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Montgomery News
A hometown paper
serving
Montgomery Township
and Rocky Hill, NJ

Thursday March 30, 2017

 

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Montgomery EMS Blood Drive Mar. 18

 


Montgomery EMS (MEMS) is hosting a Community Blood Drive on Saturday, March 18, 2017 from 9 am to 2 pm at the Montgomery EMS squad building on 8 Harlingen Rd. Belle Mead, NJ 08502.

Please join us to help save lives, by giving blood.

 

Donors will receive a coupon for a free single cup of Thomas Sweet Ice Cream.
Please contact MEMS & leave your name, phone number and time of your donation at donateblood@mems47.org or 908-359-4112.

Remember to bring Photo ID, eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids.

Directions to Montgomery EMS can be found on MEMS website: http://www.mems47.org/public_website/directions.sht

 

Township Gets $50k Grant For Emergency Services

Montgomery Township has been awarded a $50,000 grant from Investors Foundation to support Montgomery Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), Squad 47, which is an all-volunteer service organization. The grant was applied for by Montgomery CFO Michael Pitts in October of 2016. A ceremonial check was presented by Brian Turano of the Investors Foundation to Mayor Ed Trzaska and representatives of MEMS at the Montgomery Township offices on February 28. It is anticipated that the funds, which will be received over four years, will be used towards a first responder vehicle for MEMS.
Mayor Trzaska commented, "One of our governing principles is to protect public health and safety services. While Montgomery EMS is a private non-profit organization, they provide a core municipal service, so we support them in any way we can. This tremendously generous grant from The Investors Foundation will go a long way to achieving this goal. On behalf of the residents of Montgomery, we thank Brian and his team for this recognition."


MEMS President John Connacher added, "As Montgomery EMS enters our 45th year of service to the community we appreciate the support via continued donations and volunteering by our wonderful Montgomery neighbors which allow us to continue our mission. Our Township further demonstrated that support by granting us a much needed first responder vehicle. As a volunteer, resident, and taxpayer, its wonderful news that the township was able to obtain a grant to cover this cost."


The Montgomery EMS provides 9-1-1 emergency basic life support ambulance service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year within the township of Montgomery, NJ with no charge. Volunteers interested in training are always needed. To learn more, go to: www.mems47.org.


The Investors Foundation assists organizations in New Jersey, New York City and Long Island that invigorate their local communities with civic-minded initiatives focused on the arts, education, health and human services, youth programs and more. For more information, go to investorsbankfoundation.org
Investors Bank, headquartered in Short Hills, New Jersey, is a full-service community bank that has been serving customers since 1926. With over $22 billion in assets and a network of more than 150 retail branches, Investors delivers personalized services and products tailored to the needs of its customers. Investors' banking services include complete deposit, loan and cash management products for consumers and businesses. The Investors Foundation supports non-profit organizations that enrich the quality of life in the communities the Bank serves. To date, the Foundation has dispensed more than $20 million to support initiatives ranging from community and civic improvements to the fight against diseases. Investors Bank is a member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender.
 

Yoga Center Hosts Cardiac Yoga Certification Training – Open to Allied Health Professionals

oga Center Hosts Cardiac Yoga Certification Training – Open to Allied Health Professionals

(April 1; Skillman, NJ) The Cardiac Yoga® Teacher’s Training Program is a comprehensive certification program that is designed to educate and train yoga teachers and medical personnel to work with heart patients and their spouses in the area of stress management and yoga. Participants in this program learn to adapt the basic concepts of yoga and meditation to the special needs of cardiac patients. Developed by psychologist, Dr. Mala Cunningham - a leading speaker, author, and educator in the field of Mind-Body Medicine and Health Psychology – the program will be hosted by Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, 88 Orchard Road, Skillman, April 27 – May 7, 2017. Full tuition is $1,550 and $1,395 with early registration discount if paid in full by 3/27/2017.

The Cardiac Yoga Teacher’s Training Program includes both didactic and experiential components. The overall goal of the program is to train and educate individuals to teach stress management, yoga, and lifestyle change programs to cardiac patients within a medical setting, yoga organization or privately. All participants who successfully complete the training program and pass the competency test will receive certification as a Cardiac Yoga instructor. This training program is appropriate for the continuing education of health care professionals from a variety of fields including: exercise physiologists, nurses, cardiac rehab staff, physicians, and occupational therapists as well as yoga instructors. (This activity has been submitted for 48 CNE’s to the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) for approval to award contact hours.)

A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that practicing yoga had the same effect on reducing cardiovascular markers as other forms of exercise, like brisk walking or biking. This seemed to be the case for both healthy people and those who started out with risk factors. Though more research will be needed, the authors are excited about the findings, since yoga is relatively inexpensive, and it can benefit a person in body and mind.

“The Princeton Center for Yoga & Health is excited to host this well regarded specialty program – only offered a couple times a year in this country and abroad - Mala’s next stop is in Japan”, notes Princeton Yoga director Deborah Metzger. “We are finding that more people and medical professionals are discovering the health and stress reduction benefits of yoga, particularly as the population matures. Here at the Center, we offer a variety of classes suitable for all ages and life stages. The specialty trainings we now host offer the growing number of trained yoga teachers in our community a unique niche for their own careers. Our next training program for the mature population is Prime of Life Yoga with internationally acclaimed yoga educator and author, Larry Payne, June 8 – 11.” 

Yoga Center Hosts Cardiac Yoga Certification Training

Open to Allied Health Professionals

The Cardiac Yoga(r) Teacher's Training Program is a comprehensive certification program that is designed to educate and train yoga teachers and medical personnel to work with heart patients and their spouses in the area of stress management and yoga. Participants in this program learn to adapt the basic concepts of yoga and meditation to the special needs of cardiac patients. Developed by psychologist, Dr. Mala Cunningham, a leading speaker, author, and educator in the field of Mind-Body Medicine and Health Psychology, the program will be hosted by Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, 88 Orchard Road, Skillman, April 27 - May 7, 2017. Full tuition is $1,550 and $1,395 with early registration discount if paid in full by March 27.


The Cardiac Yoga Teacher's Training Program includes both didactic and experiential components. The overall goal of the program is to train and educate individuals to teach stress management, yoga, and lifestyle change programs to cardiac patients within a medical setting, yoga organization or privately. All participants who successfully complete the training program and pass the competency test will receive certification as a Cardiac Yoga instructor.


This training program is appropriate for the continuing education of health care professionals from a variety of fields including: exercise physiologists, nurses, cardiac rehab staff, physicians, and occupational therapists as well as yoga instructors. This activity has been submitted for 48 CNE's to the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) for approval to award contact hours.


A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that practicing yoga had the same effect on reducing cardiovascular markers as other forms of exercise, like brisk walking or biking. This seemed to be the case for both healthy people and those who started out with risk factors. Though more research will be needed, the authors are excited about the findings, since yoga is relatively inexpensive, and it can benefit a person in body and mind.


"The Princeton Center for Yoga & Health is excited to host this well regarded specialty program, only offered a couple times a year in this country and abroad. Mala's next stop is in Japan", notes Princeton Yoga director Deborah Metzger. "We are finding that more people and medical professionals are discovering the health and stress reduction benefits of yoga, particularly as the population matures. Here at the Center, we offer a variety of classes suitable for all ages and life stages. The specialty trainings we now host offer the growing number of trained yoga teachers in our community a unique niche for their own careers. Our next training program for the mature population is Prime of Life Yoga with internationally acclaimed yoga educator and author, Larry Payne, June 8 - 11."
 

Meet and Greet the Democrat Candidates

March 25, 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Pike Run Club House
40 Pike Run Road, Belle Mead, NJ

Please RSVP
Questions Contact MontgomeryDemsNJ@gmail.com.

Calendar of Events
Montgomery Democratic Organization Meeting

March 27, 7:30 PM - 9 PM
Otto Kaufman Community Center
356 Skillman Rd, Skillman, NJ 08558, USA

Please RSVP seating is limited
Questions Contact MontgomeryDemsNJ@gmail.com. 

Introduction to Girls Ice Hockey

Free floor hockey clinics in April & May

Since kindergarten I have been a part of Girl Scouts in Montgomery. I have completed both my Bronze and Silver award, as well as many other smaller projects within our community. Now I am embarking on my final Girl Scout project, the Gold Award. The gold award is the highest honor a girl scout can receive, and must consist of at least 80 hours working towards a project that will make a lasting impact.


In the 2015-2016 winter high school sports season here at Montgomery, I was the only girl on the hockey team. In this past 2016-2017 season, I was joined by another girl on the school team.


The boys were welcoming and accepting of me, however it is inevitable that boys and girls ice hockey are just not the same. The biggest difference is body checking. The checking, along with the physicality and size of the boys creates an entirely different game. Similarly, it is very difficult for a girl on a boys hockey team to form the chemistry and bond that she would otherwise form on a girls team.


One reason why a lot of girls do not play the sport is because the idea that hockey is a boys sport. I hope to break down that belief by providing inexpensive clinics to give both girls and their parents a glimpse into girls hockey. The clinics will also make it a priority to teach the girls the importance of teamwork and self esteem.


Therefore, I decided to focus my project on encouraging more girls in our area to start playing ice hockey, in hopes that down the road Montgomery will have enough girls to field their own separate school team or combine with another school to create a girl's ice hockey team.


I will be conducting free floor hockey clinics at the Otto Kaufman Community Center on 4/24, 5/1, 5/8, 5/12 , and 5/22 from 6-7 pm, and encourage any girl in grades 2-8 to sign up.  

River Rd Closed between Rocky Hill & Kingston

 Downed pole between Cresecnt in Rocky Hill & Blue Spring Rd

STEM AT MHS

Iccha Singh, a freshman at the Montgomery High School, is actively involved in the STEAM field.
Her mission began in 6th grade when she piloted Techsters (www.thetechsters.wordpress.com), a small tech community at the Montgomery Lower Middle School. Her aim was to get her friends to join her and learn about coding from one another. As Iccha moved up to the Montgomery Upper Middle School, she wanted to continue to cultivate the Techsters community. With that in mind she approached her computer teacher, Mrs. Markmann. Upon hearing Iccha's fresh ideas Mrs Markmann was enthusiastic to work with her.


Now, three years and four seasons later, Techsters has over 30 members and Iccha is continuing to achieve her vision of exposing middle-schoolers to STEAM. The "A'" in STEAM stands for Art which includes activities like graphic design and cinematography which are practiced at Techsters. Techsters engages its community with hands-on activities and guest speaker sessions with professionals such as the Director of Code for Princeton, the CEO and Co-Founder of Major League Hacking, Princeton University Computer Science Graduates, and entrepreneurs running small business in and around the Princeton area. Members are introduced to ideas such as "hackathons." The team that Iccha lead at the 2nd Annual Code For Princeton Hackathon in June 2016, won 1st place. This year, as Iccha moved on to high school, she interviewed and recruited potential 8th graders to help advertise and operate the Techsters 2017 season.
In a continued effort to stay involved in STEAM, Iccha has been a Mentee in the More Active Girls in Computing Program (MAGIC) where she presented a tech project to a panel of judges at Harvard Business School. Iccha has also explored STEAM programs in the UK, California, Boston, New York and Princeton. This Summer, Iccha will be travelling to North Carolina as a delegate at the Conference on National Affairs that she was nominated for in freshman year through Model United Nations.


In Summer 2016 Iccha visited California, where she had the opportunity to tour corporations like Apple and Facebook. Her tour at Facebook was lead by Ms. Erin Summers who is a software engineer for VR and the co-founder of Wogrammer. Wogrammer spreads the word about female pioneers in STEAM and Iccha is one of the younger females that has been featured in Wogrammer (https://medium.com/wogrammer/in-6th-grade-this-coder-founded-a-tech-movement-to-teach-girls-how-to-code-ec66b9e5ec7c#.ifr6lze2k).


Iccha has also been recently awarded the 2017 New Jersey Affiliate Honorable Mention by the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing and National Center for Women in Technology community. NCWIT is a non-profit that strives to improve awareness and knowledge about the STEAM Gender Gap to get more girls involved and Iccha is excited to be invited to the Awards Night in April.


Iccha is on the Montgomery High School's STEM Board and is continuing her effort to get more girls involved in STEAM. For the second time Iccha was invited to be a panelist at the Princeton Public Library and lead a discussion following the screening of a documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap. In more recent times she contacted and was able to connect with women working at NASA. She organized a live video chat session at Montgomery High School featuring a panel of women currently working at NASA. The panelists included the Manager of the Engineering and Science Department at NASA and other women holding leading roles. Iccha finds it helpful to have role models to look up to in the STEAM field, and in an effort to share this with her peers she organized the NASA event so others could be encouraged and inspired too.

These two events highlighted empowering roles held by women in the STEAM field. Both the documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, and the "Women at NASA" event emphasized similar themes. A key point was the unintentional bias in the STEAM workforce. This was poignantly featured in the documentary when it was stated; "It's hard to get women into a field that will sexually harass them and underfund them." The other panelists and Iccha agreed that they too have experienced similar situations where they were the only or one of the few women in a programming class or meeting at her STEAM related job. During the "Women at NASA" live video chat session it was also revealed by a data analyst working at the Marshall Space Flight Center that "80% of the time, the name 'Jack' will be more favorable against 'Jill' despite the fact that the both have the exact same resumes."


Coming up on April 8th, Iccha will be presenting at the #LEADLIKEAGIRL Conference at Stuart Country Day School. Some of the most inspiring names in STEAM will also be at the event including, Debbie Sterling (Founder and CEO of Goldieblox) and Dr. Ellen Stofan (Chief Scientist at NASA).
Iccha wants to continue to raise awareness amongst girls and urges her peers to look at the statistics for themselves. There are only 25% of all women in the computing workforce, and if this continues, in 2024 there is expected to be 1.1 million computing related jobs that remain unfilled. "We can make a difference," she says "If girls try out clubs such as Techsters and have the confidence to get involved with STEAM then we will be able to seal the leaky pipeline, add diversity and gain gender neutrality."

