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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    The plans to wipe out part of the mall and replace it with apartments, retail, entertainment space go before the planning board on Monday.

    The plans to redevelop a Monmouth County mall are scheduled to be discussed in front of a planning board Monday.

    Kushner Companies and Rouse Properties submitted redevelopment plans for The Heights at Monmouth, a redevelopment project of the current Monmouth Mall, located in Eatontown. Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, was the leader of Kushner Companies until he accepted the position of Senior  White House Advisor in 2017.

    The 500,000-square-foot property, which opened in 1960, would have retail, entertainment, and medical spaces. The project will also add a 700-unit apartment complex, and a section of the property dedicated to upscale restaurants and wine bars. The price to complete the project is estimated to cost as much as $500 million.

    The Eatontown Borough Planning Board will hear the redevelopment plans for the mall space. One group, Eatontown Residents for a Greater Mall, have voiced their concerns about the proposal on Facebook.

    In a posting on the group's Facebook page, the group came up with the term "Mallgate," accusing borough officials of "having Kushner's back, not ours."

    Eatontown Mayor Dennis Connolly did return a request for comment. However, in a May 2017 Wall Street Journal article, Connolly said the following: "Our town relies on the Monmouth Mall to survive, and we have for years. We need it to be successful today and in the future."

    The current incarnation of the mall has seen tenants leave the Eatontown-based mall, which is the county's largest source of tax revenue. Officials hope the repurposed land will spur people to come to the property.

    NJ Advance Media also reached out to Kushner Companies which directed us to Rouse Properties, the company handling public relations for the mall. A spokesman for Rouse Companies stated the company "respectfully declines to comment."

    The planning board meeting is scheduled to take place 7:30 p.m. at the Eatontown Borough Council meeting room.

    Chris Franklin can be reached at cfranklin@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @cfranklinnews. Find NJ.com on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    A man was found dead in a parking lot in Howell on Friday, but by late Friday police had not said how he died or whether his death appeared suspicious.

    A man was found dead in a parking lot in Howell on Friday, but by late Friday police had not said how he died, whether his death appeared suspicious or whether there was any reason for public alarm.

    The man was identified as Weldon Spaulding Jr., 61, of Tinton Falls, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. His body was discovered in the Home Depot plaza on Route 9 in Howell at 1:31 p.m.

    HowellBodyFound.jpgPhoto courtesy Howell Township Facebook page 

    An autopsy was expected to be performed on Saturday to determine a cause of death.

    A prosecutor's office spokesman could not could not provide any details, including whether the case was being treated as a homicide.

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

     

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    Easter means savings at several New Jersey attractions. Deal-hunting has become a holiday tradition, whether you choose to show up in person on Easter Sunday or buy tickets and passes online at Six Flags Great Adventure, Keansburg Amusement Park and more. Also: how to get a jump on beach tags and badges.


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    Late Harry Rockafeller cited multiple times for bravery

    It began as a routine call for a suspicious vehicle parked on a residential street in Wall Township. Ptl. Mike Malone responded to find the car gone.

    "Normally, we just report in that the vehicle has left and move to the next call," said Malone. "But for some reason, I decided to knock on the door of the resident who called it in."

    He was greeted by elderly man wearing a baseball cap that read: "Patton's Best," with the number 4.

    "I said, 'Did you serve with Gen. Patton, sir?' " Malone said. "He seemed surprised I knew who Patton was. I told him my grandfather also served under Patton and he tested me. He said, 'What army?' I said, 'the 3rd.' And he said, 'Well, come on in.'"

    This began a five-year friendship that ended with the death of 100-year-old Harry Rockafeller in 2017, but Malone's dedication to the old soldier will have him remembered for the rest this century and beyond.

    Malone and the rest of the Wall Patrolmen's Benevolent Association are raising funds to have a 9-foot-high bronze statue of Rockafeller erected at police headquarters in the municipal complex on Allaire Road.

    MORE: Recent Mark Di Ionno columns

    Malone, 38, always had an interest World War II. Both of his grandfathers served. And through movies and books, "I had a working knowledge about the war," he said.

    So, Malone knew the red flag with two white stars meant Rockafeller had risen to the rank major general.

    Then Malone saw the Silver Star with two bronze oak leaf clusters, a Bronze Star with a V (for valor) and a Purple Heart in Rockafeller's service shadow box.

    "A Silver Star with two oak leaf clusters is the same as being awarded three Silver Stars," Malone said. "When he said he had three Silver Stars, every hair on the back of my neck stood up. I knew this guy was a real American hero."

