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

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    Ernie and Anthony Lunardelli are asking to go back to being anonymous in a statement sent to media through their attorney.

    Last Friday night, a father-son duo of high school football officials ignited a national firestorm when they walked off the field in protest after seeing players from Monroe High School kneel during the national anthem before their game against Colts Neck High.

    The officials -- Ernie Lunardelli, 54, and his son, Anthony Lunardelli, 27 -- said they were exercising their right to protest in response to the players kneeling. Ernie Lunardelli said he's against "anyone disrespecting our country, our flag, the armed forces."


    RELATED: Refs who walked off in protest removed from working any more games this season


    In three days since the display, the Lunardellis have come under the microscope. They have been removed from working any future games this season. And a look at their social media accounts showed both men have made racial and incentive remarks, although Ernie Lunardelli alleges his account was hacked.

    Now, the Lundardellis are asking to go back to being anonymous.

    Below is a statement from the pair, sent through attorney Michael Dowgin.

    "My son and I love our country, love football and, in particular, we love youth football. I coached Pop Warner football for 15 years and I have been a high school football official for over 18 years. We are not racists and never intended to make any statement, by our words or actions, against anyone based on their race, color or creed. Our point was that we do not understand why these young players' protest needed to be taken during the national anthem. We did not see the connections and we elected to then exercise our right to protest. That is America.

    "We read what Coach Darian Barnes of Colts Neck High School said to the newspaper about Friday night's incident and we can agree with a lot of what he said. However, we do not hate any young players and we did not hate the young players that kneeled during the national anthem last Friday night. We do, though, strongly disagree with when they kneeled. The angry looks or words, we believe, came from the other team's coaches, adults; and maybe none of the adults involved looked that great to the game's players during these exchanges. We are sorry for any role we played in that scene.

    "We also agree that a discussion might be appropriate and where we can better understand why young players kneel, and why they kneel at the time they do. Also, where they can maybe understand why we refused to officiate a football game, and why we did it at the time we chose. There are rights and wrongs on both sides and we would welcome that discussion if an appropriate forum could be arranged.

    "While we welcome such a discussion in the future, we would like to stay out of the media from now on. We may have asked for it, but now would like to go back being anonymous. We also would like to go back to officiating games. We do not believe we have done anything that should deny us that right.

    "The bottom line, we believe, is that with all of its faults, we are all Americans. The other common thread is that everyone out there in Monroe Township last Friday night loved football. Hopefully we can all go back to it."

    -30-

    Matthew Stanmyre may be reached at mstanmyre@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattStanmyre. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Robberies occurred in Bellmawr and West Deptford.

    Bellmawr West Deptford bank robberies.jpgPolice believe the same man robbed two banks this week. The image on the left was taken at a Bellmawr bank on Sunday, while the photo on the right was taken at a West Deptford bank on Monday.
     

    WEST DEPTFORD TWP. -- Police believe a man who robbed a Bellmawr bank on Sunday afternoon is the same bandit who robbed a West Deptford bank on Monday.

    The man entered a TD Bank branch in Bellmawr around 2 p.m. Sunday and handed the teller a note demanding money.

    Police believe he escaped in a small SUV. Authorities, who didn't say how much, if any, money was taken, shared images of the robber on Facebook.

    In the second case, a man entered the BB&T branch on Kings Highway in West Deptford around 10:45 a.m. and handed the teller a note. He fled with cash, though the amount was not provided.

    No injuries were reported in either incident.

    In both cases, security camera images show the man wearing a gray, hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and a baseball cap with a blue brim. He's also wearing white gloves in both crimes.

    Anyone with information on the Bellmawr robbery is asked to contact Bellmawr Police Detective Christopher Wilhelm at 856-931-2120 or Camden County Prosecutor's Office Detective Timothy Houck at 856-225-8406.

    The contact for West Deptford Police is 856-845-2300.

    Matt Gray may be reached at mgray@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Find the South Jersey Times on Facebook.


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    The club raised money for the annual White Cane Drive through mailing campaign.

