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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    There are a few new teams in the ranking. Find out who they are.

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    The 73-year-old was caught in the act Sunday after police set up surveillance, according to authorities

    A retired Middletown police officer has been accused of stealing various political signs in his Monmouth County town over the weekend, authorities said.

    Irvin Beaver, 73, was charged Sunday with two counts of theft and released on a summons, Middletown police said in a statement. 

    Police stepped up patrols in areas where signs belonging to candidates running for township committee, the board of education and other offices had gone missing.

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    An officer saw Beaver put signs in his car and then pulled him over near the corner of Cherry Tree Farm Road and Chanowich Court, according to Lt. Paul Bailey. 

    In all, hundreds of signs have been swiped across town, police said. 

    Beaver, a township resident, retired form the Middletown police department in November 1988, according to state pensions records. The registered Democrat also made an an unsuccessful bid for state assembly the following year. 

    He is due in court Oct. 29. 

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook



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    See the boys soccer players and keepers that stood out in Week 6.

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    NJ Advance Media releases its latest group and conference rankings of the season.

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    Legislators say many families "are totally unaware of the services and compensation that they may be eligible for," through the state's troubled crime victims' program.

    Many victims of violent crime say they are unaware there is financial help available from the state. 

    That could change under new legislation introduced Tuesday, which would require hospitals and ERs to provide information about compensation and other help available to those victims. The mandate, proposed by Senator Declan O'Scanlon and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, both R-Monmouth, was aimed at increasing awareness about the state's victims' compensation fund, which critics say often fails to reach those who need it most.

    The sponsors said bill was introduced in response to an investigation by NJ Advance Media earlier this year, highlighting the struggles many crime victims and their families say they routinely face when seeking help from the state.

    The report, Twice the Victim, found that the amount of money paid to victims has dropped significantly over the past decade, with some saying they were never told that help was available. At the same time, an analysis of data obtained through public records requests found the state returned $382,833 in related funding earmarked for federal assistance grants, which had been intended for support services across the state but was never spent.

    "Reading the article was heartbreaking," said DiMaso."Sending back over $380,000 of unspent federal victim assistance grant funding when it is so clear there are families struggling is something we need to correct."

    O'Scanlon, a member of the Law and Public Safety Committee, said there is no question that the Victims of Crime Compensation Office needs substantial reform. He called the proposed legislation "a simple first step" that focuses on where victims will go for medical care--hospitals and emergency rooms--to let them know that is available.

    "The fact that we are not making people aware of these tremendously-needed resources, in the most obvious places, and then sending unspent money back to the federal government, is outrageous," O'Scanlon said. "This is a simple action that should have happened a long time ago."

    The legislation would require the Commissioner of Health to work with the Attorney General to develop signs containing information on the benefits, contact information, and the procedure for filing a victims' compensation claim, that would be posted in all hospitals and satellite emergency departments.

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    State officials have acknowledged that the claims process for aid from the victims' compensation program remains cumbersome.

    New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal has said the state needs to redouble its efforts in reaching those who need help--especially to "more vulnerable populations" in the state's urban areas. However, his office, which oversees the program, has yet to take any major steps aimed at reform.

    Victims' advocate Elizabeth Ruebman, an organizer with Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a national organization of crime survivors, said it was "common sense" to connect with crime victims in hospitals and emergency rooms.

    The investigation by NJ Advance Media detailed a program operating under rules and regulations that have scarcely changed for decades, and many consider to be out of date with the times. Some advocates said the victims' compensation office acts more like an "insurance agency" looking to deny claims. Last year, only half of the people who applied received aid.

    Families can be denied burial expenses if the agency determines a victim had any responsibility for their own death. And the maximum amounts that can be paid out for most claims has not increased in nearly 20 years.

    Several other reform bills are currently pending in the legislature, but have yet to be moved.

    Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, D-Bergen, has been pushing for changes that would raise the caps on victim payments, as well as expand the definition of who is a victim under the law to include additional family members, including the surviving unmarried parent of a child of a victim.

    A similar bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, would increase attorneys' fees, increase emergency awards, and expand the list of crimes for which a victim is eligible for compensation to include simple assault and harassment.

