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

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    Everything you need to know heading into Tuesday's action.


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    The smaller store will tailor its merchandise to local shoppers.

    South Jersey's first small-format Target is gearing up and getting ready for business. 

    The Haddon Township store will open Sunday, Aug. 19, at 650 Cuthbert Boulevard, the company said in a release Monday morning. 

    The store is the third "mini" Target in the state, with Closter in Bergen County and Parsippany-Troy Hills in Morris County getting smaller stores in November 2016 and March of this year, respectively. 

    The site of the new Haddon Township Target on Cuthbert Boulevard. 

    The retailer has pivoted to opening smaller stores designed for urban and dense suburban settings where the large, traditional Targets can't always fit. The company says it makes up for the lack of space by focusing on what the communities need and want most, and stocking up on those items. 

    The 48,000-square-foot store in Haddon Township will offer an assortment of men's and women's apparel and accessories, baby essentials, toys, basics for the family, home decor, health and beauty products, electronics, tech accessories and a food and beverage selection that includes fresh produce, the company said.

    Founded in 1902, Target is the second largest retailer in the U.S. with 1,800 stores, coming in behind Walmart. There are 45 Target stores in the state.

    The Haddon Township store will open along with another smaller Target in Philadelphia's Northern Liberties, becoming the fifth and sixth small-format stores in the Philadelphia area. 

    The new store is planning a job fair for June 7, 8 and 15 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. in Collingswood at the Scottish Rite Auditorium at 315 White Horse Pike, with hopes of hiring 150 new team members

    The company announced in September that it was raising starting wages to $11 an hour with plans to increases rates to $15 hour by the end of 2020.

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

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    Your neighbors lean red or blue? Here's how many Republicans and Democrats are in all 21 counties.


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    Seneca star is heading to Bean Town.

    Seneca senior outfielder Nick Decker was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the second round - 64th overall - of the 2018 MLB Draft on Monday night.

    Decker, who holds a commitment to the University of Maryland, established himself as one the state’s top talents this season. He is heading into the Group 3 semifinals batting .492 with 30 runs, 24 RBI, five doubles, two triples, seven homers, 34 walks and seven stolen bases. Making his stat line even more impressive is the fact that many pitchers have been pitching around him all season.

    Decker has turned heads all over the country with his raw talent. He has impressed with his strong, left-handed swing.

    Scouts expect him to play a corner outfield position or first base. His hitting ability and general hustle is what has made him standout.

    Seneca (19-7) just won the South Jersey, Group 3 Tournament as the 10th-seed. It will face Central Jersey, Group 3 champion Allentown in the Group 3 semifinals Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Monmouth University. In the sectional final, Decker headed to the mound and threw six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts as Seneca defeated Cherry Hill West, 6-0. Decker has only thrown 18 innings this season, but has still tallied 35 strikeouts. He is 4-1 with just two runs allowed.

    Decker was the 2018 New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year.

    Richard Greco may be reached at rgreco@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Richard_V_GrecoLike NJ.com HS sports on Facebook.


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    Gear up for Saturday's action at Northern Burlington


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    A Wawa is expected to take the diner's place after nearly 70 years of business.

    There were paper placemats set at booths and stacks of menus on a counter, but no customers to be found at the Metro Diner in Brooklawn Tuesday morning. 

    Letters arranged on the road-side sign read: "We are closed. Thank you for your support," marking the only public announcement of the diner's sudden closure. 

    The diner, which opened at the corner of Route 130 and West Browning Lane in 1949, was slated for demolition last summer, expected to make way for a new Wawa

    For decades, it was owned by the family that operates Ponzio's Diner in Cherry Hill. New management purchased it and took over in 2009. 

    But it hadn't become clear until Monday just when the diner would close up shop. A sign posted to the front door read: "We're closing at 3:00. Thank you." 

    A woman in the diner said the restaurant had closed Monday, but said no owners were on-site to speak. Pastries were scattered in a half-full case, but artwork of cityscapes had already been pulled from the wall and set on the ground. 

    Wawa has been rapidly expanding in the area, and plans to open 50 new stores a year from New Jersey to Florida, adding to the convenience company's 800 store chain. Some of the new stores are expanded and improved "super Wawas," with extra square footage, parking and gas pumps to replace the older compact locations. 

    A message left for the diner's owner was not immediately returned Tuesday morning. 

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

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    The state Health Department must give its approval before any merger is complete.

    Two south Jersey hospital chains announced Tuesday they have agreed to merge, in a deal that will give them an edge in the competitive South Jersey-Philadelphia market.

