Year in Review: Top Basking Ridge Stories of 2012
Here are the stories that made headlines and resonated most with readers.
January 2012 had some disturbing news, with some involving Bernardsville. The driver of a cement truck who was involved in mid-January in a three-vehicle collision on Route 202 at Whitenack Road in Bernardsville died later at Morristown Medical Center in a crash that also injured others. Meanwhile, Patrick Lott, former assistant principal at the Bernardsville Middle School, was in jail after accusations that he allegedly had videotaped male students in the shower at Immaculata High School, where he served as a volunteer coach.
A few fox attacks in the area of Homestead Village luckily were not repeated. The best news all month may have been that the Bamboo Grille, neighbors and township all settled a legal dispute.
February was the start of an issue that is even now not settled. At the beginning of the month, Ridge High School buses were diverted to Cedar Hill School in the morning — from which students could walk to the back of the school — in an attempt to alleviate morning traffic at the high school. Homestead Village residents protested the situation is unsafe and unfair, but the bus route continues while a long-term solution is sought.
Former School Business Administrator Nick Markarian was officially appointed as the next school superintendent to replace Valerie Goger, who retired at the end of June.
Hearings on the Millington Quarry were in full swing in March, with month after month of experts testifying about the quarry's plan to rehabilitate the facility on Stonehouse Road for another purpose after closure, with an eye toward an eventual residential development.
The Board of Education decided to replace mid-terms and finals with quarterly assessments at Ridge High School for the 2012-13 school year. And for the 11th straight year, the Ridge forensics team placed first in the state.
In April, many mourned the lost of Dr. Emil Bisaccia, a Basking Ridge dermatologist who was flying a plane that went down in Ohio.
April also was a month in which fire left a mark — a condo fire in the Bedminster section of The Hills forced the evacuation of several units. And a police car, fortunately unoccupied, was destroyed by flames as it was parked behind the police headquarters.
Louis D'Autorio and Bev Cwerner applied for a vacancy on the school board created by the resignation of Board President Susan Carlsson. Cwerner, a former board member, eventually was appointed. Carlsson left at the end of the month.
The township's experts in the Millington Quarry presentation on its future plans were preparing to wrap up their testimony before rebuttal and testimony by the public.
The serving of child support papers on a Bernardsville man snowballed into a SWAT incident in early June which fortunately was resolved without incident.
On a more lighthearted note, Sky Farm Nudist Club in Basking Ridge planned 'Nudestock 2012' to celebrate the club's 80th anniversary. And the Ridge Class of 2012, a lively bunch known for plenty of school spirit, were launched into the world at graduation.
In July, Ridge graduate Tobin Heath headed out as part of the Olympics womens soccer team on her way to contributing toward getting the gold for the U.S. again.
Summer lightning was blamed for a roof fire during the month, and a Martinsville man was accused of tending to marijuana plants in Mountain Park.
Back before the Planning Board, the proposal for a 4,200-square-foot mosque faced questions about its location source of funding, although questioners were told that funding was not necessarily relevant to the application. And those who have grown lax about home security were reminded to be more vigilant after local burgaries. Many read about a former Marine and Iraq war veteran allegedly gave heroin to a fellow veteran who would then die of an overdose at the VA Medical Center in Lyons in early July.
Ridge High School football got off to a great start of a long winning streak with the season's opener against Montgomery, but then moved onto an even sweeter victory over arch-rival Immaculata High School, a contest that was televised on MSG Varsity television.
The sound of helicopters overhead one early morning was actually a search for juveniles who allegedly had broken into Krauszer's Food Store more than once. Also during the month, a parent garnered much support when she asked the Board of Education why there was no moment of silence for 9/11 in Bernards Township schools.
Whatever else we were discussing in October, it was knocked way to the back burner with the arrival of Superstorm Sandy at the end of the month. All of Bernards Township and Bernardsville were left without power, and trees blocked main roads, as well as trapping some residents.
Earlier in the month, traffic and attendance figures for the proposed mosque were questioned in a continuing series of public hearings before the Planning Board.
It was Sandy, and more Sandy during November, as virtually everyone in the township experienced a power outage after the storm, with that blackout extending well into November for many. Township schools were closed for two weeks. When students finally returned, the Board of Education, with public input, was left wondering how to make up lost days.
In the midst of all this, incumbents on both the Township Committee and Board of Education were re-elected to new terms, during a presidential election that required much juggling by the township clerk and election workers since the town hall and some of the scheduled polls sites were still without power.
Readers evidently were concerned about a driver who was extricated after hours of being trapped after a one-car crash on I-78, although she was later reported to be in stable condition.
In a follow up to the misery of prolonged power outages during Sandy, JCP&L's president Don Lynch faced the music at a public hearing, attended by commissioners from the Board of Public Utilities, during which officials and residents critiqued the power company's performance during the storm and its aftermath.
On a more enjoyable note, residents and readers seemed to enjoy taking a look at two new places to eat out or pick up food in town, including Urban Table, a local restaurant that already has a sister eatery in Morristown many in this area may have already tried. Meanwhile, those who wants health food, organic produce and other health-oriented products tuned in to read that Dean's Natural Food Market had just opened off Martinsville Road.