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    Here are the 20 best games in N.J. boys soccer this week


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    The north lanes of the bridge, which crosses the Raritan River and connects Sayreville and Perth Amboy, were closed for about an hour.

    The arrest of a man armed with a rifle Tuesday forced police to close a portion of the Victory Bridge in Sayreville.

    Police did not release many details about the incident and did not say whether or not any shots were fired.

    No one was injured, Sayreville Police Lt. Robert Lasko said.

    The north lanes of the bridge, which crosses the Raritan River and connects Sayreville and Perth Amboy, were closed for about an hour but were reopened just before 6:30 p.m.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at csheldon@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Nearly 10,000 doses of heroin could have been distributed from the heroin, police say

    Two heroin mills operating out of Elizabeth and Plainfield have recently been destroyed, with the help of the FBI, the Union County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday.

    Investigators seized 93 bricks of heroin and 70 grams of raw heroin valued at approximately $100,000. Prosecutors say nearly 10,000 doses of heroin could have been distributed from the quantity.

    In total, 20 suspects were charged after prosecutors say they simultaneously executed search warrants in eight different locations on Friday, in Plainfield, North Plainfield, Middlesex Borough and Elizabeth. 

    Also seized in the investigation were blenders, sifters, scales and processing and packaging materials used to prepare the drug for sale.

    Prosecutors say the lead suspects are 40-year-old Tiesha Jackson and 50-year-old Andre Davis, who both live in Plainfield. The two were charged with second-degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance and related second- and third-degree drug offenses. 

    Seventeen of the 20 people charged in the case were arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance.  

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Five games are scheduled for this weekend that present matchups between Top 20 teams


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    See which players have had a strong start to the season.


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    Check out all of this week's changes.


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    The suspect fled when police arrived, but surrendered a short time later. The arrest caused traffic on the nearby Victory Bridge

    A Sayreville strip club employee was arrested Tuesday afternoon after he donned tactical gear, armed himself with a rifle and bolted from the club, Middlesex County authorities said Wednesday.

    At about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sayreville police received calls that an employee at Visions Gentleman Club was inside the Route 35 club with a gun, police and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

    Police arrived in time to spot the man - later identified as Kevin Smith, 32, of Keyport - hop in a car and drive away. He was wearing a ballistic vest, military-style helmet and had an AK-47-style firearm.

    Police caught up to him a short distance away and he surrendered. Smith had the firearm and a loaded magazine when cops arrested him, the statement said

    The gentleman's club is located in Sayreville's Melrose neighborhood and traffic on Route 35 at the Victory Bridge was briefly detoured during the arrest.

    "This incident quickly unfolded and the decision not to immediately confront this individual was the right choice," Sayreville Police John J. Zebrowski said in the statement

    "The restraint utilized by the responding officers defused a potentially tragic confrontation," he said.

    Investigators later found a second tactical vest and several loaded, large capacity magazines inside the manager's office at Visions and at Smith's home in Keyport, prosecutors say they seized a rifle and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition. 

    Smith, who police say uses the alias Kevin Papalia, was charged with multiple firearms felonies, and unlawful use of a body vest.  

    The fact that the incident occurred on the 9/11 anniversary led Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey to say in the statement: "On 9/11, a day in America's history where, we show our support for our first responders, we are indebted to the police officers involved in this matter for their extraordinary efforts to preserve life and keep the community safe." 

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

    Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Vishallie Verasawmi bought a 2016 BMW with the money, feds said. She and her brother are headed to prison

    A brother and sister were sentenced to prison Wednesday after being found guilty of orchestrating a $3.7 million fraud, federal prosecutors said.

    Shevandra Verasawmi, 38, of Matawan was sentenced to 87 months in prison and Vishallie Verasawmi, 37, of Green Brook, received four years, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a news release.

    The pair had been accused of sending fake invoices to a New Brunswick medical services company where Vishallie worked and had access to the accounts payable system.

