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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    This year's Signing Day is Feb. 7, but who are the best recruits since 2003?

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    Who is the state's best sophomore? Check out our list, then make your voice heard.

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    Officer Ryan Cullinane was charged with harassment, trespassing and simple assault following two incidents involving a woman

    A Shrewsbury Borough police officer is facing harassment and assault charges following two incidents involving a woman.

    The first incident happened on Jan. 25 when Officer Ryan Cullinane, 27, showed up to the home of an unidentified woman and entered the house "without being invited in," according to a criminal complaint in the case.

    The complaint said Cullinane got into a fight with another man at the home when he refused to leave. The complaint said he punched the man in the face.

    The next day, Cullinane showed up to a restaurant where the woman was, authorities said. He then followed her home and "made unwanted contact and communication" with the victim, the complaint states.

    "Victim asked (Cullinane) to leave her residence several times, but (Cullinane) failed to cooperate," the complaint said.

    Cullinane was charged with harassment, trespassing and simple assault. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 30.

    Cullinane could not be reached for comment. A message to the chief of the Shrewsbury Borough Police Department was not immediately returned. 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find on Facebook.

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    Which boys have already given their verbal commit to play men's basketball?

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    Top 20 before the postseason

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    The tickets were sold at a deli in Monmouth County and a gas station in Ocean County. Watch video

    Two Jersey Cash 5 tickets that matched the winning numbers for Tuesday's $384,334 drawing were sold in Ocean and Monmouth counties.

    One ticket was purchased at an Exxon gas station on Route 37 in Toms River, while the other was purchased at the Wilson Avenue Deli in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown Township, according to the New Jersey lottery.

    Each ticket is worth $192,167.

    Tuesday's winning numbers were 19, 20, 31, 32 and 28. The XTRA number was 03.

    Powerball ticket sales drop busts N.J.'s 7-year lottery winning streak

    There were 81 ticket holders that won $507 for matching four of the five numbers drawn, and six people who spent the additional $1 for XTRA will receive $1,521 each.

    The odds of a $1 ticket matching all five numbers are 962,598 to 1.

    Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at Follow her at @snietomunoz. Find on Facebook.

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    Can you name the No. 1 team that produces D1 talent? The answer might surprise you.

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    Viva la familia!

    Everyone likes to recall fond family memories. And, what's even better is when a family moment remains vivid because it has been captured on film.

    But, sometimes all we can depend on is our memory because the photographs we took failed to come out. Or, we didn't have a camera on hand to make sure the memory could be placed in a frame.

    Untitled-88.jpgMy family shot daguerreotypes 

    The current high quality of digital cameras in smart phones makes it, pardon the pun, a snap to shoot a great family photo at an event or gathering. And, of course, there's the biggest benefit of all - knowing immediately whether you should take another one.

    I was recently discussing with my Mom how many one-time-only group family photos were never captured over the years because someone forgot to wind the film or buy flashbulbs. With a film camera, you only knew if the shot came out after the time it took for developing; how many once-in-a-lifetime family photos ended up as totally dark or washed-out prints?

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Someone will likely mention Polaroid here. Okay, yes, you could see the result of your shot in a minute with a Polaroid instant camera ... a camera that had a lens with limited capability to include more than a handful of people in the photo. Polaroid group shots usually boiled down to faces the size of dots.

    But all family photos weren't missed or messed up. No matter where and when photos like these were taken, they all preserve the importance of family for posterity.

    Here's a gallery of vintage family photos from New Jersey, and some links to other family galleries you might enjoy.

    Vintage photos of families in N.J.

    Vintage photos of fathers, sons and daughters in NJ

    Vintage photos of mothers and their children in NJ

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

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    Among them are child-sex predators, killers - and even an alleged crime boss.

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    See the latest girls basketball Top 20 as the regular season wraps up play across N.J.

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    It's five o'clock somewhere, right? 2018 will bring sports bars, snazzy cocktails spots and everything in between.

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    Amboy Bank also gave non-executive employees a $1,000 bonus

    A Central Jersey bank with 24 branches is boosting the minimum pay for its workers to $15 an hour.

    Old Bridge-based Amboy Bank will also pay all non-executive employees a a minimum year-end bonus of $1,000, it said in a statement, becoming at least fourth New Jersey bank to give its workers extra money.

    Other New Jersey-based banks that have announced employee bonuses in recent months include Somerset Savings, Unity and OceanFirst, according to a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Bankers Association. Somerset Savings Bank last month announced a one-time bonus of $750 for all employees who aren't senior management.

    130 county workers get raises with new $15 minimum wage

    National companies such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and and J.P Morgan have also awarded bonuses to employees. 

