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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    Property tax prepayments for bills due in 2018 in some towns jumped more than 1,000 percent compared to prepayments for 2017, ahead of limits on deductions from federal income taxes in 2018, a boon for towns collecting interest on the money

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    A Gloucester County police department is training officers to use de-escalation tactics to defuse potentially violent encounters.

    0 0's latest boys basketball rankings

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    The new play, at Long Branch's New Jersey Repertory Theatre Feb. 22-March 25, is a darkly comical coming-of-age story.

    When SuzAnne and Gabor Barabas founded the New Jersey Repertory Company more than 20 years ago, one of their aims was to introduce and grow local interest in theater arts, thus sparking positive community change.

    But a second goal --  to develop and produce new plays with the hope of making a lasting contribution to the American stage - made the first all the more challenging.

    "We've always felt that it's important to take chances and to support the work of new, young, and contemporary writers, perhaps introducing works that will become  classics," admitted Suzanne Barabas, now  the company's artistic director while Gabor Barabas is its executive producer. "Compared to doing established and well-known plays, it was not a pragmatic decision from a business stand point," 

    Nevertheless, they persisted.

    "It took us two or three seasons to gather momentum and develop our model of orchestrating an entire season around new works while at the same time maintaining our financial stability"  Barabas said.

    N.J. Rep's 98th world premiere and its second this season-- playwright Allison Gregory's "Wild Horses"-- opens Feb. 22 and will enjoy a month-long run. Barabas, who is directing the production, described it as a darkly comic one-woman show set in a Tastee-Freeze-turned karaoke bar in 1996 "Anywhere, U.S.A." Actress Estelle Bajou, who appeared last season in N.J Rep's "The Jag" and had principal roles in the film "The Post" and TV's "Boardwalk Empire," stars. About a dozen local actors will appear pre-show as karaoke-loving bar patrons to set the mood.

    "'Wild Horses' is a compelling coming-of-age story about the vulnerabilities of adolescence," Barabas said. "The audience learns how an adventurous young girl transitioned to adulthood  while facing the uncertainties and potential dangers of the grown-up world."

    The production is a National New Play Network Rolling Premiere. The National New Play Network is a non-profit which partners theaters nationwide that then independently produce the same new work - in this case, Long Branch as well as Shepherdstown, W.V.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Austin, Tex. -- within one year.

    "In this way, a completely unknown play receives tremendous exposure among the theater-going public and hopefully will go on to be produced by many other theaters in the future," Barabas said.

    N.J. Rep began this season with "The Calling," an original psycological thriller  with humorous overtones written by Joel Stone, N.J. Rep's literary manager. After "Wild Horses," which is also the company's 123rd production, the company will host four more world  premieres before the end of the year: "Issei, He Say" by Chloe Hung; "Mercy" by Adam Szymkowicz; "Wolf at the Door" by Marisela Trevino Orta; and "Assisted Living" by Michael Tucker.

    As the company has gained a reputation for the excellence of its productions, it's attracted many now-well-known theater professionals. A few who have taken the stage at N.J. Rep include Dan Lauria, (Broadway's "Lombardi", TV's "The Wonder Years"); Wendie Malick (TV's "Dream On" and "Just Shoot Me" ); Gary Cole, ("Office Space," TV's "Veep""and "The Good Wife"); Michael Tucker {TV's "L.A. Law" and "Law and Order"); Jill Eikenberry, (TV's L. A. Law), and the late Kim Hunter, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Stella in 1951's "A Streetcar Named Desire."

    N.J. Rep has also seen plays that debuted on its Long Branch stage move up and away to subsequent productions off-Broadway, in Chicago, Detroit, Sarasota, Indianapolis, Sacramento, Buffalo, Seattle and Denver, as well as overseas in Austria, Estonia, Australia, and Turkey.  

    "More and more of the plays we first introduced to the public are produced by other theaters or are published, thereby making them widely available," Barabas said.  "In this way, our relatively small stage and our work extends way beyond the physical confines of our building."

    Seaking of that building, that's another way N.J. Rep hopes to expand its mission and its reach: After 20 years in a building donated to its cause by a young couple who wanted to revitalize the community, the company is hoping to move. Two years ago, N.J. Rep purchased a former school that is about a  five minute drive from its current theater and just two blocks from the beach.

    A new capital campaign aims to raise $12 million to begin work by 2020 on the first stage of its plan: a new main stage theater that will anchor a 50,000 square-foot arts complex with two theaters, an art cinema, galleries for the visual arts, classrooms, studios, and residences for out-of-town actors and playwrights .

