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

Sunday June 25, 2017

 

Montgomery News Directory

New After-hours Tax & Sewer Bill Payment Drop Box

Montgomery Township has set up a new secure after-hours drop box for tax and sewer payments. This black box (see photo) is located on a post at the front of the municipal building at the bottom of the handicap ramp, located at 2261 Route 206 in Belle Mead (08502).


The drop box is for after-hours tax & sewer payments only. It is not intended for leaving any other kind of correspondence or payment to the Township. The box is checked every business day morning. Payments left in the drop box will be posted as of the next business day. This step has been taken for the convenience of our tax payers. If you have any questions, contact the Finance Department at 908-359-8211.  

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Princeton House Fun Run

More than 130 young people, from preschoolers to 8th graders, finished a 1.2-mile Fun Run yesterday that served as the final leg of the 9th annual Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) Kids Marathon.

The fun run, sponsored by PHCS Community Education & Outreach and Princeton Fitness & Wellness Center, was held on the grounds of Educational Testing Service.

Participants were able to register solely for the run, but most of the young runners were completing the Kids Marathon. Youngsters who signed up for the marathon began their efforts in April, attempting to run, walk or roll a total 25 miles—an average of 2.5 miles per week—over 10 weeks leading up to Race Day. They earned incentives for achieving milestones at 5, 10, 13.1, 20 and 25 miles. The 1.2-mile Fun Run completed the full distance of a marathon.

PHCS initiated the Kids Marathon in 2009 to raise awareness about the damaging health effects of childhood obesity and to offer young people a way to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. Proceeds from the event benefit PHCS programs to promote wellness and prevent obesity and chronic disease among children.
 

Outdoor Movies at twine

twine in Hopewell will be sponsoring a series of outdoor movies this summer. The July schedule includes "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory" with Gene Wilder on July 21, from 8:30 to 10:30 pm. On July 27 they will be showing that old classic, "Now Voyager" with Betty Davis, also from 8:30 to 10:30.
Tickets are $10 for adults and if you come as a family, kids are $5 each. includes unlimited popcorn and lemonade. Bring a chair or a blanket and pick up your tickets at twine, 8 Somerset St., Hopewell, and receive 10% off your next purchase.,


For more information, www,twinehopewell.com, or call 609-466-2425. 

Rocky Hill Trash Pick-up Summer Schedule Starts June 14

 Summer schedule is twice a week, Wednesdays and Fridays, through September 8

Police Advisory: Lock Cars/Remove Valuables

Safety Tips for Vehicles and Homes
With the advent of summer, the Montgomery Township Police

Department would like to take the time to remind the community to secure their vehicles and remove their personal belongings from plain view when leaving their vehicles unattended at home or when out around town.

Recently, there have been several reports of items being taken from unlocked vehicles as well as vehicles which were forcibly entered by smashing a window to steal property from the vehicle. Any suspicious circumstances should be immediately reported to the Montgomery Twp. Police at 908-359-8211.

 

Notes from the Township Administrator - June 2017

June is graduation month and the Township had four of our recently hired probationary police officers graduate from the Cape May County Police Academy June 9. Connor Chapkowski, Tory Gonzales, Christopher Parlow and Adam Verducci have joined the Montgomery Township Police department and will spend the next three months riding with a Field Training Officer.


Field Training Officers are seasoned veteran officers who train our new officers in how we police our Township. They also coach our new officers and coach and counsel them when they need to improve certain aspects of their performance, after successfully completing their three month ride-a-long these officers will be allowed to patrol the Township on their own. We expect all of our new officers to do well, based upon our very thorough testing and hiring process.


Montgomery Fireworks are scheduled for June 29. Recreation Director Karen Zimmerman and the Fireworks Committee have been working on this event since last year. It is the single largest gathering of Montgomery residents every year. Last year the Township estimated that close to 6,000 people attended the fireworks. Gates will open at 6 pm and the John Oaks Band will begin to perform at 7 pm. It is estimated that the fireworks will go off at dusk, approximately 9:15 pm. The rain date for the fireworks is Thursday July 6.


The Riverside and Oxbridge Wastewater Treatment Plants consolidation project continues to move forward. This project will eliminate the two aforementioned treatment plants and pump their wastewater through force mains to the Pike Brook Wastewater plant. This project will be advertised for bid in Mid-June and we hope to be able to award the bid later in the summer. This consolidation project will reduce the number of wastewater plants operated by the Township from six to four. It will have a long term impact on the Sewer Utility Budget by reducing some of our operating expenses by eliminating, NJDEP permit fees, chemical costs, plant maintenance, and the cost of electricity to operate two treatment facilities.


Montgomery has been named one of the safest communities in the United States, but at times we take our safety for granted. Residents must be reminded to lock their cars in their driveways. Residents have reported thefts of cash, cell phones, laptop computers, tablets and other personal items from the cars. Many times after completing their investigation of the theft they discover that the cars were left unlocked. Please remove your valuables from the car and lock the door. Please avoid a crime of opportunity. Many of these thefts occur when someone even a neighbor sees an unattended car checks the door handle, discovers the car is unlocked and takes what he or she can grab quickly and escape without being noticed. A little common sense safety goes along way.


Speaking of safety, it is summer and time for vacation. If you are going away and want an added sense of security when leaving your home unoccupied for an extended period of time, contact our Police Department and have your home placed on our Departments "Vacation List". This will notify our police officers to pay extra attention to your home while on patrol with more frequent drive-byes and checks. A quick phone call to the Police Department can give you greater peace mind while vacationing. Have a wonderful and safe summer.
 

2017 Montgomery Recreation Summer Camps

Don't miss out on all our exciting Summer Camps! We offer all types of fun camps from a 6-week day camp to weekly camps, acting, chess, boys/girls basketball camps, Fal-Rooney, boys/girls soccer, US Sports Institute camps for all ages.


Sign up today at https://register.communitypass.net/montgomery or stop by our office and register in person. We are located at Otto Kaufman Community Center 356 Skillman Road Skillman NJ 08558.  

MHS June 2017 Sports Roundup

The MHS varsity boys tennis team recently captured the NJSIAA/Parisi Speed School Tournament of Champions title, against all the top-ranked teams in the state. The victory marked an end to a spectacular undefeated season for the number one-seeded team in the state. All five matches within the tournament final were won by Cougars.


First singles Vishnu Joshi, second singles Ishaan Ravichander and third singles Mark Fridman swept the singles matches, with first doubles team Chris Guo and James Hopper, and second doubles team Phillip Szkudlarski and Liam Lynch adding two more doubles wins. Not only has the team captured the Tournament of Champions title, they also won the county, section and NJSIAA Group Four State Tournament, and ended the season with twenty-two wins and zero losses. Coach Saleem commented, "The Tournament of Champions win was the first one in Montgomery's athletic history in any sport. My team worked extremely hard and showed a tremendous amount of heart to get to this level. Our path to winning the Group Four and Tournament of Champions Titles was the hardest route for any team in boys tennis this year, since we needed to go through the second and third ranked teams in the state. My guys never faltered in their quest to win a state championship, and I am extremely proud of every single one of them."
Doubles team Chris Guo and James Hopper also recently won the NJSIAA/Parisi Speed School State Doubles Championship over a doubles team from Mountain Lake. MHS can expect even more out of the tennis team in the upcoming years; out of this year's lineup, only two members-Vishnu Joshi and Liam Lynch-are graduating seniors.


Joshi commented, "Ultimately, I think our desire and our refusal to lose in big moments got us wins over the best teams in the state. We knew our potential, and demanded nothing less than the best from each other. As for next season, I hope that my teammates will once again realize what they are capable of, and strive towards that ultimate goal of winning the Tournament of Champions once more."


Adding on to the success of the tennis team, the boys lacrosse team captured the NJSIAA Group Four State Championship, 7-5. Dan Engels scored three goals, with other goals contributed by Kyle Howard, Nico Ipeker and Kyle Marrapodi. This victory marked Montgomery lacrosse's first state championship title in nearly a decade. Despite losing out in the first round of the competitive Tournament of Champions, the team ended the season with seventeen wins, and just six losses overall. Both Dan Engels and senior captain Jared Reinson earned spots on the 2017 US Lacrosse All-American team, which highlights some of the best high school lacrosse players in the nation. The two were among twenty-one players from the entire state of New Jersey to make the prestigious list.


The MHS girls golf team tied for first at the Central Jersey, Group Four Sectional Championship, before losing in a tie-breaking playoff. However, the team was able to place third in the subsequent Tournament of Champions, beating even West Windsor-Plainsboro North, the team that captured the sectional title over MHS.


The Cougars are led by captain Rosey Li, who commented, "This season, as a whole, was successful in that each person on the team had immense growth in their golf game. In the final State Tournament, we beat our biggest competitor since the start of our program, Ridge, and finished third. The biggest advantage our team had this season was our strong sense of teamwork, which aided us in a time of difficulty, when we were unsure if we would even make Sectionals because we did not have enough match wins. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the team will accomplish next year-I know they will be even more successful than they were this year." Next year, the MHS golf team will be led by Madeline Jin, who placed sixth individually at the Tournament of Champions.


To cap off a season with 24 wins, two ties, and only one loss, Cougar softball won the Central Jersey, Group Four Sectional title over Old Bridge. The victory was, in large part, due to junior Peyton Schnackenberg's pitching. She retired thirteen straight batters to close the game. Montgomery also held out until the semifinal round of the NJSIAA/Wilson Sporting Goods Group Four State Tournament, where the team lost 0-2.


