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

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    The first South Jersey Top 20 in boys hoops


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    Who shined in the past week on the basketball court?


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    Who had the best showing at the first of the state championship meets?


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    Who shined this week in #NJHoops?

    bb - bell.JPGWest Side #4 James Bell drives to the basket as Newark East Side beats West Side at Weequahic High School in the boys' basketball final of the Newark Public Schools Tournament. 12/30/17 Newark, N.J. 

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    Check out the biggest stories in N.J. ice hockey from this week.


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    Victim Harrison Javier was sitting in a parked car when he was shot dead earlier this month

    Five suspects have been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of a Camden teenager earlier this month, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday.

    Four of them are in custody.

    Cafee White, 21; Eshae Copling, 20; Derrick Jackson, 19; a 17-year-old Camden girl; and a 17-year-old Clementon boy are charged with first-degree felony murder, first-degree armed robbery, and a conspiracy charge for the death of Harrison Javier, the prosecutor's office said.

    The Clementon juvenile - previously identified by the prosecutor's office as Damonn Alford - is at large.

    damann.jpgDamann Alford. (Camden County Prosecutor's Office photos) 

    On Jan 8, Javier, also 17, was sitting in a parked car on Clinton Street at 29th Street when all five members of the group rushed towards him, the prosecutors office said. 

    Detectives believe Jackson and Alford each pointed a gun at the victim from opposites sides of the car and attempted to rob him. Harrison was shot while sitting in the driver's side of his vehicle. The five suspects then fled the scene on foot, according to the prosecutor's office. 

    County police found a mortally wounded Javier at about 1:20 p.m. He was pronounced dead about half an hour later at Cooper University Hospital.

    Javier's killing was the first homicide in Camden County in 2018.

    The female juvenile is being held without bail. Jackson and Copling have both since appeared for detention hearings, and were ordered detained. 

    White's detention hearing is pending and is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 26 in front of Camden County Superior Court Judge Edward J. McBride.

     

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at orizzo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find NJ.com on Facebook


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    Check out the NJ.com statewide rankings for Jan. 22.


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


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    The best girls basketball games in N.J. for the week of Jan. 22


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    There were plenty of shakeups.


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    New Jersey-based retailer Toys "R" Us announced plans to close up to one-fifth of its stores including Babies "R" Us locations in April


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    How did your team fare in the latest edition of the rankings?


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    The chosen charity's mission is to assist veterans and raise awareness about POW and MIA issues.

    Jefferson Stratford Hospital Nursing Supervisor Julia Muller-Petermann of Williamstown, was recently awarded $1,000 from her employer - Jefferson Health New Jersey - as part of the health care organization's Diversity Award program.

    Muller-Petermann volunteers with the nonprofit Rolling Thunder, New Jersey Chapter 5, whose mission is to raise awareness about POW/MIA issues, support veterans' rights and assist veterans and their families.

    Muller-Petermann, along with her husband, Christian Peterman, Rolling Thunder's Chairman of the Board, accepted the check that will be used to further the organization's mission.

    Now in its fourth year, the award's purpose is to recognize Jefferson Health New Jersey associates who create a diverse and inclusive community through their volunteer efforts by providing a monetary donation to a community organization they are involved with.

    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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    10,000 students are competing at the regional level to earn a slot at the State Career Development Conference in February.

    On Jan. 9, Freeholder Heather Simmons served as a judge for the DECA Regional Competition at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill.

    DECA is an international association of high school and college students and a space for students to learn and perfect business skills. Students involved in this program engage in competitions in the form of one-on-one roleplay sessions involving topics of marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service.

    "It was an honor to be able to sit down with these high school students and engage with them in this environment,"said Freeholder Simmons, Liaison to the Department of Economic Development. "DECA provides a creative way to learn important skills that will help these students achieve in almost any work environment, such as communication, networking, and customer service."

    There were 1,500 students from Gloucester County high schools that attended and competed.

