31 October 2009

Hypnotized to Death

William Davenport removed his coat and hat and bent down low over the lifeless body lying on the autopsy table at the city hospital. He pulled back the black sheet and placed the tips of his fingers lightly over the motionless heart. With his lips close to the ear of his subject, he spoke in earnest.

"Bob! Your heart!"


"Bob! Your heart! Your heart is beating!"

The eyelids did not flutter. There was no breath.

"Bob, your heart action is beginning. It is beginning."

Davenport bent lower still as the county coroner and other physicians looked on approvingly. Almost whispering now, "Oh I say, Bob, look, your heart is beginning to beat."

What is this? A scene out of a Vincent Price thriller, or maybe something you saw once on the late late late show?

None of the above. This scene took place on November 9, 1909, in the "dead room" of Somerset Hospital in Somerville. Amateur hypnotist William E. Davenport of Newark had been summoned by "Professor" Arthur Everton to try to revive the rigid body of Robert Simpson. This request came from Everton's jail cell.

Thirty-five-year-old Robert Simpson was a piano mover, a streetcar conductor, and a "horse", i.e. a professional hypnotist's subject. Simpson had worked many times with stage hypnotist "Professor" Arthur Everton, and their performance at the Somerville Opera House on the evening of November 8 was transpiring as usual until near the end of the show.

Robert Simpson and Professor Arthur Everton on stage in Somerville

Everton first placed Simpson in a hypnotic trance. But rather than command Simpson through a comedic skit of some sort, he induced in Simpson a rigid cataleptic state and suspended him horizontally between two chairs.

Just as they had performed countless times before, Everton climbed up and stood for a few moments on Simpson's chest. The subject remained motionless, unable to hear the audience applause that swept through the theater. Everton removed the chairs, stood Simpson up, and attempted to summon him from the trance.

Just as Simpson should have been waking up, he collapsed violently to the ground. A visibly shaken Everton dragged Simpson into the wings and worked feverishly to revive his friend. Only a few minutes later he called to the audience for a doctor.

Simpson was immediately pronounced dead at the scene by Dr. W. H. Long, the county physician, who happened to be in the audience that evening - but Professor Everton pleaded with the medical men, stating that he believed Simpson was still in a trance and could be revived if he had time to work on him.

Long agreed, and they took Simpson to the hospital where Everton worked on him through the evening until exhaustion and the local police put an end to it. The professor was taken to the Somerville jail and promptly charged with manslaughter.

9 November 1909 Home News

The New York Times and many other daily newspapers reported several times on the incident - including Davenport's failed attempts to awaken Simpson, and Everton's hypnosis of the jailer. Over the next several days, amateur hypnotists and spiritualists from around the country flooded the Somerville telegraph office with advice on re-animating Simpson.

Meanwhile, Everton, in a state of near-total collapse in the lock-up, continued to insist that Simpson was alive - despite an autopsy that showed he had died from a ruptured aorta. He was eventually released on $4000 bail to await a grand jury hearing of the case.

A grand jury met for three days in Somerville but chose not to indict Everton, delivering their verdict on December 24th.   Three weeks after Simpson's death The New York Times ran a full-page story under the headline, "Is Hypnotism Another Narcotic Poison?", which recounted the events in Somerville, and hoped that the incident would lead to a better understanding of the devastating effects of hypnotism on an unsuspecting public.

30 October 2009

Rewarding Evening

Hillsborough's Hope, the local fundraising team for the international charity Autism Speaks, held its Fourth Annual Basket and Silent Auction at the Bridgewater Marriott on Friday October 30th. It was quite a rewarding evening.

The Marriott proved to be a wonderful venue for this special event, and quite a change from the North Branch Firehouse - unavailable this year due to the remodeling of their banquet room. At the hotel, there was even enough space to give the more than 250 prizes a room of their own!

There were a number of unique silent auction items this year, including a personal dining experience with Executive Chef Christopher Lee at his New York restaurant.

As was the case last year, deciding where to "drop your tickets" is one of the toughest, yet most enjoyable, parts of the evening.

Of course nothing beats hearing your number called in the ballroom!

It would be difficult for me to thank everyone who made the evening the most successful ever for Hillsborough's Hope. There were so many who contributed - from our friends who solicited donations, to the dozens of local merchants who generously contributed prizes, to the many volunteers who helped set up and run the event.

