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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    Highlights from the state tournament.

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    The Belmar Lake Como parade began in 1974 and draws crowds of approximately 200,000 annually, according to organizers.

    Cloudy skies and dismal temperatures couldn't keep Garden State residents from showing their Irish pride on Sunday as cities throughout New Jersey held their annual St. Patrick's Day parades.

    In Belmar, throngs of parade-goers decked in green lined the streets for the annual Belmar Lake Como event, which began in 1974 and has grown to draw crowds of approximately 200,000 annually, according to parade organizers.

    In Camden County, Gloucester City's own parade drew a visit from Gov. Phil Murphy, whose attire left little doubt about his enthusiasm for the occasion:

    Other local and county governments holding their own parades next weekend include West OrangeOcean County (in Seaside Heights) and Morris County (in Morristown).

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    Weather forecasters say another winter storm system is heading toward New Jersey and New York City and could result in more snow and additional power outages.

    0 0's coverage of the action at Boardwalk Hall on Sunday, continually updated all day.

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    These towns had the highest average property tax bills in New Jersey in 2017.

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    Shelters and rescues throughout New Jersey have pets awaiting adoption.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Who are our picks for sectional titles?

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    NJ Advance Media takes a look at all 19 of Monday's and Tuesday's finals.

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    The second nor'easter in a week is expected to hit the region Tuesday into Wednesday, posing risks to beaches along the coast. Watch video

    A nor'easter predicted to hit just days after a similar storm brought high winds and coastal flooding could spell erosion trouble for New Jersey beaches. 

    While Friday's nor'easter resulted in mostly minor flooding and damage to the coast, it's the rare combination of two storms separated by mere days that has experts and authorities on alert. 

    "It's the setup, because the beach will not get a chance to recover in any way before Wednesday," said Stewart Farrell, the director and founder of the Coastal Research Center at Stockton University. 

    The last time two large winter storms occurred so close together was in February 1996, he said. Smaller storms occur more often within the similar time frames, but do far less damage to the beaches, meaning they don't need the standard six-week recovery time to bounce back. 

    What the morning after the Nor'easter looked like at the Jersey Shore

    Friday's storm included winds that peaked at a rate of 71 mph in Cape May County, as well as downed trees and power lines across the state paired with rain and snow that snarled evening commutes. 

    It hit the western-facing bay shore in Cape May County the hardest, Farrell said, reaching and scarping the dunes and pulling plant debris onto the beach. 

    And while it's not yet clear the extent to which the the blustery day impacted the beaches, officials say favorable offshore winds helped to keep erosion to a minimum in most places. 

    "We did expect to see erosion from the storm," said Lawrence Hajna, a spokesman for the state's Department of Environmental Protection. 

    He said the DEP plans to send crews out to measure erosion along the coast, as they often do after large storms, but may wait until after Wednesday's storm to get to work.  

    The National Weather Service predicts the impending storm could drop 4 to 8 inches of snow around much of the state, and has issued warnings for coastal flooding. Some coastal flooding could occur along the northern and central parts of the coast, forecasters said. 

    Winds are expected to rise Tuesday night into Wednesday evening, reaching around 24 mph Wednesday morning, according to the weather service. 

    "This storm is expected to have onshore winds, but be of shorter duration and lower tides than the previous storm," Hajna said late Monday afternoon. 

    While the shore has taken worse beatings in recent years, Farrell said storms are sized up on three parameters in terms of erosion: their intensity, duration and frequency. 

    "Right now, we're looking at [frequency] as a problem," he said.
    "Four, five days later, we get another one. They build on each other's damage."

    Several beaches, including parts of Mantoloking, Brigantine and Longport, are undergoing widening efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

    Army Corps spokesman Steve Rochette said last week that the agency surveyed the beaches before the storm and would do so after to determine necessary repairs. 

    "In advance of these storms, we secure all of our sites that have active construction going on," Rochette said Monday morning. "The early reports indicate [there was] some minor to moderate erosion." 

    That means the waves did not clearly or heavily impact dunes at the beaches, which would be considered more serious erosion. The equipment will remain secured and work halted at least until Wednesday's storm passes, he said. 

    More minor erosion, like the kind Rochette described, is common for storms like Friday's, Hajna of the DEP said. 

    "In a typical nor'easter situation, the sand is transported just to the near-shore area," he explained, noting that tides can naturally and gradually replenish the sand over a summer season. 

    It's super storms like Hurricane Sandy that prove more probelmatic, as they often carry sand farther onto land and into the bay, taking it out of the system and prompting beach replinishment projects to counteract the effects. 

