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

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    It's possible that exposed people have not yet developed symptoms, which may emerge as late as July 11.

    People who visited a gym in Burlington County or doctor offices in Burlington and Camden counties earlier this month may have been exposed to measles, the state Health Department announced Friday.

    An infected person who had just returned from an international trip visited a gym in Mount Laurel, physician offices in Camden and Moorestown and Virtua Memorial Hospital in Marlton, the announcement said.

    It's possible that exposed people have not yet developed symptoms, which may emerge as late as July 11, said Christina Tan, the state epidemiologist and a physician.

    N.J. residents may have been exposed to measles at these places

    People who visited the following locations may have been exposed to measles and should contact their doctor:

    • LifeTime Mount Laurel, 3939 Church Rd., Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
      • June 12 between 6 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. 
      • June 13 between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. 
      • June 14 between 6 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. 
      • June 15 between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. 
    • Cooper University Family & Community Medical Center in Camden, 1865 Harrison Ave. Camden, NJ, 08105 on June 14 between 2:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
    • Virtua Express Urgent Care - Moorestown, 401 Young Ave, Suite 108, Moorestown, NJ, 08057 on June 16 between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
    • Virtua Marlton Hospital, 90 Brick Rd, Marlton, NJ, 08053 on June 17 between 8:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

    Virtua is contacting patients who were treated at their facilities during that time frame.

    Measles is easily spread, through coughing, sneezing or saliva. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, watery red eyes and a red rash that usually appears between three and five days after symptoms begin.

    Complications could include pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), miscarriage or premature birth.

    Tan urged residents to make sure they have had their measles vaccines.

    "Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles," Tan said.

    "We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can't receive it for medical reasons."

    This is the fourth measles exposure announced by the health department this year. 

    For more information about measles, contact your health care provider, or visit the New Jersey Department of Health's website at www.state.nj.us/health.

    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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    Check out our photos of this year's commencement.

    Members of Woodrow Wilson High School's Class of 2018 received their diplomas during the school's commencement in Camden Friday evening.

    The ceremony took place in the high school gymnasium, which was filled with proud families and friends cheering on their graduating seniors.

    Valedictorian Brianna Sheppard addressed her fellow classmates.

    PHOTOS: WWHS prom 2018

    BUY THESE PHOTOS

    Are you one of the people pictured at this graduation? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Click on the photo gallery above and look for a link below the photo to purchase the picture: Click on it, and you'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.


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    One may be eligible for a new trial depending on the results of a DNA test.


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    Curaleaf officials said they are reviewing design plans for facility that could be located on a former landfill.

    New Jersey's busiest medical marijuana dispensary appears to be ready to get even busier.

    Curaleaf, formerly known as Compassionate Sciences, opened a new retail location across the street from its existing location in Bellmawr last month and has entered the planning stage for a 100,000-square-foot, indoor growing facility on a remediated landfill here near an intersection of interstates 295 and 76, company and borough officials said. The new facility would be about the size of two football fields.

    "We're reviewing environmental design for potentially the largest greenhouse on the East Coast," George Schidlovsky, president of Curaleaf New Jersey said Friday. "We are working in lockstep with the governor's office, the Department of Health, the Legislature and municipality to provide the largest variety of cannabis products and the largest selection in the state."

    Curaleaf was the first of six dispensaries in the state to get permission to expand its operation. Gov. Phil 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.

    NJ Cannabis Insider: Get a free look at new premium product for marijuana industry

    "We have nine sales stations designed to process 1,000 patients a day," Schidlovsky said. "We can do 100 new patient consultations a day and we're designed to provide the largest access to the most affordable products and designed for future expansion."

    Part of Curaleaf's recipe for success so far seems to be good relations with the borough of Bellmawr.

    NJCI Curaleaf in Bellmawr grows and sells medical cannabisNJCI George Schidlovsky, Executive Director at Curaleaf in Bellmawr, sits at a consultation space inside the dispensary. Curaleaf is among 6 dispensaries licensed to sell medical cannabis in the state. Bellmawr, N.J., 5/16/2018. (Andre Malok | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com) 

    "I took a beating when they opened up," Bellmawr Mayor Frank Filipek said this week. "But they've lived up to everything they said they would do. They've been a real good corporate citizen. I haven't had one complaint, not one."