A special thank you must go to my beautiful wife Patty, co-chair of Central New Jersey Walk Now For Autism and a tireless supporter of Autism Speaks, who probably put in more hours making it all come together than all of the many volunteers combined. Her only goal is to raise all the money it will take to find a cure for autism. Her only reward is the feeling she gets from doing her best. And she always does her best.

29 October 2009

Anna Case Debuts

Central New Jersey's most famous diva made the first of her many debuts on October 29, 1887. It didn't take place at a famous opera house, or Carnegie Hall, but rather in this yellow house in Clinton. For this is the birthplace of Anna Case, the daughter of a New Jersey blacksmith who became the first singer without European training to grace the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

Birthplace of Anna Case, 15 East Main Street, Clinton, NJ.

The eldest of the three children of Peter van Nuys Case and Jeanette Ludlow Gray, Anna grew up in South Branch, Hillsborough Township, where her father set up as the village blacksmith.

South Branch Village blacksmith shop of Peter Case circa 1907.

Anna grew up in poverty. Most of her youth was spent taking care of her two younger brothers and running the household for her sickly mother. She also helped in the blacksmith shop and did enough odd jobs around town - cleaning houses and driving a horse and carriage taxi to and from the train station - to buy herself one new dress and pair of shoes each year.

She also sang. She recalled later, that by the age of nine if she wasn't getting the solo on Sunday in the choir of the South Branch Reformed Church she would be bitterly disappointed.

Illustration from a 1912 syndicated newspaper story

Neighbors and friends encouraged the young Anna - against her father's wishes - to pursue a career in music. Already self-taught on violin and organ, the teenager knew that to become a great singer she would need a teacher. Mrs. Dewitt Bowman, the wife of the South Branch grocer, loaned Anna enough money to take lessons twice a week from Somerville music teacher Catherine Opdyke.

Catherine Opdyke, Mrs. Dewitt Bowman, and the young Anna Case from a 1931 newspaper story.

It was also around this time that Anna got a $12 a month job as organist at the Neshanic Reformed Church. It wasn't long before Miss Opdyke knew that Anna's talent was beyond the scope of her teaching.

Anna Case with local music teacher Catherine Opdyke as depicted in a 1925 newspaper account of her career.

She recommended Anna to Madame Augusta Ohrstrom-Renard, a former dramatic soprano with the Royal Opera of Stockholm, Sweden, who was teaching in New York. The proceeds from a concert performance by Anna at the Neshanic Church helped repay her loans, and a new job singing in the choir of the First Presbyterian Church in Plainfield paid for her lessons in New York.

It wasn't long before Anna would be discovered - but I will save that part of the story for another time.

One of the earliest publicity photos of Anna Case as published in National Magazine in 1910.

27 October 2009

Sunnymead, or Sunnywood?

It was my great pleasure to attend Sunnymead School's 50th Anniversary Celebration Open House last month. One of the highlights of the day was viewing the artwork created by the current kindergarten through fourth graders especially for the anniversary depicting events in history and popular culture from the 60s to the 00s!

28 May 1958 Courier News

The most educational aspect of the day for me was getting a chance to meet the VIPs - Sunnymead School alumni from the past decades - some even from that first class in 1959. As the former students walked the hallways looking to find themselves in their old class pictures, I had the chance to join in a few conversations.

More than a few alumni remarked on how much the area had changed since they were kids. But not in the way you might expect. I was told how the area around the school, which is now almost completely wooded in all directions used to be mostly open fields. You could walk out the front door of the school and run all the way to Manville without ever dodging so much as a sapling.

Could this be true? We're talking about almost 300 acres here. Take a look at the current satellite view of the area. Sunnymead School is right in the center.

View Larger Map

Here is the same view taken in 1963.

Perhaps Hillsborough should consider changing the name of the school to Sunnywood!

26 October 2009

GSA Depot Survey

What kinds of recreational, athletic. or other facilities would you like to see at the former Belle Mead GSA Depot? Residents who participated in a design charette at the municipal building on October 21 considered the possibilities. Ball fields, nature trails, indoor recreation facilities, and a performing arts center ranked high among the possibilities.

The rest of the general public can also be heard by participating in an online survey on the Hillsborough Township web site. If you are interested in something like a performing arts center or community center, be sure to write that in as they are not listed in the multiple choice portion of the survey.

