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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    With apologies to the City of Trenton, "New Jersey Makes - The World Takes."

    It's called the Garden State, but more than fruits and vegetables have their seeds planted and nurtured in New Jersey.

    Innovative minds have always been some of the state's most valuable assets. And while we all know about Thomas Edison and his inventions, some people may not be aware of the host of other products and innovations that got their start in New Jersey.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    This list is incomplete; future galleries will cover even more of the wonderful things "Made in New Jersey."

    Be sure to right-click on the links that tell more of the story about many of these 'Made in New Jersey' entries.

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

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    The Monmouth County prosecutor said Paul Caneiro set his own home ablaze to make it appear that the entire family was targeted. Watch video

    A man killed his brother's entire family and set both his own home and their house ablaze as a ruse to make it appear the whole family was targeted by someone else, the Monmouth County prosecutor said Thursday morning.

    Paul Caneiro mugshotPaul Caneiro. (Police photo)

    At a press conference, formally announcing four counts of first-degree murder against Paul Caneiro, 51, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said the motive for the killings appeared to be "financial in nature." The charges were earlier presented on

    Caneiro, of Ocean Township, now stands accused of fatally shooting Keith Caneiro, 50, and then killing Jennifer Caneiro, 45, and the couple's two children, 8-year-old Sophia and 11-year-old Jesse. He is also charged with weapons offenses.

    "We allege that Jennifer was shot and stabbed, and the two Caneiro children were repeatedly stabbed by knife," Gramiccioni told reporters at his office Thursday.

    Gramiccioni declined to elaborate as to why investigators believe Paul Caneiro carried out the slayings, but said the motive may be related to businesses the brothers operated in Asbury Park.

    A techology business ran by the brothers, Square One, had been struggling financially to stay afloat, according to a law enforcement source. 

    "We recovered a great deal of evidence, and that evidence is being analyzed as we speak here today," the prosecutor said, cautioning he couldn't comment on the quality or strength of that evidence.

    Caneiro is scheduled to have his first court appearance on Friday.

    Authorities first responded to a fire on Willow Brook Road in Colts Neck just after noon on Nov. 20. It's there they discovered a blaze tearing through a massive mansion and Caneiro's body on the front lawn with a gunshot wound. 

    Once the fire was contained, authorities made an even grislier discovery: Caneiro's wife, Jennifer, and their two young children.

    Caneiro familyInvestigators say Keith Caneiro and his wife Jennifer (left) were killed along with their children Jesse (center) and Sophia (right) by Keith's brother Paul, who is also accused of setting fire to the family's Colts Neck home. (Facebook)

    In a bizarre twist, Gramiccioni said later that day that authorities had responded a house fire in Ocean Township. That home, on Tilton Drive, was owned by Paul Caneiro and his wife, Susan.

    The next day, Paul Caneiro was charged with one count of aggravated arson after police said he set fire to his home with gasoline while his wife and two daughters were inside the house. 

    Further investigation, the prosecutor said Thursday, indicated Caneiro set his own home ablaze only after killing his brother and in-laws and starting a fire in the basement of the Colts Neck mansion.

    Gramiccioni said Paul Caneiro apparently set fire to his own residence both as an attempt to destroy evidence he had brought back from Colts Neck, and as "a ruse" to make it appear the whole Caneiro family had been targeted.

    His attorney, Robert Honecker Jr., has maintained his client's innocence and said Paul Caneiro loved his family. Honecker did not return a phone call seeking comment following the press conference. 

    The brothers were originally from Brooklyn and moved down to Monmouth County where they partnered in a tech business based in Asbury Park. A pesticide business was also operated out of the same Cookman Avenue office. 

    Keith was the best man at Paul's wedding in 1991, according to a wedding announcement in the Staten Island Advance.

    Funeral services for the Caneiro family are planned for Sunday at Holmdel Funeral Home. The Caneiro children who died attended the Conover Road School in Colts Neck.

    Jesse, 11, was in fifth grade and also played baseball for the town team, the family obituaries say. Sophia, 8, was a cheerleader and Girl Scout in the third grade. 

    The killings have rocked the wealthy, tight-knit community of Colts Neck, a rural Monmouth County suburb approximately 50 miles south of New York City and close to the Jersey Shore. 

    "I'd be lying if I stood here and told you this was easy," Colts Neck Mayor J.P. Bartolomeo said at a candlelight vigil last week. "We lost four really nice people from our community, who I happened to be friends with, who my boys were friends with."

    Gramiccioni said this is the "most brutal" crime he's seen he's took over the top law enforcement position in Monmouth County in 2012, and if he could, would try seek the death penalty.

    "I only enforce the law, I don't make it," Gramiccioni explained ."But if that was a possible sentence in the state of New Jersey, I would have certified this case as a Capital (Punishment) case."

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

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    Environmentalists are worried about development plans that include a stadium and headquarters for a soccer team co-owned by Gov. Phil Murphy.

