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

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    The lone $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot-winning ticket was bought in South Carolina. In addition to two $1 million winners, 15 tickets sold in N.J. won third prize amounts

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    William "Sonny" Lea, owner of Sonny's Hair Salon in Atlantic City died in a car accident.

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    The county will study, design and test local justice reforms to find effective alternatives to sending people to jail.

    Bail reforms enacted in 2017 have reduced the pre-trial population at the Camden County Correctional Facility by over 20 percent, but county officials want even fewer people to be locked up.

    With assistance from a national grant, the county will study, design and test local justice reforms to find effective alternatives to sending people to jail and, at the same time, address racial disparities in incarceration, officials announced Wednesday.

    The initial $50,000 grant comes as the county becomes one of 13 jurisdictions across the country selected to join the MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge. The $148 million initiative aims to reduce over-incarceration and change the way people see jails, the county said in a press release.

    Along with the cash is a network of expert support and technical assistance from The Urban Institute, which manages the funding, and eligibility for more money in the future to pilot or make any changes.

    A new leash on life for inmates at N.J. jail who train service dogs

    "Jurisdictions participating in the Challenge will develop and model effective ways to keep people out of jail who don't belong there, more effectively reintegrate those who must be confined into the community upon release, and help them stay out of jail thereafter," the foundation said on its website.

    The foundation emphasizes data-driven strategies and highlights solutions other grant recipients have used to cut down on incarceration and improve outcomes.

    Prosecutors in Akron, Ohio began handing out summons to people charged with low-level, non-violent felonies like drug charges, instead of arresting and locking them up, according to the Safety and Justice Challenge.

    Other grant recipients have found that special training for police officers helped them avoid incarcerating people with behavioral health issues that need hospitals more than jails, the site said.

    "Over-incarceration is among the most impactful challenges of our time and our country has yet to identify a truly workable solution to reduce it," Freeholder Bill Moen said in a press release. 

    County said the effort will be collaborative, including everyone from community members and public defenders to judges and corrections workers.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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    Jimmy Flakes Jr. admitted selling a dose of heroin that killed Jeffrey Potter, of Evesham

    A Camden County man admitted in court this week that he sold heroin that killed another man.

    Jimmy Flakes.jpgJimmy Flakes, jail photo 

    Jimmy Flakes Jr., 41, is expected to serve seven years in state prison after pleading guilty to strict liability for drug-induced death, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said in a news release. Judge Gerard Breland heard the plea in Superior Court. 

    Flakes made a $10 profit when he sold heroin to Jeffrey Potter, 45. Potter was found dead in his home in Marlton on September 28, 2016. 

    The medical examiner determined that Potter died from opiate toxicity.

    Flakes is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 11, 2019.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. 


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    "Charlie Brown is the one person I identify with. C.B. is such a loser. He wasn't even the star of his own Halloween special." -- Chris Rock

    Channel 12 in Cincinnati presented the results of a poll they took last year of the least-favorite Halloween treats; it's fairly representative of surveys I've seen all over the country, 10 being the least-favorite of all:

    10. Mary Janes ... 9. Good & Plenty ... 8. Licorice ... 7. Smarties ... 6. Tootsie Rolls ... 5. Peanut Butter Kisses ... 4. Necco Wafers ... 3. Wax Cola Bottles ... 2. Candy Corn ... 1. Circus Peanuts

    Some of my personal observations:

    Apparently, children are not big fans of peanut butter candy, because number 10 and 5 contain that flavor. Curiously, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are not on the list, yet I can't see what the difference would be between them and Peanut Butter Kisses. Children aren't big licorice fans either, it seems. Number 9, Good and Plenty, is pretty much the same thing as number 8, licorice.

    For those who don't remember them or never saw them, Circus Peanuts were marshmallow candy shaped like big peanuts. And I'm kind of curious where in Cincinnati they still sell Wax Cola Bottles. This was a classic penny-candy item, yet I personally haven't seen them in decades ... and I look for things like that.


