BRICK - Allison Brutka's singular focus has been her education. Last May, she completed her bachelor's degree in social work, and this past May, earned her master's degree. She's waiting on the state to process her license, but she's not counting the time. Yes, actually, she is. Three months and counting.
TOMS RIVER - The neighborhood looks like a typical, middle class one, with mostly manicured lawns that, in mid-July, are blooming with tiger lilies and hostas in yards, hanging baskets filled with a riot of petunias or impatiens - probably purchased from a local big-box chain or grocery store - lining front porches.
LAKEWOOD - That Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 11) was sunny, and not Vermont cold. Virginia Haines had visited family up in the Green Mountain State for Thanksgiving, where the mercury didn't escape the teens throughout the extended weekend.
PINE BEACH - The church at the corner of Hillsdale and Huntington avenues started out as a summer church for summer people, pastored by the Philadelphia minister who, among others, felt this tiny then-section of Berkeley Township needed its own house of worship. By the time the Bartlett family moved from Lakewood to Pine Beach ...
TOMS RIVER - What does the state's chief law enforcement officer and chief legal officer have in common with Gen Z-ers (and, honestly, most people)? He sleeps near his smart phone. And although Gurbir Grewal didn't deny using his phone for more social reasons, his 24/7 job at New Jersey Attorney General demands he be available.
LAKEHURST - You see it first through the gaps in the stockade fencing, a dazzle of black and white stripes with a shock of red that wouldn't come up to an adult's kneecap. There's movement, but there might not be a precise verb to describe this walk.
TOMS RIVER - There are two things North Jersey natives look forward to during their summers: a visit down the shore, and a day at Six Flags Great Adventure. This is true, at least, according to Deborah Mura.
Before she even asked if Julia Scotti wanted a booth or a table, the waitress at Heritage Restaurant in Whiting told Scotti she killed it.
MANCHESTER - There are children and their families pouring into the courtroom of the Manchester municipal building, where the 6 p.m. council meeting will soon commence. The children range from pre-kindergarteners to tweens, who greet each other with squeals and quick side hugs. They're all wearing street clothes.
MANCHESTER - Manchester Township High School held its inaugural Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony. "We're going to be honoring our fallen service members who gave their lives in service to this country," event organizer Dan Staples said. Staples is a math educator and president of the Manchester Township Education Association.
POINT PLEASANT BEACH - The crowd gathered at the ocean near Water Street drew attention from walkers on the boardwalk. "Excuse me, miss. What is happening down there?" a man, walking with his wife on the boardwalk, stopped to ask. "They're releasing a rehabbed sea turtle today.
BAYVILLE - She was told if she made the cut, she would get an envelope in the mail in 14 days. So when the United States Postal Service didn't deliver that envelope on day 14, Gina Maslen's heart sunk a bit. "The 15th day, the letter was in the envelope.
TOMS RIVER - "The defendant's acts were heinous. He preyed upon elderly, weak and infirm," Judge Michael T. Collins said. The judge went along with the plea agreement, sentencing Robert Novy to 10 years in state prison, with parole eligibility in a little more in three years. He can appeal the sentence.
MANCHESTER - While lawmakers in Trenton wrangle with questions over whether legalized recreational marijuana should be put on the November ballot, or legislated into existence, many local governments are exercising skepticism over any potential financial windfall and asking - rhetorically - who is going to pay for the green stuff?
I was the first and only reporter for the Hindenburg's 80th anniversary to get photos of Allen Hagaman, the Lakehurst ground crew casualty.