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

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    The music, which continues late into the night and is believed to be coming from Delaware, has residents aggravated. Watch video

    It's described as a booming or thumping sound. A repetitive, dull bass that been pulsating through homes and rattling residents' nerves.

    It's music whose origin is a mystery and has been bombarding residents in the Delaware River towns of Carneys PointPenns Grove and Pennsville. It's been heard various times since the summer, some say, but the worst spate has been in the past couple of weeks.

    "It was like a sickening pulsing heartbeat. We turned up our television, but could not overpower the throb," said Monica Morris Lind, a riverfront resident describing the wave of sound that was traveling across the water on Sunday night.

    "The thumping came straight through our front porch to the back of our home in the kitchen. It went on until the wee hours of the morning until around 3 a.m."

    Is the First State having a party and forgot to invite Jersey?

    That's one idea that can probably be ruled out, but others have theories.

    A party boat? Music being played on a dredge anchored in the channel? A nightclub on the Delaware shore? 

    It begins usually in the early evening and continues on into the early-morning hours. Sometimes that's as late (or early, if you will) as 4 a.m.

    Residents are aggravated. Police are frustrated. Their patience is wearing thin.

    "At this stage Delaware authorities have not been able to locate (the source of the music)," said Penns Grove Chief of Police John T. Stranahan Sr., adding, "We've had officers, including myself, go to Delaware to attempt to locate the music and we've narrowed it down to a very small area."

    He wouldn't yet specify where but promised once it's confirmed he'll let the public know. 

    "Everyone assumes its local because it's so loud," the chief said.

    Carol Napoleon Hampton of Pennsville recorded a video of the weird occurrence Sunday evening. From a spot south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge the music can very clearly be heard over the sound of river waves lapping the shore.

    Areas with most noise pollution in N.J.

    Residents for a 15-mile stretch north and south of where Hampton recorded sound describe it as loud or louder than what she captured. They say they not only hear it, but can actually feel the vibrations from the music rattling their homes and their bodies.

    "Some nights it's been very loud. Sometimes it's just bass off in the distance. However, still annoying," a member of one Facebook group in the Penns Grove-Carneys Point area described it.

    Others have said they thought a car was parked outside of their house blaring music, the sounds have been so loud.

    Pennsville Chief of Police Allen J. Cummings said his department has received more than 20 complaints in October alone.

    Delaware authorities, he said, told him "they are working on it."

    Carneys Point Police Chief Gerald R. Krivda said his department has received numerous complaints which were passed on to Delaware.

    The county's 911 call center has received at least 55 calls about the music in October, the center's director, Scott Haines, said. The largest number of complaints came in on Oct. 20 and 21, 38 in total just that weekend.

    A spokesman for Delaware State Police said so far they have received three noise complaints -- on Oct. 14, 23 and 28 between 7:45 and 11:30 p.m.

    Master Corporal Michael Austin said the area identified by callers stretched from the Port of Wilmington north to Edgemoor Road -- areas across the river from Carneys Point and Penns Grove.

    Austin said when troopers went to the areas they heard no music and were unable to find a source.

    He said police were told a possible source of the music could be a barge in the river connected to dredging operations and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources. Officials there didn't immediately respond to an inquiry sent by NJ Advance Media.

    And it's not just people living along the Delaware River who are hearing the mystery thumps in the night.

    Residents far inland in Mannington Township and the village of Auburn in Oldmans Township have reported hearing the bass sound late into the night.

    One theory is the music is coming from people gathering in Delaware and showing off the enormous custom sound systems in their vehicles.

    That was the case this past summer when booming music coming across the Delaware River from South Philadelphia was keeping residents of Gloucester City awake.

    Austin says New Jersey residents hearing the music and who want to register a complaint should call Delaware State Police at 302-573-2800.

    Bill Gallo Jr. may be reached at bgallo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow Bill Gallo Jr. on Twitter @bgallojr. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    William Smith Jr., 47, has been missing since last Sunday, according to police and his sister

    Police are asking the public to help find a military war veteran and government worker who has been missing for several days.

