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This Hour: Latest New Jersey news, sports, business and entertainment

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SHOWBOAT PROTEST

Showboat casino workers to protest planned closing

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Several hundred workers at Atlantic City's Showboat casino will stage a rally to protest its planned Aug. 31 shutdown.

Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union says about 200 Showboat workers are expected to participate in Thursday night's rally, which is designed to help swing public opinion against the casino closing. The Showboat is one of three casinos in Atlantic City that could close by September.

The workers say they want owner Caesars Entertainment to sell the still-profitable Showboat to someone who will continue to operate it as a casino.

In addition to the Showboat, Trump Plaza plans to close by Sept. 16, and Revel could also shut down if a buyer is not found in a bankruptcy court auction next month.

RIDGEFIELD CRASH

1 killed in Ridgefield crash

RIDGEFIELD, N.J. (AP) - One person is dead and two others injured after a car hit a building in Ridgefield.

The crash happened early Thursday at the intersection of Broad and Edgewater avenues.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli says the front-seat passenger was killed in the crash.

No names have been released.

The accident investigation has caused traffic delays along Routes 1 and 9 near the Ridgefield Circle.

BAIL OVERHAUL

New Jersey lawmakers consider bail changes

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey lawmakers are planning to gather opinions on whether it's a good idea to overhaul the state's bail system.

Doing so would require an amendment to the state constitution. Some lawmakers want to take that to voters in November, but they would need to take action by next month for that to happen.

A state Senate committee hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Thursday morning.

Under the proposed changes, suspects who are considered dangerous could be held without possibility of bail and lower-level suspects could be freed while they await trial without posting bail.

ROAD RAGE-FATAL SHOOTING

State rests in Md. road rage fatal shooting

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The defense is presenting its case in the first-degree murder trial of a New Jersey detective who acknowledges shooting a Maryland man after a bout of road rage last year.

The Capital of Annapolis reports that attorneys for 41-year-old Joseph Walker called their first witness Thursday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court. Walker is an investigator for the Hudson County, New Jersey, prosecutor's office.

The state rested Wednesday after calling more than a dozen witnesses.

Walker is charged in the June 2013 shooting of 36-year-old Joseph Harvey of Landsdowne. Harvey was shot after the two drivers pulled over on an Interstate 97 entrance ramp following some traffic jostling.

Defense lawyers say Walker thought that he, his wife and three children were in danger when he fired his gun.

SNAKE LAKE HUNT

State ends hunt for snake in New Jersey lake

JEFFERSON, N.J. (AP) - Reports of a 16-foot-long exotic snake slithering around New Jersey's largest lake are apparently a suburban legend or the snake just isn't hungry.

The state has stopped looking for the reptile after scientists failed to find any evidence of the snake in Lake Hopatcong and traps baited with chicken were left untouched.

Three unconfirmed sightings this month of a snake, perhaps an anaconda as large as 16-feet, raised concerns among visitors and swimmers.

Environmental Protection Department spokesman Larry Ragonese says state wildlife experts have found no scientific or biological evidence that an exotic snake is in the area. Ragonese says there are no signs of droppings or skin.

Ragonese says the 4-square-mile lake is home to black snakes and water snakes that can grow up to 10-feet long.

NJ NATURAL GAS-STORMS

NJ Natural Gas storm program gets approval

WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Natural Gas has received state approval to begin work on a $102.5 million program to protect its distribution and transmission systems from storm damage.

The utility sustained substantial damage during Superstorm Sandy. Sandy forced it to curtail service from Bay Head to Long Beach Island, replace 270 miles of pipes, rebuild or replace 51,000 gas meters, and complete 121,000 service assessments.

The six enhancement projects include installing a secondary main in Sea Bright, a new high-pressure feed to Mantoloking and approximately 35,000 excess flow valves which restrict the flow of gas when there's a change in pressure.

The utility says there will be no change to customers' bills this winter. New Jersey Natural Gas says it will seek to recover costs through its base rates.

ISRAEL RALLY

North Jersey Jewish group to rally for Israel

ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (AP) - The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey will hold a solidarity rally for Israel.

The rally will take place Thursday night at the Bergen Pac in Englewood.

Speakers will include religious and political leaders.

The rally comes as Israeli forces and Hamas militants fight over the Gaza Strip.

Bags will be checked at the door and people are encouraged to leave them at home.

TROOPER-CRASH SETTLEMENT

NJ pays $150K to man injured by off-duty trooper

(Information in the following story is from: The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger, http://www.nj.com )

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey is paying a $150,000 to a Philadelphia man who was injured in a car crash by an off-duty trooper.

Clayton Tanskley was driving on Interstate 295 in Camden County when his SUV was struck from behind by an unmarked patrol car driven by Detective Sgt. William Billingham in 2009.

The Star-Ledger of Newark reports under terms of the settlement, the State Police admit no wrongdoing and Tanksley agreed to drop all claims against the department.

The newspaper says troopers on the scene of the crash used Billingham's undercover name on the accident report and did not ask him to take a blood-alcohol test. That thwarted Tanksley's efforts to learn the trooper's true identity until 2011.

The trooper is suspended without pay, charged with assault by auto.

CHILD PORNOGRAPHY SWEEP

14 New Jersey men face child porn charges

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Two School bus drivers are among 14 men arrested in New Jersey in a child pornography sweep.

Federal and state authorities say the men used a file-sharing network to download and distribute child pornography on the Internet.

One suspect is accused of manufacturing child pornography to hack into a girl's email account and blackmail her into stripping on a webcam while he recorded.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman will announce details of the arrests during a news conference in Trenton on Thursday.

LOTTERY WINNER-LARGE FAMILY

Large family to share NJ Lottery winnings

BEACHWOOD, N.J. (AP) - The winner of a $20 million New Jersey Lottery Pick-6 jackpot plans to keep it all in the family and share the winnings with 19 relatives.

A lottery spokeswoman says the Ocean County woman has 16 brothers and sisters who range in age from 53 to 76. She also wants to share it with three children of a brother who died a few years ago.

The winner has decided to take a lump sum payment of $14 million, which is worth about $10 million after taxes.

The family will be introduced during a news conference in Beachwood on Thursday afternoon.

The lottery says the family's patriarch emigrated from Norway in the early 20th century and married a woman from the Jersey shore. They set roots in Ocean County.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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