Montgomery baseball is finishing its season with twenty wins and eleven losses. The team placed second at the Somerset County Tournament, behind Rutgers Prep, and also were able to advance to the semifinal round of the Central Jersey, Group Four Tournament, where they lost to Freehold Borough, 0-1.
 

2017 Montgomery Movie Under the Stars

Join us for our first annual movie night! This year we will be showing SING at the Montgomery High School (front lawn) on Friday, July 21. Festivities will begin at 7:30pm which will include food vendors, DJ and fun activities for the kids! The movie will begin around 9pm. Bring a blanket or chair, alcohol is prohibited and all pets must remain at home. Questions? Call Montgomery Recreation 609-466-3023.
 

Athlete of the Month - Mark Fridman

Mark Fridman currently plays third singles on the dominant Montgomery varsity tennis team. He was a huge factor behind the team's success this year, and has helped the Cougars win both the Group Four State Championship and the Tournament of Champions.


Mark began tennis at the age of four, playing against his grandmother on public courts near his house. His grandmother, even from this young age, had always been a strong source of support. She was the first person to suggest that Mark start pursuing tennis seriously. At this stage Mark had asthma, which made playing in long matches a challenge, as he frequently ran out of breath and energy. However, Mark grew out of his asthma over time.


The struggles did not end with asthma. He commented, "I've constantly had to deal with injuries, whether it was my wrist, elbow, or back. The toughest injury to come back from was breaking my foot in eighth grade, and spending the summer working on my movement and regaining my form."


Aside from the physical aspect of tennis, Mark has also struggled with the mental aspect of the sport throughout high school. He reflected, "My mentality has always been my biggest challenge. I am always my biggest critic, and am very demanding of myself, which has led to a lot of negativity from me on the court."


He concluded that his game has improved vastly over his three years in high school, because he has grown adept as controlling his emotions.


These various obstacles have not stopped Mark from both loving tennis and excelling at the sport. Mark treasures the individuality of tennis; each match is a reflection of only the individual player's ability, and ability level can only be increased through hard work. As such, there is complete accountability for any win or loss. Despite this individuality, the group aspect still exists through the teamwork of the varsity tennis team at MHS.


In the sectional finals, he pulled through to help the team win against a team they had previously lost to.
He commented, "Before the match, I was pretty nervous because there was a lot on the line. Luckily, I was able to get ahead early, and I won the match. My match was the deciding victory this time, and it was really special to come through for my team when they needed it the most."


The MHS team coach, Mr. Saleem, praised Mark, saying, "Mark was the deciding point in the Central Jersey, Group Four Sectional Final against the number two team in the state. In the individual tournament as well, he was the only unseeded player to advance to the fourth round of the singles tournament."


Mark credits his success to the support of his parents, teammates, and coaches, commenting, "My parents have always been the most supportive people in my life, and I could never thank them enough for the opportunities they give me. I'm very appreciative of every coach that has ever tried to help me in any way, from my first coach to my high school coach, Mr. Saleem, whose belief in me has really helped me this season. My teammates, too, have created a fantastic environment for the team. I would not want to be on a team with anyone else."


Next year as a senior, Mark hopes to play on a higher spot within the team. He is also planning to work towards another state championship and perfect season with the varsity tennis team next year.
Mark was one of the keys to the Cougars' dominant performance this year. Since he will be returning next year, he will surely help lead the team to even greater heights.
 

Schools See Drop in Enrollment as Number of School-Aged Echo Boomers Declines

Montgomery Township School District (MTSD) has seen an overall dip in the number of students enrolled in its schools in recent years. While the high school still has some 400 students per grade, the lower grades are seeing smaller classes. Superintendent of Schools Nancy Gartenberg notes, "Since 2012-13, I see a general downward trend in relative population."


Enrollment for MTSD has dropped from 5,213 students for the 2009-2010 school year to 4,761 for 2016-2017. This represents a decline of 8.67% decline, or 452 students, during the eight-year period. The biggest drop occurred for the 2012-2013 school year, with a decrease of 166 students, or 3.3%, and 2010-2011, with a decrease of 122, or 2.3%.


The last of the children of Baby Boomers have been moving through the high school. As a result, the lower grades now have smaller classes. Despite this trend, the past two school years have brought a few new students to the district (8 last year and 3 this year). This change may be from the new homes that were built south of Orchard and Sunset Roads in Skillman.


Still, these changes have not been significant for the District. Gartenberg notes, "I am not concerned about the decline. With close to 500 faculty members, that's about a drop of one student per classroom. It doesn't change anything for us operationally."


Rocky Hill has comprised roughly 2% of the students in the District (from a high of 3.19% in 2012-2013 to a low of 1.82% two years later) throughout this time. 

Strategic Plans for Township HQ and Community Center

At the start of 2016 plans to renovate the existing Montgomery Township municipal building and police headquarters on Route 206, just south of Belle Mead-Griggstown Road, were a high priority. At the time the township selected Trenton-based Spiezle Architectural Group to plan a significant redesign, including a conversion of the full lower level (courtroom and municipal meeting room) at the existing complex into a modernized, efficient and clean police station and headquarters. That plan is off the table as Montgomery reallocated its efforts into a more strategic geographic location for the heart of its municipal operations, three miles south on Route 206.


In September of 2016 an ordinance was introduced for the Township and Somerset County Improvement Authority (SCIA) to enter into a lease-purchase agreement, paid for with the use of bonds up to $25 million, for the 45-acre Convatec site on Orchard Road just off Route 206. Of the two existing buildings at the site, specific language of the lease agreement contains indications that Montgomery Township will renovate and make improvements to Building 100 as it is planned to be the next township municipal complex.


“We are buying the buildings with the assistance of the SCIA. Those two buildings are over 30 years old, build in the 1980s. They were designed for laboratory use, not so conducive to municipal office space. I had toured the facilities when Convatec ceased operations there several years ago. We would not need space in building 200 because it was a large research laboratory,” Township Administrator Donato Nieman said in an interview June 15.


He advises that Somerset County will complete its thorough, official analysis of the structural engineering of each building. Possibilities are not determined yet, and depending on that type of report the township can either use the existing spaces or demolish them and build a functional new complex. Nieman says township staff and police need a building double the size of the one in use now. The current complex dates to the late 1960s and early 1970s and was last expanded 27 years ago. The MTPD’s portion now is overcrowded with boxes and materials, and if a female police officer were to join Montgomery’s force there is not proper space for her set up to change. “It is woefully undersized and we just need more space,” Nieman explains.


The current building also sits on a challenging topographical area and half the property is state-protected green acres land. The Department of Public Works may come into consideration for a future tenant of the existing complex as they now operate in an undersized facility.


Another benefit of the Convatec Nieman points out is that the new Orchard Road location will be a five-minute ride or less to all Montgomery schools in the center of town.


The county contract is still in the negotiation process this June. On October 20, 2016, Montgomery’s Township Committee unanimously approved the ordinance for the lease-purchase agreement signed by the mayor, Administrator Nieman and Chief Financial Officer Michael Pitts, Montgomery’s designated authorized officers of the agreement. The ordinance states bonds shall be secured by “valid and binding general obligation lease payments” from Montgomery, with principal and interest on the bonds “in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $25 million, in accordance with the terms of a Somerset County bond guaranty.”


As the architect of choice for the municipality, Spiezle now will conduct a professional review on the use and layout of the Otto Kaufman Community Center in Skillman, across from Montgomery High School grounds. At the Township Committee’s May 18 meeting $17,500 was approved for the architecture consultant. Administrator Nieman was planning to meet with Spiezle personnel by the start of July.
“The community center study includes rehabilitation and possible expansion. There is a desire to look at possibility of rehab because Montgomery bought an existing building and doubled it in size. The older part needs roof work, finishing inside and water issues to be addressed. The older part of Kaufman Center is over 30 years old. The new part we expanded is roughly 14 years old. Also we are looking into costs of making the gym there full-size instead of a half basketball court,” Nieman said.  

LMS Celebrates 20 Years and a Love of Reading

The Montgomery Lower Middle School (LMS) opened its doors 20 years ago. The school was for sixth to eighth graders during its first three years and has housed fifth and sixth graders since then. But it has always fostered a love of reading. As part of the school’s anniversary celebration, Principal Michael Richards is leading a fundraising campaign for the installation of the bronze statue “Jessie” which depicts a life-size young girl sitting on a bench and enjoying a good book.


Richards relates the importance of reading at LMS and his search for an illustration of this principle. “The simple fact is that when the middle school was built, 20 years ago this September, the library was put in the center of the school – all hallways lead to and surround this hub of reading. For years I have searched for a sculpture or statue that pays tribute to books and reading, as I believe the world of reading invites everyone to participate and be enriched.”


On vacation last summer, Richards recalls, “I found the piece of art I had been looking for in ‘Jessie.’ Through a little research and good luck, I met the artist, Cantey Kelleher, who was willing to share her artistry and love for reading with our school by creating this statue especially for our community. Jessie is slowly and carefully being created in a foundry in Wyoming. The plan is to have Jessie installed at LMS in late August, ready to greet students when they arrive in September.”


The artist is coming to LMS too. As Richards explains, “Ms. Kelleher is so inspired by our wish to infuse the values of literacy and arts together that she has agreed to travel to LMS for its unveiling. She will be here for three days during the week of September 18th for the official unveiling and is excited to workshop with our students. Our hope that all of the students at LMS will have the opportunity to meet and interact with her, learning from her experiences as a living professional artist.”


