10-19: Fifteen new COVID Cases; Get Your Flu Shot Tomorrow; Monty Police Give Advice on Personal Safety; Montgomery “Return to Art” this Weekend; Check if You Qualify for Utility Assistance

COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been fifteen (15) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Friday, 10-15-21. Once again, the majority of the cases are occurring among youth under 20, many of whom are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.


MONTY CONTINUES FLU VACCINATIONS TOMORROW

Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan got her flu shot at Pike Run last Friday.

The Montgomery Township Health Department will offer annual flu shots at the Otto Kaufman Community Center on Skillman Road tomorrow and Saturday, from 9 to 11 AM on both days. With colder weather and closer indoor contact with other people, the Montgomery Township Health Department strongly recommends getting a flu shot this year.

Flu shots are free for Seniors with Medicare, for first responders, and for residents who lost their job or insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For all others, the cost is $25 and can be paid via credit card or check.

Appointments are recommended but not required. The Township website provides additional information and registration for annual flu shots, or you can make an appointment by calling (609) 874-8007.

The Health Department is also offering COVID-19 shots, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine every Friday afternoon at the municipal building. For additional COVID-19 vaccination opportunities, visit the New Jersey Vaccine Finder website. The Pfizer vaccine is currently approved for ages 12 and older, and as a booster shot after 6 months.


MONTGOMERY POLICE RECOMMEND PRECAUTIONS IN PUBLIC PARKS

Montgomery Police Captain James Gill

Recently there have been two violent attacks of criminal sexual assault occurring in local parks, not far from Montgomery Township, and these should serve as reminders of the importance of taking precautions, according to Captain James M. Gill of the Montgomery Township Police Department.

“These two horrible events are a great concern to us and our neighboring law enforcement partners,” said Captain Gill. “I would like to take a moment to share some general personal safety advice.”

Captain Gill recommends that residents visit public parks with at least one companion, whenever possible. “Perpetrators generally target people who are alone,” he said. “If that is not possible, choose locations where many other people are present, and make sure somebody knows where you are and when you expect to return. You might also consider carrying a non-violent deterrent such as pepper spray or a whistle.”

Recognizing that residents are concerned about the two local incidents, one of which occurred in the popular D&R Canal State Park, Montgomery Township Police will be holding a personal safety question-and-answer session via Zoom on November 9th at 7pm.  Go to https://bit.ly/3lU7oxZ to participate.

“This will be an opportunity for the public to share their concerns and experiences, and for my department to suggest best practices for personal safety,” said Captain Gill.


MONTGOMERY “RETURN TO ART” EVENT THIS WEEKEND

Montgomery Township’s new Arts Council is hosting A Return to Art, a 3-day visual arts exhibition and sale, Oct. 22-24, featuring local and regional New Jersey artists. The Arts Council was formed this year by Montgomery Township’s volunteer-driven Economic Development Commission to showcase local and regional artists while providing the community with in-person access to artists who might be their neighbors.

The event kicks off with a ticketed opening reception on Friday from 6 to 9pm where you can mingle and meet the artists. Admission is free on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4pm.

“This event is meant to be a celebration. Artists and their communities are craving meaningful connection after spending over 16 months in lockdown.” says Karen Tuveson, Chair of Montgomery’s Arts Council. “Slowly opportunities are returning, but there still aren’t enough venues for artists to exhibit, meet the public, and cultivate collectors. Art is something best experienced in person.”

Deputy Mayor Marvin Schuldiner, liaison to the Montgomery Economic Development Commission, pointed out that artists who create physical products are small business owners. “Making art is a business. We all want to support our small local businesses. Artists are struggling just as much as shop owners in brick-and-mortar buildings.”

To learn more about the artists and/or buy tickets for the opening reception, visit the Montgomery Arts Council website.


PSE&G OFFERS CUSTOMERS WAYS TO CATCH UP ON OVERDUE BILLS

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has named this week “Utility Assistance Week” to raise awareness about the new utility assistance.

The BPU expanded income eligibility requirements for the state programs that help make utility bills more affordable. For example, for a family of four, the existing qualifying income limit was approximately $48,000 annually. By raising the limit, the new threshold is $105,000 – that’s more than double.

Regulators also boosted the Fresh Start Program, which provides debt forgiveness for past due balances if customers pay their monthly utility bills in full for a year.

Many people are behind on their bills for the first time and do not know they even qualify or where to look for help. New Jersey residents can use an anonymous online screening tool, nj.gov/dca/dcaid, to see what forms of assistance they may be eligible for, including rental assistance.

10-15: Twelve new COVID Cases; Why We Still Quarantine; COVID and Flu Shots at Pike Run; Hazardous Waste Drop-Off; Reusable Bags at Farmers Market; Fire Safety Event Tomorrow; Buy “Return to Art” Tickets; Volunteers Plant Trees

COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been twelve (12) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 10-12-21, and eighteen (18) over the last week. More than half of the local cases being monitored are under age 20.


WHY WE STILL QUARANTINE

By Devangi Patel
Montgomery Township Acting Health Officer

Despite a 95% adult vaccination rate, about 5,000 Montgomery residents remain unvaccinated, in most cases because they are children under 12 who are not yet eligible.

That’s why many of our new COVID-19 cases are connected to Montgomery Township schools and youth athletic programs. In some cases, an entire youth sports team needs to be quarantined at home for a week or more, until we can determine through testing that each teammate has not been infected.

We know this is frustrating for our families, but we want to assure you that the protocols we have in place are working.  Our goal is to help stop any isolated cases from turning into outbreaks. This is how we keep schools open. By avoiding wider outbreaks of COVID-19 we can keep our schools fully open for in-person instruction.

This week, the White House told governors to start preparing their states for the expected approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 in a matter of weeks.  My department is working closely with Montgomery Township Schools to develop an efficient process for making the vaccine available to all our students as soon as possible following FDA approval.

Until we can vaccinate our children—both over and under age 12—contact tracing and quarantines will remain vital tools for keeping our community safe and our schools fully open.


PIKE RUN HOSTS COMBINED COVID AND FLU SHOT CLINIC

The Montgomery Township Health Department is offering both the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and annual flu shots at a combined clinic at the Pike Run Clubhouse today, Friday, from 5 to 7 pm. The clinic at 40 Pike Run Road is open to everyone, regardless of whether they reside in the Pike Run development.

Appointments are recommended but not required. The Township website provides additional information and registration for the COVID-19 vaccines and the annual flu shots, or you can make an appointment by calling (609) 874-8007.