    The troubled pro women's soccer team that Gov. Phil Murphy co-owns may have found a new home -- but environmentalists fear the developers seeking to build the facilities would hurt a sensitive area of Monmouth County, especially with plans to chop down thousands of trees.

    Murphy's team, SkyBlue FC, is in "tentative" talks to rent space at Trophy Park, a proposed 200-acre sports and retail complex in Jackson, according to the project's developer. 

    The Tinton Falls-based team is listed as a partner on Trophy Park's website. SkyBlue would house its headquarters there, use its facilities for practice, and play home games at a 6,000-square-foot stadium on the site, developer Allen Nau said.

    The complex -- projected to open in 2020 -- would be built along Propsertown Lake off Route 537, not far from Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park, according to proposals.

    It would also include restaurants, a large retail building, two hotels, an indoor arena, athletics fields, and housing and a dining hall for visiting youth and travel sports teams to participate in tournaments and events throughout the year.

    The complex would be an upgrade for SkyBlue, which was the subject of reports this summer describing bleak living and working conditions for players. The team currently plays home games at Rutgers University in Piscataway.

    Murphy vows to fix problems at his soccer team

    But Trophy Park would be built just outside the Pinelands Protect Area and next to Prospertown Wildlife Management Area. 

    Environmentalists say the project could cause not only destruction of forests but more traffic and runoff from cars, as well as pose a threat to endangered species and wetlands nearby. 

    They also say they're surprised Murphy, an avowed progressive Democrat, would be involved.

    "Here's a governor who says he's for open space and protecting the pines, and they're gonna come in a take down a forest?" said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of environmental group the Sierra Club.

    "I thought he believes in urban revitalization," Tittel added. "Why don't they build this in Camden or Pleasantville or East Orange or Belleville or something?"

    Marc Covitz, president of Crosswicks-Doctors Creek Watershed Association, said he's "baffled" by Murphy's involvement. 

    "If anything, the governor should be out trying to get this piece of property preserved," Covitz said.

    The environmentalists say they're especially discouraged because plans for Trophy Park come a few years after they sued Great Adventure over a plan to raze 19,000 trees to build a 90-acre solar farm. The three-year legal battle ended with clearing just 40 acres of trees.

    Plus, they argue, this could pose conflicts of interest because the project would likely need permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection under Murphy's administration.

    Nau, Trophy Park's developer, said Murphy has "nothing to do" directly with the development of the project. Nau said Murphy would be a tenant, "and that is tentative to begin with."

    Nau said he approached SkyBlue about playing there and didn't even know Murphy was an owner at first.

    "I just felt because we're gonna have all these sports going there, to have a professional sports team there would be good," Nau said. "And they were looking for a place."

    A Murphy spokesman deferred comment to SkyBlue. A SkyBlue spokeswoman did not immediately return a message.

    Murphy faced criticism in July after former players and team officials told various media outlets that life at SkyBlue was bleak, with players living in shack-like homes, playing in facilities without showers, and practicing in dirty clothes because of a lack of laundry services.

    The governor -- who co-owns the team with Steven Temares, the CEO of Bed, Bath & Beyond -- said the conditions were "unacceptable" and vowed they would "not go on."

    Jackson Township still needs to approve Trophy Park. A public hearing about the project is set for Monday night before the local planning board. 

    Nau insisted he's addressing environmental concerns. He said the complex will use artificial turf, won't spray pesticides, and the trees being razed are mostly "scrub pines," many of which are already dead.

    "We've done everything we needed to do to make sure we're environmentally correct," Nau said. "I want it to be something that's going to be a pristine place."

    Trophy Park would be the second sports complex proposed near Great Adventure this year. Construction began in June on Adventure Crossing, which will include a three-acre sports dome and two hotels.

    NJ Advance Media staff writer Steve Strunsky contributed to this report.

    Brent Johnson may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01. Find Politics on Facebook.

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    Paul Caneiro is accused of killing the family after a dispute over the businesses the brothers shared. One of Keith Caneiro's friends said Keith was seeking to walk away from the businesses. Watch video

    UPDATE: In court, Paul Caneiro agrees to be held in jail until his trial

    An Ocean Township man charged with killing his younger brother, his sister-and-law and their two children after a dispute that prosecutors described as "financial in nature" is scheduled to face a judge on Friday for the first time since his arrest last week.

    Paul Caneiro mugshotPaul Caneiro. (Police photo)

    Paul Caneiro, 51, is facing four counts of first-degree murder, aggravated arson and weapons offenses in connection with the pre-dawn slaying of Keith Caneiro, 50, Keith's wife, Jennifer, 45, and their two young children, 8-year-old Sophia and 11-year-old Jesse, just days before Thanksgiving.

    Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni told reporters Thursday that he believes the motive stems from the two businesses the brothers ran together in Asbury Park -- Square One, a technology firm, and a pest control business, EcoStar Pest Management.  

    The tech company had been struggling to stay afloat, a law enforcement source told NJ Advance Media. And a former classmate of Keith Caneiro's from Columbia University said Caneiro was actively seeking to walk away from Square One. The classmate, who did not want to be named, said Caneiro had recently sent him his resume and indicated he was willing to relocate to California for a new opportunity.