    AUDUBON -- The Audubon Lion's Club raised funds for the annual White Cane Drive through a White Cane mailing campaign.

    Funds donated by community members will be used to benefit the community in various ways, especially those with visual impairment problems. 

    "Money raised at the fundraiser will allow Lions to meet pressing needs in our community including services for the blind and those needing eyeglasses," said Jim Jakubowski. "Lions members want to thank everyone who contributed to this important work. You are truly helping Lions make a difference in our community."

    The Audubon Club meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 6:30 PM at the Kove Restaurant, 20 W Atlantic Avenue.  Lions clubs are really just a group of men and women who first identify needs within the community and then work together to meet those needs.

    Though well known for its successful initiatives in vision health, Lions services are as diverse as its members. We meet all sorts of needs, from assisting the elderly to helping victims of natural disasters.  Lions give 100 percent of their donations to our causes. We cover all our costs through our dues.

    Lions make a difference everyday everywhere. Whether by organizing a pancake breakfast fundraiser or building a wheelchair ramp for someone in need, they are a hands-on organization.

    Have community news you'd like to share? Send an email to sjtowns@njadvancemedia.com. Have an event happening you want to share? Go to nj.com/events to submit your information to be included in a community calendar. 




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    NJ.com names its top, statewide, individual football performances from Week 8.

    Football: Colonia at Woodbridge, Sept. 8, 2017Colonia QB Taj-calvin Johnson fakes a pass during the first half of the football game between Woodbridge and Colonia at Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge, NJ on 9/8/17. (Chris Faytok | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)  

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    Who made NJ.com's "Superhero Squad"?


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    The big issue? Agreeing on a place to park the needle exchange van.

    CAMDEN (AP) -- As she pressed down on the plunger of an empty syringe, a drop of blood oozed from the crooked tip of its needle -- a test, Denise Brown said, that she uses on unpackaged syringes she now buys on the street.

    She got in the routine after a program that allowed people who use heroin to get sterile injection equipment was shuttered more than a year ago.

    The closure of the needle exchange in Camden, a struggling New Jersey city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, and a place where drugs are dealt openly on streets lined with abandoned storefronts and homes, has left many people there without a resource intended to stop the spread of blood-borne illnesses.

    "They say they're doing this to keep us safe, keep us clean. Then they take it away," Brown, 41, said of the exchange program that she frequented for years during her nearly two decades of heroin addiction. "What does that say?"

    And even with President Donald Trump declaring a public health emergency amid the national opioid crisis and Republican Gov. Chris Christie making addiction services a priority in his final year in office, the ending of the Camden program makes clear the tenuous position in which some of these services operate.

    The city of about 74,000 needs to approve a permanent location for the health services van that once distributed the needles, but that decision has been held up in the office of outgoing Democratic Mayor Dana Redd, according to Martha Chavis, executive director of the Camden Area Health Education Center, which operated the program.

    "I don't get it," said Chavis, noting positive dealings with the city from when the exchange started about a decade ago until private development forced them to shut down, although the van is still used to provide HIV tests, water and condoms.

    "I'm just trying to get an answer," Chavis said, calling Redd's office the "roadblock" to why the program hasn't given out a syringe since August 2016 and recently had to forfeit nearly $93,000 in state grant funding.

    She said her team began trying to find a replacement location in 2015 after announcements that a campus for the energy company Holtec International would be built along the Delaware River in Camden. Holtec official Ed Mayer said it was unsafe to have the van on the property.

    Vincent F. Basara, a spokesman for Redd, said officials haven't agreed on a new place "that does not negatively impact our Camden residents or the quality of life in the surrounding area."

    For people who used to get sterile syringes from Chavis' organization, it doesn't make sense that a city with so many vacant properties and fatal heroin overdoses -- health officials linked 115 deaths in Camden County to heroin in 2015, the highest in the state -- is struggling to find a permanent space for the program.

