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

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    Another Top 5 teams falls. One team drops out of the rankings. Another makes its debut.


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    The Eagles defeated the Indianapolis Colts 20-16, on Sunday, September 23, 2018 (9/23/18) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.


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    Which school produces the most D1 talent? The answer might surprise you.


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    Here are the 32-best boys soccer games coming up this week.


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    New offerings include Ardene, an "affordable Canadian fast-fashion destination."


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    The results from The Mountains vs. The Seas showcase twist up the rankings.


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    Odds on how soon sports betting will start in Cherry Hill are not good.

    The odds on when a sports betting parlor will open in Cherry Hill, or anywhere in South Jersey anytime soon, are not looking good.

    Months after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for legal bets on professional and college sporting events, owners of the only destination state legislators deemed eligible for a sports betting parlor south of Trenton and outside of Atlantic City are locked in a court scrum.

    In one corner is Cherry Hill Towne Center Partners, a Piscataway-based real estate developer that owns all but 10 of the 600-acre former Garden State Racetrack property. In the other corner is GS Park Racing, a partnership of gaming companies, including Greenwood Racing, a co-owner of Freehold Raceway and the Parx Casino and Philadelphia Park horserace track in suburban Philadelphia.

    The developers are suing the gaming company in federal court to invalidate a deed covenant that gave it exclusive rights to operate betting facilities on the former racetrack property. The lawsuit claims the gaming company has intentionally not opened an off-track betting parlor here because it feared it would compete with its other gaming properties.

    The developers say the deed covenant is "invalid" and unenforceable because it has no end date. It also claims it is does not prohibit them from operating a sports wagering facility because it "could not have been contemplated" when the deed was signed.

    The suit contends Garden State Park is one of only five sites other than Atlantic City Casinos where a sports betting parlor can operate. The other sites are Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Monmouth Park Racetrack and Atlantic City Race Course. The closest location to Cherry Hill is 48 miles away, the suit said.

    In addition to the hardship it provides patrons, the complaint also argues it deprives the state of tax revenue from a betting facility here.

    Roberto Rivera-Soto, an attorney for the gaming company, declined to comment on the lawsuit when reached earlier this month. In a response to the developer's lawsuit, Rivera-Soto asked the court for a summary judgement in his favor and also argued new state regulations determining where sports betting would be allowed were "unconstitutional."

    "The definition of a 'former racetrack' in the New Jersey Sports Wagering Act limiting its scope solely to 'the land contained within the racecourse oval' is unconstitutional and denies answering defendants their right to due process of law," the filing said.

    Both sides in the Cherry Hill lawsuit are due back in court next month.

    State Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Paulsboro, a sponsor of the sports wagering bill, said Garden State Park was intended to be included.

    "If there is a technical error on how a former racetrack is defined we would need to do some housing keeping," Burzichelli said earlier this year. "The intention was to protect the lower backdoor of the state and the former Garden State site is intended for that. It's an outpost to guard against an outflow of economy."

    Sports books in New Jersey took in $3.8 million in revenue in July, led by Ocean Resort, Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park racetrack, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

    The opening weeks of legalized sports gaming in June saw $3.5 million in revenue. New Jersey's fledgling sports betting industry could overtake the well-established Nevada market, an industry analyst said.

    In their September report, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming predicts New Jersey's revenues from sports gambling will eclipse Nevada's in 2021. The consulting group estimates New Jersey will take in $442 million that year, and Nevada, $410 million.

    Staff writer Samantha Marcus contributed to this report.

    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 players and goalies that stood out this week in N.J. soccer.


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    Javier Nava and Brian Nunez claim John Groff of the Conrad Benedetto firm sexually harassed them and pressured them for sex

    Two men who survived the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida have sued a New Jersey law firm claiming they were sexually harassed by the firm's office manager and were used to recruit survivors of other mass shootings.