    Necco Wafers - if there's an item that shows up on every one of these surveys, it's them. Necco Wafers were first produced in 1847 and my experience has been that they always tasted like you'd received one of the original batches.

    The Boston Globe reported in 2011 that "in 2009, Necco changed the formula for its Necco Wafers. Artificial colors and flavors were eliminated. The candy was made softer through the addition of glycerine. The lime flavor was removed due to difficulties in creating an all-natural green coloring, resulting in a 7-flavor Necco Wafer roll."

    Apparently, all these changes weren't enough to keep them from consistently showing up on these lists or even staying solvent; the Globe reported in July of this year that "The Massachusetts plant that made the beloved, but often mocked, candy closed (July 24). Round Hill Investments announced that it had sold the once-bankrupt Necco, purchased for $17.3 million in May, to another candy maker."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    And finally, those kids who don't want their Tootsie Rolls and Smarties can send them all to me.

    Here's a gallery of folks from New Jersey dressed up for Halloween as well as some fun autumn traditions. And here are links to other galleries you may enjoy.

    Vintage photos of costumes and creepy things in N.J.

    Vintage photos of folks from N.J. in costume

    Vintage photos from N.J. that might give you the creeps

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

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    An 87-year-old Blackwood resident was invited to join the hospital employees' lottery pool

    RELATED: $1M Powerball ticket was sold at N.J. pharmacy, 8 other tickets win $50K. Here's where

    An 87-year-old New Jersey man who fell and broke his hip while walking to buy lottery tickets for Tuesday's massive Mega Millions game ended up a winner thanks to the kindness of an employee at the hospital where he was brought.

    A physician's assistant at Jefferson Stratford Hospital invited Earl Livingston to join the hospital's lottery pool after the Blackwood man explained where he was headed when he got hurt, according to

    44909876_2350156678346143_2294042754071658496_n.jpgThe hospital employees that won $1 million in Tuesday's $1.5 billion Mega Millions drawing. A patient who broke his hip on his way to buy lottery tickets will also share in the prize. (Jefferson Stratford Hospital) 

     As luck would have it, one of the tickets purchased by the group at Quick Food Store in Lindenwold matched five numbers and is worth $1 million, the hospital announced. That works out to about $7042.25 before taxes for each of the 142 participants. 

    Livingston will need hip replacement surgery, his niece told the television station.

    There was also a $1 million ticket bought in Deptford. Someone who purchased a ticket in South Carolina won the $1.537 billion prize. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.


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    Goodwill workers found the item as they were sorting through hundreds of pounds of donations.

    It wouldn't be hard to imagine an item like one recently donated to a South Jersey Goodwill center to be the highlight of a breathless episode of Antiques Roadshow.

    The PBS series often features an end-of-show reveal in which collectors wait anxiously for an appraiser to tell them whether the item they blew dust off of and hauled in to get the once over is treasure or trash.

    Turns out, a donation dropped off at Goodwill in South Jersey is indeed treasure.

    A December 26, 1774 edition of the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser broadsheet newspaper, encased in a wood and glass frame, was dropped off at a donation center in Woodbury last spring. The donor remains unidentified, an official said.

    The one-page, colonial-era artifact with type on both sides, included an article railing about the injustice of the newly enacted Boston Port Bill, which closed the port as punishment for an estimated $1 million lost after the Boston Tea Party protest a year earlier. In April 1775, the Revolutionary war was launched after the battles of Lexington and Concord.

    It also features three posts signed by John Hancock, president of the Provincial Congress and other colonial-era luminaries such as John Dunlap, Benjamin Rush and Anthony Wayne. The masthead features the iconic "Unite or Die" logo of pre-revolutionary America, a precursor to the "don't tread on me" flag of Continental Marines in 1775.