    Overall 10,000 students are competing at the regional level all around the state, giving them the opportunity to earn a slot at the State Career Development Conference at Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City in February.

    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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    Who has represented the Garden State in McDonald's All-American games?


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    A sense of hope and change is in the air and it is tangible to anyone that sets foot inside the city's borders.

    By Louis Cappelli Jr. 

    Looking back on 2017, we can see the Camden County seat turning a very sharp corner in its transformation into a stabilized municipality. This foundation is made up of a new industrial and corporate base to drive Camden into the future. A sense of hope and change is in the air and it is tangible to anyone that sets foot inside its borders. 

    This alteration has been spawned in much the same way that manufacturing plants did during the industrial revolution more than a century ago. 

    Look at some of the city's crime statistics from last year. Homicide numbers are at a more than a 30-year low -- down about 50 percent from 2016. The reduction from 2012 is 67 percent.

    Camden had just over 4,100 "Part 1" crimes -- ranging from murder to burglary and car theft -- in 2017. You would have to go all the way back to the 1960s to find comparable numbers. This means there were almost 3,000 fewer victims of these crimes than in 2011.

    Since roughly 33 percent of city residents are 18 or younger,  many have never seen crime rates this low in their lifetime.

    That said, police officers cannot revive a city unilaterally. In fact, they are but one branch -- a very strong one, mind you -- on a large tree. The other branches are education, economic opportunity and a strong social safety net that doesn't allow the most vulnerable to slip through the cracks. This tree needs a root system well fed by community engagement, job training programs and strong leadership. Right now, all facets of this network are working in a coordinated effort to create a better city and county.

    Continuing to raise the high-school graduation rate, keeping kids from dropping out of school and investing in educational infrastructure will consistently aid public safety in Camden. Surveys show dropouts are nearly four times more likely to commit crimes than high school graduates. From the time that Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard was appointed, Camden's graduation rate has risen 17 points and the dropout rate has been cut in half. 

    We have seen Camden's poverty rate drop from 40 percent to 30 percent last year, a 25 percent reduction, according to updated U.S. Census Bureau statistics. An economic rebirth is putting more residents back to work and providing access to jobs that did not exist in past years.  

    The bottom line here is progress has been made on a variety of different fronts. That said, we have promises to keep and miles to go before we can say "Mission Accomplished." 

    Louis Cappelli Jr. is the director of the Camden County freeholder board.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    Which players reside at the top of the major statistical lists in NJ?


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    See which girls basketball players are among the stat leaders.


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    Take a look at how your team stacked up in the latest rankings.


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    A Vineland man admitted Wednesday to using a toy gun to steal a car, which he then drove to three bank robberies.

    A Vineland man admitted Wednesday to using a toy gun to steal a car, which he then drove to three bank robberies, authorities said. 

    Nathan L. Wallace, 29, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb in Camden to three bank robberies in September and October 2016, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a statement.

    Wallace said he stole a tan Chrysler Sebring on Sept. 22, 2016 from a Mays Landing Walmart by threatening its owner with a toy revolver that looked like a real gun. He drove the Sebring two days later to BB&T Bank in Buena Vista Township and robbed it while again brandishing the toy gun. 

    Then on Oct. 7, 2016, he drove the same stolen car with Quintin L. Jones, 35, of Vineland, and robbed a Newfield National Bank, in Newfield, and a Cape Bank in Upper Deerfield Township on Oct. 11, 2016 while threatening employees with the toy gun. The men got away in the Sebring, which they torched a few days later. 

    The proceeds from the Cape Bank robbery were $24,926. The amounts taken from the other banks are unknown. 

    Wallace is scheduled to be sentenced on April 30.

    Jones pleaded guilty on Nov. 8, 2017 and is scheduled to be sentenced March 23.

    Each of the bank robbery counts carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

    Wallace has been in custody since his Oct. 2016 arrest. His attorney could not be reached immediately for comment.

    Allison Pries may be reached at apries@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @AllisonPries. Find NJ.com on Facebook 

     

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