Extolling the power of reading, Richards says, “When a child is inspired to spend their time reading, it is something to celebrate. LMS also places an extremely high value on the visual arts, which are infused into different content areas. Ms. Kelleher’s sculpture is a celebration of these two important studies, bringing the notion of literacy and art together.”


Two of the most memorable events that Montgomery students experience are Heritage Day and Cultural Museum Experience (CME). Richards explains, “Both of these events actively illustrate our commitment to the arts and the rich culture that our community embodies.”


During their fifth grade year, students prepare for Heritage Day by thoroughly researching a country from their background. They create art and prepare poster boards which depict their history. At the end of the year, each student, wearing clothing which evokes their heritage, participates in a festive exhibition of dances, music, and flags from many nations. At the conclusion, each student waves an American flag, exemplifying the phrase “e pluribus unum” and the rich tapestry that comprises our nation. Afterwards, students return to classrooms and present their creations - and homemade ethnic cuisine - to their parents.
Richards muses, “What Heritage Day is today - a celebration of diversity and cultural heritage - has gone beyond everyone's expectations. It is a true celebration of culture and community. Students in fifth grade also get to witness 25 folks taking the oath of Allegiance to become United States Citizens every March at LMS. Just this year, our keynote speaker was a parent of a fifth grader who became a citizen during the ceremony.”


For CME, sixth graders literally recreate a museum. Throughout the year, they each research a past civilization and bring it to life through art. At the end of the year, the students enact different roles, from leading tours to demonstrating how ancient art was created, to give parents an authentic museum experience.


Regarding CME, Richards states, “It has certainly morphed into an exemplar of a full-on interdisciplinary student experience, mixing the humanities and the visual and performing arts with public speaking and an in-depth social studies exploration of ancient cultures. The best part is that it is totally run by students, with mentoring, help, and support from the sixth grade teaching staff.”


Richards believes his students will develop a bond with “Jessie.” “Our students will interact with and learn from this sculpture. Coming into the building in the morning, they will be greeted by her, as will anyone else who visits us. Waiting to be picked up in the afternoon, they’ll be sitting next to this young lady on the bench that will be a part of the sculpture. And it will open the door for conversations and entire lessons as to why the child is reading and what she is thinking. My belief is that this sculpture will become something our students will adopt as a friend.”


Richards, who has truly enjoyed his 17 years at LMS, including the last eleven as principal, is extending a “simple and heartfelt” request for residents to help fund the installation of “Jessie” and Kelleher’s visit. He appreciates any donations, and notes, “Montgomery Township residents will be invited to an evening event with Ms. Kelleher to celebrate the unveiling and anniversary as well. We will be telling the world ‘This is LMS’ through the beauty of art.”


To donate to LMS’ installation of “Jessie” via credit card, go to: www.payforit.net/MakeItemPaymentEx.aspx. Checks made payable to “Montgomery Township Lower Middle School” can be mailed to LMS, 373 Burnt Hill Road, Skillman, NJ 08558.
To follow LMS’ 20th Anniversary Celebration on Facebook, go to: www.facebook.com/Montgomery-Middle-SchoolLower-Campus-20th-Anniversary-Celebration-844393742365017/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf
 

MHS Civil Air Patrol Cadet Yao Earns Mitchell Award

Manville NJ. – Cadet Oliver Yao has earned the Civil Air Patrol Billy Mitchell Award, which was presented to him by New Jersey Wing Commander Colonel Steve Tracy in a special awards ceremony. Oliver is a 10th grade student at Montgomery High School.


To qualify for the Mitchell Award Oliver passed comprehensive exams on leadership, aerospace technology, and aviation history. This award is named in honor of Gen Billy Mitchell, who advocated for an independent air force, realizing the importance of aviation to America. He demonstrated the military significance of air power by sinking several captured battleships from the air in 1921. The Doolittle Raiders flew B-25 “Billy Mitchell” bombers in their daring 1942 raid on Tokyo.


Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Yao currently serves in the Raritan Valley Composite Squadron, which has 120 members, evenly divided between Cadets (12-18 years) and Seniors. Squadron Cadets participate in CAP programs including the Wing Encampment, Robotics and Cyber Competitions, Drone training, Search & Rescue missions and exercises, STEM activities, and orientation flights. Last year Cadets marched in the annual John Basilone Parade, placed wreaths on veterans’ graves, assisted at the Solberg Balloon Festival, and supported numerous community events. The squadron recently received a Unit Citation as the New Jersey CAP Wing Squadron of Merit.


The Raritan Valley Composite Squadron meets on Wednesday evenings at 7 PM at the Central Jersey Regional Airport on Millstone Road, just South of Manville. Prospective Cadets and their parents are always welcome. Adults seeking aviation, mentoring, or service opportunities are invited as well. (Contact RVCS Commander Captain Donald Brewer at (908) 526-8199.)


Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 56,000 members nationwide. Operating a fleet of 550 aircraft, CAP performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions and is credited by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center for saving an average of 7 lives monthly. CAP volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP, founded in New Jersey, has been performing missions for America for 75 years, and received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans
 

Montgomery FunFest is looking for sponsors and vendor.

 

The Montgomery Business Association announces that registration is open for the 3rd annual Montgomery FunFest, being held at the Princeton Airport on September 10, 2017 from 12pm-5pm. FunFest is an opportunity for local businesses to connect with Montgomery and Princeton area residents. Turnout for last year’s inaugural event was exceeded expectations with thousands of community members in attendance, who enjoyed a day of family, food, fun, and entertainment. Acknowledging that the local businesses, restaurants, and community organizations are integral to its success, FunFest Chair, Jean Robinson stated that the Montgomery Business Association’s goal is to continue to grow FunFest, attracting vendors and sponsors that reflect Montgomery’s unique spirit. The Montgomery Business Association is currently looking for corporate sponsors! More information about corporate sponsorship opportunities can be found at http://funfest.shoplocalmontgomery.com/sponsors/

 

They can accommodate a variety of 200 vendors, artists, non-profits, and food concessions. Preference will be given to local and regional applicants that showcase the best this area has to offer. Certain vendor categories such as food concessions will be limited to ensure variety and profitability. Based on last year's success, the feedback received, and the applications already received the MBA anticipates selling out of vendor space early. It is recommended that in order to ensure participation, to get the application in timely. The application can be downloaded at http://funfest.shoplocalmontgomery.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/FunFest-Vendor-Application.pdf. The Montgomery Business Association is organizing their event to be an annual tradition that residents would not think of missing! 

Bike tour of D&R Canal to offer historic overview

The Delaware & Raritan Canal Watch will hold a free history tour by bicycle along the
D&R Canal towpath on Saturday, July 1, from Kingston to Griggstown and back.

Cyclists will meet 10 a.m. at the locktender’s house in Kingston, located off Route 27 just north of the bridges over the Millstone River and canal, for the 10-mile round-trip ride.

Canal Watch board member Bob Barth will conduct the ride, which will stop at historic canal structures, such as locks, spillways and canal houses. He will explain why the D&R was one of the most successful canals in the United States.

Helmets are required and cyclists are advised to bring water.

The nonprofit D&R Canal Watch helps promote, enhance and preserve the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park.

For further information and weather-related updates, contact Mr. Barth at 201-401-3121 or bbarth@att.net.


 

Terhune Orchards Wins Governor's Cup

and Nine Medals in annual New Jersey Wine Competition

Terhune Orchards Vineyard and Winery took home an impressive nine medals in the annual New Jersey Wine Competition, which is organized for the Garden State Wine Growers Association by Dr. Gary Pavlis of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The competition, which was held in late May, featured wines from 21 New Jersey wineries. The GSWGA is a coalition of nearly 50 wineries and vineyards across New Jersey, dedicated to raising the quality and awareness of New Jersey wine. For the complete list of medal winners in the New Jersey Wine Competition, visit https://www.newjerseywines.com/2017-new-jersey-wine-competition/ The Winery of the Year, Governor's Cup and Best in Class awards will be presented to the wineries at a June event in Trenton, time and date to be arranged.


Terhune Orchards Winery's Blueberry Wine, Harvest Blues. won the Governor's Cup for Best Fruit Wine. In addition to winning the Governor's Cup for Best Fruit wine, Terhune Orchards also led all entrants and totaled nine medals with their three gold medal tallies and two silver and four bronze medals. Terhune Orchards was awarded three gold medals winning for Harvest Blue, Blossom White and Just Peachy wines. Two silver medals for Chambourcin and Vidal Blanc were awarded. Four bronze medals were earned by Apple Wine, Barn Red, Farmhouse White and Rooster Red.


This is incredibly rewarding for us," said Gary Mount. "In 2006 my daughter, Tannwen and I planted five acres and we have learned so much through the years. We started bottling in 2010 and have expanded the vineyard to nine acres. Our daughter, Reuwai, is now overseeing cultivation of the vineyard. We built a winery production barn in 2016 to keep up with the growing demand for our wines. Our family is very happy to be recognized once again by Garden State Wine Growers Association."


During their Sips & Sounds events in June, Terhune Orchards will celebrate their wins by pouring one complimentary sample of a Gold Medal winning wine to anyone who purchases a wine tasting flight which includes samples of five wines. Sips & Sounds, is a summer series featuring Terhune Orchards wine tastings and local musicians , 5-8 pm, every Friday from June 2 - Sept. 8. . Sips & Sounds is rain or shine. Relax in the climate controlled, wine barn or in the spacious, outdoor seating area.  