 

UMS wins 3rd place at Science Olympiad States Competition

On Tuesday, March 7, 31 young scientists boarded the bus all bleary-eyed but excited. Last minute studying and endless chattering could be heard all the way to the Middlesex County Community College, where the Science Olympiad States Competition would take place. This group of talented young students from UMS worked countless hours and late nights preparing for this day.


There were 27 Regional winner schools competing in the States competition. The UMS team sent 20 students out to compete for 24 events. Groups of students could be seen walking in with tense, nervous faces, and coming out with great smiles.


Those with testing events concentrated on getting as many questions as they can right, checking their reference sheet occasionally to make sure they were right.


Those with building events carefully brought their structure over and made sure they fit the specifications, testing them over and over if possible and making adjustments to their structure. They would anxiously watch their structure as the official testing began, silently hoping it would come out well.


In the end, all their hard work paid off, as they came home with a third place trophy and many, many medals around their necks, along with cheers, smiles, and words of congrats.


There achieved: 1st place-Bio Process Lab, Wright Stuff; 2nd place-Ecology, Disease Detectives, Food Science, Road Scholar; 3rd place-Fast Facts, Towers; 4th place-Dynamic Planet, Experimental Design, Meteorology, Write it Do it; 5th-Invasive Species, Reach for the Stars, Wind Power; 6th-Crime Busters, Picture This.


Couches include Mrs. Molinaro, Mrs. Butler, and our Math and Science supervisor, Dr.
Herte, who worked hard and support of the UMS Science Olympiad team.
 

It's Rummage Sale Time at Blawenburg Church

Friday, April 7, 9 am at Memorial Hall

Treasures from folks in town who can't take it with them will be on sale for some really great prices. Come to think of it, your morning coffee will be on sale, too.


And if you're one of those who still has stuff looking for a home, you can drop it off at Blawenburg Church's Memorial Hall through Wednesday, April 5, from 9 to 3 pm.


"We're really excited about this year's sale," said Jean Beachell who manages the event. "We've gotten some great treasures in clothing, tools, games, artwork. It's really good stuff." Beachell went on to say: "And this year, we're adding a bake sale. We tried it last year and it was really popular. So, if you like homemade baked goods, come on over."


Items that don't sell on Friday will be on sale Saturday, April 8, at half price.
Proceeds from the sale will go to support the church and this year's mission: The Raritan Valley chapter of Habitat for Humanity.


If you have questions, you can call the church office at 609-466-1832, or send an email to BlawenburgChurch@gmail.com , or friend the church on its Facebook page.
The historic church on Route 518 is a partner in ministry with New York's Marble Church. 

Rocky Hill Remembers April 22

On Saturday, April 22 from 2 to 4 pm, at the Mary Jacobs Library, the Rocky Hill Community Group will present an afternoon of local history, featuring photos from its archives and conversation with some of the respected seniors who live here.


Generations have grown up in Rocky Hill and stayed. This event will feature recollections from Rocky Hill residents who remember those earlier days and Rocky Hill's roots. Please plan to come for an engaging discussion and to explore the Group's local history archives and exhibits.
Contact person for this article is Robert Ashbaugh 609-751-6540.
 

Rocky Hill Remembers

On Saturday, April 22 from 2 to 4 pm, at the Mary Jacobs Library, the Rocky Hill Community Group will present an afternoon of local history, featuring photos from its archives and conversation with some of the respected seniors who live here.


Generations have grown up in Rocky Hill and stayed. This event will feature recollections from Rocky Hill residents who remember those earlier days and Rocky Hill's roots. Please plan to come for an engaging discussion and to explore the Group's local history archives and exhibits.


Contact person for this article is Robert Ashbaugh 609-751-6540.

Montgomery Baseball League Announces College Scholarship Program

Montgomery Baseball League (MBL) is proud to announce the 5th annual Montgomery Baseball League College Scholarship program. The annual fund provides scholarship awards to assist qualified and deserving current and former MBL baseball player applicants attend institutions of higher learning. Each award will be designated for one school year. It is our intent to award individual scholarships with a value of up to $1,500.


"Offering a scholarship recognizing a MBL player or senior high school baseball player who came up through the system of the MBL reminds all of us that baseball teaches so much more than just the game itself", says Montgomery's High School Varsity Baseball Coach Pete Mueller.
"It establishes community, perseverance, overcoming adversity and working together for a common cause among others. The game teaches life skills and these lessons are learned early in the process of playing baseball. MBL's commitment to educating players through the game is reinforced with this scholarship to an alumnus of their system."


Scholarship applicants must have participated in the MBL program for a minimum of 3 years, be actively involved in community service with their high school baseball program or other community-based activity, be of outstanding character and integrity, exhibit leadership on their baseball teams as well as in their communities, and have demonstrated strong academic performance. Additionally, applicants must submit at least 2 adult references and an original essay of 250-500 words describing what baseball has taught them that will help them be successful in your future endeavors. All application requirements must be received by Saturday, April 30th. Scholarship decisions will be made by Friday, May 12.
MBL President, Frank Kimick, stated, "The MBL is excited to once again offer this scholarship opportunity. It clearly demonstrates the strong partnership we have established with our high school students over the years." Kimick continued, "We wish them all much success with their college endeavors."


For additional details on the scholarship program requirements, screening, and selection process, or to register for MBL's spring recreational baseball program, or to find out more about other community-wide events hosted by MBL, go to www.montgomerybaseball.com.


Montgomery Baseball League is a not-for-profit youth sports organization open to all boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 18 (grades pre-K and up) who reside in Montgomery, Rocky Hill or Princeton. As a member of the Babe Ruth & Cal Ripken Youth Baseball Leagues, MBL offers high-quality recreational and travel baseball programs for interested players of all skills, experience, and abilities at our professional-grade sports complex.
 

Princeton Record Exchange Owner to Receive Self-Directed Learning Award

Princeton Learning Cooperative has announced that Jon Lambert, owner of the Princeton Record Exchange, will be recognized at their Celebration of Self-Directed Learning from 2 – 4 pm on April 29.
The Self-Directed Learning Award is given to community members who took an independent educational path and have gone on to create successful and meaningful lives. "Jon's life reflects the creativity, vision and hard work that self-directed learning embodies. We're thrilled to have Jon share his story at this year's celebration," according to Princeton Learning Cooperative co-founder, Joel Hammon. The Princeton Record Exchange is listed as one of the best music stores in America by Rolling Stone magazine, CNN, Time magazine and others.


Jon said, "It is an honor to be singled out for this award by The Learning Cooperatives. There were many challenges travelling down a non-traditional path, and I am happy, if a little surprised, to have succeeded as well as I have. I have great empathy for those starting out on their own personal journeys, so it is my hope that sharing some of the principles that guided me will help them as well."


Current teen members, parents of former members and PLC staff members will also share inspiring stories of young people taking control of their time and education. Food and drinks will be donated by: Small World Coffee; Lillipies; The Bent Spoon; McCaffrey's; and Nomad Pizza, among others. Event sponsors include: Classical Pilates; Kenney, Chase and Costa; Shibumi Farm; Pinneo Construction. Live music will be performed by current teen members.


The event is being held at D&R Greenway's Johnson Education Center at One Preservation Place in Princeton. For more information and to reserve a free ticket, visit www.learningcooperatives.org or https://tinyurl.com/z43dnd5. Attendees will have an opportunity to donate to support the work of Princeton Learning Cooperative. 

Montgomery Farms Redefined to Include Piggeries

An ordinance tweaking the definition of a local farm was approved and recommended by the Township Planning Board at its Monday, March 6 meeting, voted forward unanimously by a 10-0 tally.


But their neighbors remains vigilant as this move can pave the way for a pig farm and market operation in a pristine part of Skillman at the former Gallup farm, on scenic Mountain View Road.


The township municipal land use law required the Planning Board to review ordinances for consistency with Montgomery's community master plan. Planning Director Lori Savron explained at the meeting that the "definition of a farm" came up for consideration in spring of 2016 when the Golden Back Farms proposal, "Was presented with a variety of things that Dr. Back was planning on doing with the farm, reactivating different elements of farming (along Mountain View) with a portion of the old Gallup farm that had been kind of fallow and vacant for a while."


She told the Board Montgomery's first "farm definition" ordinance had been on the town books since 1974 and this was an opportunity to keep with current times, best practices and current farm management. "It makes sense for today's farmers here in town," Savron said.


Residents of the Mountain View Road vicinity spoke up against some of owners' Wendy Golden and Stephen Back plans, and even held a mass gathering at the fire station in Skillman to voice their concerns nearly a year ago. Savron quickly got to the meat of the matter and told the Planning Board part of Dr. Back's proposal includes raising pigs. Some neighbors have said they have seen pigs on the property over the last several months.


"In our town ordinance, while it allows the keeping and raising of livestock, it specifically prohibited commercial piggeries. There was no definition of what a commercial piggery is but the sale of one pig would be a commercial piggery operation without a definition. We decided we would clarify it and define an 'intensive commercial piggery' and set a limitation on the number of pigs with what we deemed intensive," she said on March 6.


Planning Board member Steve DeRochi said piggeries had gotten a bad reputation due to waste disposal and effuse issues. "If farmers are doing the correct things on the land waste concentration doesn't become a problem," he said.


Savron told DeRochi for the number of livestock and animals Dr. Back is proposing, he'd need a comprehensive manure plan, per regulations.


The limit has been set as two pigs per acre with a total not to exceed 50 pigs on a property. The ordinance had been adopted by the Township Committee but Savron relayed concerns of Mountain View neighbors who say 50 pigs is too many. Others from the farming community, state Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Farm Bureau opinions were that the 50-pig limit as "too restrictive," said Savron.


But Dr. Back expressed interest in approaching SCADB - the Somerset County Agriculture Development Board, to approve 75 pigs at his farm.


"We realized that most farms in Montgomery operating as a business have a conservation farm plan, prepared with the farmer and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a division of the U.S.D.A. They are experts and they bring in other experts from Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the state Department of Agriculture. They look at environmental conditions and sensitive areas, current capacity of the land and its natural features. With Dr. Back having gone through that process, his farm can accommodate 75 pigs," Savron said.


Savron explained the Agricultural Advisory Committee discussions and research steps taken by Montgomery Planning, with experts consulted for "rotational grazing and the raising of pigs" with the potential Golden Back Farms operation, as smaller pads of fenced in areas in fields would host pigs grazing on a biweekly basis. She said that would prevent damaging the entire property grounds.
In 2010 Montgomery adopted a new farmland plan in its master plan with the primary goal of "supporting the viability of agriculture as a business" in town. Savron told the Board expanding the definition of a farm to permit the keeping of pigs was consistent with the objective.


Another 1989 addition to the master plan was noted as maintaining the town's character. "Farming is tradition here in town and our plans support that. We rely on our farmers to keep our rural areas looking rural. Otherwise they become fallow and become a burden on the township to maintain. They could revert back to forest over time but we have a big invasive species problem," she said.


The process to arrive at Montgomery's new farm definition involved a review of other New Jersey municipal ordinances and review of the township's farmland assessment records, checking on the number of pigs currently existing in the town. Savron says the Board of Health, Planning and Zoning departments have never received any complaints related to pigs here. Savron said that if neighbors brought forth an issue, it would be investigated through Montgomery's normal zoning process. But adoption and review of the farm definition ordinance pre-empts any action for Dr. Back to seek county approvals and "jump through hoops" according to Savron.


"That's what is being modified now. It is still two pigs per acre with no more than 50, with the exception of farmers that have ability to provide the township with their farm conservation plan from NRCS. Then you can have more than 50 pigs if that is what it says," she told the Planning Board.
 

Montgomery/Rock Hill Rotary Club Donates $500 to Rock Brook School

Montgomery/Rock Hill Rotary Club has made a donation of $500 to Rock Brook School in Skillman, NJ. The donation was made in honor of the 1st Constitution Bank and Wendy Andreotta, Bank Manager.
The presentation as attended by members of the school's administration, including Mary Caterson, who is the Executive Director of Rock Brook School and Montgomery/Rock Hill Rotary Club President George Jarvis, and representatives of 1st Constitution Bank, including Wendy Andreotta, VP/Branch Manager of 1st Constitution Bank at Rocky Hill Branch.


"We are delighted to be a trusted community partner to the Montgomery/Rock Hill Rotary Club, and on behalf of 1st Constitution Bank, I am honored and deeply moved by this generous gesture to support education in our local schools," said Wendy Andreotta.


The donation was in recognition of Wendy Andreotta and 1st Constitution Banks' contribution and support of the Montgomery/Rock Hill Rotary Club.
 

Notes From the Township Administrator

Although the snowstorm in mid-March was not as severe as originally forecast, it made snowplowing very difficult. The storm was a combination of snow sleet, freezing rain and high winds. Combine this type of a storm with temperatures well below freezing and you get wet heavy snow that freezes into chunks that are very difficult to move. At the same time slush forms on the pavement warmed by the sun that then freezes at night when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, making driving treacherous.


Montgomery Township Public Works crews have 53 snowplowing routes. The routes are divided into 149 sections (sub-routes) covering over 160 miles of municipal roads. During the mid-March storm Public Works employees and our snowplowing contractors started plowing at 2 am Tuesday morning and continued working until 7 pm Tuesday evening. Each route was plowed five times, and then routes were salted and sanded.


Crews were back at work Wednesday morning cleaning and widening driving lanes and doing additional salting and sanding on those icy spots that developed overnight. They continued to work throughout the day to improve roadways. Late winter early spring snowfalls are often the most difficult types of storms to handle from a snowplowing perspective.


In March the 2017 Municipal budget was set for adoption at the March 16 Township Committee meeting. The budget represents the continuation of the Township Committee's commitment to Public Health and Public Safety while being fiscally responsible. In March a public hearing was also held for the renewal of the Cable TV Franchise. By way of background, the last time this renewal occurred was in 2002. At that time the Township was served by RCN Cable they were in the midst of negotiating their refranchising when they sold their Montgomery system to Patriot Media. Patriot Media concluded the refranchising agreement and set out to build the infrastructure to provide Internet, Cable TV, and Telephone (VOIP) service. Within five years of that transaction, Patriot Media sold their Montgomery system to Comcast, the current service provider.


