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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    The driver was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Additional motor vehicle charges and criminal charges are pending, police said.

    Authorities identified the victim in Saturday's fatal crash in Howell as 53-year-old Juan Santiago Lopez of Freehold Borough.

    Santiago Lopez was crossing Route 9 at the intersection of New Friendship Road about 12:36 a.m. when he was hit by a 2010 Mini Cooper driven by Juanean Perez, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a news release.

    A Howell Township police officer, who said he had to swerve to avoid striking Santiago Lopez's body on the road, located Perez standing by her vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot, according to a statement from Howell police. The Wal-Mart is located on Route 9 approximately 1 mile south of where the crash happened. 

    Perez was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, Howell police said. They said additional motor vehicle and criminal charges are pending.

    The crash remains under investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the Howell Police Department. 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Police are considering the fires suspicious.

    Police responded Thursday and Friday to six fires set to leaf piles on the side of the road in Marlboro they say are suspicious.

    The fires, all reported between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., happened within 2.5 miles of each other on five different roads in the township, Marlboro police Capt. Frederick Reck said.

    Firefighters extinguished fires on Ryan Road and Topanemus Road Thursday. And on Friday, fires happened on Weathervane Way, Homestead Circle and Harness Lane.

    "At this time the causes of the fires are undetermined and the fires are being considered suspicious in nature," Reck said in a statement.

    He said no injuries were reported.

    The fires were contained to the leaf piles and were extinguished by members of the Marlboro Fire Department.

    Reck asked anyone with information to call Cpl. James Donovan at 732-536-0100 ext. 1683, or email him at jdonovan@marlboropd.org. Anonymous tips can also be submitted through the department's website, www.marlboropd.org

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Animals throughout the Garden State wait for someone to take them home.

    The Food and Drug Administration says it has received about 68 reports of pet illnesses, and even deaths, related to bone treats.

    Some of the reports involved more than one dog; a total of about 90 animals have been affected. About 15 dogs have died of the illnesses, the agency said.

    CBS News reported these treats differ from uncooked, butcher-type bones because they are processed and packaged for sale as dog treats. The products may be dried through a smoking process or by baking, and may contain other ingredients such as preservatives, seasonings or smoke flavorings.

    Different types of bone treats for dogs, including treats described as "Ham Bones," "Pork Femur Bones," "Rib Bones," and "Smokey Knuckle Bones," were listed in the illness reports.

    "Giving your dog a bone treat might lead to an unexpected trip to your veterinarian, a possible emergency surgery, or even death for your pet," said Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA.

    Symptoms reported to FDA by owners and veterinarians in dogs that have eaten bone treats have included:

    • Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage in the digestive tract)
    • Choking
    • Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Bleeding from the rectum

    Other types of commercially-produced pet treats have been linked to illnesses in the past. Jerky treats made in China were pulled from store shelves in 2015 after reports of thousands of dogs and cats getting sick. Several people who handled the products got sick as well.

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


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    The company's former Chief Revenue Officer also will oversee sales in Advance Local's Staten Island and Lehigh Valley markets.

    Steve Alessi, a media executive with deep ties to New Jersey, has been named president of NJ Advance Media.

    Alessi most recently had been the company's Chief Revenue Officer. Prior to that position at NJ Advance Media -- a company that provides marketing solutions and content for NJ.com and its affiliated newspapers -- Alessi was VP, Advertising and Operations, at The Star-Ledger.

    "It's an exciting time for credible, long-standing companies like NJ Advance Media to continue to innovate, educate and serve our local communities," Alessi said. 

    "We are leading the New Jersey market in content consumption, data analytics and consultative marketing solutions. But there are so many opportunities out there, and we look forward to working even harder to better serve our consumer and advertiser communities." 

    Alessi also will oversee three other Advance markets, Staten Island, the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia. 

    Matt Kraner, NJ Advance Media's president since the launch of the company in 2014, was promoted to a new role with Advance Local, NJ Advance Media's parent company, in New York. Advance Local announced a restructuring this week that included the Kraner and Alessi promotions.

