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STATE – On Monday, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services announced the first H1N1-related death of New Jersey resident. The patient was a 49-year-old Essex County man who had multiple underlying medical conditions, officials said.

The patient, who was not identified, died in Mountainside Hospital in Montclair on Saturday. He became ill with fever and respiratory symptoms on May 30, was hospitalized on June 2 with pneumonia and his illness worsened, according to officials.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with this man’s family,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard. “Today’s announcement underscores the seriousness of influenza – any type of influenza, not just H1N1. I urge all New Jersey residents to remain vigilant and take the proper precautions to protect themselves and their families.”

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JimmieSession

Jimmie Session

ELIZABETH—Two Newark men have been arrested and charged with the March 18 shooting death of a Roselle business owner, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said Monday. Additionally the men have been linked to a number of robberies in Elizabeth, Millburn and North Arlington.

Jimmie Session, 42, and Victor Russ, 42, are both charged with felony murder, first degree murder, robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon. Union County Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim set bail for each man at $1 million.

Beginning last December, police believe the two men began robbing liquor and convenience stores in the North Jersey area including two locations in Elizabeth, an additional Roselle location and one in North Arlington where a gun was displayed and a shot fired, said Romankow. They also allegedly robbed a store in Millburn, but did not fire a weapon.

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STATE – A change in the way New Jersey reimburses hospitals for patients on Medicaid could cause big problems for already cash-strapped health care facilities.

State officials are finally updating a 20-year-old system that paid hospitals based on the types of services they provided two decades ago. State Human Services spokeswoman Suzanne Esterman said the new system “calculates more fairly the reimbursement level for medical procedures.”

According to an analysis by the New Jersey Hospital Association, 42 hospitals would lose money under the news system and 24 would get more. The analysis concludes that facilities operating mental health programs will be hurt the most by the changes. Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth will be one of the biggest losers under the new formulas, which are scheduled to go into effect in August.

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CLARK—The American Cancer Society invites residents of Clark and surrounding towns to join more than 4,800 other communities across the United States in celebration of survivorship and hope at the second annual Relay For Life of Clark.

The event will be held on Friday, June 12, at Arthur L. Johnson High School, 365 Westfield Avenue.  Registration opens at 3:30 p.m.; opening ceremonies begin at 7 p.m.

The relay will continue throughout Friday night until the closing “Victory Lap” at 8 a.m. the following morning. Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature event and is unlike any typical fundraising walk.

Cancer survivors walk in the “Survivor Celebration Opening Lap” at American Cancer Society-Relay For Life of Cranford, on Friday, May 29. (Photo credit: Ruthanne Brown)

Cancer survivors walk in the “Survivor Celebration Opening Lap” at American Cancer Society-Relay For Life of Cranford, on Friday, May 29. (Photo credit: Ruthanne Brown)

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ELIZABETH—A jury convicted an Elizabeth man of 2nd degree sexual assault and 3rd degree endangering welfare of a child, Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow announced last week.

Gabriel Alvarado, 48, faces at least 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 31, according to Assistant Prosecutor Scott Peterson, who handled the case.

An investigation revealed that Alvarado was a family friend of the victim, who was seven years old at the time she told her parents of the man’s inappropriate touching, said Peterson. Prosecutors believe that Alvarado touched the child several times while she was at his house between 2005-2006.

The parents contacted police who launched an investigation. Alvarado was arrested a short time later. The jury’s verdict came after a three-week trial and nearly eight hours of deliberation.

RAHWAY – The school board will provide information on a proposed district-wide capital projects referendum at a town meeting on Thursdya, June 11, at 6:45 p.m. in the Rahway Library’s meeting room.

The Board of Education will present a $34 million  referendum to voters on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Thursday, school officials will explain the plan with a slide show and question and answer period.

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ELIZABETH—Seth Laderman won’t say whether the ghost of Hannah Caldwell is finally ready for her close up.

But he is predicting fans of Ghost Hunters, the popular cable television series on the SciFi channel, will not be disappointed when they tune in this summer to see what the crew found when they visited the Union County Courthouse.

“They can expect a pretty cool investigation,” said Laderman, a co-producer of the SciFi channel’s Ghost Hunters.

During a break in the shooting of the final scene for an episode of Ghost Hunters that will air in July, Grant Wilson (left) and Jason Hawes (center) share a laugh. The two are founders of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, a group of ordinary people who moonlight and investigate seemingly unexplainable disturbances.  Wilson and Hawes are the driving forces behind Ghost Hunters, the popular Sci-Fi Channel program in which the hunters travel the country investigating reports of paranormal activity. On the right is Brian Dee, the show's director of photography.

During a break in the shooting of the final scene for an episode of Ghost Hunters that will air in July, Grant Wilson (left) and Jason Hawes (center) share a laugh. The two are founders of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, a group of ordinary people who moonlight and investigate seemingly unexplainable disturbances. Wilson and Hawes are the driving forces behind Ghost Hunters, the popular Sci-Fi Channel program in which the hunters travel the country investigating reports of paranormal activity. On the right is Brian Dee, the show's director of photography.

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