    Ted Sherman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL. Facebook: @TedSherman.reporter. Find on Facebook.

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    Men, women and children participated in the Scottish hammer throw as part of the Highland Games at Kilt Fest 2018

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    When one woman fell and called for help, the other jumped to the rescue.

    When Marianne LaPlante walked into the Aldi supermarket on Route 9 in Howell last Friday, she was excited to use her $5 off, grand opening coupon and see what the new grocery store had to offer.

    The last thing she expected was to be leaving the store in an ambulance after being resuscitated by a complete stranger.

    "We had just started to shop," LaPlante told NJ Advance Media. "I just knew I didn't feel right and grabbed the cart."

    LaPlante, who was shopping with her 91-year-old mother, attempted to put her head down but ended up falling to the ground and hitting her head on the grocery store floor.

    "We heard a loud crash and someone yell 'Oh my God, help me,' and me and my daughter ran down the aisle and saw Marianne convulsing on the floor," said Lisa Manoy, another shopper in the store at the time.

    Lisa.jpgMany (right) and her daughter. (Courtesy Lisa Many)

    Manoy had spent 15 years working as a nurse and when she saw a complete stranger in need of help, she jumped into action.

    "I was checking her vital signs. Her pulse was very weak, and she was going in and out of consciousness, then she went limp and turned blue and I knew I had to start CPR," Manoy said.

    As Manoy performed lifesaving resuscitation on LaPlante, her daughter tried to keep LaPlante's mother calm, while another Good Samaritan applied pleasure to LaPlante's headwound.

    "It seemed like an eternity," Manoy said, "but two or three minutes later she spit up and the color started to come back to her face."

    LaPlante was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance for medical evaluation, not knowing anything about the woman who had saved her life.

    "That whole night I was so worried about her, and I knew the hospital wasn't going to let me in to see her and I only knew first name," Manoy said.

    She thought it would be impossible to find out the identity of the woman she had helped, and if she was alright.

    LaPlante said she has yet to receive a definitive diagnosis for her episode in the store, but is home and feeling better. While home, thinking about the stranger, she did the only thing she could think of -- wrote a thank you note to the woman who had resuscitated her, and posted it to a local community Facebook page. She was unsure if the woman who saved her life would ever read it.

    The post was shared by over 200 people, which prompted Manoy's daughter to see it that morning.

    "I didn't feel like an angel or a hero or anything, I just felt like an ordinary person trying to do something good," Manoy said.

    Thanks to the Facebook post, LaPlante and Manoy have been able to exchange numbers and are in the process of making plans to meet each other in person.

    "I really didn't anticipate to connect with her, especially so quickly," LaPlante said. "I just don't know the right words to say to the people that were around me."

    "Someone was looking over us for us to meet." Manoy said. "And, I'm so touched by everything I wish there (were) more people out in the world that could be more compassionate."

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find on Facebook

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    It's in your hands. Decide which New Jersey downtown ranks as Number 1.

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    Lights ... camera ... what exit?

    During a sports broadcast last week, Walt Disney Studios released a trailer for its release of "Aladdin" ... in the summer of 2019. I understand this is a live-action version, but didn't they release the animated version in right after I got married (1992)?

    I'm hearing excellent reviews for "A Star is Born" starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper ... but wasn't the Barbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson version released when I was in high school (1976)?

    Remakes are certainly nothing new in Hollywood. Go to the Wikipedia page for 'List of Film Remakes' and prepare to sprain your index finger scrolling. It's split into two lists actually, because there are simply so many.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    But even though some of the films in this gallery scored ... quite low on, I still watch/watched them, because they're original. Some fall into the 'so bad it's good' designation, while others really ARE good but simply got overlooked.

    New Jersey has hosted film crews for some truly outstanding classics, like "On the Waterfront," and some ... others. The movie industry was BORN in New Jersey, beginning with Thomas Edison and moving to the cliffhangers that were actually filmed on and over the cliffs around Fort Lee and Palisades Park. Even though major studios no longer call the state home, they regularly returned to their roots for the unique scenery that is New Jersey.

    Here's a gallery of films that were made, all or in part, in New Jersey. If you think of one that might be missing, check this previous gallery for more.

