7-30: Ten New Cases and twenty for the Week; New Mask Advice as Weekly Cases Rise Sharply; Back-to-School Vax Event Aug. 5; Free School Meals this Summer; Montgomery Earns Aaa Credit Rating

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been ten (10) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 7-27-21 and twenty (20) for the week ending today. For further statistics, go to the Health Department’s COVID-19 portal.


HEALTH OFFICER ADVISES MASKING AS CASES RISE SHARPLY

Weekly COVID-19 cases for Montgomery and Rocky Hill reached their highest level in 12 weeks, with 20 cases since last Friday.  The sharp rise coincides with the dominance of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, and about half of the cases have been among unvaccinated children.

“Even though we have been very effective at vaccinating adults in Montgomery, we have many young people who aren’t vaccinated, either because they aren’t eligible or haven’t gotten around to it yet,” said Montgomery Township Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey. “This Delta variant needs to be taken very seriously, and we need to get every eligible person vaccinated as soon as possible.”

To get vaccinated, visit the Montgomery Township Health Department vaccination page or the New Jersey vaccine finder page. Montgomery will be offering the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings at the Municipal Building.

In light of the rising prevalence of cases, the Montgomery Health Department endorses the new advice from the CDC and the State of New Jersey urging residents to return to mask-wearing when in indoors where there is increased risk. Examples of such situations include:

  • Crowded indoor settings
  • Indoor settings involving activities with close contact with others who may not be fully vaccinated
  • Indoor settings where the vaccine status of other individuals is unknown
  • Where an individual is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease

BACK TO SCHOOL KICK-OFF VAX CLINIC AUG. 5

To help the community prepare for school reopening on September 9, the Montgomery Township Health and Recreation departments have announced a “Back to School Kick-Off” vaccine clinic on August 5 that will feature free ice cream for anyone receiving their first dose.

In addition, the first 20 teens to get vaccinated with receive donated gift certificates to local restaurants and shops—including New World Pizza, Robinson’s Chocolates, and Thomas Sweet’s. The Rotary Club of Montgomery/Rocky Hill is donating Apple AirPods for a drawing among newly vaccinated youth.

The clinic will use the Pfizer vaccine approved for ages 12 and older and will be held from 4 to 7pm at the Recreation Department’s Otto Kaufman Community Center at 356 Skillman Road. We recommend you pre-register on the health department website, but walk-ins are also accepted.

The August 5 date was chosen because it is the last day to start the vaccination process and be fully vaccinated for the first day of school. The Pfizer vaccine requires 5 weeks from the first dose to full immunity, including 21 days between shots plus 14 days following the second dose. With school opening September 9 in Montgomery, that means the deadline for a first dose is August 5 for children to be fully protected in time for school.

Another good opportunity for vaccinating a child is the CVS at 2311 Route 206 in Belle Mead. They offer the Pfizer vaccine daily, with appointments required. You can make your appointment online now.

Parents with questions about the vaccine should talk to their child’s healthcare provider or to call the Montgomery Health Department at (908) 533-9331.


FREE MEALS FOR ALL MONTGOMERY STUDENTS

Free breakfasts and lunches are available for all Montgomery Township School District students for the summer. Seven days’ worth of meals are available to pick up on at two nearby South Brunswick schools every Tuesday through August 31:

·       Between 10:30 AM and noon at Greenbrook Elementary School, 23 Roberts St., Kendall Park.

·       Between noon and 1:30 PM at South Brunswick High School, 750 Ridge Road, Monmouth Junction.

Parents and guardians do not need to bring identification to pick up meals; just indicate how many K-12 children you have in the Montgomery School District. Bring a mask to wear while entering the school and follow food pick-up signs.

The program is provided under a contract between the Montgomery BOE and the Chartwell’s food service company. If you have questions, call the Montgomery Board of Education Business Administrator’s office at (609) 466-7601.


 

MOODY’S UPGRADES MONTGOMERY CREDIT RATING TO AAA

Reflecting increased confidence in the township’s financial strength,  Moody’s Investor Service has upgraded Montgomery Township’s credit rating to the maximum of Aaa from Aa1.

In a statement issued this week, Moody’s provided the following rationale for the triple-A rating: “The upgrade to Aaa reflects the township’s large tax base with above-average resident income and wealth, consistent operating surpluses, and a strong financial position. The rating also incorporates the township’s modest debt burden which will remain stable since Montgomery has only limited capital needs.”

With the triple-A rating, Montgomery Township becomes one of just 20 municipalities in New Jersey with the highest possible credit rating from Moody’s.

“I am extremely proud of this major achievement,” said Montgomery Township Mayor Devra Keenan.  “It’s a tribute to the hard work of elected leaders and our professional staff over the last few years, and a vote of confidence in how we have proceeded with the new municipal center.”

Montgomery Township Administrator Donato Nieman sent an email Thursday to all municipal department heads to announce the news and praise the work of the finance department, under the leadership of CFO Michael Pitts, and “the department heads who consistently carefully structured their budgets, applied for and received numerous grants to offset expenditures, and created new streams of revenue through shared services.”

Mr. Nieman’s memo also pointed out that the ratings upgrade “has the potential to save the Township hundreds of thousands of dollars on debt interest costs.”

7-27: Ten New Cases Prompt Masking Advice; Back-to-School Vax Event Aug. 5; Encourage Friends and Family to Vaccinate; Show Us Your Montgomery Photo Contest; Financial Relief Available

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY AND MASKING ADVICE

There have been ten (10) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Friday, 7-23-21. Based on the rise in local cases, the Montgomery Township Health Department recommends returning to mask wearing when indoors with people whose vaccination status is unknown to you. Further guidance is expected this week from the CDC.