    The newspaper artifact immediately caught the attention of Heather Randall, the E-commerce manager for Goodwill of Southern New Jersey and Greater Philadelphia. She and her team are charged with rooting out high-value donations from so many items -- the rest of which are sold at 99 cents a pound to fund the organization's charity mission.

    "We weren't 100 percent sure of what we had," Randall said. "We took the time to do some research on it to substantiate and appraise it."

    The artifact was deemed "unquestionable authentic" by Cohasco, Inc., a Yonkers, New York historic appraiser which specializes in printed products.

    Robert Snyder, the appraiser, said he knew of only three other editions of the paper from that day published in pre-Continental Congress Philadelphia.

    "The others are at Illinois State University, the University of Chicago and Yale," Snyder said during a telephone interview Thursday.

    He placed its value at up to $18,000.

    That was good news to Randall, whose job is to help fund the broad social-service mission of Goodwill. The 244-year-old artifact was listed on the website that features finds from Goodwill stores from around the country. The opening bid was for $10,000, but the auction ended earlier this month with no bids.

    Randall said she had fielded a number of calls from interested buyers, including several local historical societies inquiring about its authenticity.

    Snyder said his firm has decades of experience in appraising similar artifacts. He said the item was not radiocarbon tested. He advised Goodwill not to ship it to him because the glass container could be shattered and ruin the document. He also advised against anyone but an expert trying to remove the broadsheet from the frame.

    But Snyder said detailed photos showed familiar imprints and printing patterns from the era and the paper was similarly authenticated.

    "Don't assume something fascinating and important isn't valuable even if you find it thrown out on the street," he said.

    Randall said she and her colleagues at Goodwill plan to hold on to the artifact for now but believes it may be auctioned again in the near future and will increase in value as the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approaches in 2021.

    "It's our history," Randall said. "How many chances do you get to look at something that old up close and personal?"

    Bill Duhart may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us.

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    Camden County and Cumberland County are on different paths to examine how their jails operate. Hopefully, the ultimate goal is the same.

    Thirty-eight miles and two very different initiatives, recently announced, separate two of South Jersey's county jails. 

    In Camden County, a $50,000 national grant will kick off an effort to see if the correctional facility can reduce its population, beyond the reductions in prisoner numbers that have occurred because of New Jersey's statewide bail-reform initiative. 

    The examination of Cumberland County's correctional facility is not self-directed. NJ Advance Media has confirmed that federal authorities are looking into six inmate suicides over a three-year period.

    It's important to remember that county jails hold mainly people who are waiting for trials. They've been charged with crimes, but they're not convicted criminals. If found guilty, the time to which they've been sentenced will most likely be served in a state prison.

    Camden County is just one of 13 jurisdictions nationwide that will be part of a $148 million project, funded by the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It's called the Safety and Justice Challenge, aimed at "rethinking" what jails are and how they're best utilized.

    The grant's webpage makes a controversial assumption that "over-incarceration" is a term that automatically belongs in our lexicon. New Jersey, now almost two years into eliminating cash bail amounts for most offenses, has already dealt with the basics of the foundation's recommended reforms. No longer is it routine here for those charged with non-violent crimes, or who are not flight risks, to be locked away because they are "simply too poor to post bail."

    Thus, it's to Camden County's credit that officials saw the need to go further by seeking the MacArthur grant. Its focus, officials say, will be strategies to keep those arrested from being incarcerated in the first place, such as mental health intervention,and in reducing return visits from those who might get in trouble after release. There are also racial disparities to be addressed. It's undeniable that jail populations can reflect the characteristics of neighborhoods with elevated crime rates. But it's also become clear that black people and brown people more often end up in custody for transgressions similar to those for which white offenders might get a summons to appear in court.

    In Bridgeton, the U.S. Department of Justice obviously sees something out of the ordinary in the number of suicides. While the DOJ will not probe any of the incidents individually with respect to criminal or civil responsibility, it want to see if the Cumberland jail takes reasonable steps to prevent inmates from taking their own lives, including mental health screenings and providing adequate supervision.