    Javier Nava and Brian Nunez allege John Groff of the Conrad Benedetto firm in Voorhees Township contacted them immediately after the June 12, 2016 shooting that left 49 dead and 58 wounded.

    Groff, who is the firm's office and marketing manager, told Nava and Nunez "they had viable legal causes of action based on their presence" at the club during the shooting, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Camden County.

    Nava and Nunez claim Groff created the Facebook group "Survivors of Mass Shootings" that held itself out as a support group but was really used to find other shooting survivors as clients for the Benedetto law firm.

    "Groff gained access for Benedetto (to) a database of vulnerable victims," the suit states.

    Almost immediately after Nava and Nunez agreed to become clients, Groff began texting them for "personal relationships and to groom them" for sexual harassment, the suit states.

    In two statements Monday, Groff and Benedetto denied allegations in suit.

    The lawsuit claims when a gunman opened fire on concert-goers in Las Vegas, Groff asked Nava and Nunez to accompany him to Nevada and California to meet with other shooting survivors and convince them to retain the Benedetto law firm.

    Groff said the firm would pay for all Nava and Nunez's expenses, according to the suit.

    Nava and Nunez "believed the trips would be somewhat therapeutic, a way for shooting victims to connect and share their respective stories," the lawsuit says.

    However, "Groff sought to use the trip as a way to sexually solicit shooting survivors, including but not limited to (Nava and Nunez)," the suit claims.

    They claim when they rejected Groff's sexual advances - Nunez in Nevada and Nava in California - Groff "threatened to withhold money for lodging, transportation and food."

    Throughout the trip, Groff sent the men "sexually explicit text messages and pornographic images in attempts to entice (the men) to enter into a sexual relationship with him," the lawsuit states.

    The suit contains several screenshots of text message exchanges between Groff and the two men.

    groff-text.jpgText message contained in the suit.  

    In one, Groff says tells Nava wants to get his nails done "so when I am relaxing you and you go crazy you can't scratch me."

    "OMG you crazy," Nava responds.

    In another to Nava, he allegedly wrote, "Come on pa, just once, between us. Confidential just want to satisfy both of us."

    "I'm not asking for a relationship at all, I would never!" he allegedly wrote in another text. "I'm just asking for a little fun."

    Groff, reached by phone Monday, called the allegations in the suit "absurd" and sent NJ Advance Media a text message he said he received from Nunez.

    "Hey John, again thank you for the great trip and opportunity to get away," reads the text from January. Nunez appears to ask about how to meet other survivors of mass shootings.

    In a statement, Groff said:

    "I worked with Javier Nava and Brian Nunez to give them an opportunity to find healing with other people who were the victims of mass shootings. At no point during our interactions -- which were always friendly and informal -- did Javier or Brian give me any sense that they had a problem. I believe this legal complaint is full of incorrect facts and serves as nothing more than an attempt to destroy my professional reputation. I look forward to the opportunity to correct the record and prove that this lawsuit has no merit."

    Nava and Nunez claims include sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, fraud and negligent hiring, training and supervision of Groff.

    nunez-text.jpgGroff claims he received this text from Brian Nunez.  

    In addition to Groff, the lawsuit names Conrad J. Benedetto.

    The Benedetto law firm released its own statement Monday, saying the lawsuit contains "factual inaccuracies" and "takes communications out of context."

    Benedetto also claims that one of the lawyers who filed the suit represents a survivor from the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.

    Matthew Luber, one of the attorneys who filed the suit, did not return a message asking if his firm represents a Vegas shooting victim.

    This isn't the first time Groff has been sued while working for Benedetto.

    In December 2015, a lawsuit filed against the law firm alleged Groff used his position to keep a client out of jail in exchange for sex with the man and his girlfriend on multiple occasions.

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


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    He was shot early Sunday morning

    A man shot to death early Sunday in Newark has been identified as a Camden County resident.

    Newark police responded to a report of a shooting in the area of Pennsylvania Avenue and South Street shortly before 3 a.m. and found two wounded men.

