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    The State Police thanked the public for help detectives received in locating the girl

    NEW BRUNSWICK - The 11-year-old girl reported missing in New Brunswick on Thursday has been found safe, according to the State Police.

    14125490_1079392458781962_3588193069076855180_o.jpgKarla Zamora (New Jersey State Police)

    Karla Zamora had been missing since Thursday morning and police issued an alert seeking assistance in locating her, noting that she may have been in a black Honda Accord with a New Jersey license plate.

    Police did not say where she was found, but thanked the public for assistance.

    "We would like to thank everyone for liking and sharing this post," the State Police said on its Facebook page. "The attention generated assisted detectives in locating Karla Zamora in safe condition."

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

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    Pets throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    Last week, I wrote about the money pet owners will spend on gifts for their furry friends this holiday season. But, what are the options for people on a budget -- or, for those, like me, who are just plain cheap? has some suggestions for low-cost, and even no-cost, pet gifts.

    Some household items make great cat toys. If you were going to throw out old shower curtain rings, toilet paper cardboard tubes or just plain empty boxes, your kitty can have hours of fun with them instead.

    A simple homemade dog toy can be made by inserting an empty plastic water bottle into an old sock, then tying a knot in the end. Dogs love the crunching sound.

    If it's okay for your dog to have peanut butter, give him or her the old plastic jar before you throw it out; it'll provide lasting fun for your dog and for you watching.

    Those little bell balls that were all the rage on shoelaces can be tied to a doorknob with string to make cat toys all around your house.

    Finally, you can make a durable pull toy for your dog by braiding long strips of old clothes.

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    A truly memorable decade.

    If you're not in your 40s or older, you likely don't remember Arthur C. Clarke, a British historian, inventor and writer who hosted a number of television shows in the 1980s. Clarke also co-wrote the screenplay for the 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey."

    In the 1960s, those who looked to what the future might bring tended toward "Jetsons" visions of 21st century America, complete with cities in the clouds and flying cars. Clarke made some of his predictions in 1964 as to what life might be like 50 years later and, unlike his contemporaries, many of his predictions were spot-on.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    While not naming them, Clarke foresaw both internet and cellular technology by noting that people of the future would have instant contact with anyone anywhere on earth and that business could be conducted from any location in the world. He saw what we call telecommuting as becoming available to many workers.

    Clarke predicted robotic surgery and noted that surgeons on one continent could treat patients on another. He saw people volunteering for cryogenic suspension and saw bioengineering, including cloning of animals, as scientific fact in the future.

    Clarke almost perfectly described 3D printers being able to "replicate" solid items and predicted that computers, barely out of the vacuum tube era in 1964, would eventually be able to start thinking for themselves ... artificial intelligence.

    Here's a look at the way things were in New Jersey back when those concepts were science fiction, not fact. And here are links to more galleries you might enjoy.

    Vintage photos of the 1950s in N.J.

    Vintage photos of N.J. in the 1960s

    Vintage photos of the 1970s in N.J.

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

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    Veteran Star-Ledger journalist was Pulitzer finalist in 2013

    The newspaper was never wrapped in plastic and tossed in the driveway. It was nestled in the skinny space between the storm and front doors of our house in Summit, dry and intact.

    That is where I found The Star-Ledger every day after school, for as long as I can remember.

    Many people my age recall getting The Newark Evening News until it folded in 1972, but I don't. We always were a Star-Ledger family.

    Like most boys my age, I went right to the Sports section. First stop was Jerry Izenberg. The guy had the best job in the world, writing about sports, and I knew I wanted to do that someday.

    The dreams of that prepubescent boy came true, as did others.  Those dreams began with this newspaper and today the "working part" of this wonderful half-century association comes to an end. This is my farewell column.

    I say the working part because I will always be associated with this paper. It is, and will remain, my identity. My obituary will say "former Star-Ledger columnist," foremost.