Flu shots are free for Seniors with Medicare, for first responders, and for residents who lost their job or insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For all others, the cost is $25 and can be paid via credit card or check.

Additional COVID-19 vaccination opportunities, including at local pharmacies, can be found at the NJ vaccine finder website.


HAZARDOUS WASTE DROP-OFF TOMORROW IN HILLSBOROUGH

Somerset County is holding a free Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off event, the last one in 2021. Residents can safely dispose of their harmful household items on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 9 am to 2 pm, at the South County Public Works Garage, located at 410 Roycefield Road, Hillsborough, NJ 08844.

Residents must stay in their vehicles and wear masks. Materials should be stored in residents’ trunks, cargo areas, or truck beds and items must be accessible to the staff, so they can easily remove items from vehicles.

Residents must be prepared to show a current driver’s license, valid lease, tax bill or any other bill with a Somerset County address. Pre-registration is not required. Businesses or commercial vehicles are NOT allowed.

Household Hazardous Waste Items that Will Be Accepted

You may bring: banned or outdated pesticides, antifreeze, transmission fluid, brake fluid, wet-cell car batteries, motor oil (five-gallon maximum), fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent light bulbs, ammonia-based cleaners, gasoline, kerosene, mercury switches, oil-based paints, pool chemicals, propane tanks and rechargeable and button-cell batteries.

Items Not Accepted

DO NOT drop off: tires, or electronics (computers and televisions), infectious waste, gas cylinders, smoke detectors, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, or latex-based paint.

For more information about the types and quantities of materials that will be accepted at the event, contact the Somerset County Division of Solid Waste Management at 908-231-7109, send an email to solidwaste@co.somerset.nj.us, or visit www.co.somerset.nj.us/HHW.


VISIT FARMERS MARKET TOMORROW FOR REUSABLE BAGS

The Montgomery Township Environmental Commission (EC) will be offering reusable bags at a table at tomorrow’s Montgomery Farmers’ Market 9 am to noon at the Village Shoppes in Skillman.

The EC would like to help everyone get in the habit now of carrying reusable bags which will become required statewide on May 4, 2022. From that time forward, stores will be prohibited from providing single-use plastic bags, as well as food containers and cups made of polystyrene foam. In addition, larger grocery stores will also no longer be providing paper bags.

Clean Ocean Action reports that more than 80% of litter picked up by volunteers at annual beach cleanups from Cape May to Sandy Hook have been plastic in recent years.

The Montgomery Farmers Market is held every Saturday at Village Shoppes, 1378 Route 206, Skillman (near Mooyah).


FIRE PREVENTION OPEN HOUSE TOMORROW

Montgomery Township’s Annual Fire Prevention Open House will be held this year at Station 46 in Blawenburg on tomorrow, October 16 from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Come learn about fire safety, meet the volunteer responders, and see the apparatus that make up Montgomery emergency services. Ring the bell on an antique fire truck! Applications for new members will also be available. Participating first responder groups include Station 45 (Belle Mead), Station 46 (Blawenburg), Montgomery Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) 47, Station 53 (Rocky Hill), and the Montgomery Township Police Department.

Family Friendly event! Activities include a car extrication demonstration, tours of a New Jersey Forest Fire Service brush truck and fire trucks,  and sprinkler system demonstrations.

The event will be held at the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Co. 2, 529 Rt. 518, Skillman, NJ.


BUY TICKETS TO MONTGOMERY “RETURN TO ART” EVENT

Montgomery Township’s new Arts Council is hosting A Return to Art, a 3-day visual arts exhibition and sale, Oct. 22-24, featuring local and regional New Jersey artists. The Arts Council was formed this year by Montgomery Township’s volunteer-driven Economic Development Commission to showcase local and regional artists while providing the community with in-person access to artists who might be their neighbors.

“This event is meant to be a celebration. Artists and their communities are craving meaningful connection after spending over 16 months in lockdown.” says Karen Tuveson, Chair of Montgomery’s Arts Council. “Slowly opportunities are returning, but there still aren’t enough venues for artists to exhibit, meet the public, and cultivate collectors. Art is something best experienced in person.”

Deputy Mayor Marvin Schuldiner, liaison to the Montgomery Economic Development Commission, pointed out that artists who create physical products are small business owners. “Making art is a business. We all want to support our small local businesses. Artists are struggling just as much as shop owners in brick-and-mortar buildings.”

To learn more and buy tickets, visit the Montgomery Arts Council website.


VOLUNTEER TREE PLANTING THIS MONTH AND NEXT

Volunteers this week planted hundreds of trees at Rock Mill Preserve in Skillman as part of a larger reforestation effort by the Sourland Conservancy with help from Montgomery Friends of Open Space and the Township. The effort is needed because we are losing one-fifth of the Sourlands forest due to an invasive insect that kills ash trees.

Another volunteer planting effort is scheduled for the Folusiak property November 11th to 13th. If you’d like to help, you can sign up online here. Wear sturdy shoes and long pants, bring work/garden gloves and water.  We will provide the tools, plants, and how-to instruction.

The Folusiak property located at 150 Hollow Road (entrance just north of the railroad tracks) where volunteers will plant 1,000 shrubs and trees.  A multitude of bird species are utilizing this unique wet meadow habitat, so we are adding understory plants along a tributary stream to provide a habitat corridor for the birds, and other wildlife.  The Washington Crossing Audubon is assisting by providing a bird inventory before and after our planting.

10-12: Six new COVID Cases; COVID and Flu Shots at Pike Run Clubhouse; COVID Stress Counseling Offered; Buy “Return to Art” Tickets; Voter Registration Deadline Is Today

COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been six (6) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Friday, 10-8-21.


NEW HEALTH OFFICER ASSUMES DUTIES

Devangi Patel (l) at a retirement event for Stephanie D. Carey (r).

Devangi Patel this week assumed the duties of Montgomery Township Health Officer following the retirement of longtime officer Stephanie D. Carey. Ms. Patel has been Ms. Carey’s deputy for three years and has served a total of seven years in the department, where she has served as Health Educator, Accreditation Coordinator, and Municipal Alliance/Youth Services Commission Coordinator.

Ms. Patel has been working in the public health field for 11 years and is the current president of the New Jersey Society for Public Health Education. Before joining the Montgomery Township Department of Health, she was Breast Health Outreach Coordinator for Somerset Medical Center.

Ms. Patel is a licensed Health Officer and a Masters Certified Health Education Specialist. She earned a Master’s of Public Health in Health Education and Behavioral Science from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and a Bachelors in Psychology from Rutgers University.