Under BPU regulations the Township is limited as to what it can negotiate. The cost of service is not an item that can be negotiated by the Township. Many times I am asked if other cable service providers can come to Montgomery. The franchise in Montgomery is not exclusive, other companies can compete. However, the cost of building new infrastructure and the consolidation in the cable industry there is really no local competition.


Verizon has chosen not to expand into this area, concentrating on more densely populated areas. Verizon uses its existing infrastructure (telephone network) in those areas replacing aging copper cable with fiber optic cable. Furthermore Montgomery is serviced by two phone companies Sprint and Verizon thus further limiting the possibility of Verizon expanding into this service area.


At present the only options available to residents who want to find alternatives to cable TV are satellite service providers. The Township made several attempts in the past to encourage competitors to provide service in Montgomery but the return on investment was not significant enough to justify their investment in infrastructure in the Township. The cable industry is in transition and consolidation is ongoing limiting the cable service providers in this country. As I write this column, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, and Google, are developing internet based programming and web based applications that will compete with cable TV service.
 

Rocky Hill Rabies Clinic April 22

The Rabies Clinic will be held on April 22 at the Rocky Hill Hook & Ladder Firehouse on Washington Street from 10 – 2. Free for any NJ resident. Their dogs or cats, actually.
 

MHS 03' Grad Cited as Onslow County NC First Responder of the Week

Bill Moore, MHS 03', was recently cited by the Jacksonville Daily News, a Jacksonville, NC newspaper, as the First Responder of the Week. Moore, a five-year employee of the Onlsow County emergency services, is a paramedic, and former Marine.


Asked why he choice this career path, he said, "I actually ended up staying in town after serving eight years in the Marine Corp infantry because I already owned a house already and I figured it would be easy to get an associate's degree right here at nearby Coastal Carolina Community College. I was 26 and a single father with a four-year-old son and already had reliable daycare set up from my time in the Corps, so it seemed like the best option. I volunteered with fire and EMS (the Rocky Hill Hook & Ladder and the Rocky Hill First Aid Squad) while I was in high school, so the paramedic program caught my attention. I had excellent instructors that always challenged me to never allow performance that was less than the best, and to never stopo learning. I have been working for the County for five years now and absolutely love my job, I love to help people , and I love the challenges associated with the emergency medical field."

He said that the most memorable case he worked on was helping to revive Sudden Infant Death newborn with no pulse. "We performed Advanced Life Support-level care for this child and were able to quickly reestablish his airway, get a pulse back, and save a young life. I will never forget the looks on the family's faces when we turned over patient care at the Emergency Department, and whenever I see them or the child in town I always know that we made a difference."

Moore is currently one semester away from earning a Bachelor's Degree from Western Carolina University and hopes to be accepted into the Physician's Assistant program at East Carolina University next year.


Bill's parents, Cliff and Terri Moore, live in Rocky Hill, NJ.
 

RVCC Board Passes Resolution for Modest Tuition Increase

Anticipating No Increase in State Aid, RVCC Board Passes Resolution for Modest Tuition Increase

 

Faced with a continued decline in enrollment due to changing demographics and no expected increases in aid from the State of New Jersey or the Counties of Somerset and Hunterdon, Raritan Valley Community College’s Board of Trustees voted last night to raise tuition a modest $4 a credit. The new tuition of $147 per credit will take effect for the Fall 2017 semester.

 

“We recognize the importance of keeping the cost of a college education within reach for our all of our students. When deciding on any tuition increase, we carefully balance the College’s commitment to keeping tuition affordable with the need to invest in academic programs and support services that are critical to our students’ success,” said RVCC President Michael J. McDonough.

 

For the average full-time student taking 30 credits during the academic year, tuition would increase by $120. For the average part-time student taking 12 credits during the academic year, tuition would increase by $48.

 

The tuition increase is based on a projected budget of $54.9 million for FY 2018 that is expected to be voted on at the March 21 Board of Trustees meeting. The budget represents a 3.3% increase over last year. The increase is due to rises in contractual costs for employee healthcare and other benefits; a continued decline in the size of the area high school graduation classes; and additional operating expenses related to the new Workforce Training Center.

 

Grant Received to Support Montgomery EMS

Funds Earmarked for First Responder Vehicle

 

Montgomery Township has been awarded a $50,000 grant from Investors Foundation to support Montgomery Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), Squad 47, which is an all-volunteer service organization. The grant was applied for by Montgomery CFO Michael Pitts in October of 2016. A ceremonial check was presented by Brian Turano of the Investors Foundation to Mayor Ed Trzaska and representatives of MEMS at the Montgomery Township offices on Tuesday, February 28th. It is anticipated that the funds, which will be received over 4 years, will be used towards a first responder vehicle for MEMS.

 

Mayor Trzaska commented, “One of our governing principles is to protect public health and safety services. While Montgomery EMS is a private non-profit organization, they provide a core municipal service, so we support them in any way we can. This tremendously generous grant from The Investors Foundation will go a long way to achieving this goal. On behalf of the residents of Montgomery, we thank Brian and his team for this recognition."

 

MEMS President John Connacher added, “As Montgomery EMS enters our 45th year of service to the community we appreciate the support via continued donations and volunteering by our wonderful Montgomery neighbors which allow us to continue our mission. Our Township further demonstrated that support by granting us a much needed first responder vehicle. As a volunteer, resident, and taxpayer, its wonderful news that the township was able to obtain a grant to cover this cost.”

 

The Montgomery EMS provides 9-1-1 emergency basic life support ambulance service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year within the township of Montgomery, NJ with no charge. Volunteers interested in training are always needed. To learn more, go to: www.mems47.org.

 

The Investors Foundation assists organizations in New Jersey, New York City and Long Island that invigorate their local communities with civic-minded initiatives focused on the arts, education, health and human services, youth programs and more. For more information, go to investorsbankfoundation.org

 

Investors Bank, headquartered in Short Hills, New Jersey, is a full-service community bank that has been serving customers since 1926. With over $22 billion in assets and a network of more than 150 retail branches, Investors delivers personalized services and products tailored to the needs of its customers. Investors’ banking services include complete deposit, loan and cash management products for consumers and businesses. The Investors Foundation supports non-profit organizations that enrich the quality of life in the communities the Bank serves. To date, the Foundation has dispensed more than $20 million to support initiatives ranging from community and civic improvements to the fight against diseases. Investors Bank is a member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. 

Township Budget Focus on Tax Increase

Just before the Township Committee adopted the 2017 fiscal year municipal budget by 5-0, questions were raised about higher taxes. Although the Township plans to spend $27,085,000 in 2017, Township CFO Michael Pitts, who delivered the annual budget presentation on March 16, said there was a reduction in full-time municipal employees to 159 in all, as Montgomery has done more with less, cutting spending and personnel.


The current budget reflects a decrease of $2.7 million in non-grant spending, and in 2016 Montgomery maintained its Aa1 rating from Moody's Investor Services.


Mayor Ed Trzaska said Montgomery's next three to four year budget plans includes lower increases in tax rates, but noted that they are still increases.


Skillman resident Bill Randolph praised Pitts for his presentation and said., "I appreciate the hard work that has gone into the budget and the fact that it $2M less than last year's. It looks like the average increase for Montgomery residents is 1.7 cents or about a 5% increase, but why are the residents saddled with a 5% increase? Every year it is the same old thing and we keep getting nailed, a penny here and 1.7 cents there. Our costs keep going up and we have to eat our own health costs. Families here are struggling. All our township costs have kept going up; sewer costs have risen through the roof. I would challenge the administration to come up with a flat rate or decrease to the municipal budget."


A Montgomery resident for over 31 years, he wondered why taxes have been increased with so much new residential development taking place. "Bottom line, my taxes are going up 5%. I have the same cost problems the township does but I don't have the ability to tax someone else for it," Randolph told the Committee.


Trzaska replied that the decrease in township revenues and the surplus they had built was the real challenge each year after the 2008 recession. Since then Montgomery cut its top-line municipal spending 20% but a series of cause-and-effect has formed a current tax basis.


"The budget was so big and used so much surplus that as our surplus depleted we had nothing to fill the gap other than the taxes for our revenue. Even as the budget went down we really had a loss on the revenues, one-time revenue for all the developments in town that Montgomery ran its budget on for two decades. Revenues which the bigger budgets were built on evaporated. It was all those rollback taxes, contracts, fees and permits. That growth in town created a large surplus before and it essentially created a municipal budget that was 50% out of whack," Trzaska explained.


He says reoccurring revenues from taxes had supported only 40% to 50% of our budget pre-Recession. In the last eight budgets, $73 million in surplus was used, "Just to fill the gap," Trzaska said.
The need for surplus to come in still exists as Trzaska told Randolph the state would not approve Montgomery's budget year after year otherwise.


With a need for commercial tax base here for so long, ratables from retail developments such as Madison Marquette and Country Club Meadows' plazas could be too little and too late to create revenue, which otherwise is from by tax increases to residents.


According to Trzaska, Montgomery could have averted tax hikes to residents if in past decades, funds from the many commercial and residential developments had been better managed. "46% of our budget was essentially paid for by rollback taxes and fees from construction. The town lived on that for two decades. With all that going away it has really been a struggle to get back to balance and stability. Every year we are getting close and spending 16% of surplus," he said.


Town Committeeman Mark Conforti said revenue growth here in the 1990s and early 2000's had masked a problem of municipal costs, with healthcare for example rising "double digits" in the past 25 years.
"If you look at that cost this year, if we did nothing else healthcare alone would put our increase at 1.6%. I have said this in our budget meetings and to state representatives, 'stop talking and figure out a resolution.' Ultimately we only have so many ratables in town and, as we see with Country Club Meadows, we have some commercial development coming on line in the next two years. That buys us some time, but healthcare increases at this rate are not sustainable," Conforti said.
 

Belle Mead Garage Paves the Way With New Tractors

 

It’s hard to imagine any better symbolic, iconic “welcome mat” into town other than the former Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealership. To walk inside Belle Mead Garage is to step back into the area’s history, with car-brand signage and photographs on the wall, as well as local history books, telling the story of Belle Mead through the last century.


Founded in 1919 as Cruser Brothers, the Belle Mead Garage will turn 100 in the next two years. The next owner, Leroy Higgins, scored the franchise right of Chrysler-Plymouth, and the dealership stood the test of time from 1935 until 2009 when it lost its franchise.


In 1990 Kip Higgins, took over Belle Mead Garage Inc. located at 2454 Route 206,
The lot offers pre-owned vehicles, often one-owner cars and SUV’s sold or traded in by regular local customers and fully serviced in-house. For daily or longer-term rentals the Garage carries a fleet of popular Jeeps, Chrysler 200 sedans and Town & Country minivans.


Over the past nine years the Garage operated for full repairs and service, plus selling pre-owned inventory, rentals, and car detailing.


After Carnevale graduated from Montgomery High School he worked at Belle Mead Garage, from 1990 to 1995. He moved to Michigan, north of the Motor City. On the advice of Kip Higgins, he attended Kip’s alma mater, Northwood University, and studied automotive marketing management.
“My career took me to running Massey Ferguson dealership in Wisconsin for eight years. I decided to move back home, then the company asked me if I wanted to open up with their brand in New Jersey. My old friend Kip had some extra capacity so we decided to bring it on board,” he said.


The progression of brand-new tractor sales, service and parts integrating with the automotive history at Belle Mead Garage was born when Carnevale returned to Montgomery.


Carnevale and his wife farm on 50 acres in Hillsborough, and the Higgins’ family farms all over the U.S. Here, they saw a prime opportunity to introduce New Jersey to Massey Ferguson.


“The equipment market came full circle in Central Jersey, where 60 years ago there was farming everywhere. It got displaced by urban sprawl and the fact that agricultural economy was not doing so well. Now though, a lot of people have three to five acres of land and they need small tractors to maintain the property, whether for themselves or for landscapers. There is also a growth in boutique farming in this market. A lot of municipalities need this type of tractor equipment, and there’s more tractor sales throughout New Jersey today than there were 30 years ago,” Carnevale says.


Belle Mead Garage is the lone dealer of Massey Ferguson in the Garden State, and the company recently decided to expand outreach and service the Northeast market. Up to 20 new tractors will be on the lot at all times, the owners say. Originally the Garage’s territory was from Somerset, Hunterdon, Bucks, Warren and Mercer counties. That changed to statewide and beyond. Carnevale says calls have come in from other areas up to a four-hour drive from Montgomery. His tractors can perform small farming, landscape and snow-plow jobs for many property needs, and the Garage has much to inform first-time buyers about from product options to service.


“The smaller, 50-horsepower market is growing at a strong clip. These machines handle garden maintenance, mowing, digging, brushwork, snowblowing, and heavy-duty work involving cows or horses’ grazing. We do sell equipment large-scale farmers can use too, but the majority of customers are people with a few acres and a big garden. Massey is one of the biggest tractor brands in the world, but they were not in this market. That made it advantageous for a business like the Garage to take it on. The Massey product has always been excellent, it’s priced better than other tractors, and our forecast is for the tractor business to be larger than the car business in a couple of years,” he explained.


Carnevale says customer service and a personal touch are key to developing the relationships pre and post-sales, continuing to service and parts. Internet searches can pr

ovide reviews, specs and details but Carnevale cautions buyers about information overload.
“What gets lost in those specs is what customers want to do and if each machine will do it based on the soil conditions, topography and workload. It is good to narrow down to a few choices, but every day we talk with farmers and customers, and we go out to properties to look at operations and advise people what the best brand is for them,” he said.


Higgins and Carnevale are always at the Garage and available by phone and email. From the eras past that business model and legacy will carry on.


“We offer a value proposition that a lot of equipment dealers can’t. Not only can we sell and service your equipment but we can work on your car at the same time. Landscapers can bring their trucks, trailers and tractors all at once and we can service all three. If it fits in the building and it has an engine and wheels we will work on it,” Carnevale explained.


