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Breaking news & local stories from Woodbury, Washington Twp, Harrison Twp, Glassboro, and more
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    "Veterans Day ... is a day for all of us to begin our journey of protecting our freedom and the freedom of many future generations."

    Special thanks to vfwauxiliary.org for this explanation of the importance of Veterans Day to military veterans and civilians alike.

    "On the 11th hour...of the 11th day...of the 11th month...the fighting of World War I ended in 1918.

    american-flag-unfurled.jpg 

    "Due to the conclusion of 'the War to end all Wars,' November 11th became a universally recognized day of celebration.

    "The day was originally declared 'Armistice Day' 8 years after the end of World War I and honored only veterans of that war. Then in 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, it was renamed 'Veterans' Day' to honor all veterans who served America in war and defended democracy.

    "So, today we honor all of our veterans ... who unselfishly placed their lives on the line for our freedom.

    "Those men and women were ordinary people... until they heard the call of duty and answered it. They left their families ... their homes ... and their lives ... not for recognition or fame or even the honor we bestow upon them today. They fought to protect our country ... to maintain our way of life.

    "As we honor our veterans and remember their great deeds, let us also salute those who are currently fighting for our freedom.

    "The War on Terrorism has helped us all realize how truly unique the American way of life is. The freedom we enjoy is extremely special, and that is why we must defend it.

    "So, now is the time to not only honor those have fought or are fighting for our freedom...it is also the time for each of us to take part in protecting it.

    "The defense of freedom is not just for those in the military; each of us shares that duty and that responsibility. We don't have to join the army or the navy or any other organization of defense to actively defend our way of life. We can protect our freedom simply by maintaining it here in America.

    "If we want to preserve our freedoms, we must put them into action - for example, by voting in elections or speaking out against injustices. We must also ensure that everyone feels the benefits of freedom. And we can do that by volunteering in our communities or teaching our children what it really means to be an American.

    "Veterans' Day isn't just a day for veterans - it's a day for all Americans. It's a day to remember why they were fighting and a day for all of us to begin our journey of protecting our freedom and the freedom of many future generations.

    "Thank you for honoring our veterans today. Let us walk toward tomorrow still honoring them...by living in the freedom they protected."

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Here are links to other related galleries:

    Vintage photos of Medal of Honor recipients from N.J.

    Vintage photos of women and the war effort in N.J.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at greghatalagalleries@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    N.J. has the most top-rated rated hospitals for safety in the nation, according to The Leapfrog safety study.


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    The biggest surprise from Tuesday's election results may be the showing by someone who failed to win a South Jersey U.S. House seat.

    Pollsters who were shocked two years ago by President Donald Trump's victory had a much better night with their predictions on Tuesday. But, they blew one local contest, big time, although they picked the winner correctly.

    The U.S. House race in New Jersey's Second District between Democrat Jeff Van Drew and Republican Seth Grossman wasn't supposed to be a squeaker. But it was, long enough on Election Night to make the heavily favored Van Drew and his backers ready to wolf down antacids by the bottle.

    In the end, Van Drew, a popular state senator, notched a respectable 52 percent to 46 percent victory, besting the baggage-laden Grossman by about 14,000 votes.

    A final Stockton University pre-election poll put Van Drew ahead by 17 points, down from an earlier 23-point lead, but not close to the 5.8 percent win that Van Drew actually scored. So lopsided was this race supposed to be that many other polling organizations didn't bother with it. 

    The small margin is important both for what it says about the district, and what it means for how the congressman-elect will have to conduct himself in the two years until the next congressional election in 2020. 

    First, the assumption that this district was ready-made for Van Drew, a moderate/conservative Democrat who followed a moderate Republican (Frank LoBiondo, who is retiring) could be inoperative. Frankly, it's disconcerting that so many of our friends and neighbors would hear the divisive rhetoric of Grossman and still mark their ballots for him.