Last week, she gave the health department’s official update on the pandemic to the Township Committee during a regularly scheduled meeting.


PIKE RUN HOSTS COMBINED COVID AND FLU SHOT CLINIC

The Montgomery Township Health Department is offering both the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and annual flu shots at a combined clinic at the Pike Run Clubhouse this Friday from 5 to 7 pm. The clinic at 40 Pike Run Road is open to everyone, regardless of whether they reside in the Pike Run development.

Appointments are recommended but not required. The Township website provides additional information and registration for the COVID-19 vaccines and the annual flu shots. You can also schedule an appointment by calling (609) 874-8007.

Flu shots are free for Seniors with Medicare, for first responders, and for residents who lost their job or insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For all others, the cost is $25 and can be paid via credit card or check.

Additional COVID-19 vaccination opportunities, including at local pharmacies, can be found at the NJ vaccine finder website.


COUNSELING OFFERED FOR PEOPLE IMPACTED BY COVID-19

Rutgers University Behavioral Health Center (UBHC) is offering mental health clinicians and/or substance abuse clinicians to assist with the short-term needs of people dealing with problems related to COVID-19. They have a toll-free phone number which is live Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, serving as an initial point of entry for individuals seeking mental health and substance uses services from COVID-19. Therapeutic services are provided through telehealth.

To access the service, call 833-223-0011 Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm. Additional information is available in a short video.


BUY TICKETS TO MONTGOMERY “RETURN TO ART” EVENT

Montgomery Township’s new Arts Council is hosting A Return to Art, a 3-day visual arts exhibition and sale, Oct. 22-24, featuring local and regional New Jersey artists. The Arts Council was formed this year by Montgomery Township’s volunteer-driven Economic Development Commission to showcase local and regional artists while providing the community with in-person access to artists who might be their neighbors.

“This event is meant to be a celebration. Artists and their communities are craving meaningful connection after spending over 16 months in lockdown.” says Karen Tuveson, Chair of Montgomery’s Arts Council. “Slowly opportunities are returning, but there still aren’t enough venues for artists to exhibit, meet the public, and cultivate collectors. Art is something best experienced in person.”

Deputy Mayor Marvin Schuldiner, liaison to the Montgomery Economic Development Commission, pointed out that artists who create physical products are small business owners. “Making art is a business. We all want to support our small local businesses. Artists are struggling just as much as shop owners in brick-and-mortar buildings.”

To learn more and buy tickets, visit the Montgomery Arts Council website.


VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE TODAY

Today is the last day to register to vote for New Jersey’s statewide November 2 election. If you are not yet registered to vote, or uncertain of your status, New Jersey offers a voter portal to assist you.

Many residents have received mail ballots for the 2021 New Jersey State which can be returned via the US Postal Service or deposited in a secure drop box beginning. The Somerset County list of drop boxes includes the Montgomery Township Municipal Building at 2261 Route 206 in Belle Mead. For the first time, New Jersey is offering early in-person voting, starting October 23.

Somerset County is still in need of paid poll workers for Election Day and for the first-ever “early in-person” voting that begins October 23. Last week, New Jersey raised the minimum pay for poll workers from $200 to $300. 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.


BRIDGEPOINT AREA ROADWORK UPDATE

Milling and road repairs on Dead Tree Run Road (Bridgepoint Road to Mill Pond Road) and Mill Pond Road are expected to start on or about Thursday, October 14, 2021. Paving is to follow during the week of October 18th.

Please follow posted detour and note that the work zone is in blue (see photo). Access for residents who live in the work zone will be limited, particularly during paving. Mill Pond Park will be accessible using Dead Tree Run Road from River Road. Accommodations will be made if River Road experiences a closure.

Please sign up for Montgomery Township Police Nixle alerts for periodic updates, or text your zip code to 888777.


FIRE PREVENTION OPEN HOUSE SATURDAY

Montgomery Township’s Annual Fire Prevention Open House will be held this year at Station 46 in Blawenburg on Saturday, October 16 from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Come learn about fire safety, meet the volunteer responders, and see the apparatus that make up Montgomery emergency services. Ring the bell on an antique fire truck! Applications for new members will also be available. Participating first responder groups include Station 45 (Belle Mead), Station 46 (Blawenburg), Montgomery Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) 47, Station 53 (Rocky Hill), and the Montgomery Township Police Department.

Family Friendly event! Activities include a car extrication demonstration, tours of a New Jersey Forest Fire Service brush truck and fire trucks, and sprinkler system demonstrations.

The event will be held at the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Co. 2, 529 Rt. 518, Skillman, NJ.

10-8: Six new COVID Cases; COVID Vaccine Clinics Today & Tomorrow; Habitat for Humanity Responds to Ida; SBA Disaster Loans; Local Diversity Festival Tomorrow; New Fire Engine Celebrated at “Wetdown;” Explore Local History; Voter Registration Deadline

COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been six (6) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 10-5-21, and twelve (12) for the week ending today. Our region remains in the “moderate” zone for COVID cases.


MODERNA VACCINE CLINIC SATURDAY AT OKCC

The Montgomery Township Health Department is offering the Moderna vaccine on Saturday, October 9, from 9 to 11 am at the Otto Kaufman Community Center at 356 Skillman Road.

In addition, the township is offering the one-shot Johnson & Johnson every Friday from 1-3 pm at the Municipal Building, including this afternoon. Visit the Health Department website for a complete list of municipal vaccination clinics.

Additional vaccination opportunities, including at local pharmacies, can be found at the NJ vaccine finder website.


COUNSELING OFFERED FOR PEOPLE IMPACTED BY COVID-19

Rutgers University Behavioral Health Center (UBHC) is offering mental health clinicians and/or substance abuse clinicians to assist with the short-term needs of people dealing with problems related to COVID-19. They have a toll-free phone number which is live Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, serving as an initial point of entry for individuals seeking mental health and substance uses services from COVID-19. Therapeutic services are provided through telehealth.

To access the service, call 833-223-0011 Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm. Additional information is available in a short video.


HABITAT FOR HUMANITY SEEKS IDA RECOVERY VOLUNTEERS

In response to the damage done from Hurricane Ida earlier this month, Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity quickly pivoted all repair programs towards recovery from the storm.

Through our “A Brush with Kindness” program, homeowners in Manville, Somerset and Bridgewater received help with storm cleanup, small repairs, and sanitizing. Repair and clean-up efforts are ongoing in the coming weeks.

This opportunity is still available to both those in need and those who would like to help! If you or someone you know could benefit from this type of service, download and fill in the online application, and a member of the RV Habitat team will be in touch as soon as possible.