Call Belle Mead Garage at 908-359-8131 or visit bellemeadgarage.com for details, or stop in and meet the neighbors.

 

New Montgomery Promenade Ordinance To Address Traffic

On March 16, Township Committee discussed and adopted a new ordinance for an "optional development alternative" for the Montgomery Promenade shopping complex which will be located just north of Princeton Airport. The ordinance outlines a smaller complex that includes a daycare center, requiring an additional use permitted, and a 1,000-acre public outdoor space at the property.


Mayor Ed Trzaska commented that Skillman residents bordering the property would get more of a buffer, and the size of the shopping/dining/entertainment complex was in fact shrinking. He called the public space better for "a real promenade and outdoor usability feel."


At the March 6 meeting, Montgomery Planning Board reviewed a new ordinance for the large-scale Montgomery Promenade and found it consistent with the Township's 2003 land use plan and the Montgomery's Master Plan. The Planning Board recommended that the Committee adopt the ordinance.
Township Administrator Donato Nieman compared it in size and scale to The Shoppes at North Brunswick.


Skillman resident Jeffrey Sands was concerned about lack of notice from the Township. Also, he noted, "Look at the traffic that occurs there. Now we are talking about a comparable-size shopping center to MarketFair on what's basically two country roads," Sands told the Committee.


Former mayor Patricia Graham disagreed, but Sands kept looking big picture. He focused on the potential for the Route 518 and Route 206 intersection being able to support shopping areas totaling over 300,000 square feet with a multiplex cinema, no matter the number of loop roads and traffic management infrastructure Montgomery hopes to add there.


Mayor Trzaska told him the NJDOT's review did indicate upgraded performance for that prime intersection. "Those two loop roads going through Madison Marquette's property and the two loop roads through the Village Shopper complex - one going around the Tiger's Tale lot where the old, defunct PSE&G substation was, and then another at the traffic light that cuts through Village Shopper II and III and goes up to Research Road - once those loop roads are in, built by the developer with no township money, we will have essentially taken away all the left-hand turning motions in that intersection. Without each way having a left-hand turn lane you can essentially add right-hand turn lanes. Drivers will have more time to go straight or right and they'll have a chance to go right on red lights with the designated right-hand-turn lanes," Trzaska said. He added that Montgomery engineers plus Somerset County and state DOT officials will definitely continue to review all the traffic and road plans.


Montgomery Deputy Mayor Rich Smith said that from a traffic standpoint, Montgomery had traffic consultants come in and study this and give opinions to both sides. The Township is requiring the developer to build and pay for half the loop roads.


"I think Madison Marquette will end up putting $1 million of traffic signalization into that intersection. But I get the feeling that some in our town feel that the Committee just rolled over and told Madison Marquette 'go ahead and build the complex.' That's not the case at all. The most common question we get from residents is 'why are our taxes so high?' We need retail commercial developments in this town to support us from a tax standpoint," Smith said.


Mayor Trzaska said that the biggest question he gets from residents is "why don't we have any goods and services in town, and why do we (residents) always have to go into Princeton or up to Bridgewater?"
Smith said Madison Marquette has planned the shopping center for the past 12 years, but the Township Committee is, "Making this project better for all of us," although, he says, "Not everybody is going to be happy."
 

MBA to Meet April 26

The Montgomery Business Association held their annual membership meeting on March 16 at Aja's in Belle Mead.


MBA President Jan Robinson and VP Cory Wingerter introduced the new Board members, Todd Gasior of gasior's Furniture, Cynthia Weshnak of calloway Henderson Sotheby's Realty, Khurt Williams of Monkey Hill LLC, James dsanner of Red Barn Printing, Benton Campr of Nassau Tennis, Mark Hewel of Speed Pro Imaging, and Saul Wendroff of Lili B's.


Ms Robinson reported on the success of last fall's FunFest, and plans for the next, to be held this coming September. Proceeds from the FunFest will be used towards five $1,000 scholarships for graduating MHS seniors.


The next meeting will be a breakfast meet and greet on April 26 at the Cherry Valley Country Club at 8 am.
 

Meet Montgomery's Mayor Mayor Extends Invitation to Montgomery Groups

Mayor Ed Trzaska is planning a series of 10 town hall meetings with various community organizations in Montgomery in 2017. Please reach out if your homeowners group, community group or other Montgomery-based organization would like to schedule such a meeting! Mayor Trzaska may be reached at etrzaska@twp.montgomery.nj.us

Mayor Trzaska has presented before the following organizations/communities previously:

Rotary Club of Montgomery/Rocky Hill, Tapestry Homeowners Association, Montgomery Business Association, HuaXia Chinese School, Pike Run Masters Association, Stonebridge at Montgomery, Montgomery Tea Party, Woods Edge Homeowners Association, Yorkshire Woods Homeowners Association, Montgomery EMS, and Cherry Valley Homeowners Association.

Over 500 residents attended these town hall meetings which included extensive question and answer sessions.

Please do not hesitate to email Mayor Trzaska at etrzaska@twp.montgomery.nj.us if you are interested. Thank you!

FIRST IN SERIES:
Meet the Mayor Business Breakfast
Cherry Valley Country Club
Wednesday, April 26th at 8 AM

The agenda will be:
8 AM : Continental Breakfast / Coffee / Juices & Networking
8:30 - 9 AM AM: Introduce Mayor, Q&A afterward
9:30 AM closing comments

This meeting is organized by the Montgomery Business Association, a 501(c)3 organization. Montgomery Mayor Ed Trzaska, Administrator Donato Nieman, and other Township staff will be present to answer questions after the mayor speaks. This program is geared towards business persons based in Montgomery but any Montgomery resident is welcome to attend.
For more info, go to www.shoplocalmontgomery.com 

Report From Rocky Hill -April 2017

What can be said about the Canal Bridge that hasn't been muttered by every irritated driver eastbound on Washington Street? This getting to be like Checkov's play, "Three Sisters." Will they ever get to Moscow? Maybe, but not soon and not from Washington Street.


Once work restarted, weather was the factor – snow would slow them down. Then it was creosote, a subject so boring that even EPA and the DEP, which make a living on toxic waste, wasn't interested. However, OSHA got involved as a matter of worker safety. Even the though the new bridge will be cement and steel, creosote had leached from the old wooden bridge into the mud and thus, the contractor alleges, was a case of worker safety, requiring mitigation. The method of mitigation had one problem, Mayor Donahue said at the March 6 Borough Council meeting: it doesn't work when it's raining. Meanwhile, they are back to work as of the first week of March. One can only hope.


Borough Engineer Bill Tanner reports that he is making a list of defective fireplugs and valves, of which there are a few. They have to be turned on and off from time to time to prevent them from seizing up. Some haven't been touched in years if ever. There is a total of 36 valves. Repairs would cost about $1,700 each; replacing would cost $2,500 apiece. Mr. Tanner is working on a list of those which have to be worked on immediately and thinks that best way is to do a few each year.


At the February 22 Council meeting, the Todd Harris gave an overview of the Rocky Hill Hook & Ladder activities during 2016, noting that the fire company is rated by the Insurance Service Office, and that rating determines in part, homeowners insurance costs. Rocky Hill is a first responder for Montgomery and Franklin. which is another reason why the bridge opening is so critical. Despite the closed bridge, there were 18 calls to Franklin Twp. It is also on call for Hillsborough, Princeton and Hopewell. There are 33 members, of which 24 are active, so they're always looking for new members. There was a total of 246 calls in 2016, with an average turnout of five firemen; 24 of the calls were in Rocky Hill. There were 128 calls to Montgomery Fire District #2, 68 false alarms, and 34 actual fires.


The Hook and Ladder is hoping to replace all of its old equipment, as the age of the equipment affects its rating, and thus, homeowners insurance costs. One fire truck required $22,000 in repairs during 2016. Their budget for 2016 was $84,900, but they recovered $20,000 by serving Montgomery Fire District #2. They also received various grants towards expenses However, Chief Harris noted that future needs will include $60,000 to replace worn-out personal protection equipment and $90,000 to replace old self-contained breathing gear. They should be replaced by 2018. There is also a need for new trucks, as the old ones are starting to become less reliable. New trucks cost $650-700K. Rebuilt older trucks can cost $450-550K..


Todd Harris, wearing his Director of Office of Emergency Services hat, noted that the Borough's emergency shelter is only intended for short term use, and that anything, "More than 48 hours," would be a real problem – food, heat, sanitation. He has been working with the County on a long term plan, but noted that direction comes from the NJ State Police OEM to the Somerset County OEM then to his office, which "Provides assistance during an emergency, but does not control it."


Emergencies in the past have ranged from short term line squall damage to major floods, and events such has Storm Sandy, with power outages up to a week. Mr. Harris said the County is looking to use "pods" with emergency supplies that can be brought as needed to a site. "We're moving away from using Borough buildings as 'shelters' for long term use, to temporary shelters up to 48 hours."


The Rocky Hill OEM will be asking for an additional $6,000 for a second employee, "Someone in the fire station eight hours a day, three days a week.," as a "Daytime Staffing Officer."


Tom Bremner reported for the Rocky Hill First Aid Squad that recruiting new members is always a problem; that Franklin Rescue has closed and that Hillsborough may have to close as well. Meanwhile, there are 33 responding members, of which 18 are EMT's and six dedicated drivers, and four new members. The preliminary budget for 2017 is $54,000. The Squad raised $16,000 itself for the new ambulance, which would have cost $150-180,000 new.


Mr. Bremner said that they generally back up fire calls for Rocky Hill and other communities, but that major motor accidents accounted for 23% of their calls and falls were 13%. During 2015 there were 117 calls, but they made 77 calls during 2016. There were 231 patients and the average age was 50.5. He too noted that when the bridge was open, the driving time to USMCP was 15 minutes, but with the bridge closed it is more like 43 minutes. Happily, the Squad is not asking for more money this year.


During the March 6 Council meeting, Fire Marshall Erik Mikelson reported that his department has been making inspections and investigating complaints during 2016, and that their were half the number of violations during 2016 than in 2015. He collected $830 for fees for inspections, mostly at apartment buildings, group homes and small businesses, and investigated 21 complaints, "Mostly about overcrowding," he said. There were 19 violations cited, issuing only warnings for first offenses, and no penalties, as all the complaints had been cleaned up before they were re-inspected. There were 57 inspections at small businesses, one more than last year, but fewer violations. There were 34 local small business inspections for "Non-light hazard," with $4,250 raised in inspection fees for such items as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.


Fire Marshall Mickelson noted the trend to cooperate more with Montgomery, such as during the Fire Safety series in the schools last October. He was hoping to raise the price of inspections, "About $25 all across the board," to keep fees in line with what other municipalities charge.


During the Feb. 22 session, Bruce Longren, owner of the Rocky Hill, requested permission to use the Greenacres beyond the First Aid Squad for overflow valet parking for 10 to 12 cars. He offered to pay to have gravel spread on the road surface.


It was pointed out that there was a Borough ordinance forbidding parking after sunset, and that the actual roadway itself is a deeded right-of-way to a homeowner within the Greenacres, who had no interest in sharing it with a commercial enterprise.


Evidently, the State and its oddly designed "algorithm" for computing the Borough's share of school taxes is up to its old mischief, with threats of massive tax increases. It turns out that among the oddities, the results of the "formula" can change wildly when just a few more or less students are enrolled from one year to the next. The current enrollment is 92 students from Rocky Hill. A few years ago it was over 100. Instead of taking the total levy, dividing by the number of students and sending a bill, it incorporates average property values, income, population, number of students in each grade, school referendum debt (not old debt – just new since the "shotgun marriage" with Montgomery) and for all anyone knows, phases of the moon. This is evidence that it's actually possible to be educated beyond one's capacity. Mayor Donahue says only that the final bill, "Won't be as dramatic as previously reported." Hold onto your hats.
Borough negotiations regarding COAH obligations have reached a point very near settlement. Following the Court takeover of COAH, the Borough joined the list of municipalities offering their own plans, which are now in settlement discussions. Mayor Donahue said, "We are hopeful and optomistic." Stay tuned.
The Shade Tree Committee proposed a $2,800 budget for tree trimming.


During January, there were 13 new moving violations, one new criminal violation and one "other." Six moving violations and one criminal violation were disposed of in municipal court. Total court receipts were $1,012, of which Rocky Hill's share was $187.32.


During February there was one new parking violation and 16 moving violations. The Court dispose of one parking and 10 moving violations. Total receipts were $866, of which Rocky Hill's share was $244.85.
A number of warnings were issued during the first snowfall for failure to shovel walkways, and one ticket to the Community Group. Following the big snowstorm, the walkway at the corner of Washington and Montgomery was not cleared for a week afterward. That was especially dangerous, as pedestrians were forced onto the street at the corner.


Some dog walkers, in particular the owner of a 60+pound animal, have been leaving their droppings hither and yon in the pathways of the Greenacres. This is just nasty, and you know who you are.
The second radar speed warning sign has been placed on Montgomery Avenue. During January along Crescent Avenue the average speed was 24 MPH, not the 29 we reported previously. The hghest average speed was 27.7MPH. One note: when South Bound Brook PD is present, the average speed drops to 23MPH.


Interestingly, Councilman Dawson noted 20 instances during February when the speed on Montgomery Ave. was over 90 MPH, despite the speed bumps. Oddly, the speeders were roughly at 8:30 am, which suggests that some bored school children have figure out how to game the radar manually with metal reflectors. Just a thought.


During January, Borough residents pulled 2.3M gallons from the municipal well. All water tests were normal. According to the Water Dept. annual report for 2016, there was no detectable lead or coloforms. Borough residents pulled 2M gallons of water form the well during February.


d The Rabies Clinic will be held on April 22 at the Firehouse, from 10 – 2, free for any NJ resident.
The Rocky Hill Community Group will be holding the Annual Spring Egg Hunt on April 15 at 11 am sharp, behind Borough Hall, rain or shine. $6 in advance, or $10 at the gate. register online at https://sites.google.com/site/rhcg08553.