    As of Jan. 1, 2018, Advance Local will include the operations of Advance Digital and Advance Central Services. Kraner will serve Chief Operating Officer for Markets. In addition to New Jersey, Staten Island and the Lehigh Valley, Kraner will oversee local markets in Michigan, Cleveland, Portland, Alabama and New Orleans, among others. 

    "Steve has been an absolutely key leader in shaping NJ Advance Media into the success it is today, including driving top-tier revenue growth," Kraner said. "Being a long-time New Jersey resident, Steve has many contacts and a great feel for the state. He is true Jersey.

    "I look forward to continuing to work with Steve as NJ Advance Media keeps reaching new heights."

    Alessi lives in Cream Ridge with his wife, Jennifer, son Jake and daughter Morgan. Alessi is an engineering graduate from Villanova University who entered the media industry with Advertising.com over 18 years ago. He also held media roles at American Greetings and Philadelphia Media Group prior to joining Advance Publications. 


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    The World War II veteran is accusing the current administration of trying to keep one if its highest-ranking employees in power. Watch video

    A day after 93-year-old Vito Perillo won the mayoral election in Tinton Falls, he proclaimed he would bring greater transparency and cut costs in the Monmouth County borough of 19,000 residents.

    Perillo, a World War II veteran who ousted well-known incumbent Mayor Gerald Turning in a stunning upset, outlined his first challenge to carry out his promise in a lengthy 700-word statement Saturday.

    The Borough Council is ignoring his requests to keep the status of the highest-ranking employee in town, the borough administrator, as an interim so he can assess the current situation after he is sworn in, Perillo said.

    "A change in the administrator's status from interim to permanent would have two effects," he explained in the statement. "First, a 'permanent' status means that the borough administrator would become eligible for a substantial severance payment, equal to 3 months' salary, to be paid by the Borough taxpayers. She is not eligible for that payment now. Second, the Council is trying essentially to block me from putting a new person into that position, which I need to take our town in a new direction, and to rein in costs and spending."

    Perillo called the move a "midnight appointment" -- a political appointment made in the final hours of the current administration before it changes.

    "This type of personnel action ... is disrespectful to the voters and the incoming administration," he said. "... the position is critical to my efforts to implement changes in our town."

    But borough officials say they're not trying to do anything "illegal" or "inappropriate." They're simply following the borough code and want to ensure that the seat isn't left vacant until Perillo appoints his own administrator. 

    "We're trying to protect the position with a permanent position so there's someone in that job on the first of January to advise and help the incoming mayor and keep the continuity," Council President Gary Baldwin said.

    He said leaving a vacancy in that position "is not in the best interests" of the residents. There are problems facing the town, like ongoing litigation, that someone with knowledge of the issues needs to bring to the new administration, Baldwin said. 

    Once in office, Perillo can appoint his own people to serve as borough administrator, public works director and the finance director, according to Baldwin. Other positions in the township are protected by contracts, he said. 

    Brian Nelson, the borough's attorney, said it's required under borough code that a position can only be held on an interim basis for 90 days. The current borough administrator, Elizabeth Perez, has been there since July, he said. Furthermore, in January, Perillo can offer new candidates for that position, which then have to be vetted by the Council.

    But Perillo contends there is no law that says an interim administrator must be made permanent. 

    "The council has rejected all of my efforts to work with them, and insists on pushing through the appointment of the current administrator from 'interim' to 'permanent,'" he said. "This is an unnecessary action that flies in the face of the voters' demand for change, and will cost us considerable money."

    The resolution to change the current borough administrator's status to permanent is on the agenda for the Council meeting on Dec. 5.

    Perillo urged members of the public to attend if they "support a change to (a) more fiscally responsible government." 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    The wires to Sea Girt's lights and Christmas tree were v

    Mystery solved. The damage to the Christmas display in Sea Girt was not an act of vandals. Turns out it was a hungry squirrel. 

    Workers made repairs after police found the wires to the borough's lights and Christmas display torn last week, authorities said.

    Cops kept an eye on the decorations over the weekend and found the culprit, who was of the four-legged variety. 