    "Banking is changing," Amboy Bank president and CEO Stanley J. Koreyva Jr. said in announcing the raises and bonuses. "Twenty years ago 90 percent of client activity was transactional in nature. Now we need to focus on educating clients on electronic banking, real estate taxes and fraud plus make sure we are proactively meeting their needs. To be successful we need to ensure we maintain the best people and we look forward to attracting new employees that will offer nothing but the best for our clients."

    Nearly half of Amboy Bank employees have worked for the company for more than 10 years. All of its branches are located in Middlesex and Monmouth counties. 

    The New Jersey Bankers Association said Amboy Bank was "sharing the benefits of the recent tax reform."

    "They are joining the growing group of banks across New Jersey and the country that are rewarding employees with increased wages, special bonuses and enhanced benefits programs as well as increased funding for charitable giving," president and CEO  John E. McWeeney, Jr. said in a statement. 

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



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    Where is your team in the power points report?

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    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is now going after all five Republican-held seats in New Jersey. Watch video

    WASHINGTON -- Rep. Chris Smith, who hasn't received less than 60 percent of the vote in his last 17 elections, has just been added to the House Democrats' list of 2018 targets.

    Thursday's announcement by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee means that the party is now focusing on every Republican-held seat in New Jersey.

    It's also a sign of how Democrats hope that President Donald Trump's historic unpopularity -- along with an angry electorate and the fact that the party controlling the White House traditionally loses congressional seats in off-year elections -- will carry even safe Republicans such as Smith, R-4th Dist., into retirement.

    "Democrats are firmly on offense for a variety of reasons, including incredible candidate recruitment, record-breaking fundraising, a historically unpopular Republican agenda, and extensive district level polling showing Democrats already beating or in close competition with their opponents," said the DCCC's chairman, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M.

    N.J. races key to 2018

    While Trump's favorable ratings have ticked up, he still remains in negative territory. In a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 55 percent of U.S. voters disapproved of his perfromance in office, with just 40 percent approving.

    In all, the DCCC added seven Republican-held districts to its target list, which already includes Reps. Tom MacArthur, R-3rd Dist., and Leonard Lance, R-7th Dist.; as well as the seats being vacated by retiring Reps. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd Dist., and Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-11th Dist. 

    "Democrats have a proven record of overpromising and underdelivering," said Chris Martin, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "It's not surprising that they've been reduced to adding names to a wish list."

    Smith, the longest-serving member of the New Jersey delegation, is considered a safe bet for re-election by two Washington-based publications that track congressional races, the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections.

    "Voters trust Chris and consistently show their support for his record of legislative leadership and service to constituents," Smith spokeswoman Mary McDermott Noonan said.  "He generally carries his district with 64 percent-plus, garnering a 100,000-vote margin in the last election."

    He also had a large cash advantage over the two Democrats seeking to oust him, raising $307,634 through Dec. 31 and entering January with $392,450 in the bank.

    Former Asbury Park Councilman Jim Keady, who memorably was told to "sit down and shut up" by then-Gov. Chris Christie, raised $145,488 with $61,019 to spend. Josh Welle brought in $172,813, contributed $8,430 of his own money, and had $133,119 cash on hand.

    "We welcome the DCCC's support to flip the 4th District," Keady said. "It's long overdue that we send Congressman Smith into retirement."

    Welle immediately sent out a fundraising email touting the DCCC's action.

    "The 4th District made it onto the DCCC's radar because we need a congressman who will fight for a tax plan that doesn't devastate New Jersey and drive home values down, a congressman who will protect our beaches and environment from offshore oil drilling, a congressman who will work for affordable and accessible health care," Welle said.

    Smith bucked his party on two high-profile votes last year.

    He opposed the House Republican health care bill and voted against the GOP tax plan that gutted the federal deduction for state and local taxes. He also has joined the rest of the congressional delegation in opposing Trump's proposal to open the Jersey Shore to offshore oil drilling.

    Only four House Republicans have supported Trump less than Smith has, according to Nate Silver's

    Still, Smith is a Republican in a state that gave Trump a 61 percent disapproval rating, with just 34 percent approving, in a recent Gallup poll. Residents of only eight other states thought less of Trump than those living in New Jersey, according to the poll. 

    The Cook Political Report, meanwhile, changed its rating on the LoBiondo district Thursday and now makes state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, a slight favorite to win in November.

    "Van Drew looks almost as imposing as an incumbent," said David Wasserman, Cook's House race editor.

    Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JDSalant or on Facebook. Find Politics on Facebook.


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    Paths to sectional championships

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    Check out's interactive, printable brackets for this year's tournament.

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    Aleksander Isserovich, 39, of Brooklyn, is expected to be sentenced to seven years in prison

    A truck driver accepted a plea deal Thursday in a September crash that killed one and injured four, authorities said. 

