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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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

    100hits002.JPGKorie Hague, Vineland, April 6 

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    A return to 'Miseducation' in concert may just ruin the album for fans, considering Hill's recent performances

    Twenty years ago this summer, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" -- perhaps the greatest female rap album ever penned -- was released. New Jersey emcee and ex-Fugee Lauryn Hill was hailed as a hip-hop savant as the album scored a record five Grammy Awards in 1999, and more or less set her for life in the genre. 

    Now, the Miseducation 20th Anniversary Tour is coming to New Jersey, Aug. 8 at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, in celebration of one of the Garden State's most significant LPs in recent memory -- "Miseducation" was even admitted to the U.S. Library of Congress's National Recording Industry in 2015, alongside Pete Seeger's "We Shall Overcome" and FDR's "Day Of Infamy" speech. 

    Sounds like a slam-dunk concert, right? Not so fast. 

    Hill was in Camden last summer, on a co-headlining tour with Nas, and her set was full of "Miseducation" tracks -- she hasn't released a studio album in 20 years, all of her shows are essentially "Miseducation" tributes -- and virtually every song she performed was unrecognizable to the point of exasperation. Over the years, she has sped them up to manic and joyless paces, leaving audiences to try to figure out which song they're actually listening to. All the album's tact and nuance was erased, and only at the end of the nutty performance did she announce she would play the next song, "Ex-Factor," in its original state. The crowd sighed with relief. 

    It is with this, plus Hill's notorious penchant for tardiness and unpredictability at concerts, that I am worried. Unless this anniversary tour is a stark shift from Hill's past 15 years or so of live performing, this summer run just may ruin the album for thousands of fans.

    My best advice is to proceed with caution, and to expect a list of completely revamped versions, for better or worse. Last summer, she toured with a 12-piece band, who overworked and lengthened the original jams -- and still could barely keep up with her. "Everything is Everything," "Final Hour" and "Lost Ones" were all bafflingly re-arranged. 

    Let's keep our fingers crossed that Hill proves the nay-sayers wrong and really brings it at her home state show (she's from South Orange), and this isn't just a big money play.

    If you'd like to take your chances and check her out in Holmdel this summer, tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. on She also plays Festival Pier at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia July 13. Prices range from $31.50 to $199.99. 

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

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    The Renaissance will include 64 apartments, all for families or individuals making 60% or less than the area's median household income, with a preference for people displaced or impacted by Hurricane Sandy Watch video

    Asbury Park Renaissance full.jpgThe Renaissance in Asbury Park, with 64 affordable apartments available first to Hurricane Sandy victims, is to open in 2019. 

    People who don't make a lot of money and are still struggling from the effects of Hurricane Sandy could find a home in Asbury Park, where a non-profit group and an affordable housing developer are building 64 apartments.

    People displaced from their homes or otherwise hurt by the 2012 super storm will get priority in the initial leasing of The Renaissance, a "mixed-income, mixed-used" joint project by the Michaels Organization, a developer of affordable, senior and student housing, and Better Tomorrows, a non-profit social services organization, both based in Marlton.

    The project, slated for completion in 2019, is located off Springwood Avenue, several blocks from the beach toward Asbury Park's west side, where the city's recent resurgence has lagged behind a waterfront popular with diners and dancers, surfers and Springsteen fans.

    Despite the lively and rapidly redeveloping waterfront, levels of poverty and unemployment in the city of 16,000 remain well above those of its Monmouth County neighbors.

    In a statement, Better Tomorrows President and CEO Rebecca Tone said the $20.7 million project, "will provide safe, stable, affordable homes for lower and moderate income families in a resurgent neighborhood."

    The 64 apartments will be a mix of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units in 3-story townhouse-style buildings. All of the units will be reserved for families and individuals with incomes no higher than 60-percent of the area's median household income, according to an announcement by Michaels.

    Priority will be given to people "impacted or displaced by Hurricane Sandy" the announcement said, adding that $8.8 million of the project's cost, or more than 40-percent, comes from federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Funds.

    Should Asbury Park statue stay up or be replaced?

    By their nature, below-market-rate housing projects rely on public subsidies, often from multiple sources, and The Renaissance is no exception.

    Other funds come from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, which last month awarded the project a $1.024 million grant, said Eric Amig, spokesman for the bank. M&T Bank which entered the New Jersey lending market in 2015, is an FHLB member that applied for the grant on behalf of the project.

    Financing also includes $7.3 million in private investment raised through the sale of Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and $2.5 million from the First Mortgage program of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, Michaels said, adding that the Monmouth County HOME fund kicked in $500,000.

    Better Tomorrows will provide services to residents including after-school and summer enrichment sessions, health and wellness programs, recreational and other activities. The project is within walking distance of bus and rail stations.

    Randy Thompson, the founder of Help Not Handcuffs, an Asbury Park-based civil rights group active on the city's west side, said The Renaissance was step in the right direction, if only a small one.

    "We've got about 6,000 residents living below the poverty line," Thompson said.  "And while its exciting to see a few affordable housing units go up, what are the other 5,900 going to do?"