     I'm proud of that. I always was, and always will be. Every time I introduced myself or made a call and said the words "Mark Di Ionno, from The Star-Ledger," I felt a heart race of pride. It was a physical effect.

    Each time I received a letter or email or, later, an appreciative comment on, I felt publicly validated. Each time a reader reached out with a problem to solve or a story to tell, I felt called upon to do something meaningful. There were thousands upon thousands of those communications over the years. Thank you all -- for reading, for reaching out, for your part in that telepathic relationship between writer and reader. I was blessed to have you all on the receiving end of my work.

    At Thanksgiving this year, I wrote a column about the practice of gratitude. Several of you sensed I was winding down and wondered if that was a farewell column. Let's say it was Part I, because when I look back on my career, all I can think is how grateful I am it unfolded this way.

    Mostly, I'm grateful for the all the friendships I made in this frenetic business, the bonds formed chasing stories, making deadlines and reflecting on whatever good it accomplished. There are too people to name. But over the years I have had mentors, and people I have mentored, people who were like big brothers and sisters to me, or I to them. We were a Star-Ledger family.

    When all is said and done, it's not the stories or awards that matter. It's the people I loved. And loved working with.  And loved talking with. I loved coming to the newsroom every day and still do. That's the hardest part of leaving.

    The recent evolution of this business is well-documented but, technology aside, media always has been a young person's business. It needs fresh eyes, fresh legs and fresh ideas. A smart man knows when to move over.

    Accepting that now allows me to evolve as a writer and make a greater investment in my novels. A theme of my most recent, "Gods of Wood & Stone," is about staying relevant. A retired ballplayer headed to the Hall of Fame feels lost and fears all he is, is who he was. The other main character, a Cooperstown blacksmith, fights to make history relevant in a sports- and celebrity-obsessed world. I know the feeling of both.

    Readers of this column know I used it to advocate for better promotion of New Jersey's under-appreciated Revolutionary War history. I'm especially thankful to have the opportunity and voice to do that.

    Thankful is the best word to sum up how I feel about my career. Lucky is the second-best word.

    Fresh out of the Navy, I was lucky to get Izenberg in a sports writing course at Rutgers-Newark, and he became my lifelong mentor. In appreciation, I dedicated my first novel, "The Last Newspaperman" to him.

    In a few short years, I, too, was a sports columnist at the New York Post.

    In New York, I was lucky to get to know Pete Hamill, and the world of a street columnist enticed me. I dreamed of that job, and eventually got it here, in my home state at my home paper.

    My former editor, Jim Willse, despite being a New Yorker, luckily appreciated my Jersey authenticity, in both knowledge and voice and gave me this space. His successor, Kevin Whitmer, let me keep it, through very tough times. I'm grateful to both.  

    My first column editor, David Tucker, and I were a high-wire act. A poet, he understood the cadence of language. He knew exactly what a column needed to sing but, like all great editors, also knew to get out the way and let me do the singing. Same for Rosemary Parrillo, who took over after David retired. I was lucky to have both.

    I'm grateful that my career here dates enough years to have worked for both Sid Dorfman and Mort Pye, the shoulders on which this paper's editorial legacy was built. I am the last person in the company to have worked for both. That's how much this place is in my DNA.

    It was Sid - he was always just "Sid" to the people who worked for him -- who helped me make the transition from sports to news by saying the magic words all journalists dream of.

    "Do what you want," he said. "Go out and find the stories and write them."

    I did that, the best I could.

    And there is one more piece of gratitude and luck I have to mention.

    When I came to work at The Star-Ledger in 1990, I got to learn so much about this crazy state of ours.

    It, too, became part of my DNA and I was determined to represent it, and its people, well. I covered New Jersey. I never seriously looked to go anywhere else. I wanted to end my journalism career at The Star-Ledger, New Jersey's greatest newspaper.

    And now I have.