    Authorities allege Paul Caneiro, armed with a handgun and a knife, shot his brother multiple times outside Keith Caneiro's million-dollar Colts Neck mansion. Paul Caneiro then shot and stabbed Jennifer before stabbing the two children, according to authorities.

    Paul Caneiro lit a fire in the basement of the Willow Brook Road home in the early morning hours before heading back to his Ocean Township house and intentionally setting it ablaze to make it appear as if the entire Caneiro family had been targeted, Gramiccioni said.

    Paul Caneiro was arrested the day after and charged with one count of aggravated arson for lighting his house on fire with his wife and two daughters inside, authorities announced.

    The additional murder charges were filed Thursday morning, and Gramiccioni laid out additional details of the crime at a press conference packed with reporters from national news outlets.

    Later in the day, Paul Caneiro's attorneys, Robert A. Honecker Jr. and Michell J. Ansell, issued a statement that said, in part, Caneiro "had absolutely nothing to do with these horrific crimes."

    "There is absolutely no reason in the world for Paul Caneiro to have committed the crimes he is alleged to have committed," the statement said.

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

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    Paul Caneiro appeared in an Ocean County courtroom Friday for the first time since his arrest. Watch video

    During his first court appearance Friday, an Ocean Township man charged with killing his younger brother and his brother's family at their Colts Neck mansion last week pleaded not guilty and agreed to remain jailed until trial.

    Paul Caneiro, 51, is facing four counts of first-degree murder, aggravated arson and weapons offenses in connection with the Nov. 20 pre-dawn slaying of Keith Caneiro, 50, Keith's wife, Jennifer, 45, and their two young children, 8-year-old Sophia and 11-year-old Jesse at their million-dollar estate. 

    Paul Caneiro's attorneys maintain he's innocent. 

    IMG_5393.jpgPaul Caneiro, 51, appears in Superior Court in Monmouth County Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 after being charged with murder in the killing of his brother and his brother's family. (Patti Sapone | NJ Advance Media for

    Caneiro waived his right to contest the prosecutor's motion to detain him until his trial. He is being held in Monmouth County jail in Freehold.

    New Jersey did away with a cash bail system in 2017 and now every defendant charged with an indictable offense has to appear before a judge to learn whether he or she will remain behind bars pending trial. 

    Caniero limped into the court in a green jail jumpsuit with his hands cuffed in front of him. His neighbors previously told NJ Advance Media he was in a bad car crash in Asbury Park a couple years ago.

    He sat in the jury box and stared straight ahead as Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Decker presented him with the charges he's facing. Caneiro sat expressionlessly as Decker read aloud the accusations that he killed his brother, his sister-in-law and young niece and nephew. 

    The only talking he did was to answer "yes" to Superior Court Judge James McGann's questions about whether Caneiro understood his rights. 

    The courtroom was standing room only, mostly filled with reporters, but absent were any of Paul Caneiro's remaining family members. 

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    The prosecutor's office contends that Paul Caneiro shot his brother multiple times outside Keith Caneiro's mansion in the early morning hours on Nov. 20. Paul Caneiro then went into the house where he allegedly shot and stabbed Jennifer Caneiro before stabbing their two young children multiple times, according to authorities.

    They say he also lit a fire in the basement of their Willow Brook Road house that slowly spread through the $1.6 million home. 

    Paul Caneiro then went back to his Ocean Township house and set it on fire around 5 a.m., hoping to make it look like the entire Caneiro family had been targeted, Gramiccioni said. His wife and two daughters were home at the time but escaped unharmed.

    Caneirofamily.jpgKeith Caneiro, 50, Keith's wife, Jennifer, 45, and their two young children, 8-year-old Sophia and 11-year-old Jesse were all killed on Nov. 20, and their home set on fire. (Facebook). 

    Paul Caneiro was arrested the day after and charged with one count of aggravated arson for lighting his house on fire, authorities announced.

    The additional murder charges were filed Thursday morning and the grisly details of the killing were described by Gramiccioni at a packed press conference later in the day.

    He told reporters the motive was "financial in nature" and likely stemmed from the two businesses the brothers ran together in Asbury Park -- Square One, a technology firm, and a pest control business, EcoStar Pest Management.  

    A law enforcement source told NJ Advance Media that the tech company was struggling financially, and a former classmate of Keith Caneiro's from Columbia University said Caneiro was seeking new job opportunities and was looking to walk away from Square One. 

    paul-caneiro-court.jpgPaul Caneiro, 51, sits in Superior Court in Monmouth County Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (Patti Sapone | NJ Advance Media for 

    An attorney representing Caneiro, Mitchell Ansell, told reporters outside the Monmouth County courthouse that he has not received any evidence from prosecutors indicating his client had financial problems. 

    Ansell's partner, Robert A. Honecker Jr., said Paul Caneiro "will be vindicated" and that he loves his family. 