On April 22, Rocky Hill Remembers, from 2 – 4, at the Mary Jacobs Library, sponsored by the Community group.


Borough Council normally meets on the first and third Mondays of each month at Borough Hall on Montgomery Ave., at 7 pm.


For more information, visit www.rockyhill-nj.gov.

 

MTEA Presents Seussical The Musical May 13

On Saturday, May 13 at 1:30 and 7:30 pm, the Montgomery Township Education Association and Montgomery High School Band Parents Association will present the musical Seussical for the sixteenth production of Music from the Heart. The fully volunteer cast and crew are assembled from an eager group of district teachers, support staff, administrators, and students.


This classic family favorite will delight everyone in the audience. Audience members will recognize familiar characters from Dr.Seuss' most famous stories, such as Horton, Jojo, The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, Thing 2, and many others.


Co-producer, Evangeline Thornton says, "Once again we are excited to present Music from the Heart to our community. This program is near and dear to the hearts of so many MTEA members and district staff. Members of our faculty, staff, and administration come together for a great cause and offer a fun night out to the families in our community. Remember last year's overwhelming success, The Wizard of Oz? We will once again be offering 2 Saturday performances for the show! The show is just that amazing!"
Proceeds from the production fund the graduating senior class scholarships awarded by both the MTEA and MHS Band Parents Association. The performance will occur in the Montgomery Performing Arts Center at Montgomery High School.


Tickets will be available for purchase on the main MTSD homepage and a link provided on the MTEA Facebook Page, as well as at the door prior to each performance. Donations are $12.00 for adults and $8.00 for senior citizens and children 12 and under. Doors will open at 1:00 pm for the matinee and at 7:00 pm for the evening show 

April Athlete of the Month - Dylan D'Amore

As one of the captains of the MHS varsity wrestling team, Dylan D'Amore has already crafted a strong legacy in the sport. Currently, he competes in the 285-lbs weight class, and has won numerous accolades including District Champion, Region Champion, and third place at the state tournament. He finished his high school wrestling career this year with 107 wins and 14 losses.


However, Dylan's introduction to the sport was quite unusual. After some persuasion from his friends, who needed wrestlers in heavier weight classes, he joined the team in his sophomore year, giving him a later start than the other wrestlers. Coach Franey praised, "Dylan reluctantly came out for the wrestling team as a sophomore, but quickly fell in love with the sport. I've watched him grow into a young man that embraced the lessons that the sport can teach: hard work, humility, and sacrifice."


Still new to the sport, Dylan's first match was overwhelming. He commented, "The gym I was in was in Delaware Valley, and it seemed so big. I won the match but I didn't really understand the rules. I was still very foreign to everything." With daily practice, Dylan eventually rose to claim third at the state wrestling tournament, reminiscing, "It was nice because it was my final match and I went out with a win. It was the last time I'll wrestle for my coach, and he hugged me afterwards."


Dylan credits his coach for his vast improvement throughout his wrestling career. In the past, Coach Franey and Coach Roberto have helped him with everything from conditioning to improving stamina, two key components in wrestling that can often be the determining factors in matches. Before matches, too, the coaches' encouragement allows Dylan to get into the right state of mind. Dylan effused, "My coaches have done so much for me. I can't put into words how much it means to me. Even outside of wrestling, they've helped me get through schoolwork. They're always willing to go the extra mile."


Outside of wrestling, Dylan in involved with varsity football in the fall season. He currently plays in the position of right tackle. Although Dylan has never been injured for a wrestling season, he had to sit out this year's football season due to a sprained ankle in gym volleyball. He chuckled recalling the story of the injury, saying, "Of all things, it had to be gym volleyball."


Dylan is planning to continue wrestling in college, but has not yet finalized his decision on which college to wrestle for. 

MHS Winter Sports Roundup

The MHS winter sports season has drawn to a spectacular close, with over twelve boys' and girls' varsity teams achieving high honors in their respective sports.


Following a string of victories, the MHS Girls Fencing team was able to capture second at the NJSIAA District II Fencing Tournament, beating out the likes of West Windsor Plainsboro-North and West Windsor Plainsboro-South. The MHS Foil Squad of Laura Sun, Elizabeth Tieu and May Tieu also won first place at the state tournament, with a close 52-51 against Columbia High School, and junior Brenda Yang followed with a third place finish in Saber. The team's stellar performance at states caps off a season of 13 wins and only two losses, with additional squad victories in the Santelli Tournament.


In a major turnaround from previous seasons, MHS Boys Fencing finishes with seven wins and four losses. At the state tournament, Justin Cho placed tenth on foil. The team has been led by seniors Luke Dai, Preston Wilmot, and Myles Chou, as well as solid performances by underclassmen.


Montgomery Girls Swimming fared similarly well, qualifying for the finals of the Central Jersey, Section A Sectional Final. Although the girls lost to Hillsborough, they put up a strong showing, finishing 70-100. Seniors Kara Lydzinski, Michelle D'Allegro and Brigid Di Blasio led the team by finishing first in the 100-Yard Butterfly, 500-Yard Freestyle and 100-Yard Breaststroke events, respectively. The three swimmers, along with Allison D'Allegro, were also able to add on another victory in the 200-Yard Medley Relay. Hailey Roberti, one of the core members of Montgomery's lineup, finished with a final win in the 100-Yard Freestyle event. The Cougars' dominant 200-Yard Medley Relay team also pulled in a third place finish at the State Championships, in addition to two more top ten rankings by the 400-Yard Freestyle Relay team and Kara Lydzinski.


At the Somerset County Championships, the Boys Swimming team finished fourth behind Pingry, Bridgewater-Raritan and Hillsborough High School. The Cougars were led by a first-place finish by John Stauffer in the 200-Yard Individual Medley. With his absence at the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section Two, Public B Tournament, Montgomery fell to Summit in a 76-94 loss. The team as a whole, however, finished a strong season with four wins at different meets.


Under the leadership of Coach Mallon, the MHS Dive Team has blossomed into a dominant presence. At the State Diving Championships, four MHS divers placed within the top ten: Annie Hathaway, Jackie Swick, Angela Zhou and Rei Miyauchi. At the Somerset County Tournament as well, Annie Hathaway placed second, only six points behind the first place finisher. In the same tournament, Daniel Soper from the boys' diving team placed third.


MHS Girls Track finished third at the Central Jersey Group Four Championship, with individual event medals won by Julia Hans in the 3200-Meter Race, Abrianna Barrett in the high jump and Peyton Schanckenberg in the shot put event. At the following Indoor Meet of Champions, Abrianna Barret placed second overall in high jump after hitting the 5-6 mark and surpassing over 36 of the best high-jumpers in the region. Her dominating performance earned her a spot on the Second Team All-State as the high jumper. Senior Soni Gohil commented, "We had a pretty good season in terms of placing in meets, but I think the best part about winter was that everyone got a lot closer, and we really bonded as a team."
The Cougar Boys Winter Track team has had much success at meets and Invitationals throughout the season, such as the Colts Neck and Friends Invitational, where the boys dominated events such as the 200-Meter Dash and the 3200-Meter Race. At the Meet of Champions in February, senior Danny Young finished twelfth in the state in high jump for Group Four. Ryan Cashman also qualified for the Meet of Champions in the 55-Meter Dash, but was unable to make the final round.


Following a stellar season, the MHS Ice Hockey team ends with ten wins, ten ties and three losses overall, finishing sixth in the Skyland Conference. The team lost 0-3 in the first round of the Central Jersey Public A Tournament to the Robbinsville-Allentown team.


Unfortunately, MHS Boys Basketball lost in the first round of the NJSIAA/ShopRite Central Jersey, Group Four Tournament to Trenton, 60-55. However, Matt Remsen and Danny Engels had strong showings, with a combined total of 35 points. The team finishes the season with ten wins.


Despite falling in the first round of the Somerset County Tournament, the Girls Basketball team was able to end the season with four wins. Captain Caroline Hedde commented, "


As a whole, I think this season was a building year. We had a young team with a few strong freshman who were great additions to the program. It took some time for us to adjust to playing with each other, but we were able to gain momentum in the middle of the season and put up a battle against some of the strongest teams in our conference. In the coming years, the program has a lot of potential and with the recent additions, strong leadership, and committed coaching staff, the team can be a very competitive program in the future."


Cougar Wrestling capped off the season with eleven wins and ten losses. Senior Dylan D'Amore finished third at the state tournament in the 285-lbs weight class.


The upcoming spring season looks to be as promising as the winter season, with sports ranging from golf to tennis. 

Meet the Mayor at the Annual MBA Breakfast Meeting

 

Our Annual Breakfast with the Mayor will be held at Cherry Valley Country Club on April 26th, 2017 from 8:00 am to 9:30 am.

Join us for our 2017 Meet the Mayor Breakfast! Start the day right by networking with local businesses and our Ed Trzaska, 2017 Montgomery Township Mayor.

8:00 AM: Networking over Continental Breakfast, Coffee, Juice

8:30 AM: Introduction to Mayor Ed Trzaska and Q&A

9:30 PM: Closing Remarks

Tickets will cost $18.00 for MBA members until Friday, April 21st. The fee after that, at the door, and for all non-MBA members will be $25.00. 

Rocky Hill Community Group Egg Hunt April 15

The Rocky Hill Community Group will be holding the Annual Spring Egg Hunt on April 15 at 11 am sharp, behind Borough Hall, rain or shine.


The cost is $6 if registeredbefore April 13, or $10 at the gate.


Please send registrtaion form and check to PO Box 5, Rocky Hill, 08553. get register forms online or register at https://sites.google.com/site/rhcg08553.


For more information, contact the Rocky Hill Community Group at rhcg08553@gmail.com.
 

Meg Helms Named Outstanding Woman by Somerset County

Somerset County’s Commission on the Status of Women recognized Belle Mead resident Margaret (Meg) Helms as one of several Outstanding Women at a dinner held on March 10 at the Imperia in Somerset. Helms was chosen for an award in the Business/Entrepreneurs/Information Technology category. She is founder and President of Morgan Wallace, LLC, which assists smaller healthcare companies with licensing, mergers, and acquisitions.


Helms grew up in Denville, New Jersey before studying English at Rutgers University’s Douglass College. With jobs hard to find, she opted to pursue an MBA at Washington University in St. Louis, reasoning that the two years of tuition it entailed would incur less debt than a three year law degree. She adds, “I wanted to be a Vice President someday in a company – although I had no idea what a VP was, just that they got great salaries!”


For over three decades, Helms worked for seven different segments of Johnson & Johnson (J&J). She cites her position as Worldwide Director for Ethicon, her last stop at J&J for eleven years, as her favorite. She recalls, “I did deals small and large, up to a $500M acquisition.”


Helms gained extensive experience in international transactions, especially in Israel, China, and throughout Europe while working on deals in medical devices and diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, and consumer products. Her tasks ranged from launching products to advocating for start-up companies that needed equity investments.


Mentoring has always been one of Helms’ skills. In her parochial school classes, which could consist of 50 or more students, she would help the nuns. At 18, she started teaching swimming lessons. She minored in education at Douglass. She notes, “I discovered that I am a natural teacher. From very early on at companies, I felt it was my privilege and obligation to help women.”


Helms points out that her attitude was not always shared. “Remember, it was a very hostile environment in the 70s and 80s for women in business, so we needed all the help we could get. Many women of my age did not feel obligated to do this. They felt the younger women should struggle like they did. I never felt that way and always did my best to help. It bloomed into a core skill that I am very good at and still love to do.”


Drawing from her experience with international transactions, Helms and Barbara Schwartz, the President of her Business Unit, taught a seminar on Leading Global Matrix Teams at the national meeting of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA). Helms says, “She and I were skilled in this very tricky environment, where culture, norms, and time zones make it a very difficult team environment.” In a matrix organizational structure, employees report to both a functional and a project team leader, requiring skilled leaders.


How did Morgan Wallace come about? Helms explains that five years ago, “ I started my own consulting business because I wanted to offer the great skills I had learned at J&J to (smaller) companies who could not afford to have someone like me fulltime. The name is fun. It is the middle names of each of my two children (Julia and Alex), and in turn, they are family names. Morgan was my mother’s maiden name. Wallace is my husband’s relative who attended Princeton University in the 1860s.”


Helms often wondered about the effect of her fulltime career on her children. She recalls, “I only had six weeks of leave with Julia and eight weeks with Alex – the ‘worst case’ scenario for children. We did research with millennials to answer the question, ‘What happens to children of working mothers as they age?’ In fact, the pros outweigh the cons for working women and children.”


Helms developed a trademarked seminar, “The Kids Will Be All Right!” based on this research. She began presenting it with her daughter Julia a few years ago to groups such as the HBA and the Princeton Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Alliance. “It was very well received.”


Community service is another of Helms’ talents and priorities. She worked with George Jarvis of Skillman to help bring Montgomery’s fireworks display back after the event’s funding was cut by the Township Committee. By incorporating fundraising, they reincarnated it as a privately funded, and thus sustainable, event.


Helms also serves on the boards of the Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead, Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, and the HBA’s Central New Jersey Chapter. She is President of the latter two boards. Last November she joined the board of CardioComm Solutions, Inc. of Toronto. This is a significant accomplishment, because as she notes, “only 17% of publicly traded board seats are filled by women today.”


Helms also takes pride in her family. Her husband Dennis is an intellectual property attorney for Chipperson Law Group. Julia works for Bristol-Myers Squibb and will be starting the Executive MBA program at Columbia University in May. Alex opened Troon Brewing, located at Brick Farm Tavern in Hopewell, last year. The family belongs to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Skillman, “a beautiful spiritual place in our community with wonderful Monsignor Malovetz as our leader.”


What are Helms’ words of wisdom to others? “Besides working hard at your career, always look for ways you can improve your community and the world you live in, because I have seen many times that one person, or a team, really can make a huge difference in the world. You just have to find things you are passionate about.”
 

