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

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    High schools from New Jersey celebrate prom 2018.

    Photographers from NJ Advance Media are covering proms around the state. Check out the list below with our most recent prom photo galleries from the past week. 

    Be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at nj.com/prom.

    Lori M. Nichols may be reached at lnichols@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Instagram @photog_lori and Twitter @photoglori. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips.


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    Corvera-Mata was deported in 2004 after being convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct on a 7-year-old in 1996

    A man from El Salvador who was kicked out of the country after serving a 10-year prison term for sexually assaulting a child admitted Monday he did not register as a sex offender when he traveled back to the U.S. illegally.

    Samuel De Jesus Corvera-Mata, 42, faces another hefty prison sentence, and another deportation, federal authorities said.

    He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Camden to the federal crimes of illegal re-entry following a conviction for an aggravated felony and failing to register as a federal sex offender, the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey said.

    Corvera-Mata was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct on a 7-year-old in 1996 and then deported in 2004 following his prison term.

    As part of the conviction, and deportation, Corvera-Mata was required to register as a sex offender if he ever returned to the United States, the office said.

    He did at some point, and was located and arrested in Camden County in October 2017, the office said.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Fallout from an alleged racial taunt continues to reverberate in Haddonfield. Watch video

    The fallout from an alleged racial taunt at a high school athletic event earlier this month continues to reverberate throughout Haddonfield.

    student walkout planned for Monday afternoon to protest the suspension of the remainder of the boys lacrosse team's season fizzled at the last moment. No students emerged from the front of the 92-year-old high school at 1 p.m., the planned time of the protest.

    Interim school Superintendent David Lindenmuth stood a half block away from the front of the high school just before 1 p.m. He said the alleged racial taunts are not representative of his school district.

    "Obviously this wasn't an easy decision," Lindenmuth said. "We took the evidence we had and tried to make the best decision we could. Anytime you hear about something like this it's very troubling."

    It was not immediately clear why there was no walkout, but two groups of students who walked out to the sidewalk in front of the school said their classmates continue to try to cope with the aftermath of an incident many of them found very troubling.

    "Most of them said it didn't happen," Adianna Alston, a senior at Haddonfield said about lacrosse players she knows. "I posted a news article about it and one of the lacrosse boys posted something that said I was unjustly spreading lies and it was slanderous."

    Taylor Bee, a senior classmate of Adianna's, said she thinks most students at the school share their concerns.

    "I'm really disappointed," Bees said. "It's really sad that is happening but I think it's sad people are trying to justify it. I feel like it's obvious that it happened."

    On May 1, a white member of the Haddonfield boys' lacrosse team allegedly told a black athlete from the Sterling High School track team to get off the Haddonfield track and called her the n-word as she was lacing her cleats during a meet, according to several students who witnesses the incident.

    The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association received a report from Sterling High School and has since referred the allegations to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office. 

    Haddonfield school officials said they decided to suspend the remaining two games of the lacrosse season and forfeit a trip to state post season playoffs as a result of the investigation.

    "We continue to try to grow and learn from these incidents," Lindenmuth said Monday. "This is not what our student body represents. We don't want this to be the vision people think about when they think about Haddonfield."

    But Adianna, one of only a handful of black students at the school had had a very different experience.

    "I've never really felt like I was a part of the Haddonfield community." said Adianna, a tuition student in the district from the Williamstown section of Monroe. "It's sad this incident had to happen but I'm glad it's finally being addressed."

    Haddonfield, a town of about 11,500, is 92 percent white, according to census statistics. Sterling High School serves five communities in Camden County whose population is about 73 percent white on average, data shows.

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

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    See the favorites, contenders and more from each section.


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    See the May 15th edition of the girls lacrosse Top 20.


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    The recipient was an Afghanistan war veteran severely injured by a roadside bomb.


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    These 50 players could be X-factors in the boys lacrosse state tournament.


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    Of the 47 hospitals in New Jersey that deliver babies and submitted data for analysis, only 9 met Leapfrog's standard of an acceptable number of c-sections.