    "Our goal," Barabas said, "is to be a catalyst for the redevelopment and revitalization of our community and to ignite the cultural renaissance of our city."

    Wild Horses

    New Jersey Repertory Company

    179 Broadway, Long Branch

    Tickets: $30-46, available online at Feb. 22 - March 25. 

    Natalie Pompilio is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. She can be reached at Find her on Twitter @nataliepompilio. Find on Facebook. 

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    Who will move on to the sectional quarterfinals? Take a look at our staff picks.

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    A close friend and business partner says the couple had been dating for five years and had plans to get married.

    Services have been announced for one of the two people killed in a Valentine's Day crash on Intersate-195 that ended the lives of an engaged couple. 

    Visitation for James Fusaro, 26, of Jackson will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at Orender Family Home for Funerals in Manasquan from 2 to 8 p.m., according to his obituary.  

    Fusaro was driving a sports car - 2017 McLaren 570s - on I-195 on Valentine's Day evening when it went off the side of the road, overturned and caught fire near exit 22 in Jackson.

    The crash killed him and his 25-year-old fiancee Christina McNamara, who was in the passenger seat, the New Jersey State Police have said.

    Fusaro graduated from Wall High School in 2009 before attending Brookdale Community College, his obituary says. 

    Fusaro founded Liquid Labs LLC in 2014, which manufactures eLiquid products for electronic cigarettes, according to the Lakewood company's Facebook page.

    Friends and close family members of Fusaro say he often employed people with troubled pasts or criminal records that were in need of a second chance.

    "The company was his life," said friend and fellow business partner Dean Pasqua, 27, whom was hired years back as the web designer for Liquid Labs. 

    "He had a passion like I've never seen," he said. "Not just for vaping, but for helping people. Any way he could help, he would."

    Fasuro's employees took to social media to share their grief over his passing.

    Pasqua said Fusaro and McNamara had been dating for five years, and had plans to get married. The couple leaves behind a dog named Bella, according to the obituary.

    McNamara was in cosmetology school, and often helped Fusaro with business endeavors, according to Pasqua.  

    Funeral arrangements for McNamara have not yet been finalized.

    State Police say the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

    Alexis Johnson may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @alexisjreports. Find her on Facebook.


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    Who will shine with everything on the line?

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    A handful of high-seeded teams are capable of posting upsets in state tournament

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    2018 NJSIAA region wrestling tournament brackets are below. Each weight class within each region is a separate bracket. Each bracket is printable. Click through the brackets below for each weight c...

    2018 NJSIAA region wrestling tournament brackets are below. Each weight class within each region is a separate bracket.

    Each bracket is printable. Click through the brackets below for each weight class.

    NOTE: Brackets will be added all day on Monday, please check back for the latest.
    We will be updating the brackets throughout the tournament, so check back as the results flow in on Wednesday and Friday nights -- and all day on Saturday.

    Region 1 brackets
    106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145
    152 | 160 | 170 | 182 | 195 | 220 | 285

    Region 2 brackets
    106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145
    152 | 160 | 170 | 182 | 195 | 220 | 285

    Region 3 brackets
    106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145
    152 | 160 | 170 | 182 | 195 | 220 | 285

    Region 4 brackets
    106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145
    152 | 160 | 170 | 182 | 195 | 220 | 285

    Region 5 brackets
    106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145
    152 | 160 | 170 | 182 | 195 | 220 | 285

    Region 6 brackets
    106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145
    152 | 160 | 170 | 182 | 195 | 220 | 285

    Region 7 brackets
    106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145
    152 | 160 | 170 | 182 | 195 | 220 | 285

    Region 8 brackets
    106 | 113 | 120 | 126 | 132 | 138 | 145
    152 | 160 | 170 | 182 | 195 | 220 | 285

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    According to its Trulia listing, the taxes are estimated at about $23,770.

    In this week's "On the market" property, we feature a home in Little Silver with more than 5,000 square feet of living space.

    The home is listed for $2 million. According to its Trulia listing, the taxes are estimated at about $23,770.

    The home features four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and one partial bath.

    The median sale price for homes in the area is $550,000.

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

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

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    How will regions affect the rankings?

    0 0 previews the Region 5 wrestling tournament at Hunterdon Central with a prediction at every weight class.

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    How accurate will our reporters prove to be?

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    How did all of the Cups affect this week's Top 20? Find the answer to that question in this updated ranking.