    Virtua Health, which owns three hospitals in Burlington County, has agreed to acquire the two hospitals in the Lourdes Health System in Camden and Burlington, according to an announcement Virtua released on behalf of both systems.

    "As representatives of the community, we are constantly thinking about how Virtua can improve the health status of the people of South Jersey," says David Kindlick, chairman of the Virtua Board of Trustees.

    "Virtua and Lourdes offer complementary services. Bringing our organizations together creates a more fully integrated network offering greater access and care options for our patients. It just makes good sense."

    2 N.J. hospital chains will explore a merger

    Virtua spokesman Kathy McLaughlin declined to answer questions about the merger's impact on the hospitals' employees.

    The Lourdes facilities are owned by Maxis, a division of Trinity Health, one of the nation's largest hospital chains operating 93 hospitals in 22 states. 

    The state Health Department must give its approval before any merger is complete, department spokeswoman Donna Leusner said.

    "At Lourdes, we are thrilled to be joining with Virtua, Reginald Blaber, president of Lourdes Health System said in a statement. "Their passion and visionary approach to care is completely aligned with the Lourdes Health System, and we are looking forward to a bright future ahead." 

    The deal continue a decade-long pattern of mergers and acquisitions in New Jersey and across the country, driven in part by the Affordable Care Act's emphasis on hospitals and doctors curbing long hospital stays. Hospital CEOs also believe the larger the organization, the greater negotiating power the institutions will have with insurance carriers.

    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation concluded prices and insurance premiums rose after hospitals merged and gained more negotiating power, according to a 2012 report analyzing consolidations across the country.

    In January, Penn Medicine -- the corporate name for the University of Pennsylvania Health System -- acquired University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro.

    In October, Kennedy Health's hospitals in Cherry Hill, Washington Township and Stratford were acquired by Jefferson Health in Philadelphia and renamed.

    Last December, Cooper University Health abandoned its plans to acquire the Lourdes hospitals s well as St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton. In a lawsuit Cooper filed to recoup $15 million it had placed in escrow, it abandoned the deal over concerns about record alteration, ongoing litigation and compliance issues at the Maxis hospitals.

    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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    The lawsuit said all charges against the girl were dropped.

    A teenager is suing Gloucester City police and school officials, claiming an officer threw her to the ground by her hair in an illegal arrest during a brawl at a 2017 youth basketball game.

    The lawsuit, originally filed in Superior Court but moved to U.S. District Court in Camden Monday, says the officer assaulted the girl for "cursing" and later filed charges of simple assault, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and disorderly conduct, all of which were later dropped.

    After her arrest, she was banned from school for months, the suit said. The lawsuit filed by the girl and her mother identifies them only by their initials.

    The altercation that led to her arrest occurred at a youth basketball game at Cold Springs Elementary School in Gloucester City on Feb. 24, 2017. According to a police statement at the time, a brawl involving at least 20 people broke out after a 14-year-old male player punched the referee from behind during the game.

    Police arrested that player as well as a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl, both from Gloucester City, according to police.

    In the lawsuit, the girl and her mother said they were outside the school after the fight was over and people were told to leave. The girl, identified only by her initials, was "exchanging expletives" with others and being held back by her mother when Officer Kevin Wall approached.

    "Officer Wall forcefully grabbed the minor by her hair and threw her on the ground solely for 'cursing,' according to the officer," the suit said.

    An officer kneeled on her back and pushed her face into the ground as she was cuffed, the suit said, and she was taken to a youth detention center. She suffered from bruises and unspecified head injuries as a result of the arrest, she claimed.

    Her troubles continued, the suit claims, because school officials informed her mother she was considered a threat and was thus banned from the school. The lawsuit says she was allowed to return to school May 30.

    The lawsuit states that she was placed on house arrest until June 29, 2017, but does not say whether that was a condition of her pre-trial release or some other issue.

    The suit does say all charges against her were dismissed in September 2017. This could not be verified because juvenile criminal matters are not public.

    Named as defendants in the case are Gloucester City, the police department, Officer Wall, Police Chief Brian Morrell, Gloucester City School District, then-Superintendent Joseph Rafferty, and unnamed police officers.

    The girl and her mother are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for her physical injuries, medical expenses, emotional distress, as well as attorneys' fees and costs.

    The lawsuit claims the police defendants violated her civil rights, assaulted her, used excessive force and falsely imprisoned her, among other things. The suit also claims the defendants all conspired to prosecute, defame and cause harm to the girl.