    William Smith, Jr., 47, was last seen about 10:30 p.m. Sunday leaving his home alone on Addison Avenue in Haddon Township, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office and local police department.

    smith-missing.jpgWilliam Smith Jr. 

    The prosecutor's office added Smith might be in the Germantown, Pennsylvania, area.

    "Authorities believe that William Smith Jr. may be at-risk," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

    Smith is 5-feet, 6-inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds, authorities said.

    His sister, Kelsey Cobain of Corpus Christie, Texas, said her brother is white, has black hair, black mustache, goatee and a tattoo of a Mickey Mouse's "Merlin" on his right shoulder, bicep area.

    She said he works for the U.S. Department of Defense in Philadelphia.

    "This behavior is uncharacteristic of William," Cobain wrote in an email to NJ Advance Media.

    Smith was to travel to Texas for a vacation with family members, leaving this Friday, his sister said, adding that his father and wife both died recently.

    "He had been attending grief counseling and from all accounts doing very well," Cobain said.

    Cobain said her brother is a disabled war veteran who suffers from "PTSD and other combat-related issues."

    Anyone with information is asked to call Haddon Township Police Detective Timothy Hak at 609-206-2670 or Camden County Prosecutor's Office Detective Mark English at 856-225-8400.

    Information may also be emailed to ccpotips@ccprosecutor.org or THak@HaddonTwpPolice.com.

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


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    The teacher maintains that the relationship only began once the girl had graduated

    A 30-year-old Latin teacher has been arrested after a teen told police they had a sexual relationship when she was a junior at Cherokee High School in Burlington County.

    Brantley Cesanek was charged with sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and official misconduct when he was arrested at his Haddon Township home Tuesday, according to a joint statement from prosecutors in Burlington and Camden counties.

    According to court documents and the statement, the woman, now over 18, told police she participated in sexual acts with Cesanek multiple times during 2016 to 2017 when she was 16 and 17 years old.

    Cesanek told police the pair only had a sexual relationship after she graduated in 2017, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

    However, he also told authorities in a video-recorded interview that she had slept over at his house twice while she was a student.

    Cherokee High School in Evesham Township is part of the Lenape Regional High School District. A message left for the district superintendent was not immediately returned Wednesday.

    The statement said detectives from Evesham and the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office began looking into the allegations and Camden County and Haddon Township police joined the investigation when they determined that the alleged abuse happened in Cesanek's Haddon Township home.

    Cesanek, originally from Ocean City, is being held at the Camden County Correctional Facility pending a pretrial detention hearing.

    Anyone with information relevant to the case is asked to contact Burlington prosecutor's Detective Melvin Rogers at 609-265-5035 or Camden prosecutor's Detective Lateasha Jones at 856-225-8656.

    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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    Cities like Irvington, Paterson and Plainfield boast a respectable number of historic properties, as does Trenton.

    Count State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) among a group of lawmakers looking to the past to preserve New Jersey's future.

    Specifically, the legislators hope a proposed tax credit would impel homeowners and developers to spur new growth in tired areas by rehabbing the many historic buildings dotting the landscape of the Garden State.

    Under provisions of a bill approved unanimously by the Senate State Government, Waging and Historic Preservation Committee, renovators of certain buildings would qualify for credit worth up to 25 percent of their total project - an incentive that could save homeowners a hefty $25,000 over a 10-year span.

    The amount would not be subject to caps for developers, but a project would require at least $5,000 in rehabilitation expenses to qualify.

    The 23 N.J. towns with the most old homes, ranked

    To be eligible, properties would have to be listed or located in the National Register of Historic Places, or the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.

    Cities like Irvington, Paterson and Plainfield boast a respectable number of these properties, as does Trenton. Turner singled out the city as an example of how the planned credit could serve as a driver for economic growth.

    "This is indeed a way to preserve our history," she said. "We have so many of [these buildings] right here in our capital city."