For further statistics, go to the Health Department’s COVID-19 portal.


BACK TO SCHOOL KICK-OFF VAX CLINIC AUG. 5

To help the community prepare for school reopening on September 9, the Montgomery Township Health and Recreation departments have announced a “Back to School Kick-Off” Vaccine Clinic on August 5 that will feature free ice cream for anyone receiving their first dose. In addition, there will be donated gift certificates for teens to local restaurants and shops—including New World Pizza, Robinson’s Chocolates, and Thomas Sweet’s—and a drawing for Apple AirPods.

The clinic will use the Pfizer vaccine approved for ages 12 and older and will be held from 4 to 7pm at the Recreation Department’s Otto Kaufman Community Center at 356 Skillman Road. We recommend you pre-register on the health department website, but walk-ins are also accepted.

The August 5 date was chosen because it is the last day to start the vaccination process and be fully vaccinated for the first day of school. The Pfizer vaccine requires 5 weeks from the first dose to full immunity, including 21 days between shots plus 14 days following the second dose. With school opening September 9 in Montgomery, that means the deadline for a first dose is August 5 for children to be fully protected in time for school.

Another good opportunity for vaccinating a child is the CVS at 2311 Route 206 in Belle Mead. They offer the Pfizer vaccine daily, with appointments required. You can make your appointment online now.

Parents with questions about the vaccine should talk to their child’s healthcare provider or to call the Montgomery Health Department at (908) 533-9331.


 

ENCOURAGE FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO VACCINATE

By Stephanie D. Carey

Montgomery Township Health Officer

The vaccination effort against COVID-19 has been very successful in Montgomery Township. More than 9 in 10 of our adults and more than half of our teenagers are vaccinated. But with the more contagious Delta variant driving cases up across the country, this is no time to rest on our laurels.  Even with widespread vaccination in Montgomery, cases are rising again.

Nearly 7,000 Montgomery residents are not vaccinated because they are under the age of 12, or they have a medical reason for not vaccinating, or because they haven’t gotten around to it yet. All these people remain vulnerable, particularly with increased summer travel, employees returning to workplaces, and school reopening in the fall.

The best thing we can do is to get teenagers their first shot before August 5, so they will be fully vaccinated in time for school reopening September 9.  In addition, I encourage everyone to talk to close friends and family members who are not yet vaccinated.  Conversations among friends and family often are more persuasive than official sources of information.

The most effective conversations are ones that are non-judgmental and highly personal. Explain why it matters to you and tell them about your own experience with the vaccine. There’s no single right way to do it, and there are some good sources of ideas for how to bring up the topic and what to say. This magazine article includes seven leading ways to do it. Please join me in helping to ensure the safety of our community.


ENTER MONTGOMERY WEEKLY PHOTO CONTEST!

The Rec Department has reprised its annual “Show Us Your Montgomery” photo contest. Each week through August 27, residents will submit photos of “their Montgomery” to recreation@twp.montgomery.nj.us. Each week the rec staff will vote on a weekly winner, and the winning photo will become the Recreation Department’s Facebooks cover photo for the week.

Each week’s winning photo will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. The residents will vote on the weekly winning photos the week of August 30th and the winner will be announced September 6th.  For additional detail, visit the Recreation Department website.


FINANCIAL RELIEF AVAILABLE

 

Relief programs are available to people impacted financially by the pandemic.

  • Recently, the income limits and the amount of funds have been increased for Somerset County families who are eligible to receive money from the Emergency Rental Relief Program (ERRP) to help keep them in their homes if they have lost their income due to the pandemic.  Additional information, and an easy-to-use online application are available.
  • A new Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service to eligible households. The program also offers a discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider (such as CenturyLink, Comcast or Verizon, and many cellular providers) cellular providers) or by visiting GetEmergencyBroadband.org. For more information, check out the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ.
  • Assistance is available to help you pay your utility bills. All New Jerseyans with outstanding balances are encouraged to apply for utility assistance programs now to lower their balances and also contact their utility company to request a flexible repayment plan. You may be newly eligible for financial assistance programs to help you pay your bills. You can learn more and apply for utility help now using a new screening tool from the NJ Department of Community Affairs at gov/dca/dcaid.
  • Funeral expense relief is available via the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people who have had to pay funeral expenses for a family member lost to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Funeral relief information is available online.

7-23: Three New Cases; Delta Variant Drives Rising Case Counts; Pike Run Clinic Tonight; Vaccinate Teens by Aug. 5; No Document Shred Day Until Aug. 14; Nominate an Arts Leader; Financial Relief Available

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been three (3) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 7-20-21. For further statistics, go to the Health Department’s COVID-19 portal.


DELTA VARIANT DRIVES MORE MONTY CASES

New cases of COVID-19 continued to rise in Montgomery and Rocky Hill this week, hitting 7 cases for the week ending today, July 23. It’s the highest number of weekly cases since May 7.

Across New Jersey, more than 8 in 10 new infections now involve the highly contagious Delta variant. Vaccination is still the best way to protect yourself from this variant.  Some “breakthrough” cases can occur in vaccinated people, but the vaccines protect them against serious disease.

“Even though more than 9 in 10 Montgomery adults are vaccinated now, this new Delta variant spreads more easily, making it vital that we continue to complete the vaccination process for adults and teenagers, down to the age of 12,” said Stephanie D. Carey, Montgomery Township Health Officer. “With school starting soon, we need every eligible person 12 and older to get the vaccine.”


