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HOSTAGE FREED--CURTIS

Journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

BOSTON (AP) - American journalist Peter Theo Curtis has returned home to the United States, two days after being freed by a Syrian extremist group.

A statement released by a family member late Tuesday says 45-year-old Curtis arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport Tuesday afternoon after leaving Tel Aviv. He was later reunited with his mother Nancy Curtis at Boston Logan International Airport.

Curtis says he was "touched and moved" by airline passengers and flight attendants who welcomed him home. He says he's "deeply indebted" to U.S. officials who worked to get him released.

American journalist James Foley also was kidnapped in 2012 while covering the Syrian uprising. The Islamic State group posted a Web video last Tuesday showing his killing.

Curtis is believed to have been held by al-Nusra Front, a Sunni extremist group.

FIREFIGHTERS INJURED-HOUSE FIRE

House fire kills 9 dogs, injures 2 firefighters

(Information in the following story is from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com )

CLIFTON, N.J. (AP) - A fire at a New Jersey home apparently operating without licenses as a pet-sitting business has killed at least nine dogs and injured two firefighters.

Clifton fire officials tell The Record newspaper the fire was reported Tuesday afternoon and destroyed the home.

All the residents inside the two-story home escaped safely, as did two dogs. But two more dogs and three cats are missing.

City Health Officer John Biegel says the home didn't have approval to operate any businesses.

The injured firefighters are hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion and are expected to recover.

Authorities say firefighters had to deal with water pressure issues while battling the blaze and had to tap several hydrants in the area.

The cause of the fire hasn't been determined.

MALL FIRE-EVACUATION

Rooftop fire sparks evacuation of New Jersey mall

PARAMUS, N.J. (AP) - A northern New Jersey mall was evacuated after a fire broke out on the roof of one of its stores, but no injuries were reported.

It's not yet known what sparked Tuesday afternoon's fire at the Macy's store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus. The blaze was brought under control shortly after it began, but firefighters remained at the scene for several hours.

It was not immediately known how many people were in the mall when the fire broke out.

DERAILMENT-CHEMICAL LEAK

Final report on New Jersey derailment released

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The National Transportation Safety Board has released its final report on systemic flaws leading up to a 2012 train derailment that leaked a dangerous gas in southern New Jersey.

The report was approved by the NTSB last month, and its key findings were made public then.

Tuesday's release gives full details of the Nov. 30, 2012 accident in Paulsboro and its aftermath. Vinyl chloride was released into the air.

The safety board faults Conrail for continuing to open and close a swinging bridge where the accident occurred, despite a consultant's recommendation to keep it closed. It also finds problems with the way Conrail and local officials handled the emergency response.

Several people are suing over the spill. A judge this month declined to grant them class-action status.

ENGLEWOOD STABBING

Man charged in stabbing pleads not guilty

(Information in the following story is from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com)

ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (AP) - A northern New Jersey man accused of stabbing his housemate in the heart last week has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and weapons charges.

The Record reports that Jose Wilbur Hernandez-Cerrito entered his plea Tuesday. The 23-year-old Englewood man remains jailed on $500,000 bail.

Authorities say the stabbing occurred early Thursday while Hernandez-Cerrito and the 27-year-old victim were arguing at their West Palisade Avenue home. But they have not released further details about the dispute.

The victim remains hospitalized, but is expected to recover from his injuries.

SOUTH KIRKWOOD STREET SHOOTING

Dover police say weekend shooting was self-defense

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Dover police say a weekend shooting that left a New Jersey man dead was self-defense.

Authorities had issued an arrest warrant for 32-year-old Shamarr Willingham of Dover after 33-year-old Yusif Lamb of Montclair, New Jersey, was fatally shot Sunday on Kirkwood Street.

But after speaking with Willingham, investigators determined that he shot Lamb in self-defense.

Authorities said Tuesday that Lamb had threatened and intended to confront Willingham in a dispute over a woman. They say Lamb and several other people drove to Willingham's home, where the two exchanged words before Lamb pointed a handgun at Willingham.

Police say Willingham, fearing for his life and using a handgun legally purchased and registered to him, shot Lamb once in the chest then fled as members of Lamb's group shot at him.