    Both were hospitalized, but Michael Shendock, 38, of Voorhees, was pronounced dead around 5:30 a.m., authorities said.

    The second victim, who has not been identified, survived.

    The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made, officials said Tuesday afternoon. 

    Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office's tip line at 1-877-847-7432.

    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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    A green DOT road sign on Route 37 that left off the third "L" in Lavallette is just the latest in a string of eye-catching typos around the Garden State.

    Maybe New Jersey needs an inspector general for spelling.

    In just the latest of what seems like a rash of misspellings on road signs and other highly visible locations, a green state Department of Transportation sign on the eastbound side of the Route 37 causeway, just short of Pelican Island, left out the third "L" in Lavallette.

    The misspelled sign, previously reported by the Lavallette-Seaside & Ortley Beach Shorebeat, advises motorists: "Route 35 North, Ortley Beach, Lavalette, Keep Left."

    The town name is spelled "Lavallette."

    With the typo having been brought to his attention, Lavallette Borough Administrator Robert Brice said Tuesday he would ask the state for a correction.

    "I'll give the DOT a call and ask if there's a cost-efficient way to fix it," Brice said.

    A DOT spokeswoman, Judith Drucker, released a statement saying the spelling was being corrected.

    "As part of the Mathis Bridge project, a Route 35 North sign was recently installed," the statement read. "NJDOT Crews travel the road daily, noticed the error, and reported it soon after its installation. The contractor has been notified and is in the process of correcting the sign."

    The Lavallette case is only the most recent Garden State spelling mistake visible to the public. (And, no, it sure isn't the first one to appear on NJ.com.)

    Last spring, Atlantic City's Hard Rock Hotel & Casino spelled "rhythm" wrong on the pickup selector switch of the huge Gibson Les Paul guitar marquis that is a signature feature of the chain, incorrectly inserting an "e" before the "m."

    In the Camden County Borough of Bellmawr last year, observers realized that the "i" and "a" in a sign for Mt. Ephraim were reversed.

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    In Parsippany, a typo lent a distinctively French twist to what a sign on Route 202 spelled as "Parispanny." 

    In Hunterdon County, motorists could be forgiven for wondering whether some little-known species of insect had been honored with the naming of "Pattenbug Road." It's Pattenburg, by the way.

    And in New York City, there is the half-century-old controversy over the (mis)spelling of that vast span that connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn -- the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge -- which omits one of the two "Zs" used by the Italian explorer of North America, Giovanni da Verrazzano, after whom the bridge is supposed to be named.  

    Back in Lavallette, with three Ls, June Schneider, manager of the Upper Shore Branch of the Ocean County Library, said the proper spelling of any place name is important to residents of that place.

    "Obviously, if someone lives in a place, and has history in a place, they want to see it spelled correctly," Schneider said.

    Ironically, Schneider noted that the official spelling of the borough's name is not quite the same as the spelling used by its namesake, Elie A. F. La Vallette, a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. Still, the borough's founder, Albert T. Lavallette, the admiral's son, did anglicize his name -- and the borough's.

    NOTE: This article was updated to include a statement from the DOT.

    Steve Strunsky may be reached at sstrunsky@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveStrunsky. Find NJ.com on Facebook

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    Which school produces the most D1 talent? The answer might surprise you.


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    Commissioner Paul Dougherty could be ousted if he continues his no show, officials said.

    Paul Dougherty did not show up at the monthly meeting of Haddon Township commissioners Tuesday evening. It's been more than two months since he has.

    Dougherty is paid $21,000 a year to, at the very least, show up at township meetings as one of three elected commissioners charged with administering government in the Camden County municipality of 15,000 residents.

    He has been a no-show since shortly after he was charged with leaving the scene of a minor accident and driving without a license here in July.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 9.08.00 AM.pngPaul Dougherty 

    His disappearing act appears to be wearing thin on his fellow commissioners.