    The national Republican Party dropped its support of Grossman when a tape of an interview in which he remarked that "diversity is a bunch of crap and Un-American" surfaced. More recently, after the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, Grossman stated on Twitter that American Jews need to arm themselves "instead of becoming a burden on taxpayers & law enforcement by demanding special protection ..." 

    The best possible spin on Grossman's near success is that many voters wanted to show strongly their support of President Donald Trump through this Trump-backing surrogate, regardless of the objectionable things that Grossman has said. For the record, Van Drew has been less critical of the president than most Democrats. A dentist by trade, he based his House campaign more on health care issues than anything else.

    Grossman actually defeated Van Drew in Salem and Ocean county parts of the district, as well as in the small portions of Camden and Burlington county that are included. And, Van Drew won fairly narrowly in his home county of Cape May, and in Gloucester County, usually a Democratic stronghold. 

    The point is, Van Drew can't regard this squeaker as an aberration. Once he's sworn in as a freshman in Washington, the former National Rifle Association darling who recently moderated his pro-gun positions will have to think hard before voting for even minor gun-control legislation likely to come up in a Democratic-led House. It might even be tough for Van Drew to support measures to return some of the civil rights protections that have been de-clawed by the Trump White House.

    As we offer him congratulations on his win, it's not for us to tell Van Drew what to do on every single vote in Congress. He should, however, remember that he did get the majority of his district's vote. One thing he definitely should not do is give too much weight to the dog-whistle signals and divisive aspects of his just-vanquished opponent's campaign. 

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at sjletters@njadvancemedia.com

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    Justin L. Petaccio relates an unexpectedly pleasant experience in a Salem County courtroom.

    I recently had occasion to visit the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Jean S. Chetney in Salem County, concerning a legal matter I had with a local healthcare provider. 

    On the day I was in her courtroom, I sat and waited close to three hours as the  judge heard three eviction cases. I didn't realize until I got home later that day exactly how much I had learned as I sat there listening to the judge commiserate with the defendants who were on the verge of being evicted from their living quarters. 

    Chetney used a quiet, gentle tone, filled with compassion and kindness, all the while doing her job as an impartial arbitrator. She brought a beautiful human touch to a sometimes-objectionable human job. 

    She returned some modicum of humanity back to the law, which can feel so cruel and unkind at times. I believe the judge genuinely cares about the plight of human beings and wanted to do as much as she could to alleviate some of the defendants' suffering. 

    Also, the judge was very respectful when addressing me. I feel compelled to share this experience with the good, decent, hard-working people of Salem County. Job well done, Your Honor. 

    Thanks to Judge Chetney and her team, and everyone at the Salem County Courthouse who daily uphold the rule of law in our great United States of America.

    Justin L. Petaccio, Carneys Point Township

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at sjletters@njadvancemedia.com 


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    "We run in sports bras because we are confident, hardworking student-athletes," Runner Gina Capone wrote Thursday in the blog. Later that day, the covering up rule was dead.

    An unofficial policy that banned female cross country athletes at Rowan University from training in their sports bras will come to an end after a runner unleashed on the rule in a blog post. 

    Women on the cross country team were told earlier this season that training in just sports bras would no longer be allowed.

    In a piece for the blog Odyssey Online, dietetics major and cross country runner Gina Capone aired her issues with the policy. 

    "We run in sports bras because we are confident, hardworking student-athletes," Capone wrote in the blog, which was published Thursday. "We do not run in a sports bra as a way to show off our bodies in attempts to distract men." 

    Ali A. Houshmand, president of Rowan University, said Friday that the rule is headed for the trash. The requirement came from a longstanding Athletic Department "verbal policy" requiring shirts at practice. 

    It was intended to keep "a level of standards throughout its men's and women's programs," he said in an email. When that old verbal policy was brought back into play, students thought it was a new rule. 

    The rule had nothing to do with gender, Joe Cardona, a spokesman for the school, said Friday. The shirt requirement also applies to men, and was intended to get NCAA student athletes in a more professional mindset, he said. 

    All of the confusion started one afternoon this fall. When runners went to the Glassboro track, where they practice during football season, they found it locked. Their coach moved them back to Rowan, and the women started warming up while the football team was still practicing, Cardona said. 

