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- 09/07/18--14:46: _Police sergeant cha...
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- 09/08/18--09:01: _9 things you need t...
- 09/08/18--05:42: _An underground frat...
- 09/08/18--07:54: _Girls soccer previe...
- 09/09/18--04:47: _Frats without hard ...
- 09/09/18--09:16: _Tropical Storm Flor...
- 09/09/18--12:39: _Man stabbed 16-year...
- 09/09/18--13:13: _2 family pets kille...
- 09/10/18--03:30: _N.J. pets in need: ...
- 09/10/18--05:27: _NJ.com football Top...
- 09/10/18--06:16: _Shake Shack to open...
- 09/10/18--08:37: _Woman, 20, charged ...
- 09/10/18--10:49: _Service members wal...
- 09/10/18--11:37: _SWAT called to rest...
- 09/10/18--13:05: _Teen stabbed to dea...
- 09/10/18--14:40: _Sergeant wanted to ...
- 09/11/18--03:47: _Do teachers make en...
- 09/11/18--03:48: _NJ.com's girls socc...
- 09/11/18--11:10: _Those pedestrian ro...
- 09/08/18--07:54: Girls soccer preview: 30 defenders to watch in 2018
- 09/09/18--04:47: Frats without hard liquor -- How will N.J. colleges enforce new ban?
- 09/09/18--13:13: 2 family pets killed in suspicious house fire, cops say
- 09/10/18--03:30: N.J. pets in need: Sept. 10, 2018
- 09/10/18--05:27: NJ.com football Top 20, Week 2: A streak ends, a newcomer arrives
- 09/10/18--06:16: Shake Shack to open at revamped Garden State Parkway rest stop
- 09/10/18--08:37: Woman, 20, charged with starting townhouse fire that killed dog, cat
- 09/10/18--13:05: Teen stabbed to death was an 'amazing' girl, family and school say
The girl turned out to be an undercover cop, authorities said
A state-led sting operation led to the arrest Thursday of a Howell police sergeant who thought he was meeting a 15-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity, authorities said Friday.
Sgt. Richard Conte, 47, was charged with second-degree attempted luring or enticing of a child and is being held in the Ocean County jail in Toms River.
Howell Police Chief Andrew Kudrick, in a statement late Friday, discussed the arrest with, "tremendous sadness, disappointment, anger and embarrassment."
Conte, a member of the Howell police force since 1997, was chatting with what he believed was a teenage girl on social media, according to Peter Aseltine, a spokesman with the state Attorney General's Office.
Conte attempted to meet the girl in Toms River, but she was actually an undercover police detective, Aseltine said.
He was arrested by an officer with the Toms River Police Department, but the case is being prosecuted by the state Attorney General's Office's Division of Criminal Justice.
Conte was off-duty during when the sting operation was carried out, according to Kudrick's statement. The officer's been suspended without pay.
"Prior to the arrest, I was made aware of the situation," Kudrick said.
"It sickened me to learn one of my officers, a highly competent supervisor none the less and one that I have worked alongside with for many years on the SWAT team, not only defied my trust, but fellow officers as well," the chief wrote.
"But most importantly, defied the public's trust and expectations of a police officer. As such, I fully supported the investigation and provided input to ensure his apprehension."
The Howell Police Department is conducting its own investigation to determine if Conte, who supervised the night shift, engaged in any egregious activity while on-duty, Kudrick said.
Part of that investigation includes pulling cellphone and computer records, GPS activity on his patrol vehicle and Department of Motor Vehicle access, according to Kurdrick.
"I offer my sincere apology to the community that we value and respect so deeply," Kudrick said. "Our department's reputation has been tarnished. I ask you not to judge us on the actions of one but rather on the outstanding service the remaining loyal officers provide with professionalism and pride every single day."
Conte is scheduled to appear in Ocean County court for a detention hearing on Wednesday.
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Safety officials say it's never too early to prepare for a tropical storm or a hurricane.
Students say the suspension of all fraternities and sororities follows a fatal crash earlier this year.
When Monmouth University announced it was suspending all fraternities and sororities this week, university officials said they were being proactive in hopes of avoiding a tragedy.
Yet the university already had its own tragedy seven months ago, and students say it might have been the straw that broke the camel's back for a troubled Greek system.
A student driving away from a fraternity party around 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 3 crashed into a tree, killing his passenger, 20-year-old student Dane Fante, according to police reports and university officials.