If you’re interested in volunteering for those in need during this time – even if it’s only a day. Your willingness to serve will make a huge difference for someone still struggling! You can sign-up online to volunteer.

RV Habitat for Humanity is also seeking financial donations to support this work.


APPLY FOR SMALL BUSINESS DISASTER LOANS BY NOVEMBER 4

The U.S. Small Business Administration is encouraging New Jersey businesses and residents affected by the remnants of Hurricane Ida on Sept. 1-3, 2021, to submit their loan applications for physical damages even if they have not settled with their insurance company.

SBA disaster loans can cover the difference between an insurance settlement and what is needed to fully recover. If a survivor has not settled their insurance claim, SBA will consider making a loan for the total loss up to its loan limits. The insurance settlement will be used to reduce or repay the loan.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via the SBA’s secure website at https://DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s/. Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.


COUNTY DIVERSITY FESTIVAL TOMORROW IN SOMERVILLE

In recognition of Global Diversity Awareness Month in October, Somerset County will host its third annual Diversity Festival, on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 12 to 4 p.m., in Somerville along Grove Street, at Veterans Memorial Plaza, and on the courthouse lawn.

The creative event will showcase and embrace diversity with multicultural entertainment, games, local restaurant participation, free prizes and exhibitors that promote the theme of the festival “Somerset County – Everyone Belongs Here.” Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Robinson appears in a short video to welcome residents to the Diversity Festival.

Enjoy exciting entertainment at several locations along Grove Street including performances from bands that play a diverse range of music such as Israeli, Irish, Jazz, Afro-Peruvian, and Latin Swing.

Children and adults will enjoy free diversity-themed puzzles, games and giveaways, interactive art projects and selfie stations. Participants can visit exhibits and get materials from advocacy groups, community organizations, county departments, and agencies that promote diversity.

On the day of the festival, certain Somerville restaurants will offer special “passport” menus featuring multicultural food. Menu details and participating restaurants will be available at the festival thanks to the Downtown Somerville Alliance and participating Somerville restaurants.

Visitors can park for free in Somerville during the Diversity Festival in the Bernie Field Parking Deck on High Street and in the parking deck at 27 Warren Street.  For more information about the festival, contact Paul Grzella at grzella@co.somerset.nj.us or for a list of artists and exhibitors, visit https://bit.ly/EveryoneBelongsHere2021

 


NEW FIRE ENGINE CELEBRATED AT “WETDOWN” SATURDAY

Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Co No 2 is holding a delayed “Christening” of their new fire engine, #468, at a “Wetdown” celebration on Saturday October 9 at 10 am. The engine was purchased in 2020, but due to the pandemic the wetdown event was postponed.

A Wetdown is an event popular in U.S. Firefighting that celebrates the purchase of a new piece of equipment. Typically, neighboring Fire Departments vie to hose down the new firetruck—and one another! All are welcome to watch the fun unfold and join for refreshments.

Held at Fire Station 46, 529 County Route 518 Skillman, the event will feature a 50-50 Drawing, Prize Raffle, and Beer Garden. Prizes include Yeti Coolers, the Bad Axx, and Radio Strap. Participating vendors include Ridgeway Leatherworks, Mugs, T-Shirts, and Food.


JOURNEY THROUGH LOCAL HISTORY THIS WEEKEND

The Dirck Gulick House.

Somerset County’s annual Journey through the Past weekend will offer residents a chance to see over 20 historic buildings—many rarely open—this Saturday and Sunday, October 9th and 10th. Two Montgomery sites are on the list – the Dirck Gulick House on Route 601 and the Voorhees-Opie Barn and farm museum behind the 124 Club on Montgomery Road.

Also passing through Montgomery is the Millstone Valley National Scenic Byway, which is offering a self-guided tour via the MVP Coalition website Additional activities are a history hunt, trading cards, and a history traveler contest.

Participants can pick up a program guide to all participating sites in the county when they arrive at their first location.


VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE NEXT WEEK

Many residents have received mail ballots for the 2021 New Jersey State Election that is now officially underway. Mail ballots can be returned via the US Postal Service or deposited in a secure drop box. The Somerset County list of drop boxes includes the Montgomery Township Municipal Building at 2261 Route 206 in Belle Mead.

If you are not yet registered to vote, or uncertain of your status, New Jersey offers a voter portal to assist you. The registration deadline is October 12.

Somerset County is still in need of 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.

10-5: Six new COVID Cases; Flu Clinics Start Tomorrow; Monty Offers 3 COVID Vaccines; Ida Recovery Event Tomorrow; New Fire Engine Celebrated at “Wetdown”; Explore Local History; Monty Arts Council Holds Return to Art; Election Info

COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been six (6) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Friday, 10-1-21.


ANNUAL FLU CLINICS WILL BEGIN TOMORROW

The Montgomery Township Health Department will begin its annual flu vaccination clinics starting tomorrow, October 6, at the Otto Kaufman Community Center on Skillman Road.  Hours are from 9 to 11 am and 6 to 8 pm. Residents aged 4 and older are eligible. Masks are required and short-sleeve shirts encouraged.

“We’ve been so focused on COVID-19 for the last 18 months. We need to remember that the regular flu can be dangerous, too, and can knock you out of action for days and days,” said Montgomery Township Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey. “We are having more contact with other people, and other viruses,  make sure to get a flu shot.”

Flu shots are free for Seniors with Medicare, for first responders, and for residents who lost their job or insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For all others, the cost is $25 and can be paid via credit card or check.

Advance appointments are required and available during daytime and evening hours. Walk-ins are accepted, but you’ll get quicker service if you sign up online or make an appointment by phone at 609-874-8007.


TOWNSHIP OFFERING CLINICS FOR ALL THREE COVID VACCINES

Montgomery Township is offering all three available COVID-19 vaccines in clinics it is hosting over the next two weeks. Visit the Health Department website to choose the day, time, and vaccine that meets your needs. Walk-ins are welcomed at every clinic, although appointments are available for your convenience.

Parents of unvaccinated teenagers can take advantage of Thursday’s Pfizer clinic from 4 -7 pm at the Otto Kaufman Center for anyone 12 and older. The clinic will provide third shots of the Pfizer vaccine to those who are 65 or older, a long-term care resident, an adult with underlying medical conditions, or an adult at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure because of your job. Those people eligible for a Pfizer booster shot, at least six months after your second Pfizer shot.

The one-shot Johnson & Johnson is offered every Friday from 1-3 pm at the Municipal Building.

