TODAY’S COVID-19 SUMMARY
There have been fifteen (15) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 9-7-21. For the week ending last Friday, the township had thirteen (13) cases.
The Montgomery Township Health Department strongly encourages residents to get vaccinated and is offering several clinics this week, including a Pfizer Clinic for youth on Thursday evening at OKCC, a J&J clinic Friday afternoon at the Municipal Building, and a Moderna Clinic Friday evening the Pike Run Clubhouse.
LIMITED CURBSIDE IDA DEBRIS PICKUP BEGINS
The Montgomery Township Department of Public Works received DEP approval and started picking up storm debris from residences most seriously impacted by the Hurricane Ida flooding.
Residents unable to address debris removal themselves are advised to fill out an Emergency Help Form on the township website indicating their situation. Township staff will review requests and let you know whether and when assistance can be provided. Alternatively, call Montgomery’s storm Ida hotline at (908) 395-7991 and leave a message with your name, address, and phone number.
“If you can remove debris to our Container Facility at 12 Harlingen Road, that’s going to be your quickest solution,” said Township Administrator Donato Nieman. “But we’ll eventually get to every seriously impacted neighborhood, as we did after Hurricane Irene ten years ago.”
The Container Facility will be open every day this week and next, Monday through Saturday, 8am to 2pm, with coupons/fees waived for storm debris originating in Montgomery. Be prepared to prove residency when dropping off debris.
The private hauler Blue Star Carting announced they started catching up on garbage pickups yesterday and starting today, Tuesday, will be following their normal day-of-week schedule.
DONATIONS ACCEPTED FOR DISPLACED RESIDENTS
Montgomery Township is aware of at least 18 homes seriously damaged during Storm Ida, and these households remain the focus of township attention. Six of them, so far, that have been condemned as uninhabitable. Some of the displaced families have school-aged children.
If you are aware of suitable housing within the township, please contact Mayor Keenan at email@example.com.
Residents wishing to donate recovery aid to residents impacted by Storm Ida may consider donating online to the Montgomery Charity Foundation or to the Princeton Elks Lodge 2129. Both organizations are coordinating with the township to identify families most in need.
DISASTER RESOURCES FOR RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES, NONPROFITS
Somerset County is part of a declared Federal Disaster area due to Hurricane Ida, meaning that Federal relief monies may be available to residents through the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster process. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
If you are facing a major loss, use the state portal to report damage and keep documentation, photos, and receipts. This should expedite reimbursement. Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. FEMA has created a webpage that includes New Jersey resources and assistance for families. If you wish to assist with the recovery efforts, visit FEMA’s Volunteer/Donate page.
Last week, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board approved a disaster relief program that will provide grants between $1,000 and $5,000 to New Jersey businesses and non-profits with up to 50 employees that suffered physical damage as a result of Tropical Storm Ida and any additional flooding immediately thereafter. Landlords and home-based businesses are not eligible.
Governor Phil Murphy also announced a rideshare partnership with NJ 211, United Way Worldwide, Uber, and Lyft to provide access to free and discounted rides to New Jersey residents who lost a personal vehicle as a result of Tropical Storm Ida. For the next two weeks, New Jersey residents who lost a vehicle and need help accessing essential services can text NJIDARIDE to 898-211 to request a Lyft or Uber ride. Those without access to a smartphone can dial 2-1-1.
Local lists of recovery resources are available on the Montgomery Township and Somerset County. websites. Montgomery’s Office of Emergency Management has established a special hotline for Ida-related questions or concerns at (908) 395-7991. In addition, Montgomery Township is collecting requests for help with a range of extraordinary challenges via an Emergency Help Form on the township website. Use this to report problems with housing, food insecurity, transportation issues, debris removal, etc.
Additional resources include these hotlines: NJ Mental Health 866-202-HELP, SAMSA Disaster Distress Hotline: 800-985-5990.
