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5-Foot Python, Alleged Arson, Teen's Death Top Hillsborough News in 2012

Here's a look at some of the top stories from each month over the past year.

January

After nine years in Hillsborough, Learning Express Toys . “Business is down 50 percent,” Owner Rick Grossman said. “It’s the economy. Internet sales, too."

About 525 of the 600 registered runners of all ages—from 8 to 88—participated in the 11th annual Resolution Run on New Year's Day. The top male and female runners were Jordan Magath, of Hillsborough, and Kavitha Manley, of Piscataway. Magath, a former Hillsborough High School standout cross country runner, set a new course record with a time of 15:49.7.

February

Hillsborough Township Police Lt. Victor Kubisch died on Feb. 24 after battling Lou Gehrig's disease. Kubisch served as a Hillsborough police officer from 1981 until he retired in 2011.

Hillsborough Township saw a $19 million drop in its rateables base in 2012 that could be attributed to factors ranging from tax appeals, Open Space purchases or corrected errors from property revaluations.

March

A 69-year-old Zion Road resident was charged with allegedly setting a fire that destroyed a historic Amwell Road home. Curtis Westover, who had filed suit against the Hillsborough Zoning Board in 2011, was charged with second-degree aggravated arson.

A Hillsborough teen found dead on Capricorn Drive shocked the quiet neighborhood. The 16-year-old was identified as Jose Mejia Jr., a sophomore at Hillsborough High School.

It could take until 2017 or 2018 to complete the 3.5-mile Route 206 Bypass, Committeeman Frank DelCore said at a March Township Committee meeting. Delcore said he was assured the projects would be completed and the $75 million needed to fund the project has been set aside.

April

Two drivers involved in a crash at the corner of Route 206 and Somerville Road were airlifted from the scene of the accident that shutdown Route 206 in both directions for hours.

After nearly four decades of planning, the Route 206 bypass project is still a long road from completion.

May

Hillsborough Police found a 5-foot ball python, a non-venomous snake that is popular as a pet, near the corner of Williamsburg Drive and Wexford Place.

A 27-year-old East Brunswick motorcyclist died in a motorcycle crash that shut down Amwell Road for about three hours.

A black bear was spotted in multiple locations in town in the areas of Beekman Lane, Triangle Road and Auten Road.

Nearly 90 comments were posted on Hillsborough Patch's most popular Readers' Choice category, best dance studio, won by Premiere Dance of Hillsborough.

A Hillsborough father along with his son and daughter were accused of beating and wrestling with cops following a motor vehicle stop outside their Mountain View Road home. The three were indicted in August.

June

The Hillsborough delegation of the Somerset County Republican Committee selected Greg Burchette to replace Committeeman Bob Wagner on the November ballot.

The Hillsborough High School baseball coach Norm Hewitt was recognized by the Township Committee for winning his 600th career game and the high school baseball team for capturing the Somerset County championship, the and being finalists in the New Jersey Group 4 state championship.

Two men were indicted for a series of burglaries in Hillsborough, Warren, Green Brook and Montgomery.

Woodfern School Principal Joseph Majka resigned to become superintendent and principal of the one-school district in the Monmouth County community of Bradley Beach.

More than 600 seniors graduated from Hillsborough High School Thursday night. Under sunny skies and sultry temperatures, Valedictorian Shreehari Raghavan, Salutatorian Rachael Van Pelt and Class President Jimmy Cao spoke at the ceremony.

July

Hillsborough's Jake Burgess saved a 7-year-old from drowning when he pulled the boy from the bottom of a North Brunswick pool.

A township man was sentenced to 16 years for sexually assaulting a child. Edward C. Forsthoffer, 41, was convicted in February of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Forsthoffer is not the former Hillsborough Schools superintendent by the same name.

Former Hillsborough Mayor Anthony Ferrera was named the new township administrator. Ferrera, who served on the Township Committee from 2004 to 2011 and as mayor in 2007 and 2008, replaced Michael Merdinger.

August

The Somerset Valley YMCA declined to renew the contract of a consultant swim coach it has employed for the past six years after discovering he had previously served five years in jail for having sex with a 14-year-old girl. Joe Weber pled guilty to having oral sex with the girl 17 years ago in the Philadelphia area, according to a report by NJ.com.

September

Both occupants of a twin-engine plane that crashed while attempting to land Thursday morning at Hillsborough's Central Jersey Regional Airport suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Lisa Miccolis was the winning bidder in the auction for Ash's Flower Farm at 135 Route 206, purchasing all the remaining inventory (plants, accessories, equipment) for $15,000. The state Department of Treasury seized the Route 206 property on Aug. 22 and scheduled the auction in an effort to recoup some of the , who is listed as the business owner. Several wholesalers are also owed money by Ash’s Flower Farm.

October

The floods didn’t come, but the winds arrived, and leaving the township in a post-tropical cyclone induced darkness that might takes many days to relight. Superstorm Sandy left behind several problems, but overall was .

About 50 township residents came to a Board of Education meeting to . The request came as the board approved the calendar for the 2013-14 school year.

By a 6-3 vote, the Board of Education decided to retain the district’s random drug testing policy. After months of discussion and gathering input from the community, the majority of board members believed that while the program may be flawed and produced inconclusive results, the random testing was a valuable tool in the ongoing effort to combat adolescent drug use in the community.

November

After receiving numeorus complaints about the 2013-14 school year starting on the second day of Rosh Hashanah—and on a Friday—the Hillsborough Board of Education will reexamine the 2012-13 school calendar.

Republicans Carl Suraci and Greg Buchette swept to a victory in the race for two three-year seats on the Township Committee.

December

An off-duty police officer from Hamilton Township, in Mercer County, shot a pit bull that bit his foot as the officer attempted to get the dog and another stray out of Route 206 traffic.

Police and school officials took steps to respond to two incidents that highlight the importance of security at schools. Police are continuing to investigate graffiti on a shed at Auten Road Intermediate School discovered that seemed to threaten students, reportedly stating, "We are watching you, kiddies." Just as police responded to the graffiti incident, news spread of a young man who entered a Connecticut elementary school and killed 20 students and six adults.

Buckeye Pipe Line Co. said it has determined about 55 barrels of gasoline —2,310 gallons— leaked from the pipeline, a quantity much higher than initially reported.

elidonnelly December 31, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Please stop the blue print. It is very difficult to read.
centurion January 01, 2013 at 05:01 PM
"It could take until 2017 or 2018 to complete the 3.5-mile Route 206 Bypass," That is disgusting. That is NOT something to be proud of, speaking to the town council, and all you dummies that keep reelecting the same people.

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