    The officer who runs Sea Girt police's Facebook page joked on Facebook that the  squirrel was "charged with criminal mischief and released on bail."

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

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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    Take a look at the Player, Coach and Team of the Year in every conference.

    GIRLS SOCCER SEASON IN REVIEW, 2017

    Erin Keefe of Ridge is the NJ.com Player of the Year

    Wall is the NJ.com Team of the Year

    Kim Maurer of Allentown is the NJ.com Coach of the Year

    ALL-STATE TEAMS

    All-State 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams

    All-Group 4

    All-Group 3

    All-Group 2

    All-Group 1

    All-Non-Public

    FINAL RANKINGS

    The NJ.com Top 50

    Group and conference rankings

    CONFERENCE REVIEWS

    Claudia Dipasupil of Northern Highlands is the Big North Conference Player of the Year

    Hailey Gutowski of Cinnaminson is the Burlington County Scholastic League Player of the Year

    Gabi Johnson of Oakcrest is the Cape-Atlantic League Player of the Year

    Sophia Schwab of Haddonfield is the Colonial Conference Player of the Year

    Gianna Pittaro of Steinert is the Colonial Valley Conference Player of the Year

    Lauren Krinsky of East Brunswick is the Greater Middlesex Conference Player of the Year

    Skyler Matusz of Kearny is the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League Player of the Year

    Claire Perez of Park Ridge is the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference Player of the Year

    Kayleigh Furth of Newton is the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Year

    Jordynn Stallard of Washington Township is the Olympic Conference Player of the Year

    Jada and Jasmine Colbert of Freehold Township are the Shore Conference Players of the Year

    Erin Keefe of Ridge is the Skyland Conference Player of the Year

    Natalie Nevins of West Orange is the Super Essex Conference Player of the Year

    Annie Sanker of Pitman is the Tri-County Conference Player of the Year

    • Grace Elliott of Westfield is the Union County Conference Player of the Year

    Brandon Gould may be reached at bgould@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonGouldHSLike NJ.com HS sports on Facebook.


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    Find out who landed on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Team All-State.


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    Risden's Beach fears the state's real motive is to seize its business and operate it as a public beach in Point Pleasant Beach

    Property owners up and down the New Jersey shore have tried many ways to block a protective sand dune project on their land.

    They complained about of lost views of the ocean; argued that existing dunes or rock walls they built and maintained on their own offer better protection against storms, and even worried about mosquito-born Zika virus outbreaks in pools of stagnant water behind the sand piles.

    None of it has worked so far.

    The latest challenge to Republican Gov. Chris Christie's plan to build or widen dunes along most of the state's 127-mile coastline comes from a privately owned beach in Point Pleasant Beach.

    Risden's Beach fears the state's real motive is to seize its business and operate it as a public beach.

    The state says it has no intention of operating Risden's Beach, but the company's lawyer says the state is claiming the legal right to do so for itself.

    "What they are doing is explicitly and unambiguously acquiring the right to operate a public beach," said John Buonocore, a lawyer for Risden's. "If they don't intend to take it, they shouldn't do it."

    It court papers filed Monday, the state says its Department of Environmental Protection "has no interest in operating Risden's beach or otherwise depriving Risden's from carrying on its normal for-profit operation" of the beach.

    Long-awaited $128M beach replenishment to start

    The litigation, filed last month, is the latest in a long line of court challenges to New Jersey's dune program, which began shortly after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of the shore in 2012. It is being built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Numerous studies have shown that coastal communities that were protected by robust dunes fared much better in Sandy than those that did not.

    Buonocore said Risden's, which sells daily and seasonal badges to the public, has offered to legally restrict its use of its land as a beach open to the public.

    "But that wasn't good enough for them," he said.

    In its condemnation filing against Risden's, the state said nothing in its court papers will or intends to change the beach's status as privately owned land, and specifically gives Risden's the right to operate the beach, maintain it and charge fees to the public for using it.

