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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    The dead man was discovered near a camp used by the homeless

    The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the death of an elderly man who was found near a homeless encampment Thursday night.

    The 65-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, was discovered in a wooded area off Neptune Boulevard in Neptune Township following a 911 call. The body was badly burned,  the prosecutor's office said.

    A precise cause of death is still pending additional forensic examination but it does not appear to be suspicious, the prosecutor's office also said.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office Detective John Leibfried at 800-533-7443 or Neptune Township Police Department Detective Eric Chun at 732-988-800.

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

     

     

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    New Jersey has a long tradition of hanging outdoor Christmas lights and the holiday spirt seems to increase every year. Did you know that this tradition started in our state? According to the Library of Congress, the first strand of electrical lights were first strung by Thomas Edison around the outside of his Menlo Park Laboratory during the Christmas season of 1880. Edison's laboratory was near a railway so railroad passengers got a glimpse of the electrical light display as they passed by. It took nearly forty years for the Christmas light tradition to catch on. In 1917 Albert Sadacca came up with the idea of selling brightly colored strands of electric Christmas lights to the public. Sadacca was a teenager at the time and his family owned a novelty lighting company. Albert and his brothers organized the National Outfit Manufacturers Association (NOMA), a trade association in the 1920's, which became NOMA Electric Co. and they cornered the Christmas light market until the 1960's. So while the holiday season is here get out and enjoy some spectacular displays!


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    Northern parts of the state could get slightly more snow in the afternoon.

    Clouds are expected to roll in throughout the day Saturday, obscuring a mostly sunny morning. 

    Break from cold.jpegNext week is expected to warm up by a few degrees, with temperatures hovering around 40 in the New York City area. (Courtesy of AccuWeather) 

    Temperatures will not dip as low as the past two days, forecasters say, but will run slightly colder than normal for mid-December. 

    The National Weather Service predicts highs will range from 34 to 41 degrees throughout the state. 

    Winds between 10 and 15 miles-per-hour will make for a breezy day and push the wind chill in the Newark and Jersey City areas to between 15 and 25 degrees.  

    Parts of New Jersey north of Interstate 80 could see a dusting of snow this afternoon. 

    Wintry mix possible

    Sunday is predicted to be partly sunny with light winds and temperatures mostly mirroring Saturday's highs. A light mix of freezing rain and snow is possible across most of the state Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service, which said small ice accumulations could cause some slick spots on roads.

    The Shore and pockets of Burlington and Camden counties saw the highest snow totals Friday night, ranging from two to more than 3.5 inches. Berlin, Brick and the Clarksburg section of Millstone Township topped the list with 3.6 inches of powder.

    Northern parts of the state got the least amount of snow, with no more than 2 inches in any county. Totals in most of the rest of New Jersey fell between 1 and 2.5 inches, but even that was enough to cause widespread traffic problems during the Friday evening commute. 

    top-snowfall-totals-fri-dec-15-2017.jpg 

    NJ Advance Media staff writer Len Melisurgo contributed to this report.

    Marisa Iati may be reached at miati@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Iati or on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    A Monmouth County man was stabbed to death Friday after an apparent confrontation between him and another person in Columbia, South Carolina, authorities say.

    A Monmouth County man was stabbed to death Friday after an apparent confrontation between him and another person in Columbia, South Carolina, authorities say.

    Abdias O. Pacius, 28, of Neptune died from a single stab wound to his upper body, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Saturday.

    Matthew Scott Young 

    Columbia police say they arrested Matthew Scott Young, 43, of Columbia shortly after the incident and charged him murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

    Authorities said the motive for the killing was "a conflict between the suspect and the victim." Police did not say what sparked the argument, only that Young "became angry with (Pacius), then stabbed him."

    Pacius and Young did not know each other, police said.

    The stabbing occurred on Heritage Village Lane in the Harbison area of Columbia Friday shortly before 11 a.m.

    When police arrived at the scene, they say that Pacius was found outside. He was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to authorities.

    Pacius attended Neptune High School and played football in the position of linebacker for the Scarlet Flyers, records show.

    After graduation from Neptune in 2008, he went on to play football at Benedict College in Columbia.

    Young was being held at a Columbia area jail, authorities said.

    Bill Gallo Jr. may be reached at bgallo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow Bill Gallo Jr. on Twitter @bgallojr. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    The Hazlet man was charged with child endangerment.