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    Former Gov. Jim McGreevey opened a New Brunswick chapter of his nonprofit, which provides formerly incarcerated people with life and spiritual resources. Watch video

    Reenty.jpgFormer Gov. Jim McGreevey (right) and former inmate Kendar Hall help to open a new office Tuesday for the New Jersey Reentry Corporation in New Brunswick. (Paige Gross | For 

    Kedar Hall was losing his eyesight when was released from his most recent stint in prison. First, former Gov. Jim McGreevey came to his aid and lended him his glasses. Then, McGreevey's agency, the New Jersey Reentry Corporation helped him get glasses and resume his life on the outside.

    The Reentry Corporation Tuesday opened its ninth office to help former inmates like Hall, this one in a basement space in downtown New Brunswick.

    "This here is a second sight, this is a second chance," Hall said of the new office at 57 Livingston Ave. "I used to live here in New Brunswick. New Brunswick is one of those spots where they really need that help. You just need to let people know that the help is there."

    The Corporation helps former inmates deal with a myriad of obstacles, starting with obtaining housing and finding a job, McGreevey said at the center's opening. It also provides addiction treatment, legal services and healthcare and spiritual mentoring. 

    "So often people are being sent to prison instead of drug treatment, it's a big issue for our clients," said McGreevey, who runs the nonprofit. They're "just rotating in and out of prison, in and out of prison."

    The organization also assists "max-out" prisoners, or people who serve the entirety of their sentence before being released. They are often reentering their lives decades later, and don't have the same programs available to them than those who re-enter under parole conditions.

    Another client, John Sanchez, said he struggled with getting certifications for the skills he gained while incarcerated. A lawyer with the Reentry Corporation reached out to him and found him a job and stable housing.

    "And that just changed my life," Sanchez said.

    McGreevey estimates that the agency currently work with about 2,500 formerly incarcerated clients. That number will continue to rise in the coming years as more people are released back into society, he said.

    The agency's other offices are in Elizabeth, Hackensack, Jersey City, Kearny, Neptune, Newark, Paterson and Toms River. All do not offer full 

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.comFollow her on Twitter @By_paigegross. Find on Facebook.

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    Check out previews of all 14 weights from Toms River North

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    For the first time, New Jersey rated each public high school on a scale of 0-100. See which schools cracked the top 50.

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    The 55-year-old from Freehold had a medical episode before her head slide beneath the surface of the water.

    A 55-year-old New Jersey woman accidentally drowned in a hotel room whirlpool tub in upstate New York on Monday after suffering what authorities determined was a medical event. 

    Patricia Moschella, of Freehold, was found unresponsive by workers at the Water's Edge Inn in Old Forge, New York State Police said in a statement. The maintenance staff came to the room after a smoke detector went off, officials said. 

    The medical episode caused Moschella's head to slide beneath the water's surface, according to a report on Her hair then got tangled in the whirlpool tub's jets, which caused it to spark and set off the smoke detector. Emergency workers were unable to revive her, the report said. 

    Moschella's boyfriend was running errands at the time, the report said.

    The medical examiner conducted an autopsy and concluded Moschella's drowning was accidental, New York State Police said. The type of medical event she had hasn't yet been determined. 

    The Water's Edge is about 90 miles west of Lake George in northern Herkimer County.

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


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    Which high finishers in districts have the best chance of reaching the podium in Atlantic City?

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    Bags entering Cinemark can be no larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches

    One of the largest movie theater chains in the country is banning large bags from its venues with new size limits that take effect Thursday and advised customers that small bags may be searched.

    Cinemark announced the ban on bags larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches in a statement on the Texas-based company's website. 

    There are some exceptions. Diaper bags and bags containing medical equipment will sill be permitted inside its 339 theaters across the country. 

    Cinemark has two New Jersey theaters in Hazlet and Somerdale. It's building new locations in Wayne and Watchung

    What is MoviePass? Breaking down the cheapest new way to go to the movies in N.J.

    The company said there will be no place for moviegoers to check bags, either. 

    Cinemark, the nation's third-largest movie theater company, also said it could inspect any bags and packages entering the theater. A spokesman didn't immediately reply to a message from NJ Advance Media seeking additional information.

    The two largest U.S. movie theater chains -- AMC and Regal -- do not have a former policy limiting the size of bags.

    Regal says backpacks, bags and packages are subject to inspection. AMC leaves it up to theater managers whether bag checks are needed, according to An AMC spokesman didn't immediately respond to a message from NJ Advance Media seeking clarification on that rule.

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


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