    Needle ExchangeIn this Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 photo, Denise Brown pushes a drop of blood out of a syringe to demonstrate how to identify a used needle in Camden, N.J. The closure of the needle exchange in Camden, a place where drugs are dealt openly on streets lined with abandoned storefronts and homes, has left many people there without a resource intended to stop the spread of blood-borne illnesses. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) 

    "Put your child in our place," said Joanna Greene, 31, who said she starting using heroin in 2008. "We're sick. So who cares if we get sicker? Because you don't even have a legitimate reason on why you took the needle exchange away."

    Nationally, the programs can be hampered by neighborhood pushback, shoestring budgets or bureaucratic hurdles, advocates said, but statistics show they are becoming more prevalent.

    According to AmfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, there are 263 syringe programs in 37 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., roughly 60 more than in 2012.

    Congress approved the use of federal funds toward the programs in 2015 but stipulated that the money can't go toward buying syringes.

    Twenty-six states, including New Jersey, and six select counties have been identified as experiencing or being at risk of significant increases in hepatitis infection or an HIV outbreak because of injection drug use after consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a necessary step in using federal money for syringe programs.

    The programs have been shown to decrease needle sharing. The CDC said in a report released last year that only about 1 in 10 people who used exchanges shared syringes, compared with more than 40 percent who didn't use the programs. But it's difficult to link them directly to decreased rates of blood-borne illnesses because data aren't typically collected in controlled clinical trials.

    In New Jersey, Christie has committed about $200 million to programs aimed at addiction prevention in his final year in office, including $2.1 million for syringe access programs in the state.

    N.J. will sue OxyContin maker

    Christie has also signed legislation that would allow any municipality to operate a syringe access program and has approved a law authorizing syringe sales in pharmacies without prescriptions.

    In Camden, Brown, with splotchy scars on her neck from injections with dulled needles, wondered why officials would allow such a long time to pass without allowing the exchange to operate.

    "When people are desperate, they'll pick needles up off the ground," she said, her shaky hands lighting a cigarette. "They're worried about AIDS and hepatitis C. This is one easy way to keep it down."

    Story by By Anthony Izaguirre of the Associated Press.


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    After racist comments surface on social media from a pair of officials, coaches from urban and suburban schools alike said they would have second thoughts about them working their games.

    A pair of New Jersey high school football referees who walked off the field in protest after seeing players kneel during the national anthem came under fire this week when it was revealed they made racist comments on their social media accounts.

    The referees — Ernie Lunardelli, 54, and his son, Anthony Lunardelli, 27 — will plead their cases Wednesday during a hearing to determine if they face punishment or expulsion from their local officials chapter.

    But whether or not the Lunardellis are punished, New Jersey football coaches — black and white, urban and suburban — said they would be uncomfortable if they ever officiated one of their games in the future. Some coaches even said the Lunardellis should never be allowed to referee in the state again.


    RELATED: Refs walk off in protest after players kneel during national anthem


    “They shouldn’t be allowed to officiate because they don’t have the moral capacity to do that,” said Robert Hampton, the coach of Lincoln High in Jersey City. “For you to have those type of viewpoints and you’re around children, that’s not cool.”

    On two separate Facebook posts from Jan. 20 — President Donald Trump’s inauguration day —  and Jan. 21, Ernie Lunardelli wrote “Back to the zoo!” on posts about President Barack Obama. Anthony Lunardelli also described Giants quarterback Eli Manning as having “jew luck” in a Facebook comment from February 2012.

    Ernie Lunardelli claimed his account was hacked and he did not make those posts, and Anthony Lunardelli did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.

    “The Obamas were in the highest office in the land, so it makes you wonder what they think about our regular kids just out here trying to play the game the right way,” said Darnell Grant, the coach at Shabazz High in Newark. “Now that these guys were exposed on feeling how they feel, I don’t think any team with any diversity on it — or any team, period — can feel like you’re getting objective decision making during the game.”

    Bernards coach Jon Simoneau, who is white, said he felt “weird knowing that anybody made racist statements and was involved in any type of student activity.”


    RELATED: Refs: Why we walked on kneeling players and what we want next


    “The kids shouldn’t be subjected to that,” Simoneau added. “After you’ve said that publicly, if you had a mostly one race team versus another mostly one race team and you make a call, what’s everybody’s reaction going to be? I don’t know how you come back from that and officiate.”