Besides the recreational aspects of the site, I would like to see some memorial to the depot's fifty year history. How about something to honor civilian Army employees - an often overlooked yet essential component, and the backbone of the depot through three wars. Also, how about a memorial to writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin, who experienced a pivotal moment in his life as a black man in America while working at the depot, and who wrote about the incident in one of his books.

25 October 2009

Independent or Protest?

"Let's send them a message." That's the refrain most often heard this campaign season in New Jersey. Unfortunately it's also the phrase uttered most often by those who are planning to vote for Independent gubernatorial candidate Christopher Daggett.

People are fed up with property taxes, unemployment, fiscal mismanagement, and corruption. Voters want something to change. But for something to change, you have to do more than "send a message" - you have to vote for someone who can defeat Jon Corzine on November 3. Nothing changes if the governor remains the same.

I personally like the idea of third-party candidates. I voted for Ross Perot - twice! But a vote for an independent candidate can not be a protest vote. You have to believe that your candidate has a real plan that will work, or that the two traditional party candidates are each so awful that there is no choosing between them.

Daggett loses on both criteria. Firstly, there is no way a plan that sends an additional $4 billion in taxes each year to Trenton can possibly make our state government any leaner and lead to lower taxes overall. Secondly, can any Daggett supporter who has lived through four years of Jon Corzine truly say that Chris Christie would be no better? And don't you realize that the only thing reigning in Jon Corzine, at least a little bit, has been his need to be elected to a second term? What will happen in the next four years if he gets in again?

The reality is that the real protest vote - if that's how you want to frame it - is a vote for Chris Christie. That's the vote that will really send a message to Trenton.

24 October 2009

Peace in the Valley (Road)

Here's some great news for residents who live in the vicinity of Roycefield and Valley Roads. The New Jersey State DOT has issued an amended quiet zone order, effectively changing the timetable on the establishment of a railroad quiet zone at the Norfolk Southern Valley Road grade crossing.

The previous agreement with Norfolk Southern to install a wayside horn at the crossing was being held up because Norfolk Southern was still conducting a nationwide test of that type of system. What the Dot amended order essentially does is make Hillsborough one of the test sites.

A wayside horn, which sounds when a train is approaching a grade crossing, is designed to direct its sound at automobiles in the road, and is much quieter overall than a continuously sounding train horn.

Installation of the wayside horn at Valley Road will allow the grade crossing at Roycefield Road, which has already been upgraded to quiet zone standards, to become an official quiet zone like the crossings at Auten Road and Beekman Lane. Previously, federal regulation had prohibited Roycefield from becoming a quiet zone because of its proximity to Valley Road.

21 October 2009

Anna Case: Coast to Coast

Sixty-three years before radio host Casey Kasem debuted the "long-distance dedication" feature of his weekly American Top 40 show, the very first coast-to-coast record request was phoned in by none other than Thomas Edison. What did he want to hear? Depuis Le Jour, the aria from the third act of Charpentier's "Louise" - as recorded by Hillsborough's own Anna Case.

Thomas Edison, Anna Case, and Edison Records chief Walter Miller in 1920.

The occasion was Edison Day at San Francisco's Panama-Pacific Exposition, celebrating the thirty-sixth anniversary of the incandescent lamp. And although both Thomas Edison and Anna Case would figure prominently in the birth of radio in the 1920s, this event took place on October 21, 1915 - and had nothing to do with radio at all. The Wizard of Menlo Park heard his request by transcontinental telephone cable.


While Edison and his wife were being feted in 'Frisco, his children, their wives, and about 200 invited guests crowded the library at the Edison Laboratories in Orange, N.J., pressed telephone receivers to their ears, and listened to what they soon learned was the inventor's first-ever phone call.

Guests at the Edison Labs Library in Orange, N.J. October 21, 1915.

"It may be strange to those who know my work on the telephone carbon transmitter that this is the first time I have ever carried on a conversation over the telephone," Edison began, "trying to talk thirty-four hundred miles on my first attempt at a telephone conversation seems a pretty big undertaking, but the engineers of the Bell system have made it easier to talk thirty-four hundred miles than it used to be to talk thirty-four."

It was then that Edison made his unanticipated request, sending Edison Recording Labs chief Dr. Miller Reese Hutchinson scrambling to find the disc. In what was turning out to be a day of firsts, Dr. Hutchinson, unable to locate the record, became the first deejay to substitute a different selection for the one requested, playing instead Anna Case singing Charmant Oiseau from 'The Pearl of Brazil".