SOMERSET COUNTY JULY 4th FIREWORKS FESTIVAL

Somerset County’s Biggest Pyrotechnic Display

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Somerset County Park Commission invites all to attend the Annual July 4th Fireworks Display to be held on Tuesday, July 4,, 2017 at 9:30 P.M. at North Branch Park on Milltown Road in Bridgewater. The July 4th celebration is free of any charges. The event is offered in part to the generous sponsorship by The Courier News.

North Branch Park gates will open at 6:00 P.M. to allow vehicles to enter the park and families to picnic on park grounds. The fireworks display will begin at 9:30 P.M. Visitors should plan to arrive early. Milltown Road will be closed at approximately 9:00 P.M. Heavy car and foot traffic is expected.

The NJ 3rd Regiment Revolutionary War encampment will be onsite. Food will be available for purchase, and park visitors should bring lawn chairs or blankets while they enjoy time in the park before the Independence Day fireworks begin. Picnic baskets are allowed but alcohol is prohibited.

Milltown Road will remain closed at the conclusion of the fireworks for 30 minutes to one hour while local neighborhood pedestrians walk from the park. Bridgewater Police will be on hand to assist park staff with traffic flow.

Updates will be available on the Activity Hotline at 908-722-1200, option 2. For information on this and all Park Commission programs and activities log onto www.somersetcountyparks.org. 

E-Cigs and Vaping Cast a “Cloud over Our Youth”

Although campaigns to curb cigarette smoking and the resulting epidemic of heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema have been largely successful, a new and equally dangerous variation is taking its place. “The number of youth experimenting with candy-flavored e-cigs (electronic cigarettes) is increasing at an alarming rate. According to the Center for Disease Control, 16% of high school students (or 1 in 6) have vaped in the last 30 days,” notes Montgomery Township Health Officer Stephanie Carey. A discussion on ways to combat these new threats, titled “A Cloud over Our Youth,” was held at the Montgomery Township Municipal Building on June 14.


According a report by the United States Surgeon General, the vapor inhaled from these products can contain a range of dangerous ingredients including the flavoring diacetyl, which is linked to serious lung cancer; benzene, a solvent and volatile organic compound also found in automobile exhaust; and heavy metals such as lead.

Although they have only been in use for a few years, there is already proof that these products are truly harmful. Carey states, “New research from the University of Rochester shows the kind of lung cell damage occurring with e-cigs that would lead to similar lung hazards as smoking. And we know these devices are laced with nicotine, so the dangers of heart and blood pressure would be the same as smoking.”

Nicotine is also highly addictive. Carey explains, “Once the nicotine addiction is established, it is as hard to quit as tobacco.” The Surgeon General’s report also states that “nicotine exposure during periods of significant brain development, such as adolescence, can disrupt the growth of brain circuits that control attention, learning, and susceptibility to addiction.”


Oftentimes, vapers share a device. They’re also inhaling all of the infectious diseases the participants may carry. In addition, Carey notes, “’Vape Clouds’ can be inhaled second hand, like smoke. The data isn’t in yet, but we can surmise the impacts would be similar to second hand smoke.” Vaping usually segues to cigarette smoking as well. Carey states, “A teen who vapes is three times as likely as a non-vaper to start smoking.”


The focus of the discussion held on June 14 was how to curb – or at least delay – the sale and use of these products. Carey says that according to Federal and State law, “just like bubble gum, you don’t have to have a license to sell them. Also, the tobacco age of sale, including e-cigs, is 19. The state’s official policy is that setting an age limit or licensing sales is a municipal decision. But municipalities can increase the age to 21, and require licenses, if they adopt an ordinance.”


Jeff Grosser, Health Officer for Princeton Borough and Township, told attendees about the difficulty the Princetons encountered in seeking to raise the age of sale for e-cigs to 21. Representatives from major tobacco companies came to the municipal offices, and said the ordinances would infringe on personal rights, especially since 19 year olds are able to fight in the military.


The Princetons proceeded with their policy change and were sued by the companies. Although the companies won in Mercer County Court, they ultimately lost when the Princetons appealed and the case was heard in the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2015. Outdoor smoking, including vaping, at restaurants was banned in the Princetons in 2012, and smoking (including e-cigs) in parks and in and around public property was banned shortly afterward. Vendors of e-cig products must also be licensed there.
Karen Blumenthal, an attorney with New Jersey Global Advisors on Smoke-free Policy (GASP), also talked on June 14 about policy options for tobacco and e-cig control, naming the very actions taken by the Princetons. She stated, “It’s communities that make the change happen.”


Montgomery Township Superintendent of Schools Nancy Gartenberg spoke during the evening, noting that when she came to Montgomery four years ago, she initiated the addition of e-cigs to the Board of Education policy which prohibits smoking. A public service video created by Girl Scouts from Troops 15 & 33 was also shown. The video was titled “Are You Smarter than a Tobacco Company?” and talked about the dangers of the flavored tobacco products that are targeted at youth.


Solicitation of concerns and strategies from the audience ultimately identified several goals for the community regarding use of e-cigs by youth: limit access; regulate marketing of e-cigs; capture and share data regarding these products and their use with the community; communicate messages that discourage use of e-cigs to youth; educate students about choices for healthy living; and educate parents about the dangers of e-cig use and what they can do to minimize it.


Carey says tobacco smoking first became popular with men when soldiers were given unlimited amounts of cigarettes during World War I. As for women, she notes, “In the 1920’s, cigarettes were marketed to women as a good way to lose weight.” Shortly after, the first health consequences of smoking became clear. “A surge in lung cancer deaths were linked to smoking by the mid-1930s.”
In an ironic twist, Carey says e-cigs were initially developed to help smokers quit, when sold in a pack with decreasing amounts of nicotine. But tobacco companies now use their substantial advertising budgets to market their new products, which are just as harmful and addictive as their tobacco predecessors, to a much younger audience.


The companies’ strategies so far are working. Carey points out, “Vaping has tripled in the last three to five years. Until 2014, youth smoking rates roughly paralleled adult rates—but now more teens vape than smoke. About 16% of teens vape, but 10% of them smoke.”
 

4 Troop 850 Scouts Earn Eagle Rank

Steven McCormick, Kevin O'Brien, Patrick O'Brien, and James Smith, all residents of Belle Mead, were recently honored for achieving Eagle Scout status, the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouts of America.


The four Scouts were recognized for their achievements and inducted into the ranks of Eagle Scouts in a special ceremony at Montgomery United Methodist Church on Sunday, June 11. Each received a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor and congratulatory letters from many local and national politicians and organizations. They will also receive proclamations from Montgomery Township.
To achieve this rank, Scouts must meet requirements in leadership, service, and outdoor skills. Each must design, lead, and complete a service project that benefits their community. The projects completed by these Eagle Scouts are described below:


Steven McCormick
Steven McCormick is finishing his sophomore year at Montgomery high school and will graduate in 2019. For his Eagle Scout rank, Steven custom built for the Manville Library a Lego table with chairs that children could sit at and build Lego creations. He also designed and built a wooden toy box so the library could expand and store more toys. He earned his Eagle Scout rank in April 2017.


James Smith
James Smith will graduate from Montgomery Township High School in June 2017. He plans to attend Rhode Island College. James completed his eagle project by running two food drives. This involved contacting local businesses and stocking and replenishing supplies for Bentley Community Services, Inc. (BCS) with over 2000 food and household items. Bentley Community Services, Inc. is dedicated to help and provide for working families in the Central New Jersey region of communities who are struggling financially, having difficulty making ends meet. James earned his Eagle Rank on October 25, 2016.


Patrick O'Brien
Patrick O'Brien is a junior in Montgomery High School and will graduate in 2018. For his Eagle Service Project, Patrick collected full-size personal care items to assemble into hygiene bags for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK). His original goal was to assemble 100 bags but he surpassed his goal and was able to provide over 400 hygiene bags. These personal care items are distributed to the Trenton area patrons so that they can maintain cleanliness and healthiness. He earned his Eagle Rank on March 6, 2017.


Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien is a freshmen at Montgomery High School. His Eagle Scout Service Project was collecting food items to assemble into meal bags for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK). His original goal was to assemble 150 bags but he surpassed his goal and was able to provide over 780 regular and diabetic meal bags to TASK. These bags are distributed to the Trenton area patrons when meals are not served at TASK. He earned his Eagle Rank on May 22, 2017.


Troop 850 was founded in 2005 to offer a small-troop scouting experience to the Montgomery community. Troop 850 helps develop boys into honorable men through character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness. The mission of the Boy Scouts is to prepare young people to make ethical choices over lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Troop 850 members reach Eagle Scout at twice that of the national average. For further information, visit the troop website www.bsatroop850.com or contact Nim Sonaike, Troop Committee Chairwoman at anst6@aol.com.

 

Montgomery Waits for Affordable Housing Settlement, Slim Chance at Senate Vote

On May 8, Mayor Ed Trzaska wrote a letter to Assemblyman Zwicker saying 5,000 new homes would have to be built in Montgomery in the decade ahead if the township will need to add 1,000 units for low and moderate-income households as prescribed. The nonprofit Fair Share Housing Center released a study in April suggesting that statewide, a total 280,000 new affordable housing units would be needed in New Jersey’s 565 municipalities through 2025.


Zwicker’s response in May was that he along with State Sen. Kip Bateman and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli co-sponsored legislation that aims at clarity on the number of affordable housing units each town in their 16th legislative district must supply.