The Moderna vaccine will be offered Saturday, October 9, at the Pike Run Clubhouse. Additional vaccination opportunities, including at local pharmacies, can be found at the NJ vaccine finder website.


HURRICANE IDA RESOURCE EVENT IN SOMERVILLE TOMORROW

Somerset County and the American Red Cross are hosting a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) at the Lincoln Hose Co. tomorrow, Wednesday, from 3 to 7 pm.

The county is bringing together more than a dozen non-profits and agencies committed to helping Somerset County residents recover from this terrible storm. ALL Somerset County residents impacted by Ida are invited to attend.

The event will be held at the Lincoln Hose Company 4, 34 Warren Street, Somerville.  Participants will include the American Red Cross; ARC of Somerset; Atlantic Health System Respite Care Program; Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen; Central Jersey Housing Resource Center; FEMA; Legal Services of Northwest Jersey Inc.; Rapid Relief Team of North America; Salvation Army; Somerset County Board of Social Services; Somerset County Department of Human Services; Somerset County Operation Helping Hand; Team Rubicon USA; Zarephath Christian Church.

For additional information, dial 2-1-1.


NEW FIRE ENGINE CELEBRATED AT “WETDOWN” SATURDAY

Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Co No 2 is holding a delayed “Christening” of their new fire engine, #468, at a “Wetdown” celebration on Saturday October 9 at 10 am. The engine was purchased in 2020, but due to the pandemic the wetdown event was postponed.

A Wetdown is an event popular in U.S. Firefighting that celebrates the purchase of a new piece of equipment. Typically, neighboring Fire Departments vie to hose down the new firetruck—and one another! All are welcome to watch the fun unfold and join for refreshments.

Held at Fire Station 46, 529 County Route 518 Skillman, the event will feature a 50-50 Drawing, Prize Raffle, and Beer Garden. Prizes include Yeti Coolers, the Bad Axx, and Radio Strap. Participating vendors include Ridgeway Leatherworks, Mugs, T-Shirts, and Food.


EXPLORE LOCAL HISTORY THIS WEEKEND

The Dirck Gulick House.

Somerset County’s annual Journey through the Past weekend will offer residents a chance to see over 20 historic buildings—many rarely open—this Saturday and Sunday, October 9th and 10th. Two Montgomery sites are on the list – the Dirck Gulick House on Route 601 and the Voorhees-Opie Barn and farm museum behind the 124 Club on Montgomery Road.

Also passing through Montgomery is the Millstone Valley National Scenic Byway, which is offering a self-guided tour via the MVP Coalition website Additional activities are a history hunt, trading cards, and a history traveler contest.

Participants can pick up a program guide to all participating sites in the county when they arrive at their first location.


BUY TICKETS TO MONTGOMERY ARTS COUNCIL INAUGURAL EVENT

Montgomery Township’s new Arts Council is hosting A Return to Art, a 3-day visual arts exhibition and sale, Oct. 22-24, featuring local and regional New Jersey artists. The Arts Council was formed this year by Montgomery Township’s volunteer-driven Economic Development Committee to showcase local and regional artists while providing the community with in-person access to artists who might be their neighbors.

“This event is meant to be a celebration. Artists and their communities are craving meaningful connection after spending over 16 months in lockdown.” says Karen Tuveson, Chair of Montgomery’s Arts Council. “Slowly opportunities are returning, but there still aren’t enough venues for artists to exhibit, meet the public, and cultivate collectors. Art is something best experienced in person.”

Deputy Mayor Marvin Schuldiner, liaison to the Montgomery Economic Development Commission, pointed out that artists who create physical products are small business owners. “Making art is a business. We all want to support our small local businesses. Artists are struggling just as much as shop owners in brick-and-mortar buildings.”

To learn more and buy tickets, visit the Montgomery Arts Council website.


VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE NEXT WEEK

Many residents have received mail ballots for the 2021 New Jersey State Election that is now officially underway. Mail ballots can be returned via the US Postal Service or deposited in a secure drop box. The Somerset County list of drop boxes includes the Montgomery Township Municipal Building at 2261 Route 206 in Belle Mead.

If you are not yet registered to vote, or uncertain of your status, New Jersey offers a voter portal to assist you. The registration deadline is October 12.

Somerset County is still in need of 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.

10-1: Four new COVID Cases; Monty Offers All Three COVID Vaccines; Flu Clinics Begin October 6; Help Plant Trees in the Sourlands; Watch Anti-Bullying Film; Container Facility Hours Changing; Election Info

COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been four (4) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 9-28-21, and eight (8) cases since last Friday. The Montgomery Health Department has concluded the mid-September spike in cases was mainly related to Labor Day travel.


TOWNSHIP OFFERING CLINICS FOR ALL THREE COVID VACCINES

Montgomery Township is offering all three available COVID-19 vaccines in clinics it is hosting over the next two weeks. Visit the Health Department website to choose the day, time, and vaccine that meets your needs. Walk-ins are welcomed at every clinic, although appointments are available for your convenience.

The one-shot Johnson & Johnson is offered today and every Friday from 1-3 pm at the Municipal Building.

The Pfizer vaccine will be available for next Thursday, October 7, from 4 -7 pm at the Otto Kaufman Center for anyone 12 and older, including residents who qualify for a third-shot booster. If you are 65 or older, a long-term care resident, an adult with underlying medical conditions, or an adult at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure because of your job, you are now eligible for a Pfizer booster shot, at least six months after your second Pfizer shot.

The Moderna vaccine will be offered Saturday, October 9, at the Pike Run Clubhouse. Additional vaccination opportunities, including at local pharmacies, can be found at the NJ vaccine finder website.


ANNUAL FLU CLINICS WILL BEGIN OCTOBER 6

The Montgomery Township Health Department has announced that the first annual flu vaccination clinic will be held October 6 at the Otto Kaufman Community Center on Skillman Road.  Hours are from 9 to 11 am and 6 to 8 pm. Residents aged 4 and older are eligible. Masks are required and short-sleeve shirts encouraged.

Flu shots are free for Seniors with Medicare, for first responders, and for residents who lost their job or insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For all others, the cost is $25 and can be paid via credit card or check.

Advance appointments are required and available during daytime and evening hours. Walk-ins are accepted, but you’ll get quicker service if you sign up online or make an appointment by phone at 609-874-8007.


OVER $15K RAISED AND DONATED TO FAMILIES DISPLACED BY IDA

Two local charities, the Princeton Elks Lodge 2129 and the Montgomery Charity Foundation, raised more than $15,000 in combined donations to benefit 23 families displaced by Hurricane Ida one month ago.