    "Obviously we would like him to be here," Commissioner James Milroy said after the meeting.

    When asked if he should resign, Commissioner Randall Teague, who was nominated to serve as mayor by his fellow commissioners, had a clear answer.

    "If he can't perform the job I think he should," Teague said.

    Teague said state law allows Dougherty's seat to be declared vacant if he does not attend municipal government meetings over a two-month period. He's already missed three -- one in August and two in September. That period would be reached by Oct. 23 if Dougherty does not attend a meeting. The commission meets for a caucus on the third Tuesday of the month and for an action meeting on the fourth Tuesday.

    Teague and Milroy can appoint a commissioner to fill the seat until the next election cycle in May if Dougherty continues his absence.

    Dougherty, 49 -- an attorney with a private practice who is also employed as a municipal prosecutor in Cherry Hill, Clementon and Medford -- is accused of rear-ending a car driven by a Barrington woman at the corner of Cuthbert Boulevard and Haddon Avenue shortly before 9:30 p.m. on July 19.

    He reported his involvement 20 minutes after the crash, according to a police report. He was already home when he did.

    Dougherty left the scene of the accident after claiming the other driver did not follow him into the parking lot of a nearby drug store after the crash, according to the police report. The other driver remained in her car at the scene of the accident until police arrived within minutes.

    Dougherty later called township police Chief Mark Cavallo on the chief's cell phone and told him his wife had been involved in the accident and became "nervous" and drove home, officials said.

    Cops' lawsuit claims chief told them to 'talk dirty to me, baby'

    Dougherty said he did not call police dispatch after the accident because he did not trust Sergeant Thomas Whalen who was scheduled to be on duty that night, according to a written account of the incident by Captain Scott Bishop.

    Whalen is one of four senior police officers who sued the chief and the township over alleged sexually harassment by Cavallo. All of the officers and Cavallo are men. The claim against Cavallo was dismissed in June after a judge ruled the it was filed after a statute of limitations had passed.

    Dougherty's hearing on the charges is expected to be held in Atlantic County to avoid conflicts of interest in Camden and Burlington counties, however it has not yet been scheduled, a township court official said Tuesday.

    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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    Find out who stood out in each conference this week.


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    Check out all of this week's movement.


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    We didn'r even give them a second thought.

    I recall a point made in the 1970s that was meant to illustrate how quickly technology advanced in the 20th century - how someone who was 10 years old when man first achieved powered flight watched man walk on the moon at age 76.

    TI30_1.jpgThe Texas Instruments TI30 calculator, introduced in 1976. 

    Fact is, if you look at any two-thirds-of-a-century stretch since the 1700s, you'll see just as great a leap in technology for mankind. Space flight, while amazing, doesn't necessarily supersede other advancements of humankind in industry, inventions or ideas.

    For example, on that spacecraft that landed on the moon, there was a guidance computer that had, according to consumereports.org, exactly 64 kilobytes of memory and a microprocessor speed of 0.043 megahertz. The latest iPhone can be purchased with 512 GIGAbytes of memory, and if my math is right, that's 536,870,912 kilobytes. Its microprocessor operates at 2.49 GIGAhertz and let's just say that's the difference between walking and the speed of light.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    And that was in 49 years.

    As time flies by, it's easy to forget things that were matter-of-fact parts of our lives in the 1960s and 1970s, when Apollo missions were going to the moon with those teensy computers. Here's another installment of things that may have slipped from our memory ... and I don't know about you, but my memory isn't measured in giga, mega or kilobytes - it just bites.

    And here are links to other galleries you'll like.

    Vintage photos of things you may have forgotten about

    Vintage photos of things that have changed - for better or worse

    Vintage photos of how things have changed in N.J.

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


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    Football is filled with surprises. These 35 N.J. teams have exceeded expectations early in 2018.


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    Look at the top seniors in the state and cast your vote for the best of the best.


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    See which players and teams we expect to be standouts this weekend.


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