    Chief Morrell said he could not comment on the ongoing litigation. Messages for Rafferty, as well as current Gloucester City Schools Superintendent Dennis Vespe were not returned Tuesday evening.

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

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    Unofficial results for races in Camden County's June 5 primary election.


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    Who will play in the season's ultimate championship?


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    Feds say Candace Gottlieb, 59, assisted her son Tyler, 27, in the cross-country drug trafficking operation.

    Federal authorities have charged a Cherry Hill woman and her son with operating a drug dealing operation that has connections to California and dealt in several drugs, including fentanyl and heroin.

    The woman, Candace Gottlieb, 59, was a longtime diving coach at The College of New Jersey in Ewing. The college has terminated her employment following her arrest.

    She and her son, Tyler Gottlieb, 27, were arrested on June 1. 

    CGottlieb.jpgCandace Gottlieb 

    Authorities charged the mother and son with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.

    The case began in March with a random Transportation Security Administration (TSA) bag check at Philadelphia International Airport. Tyler was about to board a flight to California when agents discovered $51,000 in cash in his checked bag, which led them to an additional $16,000 in his luggage. 

    Tyler initially told investigators he was headed to Las Vegas to party.

    Based on the cash, court records show, authorities used an undercover informant who ended up gaining the trust of the mother and son duo, and acquiring about 802 fake prescription pills, 200 of which contained heroin and fentanyl via transactions.

    According to the statement from the undercover agent in the affidavit, Candace regularly communicated and interacted with the federal agent, counting out pills to him and discussing the family business. 

    During one of their interactions, Candace told the agent, "He's awfully lucky he's got a mom that does this s--- for him," according to a recorded conversations mentioned in the affidavit. 

    Investigators say they uncovered an alleged trafficking operation that at times sent drug packages through the mail, including 40 pounds of marijuana sent by to New Jersey.

    Candace was arrested at her Cherry Hill home, where police seized approximately 6,600 additional counterfeit prescription pills suspected of containing fentanyl and heroin, along with cocaine and marijuana packaged for distribution.

    Investigators also located and seized two handguns from inside the home and approximately $2,000 in cash, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

    The next day, authorities went to another residence connected to Tyler where they seized six more firearms, including an AK-47 assault rifle, a shotgun, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, high-capacity ammunition magazines, and two handguns.

    Candace appeared in federal court in Camden on Tuesday. Tyler is detained in California and awaits 

    In a statement, The College of New Jersey said Gottlieb was a part-time diving coach at the school, and that they had no reason to believe has no reason to believe "was doing anything on TCNJ's campus other than the duties for which she was hired."

    TCNJ was not contacted by law enforcement as part of its investigation, a college spokesman said.

    Gottlieb coached at the school for about 25 years and has been involved in the competitive diving community for many years.

    According to several diving sites, she's affiliated with Blue Dolphin Diving and the South Jersey Diving Club and is a former vice president of junior diving for United States Diving.

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at tharris@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyo.

    Find NJ.com on Facebook  

     

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    The Urban Enterprise Zone designation cuts the sales tax in these New Jersey cities in half, boosting their ability to compete for customers with their wealthier suburbs.

    In a welcome move, Gov. Phil Murphy has given new hope to five of the most economically stressed cities in the state.

    The law he signed last week restores the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) program in Trenton, as well as in Bridgeton, Camden, Newark and Plainfield.

    The designation cuts the sales tax in those cities in half, boosting their ability to compete for customers with their wealthier suburbs. It also offers other benefits for business owners, such as a break on energy taxes, a subsidy for unemployment insurance and tax credits for some hires.

    The original UEZ program dates back more than three decades. Beginning the original five cities, it expanded outward to cover some 6,800 businesses in 32 communities.

    But when the program expired last year, then-Gov. Chris Christie opted not to renew, despite eloquent and well-reasoned pleas from both the Legislature and the New Jersey League of Municipalities.

    Phil Murphy agrees to reduced sales tax in these 5 N.J. cities

    The league called the incentive program "a vital tool in the tool kit of local leaders working to bring their communities back from decades of decline."

    The designation served as an important economic driver, the league pointed out, creating employment opportunities for city residents and contributing to the cities' tax base.

    In Trenton, the UEZ covered a 2.5-mile commercial and industrial area; the city's website hailed the initiative as "a business success in the heart of Capitol City."

    More than 900 local businesses signed on over the decades, leading to significant improvements in the city's business district.