    The court challenge comes as a nearby privately owned beach in the same town, Jenkinson's, has reached a settlement with the state and federal governments that will allow it to avoid having dunes built on its property.

    Instead, Buonocore said, Jenkinson's will pay $6 million to install a metal sea wall on its sand near the boardwalk. The agreement was reached over the summer, although a final settlement document has not yet been filed with the court.

    Also Tuesday, the state awarded an $18.4 million contract to dredge sand from Little Egg Inlet, and use it to replenish beaches on the southern part of Long Beach Island, which has been the scene of numerous dune condemnation court fights.


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    The report was created after a five-month investigation started after John Curley allegedly made an 'off-color comment' at a parade, a lawsuit said.

    The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders is seeking to censure one of its members amid a report containing allegations of sexual harassment against Deputy Director John Curley.

    The existence of the report was made public after Curley filed a federal lawsuit Friday against his fellow freeholders, county attorney Michael Fitzgerald and county administrator Teri O'Connor.

    Curley was temporarily banned from county buildings as a result of the investigation.

    The contents of the five-month investigation into the sexual harassment complaint, however, are not public and remain sealed in court. The lawsuit said the investigation, conducted in cooperation with the Office of Professional Standards, started in June 2017 after Curley allegedly made an "off-color comment" at a parade.

    "The report contains sensitive and confidential information regarding a sexual harassment investigation," reads a footnote in the suit to have the report sealed.

    Curley argues in the suit that he's a "target" and that "many of the statements in the report are false."

    He said there are complaints in the report made by Freeholder Serena DiMaso, who is described in the lawsuit as a "political rival." DiMaso, of Holdmel, just won an assembly seat in District 13.

    All five members of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders are Republicans. But Curley, who joined the board in 2011, has been openly critical of his fellow freeholders in the past and has even received support from county Democrats at times.

    In 2014, for example, Curley was called "inappropriate" by Lillian Burry in a public meeting after he grew frustrated that his resolution supporting stronger state ethics rules was pulled from the agenda without notice.

    "We never engage in anything that is a controversy and that is a shame," he said at the time. "Let's hope that our ethics are improved here in Monmouth County."

    The testy exchange led to a statement released by Vin Gopal, then the Democratic chairman in Monmouth County, supporting Curley. "We are proud to stand in the name of bipartisanship with Republican Freeholder John Curley," it said.  

    Often brash and blunt, Curley's most publicized clash with officials came to light during testimony in the George Washington Bridge lane closure criminal trial.

    Former Gov. Chris Christie staffer Chris Stark recalled an incident after Hurricane Sandy in which Curley expressed his outrage over what he thought was Christie doing nothing but posing for the cameras.

    "Who does that fat (expletive) think he is?" Curley said, according to Stark.

    Stark continued in his testimony: "... From what I understood of the conversation, the governor told Mr. Curley: 'Who the (expletive) do you think you are calling me a fat (expletive)? I'm the (expletive) governor of this state. If you're not in Keansburg standing behind me tomorrow at the podium, I will (expletive) destroy you. I will have a robo-call sent out to every Republican in Monmouth County before Election Day telling them not to vote for you."

    When contacted by NJ Advance Media after the court hearing, Curley confirmed the account and said he added the word "mother" to his expletive-laced insult he made about the governor.

    The sexual harassment report was sent to freeholders on Nov. 26. Two days later, a special meeting was set to be held to vote on a resolution to censor Curley and to reinforce the county's policy on "prohibiting workplace discrimination and harassment."

    Curley, who was barred from entering county buildings in Freehold, sought a temporary restraining order to block the meeting from happening. The meeting was canceled but was rescheduled for Friday after court records show Curley withdrew his motion for temporary restraints.

    Curley was also granted access to the buildings and his personal aide, his attorney, Angelo Genova, said in a statement sent to the Asbury Park Press. He was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.  

    Jonathan Testa, an attorney representing the county, said his client is "pleased the court has affirmed the ability of the freeholders to conduct the business of the county and to address the pending time sensitive items."

    "To not address and strengthen sexual harassment policies and expectations for all of our employees would be irresponsible, especially at this time," Testa said in a statement.

