Patch Looks Back: Hillsborough's Biggest Stories
Hillsborough Patch recaps the biggest stories since our launch one year ago.
It's been a long year in Hillsborough, as residents, officials, and local businesses know.
Here, Hillsborough Patch recaps its biggest stories since the site's Dec. 8, 2010 lauch:
Dec. 8: Hillsborough Patch launches with stories on the township’s universal playground, Auten Road students’ efforts to spread holiday warmth, and the last of the mercury being removed from town.
Dec. 10: The Planning Board’s hearing on a proposed Sonic fast food restaurant at the corner of Route 206 and Oxford Road is postponed until January 13—and the meeting ends right before public comment on the plan.
Dec. 15: The county-ordered property revaluation has town officials expecting a $1.6 billion dollar increase in home values.
Dec 26, 27: A post-Christmas blizzard dumps over a foot of snow on town, but businesses still open after the storm.
Dec 29: Former mayor Mike Merdinger is appointed Township Administrator, filling former administrator Kevin Davis’ spot.
Jan. 5: Gloria McCauley and Carl Suraci are appointed mayor and deputy mayor for 2011.
Jan. 10: The New Jersey Senate honors the Hillsborough Girls Cross Country team. That sound you just heard was the town cheering for the girls!
Jan. 11: A woman and her five-year-old daughter are uninjured after driving into the YMCA building. The building sustained minor damages, which were handled by insurance.
Jan. 26, 27: The snow beings on the 26 and school’s canceled on the 27th, but the DPW plows almost 24 hours straight.
Feb. 19: Hillsborough residents are dismayed to learn that Pathmark will close.
Feb. 23: Hillsborough Schools receive an additional $1 million in unanticipated state aid.
Feb 28: Three Hillsborough wrestlers make it to the state tournament in Atlantic City.
March 1: The tentative school budget comes it at $110 million, but proposed privatizing bus drivers, custodial, maintenance and support services.
March 2: Gov. Christie holds a town hall meeting in Hillsborough, with pension and benefits taking center stage.
March 5: Hillsborough High School Wrestler TJ Guidice takes fifth in his weight class at the state tournament in Atlantic City.
March 8: Six candidates file for three seats on the Board of Education.
March 11: The proposal for a Sonic restaurant is withdrawn because of costs associated with mitigating a wetlands strip on the site.
March 22: Privatizing services is avoided after the Board of Education and the Hillsborough Education Association agree to $2 million in healthcare concessions.
April 2: Rich and Debbie Norz, of Hillsborough’s award-winning farming dynasty, travel to Washington, D.C. after being named 2010’s Outstanding Young Farmers on the state and national levels.
April 4: District 16 becomes much more competitive as the new district map has Republican-leaning Somerset County towns paired with the Democrat-focused Princetons and South Brunswick.
April 11: Four candidates file for the two Township Committee seats that will be open in the November elections. They include Republicans incumbent Gloria McCauley and newcomer Douglas Tomson and Democrats Aldo Martinez and John Reddan.
April 26, 27: Hillsborough prepares for a police protest during a Township Committee meeting, as the township and Policeman’s Benevolent Association negotiations continue. The meeting draws about 100 police, fire and emergency personnel from Hillsborough and other towns, but elicits no announcement about a contract.
April 28: The school budget passes by 1,057 votes and Judy Haas, Chris Pulsifer and Jennifer Haley are elected to three-year terms on the Board of Education.
May 3: Steven Paget and Mark Rosenberg are chosen at president and vice president of the Board of Education.
May 4: The Board of Education approves a full-day, paid kindergarten program for students, though it will not be an all-academic program.
May 17: Two charter schools name Hillsborough as a potential sending district, with the threat of almost $1 million in tuition payments to the schools.
May 18: Board member Barbara Sargent resigns her post after being appointed superintendent of the Readington School district.
May 21: Kevin Carty replaces Vince Coviello as head coach of Hillsborough High School’s football team.
May 23: Hillsborough High School goes into lockdown after students allegedly playing a game of “Assassin” bring imitation weapons near school grounds. The students are later charged with disorderly conduct.
May 25: The Township Committee undertakes a $2 million project to replace the Municipal Building roof and HVAC system and to install solar panels.
May 26: Hillsborough’s annual fireworks ceremony returns after Assemblyman Pete Biondi finds private backers for the festival.
June 3: A controversial call ends Hillsborough Boys Volleyball’s season at the NJSIAA Central Jersey Championship.
June 6: Auten Road Intermediate School teacher Karen Hoffman is named district and county Teacher of the Year.
June 12: The universal playground opens at Ann Van Middlesworth Park, despite rainy conditions.