    A Boy Scouts of America volunteer assistant scoutmaster was accused of exchanging sexually explicit messages with a young boy, Monmouth County authorities said Friday.

    Palermo Dec 15.jpgJoseph Palermo (Photo: MCPO) 

    Joseph Palermo, 25, of Hazlet, was charged with child endangerment and released after a hearing in Monmouth County municipal court, according to the county prosecutor's office.

    Under terms of his pre-trial release, Palermo was barred from having unsupervised contact with anyone under 18 years old, no contact with the victim and must report to officials in person once every other week and by phone every other week, the prosecutor's office said. 

    Authorities did not disclose details of the allegations against Palermo.

    Anyone with information can contact prosecutor's office Detective Shawn Murphy at 732-431-7160 ext. 7032, or Middletown police Detective Darrin Simon at 732-615-2100.

    Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-671-4400, texting "MONMOUTH" plus the tip to 274637 or a tip can be submitted online at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.

    Noah Cohen may be reached at ncohen@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahyc and on Facebook


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    The precipitation is expected to move into the area late Sunday night.

    A hazardous weather outlook was issued for central and northern parts of New Jersey ahead of what forecasters say could be a light mix of freezing rain and snow Sunday night.

    The outlook, issued by the National Weather Service early Sunday, is for the following counties: Sussex, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex and parts of Monmouth.

    "A light mix of freezing rain and snow is possible tonight," the outlook says. "Any minor ice accumulations may lead to slick spots."

    Sunday will start with mostly cloudy skies with highs in the mid-30s in most parts of the state. Temperatures will be warmer in the southern part of the state, with a high near 45 in Atlantic City.

    The precipitation will move into the area late and continue into the early morning hours. But the weather will dry up by the Monday morning commute and temperatures are also expected to warm up, with highs in the 40s.

    Temperatures will continue to get warmer and Tuesday could see highs in the mid-50s. However, those temperatures are expected to fall back to the 40s on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Special weather statement

    UPDATE: Here is a special weather statement issued by the National Weather Service's forecast office in Mount Holly at about 3:15 p.m. Sunday:

    A light wintry mix is possible late this evening into the overnight hours across portions of eastern PA and northern NJ.

    Light precipitation is expected to occur after 8 p.m. across the
    region and linger until around sunrise Monday. While rain showers are possible southeast of the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate 95 corridors, mixed precipitation is possible to the northwest.

    In particular, a corridor of spotty light freezing rain may occur.
    The greatest potential for freezing rain exists between Interstate
    78 and the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes. Further north of
    Interstate 78, the potential freezing rain is less, with a greater
    potential of light snow showers.

    With temperatures ranging from the upper 20s to lower 30s across the area, wintry precipitation may accumulate, especially on untreated roads and walkways.

    Any accumulations should be very light. There is the potential for freezing rain to result in a thin coating of ice, and snowfall from a dusting to a half inch.

    There is still considerable uncertainty in the forecast, due to the spotty and light nature of the precipitation.

    Winter weather advisory

    The National Weather Service's New York regional office has issued a winter weather advisory for Bergen, Essex, Passaic and Union counties, effective from 10 p.m. Sunday through 7 a.m. Monday. 

    Forecasters are expecting light freezing rain in those counties, with accumulations of a trace to a hundredth of an inch.

    NJ Advance Media staff writer Len Melisurgo contributed to this report. Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Nine members of a cocaine distribution ring were arrested Thursday after they were found moving about 1/3 of a kilogram of cocaine a week, officials said.

    Nine members of a cocaine distribution ring were arrested Thursday after an investigation found they were moving about 1/3 of a kilogram of cocaine a week, officials said.

    The nine-month investigation, dubbed "Operation Snowball," found that Hugo Hernandez, 48, worked as a leader of the ring, giving cocaine to lower-level dealers and telling them to take it to locations in downtown Freehold borough, according to a news release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.

    Operation-Snowball.jpgNine were arrested last week in a cocaine distribution ring. (Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office)

    In the investigation, officials seized more than 721 grams of cocaine and $14,943. 

    Hernandez, of Freehold borough, was charged with leader of a narcotics trafficking network and a slew of other drug charges.

    Among the dealers was Hernandez's brother, Carlos Hernandez-Campos, 35. 