November 1915, Talking Machine World

This must have pleased Edison, who then cued up the same record in San Francisco to be heard by the guests in Orange.  Through the magic of YouTube, we can listen to Anna Case today.

14 October 2009

Beekman's Pulmonic Syrup

On October 11, 1842, Peter Stryker Beekman walked into the chambers of the Honorable W.B. Gaston, at the county courthouse in Somerville and presented a long testimonial that he had written out just the day before. Mr. Beekman was duly sworn and deposed and testified that the facts were exactly as presented. And so began Hillsborough's first great health care debate.

Peter Stryker Beekman (all three names exuding "Hillsborough") was not in court to testify in a criminal or civil case, but rather to make an affidavit as to the astonishing cure he received just seven months earlier after taking Schenck's Pulmonic Syrup.

Schenck's Pulmonic Syrup and Seaweed bottles

Mr. Beekman had been stricken about seven years earlier. Here is just a part of the litany of symptoms contained in his affidavit:

"...a pain in my right side, and darting to my right shoulder...cough, which was tight and dry, dizziness in my head...severe pain and soreness in the pit of my stomach...food did not digest...stomach completely stopped...everything I ate was immediately rejected...bowels were costive...flesh was nearly all gone...reduced to nothing scarcely but skin and bone...confined to bed..."

Upon death's door, after exhausting all physicians without improvement, Mr. Beekman was given a bottle of the aforementioned cure-all by local Branchville [South Branch] merchant Peter Van Cleef of the firm Van Nest and Van Cleef, local sales agents for Joseph H. Schenck Pulmonic Syrup.

Beekman's Pulmonic Syrup

Almost immediately he began to recover. Over the course of a few weeks' time, he coughed up yellow-matter, black-matter, all kinds of sickly matter. He promptly purchased 15 more bottles, at $1.00 a pop, and continued treating himself until he was cured!

8 May 1846 Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Sometime after his affidavit, he met Mr. Schenck and was offered a job as a salesman. Mr. Beekman did quite well for a couple of years selling Schenck's patent medicine - and then he had an idea. And so an ad appeared in 1845 in the New York Tribune under the heading "Beekman's Original Genuine Pulmonic Syrup." The advertisement stated the benefits of Beekman's Syrup and advised purchasers to "be cautious, and see that they get Beekman's medicines - and no other."

8 May 1846 Brooklyn Daily Eagle

J.H. Schenck was not going to take this lying down - and over the next year, there appeared a war of words in the New York newspapers, each side claiming theirs was the "original" cure. No doubt the publicity didn't hurt either medicine - everyone involved made some money. And even 20 years later, Schenck was still printing the full text of Peter Stryker Beekman's original 1842 affidavit in his ads!

8 May 1846 Brooklyn Daily Eagle

And what exactly did these patent medicines consist of? A 1906 book, Secret Nostrums and Systems of Medicine, professed to contain the recipe for Schenck's concoction:


13 October 2009

Plainville to "Solarville"

The crossroads occupied today by the Carrier Clinic's East Mountain Hospital, just south of the Hillsborough Township border in Montgomery, has a history that goes back at least 200 years. Originally called Post Town, and later Plainville, the small settlement boasted a school house, general store, wheelwright shop, and a number of dwellings as early as 1850.

Early advertising postcard for the Belle Mead Farm Colony and Sanatorium

By the 1870s, with the introduction of first the Mercer & Somerset and then the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad to the area, a modern Post Office was established, as well as a hotel.

Detail from 1850 Somerset County map

It wasn't until 1910 that Dr. John Joseph Kindred founded the Belle Mead Farm Colony and Sanatorium - using the new name for the area, and tying in his new venture with the Belle Mead train station just a couple of miles away.

Detail from 1873 map of Hillsborough

Just in time for its 100th anniversary next year, the Carrier Clinic has announced a $10 million project to cover 14 acres of their campus with a 1.8 megawatt ground-based solar power system. Quite a transformation from Post Town to Plainville to "Solarville".

I am not sure how much electricity the hospital uses, but their website does include electro-shock therapy under their list of services!

12 October 2009

Central NJ Walk Now For Autism

Here are some scenes from the Central New Jersey Walk Now For Autism which took place on Sunday, October 11 at Mercer County College. About 2500 people turned out on an absolutely gorgeous day to help raise money for Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism research, awareness, and advocacy charity.