    The two defrauded the company, which was not identified in court documents, into paying the Verasawmis' shell companies for services that were never provided, Carpenito said. 

    The siblings then shifted the money to their bank accounts and used the money on credit card purchases. Vishallie bought a 2016 BMW 750Li sedan with some of the money, Carpenito's office said.

    They forfeited $1,066,830 in proceeds from the scheme, along with the BMW.

    U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson sentenced the Verasawmis in Trenton federal court after a one-week trial. The jury deliberated for an hour.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    What's on the menu in New Jersey? Everything!

    Last winter, while out for a drive, I took my wife to White Rose Hamburgers in Highland Park.

    FullSizeRender_4.jpg 

    More properly, to "The White Rose System." Which, according to nj.com's Pete Genovese, "opened in 1956 or 1958 - let's say sometime in the 50s, because even the guys who work there are not sure."

    The White Rose is one of the countless food spots in New Jersey that prides itself on being different. It's NOT White Tower, and it's not White Castle. My brother made regular runs there from Rutgers for French fries in the early '70s, and it hasn't changed much since ... a good thing. The food is good and plentiful and the ambience is nothing fancy. We both absolutely enjoyed our take-out burgers.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    New Jersey is home to hundreds of unique places just like the White Rose as well as pretty much every fast food chain that's come down the pike since highways got people traveling. If you had a taste for just about anything, you've never had to go far in the Garden State to get it.

    Here's a gallery of vintage photos showing a variety of eateries in New Jersey. And here are links to some other galleries you'll enjoy.

    Vintage photos of foods for every taste in N.J.

    Vintage photos of eclectic eats in N.J.

    Vintage photos of diners in N.J.

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


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    The status of CJ Onyechi, Naijee Jones, Kobe Marfo and Malik Dixon with the Rutgers football team won't be known until October. Watch video

    The four Rutgers football players, whose status with the team won't be determined until their credit-card fraud cases are resolved, are scheduled for court appearances next week and in early October.

    Defensive end Christian "C.J.'' Onyechi, defensive back Naijee Jones, cornerback Kwabena "Kobe'' Marfo and linebacker Malik Vaccaro-Dixon were initially scheduled for preliminary hearings on Sept. 13.

    Their first appearances in Middlesex County Superior Court were rescheduled for Sept. 20, court records show.

    All four players -- along with recently transferred linebacker Syhiem Simmons and recently transferred cornerback Edwin Lopez -- also have pretrial court appearances scheduled for Oct. 11.

    In addition, linebacker Brendan DeVera and defensive back Kai "K.J.'' Gray have hearings scheduled for Oct. 11 at the Middlesex County Superior Court.

    All eight players are accused of stealing credit card numbers and transferring funds from various Rutgers University Express Accounts for their own personal use, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey.

    DeVera and Gray, who are each facing the most serious charges in an alleged credit-card fraud scheme that resulted in a theft of more than $11,000, were dismissed from the Rutgers football team in July.

    Everything you need to know about the credit card fraud scheme

    Onyechi, Jones, Marfo and Dixon are currently enrolled at Rutgers, but are not permitted to participate in football-related activities until their legal matters are resolved, according to Rutgers coach Chris Ash.

    Off to a 1-1 start, Rutgers will play at Kansas on Saturday.

    If Onyechi, Jones, Marfo and Dixon have their cases resolved Oct. 11, it will mean they will have already missed half of the 2018 season.

    An Oct. 13 game at Maryland marks Game 7 on Rutgers' 12-game schedule.

    A 21-year old Port Charlotte, Fla., native who transferred to Rutgers from the Eastern Arizona Community College, Dixon was charged with money laundering in the third degree, fraudulent use of credit cards in the third degree and conspiracy to commit theft by deception in the third degree.

    A 19-year old West Orange native, Onyechi was charged with fraudulent use of credit cards in the third degree and conspiracy to commit theft by deception in the third degree.