According to the Elks, who raised over $10,000, the funds helped with cleanup, lodging, and food. The Princeton Elks are keeping their Ida relief drive open because a few of the families need longer-term housing assistance.

“Montgomery Township is deeply grateful to these two civic groups, and to the many residents who donated,” said Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan. “We continue to work closely with community groups to match resources to families in need.”

Montgomery Charity Foundation’s next big fundraiser is the 4th annual Kidsgiving Event on December 5th which will again be held at Code Ninjas Hillsborough-Montgomery as a drive-by holiday event. They will be collecting non-perishable unexpired food for the local food pantries and unwrapped gifts and gift cards for Steps-Together, a local charity that assists Somerset County families facing medical crises. Last year over $20,000 in combined cash, food, and goods was raised and donated right in our community. To learn more or donate to the charity, please visit their website montgomerycharityfoundation.org.


HELP PLANT TREES IN THE SOURLANDS OF MONTGOMERY

An ash tree killed by Emerald Ash Borer.

Montgomery Township is partnering with the Sourland Conservancy and the Montgomery Friends of Open Space to host two volunteer tree-planting events in the Sourlands.

The recent flash flooding due to the remnants of Hurricane Ida have highlighted the importance of strengthening the resilience of our forests, particularly at a time when ash trees, which comprise about 20% of the forest, are being killed by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer insect.  By planting trees along stream banks and in flood plains, volunteers will aid in the prevention of soil erosion and increase the groundwater storage capacity of these areas.

See the details below and follow the links to pre-register.  Wear sturdy shoes and long pants, bring work/garden gloves and water.  We will provide the tools, plants, and how-to instruction.

Rock Mill Preserve – October 13 – 14

Join us at Rock Mill Preserve on 360 Grandview Road to help us plant 200 trees along the Rock Brook stream corridor.  To sign up, register here for a two-hour time slot here.

Folusiak Property – November 11-13

Join us at the Folusiak property located at 150 Hollow Road (entrance just north of the railroad tracks) to plant 1,000 shrubs and trees.  A multitude of bird species are utilizing this unique wet meadow habitat, so we are adding understory plants along a tributary stream to provide a habitat corridor for the birds, and other wildlife.  The Washington Crossing Audubon is assisting by providing a bird inventory before and after our planting and is recommending native plant species attractive to birds in the region. To sign up, register for a two-hour time slot here.

The Sourland Conservancy offers on YouTube a one-hour documentary with music that describes the importance of reforestation projects in the Sourlands.


ANTI-BULLYING FILM RECOMMENDED FOR MONTY TEENS

The Municipal Alliance of Montgomery – Rocky Hill encourages parents and children 13 and older, school staff, and community leaders to view an important documentary about bullying. The film, The Upstanders, is available for free on Tuesday, October 5, at 7pm. To register go to: REGISTRATION LINK

This documentary—about resilience and the power of connection to end bullying—addresses aspects of our everyday lives that is not often talked about.  Block out October 5 on your family calendars and watch together!


CONTAINER FACILITY RETURNS TO NORMAL HOURS NEXT WEEK

After today, Montgomery Township’s Container Facility at 12 Harlingen Road will return to its regular hours on Tuesday and Thursday, 8 am to 2 pm. No appointments or coupons will be required for the disposal of storm debris. Normal operation of the Container Facility will resume October 12, with coupons required.


VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE APPROACHES; ELECTION POLL WORKERS NEEDED

Many residents have received mail ballots for the 2021 New Jersey State Election that is now officially underway. 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.

If you are not yet registered to vote, or uncertain of your status, New Jersey offers a voter portal to assist you. The registration deadline is October 12.

Somerset County is still in need of 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.

9-28: Four new COVID Cases; Pfizer Booster Shots; Flu Clinics Begin October 6; Township Thanks Health Officer on Retirement; Watch Anti-Bullying Film; Container Facility Hours Changing; Disaster Resources; Election Info

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, 9-24-21.


PFIZER BOOSTER SHOTS NOW AVAILABLE

If you are 65 or older, a long-term care resident, an adult with underlying medical conditions, or an adult at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure because of your job, you are now eligible for a Pfizer booster shot, at least six months after your second Pfizer shot. Read New Jersey’s full statement here about booster shots.

To facilitate the registration process for a Pfizer booster shot, the Montgomery Health Department recommends that residents download the “Docket” app and follow sign-up instructions to conveniently access and display the exact dates, vaccine types, and batch numbers they received previously.

Vaccine appointments can be made at any existing vaccination location without a prescription. Somerset County is offering clinics with boosters this week in Bernardsville, North Plainfield, and South Bound Brook. Montgomery Township’s next Pfizer vaccination clinic will be Thursday October 7 at the Otto Kaufman Community Center from 4 to 7pm. Additional Montgomery vaccination opportunities are available online.


ANNUAL FLU CLINICS WILL BEGIN OCTOBER 6

The Montgomery Township Health Department has announced that the first annual flu vaccination clinic will be held October 6 at the Otto Kaufman Community Center on Skillman Road.  Residents aged 4 and older are eligible. Masks are required and short-sleeve shirts encouraged.

Flu shots are free for Seniors with Medicare, for first responders, and for residents who lost their job or insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For all others, the cost is $25 and can be paid via credit card or check.

Advance appointments are required and available during daytime and evening hours. Walk-ins are accepted, but you’ll get quicker service if you sign up online or make an appointment by phone at 609-874-8007.


TOWNSHIP THANKS HEALTH OFFICER CAREY UPON HER RETIREMENT

The Montgomery Township Committee last Thursday formally thanked its Health Officer, Stephanie D. Carey, upon her planned retirement after 17 years, effective October 31.

In a resolution adopted by the Township Committee, Ms. Carey was cited for having “worked tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of the residents of Montgomery by organizing yearly flu clinics and most recently during the COVID-19 Pandemic by making sure Township residents were made fully aware of the devastating effects of the disease as well as organizing multiple vaccination clinics within Montgomery Township, Hopewell and Pennington Boroughs.”

Ms. Carey thanked the Township Committee for supporting her work, saying “Your support has been lifesaving for our community.” She promised she is leaving the township in “the worthy hands” of her deputy, Devangi Patel, who will assume Ms. Carey’s duties.

“Under Stephanie’s leadership, the rate of COVID-19 infection was kept lower than in most large New Jersey towns, and we achieved the highest vaccination rate in the most vaccinated county in New Jersey,” said Mayor Devra Keenan. “We owe a lot to Stephanie, not just during the pandemic but also for her years of advance preparation.”