Tau Kappa Epsilon, the fraternity that held the party, was already suspended and under a "cease and desist" order that should have prevented it from hosting events, according to the university. After the crash, the fraternity's national organization closed the chapter, making it the third fraternity recently shut down at the private university.
Police did not say whether alcohol was involved in the crash and court records don't show any charges related to the accident. But students interviewed at the West Long Branch campus on Friday pointed to the fatal wreck as the likely motivation behind Monmouth's decision.
"When that kid died, that was like the last straw," said Werlz Francois, a junior who rushed a fraternity last year but is no longer an active member. "Ultimately, enough is enough."
Axel Martinez, a sophomore who has friends in fraternities, said he thinks Monmouth is using the fatal crash to set a precedent and scare other Greek organizations into being more careful about what they do.
"I don't think all the frats should get suspended, just the one frat that was involved in the incident," Martinez said. "I don't think it's fair that all the fraternities and sororities are getting punished for it."
Mary Anne Nagy, the university vice president for student life and leadership engagement, said the crash was not a deciding factor in the decision to indefinitely suspend its seven fraternities and nine sororities.
Nagy said she began talking with students and national fraternity and sorority chapters in late 2017 about her concerns, which included hazing, alcohol and drug use, and lack of academic focus.
"The depth and the breadth of the issues were far greater over the last several years," Nagy, who has been at Monmouth for three decades, told NJ Advance Media. "It's not just one or two organizations. There are many organizations that we are concerned about."
The university in May asked the leaders of the Greek Senate to develop a plan by Aug. 15 to improve fraternity and sorority culture, Nagy said. A plan wasn't submitted until after the deadline, and it lacked actionable steps students would take to fix the problems, she said.
"We felt it did not address what needed to be addressed," Nagy said.
Nagy stressed that Monmouth wants to reinstate all of the suspended organizations in time for the spring rush period, which is when freshmen are first allowed to join a fraternity or sorority.
It's in the students' hands to make that happen, she said.
"I want a fraternity and sorority system," Nagy said. "I think it adds incredible value to the undergraduate experience. But if we are going to have as system, it needs to be safe and sound and strong."
Students shared mixed views about whether the suspension was the right thing to do. Still, they mostly agreed they want to see the ban on parties and events lifted sooner rather than later.
"Sororities are fraternities give more life to this campus," junior Yaniliz Herrera said. "Without them, how are we going to branch out?"
Staff writer Noah Cohen contributed to this report
NJ Advance Media breaks down the top lockdown defenders back in 2018.
Following a ban on hard-liquor at most fraternities in the U.S., experts and educators wonder how the new policies will be enforced at New Jersey universities.
They generally agree that the recent hard liquor ban at sororities and fraternities across the U.S. is a good thing, but experts and educators in New Jersey are still questioning how the rule will be enforced.
The North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), which represents over 80 percent of fraternities nationwide, voted last week to ban drinks above 15 percent alcohol by volume from "any chapter facility" or event -- unless a licensed third party sells it.
The hard alchohol ban applies to everyone, including adults over the age of 21, and comes in the wake of several instances of students dying at fraternity events after drinking. NIC member fraternities and their more than 6,000 chapters must approve a policy compliant with the hard alcohol ban by Sept. 1, 2019, according to the resolution.
Representatives for many New Jersey colleges said they were happy with the ban, but not yet sure just how it will play out on their campuses.
"We don't have a way of enforcing it," said Marybeth Boger, dean of students and campus life at New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Most of NJIT's fraternity houses are off-campus and privately owned by the fraternities themselves, Boger said. NJIT has imposed several rules about drinking on its Greek Life groups for over a decade, including no kegs, no selling alcohol, and requiring students must provide identification at the door to fraternity and sorority parties. If university officials hear of an infraction of those rules -- for example, an underage student is caught drinking -- the student is reprimanded through a process that includes alcohol education.
Only NIC-member fraternities will be forced to adopt the policy, meaning NJIT will have about 10 frats that do, and a handful of others that don't. Still, Boger said she supports the NIC's ban and thinks it is the university's role to work with the affected fraternities to develop ways in which the groups can monitor themselves.
She said NIC's decision "opened the door" for universities to take similar hard-line approaches in the future and it is only a matter of time before all NJIT students see more alcohol-related restrictions.
It's unclear exactly how many NIC-member Greek organizations there are in New Jersey. The NIC does not track their member chapters by state, but on "virtually all campuses that have fraternities (or) sororities, there are NIC organizations," Chief Communication Officer Heather Kirk said.