June 13: After 44 years of serving Hillsborough residents, Hillsborough Pharmacy moves to Walgreens.
June 14: Dana Boguzewski is appointed to serve the remaining year in Barbara Sargent’s Board of Education term.
June 23: Hillsborough High School graduates 566 students during its 2011 commencement exercises.
July 3, 8: Rainy weather cancels Hillsborough’s fireworks celebration.
July 13: Hillsborough Township re-hires on of the officers it laid off in May in order to fill a retirement vacancy.
July 19: The Board of Education agrees to try a three-committee structure for six months, and will have Operations, Education and Human Resources Committees until January 2012.
July 26: New York Giant and Hillsborough High School graduate Shaun O’Hara returns to Hillsborough High School for a fundraiser to support resident, guidance counselor Ian Progin.
July 28: En route to a press conference to sign three Open Space bills, Gov. Chris Christie is admitted to the emergency room at Somerset Medical Center with asthma-like symptoms.
Aug. 2: After enduring a graduation ceremony in a hot and stuff gym—where several people needed to be treated for heat problems—Board of Education member Jennifer Haley proposes moving the graduation off-site or otherwise handling the heat.
Aug. 3: A week after his asthma attack, Gov. Chris Christie signs three Open Space bills at Doyle’s Farm.
Aug. 12: Former Millstone Mayor Mary Patrick dies. She’s remembered as a woman who always tried to do the right thing.
Aug. 13: A Richmond Court fire leaves multiple units uninhabitable. No humans are harmed though three cats perish.
Aug. 16: Money Magazine names Hillsborough one of the top places to live in America for the second time.
Aug. 17: Trillium School, one of the charter schools that named Hillsborough as a sending district, withdraws its charter application.
Aug. 23: Tremors from a Virginia earthquake are felt in Somerset County, though no damage is seen in New Jersey.
Aug. 28: Hurricane Irene wallops New Jersey, and Hillsborough sees roads in and out of town flooded, power lines down and trees uprooted. The township opens an emergency shelter in the Municipal building after portions of Millstone and Dukes Parkway flood. At least one family from that area evacuates in advance of the rising waters, while Hillsborough firefighters must evacuate a second family who “never thought the water would rise that high.”
Aug. 31: 45 houses are condemned as unsafe as a result of flooding.
Sept. 1: The township fireworks are canceled because of the rain and muddy ground that followed Irene.
Sept. 7, 8: Tropical Storm Lee ignores warnings that we’re already too soggy, and closes more roads in and around Somerset County. The water requires the school district to close school on the second day of the 2011-2012 school year.
Sept. 11: Volunteer Fire Companies No. 2 and 3 remember those lost in 9/11, through memorial ceremonies and through the dedication of a memorial garden that’s centered around a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.
Sept. 27: The Board of Education approves a much-contested fourth vice principal position for Hillsborough High School.
Oct. 11: The Board of Education is split on how to spend the funds from $1 million in unanticipated state aid.
Oct. 13: Hillsborough High School US Government and Politics students set the first candidates’ night for Hillsborough residents, though only Democratic candidates for Township Committee John Reddan and Aldo Martinez participate.
Oct. 26: Assemblyman Peter Biondi reveals a cancer diagnosis, but says he will still run for his assembly seat.
Oct. 30, 31: A Halloween snow storm downs power lines, leaving some residents without power for days. It’s status quo with the weather, Mayor McCauley says.
Nov. 3: An appeal to demolish an historic building on Amwell Road will continue in January, after the Zoning Board decides it must hear testimony from both John Lazorchak, who owns the building and the Neshanic Coalition.
Nov. 10: After 25 years of studies, debates and approvals, the Claremont Sewer project is finally completed.
Nov. 11: Days after winning reelection to his assembly seat, Pete Biondi dies of cancer. He’s remembered as the town’s patriarch, officials say.
Nov. 15: The school district reinstates its elementary school World Language program, and adds Mandarin Chinese in addition to Spanish.
Nov. 17: Hillsborough Township joins the Millstone-Raritan River Flood Control Commission to prevent the flooding seen in several Somerset County areas.
Dec. 2: The site plan proposal for a 469-unit apartment complex on Route 206 will continue in January. The developer, Route 206 Enterprises, hopes to present data on traffic into and out of the site—an issue currently under discussion with state and county officials.
Dec. 5: Just six months after surgery to remove a brain tumor, Hillsborough resident, guidance counselor, and Boys Basketball Coach Ian Progin returns to coach the team.
Dec. 7: The Board of Education agrees to reconsider its three-year-old random drug test policy, which is no longer funded through federal grant money.