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Breaking news & local stories from Camden City, Berlin, Laurel Springs and more

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    It's a return to No. 1 for one North Jersey non-public team as two new teams entered the mix this week.

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    Which teams have taken a step forward and turned heads in 2017.

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    Everything to watch for as county tournaments take the spotlight over the next two weeks.

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    Photos we've snapped since 2010, and we want yours too.

    UPDATE, Oct. 16, 6 p.m.: You sent us more photos, we shot more photos and we found some in the archives that we missed the first time around. From all those sources, we're well past 100 pics now. And we're happy to get more, so use the form below to send more, if you have some.

    Important note: If you sent us pics thinking you were nominating your mascot for the mascot challenge, that won't do it. For that, we need a 30-60-second video. The deadline is coming up fast - Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. Here's lots more info.

    Some are adorable. Some are kind of scary. Some are a little puzzling. They're almost all fuzzy.

    These are New Jersey's high school mascots. The ones we've photographed since 2010 are in the photo gallery above, and, we know - we're a little heavy on cardinals, or Kardinals, as the case may be.

    RELATED: Nominations open for the HS Mascot Challenge

    We know there are more out there than these for the 37 schools represented above, so we're looking for some help from you. When you're out there over the next few weeks enjoying some high school sports, scan the venue for something bigger, brighter and fuzzier than your typical athlete.

    When you find something, snap some pics and then use the form below to send them to us, and we'll add them to the photo gallery.

    And while you're at it, think about shooting some video, because a video is what's needed to nominate that mascot for the HS Mascot Challenge. All the details about that project, including the Oct. 23 deadline for videos to be posted with the #NJmascotchallenge hashtag, are at the link above.

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    One person was hospitalized with smoke inhalation


    CHERRY HILL -- One person was hospitalized with smoke inhalation when a three-alarm fire broke out late Monday at a Cherry Hill apartment building, officials said. 

    An apartment on the fifth floor of the Colonial Apartments on Cooper Landing Road caught fire around 11:45 p.m. and was brought under control in about 45 minutes, the Cherry Hill Fire Department said. 

    No firefighters were injured. 

    Several apartments were damaged, reported.

    Firefighters from Haddon Fire Company No. 1 in neighboring Haddonfield assisted at the six-story structure.

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


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    A look at the best players from Week 6.

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    In Bellmawr, a misspelled sign and two signs with the wrong counties are getting replaced after being installed years ago, officials said.

    BELLMAWR -- Getting from one place to another is hard enough in New Jersey, one of the most densely populated states in the nation with legendary congested traffic. Remember Bridgegate?

    Getting from one place to another when the road sign is wrong can add a Cirque du Soleil quality to a car ride, especially for out-of-town visitors.

    For years, Bellmawr, a Camden County borough near Philadelphia , threw drivers for a loop. A sign directing motorists to Mount Ephraim had the "a" and "i" transposed, as in Mt. Ephriam. Even more confusing, two sign just off of Rt. 42, the busy North-South Freeway to Atlantic City and other shore points, misidentified County Rt. 753, Creek Road, as being in Gloucester County instead of Camden County.

    Then, on Thursday, a day after inquired about the bad signs, the Mt. Ephriam sign, on Browning Road near the intersection with The Black Horse Pike, Route 168, was replaced with one with the correct spelling. And later this week, the other two signs will be replaced as well, said Daniel Triana, a spokesman for NJDOT.

    Josh Tregear, the borough administrator, said officials first noticed the errors "two or three years ago," and they had been trying to get it fixed.

    "Obviously, the borough would like to see it corrected as many people mistakenly attribute (the errors) to the Bellmawr Highway Department," Tregear said in an email last week. Drivers, he said, don't know the bad signs were made by the state Department of Transportation.

    It's not clear how the fixes were made so quickly and Triana said he needed more time to research how the errors occurred and who was responsible.

    A similar incident was reported last month near Parsippany. The sign, located on Route 202 N./Littleton Road, south of the Route 80 overpass, directing motorists to "Lk Parisppany" via Frontage Road, was installed earlier this year, according to Department of Transportation spokesman Stephen Schapiro.

    In the case of the Morris County snafu, the typo was brought to the DOT's attention in August and a replacement sign was requested, Schapiro said.    

    Bill Duhart may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find on Facebook.

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    Who has impressed at midway point of the soccer season?

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    AG called the group "one of the biggest heroin suppliers in Camden and North Philadelphia."

    TRENTON -- Fifteen alleged members of a major drug ring operating in New Jersey and Pennsylvania were indicted on racketeering and drug charges, authorities announced Tuesday.

    Prosecutors claim Fernando Diaz-Rivera, 34, ran the operation from his homes in Salem and Puerto Rico, where he commanded crews pumping 20 to 30 kilos of heroin and cocaine into Camden and North Philadelphia every month.

    State Attorney General Christopher Porrino called Diaz-Rivera "one of the biggest heroin suppliers in Camden and North Philadelphia, which are major distribution hubs for the heroin and fentanyl-laced heroin killing so many people across the region."