    The situation with the Lunardellis exploded Friday night, when they walked off the field after seeing players from Monroe High kneel during the national anthem before their game against Colts Neck. Ernie Lunardelli said this weekend he’s against “anyone disrespecting our country, our flag, the armed forces.”

    Two days later, on Sunday, the racist comments from the Lunardellis came to light, and the following day the pair was removed from officiating any more games this season.

    Scott Heiser, chairman of the Central Jersey chapter of the New Jersey Football Officials Association, said the hearing Wednesday will investigate the situation and determine punishment or course of action for the Lunardellis. Heiser said the officials could be reinstated this year and also could face permanent expulsion from the chapter.

    Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s hearing, New Jersey coaches said it would be hard to imagine the Lunardellis officiating one of their games down the line. The coaches said they think of officials as unbiased observers and the social media comments plant seeds of doubt.

    “You’re there as an impartial grownup at a football game with a black and white uniform to make sure nothing gets out of line,” Hampton said. “You’re the most important guy on the field next to the players.”


    THE LATEST: H.S. refs walk out of game, spark national firestorm


    Hampton also pointed to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s strict rules against biased and discriminatory language at high school sports events. Before every game, officials read the rules to players and coaches, and the same message often is delivered over the loudspeakers for spectators.

    If anyone utters a racial slur during the game, they face immediate ejection.

    “You’re reading stuff to the kids, but you’re engaging in stuff in social media that they would get kicked out of the game for saying,” Hampton said. “It doesn’t add up.”

    Boonton coach Bryan Gallagher, who is white, said one of his favorite parts of football in New Jersey is the diversity. Race and ethnicity doesn’t factor in when teammates are counting on each other to execute plays, he said. He also said he relishes the opportunity to play a diverse schedule that includes games against Newark schools Shabazz and Weequahic.

    “It comes down to being able to have some sort of empathy, to be able to understand that not everyone’s experience is the same as yours,” Gallagher said. “The world that the officials were raised in and live in, it might be very different from those players from Monroe.”

    Matthew Stanmyre may be reached at mstanmyre@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattStanmyre. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    George Norcross said there are plans to demolish the stadium, which sits on prime waterfront real estate.

    CAMDEN -- South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross said Tuesday he expects Campbell's Field, a "$35 million" baseball stadium opened on Camden's Waterfront in 2001 that's sat basically vacant the past two years, to be demolished soon to make way for new development, according to a published report and a comment from an official who attended the gathering at which he spoke.

    Norcross, the chairman of the board of trustees of Cooper University Healthcare, a regional economic engine, spoke at a morning gathering sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey.

    "Unfortunately, the state, in its lack of wisdom, built a baseball stadium for an unaffiliated, independent league (team) that folded and $35 million disappeared," Norcross said, according to the Courier-Post. "You're going to see, in the not-too-distant future, that stadium demolished and in its place will be world-class athletic fields for Rutgers University in Camden and the public schools system and the renaissance schools in Camden."

    The 6,400-seat stadium at the foot of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge has been vacant since October 2015 when the Riversharks, an independent-league baseball team, moved out. Six months prior to that, Camden County bought the stadium for $3.5 million and deeded it to the Camden County Improvement Authority. The money the county spent on the purchase went to Santander Bank to end years of litigation filed against the Rivershark's owners and a subsidiary of Cooper's Ferry Partnership over unpaid loans,

    Additionally, the Delaware River Port Authority -- criticized for lending money for economic development in Camden, that eventually led to toll increases on its bridges -- and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority forgave millions of dollars in loans made to construct the stadium. 

    When the county bought the stadium, Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen said they would bond the money and revenues generated by the Riversharks would go toward paying that debt down -- not taxpayers' money. But six months later, the team moved out "due to the inability to reach an agreement on lease terms with the ballpark's owner," the club said at the time. 

    County officials said Tuesday they were still in negotiations to sell the property and appeared to be caught off guard by Norcross's comments.

