Fatal Tree Accident, Highway Crashes, School Calendar Top Feb. News
Bernards burglaries and Bedminster A&P closing are among other most read stories during the month.
Traffic was closed for hours, as rescue workers and police were unable to save the driver of a utility truck killed by a large evergreen alongside Mount Airy Road that swayed on a windy day and cracked before a large portion of the top fell on the passing vehicle.
Somerset Hills area residents were saddened to learn that the victim of Jan. 31's fatal tree accident was Douglas McKay, 55, a longtime employee of HW Alward in Bernardsville. Witnesses to the accident said the large tree swayed in the wind before breaking off and toppling on the cab of a passing truck driven by McKay.
Traffic remained delayed for hours as only minor injuries were reported.
State Police from Somerville said there actually were 14 to 15 accidents within roughly an hour as snow, ice and rain fell on Friday afternoon. Fortunately, no major injuries were reported.
The Board of Education proposed a revised school calendar for the next school year that would shorten the traditional February weeklong vacation as one way of getting school out earlier in February. Schools Superintendent Nick Markarian also gave a report on the results of a survey of parents, staff and Ridge High School juniors and seniors commenting on how they would like to see the calendar changed, if at all.
Township police are investigating and also comparing notes with other law enforcement agencies regarding two reported burglaries of homes within the same time frame during early February in a Basking Ridge neighborhood bounded by West Oak Street and North Finley Avenue.
A Hunterdon County man has been arrested on burglary, theft and weapons charges as a result of an investigation by a task force of law agencies in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties. Bernards Township police said they do not know if the man specifically has been charged as of this week with burglaries in recent months in The Hills and northern Basking Ridge, but said the investigation is ongoing.
A Bedminster teen's car collided with a Bernardsville First Aid Squad ambulance when she tried to turn into the train station off Mine Brook Road, after she told police she also saw a vehicle with flashing lights behind her, a borough police report said. The crash resulted in five people, including two in the car and three volunteers with the Bernardsville First Aid Squad, being transported to Morristown Medical Center, according to authorities. The driver of the car received a ticket for careless driving, according to police.
Some shocking stories from our region attracted many readers in early February.
Gill St. Bernard's, with some star players, was the only team to break the Ridge High School Red Devils boys basketball game team's 26 game winning streak this year. But Ridge came back and thanks to teamwork, the team steadily advanced to a win for the Somerset County Tournament.
Readers caught up on the weekend on an especially active news week in mid-February.
New Jersey state police and Liberty Corner volunteers responded to a late night crash on I-78 in early February.
A traffic expert testifying on behalf of a proposed mosque in Liberty Corner disputed the previous advice from township professionals that the 4,200-square-foot house of worship should have 110 parking spaces. The expert said actual counts at other mosques don't justify those numbers — but township professionals and Planning Board members questioned the methodology and formulas for obtaining those counts.
The party isn't exactly over, but general admission ticketholders will no longer be able to bring in supplies of alcohol — which sometimes seemed unlimited — through the gates into the annual Far Hills Race Meeting, decided race organizers and the Far Hills Council. It is possible that some alcohol may be available for the general admission gates within the property — but don't count on it. Otherwise, unless you're within a corporate or catered tent party, or tailgating on the top of the hill, forget it.
A natural gas leak and problems with boilers kept Bernards Town Hall at 1 Collyer Lane closed for more than a day, from Monday into Tuesday, but the building opened well in time for a Township Planning Board meeting on Tuesday night.
Whether it was the sad news about the tree accident or learning that a plan to turf the infields at Fortenbacker Field had been placed on hold to address concerns of neighbors, readers sought to catch up.
Bernards Township and Far Hills officials are in agreement that Far Hills should pay more than the 15 percent of maintenance and repaving costs for shared portions of Douglas Road and a portion of Mine Brook Road. The question is — how much?
The A&P in Bedminster is due to close its doors after many decades as a local institution — and some people either find the store convenient or like its down-home style.