    "He has indicated that he would never engage in conduct that would cause harm to his brother or his brother's family," Honecker said. "He intends to challenge the evidence that has been gathered by the prosecutor's office in this case. The state has their view of what occurred in Colts Neck. Certainly, we will be presenting a different view and ultimately a decision will be made as to what happened in the early morning hours in Colts Neck."

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

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    A tiny sampling of the thousands of pets awaiting adoption in New Jersey.

    It's that time of year again, when we spend enormous sums on pets that can't tell us they hate what we got them.

    Here's just a sampling of some of the good, the bad and ... the other gifts available for your pets in 2018.


    A 'medium dog bowl' from one company costs $32 plus shipping; it must be a water bowl because there's a molded bone sticking up in the middle of it around which the dog would otherwise have to eat. My dog enjoys her water just fine out of a 32-cent Tupperware bowl.

    Another company is selling a 'Riviera Dog Bed' for only $398. The picture shows a dog that can't weigh more than 20 pounds taking up most of it. Meanwhile, a name-brand queen size mattress sells for $239, and your dog would prefer to be on a human mattress anyway, as you well know.

    There's a pillow that has 'Santa, I've Been a Good Cat' stitched into it and selling for $68. No cat I've ever owned slept on a pillow and the last time I checked, they can't read anyway.

    That doesn't mean all pet gifts are ... curious. I also found a beautiful embroidered pet Christmas stocking that comes with the pet's name for $29. And in the spirit of the season, there's a bag of rawhide bones that look exactly like candy canes for $15.99.

    And before you picture a doting senior like me as the purchaser of such things, take note: according to a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and reported on, "people in the 17- to 21-year-old age group -- which PwC calls "mature Generation Z" -- will spend an average of $71 on their pets this holiday season."

    "Urban dwellers in large cities will spend about the same," the article goes on to note, "followed by fathers between the ages of 22 and 35, who will spend $70 on their pets."

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

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    The detective's report includes "an incredible amount of detail" regarding the investigation against Paul Caneiro. Watch video

    A judge agreed to seal a detective's report that contains extensive details about accusations that Paul Caneiro allegedly killed his brother and his brother's entire family at their Colts Neck estate last month.

    The report, known as an affidavit of probable cause, lays out the essential details as to what grounds authorities have to charge a defendant with the crime he or she is accused of. It also contains information about how police received that information, like interviews with witnesses or copies of surveillance footage.

    The affidavit of probable cause is attached to a criminal complaint, which is a court document and therefore available to the public.

    In the case of Paul Caneiro -- who is accused of slaying Keith Caneiro, 50, Keith's wife, Jennifer, 45, and the couple's two young children on Nov. 20 - the 16-paragraph document "provides details of a great amount of evidence, where it was located and how it was secured," according to a court order issued Monday by Assignment Judge Lisa P. Thornton in Monmouth County Superior Court.

    "The defendant has established good cause to seal the affidavit at this juncture," Thornton wrote. "Disclosure of many of the details included in the affidavit would most certainly not be favorable to him. Disclosure of these facts, less than a week after he was charged, would leave him without a mechanism to combat the tide of negative publicity that would most certainly follow." 

    A hearing to seal the documents occurred Saturday. Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Decker, defense attorneys Mitchell Ansell and Robert Honecker Jr. and Thornton attended the court session.

    Thornton's order notes that the defense attorneys argued that releasing the affidavit "could influence public opinion against (Paul Caneiro)" and taint his ability to receive a fair trial.

    Decker argued that the document contains names of witnesses and that releasing the names "could lead to harassment of witnesses or interference with the investigation."

    When NJ Advance Media has received this document in other cases, personal information of witnesses, including names, is typically redacted by the records custodian releasing the document. 

    According to the order, The Wall Street Journal requested and may have received a copy of the record from Colts Neck Municipal Court before it was sealed, and The Asbury Park Press was invited to represent itself at the hearing but did not send an attorney.

    NJ Advance Media was not notified of the hearing.

    Several media outlets, including NJ Advance Media, had sought a copy of the affidavit against Paul Caneiro from superior court but it was never filed in that court and therefore not available to the outlets.

    Caneiro, 51, waved his right to a detention hearing last week, agreeing to stay in the Monmouth County jail pending the outcome of his case.

    Honecker and Ansell have told reporters that Caneiro is innocent of the crimes he's charged with and maintain that their client loved his family and wouldn't hurt them.

    Reporter Matt Gray contributed to this report.

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

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    Time to crank up those committee hearings: In Trumpworld, the health of the planet, the economy, the coastal communities are all secondary to the interests of the oil industry. Watch video

    It was on Black Friday that the Trump Administration published a dire climate report, which warned that the planet's warming will imperil our health, affect every region of the country, and take a massive toll on the national economy if we don't wean ourselves off fossil fuels, and soon.

    So in keeping with his mission to risk anything in order to give oil and gas companies another sloppy kiss, the president used the latest Friday news dump to announce that we're back in the offshore drilling game in New Jersey and throughout the Atlantic coast, with gusto.