    Murphy has already approved several common conditions to be treated with cannabis, and the program is adding around 100 people every day, according to the Health Department. It now has more than 23,200 patients and has added about 5,000 patients this year.

    Curaleaf served 6,358 patients, with 76,406 transactions and 2,302 pounds of product dispensed in 2017, according to a state Department of Health annual report released in April. The next closest facility for pounds sold among six other dispensaries was Breakwater in Cranberry with 1,001 pounds distributed, according to the report.

    Schidlovsky said his company has spent over $20 million in Bellmawr since it opened its doors in 2015 hiring local construction teams and employees to manage the renovations.

    Medical Marijuana dispensary to open Monday in Camden CountyMarijuana plants grow at the Curalef  medical marijuana dispensary in Bellmawr in this 2015 file phtoo.  

    "These jobs and investments become economic drivers that stimulate a responsible, compliant and sustainable industry that helps residents improve their quality of life," a statement from Curaleaf said.

    The proposed greenhouse would be located on a remediated landfill the borough has been trying to redevelop for the past 10 years. One key selling point for the land is it sits near an intersection of key roads including I-295 and is expected to be tied into the state Department of Transportation's mega Direct Connect project when it is finally completed, officials said.

    It will be Curaleaf's second growing facility here. The greenhouses are off limits to the public, video monitored 24-hours a day by the state and can only be entered by authorized company employees.

    Filipek said he has already seen an uptick in the occupancy in the industrial park in which Curaleaf is located.

    "We were at about 25 percent occupancy here a few years ago," Filipek said. "Now with Curaleaf, WB Mason and Amoroso's bread company we're doing much better."

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

    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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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    Some pet stats for the day:

    A 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association found that 68% of U.S. households own pets. This is up from 56% of U.S. households in 1988, the first year the survey was conducted.

    The kinds of pets owned? Dogs account for just over 60%, with cats at 47% (bear in mind, the total can exceed 100% because some households, like mine, have cats AND dogs, as well as other possible pets). Fish, freshwater and saltwater, account for 15%, birds 8%, and small animals like hamsters and gerbils 7%.

    The survey also found that 10% of dog owners and 5% of cat owners have health insurance for their pets. Based on the total number of dogs and cat in the US that equates to nearly 9 million dogs and over 4.5 million cats with insurance.

    And some completely random pet facts:

    Three dogs (from First Class cabins!) survived the sinking of the Titanic - two Pomeranians and one Pekingese.

    Dogs and humans have the same type of slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) and during this REM stage dogs can dream. The twitching and paw movements that occur during their sleep are signs that your pet is dreaming

    Cats make more than 100 different sounds whereas dogs make around 10.


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    See which schools had the best year across the board in high school sports.


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    The lawsuit claims the city, parking authority and county were responsible for the metal object she tripped on.

    The city of Camden may be facing a million-dollar lawsuit from someone who knows the law pretty well: the top judge in the Camden County Courthouse.

    Assignment Judge Deborah Silverman Katz has notified the city, its parking authority and the county that she plans to sue after she tripped on an "exposed metal object" and broke bones.

    The tort claim notice her attorney filed with the city says she was walking with colleagues on a sidewalk on the western side of South 3rd Street -- near the jury parking lot across from the Camden County Jail -- when she fell on the sidewalk and sustained "multiple fractures and injuries."

    The city provided a copy of the notice but redacted the specifics of her injuries, though it is clear Silverman Katz listed five separate injuries.

    "The property was in dangerous condition," the notice claims, and the city, parking authority and county was negligent and failed to fix the risky situation.

    Asked to comment on the claim, county spokesman Dan Keashen said, "On a cursory review of the tort claim notice the identified property is not owned or maintained by the county."

    Messages left for Silverman Katz's attorney, Kenneth Andres Jr., and a city spokesman were not returned Monday afternoon.

    Silverman Katz has been a judge since 2008 and was named the top judge of the Camden vicinage in 2014.

    Before becoming a civil court judge, she worked as a private attorney in Haddonfield, investigated ethics violations of Pennsylvania attorneys, and served as counsel to the same county that she may soon sue for $1 million.