    That crossover led to discussions about field use between coaches, and someone brought up the unrelated shirt requirement, noting the female runners had violated it. 

    The sudden resurgence of the rule and its enforcement led to student outcry. 

    "The question becomes, does the sports bra constitute as a shirt?" Cardona said. "Of course it does. The issue came up as a broader conversation about the field use." 

    It was Capone's blog, though, that brought the issue to the administration's attention, he said. 

    It also struck a nerve with alumni and others who heard of the policy from her first.  

    "The problem here is not the women on the team," Capone continued in the piece. "The problem is not the women wearing sports bras. The problem is not women's bodies. Rape culture is the problem." 

    She could not be reached for comment Friday morning. 

    Rowan will enact a formal policy protecting female athletes who wish to practice in sports bras. 

    "The University recognizes that while the verbal policy attempted to set standards, it could be misunderstood and does not accommodate today's training practices across sports," Houshmand said in his email.

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find NJ.com on Facebook

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    Peak fall foliage season is rapidly fading in New Jersey from north to south. But there's still time to check out these beautiful spots


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    A bill would establish an annual grant program to recognize public colleges and universities that offer a wide variety of programs and services to veterans.

    What do we owe the military women and men who sacrifice so much to keep us safe at home - besides our most profound thanks?

    At the very least, we owe them the chance to find jobs that are satisfying and rewarding, not just monetarily but emotionally as well.

    And we owe them access to New Jersey's institutions of higher learning, so they can qualify for those jobs.

    A bill working its way through the state Legislature would establish an annual grant program to recognize our public colleges and universities that offer a wide variety of programs and services to veterans.

    Working through the "Troops to College Grant Program" established in 2009, the initiative would target up to three such institutions to receive grants of $150,000 each to step up their efforts, in essence taking their services to the next level.

    Sponsored by Senators Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Camden and Gloucester) and Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), the measure would allow veterans to chose a school that offers a culture friendly to vets and an academic program most likely to allow them to excel in their chosen fields.

    Vintage photos of N.J. veterans

    The bill instructs the state's Secretary of Higher Education, working with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, to select schools based on a variety of criteria.

    Among other things, these would include the number of scholarships offered to veterans, the graduation rates of vets, the amount of funds dedicated to supporting vets, and the institution's policy regarding waiving application fees to veterans.

    To their great credit, the state's colleges and universities have made strides in these areas over the past decade or so.

    The College of New Jersey and Rutgers University regularly win high grades in this arena, as do Stockton and Monmouth universities.

    To get the most out of the higher education experience, veterans look for faculty and staff members who recognize their needs. They look for affordability; mental and physical health services; clubs or activities geared specifically to them, and the flexibility provided by online courses or short-term certification programs.

    The Singleton-Cruz-Perez bill passed the Senate unanimously earlier this year and is now before the Assembly Military Affairs Committee. It aims to make the transition from military duty to a civilian environment as seamless as possible.

    "Because they have given so much of themselves, I believe it is ... our obligation to offer them a bridge across the waters they cross once they re-enter civilian life," Singleton wrote in a newsletter to constituents.

    This Veterans Day, let's pledge not only to thank our veterans for their service, but also to redouble our efforts to assure them and their families a better future.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    It seems as if the president, on a daily basis, selects a group within our society to defile.

    There is a soul in the White House who lies every chance he gets, proclaiming that black folks love him, and claiming positive poll numbers in the black community

    In reality, the climate of racial and religious hate stirred up and embraced by President Donald Trump and many of his supporters defies all logic. It seems as if the president, on a daily basis, selects a group within our society to defile. 

    I now expect this from Trump, so I am prepared to brace myself mentally and emotionally to process it. But to see and hear this coming from the South Jersey  region where I was born and reside is disturbing. I can unflinchingly state that race relations today are the worst I have seen during my lifetime. Innocent people just trying to live their lives as best as they can are being senselessly killed because of this president's comments and many of his hate-filled, weak minded followers.