ANTI-BULLYING FILM RECOMMENDED FOR MONTY TEENS

The Municipal Alliance of Montgomery – Rocky Hill encourages parents and children 13 and older, school staff, and community leaders to view an important documentary about bullying. The film, The Upstanders, is available for free next Tuesday, October 5, at 7pm. To register go to: REGISTRATION LINK

This documentary—about resilience and the power of connection to end bullying—addresses aspects of our everyday lives that is not often talked about.  Block out October 5 on your family calendars and watch together!


CONTAINER FACILITY OPEN DAILY THIS WEEK FOR FLOOD DEBRIS

Montgomery Township’s Container Facility at 12 Harlingen Road will remain open daily through Friday this week, from 8 am to 2 pm, to discard debris from Hurricane Ida.  Be prepared to show proof of residency. The facility will not be open on Saturday this week.  Next week the hours will be Tuesday and Thursday only, from 8 am to 2 pm.


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.

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.

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.

Additional resources include these hotlines: NJ Mental Health 866-202-HELP, SAMSA Disaster Distress Hotline: 800-985-5990.


VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE APPROACHES; ELECTION POLL WORKERS NEEDED

Many residents have received mail ballots for the 2021 New Jersey State Election that is now officially underway. 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.

If you are not yet registered to vote, or uncertain of your status, New Jersey offers a voter portal to assist you. The registration deadline is October 12.

Somerset County is still in need of 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.

 

9-24: Five new COVID Cases; Monty Vaccination Update; Hurricane Ida Report at Township Committee; Last Call for Storm Debris Pickup; Disaster Resources Available

COVID CASE SUMMARY

There have been five (5) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 9-21-21, and thirteen (13) in the last week, less than half the number of a week earlier.


90% OF ELIGIBLE RESIDENTS VACCINATED IN MONTGOMERY

Fully 90% of Montgomery residents 12 and older have had at least one shot of vaccine against COVID-19, including 95% of adults 18 and older. Rocky Hill’s numbers are even higher.

Even with a high level of vaccination, the Montgomery Township Health Department points out that close to 5,000 residents are not vaccinated, either because they are under age 12 and ineligible, or eligible but unvaccinated.

“The biggest priority right now should be getting our teenagers vaccinated, especially with school back in session. About one-third of teens 12 to 17 are eligible but not yet vaccinated,” said Montgomery Township Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey. “The township urges the parents to schedule a first Pfizer shot right away. Getting your teen vaccinated now is the best way to keep them in school and on the playing field.”

The Township is hosting vaccination clinics with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine each Friday afternoon from 1 to 3pm at the Municipal Building at 2261 Route 206 in Belle Mead. These clinics are well suited to people seeking to quickly comply with new vaccination rules at work.


MONTGOMERY GIVES REPORT ON IDA RECOVERY

A Fire Department photo taken on Hollow Road during Ida Sept. 1.

Last night the Montgomery Township Committee had its first meeting since the remnants of Hurricane Ida forced officials to declare a local disaster. Township Administration, Police, and emergency officials reported on the response to the storm and its aftermath. Their report at last night’s meeting is available to watch online.

Police Director Captain James Gill said that in 25 years of police work, including Hurricanes Floyd, Irene, and Sandy, “this was by far the worst as far as impact and devastation to our town.” Captain Gill said his department had 200 calls for service in the first 30 hours. At the peak he indicated that the regional 9-1-1- service was receiving 1,000 calls per hour. He reported that 11 police cruisers were lost when the municipal parking lot flooded. Eight bridges and three main arteries through town were closed.

In terms of residential impact, 23 homes were seriously damaged. Although there was no loss of life within the township, one township resident died in the flooding while in Hillsborough returning home to Belle Mead.

At the end of the report, Mayor Devra Keenan thanked staff for the coordinated storm response and acknowledged community losses due to Ida. “We are deeply saddened by the death of one of our residents who lost her life in this flood. And I also want to acknowledge the people who lost their homes, either permanently or temporarily.”

The mayor thanked residents for donations to support displaced residents, and township staff who worked to find housing for them. She then led the Township Committee in a moment of silence in memory of losses due to Hurricane Ida.


LAST CALL: LIMITED CURBSIDE PICKUP OF IDA DEBRIS

The Montgomery Township Department of Public Works has received DEP approval to pick 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 no later than midnight this Sunday.  Alternatively, call Montgomery’s storm Ida hotline at (908) 395-7991 and leave a message with your name, address, and phone number.

The Container Facility remains open through tomorrow (Saturday) from 8am to 2pm, with coupons/fees waived for storm debris originating in Montgomery. Be prepared to prove residency when dropping off debris.


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.

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.

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.

Additional resources include these hotlines: NJ Mental Health 866-202-HELP, SAMSA Disaster Distress Hotline: 800-985-5990.

 

 

9-21: Eight new COVID Cases; Health Officer Updates Community on Pandemic; Healing Event Yesterday; Storm Debris Pickup Underway; Donations Accepted for Displaced Residents; Disaster Resources Available; Dead Tree Run Detour

COVID CASE SUMMARY

There have been eight (8) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Friday, 9-17-21.


MONTGOMERY HEALTH OFFICER UPDATES COMMUNITY ON PANDEMIC

By Stephanie D. Carey
Montgomery Township Health Officer

There’s a lot happening nationally and locally with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’d like to give you a summary with my department’s perspective.

The best news I can report is that the level of overall vaccination in Montgomery Township is excellent. Fully 95% of our adults are vaccinated, and so are 90% of our residents 12 and older.  Those are some of the best numbers you will find anywhere in the nation. And yet, we still have some vulnerability when you consider that close to 5,000 residents are not yet vaccinated, including about 3,000 children under 12 who are not yet eligible. That leaves the virus with room to spread.

That’s why we’re experiencing a bump-up in cases—19 cases last week, the most since early May, and eight more over the weekend.  Most of these cases are in family clusters and involve unvaccinated children.

The biggest priority right now should be getting our teenagers vaccinated, especially with school back in session. About one-third of teens 12 to 17 are eligible but not yet vaccinated. I urge the parents of those children to schedule a first Pfizer shot right away. Getting your teen vaccinated now is the best way to keep them in school and on the playing field.

Over the weekend we got the good news that trials of the Pfizer vaccine among 5- to 11-year-olds were successful, both in terms of efficacy and safety. We can be optimistic that the Food and Drug Administration will review these results and provide emergency use authorization soon.  Once that happens, we can really stomp out COVID-19 and get our lives back to normal.