    Hernandez-Campos, of New Brunswick, and Lucino Roldan-Coria also known as "Rufino Roldan," 58, of Freehold borough, were charged with possessing and intending to distribute cocaine. 

    Miguel Garcia-Tapia, 30, of Freehold borough, was charged with possessing and distributing cocaine. 

    Procopio Morales-Hernandez, 49, of Freehold borough and Antonio Romano-Jiminez, also known as "Merito Romero-Jimenez," 29, of Freehold borough, were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.

    Gregorio Morales-Morales, 35, of Manalapan, John A. Depaola, 53,  of Jackson, and Roberto Tlapa De La Era, 35, of Freehold borough, were charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine.

    Sara Jerde may be reached at sjerde@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @SaraJerdeHave information about this story or something else we should be covering? Tell us: nj.com/tips


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    Here is this week's collection of some of the dogs and cats in need of adoption in New Jersey. 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 nj.com, please contact Greg Hatala at ghatala@starledger.com or call...

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

    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 nj.com, please contact Greg Hatala at ghatala@starledger.com or call 973-836-4922.

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


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    These N.J. teachers were allowed to keep teaching despite allegations. How "passing the trash" puts N.J. students at risk.


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    The display runs through Dec. 30 at Ice King & Cold Storage in Tinton Falls.

    Walking through the The Twelve Days of Christmas in Tinton Falls is really cool.

    "Really cool" as in 40,000-square-foot-freezer cold.

    For the Holiday in Ice display at Ice King & Cold Storage, sculptor Ed Jarrett and his team transformed 700 blocks of ice -- 340 pounds each -- into the 12 days of Christmas, from the partridge in a pear tree to twelve drummers drumming.

    Known for building elaborate sandcastles, Jarrett, his wife Bette Jarrett and his apprentice Larry Watkins spent more than two months carving a frozen, three-dimensional version of the Christmas carol inside the Monmouth County icehouse.

    15 holiday displays at this Princeton mansion

    Visitors walk through the freezer following a path that takes them to each of the days.

    "It is amazing," said Karen Stefanelli, of Woodbridge. 

    This is the second year for Ice King's Holiday in Ice, which last year had a Nutcracker theme carved from 80 tons of ice.

    Ice King & Cold Storage is open for tours of the Holiday in Ice on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., through Dec. 30. The display will be closed on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

    Admission is $11 and children under 12 are $8. Children under 5 are free. 

    Ed Murray may be reached at emurray@njadvancemedia.com. Follow Ed on Twitter at @EdMurrayphoto. Find NJ.COM on Facebook.


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    Where can you see the best basketball this week?


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    North Jersey Coast Line service is suspended in both directions between Long Branch and Bay Head.

    Service on NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast Line was suspended Monday after a train and car collided at the crossing in Bradley Beach, injuring the driver of the car, officials said.

    The crash occurred about 10:30 a.m. at a crossing at Evergreen Avenue and Memorial Drive, according to NJ Transit spokesman Jim Smith.

    The woman in the vehicle was alert and conscious, but was taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune Township after complaining of chest pain, Smith said.

    NJ Transit police were on scene investigating as of 11:30 a.m.

    "It's still under investigation if the train hit the car or if the car hit the train," he said.

    North Jersey Coast Line service has been suspended in both directions between Long Branch and Bay Head.

    Smith said rail tickets and passes are being accepted on NJ Transit's bus service.

    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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    The top girls basketball games to watch for the week of Dec. 18.


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    Steven Van Zandt and Patty Smyth will join The Smithereens in celebrating the life of Pat DiNizio.

    Local stars will align in Red Bank next month to celebrate Pat DiNizio, the enduring Smithereens frontman who died last week at age 62.

    Steven Van Zandt will join remaining Smithereens members as a guest vocalist, for a concert remembering the life of DiNizio. Patty Smyth and Scandal will open; other acts are expected to be announced.

    The show, called "Time and Time Again: A Celebration of Pat DiNizio," will be held at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at 8 p.m.

    Remembering Pat DiNizio, a N.J. rock star who knew just which heartstrings to pull

    According to Van Zandt, the show was already scheduled before DiNizio's death Tuesday night.