    It has only been 15 days since Trump supporter Cesar Altieri Sayoc was arrested for trying to kill high-profile elected officials and other Trump critics by sending them explosive packages. This man was driving around South Florida in a personal vehicle covered with unsettling symbols right out of the Trump campaign. He followed the dangerous Trump script to the letter, his van emblazoned with pictures of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and others in a bulls-eye. Obviously, this was an effort to encourage, not deter, lethal action. Then the president, showing how ignorant he is, blamed the media more than this dangerous individual. 

    It gets worse.

    Two weeks ago Robert Bowers walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, reportedly shouting "All Jews must die!" before allegedly shooting and killing 11 people. Bowers was angry with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which he believed was aiding the immigrant caravan that Trump is on record as claiming will "invade" the United States.

    A Bowers post on the social media site GAB stated, "HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in." 

    Because this man's level of fear and hate was driven sky high by Trump rhetoric, he's charged with of walking into a house of worship and shooting down innocent people as they prayed for peace, justice and forgiveness. 

    Finally, no one in New Jersey spewed more hate-filled or demeaning political rhetoric this election season than Republican 2nd District congressional candidate Seth Grossman. 

    Grossman was seemingly so transformed by self-hate, reconstituted into hate for others, that the National Republican Party dropped its support of him. 

    Here is a man with a religious minority heritage who unabashedly proclaims that those in the black community have not faced any discrimination in the North since the 1920s. He has also identified one of the main problems detrimental to the black community as" laziness."

    This major-party candidate for Congress put a link on his Facebook page to a white nationalist website that included this statement: "... blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well.They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike."

    Now, that is about as racist as one can get. But 110,542 voters in the district --including a majority in the Salem and Ocean county portions -- voted for him anyway. Think about this. These Grossman voters apparently did not care that he promoted the view that black men, women and children were inferior just because of the color of their skin.

    Although he lost the election by about 14,000 votes to Democrat Jeff Van Drew, it is a dangerous sign that so many people were willing to ignore Grossman's very public racism and vote for him to be their congressional representative. That is a clear message to me, others who look like me, as well and all others in minority groups, that we do not matter.  

    So, I should rejoice in U.S. Rep.-elect Van Drew's victory? I followed closely his campaign and could not a find a single direct rebuttal to his opponent's alarming views. Too many are afraid to speak up.

    Our society's political landscape has been reduced to this. It's one why reason race relations are at their lowest point in decades, and that people are being killed.

    Milton W. Hinton Jr. recently retired as director of equal opportunity for the Gloucester County government, and is past president of the Gloucester County Branch NAACP. Email: mwhjr678@gmail.com.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    A reversal of fortune for money-losing Memorial Hospital of Salem County is getting closer, highlighted by a precautionary layoff warning.

    The 408 workers at Memorial Hospital of Salem County who were just sent layoff notices have little reason to fear that they're going to lose their jobs permanently, but they must be feeling some trepidation over what comes next. It's not the first time they've been close to a rescue at troubled MHSC.

    If all goes as planned, the hospital will be sold to a non-profit offshoot of North Jersey-based Community Healthcare Associates. Hospital officials have said the layoff notices are a formality required before a transfer that the current owners and the new ones both hope to complete by the end of the year. It's expected that most employees will be rehired once the 126-bed hospital changes hands.

    The notices, however, lay bare the dire state of affairs at the hospital. If it's not sold to the newly formed CHA division, Salem County Hospital Corp., the only  option is to shut it down and turn those notices into permanent layoffs. So say snippets of an application pending at the New Jersey State Health Planning Board.  A public hearing on the plan took place in Salem City on Thursday evening.

    For the sake of everyone employed by the Mannington Township hospital and everyone it serves, it's hoped that these developments mark the end of lengthy uncertainty about the future. News reports state that MHSC, even though it has downsized, is on pace to lose $22.6 million this year. 