PIKE RUN VAX CLINIC TONIGHT

The Montgomery Township Health Department will hold a vaccination clinic tonight from 5 to 7pm at the Pike Run Clubhouse for adults 18 and older, using the Moderna vaccine. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are also available.

If you would like to make an appointment or need additional details, visit the Montgomery Health Department website, or call (908) 533-9331.


VACCINATE TEENS NOW TO PREPARE FOR SCHOOL REOPENING

Montgomery families seeking to vaccinate teenagers 12 and older before the start of school should act this month.

The Pfizer vaccine, approved for teenagers, requires 5 weeks from the first dose to full immunity, including 21 days between shots plus 14 days following the second dose. With school opening September 9 in Montgomery, that means the deadline for a first dose is August 5 for your child to be fully protected on the first day of school.

The CVS at 2311 Route 206 in Belle Mead is offering the Pfizer vaccine daily, with appointments required. You can make your appointment online now.

Parents with questions about the vaccine should talk to their child’s healthcare provider or to call the Montgomery Health Department at (908) 533-9331.


NO DOCUMENT SHRED DAY UNTIL AUGUST 14

Incorrect information was posted on the Montgomery Township website about a document shredding day tomorrow, July 24 from 9am to 1pm at the South County Garage, 410 Roycefield Road in Hillsborough. This is not the correct date.

Somerset County’s next Document Shredding Day will be held on Saturday, August 16 from 9am to 1pm at the same location. Please make a note of it.

For further information on the Secure Shred Program, go to the Somerset County website at: https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/how-do-i/learn-about/free-document-shredding.


NOMINATE ARTS LEADER FOR COUNTY AWARD

The Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission is accepting nominations for the 2021 Excellence in the Arts Awards to honor individuals and organizations demonstrating exemplary leadership in and dedication to fostering the fine and performing arts in Somerset County. Eligibility criteria and the online nomination form are available at https://bit.ly/SCArtsAwards. The deadline is August 20.

“The arts are important for many reasons, and even more so during this past year,” said Commissioner Melonie Marano, Cultural & Heritage liaison.  “We ask people to submit nominations so we can recognize those who went above and beyond to keep the arts alive, to help others express themselves in creative ways and to make a positive impact in the community.”

2021 Excellence in the Arts Award nominations are open to all county residents and those whose work in or for the arts primarily benefits the residents of Somerset County.

Awards are available in the following categories: Arts in Education; Arts in Community; Aspiring Young Artist. The Aspiring Young Artist award is given to a Somerset County high school or college student who has demonstrated excellence in and a commitment to the arts and comes with a $500 scholarship from the Friends of Somerset County Cultural & Heritage, Inc.

Excellence in the Arts is sponsored by the Somerset County Board of County CommissionersSomerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission and Friends of Somerset County Cultural & Heritage, Inc. For more information, contact Cultural & Heritage staff at (908)231-7021 or CulturalHeritage@co.csomerset.nj.us.


FINANCIAL RELIEF AVAILABLE

 

Relief programs are available to people impacted financially by the pandemic.

  • Recently, the income limits and the amount of funds have been increased for Somerset County families who are eligible to receive money from the Emergency Rental Relief Program (ERRP) to help keep them in their homes if they have lost their income due to the pandemic.  Additional information, and an easy-to-use online application are available.
  • A new Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service to eligible households. The program also offers a discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider (such as CenturyLink, Comcast or Verizon, and many cellular providers) or by visiting  getemergencybroadband.org. For more information, check out the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ.
  • Assistance is available to help you pay your utility bills. All New Jerseyans with outstanding balances are encouraged to apply for utility assistance programs now to lower their balances and also contact their utility company to request a flexible repayment plan. You may be newly eligible for financial assistance programs to help you pay your bills. You can learn more and apply for utility help now using a new screening tool from the NJ Department of Community Affairs at gov/dca/dcaid.
  • Funeral expense relief is available via the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people who have had to pay funeral expenses for a family member lost to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Funeral relief information is available online.

7-20: Four New Cases; “Mini Vax Clinic” Tomorrow and Pike Run Clinic Friday; Vaccinate Teens by Aug. 5; Township Plans to Opt-Out of Cannabis Businesses for Now; Photo Contest Continues; Financial Relief Available

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been four (4) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Friday, 7-16-21. All recent cases have occurred among unvaccinated residents. For further statistics, go to the Health Department’s COVID-19 portal.


MINI VAX CLINIC TOMORROW AND PIKE RUN CLINIC FRIDAY

The Montgomery Township Health Department is seeking 15 unvaccinated volunteers to help use up remaining doses of the Pfizer vaccine tomorrow at a clinic to be held from 5 to 7pm at Otto Kaufman Community Center. Anyone age 12 or older is eligible. If you are interested or have questions, call the Health Department immediately at (908) 533-9331. First-come, first-served.

In addition, the township will hold a vaccination clinic Friday from 5 to 7pm at the Pike Run Clubhouse for adults 18 and older, using the Moderna vaccine. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are also available.

If you would like to make an appointment or need additional details, visit the Montgomery Health Department website, or call (908) 533-9331.


VACCINATE TEENS NOW TO PREPARE FOR SCHOOL REOPENING

By Devangi Patel
Montgomery Township Deputy Health Officer

I am very pleased to report that 91% Montgomery adults have had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, putting our community in a strong position as schools fully reopen this fall. But the vaccination rate among 12- to 17-year-olds is just 55%, because we did not get vaccine approval for teens until May.

I want to urge local families to vaccinate teenagers this month, so they are protected before school begins. Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family.

The Pfizer vaccine, approved for teenagers, requires 5 weeks from the first dose to full immunity, including 21 days between shots plus 14 days following the second dose. With school opening September 9 in Montgomery, that means the deadline for a first dose is August 5, if you want your child to be fully protected on the first day of school.