    Mark Di Ionno may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MarkDiIonno or at

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    Dogs and cat throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    If you're interested in helping homeless animals but aren't able to adopt one, there are a number of other ways you can be of assistance.

    Realistically, not everyone can adopt. People who live in apartments or developments that have no-pets policies fall into that category, as do people with allergies or disabilities that will not allow them to care for pets of their own. offers these suggestions for ways people who want to help can participate in caring for homeless animals.

    * Help out at a local shelter. It's not glamorous work by any means, but it's vital and will be very much appreciated. You can do anything from help walk dogs to bottle feed kittens, help clean kennels or cats' cages or even help with bathing and grooming. Contact your local shelter to find out their policies regarding volunteers.

    * If you're handy, you can lend a hand in many ways. Shelters usually need repairs of many kinds, so fixer-uppers can help out like that. If you sew, quilt or crochet, you can make blankets for your local shelter.

    * Help out at an adoption event. Many shelters and rescue groups participate in local events by hosting a table with pets available for adoption. They also hold these program at malls, pet supply stores and banks, and can always use a helping hand.

    * For galleries like this one and for online adoptions sites, often a shelter or rescue group doesn't have the time or equipment to shoot good photos of their adoptable pets. Something as simple as making yourself available to shoot and provide digital files of pet photos can be a big help.

    * Donate. It doesn't have to be money; shelters need cleaning supplies, pet food, toys for the animals and often even things we don't think twice about getting rid of like old towels and newspapers. Every little bit helps.

    If you don't know where your local animal shelter or rescue group is, a quick online search will reveal a number of results. It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to get involved but it provides immeasurable assistance.

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

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    Millville is home to the nation's largest holly orchard.

    By now, holiday music has been playing on the radio and in stores for weeks. Some people can't get enough; others can't wait until it's over.

    xmas1962vineland2.jpgLisa Hatala ready to rock out on her brand new Schroeder piano in 1964. 

    There was a time when it was almost an obligation for a top-selling artist to release a Christmas-themed single or album.

    Sometimes, it didn't represent the artist's best work. Esquire magazine ran an article in 2016 that included one writer's list of the worst Christmas songs of all time (by well-known artists, that is). The list includes "Wonderful Christmas Time" (Paul McCartney and Wings), "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" (Bruce Springsteen) and "Oh Holy Night" (Christina Aguilera).

    How about the best? We'd have to base that on sales, and music sales have become a lot less simple to count.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    There was a time when sales simply meant the number of records purchased; now, with the internet, things have had to change. There are downloads instead of straight purchases and then there's streaming - according to new parameters set by the Recording Industry Association of America, for example, 150 streams of a song equals one paid download.

    So with that in mind, here are the top 10 Christmas songs of all time through 2017, according to Billboard:

    10.  "Last Christmas" (Wham!) 1984

    9.  "White Christmas" (Bing Crosby) 1943

    8.  "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) 1996

    7.  "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" (Andy Williams) 1963

    6.  "A Holly Jolly Christmas" (Burl Ives) 1964

    5.  "Feliz Navidad" (Jose Feliciano) 1970

    4.  "Jingle Bell Rock" (Bobby Helms) 1956

    3.  "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)" (Nat King Cole) 1953

    2.  "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (Brenda Lee) 1964

    1.  "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (Mariah Carey) 1994

    Here's a gallery of New Jerseyans celebrating Christmas through the years. And here are links to more Christmas galleries you might enjoy.

    Vintage N.J. Christmas photos

    Vintage photos of celebrating Christmas in N.J.

    More vintage photos of celebrating Christmas in N.J.

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

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    Pets throughout New Jersey await adoption at shelters and rescues.

    Better Homes and Gardens ( has some sound advice if you've ever felt the impulse to by a pet for the holidays.

    "Adding a pet to the family is a long-term commitment. It's a decision that needs input from everyone who would care for the animal. That's why pets should not be given as holiday gifts.