Township Administrator Donato Nieman commented on the outlook for any help from Trenton. “We’re hearing that towns are settling with the state. We have not been approached and there is nothing going on yet, and our township attorney has not told us anything is going on at the court. We are waiting and we are still hopeful state legislature will do something, but there is no guarantee,” Nieman said on June 15.
The Senate and Assembly sessions for Thursday, June 22 did not list voting for any affordable housing-related bill, including the local trio’s A3821. However regulating fantasy sports activities appeared as a voting item for the last June legislative session.


The bill introduced by Bateman, Ciatterelli and Zwicker includes a clause that municipal shares shall not include “Retrospective calculations of low-and moderate-income households created during the gap periods” of 15 years between the time New Jersey towns were last given direction from the state on the amount of affordable housing to include.


Zwicker assured Mayor Trzaska the bill he helped draft would “Resolve the dispute around the calculation of municipal obligations, thus providing municipal planners, housing advocates and builders alike much-needed certainty.”


Bateman introduced a bill in 2016 that would have required a 10% set-aside for affordable housing in new developments instead of 20%. That bill was tabled after it was referred to the New Jersey Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.


The affordable housing mandates was part of executive session at the Township Committee’s meeting on June 15. As part of affordable housing requirements the Township Committee approved a loan for tenants of 1203 McKinley Court at its May 18 meeting.


Township Attorney Kristina Hadinger explained that under state law the township is required to provide “affordability assistance” in certain instances. “This is someone already qualified for a unit but needs more assistance beyond that. The money for this comes from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund,” Hadinger said. 

MVP Coalition Plan Canal Causeways Study

A local volunteer group and college kids they enlisted hope to chart the right course for the D&R Canal Park and its pristine setting. This summer State DEP and Millstone Valley Preservation Coalition members hope to receive input from many Montgomery and Franklin Township residents plus D&R Canal Park visitors as the redesign of several towpath and public access areas at two hubs for recreation take shape.
First, some trees are to be addressed, as they interfere with utility wires. The Blackwells Mills Causeway is set for new planting and a strategic makeover this October. The Griggstown Causeway from the River Road Historic District in Montgomery stretching to Canal Road, through the Old Muletender’s Barracks and into Griggstown, is on schedule for October of 2018.


Renderings from Rutgers students of the Blackwells Mills Causeway’s redesign are now on display at the Franklin Municipal Building on Demott Lane. But Griggstown’s display was shown in Kingston sporadically in early May at the D&R Canal headquarters.


Ten proposals exist for Blackwells Mills and five for Griggstown.


Barbra Walker, a native of Georgia, is a student at Rutgers in the landscape architecture bachelor’s degree program in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. A resident of Milltown, she’s eager to learn more local history as Rutgers students were selected for the D&R Canal projects. Walker can earn her bachelor’s in 2018 with a work schedule for the Canal in step with her studies.


“We are focusing on Blackwells Mills now and from this experience and what we learn we will focus on Griggstown and hopefully make the process happen faster.


"All proposals for Blackwells Mills Causeway and the Griggstown Causeway were done by students in our Planting Design class with Professor Holly Nelson. These are wetlands and there are archaeological issues, and I know water companies draw from these sources,” she said.


Walker notes that along the way there are dying trees, “invasive species” and poison ivy to work on. She is investigating DEP approvals for new planting, cutting flora and funding that work. One hindrance appears to be the water authorities making decisions on what to replant at Blackwells Mills on their own, restricting the work she will do.


“Hopefully we will get something together that makes everyone happy. I know there is a lot of history at this site and people who are passionate about maintaining the historical continuity of the site and that has to be observed. The area I can remediate will be incredibly small, but the public feedback shows us how valuable the sire is to them and just how connected they are,” she said.


Walker also mentioned species including the Indiana Bat and Wood Turtles restrictions from her study. According to Walker there will be more displays for Griggstown Causeway when that project gets closer.
“It is so involved, it does not make sense for us to keep dumping back and forth from one causeway to the other. We’re only able to do plantings or remediation to address issues at one per year. We want to make sure information remains fresh and that we get all comments from the public when the issue is in the front of our minds,” she said.


Walker encourages residents and all interested parties to call their local and state parks departments as well as the Millstone Valley Preservation Coalition. “For the proposals themselves we will allow options for the public and stakeholders to comment on Post-It notes right on the


Walker said the comments she’s seen have been interesting and “they add a lot of historic values,” but she concedes that there has been no signage up on this project along the D&R Canal, at the Barracks or other key locations, nor has there been any partnership with governing bodies of the municipalities bordering the protected lands. Information has not been widespread.


“A report may be released once I compile my information based on the proposals. Let us know what you are thinking – the MVP Coalition has a webpage and their contact information is online as well,” she advised.
 

Report from Rocky Hill - July/Aug

Borough Engineer Bill Tanner reported at the June 19 Borough Council meeting that the County wanted to sweep the County roads, and would it be alright if they worked at night? The County is mandated by State law to sweep their streets at least once a year.


Council authorized a single cut of the Greenacres behind Borough Hall, instead of the two cuts performed last year, this time in the Fall. There was some concern for butterflies. Butterflies, God help us. Meanwhile, it's a haven for deer ticks and poison ivy.


The Borough will be sending out a letter with the tax bill in mid-July, explaining the increase in the school portion of the bill and possibly, why.


During May there were five new moving violations. Total Court receipts in May was $62. So, where was S. Bound Brook PD, exactly? Perhaps they didn't get the memo that the Rt. 518 Bridge was open. Their new contract is up for discussion during the summer.


Windows are being replaced at Borough hall during late June. A spectacular Dawn Redwood tree has been planted behind Borough Hall to replace a tree removed last year. It was donated by Braumley Nursery.
The County finally fixed that monster pothole at the corner of Washington and Montgomery, where the surround was collapsing around a storm drain.


The Board of Health is planning ordinances or discussions at least, on tobacco vaping, mesage parlors, and tattoo parlors. Rabid bats, groundhogs and raccoons have been reported in Montgomery, so be careful out there. Dr. Joe Bortale, the medical director for the First Aid Squad, was appointed to a vacant slot on the Board of Health.


Todd Harris and Erik Mickelsen, from the Office of Emergency Management, gave a pitch at the June 19 Council meeting, requesting two new paid staffers for OEM.


The difficulty, they pointed out, is meeting the new demands for certification and staffing from the State and County. "What they're asking of us is mind boggling," Chief Harris noted. The two staffers would work eight hours a day and be paid per diem, and be on duty during day time. Nights are no problem for volunteers, they said. This will add about $6,000 per person per year, plus $1,000 more for the one staffer currently employed. That person will be the supervisor. Borough Council is considering their request, which would require tweaking the budget.


Borough residents pulled 2.418M gallons of water from Well #2. "Cool, sweet and all Rocky Hill," reported Councilman Ashbaugh.


The Borough is studying the bills from Montgomery for sewer service. One essential issue has been that, "We consider ourselves partners with Montgomery. They consider us as customers," said Borough CFO Joe Monzo.


When the Sewer Authority was founded years ago, it consisted of Montgomery, Rocky Hill, and Princeton in equal partnership. Subsequently, Princeton pulled out, and Montgomery grew like Topsey, along with their load of sewage. There is one pumping station in Rocky Hill, but several in Montgomery.


Rocky Hill is billed in two components, Mr. Monzo said. First there is a flow from Rocky Hill, as measured aon a meter. The Borough is billed according to what percentage of sewage is theirs and what part is Montgomery's.


Second, Rocky Hills is billed according to that percentage of flow as applied to relevant operating expenses for the Sewage Authority, such as electric bill, staffing and so on. However, according to Mr. Monzo, the Township has been trying to also bill the Borough for expenses that have only to do with Montgomery and in no way to do with Rocky Hill. For instance, should Rocky Hill be on the hook for retirement benefits for Montgomery Township Sewer Authority employees? Or for engineering for treatment plants devoted to Montgomery housing developments? Consequently, discussions continue.
Meanwhile, there is another problem: the meter indicates that more sewage is flowing through the pipes than has been pumped from Well #2. Mr. Tanner says the two figures should be very close. However, during periods of heavy rain, the sewage flow increases dramatically, indicating an inflow from storm water. That has to be addressed.


Former Mayor Toby Whitlock noted that the pipe from Stonebridge in Montgomery flows into Rocky Hill first, and that flow, which is metered, should be deducted from the Rocky hill flow.


The NJ State Police report one theft, one ID theft, and two car accidents during May.


Twice a week garbage pickup began during June, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, until Sept 18.


Rocky Hill residents can now pay taxes, water, and sewer electronically, by using our online payment service at the Borough website, www.rockyhill-nj.gov. Master Card, Discover, American Express or Visa are accepted, however, a service fee of 2.65% or $3.00 minimum will be charged by the payment processing per transaction. That means, a tax bill of $6,500 will cost an extra $172.25.


On the other hand, residents can also make electronic check payments using our online payment service. Payments will be charged to your checking or savings account at your bank, for a $1.50 service fee. The 9-digit routing number and the account number have to be included.


Borough Council usually meets twice a month, on the first and third Mondays. However, during summers, it meets once a month, on the third Monday, at Borough Hall on Montgomery Avenue., at 7 pm.
For more information, visit www.rockyhill-nj.gov.

 

MTPD Promotes 2 to Sergeant

The Montgomery Township Police Department (MTPD) recently promoted Officers Brian Hofacker and Jason Larsen to the position of Sergeant. The new sergeants were sworn in at the May 18 meeting of the Montgomery Township Committee.