    Earlier this year, NJ.com analyzed the latest Census data, ranking municipalities with the highest percentage of housing units built before World War II. Many were older cities or townships, particularly in the northern part of the state.

    Trenton came in at No. 5.

    The push for a historic-preservation tax credit has a murky history of its own, going back to 2011, when former Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it as part of a package of post-recession bills.

    Lawmakers persisted over the years, but no similar legislation has gained traction until now, when Gov. Phil Murphy has identified historic preservation as a key way to stimulate the economy.

    Earlier this month, the Democratic leader cited $2 billion in revenues other states have collected by tapping into this resource.

    More than 30 states already have enacted tax credits to prompt historic rehabilitation, advocates at last week's committee hearing testified. Of the 13 colonies that originally made up our young country, only New Hampshire and New Jersey are hold-outs.

    The measure's sponsors wisely included language requiring state historic-preservation officials to report on how many credits have been awarded, how they have been distributed geographically, and how effective they've been.

    We have no crystal ball, but based on what we've seen, the bill would create new building jobs, generate employment taxes and increase the value of properties already on the tax rolls. It deserves the support of the full Legislature as it moves forward.

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

     

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    Batteries not included.

    The Strong National Museum of Play is located in Rochester, New York. Every year, it inducts a select few iconic toys into its National Toy Hall of Fame. The selections range from brand-specific items like the Atari 2600 game system (2006) to board games like Candy Land (2005) and generic playthings such as bubbles, bicycles and cardboard boxes.

    This year's inductees will be announced on Nov. 8 and will be selected from the following nominees:

    702c30ca12b99606e1029af0b975dc0d.jpgWill the Magic 8 Ball make the Toy Hall of Fame? "Cannot predict now." 

    * American Girl dolls
    * Pinball
    * Chalk
    * Sled
    * Chutes and Ladders
    * Tic-Tac-Toe
    * Fisher-Price Corn Popper
    * Tickle Me Elmo
    * Magic 8 Ball
    * Tudor Electric Football
    * Masters of the Universe
    * Uno

    New Jerseyans should particularly pull for the sled and electric football nominees, as both were invented in the Garden State; read more about them here and here.

    The museum inducted three toys in 2017: the Wiffle ball, the paper airplane and Clue. It's going to be hard to choose from among those 12 strong contenders.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    What was your favorite toy growing up? Aside from a special stuffed animal or doll friend, we all had favorite things to play with. While many have stood up to the test of time, others have slipped from our memories.

    Here's a gallery of toys and games from the past you might instantly recognize and others you may have forgotten about. Some are still around, while others have gone away for a variety of reasons.

    And here are links to other galleries you might enjoy:

    Vintage photos of pastimes and games in N.J.

    Vintage photos of N.J. Americana

    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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    William Smith Jr., 47, went missing last weekend. His body was found Wednesday, authorities said.

    A military war veteran and government worker missing for several days has been found dead in Philadelphia, authorities said Wednesday.

    William Smith Jr., 47, was last seen about 10:30 p.m. Sunday when he left his home on Addison Avenue in Haddon Township, authorities said.

    smith-missing.jpgWilliam Smith Jr. 

    His body was found Wednesday, according to Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo and Haddon Township Police Chief Mark Cavallo.

    "There is nothing suspicious about his death at this time," Colalillo and Cavallo said in a statement.

    Authorities did not release details surrounding Smith's death.

    Smith was to travel to Texas for a vacation with family members on Friday, his sister said. His father and wife both died recently and that he had been in grief counseling, she said.

    Cobain said her brother was a disabled war veteran suffering from "PTSD and other combat-related issues."

    Smith worked for the U.S. Department of Defense in Philadelphia, Cobain said.

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


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    Mia Morales is about 5-foot-9 and has been missing since Sunday

    mia-morales.jpgMia Morales 

    Pennsauken Township police are seeking the public's help to find a 17-year-old girl who has been missing since Sunday

    Mia Morales was last seen at the Cherry Hill Mall, officials said. 

