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"Brazen" Corruption Charges In Top State News

A weekly look at news in New Jersey

Seven men were arrested on theft and corruption charges Wednesday in a three-pronged scheme the Burlington County Prosecutor called a "brazen and insane attempt" to steal taxpayer resources. Authorities have uncovered more than $100,000 in stolen public resources.

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More than 30 defendants were charged on Friday with various drug offenses after authorities broke a cocaine distribution ring along the Route 27 corridor, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office. "Operation Corridor Crackdown" targeted cocaine distribution activity in the vicinity of the Route 27 corridor between Franklin Township and New Brunswick.

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Thirty-seven alleged toll cheats, from a trucking company indicted for fraud to an unsuspecting Bergen County grandmother, owe the Port Authority a total of more than $1.3 million, the agency said Friday. And they owe more than four times that amount if you add in their proliferating fines, the agency said Friday. [NorthJersey.com]

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Acting on information provided to Lt. James Wozniak by a concerned resident, Cranford police detectives began an investigation that resulted in the arrest of two men and the seizure of more than 1,000 packages of suspected heroin and more than 100 bags of suspected rock cocaine. The investigation began in early February when police obtained information that identified two Newark men as being involved in the regular distribution of narcotics in Cranford.

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More than three-quarters of school districts in the state have decided to move their elections from April to the November general election, which means that while potentially more voters will weigh in on board of education contests, most will no longer have a chance to approve or reject school tax levies. The move, allowed by a bill signed by Gov. Chris Christie on Jan. 17, means that in school districts that move their election to November, voters won't get the chance to cast ballots on budgets that don't exceed a state-imposed 2 percent cap on spending increases. [Asbury Park Press]

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The Ocean County Health Department is warning residents of a local outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, and is urging people to make sure their vaccine records are up to date. Pertussis is a bacterial infection of the lungs that starts like the common cold but later causes severe, violent and rapid coughing with a characteristic "whooping" sound, according to health officials.

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The National Transportation Safety Board is examining how seat belt use factored into the New Jersey school bus crash that killed an 11-year-old tripletand severely injured her two sisters and one other child. New Jersey is one of six states that has seat belt requirements on school buses for passengers. [AP, via Huffington Post]

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Patrick Allocco and his son, Patrick Jr., had been held in Angola since New Year's Eve on fraud accusations. But the Morris Township men were released Fridaynight after their travel ban was lifted and American embassy officials escorted them on a flight to Lisbon.

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Preliminary results of a necropsy performed on the dolphin found dead in a bayside Ocean City lagoon on Feb. 12 show "a heavy load of parasites channeling into the brain" according to Bob Schoelkopf, the director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine. Similar parasites were found in a dolphin found dead on a Delaware Bay beach in Lower Township on Feb. 12 and in a dolphin that died shortly after stranding in Stafford Township off Barnegat Bay on Monday, Schoelkpf said.

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Bergen County residents packed the Bergen County Freeholders meeting Wednesday to protest a proposal to cut 25 percent of the county’s spending towards its mental health programs

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