    The scene has been replayed so often in popular culture that it has come to symbolize the holidays as much as tinsel and candy canes: A shopper, with freshly wrapped packages bulging out of two different bags, casually walks by a pet store window as the snow falls gently around her. The puppies behind the glass, all floppy ears and paws, madly scramble over each other trying to capture the shopper's attention. The temptation is too great. The shopper whisks into the store and impulsively purchases an animal for her beloved.

    This season, many shoppers will buy a dog or cat to give to a friend or loved one. Their motivations can be as varied as the snowflake: Some will buy an animal on impulse, some because they're caught up in the spirit of the season, and some just because the doggie looks so darn cute in the pet shop window.

    None of them is the right reason to add a new pet to the family.

    Adding a pet to the family is a serious, long-term commitment. It's a decision that needs input from everyone who would be involved in caring for the animal. What type of animal would have a personality most compatible with a person or family? Who would be the primary caregiver of the pet? How much will it cost to feed and provide veterinary care? Who would look after the animal during trips? Could someone be allergic to the pet?

    Instead of buying a puppy or kitten as a gift, consider waiting to adopt a pet after the holidays. You could give a loved one a "gift certificate" from a local shelter, or a snapshot of a shelter pet, or even a stuffed animal representing a shelter pet-all which can be used as "passports" to adopt an animal later. This not only promotes responsible adoption, but provides a little fun, too.

    After the holidays, if your loved ones decide they are indeed willing and able to adopt a pet, you can bring them down to the local shelter where they can use their 'passport' to adopt their new friend.

    The alternative to this scenario can be sadder than the Island of Misfit Toys."

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

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    "You don't take a photograph, you make it." -- Ansel Adams

    I'm pretty sure I wasn't alone in giving a mental thumbs up to the TV screen when watching one of the installments in Rocket Mortgage's "Lingo" commercial series.

    In the installment, a couple is in an art gallery near a man who offers his interpretation of a painting of a gray dot. "And here we see the artist making an attempt to bare his soul," he says with emotion ... after which Keegan-Michael Key pops in behind the couple and translates for them: "It's just a gray dot."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    So, as the cliche says, art is in the eye of the beholder. And, it occurs to me -- someone who has combed through thousands and thousands of photographs shot by folks who do not consider themselves artists -- it's sad to think of all of the gallery-worthy art that will never be pondered. In the genre of photography, I can't possibly be the first person to think that if you took the work of everyday people -- those not considered artists -- and hung their pictures in galleries, art would be on display.

    We see photos taken by everyday people that, intentionally or not, mirror many of the things that we've been told make for great art. Here, we're providing a gallery of beautiful photos taken in New Jersey that are more than just gray dots.

    And here are some other vintage photo galleries you might enjoy.

    The vintage N.J. photos that touched us in 2017

    More vintage N.J. photos that are works of art

    Even more vintage photos from N.J. that are works of art

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

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    Consider a new pet in the new year from a shelter or rescue.

    Here is this week's collection of some of the dogs and cats in need of adoption in New Jersey.

    If you're considering a new pet in 2019, think about adopting from one of these or the scores of other shelters and rescues throughout the state.

    We are now accepting dogs and cats to appear in the gallery from nonprofit shelters and rescues throughout New Jersey. If a group wishes to participate in this weekly gallery on, please contact Greg Hatala at

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

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    2018 gave 21 Kings a big bump locally when the group surprisingly won the JC Studios Battle of the Bands in September.

    The rock 'n' roll trio 21 Kings plans on a big 2019, which they'll be kicking off this Friday, Jan. 5, at Downtown Jersey City's FM Bar & Lounge.

    Guitarist/singer Stefan Iseldyke, bassist/vocalist Jon Nicosia, and Jon's older brother, drummer Steve Nicosia, have been playing together for a few years, trying to gain traction in scenes like Asbury Park and Brooklyn.