    The law Murphy signed, which has already taken effect, reinstates the program for five years for the original participating cities, and extends it through 2023 in other areas where it was scheduled to expire before then.

    One laudable facet of the measure requires the state to issue a report evaluating whether the program should continue, be amended, or cease to exist.

    Some skeptics scoff that even the heftiest tax break won't lure shoppers to downtown businesses that are struggling to survive. Others worry that the decreased revenue will have a devastating effect on the state's budget.

    But we side with the lawmakers who voted overwhelming not to take the program off life support.

    "Urban Enterprise Zones have been an integral part of urban revitalization for many years now," said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson). "Extending their designation will help many cities remain economically competitive while spurring job growth and economic development."

    The bottom line is: Healthier cities make for stronger states. Giving our urban areas a hand up makes good sense, as well as good policy.

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

     

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    What folks wore in the Garden State.

    The NPD Group, an American market research company, notes that "No other industry changes as rapidly as fashion. What's hot today is blase tomorrow. Innovation becomes retro. Seasons change. Hemlines rise and fall ... and so do sales figures. A celebrity makes a fashion statement on the red carpet and suddenly financial statements are covered in red."

    callahan's fort lee 70s VBC.jpgMenswear in the '70s ... when print was king. 

    I might add that it's not only celebrities on the red carpet who make fashion statements. Politicians, musicians and athletes heavily influence what the rest of us choose to wear. And, there is a uniquely 21st century movement that allows others to influence styles and make fashion trends almost instantaneous: social media and the internet.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    AdWeek points out "If you see a blogger wearing an outfit you love on Instagram, you can find and purchase the items right from your phone and have them delivered to your door thanks to shoppable applications that integrate with social media, like rewardStyle, ShopStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it."

    In this gallery, we look at apparel from the past, as worn by folks in New Jersey. Some people in the gallery don statement pieces, others wear that which was strictly utilitarian; all make for interesting viewing.

    And here are some links to other similar galleries.

    Vintage photos of what N.J. people wore

    More vintage photos of what N.J. people wore

    Vintage photos of fashions and styles in N.J.

    Vintage photos of styles and fashions in N.J.

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


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    Major shakeup in NJ.com's latest rankings.


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    Check out previews and picks for each event at the 2018 Meet of Champions.


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    Meet the 28 players from New Jersey selected in the 2018 MLB Draft


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    Woodrow Wilson High School students celebrated their prom on Thursday night at Adventure Aquarium.

    It was a night to remember for Woodrow Wilson High School students from Camden as they celebrated their prom at Adventure Aquarium in Camden on Thursday night.

    Prom-goers arrived dressed to the nines as they socialized, posed for photos and danced the night away.

    Check back at nj.com/south for other local high school prom coverage. And be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at nj.com/prom.

    BUY THESE PHOTOS
    Are you one of the people pictured at this prom? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Look for the blue link "buy photo" below the photographer's credit to purchase the picture. You'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.

    Tim Hawk may be reached at thawk@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Instagram @photog_hawk and Twitter @photogthawk. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips.


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    Kingsway Regional High School students celebrated their prom on Friday night at Adventure Aquarium.

    It was a night to remember for Kingsway Regional High School students as they celebrated their prom at Adventure Aquarium in Camden on Friday night.

    Prom-goers arrived in style as they socialized, posed for photos and danced the night away.

    Check back at nj.com/south for other local high school prom coverage. And be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at nj.com/prom.

    BUY THESE PHOTOS
    Are you one of the people pictured at this prom? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Look for the blue link "buy photo" below the photographer's credit to purchase the picture. You'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.

    Tim Hawk may be reached at thawk@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Instagram @photog_hawk and Twitter @photogthawk. Find NJ.com on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips.


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    Delsea Regional High School students celebrated their prom on Friday night at the Centerton Country Club.

    It was a night to remember for Delsea Regional High School students as they celebrated their prom at Centerton Country Club in Pittsgrove Township on Friday night.

    Prom-goers arrived dressed to the nines as they socialized, posed for photos and danced the night away.

    Check back at nj.com/south for other local high school prom coverage. And be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at nj.com/prom.

    BUY THESE PHOTOS
    Are you one of the people pictured at this prom? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Look for the blue link "buy photo" below the photographer's credit to purchase the picture. You'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.

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


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    Kendrick Lamar and all of Top Dawg Entertainment's biggest names took the stage in Camden on Friday night, but New Jersey songstress SZA was notably absent.


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