    Aleksander Isserovich, 39, of Brooklyn, New York, was under the influence when he rear-ended a Hyundai Sonata, killing the driver on the southbound side of Route 440 in Perth Amboy on Sept. 6, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said in a release.

    The tractor-trailer then jackknifed and hit two other cars, and the SUV was pushed into another car. 

    Jason Appio, 45, of Ocean Township, was later pronounced dead at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy. Isserovich and three others were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

    Isserovich is expected to be sentenced to seven years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to one count of death by auto, three counts of assault by auto and driving while under the influence of controlled substances, according to the release.

    His sentencing is set for May 18, 2018, before Superior Court Judge Michael Toto.

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find on Facebook.

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    Fallon's new solo album "Sleepwalkers" is the most exuberant and sonically expansive music he's written in years

    It seems like a rock n' roll eternity since Brian Fallon last appeared comfortable in his own skin.

    His solo debut, 2016's "Painkillers," was an exercise in defining not only a second act for the New Jersey singer, but a sound that would stand apart from The Gaslight Anthem, the locally beloved alt-rock outfit he fronted for nearly a decade.

    The results were mixed; the album proved a somber, folk-tinged bridge from the last Gaslight Anthem LP, 2014's "Get Hurt" -- a heart-wrenching and harshly reviewed project Fallon admits was left unfinished in places -- with songs that felt more like B-sides from the old band than any sort of sonic reinvention. In fact, the best tunes from "Painkillers" proved to be new recordings of songs he'd written with a Bob Dylan-inspired side project called Molly and The Zombies, also in 2014.

    In his defense, it's been an unsavory few years for the Red Bank-bred frontman: "Get Hurt" was a jagged reaction to his still-fresh-and-bleeding divorce and he's admitted frankly in interviews that once Gaslight announced its hiatus in 2015, he didn't really know what he was going to do.

    But 2018's forecast appears much brighter. The Gaslight Anthem sent fans into frenzy last month with the announcement that it will reunite this summer for the 10-year anniversary of the band's best record, "The '59 Sound."

    In the meantime, diehards can breathe in Fallon's new solo album, "Sleepwalkers," -- an exuberant and sonically expansive project comprising the most exciting music he's written in a long, long time.

    While the album's moniker would suggest something of a misty, dream state, the songs are instead forceful, present and well-formed with a welcome shift to jaunty R&B and even Motown influences. Nods to Springsteen and Dylan still arise in Fallon's songwriting, but it feels as though Elvis Costello may have been the new muse this time, as the push and pull of '70s rock, power-pop, folk, and soul is deftly woven throughout.

    From the first measures of opener "If Your Prayers Don't Get To Heaven," a ricocheting, roots-rock anthem that may be the best song Fallon's penned since the "Handwritten" hits, it's clear the tide has shifted: snapping fingers, a cool-handed guitar line and soft "ooh, oohs" lead into the singer's calling-card grit and drawl.


    It gets better still with the album's lead single "Forget Me Not," which hinges on an '80s pop guitar riff and a rejuvenated Fallon, screaming "Stacy! I'd like to take you to a movie / In a world without a death wish." I can't remember the last time I could honestly call a song written by Fallon "fun" but that's what this, and much of "Sleepwalkers" seems to be: a typically stormy songwriter finally catches a break in the clouds.

    Synthy keys give extra umph to "Little Nightmares," and "My Name Is The Night (Color Me Black)" is a tight, meaty jam that -- like much of this album, I suspect -- will play well on stage, with Fallon's latest backing band iteration, called The Howling Wind. Fallon plays Starland Ballroom in Sayreville April 29.


    On record, the arrangements could stand a bit less polish. I'd love to hear the demos to many of these tracks; the bones to these songs are strong enough to withstand a sharper edge and give Fallon's distinct, sand-spitting vocal more power over the instruments. My other main criticism with "Sleepwalkers" is the recycling of melodies from past works -- more than once you'll find yourself trying to place a "new" riff in an old song. That's been a challenge for Fallon, 38,  and the Gaslight guys since "The '59 Sound" morphed the band from budding New Brunswick bar-sceners to global rock underdogs; Fallon's never been a particularly chameleonic songwriter.

    But if you've stuck with Fallon's earnest, radio-lovin' Jersey-rocker pastiche all this time, you'll forgive the repeats for the fresh instrumental takes, from the backroom horns and sax on the title track to the modern, quivering guitar work on "Come Wander With Me." It's a pleasing mix, and "Sleepwalkers" is as loose and joyous as we've heard Fallon in at least five years. Though there's still themes of lost love and death mixed in, you can almost hear the forever Jersey boy smiling as he sings.

    Bobby Olivier may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BobbyOlivier and Facebook. Find on Facebook 

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    The NJSIAA Sectional Team Tournament finals are Friday night. previews every sectional title match statewide.

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    Vote for the best junior in N.J. girls basketball this season.

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