    This might ordinarily cause a national outbreak of cognitive dissonance, but it's hard to be surprised by Trump's reckless stewardship of his Twitter feed, much less the environment.

    The only comfort is that he will face formidable opposition from a Democratic majority in the House, notably from an Energy and Commerce Committee chaired by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.), who will lead a rally on the Asbury Park boardwalk Tuesday morning at 10:30.

    The rally is the latest in a series of reminders that drilling off our shore is a non-negotiable. Our 130-mile coastline is an economic powerhouse: It generates $44 billion a year in tourism revenue, our commercial fishing industry generates another $8 billion, and the shore supports roughly 10 percent of our state's workforce, directly or indirectly. It is also home to $700 billion in coastal properties.

    An oil spill would endanger all of that. Even NASA and the Pentagon agree that it's reckless and short-sighted.

    Regardless, the Trump administration got the drilling process going Friday by authorizing five oil companies to conduct seismic airgun testing that could start in April.

    These deafening seismic surveys will take place between Delaware and Florida, but our state will not be immune to their impacts.

    These tests involve the use of airgun blasts to search the ocean floor for fossil fuel deposits. The noise can reach 260 decibels and travel 2,500 miles. Douglas Nowacek, a Duke University expert on the impact of noise on ocean life, told Congress that it is akin to being at "the epicenter of a grenade blast, and would easily cause the rupture of the human eardrum."

    So even before they get to drill, there could be devastating effects on marine life. The National Resources Defense Council believes that the seismic activity might drive the North American right whale - whose population has fallen to 400 - to extinction. The feds reply that if any harm is deemed "unintentional," the operators won't be penalized. They haven't explained how they'll determine whether species are being "unintentionally" harmed as they try to migrate or breed across a 2,500-mile perimeter, however.

    Stand up to Trump: No oil drilling off N.J.'s coast | Editorial

    It's all a reminder that federal waters along the Atlantic have been closed to oil drilling for nearly four decades for good reason.

    It should also make New Jerseyans wonder why this state is so often a target for Trump's smash-mouth governance. He has shown a sadistic joy in punishing blue states; in our case, he's given us a tax plan that reduced our SALT deduction, he has refused to help fund the Gateway Project, and he tried to slash funding for states that expanded Medicaid in his Obamacare repeal bill.

    That isn't exactly showing gratitude to a state that is crucial to the national economy, one that gives far more than it gets. New Jersey is the fourth least-dependent state for federal funding, according to WalletHub, the consumer website. Trump probably hasn't noticed. Nor has he noticed that 10 of the top 11 moochers are red states.

    Perhaps the president believes Oklahoma and Kansas can carry the national economy. But he needs to be reminded, again, that coastal states rely on clean shorelines for their economic viability. That cannot be compromised, and it must not be sold out for oil interests without a brawl.

    Bookmark Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find Opinion on Facebook.


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    The food shopping experience hasn't changed a lot over the years.

    We already have drones delivering online purchases in some parts of the country. You have to admit - you probably didn't think you'd live to see the day.

    Yet it's interesting that supermarkets are remarkably similar today to the experience a succession of generations have had over the years.

    Think about it. The manual cash register (and its almost musical sound) has been replaced by bar code scanners ... but the process of your purchases passing along a conveyor as you move through the thin checkout line is hardly different.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Items are still arranged in rows of shelves that we push shopping carts up and down. The carts themselves may be made of plastic instead of metal but the design has barely been altered.

    Fruits and vegetables are still open to be chosen individually; meats and fish are neatly arranged in refrigerated displays. It's an experience we had as children that our own children -- and likely their children - have been and will be able to share.

    Here's a gallery of vintage photos of supermarkets in New Jersey. And here are links to more vintage photo galleries of supermarkets and food stores in the Garden State.

    Vintage N.J. photos of supermarkets

    Vintage photos of supermarkets and food stores in N.J.

    Vintage photos of neighborhood food stores in N.J.

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

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    Pets throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    Last week, I wrote about the money pet owners will spend on gifts for their furry friends this holiday season. But, what are the options for people on a budget -- or, for those, like me, who are just plain cheap? has some suggestions for low-cost, and even no-cost, pet gifts.

    Some household items make great cat toys. If you were going to throw out old shower curtain rings, toilet paper cardboard tubes or just plain empty boxes, your kitty can have hours of fun with them instead.

    A simple homemade dog toy can be made by inserting an empty plastic water bottle into an old sock, then tying a knot in the end. Dogs love the crunching sound.

    If it's okay for your dog to have peanut butter, give him or her the old plastic jar before you throw it out; it'll provide lasting fun for your dog and for you watching.

    Those little bell balls that were all the rage on shoelaces can be tied to a doorknob with string to make cat toys all around your house.

    Finally, you can make a durable pull toy for your dog by braiding long strips of old clothes.

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    A truly memorable decade.

    If you're not in your 40s or older, you likely don't remember Arthur C. Clarke, a British historian, inventor and writer who hosted a number of television shows in the 1980s. Clarke also co-wrote the screenplay for the 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey."