    But 2018 gave 21 Kings a big bump locally when the group surprisingly won the JC Studios Battle of the Bands in September. That, in turn, helped generate interest in "Things I Couldn't Say," the EP the group released a month later.

    "We're all from East Brunswick originally," explained Jon, who now lives in Jersey City. "I met Stefan when we were about 14, and he started playing guitar and I picked up the bass, and we started learning how to play all our favorite pop-punk songs. We loved Green Day (still do), Blink-182, Sum 41, that kind of stuff."

    Jon and Stefan would hang around and watch Jon's older brother Steve play in bands.

    "He was actually a guitar player then, so I picked up the bass so we could play together at home," Jon said. "We loved Blink-182 so much at that point that I actually went out and bought the Mark Hopper Signature Bass, which I still have. I've always found that bass is a great instrument because everyone else always wants to play guitar or the drums. I could always find a band that needed a bassist."

    The guys grew up playing covers of their favorite songs in a variety of lineups.

    "We'd play barbecues and birthday parties. Our parents loved it and always wanted us to play," Jon recalled.

    When he went to Rutgers, he wound up in a couple of bands that would play in dorms and lounges.

    "It wasn't until late 2015 that Steve came to Stefan and I and said, 'Hey, I've been writing a couple of songs, how would you guys feel about playing some originals together?'" Jon said. "We were half-serious about it, until Stefan's dad, who's always been very gung-ho about our playing, suggested we enter a Stone Pony battle of the bands called Rock to the Top."

    The band surprised itself by lasting four rounds into the competition and coming in fourth place.

    "That really lit a fire under our butts, and got us to thinking that we might have something here," Jon said. "By that time, we had written a few songs and recorded our first EP. And we just kept going from there."

    Ironically, Jon's Rutgers band never played New Brunswick's fabled basement-show scene.

    "I knew it was going on, but I just didn't know the right people so we'd just play lounges and Ag Field Day, which is a big thing at Rutgers," he said.

    Now, a former bandmate is organizing DIY shows in New Brunswick.

    "He's trying to legitimize that scene and make it a little more respectable, so we're looking forward to playing some of these new venues in 2019," Jon said. "It's exciting that 10 years after I graduated college there, I'll actually get to play some of those shows."

    It was the 2017 JC Studios Battle of the Bands in Jersey City that caught Jon's attention.

    "I've been living in Jersey City for about five years, and I remember that I saw it on Dancing Tony's Rockit-Docket website or something like that and realized that we had just missed the cut off by a day," he said. "So I made a list and promised myself that we'd enter the next year.

    "By that point, we'd been playing in the area a lot," Jon recalled. "We played Maxwell's a few times before it closed and the Pet Shop, and some other North Jersey stuff. So we figured this Battle of the Bands thing would be another good Jersey City thing to play, just for a little exposure. Lo and behold, we never thought we'd actually win. It came as a complete surprise. I remember when the first judge was ready to speak and we thought, okay, here it comes ... but then it was just nice things from everybody. It completely blew us away."

    Musically, 21 Kings doesn't fit into any simple niche, other than to say the group plays rock music with electric guitars.

    "The three of us have certain things that we all like but a lot of it doesn't really cross over," Jon said. "I think that's why we all bring a different element to our sound. My brother's still really into that pop-punk sound, but my favorite band is Rush. I love classic rock and some of that prog-rock stuff. And Stefan's really an all-around guy. He likes old classic rock too but he's hugely into hip hop, both the old stuff and modern artists. And, of course, we all really love the Clash and the Beatles. So I think we're really well rounded."

    Part of that, Jon noted, could be traced to growing up in music-loving families.

    "Both Steve's and my dad and Stefan's dad are super music guys," he said. "I can remember being five or six years old, playing with my toy trucks on the floor, and my dad was cranking out his vinyl, from the Who to disco. Stefan's dad was a CBGB's guy who spent a lot of time in '70s Manhattan in the punk scene. So we had a really good background."

