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

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Christie to hold town hall event in Belmar

BELMAR, N.J. (AP) - Governor Chris Christie continues his summertime talks with residents in New Jersey's beach communities.

The governor will hold a town hall meeting in Belmar this afternoon.

Christie has spent the last few weeks at similar events calling for pension reform, hammering away the message that the state's promised pension and health benefits for public employees are unsustainable.

Union members and political advocates are ramping up protests at the events while they file lawsuits seeking to force Christie to make payments to the pension fund.


Christie to speak about bail reform

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Governor Chris Christie is going to have something to say about bail reform.

Christie will make a statement today about his decision to hold a special legislative session on Thursday to try to persuade lawmakers to adopt an overhaul of the state's bail system.

The proposed changes have bipartisan but not universal support in the Legislature. They would give judges discretion to keep those considered dangerous behind bars and to release minor offenders even if they can't afford bail. The measures are seen as a way to save taxpayers money by keeping fewer people in jail as they await trial.

The overhaul is a priority for the Republican governor and Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney. But it has met resistance from Democratic Assembly leaders.


Terror threats at chemical plants underestimated

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional investigators say the government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America's densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers particularly vulnerable to terrorists.

The investigation by Republican staff on the Senate Homeland Security Committee documents inspection delays and government errors in risk assessment in a $595 million terror prevention program. A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press.

Half of the 4,011 high-risk facilities on the Homeland Security Department's watch list are in 10 states. They are California, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan and New Jersey.

Committee investigators say larger metropolitan regions such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia might be more vulnerable to an attack.


Fence aims to curb George Washington Bridge jumps

(Information in the following story is from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), )

FORT LEE, N.J. (AP) - The George Washington Bridge spanning New York and New Jersey is getting a fence to help curb suicides as the number of deaths there approaches record levels.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says there have been 13 suicides and 40 rescues on the span so far this year. There were 16 deaths for all of 2013.

Plans call for erecting a 9-foot fence to replace the current railing to make jumping from the bridge difficult.

Chief structural engineer Bernie Yostpile tells The Record newspaper that the project will cost $37 million to $47 million and will be completed in 2022.

Until then, the Port Authority has increased patrols, improved lighting and installed security cameras.


Deliberations to continue in road-rage shooting

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A jury in the trial of a New Jersey detective charged with murder in the slaying of a driver during an alleged road-rage incident is set to resume deliberations.

Forty-one-year-old Joseph Walker, an investigator for the Hudson County, New Jersey, prosecutor's office, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 36-year-old Joseph Harvey of Landsdowne.

Prosecutors say Walker shot Harvey after the two pulled over in Millersville on June 8, 2013 after some traffic jostling. Walker's lawyers have said their client thought he, his wife and three children were in danger when he fired his gun.

The Anne Arundel County Circuit court jury will continue deliberations Wednesday morning. They had deliberated for about three hours after getting the case on Tuesday.


Firefighters rescue crane operator

(Information in the following story is from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), )

EMERSON, N.J. (AP) - Firefighters in northern New Jersey rescued an Iowa man when his bucket crane buckled.

Josh Lovell of Melcher, Iowa, was working on lights when the crane broke Tuesday.

Emerson Police Chief Donald Rossi tells The Record newspaper the crane's hydraulic line snapped, causing the bucket to drop about 40 feet. The crane was bent at a 90-degree angle.

Lovell says he hung on for dear life until help arrived.


Contract awarded for wider parkway

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - Another section of the Garden State Parkway is getting an extra lane in southern New Jersey.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has awarded a $41.3 million contract to a company to add the third lane between Galloway and Egg Harbor townships. The company also will widen the shoulders.

Work is slated to begin after Labor Day and be finished by August 2017.


Prison for fraudster who lied about booking Bieber

NEW YORK (AP) - A New York man who stole millions of dollars from clients by falsely promising to book performances by world-famous recording artists like Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber has been sentenced to five to 10 years in prison.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced the sentencing of 39-year-old Meceo McEaddy on Tuesday.

His co-defendant, 48-year-old Sylvester Vincent Carroll, of New Jersey, was sentenced this month to three to nine years in prison. Both pleaded guilty to multiple counts of grand larceny, scheme to defraud and other charges.

Vance says the two stole about $3.7 million from party planners around the world. He says the scheme began in 2010 when the duo took $825,000 from a Brazilian company that believed it had booked Rihanna for concerts in Rio de Janeiro.


24 Albanians graduate from National Guard school

(Information in the following story is from: The (Trenton, N.J.) Times, )

LAWRENCE, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey's National Guard has trained 24 soldiers from Albania to become officers.

They graduated from the state's National Guard Officer Candidate School during a ceremony in Lawrence on Tuesday.

Officials say it's the first time a state's National Guard trained foreign military officer candidates under a state partnership program.

The 12-week training took place at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

The Times of Trenton reports Albanian Maj. Ge. Jeronim Bazo told the graduates that it's now their turn to bring need change to their country's armed forces.


NJ theme park marks birth of first sea lion pup

JACKSON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure is celebrating its first sea lion pup born at the park.

Kona was 18 pounds when he was born on June 25 and now weighs 33 pounds.

Animal training supervisor Jessica Peranteau says the pup is becoming more proficient at swimming and has started teething.

Kona, and his mother Anoki, can be seen daily in the underwater viewing pool at the Jackson park's Seafari Theater. There are now five sea lions at the park.

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

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