    A 21-year old Alexandria, Va., native, Marfo was charged with money laundering in the third degree, fraudulent use of credit cards in the third degree and conspiracy to commit theft by deception in the third degree.

    An 18-year old Erial resident, Jones was charged with fraudulent use of credit cards in the third degree and conspiracy to commit theft by deception in the third degree.

    Keith Sargeant may be reached at ksargeant@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KSargeantNJ. Find NJ.com Rutgers Football on Facebook.


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    See the first regular-season edition of the boys soccer Top 20.


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    Which girls have already given their verbal commit to play girls soccer.


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    The nasty mayoral race in Carteret is shaping up to be one of New Jersey's most explosive of 2018.

    Fred Gattuso's opponents say he spouts racist rants online. He says they fabricated the posts. And that's just the beginning.

    It's still months out, but the Carteret mayoral race in which Gattuso, the Republican challenger, is taking on long-time incumbent Dan Reiman -- a powerful Democrat in a predominantly blue county -- is already turning heads.

    Last week, a group of local religious leaders said Gattuso should withdraw his candidacy, claiming he posted a series of racist, sexist and anti-Semitic comments on social media between 2009 and 2013.

    Gattuso blasted his opponent and the event, denying the posts they referred to existed.

    "Those posts were never there," Gattuso said, asserting that the images were doctored to make them look like they came from his social media accounts. Gattuso said his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts have all been private since 2008.

    During the Sept. 6 press conference, Carteret faith leaders from various religions and denominations spoke out against Gattuso and his alleged social media posts.

    "Fred Gattuso should be ashamed of himself," Rabbi Azriel Brown, of the Jewish Community Center in Carteret, said in a statement. "I'd like to think that he just failed to adapt to the times, but his comments are so heinous, it is clear that he is filled with hate and vitriol, and sees nothing wrong with spewing his offensive comments and anger in public forums."

    Brown, who has been in the Carteret community for 13 years, said he had never heard of or met Gattuso before he was asked to participate in the protest, but he had met Reiman several times. Reiman's administration "just finished a drainage system this summer," he said, that should help prevent flooding in the synagogue and surrounding areas. 

    "Fred (Gattuso) has a long, long history of racist comments and sexist slander," Reiman said. "They've called him 'Sick-in-the-head Fred' for a reason."

    Screenshots of the alleged posts include derogatory comments directed at former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as Muslims.  

    Gattuso blamed the Reiman campaign for what he said were a series of false statements and fabricated images.

    "This is not just trying to knock me out of a campaign, they are trying to ruin my life," Gattuso said.

    NJ Advance Media was unable to verify either camp's claims.

    Reiman is running for his fifth term on promises to continue to attract business to the borough, create a ferry terminal to Manhattan, and finish construction on the Carteret Performing Arts and Events Center. Gattuso said he decided to run in order to create better schools and encourage more political representation throughout the borough.

    The "Carteret General Democratic Organization" is credited with creating a website featuring photos of Gattuso alongside his alleged racist comments. The comments were first reported by an anonymous author in the Carteret Communicator, which appears to be a community news website where local achievements and events are featured.

    It was unclear who runs the website, which was created in April, but whoever bought the domain paid to kept their name anonymous, according to records from GoDaddy.com.

    "I have no idea who is behind the Carteret Communicator or who owns the domain," said Jon Salonis, who has been a public information officer for the borough since April.

    Salonis sent out a press release prior to the faith leader conference and assisted in documenting Gattuso's alleged posts.

    He maintains that the social media posts, some of which he described as "downright pornographic," came from Gattuso's accounts and were public, until just before the faith leader conference.

    "They are not fabricated," Salonis said. "They are one-hundred percent real."

    In an initial interview with NJ Advance Media, Salonis said he has no official role with the Reiman campaign. Reiman said Salonis was a media advisor and consultant for his campaign. Reiman's campaign hired Salonis' company, War Room Consulting, he said.