Some Jersey fraternities are ahead of the curve. Sigma Phi Epsilon, which has a chapter at Rider University, adopted alcohol-free common spaces by August 2018 and voted for all of the chapter facilities to be dry by 2020.
Carristian Brown, a senior and the Sigma Phi Epsilon president at Rider, said the fraternity decided to go dry to make it easier to insure.
Insurance can cost anywhere from $20 to $300 per student member, and those numbers have been on the rise because of the recent tragedies, Marc Mores, Executive Vice President of James R. Favor and Company said.
"If somebody died, God forbid, their insurance policy would go up," he said.
Mores said his company insures about 40 percent of all U.S. fraternities, including 60 different chapters at various campuses in New Jersey. According to him, although beer, wine and malt drinks will still be allowed, the absence of hard liquor could reduce the risk of injury to members and severity of insurance claims fraternities file.
"Nearly all hazing and over-consumption deaths in the past two years have involved students consuming high-percentage alcohol beverages," the NIC policy said.
Tim Piazza, a sophomore from Lebanon, New Jersey, who died after consuming a dangerous amount of alcohol at a Penn State fraternity event last year, is still on the minds of many school officials. Piazza suffered a series of falls that left him with a fractured skull and severe abdominal injuries at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity event.
Monmouth University, a private college in West Long Branch, took matters into its own hands, announcing last week it's suspending its entire Greek life system indefinitely. A letter obtained by NJ Advance Media cited a series of "serious conduct violations," involving hazing, alcohol, drug use and lack of academic focus.
In 2014, another New Jersey student, 19-year-old Caitlyn Kovacs died of alcohol poisoning after a party at Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity house near Rutgers University.
Rutgers fraternity members will seemingly be unaffected by the new ban. The school's "long-standing policy on parties by registered fraternities or sororities requires that beer is the only alcoholic beverage allowed at parties," Neal Buccino, the school's associate director of public and media relations, said. Beer is typically below 15 percent ABV, and therefore within the NIC's standards.
Montclair State University, which has eight fraternities associated with the NIC, will largely go unaffected by the ban, as well, Director of Media Relations Erika Bleiberg said. All of the fraternity houses are off-campus, so drinking policies are an issue between the students and the landlords, not the university, she said.
The various set-ups have led some to question the efficacy of the hard liquor ban.
"The rule is as only as good as its being enforced," Mores said, adding that fraternities and sororities often depend on student leaders to monitor their peers.
Rowan University has a "grey area" when it comes to enforcing its existing alcohol rules, Gary Baker, who works in Rowan's Greek affairs department, said.
Rowan formally recognizes several fraternities, but not the houses or facilities the fraternities own or rent. Some houses are completely filled with residents of only one fraternity or sorority, but it is more common for indivdual students to face disciplinary measures, rather than a whole organization to recieve a sanction.
Still, the new hard alcohol ban is a good thing, Baker said, as it will assist administration in making it easier to hold students and organizations accountable and promote social responsibility.
States of emergency have been declared in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The pair knew each other, authorities said.
A 16-year-old girl was stabbed to death Saturday night in Long Branch and a 20-year-old man charged with her murder, investigators said.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, in a statement, said Long Branch police responded to a call about the stabbing at 10:42 p.m in the 200 block of Van Pelt Place.
They found the victim suffering from stab wounds and transported her to Monmouth Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 11:25 p.m., the prosecutor's office said.
Investigators did not immediately release the identity of the victim.
Authorities subsequently arrested Bryan Cordero-Castro, 20, of Long Branch, on charges of murder, possessing a weapon for an unlawful purpose and attempted escape.
Investigators said Cordero-Castro and the victim knew each other.
Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Charles Webster told NJ Advance Media that Cordero-Castro was living in the country illegally and is from Guatemala.
The prosecutor's office has asked anyone with information about the case to call Detective Wayne Raynor of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Long Branch Police Detective Joseph Spitale at 732-222-1000.
Two pets in Marlboro Township died early Sunday morning in a fire that has been ruled suspicious
An early Sunday morning fire at a townhome in Marlboro Township that killed two family pets has been labeled suspicious and is under investigation, police said.
Marlboro Township Police spokesman Capt. Frederick Reck said a 9-1-1 call was made around 3:24 a.m. regarding an incident at a townhome on the 1000 block of Roseberry Court in the Port DeJardin Townhome Community in Morganville.
When police arrived, they noticed a fire at the upper part of the house, authorities said. Fire crews from Robertsville, Morganville and Gordons Corner Road were able to prevent the fire from spreading to other homes while the responding officers helped the occupants out of the house.
