Comedian Tracy Morgan still struggling after crash
(Information in the following story is from: The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger, http://www.nj.com )
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - An attorney for Tracy Morgan says the former "Saturday Night Live" actor is having a tough time recovering from a June accident on the New Jersey Turnpike that left a fellow comedian dead.
Attorney Benedict Morelli tells The Star-Ledger newspaper that Morgan relies on a wheelchair and it may be months before he can fully walk again. Morelli says Morgan appears to be making progress, but it will be a month before he is assessed "cognitively."
Morgan broke his leg, nose and several ribs in a six-car accident involving his limo bus, and comedian James McNair was killed. The bus was struck by a Wal-Mart truck.
The truck driver has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
Morgan accused Wal-Mart of negligence in a federal lawsuit.
TRAFFIC JAMS-LEGAL BILLS
Law firm defending Christie bills another $784,000
POINT PLEASANT, N.J. (AP) - The law firm hired to defend Gov. Chris Christie's administration in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal has charged the state another $780,000 for work this summer.
The Department of Law & Public Safety released new invoices Friday from the firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
The firm is representing Christie's office in state and federal investigations into last September's lane closures. It has charged the state more than $7 million so far.
The new invoices total $388,014 for May, $249,972 for June and $146,473 for July.
Gibson Dunn earlier this year agreed to reduce its rate from $650 per hour to $350.
The firm published a 350-page report in March.
MURDER ARREST-DICE GAME
Man charged with murder after dice game argument
PLAINFIELD, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say a Plainfield man has been arrested and charged with murder after a shooting following a dispute over a dice game.
Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park said Friday that 28-year-old Johnathan Sylvester was charged in the murder of 24-year-old Rashawn Bryant on Aug. 22.
Prosecutors say that Sylvester pulled out a gun after an argument over the game of dice in front of a home around 5 p.m. and shot Bryant. Bryant was pronounced dead at 1 a.m. the next day at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
Sylvester was being held on $1 million bail. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.
Prosecutors say his first court appearance will be held in the coming days.
Decomposed body found in Lakewood home
LAKEWOOD, N.J. (AP) - Ocean County authorities say an autopsy was not able to determine the cause of death for a badly decomposed body found in a home in Lakewood.
Prosecutor's spokesman Al Della Fave (fahv) said that there are so far not suspicious circumstances surrounding 45-year-old Michael Matthews' death.
Fave says that the official cause of death will be determined through a toxicology report, which typically takes four to six weeks to complete.
Police were called by a property manager after a nearby business complained about an odor coming from the residence on Thursday. Police found Matthews, of Brick, inside a bedroom.
Police say squatters have been seen in the area. Della Fave says the person was observed at the house in the last two weeks.
Christie kicks off Labor Day at the beach
POINT PLEASANT, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie kicked off Labor Day weekend with visits to the Jersey shore.
The governor spent Friday morning strolling along the boardwalk in Seaside Heights.
He also weighed in on foreign policy, criticizing President Barack Obama's handling of militants in the Middle East.
He then greeted beach-goers in Point Pleasant Beach.
Christie has made a tradition of visiting the shore to encourage tourism, especially in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts more than 1 million New Jerseyans plan to travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend. That's up 1 percent from last year.
LEGAL GUN-JAIL THREAT
Bill introduced to grant discretion in gun cases
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A Republican lawmaker says he has introduced a bill that would give discretion to New Jersey judges dealing with out-of-state gun owners.
Assemblyman Ronald Dancer introduced "Shaneen's Law" in response to the case of Shaneen Allen. The Pennsylvania mother faces charges for carrying a gun in New Jersey. She is legally allowed to carry the gun in Pennsylvania.
Dancer says current laws impose a minimum three-and-a-half-year sentence on out-of-state residents violating New Jersey's gun laws. He says it's unreasonable for people to know the gun laws in each state.
Dancer says the proposed bill would give judges discretion when dealing with out-of-state residents if they don't have a criminal record, aren't associated with street gangs and are in compliance with their home state's gun laws.
Allen was charged last October following a traffic stop on the Atlantic City Expressway.
Fire in Wildwood causes power outage
WILDWOOD, N.J. (AP) - Power has been completely restored to customers who lost power due to a fire in Wildwood Friday morning.
A spokesman for Atlantic City Electric said that about 1,800 people were without power as a result of a late morning fire. The electric company proactively cut power during the peak of the fire at the request of the fire department.
WPVI-TV reports that the fire broke out at about 11 a.m. and was brought under control within an hour.
No injuries were reported and investigators are looking into what caused the fire.
470 of Showboat workers get new jobs with company
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - More than 470 of the 2,000-plus workers at Atlantic City's Showboat Casino Hotel have found new jobs with other casinos owned by its parent company.
The Showboat is shutting down Sunday afternoon after 27 years on the Boardwalk.
Gary Loveman, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, sent a letter to company employees Friday thanking them for their service and dedication even while not knowing if they would have jobs.
Loveman says about half of the Showboat workers who applied for jobs elsewhere with the company got them, mostly at its three remaining casinos in Atlantic City: Bally's, Caesars and Harrah's.
Showboat is one of three Atlantic City casinos shutting down soon.
Revel is closing Monday and Tuesday, and Trump Plaza is shutting down Sept. 16.
SANDY SECOND SUMMER
Sandy recovery, sun boost Jersey shore business
BELMAR, N.J. (AP) - Good weather and a wider awareness that the Jersey shore has made great strides in recovering from Superstorm Sandy helped make the second summer after the storm better than the first one.
Many business owners say their profits were up 20 to 30 percent this summer compared with 2013, when the shore was still in the early stages of recovering from the devastating 2012 storm.
Matt Riccelli manages Gee Gee's restaurants on the Manasquan beachfront. He says business was up 20 percent. Riccelli says a big factor is that the memory of Sandy's destruction is fading for tourists.
Real estate agent Jerry Bennett says his business increased by 30 percent on Long Beach Island.
Most shore towns sold more beach passes this summer than they did last year.
ESCAPED HORSE EUTHANIZED
1 horse euthanized after 2 escape New Jersey home
MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - One of two horses that escaped a northern New Jersey property has been put down.
State police say two horses were roaming on Route 287 on Friday morning. One horse was struck by a vehicle at about 4:35 a.m.
Authorities say the owner came to the scene and requested that troopers euthanize the animal because of the extent of its injuries. A trooper shot the horse on the scene.
The other horse was not harmed and was taken home in a trailer.
The man driving the vehicle that struck the horse was not injured.
Three lanes were shut down on the highway following the incident but were all reopened before the morning rush hour.
State police are investigating how the horses escaped and got onto the highway.
149 graduate from New Jersey State Police Academy
TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey State Police has gained 149 new state troopers.
The 154th State Police recruit class graduated during ceremonies in Toms River on Friday.
The class started with 200 recruits.
The State Police say approximately one-third of the graduates are minorities and 21 percent have military experience.
Acting Attorney General John Hoffman and Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes were on hand as the troopers received their badges and put on demonstrations that reflected their training.
Montclair-Boonton repairs ahead of schedule
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Transit says regular service will resume on its Montclair-Boonton Line trains on Tuesday.
Workers have finished emergency track repairs a week ahead of schedule.
Service was disrupted on Aug. 19 when a train derailed between the Bay Street and Walnut Street stations in Montclair. No one was injured and passengers were safely transferred from the train.
However, trains could only operate on one track during the repairs and riders faced delays of up to 20 minutes.
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