    Curley claims in the lawsuit that the Office of Professional Standards "acted outside of its legal authority" by investigating him.

    "As an elected official, plaintiff is not an employee of the county and Fitzgerald and O'Connor are not authorized by statute or regulation to investigate the conduct of an elected Freeholder," the lawsuit said.

    Curley, who is up for re-election in 2018, is seeking to assure the report never gets made public and contends he was deprived of due process and his free speech rights were violated.

    He wants compensatory and punitive damages, along with attorney fees.

    NJ Advance Media reporter Ted Sherman contributed to this report.

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    He was last seen driving a red Mercedes E35 in Rumson

    An 87-year-old man who went missing early Wednesday in Monmouth County was found safe about two hours later in Bayonne.

    The man, who has diabetes and dementia, was reported missing from Rumson. He was found safe around 6:30 a.m., police said. 

    A Silver Alert is a public notification system used by authorities to broadcast information about missing senior citizens, especially those with mental disabilities.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This post was updated after police reported the missing man was found safe. 

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

     


     


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    The number of people calling in seeking help since the news of Harvey Weinstein broke has increased in New Jersey.

    The requests keep coming.

    Over the past two months, the Burlington County office that helps sexual assault victims has received an unprecedented amount of calls, sometimes in the middle of the night, from people wanting accompaniment to the hospital, according to the director.

    "It's been really crazy here," said Jillian Allen, director of CONTACT, the program in Burlington County, adding that for a while her office couldn't keep enough advocates out in the community to keep up with all the requests.

    The flood of new cases has forced the local advocacy group to fast-track training for anyone willing to volunteer to accompany victims.

    "We need all the help we can get," Allen said.

    From the beginning of October, when the New York Times dropped its bombshell report on media mogul Harvey Weinstein, through the beginning of November, Allen said her office received, on average, one call a day from someone needing accompaniment. That's triple the amount of calls they usually receive during the same time frame, Allen said.

    The surge in the number of people calling the hotline in Burlington is mirrored in towns and cities across the state. At least five other counties in New Jersey, including Bergen, Essex, Monmouth, Salem and Warren counties, said they have seen significant increases in the number of people asking for psychological support or accompaniment to the hospital, court or hospital.

    The fact that the uptick locally is happening amidst a a wave of sexual assault allegations across the country against high-profile men in the media and entertainment industries as well as on Capitol Hill is not a coincidence, say crisis counselors.

    "Real-life survivors are sharing their stories. And what that creates is an opportunity for others to feel a sense of community and safety," said Patricia Teffenhart, the executive director of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the statewide organizer of sexual assault programs.

    However, the uptick in calls and reports does not necessarily mean there have been more assaults, Allen said, it could just mean that more and more people are comfortable coming forward and asking for all kinds of help.

    "Typically, we don't see the powerful white male being accused and being held accountable," Allen said. "That definitely contributed to some of the people coming forward."

    Advocates say it's not the first time media attention to a high-profile case has had an impact on the ground. They saw a similar uptick after the allegations against Bill Cosby became public.

    "The surge of calls is not unusual after a high-profile case," said Helen Archontou, the executive officer of YWCA Bergen County, an office that oversees a sexual assault resource center. "Then there is usually a drop off because the world moves on. In this case, we are seeing people continue to come forward."

    And although more people are seeking out advocacy groups to report sexual assault, many of the allegations may never make get to law enforcement officials, because sexual assault is still one of the most under-reported crimes in the U.S.

    Tell us your experiences

    Backlash against women telling their stories of sexual assault often intimidates women from officially filing a report with the police, said Archontou.

    "We're already seeing some of this backlash from recent news," she said. "But hopefully through education we can fight against it." 

    Even if an individual decides to report to law enforcement, many cases never end up in the court room, Teffenhart said. Those that do are always difficult to prosecute, Teffanhart said, pointing to the case of Brock Turner, the former Stanford University student found guilty in March 2016 of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus.

    Turner was convicted, but sentenced to only six months in county jail with three years' probation. The former college student is now appealing his conviction.