    "With the sudden, tragic passing of Pat DiNizio, I think it's appropriate that we take this moment to pay tribute to him," Van Zandt said in a press release Monday. "I will be honored to sing a few of his songs with the band, and I'm asking any friends of mine if they can make themselves available for a song or two.  We'll see who's around and announce them shortly."

    DiNizio helped form The Smithereens in 1980. In 1986, the group from Carteret had their breakout moment when their video for "Blood and Roses" began getting played on MTV. The band became widely influential, even inspiring Kurt Cobain and Nirvana.

    Tickets for the show went on sale Monday at noon for $50 each; by 1 p.m. the show had sold out.

    Michael Sol Warren may be reached at mwarren@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MSolDub. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    John A. DePaola was one of a trio who successfully pitched their idea of the Paint Brush Cover on ABC's "Shark Tank" in 2014. Watch video

    A former contestant on the ABC's "Shark Tank" whose company scored a $200,000 deal for its paint brush cover product was arrested last week in a cocaine distribution ring bust in New Jersey. 

    John A. DePaolaPictured, former "Shark Tank" contestant John DePaola was recently charged in connection with a cocaine distribution ring.  

    John A. DePaola, 53, of Jackson, was charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine following a nine-month investigation known as "Operation Snowball," the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said. 

    DePaola was among nine charged in the investigation, including the alleged ringleader 48-year-old Hugo Hernandez. Authorities say the ring was moving about two-thirds of a pound of cocaine a week. 

    DePaola, his cousin and his friend appeared on Shark Tank in 2014 to seek an investor in the Paint Brush Cover, which is two pieces of plastic that snap together, with a foam seal, used to prevent a wet paintbrush from drying or hardening.

    Lori Greiner outbid the other sharks for the $200,000 deal. In an update on the product aired by ABC, the company Likwid Concepts, now sells its brush and roller covers in 14,000 stores nationwide.

    In the nine months since the show aired, the company surged from $35,000 in sales to $1.5 million, according to show. 

    DePaola's attorney, Herbert Ellis, said his client was a "highly regarded individual in the community," and the charge against him was "a mistake."  

    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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    Jeffrey Williams was robbing a home in Long Branch when he shot and killed Hector Mejia, according to authorities.

    A Long Branch man was indicted Monday on charges that he shot and killed a man at his estranged wife's home during a robbery attempt.

    The indictment, handed up in Monmouth County Superior Court, charges Jeffrey Williams, 29, with murder, felony murder, robbery, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a firearm in the death of Hector Mejia, who was found July 16 with a gunshot wound to his chest in front of a residence on Liberty Street in Long Branch.

    Prosecutors have said that Williams was robbing the home when Mejia woke up. Williams shot Mejia in the chest and then fled the scene with other people present during the robbery, according to prosecutors.

    Mejia's estranged wife returned to the house around 11:41 p.m. and found Mejia lying on the front porch and bleeding. Police and medical personnel responded to the house and pronounced him dead at the scene at 11:56 p.m.

    An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the Long Branch Police Department led to the arrest of Williams on July 21. He was ordered to remain in jail pending his trial at a detention hearing in November.

    Williams has a pending civil lawsuit that involves a Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office detective. On Sept. 12, 2012, Williams was a passenger in the backseat of a car that was involved in a traffic stop in Tinton Falls. The driver of the car, Rahmel Adams, sped away during the stop and was chased by an off-duty prosecutor's office detective, Keith Finkelstein, who happened to be passing by, according to the lawsuit. 

    An attorney representing Williams in the civil case said since Finkelstein was off-duty he was not permitted to engage in the chase.

    During the chase, Adams lost control of the vehicle and crashed into several trees. He along with the front-seat passenger were killed in the crash. Williams survived but suffered serious injuries and underwent multiple surgeries.

    Williams now faces up to life in prison if he's convicted of the most serious charge of murder.

    He is scheduled to be back in court on Jan. 8. 

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


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    The first early national signing period is here and NJ.com has got you covered, tracking over 100 student-athletes.


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    NJ.com looks at the can't-miss, must-see dual meets, tri-meets and tournaments for the week of Dec. 19-23.


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    Seven contests stand above the rest on Tuesday, including three Top 20 games, plus a handful of local rivalries and matchups between potential state-title contenders.


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    See which players were selected as NJ.com's Player of the Week in each of N.J.'s conferences.


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