    In the 1960s, those who looked to what the future might bring tended toward "Jetsons" visions of 21st century America, complete with cities in the clouds and flying cars. Clarke made some of his predictions in 1964 as to what life might be like 50 years later and, unlike his contemporaries, many of his predictions were spot-on.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    While not naming them, Clarke foresaw both internet and cellular technology by noting that people of the future would have instant contact with anyone anywhere on earth and that business could be conducted from any location in the world. He saw what we call telecommuting as becoming available to many workers.

    Clarke predicted robotic surgery and noted that surgeons on one continent could treat patients on another. He saw people volunteering for cryogenic suspension and saw bioengineering, including cloning of animals, as scientific fact in the future.

    Clarke almost perfectly described 3D printers being able to "replicate" solid items and predicted that computers, barely out of the vacuum tube era in 1964, would eventually be able to start thinking for themselves ... artificial intelligence.

    Here's a look at the way things were in New Jersey back when those concepts were science fiction, not fact. And here are links to more galleries you might enjoy.

    Vintage photos of the 1950s in N.J.

    Vintage photos of N.J. in the 1960s

    Vintage photos of the 1970s in N.J.

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

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    Dogs and cat throughout New Jersey await adoption.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Millville is home to the nation's largest holly orchard.

    By now, holiday music has been playing on the radio and in stores for weeks. Some people can't get enough; others can't wait until it's over.

    xmas1962vineland2.jpgLisa Hatala ready to rock out on her brand new Schroeder piano in 1964. 

    There was a time when it was almost an obligation for a top-selling artist to release a Christmas-themed single or album.

    Sometimes, it didn't represent the artist's best work. Esquire magazine ran an article in 2016 that included one writer's list of the worst Christmas songs of all time (by well-known artists, that is). The list includes "Wonderful Christmas Time" (Paul McCartney and Wings), "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" (Bruce Springsteen) and "Oh Holy Night" (Christina Aguilera).

    How about the best? We'd have to base that on sales, and music sales have become a lot less simple to count.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    There was a time when sales simply meant the number of records purchased; now, with the internet, things have had to change. There are downloads instead of straight purchases and then there's streaming - according to new parameters set by the Recording Industry Association of America, for example, 150 streams of a song equals one paid download.

    So with that in mind, here are the top 10 Christmas songs of all time through 2017, according to Billboard:

    10.  "Last Christmas" (Wham!) 1984

    9.  "White Christmas" (Bing Crosby) 1943

    8.  "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) 1996

    7.  "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" (Andy Williams) 1963

    6.  "A Holly Jolly Christmas" (Burl Ives) 1964

    5.  "Feliz Navidad" (Jose Feliciano) 1970

    4.  "Jingle Bell Rock" (Bobby Helms) 1956

    3.  "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)" (Nat King Cole) 1953

    2.  "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (Brenda Lee) 1964

    1.  "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (Mariah Carey) 1994

    Here's a gallery of New Jerseyans celebrating Christmas through the years. And here are links to more Christmas galleries you might enjoy.

    Vintage N.J. Christmas photos

    Vintage photos of celebrating Christmas in N.J.

    More vintage photos of celebrating Christmas in N.J.

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

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    Pets throughout New Jersey await adoption at shelters and rescues.

    Better Homes and Gardens ( has some sound advice if you've ever felt the impulse to by a pet for the holidays.

    "Adding a pet to the family is a long-term commitment. It's a decision that needs input from everyone who would care for the animal. That's why pets should not be given as holiday gifts.

    The scene has been replayed so often in popular culture that it has come to symbolize the holidays as much as tinsel and candy canes: A shopper, with freshly wrapped packages bulging out of two different bags, casually walks by a pet store window as the snow falls gently around her. The puppies behind the glass, all floppy ears and paws, madly scramble over each other trying to capture the shopper's attention. The temptation is too great. The shopper whisks into the store and impulsively purchases an animal for her beloved.

    This season, many shoppers will buy a dog or cat to give to a friend or loved one. Their motivations can be as varied as the snowflake: Some will buy an animal on impulse, some because they're caught up in the spirit of the season, and some just because the doggie looks so darn cute in the pet shop window.

    None of them is the right reason to add a new pet to the family.

    Adding a pet to the family is a serious, long-term commitment. It's a decision that needs input from everyone who would be involved in caring for the animal. What type of animal would have a personality most compatible with a person or family? Who would be the primary caregiver of the pet? How much will it cost to feed and provide veterinary care? Who would look after the animal during trips? Could someone be allergic to the pet?

    Instead of buying a puppy or kitten as a gift, consider waiting to adopt a pet after the holidays. You could give a loved one a "gift certificate" from a local shelter, or a snapshot of a shelter pet, or even a stuffed animal representing a shelter pet-all which can be used as "passports" to adopt an animal later. This not only promotes responsible adoption, but provides a little fun, too.

    After the holidays, if your loved ones decide they are indeed willing and able to adopt a pet, you can bring them down to the local shelter where they can use their 'passport' to adopt their new friend.