    Advocates like Allen, Teffenhart and Archontou are a few of the dozens of people who have been working in New Jersey to not only help victims of sexual assault, but to educate the local population for years.

    For advocates, the recent media attention on men such as Hollywood's Weinstein, NBC's Matt Lauer and Alabama politician Roy Moore is welcomed because it has encouraged others in their communities to come forward seeking help.

    But, they said, it is also a reminder that not much has changed over the years. They have been fighting against sexual assault for decades.

    "These are numbers that reflect a problem we always knew was there," said Jill Zinckgraf, the executive director of Warren County's program. "And I look at these numbers and I think, things are just the same."

    One aspect that has changed, they say, is that the youth population seems to better understand the issue and how to seek help or report to law enforcement, and improvement advocates attribute to their outreach in local schools.

    Christine Ferro, the executive director of SAVE, the sexual assault services program in Essex said an analysis of her office's numbers shows more teenagers seeking services.

    Despite the recent attention to the issue, advocates say the education needs to continue. Although advocates have been trying to educate New Jersey communities about sexual assault, 

    "We are often not understood or believed when we report these kinds of statistics," Teffenhart said.

    "The most important thing is we need to begin by believing women," she said. "Our society looks at a person who identifies as a survivor and publicly and skeptically asks 'what's in it for them'? But I assure you no one wants to become famous by identifying as a sexual assault survivor."

    If you or a member of your family is a victim of sexual assault and would like to seek services, you can reach out to your local advocacy program via their hotline. The statewide hotline is 800 - 601 - 7200. 

    Erin Banco may be reached at ebanco@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinBanco. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Who were the best players in N.J. this season?


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    The fisherman was apparently wading in the surf, a National Parks Service spokeswoman said.

    A fisherman who was swept out to sea Wednesday morning at the Sandy Hook National Gateway Recreation Area died hours after he was pulled from the water by rescuers, authorities said.

    National Parks Service spokeswoman Daphne Yun said the fisherman was apparently wading in the surf around 8 a.m. when he was swept out. 

    He was pronounced dead at an area hospital shortly before 10 a.m., Yun said.

    Middletown police confirmed a water rescue took place involving a fisherman but declined to comment further. 

    Authorities haven't yet released the fisherman's identity pending family notification. The incident remains under investigation. 

    Justin Zaremba may be reached at jzaremba@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinZarembaNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have information about this story or something else we should be covering? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    The Grammy-nominated band Wolf Alice commandeered the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park Tuesday night

    Tuesday night's visit to the rain-soaked Jersey Shore must've been something of a humbling experience for members of Wolf Alice, an agile, Grammy-nominated band that has been hailed in its native U.K. as the latest flag-bearers of the brit-rock movement and whose new record "Visions of a Life" sits atop several English publications' year-end "best albums" lists.   

    On Monday, the group had played a raucous packed house at New York's Brooklyn Steel venue, where around 1,500 fans filed in to see the four-piece, led by stormy front-woman Ellie Rowsell, perform its searing blend of Hole-ish crunchy grunge, droning shoegaze and raging noise-rock. 

    But a day later, Wolf Alice was headlining the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, an iconic yet weathered watering hole that feels full with just 100 people inside. Seventy-five or so fans stood around the small corner stage, many of whom surely wondering the same things I was: "how and why was this band playing this little venue? Did their tour manager make a mistake? Was The Stone Pony already booked?" 

    Whatever the case, the band showed no signs of disappointment or lethargy before the slightest crowd of its current American tour, fiercely riding through a setlist that showcased its so-far boundless and thrilling potential -- and shot a bit of life into an otherwise slumbering mid-week beachfront. 

    Rowsell, dressed casually in a black tank-top and baggy jeans, was a sincere and dexterous vocalist, moving from ethereal, echoing verses -- she toggled between a normal microphone and a second mic run through reverb effects -- to hearty wails and full-on punky screams. The terrific "Visions" single "Don't Delete The Kisses" requires Rowsell, 25, to jump from a spoken-word verse directly into a towering, sung chorus and in the live setting Rowsell pulled the switch off well, belting beneath dramatic lights that bathed her in indigo. Her deep groove on the utter rock ear-worm "Beautifully Unconventional" was savory, too. 

