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New Jersey

21 TO SMOKE? STATE COULD RAISE TOBACCO AGE

New Jersey could raise the legal age for tobacco use from 19 to 21.  An Assembly committee approved a measure that would raise the legal tobacco use age by two years, but it comes with a price…it could cost the state nearly $16 million annually in tax revenue. ##

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SHAKEUP IN NJ DEM PARTY OVER ASSEMBLY SPEAKER POWER PLAY

A shakeup in the Democratic Party landscape in New Jersey now that Democratic Assemblyman Campaign Committee chair Michael Muller has resigned.  Muller resigned the key position as a result of a party split over the position of Assembly Speaker, currently held by Vincent Prieto. ##

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POWERBALL JACKPOT KEEPS CLIMBING IN GARDEN STATE

The Powerball jackpot keeps climbing.  There were no winners in the Wednesday night Powerball drawing which puts the estimated top prize for Saturday night’s drawing at $337 million.  It will be among the top 25 jackpots ever offered in a United States lottery. ##

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TROOPER CHARGED WITH INAPPROPRIATE TRAFFIC STOPS OF WOMEN

A New Jersey State Trooper is charged with attempting to cover up traffic stops involving women with whom he tried to earn a personal, romantic relationship.  31 year old Eric Richardson of Camden allegedly pressured two young women to begin a relationship with him; he’s been suspended pending the investigation. ##

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43 YEAR OLD TEACHER BUSTED FOR UPSKIRT VIDEOS

A 43 year old teacher at Lenape High School has been busted for allegedly taking upskirt videos of female students.  Eric Howell of Maple Shade has been charged with endangering the welfare of children, and other offenses.  Howell will be in court Thursday morning. ##

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NEW JERSEY HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR RESIGNS

The man in charge of counter terrorism in the State of New Jersey has resigned.  Chris Rodriguez has stepped down as the head of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness; he is being replaced by Jared Maples next week. ##

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COAST GUARD RESCUES BOATERS IN CENTRAL NEW JERSEY

The United States Coast Guard rescued five people who were on a boat headed for some pilings in Atlantic Highlands over the weekend.  The boat lost power to an engine and was drifting towards a collision with the piling before the Coast Guard attached a tow line to the boat and towed it safely away.

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ANOTHER MAJOR BEACH PROJECT COMING TO NEW JERSEY

Another major beach renourishment project is coming to New Jersey.  State officials will be in Ortley Beach, Ocean County on Wednesday to usher in a northern Ocean County beach fill project that will cost $128 million.  The project will restore beaches that were stripped by Hurricane Sandy. ##

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SHOOTING INVOLVING STATE TROOPER DURING HOLIDAY WEEKEND

There was a shooting involving a New Jersey State Trooper during the holiday weekend.  Police say a 35 year old man was shot in his Jefferson Township home after being wanted for assaulting his girlfriend.  Police say Matthew Gerndt charged aggressive towards a trooper who discharged his weapon. ##

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