    The alternative to this scenario can be sadder than the Island of Misfit Toys."

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

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    "You don't take a photograph, you make it." -- Ansel Adams

    I'm pretty sure I wasn't alone in giving a mental thumbs up to the TV screen when watching one of the installments in Rocket Mortgage's "Lingo" commercial series.

    In the installment, a couple is in an art gallery near a man who offers his interpretation of a painting of a gray dot. "And here we see the artist making an attempt to bare his soul," he says with emotion ... after which Keegan-Michael Key pops in behind the couple and translates for them: "It's just a gray dot."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    So, as the cliche says, art is in the eye of the beholder. And, it occurs to me -- someone who has combed through thousands and thousands of photographs shot by folks who do not consider themselves artists -- it's sad to think of all of the gallery-worthy art that will never be pondered. In the genre of photography, I can't possibly be the first person to think that if you took the work of everyday people -- those not considered artists -- and hung their pictures in galleries, art would be on display.

    We see photos taken by everyday people that, intentionally or not, mirror many of the things that we've been told make for great art. Here, we're providing a gallery of beautiful photos taken in New Jersey that are more than just gray dots.

    And here are some other vintage photo galleries you might enjoy.

    The vintage N.J. photos that touched us in 2017

    More vintage N.J. photos that are works of art

    Even more vintage photos from N.J. that are works of art

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

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    Consider a new pet in the new year from a shelter or rescue.

    Here is this week's collection of some of the dogs and cats in need of adoption in New Jersey.

    If you're considering a new pet in 2019, think about adopting from one of these or the scores of other shelters and rescues throughout the state.

    We are now accepting dogs and cats to appear in the gallery from nonprofit shelters and rescues throughout New Jersey. If a group wishes to participate in this weekly gallery on, please contact Greg Hatala at

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

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    2018 gave 21 Kings a big bump locally when the group surprisingly won the JC Studios Battle of the Bands in September.

    The rock 'n' roll trio 21 Kings plans on a big 2019, which they'll be kicking off this Saturday, Jan. 5, at Downtown Jersey City's FM Bar & Lounge.

    Guitarist/singer Stefan Iseldyke, bassist/vocalist Jon Nicosia, and Jon's older brother, drummer Steve Nicosia, have been playing together for a few years, trying to gain traction in scenes like Asbury Park and Brooklyn.

    But 2018 gave 21 Kings a big bump locally when the group surprisingly won the JC Studios Battle of the Bands in September. That, in turn, helped generate interest in "Things I Couldn't Say," the EP the group released a month later.

    "We're all from East Brunswick originally," explained Jon, who now lives in Jersey City. "I met Stefan when we were about 14, and he started playing guitar and I picked up the bass, and we started learning how to play all our favorite pop-punk songs. We loved Green Day (still do), Blink-182, Sum 41, that kind of stuff."

    Jon and Stefan would hang around and watch Jon's older brother Steve play in bands.

    "He was actually a guitar player then, so I picked up the bass so we could play together at home," Jon said. "We loved Blink-182 so much at that point that I actually went out and bought the Mark Hopper Signature Bass, which I still have. I've always found that bass is a great instrument because everyone else always wants to play guitar or the drums. I could always find a band that needed a bassist."

    The guys grew up playing covers of their favorite songs in a variety of lineups.

    "We'd play barbecues and birthday parties. Our parents loved it and always wanted us to play," Jon recalled.

    When he went to Rutgers, he wound up in a couple of bands that would play in dorms and lounges.

    "It wasn't until late 2015 that Stefan came to Steve and I and said, 'Hey, I've been writing a couple of songs, how would you guys feel about playing some originals together?'" Jon said. "We were half-serious about it, until Stefan's dad, who's always been very gung-ho about our playing, suggested we enter a Stone Pony battle of the bands called Rock to the Top."

    The band surprised itself by lasting four rounds into the competition and coming in fourth place.

    "That really lit a fire under our butts, and got us to thinking that we might have something here," Jon said. "By that time, we had written a few songs and recorded our first EP. And we just kept going from there."

    Ironically, Jon's Rutgers band never played New Brunswick's fabled basement-show scene.

    "I knew it was going on, but I just didn't know the right people so we'd just play lounges and Ag Field Day, which is a big thing at Rutgers," he said.

    Now, a former bandmate, Matt Salomon, is organizing DIY shows in New Brunswick.

    "He's trying to legitimize that scene and make it a little more respectable, so we're looking forward to playing some of these new venues in 2019," Jon said. "It's exciting that 10 years after I graduated college there, I'll actually get to play some of those shows."

    It was the 2017 JC Studios Battle of the Bands in Jersey City that caught Jon's attention.

    "I've been living in Jersey City for about five years, and I remember that I saw it on Dancing Tony's Rockit-Docket website or something like that and realized that we had just missed the cut off by a day," he said. "So I made a list and promised myself that we'd enter the next year.