    One must therefore take a protest at this week's freeholder meeting by members of Police Benevolent Association Local 221, the Cumberland County corrections officer union, with some skepticism. The union is alleging unfair labor practices, and some outspoken members want Warden Richard Smith removed -- with the suicide rate cited as one reason.

    Its obvious the jailers don't get along with their boss. But Smith took over in February 2017, after all but two of the suicides had occurred. So, if Smith is a problem in regard to the suicides, he's not the only problem. 

    Both the federal investigation in Bridgeton and the alternate strategy exploration in Camden are hopefully headed toward the same goal -- a recognition that county jails are not warehouses to keep the accused out of sight and out of mind. No matter how many or how few really need to be there, once locked up, they must be treated with enough dignity that it matters whether they live or die.

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at

    Bookmark Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find Opinion on Facebook.

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    Cory Booker has been both a frequent and vocal critic of Trump, as well as a putative 2020 Democratic challenger to replace him.

    UPDATE: Florida man in custody in connection with bomb packages sent to top Dems

    An explosive "pipe-bomb" style device similar to those targeting Democratic politicians and activists critical of President Trump was sent to the Camden office of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., NJ Advance Media has learned.

    Booker has been both a frequent and vocal critic of Trump, as well as a putative 2020 Democratic challenger to replace him.

    sen-cory-booker-nj-office-bomb-target-2.jpgA pipe bomb addressed to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker's office in Camden at 2 Riverside Drive was intercepted in Florida. Police and federal authorities were at the Camden office building early Friday investigating.  

    The package containing the explosive device was intercepted at a South Florida U.S. Postal Service center mail sorting facility in Opa-locka, according to a source familiar with the investigation, which is on-going. The Opa-locka facility handles packages mailed from Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

    An FBI spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., confirmed that the explosive device addressed to Booker was intercepted in Florida, but declined to be more specific about the location.

    Booker spokeswoman Kristin Lynch declined comment.

    Booker's office in Camden is located at 2 Riverside Drive, a high-rise office building that also includes the state Division of Taxation, the Delaware River Port Authority and PSE&G.

    The building remained open, though police cars were parked out front and an officer with a search dog was at the scene. People who work at the building continued to come and go on Friday morning, and there was no evacuation. 

    Police had mostly left the scene after 10 a.m. 

    "There was never any threat to the building," said John Hanson, the chief executive officer of the Delaware River Port Authority. The DRPA also has offices inside the building. 

    "In an abundance of caution, parts of the building were checked out to verify that, in fact, there was no threat," he told reporters gathered at the scene Friday morning. 

    Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson said there is no danger to residents of the city, and that his department worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to "methodically" sweep the building. 

    He said everything was going "smoothly," but noted the toll such threats can take on civilians. 

    "This impacts not just the individual being targeted, but the community at large," he told reporters.  

    Timeline, locations of 12 pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats

    Thomson also said Booker's staff was still working Friday in Camden despite the threat, answering phones and "staying dedicated to the constituency." 

    A suspicious package has also been found at a New York post office addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Clapper, a retired lieutenant general in the U.S. Air Force, earlier this week called the slew of mail bombs "domestic terrorism."

    The one discovered at a Manhattan postal facility was addressed to Clapper c/o CNN. An earlier package had been sent to former Obama CIA Director John Brennan in care of CNN in New York.

    Investigators were analyzing the innards of the crude devices to reveal whether they were intended to detonate or simply sow fear just before Election Day.

    The packages sent to Booker and Clapper mark the 11th and 12th sent by the serial bomber.

    Investigators have been searching coast to coast for the culprit and motives behind the bizarre mail bomb plot aimed at critics of the president.

    Three more devices were linked to the plot Thursday -- two addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and one to actor Robert De Niro -- in an outbreak of politically loaded menace with little if any precedent. Authorities warned there might well be more.

    Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged like booby-trapped package bombs that would explode upon opening. But they were uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name.

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    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in an interview Thursday night with Fox News Channel, acknowledged that some of packages originated in Florida.

    The targets have included former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, CNN and Rep. Maxine Waters of California.

    Trump claimed on Friday he was being blamed for the mail bombs addressed to his critics, complaining in a tweet sent before dawn: "Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, 'it's just not Presidential!'"

    NJ Advance Media reporter Amanda Hoover and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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    Cesar Sayoc, 56, is expected to be charged following a week in which Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and others were targeted

    UPDATE: Federal authorities charge Florida man with weeklong bomb-package scare

    Federal authorities took a man into custody Friday in Florida in connection with the mail-bomb scare that earlier widened to 12 suspicious packages, the Justice Department said.

    cesar-sayoc.jpgCesar Sayoc (Broward County jail) 

    The man was identified by law enforcement officials as Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida. He was arrested at an auto parts store in the nearby city of Plantation.

    Court records show Sayoc has a history of arrests.

    Law enforcement officers were seen on television examining a white van, its windows covered with an assortment of stickers, in the city of Plantation in the Miami area. Authorities covered the vehicle with a blue tarp and took it away on the back of a flatbed truck.

    The stickers included images of American flags and what appeared to be logos of the Republican National Committee and CNN, though the writing surrounding those images was unclear.

    President Donald Trump said he expected to speak about the investigation at a youth summit on Friday.

    The development came amid a coast-to-coast manhunt for the person responsible for a series of explosive devices addressed to Democrats including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.

    Law enforcement officials said they had intercepted a dozen packages in states across the country. None had exploded, and it wasn't immediately clear if they were intended to cause physical harm or simply sow fear and anxiety.

    Earlier Friday, authorities said suspicious packages addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper -- both similar to those containing pipe bombs sent to other prominent critics of President Donald Trump-- had been intercepted.

    Investigators believe the mailings were staggered. The U.S. Postal Service searched their facilities 48 hours ago and the most recent packages didn't turn up. Officials don't think they were sitting in the system without being spotted. They were working to determine for sure. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

    The FBI said the package to Booker was intercepted in Florida. The one discovered at a Manhattan postal facility was addressed to Clapper at CNN's address. An earlier package had been sent to former Obama CIA Director John Brennan via CNN in New York.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday the Justice Department was dedicating every available resource to the investigation "and I can tell you this: We will find the person or persons responsible. We will bring them to justice."

    Trump, on the other hand, complained that "this 'bomb' stuff" was taking attention away from the upcoming election and said critics were wrongly blaming him and his heated rhetoric.

    Investigators were analyzing the innards of the crude devices to reveal whether they were intended to detonate or simply sow fear just before Election Day.

    Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged to explode upon opening. But they were uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm.

    Most of those targeted were past or present U.S. officials, but one was sent to actor Robert De Niro and billionaire George Soros. The bombs have been sent across the country - from New York, Delaware and Washington, D.C., to Florida and California, where Rep. Maxine Waters was targeted. They bore the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

    The common thread among the bomb targets was obvious: their critical words for Trump and his frequent, harsher criticism in return.

    Trump claimed Friday he was being blamed for the mail bombs, complaining in a tweet sent before dawn: "Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, 'it's just not Presidential!'"

    The package to Clapper was addressed to him at CNN's Midtown Manhattan address. Clapper, a frequent Trump critic, told CNN that he was not surprised he was targeted and that he considered the actions "definitely domestic terrorism."

    Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, said in a note to staff that all mail to CNN domestic offices was being screened at off-site facilities. He said there was no imminent danger to the Time Warner Center, where CNN's New York office is located.

    At a press conference Thursday, officials in New York would not discuss possible motives or details on how the packages found their way into the postal system. Nor would they say why the packages hadn't detonated, but they stressed they were still treating them as "live devices."