    Vintage photos of movies filmed in N.J.

    And here are some other galleries you may enjoy:

    Vintage photos of famous people seen in N.J.

    Vintage photos of famous folks from N.J.

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

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    The training exercise was a test of law enforcement's response to a 'complex, coordinated attack.'

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    Look at the top freshmen in the state and cast your vote for the best of the best.

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    No arrests have been made, police said.

    A shooting in Asbury Park on Monday night left a teenager in critical condition and another man wounded, police said.

    The shooting happened just after 9 p.m. at the Asbury Park Gardens apartment complex on Atlantic Avenue, according to Sgt. Michael Casey.

    When officers responded to reports of shots fired, they found a 15-year-old and an adult male with gunshot wounds, Casey said.

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    The teen was taken to an area hospital where he remains in critical but stable condition, according to Casey. The second victim was treated and released from the hospital.

    No arrests were made, and Casey did not have a description of any suspects.

    He asked anyone with information to contact Asbury Park police at 732-774-1300. 

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

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    Fall trout stocking is done. These rivers got most of the big fish.

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    CentraState sued Horizon for relegating them to a more expensive tier in the company's OMNIA discount health plans, and costing them millions in revenue.

    CentraState Medical Center in Freehold Thursday became the latest hospital to drop a three-year-old lawsuit against Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey that accused the state's dominant health insurance provider of squeezing community hospitals out of the market.

    CentraState was once one of seven hospitals that sued Horizon for relegating them to a more expensive tier in the company's OMNIA discount health plans, which Horizon said would revolutionize health care options in the state.

    Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, the last plaintiff in the case, and Horizon are scheduled to square-off in a state Superior Court Bergen County on Monday, Valley's attorney Michael Furey said.

    These are the documents Horizon did not want you to see

    The lawsuit accuses Horizon "breached its duty to act in good faith" by relegating the hospital to OMNIA's second tier, costing the hospitals -- smaller, independent and largely Catholic hospitals -- millions of dollars.

    According to once-confidential documents NJ Advance Media obtained through a lawsuit, Horizon did not select tier 1 hospitals based on lower costs. The largest hospital systems came out ahead even if smaller competitors scored better on quality measures.

    OMNIA's 400,000 policy holders are able to save thousands of dollars more in copays and deductibles by using 39 "tier 1" hospitals and medical professionals, which have agreed to Horizon's terms to accept lower reimbursements in exchange for higher patient volume. Consumers can use "tier 2" hospitals and doctors but they will pay more to do so.

    In a joint statement Thursday, Horizon and CentraState officials said they were "pleased to put our differences behind us and to recognize that working collaboratively to improve the quality of care, lower costs and enhance the patient experience is better than continuing to focus on differences."

    CentraState will remain a Tier 2 hospital, the announcement said. 

    Next year, the hospital's orthopedics and maternity/newborn care programs will "accelerate the development of value-based care initiatives" which focus on preventive care.

    "CentraState and Horizon will continue our long history of working together to transform the healthcare system to one that promotes health and wellness over sick care and shifts the focus from the volume of care delivered to the quality of outcomes and the value of care achieved."

    The original seven hospital systems suing Horizon were Capital Health System in Trenton and Hopewell; Centrastate; Holy Name in Teaneck; JFK Medical Center in Edison; St. Luke's Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg; Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth and Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.

    Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck withdrew its claim against Horizon for an undisclosed financial settlement in July.

    Saint Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick filed a separate lawsuit to challenge its tier 2 designation.

     Susan K. Livio may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio. Find Politics on Facebook.

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    He pulled himself out of the sinking car and fled, telling bystanders, 'Help my girlfriend.' Watch video

    Standing in a courtroom in an orange jumpsuit, a pile of tear-filled tissues on the table in front of him, Jacob Garrett said he wanted to explain what happened the January day he drunkenly crashed his car into the freezing Delaware River and fled, leaving his "soulmate" in the car to drown.

    He spoke for 10 minutes at his sentencing hearing Thursday in Burlington County Superior Court, describing how his late girlfriend, Stephanie White, 23, made him strive to be a better man, and how he can't believe that the alcohol clouded his judgment to the point that he fled the sinking car while White was trapped inside.