    It was not immediately clear whether Diaz-Rivera had retained an attorney.

    The indictments, handed up Monday, charge Diaz-Rivera and fourteen others with first-degree racketeering and second-degree of conspiracy as well as a range of drug charges.

    Among the accused are a "top lieutenant," 34-year-old Luis Merced, of Philadelphia, five "wholesale distributors" and a cadre of alleged suppliers and transporters, including:

    • Javier Rosa-Romero, 31, of Salinas, Puerto Rico, and Camden, also known as "Jav,"
    • Angel Rosa-Ramos, 24, of Camden, also known as "Chongo"
    • Helmer Garcia, 28, of Camden, also known as "E"
    • Karina Olmeda-Burgos, 22, of Salem
    • Angel Padilla, 44, of Camden, also known as "Choiry"
    • Francisco Vinicio Savignon-Paulino, 30, of the Bronx, also known as "Vinicio,"
    • Angel Martinez, 39, of Camden, also known as "Pica"
    • Aleisha Marin-Vializ, 28, of Camden
    • Juan Carlos Moreno-Borrero, 20, of Salinas, Puerto Rico, and Camden, also known as "Moreno"
    • Jonathan Contreras, 29, of Camden,
    • Victor Matais, 35, of Camden
    • Krislee Padilla, 39, of Camden

    They were charged in November following "Operation Inferno," a seven-month probe into drug dealing in the Camden metro area.

    15 charged in 'Operation Inferno'

    The investigation, which included local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, resulted in the arrest of some alleged members of the ring driving a rental car with 10 kilos of heroin and cocaine stashed under a seat and the interception of four kilos of cocaine shipped by mail from Puerto Rico to Camden, according to state prosecutors. 

    Two others charged in the probe -- Alexis Burgos, 38, of Mount Holly, and Marcos Mendoza, 20, of Camden -- have already pleaded guilty to lesser conspiracy charges, authorities said.  

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


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    The bus was driving past the department store at the time of the crash.

    VOORHEES -- A pedestrian was struck and killed by a NJ Transit bus Monday afternoon outside Boscov's department store in the Voorhees Town Center, police said.

    Investigators believe the victim was leaving the store at 1:41 p.m. when he or she was struck, Capt. Carmen Del Palazzo said at the scene. Police officers' efforts to render aid were unsuccessful and the victim died, he said.

    The person's identity is not being released until family is notified of the death, he said.

    The bus was parked Monday afternoon directly in front of the store's north entrance, with a large red sheet hung behind it to block the view of the body as investigators worked to determine the cause of the crash. 

    Del Palazzo said the bus driver is cooperating with investigators.

    A spokeswoman for NJ Transit said the bus driver was taken to a local hospital for observation. She said there were three passengers on the bus, which was coming from Camden and on route to Turnersville.

    Del Palazzo said it was too soon to speculate if any citations would be issued.

    "We are trying to identify any possible witnesses," he said, and will seek out surveillance video footage from the store.

    IMG_2010.JPGPolice stand outside the NJ Transit bus that struck and killed a pedestrian in front of Boscov's department store in Voorhees Monday afternoon. 

    Buses generally navigate through the mall's large parking lot toward the store before swinging left and heading to the bus stop a few hundred feet in front of where the bus sat. 

    Around 3 p.m., several officers stood near the caution tape boundary in front of the store and told shoppers who pulled up they needed to use another entrance to get to the store.

    The bus will be towed away after the medical examiner arrives on scene, Del Palazzo said. The bus will then be inspected by the New Jersey State Police Heavy Truck Enforcement Unit to see if there are any mechanical issues with the vehicle.

    The Voorhees Police Department and the Camden County Prosecutor's Office are conducting the investigation. 

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

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    Police are searching for Allison Wade, who was reported missing in Gloucester Township.

    GLOUCESTER TWP. -- A 14-year-old girl has been reported missing in Gloucester Township.

    Allison Wade Photo copy.pngAllison Wade 

    Police say Allison Wade left home in the Glen Oaks section Monday and has not returned.

    She has brown hair, blue eyes, is 5-foot-1 and weighs 120 pounds.

    She was last seen wearing a red, long-sleeve shirt, jeans and carrying a red, yellow and white backpack with the word Jamaica written on it. Alison also has scars on her left arm.

    Anyone with information about her is urged to call 9-1-1, the Gloucester Township Police Department at 856-228-4500 or an anonymous tip line, 856-842-5560. Or send an anonymous text to: TIP GLOTWPPD and your tip message to 888777. There is also an anonymous tip page


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    The changeup continues as a new team makes its debut in the Top 20.

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    The 86-year-old Cherry Hill resident was struck outside Boscov's department store Tuesday afternoon, police said.

    VOORHEES -- The pedestrian killed by an NJ Transit bus outside of Boscov's department store Tuesday afternoon has been identified by authorities as an 86-year-old Cherry Hill resident. 