    Consider the trajectory: In 2002, the hospital was purchased for $35 million by for-profit Community Health Systems in a deal universally lauded as proof that acute-care hospitals in New Jersey can thrive under private-sector ownership. By 2016, CHS was ready to unload the place to California-based Prime Healthcare Foundation for $15 million, but the prospective buyer backed out in May 2017.

    Only about $3 million is expected to change hands if if the now-pending sale goes through. Still unclear is how much funding will come from a nonprofit trust fund that was set up with the proceeds of the 2002 sale.

    The new ownership proposal would change the hospital's structure markedly, with just 78 beds dedicated to medical/surgical or intensive care, 26 beds for adult psychiatric care, and 30 beds for long-term care. While that raises some question about how much of the current staff can stay, it does appear to guarantee that MHSC won't be carved up into a complex of outpatient clinics. That's something that CHA has done with some other hospital buildings it has acquired. 

    As stated here previously, maintaining acute-care hospital service in this part of Salem County is the main priority. The area is located too far geographically from other hospitals for optimal care. Despite MHSC's staggering losses, anticipated revenue of $64.5 million this year should be sufficient to maintain a more-efficient, full-service hospital. A goal, of course, should be to improve that revenue base.

    The sale comes at a time when hospitals in New Jersey, broadly speaking, should find growing confidence from their potential consumers. A new Leapfrog Safety survey gave Jersey hospitals more "A" grades (57 percent) than those in any other state, with 38 out of 67 earning that top mark. Nearly every South Jersey hospital received an "A" or a "B."

    While it did not supply requested information to the Leapfrog researchers, Memorial Hospital of Salem County was assigned a "C" based on publicly available data. There's room to improve in patient care and transparency, as well as in generating revenue. Doing so can assure that MHSC's long-term downturn is reversed.

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at sjletters@njadvancemedia.com

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    Animal shelters continue to be the leading source of pets.

    Facts on animal shelters from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA):

    * Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. The number is evenly split between dogs and cats. A positive note is that the number of dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 7.2 million in 2011.

    * Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year, again with an even split between cats and dogs.

    * About 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. In this, we don't find so even a split; 620,000 of the returned animals are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.

    * Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). The number of dogs and cats euthanized in U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 2.6 million in 2011. This decline can be partially explained by an increase in the percentage of animals adopted and an increase in the number of stray animals successfully returned to their owners.

    These are the most common sources from which primary methods cats and dogs are obtained as pets (this information was based on a multiple response question, which results in the total percentage exceeding 100% individually for cats and dogs. In addition, the 'other' category includes all source categories that were reported by less than 10% of both dog and cat owners):

    Animal Shelter/Humane Society

    Dogs      23%   Cats     31%

    Friends/Relatives            

    Dogs     20%   Cats     28%

    Breeder              

    Dogs     34%   Cats     3%

    Stray

    Dogs     6%   Cats     27%

    Private Party

    Dogs     12%   Cats     6%

    Other

    Dogs     32%   Cats     39%

    Greg Hatala may be reached at greghatalagalleries@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    The Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders were all smiles despite the 27-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, November 11, 2018 (11/11/18) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.

    PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders took the field for their opening routine approximately 20 minutes before Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz took the first snap of the game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field. 

    Unfortunately for the Eagles and their fans, it was all downhill from there. 

    The reigning Super Bowl champs dropped their third straight home game, a 27-20 loss to the hated Cowboys. 

    OPEN THE PHOTO GALLERY HERE to see the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders on Sunday

    Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott ran wild, rushing for 151 yards and a touchdown. He also had six catches for 36 yards and another touchdown.  

    Once again, the Eagles offense started the game slowly going three-and-out on the first series, and quickly took a seat on the bench again after Wentz threw an interception on the first play of the second drive. They finished the first half scoring just three points. 

    Wentz finished 32 for 44 for 360 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. 

    Newly acquired Golden Tate was not so golden in his Eagles debut catching two passes for 19 yards. 

    Tight end Zach Etrz continued his strong play catching 14 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. 

    Next Sunday the Eagles travel to New Orleans for a 4:25 p.m. game against the 8-1 Saints.

