It's been an exciting year in Bridgewater, with news both good and bad filling the pages of the website.
But after a year of articles comprising all topics—including government, school, sports and entertainment—we thought that Bridgewater Patch's one-year anniversary would be a good time to reflect on the top 10 stories that have affected the residents of this town.
Here we go!
- —This story has been prominent in Bridgewater since February of this year when the Al Falah Center submitted an application to build a mosque on the former Redwood Inn property on Mountain Top Road. The application was initially before the planning board until the township passed an ordinance in March that doesn't allow houses of worship on non-major highways. The application would now have to be before the zoning board, and the Al Falah Center has since filed a lawsuit against the township.
- —Bridgewater residents watched in horror in February as we reported on an apparent murder/suicide at Roy T. Jewelers on Route 202. Police reported that Bridgewater resident Michael Koury killed store owner Roy Devoe in an apparent armed robbery attempt, then killed himself. Residents, friends and family turned out in droves later that week to honor the memory of Devoe.
- —T-Mobile has had several applications for cell towers before the zoning board this year, but the one that has drawn the most contention is for a 125-foot cell tower at the Green Knoll Volunteer Fire Company. The application has not yet been resolved, but concerns have been expressed about the possible changing character of the neighborhood with a tower and why the fire company is bringing this onto its property.
- —Residents were divided over our coverage of the alleged attempted vehicle burglary committed by teen Douglas Uhler, who suffered a brain injury when he got in a fight with the victim, and later succumbed to his injuries. Commenters discussed whether it was right of the victim to get in that fight, and expressed their condolences over the loss of the teen.
- —In an upset over two-time defending champion Summit, the Bridgewater boys varsity lacrosse team won the Tournament of Champions this year. The team ended Summit's 68-game winning streak to take home the title this year, winning the game, 6-5.
- —After a difficult 2010-2011 budget season, and its failure in the vote, the district worked hard to manage the 2011-2012 budget, approving a $129 million budget that was passed by the voters. The budget included a 0.67 percent increase and 1.5 percent tax levy increase—which was recently lowered with additional aid granted from the state—and was about sustaining and maintaining what the schools already have.
- —The district initially proposed a one-site model for an ESL program to bring all students to Bradley Gardens Primary School. But residents expressed concerns about busing students from all the way across the district, and said they didn't think the school could handle so many more students. In the end, the board of education approved a three-site model to bring kids to Adamsville Primary, Milltown Primary and John F. Kennedy Primary.
- —It was a very snowy winter this past year, with snowstorms beginning in December and lasting through February. The district was forced to use more than its share of snow days, and the snow budget began to become a concern for the township. Because of the issue this past year, the district has amended its calendar to allow for more opportunities to use snow days.
- —The township held the grand opening of its municipal complex in October after a great deal of construction to build first the new police department and then the municipal offices. The complex has been built to be more energy efficient than previous incarnations.
- —Of course the most important, on July 30, 2010, the township was introduced to Bridgewater Patch, a hyperlocal community news website. The site has spent the past year keeping residents of the town informed about government, schools, sports, entertainment and anything else they want to know.