No one was injured, but Reck added when fire crews entered the house, they discovered the family's dog and cat dead inside the home.
Reck said the fire has been classified as suspicious and the cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey patiently await a permanent home.
According to 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 in 2017, and veterinarians 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 on 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.
The end the state's longest winning streak means some shuffling among the Top 10
The Monmouth Service Area on the Parkway and the Thomas Edison Service Area on the Turnpike are closed until May as they get refurbished
A Shake Shack will be among the offerings when the renovated Monmouth Service Area along the Garden State Parkway re-opens next spring.
That rest stop and one on the New Jersey Turnpike in Middlesex County closed for renovations on Saturday and are expected to remain shuttered for nine months until refurbishments are complete prior to Memorial Day weekend.
In addition to the popular fast-casual burger joint, other new eateries and shops at the Monmouth Service Area in Wall will include Chick-fil-A, Auntie Anne's, Starbucks and Z Mart, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority announced last week.
There will be no food, fuel or restrooms available while the $11.45 million project takes place at milepost 100. Parking lots will remain open for Academy Bus riders who use the stop there.
The nearest service areas where motorists can grab a bite to eat or fuel up along the Parkway are Cheesequake in Sayreville to the north and Forked River in Lacey to the south. Both are 24 miles away.
A similar renovation is also underway at the Thomas Edison Service Area on the southbound New Jersey Turnpike in Woodbridge between exits 12 and 11.
That rest stop will feature a Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Pret, Starbucks, Auntie Anne's, Z Mart, and a Sunoco convenience store when it re-opens in late May. It's expected to cost $14.9 million.
In all, HMS Host will replace eight service areas on the Turnpike and Garden State Parkway and remodel six others. Sunoco will either add or refurbish gas stations and convenience stores at 21 Turnpike and Parkway service areas.
HMSHost and Sunoco will spend about $250 million in the projects in exchange for new contracts to keep operating the food and fuel concessions there for the next 25 years.
Monmouth and Thomas Edison are the first two on the list.
The Marlboro resident lives in the residence in the Point DeJardin community
A 20-year-old woman intentionally set fire to the townhouse in Monmouth County where she lives on Sunday in a blaze that left a dog and cat dead, authorities said.
Suzanne E. Demo, of the Morganville section of Marlboro, allegedly lit a bed on fire in the master bedroom, police said Monday. She also used a boxcutter to stab someone in the hands and arms in what police called an act of domestic violence, the criminal complaints states
Demo was charged with aggravated arson, obstruction and two counts apiece of aggravated assault with a weapon, animal cruelty and other weapons offenses,
Cops were called to the townhouse on Roseberry Court in the Point DeJardin community just before 3:30 a.m. after someone called 911 to report a fire and an assault.
The occupants of the townhouse escaped safely but two pets were killed. The fire left the townhome heavily damaged.
Capt. Fred Reck declined to comment on Demo's motive for allegedly starting the fire.
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst posted to Facebook a photo of members trekking in the rain for the 9/11 Memorial 100 Mile March.
Service members from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey are currently walking 91.1 miles to the World Trade Center in remembrance of the victims killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Joint Base posted to Facebook a photo of active duty members and veterans trekking in the rain in plain clothes for the 9/11 Memorial 100 Mile March.
The march, which is in its 6th year, is expected to take the 24 service members and volunteers about 30 hours to complete. They plan to arrive by 3 p.m. on Tuesday and all funds raised by the march will be donated to the 9/11 memorial fund along with a flag that is carried along with them in the march.
Their goal is to raise $5,000 this year.
The walk is not sponsored through the base, a spokesperson said, but the service members began the walk from the Joint Base in Burlington County.
Organizer and New Jersey native Jon Leech, a member of the Air Force based in Columbus, said the walk is a way for them to try and preserve the memories of the attacks.
"This day is pretty much when my view of the world changed," Leech said.
The group is escorted by white vans that navigate the route as the volunteers take shifts between walking and riding in the vans that will bring them back to New Jersey on Tuesday.
"There are a lot of people that we now work with that don't remember life before 9/11. So, in that regard this is only the smallest thing that we can do to give back to the memorial to make sure that it stays around for years to come and so that people don't forget what happened," Leech said.
There were 749 New Jerseyans who died in the attacks.
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is holding remembrance ceremony on Tuesday, the anniversary of the attacks.
A fundraiser for the family of Evan Smulz, 20, who was killed last month, was held at Uptown Bar & Grill
A fundraiser for the family of a slain former high school athlete turned into an apparent crime scene Sunday as SWAT team officers were called to assist with a barricaded person.