The CVS at 2311 Route 206 in Belle Mead is offering the Pfizer vaccine daily, with appointments required. You can make your appointment online now.

I encourage parents with questions about the vaccine to talk to your child’s healthcare provider or to call us at (908) 533-9331.


TOWNSHIP PLANS TO OPT OUT OF CANNIBUS BUSINESS FOR NOW

The Montgomery Township Committee last Thursday introduced a proposed ordinance to prohibit cannabis businesses from operating within the township. The township is acting in the wake of a state law passed in February that already permits the use of cannabis and home delivery, regardless of any action taken by New Jersey cities and towns.

That same law gave municipalities a deadline of August 21 to decide whether to permit cannabis businesses in town, or else they would be automatically “opted in.” In recent months, Montgomery’s elected officials held a public forum about cannabis commercialization and received presentations from township police, finance staff, and the planning department.

The proposed township ordinance “opts out” of all cannabis related businesses, including retail.  Before being formally adopted, a public hearing will occur during the Township Committee’s regular meeting at 7pm August 5, when the public will have an additional opportunity to provide input.

The proposed ordinance explains the reasoning for opting out for the time being: “due to the complexity and novelty of the Act… and the relatively short duration in which the Act would allow such decisions to be made before imposing an automatic authorization of such uses in specified zoning districts subject to unspecified conditions, the most prudent course of action for the Township of Montgomery would be to prohibit all such uses within the Act’s 180-day period in order to ensure sufficient time to carefully review.”

The Montgomery Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Committeepersons explained their views on the issue during Township Committee meetings on July 1 and July 15. Video recordings of those meetings are available on the Township website.


ENTER MONTGOMERY WEEKLY PHOTO CONTEST!

The Rec Department has reprised its annual “Show Us Your Montgomery” photo contest. Each week through August 27, residents will submit photos of “their Montgomery” to recreation@twp.montgomery.nj.us. Each week the rec staff will vote on a weekly winner, and the winning photo will become the Recreation Department’s Facebooks cover photo for the week.

Each week’s winning photo will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. The residents will vote on the weekly winning photos the week of August 30th and the winner will be announced September 6th.  For additional detail, visit the Recreation Department website.


FINANCIAL RELIEF AVAILABLE

 

Relief programs are available to people impacted financially by the pandemic.

  • Recently, the income limits and the amount of funds have been increased for Somerset County families who are eligible to receive money from the Emergency Rental Relief Program (ERRP) to help keep them in their homes if they have lost their income due to the pandemic.  Additional information, and an easy-to-use online application are available.
  • A new Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service to eligible households. The program also offers a discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider (such as CenturyLink, Comcast or Verizon, and many cellular providers) or by visiting  sort by org. For more information, check out the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ.
  • Assistance is available to help you pay your utility bills. All New Jerseyans with outstanding balances are encouraged to apply for utility assistance programs now to lower their balances and also contact their utility company to request a flexible repayment plan. You may be newly eligible for financial assistance programs to help you pay your bills. You can learn more and apply for utility help now using a new screening tool from the NJ Department of Community Affairs at gov/dca/dcaid.
  • Funeral expense relief is available via the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people who have had to pay funeral expenses for a family member lost to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Funeral relief information is available online.

7-16: Two New Cases; Cases in Unvaccinated Households; Monty Vaccine Clinics Tonight and Tomorrow; Vaccinate Teens by Aug. 5; Board of Health Vax Videos in Three Languages; Cooling Center Today; Financial Relief Available

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been two (2) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 7-13-21. For further statistics, go to the Health Department’s COVID-19 portal.


CASES IN HOUSEHOLDS OF UNVACCINATED RESIDENTS 

Over the last week, Montgomery and Rocky Hill have had five (5) cases, the largest number in seven weeks. Although the number remains low compared to the peak of the pandemic, the cases were preventable.

“The current pattern is unvaccinated people getting infected in office and retail environments and then bringing COVID-19 home to family members,” said Montgomery Township Deputy Health Officer Devangi Patel.  “We are seeing two or three cases in the same household. All of them are preventable by getting vaccinated, masking, or both. Fortunately, we are making progress in putting COVID-19 behind us. The vaccines are extremely effective and safe, and the best way to keep us on the right track is for every eligible adult and child to get vaccinated. Communities that are experiencing high rates of COVID infections today are the ones with low vaccination rates.”


MONTY VACCINE CLINICS TONIGHT AND TOMORROW

The Montgomery Township Health Department is offering vaccination clinics this evening and tomorrow using the vaccines approved for adults 18 and older. Walk-ins are welcomes, but appointments are also available. The next several clinics include:

  • Tonight, July 16, 5pm to 7pm, J&J Clinic for ages 18+ next to the playground at Montgomery Dog Park (Covert Drive). This is the one-dose vaccine that will be fully effective by the last weekend in July. It’s a great choice if you want to be protected as quickly as possible.
  • Saturday, July 17, 9AM to 11AM, Moderna Clinic for ages 18+ at Otto Kaufman Community Center.
  • Next Friday, July 23, 5pm -7pm, Moderna Clinic for ages 18+ at Pike Run Clubhouse.

If you would like to make an appointment or need additional details, visit the Montgomery Health Department website, or call the Health Department at (908) 533-9331.


VACCINATE TEENS IN JULY TO PREPARE FOR SCHOOL REOPENING

 

By Devangi Patel
Montgomery Township Deputy Health Officer

I am very pleased to report that 91% Montgomery adults have had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, putting our community in a strong position as schools fully reopen this fall. But the vaccination rate among 12- to 17-year-olds is just 55%, because we did not get vaccine approval for teens until May.

