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Coastal Texas and western Louisiana are living our Sandy nightmare of nearly five years ago. In metropolitan Houston alone, about 4,000 homes are inundated with water, or partly or entirely destroyed. Roughly 30,000 people are sheltered. Death estimates range between 20 and 30, with the number expected to rise as Tropical Storm Harvey's floodwaters subside. If you want to lend a hand, see a list of legitimate charities that are actively involved here.

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Sixteen rest areas on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike will be completely rebuilt or refurbished, using no toll or tax money, Governor Christie announced today. Sunoco and two private businesses plan to spend $250,000,000 for the overhauls, in exchange for 25-year contracts to operate the fuel and food concessions.

Undeclared allergens force the recall of 32,228 pounds of Thin 'n Trim Buffalo-Style Chicken Sausage. The Massacnusetts manufacturer said that the products contain milk, which is not noted on the labels. The use-by dates extend from May 17 to December 6 of this year.

Remember the alligator that popped up in an Atlantic City motel pool two weeks ago? The mystery of how it got there is solved. Investigators traced it to two men who produced a rap video there - the same two men they charged Tuesday with a rash of nearby house burglaries. The gator is in a Cape May County zoo, bound for Florida. They're going to court.

An alleged bank thief from Farmingdale risks up to 20 years in prison if convicted of robbing TD branches in Tinton Falls and Wall Township in the past five days. Michael Volek was arrested in a Neptune motel room, only a short while after the second heist on August 28.

Tickets for Bruce Springteen's Broadway solo shows sold so quickly that another 10 weeks are added to the schedule at the Walter Kerr theater. You can wait for the next issue of tickets, or try your luck on line...where the current batch is going at resale for as high as $2,350 a pop.

Middletown mourns former Police Chief Joseph McCarthy, whose watch ended Monday, one month after his 92nd birthday. McCarthy devoted 36 years to the force and remained active in civic causes long afterward. His family asks that contributions be given in his memory to the Wounded Warrior Project.

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