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

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Advocates make push to legalize marijuana in NJ

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Dozens of activists and community members have gathered at the steps of the New Jersey Statehouse to show their support for legalizing marijuana.

Sunday's rally was among many held nationwide to mark the traditional pot holiday of April 20, a day for marijuana activists to defiantly light up to protest their drug of choice being outlawed. The event in Trenton was organized by Ed Forchion (FOR'-chun), a pro-marijuana activist known as NJ Weedman.

Several speakers urged the crowd of about 150 people to push state and federal lawmakers to legalize or decriminalize marijuana. They also urged them to vote out those who oppose those ideas.

Supporters also called on Gov. Chris Christie to stop "interfering" with the state's medical marijuana program and instead do what he can to help patients.


Man dies following shooting at apartment complex

(Information in the following story is from: Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, N.J.), )

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - Prosecutors say a man who was shot inside his southern New Jersey apartment has died from his injuries.

But a motive for the shooting of 29-year-old Kareem Coleman has not been determined.

Gloucester Township police tell the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill that Coleman apparently was shot inside his unit at the Millbridge Gardens complex shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday. He was taken to a hospital but died there a short time later.

No other injuries were reported in the shooting.

Authorities said no arrests have been made. They did not provide further details on the shooting, including what type of weapon was used.


Woman killed, boyfriend injured in bridge crash

(Information in the following story is from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, )

BELMAR, N.J. (AP) - A woman was killed and her boyfriend was injured when their car and another vehicle collided on a central New Jersey bridge.

Monmouth County authorities tell the Asbury Park Press that 26-year-old Tiffany Soto of Howell died in the crash, which happened around 2 a.m. Sunday on Route 35 in Belmar.

Soto was in a car driven by her boyfriend, Edgar Martinez, who suffered a head injury. The two people in the other vehicle were not injured.

The impact caused Martinez's vehicle to hit a curb, overturn and strike a pole. It then went airborne into a marina parking lot, where it hit a pickup truck.

During this time, Soto was ejected and briefly ended up in the water. She was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.


Police: DWI suspect radios for help after crash

(Information in the following story is from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, )

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say an alleged drunken driver knocked a college security officer unconscious when he crashed into the man's parked vehicle, then apparently used the officer's radio to call for help

West Long Branch police tell the Asbury Park Press that 32-year-old Francis Debout of Long Branch was southbound on Larchwood Avenue when he entered the northbound lane around 11:40 p.m. Saturday.

Moments later, his vehicle collided head-on with the car that Monmouth University Security Officer Michael Cittadino was sitting in.

The security vehicle was pushed about 16 feet before it came to rest against a fence. Cittadino was removed from the vehicle and taken to a hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries.

Bebout was charged with drunken driving. A telephone number for him could not be located Sunday.


Man faces several counts in crash that injured cop

LODI, N.J. (AP) - An alleged drunken driver charged in a crash that critically injured a Bergen County Police Department officer is now out of jail.

Authorities say 36-year-old Michael Ettz of Lodi was released after posting $150,000 bail Saturday. He faces numerous counts, including aggravated assault and leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury.

County prosecutors say the officer, 39-year-old Daniel Breslin, was assisting another officer when the crash occurred early Saturday on Route 46 westbound in Lodi. Breslin had pulled his cruiser alongside the other officer's car shortly before the cruiser was rear-ended by Ettz's vehicle.

The officer suffered a significant head injury and underwent surgery for a skull fracture and bleeding. Ettz was treated for minor injuries.

A telephone number for Ettz could not be located Sunday.


Skydiver falls into backyard, dies in accident

MONROE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say a 49-year-old Brookyn man who landed in the backyard of a home after a skydiving accident in southern New Jersey has died.

The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office says it's unclear whether the specialized parachute that Arkady Shenker was wearing during the jump around 2 p.m. Sunday opened properly.

Officials say Shenker was an experienced skydiver with more than 350 jumps. He was wearing a "wing suit," which allows a skydiver to move forward while descending. A spokesman for the prosecutor's office says that federal authorities will investigate.

Shenker was skydiving in a plane operated by Freefall Adventures in Monroe along with 15 others.


Authorities: Man killed in tree-cutting accident

SUSSEX, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say 55-year-old man was killed when a tree he was cutting down at a northwestern New Jersey home fell and struck him.

Investigators say the death of Angelo Burrafato appears to be a "tragic accident."

Burrafato was working in the yard of a Sussex home by himself when the tree apparently split and fell onto him shortly before 8 p.m. Friday.

He was unresponsive when he was found by his wife, who had gone to check on him after realizing she had not heard the sound of a saw being used for some time.


2 firefighters, resident injured in building fires

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

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - Two firefighters and one resident were injured when a multialarm fire gutted three buildings in a northern New Jersey community, displacing about a dozen residents.

The Record reports that the fire on Totowa Avenue in Paterson apparently broke out around 9:30 a.m. Sunday. It created heavy smoke conditions in the multistory buildings, which house retail businesses on the lower level and apartments above.

Authorities say it appears the fire started at the rear of one of the buildings, but they have not yet determined which building or what caused the blaze. At least 11 residents were displaced by the fire.

The injured resident suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to the hospital with the two firefighters, who had undisclosed minor injuries.


Lawsuits end, questions linger about '09 air crash

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - For five years, lawyers for families of those killed when a plane crashed into a house in western New York and the airlines they blame have prepared for trial.

But with the last of more than 40 federal wrongful death claims recently settled and talks ongoing in the few remaining state cases, a trial is increasingly unlikely.

That means any new details about the crash would remain unknown as documents filed under seal stay shielded from public view.

Fifty people died when Continental Flight 3407 from Newark, N.J., stalled and crashed onto a house in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence in 2009.

The lawsuits blame the pilots and flight's operators, Continental Airlines, regional carrier Colgan Air and its parent, Pinnacle Air.

Unresolved state cases would be tried in November.


Port Authority of NY and NJ taking look at reforms

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Reform is the buzzword these days at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. What that means depends on whom you talk to.

The agency has been on the hot seat since the disclosure of details about last fall's lane closings at the George Washington Bridge. Two Port Authority officials resigned in the aftermath.

The Port Authority is convening a special panel of experts Monday to discuss what changes should be made. Some lawmakers say more legislation is needed, while others say it's a question of appointing the right people. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has said he's intrigued by the idea of breaking up the bistate agency in two.

Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler says specific proposals could be put forth in the next few months.


Woman reunited with dog, TV snatched on 1st date

(Information in the following story is from: Daily Record (Parsippany, N.J.), )

DOVER, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey woman has been reunited with her Yorkshire Terrier and flat-screen TV that were snatched during her first date with a man she met online.

The Daily Record of Parsippany reports the woman called police to say her dog, Violet, had been tied by its leash to the TV and left in the front yard of her Dover home early Saturday. She says Violet appeared healthy.

Authorities say the pair met on a dating site and went out Thursday night. When they returned to her home, the woman stepped into another room. When she re-emerged, the man, the dog and the TV were gone.

The woman said she knew the man only as "Joel." Police said Saturday they know the man's identity and charges could be filed.

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

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