    New Jersey hospitals' longstanding problem of unnecessarily delivering babies by Cesarian-section got worse last year, a practice that puts mothers and their infants at a greater risk of complications, according to a new report released Tuesday.

    New Jersey, Florida, Kentucky, New York and Texas recorded the highest number of C-section deliveries in the nation, according to the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that issues biannual report cards on hospital safety. 

    Of the 47 hospitals in New Jersey that deliver babies and submitted data for analysis, only nine met Leapfrog's standard of performing no more than 23.9 percent C-sections, according to the report. In last year's report, 11 hospitals met that standard.

    C-sections put mothers at risk of infection and blood clots, prolong the recovery process, create chronic pelvic pain and may cause problems in future pregnancies. For infants, C-sections put them at greater risk of developing breathing problems, such as asthma, and diabetes, according to the report.

    Linda Schwimmer, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, a research and consumer advocacy group, said the report provides critical information the public needs to know when choosing a hospital.

    "At the Quality Institute, improving maternity care is an essential part of our over all mission. The Leapfrog findings show the absolute need for our work," Schwimmer said. 

    "New Jersey can and must do better to reduce C-section rates, which vary widely among hospitals. There are times when a C-section is needed. But, the hospital where an expectant mother delivers her baby should not be the determining factor of whether or not she has a surgical birth, Schwimmer said.

    "Now is the time for hospital leadership to prioritize maternal and child health throughout New Jersey."

    N.J. among the worst states for high numbers of C-sections

    The warnings about unnecessary C-section deliveries are not new. The medical community has been trying for years to reduce the frequency of the procedure if it is not medically recommended.

    The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit group that focuses on hospital safety has taken on the issue with health benefits consultant Castlight by issuing these periodic reports.

    "Childbirth is the number one reason for hospitalization among all populations and age groups," Castlight Chief Product Officer, Maeve O'Meara said in a statement.

    "That alone tells us how critical it is to provide this information not just to consumers but to employers as well, who have a high stake in the care their employees receive. Employers should understand how hospitals are performing and we're pleased to partner with Leapfrog to bring this information into the sunlight."

    The Leapfrog survey looked solely at births among first time mothers of single babies - not twins - that were in the conventional head-down position. The findings are based on data from calendar year or fiscal year 2017.

    Christ Hospital in Jersey City reported the lowest C-section rate, at 14 percent, according to the report. CentraState Medical Center in Freehold recorded the highest C-section rates, at 42.1 percent.

    "CentraState readily acknowledges our current C-section trends and we are working with our physicians and clinicians on improving processes to lower the number of c-sections performed at CentraState," Abbey Dardozzi, a hospital spokeswoman, said in an email. "We are also very proud of our low infant and maternal mortality rates."

    In addition to Christ Hospital, the other hospitals that met the safety standard were:

    Capital Health Medical Center, Hopewell;

    Hoboken University Medical Center;

    Cooper University Hospital, Camden;

    Holy Name Medical Center, Teaneck;

    Inspira Medical Center, Elmer;

    Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth;

    University Hospital, Newark;

    Virtua Voorhees Hospital.

    Atlantic Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City and Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus, which recently changed its name to Hudson Regional Hospital, did not supply data and are not included in the findings.

    Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal praised Leapfrog for focusing attention on this important public health issue. 

    "A number of hospitals perform quite well," Elnahal said. "Our goal is to create a maternal care quality collaborative to spread the best practices that the highest performing hospitals are achieving and make sure that as many hospitals as possible can replicate them."

    The report also highlighted the need to cut down the number of early deliveries they perform, defined as delivering a baby before 39 weeks without medical necessity. Babies delivered too early are at risk of pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, and in rare cases, death.

    Only two hospitals exceeded the 5 percent maximum: Hackensack University Medical Center, at 7.1 percent, and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, at 10.3 percent. 

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


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    Officers were called to the home after a dispute among neighbors over a loose dog. Watch video

    After footage of a forceful arrest began circulating on social media, Mount Ephraim police did something unusual: They posted the video themselves and offered an explanation of what happened.