    "The sand loss was premanent," Hajna said of Sandy. "There was a lot of work, and that required more effort than what might occur after a nor'easter."

    With another storm coming before the beaches can replenish naturally, however, it's trickier to predict how they might look at the end of the month or going into the summer season. 

    "It's going to take a little bit of time to know how much erosion has occurred and what the prospects are" to replace the sand, Hajna said.  

    And thanks to other replenishment efforts, the beaches may have a leg up on the storm. 

    "The good thing is, for New Jersey right now, the beaches are in pretty good shape, given the fact that tens of millions of dollars have been spent," Farrell said. "[The sand] is still out there."

     Amanda Hoover can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find on Facebook

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    A collection for the history books - 112 medalists.

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    What you need to know from the state tournament

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    Best stories, moments & performances that helped define the 2017-18 season.

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    While Andreas Erazo was with police as a witness, detectives learned that a neighbor saw the missing 11-year-old go inside his apartment Watch video

    The man accused of raping and killing an 11-year-old Keansburg girl in July went from a witness to a person of interest after a neighbor told detectives he saw the girl go into the man's apartment the night she was reported missing, a lead detective on the case testified Tuesday.

    Andreas Erazo, 19, was already at the Keansburg Police Department headquarters when detectives Wayne Raynor and Joseph Jankowski learned about Abbiegail "Abbie" Smith going into Erazo's apartment the night she was reported missing by her mother, on July 12.  

    Police had brought Erazo to headquarters to talk to authorities after Smith's body was located the morning of July 13 on top of a shed outside his second-floor apartment window at the Hancock Arms complex in Keansburg, according to testimony from Raynor.

    Smith lived in the same apartment complex on the first floor with her mother and two brothers.

    Man sexually assaulted girl, 11, before fatal stabbing, indictment says

    Authorities say Erazo admitted to detectives in an interview that after stabbing Smith, he tied Smith's body up with computer cords, wrapped her in a sheet and then placed her body in a green futon.

    But before the alleged confession, Erazo sat in an interview room for more than two hours by himself as detectives were elsewhere. He is seen on tape sitting in a black desk chair, swiveling side to side, placing his head on a small round table, fidgeting with a water bottle and stretching his arms and neck.

    The tape was played before Judge David Bauman in Monmouth County Superior Court during a hearing to determine if Erazo's statements made to detectives will be able to be played at his trial. A trial date has not been set.

    Bauman ended the hearing Tuesday before the part where Erazo made his statements to police on tape.

    In an unrecorded interview with Raynor and Jankowski prior to his alleged confession, Erazo willingly provided information about where he was the night Smith was reported missing, Raynor said.

    Erazo told detectives he saw Smith outside the apartment complex but did not have any interaction with her. He was able to describe what she was wearing that night, Raynor said. 

    Erazo was just a witness at that point in the interview process, Raynor said. Erazo was not handcuffed and was taken outside by detectives to smoke a cigarette. It wasn't until after detectives learned the information about Smith being seen going into Erazo's apartment complex did Erazo become a person of interest. 

    "The change came because we wanted to address what the eyewitness told detectives," Raynor said during his testimony.  

    Prosecutors said in a previous court hearing that Smith was seen playing outside Erazo's apartment before she was reported missing.

    Erazo told detectives that he was making dinner inside his apartment that night when he heard a loud bang at the door, according to court documents.

    Thinking an intruder was inside the apartment, Erazo grabbed a kitchen knife and walked towards the door, he told detectives. He made a stabbing motion with his left hand and when he turned on the lights, he realized he stabbed a young girl, Erazo claims.

    But prosecutors contend Erazo sexually assaulted Smith and then stabbed her. Erazo's sperm was found in Smith's genital area, according to prosecutors.

    When detectives asked if Erazo sexually assaulted Smith, he responded by saying he "had a tendency to black out traumatic events and would not be surprised if it had been determined he had," prosecutors said in a brief that was read aloud in a previous hearing by Bauman. 

    Erazo is charged with murder and two counts of aggravated sexual assault in the killing of Smith.

    Erazo's statements to detectives are expected to be played in court when the hearing is scheduled to resume Wednesday.  

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

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    Monmouth County school districts announced closings and delayed openings ahead of Wednesday's big coastal storm.

    Another big coastal storm is headed for New Jersey and bringing a mix of snow, rain and wind causing schools throughout the state to announce closings and delays for Wednesday.

