RBC LOSES CONTACT WITH KENYANS

Today’s Star-Ledger reports that a fundraising organization at Red Bank Catholic has lost direct contact with a small school in the vast Kenyan slum of Kibera amid the internecine carnage that has gripped Nairobi for the past six weeks.

Through an Associated Press reporter, members of the Maryknoll Society at RBC have learned that the crude nursery school they’ve been supporting for the past four years is still intact. But the last email received from lay missionary Vikki Smith “was a lengthy and horrifying description of the riots and their casualties — stories of mass graves, the rape of women and children and the burning of families in their homes,” the Ledger’s Maryann Spoto reports.

More from the article:

With no word from the missionaries in a week, members of Red Bank Catholic’s Maryknoll Club were getting a stark lesson in global unrest, wondering if their sister school had been lost to the violence.

“They’re not like nameless kids,” said senior Kathryn Martin, 18, of Eatontown. “We know them. We have to help them out.”

As of yesterday, the Red Bank students had no idea whether the nursery school in Africa’s second-largest slum still stood or the fate of the children, aged 3 to 5. The school is affiliated with Christ the King Parish in Nairobi.

“Prior to this, the e-mails and photos were filled with hope,” said Mary Logan, adviser to the Maryknoll Club. “Now what I’m getting is all that hope is in jeopardy. It’s our job to keep that hope alive.”

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CELEBRATING DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

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Calvary Baptist Church on Bridge Avenue last night hosted a music-filled service last night to commemorate the ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose birthdate, Jan. 15, is celebrated next week.

Sponsored by the Greater Red Bank Ministers Association, the event featured a commemorative message by Rev. Cleophus J. LaRue (above right) of the Princeton Theological Seminary, who spoke of human history versus “salvation history.”

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FEDS DOUBLE ILLEGAL ALIEN ARRESTS IN NJ

Federal immigration-law enforcers nearly doubled the number of arrests of illegal aliens in New Jersey during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, today’s Star-Ledger reports.

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A total of 2,079 illegal aliens were taken into custody by four teams of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials assigned to the state, the Ledger reports.

Those swept up were wanted on warrants or deportation orders, or because they happened to be in places that the feds were raiding, the Ledger reports.

In fiscal 2006, 1,094 people were arrested in the state, the Ledger says. Of the 2,079 arrested last year, officials reported that 270 had criminal histories and 1,220 have already been deported.

From the article:

The increase reflected a nationwide trend that has seen deportations skyrocket. Nationwide, 30,408 people were arrested in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up from 15,462 the previous year.

It is the first time in the controversial five-year effort to cut down on the number of fugitive aliens living in the country that the number has decreased, ICE officials said.

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STUDENTS DECRY DARFUR ‘HOLOCAUST’

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Forget Lindsay Lohan and fence-plowing and occasionally topless amateur hour contestants. There is hope for the next generation.

With the help of a social studies teacher, two Rumson-Fair Haven High School seniors, Nikki Schneider and Kellie Donovan, organized Wednesday night’s “Night for Darfur” with the aim of informing the community about “another holocaust” underway in the Darfur region of the Sudan.

“What’s going on affects us all,” said Schneider. “We made a promise after the Holocaust. It’s unacceptable.”

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