    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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    Check out our photos of this year's commencement.

    Members of Camden High School's Class of 2018 received their diplomas during the school's commencement Monday.

    The ceremony took place in the at the football field, which was filled with proud families and friends cheering on their graduating seniors.

    Valedictorian Nasseer Jefferson and salutatorian Xavier Diaz addressed their fellow classmates.

    PHOTOS: Camden High School prom 2018

    BUY THESE PHOTOS

    Are you one of the people pictured at this graduation? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Click on the photo gallery above and look for a link below the photo to purchase the picture: Click on it, and you'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.


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    It's time to vote for your favorite South Jersey/Shore hot dog joint in our N.J.'s best hot dog showdown.

    South Jersey won our first N.J.'s best showdown - best bar. How will it fare in our search for N.J.'s best hot dog joint?

    You can vote for your favorite hot dog joint starting right now.

    You can vote once per day in each region. Deadline for voting is 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 5. 

    Since there are so few true hot dog joints in South Jersey (if this were a search for the state's best cheesesteak, it would be a whole different matter), we've combined South Jersey and the Shore into one region. The result: there are roughly the same number of hot dog joints in each of our four regions. 

    The top six vote-getters in each region, plus my 26 picks, will comprise the 50 semifinalists, which will be visited starting Monday, July 9. 

    Don't forget to vote in our other categories:

    North Jersey I (Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, Sussex, Warren)

    North Jersey II (Essex, Union, Morris)

    Central Jersey

    Peter Genovese may be reached at pgenovese@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PeteGenovese or via The Munchmobile @NJ_Munchmobile. Find the Munchmobile on Facebook and Instagram.


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    We're investigating the booming substance abuse treatment industry in New Jersey, and we want to hear from you. Watch video

    We're looking for help in uncovering the successes and failures in the booming drug and alcohol treatment industry in New Jersey. 

    New Jersey has been gripped by the opioid crisis for more than a decade, a scourge that has already taken more than 10,000 lives in the Garden State. It's a crisis we detailed three years ago in Herointown, which revealed there were at least 128,000 people struggling with opioid addiction here. 

    The substance abuse treatment industry has blossomed as a result. More than 100 new treatment centers have opened in the past four years alone, a 33 percent increase. 

    We know there are tremendous stories of recovery out there. We also know there are horror stories of treatment centers taking advantage of desperate families yet providing no real service. Sometimes it's a mixed bag. We want to hear it all.  

    I'll start you with mine. 

    Four years ago, I entered myself into detox and then inpatient treatment in Connecticut after my life crumbled through extensive drug and alcohol use. I followed up with six months of intensive outpatient in New York, where I was living at the time, and supplemented by attending 12-step meetings. 

    The experience was generally good, albeit expensive. It gave me a baseline in recovery. I had private insurance that covered most of my expenses, and inpatient still cost thousands of dollars. At one point during outpatient, my insurance declined to cover two urine tests required by the facility. I was forced to pay the bill: $1,200.  

    I relapsed on opioids during my stint at outpatient, but fortunately had a solid recovery network by that point and have been sober since. My sobriety date is Oct. 17, 2014. 

    Since then, I've dedicated myself to covering addiction in this state.

    I've seen friends die days after being released from rehab. I've talked to people who became homeless after facing bills in excess of $100,000 from multiple rehab stays. I've watched desperate people get whisked away to Florida after calling a number they saw on a billboard, only to be put up in a motel masquerading as a treatment facility.   

    We want to investigate it all, good and bad, and we want your help. If you or a loved one has been through substance abuse treatment in New Jersey, please fill out our anonymous form below. If you have questions, feel free to shoot me an email at sstirling@njadvancemedia.com.

    Thank you. 

    Stephen Stirling
    Data reporter, NJ Advance Media

    If you have trouble viewing the form below, click here.

     


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    NJ Advance Media selects the Top 100 boys and girls individual seasons of the 2017-18 school year.


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    The Cherry Hill man, who recently finished a stay in federal prison faces up to 5 years when he is sentenced in October

    A Camden County man admitted Tuesday he sold more than 100 handguns to drug dealers and other felons as part of a large arms trafficking ring that bought weapons at gun shows and shops in nearby states and funneled them to New Jersey.