    After that first meeting, Malone would check on Rockafeller from time-to-time and their friendship grew.

    "After Hurricane Sandy I went to make sure he was okay," Malone said. "His power was out, and he said, 'I don't ever want to be as cold as I was in Bastogne (where Patton's army rescued the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge) and last night was pretty damn close."

    Malone began to visit him "once or twice a week" and arranged for people to come to do household maintenance.

    "If he needed his trees trimmed or pipes fixed, we'd find someone to do it," Malone said.

    "He was always a gentleman. We invited him for dinner and he had flowers delivered for Nicole (Malone's wife, who was then his fiancee) before he came."

    Rockafeller was a guest at Malone's wedding, coming with his daughter Pam and her husband Rob Henry, who live in Massachusetts.

    "My entire family will forever be grateful to Mike Malone," Pam Henry said. "His compassionate nature with my father and his passion for this enormous project has been a wonderful thing for all of us."

    As his friendship with Rockafeller grew, Malone delved into his military record and eventually researched his citations.

    "Here was the guy, a legitimate war hero, living quietly in our town for 70 years, and nobody knew about it," Malone said. "That's a problem we're going to fix."

    Malone found that each time Rockafeller was awarded a Silver Star, his superiors had recommended him for the Army's Distinguished Service Cross, the military's highest award after the Medal of Honor.

    "Harry was a Rutgers grad, not a West Pointer," Malone said. "That, and the fact that Patton wasn't well-liked (by the war brass) probably hurt him."

    In fact, Malone found a letter written by Patton to and underling saying "the next time" Rockafeller showed bravery in combat, he would personally see that he received the Distinguished Cross.

    "But by then the war was winding down," Malone said.

    One night he read one of the Silver Star citations to Rockafeller.

    "He said, 'That's exactly right!' It was the first time he ever heard it or read it," Malone said, relating a story so typical of World War II veterans.

    These acts of Rockafeller's "conspicuous gallantry" occurred in 1944, as the Allies made their way across France and Belgium into Germany during some the fiercest fighting in Europe.

    Rockafeller was in the 51st Infantry Battalion 4th Armored Division, which landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, six-weeks after D-Day. At the time, he was a captain, and then was promoted to major at Bastogne, Belgium.

    "Through my research, I came to the conclusion that my grandfather (Bob "Rocky" Gadaleta) and Harry were probably in St. Lo (France) at the same time (during the Allied offensive in 1944).

    In Malone's home is Rockefeller's framed silk "escape map" of Europe, pictures of him from his war days and other memorabilia. He also has a canister of sand from a trip to Normandy's D-Day beaches, dedicated to "the two Rockys," he said.

    Now comes his plan to commemorate Rockafeller's legacy in a more public way.

    After Rockafeller's death last August ("He would have never agreed to something like this," Malone said) the police in Wall decided to raise money for the statue.

    They figure they'll need $130,000 to get the statue erected and dedicated by Veteran's Day of this year. So far, $60,000 has been raised by the police putting up a few hundred posters in the Wall area. 

    Donations can be made through www.rockafellermemorial.com or by sending a check to: Wall Twp. PBA Local 234, P.O. Box 1332, Wall, N.J. 07719.

    The statue the police have planned will depict him at the Battle of Bulge.

    "This statue will honor him and all our World War II veterans," Malone said. "This generation - the Greatest Generation - is disappearing. Future generations will never know them. We have to remember them."

    Mark Di Ionno may be reached at mdiionno@starledger.com. Follow The Star-Ledger on Twitter @StarLedger and find us on Facebook.  


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    Wrestlers from 16 states battled it out on the mats in Wildwood.

    More than 1,600 youth wrestlers made their way to Wildwood this weekend to compete in the 15th Annual "War at the Shore" Folkstyle Nationals wrestling tournament.

    The tourney's most popular event is the "Boys War," in which girls can also compete. There is also a girls-only competition on Friday as well as an adult event on Saturday.

    New Jersey was well represented with more than 700 wrestlers competing. Hundreds of wrestlers from nearby Pennsylvania and New York also took to the mats, but the tournament also drew competitors from states as far away as Florida, Texas, Nevada, Ohio and Vermont.

    A record number of girls competed in this year's "War at the Shore," with nearly 100 girls from pre-kindergarten through high school registered.

    Competition continues today at the Wildwoods Convention Center. For a full list of results, visit flowrestling.org.