    "By that point, we'd been playing in the area a lot," Jon recalled. "We played Maxwell's a few times before it closed and the Pet Shop, and some other North Jersey stuff. So we figured this Battle of the Bands thing would be another good Jersey City thing to play, just for a little exposure. Lo and behold, we never thought we'd actually win. It came as a complete surprise. I remember when the first judge was ready to speak and we thought, okay, here it comes ... but then it was just nice things from everybody. It completely blew us away."

    Musically, 21 Kings doesn't fit into any simple niche, other than to say the group plays rock music with electric guitars.

    "The three of us have certain things that we all like but a lot of it doesn't really cross over," Jon said. "I think that's why we all bring a different element to our sound. My brother's still really into that pop-punk sound, but my favorite band is Rush. I love classic rock and some of that prog-rock stuff. And Stefan's really an all-around guy. He likes old classic rock too but he's hugely into hip hop, both the old stuff and modern artists. And, of course, we all really love the Clash and the Beatles. So I think we're really well rounded."

    Part of that, Jon noted, could be traced to growing up in music-loving families.

    "Both Steve's and my dad and Stefan's dad are super music guys," he said. "I can remember being five or six years old, playing with my toy trucks on the floor, and my dad was cranking out his vinyl, from the Who to disco. Stefan's dad was a CBGB's guy who spent a lot of time in '70s Manhattan in the punk scene. So we had a really good background."

    For 2019, 21 Kings plans on more recording and playing out as much as possible. "We're always looking for shows," Jon said. "It's time for us to revisit some of our old haunts, like the Saint in Asbury Park. Maxwell's is gone, but FM is here now and there are lots of other opportunities and scenes, and we're hoping to be playing out a lot."

    If you go ...

    21 Kings will perform with The Fuzz and Smoke & Mirror Routine at FM Bar & Lounge, 340 Third St., Jersey City, on Saturday, Jan. 5. Showtime is 8 p.m.; admission is $5.

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    "Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway."

    Asphalt is a naturally occurring building material found in both asphalt lakes and in rock asphalt (a mixture of sand, limestone, and asphalt).

    According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the first recorded use of asphalt as a road building material was in Babylon around 615 BC, in the reign of King Nabopolassar. Its first appearance as a historical marvel in popular literature might be in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie" when she wrote about arriving in Topeka, Kansas:

    "In the very midst of the city, the ground was covered by some dark stuff that silenced all the wheels and muffled the sound of hoofs. It was like tar, but Papa was sure it was not tar, and it was something like rubber, but it could not be rubber because rubber cost too much. We saw ladies all in silks and carrying ruffled parasols, walking with their escorts across the street. Their heels dented the street, and while we watched, these dents slowly filled up and smoothed themselves out. It was as if that stuff were alive. It was like magic."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    New Jersey, first in so many things when it comes to things we sometimes take for granted, was also part of a first for asphalt. In 1870, Belgian chemist Edmund DeSmedt laid the first true asphalt pavement in the Unites States in front of the City Hall in Newark.

    NAPA notes that today asphalt covers more than 94 percent of the paved roads in the United States.

    Here's a look at street scenes from throughout New Jersey, many on roads paved in asphalt. And here are links to other galleries you might enjoy.

    More vintage photos of N.J. street scenes

    More vintage photos of streets and roads in N.J.

    More vintage photos of street scenes in N.J.

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

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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    The year 2018 is over, but the drive to 'Clear the Shelters' goes on.

    'Clear the Shelters' is an annual pet adoption drive sponsored by NBC- and Telemundo-owned television stations across the country. More than 91,900 pets were adopted since the 2018 event was launched in July, over 26,000 on August 18 alone. By year's end, a total of 102,686 pets found homes as part of the drive.

    The program began in North Texas in 2014 as a partnership among the NBC and Telemundo stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted that first year, the most in a single day in North Texas.

    The need remains great to find homes for the millions of homeless animals in the United States. The number of animals entering shelters each year is about 6.5 million, 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Though the number has declined from about 7.2 million in 2011, with the biggest drop in the number of dogs, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals end up being euthanized each year.

    On the happier side, about 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted annually and another 710,000 are returned to their owners.

    Clear the Shelters began in North Texas in 2014 as a partnership among the NBC and Telemundo stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted that first year, the most in a single day in North Texas.

    For more information, go to

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

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    When you least expect it ....

    What's a "candid" photo? Pretty much anything that hasn't been staged. By "staged," I can mean anything from a publicity photo to a group shot of family all standing in the same pose.


    Why do we like candid photos so much? A friend of mine explained it, and I can't possibly do any better:

    "There is something compelling about pictures where the subjects don't know they are being photographed. A sort of invitation into a moment in time unfettered by vanity or awareness that just captures a split second of life."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    And even when the subjects are aware of the camera, simply going about living and enjoying life make these photos priceless.

    Always one of our most popular galleries, here are split seconds of life from New Jersey's past, with a few classic photobombs thrown in for good measure.

    And here are link to other similar galleries you'll enjoy.

    Vintage candid photos from N.J.

    Vintage N.J. candid photos

    Vintage candid photos in N.J.

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

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