We are accepting donations to reach this year's fundraising goals through December 31. To donate to our Hillsborough's Hope team, click here.

11 October 2009

Hillsborough Red Ribbon Party

This is always a much anticipated and well-attended event.

Click on the image to view and print the flyer.

10 October 2009

Autism Speaks Basket Auction

Join us in Bridgewater on October 30 for the 4th Annual Autism Speaks/Hillsborough's Hope Basket Auction.

Click on the image to view and print the flyer.

08 October 2009

A Helping Hand?

The Somerset County Business Partnership likes Hillsborough Township's Economic Action Plan so much that the group is going to present the plan to other municipalities as a "best practices" model.

This is a great deal for the rest of the county, whose leaders will get more than a peek at what is working in Hillsborough during this economic crisis.

But I'll tell you what - I don't like it.

Hillsborough is far behind its neighbors - Bridgewater, Franklin, Branchburg, even Montgomery - when it comes to commercial and industrial development. Cooperation is nice, but this is also a contest. A contest to attract and keep businesses in Hillsborough.

Those other towns really don't need our help.

06 October 2009

The NEW Duke's Park

Green comes in many shades.

When Duke Farms fully reopens on Earth Day 2011, the general public will be granted the type of access to the 2500 acre estate that they haven't enjoyed in over a century. It was on September 7, 1906 that tobacco king James B. Duke announced that he was being forced to close the grounds of his Hillsborough estate, known popularly as "Duke's Park", because of vandalism. This was the first of several closings and reopenings over the next few years until the estate was finally closed for good.

The estate had always been used for public recreation since it was opened several years earlier. By 1906, Duke was spending $4000 a week on upkeep - only to see his beautiful grounds being destroyed by unruly picnickers who not only overran the lawns with their automobiles, picked flowers, and uprooted shrubbery, but also did extensive damage to the electric light system and shattered the slab on the floor of the spring house.

The NEW Duke's Park is being designed with the environment in mind. Invasive plant species have been removed, meadows have been restored, and the entire project is supposed to be a model of environmental stewardship. It is all part of the mission of the Duke Farms Foundation, set up after the death of Doris Duke to administer the property according to her wishes.

It is ironic, however, that the original James B. Duke estate was the antithesis of "environmental stewardship". Duke lived in an age where men were proud to be able to remake their environment to suit their needs, not live in harmony with it. To that end, he drained marshes, destroyed habitat, built a dozen man made lakes, imported all kinds of non-native plant species, and constructed twenty miles of paved roads.

In July of 1907, he even managed to pump the Raritan River dry in an effort to supply water for his many lakes, waterfalls, and fountains. The Raritan Woolen Mills, which employed 1000 men, was forced to temporarily close because there was no water at the intake to supply the steam boiler.

In 1911, Duke unwittingly introduced gypsy moth caterpillars to New Jersey when he received an infested shipment of blue spruces from Europe. The voracious insect was first discovered on the estate in 1920, already having done considerable damage. By 1921, 410 square miles were infested by the gypsy moth with the epicenter being the Duke estate.

Which is not to say that what James B. Duke created in Hillsborough was not a wonderful achievement. He celebrated nature in his own way - by recreating it in much the same way New York's' Central Park was recreated out of a marshy wetland in central Manhattan. It is hoped that the new Duke's Park will find a way to celebrate Duke's original vision even as it paints itself in a different shade of 21st century green.

04 October 2009

You've Got to Be In It to Spoil It

Can a third party candidate win the governor's race in New Jersey? Independent candidate Christopher Daggett has been asked that question during his campaign. His reply is that he is "in it to win it". He says that he is not a spoiler - that he is running a real campaign that can win.

He may actually believe that. But what does he think the people and organizations donating to his campaign are trying to do? Are they also "in it to win it"? It seems incredible that a candidate with no established organization behind him could get enough monetary contributions to qualify for matching funds if all of that money came with the purest of intentions.

Make no mistake - a vote for Daggett is NOT a vote against Jon Corzine. It is a vote against Chris Christie. Corzine supporters know that, and there is no doubt they don't mind Mr. Daggett climbing in the polls. I kind of think that is their plan.