    Fr'Neil Hickson, 38, of Cherry Hill, pleaded guilty in federal court in Camden to one count of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a federal firearms license, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

    The guns were bought and sold mainly from December 2009 to April 2013. 

    He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 1 and faces up to five years in prison.

    Reputed gang leader convicted under tough new gun law, faces life in prison

    Hickson was convicted of possession of firearms by a convicted felon and served about 10 months of a federal prison sentence in Atlanta. He was held in custody because he was under federal indictment in New Jersey

    Hickson got most of the guns from Joshua Jackson, who obtained them by buying them from unlicensed dealers at gun shows, mostly in Ohio. Some were bought at gun stores in that state as well as in Virginia and Pennsylvania by people dispatched by Jackson, according to the indictment.

    Jackson, of Willingboro, and another co-conspirator are already serving six years terms in federal prison. In all, the trio bought, transferred and sold about 300 guns.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

     


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    Ivan Kane's Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub will reopen inside the newly revamped Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City. Watch video

    Ivan Kane believes in Atlantic City, and he is betting $9 million that other people will too. 

    When Revel shut its doors nearly four years ago, it took away Kane's Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub and many other successful amenities, such as HQ nightclub and restaurants by Marc Forgione and Jose Garces. 

    "We did phenomenally well in a casino that was dead," said Kane. 

    Now the nightclub entrepreneur and former actor is set to open -- or you could say reopen -- the Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub inside the revamped Ocean Resort Casino.

    "It's a $9 million nightclub and you can see it in all the finishes, it's gorgeous," said Kane.

    While sitting at The Royal Jelly Casino Bar and Party Pit, which is adjacent to the club, Kane talked over the music from the band rehearsing from behind the club doors. 

    "It was surreal, it was like walking into a time warp," he said about stepping foot inside his club for the first time in over three years. 

    But it was his love for Atlantic City that brought him back -- that and a phone call from Ocean Resort owner Bruce Deifik and minority owner Frank Ruocco.

    They wanted Royal Jelly to be part of the reopening, Kane said. He listened to their ideas, realized that they understood the town -- what is needed and what wasn't -- and told him what their vision was. 

    "I drank the Kool-Aid, that sounds exactly right," said Kane, who thinks the likelihood of success is 150 percent. 

    Once Royal Jelly is reopened, it will be Kane's only venue in Atlantic City; he is no longer associated with Kiss Kiss a Go-Go inside Tropicana.

    "Anybody that was here originally is going to get the same experience" said Kane, referring back to the old Revel days. 

    The bones of the club are basically the same. There is a catwalk above the bar that comes down from the ceiling built for him by Show Canada, the Cirque de Soleil designer. 

    There is a main stage, VIP viewing areas and a bridged runway to the bar. "It's a spectacular venue," said Kane. 

    The only thing he had to do was update the technology from 2012, when the club opened, to 2018 standards. 

    The lighting, sound board, and light show control system are all state-of-the-art. 

    Royal Jelly will have two different types of burlesque shows Thursday through Sunday. 

    The Classic Burlesque will feature a live Jazz trio, with the dancers dressed in gowns, satin opera-length gloves, and boas. 

    Doing a 180-degree edgier turn is the Rock 'n Roll Burlesque, a highly choreographed reverse karaoke show in which a live band will perform as lasers and lights illuminate the venue. 

    "You hear original vocal but we play all the music live," said Kane. 

    In between shows, there is DJ and dancing and patrons can get up on stage and dance to fulfill that fantasy. Kane was quick to point out that the demography of his nightclubs is 64.5 percent women. 

    The Royal Jelly Casino Bar and Party Pit will be open seven days a week with dancers performing on a stage behind the bar and on catwalks over the gaming tables. 

    "Royal Jelly offers a product you can't find anywhere else," explains Kane. 

    But it all comes back to Atlantic City for Kane, who grew up in New York, lives in Los Angeles, but "wanted to become part of the fabric of this community."

    "I think this town is relevant, it's vibrant," and says anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken.

    "Life's too short" said Kane. "I'm not going to spend all this time in a community if it's a drag to be here."

    "And it's quite the opposite, it's a joy."

    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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    The person was found along the shoreline in Sicklerville

    A body was pulled from a lake in Camden County on Wednesday morning.

