloreto, of Woolwich Township, walked away a winner in the 2018 Miss New Jersey Pageant at the Music Pier in Ocean City. 

    Gialloreto, 19, won over the judges with a jazz dance to "Natural Woman." On opening night, she tied with Miss Coastal Shores Natalie Ragazzo, of Ocean City, in the swimsuit competition. 

    In Friday night's swimsuit competition, Miss Northern Lakes Jessica Ervey, of Andover, wearing a sea green bikini, was the winner.

    Tonight, the top 10 contestants -- selected by six judges -- will compete to wear the crown of Miss New Jersey and represent the state in the 2019 Miss America Competition in Atlantic City in September.

    The talent winner on the first night of competition went to Miss Seashore Line Kyra Seeley, of Middlesex, for her Irish dancing routine. 

    Other awards on opening night included the second runner-up Community Service award given Miss Avalon Lauren Staub, who also picked up the third runner-up parade award for her "Marie Antoinette" theme. The Children's MiracleMaker Award went to Miss Eastern Shore Madison Welsh.

    The final night of competition begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier. 

    Tim Hawk may be reached at thawk@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Instagram @photog_hawk and Twitter @photogthawk. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips.


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    It was a night to remember for the students of Old Bridge High School as they celebrated their prom at East Brunswick Hilton on Friday night.  Dress to impress the prom-goers enjoyed the evening as they socialized, posed for photos and danced the night away. Check back at nj.com/middlesex for other local high school prom coverage. Also be sure to check out our...

    It was a night to remember for the students of Old Bridge High School as they celebrated their prom at East Brunswick Hilton on Friday night. 

    Dress to impress the prom-goers enjoyed the evening as they socialized, posed for photos and danced the night away.

    Check back at nj.com/middlesex for other local high school prom coverage. Also be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at nj.com/prom.

    BUY THESE PHOTOS

    Are you one of the people pictured at this prom? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Look for the blue link "buy photo" below the photographer's credit to purchase the picture. You'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.


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


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    The Piscataway Township Council has unanimously approved zoning restrictions on weapons retailers.

    The all-Democratic governing body in Piscataway has unanimously approved an ordinance targeting weapons retailers -- a move apparently without precedent in N.J.

    In a 7-0 vote Thursday night, the Piscataway council signed off on the new zoning restriction, even though no such businesses currently operate in the township.

    It will prohibit gun shops from opening within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, houses of worship, university campuses -- the Rutgers University football field is in Piscataway -- medical facilities, bars and other locations.

    Councilman Steve Cahn, who was in attendance in Trenton Wednesday when Gov. Phil Murphy signed six gun control bills into law, wrote the ordinance.

    "The federal government has been willingly absent on the epidemic of gun violence," Cahn said following the vote.

    "With a president and congressional majority abhorrently mired in demagoguery, it is left to states and local governments to protect our residents, so we acted," Cahn said.

    Two members of the public spoke during the meeting, including an attorney for the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs.

    The attorney, Daniel L. Schmutter, spoke in opposition to the ordinance.

    "Unfortunately, the Township Council fundamentally misunderstands the applicable law and has passed an ordinance directly in conflict with state law and the United States Constitution," Schmutter told NJ Advance Media on Friday.

    Cahn said previously that the ordinance is modeled after a similar restriction in Alameda County, Calif., upheld in October by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

    Asked whether the ordinance might draw a legal challenge, Schmutter said, "We are considering all options at this time."

    It awaits the signature of Mayor Brian C. Wahler, a Democrat, and will take effect within about two months.

    As described in the ordinance, the zoning restriction will apply to businesses "engaged in the commercial sale and dealing of selling of handguns, longarms, rifles, other legal guns, munitions, and related firearms accessories as provided by state law."

    Piscataway is home to about 56,000 and is a Democratic-leaning municipality where Hillary Clinton received nearly three times as many votes as President Donald Trump in 2016.

    The ordinance was introduced May 8, four weeks before Cahn and three other council members held off progressive challengers in the Democratic primary.

    Rob Jennings may be reached at rjennings@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobJenningsNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    They have valid green cards. They had minor brushes with the law years ago. Why is ICE arresting them now?


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