Earth Day Recycling Fair to be Held April 23

The twelfth annual Montgomery Township Recycling Fair, in celebration of Earth Day, will be held at a new location – the Upper Middle School (UMS) parking lot - on April 23 from noon to 3 pm. Lauren Wasilauski, staff coordinator for the Montgomery Township Environmental Commission, notes, “All efforts will be made to expedite drop off at this easy to reach location.”


Residents will be able to recycle a wide array of items at the Fair. These include metal items such as satellite dishes, plastic coated wire shelving, mowers, file cabinets, hangers, tools, yard furniture, pots and pans, clean aluminum or tin pie pans, irons, ironing boards, and wire desk accessories. Electronic devices including cell phones, computers and peripherals, cables, speakers, televisions, printers or scanners, and telephone systems will be collected. The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office will be accepting expired or unwanted medications, but not needles or sharps.


School and office supplies such as crayons, pens, markers, highlighters, notebooks, and printer/toner cartridges will be collected. Sports equipment such as bicycles, sneakers, and sports equipment (for soccer, baseball, basketball, softball and tennis) will also be collected. Other items that will be accepted include children’s books and plastic flower pots.


There will also be paper shredding. Last year, 10,465 pounds of paper were shredded. Wasilauski states, “The amount of paper shredded has gone up each year.” She also says that “Residents can leave staples or paper clips in their documents, but three-ring binders will not be accepted.”


Wasilauski adds, “The Environmental Commission is also asking participants to bring donations for the Montgomery Food Pantry. The Food Pantry is specifically looking for the following items: laundry detergent, paper products (paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper), cleaning supplies, canned tuna, canned chicken, mayonnaise, cake and brownie mix, frosting and canned fruit, but all donations are welcome.”
In addition, new or gently used clothing and shoes and new personal hygiene products (including lip balm, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap, combs or brushes, and feminine hygiene products) are being collected for the Rescue Mission of Trenton.


The fair has drawn over 1,000 people in years past. In 2016, 100 cubic yards of electronics and 40 cubic yards of metal were recycled. In addition, 54 pounds of medication, 150 pairs of sneakers or cleats, and over 100 sporting goods items (such as basketballs, baseballs, and tennis racquets) were brought to the Fair. The event started focusing solely on recycling two years ago.


Regarding the change of venue, Mary Reece, chair of the Environmental Commission, explains, “UMS was chosen this year to achieve better traffic flow. Last year’s fair was so popular, and some folks had to wait a long time in their cars to drop off items. The Environmental Commission heard this feedback from the residents, so they’re trying to improve traffic flow so residents can participate in an organized, expeditious manner. We’re looking for volunteers who can help residents unload items from their cars so we can keep traffic moving.”


Reece adds that the Commission is hoping to add additional items to the list of items that will be collected. “We’re still looking for groups or individuals who want to collect an item for recycling or donation. Each group is responsible for collecting their item, and taking the materials with them at the end of the Fair. They are then responsible for transporting the item (or mailing it) for recycling or donation.”
Residents who wish to help with collecting or unloading items should contact Wasilauski at 908-359-8211, extension 343, or email her at lwasilauski@twp.montgomery.nj.us.


To see an updated list of items that will be accepted at the Fair, go to www.edf.montgomery.nj.us.
A stream cleanup at the Mill Pond Park soccer complex will be held on April 29 from 9 am to 11am.The cleanup is hosted by the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and the Montgomery Environmental Commission/Sustainable Montgomery. Mill Pond Park is located at 29 Mill Pond Road, Belle Mead. Meet at the pavilion area and picnic tables. Wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty and sturdy shoes (waterproof boots are best, but sneakers are fine). Bring work or garden gloves (if you have them) and water to drink. Groups of ten or more should pre-register by emailing Brittany Musolino at bmusolino@thewatershed.org or calling 609-737-3735.
 

Youngest McGowen Daughter Will Follow Her Triplet Sisters to Princeton U

High school seniors often feel pressure to get into the college of their choice, especially if they have high-achieving older siblings. For Alaina (Ally) McGowen of Skillman, that pressure was tripled. Her three older sisters - triplets Pamela, Natalie, and Juliet McGowen - were accepted early decision into Princeton University one year ago. But now Alaina can rest easy, as she, also, was accepted early decision to Princeton University, where she will join her sisters in the fall.

It’s amazing to think that all four of the McGowen sisters were accepted into Princeton University. But it’s not surprising when you look at their accomplishments. Take Ally, for example. She has achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or higher throughout high school at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart – all while taking a challenging course load. She has taken advanced placement (AP) classes in calculus, English, French, biology, chemistry, and history, and – no surprise – is in the National Honor Society.

Ally is also accomplished outside of academics. She was Captain of the Tennis team this year. She competed as a Varsity athlete for Stuart’s Track, Basketball, and Volleyball teams. She was one of the first students from Stuart to win a medal at the Penn Relays with her 100 Meter Relay team. And she has participated in Stuart’s Student Government, Mock Trial Team, and Select Choir and is a Peer Leader.

All four of the sisters were taught about the importance of helping others who are less fortunate by their parents, Lorraine and Gailon McGowen. During the past two summers, the girls helped build a school addition and transportable solar energy system for an orphanage and worked with refugees in Haiti. At Stuart, Ally, like her sisters, has participated in the Outreach (community service) Committee.

On closer inspection, Lorraine and Gailon also helped ensure their daughters’ academic focus and success by what they did not give the girls. None of the daughters had a smartphone while they were in high school. Lorraine admits, “Old style flip phones were given to them for emergency purposes when they were away from home or school. We had to pay extra for those phones, and the girls didn’t particularly like to use them.”

In an era where even parents are addicted to their phones, the McGowens chose to do things differently with their girls. Gailon notes, “Lorraine and I made sure that we kept distractions outside of school to a minimum. Although our no-cell-phone rule was not popular with the girls in high school, they now understand and appreciate why we had that rule.”

And yet Lorraine and Gailon taught their girls not to take things too seriously. Gailon explains, “Lorraine and I have tried to ensure that the girls have approached school (and life in general) with a positive attitude and a sense of humor. For example, from a very young age, I would play games and have sock fights and sing-a-longs with them prior to dropping them off at school in the mornings. They always exited the van in the morning laughing and ready to attack the day.”

In some ways, Ally is quite different from her older sisters. Whereas the triplets did not focus on Princeton until their senior year, Gailon states, “Ally decided to shoot for Princeton in her middle school years. She was very excited when her sisters decided to attend Princeton last year.”

Lorraine says that her youngest daughter is in many ways a contradiction. “She is animated yet composed; assertive yet sweet-tempered; adventurous yet sensible; well-informed yet inquisitive; and steadfast yet nimble. She teaches us to live life with passion but to keep things in perspective.”

In describing Ally, Gailon says, “Ally is a very focused individual with an incredible sense of balance and humor. As a singleton with three older, high-achieving triplet sisters only one year older than her, she has witnessed them getting most of the attention in public (not at home). Despite this, she has made her own mark with respect to academic achievement, athletics and community service. She views her sisters as her role models, and the four sisters are best friends.”

The triplets have settled in at Princeton, and are staying with their original majors (Pam – history or English; Natalie – economics; Julie – chemistry). They have also found enjoyable extracurricular pursuits. Gailon says, “Pam is singing in an a cappella group. Natalie is writing for a campus finance journal and published an article a couple of months ago. Julie practices ballet.” The three do yoga together too.

The McGowen girls will continue their community service this summer. Gailon explains, “All of the girls have volunteered to teach classes to inmates at a local correctional facility. Julie is going to be in Uganda working at a health clinic. Natalie will travel to Cambodia and Pam to Myanmar; both will teach English at local schools.” And Ally will continue the work she has been doing in Haiti.
Summarizing his youngest daughter’s senior year, Gailon states, “We are very proud of Ally’s accomplishments. She kept a level head about the admissions process this year. She has successfully navigated through her high school years and has emerged not as the little sister of high achieving triplets, but as an independent, confident young woman whose future is boundless.”


And what does the future hold for Ally, who interned at the University of North Carolina Law School Center for Civil Rights last summer? Gailon says that although “Ally is unsure about her future plans; she has expressed an interest in majoring in History, English or Biology at Princeton.” Gailon adds, “Ally, like her sisters, is looking forward to getting an iPhone prior to starting college at Princeton.”
 

Why Did This Happen to Me?

You've heard this question. You may even have asked it yourself in the middle of an unpleasant or painful experience. So, the question demands an answer, "Why does God allow good people to suffer?" As you may know, Jesus himself asked this question. While dying on the cross, he looked to God and asked, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" In the Bible, Matthew 27:46.


"Why did this happen to me?" I suspect that there are a number of possible answers to this question.
First, I may have deserved it. For example, if this question had been asked by the two men who were crucified with Jesus, the answer would have been clear, you deserved it! As the penitent thief said to the other criminal, "We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve," Luke 23:41. The truth is, this stern declaration needs to be pronounced even today. If things don't work out for us, it may be that we deserve it, in which case we need to do some painful self-evaluation and change some attitudes or habits.


Second, I may have unconsciously wanted it. Strangely enough, you may have wanted a particular misfortune to happen to you. You may be trying sub-consciously to punish yourself for something you've done, for which you're ashamed. Our minds can work in curious ways so that, without realizing it, we are the cause of our own misfortune. The remedy is a better understanding of ourselves, often gained through counseling and therapy.


Third, it's a part of life. Many unpleasant things come upon us, not because of any fault of our own, but because we are involved in life itself, where as Jesus observed, "The sun rises and the rain falls on the just and the unjust." Consider four facts of life: God has placed us in a law-abiding world; it is a changing, developing world; we are faced with moral choices; and we are entangled in a web of human relationships. Much of human suffering comes from one or more of these realities of life. And yet, we cannot conceive of life without them.


Fourth, sometimes it's the price we must pay in order to gain a greater good. Think of the suffering humans have endured into order to achieve noble goals. Think about Jesus and his followers. How about Christopher Columbus, the explorer. Or George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two great American presidents. Religion, science, and politics offer us many examples of people who suffered much for the common good. Exploration and research can be costly, but in the kind of world where God has placed us, new knowledge and new advances often come only as people are willing to take risks.


Fifth, you may have been destined for this. In other words, you may have been born at a time and place where events, beyond your control, engage you in a costly form of service and sacrifice. Mordecai, of Old Testament fame, once said to Esther, "Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" And here was her reply, "I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish." Esther 4:14-16. If your situation is difficult and you wonder why you are facing perilous times, perhaps you need to believe that you have been providentially placed where you are to do your best.


Lastly, consider the opposite side of the coin. We ask the question, "Why did this happen to me?" Why do we always ask this question about unpleasant things in our lives, and never ask the same question about the good things in life? Consider the health you enjoy. Or enjoyed. The relationships that enrich your life. The opportunities and freedoms you take for granted. The food you eat. The clothing you wear. The house in which you live. Relative to these, when was the last time you knelt before God and asked, "What have I done to deserve such love? Or such happiness? Or such fulfillment? Or such prosperity?" And on, and on, it goes!
 

Route 206 to be closed and detoured during the day starting next week in Princeton

Full closure necessary to relocate utility wires in advance of bridge project

 

 

(Trenton) – New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials today announced a temporary full closure and detour of Route 206 during daytime hours in Princeton for utility work in advance of the rehabilitation of the Route 206 Bridges over Stony Brook.

 

Beginning on March 29 and continuing every day through April 5, Route 206 in Princeton will be closed in both directions near the Stony Brook Bridges between Lovers Lane and Carter Road to allow PSE&G to relocate wires to new utility poles. The road will be detoured from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day for approximately seven days to perform the work. Access will be maintained on Route 206 for local traffic only up to the bridge in both directions.

 

Due to the condition of the existing bridges at the Stony Brook, temporary concrete barrier curb was placed for safety, which narrows the roadway. To ensure safety to the motoring public and PSE&G workers, the road needs to be closed and detoured so PSE&G may safely setup a work zone for the aerial relocation.

 

There has been a signed truck detour in place for vehicles weighing more than 20 tons since the emergency repairs were done in February 2016, and it will remain in place throughout construction for the permanent repairs. During this temporary daytime closure for the utility relocation, there also will be detours in place for trucks over 4 tons and for cars.

 

Car Detour (March 29 – April 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

 

Northbound – From Route 206 north, traffic will be directed to take a left on Carter Road, right on Rosedale Road, and then a right on Elm Road back to Route 206

 

Southbound – From Route 206 south, traffic will be directed to take a left on Lovers Lane, right on Mercer Road, and a right on Hutchinson Drive back to Route 206.

 

Truck detour over 4 tons (March 29 – April 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

 

Northbound – From Route 206 north, turn left on Carter Road, then right on County Route 518 back to Route 206.

 

Southbound – From Route 206 south, turn right on County Route 518, then left at Route 31 South to I-95 north back to Route 206.

 

Truck detour over 20 Tons (regional) – in place now

 

Northbound – From Route 206 north take I-95 south to Route 31 north to Route 202 north back to Route 206 at the Somerville Circle.

 

Southbound – From Route 206 south take Route 202 south at the Somerville Circle to Route 31 south to I-95 north back to Route 206.

 

 

Portable and overhead variable message signs are being utilized to provide advance notification to the motoring public of all traffic pattern changes associated with the work. The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT's traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information and for NJDOT news follow us on Twitter @NJDOT_info.

 

 

Splurge on a Rustenberg wine

Rustenberg is a South African winery that traces its roots back to 1682, when a local farmer named Roelof Pasman planted the first grapes there. He hailed from the ancient town of Meurs near the Rhine river in Europe. Pasman recognized the wine growing potential of that specific area of South Africa. The winery changed hands many time, but in 1941 Peter and Pamela Barlow bought the Rustenberg estate and later more property in the area of Schoongezich. Their son Simon took over running the property in 1987, and his son Murray has been running the winery with his father since 2010.


The Wine Spectator recently observed, "Rustenberg has all the qualifications of a world-class wine estate: a long history of winemaking...and ideal terroir, with deep-red, clay-rich granite soils that are located on a variety of slopes and elevations."