    Dolores Earley was leaving the department store's north entrance in the Voorhees Town Center at 1:41 p.m when she was struck by the bus, Voorhees Police Capt. Carmen Del Palazzo said. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

    The bus driver cooperated with police and no citations had been issued, Del Palazzo said.

    A spokeswoman for NJ Transit said the bus driver was taken to a local hospital for observation. She said there were three passengers on the bus, which was coming from Camden and en route to Turnersville.

    There is a bus stop a few hundred feet from the Boscov's entrance. Buses heading there have to cross the mall's large parking lot and drive in front of the store to approach the bus stop.

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

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    The best games of Week 7 all in one place.

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    Which teams have the best dual threat offensive combinations?

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    A look at which girls soccer teams in N.J. have allowed the fewest goals

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    History was made in Camden County.

    Jack Dugan remembers being the ball boy for Haddonfield when his dad was the team's assistant coach.

    When his oldest brother Connor, who graduated college two years ago, and his middle brother Wyatt, a 2016 Haddonfield graduate, started playing, he remained on the sideline studying the game and dreaming of the day he'd have a chance to leave his mark on the Camden County school's program.

    Those dreams correlated into reality on Monday when Dugan scored three minutes into a 6-0 win over Collingswood for his 65th career goal making him Haddonfield's all-time leading scorer.

    Ironically enough, his first career goal came against Collingswood when he was a freshman.

    "To be able to score the record goal against Collingswood, the same way I scored my first goal, was great to come full circle and really reflect on my career," Dugan said. "There's no way I could've done this without my teammates. My coach said yesterday, '65 goals also comes with 65 assists'. I've been pretty lucky to have the talent around me that I have, the coaches that surround me everyday, my family and my friends."

    The record was previously held by Rich Sexton who graduated in 1977 with 64 career goals.

    From ball boy to all-time leading scorer, the past four years have turned Dugan into the figure that aspiring soccer players in Haddonfield emulate.

    "It's kind of hard to describe because everything happened so fast," the two-year captain said. "As a leader, I want not only my teammates, but the younger players in the community to look up to me and say 'I want to beat that record.' It would be great if someone else can do it because I'm sure (Haddonfield) will have great success."

    When Dugan joined Wyatt on Haddonfield's varsity squad there was a sense of expectation that followed him onto the field. He came in with a good reputation as a hard-working player who had a nose for the net. It didn't take long for those expectations to come to fruition as he led Haddonfield with 10 goals as a freshman. The next season he upped the ante to 16 goals, which was second most on the team, and he regained the scoring crown with 22 goals as a junior. He currently leads Haddonfield with 17 goals to go along with his 15 assists.

    "He's grown every year as a player since in every area of his game," Haddonfield coach Ryan Nixon said. "His ability to finish with both feet is uncanny, his defensive positioning and reading of the game are both top notch, and his speed with the ball allows him to beat multiple defenders. Jack has always performed his best in the biggest games. The biggest moments." 

    Dugan has already come through with some clutch moments this fall. He scored the overtime game-winners against Rancocas Valley and Haddon Township, as well as put home the game-winning penalty kick in a win over West Deptford.

    While he has already put his timely goal scoring ability on display, Dugan has high hopes for Haddonfield as the South Jersey Coaches Association Tournament gets underway Saturday and the South Jersey, Group 2 tournament is just around the corner.

    "We just try to win every day and try to get better every day," Dugan said. "Obviously, every team wants to win a state championship and that's our goal."

    Richard Greco may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RichardGrecohsLike HS sports on Facebook.

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    Nine of 43 undefeated teams lost in Week 6. How many of the 34 remaining unbeaten teams in New Jersey will run the table?

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    Which players have emerged as the leaders in statistics in boys soccer this year?

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    New Jersey diners have a character ... and characters ... all their own.

    If you grew up in New Jersey and never ate at a diner, then you must have had good reason.

    I would venture to say that few things are as intrinsically connected to a state as diners are to New Jersey. Perhaps that's the reason our diner galleries are among our most popular.

    According to, "In the state of New Jersey, diners are more than just a place to grab a breakfast sandwich or a late-night cup of coffee. Often the center of the community, diners built in the 1920's are still beloved by their guests despite modern restaurants filling up Main Street."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Who doesn't love a diner? Diners are where a customer is able order bacon with the instruction to make it "ridiculously crispy" and the waitress writes it down and then delivers it to the table "just right."

    Pete Genovese of identifies the Summit Diner as the oldest diner still in operation in the state, opening in 1929; Max's Diner in Harrison opened earlier, in 1927, but has gone out of business.

    There are 566 municipalities in the state and, according to, at last count, some 525 diners. Those numbers make finding a diner in the Garden State easy work. How many have you found?

    Here's a gallery of New Jersey diners. And here are links to other related galleries.

    Vintage photos of diners in N.J.

    Vintage photos of diners and eateries in NJ

    Vintage photos of eclectic eats in N.J.

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

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