Larson received his Bachelor’s degree from Kean University. He is working toward a Master’s degree at Seton Hall University. He began patrolling for MTPD when he was hired in 2002. Four years later, he was assigned to the detective bureau. Two years ago, he returned to patrolling.

Hofacker studied at Mercer County Community College and Westfield State College. He started patrolling for MTPD upon his hire in 2005. He was assigned to the detective bureau two years later. He is a juvenile detective, and serves as a liaison between MTPD and the Montgomery Township Schools.

There were 15 officers in the Department who were eligible for promotion to Sergeant. The selection process included submitting an essay and a review of the candidates’ personnel files. For the final selection, the four highest-scoring candidates were then interviewed by the Township Committee.

There are also new officers on the force. Troy Sudeck graduated from Mercer County Police Academy in April and is now riding with a field training officer for three months. MTPD’s four newest hires graduated from the Cape May County Police Academy on June 9. Connor Chapkowski, Tory Gonzales, Christopher Parlow and Adam Verducci will also undergo three months of training while on patrol with an MTPD field training officer. At the end of their training periods, all five will be full-fledged officers and begin patrolling on their own.

In addition to these new officers, Officer Eric Hannold is currently attending a course at the Mercer County Police Academy.
 

UMS Student to Perform at Carnegie Hall

Margot Hutter, a student at Montgomery Upper Middle School, has been selected for the 2017 Middle School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. She will perform as a Soprano 1 at Carnegie Hall in June 2017 with the Middle School Honors Junior Choir. Participation in one of the three Honors Ensembles is limited to the highest rated middle school performers from across North America and select schools internationally.


Margot Hutter auditioned this fall for the Honors Performance Series and was accepted after a review by the Honors Selection Board. Acceptance to the elite group is a direct result of the talent, dedication, and achievements demonstrated in her application and audition recording.
Ms. Hutter will join other performers from 43 United States, several provinces of Canada, Australia, and Taiwan.


According to Nancy Richardson, Program Director, "Being selected to the Honors Performance Series is something each Junior Finalist should be extremely proud of accomplishing. We process thousands of nominations annually, selecting only the most talented performers. Working with these conductors and performing at Carnegie Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that these student musicians never forget".
Margot Hutter is a member of Princeton Girlchoir and a previous member of Trinity Episcopal's childrens' choir. She was selected for NJ ACDA Honors Choir for three consecutive years and actively participates in musical theatre productions in central NJ.


Junior Finalists will come together for five days in June 2017 in New York City to have the opportunity to learn from conductor Greg Gilpin, work with other Junior Finalists, and get a taste of New York City. The Sunday, June 25, performance is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased beginning 60 days prior to the performance through the Carnegie Hall box office.


The Honors Performance Series was created to showcase accomplished individual high school and middle school performers on an international level by allowing them to study under master conductors and perform in the celebrated venue, Carnegie Hall.
 

SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals Announces New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals is pleased to announce that Heather L. Achenbach has been named the new Executive Director, effective June 19.


Heather Achenbach brings a wealth of experience to her new role with 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically clinical trial operations management, as well as 12 years of direct experience in people management, including coaching/development, mentoring, customer service and budget management. For the last 5 years, she led a department of 165 regional employees comprised of both managers and individual contributors. Importantly for her role as SAVE's Executive Director, Achenbach has been a life-long animals lover, advocate of pet adoption, and active foster and active foster and volunteer for a local NJ rescue. She has adopted both a cat and dog from SAVE and is dedicated to SAVE's mission. Heather holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA.


The Board of Trustees conducted a national search in February which generated over 60 applicants. "After an extensive interview process with a number of highly qualified candidates, the SAVE Board was thrilled to bring Ms. Achenbach on board." said Pamela Murdoch, Board President. "The positive response and sincere interest from a wide pool of talented professionals is a true testament to the good work SAVE is doing as an organization. The SAVE Board is confident Heather is a perfect fit to lead the implementation of SAVE's strategic direction and business plan. Murdoch said, "The combination of Heather's management experience and results-driven, collaborative leadership is the right mix to strengthen and expand SAVE's work."


Achenbach says of her new appointment, "It is truly an honor to be offered the opportunity to carry on the great work that SAVE does in support of our community and the plight of homeless pets. I am looking forward to working with the talented and caring individuals that make up this wonderful organization, building strong and lasting relationships with our volunteers and supporters. I am confident that together we will identify and implement new and unique ways to strengthen our bond within the community and ensure the health, welfare and successful adoption of the cats and dogs in our care. I left private industry this past June in search of an opportunity where I could better utilize the leadership and business experience I have gained in support of my passion for people and pets. SAVE is definitely the perfect place!"


Founded in 1941, SAVE is a nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of companion animals in the greater Skillman and Princeton areas. SAVE strives to substantially reduce animal overpopulation and the corresponding euthanasia of adoptable dogs and cats. For more information about SAVE, please visit www.savehomelessanimals.org or call 609-309-5214.
 

SOMERSET COUNTY PARK COMMISSION ANNOUNCES 2017 FREE SUMMER CONCERT SERIES

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Somerset County Park Commission has scheduled another summer of enjoyable performances in Duke Island Park on Old York Road in Bridgewater on Sunday evenings. All concerts are free and lovers of all types of music are invited to bring lawn chairs and picnic baskets to enjoy relaxed Sunday evenings highlighted by live entertainment.

This concert series is made possible by in partnership with The Courier News and Magic 98.3 WMGQ. Funding has also been made possible, in part, by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State through funds administered by the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission through the State/County Partnership Local Arts Program Grant.

For further information on the concerts, please call 908 722-1200. Individuals with hearing/speech impairments may call the Relay Service at 711. Over the weekends, in case of threat of inclement weather please call 908 722-1200 ext. 7.

July 9 RADIO NASHVILLE 7:00 P.M. - 8:30 P.M.
Every country song tells a story and Radio Nashville does just that with a show that’s one big party, performing top country hits and classics from artists such as Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan, and Little Big Town. The six-piece band with several lead singers, a talented fiddle player, and amazing guitarist and rhythm section is a great way to start the concert season! Sponsorship is provided by The Courier News.

July 16 DARLENE LOVE 7:00 P.M. - 8:30 P.M.
Darlene Love began her career in the 1960’s singing backup for artists such as Tom Jones, The Righteous Brothers, Dionne Warwick, Marvin Gaye, and Elvis Presley. Her own Billboard hits include: He’s A Rebel, The Boy I’m Gonna Marry, Wait ‘Til My Bobby Gets Home, and the #1 holiday classic Christmas Baby Please Come Home. She has also appeared in major motion pictures including the Lethal Weapon series and in the Broadway hits Hairspray and Grease. In 2011, Darlene Love was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Rolling Stone Magazine proclaimed Darlene Love to be “one of the greatest singers of all time”. Sponsorship is provided by New Jersey State Council on the Arts through funds administered by the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

July 23 BOY BAND PROJECT 7:00 P.M. - 8:30 P.M.
The Boy Band Project is a creative boy band cover group that expertly reimagines the sound, movements, and energy of the American and British groups that were so popular during the 90’s and the next generation. They feature the popular top 40 hit music of groups such as NSYC, the Backstreet Boys, Hanson, One Direction, Boys II Men, and O-Town. Sponsorship is provided by Magic 98.3 WMGQ.


July 30 BLUES FEST AT DUKE ISLAND PARK FEATURING
BOB LANZA BLUES BAND 5:00 P.M.- 6:30 P.M.
According to singer, songwriter, and guitarist Bob Lanza, there is only one way to play the blues……”From the heart with ferocity as if your life depends on it”. The Bob Lanza Blues Band has played for years with Floyd Phillips and the Mudflaps, and also backing legends such as James Cotton. This band will definitely get the blues party started! Sponsorship is provided by The Courier News.

THE TYRONE STACKHOUSE GROUP 7:00 P.M. - 8:30 P.M.
Tyrone Stackhouse lives in Somerset County, but he plays Motown like he was born and raised in Detroit! He and the band play the hits of the 60’s and 70’s, and also embrace R&B, soul, jazz, and the blues into their eclectic sound. It’s a smooth sound that’s a perfect ending to a hot summer weekend night. Sponsorship is provided by The Courier News.

August 6 3rd ANNUAL FOOD TRUCK FEST featuring
THE DUPREES 7:00 P.M. - 8:30 P.M.
Bring your appetite for great food and music! A variety of food trucks selling a range of culinary delights will be on hand beginning at 6:00 P.M. to start the festivities before the music begins at 7:00 P.M.

The Duprees are known world-over for their romantic interpretations of some of the most beautiful love songs ever written. Hailing from New Jersey, in 1962, The Duprees struck gold with You Belong to Me. Their unmistakable sound was born and the hits kept rolling with Have You Heard, My Own True Love, and Goodnight My Love. The Duprees have never slowed down, still touring and recording after more than 50 years! Sponsorship is provided by Magic 98.3 WMGQ.

Information on all Somerset County Park Commission activities and programs may be found online at www.somersetcountyparks.org or by call 908-722-1200. 

June 14 Forum to Discuss Youth Nicotine Addiction Prevention

The Montgomery Twp. Health Department is organizing a community forum on preventing youth nicotine addiction on Wed., June 14th from 7 to 9 PM. Titled, “A Cloud over Our Youth”, the forum will be held at the Montgomery Twp. Municipal Building in the downstairs courtroom at 2261 Rt. 206, Belle Mead, NJ. All concerned members of the public are urged to attend. The forum will be followed by the monthly meeting of the Board of Health.