    Click here to see the photos of the Eagles' loss to the Cowboys.

    Tim Hawk may be reached at thawk@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Instagram @photog_hawk and Twitter @photogthawk. Lori M. Nichols may be reached at lnichols@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Instagram @photog_lori and Twitter @photoglori. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips.


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    It wasn't just one lone nut who set the course for World War I, but an atmosphere and a mindset that dominated nations.

    It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. As we mark 100 years since the end of World War I, and today's legal holiday for Veterans Day -- previously called "Armistice Day"-- it seems only fitting to glance back at the "war to end all wars" for a lesson we can use today.

    The first thing to note is the carnage. For the United States, which entered World War I toward its end, the first battle casualty was Joseph William Guyton, who was killed on May 24, 1918. The last U.S. soldier killed during the declared war was Henry Nicholas John Gunther. He died at 10:59 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, one minute before the armistice was to take effect at 11 a.m. In between, America lost about 116,500 of its sons. Statistical sources vary, but worldwide overall war-related deaths between 1914 and 1918 are estimated at 15 million to 19 million. Roughly 21 million soldiers were wounded.

    What is striking is that no one really professed to want war at the time. Historian A.J.P Taylor noted that none of the statesmen wanted war on a grand scale, but they wanted to threaten and they wanted to win.

    Maybe that's the main lesson to take away from that period of history: Don't issue idle threats, because each threat demands a response, then a counter-response -- and things escalate accordingly.

    In 1914, word of threats and responses moved at a much slower pace than today, given the limits of telegraph technology. Worldwide communication was point to point, from one sender to one receiver. This allowed time for the parties to consider and reflect before anything became public knowledge. While this slower pace didn't prevent the slide into war, things are different in 2018. International communication is instant and broadly disseminated. Instead of one-on-one communication, a tweet can have an audience of hundreds of millions. This changes the calculus greatly.

    Today, there's no time to think and, in addition, a global press is waiting to know how a world leader is going to respond. There's instant analysis with judgements about who is up and who is down; who is winning and who is losing. No one, especially a leader, wants to be seen as backing down, whether in the halls of a middle school, out on the street, or in geopolitics. I'm not at all certain that, 100 years removed from World War I, we've learned our lesson about issuing threats.

    Regarding war and conflict, there's always that one spark we like to point at as setting things ablaze. In 1914, it was the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand by a guy named Gavrilo Princip during the archduke's visit to Bosnia.  But things are never that simple. It wasn't just one lone nut who set the course for World War I, but an atmosphere and a mindset that dominated nations. In 1914, that mindset had the look and feel of patriotism, but much of it was simple prejudice and bigotry, both ethnic and religious.

    Prior to World War I, the populace also had a simple-minded view of war. This is understandable because previous wars were fought on horseback. There were no planes, tanks, bombs, mustard gas or machine guns that can kill dozens in a matter of seconds. The generation that fought World War I had no frame of reference for the carnage and destruction that would follow, and it was easy to believe that a war could be won quickly.

    Today, we know better, and Americans have a century's worth of perspective from two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Afghanistan to remind us of the cost. Yet, we might be wholly unprepared for a cyber-war that knocks out our electrical grid, or our financial, communications and transportation systems. Again, this is because our frame of reference is the last war -- not the next one.

    Who knows? I could be wrong about all of this, but we owe our veterans not only our appreciation, but a promise that we won't blunder into a war or lose another generation of our sons and daughters because we failed to heed the lessons of the past.

    Albert B. Kelly is mayor of Bridgeton. Contact him by phone at 856-455-3230 Ext. 200.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    Luis Perez writes that the president's claim that black people really like him is not a fantasy.

    Columnist Milton Hinton ("Hate-filled followers act on Trump's code words," Nov. 11) wants to make us believe that President Donald Trump's speeches and social media posts help create the Florida mail-bomb suspect and the Pittsburgh synagogue killings.