    "If I was sober, I would've died there with her," the 25-year-old said.

    "I would've held her and we would have died together, but she would've been safe, she would've been, she wouldn't have died in fear," he said, wiping away tears. "That's the thing that kills me... she died in fear. If I could've just died there, I would've been good, I would've been all right."

    Instead, Garrett climbed up the river wall, told bystanders, "Help my girlfriend," and fled on a RiverLine train until he was tracked down by a police K-9. When his blood alcohol content was tested four hours later, it was still more than twice the legal limit. 

    Judge Terrence Cook sentenced Garrett, of Burlington City, to 15 years in prison. Garrett pleaded guilty in July to first-degree vehicular homicide and second-degree leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

    jacob-garrett-stephanie-white.jpgAt left, Jacob Garrett breaks down at his Jan. 23, 2018 detention hearing. At right, Stephanie White, 23.  

    The lengthy sentencing hearing was remarkable not just for Garrett's speech, but for the compassion that White's family showed him as they addressed the judge. They described the immeasurable loss of White and knowing she will never get to be married or start a family, but also said that they didn't hate Garrett.

    White's mother, Ina White, and uncle, Terrence White, said they cared less about the length of the sentence and more about him getting counseling and rehabilitation so he can come to terms with what he has done and lead a better life.

    "My only wish for Jacob is not so much time, it's help, assistance, guidance, understanding," Ina White said as she addressed the judge Thursday, while Garrett hung his head. "And that he feels what it is I'm going through. He knows me."

    Nicknamed "Birdy" by her family, Stephanie White grew up in Freehold, graduated from Freehold Borough High School and worked at a FedEx shipping center in Hamilton.

    Her family said she was a smart, soft-spoken, and a "good girl" who didn't party or get into trouble. She helped her mother raise her foster kids and helped any family member or friend in need.

    'She hadn't even started her life,' mom of woman killed in river crash says

    Garrett admitted that when they met, he was making bad decisions and had a criminal record, but White pushed him to shape up and get a better job. "She changed my life, she showed me I could do better," he said. They were planning to get married, he said.

    He said he started drinking the night before the crash, and felt that he was "out of control."

    On Sunday morning, she texted him that she wanted to cook him dinner, and they got together and he started drinking. "I don't know what exactly made me drink that day. What made me want to drink," he said. 

    They were speeding back from the store that afternoon when Garrett decided to pass a car on the right, driving through empty parking spaces. He said he doesn't even remember striking a parked car moments later, but his car flew over the river wall and he was knocked unconscious.

    city-river-crashjpg-6f4de2c7dcf4c379.JPGEmergency responders at the crash scene on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (Submitted photo) 

    "When I woke up the water was up to here," he said, motioning to the middle of his chest. Garrett said he was trying to pull White out, but he didn't realize she was still restrained by her seatbelt and the water was getting higher. He knew she couldn't swim.

    "Next thing I know, it was pitch dark," he said, as the car sank into the water. "I'm not gonna lie. I jumped out of the car."

    While addressing the judge, White's mother had said her last remaining question was why Garrett chose to flee in that moment.

    In answering, he recalled the moment he got to the top of the river wall, and his last hope -- that White had somehow gotten out of the car -- slipped away.

    "I was just scared. I knew I couldn't jump back in and I wasn't, at that time, I wasn't going to stand there and face that," he said. "I didn't leave because I was scared of the consequences. I left because there was no way in hell I could accept it."

    Garrett said at one point he wanted White's mother's forgiveness, but knew that his "sorry" wasn't enough. "

    "Sorry isn't the word for it," he said. "But I just wish I could've died with her."

    'Get me outta here!' Man accused of leaving lover to die cries in court

    Earlier, Ina White had told Judge Cook that her daughter was also her best friend. Garrett wept as she said that his "stupid" decision has left her with a void in her life that will never go away.

    "As much as I want my daughter here, in the physical sense with me, I do know that she's OK," Ina White said. She said the only way she gets through the loss is through her faith.

    "Although she's gone, she's not taken from me," Ina White said, a little smile emerging on her face. She tapped her chest, over her heart. "She's here. ... She'll always be here."