    Wolf Alice is beautifully unconventional. #wolfalice #wonderbar #wonderbarap #asburypark

    A post shared by Bobby Olivier (@bobbyolivier) on

    As a band, Wolf Alice mixed its styles beautifully, leaping from the sullen and moody musings of "Silk," from its breakthrough 2015 LP "My Love Is Cool," to the much brighter, riffy pop-rock of "Lisbon," which eventually devolved into a cacophonous breakdown of guitars and pounding drums. While bassist Theo Ellis may serve as the band's pumping heart, egging on fans and urging them to jump and cheer, lead guitarist Joff Oddie was the true maniac this night, scraping his guitar strings across the PA amps hung above the stage, just to see what sound they'd make -- for all the unhinged shows I've reviewed, this was an antic I'd never seen before. 

    Across 90 minutes, Wolf Alice proved above all else it isn't ready to relegate itself to any sonic box created for it, be it brit-rock or whatever else. The band felt as though it would be just as comfortable opening for major acts like Florence + The Machine or even Guns N' Roses as it has been touring with English megastars The 1975 over the past few years. And it certainly deserved a larger stage and better acoustics than what the Wonder Bar could provide. 

    As the Jersey show was scarcely promoted -- it was a later add to the tour, a spokesperson for the band confirmed -- I hadn't realized the band was playing in Asbury Park until only a few days before. It was lucky I did; if you're a rock pessimist who believes all the good guitar music is long gone, I beseech you -- go see Wolf Alice. 

    Wolf Alice's set list 

    Dec. 5, 2017 -- The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, N.J. 

    • "Heavenward"
    • "Yuk Foo"
    • "You're a Germ"
    • "Your Loves Whore"
    • "St. Purple & Green"
    • "Don't Delete The Kisses"
    • "Bros"
    • "Silk"
    • "Lisbon"
    • "Planet Hunter"
    • "Beautifully Unconventional"
    • "Formidable Cool"
    • "Sadboy"
    • "Space & Time"
    • "Moaning Lisa Smile"
    • "Visions Of A Life"
    • "Fluffy"
    • Encore:
    • "Blush"
    • "Giant Peach"

    Bobby Olivier may be reached at bolivier@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BobbyOlivier. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Jury selection was scheduled to start on Nov. 29, but prosecutors filed a new indictment just days before. A judge Wednesday dismissed the original indictment, restarting months of pre-trial hearings.

    The trial of a college honors student and her boyfriend accused of killing a marijuana dealer will be delayed after a judge dismissed the original indictment in favor of a new one that lodges 11 additional charges against the Monmouth County couple.

    Trupal Patel.jpgTrupal Patel, who was found dead Feb. 22. (Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office)

    Jury selection in the trial of Joseph Villani and Rachel Garajau, who are accused of killing Trupal Patel, was scheduled to start Nov. 29. Authorities say Villani shot and killed Patel in his garage on Feb. 5 before dumping his body in Shark River Park in Wall Township.

    Just days before the start of jury selection, prosecutors filed a superseding indictment adding 11 additional charges to the previous indictment.

    Attorneys for both Villani, 21, and Garajau, 20, argued in court last week that the new indictment was "prosecutorial vindictiveness" and a calculated move by the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office to delay the trial and to fill in gaps in its case revealed during pre-trial hearings.

    Prosecutors said new bail reform guidelines, which entitle defendants to a speedy trial, made it challenging for them to comb through a large amount of evidence before the original indictment.

    Both defendants face life in state prison, and the new indictment doesn't change that, assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Melanie Falco said in court last week.

    Judge Thomas Scully Wednesday dismissed the previous indictment and allowed the new one to stand as the charging document, a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said.

    The defendants will now have to be arraigned, have detention hearings and restart months of pre-trial hearings on motions to suppress evidence.