    She is 5-foot-9 and weighs about 230 pounds. 

    Police ask anyone with information about Morales to contact Detective Matt Henkel at 856-488-0080 ext. 2413. 

    Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at snietomunoz@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her at @snietomunoz. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Rob Phy thought there was trash strewn in the road when he stopped in Camden County last month. Turns out it was bags of cash

    Rob Phy was driving home on a rainy Monday night last month when he saw something weird in the street. 

    The 48-year-old Runnemede resident stopped in the rain, got out and kicked a bag, expecting trash to greet him. 

    What he saw instead was wads of cash, with more scattered around the street.  

    rob-phy.jpgRob Phy. (Photo provided)
     
     

    "I'm like, 'uh oh, this isn't supposed to be here,'" Phy said. "We have such a small town nothing really happens around here." 

    So he took a picture, then moved it aside and called police. Officers arrived and took the money. 

    "Everything goes through your mind, but you know what, you gotta do the right thing," he said. "When you do something like that, you always want your kids to know, if you're ever out in that situation, do the right thing."

    Runnemede Police Chief Paul Dailey confirmed the incident took place the evening of Oct. 15 at the intersection of Central and 9th avenues. 

    The money had fallen off a GardaWorld truck as it made the turn onto 9th Avenue. Officers took the cash, estimated to be more than $10,000, down to the GardaWorld branch on 9th Avenue. 

    An open and shut case, solved in one night. 

    "There's a lot of good people still in the world today," Dailey said. "This guy knew, he saw it, he did the right thing. He did the honest thing." 

    An employee at GardaWorld in Runnemede declined to comment for this story. GardaWorld media relations representatives could not be reached Thursday. 

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

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    Howard Margolis writes that empty inauguration promises to end violence have become even emptier.

    President Donald Trump has swamped America with limitless lying, scapegoating and fear-mongering, accompanied by inflammatory rhetoric -- "knock the crap out of them," "enemies of the people"-- that set the tone and opened the gates for those Americans attracted to violence.

    As a self-proclaimed "nationalist," how could Trump, who proudly asserts he has a "very, very large brain," and is a "very stable genius," not know that many perceive "nationalist" as an age-old code word for "white nationalists"?

    Shouted through the bully pulpit of the presidency, "nationalist" and similar code words can quickly inspire fear-based haters to act to transform Trump's words into violent realities. To me, it's inconceivable that the president doesn't know that hate is contagious. It spreads. 

    In Trump's January 2017 inauguration speech, he promised the nation, "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now." But, daily murders in America's poorest neighborhoods continue unabated, and mass murders are still common.

    In October 2017, we had the Las Vegas slaughter. This year, soon after the Parkland (Fla.) high-school slaughter, Trump promised Parkland students, teachers, and parents that he would do what was necessary to stop the killings. He was emphatic: "It's not going to be talk like it has been in the past." 

    His scorecard for doing something to end the carnage is a big zero. Will he earn the same score now that hate has led to the murder of two innocent black men at a  Kentucky supermarket and 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh? 

    My guess is, yes. Trump will keep earning zeroes as long as his servile Republican minions in Congress hold the majority. If Democrats gain control, he 'll fold. 

    Why am I sure of this? His New York City history shows he's brave and combative when he holds overwhelming power, but quickly crumbles when challenged by superior, unflinching power. Voting Democrat on Tuesday can create that power. It may save America.

    Howard Margolis, Voorhees Township

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


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    Baker Lanes in Cherry Hill operated from 1958 to 2011.

    The pile of rubble and dirt on the site of the former Baker Lanes bowling alley in Cherry Hill will soon be transformed into a $27 million, 90-bed inpatient substance-abuse treatment facility.

    The new facility will include dedicated recreational activity areas for patients, including a yoga room, indoor basketball and volleyball courts, and a large gym.

    It won't, however, include a bowling alley.