I want to urge local families to vaccinate teenagers this month, so they are protected before school begins. Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family.

The Pfizer vaccine, approved for teenagers, requires 5 weeks from the first dose to full immunity, including 21 days between shots plus 14 days following the second dose. With school opening September 9 in Montgomery, that means the deadline to start the vaccine process is August 5, if you want your child to be fully protected on the first day of school.

The CVS at 2311 Route 206 in Belle Mead is offering the Pfizer vaccine daily, with appointments required. You can make your appointment online now.

I encourage parents with questions about the vaccine to talk to your child’s healthcare provider or to call us at (908) 533-9331.


BOARD OF HEALTH EXPLAINS VACCINATION IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES

 

Dr. Om Sharma appears in a new vaccine video.

The Montgomery Township Board of Health has released three videos explaining the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines with the intention of encouraging vaccination among immigrant communities. Videos were recorded in English and Hindi by Dr. Om Sharma and in Urdu by Dr. Siddique Faisal, both members of the Board of Health.

In addition, Health Department social worker Amanda Pulgarin recorded the message in Spanish with English subtitles.

If you are aware of a friend, coworker, or family members who would benefit from hearing these messages, please forward the relevant link.


COOLING CENTER FOR TODAY’S HIGH TEMPERATURES

 

The Montgomery Township Office of Emergency Management warns residents to take precautions during the 90-plus degree weather that has returned to the area. The combination of high temperatures and humidity can be dangerous, particularly for the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.

The Township has established a cooling center at the Otto Kaufman Center at 356 Skillman Road from 8am to 6pm, today only.  Users are requested to sign-in, fill out a covid screening form, and wear a mask.

In addition, the township has offered suggestions for beating the heat, including the avoidance of strenuous outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day, staying in the shade, and using indoor fans.


FINANCIAL RELIEF AVAILABLE

 

Relief programs are available to people impacted financially by the pandemic.

  • Recently, the income limits and the amount of funds have been increased for Somerset County families who are eligible to receive money from the Emergency Rental Relief Program (ERRP) to help keep them in their homes if they have lost their income due to the pandemic.  Additional information, and an easy-to-use online application are available.
  • A new Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service to eligible households. The program also offers a discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider (such as CenturyLink, Comcast or Verizon, and many cellular providers) or by visiting  sort by org. For more information, check out the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ.
  • Assistance is available to help you pay your utility bills. All New Jerseyans with outstanding balances are encouraged to apply for utility assistance programs now to lower their balances and also contact their utility company to request a flexible repayment plan. You may be newly eligible for financial assistance programs to help you pay your bills. You can learn more and apply for utility help now using a new screening tool from the NJ Department of Community Affairs at gov/dca/dcaid.
  • Funeral expense relief is available via the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people who have had to pay funeral expenses for a family member lost to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Funeral relief information is available online.

 

 

 

7-13: Three New Cases; Vaccinate Teens in July for School Reopening; Vaccine Clinics This Week; Board of Health Vax Videos in Three Languages; Township Thanks Pandemic Responders; New Pathway Opened

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been three (3) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Friday, 7-9-21. For further statistics, go to the Health Department’s COVID-19 portal.


VACCINATE TEENS IN JULY TO PREPARE FOR SCHOOL REOPENING

By Devangi Patel
Montgomery Township Deputy Health Officer

I am very pleased to report that 91% Montgomery adults have had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, putting our community in a strong position as schools fully reopen this fall. But the vaccination rate among 12- to 17-year-olds is just 55%, because we did not get vaccine approval for teens until May.

I want to urge local families to vaccinate teenagers this month, so they are protected before school begins. Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family. The more people we vaccinate, the less chance for community transmission of the coronavirus, particularly with a dangerous new variant, Delta, rising in New Jersey.

The Pfizer vaccine, approved for teenagers, requires 5 weeks from the first dose to full immunity, including 21 days between shots plus 14 days following the second dose. With school opening September 9 in Montgomery, that means the deadline to start the vaccine process is August 5, if you want your child to be fully protected on the first day of school.

The CVS at 2311 Route 206 in Belle Mead is offering the Pfizer vaccine daily, with appointments required. You can make your appointment online now.

In addition, my department will partner with Penn Medicine to offer a Pfizer clinic tomorrow for anyone 12 and older—no appointment necessary. Join us Wednesday July 14 from 5 to 7pm at Princeton Wellness and Fitness at 1225 Rt. 206.

Finally, I encourage parents with questions about the vaccine to talk to your child’s healthcare provider or to call us at (908) 533-9331.


ADDITIONAL CLINICS FOR ADULTS

The Montgomery Township Health Department is offering the following clinics for adults 18 and older this week and next:

  • Friday, July 16, 5pm to 7pm, J&J Clinic for ages 18+ next to the playground at Montgomery Dog Park (Covert Drive).
  • Saturday, July 17, 9AM to 11AM, Moderna Clinic for ages 18+ at Otto Kaufman Community Center.
  • Friday, July 23, 5pm -7pm, Moderna Clinic for ages 18+ at Pike Run Clubhouse.

Walk-ins are always accepted at Montgomery clinics, but appointments can be scheduled for your convenience. Visit the Montgomery Health Department website for additional details or call the Health Department at (908) 533-9331.


BOARD OF HEALTH EXPLAINS VACCINATION IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES

Dr. Om Sharma appears in a new vaccine video.