    For 2019, 21 Kings plans on more recording and playing out as much as possible. "We're always looking for shows," Jon said. "It's time for us to revisit some of our old haunts, like the Saint in Asbury Park. Maxwell's is gone, but FM is here now and there are lots of other opportunities and scenes, and we're hoping to be playing out a lot."

    If you go ...

    21 Kings will perform with The Fuzz and Smoke & Mirror Routine at FM Bar & Lounge, 340 Third St., Jersey City, on Friday, Jan. 5. Showtime is 8 p.m.; admission is $5.

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    "Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway."

    Asphalt is a naturally occurring building material found in both asphalt lakes and in rock asphalt (a mixture of sand, limestone, and asphalt).

    According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the first recorded use of asphalt as a road building material was in Babylon around 615 BC, in the reign of King Nabopolassar. Its first appearance as a historical marvel in popular literature might be in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie" when she wrote about arriving in Topeka, Kansas:

    "In the very midst of the city, the ground was covered by some dark stuff that silenced all the wheels and muffled the sound of hoofs. It was like tar, but Papa was sure it was not tar, and it was something like rubber, but it could not be rubber because rubber cost too much. We saw ladies all in silks and carrying ruffled parasols, walking with their escorts across the street. Their heels dented the street, and while we watched, these dents slowly filled up and smoothed themselves out. It was as if that stuff were alive. It was like magic."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    New Jersey, first in so many things when it comes to things we sometimes take for granted, was also part of a first for asphalt. In 1870, Belgian chemist Edmund DeSmedt laid the first true asphalt pavement in the Unites States in front of the City Hall in Newark.

    NAPA notes that today asphalt covers more than 94 percent of the paved roads in the United States.

    Here's a look at street scenes from throughout New Jersey, many on roads paved in asphalt. And here are links to other galleries you might enjoy.

    More vintage photos of N.J. street scenes

    More vintage photos of streets and roads in N.J.

    More vintage photos of street scenes in N.J.

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

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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    The year 2018 is over, but the drive to 'Clear the Shelters' goes on.

    'Clear the Shelters' is an annual pet adoption drive sponsored by NBC- and Telemundo-owned television stations across the country. More than 91,900 pets were adopted since the 2018 event was launched in July, over 26,000 on August 18 alone. By year's end, a total of 102,686 pets found homes as part of the drive.

    The program began in North Texas in 2014 as a partnership among the NBC and Telemundo stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted that first year, the most in a single day in North Texas.

    The need remains great to find homes for the millions of homeless animals in the United States. The number of animals entering shelters each year is about 6.5 million, 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Though the number has declined from about 7.2 million in 2011, with the biggest drop in the number of dogs, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals end up being euthanized each year.

    On the happier side, about 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted annually and another 710,000 are returned to their owners.

    Clear the Shelters began in North Texas in 2014 as a partnership among the NBC and Telemundo stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted that first year, the most in a single day in North Texas.

    For more information, go to

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

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    When you least expect it ....

    What's a "candid" photo? Pretty much anything that hasn't been staged. By "staged," I can mean anything from a publicity photo to a group shot of family all standing in the same pose.


    Why do we like candid photos so much? A friend of mine explained it, and I can't possibly do any better:

    "There is something compelling about pictures where the subjects don't know they are being photographed. A sort of invitation into a moment in time unfettered by vanity or awareness that just captures a split second of life."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    And even when the subjects are aware of the camera, simply going about living and enjoying life make these photos priceless.

    Always one of our most popular galleries, here are split seconds of life from New Jersey's past, with a few classic photobombs thrown in for good measure.

    And here are link to other similar galleries you'll enjoy.

    Vintage candid photos from N.J.

    Vintage N.J. candid photos

    Vintage candid photos in N.J.

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

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    The two undefeated 133-pounders will meet Sunday in Piscataway.