    The decline of Baker Lanes started long before demolition equipment started tearing into the walls of the rundown bowling alley over the summer. It had sat dormant since 2011 and was condemned by the township two years ago. It opened in 1958 and at one time was so popular, customers had to park across busy Cuthbert Boulevard in the N.J. Bell parking lot when the lot there was full.

    bakerlanes2.jpegBaker Lanes in Cherry Hill has been demolished to make way for a $27 million addiction treatment facility. 

    The first smells that hit your nose walking into Baker Lanes were greasy fries and overcooked hotdogs. It was a cozy, flat-roof, one-story building crammed wall to wall with shiny, wooden bowling lanes and orphaned, well-worn bowling balls.

    A decade or so before it shut down, it wasn't one of the shinier pleasure palaces with video games, blaring music, lit lanes and video screens. But that seemed to add to the charm for the locals, especially those on bowling leagues.

    Perhaps it was fitting the location wasn't even the first choice of Cooper University Health Care and Advanced Recovery Systems to build its new facility. The developers had initially staked out a building on Berlin Road near an interchange with Interstate 295. But neighbors in the nearby Brookfield development mounted a successful campaign to get the planning board to reject the proposal.

    A compromise landed the facility on Cuthbert Boulevard, sandwiched behind Route 38, a main access road to Philadelphia. The area is part of a mosaic of corporate parks and industrial use, and nearly a mile from the closest residential area.

    IMG_4900.JPGThe site of the former Baker Lanes bowling alley in Cherry Hill which was torn down to make way for a $27 million rehab facility. 

    "There's a clear need for responsible and effective treatment centers for patients and we look forward to working with ARS to create a facility that will fill an existing gap in the continuum of care and offer quality treatment for Cooper patients and all who are seeking recovery from addiction," said George E. Norcross, III, chairman of Cooper University Health Care.

    Norcross is also a key political powerbroker in the state. His brother Donald Norcross represents Cherry Hill and surrounding communities in the U.S. Congress.

    The pace of drug overdose deaths continues to rise in New Jersey, a statement from Cooper and ARS said. Last year, the CDC estimated there were 2,715 overdose deaths in the state, up more than 16 percent from the year prior, equating to more than seven deaths per day.

    Patients at the new ARS and Cooper facility will have access to a comprehensive range of addiction treatment.

    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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    He had more than 100 files on CDs and a flash drive, the attorney general's office said

    A former state employee admitted in court on Friday that he had child pornography at his desk at work.

    Kevin Smith, 66, of Westmont, Haddon Township, pleaded guilty to third-degree possession of child pornography, the state Attorney General's office said.

    He pleaded before Judge Francisco Dominguez in Superior Court in Camden County, and the state will recommend a four-year sentence. He will be barred from public employment and the state will request he register as a sex offender.

    kevin-smithjpg-db54f3906bb53c82.jpgKevin Smith 

    Smith was an executive assistant with the Division of Income Security in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

    He had more than 100 files on discs and a flash drive in his work cubicle, according to the AG's office.

    "Anyone who views and downloads child pornography online participates in the cruel exploitation of children, but Smith's case is especially egregious because he engaged in this conduct at his state workplace using taxpayer-funded computer equipment," Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said when announcing the plea.

    The State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit investigated Smith after getting a tip that Smith was viewing inappropriate material at work. His computer and the disks were taken to the Forensic Technology Complex and analyzed. Those examiners found the files and also prior searches for child porn.

    Smith was suspended and then retired after his supervisors received the tip. He was arrested in November 2016.

    He made about $110,000 annually when he retired, and currently receives a monthly retirement pension of about $4,178, state records show.

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

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


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    The crash took place on busy Route 42 in Camden County.

    Two people died in a Camden County crash Saturday night, according to New Jersey State Police.

    The accident was reported at 9:23 p.m. on Route 42 in Gloucester Township, police at the Bellmawr Station said.

    A total of five people were in the lone vehicle involved, according to authorities. Of those, two were killed. The conditions of the others weren't available.