    During a second interview with NJ Advance Media, Salonis clarified his role: "My company War Room Consulting does consulting with the campaign but I have no official role as an individual."

    He said the LLC does not employ anyone but occasionally has interns to assist with operations. Incorporation documents acquired from the New Jersey Department of the Treasury list Salonis as the only owner.

    Reiman.jpegReiman has been mayor since he was elected at the age of 26. (Courtesy Jon Salonis)
     

    In 2015, Salonis made news in Ocean County when he distributed screenshots of a township official's racist posts. The Asbury Park Press reported that Salonis operated the "Jersey Shore Insider," a regional Democratic Party website. 

    Borough Democratic Municipal Chairman Joseph Gasparro and two others filed a complaint in July with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commision, claiming Gattuso used a GoFund Me account to fundraise, failed to disclose reports with the ELEC, and solicited cryptocurrencies, according to a My Central Jersey article. Gattuso denied any wrongdoing, saying the GoFund Me was legal and did not act as his main depository.

    According to contribution metrics from the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, Gattuso reported receiving no money for his 2018 mayoral race, while Reiman has received over $177,000. However, Gattuso said his team received about $3,000 for the primary race and his expenditure reports aren't due to the ELEC until Oct. 9.

    According to the 2010 US Census, Carteret is home to about 23,966 people. The ethnic composition of the population is 32 percent Hispanic, 31 percent White, 20 percent Asian, and 14 percent Black. Reiman's annual salary is $116,355 according to payroll documents acquired through and open records request last year.

    Carteret's elections will be on Nov. 6, with polls open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to the Municipal Clerk's office. Reiman won the Mayoral race four years ago, with 3,285 votes, against Republican challenger Kevin Urban, who received 682 votes.

    Cassidy Grom may be reached at cgrom@njadvancemedia.com Follow her at @cassidygrom. Find NJ.com on Facebook.Have a tip? Tell us nj.com/tips


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    Which players have made an impact early in the season?


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    Brett Donner, a 21-year old Wall resident, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault following an alleged incident in New Brunswick. Watch video

    Rutgers University wrestler has been charged with aggravated assault stemming a Sept. 4 fight in New Brunswick, according to a Rutgers University Police Department community alert. 

    Brett Donner, a redshirt sophomore on the Rutgers wrestling team, was arrested on Sept. 11 following an investigation by Rutgers' police.

    Donner, a 21-year old Wall Township resident, was charged with third-degree aggravated assault for allegedly attempting to cause significant bodily injury, according to court records obtained by NJ Advance Media.

    The incident was reported to have occurred at about 1 a.m. on Easton Avenue near Courtland Street in New Brunswick, according to a RUPD crime notification on Sept. 4.

    Rutgers wrestling coach Scott Goodale declined comment when reached late Thursday night.

    A person with knowledge of the situation told NJ Advance Media that Donner has been suspended from the team until his legal situation is resolved.

    "We are aware of the situation and gathering facts,'' said Kevin Lorincz, Rutgers' senior associate athletic director for communications. "We will have no further comment as this is a pending legal matter.''

    Where Nick Suriano, Rutgers stand in weight class deliberation as practice begins

    Donner, who wrestles at the 165-pound weight class, redshirted as a freshman and then compiled a 7-9 record for the Scarlet Knights last season. In addition to placing fifth in two tournaments, Donner competed for Rutgers at the Midlands Championships last December.

    He finished 97-6 in four seasons at Wall High School, and placed third at the NJISAA Tournament in 2014 (160 pounds) and in 2016 (170 pounds).

    The Rutgers wrestling team is set to return three national qualifiers from a 2017-18 campaign that included an 8-7 record in dual matches and the program's best team-finish (11th)  at the NCAA Championships in 2018.

    The Scarlet Knights open their season Nov. 3 with a dual against Fresno State.