    Steve Strunsky may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SteveStrunsky. Find on Facebook.

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    Who's the best of the best?

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    Here is another look at players having a major impact in college softball this season

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    2 fires were set at a Toms River home earlier this month

    Detectives are looking for a man they believe set two fires at a home in Toms River earlier this month, and could have killed someone. 

    Kenneth Lyons, 36, of Ocean, is wanted on charges of aggravated arson and attempted murder for setting fire to a home on Castro Grove Road on April 7. 

    Man allegedly set fires at home in Toms RiverKenneth Lyons 

    Police who responded to the home around 1:30 a.m. noted "suspicious circumstances" around the fire and investigated before identifying Lyons as setting both fires, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. Lyons knows the owner of the home.

    Lyons is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds.

    Lyons could not be found at his last known addresses on file with police.

    Now, authorities are asking anyone who knows his whereabouts to contact their local police, Toms River Detective Andrew Chencharik at 732-349-0150, ext. 1338 or email the U.S. Marshals Service at

    Joe Brandt can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. 


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    Hundreds officers attend the Mass at the The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption Watch video

    Church is often a place for quiet reflection.

    But on this day at The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, the soft silence was at times accented by the sharp and stirring sounds of bagpipes and drums echoing throughout the sanctuary during the 19th Blue Mass.

    The Mass, a celebration of law enforcement, is organized by numerous local law enforcement agencies and and the Diocese of Trenton.

    Principal celebrant Bishop David M. O'Connell told the capacity crowd of mostly law enforcement officers that "God alone helps us make sense out of the world."

    Adding, "My friends, God saves us from the darkness of this world."

    From the pulpit, he thanked God "for giving you, the women and men of law enforcement, the willingness and the readiness to lay down your life for your friends."

    Dignitaries sitting in the front pews included Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife Tammy, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson and Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri.

    The student choir from Trenton Catholic Academy in Hamilton led the music, and students from Notre Dame High School in Lawrence were altar servers.

    Expo preview

    Michael Mancuso may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @michaelmancuso Find on Facebook.

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    And, the results of the April school board elections.

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    Flip-flop at the very top, other changes

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    Make your voice heard! Who is the state's best senior pitcher?

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    A look at some of N.J.'s top college athletes in track and field.

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    The stores sell an assortment of national and private brand clothing and accessories for women, men and children, as well as cosmetics and home furnishings.

    Another retailer bites the dust. 

    Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 11.43.46 AM.pngBon-Ton's storefront in the Brick Plaza. (Google Maps)

    Department store Bon-Ton, which operates 250 locations nationwide, announced it will liquidate all U.S. stores after a bid for the company's assets was accepted in bankruptcy proceedings yesterday.

    Bon-Ton has two N.J. locations in Brick (80 Brick Plaza) and Phillipsburg (1200 Highway 22 East).

    It's the latest victim in a string of retail chains announcing total liquidations (Toys 'R' Us) or significant store closures (J.C. Penney's and Macy's, just to name a few) as the brick-and-mortar stores compete with the internet and Amazon. 

    Bon-Ton's operations also include nine furniture galleries and stores under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers nameplates.

    The stores sells clothing and accessories for women, men and children, as well as cosmetics and home furnishings. 

    Bon-Ton's stores, e-commerce and mobile platforms will remain open through the store closing sales, the company said in a release, adding that more details about the liquidation plans and going-out-of-business sales are forthcoming.

    The company is headquartered in York, Pa. and Milwaukee, and began as S. Grumbacher & Son, a millinery and dry goods store, in York in 1898. Bon-Ton filed for bankruptcy in February.

    "We are incredibly grateful to all of our associates for their dedicated service to Bon-Ton and to our millions of loyal customers who we have had the pleasure to serve as their hometown store for more than 160 years," said Bon-Ton CEO Bill Tracy in a release.

    Jessica Remo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @JessicaRemoNJ. Find on Facebook.

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    Goals, assists, saves and ground balls. Who's setting the pace so far this season?

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    "Disturbing practices" by local judges prompt review of how municipal courts operate.

    The chief justice of New Jersey's Supreme Court has a direct response to some "disturbing practices" by local judges accused of abusing their power to impose fines and mishandling court fees:

    Don't use defendants as cash cows for your town's coffers.  

    New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner sent a memo to the state's municipal and Superior Court judges on Tuesday following the criminal conviction of one local judge and a federal court decision that found another local court's treatment of poor defendants "effectively extorts payment" from their family and friends. 

    "The imposition of punishment should in no way be linked to a town's need for revenue," Rabner wrote in the memo. "And defendants may not be jailed because they are too poor to pay court-ordered financial obligations."

    Rabner cited the case of a former municipal judge in nine Monmouth County towns, Richard Thompson, who admitted to falsifying about 4,000 court records to redirect fines from county to municipal coffers.

    In February, Thompson pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme, in which he suspended fines for motor vehicle tickets and converted the charge to contempt of court so the money would be paid to the towns that employed him rather than the county government.