    Gloucester Township police found the body along the shoreline near Scenic Point Circle in the Cobblestone development in Sicklerville, according to Sgt. Brian Mazzarella.

    The person's death does not appear to be suspicious and there is no threat to the public, police said. 

    The Camden County Prosecutor's Office and Gloucester Township police are investigating. 

    Anyone with information is asked to call  Gloucester Township Police Department at 856-228-4500 or the anonymous crime tip line at: 856-842-5560.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

     

     

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    "Where liberty dwells, there is my country" - Benjamin Franklin

    "America is a tune. It must be sung together." - writer Gerald Stanley Lee

    "Where liberty dwells, there is my country" - Benjamin Franklin

    "This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." -- reporter Elmer Davis

    "We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it." - writer William Faulkner

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    "Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty." - Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

    "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him." - President Abraham Lincoln

    Freedom is the atmosphere in which humanity thrives. Breathe it in." - writer Richelle E. Goodrich

    More patriotic gallery links:

    Vintage photos of patriotic people in N.J.

    Vintage photos of how NJ celebrated the nation's Bicentennial

    Vintage photos of patriotic pride 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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    Check out our photos of this year's commencement for the Camden school.

    Members of the LEAP Academy University Charter School's Class of 2018 received their diplomas during the school's commencement Wednesday night.

    The ceremony took place at BB&T Pavilion in Camden, where valedictorian Jenny Xie and salutatorian Jasmin Garcia addressed their fellow classmates.

    LEAP's Class of 2018 marks the 14th consecutive class where 100 percent of the seniors have graduated. This is also the first class in which every senior has taken a full load of college classes. The LEAP Early College program ensures that all graduates leave high school with a year's worth of college credits already completed, and helps the students prepare for what's expected at the college level. 

    The 106 graduates have earned a combined total of $4 million in scholarship grants.

    Twenty-seven graduates will be attending Rutgers University in the fall. Some of those students are recipients of the Alfredo Santiago Scholarship, which provides a tuition scholarship to Rutgers for any student in the scholarship program who maintains a 3.5 GPA throughout his or her LEAP career.

    Camden's LEAP Academy University Charter School marked its 20th school year in September 2017, and is the first charter school in Camden and among the oldest in New Jersey.

    BUY THESE PHOTOS

    Are you one of the people pictured at this graduation? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Click on the photo gallery above and look for a link below the photo to purchase the picture: Click on it, and 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 Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips.

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    Outgoing superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard was appointed to lead the state-run schools but resigned.

    A Camden native was selected as the interim leader of the city's public schools Thursday by the state board of education.

    Katrina McCombs was appointed acting superintendent after explaining her vision for the district during a meeting of the board in Trenton.

    "It is now my responsibility to make sure our district schools are offering our students excellent instruction in a safe, supportive environment,' McCombs said in a statement. "This is only possible by working in partnership with the excellent educators who've dedicated their lives to helping our children thrive academically and socially."

    katrina1.jpgKatrina McCombs was named interim Camden school superintendent Thursday. 

    The former kindergarten teacher, literacy coach, principal, and early childhood director was the district's deputy superintendent. She was the choice of outgoing superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard to take over. Rouhanifard had been praised and criticized during his five-years at the helm of public schools in one of the poorest cities in America.

    Rouhanifard, 36, whose family fled Iran when he was a child, was the chief strategy and innovation officer at Newark Public Schools when he was chosen by then-Gov. Chris Christie in 2013 for the Camden post when the state took over the failing district. 

    Some critics bemoaned that he was not from Camden and was not the right person for the job.

    During his tenure, the district cut the dropout rate from 21 percent to 11; reduced its poorest preforming schools from 23 of 26 to eight of 18; nearly tripled K-8 math proficiency in three years; and more than doubled proficiency in reading in the same time, according to information provided by the district.

    Yet critics, including some public teachers' union leaders, accuse Rouhanifard of presiding over the dismantling of the public school system. Public schools were reduced by almost a third, from 26 to 18, while more than half of the city's 15,000 students receiving a public education go to the 11 renaissance and 11 charter schools operating in the city. Renaissance schools are a publicly funded, privately operated community schools. 