STORM IDA IMPACT ON LOCAL WILDLIFE
The Montgomery Township Animal Control officers are seeing an increase in deceased deer on properties, roadways, and backyards recently. In part this is a result of the recent storms, but there may also be certain neurological disorders going around in area deer populations, harmless to humans, but which should be reported to us and to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.
If you ever see any animal – domestic, wild, or otherwise – that is deceased or just doesn’t seem right, potentially sick, injured, or wounded, call us at 908-359-8211 x2247. Leave a message and if we don’t get back to you quickly then please call the non-emergency police line (908) 359-3222. Do not approach animals that appear ill, injured, or that act strangely.
The removal of dead deer is going more slowly than usual because of the high demand. What normally takes a couple days is taking almost a week.
MONTGOMERY REMEMBERS 9-11-01
Montgomery Township remembered the victims of the attack on America on September 11, 2001 with events at both township 9-11 memorials on Saturday.
In remarks at the Montgomery Fire Department #2 in Skillman, Mayor Devra Keenan recalled her own experiences on that day in 2001, when she was overseas on vacation from a job with colleagues next door to the World Trade Center.
“Today, we honor those Americans who always offer help, even at the risk of their own lives,” the mayor said. “The dedication of our Fire Fighters, Police, and Emergency Medical Services are among the great national treasures we have. Here in Montgomery, many of those heroes are volunteers, dedicated to serving our community just because it’s the right thing to do. Our first responders continue to set an example of commitment to community, an example that we should all do our best to follow. I hope moments like this one can inspire us all to renew our sense of kinship with the entire human family.”
Three people with ties to Montgomery Township were lost in the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001: Brian Thomas Cummins, who grew up in Belle Mead; Steven Goldstein; and Philip L. Parker. Rocky Hill resident William F. Fallon was also lost that day.
The day included a service project at Hobler Park in Skillman where more than 25 volunteers planted trees, including a row of white flowering dogwood along the parking lot edge. Serviceberry, white oak, tulip poplar and more were added in the area behind the gazebo, in a project organized by the Montgomery Environmental Commission.
The day concluded with a wreath laying by township officials at the 9-11 Memorial at Montgomery Veteran’s Park. Visit or follow the Montgomery Township Facebook page to see this year’s 9-11 commemoration photos.
SUBMIT ART FOR HEALING EVENT NEXT WEEK
Residents of all ages are encouraged to submit pandemic-inspired art or stories to be featured at a community healing event on Tuesday evening, September 20 at the Princeton Elks Lodge on Route 518 in Skillman.
Art of all kinds is welcome including, but not limited to, paintings, drawings, videos or recordings, crafts, poetry, essays, etc. The deadline to submit art has been extended to Thursday, September 16. Submissions may be turned in at the Montgomery Township Municipal Building Front Desk or through email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The free event is called Montgomery Together: Lighting the Way Forward – An Evening of Hope & Healing. Organizers are the Montgomery Township Health Department and Municipal Alliance, in partnership with the Montgomery Recreation Department, Princeton Elks Lodge, and Somerset County Department of Human Services.
The event will feature an Interactive Art Gallery and Candlelight Vigil. The indoor gallery will be open from 3-7pm, with an outside candlelight vigil to follow. The rain date for the Candlelight Vigil is Tuesday, September 21st at 7PM (dusk). Masks will be required both indoors and outdoors.
For more information or questions, email Celine LaBelle at email@example.com or call at 609-874-8007.
2021 ELECTION BALLOTS MAILED AS COUNTY SEEKS POLL WORKERS
Mail ballots for the 2021 New Jersey State Election will begin arriving in the mail within days. Elections for governor, state assembly, county commissioner, and municipal governing officials are on the ballot.
Mail ballots can be returned via the US Postal Service or deposited in a secure drop box beginning late next week. The Somerset County list of drop boxes includes the Montgomery Township Municipal Building at 2261 Route 206 in Belle Mead.
Somerset County is seeking paid poll workers for Election Day and for the first-ever “early in-person” voting that begins October 23. Residents interested in learning about temporary employment as a poll worker should visit the Somerset County Board of Elections website, where they will also find an application form.