    On Friday night, a fired-up Nick Suriano held up two fingers, yelled "Two days" and pointed to the Rutgers mat, starting the clock on his highly anticipated 133-pound matchup against Oklahoma State freshman Daton Fix. 

    When Fix finished off a technical fall over Princeton's Jonathan Gomez on Saturday afternoon, early in a 27-12 Oklahoma State victory over the host Tigers, he made no counter statement, quickly jogging off the mat.

    Suriano is ranked No. 3 by Intermat and Fix No. 4, while FloWrestling has Suriano No. 2 and Fix No. 6. Both are undefeated this season.

    No. 3 OSU tops No. 25 Princeton  

    In 2014, Suriano beat Fix, 3-1, in the Who's No. 1 Duals. In a match with no overtime time limit, Suriano scored the winning takedown over 26 minutes into the extra period in what is considered the longest high school match ever. 

    Fix didn't have a chance to talk about the impending showdown after Saturday's match as Oklahoma State coach John Smith didn't make the standout freshman available to the media. 

    Oklahoma State junior Nick Piccininni wrestled Suriano in the match two years ago where Suriano hurt his ankle, ending his one and only season at Penn State. Piccininni said Fix's path to victory Sunday would be a simple one. 

    "Be Daton, that's it, be Daton," said Piccininni. "Just be Daton Fix and he's going to win." 

    Piccininni, a redshirt junior and All-American, said he learns from working with Fix every day. Piccininni defeated Princeton's Pat Glory, 9-4, on Saturday.

    "Daton's world-class, it's great to work out with him," said Piccininni. "He gets me better and I think I get him a little bit better, but it's a learning experience every time I go with him. 

    "Daton is a different breed. Nobody has to talk to him (about Sunday). He knows what he needs to do, and I don't think anybody has to tell him anything. He's way ahead of his time. He's a beast, he's talented and he's on his way to being something great." 

    Smith said the big showdown is nothing new to his prized freshman. 

    "He's been in a lot of big matches, he's wrestled in world championships, so it's just another big match to him, it's not anything more," said Smith. "He's ready. He's always ready. He's been ready since he was born. I've seen him wrestle since he was 5, 6 years old."

    Smith said he didn't Suriano's gesture on Friday night. 

    "I didn't follow it, but we'll be there," said Smith.

    Asked if he watched all 33 minutes of Suriano and Fix's previous encounter four years ago, Smith said he did. 

    "I've seen that, I watched that a lot," said Smith. "But that can't happen again in our rules."

    Bill Evans can be reached at or by leaving a note in the comments below. Follow him on Twitter @BEvansSports. Like our High School Wrestling Facebook Page.

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    The legenadary Oklahoma State coach had a lot to talk about after his team's 26-5 win on Sunday, including a scuffle at the end of the 149-pound match with Kaden Gfeller and Anthony Ashnault and extending the contract with Rutgers.

    Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith was pleased with the atmosphere and the dual meet against Rutgers on Sunday - maybe even more so than his team's dominant performance in a 26-5 rout of the host Scarlet Knights

    Maybe Smith will be back in June. Final X - a tournament which will determine the United States' qualifiers for the world team in men's and women's freestyle and men's Greco - will be at Rutgers on June 8, one of two sites along with the University of Nebraska. 

    Suriano-Fix controversy

    Smith, a six-time world champion, has done commentary for the U.S. qualifiers in the past. Sunday's crowd of 7,545 was the second-highest in Rutgers Athletic Center history behind last year's Penn state match

    "I thought it was a great event, it was good to see the support," said Smith of Sunday's dual. "It's pretty exciting. I'd like to keep Rutgers on the schedule. I'm glad we got a chance to come here. I'd like to keep the dual meet. We definitely like to recruit out here." 

    The match within the match was a showdown between Rutgers junior Nick Suriano and Oklahoma State freshman Daton Fix. There were three review stoppages - including 12 minutes for a locked hands call that was overturned - and the 31-minute bout ended when Suriano was called for hands to the face, giving Fix a 3-2 victory. 

