Live! On the Web

Township Committee mulls Web camera for Town Hall clock tower.

By: Casha Caponegro
   Images of Cranbury may be broadcast on the Internet in the near future.
   On Monday, the Township Committee heard a proposal by Cranbury School Technology Coordinator Mark Nestor and resident Bill Kanawyer to install a hand-sized camera in the clock tower of Town Hall.
   The camera would broadcast live images of the recently renovated clock, the Cranbury School lot and athletic fields west of the school. The images would be accessible to the public from the township Web site,, and the school Web site,
   "This is not an uncommon thing in schools right now," said Mr. Nestor, who plans to use the Web camera as an educational tool for Cranbury School students.
   Mr. Kanawyer, a member of the township Clock Winding Committee, said the camera would also give the community an up-close look at the inside of the antique clock tower, which was renovated for last fall’s Town Hall dedication.
   "The interest of the clock winders would be the potential in the future to display images of the clock mechanics itself that would be available to the public," said Mr. Kanawyer, who hopes to stimulate public interest in the clock. "It’s a location that doesn’t allow for easy public access."
   Although township officials on Monday were receptive to the proposal, they expressed concern that the Web camera may violate people’s privacy.
   Mr. Nestor said the camera can only be moved manually and would not be able to zoom in on an image or person.
   Mr. Kanawyer showed the committee a photo of the school tennis courts taken from the Web camera. Although the tennis courts are clearly visible from the photograph, it was taken from such a distance that people in the image can barely be seen.
   "It is impossible to tell who they are or even their gender," said Mr. Kanawyer.
   In addition, access to the camera would be regulated by the township and the school, which would ensure that the camera would not be pointed into homes on Main Street.
   Mr. Nestor said he has spoken with Chief School Administrator Carol Malouf about the Web camera proposal. Because the school owns the camera, it would need to give approval for the project.
   "Carol said she would reserve her final decision until this summer," said Mr. Nestor, who also needs approval from the township to place the camera inside of a township building.
   Township officials said they would discuss the issue further with the community and the school before granting their approval.
   "I want to shoot to have this up and ready sometime this summer," said Mr. Nestor, who will appear again before the committee to answer any additional questions about the Web camera.