    "At this point in time, the Camden County Improvement Authority is still involved with confidential and deliberative negotiations about prospective uses of the Waterfront Stadium," Keashen said. "Based on these negotiations we cannot comment on the future of the facility in order to preserve our current negotiating position. In addition, we believe the value, size of the property and its proximity to other downtown amenities was important for the authority to preserve and maintain, and not allow to become shuttered by the note holder, Santander Bank, so we could ensure a community minded vision for the site and the downtown."

    The county included the stadium property as a perk earlier this month in a proposal to woo online-retailing behemoth Amazon to build its second world headquarters in Camden. The proposal included a plan to demolish the structure to clear way for Waterfront development.

    Keashen said $1 billion in development is ongoing adjacent to the site. Norcross said he expected the ballpark to be replaced by "world-class athletic fields" for nearby Rutgers University Camden and local schools. 

    Rutgers controlled the stadium before the county bought it in 2015 and their baseball team is the only regular tenant and still plays home games there.

    "The proposal to transform Campbell's Field into an athletic complex that serves our city, as well as Rutgers-Camden's students, is truly exciting and has the potential to further energize our neighborhood and to promote active lifestyles across the city and all of South Jersey," Mike Sepanic, Rutgers associate chancellor for external relations said Tuesday. "There are lots of details involved with projects of this magnitude.  I'm certain that Rutgers' specific role will be clarified as this project evolves."

    Norcross made his comments Tuesday morning at an event labeled, "We Chose Camden!" Chamber President Debra DiLorenzo said Norcross's comments were well received.

    "People are bullish on Camden," she said.

    Staff writer Rebecca Everett contributed to this report.

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

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    The gala will have music, dancing, food and awards.

    VINELAND -- Gateway Community Action Partnership will hold a 30th anniversary gala on Nov. 9 at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden to mark 30 years of service to thousands of individuals and families in Southern New Jersey.

    The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a social hour followed by dinner, awards, music and dancing. Cost is $150 per ticket for a memorable night at a memorable site.

    Gateway began with an annual budget of approximately $500,000 and 40 employees and has grown to an agency with a $63 million annual budget and more than 800 employees providing services in core areas such as literacy, child care, nutrition education, weatherization and energy conservation, social services, affordable housing and economic development. 

    "The Adventure Aquarium is an amazing location for an event that we feel will also be amazing. It will be a night to celebrate what we've have accomplished, but with an eye on continuing to serve our community for many years to come," said Gateway Founder Albert B. Kelly.

    For additional gala information or to purchase tickets, contact Kyana Evans at 856-497-6631 or via e-mail at kevans@gatewaycap.org.

     

     


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    See what the biggest wins and most surprising results were through the first round of the boys soccer state tournament.


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    County and conference tournament play shifts the state order once again.


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    Crucial contests to make the state tournament and determine seeding


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    A girl's mother reported finding a needle in her daughter's Halloween candy.

    RUNNEMEDE -- Police are investigating a 12-year-old's Halloween haul after she allegedly found a needle nestled in a Tootsie Roll. 

    The girl's mother reported the incident to police Tuesday night. It is the first, and only, report to police of tampered-with candy, Runnemede Police Chief Paul Dailey said.   

    Similar reports have popped up in past years, but have often turned out to be hoaxes

    Still, Runnemede officials are taking the report seriously. 

    "We're investigating the case from start to finish," Dailey said Wednesday.

    Police brought the candy to the deparment's lab, where examined the entire stash under an X-ray, he said. The Tootsie Roll and its wrapper were being checked for fingerprints. 

    Officials believe the girl picked up the candy in the area between Smith Lane, Oakland Avenue and Crescent Ave, a four-block radius. There are between 60 and 100 homes there, Dailey said. 

    While there's no reason as of yet to believe there are other tainted treats, Dailey noted that parents should still take the time to check their kids' candy.

    "We also do caution the parents saying, 'Check all the candy.' Anything homemade or opened, throw it away," he said. "Make sure you know the people in your neighborhood."

     Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amahoover. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    The officer suffered a leg wound in the incident Wednesday

    CAMDEN -- A Camden County police officer was shot in the thigh at point-blank range after a suspect pulled out a gun during a struggle on Wednesday night .

    The first-year officer approached three people who were acting suspiciously just after 10 p.m. when one ran away, Camden County police said.

    Police Chief Scott Thompson says the officer caught the suspect, who pulled out a gun and opened fire. The officer disarmed the suspect, who was arrested.

    Officers who arrived to provide backup applied a tourniquet to the wounded officer's leg.

    The officer is in stable condition. The name of the suspect has not been released.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

     

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    I don't know about you, but I'm having serious trouble keeping up with acronyms associated with texting. The "B" ones alone are like learning a new language. BAE, BOO, BRB, BTW ... and our topic today, BFF, otherwise known as Best Friends Forever. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines BFF as an informal term for "a very close friend," and say its...

    I don't know about you, but I'm having serious trouble keeping up with acronyms associated with texting.

    The "B" ones alone are like learning a new language. BAE, BOO, BRB, BTW ... and our topic today, BFF, otherwise known as Best Friends Forever.

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines BFF as an informal term for "a very close friend," and say its first known use was in 1987, providing a sentence to show its usage: "A BFF doesn't gossip about or lie to you. She doesn't share your secrets on her MySpace page."-- Girls' Life

    MySpace ... heh, heh.

    In a Sept. 18, 2017, article in Business Insider, Merriam-Webster associate editor Emily Brewster was quoted as saying, "Our job as lexicographers is to follow the development of language, defining the words people are likely to encounter." She noted that words are added to the dictionary "because they have established themselves in the English language, and are part of the current, active vocabulary of America." BFF is certainly a part of our vernacular.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart sang "Because a friend would never doubt you or ever put you uptight," and grammar aside, that's the definition of BFF long before the acronym came into use.

    We, of course, really can't tell for sure if all the people we've pictured were truly 'BFFs' ... but there's something about their facial expressions and body language that makes us think they were.

    Same gender or different, pairs, trios or large groups, even dogs and cats -- BFFs are those you know will always be there when you need them.

    Here's a gallery of New Jersey BFFs. And here are links to other galleries you might like.

    Vintage photos capturing candid slices of life in N.J.

    Vintage candid photos and photobombs in NJ

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


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    The annual event was held at Cooper River Park.

    PENNSAUKEN -- The Jefferson Health New Jersey Cancer Center's TEAM KICK raised more than $1,250 in to help the American Cancer Society for its "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" event at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken.

    More than 20 Team KICK members took part in the annual fundraising walk, which is held at different locations throughout the country. This year,14,000 walkers helped raise some $423,000 for Making Strides of Pennsauken.

    Jefferson Health New Jersey Comprehensive Breast Center Medical Director Dr. Kay Yoon-Flannery was in attendance, as was Joseph W. Devine, President, Jefferson Health, New Jersey Division.

    Last year, more than one million Making Strides walkers nationwide helped raise more than $60 million to support the American Cancer Society in the fight against breast cancer. Jefferson Health New Jersey is proud to be among their ranks again this year.

    Have community news you'd like to share? Send an email to sjtowns@njadvancemedia.com. Have an event happening you want to share? Go to nj.com/events to submit your information to be included in a community calendar. 


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    A look at the playoff picture.

    There is just one week left in the regular season, and the New Jersey football playoff picture is starting to take shape. NJ Advance Media has you covered for the final week, with power point breakdown of every section with a look at how every bracket can shake out.


    PLUS: Updated power points after Week 8


    Be sure to check back often as projections are posted.

    NORTH JERSEY, SECTION 1
    Group 5
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2
    • Group 1

    NORTH JERSEY, SECTION 2
    Group 5
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2
    • Group 1

    CENTRAL JERSEY
    Group 5
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2
    • Group 1

    SOUTH JERSEY
    Group 5
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2
    • Group 1

    NON-PUBLIC
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2

    Jeremy Schneider may be reached at jschneider@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @J_Schneider. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Who moves on in the 2017 NJSIAA tournament? NJ Advance Media makes its picks


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    The bullet went through the officer's upper right thigh, officials said. Watch video

    UPDATE: Police said a teen with a lengthy arrest record shot the officer.