    White's aunt, Roselle White, recalled her niece as a respectful, loving woman whom she never had to worry about.

    "The day I lost my niece, I lost the ability to ever be fully happy. There isn't a day that goes by that my heart doesn't ache," she said with emotion.

    "She had so much life left to live. She will never have a chance to become the woman I knew she would be," Roselle White said. "Her laugh and her words are gone forever, and nothing can ever change that."

    Two friends of Garrett told the judge they were glad he was taking responsibility for what he did and that they knew him as a man who was always ready to help a friend. Laquin Carter said Garrett stood up for him when he was being harassed for being gay, and may have saved his life. Khadejah Randolph said Garrett was like a father to her and helped her care for her family.

    Judge Cook said he believed Garrett was remorseful and acknowledged the "amazing level of grace and compassion" White's family showed him in the courtroom.

    "I didn't know Stephanie, but if you are a reflection of who she was, then I know that she was a tremendous young lady, and you have my condolences on her loss," Cook told the family. "My sentence today will not reflect the value of her life to you."

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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    Hummus & Pita Company is scheduled to open in mid-November. Watch video

    The hummus is among us, Jersey.

    The Hummus & Pita Company, a Manhattan-based chain named for the savory spread made from mashed chick peas, tahini and garlic, announced it will open its first New Jersey location next month in the redeveloped Bell Labs complex in Holmdel.

    "We have been long awaiting the day where we finally get to introduce The Hummus & Pita Co.'s fresh and authentic Mediterranean cuisine to the Holmdel community," the new franchise owner, Kaushal Shah, said in an announcement by the company on Wednesday.

    More than just hummas, the menu of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Turkish delights includes falafel, gyro, shawarma, chicken, meatball and steak on pita flat-bread pockets, all available as laffa, or wraps, and in bowls.

    Hummus & Pita chose an auspicious space for its New Jersey debut and fifth location in all, after three in New York City and one in Connecticut.

    The store is in the Bell Works Metroburb, an office, retail and dining complex that occupies the historic former Bell Labs headquarters in Holmdel's Crawford's Corner section, which housed the pioneering research of seven Nobel Prize winners in the fields of telecommunications, computing and other basic sciences.

    Apart from its scientific history, the 2-million-square-foot Bell Labs location was designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen, and later dubbed the most iconic building in New Jersey by Architectural Digest. Even so, some questioned the decision by developer Ralph Zucker to buy the dormant property in 2013 and transform it into a mixed use complex.

    Now, corporate tenants include MetTel, Smith Eibeler and JGS Insurance, while the general public can access the Holmdel Public Library & Learning Center, Dubz Deli and Broadfork. And, as of its Nov. 12 opening, the state's first Hummus & Pita Company location, which Shah said will be just a starting point for the chain in New Jersey.  

    "From there," he said, "we plan to spread The Hummus & Pita Co.'s high-quality eats to the entire state of New Jersey."

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

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    Freelance photographer Jerry Wolkowitz, 56, had been clinging to life in a hospital before dying. He was also an EMT.

    A longtime New Jersey freelance photographer who was brutally beaten in what authorities called a racially motivated attack died Thursday.

    Jerry Wolkowitz, 56, had been clinging to life in a hospital and then a care center after prosecutors say on May 1 he was brutally beaten and then run over in the parking lot of his Freehold apartment complex.


    He worked as an EMT and was a longtime member of the Freehold First Aid Squad.

    The day he was attacked, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office arrested Jamil Hubbard, 25, of Sayreville, and charged him with first-degree attempted murder, possession of a weapon (a motor vehicle) for an unlawful purpose and bias intimidation, a first-degree offense.

    Hubbard remains in the Monmouth County jail pending the outcome of his case. He was indicted in July.

    Following his death, Wolkowitz's body was taken to the Middlesex County Medical Examiner's Office, which handles Monmouth County cases, for an examination, a  Monmouth County prosecutor's spokesman said Thursday.

    "As for any changes in charges, we're not going to discuss that in a public forum at this time," spokesman Christopher Swendeman said in an email.