    The crash scene was at Milemaker 9.2 northbound near Exit 9.

    The accident caused major backups on the busy highway.

    With the investigation still under way late Saturday night, state police didn't immediately have any further details available.

    Bill Gallo Jr. may be reached at bgallo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow Bill Gallo Jr. on Twitter @bgallojr. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    Five people were in the car when it crashed Saturday night, cops said.

    The two people who died in a single-vehicle crash in Camden County on Saturday have been identified as two women from Sicklerville, New Jersey State Police said Sunday. 

    The accident was reported at 9:23 p.m. on Route 42 in Gloucester Township. Police said a Cadillac veered off the right side of the road and flipped over. 

    The driver, 20-year-old Lonae Moore, and a passenger, Aniyah Gillespie, 21, both died from their injures. Police say they were both from Sicklerville. 

    Screen Shot 2018-11-04 at 10.22.22 AM.pngRoute 42 near Coles Road in Gloucester Township where a car flipped and killed two Saturday.  

    Two other passengers were transported to Cooper University Hospital and another was treated for injuries at the scene. 

    Road closures and traffic near the accident at mile marker 9.2 northbound near Exit 9 near Coles Road had cleared up Sunday.

    State Police are still investigating what caused the crash. 

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.comFollow her on Twitter @By_paigegross. 

     

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    The shooting took place on a Camden street last month.

    Two people have been charged with the murder a man in broad daylight on a Camden street last month. 

    Cahlil Felix, of Pennsauken, and Kelly Joyner-Stewart, of Philadelphia, both 23, face charges of first degree murder as well as conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the death of Jovany Torres, 27, authorities said. 

    The shooting took place Oct. 6 near the intersection of 27th and Berkley streets, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. 

    During the near-month since the shooting, detectives obtained surveillance video of a vehicle used to take suspects to and from the scene, and later identified them as Felix and Joyner-Stewart, according to the prosecutor's office. 

    Joyner-Stewart is being held in a New Jersey State Correctional Facility, and Felix is in the Camden County Correctional Facility. 

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

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    Election Day 2018 will be the first in 36 years without court-ordered limits on Republican voter activities. Watch video

    WASHINGTON -- Tuesday's election will take place without restrictions on Republican National Committee voter activities for the first time since a New Jersey voter intimidation case set them in motion 36 years ago. 

    And that has Democrats worried. 

    U.S. District Court Judge John Michael Vazquez in January ended the court-sanctioned agreement, or consent decree,  limiting GOP efforts to target minority voters.

    That means there will no restrictions on Republican Party activity when New Jersey voters go the polls. GOP spokesman Michael Ahrens said there was no need to impose any rules on the party.

    "It's the RNC's job to get more people to vote, not less," Ahrens said. "Any concern over voting activities is baseless."

    Hugin vs. Menendez: Where they stand on big issues

    Vazquez's decision may not be the last word, however. The Democratic National Committee appealed the ruling to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

    "This has never been a more important time than now to protect New Jersey voters from voter suppression tactics of the Republican Party," said the Democrats' lawyer, Angelo Genova. "There is a reason the GOP was forced to enter into a consent order, and the protections of that order need to be resurrected."

    Should Republicans resurrect the banned practices, they could find themselves back in court with another decree, said Allegra Chapman, director of voting and elections for Common Cause.

    "The GOP, particularly in the past couple of elections, has appeared to clean up their act," Chapman said. "Their aim was to achieve this very result. The question is: Are they going to behave? Just because the consent decree isn't in place now doesn't mean a lawsuit wouldn't be filed if they return to those bad practices."

    A lot is stake on Tuesday. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez is in a surprisingly close race for re-election against former Celgene Corp. executive Bob Hugin, and as many as four Republican-held House seats could fall to Democratic challengers.

    What concerns Democrats is that President Donald Trump has resurrected claims of voter fraud, which studies have shown is virtually non-existent but could lead to efforts to keep people away from the polls. 