03 October 2009

Clunkers Gone, Kill Inspections

So who received the biggest round of applause at the Somerset County Business Partnership Affordability Forum on Friday? It wasn't Independent candidate for governor Christopher Daggett, or even Republican Chris Christie. It wasn't panelist Steve Kalafer, or moderator Eric Scott for NJ 101.5.

The person who got the biggest hand was Flemington resident Phil Greiner, who stood up from the audience and proposed three solutions for making New Jersey more affordable: cut state jobs, dismantle COAH, and eliminate motor vehicle inspections.

The first two suggestions are familiar. The third is new to me - but I like it! Mr. Greiner put forth the idea that the well made modern automobile need not be inspected every two years - or four - or perhaps ever. I would add that, with thousands of "clunkers" now off the road, it is a colossal waste of time, effort, and money, inspecting thousands of autos in order to find the few with problems. Leave the inspections for transfers of Title only, and let those be handled by the independent garage mechanics.

Thanks Phil for coming up with a real solution.

02 October 2009

Daggett's State Government Expansion Plan

At the New Jersey Affordability Forum held at Raritan Valley Community College today, I got the chance to hear Independent gubernatorial candidate Christopher Daggett outline his plan to fix the N.J. fiscal mess.

His plan, he says, is not to increase taxes - but instead to expand them. For instance, he would apply the 7% sales tax to more items, services in particular, thereby allowing the sales tax to generate more revenue, which will allow property taxes to decrease.

I don't know about you, but, to me, an expansion is an increase. In fact, on items that were never taxed before, the increase is infinitely large! But quibbling over whether an "expansion" is an "increase" misses the real issue.

Being a school board member means that I am thinking about property taxes all the time. You don't have to think very long about property taxes in order to develop a real loathing for them. But there is one good thing about our property tax system - it keeps our locally generated money right here in our community.

The property taxes that you and I pay each quarter are used to run our municipality, our schools, and our county services. With the exception of our municipal pension contributions, that money never makes it to Trenton. That means it can't be squandered by Trenton bureaucrats.

Daggett wants to send MORE of your money to Trenton, and that's the problem. The state has a habit of taking the income tax and sales tax money and making it disappear. Just take a look at the school construction fiasco or the plethora of useless patronage jobs.

In the spirit of the Affordability Forum, I offer a solution. A solution in sharp contrast to the Christopher Daggett big government plan. I propose that we eliminate the state income tax completely and allow New Jersey's twenty-one counties to implement their own income tax system. Let the counties keep the tax revenue generated by their citizens and use that money to alleviate the property tax burden. Let the counties decide which school districts and municipalities need financial aid. Cut out the State Street middleman.

The state can still have the sales tax, the highway tolls, and all of the revenue generated from various licenses. If any of the counties finds that they can't generate enough income to run their schools, the state can help out with the Lottery money - that's what it's for, right?

I'm not a financial wizard, and I'm not running for Governor, so this is only an idea. I don't have any numbers to back it up. But the underlying philosophy is sound. The state government is too big now, "expanding" the sales tax - giving even more money to Trenton - will only, ultimately, increase the size of government. And that's something we just can't afford.

01 October 2009

Gillette On Hillsborough 2.0

"Thirty days hath September, All the rest I can't remember..."

That comic alternative to the useful monthly mnemonic seems oddly apropos for a blog where every month has the same number of posts except September - which once again this year had zero.

Not writing the blog for a full month has given me some time to consider whether I still want to continue. I can't deny that I have lately lost some enthusiasm. For one thing, I am extremely disappointed that a change in the way the Courier News handles the layout of their Editorial Page has meant that the local blog excerpts have been banished. Gillette on Hillsborough appeared in that space 175 times over a two year period - and the opportunity to be on the Editorial page was a major selling point when I first got roped into this.

Also, the lack of reader comments in recent months has been discouraging. Not only on this blog, but also at The View From Hillsborough - the sister blog at MyCentralJersey.com. In fact, The View From Hillsborough has not received one single comment since the newspaper switched to the new blog format several months ago!

Still, the pages here have been visited 20,000 times since June 7, 2007, and I still enjoy seeing what everyone is searching for, and which pages are the most popular. From the beginning, part of the allure of doing the blog has been wanting to find out who would read this stuff. And the other part would be to see how I would feel about myself and the town for having tried this.

Twenty-eight months ago I wrote, "I need to do this because I am excited about Hillsborough - its people, its past,what it is, and what it can be." That is still true.

And so -this will be the blog 2.0.

To be continued...