The Montgomery Township Board of Health has released three videos explaining the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines with the intention of encouraging vaccination among immigrant communities. Videos were recorded in English and Hindi by Dr. Om Sharma and in Urdu by Dr. Siddique Faisal, both members of the Board of Health.

In addition, Health Department social worker Amanda Pulgarin recorded the message in Spanish with English subtitles.

If you are aware of a friend, coworker, or family members who would benefit from hearing these messages, please forward the relevant link.


TOWNSHIP THANKS CIVIC GROUPS FOR PANDEMIC RESPONSE

Montgomery EMS President Carol Raymond thanks the Township Committee for recognizing the squad’s efforts during the pandemic.

All five members of the Montgomery Township Committee hosted a Picnic in the Park on Friday to thank residents, employees, and civic organizations who played key roles in responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan read a proclamation that said, in part: “Montgomery’s community leaders, township employees, and residents pulled together to help and protect each other, allowing us to weather the pandemic better than most communities, and to bounce back to a more normal summer in 2021.”

Three organizations were cited for special recognition: “Montgomery Township Committee extends to the Montgomery Emergency Medical Services, the Princeton Elks Lodge, and the Rotary Club of Montgomery and Rocky Hill our most sincere gratitude and appreciation for their generosity, kindness, and commitment to the people of Montgomery Township.”


TOWNSHIP OPENS NEW PATHWAY IN SKILLMAN

Mayor Devra Keenan cuts the ribbon on new pathway.

Township officials on Friday cut the ribbon to formally open two miles of pathways along Burnt Hill and Skillman roads. Financed mostly with dedicated open space funds and a grand from NJDOT, the new paths go a long way toward connecting township schools, Skillman Park, 150 households north of Skillman Road, and the St. Charles Borromeo church.

GOOGLE PHOTO ALBUM OF RIBBON CUTTING

The project also incorporates experimentation with new types of pervious pavement that reduces storm water runoff. The project includes boardwalks over wetlands.

“This remarkable project is a result of having forward-thinking citizens involved in our government and planning for many years,” said Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan. “By working with Rutgers, we are helping to advance cutting-edge science in reducing stormwater runoff, which will help keep streams cleaner and reduce flooding.”

Additional coverage and photos available in The Montgomery News online.


ENTER MONTGOMERY WEEKLY PHOTO CONTEST!

The Rec Dept. will be starting our annual “Show Us Your Montgomery” photo contest this week. The contest runs now through Aug 27. Each week residents will submit photos of “their Montgomery” to recreation@twp.montgomery.nj.us. Each week the rec staff will vote on a weekly winner, and the winning photo will become the Rec Department’s Facebooks cover photo for the week.

Each week’s winning photo will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. The residents will vote on the weekly winning photos the week of August 30th and the winner will be announced September 6th.  For additional detail, visit the Recreation Department website.


7-9: One New Case; Community Picnic in Park Tonight; Vaccine Clinics Next Week; Recycling May Be Delayed; Explore Parks for Park & Rec Month; Monty Photo Contest Begins; Financial Relief Available

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There has been one (1) new case of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 7-6-21 and two (2) cases for the last week. For further statistics, go to the Health Department’s COVID-19 portal.

The Montgomery Health Department would like to remind parents with children who are too young to be vaccinated, to continue to choose outdoor activities, be mindful of indoor events especially when gathering with other unvaccinated people and continue to take precautions when visiting recreational facilities.


COMMUNITY PICNIC TONIGHT TO THANK PANDEMIC RESPONDERS

The Montgomery Township Committee is hosting a Picnic in the Park today, July 9 at 6 pm at Montgomery Veteran’s Park, near the pavilions at lower parking lot. The purpose is to thank civic organizations for going above and beyond to help residents during the pandemic.

Special thanks will be given to Montgomery EMS, the Princeton Elks Lodge, and Rotary of Montgomery/Rocky Hill. Everyone is invited.

There will be live music and a free dessert. Residents are encouraged to bring their own picnic dinner, ideally take-out from a Montgomery restaurant.  Also consider bringing lawn chairs or blankets in case the pavilions overflow.


HOW TO GET VACCINATED

For residents seeking the vaccine, the quickest option this week is to use the NJ Vaccine Finder website to identify the clinic or pharmacy with immediate appointments. For teenagers 12- to 17-years-old, choose the Pfizer vaccine.

Montgomery Township Health Department is offering clinics next week:

  • Wednesday, July 14, 5pm to 7pm, Pfizer Clinic for ages 12+ at Princeton Wellness and Fitness. The CVS in Belle Mead is also offering appointments for the Pfizer vaccine to ages 12+.
  • Friday, July 16, 5pm to 7pm, J&J Clinic for ages 18+ next to the playground at Montgomery Dog Park (Covert Drive).
  • Saturday, July 17, 9AM to 11AM, Moderna Clinic for ages 18+ at Otto Kaufman Community Center.
  • Friday, July 23, 5pm -7pm, Moderna Clinic for ages 18+ at Pike Run Clubhouse.

Walk-ins are always accepted, but appointments can be scheduled for your convenience. Visit the Montgomery Health Department website for additional details or call the Health Department at (908) 533-9331.


ENJOY PARKS & RECREATION MONTH

 

July is Parks & Recreation Month! It is a great time to enjoy Montgomery Township and Somerset County parks.

Have you hiked to the top of the Sourland Mountain or visited Montgomery’s own arboretum? Have you walked your leashed dog on the long and winding pathways at Skillman Park, or taken children to the playground at Bessie Grover Park? Have you visited the rose garden, mini-golf, and paddle boats in Colonial Park in Franklin? Visit our parks this July, and all summer long!


ENTER MONTGOMERY WEEKLY PHOTO CONTEST!

