BODY IN RIVER
Body pulled from river in Paterson
PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - Authorities are trying to determine what killed a person whose body has been removed from the Passaic River in Paterson.
Officials tell The Record that the body was found around 1 p.m. Friday and that a medical examiner has been called to conduct an autopsy.
Other details have not been released, including the sex of the deceased.
Port Authority official resigns amid traffic probe
WEST PATTERSON, N.J. (AP) - A Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official is resigning his post effective Jan. 1, saying a controversy over a mysterious traffic problem on the George Washington Bridge has become "a distraction."
David Wildstein's resignation was first reported by The Record.The newspaper obtained a copy of his resignation letter, submitted Friday. In the letter, he says he intended to leave the agency next year but was resigning early because of the "Fort Lee issue."
New Jersey lawmakers this week ordered two Port Authority officials to testify on Monday about unannounced lane closures in September.
Officials say the September lane closures, which backed up traffic in Fort Lee, were for a traffic study and deny suggestions that they were orchestrated by Gov. Chris Christie as political retribution.
Thousands of dollars of synthetic pot seized in NJ
ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - Authorities have seized thousands of dollars of synthetic marijuana from an Elizabeth man's home and the store where he worked.
The Union County Prosecutor's Office says 39-year-old Shabib Al Ramadina was selling synthetic marijuana and drug paraphernalia out of Brothers Food Market in Elizabeth.
Officials found more than 300 5-gram packages of the drugs at his home and workplace.
Police also discovered more than $1,100 in cash in the store.
The drugs have an estimated street value of $6,200.
Synthetic marijuana has infiltrated the U.S. market, despite efforts to ban it.
They are often marketed as being legal under names like "spice," and often contain chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Al Ramadina is charged with numerous drug offenses.
No one answered the phone at the store.
NJ police: Pot grow operation found amid fire
(Information in the following story is from: Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, N.J.), http://www.courierpostonline.com/ )
WINSLOW, N.J. (AP) - A southern New Jersey man is facing drug charges after authorities say they found 283 marijuana plants in a Winslow Township apartment he rented during a fire.
Authorities also say they found eight marijuana plants in an underground bunker at 41-year-old Benedetto Taormina's home in Sewell.
A working phone number could not be found for Taormina. He was arrested Thursday and released on bail.
Authorities tell the Courier-Post that a grow facility was found Wednesday when firefighters put out a blaze in an apartment on the same floor as the one he rented in Sewell Township. No one was injured in the fire.
CASINOS-BIRTHDAY CASH LAWSUIT
Caesars still fighting birthday cash lawsuit
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Ten years after a promotion offering $15 in "birthday cash" to patrons led to a class-action lawsuit, a casino company is still fighting a multi-million dollar payout it was ordered to make.
Caesars Entertainment lost a court ruling stemming from the Aug. 2003 promotion in which a Middlesex County woman tried unsuccessfully to redeem her voucher.
Debra Smerling tried to redeem the voucher at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City at 12:30 on a Sunday morning, but was told she couldn't until 8 a.m. Not wanting to wait 7½ hours to collect $15, she left, and filed a class action lawsuit.
A court awarded $5.2 million to thousands of plaintiffs, each of whom stands to get $100.
Caesars says it plans to appeal the case soon, predicting it will win.
Rutgers-Camden Law sanctioned over admission tests
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - The Rutgers University School of Law in Camden has been fined $25,000 by the American Bar Association for accepting students who did not take the bar association's law school admission test.
The bar association requires that students at accredited law schools first take the Law School Admission Test unless their school requests a variance to accept a different entrance exam.
The school acknowledges it did neglected to seek permission to use other tests.
Dean Rayman Solomon tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that most students admitted without LSAT scores decided to attend law school only after the last date to register for the LSAT.
Man guilty in NY in ancient-statue smuggling case
NEW YORK (AP) - A former manager of a now-closed New York art gallery has pleaded guilty for his role in an international scheme to smuggle ancient Buddhist and Hindu sculptures.
Federal officials say Aaron Freedman pleaded guilty in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Friday to conspiracy and criminal possession of stolen property worth $35 million.
Authorities say the Princeton, N.J., resident admitted helping the Art of the Past gallery's owner ship stolen items from India, Pakistan and elsewhere.
The gallery owner is in Indian custody. He faces stolen property charges in New York.
A defense lawyer tells the New York Post that Freedman is taking steps toward rectifying his mistakes.
Officials say Freedman helped sell a $5 million stolen statue of Shiva Nataraja that's displayed at the National Gallery of Australia. The gallery says it'll work with authorities.
Wintry weather possible in NJ on Sunday
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jerseyans could face slippery conditions on the state's highways over the weekend.
The National Weather Service says the northwestern corner of the state could get a mix of sleet and snow Friday night into Saturday morning. In Sussex County, there could be an inch or two of snow and a layer of ice.
Most of the state can expect a mixture of sleet and snow on Sunday.
NJ flags to be at half-staff to honor Mandela
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Flags on New Jersey buildings will be at half-staff to honor the life of Nelson Mandela.
Gov. Chris Christie made the order Friday to have flags lowered on Monday.
Mandela died Thursday at 95.
Christie says the former president of South Africa "brought an end to apartheid in South Africa and helped spread democracy" through his "steadfast determination and personal sacrifice."
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