    "It feels like the last five years have been like The Hunger Games for school resources," said Camden Education Association teacher's union President Keith Benson. "Public schools have been starved to grow renaissance schools."

    But McCombs could be a choice that all sides agree upon.

    "Last month Mrs. McCombs and I stood side by side to celebrate the re-birth of a gifted and talented program in Camden public schools," said Camden Mayor Frank Moran, who also supported McCombs. "The program is a testament to Katrina's unwavering belief that our students are more than capable of achieving great things."

    She was also endorsed by others in the school community.

    ""Our schools are getting better, but we are not there yet," said Kathryn Blackshear, president of the advisory board of education. "Katrina has the experience, insight, and passion to help our kids succeed."

    The state board is expected to conduct a national search for a permanent superintendent and McCombs is expected to among the candidates. 

    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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    Jon Brunkel, 38, of Blackwood died Friday when the car he was driving crashed into a tree

    A 38-year-old Gloucester Township man was killed early Friday when the car he was driving went off the Atlantic City Expressway and crashed into a tree, authorities said.

    Jon Brunkel was driving in the westbound lanes when he veered left off the highway into the grassy median and crashed, according to State Police Lt. Ted Schafer.

    Firefighters were called to remove Brunkel from the vehicle, Schafer said.

    Brunkel was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred at mile marker 39.4 in Winslow Township, Camden County, officials said.

    The cause of the accident is under investigation.

    Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at tattrino@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Police do not yet know the total number of people injured.

    A school bus overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike Friday afternoon, leading to multiple minor injuries.

    The crash took place at 11:42 a.m. near southbound mile marker 29.8 in Cherry Hill, according to Lt. Ted Shafer, a New Jersey State Police spokesman.

    There were 16 minor injuries in the crash, according to 6abc.com.

    He said the bus had rolled over onto its side, but that only minor injuries were reported. An unknown number of people were taken to Cooper University Hospital. 

    Further details of what caused the crash were not immediately available. 

    Shafer said it was not immediately clear where the bus was going or where it had departed. The ages of the children on the bus were not immediately known.  

    As of 1 p.m., 511nj showed traffic delays as long as five miles on the southbound Turnpike.  

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


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    Steven B. Saunders was indicted Wednesday on charges that he helped smuggle drugs into Southern State Correctional Facility.

    A corrections officer in South Jersey was indicted Wednesday on charges he accepted bribes in exchange for smuggling drugs into the prison where he worked.

    Steven B. Saunders has been charged with conspiracy, official misconduct, bribery, acceptance of an unlawful benefit and drug possession and distribution charges, the state attorney general's office said in a statement. 

    Steven-SaundersA.JPGSteven Saunders.  

    Saunders, a 50-year-old Camden resident, was a senior corrections officer at Southern State Correction Facility until he was suspended in November when he was arrested. The facility is in Maurice River, Cumberland County.

    The smuggling scheme involved inmate Lakovian Shepherd and the inmate's girlfriend Tasha Swain, prosecutors said.

    Inmates interested in purchasing marijuana, oxycodone or tobacco -- about $75 for a pack of loose tobacco and as much as $1,000 an ounce for marijuana -- would arrange for friends or relatives outside of prison to wire money to Swain using Western Union. Swain would use the money to buy the contraband and to pay Saunders for smuggling it.

    Saunders was arrested Nov. 20, 2017 when State Police saw him meet Swain in a parking lot in Evesham Township, where Swain handed over 40 grams of marijuana, 17 oxycodone pills and about $1,000. The arresting officers found more cash in Saunders' vehicle, the attorney general's office said.

    Swain, a 39-year-old Toms River resident, pleaded guilty to a drug distribution charge on May 9. Shepherd, who was serving a 10-year sentence for drug distribution, will also face charges of conspiracy, bribery, and another drug distribution charge.

    "A corrupt officer can undermine the integrity of the entire criminal justice system," Marcus Hicks, the Department of Corrections' acting commissioner, said in the statement. "While the overwhelming majority of the New Jersey Department of Corrections staff is hard-working, honest and unwaveringly committed to public safety, it must be understood that there will be severe consequences for those few who would choose to follow the path of corruption."

    Saunders will be arraigned in Burlington County.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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