    Trump never retracted his false claim that millions of illegal voters backed Hillary Clinton in 2016, depriving him of a popular vote win. He set up a commission to investigate allegations of voter fraud, but later disbanded it following bipartisan opposition from states.

    Many Republican-led states have addressed concern about fraud by enacting voter identification laws that courts have found make it harder for minorities to cast ballots.

    In a recent Pew Research Center poll, 58 percent of Americans said it would be a major problem in a place with 1 million voters if one eligible voter was blocked from the polls, far more than the 41 percent who said the same about allowing one ineligible voter to cast a ballot.

    "Generations of Americans have sacrificed their blood, sweat, and in some cases, lives, for the right to vote," said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who introduced legislation to kill Trump's commission before the president did it.

    "We must do everything we can to protect that right and make it more, not less, secure," Booker said. "Yes, I continue to have serious concerns about voter disenfranchisement and restrictions, and in a state like New Jersey, which has seen its fair share of close elections, the stakes could not be higher."

    The RNC had been under the court-imposed restrictions since after the 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial election, narrowly won by Tom Kean. 

    During that election, state GOP officials sent letters to residents of communities with large numbers of black or Hispanic voters, and then challenged anyone whose mail was returned as undeliverable, even though they were working off outdated registration lists.

    The consent decree had been extended many times since then, but Vazquez declined to extend it again. Democratic officials had argued that the GOP violated the order in 2016 when its presidential nominee asked supporters to "volunteer to be a Trump election observer" and "help me stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election."

    Former White House spokesman Sean Spicer testified that Republican Party officials were kept separate from the Trump campaign's vote-counting operations as not to violate the consent decree.

    Democratic officials said they weren't going to relax now that the order has been dismissed.

    "Democrats and their allies will be vigilant," Genova said. "Lawyers are prepared to respond under the law to the reprehensible tactics of the party of Trump here in New Jersey." 

    Poll watchers have been told to look out for intimidation tactics, said Jim Beach, chairman of the Camden County Democratic Committee. "We just want to make sure this doesn't happen here," he said.

    Ditto with congressional campaigns. Scott Salmon, a lawyer with former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Tom Malinowski's congressional campaign, said he will be checking to see if people waiting on line to vote are being questioned.

    "Unless you're just saying hello to them, they get nervous as soon as they're being questioned," said Salmon, whose candidate is running against Rep. Leonard Lance, R-7th Dist. "It's going to increase the likelihood that some voters are being challenged."

    In Monmouth County, the Board of Elections was aware of the order's expiration, though did not change procedures in response, said secretary Allan Roth, a Democratic member.

    To guard against any problems, Attorney General Gurwir Grebal will station deputy attorneys general in all 21 counties, spokesman Leland Moore said.

    "Our commitment - in any circumstance - is to help ensure the integrity of the voting process, and to assist county election officials in resolving any voting-related legal issues that may arise," Moore said.

    Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JDSalant or on Facebook. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.

     

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    Dogs and cats await adoption at shelters and rescues throughout New Jersey.

    Here is this week's collection of some of the dogs and cats in need of adoption in New Jersey.

    We accept dogs and cats to appear in the gallery from nonprofit shelters and rescues throughout New Jersey. If a group wishes to participate in this weekly gallery on nj.com, please contact Greg Hatala at greghatalagalleries@gmail.com.

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


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    The 65-year-old walked out of a nursing home in Stafford on Friday morning and remains missing

    Police are asking for the public's help as they try to find a 65-year-old man with dementia and other medical issues who has been missing since he left an Ocean County nursing home Friday morning. 

    quach.jpgBu Quach (New Jersey State Police) 

    Bu Quach was seen on surveillance camera walking out of the Manahawkin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Route 72 in Stafford at 11:30 a.m., according to State Police and Stafford police. 

    Quach has dementia, Parkinson's Disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and is diabetic, officials said.

    The 5-foot-5, 120 pound Quach has brown eyes, chin-length salt and pepper hair, a beard, and has "black Asian symbols" tattooed on both forearms, according State Police. He was wearing a red T-shirt, grey pants, socks, and a yellow wrist band.