    In another case in Burlington Township, a man who told Judge Dennis P. McInerney he could not afford to immediately pay a $239 ticket for flicking a cigarette out of his car window was ordered jailed on the spot.

    The man, Anthony Kneisser, filed a lawsuit later backed by the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. U.S. District Court Judge Noel L. Hillman found in March that the court had violated the man's constitutional rights by immediately jailing him instead of allowing him to pay in installments. 

    In his memo, Rabner reminded judges that U.S. Supreme Court precedent gives defendants a right to a hearing over whether they can afford to pay fines and fees imposed by a court. 

    2016 investigation by the Asbury Park Press found New Jersey's court system was allowing many local towns to treat municipal courts as a major source of revenue. 

    Rabner wrote in his memo that a special committee formed last year was reviewing municipal court practices statewide and was expected to soon release its report. 

    "It will bring to light additional concerns and offer practical suggestions to help start a larger discussion about our municipal court system," he wrote.

    S.P. Sullivan may be reached at Follow him on Twitter. Find on Facebook.


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    A look at which high school programs have the most alumni playing D1 college lacrosse.

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    Check out the top senior talent and cast your ballot for who is the best.

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    The top prom song of the 1980s was "Every Breath You Take" by the Police; apparently, no one realized the lyrics were about a stalker ....

    The theme for my 1977 senior prom was "Harbor Lights." And, for decades I've thought how great it would have been if Boz Skaggs had performed. Well, before you scoff, it's not so farfetched. After all, famous rock bands have played at high schools.

    During a short period in the late 1960s, classic groups that performed in Union Catholic High School's gym in Scotch Plains included The Who, Black Sabbath and Cream.

    And UCHS appears to have had a counterpart in Staples High School in Westport, Conn., around the same time, hosting bands like the Doors, Sly and the Family Stone and the Animals.

    And in the 1960s and '70s, Cherry Hill East High School would regularly hold its proms at the Latin Casino in Cherry hill, a venue played by just about every major musical solo act of the time. Thus, the Class of 1963 got to see Andy Williams perform.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Our gallery shows a photo of the Tokens, who had a #1 hit with 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' in 1961, playing at an East Brunswick prom in 1969; no information is available on how and why that came about. The Yardbirds played the St. Xavier High School prom in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1968, though it should be noted that the school was large enough that the event was held at the Cincinnati Convention Center; the band was paid $2,000.

    little cypruss-mauriceville high school prom 1971.jpg 

    But this photo is my favorite. A band known as "Zee Zee Top" played the Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School prom in 1970. The band released its first album, removing four 'e's' in the interim, in 1971 and had their first chart single ("Francine") in 1972. ZZTop played a high school prom.

    Enjoy this collection of prom photos from the past in New Jersey, as well as these links to previous prom galleries.

    Vintage photos of proms in N.J.

    Vintage photos of N.J. proms

    Vintage photos of high school proms in NJ

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

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    A 43-year-old woman was also badly hurt Wednesday in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County

    An Atlantic County police officer was among two people seriously injured Wednesday when a car slammed into the back of his police SUV while it was stopped in traffic, authorities said. 

    The force of the collision pushed Hamilton Township officer Keone Osby's patrol car into a third vehicle also stopped in traffic on the East Black Horse Pike around 4:15 p.m., police said.

    The driver of the car that started the chain-reaction crash and Osby were both seriously injured and taken to local hospitals, police said. The other driver is a 43-year-old Egg Harbor Township resident, police said.

    Police officer injured in rear-end collision

    None of the three people in the car hit by the police vehicle were hurt. That vehicle, occupied by a 33-year-old Vineland woman and two children, sustained minor damage.

    Police are investigating the crash. 

    Osby, a former special officer in Long Branch, has been on the force in Hamilton for nearly two years, according to his page. He is a graduate of Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls and Monmouth University, where he played football

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


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    12 drivers complained of car problems after gassing up at Sunoco on Route 35 and Sunset Avenue in Ocean Township

    Twelve motorists filed police complaints Wednesday after their vehicles received bad gasoline from the Sunoco on Route 35 at Sunset Avenue in Ocean Township, authorities said.

    "Their cars became disabled after getting gas," Lt. Timothy Torchia said Thursday. "In some cases, there was heavy smoke. The cars became bogged down and they needed to pull off the road."

    Torchia said the bad gasoline apparently was pumped into one underground tank at the station. The delivery occurred before 7 a.m. Wednesday. Drivers began experiencing problems after that time, Torchia said.

    "It's not a criminal matter or anything like that," Torchia said. "They got a bad batch of gas, I guess."

    Torchia said he had no other reports of contaminated fuel at other gas stations.

    Ocean Township police advise anyone having car problems due to this gasoline issue to call 1-800-Sunoco1 to make a claim or to obtain more information.

    A Monmouth County spokeswoman told NJ101.5 water was found in the gas tanks. The tanks will be emptied and inspected several times before new fuel is pumped in, according to the spokeswoman.

    Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find on Facebook.

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    From Marty Liquori to Sydney McLaughlin, N.J. has made its mark at Franklin Field.

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