    Police found Wolkowitz shortly after 7 a.m. on May 1 lying in the parking lot of his apartment complex on Harding Road in Freehold.

    Detectives learned that Hubbard approached Wolkowitz from behind, punched him in the back of the head and then dragged him in the parking lot, according to a statement from the prosecutor's office.

    Hubbard then drove over Wolkowitz with his car, authorities said.

    They said Hubbard stole Wolkowitz's car, leaving his own behind. The stolen vehicle was found abandoned on Bordentown Avenue in Sayreville.

    The two did not know each other prior to the attack, authorities said.

    "The investigation determined that the defendant targeted the victim because of his race," Swendeman said. 

    Wolkowitz was a freelance photographer for many news publications in central New Jersey, most notably the Asbury Park Press. He was a member of the Freehold First Aid Squad for over 25 years.

    An online fundraiser has raised more than $11,000 for his family.

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

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    Harley Quinn Smith's first film without her father, 'All These Small Moments,' is due in theaters in January with Molly Ringwald and Jemima Kirke.

    Harley Quinn Smith is well on her way to a full-fledged career in Hollywood with her latest film, which just got picked up for distribution.

    Smith, 19, who is named after the Batman character, is the daughter of director Kevin Smith ("Clerks") and his wife, Newark native Jennifer Schwalbach Smith.

    Deadline reports Harley Quinn Smith's film "All These Small Moments" has been picked up by Orion Classics and will be released on January 17.

    The younger Smith, like her father, is a Red Bank native living in Los Angeles. She made her film debut as a baby in the 2001 Smith movie "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," playing a much younger version of her father's Silent Bob character. 

    "All These Small Moments" stars Brendan Meyer (Netflix's "The OA") as a New York teen who is obsessed with a woman played by Jemima Kirke ("Girls"). In addition to Smith, Molly Ringwald ("The Breakfast Club"), Sam McCarthy (TV's "Condor") and Brian d'Arcy James ("Spotlight") appear in the coming-of-age movie, helmed by first-time director Melissa Miller Costanzo, who also wrote the screenplay.

    Smith has appeared in six of her father's films, including "Tusk" and "Yoga Hosers." 

    "All These Small Moments," which premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival, was Smith's first film outside of her father's View Askewniverse.

    Kevin Smith toasted the pickup of his daughter's film on social media by quote-tweeting Ringwald, who shared the news. 

    "Congrats to you, my Kid, the director Melissa and everyone else involved in ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS!" Smith tweeted. "The movie's sitting pretty now! In pink, no less!"

    The elder Smith, 48, who grew up in Highlands, recently celebrated losing more than 50 pounds, a radical change that he attributes to the total transformation of his eating habits (and addiction to the vegan chain Veggie Grill; he recently paid a fan $200 to meet him at an airport with his order). After suffering a massive heart attack in February, he embraced a vegan diet, emulating Harley Quinn, who had already dispensed with eating meat and dairy (his wife is also a vegetarian). He credits her example and his new role as a Weight Watchers ambassador with helping him stay the course.

    May saw the premiere of Smith's Showtime special "Silent But Deadly," which was filmed just before he had the heart attack (yes, the title was set before the cardiac event).

    In August, Harley Quinn talked about her father's brush with death in a birthday message posted to Instagram. Accompanying the post was a photo of the pair in Red Bank (for his "Vulgarthon" event).

    "Coming close to losing you this year was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, but I think you were destined to stick around because there are so many people who wouldn't want to face this world without you, especially me," she said. "Thank you for making my life so special, for the constant laughter and for showing me what it means to be kind and compassionate. You are truly a gift to this world."

    This month Smith shared that he had dropped below 200 pounds and hadn't been that light since high school. He also said he had to switch out fat jokes for vegan jokes in his "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" script, given his newfound penchant for plant-based eating and practicing yoga alongside Jay Mewes, his longtime friend from Highlands who plays Jay. 


    Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @AmyKup or on Facebook.


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    An Ocean County woman said she found multiple bugs and larva in her Dunkin' Donuts bacon, egg and cheese sandwich she bought Thursday

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    First-responders, high school football players and others pulled a rope across the towns' shared inlet.

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