    The devices were packaged in manila envelopes and carried U.S. postage stamps. They were being examined by technicians at the FBI's forensic lab in Quantico, Virginia.

    The packages stoked nationwide tensions ahead of the Nov. 6 election to determine control of Congress -- a campaign both major political parties have described in near-apocalyptic terms. Politicians from both parties used the threats to decry a toxic political climate and lay blame.

    Trump, in a tweet Thursday, blamed the "Mainstream Media" for the anger in society. Brennan responded, tweeting that Trump should "Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror."

    The bombs are about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long and packed with powder and broken glass, according to a law enforcement official who viewed X-ray images. The official said the devices were made from PVC pipe and covered with black tape.

    The first bomb discovered was delivered Monday to the suburban New York compound of Soros, a major contributor to Democratic causes. Soros has called Trump's presidency "dangerous."


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    The latest packages addressed to Sen. Cory Booker and former Intel Chief James Clapper were intercepted overnight

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    Authorities confirmed multiple fatalities at the Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh.

    Police across the state Saturday reported increases in patrols around synagogues after a mass shooting in Pittsburgh killed at least 10 people and wounded several others. 

    In Essex County, Sheriff Armando Fontoura ordered all officers to increase vigilance at and around all Essex County synagogues and other houses of worship.

    "This act of senseless violence has prompted us to increase these patrol operations,"  Fontoura said. "In addition to our condolences to the Pittsburgh victims and their families, we want all residents of Essex County to feel safe and secure as they attend the religious services of their choice." 

    In Hunterdon County, police increased patrols at houses of worship, according to County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns III. 

    Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal send out tweets calling for an end to gun violence and thanking officers wounded in the line of duty.  

    The fatal shootings inside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh took place during baby naming ceremony where at least four police officers who dashed to the scene, were wounded authorities said.

    "I have asked all of our law enforcement partners to pay close attention to houses of worship and nonprofits with religious affiliations amongst our other sites throughout the county," Camden County Freeholder  Jonathan Young  said. 

    State Police did not report additional patrols as of Saturday evening, but authorities in Bergen and Passaic counties did.

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

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find on Facebook

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    About 11,000 dogs and cats were euthanized in 2017, records show.

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    Most of the country has no idea what the heck Mischief Night even is. Here's how the night of toilet paper and soapy windows came to be.

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    The 28-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene after being ejected from his vehicle.

    One person is dead after a Saturday night crash on Route 42 in Bellmawr. 

    State Police spokesman Sgt. Lawrence Peele said Marquis Demagnus, 28, of Philadelphia, was driving a Volvo northbound on Route 42 when his car drifted to the left side of the roadway near mile marker 14.1 and hit a concrete barrier.

    Demagnus was ejected from the vehicle, Peele said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    No other vehicles were involved and there were no passengers in the Volvo, Peele said. 

    A portion of Route 42 was closed for nearly two hours after the crash.

    The circumstances surrounding the accident remain under investigation.

    Chris Franklin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @cfranklinnews. Find on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us.


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    Consider adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue group.

    Halloween is filled with light-hearted tricks and treats, and it's important to keep safety in mind for every member of the family--including your pets. Halloween can pose a number of potential safety hazards for pets, who tend to experience high levels of stress due to the hustle and bustle of the holiday.

    Here are a few tips from to keep you and your four-legged family members safe and happy this Halloween:

    -2e494a9b757a636d njadvancemedia.JPG 

    Costumes, while cute, can be dangerous for pets. If you choose to dress your pet up in costume, make sure they can move in it comfortably and most importantly, safely. Avoid costumes that require tying anything around your pet's neck that can choke them, or costumes that hang to the ground that they may stumble over.

    Keep your pet away from harmful Halloween candy and food. Before you give in to your pet's pleading eyes and feed them that Halloween candy bar, be aware of the harmful consequences of feeding human food to any animal. To reduce temptation, feed your pet before any guests arrive so they will be less likely to beg and steal food. Tell your guests of any house rules regarding your pet, such as not feeding them scraps from the table.