    "This is a perfect example of how something so simple, a call that these officers may have thought would be easily handled, can turn into something very different, very quickly," the department said in a Facebook post Tuesday.

    Officers were called to a dispute over a loose dog Monday, according to the department, and decided to detain the dog's owner after he gave them a false name for the citation. A woman began filming as the man resisted being taken to the cruiser, and was eventually taken to the ground.

    The police department claimed that the woman, who also described herself as an owner of the dog, left out important details that led up to the arrest when she posted the video on social media.

    "The officers made every attempt to de-escalate the situation and attend to their responsibilities using the least amount of force possible," the post said. "...and once the whole story is known, that becomes far more obvious when viewing the video."

    The incident began Monday when a neighbor called to report that the man had threatened a child during a dispute about his dog "running at large," according to the police's explanation.

    In the video, the man denied threatening the girl. "I told a little white girl not to talk to me that way and this is what you do," he said as he was pulled toward the cruiser.

    The department said officers had given the man "multiple warnings for similar complaints" about the dog, so they tried to get his name to issue him a municipal court summons for violating a borough ordinance.

    "The officers soon determined that the information provided by the male was false and through further investigation they determined that the information they believed to be the male's true identity revealed a criminal warrant for his arrest," the post said.

    The department said that when the officers tried to talk to the man again to get his real name, he tried to run. The video begins as they are handcuffing him -- with some effort -- on a doorstep.

    According to the names on their uniforms, the officers are Mitchell Malinowski and Robert Bernauer.

    While he is being cuffed, both the woman filming and the man question the officers about the reason for the arrest. The officers make no mention of a warrant while they are being recorded.

    "Your name does not come back on file. I came to ask you and you ran away from me," Bernauer said to the man. Later in the video he said the man "took off toward the front door."

    "No sir, I didn't run away from you," the man replies. "Why am I being arrested?"

    The man tells the officers they'll have to drag him to the cruiser because he won't walk, and they do exert force to get him to move. At one point the man jerks his arm up and his elbow flies into Bernauer's face, dislodging his police radio from his shoulder.

    The department said the blow struck Bernauer in the face, but it's not clear in the video.

    About 30 seconds later, a struggle begins next to the cruiser and Bernauer tells the man to stop "reaching for it." The two officers take him to the ground and a moment later, he begins screaming "Ow!" and "Help Me!"

    After he is placed in the cruiser, Bernauer again tells the woman filming why he is arresting the man.

    "No, you're arresting him because he's black," she says.

    "No, that's not correct. I arrested him because he lied about his name," Bernauer replies.

    According to the ACLU, New Jersey residents can refuse to give their names when stopped by police, unless they are driving a car or -- as in this case -- they are being issued a court summons.

    The man who was arrested is being charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and hindering apprehension, police said.

    The Mount Ephraim Police Department and the Camden County Prosecutor's Office did not return messages seeking the man's name and other details Tuesday afternoon.

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

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    He faces more than 27 years after pleading guilty to a series of robberies late last year, a decade after his first spree

    Michael A. Hall Jr. was no noob when it came to robbing GameStop stores. He was caught doing it 10 years ago and served time in prison.

    Last year, he decided to try his luck again, but the result was the same.

    He lost.

    Michael A. Hall Jr.jpgMichael A. Hall Jr. 

    The 35-year-old Glassboro man has pleaded guilty to robbing eight GameStop locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania during a two-month spree last year.

    He faces more than 27 years in prison when he's sentenced Aug. 15.

    Department of Corrections records indicate Hall was released from prison in March 2017. Months later, he picked up where he left off.

    In November, he robbed GameStops in Deptford, Turnersville, Delran, Clementon and Mt. Laurel. He displayed a firearm during the Mt. Laurel robbery, according to a federal complaint. He then crossed the river to rob Pennsylvania GameStops in Philadelphia, Levittown and Folsom in December.

    It was a familiar pattern.

    In 2008, police arrested Hall and a cousin on charges that they robbed eight South Jersey stores, including six GameStops and two convenience stores, at gunpoint, making off with thousands of dollars in games and equipment. 