    Quach's driver's license lists an address on the 100 block of South 36th Street in Camden. He has family in Pennsauken. 

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Jersey State Police Missing Person's Unit at 609-882-2000 extension 2050 or Stafford police at 609-597-8581. Anonymous tips are welcome.

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

     


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    The officer had Oxycodone and several other pharmaceuticals to sell inmates, authorities said.

    A corrections officer at the Camden County jail was caught trying to smuggle drugs into the facility to be sold among inmates, authorities said Monday.

    Christopher Bowie, 47, of the Sicklerville section of Winslow Township, had 21 Suboxone strips, four pills suspected to be Oxycodone and six pills suspected to be Xanax on him and in his vehicle when he reported for work at the jail Sunday, according to court documents and a press release from the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

    The release said investigators believe he planned to distribute the drugs in the jail. Neither the release or the probable cause statement police filed in court revealed how police came to believe Bowie planned to sell the drugs.

    Bowie was suspended immediately while the Camden County Corrections Internal Affairs unit and the Prosecutor's Office Special Prosecutions Unit investigate, the release said.

    He was charged with distributing a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and official misconduct, the office said.

    State pension records show Bowie earned $43,424 last year and started working for the county in 2015.

    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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    Daniel Waterfield and Amanda Seth are charged with discarding a woman's body on Purgatory Road

    Two Camden County residents were arrested last week after New Jersey State Police investigators learned they'd dumped a woman's body along the side of a highway in Burlington County.

    Daniel Waterfield, 53, of Lawnside and Amanda Seth, 35, of Camden, were arrested Thursday and charged with desecration of human remains and evidence tampering, the State Police said in a news statement.

    The investigation began on Halloween night, Oct. 31, when someone found a woman's body on a berm on Purgratory Road near Route 70 in Southampton Township.

    Troopers and EMS arrived but could not revive her, and she wasn't carrying ID.

    State police Troop C investigators later, through fingerprint analysis, identified her as Kerri Stetser, 36, of Paulsboro.

    Police said they were able to determine that Stetser overdosed in Waterfield's vehicle on Oct. 31 and Waterfield then contacted Seth, who brought her vehicle to help get rid of Stetser's body.

    Investigators found Waterfield and Seth in Camden the next day, on Nov. 1, and arrested them without incident.

    Waterfield is at the Burlington County Jail pending a detention hearing. Seth was released before an upcoming court appearance. 

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

     


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    Three of the original four children infected have recovered, according to a press release from the Voorhees Pediatric Facility.

    A fifth child has been infected in a viral outbreak at a long-term care facility in Camden County, state Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal announced Monday. 

    The outbreak at the Voorhees Pediatric Facility in South Jersey is unrelated to the one that has claimed 10 young lives at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in northern Passaic County.

    The hospital-acquired adenovirus is to blame in both locations, but the strain detected at Voorhees is not as virulent as the one in Haskell, the health department said. 

    Vooehees and Wanaque serve children who require around-the clock care and usually rely on technology to help them breathe and eat.

    New viral outbreak hits second N.J. pediatric healthcare facility, with 4 kids ill

    "The Department and local health partners have been working with the facility to provide infection control recommendations and identify other possible illnesses since the facility notified the Department of a case of adenovirus in a resident on October 26," Elnahal said. 

    More cases may develop, the department said. So far, the onset of the illness began Oct. 20 and the most recent illness was reported Oct. 29, the department said.

    A message left for Voorhees' Administrator Scott Goldberg was not immediately returned.

    A Nov. 2 press release on the facility's website said three of the four residents of the facility had recovered.

    "Voorhees Pediatric Facility is working aggressively to control the spread of the virus," according to the press release, which described the strain of adenovirus as "mild."

    The health department the specific strain, though not yet identified, is not type 7, which can lead to death and has been identified at the Wanaque facility, the press release said.

    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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