Rustenberg has achieved tremendous critical and commercial success, and today its celebrated estate bottlings are among South Africa's most iconic and sought-after wines. Rustenberg has a long line of wines, but it really specializes in Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. I think those two are some of the wines made in the world today.


The only shortcoming is that the wines are a little over the price point that I usually recommend for this column, which is normally about $15 for a bottle. You can buy Rustenberg wines in New Jersey these days for about $25. Every once in a while, any wine lover should toss his or her budget aside and buy a truly outstanding wine.


The Barlow Chardonnay is wonderful and rich and will stand up to the very best Chards that can cost a lot more. It's fruity, dry and delightful. Life is short, so drink plenty of Barlow Chardonnay along the way.
I simply love this style of South African Chardonnay. It is toasty and rich, but also vibrant and alive in your mouth. Half of the wine is usually aged in new oak, while the other half is aged in old used barrels. That provides a nice balance. On the nose you will get a range of flavors including toasted almond and green apple. There are also some lime and orange tastes. The wine goes very well with grilled chicken, turkey, and even lobster. The winery's oldest Cabernet Sauvignon comes from vines named the Peter Barlow Block. It's a very long-lived wine, and you can hold it in your cellar for years and years. The winery recommends that you decant it before serving. That gives it a richness and full body that one rarely finds. Peter Barlow is truly a wine to remember.


Another of the great Rustenberg reds is the John X Merriman, which is a little softer on both the palate and the wallet. It also has a very smooth finish.


I always seem to get back to the Rustenberg when I want to impress my guests or treat myself. Give them a try, and I think you will enjoy them as well.


George M. Taber is the author of Judgment of Paris-California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine and other wine books.
 

Bank Gives $5K for Montgomery Fireworks

ndependence Day Event June 29

Montgomery Township has received a $5,000 donation from Investors Bank to be used for the annual Independence Day Celebration. A ceremonial check was presented March 27th by Syed Khalid Jafri, Asst. VP and Branch Manager of the North Brunswick Branch of Investors Bank. Montgomery Recreation Director Karen Zimmerman, CFO Michael Pitts, and Administrator Donato Nieman were present to accept the donation and express the gratitude of the Township to Mr. Jafri and Investors Bank.


Montgomery Mayor Ed Trzaska commented, "Our fireworks celebration is one of the premier events of Montgomery. It brings together thousands of residents along with our exceptional community organizations and local businesses. This amazing donation from Investors Bank will help make the event even more special. On behalf of everyone in town, thank you for this generous support."


The Montgomery Independence Day Celebration will take place on Thursday, June 29 starting at 6 pm (rain date July 6) at Montgomery High School, 1016 Rt. 601, Skillman, NJ. For further information or to consider making a donation, go to www.montgomeryfireworks.org.
 

Somerset County Ranks Third Healthiest in New Jersey

This is the second year in a row Somerset County has earned this ranking.

Somerset County has been ranked the third-healthiest county in New Jersey for the second year in a row in an annual nationwide survey conducted by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“For the past seven years, Somerset County has been consistently ranked as one of the top three healthiest counties in New Jersey,” said Freeholder Director Peter S. Palmer. “Although Somerset County is ranked third overall this year, when measuring for health factors based on weighted scores for health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and the physical environment, Somerset County comes in second.”

The Somerset County Department of Health balances the rankings with other sources of health data to help identify issues and opportunities for countywide health improvement. In addition, these data sets are used as inspiration for public health partnerships, as well as to garner support for initiatives among a variety of government agencies, healthcare providers, community organizations, business leaders, policymakers and the public to shape good health and strong policies to promote health for everyone.

“The Somerset County Department of Health continually works with our public health partners to improve health behaviors among residents through education and outreach on community health initiatives,” said Freeholder Patricia L. Walsh, liaison to Healthier Somerset, a coalition formed to improve the health and wellness of everyone who lives and works in Somerset County. “The ranking reflects the collaborative efforts taken by our staff and through interactions with these groups to prioritize personal and community health.”

To address community health issues, the Somerset County Department of Health is an active partner in Healthier Somerset and Healthier Middlesex, to focus on engaging county residents and stakeholders in good health habits and promoting policy changes to improve the health and well-being of all in the community.

While no ranking model can perfectly describe the health of a population, the county health ranking can be used to demonstrate differences in health by place, raise awareness of the many factors that influence health, and stimulate further community-health-improvement efforts. In ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation, the results illustrate what we know when it comes to what is making people sick or healthy. The road maps show what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play.

The Somerset County Department of Health attributes health-status achievements to ongoing community initiatives, such as with Healthier Somerset and Healthier Middlesex, and several long-standing public health collaborations with organizations, such as the Greater Somerset Public Health Partnership and three area hospitals: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital - Somerset and New Brunswick campuses - and Saint Peter’s University Hospital.

Additional regional collaborations with Morris and Middlesex counties have resulted in efforts to establish ordinances that promote community health, such as smoke-free parks and Complete Streets that enable access for all users.

Somerset County has promoted programs to expand walking and biking trails, increase open space and increase utilization of alternative energy and green design. These initiatives address key issues in the 2015 Somerset County Community Health Improvement Plan and the 2016 Middlesex/Somerset Counties Community Health Improvement Plan, which identified health concerns in Somerset County.

Residents are encouraged to look at these local sources of data to understand more about the health of their community. The Somerset Community Health Improvement Plan and the Middlesex/Somerset Community Health Improvement Plan can be viewed at http://bit.ly/HDReports.

To view the “County Health Rankings” report, visit www.CountyHealthRankings.org
 

The Neshanic Garden Club Garners Awards at Flower Show

The Neshanic Garden Club once again gained many ribbons at the New Jersey Flower Show. The club members received 24 ribbons for their entries in the Horticulture Branches Exhibit. Luann DeWolfe received a Flower Show Award for her holly, ilex meserveae 'Conapri', Arline Pagliaro won a 2nd place ribbon with her shoe design. Jeannie Geremia received a 2nd place for her "Fairy Garden" design. Twelve youth participants also received ribbons.


Neshanic Garden Club's Annual Spring Luncheon will be held on April 27th at 12 noon at the Neshanic Valley Golf Club in Neshanic Station. The members are busy collecting donations for the basket raffle and door prizes. Our well-known speaker and Professional Photographer, Walter Choroszewski, will present a slide-show program, "The Garden State in Bloom". The donation is $35 for tickets and you can call: Barbara Zielsdorff 908-359-1750 or e-mail at BZielsdorff@gmail.com. For information about other club meetings and/or activities, please contact Marion Nation at 908-359-6317 or by e-mail at mrsnation@comcast.net.
 

Clean-up Day at the Battlefield with the Princeton Battlefield Society and the Sierra Club,” Sat. April 1

Saturday, April 1st, 1-4pm - Princeton Battlefield State Park. This year we are also participating in the Civil War Trust’s Park Day, a nationwide clean-up day, and you will receive a free T-Shirt! This year we will have three teams – each with a team leader: Team – 1: Removal of porcelainberry, an invasive species, from dogwoods near the colonnade. Team – 2: Cutting invasive bamboo. Team – 3: Clearing encroachment on the path to the Friends Meeting House. For young and old. We have age-appropriate gloves, saws, clippers, and pruning shears to put at your disposal. Please bring your own too. Put a “spring” in your step and join us at the Clarke House in the Park! See the restoration work just completed. Sponsored by the Princeton Battlefield Society with special assistance from the Sierra Club – NJ Chapter/Central Group. Must RSVP with the name of the team you want to join. For Questions and to RSVP please contact Kip: princetonbattlefieldsocinfo@gmail.com.

 

Food For Thought - The Sweet Taste of Success?

Ever dine with someone who complained: “Twenty-five dollars for a steak? I could buy it at Shoprite for eight bucks. Throw in the vegetables and salad and this only cost them ten dollars at most. They must be making a killing.” They reinforce their “restaurants make a bundle” argument by pointing out that servers only get paid a few dollars an hour. (Their below minimum wage rate is legal because it is supplemented by tips). What our unsavvy dinner guest is failing to consider, are the multitudinous unseen costs in the restaurant business.


Restaurants have enormous initial expenditures. Purchasing a building and liquor license can easily cost a million a more. Renting a building isn’t much better of an option. It’s a huge monthly overhead with no equity. And unless it’s brand new there may be some renovations needed. And if you forgo the multiple hundred thousand excised to procure a liquor license, you are concomitantly eliminating a major source of revenue. But the building and the legal right to sell alcohol is only the beginning.


Professional restaurant equipment is expensive. Stoves, grills, deep fryers, dishwashers, freezers,

refrigerators, all cost in the thousands. A restaurant size ice cream machine is five to ten thousand alone. And can you imagine the amount of electricity, gas, and water it takes to run and maintain all this stuff? I know the owner of a small, hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant. She showed me her electric bill: $1700 for one month—and it wasn’t summertime!


Then there are the countless other items like small appliances, gadgets and tools. And how about the dining room furnishings: tables, chairs, plates, silverware, glasses, tablecloths, decorations, menus, etc.
Food costs are staggering. For every $25 steak being served, there’s something being thrown out because it was cooked improperly, has gone bad, was spilled, didn’t sell, or given away to some disgruntled customer. Many upscale restaurants also provide their staff with a “family meal” before or after the dinner rush. Plus, there are all the freebies such as the additional lemon for your ice tea, the extra butter on your baked potato, the seven sugars Mr. Sweet-Tooth puts in his coffee, a second basket of bread, etc. You might be scoffing at those extra sugar packets but multiply all these seemingly miniscule amenities by a month’s worth of dinner guests and you’ll be halfway toward your mortgage payment. It’s like Ford having to replace a fifty cent part on all its Lincolns in one year.


Servers may earn a small wage but there are many of them. As well as the bartenders, bus boys, cooks, dishwashers, hostesses, the executive chef, and one or more managers. Every businessman knows that staff cost much more than their base salary. Figure in social security taxes, benefits, the cost of hiring and training employees (restaurants have very high staff turnover), and the accoutrements you must supply them.


But wait, there’s many more demons lurking behind the scenes ready to eat up the “big profit” on the prime rib. Consider insurance, advertising, repair and maintenance, cleaning supplies, office supplies, the telephone bill, internet, waste removal, pest control, and many other nickel and dime items that insidiously accumulate. Oh, and don’t forget Uncle Sam’s cut.


According to a study by Ohio State University, twenty-six percent of new restaurants will fail within the first year. Nineteen percent will fail within the second year and fourteen percent will go belly up by their third year. Thus, fifty-nine percent of new restaurants will be out of business within three years.
Competition in the restaurant business is fierce. Customer loyalty is fickle and that elusive repeat business is the lifeblood of any restaurant. Many other options exist if a particular establishment miffs you with inferior service or cooks your medium rare steak well done.


A good restaurant manager and executive chef are worth their weight in gold. It takes noteworthy skill and incessant diligence to maintain consistent quality in a restaurant. You’re constantly adjusting to fluctuating product quality and availability, varying food trends, and staff that come and go quicker than restaurants do. And when quality drops for any length of time, you’re in trouble. How often do you go back to an inferior place in the hopes that they finally reclaimed their former glory?
Twenty-five bucks for a steak dinner? I’d say it’s a bargain.  

Transco Compressor Station Forum in Franklin Urges Montgomery to "Fight it to the End"

A public forum was held at Franklin Township's Samson G. Smith Middle School on Monday night, February 27 on Williams Transco plan to build a Compressor Station at Trap Rock Industries, at the intersection of Route 27 and Promenade Boulevard in Franklin Township.


Details of potential health impacts from benzene, diesel emissions, formaldehyde, methane, smog and silica dust were presented to over 330 central Jersey residents in attendance, as were fact sheets on major gas pipeline failures and accidents, including at compressor stations, since the 1950s. Rapid growth of the industry involving fracked shale gas, now more than 44% of gas used in homes, was also highlighted.


Transco is proposing to build a 32,000 horsepower gas-powered compressor station at Trap Rock to serve increased capacity from the natural gas site in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania to National Grid customers in New York, in particular moving gas across the coast through lines into Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. Local activist groups argue that in this scenario "New York gets more gas and New Jerseyans get the dangers."


Williams Transco is expected to submit a new FERC application on March 27.

Former Montgomery Mayor Patricia Graham attended with Township Administrator Donato Nieman and many local and state elected officials. She listened as State Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D) of Franklin said "There's so many issues with the project it warrants a fight to the end. The environmental impact is at best uncertain, and a pipeline issue can be a wide-scale incident. Anywhere south of Route 518 the whole area is subject to vulnerability we are not even beginning to prepare ourselves for. FERC approval isn't on our side, they don't deny a lot. I don't see any discussion on what Transco can do to ensure protection for residents."


Last November Montgomery Township Committee passed a resolution opposing "the construction and installation of a compressor station on all proposed locations in and around South Brunswick and Franklin Townships, as it would have severe detrimental impacts on the residential communities in those areas."
At the Committee's meeting on Thursday, March 2, Graham updated her colleagues and on the event. "Montgomery residents on River Road are very concerned about the proximity of the compressor station. The meeting featured activist groups encouraging everyone to object. There are matters for the New Jersey DEP to control such as impact on local water quality; there are different avenues that could make this application fail, but everybody is waiting on FERC," she said.


The February 27 forum provided info on the aging pipes' infrastructure at over half a century in age and corrosion or cracks that can lead to gas escapes and explosions or fires. A one-page handout stated from the event states "adding increased gas along lines may add stress and the combination of aging pipes and added compression has led to dangerous explosions or fires throughout our country," the comment attributed to Transco's spokesperson.


It was also noted that older pipeline pieces at Trap Rock were changed and moved in the 1980s but no record of the work has surfaced. In addition Trap Rock actively blasts a few times a week and there are no reported studies about the impacts of tremors on the massive gas lines or compressor operation.