    If nicotine and alcohol will be consumed in your home this Halloween, be extra vigilant to keep these items out of your pet's reach. These substances can be highly toxic--even deadly--to animals.

    Keep your home a safe space for your pet. Animals can get stressed with the hustle and bustle of guests and trick-or-treaters. It's best to keep your pets indoors and provide them with a safe, quiet, escape-proof room where they can be removed from the energy and excitement of the holiday.

    As trick-or-treaters come to your door, there will be many opportunities for your pets to slip out unnoticed. Make sure that your pets always wear current identification tags, consider having your pets microchipped if you haven't already--and watch the door!

    Follow these tips, and your pet will have just as much fun as you and your kids this Halloween.

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

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    An 18-year-old man and a 39-year-old woman died in the Gloucester County crash Sunday afternoon

    Both drivers were killed after an 18-year-old behind the wheel of a stolen car crashed head-on into another vehicle Sunday afternoon in Gloucester County, authorities said.

    Joshua Taylor, 18, of Lindenwold, and Olubola Sode, 39, of Egg Harbor City, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on South Black Horse Pike in Monroe, police said Monday.

    Taylor was driving erratically for several miles and crossed over the center line about a mile east of Whitehall Road, according to police. The 2007 Toyota Camry Taylor was driving had been reported stolen from Park Lane Apartments in Atlantic City on Saturday.

    There were no passengers in either vehicle, Capt. David Dailey said. 

    Sode worked as a vice president of patient services at Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation in Galloway. 

    "Our hearts are broken this morning with the loss of our friend and colleague, Olubola Sode," her employer wrote on the company's Facebook page. "Admired, respected and loved by the extended Bacharach family, Bola's work ethic and selflessness will remain as a shining example for us all."

    South Black Horse Pike was closed for several hours as police investigated the crash, which took place near the Star Motel. Sode was driving an SUV.

    Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call Monroe police officer Mike Gabbianelli at 856-728-9800 extension 566.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook



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    He served a prison sentence here, and then was deported to E Salvador

    An Salvadoran man who illegally returned to the United States after being deported following a prison term for a sex crime against a child has been sentenced again to prison.

    Samuel De Jesus Corvera-Mata, 43, pleaded guilty in May to the federal crimes of illegal re-entry following a conviction for an aggravated felony and failing to register as a federal sex offender, 

    On Monday, a federal judge in Camden sentenced him to 18 months in prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey announced.

    Corvera-Mata was convicted in the 1990s in California of lewd and lascivious conduct on a 7-year-old, and then deported to El Salvador in 2004 following a 10-year 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.

    Corvera-Mata was located and arrested in Camden County in October 2017, the office said, and he'd not registered as a sex offender. Authorities also found he'd not legally returned to the country as well.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find on Facebook.



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    A Campbell Soup executive has left the company a month early after he posted a conspiracy theory on Twitter that billionaire George Soros was behind a Central American migrant caravan.

    A Campbell Soup executive has left the company a month early after he posted a conspiracy theory on his now-deleted Twitter account that billionaire George Soros was behind a Central American migrant caravan heading north to the U.S.-Mexico border.

    In his Oct. 22 tweet, which was posted on Twitter in a screen shot by New York Times reporter Kenneth Vogel, former Campbell Soup vice president of government affairs Kelly Johnston, wrote that Soros' foundation, Open Society, "planned and is executing" the caravan.

    "And they have an Army of American immigration lawyers waiting at the border," the Tweet said.

    Soros, who is a supporter of Democratic ideals, had a pipe bomb delivered to his home in Katonah, N.Y. on Oct. 22, along with several prominent critics of President Donald Trump including the Clintons, Barack Obama and CNN.