    Related stories:

    Photos of the 2017 "War at the Shore"

    Photos of the 2016 "War at the Shore"

    Lori M. Nichols may be reached at lnichols@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @photoglori. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips.


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    A Monmouth county resident called the SPCA when he spotted a young deer who was stuck in a glass bowl.

    A Monmouth County resident called for help when he noticed a young buck with its head stuck in a glass bowl wandering the woods near his home. 

    The Colts Neck homeowner contacted his local SPCA on Thursday when he saw the deer, the Monmouth County SPCA wrote in a post on its Facebook Page

    "The deer had been ostracized from his herd since he looked different with the bowl in his head and would come to feed once they had all gone," the organization wrote in a post. 

    deer3.jpgHumane Law Enforcement and the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife sedated and saved a young buck Thursday. 

    The SPCA's Human Law Enforcement personnel in cooperation with workers from the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife were able to humanely sedate the buck and remove the bowl from its head on Friday morning.

    The bowl turned out to be a light fixture, the post said, which was probably full of water that the deer tried to drink. 

    The buck was dehydrated from four days without food and water and had a couple of scrapes, but was able to run away when it woke up from the sedative, the SPCA wrote. 

    "We're thankful we have such a dedicated team of professionals who go above and beyond for all species," it said.

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


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    Investigators are searching for the people responsible for a shooting that sent five men to the hospital Saturday night.

    Law enforcement agencies are investigating a quintuple shooting that sent five men to the hospital Saturday night in Asbury Park.

    Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Charles Webster said Asbury Park police were called to an area near Atlantic Avenue and Monmouth Avenue around 11:31 p.m. Saturday after receiving a report about shots being fired.

    Webster said a car pulled up and opened fire on a group of five men standing nearby before fleeing the scene.

    All five victims were taken to the hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds.

    Three of the men, a 25-year old, a 29-year-old, and a 27-year-old remain hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries while two others, a 27-year-old and a 31-year-old, were treated and released, Webster said.

    Authorities said the shooting is still under investigation, and the Monmouth County Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the shooters and those involved.

    The prosecutor's office said anyone with information about the shooting can contact prosecutor's Detective Patrick Petruzziello at 1-800-533-7443, Asbury Park police Detective Gabriel Carrasquillo at 732-774-1300 or anonymously send a text with the word "MONMOUTH" and the tip information to 274637.    

    Chris Franklin can be reached at cfranklin@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @cfranklinnews. Find NJ.com on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    The 83rd annual event held at the Paramount Theater brought together dozens of people in their colorful and creative Easter attire. Watch video

    Hundreds dressed in colorful bonnets, dresses and suits gathered at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park on Sunday for the 83rd Annual Easter Parade and Pageant.

    Competing in categories such as "unusual bonnets" and "best dressed," participants of all ages were drawn to the event on Ocean Avenue.

    Expo preview

    Under the watchful eyes of the Easter Bunny, children partaking in the pageant displayed their outfits for judges who included Asbury Park Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn, Asbury Park City Council members Jesse Kendle, Yvonne Clayton and Eileen Chapman, as well as retired Asbury Park Board of Education employee Jessie Ricks.

    Make sure to watch the video and check out the photo gallery to see the sights and sounds of the parade and pageant.

    Chris Franklin can be reached at cfranklin@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @cfranklinnews. Find NJ.com on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    (from gulfnews.com)

    A dog lover in Dubai is supplying fresh home-cooked meals for pets in order to provide them with an alternative to processed foods.

    Egyptian expat Nael Basily, 35, said it was his pet dog's medical condition that led him to launch the initiative 'Just Chew.'.

    Basily said his 6-year old golden retriever, Twixy, was diagnosed with cancer last November, and the vets attributed unhealthy diet and lifestyle to be one of the reasons for the ailment.

    "Back home in Cairo, I used to cook for my pet every day. But ever since I moved to Dubai two years ago, I began feeding her processed food. Although I relied only premium brands that promised the best nutrition, it was not helping her. So I decided to start cooking for her again and it's working wonders on her health and looks," said Basily.

    "There are 40 pet owners ordering food from me. I have a set menu prepared for all days of the week. I cook two days a week - Sunday and Wednesday. Delivery is done on the same days. I pack food boxes with days of the week marked. Initially I used to do the delivery myself, but now I have a delivery boy," he explained.

    The dishes on his menu include: Chunky Chic, a mix of steamed potatoes, carrots and brown rice topped with a boneless chicken leg, eggshell powder and a splash of olive oil; Jerkey Turkey made of sweet potatoes, zucchini and brown rice topped with Turkey eggshell powder and olive oil a meal containing a mix of steamed veggies, brown rice and salmon bites.