The other big news over the weekend was a recommendation by an FDA advisory panel to endorse booster shots for people 65 and older who were vaccinated eight months ago or longer.  The Montgomery Health Department will start providing booster shots as soon as the FDA issues an official decision.

Meantime, we are already providing third shots to immunocompromised people based on a prior FDA approval.

The big picture is we are seeing a lot of success in our efforts against the virus in our community. But we still have some challenges remaining, and we all need to remain cautious and committed to protecting ourselves, our children, and our neighbors.


PANDEMIC HEALING EVENT LAST NIGHT


A candlelight vigil concluded last night’s event.

Residents of all ages contributed art and stories at a pandemic-inspired community event yesterday, Montgomery Together: Lighting the Way Forward, an Evening of Hope and Healing. The event was held at the Princeton Elks Lodge on Route 518 in Skillman and ended with a candlelight vigil at dusk to remember fellow residents lost to COVID-19.

“This event came out of a community leader meeting and a recommendation that we needed to process our grief together, as a community,” said Montgomery Deputy Health Officer Devangi Patel, an organizer of the event. “It was deeply meaningful to the large group of people who attended.”

“COVID affected us not only physically but mentally and emotionally. Events like these help heal and lift us up, and build connections within our community,” said Township Committeeperson Neena Singh, in remarks at the event. “The key to learning from the pandemic is the lessons it taught us, and to grow as a community from those experiences.”

The event featured paintings, drawings, videos, crafts, poetry, essays, etc., all inspired by the pandemic. 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.


LIMITED CURBSIDE IDA DEBRIS PICKUP THIS WEEK

The Montgomery Township Department of Public Works has received DEP approval and is 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. This is the last week these requests will be considered. Alternatively, call Montgomery’s storm Ida hotline at (908) 395-7991 and leave a message with your name, address, and phone number.

The Container Facility remains open through Saturday this week, 8am to 2pm, with coupons/fees waived for storm debris originating in Montgomery. Be prepared to prove residency when dropping off debris.


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. Seven of them, so far, that have been condemned as uninhabitable. Some of the displaced families have school-aged children.

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 of assistance.


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.

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.

Additional resources include these hotlines: NJ Mental Health 866-202-HELP, SAMSA Disaster Distress Hotline: 800-985-5990.


ROADWORK ON DEAD TREE RUN ROAD AND MILL POND ROAD

Dead Tree Run Road (between Bridgepoint Road and Mill Pond Road) and Mill Pond Road (between Dead Tree Run Road and Harlingen Road) were closed yesterday for planned roadwork.

Please follow the posted detour and note that the construction zone is in blue. Access will be maintained to residents who live in the work zone. Mill Pond Park will be accessible using Dead Tree Run Road from River Road. Accommodations will be made if River Road experiences a closure. Construction is expected to last 3-4 weeks on weekdays between 7 am and approximately 5 pm, weather depending. Please sign up for Nixle alerts for periodic updates.

The work does not involve the historic Mill Pond Bridge, as incorrectly reported in this ebulletin Friday.


CELEBRATE FALL HARVEST AT MONTGOMERY’S FARMS

It’s harvest season, and Montgomery’s farmers are busy!  Support our local farmers by shopping at their farm stands (many are open, find a list here), and by participating in harvest season events.

This coming weekend, Saturday September 25, Hidden Spring Lavender in Skillman is having their Alpaca Farmers Day Festival from 11 AM to 4 PM, with advance ticket purchase required. Call (609) 558-7034 or book online at:  https://hiddenspringlavender.com/

9-17: Nineteen new COVID Cases; Pandemic Healing Event Monday; Storm Debris Pickup Underway; Donations Accepted for Displaced Residents; Detour for Bridgepoint Area Roadwork; Disaster Resources Available; 2021 Election Begins

NEW COVID CASES AT 4-MONTH HIGH

There have been nineteen (19) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 9-14-21. For the week ending today, the township had twenty-seven (27) cases, the highest weekly total since early May.

“We’re experiencing a bump up in cases that is associated with family clusters and late summer travel,” said Montgomery Township Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey. “About half of today’s new cases are among unvaccinated children, who are now quarantined and not attending school.”

The health department strongly encourages residents to get vaccinated and is offering two clinics today, Friday, with a J&J clinic this afternoon from 1-3 pm at the Municipal Building, and a Moderna Clinic this evening from 5-7 pm the Pike Run Clubhouse. More information on municipal clinics is available on the health department website.

About two-thirds of eligible teens have been vaccinated. For those who aren’t, the quickest option is to find a local pharmacy offering the Pfizer vaccine, approved for teenagers, through the NJ Vaccine Finder.


PANDEMIC HEALING EVENT MONDAY

Residents of all ages are encouraged to attend a pandemic-inspired community event, Montgomery Together: Lighting the Way Forward, an Evening of Hope and Healing. The event will be on Monday, September 20, from 3 to 8 pm, at the Princeton Elks Lodge on Route 518 in Skillman.

The event will feature paintings, drawings, videos, crafts, poetry, essays, etc., all inspired by the pandemic. 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.

An indoor gallery will be open from 3-7 pm, 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 clabelle@twp.montgomery.nj.us or call at 609-874-8007.


LIMITED CURBSIDE IDA DEBRIS PICKUP UNDERWAY

The Montgomery Township Department of Public Works has received DEP approval and is 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 Monday through Saturday this week and next, 8am to 2pm, with coupons/fees waived for storm debris originating in Montgomery. Be prepared to prove residency when dropping off debris.


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. Seven of them, so far, that have been condemned as uninhabitable. Some of the displaced families have school-aged children.

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.


BRIDGEPOINT AREA ROADWORK TO TAKE THREE+ WEEKS

Roadwork on Dead Tree Run Road (Bridgepoint Road to Mill Pond Road) and Mill Pond Road is expected to start on or about Monday, September 20, 2021 and last for three to four weeks.

A detour plan has been established. Follow the posted detour signs around the construction zone between Bridgepoint and Mill Pond Roads. Access will be maintained to residents who live in the work zone. Mill Pond Park will be accessible using Dead Tree Run Road from River Road.

Please sign up for Montgomery Police Nixle alerts for periodic updates. (You may also text your zip code to 888777 to subscribe.) Construction time will depend on the weather.

Updated: 9-20-21


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.


2021 ELECTION BALLOTS MAILED AS COUNTY SEEKS POLL WORKERS

Mail ballots for the 2021 New Jersey State Election soon will begin arriving in the mail. Elections for governor, state legislature, 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.