“The number of youth experimenting with candy-flavored e-cigarettes is increasing at an alarming rate,” said Health Officer Stephanie Carey. “In New Jersey, the decisions as to what to do about this problem are delegated to the municipal level. We want to be proactive and collaborate with the community in combatting this unhealthy trend.”

The purpose of the forum is to start a conversation about Montgomery’s community values on youth and their use of these products. Other points of discussion will include policy options available to protect our youth, and which policies would be the best fit for our community.

Public Health and Education leaders who are facing this issue every day will speak and take questions. In addition to Ms. Carey, speakers will include Karen Blumenthal, Esq. of NJ Global Smoke-free Policy who will discuss Policy Options for Tobacco and E-Cig Control, Jeff Glosser, Princeton Public Health Officer, who will share Princeton’s recent experience with the issue, and Devangi Patel, Rocky Hill-Montgomery Municipal Alliance. A Montgomery Township Public School District representative will participate and girl scouts from Troops 60015 & 60033, who created a public service video entitled, “Are You Smarter than a Tobacco Company?” will present their video and take part in discussions.

Anyone who is concerned with the youth smoking issue on a local level should plan to attend the forum and share their views and be prepared to become part of the solution by learning more about the current situation and what can be done to reverse it. This forum continues discussions begun at the April “In the Blink of an Eye” community workshop on stress, anxiety, and addition, held at Montgomery Twp. High School.

 

2 MHS Seniors Win College-Sponsored National Merit Scholarships

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced more than 3,200 winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities. Offi cials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the Finalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution.


These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution fi nancing the scholarship. An additional group of Scholars will be announced in July, bringing the total number of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship recipients in the 2017 competition to approximately 4,000.


This year, 182 higher education institutions are underwriting Merit Scholarship awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sponsor colleges and universities include 103 private and 79 public institutions located in 44 states and the District of Columbia.


College-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners are a part of the distinguished group of about 7,500 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships for college undergraduate study worth over $32 million. Earlier this spring, NMSC announced winners of corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards and National Merit $2500 Scholarships.


Two winners were announced from Montgomery High School. Beatrice E. Liang-Gilman, who won a National Merit Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey Scholarship. She is undercedied as to her probable career field.


Rutgers, which traces its beginnings to 1766, is the state university of New Jersey, enrolling undergraduates at 13 colleges (suburban and urban settings of 110 to 8,200 students) in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden.


Also, Kathryn Song, who won a National Merit University Of Chicago Scholarship. Her field of interest is finance.


The University of Chicago is small, private, coeducational, and residential; it has an international reputation for distinction. The college (3,425 undergraduate students) offers liberal arts training in over 60 areas; 3,100 students are enrolled in 4 graduate divisions and about 3,000 in 7 graduate professional schools. 

Mother-Daughter Community Information Duo Leads New Video Series

Julia Garaffa is about to complete her Girl Scout Gold Award project involving promotions, journalism and marketing of Montgomery tradition in volunteer service. Her project’s last interview, a grand chat with Montgomery Mayor Ed Trzaska, will open the Township’s new “Videos 4 Volunteering” community outreach channel. The finished products will be on YouTube and the township website later in summer.
Filming wrapped up on June 2. The month ahead includes fine-tuning interviews of former Mayor Don Matthews, Health Officer Stephanie Carey, Zoning Board Chair Steve DeRochi and Planning Board Chairman Dave Cheskis. Cheskis was recently interviewed by New Jersey Family magazine. Cheskis carried equipment and helped Garaffa setup the interview with Mayor Trzaska on June 2 in the spirit of helping promote volunteerism in Montgomery.


Julia enters her senior year at the Academy for Health and Medical Sciences in Bridgewater this fall. She is the daughter of Montgomery Township Community Information Officer Tammy Garaffa. The Gold Award, representing the pinnacle of goodwill and service to a scout’s community, gained its focus with an Environmental Commission campaign. For her Silver Award, Garaffa created a video with the Environmental Commission to promote safety in Montgomery. The EC, in partnership with Sustainable New Jersey and its local subcommittee, Sustainable Montgomery, created a survey of municipal boards and committees. The results highlighted a lack of diversity on our town’s boards and commissions. Leave it to a hometown teen to take action.


“Definitely a lack of young people, people of different ethnicities, and a lack of people from different career backgrounds. They had the idea to make a series of videos promoting volunteerism and they already knew me, so they invited me to do videos with them. They wanted to create videos to reach a broader audience and tell them about opportunities that they have. Anybody can volunteer for committees,” Garaffa said.


At home she was inspired by her mom’s day to day initiatives to put messages out to residents. Her video interviews aim at debunking myths among township residents. Often people are eager to serve on a Montgomery board or commission, but they presume they would need to be experienced in the particular area of volunteerism to do so. For example Garaffa wants to point out the Environmental Commission is not comprised of biologists; the Zoning Board is not all architects and engineers.


Garaffa hopes her videos. “Get the word out,” and let residents know about local committees in Montgomery, spurring participation.


The current meeting videos for Township Committee, the Planning Board and Zoning Board are considered too dry and not engaging. Garaffa knows common questions come about the function of various boards and committees. “I just knew the boards and committees were things, they had meetings and people came there angry about stuff. But know finding out all about what they do and the legalities of it, people in my generation want to get involved but they don’t know there is an opportunity to do so. The Montgomery High School students have been very politically active recently, attending school board meetings and being vocal about curriculum,” she said.


The rising high school senior knows she’s a year away from college, so volunteering herself to serve on a committee would not be good for timing. But the civics lesson and video journalism taught her plenty.
“This is a way people can easily find out what they want to know about volunteering and through videos it’s a way to get in contact with the township boards and commissions. Everyone I have met through this is really interested in working together to make their town better. When I am older I will definitely know what I am doing in a community and be able to participate because I had this project,” Garaffa said. 

Montgomery Closes on Open Space with Unique Story in Belle Mead

Montgomery Township has closed on a new tract of open space in Belle Mead near the Sourland Preserve. Known as the Skillman / Hillmont property, the purchase was completed May 23rd with funds from Township Open Space Trust Fund, in partnership with the NJDEP Green Acres Program.


Mayor Ed Trzaska commented, "We are thrilled to close on this new open space acreage. It adds to the 800 acres of protected land surrounding Lubas Park. One of our core governing principles is to protect Montgomery's rural character. Over the past several years, we have preserved over 600 acres of additional open space, including authorizing funding to purchase 170 acres in 2016 alone."


The tract consists of 13.5 acres of woodland on Broadway and Rt. 601 and has views of the Sourland Mountains. It is adjacent to 800 acres of open space including the Broadway fields, McKnight complex, and Lubas Field. It is also very close to Somerset County open space, including the Sourland Mountain Preserve & County lands formerly owned by Carrier Clinic. This acquisition preserves forest habitat and wetlands and also providing for possible future expansion of recreational facilities in the vicinity.


This vacant land has an interesting history due to what was not built there. This land is a conglomerate of a large number of small residential building lots (20 ft. x100 ft.) created on paper in the late nineteenth century by land owner Charles H. Cook. Cook was a pottery manufacturer from Trenton who promoted Belle Mead as a factory town with healthy country air for the working class. Manufacturing plants were to be built along the railroad on Reading Blvd. According to a Van Harlingen Historical Society document, promoters ran free excursion trains from the city to convince potential factory workers to buy the nearby lots on non-existing streets on time-payment plans for a few dollars down. While a few small factories were built and Reading Blvd. is still home to some commercial uses, there was never industrial use on the large scale envisioned. One better-known manufacturer was Belle Mead Sweets, makers of fine chocolates, which closed up shop in 1904.


So what ever happened to the lots sold for factory worker housing? Necessary residential improvements were never built for the neighborhood and almost all buyers lost their lots to tax foreclosure in the Great Depression. Over many years, Dix Skillman, who was an attorney and active citizen of Montgomery for decades, set about buying up many of the undeveloped individual lots to rejoin them. His widow, Virginia Skillman, recently agreed to sell the multitude of tiny lots, which her husband reunited, to Montgomery for preservation. The 'paper road' rights-of-way, still visible on tax maps, will be vacated. Stone pillars, marking the planned entrance to the city that never came to be are still visible .


The Dix Skillman / Hillmont property was purchased by Montgomery from Mrs. Skillman for $382,500.

 

Food For Thought - Using Your Noodle

Using Your Noodle

Pasta is a culinary jack-of-all-trades. With all the different varieties, and the virtually infinite number of sauces that can be made, it's one of the most versatile foods on earth. You could literally make pasta every night of the week, and with the exception of the pasta itself, have a different meal each time. Let's review some pasta cooking tips.


1) Always use a large pot with a copious amount of water at a full boil.
2) Always season the water with salt.
3) Don't bother adding oil to the water; it will not prevent sticking.
4) Sticking is prevented by using an ample amount of water at a full boil, stirring the pasta, especially at the beginning, and not overcrowding the pot.
5) It is generally a good idea to cook the pasta until it is almost done and then finish it in your sauce. This allows for greater incorporation of the sauce with the pasta.
6) If your sauce is a little too thick or too dry, add some of the pasta water.
7) Match the pasta to the sauce based on the stoutness of the pasta and the heaviness of the sauce. Generally speaking, heartier sauces are paired with sturdier pastas and vice versa.
8) Never rinse your pasta unless you're making a cold preparation like pasta salad and you need to stop the carry over cooking immediately. Rinsing the pasta reduces the surface starch, and thus inhibits the sauce from clinging to it.