    When it came to the 2008 GameStop robberies, the heists were well-planned, authorities said.

    "They would pick out certain games they wanted," said Evesham Detective Sgt. David Covely. "They would take the cell phones, the store phones ... It wasn't a spur of the moment thing. It was planned. They knew what they wanted."

    The robberies became more brazen, Covely said at the time, with some committed during daylight hours. A victim was pistol-whipped during one incident, he said.

    With assistance from the U.S. Marshal's, the cousins were arrested in March 2008.

    On Dec. 20 of last year, it was game over once again for Hall.

    He was arrested a day after the Folsom job and authorities seized $5,600 in cash, handguns, ammunition and enough video games and gaming gear to open his own store.

    Titles recovered included Grand Theft Auto 5, Assassins Creed, Minecraft and Rainbow Six Siege.

    While a news account of one of the crimes described two robbers, court documents make no mention of an accomplice.

    Under the plea agreement, Hall has agreed to make restitution to his victims.

    He is currently jailed at Burlington County Detention Center while he awaits sentencing.

    Matt Gray may be reached at mgray@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Find the South Jersey Times on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us: nj.com/tips.


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    As the state tournament approaches, a new team takes over the No. 1 spot.


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    Highlight the favorites and contenders, plus predictions for all 20 sections.


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    A look back at the top 50 performances from the first round of the girls lacrosse state tournament.


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    Jose Pietri is suspected of killing a man and wounding a woman in Camden County. Watch video

    After Jose M. Pietri allegedly killed a man and wounded the mother of his two young children in Winslow Township on April 14, he led police on a pursuit that ended in a barrage of bullets on a street in Millville.

    PIETRI copy.jpgJose M. Pietri (Salem County Correctional Facility)
     

    A Millville officer gunned down the 55-year-old suspect as the Pennsville Township resident apparently drew a weapon to fire on police.

    Investigators have released video of the encounter and a use of force report detailing the officer's actions. But authorities have said little else.

    Police originally responded early that day to a home on Woodhaven Way in Winslow Township, Camden County, where Derek White, 47, of Salem, was shot to death and a 35-year-old woman was seriously wounded.

    Two kids, ages 2 and 3, were missing from the home, and Pietri was identified as the suspect.

    Investigators confirmed that Pietri and the wounded woman were the parents of the children.

    When Pietri was spotted driving near the shooting scene later that morning, officers chased him.

    As the pursuit from Camden County continues into Cumberland, police dash camera footage shows Millville Officer Joseph Dixon as he catches up to Pietri on Holly Berry Lane around 9 a.m.

    As Pietri pulls his SUV up to the curb, Dixon stops, jumps from his cruiser and draws his gun. A juvenile, whose image was blurred by authorities before the video was released, runs from the passenger side of the SUV and Dixon pushes the child to safety.

    The driver's side door opens and Pietri steps out. Dixon makes a downward motion with his left arm, possibly directing Pietri to surrender.

    Instead, Pietri appears to raise his right arm.

    Multiple shots are fired and the suspect falls to the ground.

    Other officers appear in the frame, move toward the suspect's motionless body and pull him away from the vehicle.

    He was declared dead at a hospital a short time later.

    A use of force report filed by Dixon indicates that he fired 14 shots and that Pietri threatened officers with a firearm and fired at police. A gun was located near his body, investigators reported.

    Under standard procedures, Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the police-involved shooting.

    The missing kids were located that afternoon in Salem County and officials confirmed that Pietri drove them there prior to his showdown with police.

    A Camden County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman said this week that no additional information about the incident would be made public.

    "Out of respect for the surviving victims, as well as the decedent's family, there will be no information released on any individuals who were involved in the incident," Alexandra McVeigh said.

    Pietri wasn't a stranger to police.

    He was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a victim less than 13 years old and endangering in 2001, according to court records. He was a caretaker for the victim, those records indicate.

    Pietri ended up pleading guilty only to the second-degree charge of endangering and was sentenced to three years in prison in 2002.

    He was arrested in 2014 on charges of violating terms of community supervision for life and sentenced to a year of probation and community service.