    The new indictment claims that Villani and Garajau planned to use the marijuana obtained from Patel after the killing to sell to others. It also reveals that discussions to kill Patel might have started as early as May 22, 2016.

    Patel's body was discovered on Feb. 22 by a county park ranger. According to police reports, detectives named Villani as a suspect after a friend told police Villani called him on Feb. 7 to help move a car the friend later recognized as belonging to Patel. After the ranger found the body, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office released a photo to the public of Patel's black Jaguar.

    Villani allegedly told detectives "I did it" after they challenged him when he changed portions of his story during an interview, according to police reports.

    On Feb. 25, authorities announced they arrested Villani, of Ocean Township, and charged with murder, robbery and weapons offenses in connection with the death of Patel.

    Authorities say Villani continued to communicate with Garajau while in prison, instructing her to "take your time bleaching everything" and to talk up the bruises Villani had to back up his self-defense claims.

    Garajau, an honors student at Brookdale Community College, was then named in the original indictment handed up on May 15. On May 26, she was ordered to remain jailed pending trial.

    Her attorney, Robert Honecker, said in previous court hearings that there is no "direct proof" his client was involved in Patel's death.

    Edward Bertucio, an attorney for Villani, claims his client acted in self-defense.

    Both defendants, who remain in the Monmouth County jail, are due back in court on Dec. 11. 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Officer John Jackson had served nearly 20 years on the force

    A veteran Neptune Township police officer died Wednesday morning while off-duty, Chief of Police James M. Hunt said in a statement.

    Officer John Jackson Jr. was 48 years old and a resident of Tinton Falls who had served nearly 20 years on the force, Hunt said. The Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner's Office was investigating the  cause of death but Hunt said the circumstances were not suspicious.

    "Police Officer Jackson was an integral part of our law enforcement team and a member of our family at large. His death is a shock to us all, and we offer our full support and condolences to his family, friends and colleagues," said Hunt.

    Jackson has received several honors during his career. In 2010, he earned a commendation from the Terrorist Screening Center in Washington, D.C. for his work identifying a known or suspected terrorist. That same year he was recognized by the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety Top Gun DWI Enforcement Program and also earned the Distinguished Service Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

    "Every day, as an officer, you have made a profound difference with your outstanding service in answering the needs of your community. Your unceasing dedication to the lifesaving efforts of keeping our roads safe from the impaired driver and underage drinker, is an inspiration to everyone...It is our goal to ensure your realization of how greatly you matter to us, and to your community," the group said when it presented the award.

    Jackson was a parishioner at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Ocean Grove, where he was also a member of the lifeguard squad. The Navy veteran also served on the fire department.

    "Police Officer Jackson's presence in the community and within our ranks will be deeply missed," Hunt said.

    Paul Milo may be reached at pmilo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@PaulMilo2. Find NJ.com on Facebook.  

     

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    Worthy of a museum or gallery

    As you can imagine, I look at thousands of photos each year for these galleries. There are always some that simply stand out.

    5371068118_5153114886_o.jpgClose, but not eggs-zactly. 

    Not because they were taken by professional photographers who've had years to perfect their craft, but because they were taken by folks like you and me, usually using the basic cameras we had available to us back in the day.

    Sometimes it's the composition, perhaps an unintentional balance of shapes or lines. It could be the lighting, or perhaps the contrasting shades.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    But what makes them truly works of art in my mind was that for the most part, they just ... happened. People going about their daily lives, inanimate objects positioned just right.

    Here's a selection of some vintage New Jersey photos that we think qualify as works of art. And here's a link to last year's gallery.

    Vintage photos from N.J. that are works of art

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


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    According to its Trulia listing, the taxes on the property this year were $16,279.

    In this week's "Sold!" property, we feature a home in Belmar with nearly 4,000 square feet of living space.

    The house sold for $1.3 million in November. According to its Trulia listing, the taxes on the property this year were $16,279.

    The home features five bedrooms and four full bathrooms. The house was assessed this year at $1,283,600.

    The median sale price for homes in the area is $326,750.

    Spencer Kent may be reached at skent@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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