    Start with Hinton's assertion that blacks do not like Trump, contrary to what Trump himself says. African Americans may not "like" Trump, but they know that he promised jobs, and that the figures show a lower black unemployment rate than at almost any time in our history.

    More people, both black and white, are leaving the welfare rolls. In essence, Trump's economic plan is working. 

    Without a doubt, some black people resent Trump. Some people hate Hillary Clinton, too. But let's not confuse the politics of hate with the actual fact: Trump has created opportunity for all Americans. Later, when his policies permit more low-income children to attend charter schools, instead of failing public schools, their families will have a better chance to escape poverty and make their dreams a reality.

    A lot of potential has been wasted and blocked by the Democratic Party because it made so many people dependent on the government. This also created a large population of drug addicts. 

    Remember, it was a Republican president who eliminated slavery, and Republican votes helped pass the Civil Rights Act. A Republican president was the first to enforce court-ordered school desegregation.

    Both blacks and whites owe a lot of thanks to people like President Trump. The Democrats are trying to sell bull crap, but people are waking up.

    Luis M. Perez, Glassboro

    A race to the bottom of the barrel?

    Concerning Dominick A. Ruggiero's recent letter, "Towns trash haulers don't even win bronze," about the carelessness he observed by employees of Washington Township's trash collection contractor:

    In the two years since Gold Medal Environmental has been collecting our trash and recyclables, they have have failed to take my trash or recycling six times. The first three times it happened, I called Gold Medal directly to complain. They said they would come back to collect the missed refuse, but they never did.  

    The fourth time it happened, I called the township public works department and found out that many people in the township are having the same problem. But, at least the township arranged for someone to collect my trash or recycling the next day.

    I have lived in Washington Township for 40 years and have never had this problem until Gold Medal became our trash company. I think it is time for the township to get out of this contract (which runs until July 31, 2021) and hire a new company.

    Diane Rosen, Sewell

    Rowan's track stars must avoid the big chill

    Below is a quote from the recent South Jersey Times article, "College forced female runners to cover sports bras, but one athlete wasn't standing for it," about Rowan University's reversal of an unofficial policy:

    "Women on the cross-country team were told earlier this season that training in just sports bras would no longer be allowed."

    Now, I'm no prude, and I have no issue with women training in sports bras. But shouldn't shorts be required as well? 

    Jeff Combs, Turnersville

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at sjletters@njadvancemedia.com 


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    Now that Atlantic County has joined Cumberland with a spate of county-jail suicides, let's look up and down the state for similar patterns.

    Because he represents in civil litigation relatives of inmates who took their own lives, attorney Conrad J. Benedetto's recent assertion that county jail suicides in New Jersey are "... a public health crisis in the state" can appear self-serving.

    Benedetto's comments come as NJ Advance Media reports that the Atlantic County Jail in Hamilton Township has seen six such suicides since 2015, the last one on Oct. 15. The Atlantic County facility thus joins the Cumberland County Jail in Bridgeton, long under fire for its suicides, in reporting a half dozen of them over two or three years.

    Philadelphia-based Benedetto, who also has offices in Voorhees and Cherry Hill, represents one of three families that are currently suing Atlantic County, and others who have filed actions against Cumberland County. That said, his remarks are instructive, even if they do not signal a full-blown crisis.

    Any in-custody prison death that is not the result of a medical condition must be regarded as an avoidable death, and suicides are the most avoidable ones. When investigated, it's often found that prison suicides are aided by lax monitoring; nobody has checked the prisoner's cell for longer than regulations or policies call for.

    It's tougher to blame violent deaths of prisoners (or corrections officers, for that matter) on policy or job performance issues. Fights can break out in an instant. Still, the most notorious prison killing of 2018, that of Boston crime boss "Whitey" Bulger, occurred at a West Virginia federal prison complex with a long history of alleged attacks on inmates. Bulger was beaten to death Oct. 30, not long after he was transferred to the Hazelton Correctional Facility. 

    Obviously, there are many questions that federal jailers in West Virginia need to answer. The Boston Globe reports that the U.S. Justice Department has just assigned a monitor to the West Virginia site, where Bulger was the third inmate to be killed by prisoners this year.