    The following Monmouth County schools are closed or have delayed openings for Wednesday, March 7:


    • Children of America
    • Christian Brothers Academy
    • Farmingdale Public Schools
    • Freehold Borough Public Schools
    • Freehold Regional School District
    • Freehold Township School District
    • Hazlet
    • Howell Township Public Schools
    • Keansburg
    • Keyport
    • Marlboro Public Schools
    • Matawan-Aberdeen
    • Millstone Township School District
    • Monmouth County Vocational School District
    • St. John Vianney High School


    • No announcements yet


    • Arc of Monmouth County - 12:00 p.m. 
    • Children's Center of Monmouth County - 12:45 p.m. 
    • Oakwood School - 12:15 p.m.
    • Rugby School at Woodfield - 1:00 p.m. 

    If you know of any delays or closures not on this list, let us know in the comments.

    Caitlyn Stulpin may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @caitstulpin. Find on Facebook.

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    What you need to know from the state tournament

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    One last assessment of N.J. hockey's best teams in 2017-18.

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    Monmouth County school districts announced closings and delayed openings for Thursday following Wednesday's winter storm.

    Much of New Jersey was hit hard by another nor'easter, which brought winds, rain and snow, and prompted Monmouth County schools to announce closings and delayed openings for Thursday.

    The following schools are closed or have delayed openings for Thursday, March 8:


    • No announcements yet


    • Freehold Borough Public Schools (One hour and half late)
    • Freehold Township (Two hours late)


    • No announcements yet 

    If you know of any delays or closures not on this list, let us know in the comments.

    Caitlyn Stulpin may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @caitstulpin. Find on Facebook.


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    "Children will always be blissfully unaware of the lives their parents or grandparents lived before them."

    On a typical day in the 1970s, a guy like me might put on my Earth Shoes and drive an El Camino to school, opening the vent window on the way.

    I may have listened to a teacher discuss the Jonathan Livingston Seagull novel and then climbed a rack of thick wooden dowels in gym class. Members of the A/V club might have wheeled a projector into a classroom for a film presentation.

    After school, I might work on a term paper on an electric typewriter, keeping a bottle of Wite-Out correction fluid ready to employ.

    I might listen to music on a boom box, or decide what to watch on TV after consulting TV guide. Naturally, I would change the channel by turning the knob on the set and I would hope the picture was decent after adjusting the vertical hold.

    a65ada6bb37146db2a52eac35ef7ab22.jpgYou know what this was used for, right? 

    As much as this might sound like someone speaking a foreign language to millennials, all of this was part of daily life not terribly long ago.

    Many of the items in this gallery were technical wonders of their day ... and seem almost funny today. An article on notes that "It's easy to argue that generations of people no longer exist in neat baby-boomer time periods. Instead of years, we should label generations by the dominant technology they use. Children will always be blissfully unaware of the lives their parents or grandparents lived before them."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Which is why collections like this one are both entertaining ... and educational.

    Here's a gallery of things you may have forgotten about, or put a great deal of effort into intentionally forgetting about. And here are links to some other galleries you might enjoy.

    Vintage photos of things that have changed - for better or worse

    Vintage photos of how things have changed in N.J.

    Vintage photos of New Jerseyans engaged in 'dicey' activities

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

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    The gunshots hit two men who were sitting inside the vehicle. They were taken to an area hospital where they were treated and released.

    Two men, including a member of the Bloods street gang, are facing up to life in prison for firing multiple gunshots at a sport utility vehicle occupied by two men outside a West Long Branch motel in 2017.

    Rayshawn Jones, 27, and Michael Seward, 30, both of Long Branch, each pleaded guilty Monday before Judge Richard English in Monmouth County Superior Court to first-degree attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons offenses.

    Jones and Seward admitted to each firing multiple shots into a GMC Yukon that was occupied by two Long Branch men outside a motel on Route 36 on Jan. 13, 2017.

    The victims were struck by gunfire and taken to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch where they were treated and released.

    The two men fled the area on foot but were arrested by police shortly after the incident. The shooting was captured on surveillance video, according to a statement from Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni. 

    Jones and Seward face up to life in prison due to their criminal history, Gramiccioni said. 

    During the hearing, Jones also admitted he was a member of the Fruit Town Brims set of the Bloods street gang.

    Jones' attorney, Shane Paugh, declined to comment on the plea. Carlos Diaz-Cobo, who represented Seward, did not immediately return a phone call to his office seeking comment.

    Both men are scheduled to be sentenced on May 4. 

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

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    Check out who is picking in the group semifinals.

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