William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ--Tuesday, November 21, 2023, I appeared in Gloucester City Municipal Court to answer two trespassing charges for walking around the Cold Springs Elementary School and one theft charge. I took a children's bench that I thought was trash. When I learned that it wasn't trash, I contacted the police, returned the bench to the school, and placed it in the same trash pile from which I got it.
At the November 21 hearing, I was given two choices: plead guilty or take the matter to trial. The penalty varies based on the value of the goods. The bench's value was set at $500. The penalty for a third-degree felony is 3 to 5 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
Since October 10, a video of myself and my son, who was also charged, has appeared on the Gloucester City Police Department's Facebook page. The video came from a Cold Springs School security camera. A neighbor alerted me about the video about an hour after the police published it on October 10. Even though I notified the police that I mistakenly took the bench and apologized for wasting their time, they continued to leave the video on their page.
People ask me who is responsible for this travesty of justice. I wish I knew. I am a 79-year-old man with very few years left to live. If they are patient, Old Man Time will catch up with me sooner rather than later. Of course, there is always that chance I will outlive this person (s). Wouldn't that be ironic?
source of information State statute N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3
For 57 years, I have been providing the residents of Gloucester City and surrounding areas with the latest news. For those who think that being an editor of a small newspaper is boring, they have no idea how exciting my career has been. Helping the NJ State Police with a six-month undercover investigation of a NJ contractor, interviewing the members of the Pagans MC, Klu Klux Klan, and Skinheads. Being in the middle of a fight between the Longshoremen and Teamsters unions who were vying for the Holt Marine Terminal contract. And we can't forget the local politicians who were never satisfied with my reporting.
I have fond memories of sitting in a press box at Veterans Stadium in the 1980s, watching the Phillies win the World Series with sports announcers Howard Cosell and Joe Garagiola. I have ridden on an elevator with a young Donald Trump, just me and him, been at a press conference just a few feet from President Jimmy Carter, and taken a ride in a blimp around Billy Penn's hat. The list is endless.
In 2013, I had every intention of retiring at the end of that year; I had been working for over four decades. But in February 2014, my son-in-law was attacked by a man swinging a hammer outside a Deli in Philadelphia. He nearly died. We were away when it happened. When I learned that the mainstream media were not covering the story, I forgot all about retirement. The public needed to know about this terrible attack, and if the mainstream media were ignoring what happened, then I would tell the story.
Now, looking back, I am glad I didn't retire.
Not once did I feel that my chosen career was laborious during my five-plus decades as a journalist. There are not many people in this world who can honestly say that. I also believe that I have made a difference in this world, and I don't say that likely. Author Mark Twain said it best, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
As for the rumor that we were shutting CNBNews down because of this court case, not so. This isn't the first time that those who run this City and the state of New Jersey have tried to stop of us from printing the truth. And, it wont be the last. Besides, we are having too much fun.
William E. Cleary Sr.
CNBNews editor and publisher
The following was originally published November 2, 2013 on CNBNews
By JOHN REYNOLDS
Diary of a Madman
Browsing the web the other day, checking up on the goings-on around town on my favorite local website, I was saddened to learn that after October 31, 2013, Bill Cleary will stop publishing new content to his site, ClearysNoteBook. The only independently run, small-town news source in South Jersey is shutting down. His site's been running since 2006 when he launched ClearysNoteBook onto the Internet after spending almost 40 years in the newspaper business in Gloucester City. Bill must be past retirement age, so I wasn't surprised that he's finally taking a break.
Running a one-man newspaper shop consumes a lot of time and energy, even for a young guy. He was nearing retirement when he started his site, which is amazing, considering the learning curve involved in going from print to digital publishing. And he must have loved his job to hang in that long, catching flak from the local political machine and business community, year after year, whenever his opinions didn't fall in line with theirs.
I remember his old paper lying around my parent's house when they were living in Gloucester City and would pick it up to see if I recognized anyone from my days at Gloucester Catholic in the early 1970s. I found Bill's site by googling my mother's obituary a few years ago, and afterward, now and then, I would click on it to see what's new, eventually bookmarking it and becoming a regular visitor.