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


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    If you're cutting through one of these tiny towns, watch your driving!


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    Kushner Companies, whose former CEO now sits in the White House as a senior advisor to his father-in-law, sold off much of its New Jersey rental properties a decade ago. Now it is buying apartments again in the Garden State.


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    Snow slowed the start, but the first full week of high school baseball has some interesting match-ups.


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    With new music and a heap of emo-rock classics, Dashboard tore up its N.J. concert Monday night


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    Long Branch police Detective Jake Pascucci admitted he had a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more when he fatally struck a woman crossing the street in September. Watch video

    An off-duty Long Branch police officer admitted Tuesday that he was driving drunk when he fatally struck a woman as she crossed the street in September.

    Detective Jake Pascucci acknowledged that he had at least a blood-alcohol level of .08, the state's legal limit for drivers, when he hit Karen Borkowski, 66, as she crossed Ocean Boulevard at the intersection of Broadway in Long Branch on Sept. 22.

    Pascucci pleaded guilty before Judge Lorraine Pullen in Superior Court in Middlesex County to strict liability vehicular homicide and DWI. Prosecutors will drop the reckless and careless driving charges as part of the agreement.

    The case was transferred to Middlesex County because Pascucci had worked on an investigation with the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and that office felt it was a conflict of interest, a spokesman for the agency has said.

    05copInCourt.JPGLong Branch police Officer Jake Pascucci appears in state Superior Court in New Brunswick. (Patti Sapone | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com) 

    Pascucci was facing a sentence of 3 to 5 years in prison under third-degree strict liability vehicular homicide, a new statute created in July in response to an outcry over light sentences for some drunken drivers who killed people.

    The plea agreement reached on Tuesday calls for Assistant Middlesex County Prosecutor Keith Abrams to request a prison sentence of 364 days but also gives Pascucci's attorney, Steven Altman, an opportunity to argue for no jail time and just probation.

    It also forces Pascucci to hand in his Long Branch Police Department badge and requires him to pay restitution to the victim's family if there is any. Since the incident, Pascucci has been working with the police department in a support capacity and getting paid.

    Altman declined to comment after the hearing.

    04copInCourt.JPGLong Branch police Officer Jake Pascucci, right, and his attorney Steven Altman, left, appear in state Superior Court in New Brunswick. (Patti Sapone | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com) 

    Around 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 22, Pascucci was driving a 2016 Jeep Cherokee southbound on Ocean Boulevard when he hit Borkowski.

    Her husband, Ed Borkowski, told NJ Advance Media after the incident that the two were staying at a nearby hotel for a church conference and his wife was crossing the street to go to the CVS to buy him bandages because he suffers from lymphedema, which causes him to have severe blisters on his legs.

    "I want justice," he said. "And, as far as I'm concerned, it's not my will but God's will. We'll find out. He (God) is going to find out how to do it and Karen is probably up there telling him what to do."

    Ed Borkowski was not present at Tuesday's court hearing. Other family members of Borkowski were present, but they were not immediately available to comment afterward.

    Pascucci told officers at the scene that he had a green light and that Borkowski was jaywalking, according to dashboard camera video from police at the scene, obtained by NJ Advance Media through the state's Open Public Records Act (OPRA). 

    "She walked right in front of me, jaywalking," he can be heard saying in the video. "I have a green light, going this way, southbound. She walked right out in front of me."

    Pascucci is scheduled to be sentenced on June 28. 

    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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    Check out which players have reached the century mark in their careers.


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    Check out the first set of conference players of the week.


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    Long Branch Police Chief Jason Roebuck said the woman rear-ended another car on the corner of Bath Avenue and Ocean Boulevard around 2 p.m.

    A woman died in a crash in Long Branch on Tuesday afternoon.

    Long Branch Police Chief Jason Roebuck said the woman rear-ended another car on the corner of Bath Avenue and Ocean Boulevard around 2 p.m.

    He said it is unknown if the crash killed her or if she had a medical episode before the collision occurred.

    The woman's name was not released as police were still attempting to notify her next of kin.

    The driver the woman rear-ended suffered minor injuries, Roebuck said.

    The intersection where the accident happened remained closed as police  investigated.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at csheldon@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Who will shine in the 2018 baseball season?


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    Find out if your school made the new list.


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    Despite the lingering effects of winter, the first regular-season rankings are out


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