    CAMDEN -- A Camden County police officer was shot at point-blank range in the right thigh Wednesday night while struggling with a suspect who had a gun, the department said.

    The officer, who has not been named, is stable and expected to recover, Police Chief J. Scott Thomson said in a press conference later that night that was recorded by NBC Philadelphia.

    Thomson said the officer was patrolling in the area of 8th Street and Chelton Avenue after 10 p.m. when he approached three men he felt were suspicious.

    One of the men fled and the officer "engaged" with him, Thomson said.

    "The individual pulled out a gun, there was a struggle for the gun, suspect shot our officer in the leg," Thomson said. "The suspect was taken into custody, no injuries. The officer did not fire his weapon."

    Other officers who responded to the scene immediately applied a tourniquet to the officer's leg, which a surgeon said helped significantly to reduce the amount of blood the officer lost, Thomson told reporters.

    He was taken to the trauma center at Cooper University Hospital where doctors determined that it was a "through and through bullet wound" that missed major arteries and bone, the chief said. He has one year on the job.

    The department has not released any information about the man who fired the gun, other than that he is a Camden man. More information is expected at a noon press conference at the police station.

    "Here's what we know, we know that a really bad guy had a gun on him and he was going to do some  bad things with it out there on the street, if not for our officer intercepting him, taking him off the street and the gun," Thomson told reporters.

    Camden trying to stop police shootings

    He said he was proud not only that the officers helped the shooting victim, but also that they were able to arrest the suspect without harming him. 

    "They responded heroically," he said. "They saved the life of the suspect. They saved the life of their brother officer and got him to the hospital and he's going to be fine."

    Earlier this year, two officers were injured when Jamar Cofer, 28, of Pennsauken, drove his ATV at their cruiser, according to police. Detective Kenneth Egan was hit by the ATV and Officer Nicole Berry with the cruiser door in the August incident. Cofer faces charges including attempted murder.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at reverett@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    The accident occurred Tuesday evening in Pennsuaken.

    PENNSAUKEN -- A 21-year-old Philadelphia woman was killed Tuesday evening after she and a passenger were hit by another vehicle when they got out of their car after an accident, a township police sergeant said. A total of four cars were involved in a subsequent chain-reaction accident.

    pennsauken ax1.pngOne of four cars involved in a fatal pedestrian motor-vehicle accident Tuesday in Pennsauken. 

    Myia Chambers was fatally struck by an oncoming vehicle on Route 38 near Browning Road, a divided, six-lane highway, shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sgt. Chris Sulzbach said Thursday. A 21-year-old man who was a passenger in her vehicle was hit by the same SUV that struck Chambers. He is in stable condition at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, Sulzbach said.

    Chambers' 2002 Nissan Maxima had become disabled after it struck a curb on an entrance ramp on to the highway, Sulzbach said. She was not able to steer the car and it ended up perpendicular to oncoming traffic. When the pair got out of the car, they were struck by an oncoming SUV.

    "They actually shouldn't have gotten out of their car," Sulzbach said. "It's a state highway. It was dark out and they were wearing dark clothes. It was an unfortunate chain of events. It was horrible."

    "An SUV came down the left lane, obviously not being able to see them, struck both pedestrians and struck their vehicle, spun it and rotated it clockwise," Sulzbach said. "And when the first striking vehicle came to rest, another vehicle rear-ended it."

    The wreck occurred in the westbound lanes just past the merge with another busy highway, Route 70, and just before a merge to Route 130 westbound toward Philadelphila.

    Sulzbach said no other injuries were reported. Two of three westbound lanes on Route 38 and one eastbound lane was closed after the accident until 1 a.m. the following morning. The accident remains under investigation and authorities are scouring surveillance video from nearby businesses, Sulzbach said.

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

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