The Rec Dept. will be starting our annual “Show Us Your Montgomery” photo contest this week. The contest runs now through Aug 27. Each week residents will submit photos of “their Montgomery” to recreation@twp.montgomery.nj.us. Each week the rec staff will vote on a weekly winner, and the winning photo will become the Rec Department’s Facebooks cover photo for the week.

Each week’s winning photo will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. The residents will vote on the weekly winning photos the week of August 30th and the winner will be announced September 6th.  For additional detail, visit the Recreation Department website.


FINANCIAL RELIEF AVAILABLE

Relief programs are available to people impacted financially by the pandemic.

  • Recently, the income limits and the amount of funds have been increased for Somerset County families who are eligible to receive money from the Emergency Rental Relief Program (ERRP) to help keep them in their homes if they have lost their income due to the pandemic.  Additional information, and an easy-to-use online application are available.
  • A new Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service to eligible households. The program also offers a discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider (such as CenturyLink, Comcast or Verizon, and many cellular providers) or by visiting  sort by org. For more information, check out the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ.
  • Assistance is available to help you pay your utility bills. All New Jerseyans with outstanding balances are encouraged to apply for utility assistance programs now to lower their balances and also contact their utility company to request a flexible repayment plan. You may be newly eligible for financial assistance programs to help you pay your bills. You can learn more and apply for utility help now using a new screening tool from the NJ Department of Community Affairs at gov/dca/dcaid.
  • Funeral expense relief is available via the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people who have had to pay funeral expenses for a family member lost to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Funeral relief information is available online.

7-6: One New Case; Proclamation Thanks Civic Groups for Pandemic Response; Community Picnic in Park on Friday; How to get Vaccinated; Monty Photo Contest Begins; Affordable Housing Opens; Cooling Center Open

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There has been one (1) new case of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Friday, 7-6-21. Due to the holiday weekend, detailed demographic data are not available at this time. For further statistics, go to the Health Dept.’s COVID-19 portal.


PROCLAMATION THANKS CIVIC GROUP FOR PANDEMIC RESPONSE

The Township Committee last Thursday passed a proclamation acknowledging major contributions by residents and local civic groups to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proclamation says, in part: “Montgomery’s community leaders, township employees, and residents pulled together to help and protect each other, allowing us to weather the pandemic better than most communities, and to bounce back to a more normal summer in 2021.”

The proclamation gives special thanks to three specific civic organizations: “Montgomery Township Committee extends to the Montgomery Emergency Medical Services, the Princeton Elks Lodge, and the Rotary Club of Montgomery and Rocky Hill our most sincere gratitude and appreciation for their generosity, kindness, and commitment to the people of Montgomery Township.”

The full proclamation will be read by the mayor at a community picnic on Friday, July 9.


COMMUNITY PICNIC IN PARK TO THANK PANDEMIC RESPONDERS

The Montgomery Township Committee is hosting a Picnic in the Park at Montgomery Veteran’s Park on July 9 at 6:30pm, near the pavilions at lower parking lot, to thank civic organizations for going above and beyond to help residents during the pandemic. Everyone is invited.

There will be live music and a free dessert. Residents are encouraged to bring their own picnic dinner, ideally take-out from a Montgomery restaurant.  Also consider bringing lawn chairs or blankets in case the pavilions overflow.


HOW TO GET VACCINATED

For residents seeking the vaccine, the quickest option this week is to use the NJ Vaccine Finder website to identify the clinic or pharmacy with immediate appointments. For teenagers 12- to 17-years-old, choose the Pfizer vaccine.

Montgomery Township Health Department is offering clinics next week:

  • Wednesday, July 14, 5pm to 7pm, Pfizer Clinic for ages 12+ at Princeton Wellness and Fitness. The CVS in Belle Mead is also offering appointments for the Pfizer vaccine to ages 12+.
  • Friday, July 16, 5pm to 7pm, J&J Clinic for ages 18+ next to the playground at Montgomery Dog Park (Covert Drive).
  • Saturday, July 17, 9AM to 11AM, Moderna Clinic for ages 18+ at Otto Kaufman Community Center.
  • Friday, July 23, 5pm -7pm, Moderna Clinic for ages 18+ at Pike Run Clubhouse.

Walk-ins are always accepted, but appointments can be scheduled for your convenience. Visit the Montgomery Health Department website for additional details.


ENTER MONTGOMERY WEEKLY PHOTO CONTEST!

The Rec Dept. will be starting our annual “Show Us Your Montgomery” photo contest this week. The contest runs now through Aug 27. Each week residents will submit photos of “their Montgomery” to recreation@twp.montgomery.nj.us. Each week the Rec staff will vote on a weekly winner, and the winning photo will become the Rec Department’s Facebooks cover photo for the week.

Each week’s winning photo will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. The residents will vote on the weekly winning photos the week of August 30th and the winner will be announced September 6th.  For additional detail, visit the Recreation Department website.


86 AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS OFFICIALLY OPENED

Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan and Planning Director Lori Savron inspect a common room at Montgomery Crossing, officially opened Friday. Photo by Barbara Preston.

Montgomery Township and developers from PIRHL cut the ribbon on a newly completed 86-unit affordable housing project called Montgomery Crossing, near the intersection of Routes 206 and 518.

Mayor Devra Keenan thanked township staff and private sector partners from PIRHL and Sharbell Development Corporation for making the innovative new project possible at a location close to retail and bus service.  “This is exactly the way affordable housing should be done,” the mayor said.

Applications for the complex are being accepted online at https://mxapartments.com/. For additional details and photos, read The Montgomery News online.


