Back in the 70′s, before sitcoms withering in the ratings basement got started doing “very special” episodes about some disturbing topic, there would almost always be the obligatory “she’s gonna have a baby in the living room now!” episode. Or the elevator. See what I mean?

It was never a plot used in the first season when the writers still had ideas.

Well, in a feel-good story, CPD Officer Nelson Hearns helped a Cranford family do just that for real.

Congratulations. We’re glad everyone is doing well.

When the Star-Ledger Editorial Board doesn’t like something that enhances government revenues…means it’s really, really bad.

Or their editorial board are a bunch of speed-demon red light-runners.

But in this “broken clock is right twice a day” editorial, they’re right. Red Light cameras are pretty awful.

We know this personally. We’ve been tagged in Linden at Route 1 and Stiles.

We did two things about it:

We fought the ticket (losing, of course, but wasting as much of the Linden court’s time as much as we could). Yes…the yellow light is EXACTLY three seconds, so that is not a winning defense.

And we avoid going to Linden unless it is absolutely necessary. We don’t go to the movies there anymore and we check the Garwood Home Depot first. And we stop at the yellow light if we do have to go there, since we figure we’d rather save $115 even if it angers the guy in the truck behind us. (So Linden-based merchants, you may want to mention that you have fewer customers at the next council meeting…even though council probably doesn’t care.)

Red light cameras have to go.

So finally. You now can, in more than just in theory, ride direct from Cranford to NY Penn. Maybe someday it will be during rush hours.

Bernie Wagenblast was on it this morning.

What would direct service all the time mean? It will be a plus for property values as more people wanting to escape NYC will find Cranford that little bit more attractive. Maybe a slight bump for businesses as reverse commutes are a little less horrible.

First Starbucks…now this.

The US Gypsum plant in Clark, that closed down a few years ago when the floor fell out of construction, is being quickly torn down in favor of this:

I am a bit conflicted about this. Why?

I kind of wanted a cart bridge over Raritan Road and another 9 holes for Hyatt Hills (or at least six holes and a smaller driving range to make a full 18 holes).  The US Gypsum site won’t be manufacturing again in our lifetimes. Sure Hyatt Hills is a money sink. However expanding it to 18 holes would boost its appeal. And with Galloping Hill prices up and Oak Ridge gone (one of the dumbest Freeholder decisions ever), golf options are shrinking for a regular joe. Then again, disposable income is shrinking for regular joes.

But hey, the ratables for a retail plaza are nothing to sneeze at. It is a no-brainer for Clark to want this.

However, I am not a Whole Foods fan. I would have rather had a Wegmans if we were going to go that route. (A Wegmans would have made the ShopRite owners soil themselves more than they are with Whole Foods.) The ShopRite folks are suing anyway.

Yes, I do think that a lot of organic and natural and whatever is more about maximum wallet extraction than anything else. Couple that with the scads of self-righteous and fad-loving natural food consumers and it’s a mix that I don’t personally find super-appealing. But I am clearly in the minority on this one. That’s fine.

What will this do for traffic? It will make Raritan Road a little hairier…but it is a little hairy now. At least it will get rid of the pothole magnet train tracks by Rite Aid.

The pluses: Nice to have more reasons not to go to the Route 22 corridor. Less chain-link fence for visitors to look at when they come up from the Parkway. It’s not a Wal-Mart (which we don’t necessarily dislike or consider eeeeevil – but the Union and Linden Wal-Marts are just a god-awful mix of packed and picked-over.)

The minuses: The traffic down Central Ave from Westfield will be massive going to Whole Foods. My dream of an 18 hole Hyatt Hills course has the same fate as the canals at the Riverfront project. It will take another few more minutes to get to ShopRite and Target. We coulda had a Wegmans.

The suspect in the most recent murder in Cranford has died in jail at 25.

In a couple weeks, we may learn the cause.

To the media, the case is only noteworthy as it inspired anti-bath salt legislation as the suspect’s mother cited them as a cause. I guess I missed it, but I didn’t know that bath salts weren’t involved at all. Just someone with a lot of issues.

A sad postscript.

It should melt soon.

Cranford has been in the top 50 in school districts for a while now. Now we’ve broken into the top 50 in something else: Safety.

So the 65 Police Officers we have in town are doing something.


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