    A Campbell's Soup spokesperson said Johnston and the Camden-based company had discussed in August that he would "transition out of his role" and was scheduled to leave in early November, but the Tweet "accelerated" the timing of his departure.

    "In the last few days, the company and Mr. Johnston agreed that under the current circumstances it would be best to accelerate the timing of his departure," the spokesperson said.

    Following Johnston's Tweet, Open Society responded to him on Twitter by saying the foundation that neither it nor Soros were funding the caravan.

    "We are surprised to see a @CampbellSoupCompany executive spreading false stories," the tweet said. "We do support the historic U.S. commitment to welcoming people fleeing oppression and violence in their homelands."

    Open Society's president also wrote a letter to Campbell Soup last week, and the company's CEO wrote a letter back on Oct. 23 saying Johnston's remarks did "not represent the position of Campbell and are inconsistent with how Campbell approaches public debate."

    "We regret that this episode happened and has colored his service to us," the letter stated.

    The caravan was estimated to include around between 3,000 and 4,000 people, consisting mostly of Honduran migrants, the Washington Post reported Monday.

    The Pentagon said Monday it was sending 5,200 troops to the Southwest border this week to stop the caravan, which was still hundreds of miles from the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

    President Trump said in a Tweet early Monday that the caravan included many "gang members and some very bad people."

    "Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process," his Tweet said. "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find on Facebook.


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    His attorney said he fled because he worried that he'd be blamed for his wife's death - which he was.

    A jury on Tuesday acquitted a 35-year-old Stratford man in the shooting death of his wife after hearing the defense theory that she committed suicide.

    Mario Flores was charged with murder after police found Roxanne Flores, 35, shot to death in their home early Feb. 20, 2016. He has been in jail for more than two and a half years, since police found him in Virginia nine hours later with his passport and a suitcase

    "It was suicide and not murder," said Flores' attorney, Robin Lord of Trenton. "He took off because he panicked and thought no one would believe him."

    Police did not believe Flores when he told them he had found his wife dead in their house on Wright Avenue. Lord acknowledged that it looked suspicious that he removed the gun from the home and fled, but said police had a duty to investigate the possibility of a suicide.

    At his bail hearing in 2016, Assistant Camden County Prosecutor Christine Shah said the couple had relationship problems that caused Flores to shoot his wife in the neck while their three kids were home. 

    Roxanne Flores Roxanne Flores, 35, of Stratford (Photo provided) 

    Lord said that during the seven-week trial, forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht testified for the defense. He said that after interviewing Flores and reviewing police and autopsy reports, he believed that Roxanne Flores had shot herself, according to Lord.

    He cited evidence of "powder burns" -- a burn often left by close-range gunfire -- on Roxanne Flores's hands. He also said there was evidence the gun was held upside down when it fired, something that is much more likely in a suicide than a homicide, Lord said.

    She said Charles Seibert, deputy medical examiner for Camden County, testified for the prosecution that he believed the powder burns on the woman's hands could have come from her attempts to get the gun away or shield herself during the shooting.

    Lord said there was also evidence Roxanne Flores had a history of depression and was distraught that her husband was being unfaithful. The night of her death, she had posted photos on Instagram of guns, Lord said.

    Sex offender who snuck back into the U.S. going to prison

    She said that Judge David M. Ragonese ordered Flores released after the verdict, which came around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

    Her client always believed the jury would acquit, she said.

    "He said, 'I'm innocent, the jury's going to see that,'" Lord said.

    Flores, a native of Honduras who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s, now hopes to restart his drywalling business.

    He also would like to rebuild his relationship with his three children, who were 3, 8, and 13 years old when their mother died, Lord said. They have been living with a maternal aunt.

    Roxanne Flores worked in the Voorhees medical offices of Advanced ENT, and was remembered by a coworker in 2016 as a great woman with a "big heart."

    The Camden County Prosecutor's Office confirmed the verdict but did not have any other comment.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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