ELKHART-PEDESTRIANS STRUCK

Car strikes New Jersey pair in N. Indiana; 1 dead

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) - Police say one of two people from New Jersey struck by a car in northern Indiana has died from his injuries.

Elkhart Assistant Police Chief Laura Koch says 66-year-old Darryl Foyuth of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, died at South Bend Memorial Hospital after being struck by the car Monday night.

Koch says 60-year-old Maryann Foyuth, also of Lawrenceville, was taken to Elkhart General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The relationship between the Foyuths wasn't clear.

Koch says the two were struck on an Elkhart street by a car driven by 57-year-old Valerie Neal of Elkhart.

The investigation into the incident was continuing.

Elkhart is 15 miles east of South Bend.

ZIP LINE ACCIDENT

Authorities: Teen injured in fall from zip line

(Information in the following story is from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com )

HAWTHORNE, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say a northern New Jersey teenager broke his leg when the T-shirt he was using to slide down a zip line tore, causing him to fall 30 feet.

The Record reports the 15-year-old boy underwent surgery shortly after the accident occurred Saturday night at Hawthorne High School. The accident was captured on video by some of his friends

Authorities say the school had locked away ladders and other equipment used to access the zip line, a cable that's strung between two trees near the school's football field. Students use it for various activities.

No charges have been filed, but authorities are trying to determine whether the youths were trespassing on school property when the accident occurred.

ILLEGAL DUMPING CRACKDOWN

NJ crackdown spurs illegal dumping charges

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - State officials say a boat, contractor debris and a box spring and mattress were among the items that were illegally dumped in New Jersey state parks and lands.

The items were discovered as part of an ongoing crackdown that was launched in March by state environmental officials.

The most recent discoveries were made at Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in Pemberton Township; the 4-Mile Run Preserve in Winslow Township and the Duck Island section of D&R Canal State Park in Hamilton Township. Investigations by the state park police have already led to charges against five people.

The DEP's "Don't Waste Our Open Space" campaign incorporates strict enforcement of illegal dumping practices, while raising awareness of the problem through outreach and education.

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

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  • Cristobal to churn surf along Jersey shore

    Cristobal to churn surf along Jersey shore

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 9:14 AM EDT2014-08-27 13:14:52 GMT
    Swimmers and lifeguards are facing a high risk for rip currents along New Jersey beaches. The National Weather Service says Hurricane Cristobal is predicted to pass well to the southeast of the New Jersey coast on Wednesday night. Long period swells will spread out from the storm, churning up the surf along Jersey shore beaches.
    Swimmers and lifeguards are facing a high risk for rip currents along New Jersey beaches. The National Weather Service says Hurricane Cristobal is predicted to pass well to the southeast of the New Jersey coast on Wednesday night. Long period swells will spread out from the storm, churning up the surf along Jersey shore beaches.
  • Hunt for forklift robber

    Hunt for forklift robber

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 9:07 AM EDT2014-08-27 13:07:18 GMT
    Authorities on Long Island are asking for the public's help in finding a forklift thief.  The bright yellow vehicle went missing Monday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. from its parking spot near a building in Riverhead. One or more people used a flatbed tow truck with a white cab to remove the Caterpillar forklift. Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest.
    Authorities on Long Island are asking for the public's help in finding a forklift thief.  The bright yellow vehicle went missing Monday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. from its parking spot near a building in Riverhead. One or more people used a flatbed tow truck with a white cab to remove the Caterpillar forklift. Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest.

  • US marshals in Queens shootout

    US marshals in Queens shootout

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 9:04 AM EDT2014-08-27 13:04:47 GMT
    Authorities say a suspect has been wounded in the hand during a shootout with U.S. marshals who were serving a warrant in Queens. The NYPD says they were assisting the marshals when the gunfire erupted late Tuesday in Springfield Gardens. No law enforcers were hurt.
    Authorities say a suspect has been wounded in the hand during a shootout with U.S. marshals who were serving a warrant in Queens. The NYPD says they were assisting the marshals when the gunfire erupted late Tuesday in Springfield Gardens. No law enforcers were hurt.

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