    Keith Sargeant may be reached at ksargeant@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KSargeantNJ. Find NJ.com Rutgers Football on Facebook.


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    An Old Bridge man spotted the 2-foot alligator while walking his dog near a pond.

    A man taking his dog for a walk found a 2-foot alligator in a pond in Old Bridge on Thursday, the town's animal shelter said. 

    The state's Division of Fish and Wildlife contacted the Old Bridge Animal Shelter and asked them to remove it from a pond on Brookside Avenue off Englishtown Road.

    Alligator found in this nuisance Atlantic City motel

    "It was then transported to Fish and Wildlife so, no, he is not up for adoption. But we have decided we do have some pretty brave and versatile animal control officers," the Old Bridge Animal Shelter said in a lighthearted Facebook post.

    The pond is close to Duhernal Lake near the border of Old Bridge and Spotswood. 

    It appears to have been found by Christoper Vita, an Old Brigde resident who posted a photo on his Facebook page of the alligator covered by a net. Vita didn't immediately reply to a message from NJ Advance Media seeking additional information. 

    The Division of Fish and Wildlife couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

    In 2004, a man was seen walking a 4-foot alligator on a leash at a basketball court in the Laurence Harbor section of Old Bridge, according to a report at the time in the Home News Tribune. The alligator was seized and the 25-year-old walking the gator was issued a summons possession of a potentially dangerous species.

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

     


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    Find out which freshmen stood out in each conference this week.


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    Week 2 in NJ football produces a landslide of memorable moments across the state


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    Do you wear your Jersey pride on your sleeve? Your ink might have made our list.


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    Rutgers leaders snipped the ribbon, formally opening their new $115 million science building yesterday.

    Rutgers leaders formally opened their new $115 million science building Friday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony with school officials.

    The Chemistry and Chemical Biology building was funded largely by New Jersey's Building Our Future Bond Act, which voters chose to pass in a referendum question in 2012. It authorized $750 million in bonds to the state's public and private colleges and universities. 

    The four-story facility in Piscataway has everything students and researchers need to perform state-of-the-art research, school authorities said. It has a humidity and temperature-controlled climate, a microscopy suite, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and x-ray crystallography laboratories.

    Plus, the ground floor is vibration-free.

    "In lots of areas of chemistry, you need total control of the environment," said John Brennan, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. "If there is a nuclear bomb going off in New York City, you won't be able to feel it here."

    Research Assistant Christopher Rathnam described the contrast between Rutgers' old facilities and the new 144,000-square-foot building, as the difference between "night and day." Before, Rathnam and other researchers might have had to transport materials for their experiments between three different buildings to run the proper tests. Humid and rainy days made the endeavor all but impossible in some cases; the materials would absorb the moisture, changing their chemical makeup.

    Now, almost all the machines Rathnam and his colleagues need are in one building, in a controlled environment. Researchers expect that the additional hoods -- or ventilated workstations -- should expedite the testing processes.

    Rutgers researchers and students have already advanced science in areas including synthetic drug design and weapon detection, Jean Baum, vice dean of research and graduate education, said. And the new building should help recruit more top-talent, she added. 

    Some rooms in the building were empty, waiting for high-tech equipment to soon fill the spaces. But the third and fourth floors were full, with researchers working away.

    Tariq Bhatti, a fourth-year Ph.D. student, showed off a workstation where sensitive chemicals could be stored and studied in an oxygen-free environment, giving them a longer shelf life.

    "In my opinion, this is like the best Lego set ever," he said.

    More than 6,000 Rutgers students take chemistry courses each semester and many will now use the new classrooms and labs, according to Neal Buccino, associate director of public and media relations.

    Other Jersey colleges previously used the Building Our Future money to invest in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) programs. In October 2017, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) opened its $76 million STEM center, $40 million of which came from the bond. Essex County College debuted its $6.7 million "information commons" in November 2017 that was also partially paid for by the bond.

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

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