COOLING CENTER OPEN TODAY & TOMORROW

With the weather forecast above 90 degrees today and tomorrow, Otto Kaufman Community Center at 356 Skillman Road will be open as a cooling center for residents in need of a break from the heat from 8 am to 6 pm. WIFI and charging stations are available. Masks are required while indoors.

7-2: Three New Cases; 89% of Monty Adults Started Vax Process; How to get Vaccinated; Fireworks Safety for July 4th Weekend; Water Conservation Order Ended; Monty Wins $20,000 Sustainable Jersey Grant

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been three new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 6-29-21, and three cases over the last full week. Due to holiday schedules, there is no detailed case report today. For further statistics, go to the Health Dept.’s COVID-19 portal.


89% OF MONTGOMERY ADULTS HAVE HAD AT LEAST ONE VAX DOSE

The vaccination rate for adults in Montgomery Township jumped from 85% to 89% in just the last week, far surpassing the national target of 70% by the July 4th holiday, and the current statewide average of 71%.  Also, the percentage of teens 12 to 17 years old who have had at least one dose of the vaccine rose from 42% to 53%.

Reflecting on the high rate of vaccination at last night’s Montgomery Township Committee meeting, Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey said: “At this point of the pandemic, any additional death is a needless tragedy. The vaccines work. Vaccines save lives. Let’s end this thing. If you are struggling with a decision to get vaccinated, if you have a friend or loved one who is struggling with a decision to get vaccinated, offer them your support, offer them your encouragement. We’ve got the information, and we have resources to help support a vaccine decision.”

Residents with questions may call the health department directly at 908-359-8211 x 2227.


HOW TO GET VACCINATED

For residents seeking the vaccine, the quickest option is to use the NJ Vaccine Finder website to identify the clinic or pharmacy with immediate appointments. For teenagers 12 to 17 year old, choose the Pfizer vaccine.

Montgomery Township Health Department is offering appointments in mid-July:

  • Wednesday, July 14, 5pm to 7pm, Pfizer Clinic for ages 12+ at Princeton Wellness and Fitness.
  • Friday, July 16, 5pm to 7pm, J&J Clinic for ages 18+ next to the playground at Montgomery Dog Park (Covert Drive).
  • Saturday, July 17, 9AM to 11AM, Moderna Clinic for ages 18+ at Otto Kaufman Community Center.
  • Friday, July 23, 5pm -7pm, Moderna Clinic for ages 18+ at Pike Run Clubhouse.

PICNIC JULY 9 TO THANK CIVIC GROUPS FOR PANDEMIC RESPONSE

The Montgomery Township Committee is hosting a Picnic in the Park at Montgomery Veteran’s Park on July 9 at 6pm to thank three civic organizations for going above and beyond to help residents during the pandemic. Everyone is invited.

There will be live music and a free dessert. Residents are encouraged to bring their own picnic dinner, ideally take-out from a Montgomery restaurant.  Also consider bringing lawn chairs or blankets in case the pavilions overflow.

Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan will read a proclamation thanking Montgomery Emergency Medical Services, the Princeton Elks Club in Skillman, and the Rotary Club of Montgomery/Rocky Hill.  All are invited to attend.


FIREWORKS SAFETY FOR JULY 4TH WEEKEND

There are certain novelty and ground-based fireworks which were legalized in New Jersey a few years ago. Be sure to know the rules!

Persons 16 years of age or older may lawfully buy, possess and use certain sparkling devices and novelties. These permissible fireworks are limited to hand-held or ground=based sparklers, snakes, and glow worms; smoke devices; and trick noisemakers, including party poppers, snappers, and drop pops. The sale, possession and use of all other fireworks requires a valid permit.

Legal fireworks can still be dangerous. Use them away from structures, including homes, decks and sheds. Avoid setting off fireworks near trees, wooded areas and areas around the home with mulch. Keep fireworks away from children. Soak spent fireworks in water before throwing them in the garbage.

Additional information is available from the State of New Jersey.


WATER CONSERVATION ORDER ENDED

New Jersey American Water has lifted the mandatory water conservation order that was issued on June 29 to customers in the western and southern regions of its Raritan water system, including Belle Mead.

Customers were asked to limit their water use to essential purposes only while New Jersey American Water worked to repair a 36-inch main break in Somerville. The main has been repaired and normal water usage may resume.


MONTGOMERY WINS $20,000 SUSTAINABLE JERSEY GRANT

Sustainable Montgomery includes (l-r) Township Engineer Gail Smith; Planning Director Lori Savron; Environmental Commission members Greg Kaganowicz and Mary Reece (chair), Assistant Engineer Mark Hermann.

Montgomery Township was one of four municipalities to win a $20,000 grant from Sustainable Jersey to fund local environmental projects. Another 28 towns received smaller grants. Montgomery’s grant will be used to improve the effectiveness of detention basins to reduce stormwater runoff.

“Montgomery is excited to receive this grant and begin a pilot project to retrofit a few older detention basins with newer green infrastructure techniques that will provide a host of environmental benefits, such as increasing groundwater recharge, improving water quality, and reducing the frequency of mowing,” said Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan. “This will also make us better neighbors to those communities downstream by helping to reduce flooding.”

The grant was presented in a virtual ceremony this week to Sustainable Montgomery, the township’s designated “green team.”

In 2019, Montgomery Township was one of only fourteen towns in New Jersey to have earned Sustainable Jersey Certification during all 10 years since the program launched in 2009.

The mission of Sustainable Jersey is to “empower New Jersey communities to build a better world for future generations with the tools, training, and financial incentives necessary to pursue critical sustainability initiatives.” The grant funding was provided by the PSE&G Foundation.