    For the second straight day, Smith declined to make Fix available to the media. Oklahoma State defeated Princeton, 27-12, on Saturday

    "There were some tough calls and some things neither side really understood," said Smith of the Fix match. "In the end, I think the officials wanted to make the right call and that's why they took the time. I think there was an effort there to get the call right. I think we just have to work a little quicker. I wouldn't mind seeing no review, but if we're going to keep it work on the process. Fifteen, 20 seconds and we're back wrestling. 

    GALLERYCheck out pictures of OSU's win over Rutgers

    "I don't think either one of them were wrestling their best offensive game. Sometimes you'll see a match like this. Fix is a young guy, never been to a national tournament. I'm not upset with his performance by any means. We'll take this performance and build on it." 

    Later in the match, redshirt freshman Kaden Gfeller shoved Rutgers senior Anthony Ashnault after Ashnault's 10-7 victory at 149 pounds. Gfeller took umbrage with Ashnault pretending to shoot pistols at the Oklahoma State bench - playing off the Cowboys' nickname. 

    "I reminded him who you wrestle for, that's not something we represent," said Smith. "I didn't see it, but evidently both guys did something because they took a point from both teams, but we don't need that. When you lose it doesn't look good." 

    Gfeller wrestled the top two wrestlers in the weight class this weekend. He fell to Princeton's top-ranked Matt Kolodzik, 8-3, on Saturday. 

    Even with the domination - wins in eight of 10 matches and two losses by decision in a match which seemed better by OSU standards than Saturday's win - Smith didn't leave Rutgers pleased with his team's performance.

    "I didn't think that was an Oklahoma State team wrestling out there today, I was hoping for a lot more," said Smith. "We weren't offensive enough in several matches. I thought there could be some lopsided scores and we escaped some matches. It's nice to win on the road, but it didn't seem like the team I was hoping for."

    Blll Evans can be reached at or by leaving a note in the comments below. Follow him on Twitter @BEvansSports. Find and like the High School Wrestling page on Facebook. 

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    Consider a shelter dog or cat for your next pet.

    Petfinder -- an online, searchable database of adoptable animals -- compiled a list of common misconceptions about pet adoption in the hopes that if myths are debunked, more people will adopt dogs and cats from shelters and rescues.

    "I don't know what I'm getting."

    There is likely more information available on adoptable animals than pets for purchase in pet stores. Many of the pets from rescue groups are in foster care, living with their fosterer 24/7; information on their personality and habits is typically vast. Even shelters have a very good idea about how the dogs and cats in their care behave with people and other animals.

    "I can't find what I want at a shelter."

    Not only are their breed-specific rescue groups, but some rescues and shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds. There are even means on to be notified when certain breeds are posted for adoption.

    "I can get a pet for free from a friend or acquaintance; why pay an adoption fee?"

    The "free pet" from a source other than a shelter or rescue group isn't necessarily free. Adoption fees usually cover a number of services and treatments including spay/neuter and veterinary checkups. Covering these costs on your own would call for spending the following estimated amounts:

    * Spay/neuter: $150-$300
    * Distemper vaccination: $20-$30, twice
    * Rabies vaccination: $15-$25
    * Heartworm test: $15-$35
    * Flea/tick treatment: $50-$200
    * Microchip: $25-$50

    "Pets are in shelters because they don't make good pets."

    Here are the main reasons animals end up in shelters or with rescue groups:

    * Owners have to move, pets not allowed
    * Allergies
    * Owner having personal problems
    * Too many, no room for littermates
    * Owner can no longer afford a pet
    * Owner's health does not allow for pet care

    While no one can say that every pet adopted from a shelter or rescue will work out perfectly, it's important to remember that misinformation about these homeless animals often keeps them from finding loving homes.

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