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Archive for August, 2008

STATE – New Jersey Republicans found little humor in a comment Sen. Frank Lautenberg apparently intended as a joke while being interviewed at the Democratic National Convention this week.

During an ABC World News segment about parties hosted by lobbyists, Lautenberg told ABC News’ Brian Ross that is it his “duty” to attend the parties.

“Of course, you must visit, make sure that the food they serve is OK, that it passes the taste test and the liquor is the right vintage,” Lautenberg said.

The senator’s re-election campaign said that Lautenberg was “obviously joking in his comments to ABC,” but Republican challenger Dick Zimmer was not convinced.

“His so-called joke was evidently his best explanation of what he was doing there. I’d like to know what he would have said if he were speaking seriously. There are a lot of things said in jest that have more truth than the speaker lets on,” Zimmer said.

“These kinds of statements are precisely why Sen. Lautenberg is being sheltered away from the public view by his handlers,” Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson said in a statement.

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PERTH AMBOY – The city mourned a fallen police officer Monday. Officer Thomas Raji was killed in an early Friday morning car accident while he was transporting a prisoner.

Raji’s body was carried to Holy Spirit Church on a horse-drawn caisson followed by a rider-less horse with two boots turned backwards in the stirrups. Hundreds of police officers lined the street to pay their respects. Eight of Raji’s fellow officers carried the coffin into the church, while Raji’s widow followed behind.

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STATE—As the end of summer rapidly approaches and millions of children are preparing to return to school next week, the AAA New Jersey Automobile Club is urging motorists stay alert and drive carefully in neighborhoods and school zones, through its 75th annual “School’s Open-Drive Carefully” campaign.

“Children can get caught up in the excitement of the ‘back-to-school’ season frenzy and forget to watch out for cars,” explains Michele Mount, director of public affairs for the Florham Park-based club. “Some children have trouble making accurate judgments about traffic speed and distance, so drivers need to be particularly alert and aware when driving in school zones and neighborhoods.”

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EDISON – After drawing extensive criticism from the township’s Jewish community, Edison school board officials agreed to change the date of next month’s school bond referendum to Dec. 9. The election was originally scheduled to fall on Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year on the Jewish calendar.

Acting Superintendent John DiMuzio said that the referendum date was changed to avoid “the appearance of insensitivity on the board’s part.”

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STATE—Sen. Ray Lesniak is calling for a 50 percent increase in tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, but he says nothing will be done to reduce the state’s debt, now estimated to exceed $42 billion.

“Any toll increase or gasoline tax will only be for transportation,” Lesniak said. “I don’t think we’re going to do any debt reduction for a while.”

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UNION COUNTY – The high price of diesel fuel is making the contents of tucks’ fuel tanks an attractive target for area thieves.

Last week, thieves siphoned off 160 gallons of diesel fuel from the tanks of three trucks parked overnight in Linden. Earlier this month, a Rahway business had 450 gallons of diesel fuel stolen from the tanks of three of its trucks.

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LINDEN – The congregation of the Reformed Church of Linden recently celebrated the dedication of the new handicapped-accessible addition to the church during a worship service of praise and thanksgiving.

The new elevator with a street level entrance on North Wood Avenue allows all individuals with wheelchairs, walkers and canes, and those with weakness or fragility to participate in all aspects of church life with easy access to all three levels of the church building.

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