Credit: The Alternative Press

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey. 

Direct train access is coming to New Jersey towns on the Raritan Valley Line, and local news sites in Cranford and Westfield are reporting on the excitement.

Bernie Wagenblast of Cranford Radio writes, ”Probably almost from the time the first locomotive came through Cranford in the mid-1800s people dreamed of the day when they could get on a train in town and ride all the way to New York City.  In less than, a month that day will finally arrive when passengers on NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line will have a one-seat ride to Penn Station in Manhattan.”

Both Wagenblast and The Alternative Press chronicled the fact that March 3 will mark the debut of mid-day off-peak direct travel on the line to New York Penn Station. Evening service would be added next, followed by weekend service, with the ultimate dream of rush-hour one-seat rides somewhere in the far distant future.

Blogfinger’s editor Paul Goldfinger reports that  a story about a bomb scare in Ocean Grove has yielded an interesting conversation in the comments: “We are hearing from some people who think that worrying about and investigating bombs is a wasted effort. Is this a post 9-11/war-on- terror reaction that is emerging that is opposed to the current security efforts in the US? These people think that our vigilance means that we are in danger of losing our freedoms and that ‘the terrorists have won’ because we are so careful and worried.

The Alternative Press ran a three-part series this past week on heroin use in the suburbs. As one police official told TAP staff, “Heroin has become a major problem in the state and is affecting all communities.”

And New Brunswick Today is keeping an eye on a luxury development that has benefited from Sandy aid. The latest? NBT is questioning why no press were present at the development’s groundbreaking last fall.

Seven unidentified men at a groundbreaking for a luxury development in New Brunswick that was attended by no press or city government officials, according to a report from New Brunswick Today. Credit: NJ DCA

Seven unidentified men at a groundbreaking for a luxury development in New Brunswick that was attended by no press or city government officials, according to a report from New Brunswick Today. Credit: NJ DCA

On a lighter note, a music veteran at the ripe old age of 16, MHS sophomore Domenico Randazzo is not afraid of social commentary–as he proves in his new music video, “Affluenza” as shown on Morristown Green.

Our full roundup:

Sand pile ‘mystery’ solved in Point Beach NewsWorks*
A Saturday Ritual: Central Regional’s Girls Basketball Team Teaches The Very Young Berkeley Patch
Westfield Businesses, Affected By Severe Weather, Hope You’ll Shop Local TAP Westfield

NJ Transit Will Launch ‘One Seat’ Service on Raritan Valley Line Beginning March 3 TAP Westfield
Westfield Town Council Hears Proposal for Apartments at Central and South Avenues TAP Westfield
Video: Future pop star makes statement with ‘Affluenza,’ his Morristown High project Morristown Green
Paterson’s tax appeals reduce city’s tax base by almost $1 Billion Paterson Press
Paterson’s former DPW director files suit accusing city of political retaliation Paterson Press
Heroin Use on Rise in Suburbs TAP West Orange
West Orange’s Maya Hayes is Signed to Sky Blue FC-Women’s Professional Soccer Team TAP West Orange
Many New Businesses are Coming to Livingston TAP Livingston
Livingston High School Graduates Attend Yankees Fantasy Camp TAP Livingston
One-Seat Ride on Raritan Valley Line Starts March 3 Cranford Radio

First Newscast In Recent Memory WMSC Radio

No Reporters Attended Groundbreaking Ceremony For Controversial Luxury Highrise That Received Sandy Aid New Brunswick Today
Honoring a German who unlocks the past New Jersey Jewish News
Rutgers Newspaper Elects New Editorial Board Amid Controversies New Brunswick Today

*Asterisks are vailable for reposting through the NJ News Commons Story Exchange.

Andrew Guadagnino, NJ News Commons intern, contributed to this report.