No one was arrested and no injuries were reported at the event inside Uptown Bar & Grill, according to Charles Webster, spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.
That's where a fundraiser for the family of Evan Smulz, a 20-year-old Keyport man shot to death in August, was being held.
"It was minor and there really was nothing to it," Webster told NJ Advance Media on Monday.
News photos from the scene showed members of the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team gathered outside the bar.
Neighborhood residents told app.com that a fight broke out inside the bar.
A woman who answered the phone at the bar on Monday said media reports about the incident were not accurate. She declined to give her name before hanging up on a reporter.
A 2016 graduate of Keyport High School, Smutz was an athlete who played football and baseball in school.
Smutz was gunned down at the Holmdel Pointe apartments in August.
John Curtin, 19, of Keansburg has been charged with murder, robbery and other offenses.
The 16-year-old high school student knew her attacker, officials said.
Family and friends are mourning the loss of a 16-year-old high school student who was killed late Saturday night in Long Branch.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said police found 16-year-old Madison Wells suffering from stab wounds at a home a few blocks from her home, also in Long Branch. She was pronounced dead at Monmouth Medical Center shortly after.
A cousin, and authorities later Monday, identified the young woman as Madison Wells.
Wells' cousin Jilly Frijoles said Wells had moved back to New Jersey a few years ago from Florida to be with her father after her mother passed away.
Frijoles heard about her cousin's death through an aunt and lamented that her life was cut too short.
"I saw a beautiful girl, a beautiful smile, a funny personality," Frijoles told NJ Advance Media via Facebook messenger. "I feel so sick about this whole incident."
In a statement to the school community, Long Branch Superintendent Michael Salvatore said they will make grief counselors available at the high school and recommended those struggling with the loss take advantage of the services of the Traumatic Loss Coalition for Youth.
Salvatore - who did not name the victim - called her "an amazing young woman," and said the community will mourn this loss together.
Brittany Davis, Wells' former babysitter, told NJ Advance Media that she's known Wells since she was 3 years old.
"She was bright and full of love, and eager to learn," Davis, who still lives in Florida, said. "She's always had a kind heart."
By Sunday morning, authorities had arrested and charged 20-year-old Bryan Cordero-Castro, 20, of Long Branch. The prosecutors office said Sunday that the two knew each other, but did not explain the nature of their relationship.
Wells lives on Cleveland Avenue in Long Branch, and she was found stabbed a few blocks away on Van Pelt Place.
The prosecutors office also said Cordero-Castro was living in the country illegally and is from Guatemala.
He is scheduled to appear before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James J. McGann at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13.
Howell Police Sgt. Richard Conte was suspended without pay following the allegations.
A police sergeant arrested last week encouraged a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl to pretend she was 18, the criminal complaint against him says.
Howell Police Sgt. Richard Conte, 47, was arrested and charged Thursday with second-degree attempted luring or enticing of a child. Authorities announced the arrest the next day.
Court records provided Monday detail how detectives investigated Conte, who's been on the Howell force for more than two decades. He's been suspended without pay.
On Sept. 3, a detective posed as a 15-year old girl on Doublelist, a site that has been compared to the "personals" section of Craigslist.
"Down at my shore house for the week.. looking to meet new friends!" the post read. The post indicated the house was in Toms River.
Conte responded and sent a photo of himself with it, the complaint says. Detectives recognized the man in the photo as Conte, a Howell police officer.
In a chat on Doublelist, Detective Anthony Lacher - working on a state-led investigation - then told Conte he was a 15-year-old girl.
Conte said the girl/detective should claim she/he was 18 years old and said they should start another chat on the app Kik, the complaint says.
Conte, who called himself "Ray Crusader" and "The Noble Crusader" on the chat app, started off the Kik conversation by asking how old the girl/detective was. They responded "15," and he said he had already told them to say 18.
Another detective took over the conversation and asked about meeting in person on Sept. 5.
The next day, the "crusader" account messaged the detectives to say he was 19 years old and had previously had sex with underage girls. He said he would come to meet the detectives and they set up a time. Conte said he wanted to "get naked" at that meeting, the document says.
Conte showed up at that meeting around 7 p.m. in his personal car and drove off, before Toms River Police arrested him in Seaside Heights. Officers found condoms in Conte's pocket.
A detective later requested IP address logs from Kik which showed the account was created at Conte's home address.
Conte is in the Ocean County Jail before his detention hearing tomorrow morning in Toms River.
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