    Matt Gray may be reached at mgray@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Find the South Jersey Times on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us: nj.com/tips.

     
     

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    With state tournament on the horizon, teams have made their moves


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    "In ancient times, cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this." -- Terry Pratchett

    Over the years, New Jersey has been home to quite a few famous animals -- Elsie the Cow, MGM's Leo the Lion, Tarzan's original Cheetah the Chimp and Petey the Dog from the Our Gang series.

    un0129historyOn March 4, 1929, Rin Tin Tin and his owner, Leo Duncan, had this photo taken with Elizabeth Mayor John Kenah and local children Charles Coriel and Jane Seymour. 

    But the most famous animals in New Jersey were and are those that become a part of our lives.

    They're pets, ranging from dogs, cats, rabbits and horses to more exotic species like snakes, toucans and insects. And they're animals that were and are part of the Garden State's agricultural history - draft horses, sheep, cattle, chickens and even bees.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    I've heard a lot of quotes, statements and opinions about animals over the years, but the one that sums them up best, at least for me, came from scientist Irene Pepperberg, who has performed extensive studies on animal cognition: "Clearly, animals know more than we think, and think a great deal more than we know."

    Here's a vintage photo gallery of pets and animals from New Jersey, as well as links to other galleries you may enjoy.

    Vintage photos of pets and their people in N.J.

    Vintage photos of horses and horse racing in N.J.

    Vintage photos of why N.J. is the Garden State

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


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    Some of the sites listed by Preservation New Jersey are in imminent danger of being lost.


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    From MLB All-Stars to rookie-ball newbies, N.J. alums are all over pro ball


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    Acreage Holdings and Compassionate Care Foundation have settled on a 100,000 building in Sewell, an unincorporated community within Mantua Township, to grow medical marijuana.

    Acreage Holdings, one of the nation's largest cannabis cultivation, retail and real estate companies, is collaborating with a south Jersey medicinal marijuana dispensary to open and manage a 100,000-square-foot growing site in Gloucester County, NJ Advance Media has learned. 

    Compassionate Care Foundation of Egg Harbor Township also is seeking permission from the state Health Department to open dispensaries in Atlantic City, Cherry Hill and Moorestown, said David Knowlton, the dispensary's founder and president.

    Compassionate Care and Acreage Holdings have signed a letter of intent to enter into a long-term management contract to assist with future expansion and operations, according to a statement from both entities.

    "We are excited about this new partnership with a company that understands the vital importance of making medicinal marijuana available to the New Jerseyans who desperately need this option to address their conditions," Knowlton said in a statement.

    "Acreage Holdings, as one of the most reputable operators in the country, if not the world, has the resources and experience to expand the operations of CCF to provide more access to medical marijuana for patients in need," Knowlton's statement said.

    NJ Cannabis Insider: Free look at premium product for marijuana industry

    Acreage Holdings and Compassionate Care Foundation have settled on a 100,000 square-foot building in Sewell, an unincorporated community within Mantua Township, Knowlton said.

    Acreage Holdings arrives as Gov. Phil Murphy has opened the door to a dramatic expansion of New Jersey's medicinal marijuana program.

    Since March, Murphy, a Democrat, has expanded the list of illnesses that qualify patients for the program, cut patient registration and renewal fees, and invited existing dispensaries to seek permission to expand of their growing and retail sites.

    "Governor Murphy's decision to expand the medical marijuana program in New Jersey should be applauded as the first step towards a well-regulated and effective cannabis program," Kevin Murphy, Acreage Founder and CEO, said in a statement.

    "The potential to help people who are facing serious health issues, as well as create revenue opportunities for the state, is truly a 'win-win' and we are pleased to have this opportunity to grow our presence there."

    There are 21,123 registered medical marijuana patients in the state, an increase of 2,567 since Murphy's March 27th announcement.

    Murphy won election in November on a platform to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. But those plans have stalled amid resistance from the state Legislature, including members of his own party.

    Those delays have not stopped cannabis entrepreneurs from exploring and negotiations deals in the Garden State, fueled by the assumption that it is just a matter of time before recreational marijuana is legalized. Until that happens, the expectation that the medical program will more than double within a year drives intense financial interest.