    Similarly, South Jersey news outlets learned last month that the feds are looking into the Bridgeton jail because of the number of suicides. Reports say that the focus will not be on any individual death or deaths, but on whether the correctional facility takes reasonable steps to prevent suicides, including mental health assessments and treatment availability. So far, the Atlantic County lockup isn't getting the same intensive Justice Department review, although such a move seems reasonable, if not imminent.

    The feds will go only where a suicide problem is extreme -- or where the deaths have grabbed headlines, so it is up to our state government to go further. The first thing to determine is whether this is the "crisis" that Benedetto describes, or just a minor departure from statistical norms.

    The New Jersey Department of Corrections can start by looking at in-custody death cases and their causes. If there is a recurring problem, Gov. Gov. Phil Murphy and the Legislature should set up a commission to study possible remedies.

    A few years ago, a suicide in the now-closed Gloucester County Jail in Woodbury was traced to the fact that jailers did not take away the inmate's shoelaces. It's common practice to collect laces, belts and other items with which someone might hang themselves. When that fails to happen, it's the county and its taxpayers who bear the legal exposure. 

    Other reasons for suicides and other in-custody deaths surely are more complex. Lawsuits filed by Benedetto and other civil rights attorneys can help expose weaknesses in the system, but prevention is clearly the preferred option.

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at sjletters@njadvancemedia.com

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    Watch lots of championship soccer, LIVE and on-demand, on any device

    Get ready to watch some state championship soccer.

    Starting Tuesday, you'll be able to watch an unprecedented number of boys and girls soccer state playoff games on NJ.com, LIVE or on demand, on any device, brought to you via NJ High School Sports Live.

    We will have broadcasts from two of Tuesday's seven Group semifinals doubleheader sites, making available two boys games and two girls games.  Over the weekend, we will have every Group final from Kean University - four boys finals on Saturday and four girls finals on Sunday.

    Here's the full lineup:

    TUESDAY, NOV. 13

    Group 4 semifinals, at Franklin

    Boys: Morris Knolls vs. No. 14 Elizabeth, 5 p.m.
    Girls: No. 3 West Orange vs. No. 1 Bridgewater-Raritan, 7:30 p.m.

    Group 2 semifinals at Hopewell Valley

    Boys: No. 3 Holmdel vs. No. 8 Delran, 5 p.m.
    Girls: Gov. Livingston vs. Delsea, 7:30 p.m.

    SATURDAY, NOV. 17 at Kean University
    Boys Group finals, matchups TBD

    Group 4 final: 10 a.m.
    Group 1 final: 12:30 p.m.
    Group 2 final: 3 p.m.
    Group 3 final: 5:30 p.m.

    SUNDAY, NOV. 18 at Kean University
    Girls Group finals, matchups TBD

    Group 4 final: 10 a.m.
    Group 1 final: 12:30 p.m.
    Group 2 final: 3 p.m.
    Group 3 final: 5:30 p.m.

    PLAYOFF REPLAYS
    Games below are available as on-demand replays

    SUNDAY, NOV. 11

    Boys Non-Public A final
    No. 1 Delbarton vs. No. 12 Christian Brothers 

    Girls Non-Public B Final
    Pingry vs. Oak Knoll

    Boys Non-Public B final
    Gill St. Bernard's vs Rutgers Prep 

    Girls Non-Public B Final
    Morristown-Beard vs. St. Rose 

    THURSDAY, NOV. 8

    North 2, Group 3 final (boys soccer)
    9-Cliffside Park at 3-Millburn, 1 p.m.

    North Jersey, Non-Public A final (boys soccer)
    3-Seton Hall Prep vs. 1-Delbarton at Millburn, 3 p.m.

    North Jersey, Non-Public A final (girls soccer)
    5-Oak Knoll vs. 2-DePaul at Millburn, 5:30 p.m.

    Richard Greco covers boys soccer and may be reached at rgreco@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Richard_V_Greco. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Girls Gr