Assemblyman Danielsen, a volunteer fireman in Franklin, explained a worst-case problem, as water lines along Routes 518 and 27 can't supply needed water and pressure to the site if volunteer fire departments are called upon for an emergency at the compressor site. The assemblyman is. He says the southern stretch of the township, "Lacks resources to protect us in a catastrophe that could happen, especially if it included a pipeline."


On March 2 Mayor Ed Trzaska asked Hadinger if it was the time for Montgomery to file for intervenor status.


Carolyn Kuehn, a resident of south Franklin Township and the proposed compressor site, said timing is of the essence and townships should be targeting FERC's process.


"We are hoping to get any action we can from Montgomery. As for intervener status, we can only submit comments to FERC at this pre-filing time as eComments on their website or by sending a letter to their address. Once Williams Transco files their application to FERC, we will have to register as interveners to submit comments again. Everyone can register as an intervener, individuals, companies, NGOs, and others. The window for comments will be relatively restrictive at that point, maybe 45 days or less. We need to move now and move fast," Kuehn said.


Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition, a grassroots group, will hold meetings on the compressor station project this month on March 14 and 28.


The Coalition, inclusive of Franklin and South Brunswick, is actively seeking a presence in Montgomery Township and Rocky Hill. They hope to engage people from Montgomery to attend meetings immediately. For more information view the website, social media and contact information on www.safer-nj.org.  

Neshanic Garden Club to Meet April 27

The Neshanic Garden Club will be hosting a Spring Luncheon and Basket Auction along with door prizes on Thursday, April 27, at 12:00noon. The event will be held at Neshanic Valley Golf Club, 2301 South Branch Road, Neshanic Station, NJ.


The special guest, Walter Choroszewski, Photographer, will speak on "The Garden State in Bloom". Tickets are available for a $35 donation by contacting Barbara Zielsdorff, 908-359-1750 or BZielsdorff@gmail.com. Deadline to purchase tickets is April 12.


For further information about club meetings, please contact club president Marion Nation at 908-359-6317. For more information regarding the club or this event you can also visit us at neshanicgardenclub.org and like us on Facebook.
 

Somerset County Honors 10 Outstanding Women

Ten county residents are being recognized for contributions to their career fields and their communities.
Post Date: 03/07/2017 11:11 AM

Somerset County Freeholder Patricia Walsh, liaison to the county Commission on the Status of Women, joins the commission in announcing the 2017 Outstanding Women in Somerset County award winners. To see photos of the winners, visit www.facebook.com/SomersetCountyNJ

“We have many women in Somerset County doing amazing things every day,” she said. “It is most appropriate that during Women's History Month, we take the time to publicly recognize them and say thank you.”

The Outstanding Women in Somerset County awards dinner will be held March 10 at The Imperia in Franklin.

Honorees are women who live in Somerset County. This year’s award recipients by category are:

Arts – Caren Frost Olmsted of Bernards is the owner and principal of CFO Design, an art and mural company she established in 2003. Her projects include large- and small-scale murals in corporate and educational settings, project management, and art direction. Her murals appear in supermarkets, schools, churches and hospitals across the country, as well as homes and businesses. Her signature program is an artist-in-residency for schools called “We Are All Artists,” where she works with the entire school population to create murals that transform major portions of the school into works of art. She has worked with over 22,000 students and 2,200-plus adults, completing over 40 murals totaling 40,000 square feet in the past seven years alone. She has been nationally televised on The Learning Channel’s hit decorating show, “Moving Up” and received the prestigious “2015 Arts Educator of the Year” award from Morris Arts. She is the founding co-chair of “ARTsee,” an artist collective that provides an annual tour of local artists’ studios in Bernardsville and Basking Ridge.

Arts – Carolyn Kelly of Bernards is a former Township Committee member who served as the township’s mayor in 2005 and 2009. She currently is first vice president of the Friends of the Kennedy Martin Stelle Farmstead, which is listed on the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places. Her focus is on fundraising and development. When she joined the board in 2010, she initiated the Friends Annual Appeal Program. She also is a founding member of Farmstead Arts. She co-founded and served as a trustee on the township’s September 11th Remembrance Foundation. She also has served as a member of the Bernards Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Bernards Township Environmental Commission and the Bernardsville Junior Women’s Club. She holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial labor relations from Pace University and was director of human resources at Centenary College in Hackettstown.

Business – Ahu Yildirmaz, Ph.D., of Warren leads the ADP Research Institute, where she directs economic and human capital management research. She founded the institute to leverage ADP’s massive set of big data and deep expertise across the entire spectrum of HCM to deliver meaningful insights into the labor market and workforce management. In addition to managing the world-renowned ADP National Employment Report®, she has initiated a number of research assets that have come to be relied upon for timely data in the marketplace. Prior to joining ADP in 2011, she held a number of roles at Johnson & Johnson and AT&T in the areas of strategy, corporate finance and economic research. She also lectured and taught several macroeconomics and finance classes within the Economics Department at New York University and the City University of New York. She holds a doctorate in international economics from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bosphorus University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Business – Margaret E. (Meg) Helms of Montgomery is president of Morgan Wallace Associates, LLC, a global strategic healthcare M&A consulting firm. She advises start-ups and small- to large-cap life science companies on a full range of licensing and merger-and-acquisition matters. Prior to this, during her 30-plus-year career with Johnson & Johnson, she successfully closed dozens of M&A transactions with deal values of up to $500 million. She is particularly skilled in handling global transactions, including in China. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University’s Douglass College. She is a board member of CardioComm Solutions, a publicly traded company in Canada; and a member of BioNJ; the Licensing Executives Society; Healthcare Businesswomen's Association, where she is President of Metro Central NJ; and Women's Business Leaders in Healthcare. She also currently serves on the Carrier Clinic Board of Trustees and as board president of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Education – Mary Bridgeman, Pharm.D., BCPS, CGP, FASCP, of Hillsborough has been at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University since 2007 and currently is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration. She received her doctor of pharmacy degree from the Ernest Mario School. After graduation she completed a specialized pharmacy residency in nephrology and hypertension at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where she maintains a practice in internal medicine. She is recognized as a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist and geriatric pharmacist, and is a fellow of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. At both the university and hospital organizational levels, she is involved in committees charged with governing student development and patient care, respectively. At the state level, she is a member and co-chairwoman of the New Jersey Interagency Council on Osteoporosis and member of the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel. She is a monthly contributor to a column on over-the-counter medication use that appears in the journal, Pharmacy Times.

Government – Carol Manuele Bianchi of Bernards served as the township’s mayor in 2016 and has been on the Township Committee since 2013. As mayor, she maintained the fiscally conservative policies that have earned Bernards Township a triple-A bond rating, one of the very lowest equalized tax rates in New Jersey, and zero debt. She served as the first female chairperson of the township Planning Board. She got involved in government as an organizer and co-leader of a citizens group, "Citizens for a Clean and Safe Millington Quarry,” which successfully worked with the government to stop the importation of fill to the quarry and to require testing for contamination and state oversight. She is co-chair of the Somerset County Employer Legislative Committee and the Somerset County Business Partnership Legislative Committee and vice president of the Somerset County Governing Officials Association; she earned the association’s 2016 Elected Official of the Year award. She is a graduate of Rutgers University, a magna cum laude graduate of Seton Hall Law School, and a 2010 graduate of Leadership Somerset.

Hometown Hero – Jody C. D’Agostini, CFP®, CDFA™, of Bernards started her working life in the medical and pharmaceutical industries and now provides comprehensive financial planning and wealth management for individuals and closely held businesses using a goal-based, holistic approach to finances. She specializes in retirement and estate planning, having obtained a certificate in retirement planning from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation in 2002. She is a CDFAä (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst) and belongs to the New Jersey Collaborative Law Group. She also serves on the Somerset County YMCA Board of Directors and the board of SWIM Inc. She is the founder of Community in Crisis, a nonprofit dedicated to taking the stigma out of addiction and to prevention and education aimed at the heroin/opiate epidemic. She is a member of the Morristown Chamber of Commerce and a frequent contributor to the Star-Ledger business section and NJ.com. She received the statewide YMCA Social Responsibility Champion Award and the Freedom House Citizen of the Year Award in 2015 and was recently given the Women of Leadership Award by the Boy Scouts of America.

Medicine – Sally Steele Hoben, RN-BSN, of Bound Brook is a lifelong borough resident and a certified school nurse at Bound Brook High School. She is a graduate of Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center School of Nursing, Union County College and Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey). She completed advanced-degree studies at Caldwell College, where she received her certification. Early in her career, she helped save many lives through her work in the emergency department and emergency medical services. During the 1970s she was one of the first nurses working in prehospital advanced life support – today’s paramedics. She also was responsible for the education and mentoring of hundreds of paramedic students, many of whom have successful careers today in public health, medicine, law enforcement, and emergency medical and fire services. More recently as a school nurse, she established the Breakfast-after-the-Bell program for at-risk students in the Bound Brook School District, which today serves nearly 2,000 students.

Volunteerism – Sue Ferranti of Branchburg is a volunteer instructor for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and continues to use her teaching skills to provide insight into the many aspects associated with mental illness through their free Family-to-Family course. To date, she has taught this program to over 150 family members. She has been president of the NAMI Somerset chapter for the past five years, runs the monthly support groups, captains the NAMI Somerset Walk Team, sits on the board of Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center, participates in the Healthier Somerset Coalition, speaks about mental illness at local churches and organizations, and receives and directs calls from the public on mental illness concerns. She volunteers in an ongoing effort to help eliminate stigma and bring awareness to the fact that through advocacy, education and support, mental illness is treatable. She recently retired from 25 years as director and head teacher of her own nursery school.

Volunteerism – Kathleen I. (Kippy) Piedici of Bernards is a 21-year township resident whose volunteer activities are both municipal and political in nature. She is strongly committed to keeping Bernards Township one of the best places to live in New Jersey. She currently is vice-chairwoman of the Planning Board and president of Library Board of Trustees. She previously served on the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Beautification Task Force. On the political front, she is a member of the Republican Municipal Committee and has been a local campaign manager four times. She serves on two executive boards – the New Jersey Library Trustees Association and the New Jersey Planning Officials – and is certified by the Election Law Enforcement Commission as a treasurer for candidate campaigns. She is director of strategic business analysis at Solix Inc., a business-process outsourcing company in Parsippany. 

Fire Volunteers Wanted

Come Learn More March 29th
Have you ever wondered about the people who choose to go into a burning building when everyone else is running out? It might surprise you to find out they are some of your friends and neighbors. The Fire and EMS emergency services in Montgomery Township are all-volunteer and are always looking for men and women (Age 16 to 80+) interested in helping our community.
Membership lets you participate in training sessions, response to emergency calls or support the company in many other ways.

On March 29th Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Co. No. 2 (Station 46) will be hosting a meet and greet at the firehouse, located at 529 County Route 518, that Wednesday night from 7 to 9 pm. There will be two identical sessions, including an interesting film about Montgomery fire calls, a short briefing, and tours of the fire house at the following times:

7:00 PM

8:15 PM

So pick up a friend or neighbor and come by the firehouse for refreshments and learn what we do, how you might get involved, and to meet members Wed. night March 29. Everyone is welcome! For more info, go to www.mtvfc2.com, facebook.com/mtvfc2/, or email membership46fire@gmail.com .
 

Earth Day Recycling Event April 23

Drop off items or help with collection


Montgomery Township Environmental Commission and Sustainable Montgomery will organize the 11th Annual Earth Day Fair on Sunday, April 23, from Noon to 3 pm. The event will be held at the Montgomery Upper Middle School parking lot, 375 Burnt Hill Road, Skillman. All efforts will be made to expedite drop off at this easy to reach location.


This year's Earth Day Recycling Fair will again provide collections for recycling a great variety of items. These include: metal, electronics, expired/unwanted medications (to be collected by the Somerset County Sheriff's Office), flower pots, crayons, office supplies (pens, markers, highlighters, notebooks), printer/toner cartridges, sneakers; soccer, baseball and softball equipment, children's books, bicycles.


"The recycling aspect of our annual Fair is a big hit with the community so we decided to focus exclusively on collections this year. The Fair has attracted as many as a thousand people in recent years," said Mary Reece, chairperson of Montgomery Township's Environmental Commission. "It's the township's biggest community-wide environmental event. Last year, we recycled the following: 54lbs of medication, 10,465lbs of paper shredded, over 100 cubic yards of electronics, 40 cubic yards of metal, 150 pairs of sneakers/cleats donated, 100+ sporting goods items donated (basketballs, baseballs, tennis racquets)," Reece said.


To learn more, become a sponsor, or to find out how to get involved in other ways, contact Lauren Wasilauski at 908-359-8211 extension 343 or email her at lwasilauski@twp.montgomery.nj.us .
If you have questions, please contact Montgomery Open Space Coordinator Lauren Wasilauski at lwasilauski@twp.montgomery.nj.us.  

Rocky hill Community Group Annual Egg Hunt

The Rocky Hill Community Group will be holding their annual Spring Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 15, 2017 behind the Rocky Hill Borough Hall. The egg hunt will begin at 11 am sharp, rain or shine. Cost is $6 per child if pre-registered before April 13 (please send registration form and check to PO Box 5; Rocky Hill, NJ 08553) or $10.00 per child on the day of the event. Registration forms can be found on our website:https://sites.google.com/site/rhcg08553. Don't forget your basket.


For further information, contact the Rocky Hill Community Group at rhcg08553@gmail.com 

New Montynews.com Web Poll

Our old Web Poll question was, "Do you think President Trump should release his tax records?"
455 respondents voted, and 87.5% voted "Yes." 12.5% voted "No."


Our new Web Poll question regards the Affordable care Act, so-called "Obamacare," which is to be replaced with something that may end up called, "Trumpcare."


So, our new Web Poll question is, do you think the current Republican Party "Repeal and Replace," plan for ACA is a good idea? The possible answers are A. Yes, very much so; B. better than nothing; C. a horrible idea, keep Obamacare; D. no Government insurance plan at all.


To vote, go tour our website, montynews.com, look on the bottom of the right hand side, and vote.