    Acreage Holdings raised its profile dramatically last month when it announced former House Speaker John Boehner and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had joined to its Board of Advisors.

    "While we come at this issue from different perspectives and track records, we both believe the time has come for serious consideration of a shift in federal marijuana policy," Weld and Boehner said in a statement on April 11.

    By collaborating with Compassionate Care Foundation, Acreage Holdings is now operating in 12 states.

    Formerly known as High Street Capital Partners, Acreage Partners was founded in 2014, according to the company's website. Acreage operates dispensaries and cultivation sites, manufactures edible products under its Dixie Brands holdings, and acquires and manages real estate holdings through its Kalyx Development division.

    "We deeply believe in the transformational power that cannabis has to heal and change the world," according to Acreage Holdings' "vision" statement on its website.

    Are you interested in the N.J. cannabis industry? Subscribe here for exclusive insider information from NJ Cannabis Insider  

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

    Justin Zaremba may be reached at jzaremba@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinZarembaNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The exclusive golf course community may pride itself on independence, but it gets by with a little help from its friends. Watch video

    Yes, it's an oddity -- a New Jersey municipality that has only three homes and fewer than a dozen residents.

    It's a place that brings to mind spots like Dixville Notch (N.H.), where all eight adult citizens always cast their presidential election votes just past midnight and announce the results immediately. (In 2016, it was Hillary Clinton, 4; Donald Trump, 2; Gary Johnson and Mitt Romney, 1 each.)

    Except that Tavistock Borough, sandwiched between Haddonfield and Barrington in Camden County, sits in the most densely populated state in the nation. It has the fewest residents of any incorporated place in the Garden State. While Tavistock is quaint, its existence, heralded as "the epitome of home rule" in a recent nj.com and front-page South Jersey Times article, is not necessarily to be emulated.

    Tavistock is, along with its slightly larger Camden County cousin, Pine Valley, is an exclusive private golf-course community created mostly to keep the riff-raff from living there or showing their faces there. The riff-raff, apparently, is any family that can't pay an average property tax bill of $31,000 on a Tavistock abode. Of course, Tavistock Country Club has hundreds of members who live outside the borough's borders. 

    Tavistock's mayor, John Aglialoro, is proud of the community's independence and is looking forward to the borough's centennial anniversary in 2021. That's fine, but it creates an inaccurate picture for other small New Jersey towns that resist mergers or shared service agreements that could provide both tax savings and quality-of-life improvements for the non-1-percenters who live in them.

    Tavistockians (?) may sound like masters of their own fate, but here's some of what they don't have: their own borough hall, since the governing commission holds its six annual meetings in a Haddonfield building owned by venture capitalist Aglialoro; their own municipal clerk, since they make use of Barrington's; a full-time tax assessor, since Tavistock shares one with Barrington, Runnemede, Stratford and Mount Ephraim. They don't have their own police department or municipal court. And, they don't have direct supervisory control over providers of any these services.

    In other words, there's an awful lot of sharing going on in the "epitome of home rule," and it's been that way for nearly a centuty. In practice, Tavistock is less a part of the nagging New Jersey problem of home rule for home rule's sake than a whole bunch of slightly larger municipalities. Start with Pine Valley, which DOES have its own six-member police force. It mainly patrols the notoriously private, notoriously tough golf course for the dozen-or-so residents.

    The main message here, though, is directed to the good citizens of Hi-Nella, Woodlynne, Wenonah and dozens of other South Jersey towns with between a few hundred and a couple of thousand residents. Tavistock's founders realized from its beginnings (as a respite from Haddonfield's no-golf-on-Sunday, no-public-alcohol-consumption-anytime restrictions) that the community was too small to duplicate effectively the services that larger, surrounding municipalities already had in place. 

    It's time for the next-largest-population level of New Jersey's 566 municipalities to come to the same realization -- unless they want tax bills that will soon eclipse Tavistock's $31,000.

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at sjletters@njadvancemedia.com

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

     

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