Angel Hair With Lemon-Caviar Sauce
1 lb angel hair or spaghetti
1 stick butter
4 oz. olive oil
3 lemons (zest from all three, juice from two)
Two (2-oz.) jars red lumpfish roe
Salt and white pepper to taste
Parsley, chopped, to taste


Begin by boiling the pasta in salted water. While the pasta is cooking melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet and then add the lemon zest and juice. Cook the pasta until it is a minute or so from being done. Before draining it, pour four ounces of the pasta water into the butter and oil. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Keep the heat on low. Add the caviar and pepper, then stir until the caviar is fully incorporated. The pasta will turn a bright orange-red. Taste, adding more salt as necessary. The caviar's salinity may add enough salt for your palate. Finish with the parsley and serve. A crisp Chablis or Sauvignon Blanc would make a harmonious accompaniment.

Asian Beef Noodle Soup
8 oz rice noodles
6 oz. flank steak, sliced into very thin one inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil as needed
1 batch scallion, chopped
3 large button mushrooms, chopped
1 long hot pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. bean sprouts
3 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 small batch cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped
Sesame and/or hot chile oil for drizzling


Rice noodles cook within a few minutes. Have your water boiling and ready and add them when the soup is almost finished. Finish cooking them in the soup if need be. The best way to thinly slice the flank steak and other meats as well is to freeze it first. Then microwave it for just one minute. Slice it very thinly against the grain. Season the meat with salt and pepper and sauté in a very hot pan with a generous amount of vegetable oil. This should take no more than a minute. As soon as the meat is done, remove it from the pan and place it aside. Add more vegetable oil to the pan and sauté the scallions, mushrooms and hot pepper with some salt and pepper. When the vegetables are soft add the garlic and bean sprouts and sauté briefly. Deglaze with the rice wine, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cilantro. Finish by drizzling with sesame or hot chile oil.

Rigatoni With Escarole, Beans & Sausage
12 oz. Rigatoni pasta
Olive oil as needed
1 lb. Italian sweet sausage, cut into half-inch pieces
Pinch of hot pepper flakes
1 and a half pounds escarole, washed and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (15.5-oz.) can Goya small white beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-oz.) can chicken broth
Fresh basil, chopped, as needed
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese to taste


As you boil the pasta sauté the sausage and hot pepper flakes in a generous amount of olive oil until browned. Cook the pasta until it is a minute or so from being done. It will finish cooking in the sauce. Add the escarole, additional olive oil if necessary, and salt and pepper. Cook until the escarole has wilted. Add the beans, and chicken broth, bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook for a minute. Finish with additional salt and pepper, if need be, the basil, and the cheese.
This recipe is very flexible. You can substitute penne, ziti, cavatelli, orecchiette or any other short and stout pasta as well as substituting any other type of bean you desire. Serve with Chianti and Italian bread. 

First Annual Scenic Byway Towpath Trek

Stockton, New Jersey, June 6, 2017 - Join the Delaware Township Environmental Committee and Bulls Island Recreational Area in Delaware Township, Hunterdon County on Saturday, June 24, 2017 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. for the First Annual Towpath Trek Clean-Up along the Delaware River Scenic Byway. The litter pick-up will take place on the historic towpath and rail trail between Prallsville Mills to Bull’s Island, New Jersey. The morning clean-up will be full of natural sights and sounds, work and wandering. Bring along bug spray, walking boots and a sense of adventure to help keep our environment clean.


Registration is limited. Individuals, families, scout troops and other organized groups must register by contacting Kathy Klink at 609-397-3240, ext. 208 or kklink@delawaretwp.nj.org or by visiting the Delaware Township website, www.delawaretwp.nj.org . The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Bull’s Island Recreation Area front parking lot at 2185 Daniel Bray Highway, Stockton, NJ 08559. All participants will receive a complimentary clean-up t-shirt along with light morning refreshments and a pizza lunch at Bull’s Island after the event.


The Delaware River Scenic Byway (DRSB) was New Jersey’s first state byway. In 2009, it was designated a national byway under the America’s Byways Program. The DRSB promotes the area’s beauty, culture and history and runs 32.8 miles along Route 29 between Frenchtown and Trenton, New Jersey. For more Information about the Byway, go to www.DelawareRiverScenicByway.org.
 

Primary Results

Preliminary Statewide results of the gubernatorial primary were predictable enough: Phillip Murphy won on the democrat side, 48% of the vote from a field of six challengers; and Kim Guadagno won the Republican side at 47% of the vote from a field of five challengers.


But the numbers show something interesting: Murphy got 240,279 votes, and Guadagno less than half that amount, 112,899 votes. That 2-to-1 Democrat to Republican voting disparity was present among the Montgomery electorate as well. On the other hand, in the 16th District, which includes Montgomery and Rocky Hill, unaffiliated voters represent 47% of the electorate.


Montgomery Democrats made a strong showing, with a total 1364 votes cast. Murphy was the winner of the Democrat ticket, with 523 votes, followed by John Wisniewski, at 415 votes, and Jim Johnson, with 306 votes.


On the other hand, only 700 local Republicans cast a ballot in the gubernatorial race. 393 voted for Freeholder Jack Ciattarelli, and only 216 picked Guadagno.


For the Assembly in the 16th District, Republican former Assemblywoman Donna Simon (584) lost out to Montgomery resident current Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire (592). On the Democrat side, our Skillman neighbor, incumbent Andrew Zwicker (1052) held back close challenger Roy Freiman (1016). Official results haven't been posted for the 16th District as yet.
 

AWARDEE NOMINATIONS BEING SOUGHT FOR 2017 SPIRIT OF SOMERSET AWARDS

Scheduled for Wednesday, September 27


Somerville – The Spirit of Somerset Awards Committee is currently seeking nominations for their annual SPIRIT OF SOMERSET AWARDS, which will be held this year on Wednesday, September 27 at the Raritan Valley Country Club in Bridgewater, NJ. This popular fundraising event will benefit the Strengthening Families and Pathways to Parenting Programs at the Somerville-based non-profit agency Somerset Treatment Services.

“We are once again very pleased to have the opportunity to honor the wonderful work of these deserving individuals, organizations and businesses that have represented the true spirit of Somerset County during the last year,” said Somerset Treatment Services Executive Director Barbara Schlichting. “This event will feature a tasting by local wine and beer purveyors as well as an evening of great food in a wonderful atmosphere.”

The Spirit of Somerset Awards program brings together representatives from the business, education, arts, health and non-profit communities in a celebration of Somerset County’s many achievements. Previous awards have been given to an array of recipients since the program started back in 1998, some of which have included the Affinity Federal Credit Union, Brook Arts Center, Business Partnership of Somerset County, Courier News, Fulton Bank, Johnson & Johnson Companies, Raritan Valley Community College, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital –Somerset, Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, Somerset County Vocational & Technical Schools, Somerset Patriots Baseball Club, sanofi-aventis, SSP Architectural Group, Suplee, Clooney, TD Bank ,and Team Capital Bank.

Some of the past individual award recipients have included Olympic Hall of Fame track star Joetta Clark Diggs, Hollywood star Meryl Streep, local philanthropist and businessman Steven Kalafer, Senator Kip Bateman, former Somerset County Mayors Angelo Corradino, Anthony DeCicco, James Dowden, Al Ellis, Patricia Flannery, Lee Honecker, Melonie Marano, Frank Ryan and Carl Torsilieri; former Somerset County political leaders Raymond Bateman, Peter Biondi, Patrick Fittipaldi, Walter Kavanaugh, Christie Whitman, Dick Williams, and Bob Zaborowski; and community leaders Hon. Paul W. Armstrong, Brian Auger, Marilyn Birnbaum, Hon. Thomas Dilts, Harry Frezza, Marie Hughes, Dr. Lawrence Livornese, Beth Anne Macdonald, Linda Porcaro, Dan Puntillo, Rich Reitman, and Rev. Buster Soaries to name just a few.

“There have been countless accomplishments that have happened throughout Somerset County’s 21 municipalities over the last year and we are hoping that county residents and businesses will take the time to nominate deserving candidates for this distinguished honor,” commented Spirit of Somerset Awards Co-Chair, Rick St. Pierre.

Award nominations are being sought in the categories of Athletics/Recreation, Business, Civic Improvement, Cultural Arts/Heritage, Education, Government Service, Health/Wellness, Senior Services, Youth Services, and Volunterism. A John Graf Humanitarian Award category for Outstanding Philanthropic Service to the Community was recently added to commemorate the wonderful work of our former Board President. Anyone wishing to nominate an individual, organization or business can send a 250 to 500-word statement along with the nominee’s name, address and contact information to the Spirit of Somerset Awards Committee by June 30, 2017. Nominations should be emailed to: Barbara Schlichting at Somerset Treatment Services, barbsts@aol.com.

Tickets for the Wednesday, September 27 fundraiser will include a 5:00 pm cocktail reception, 6:00 pm awards program, and a 7:00 pm dinner. Tickets for the event are $100 with reservations available by contacting the Somerset Treatment Services office at (908) 722-1232 X3026, or emailing your name, address and phone number to: zbowers@stscares.org or barbsts@aol.com.  

MHS Seniors Enjoy Annual BBQ

Members of the Montgomery High School (MHS) Class of 2017 were treated to an all-you-can-eat barbecue on Wednesday, June 7 - two weeks before their graduation. Over 40 parents cooked and served the food to over 400 graduating seniors.


If you think it's a challenge to get dinner on the table, look at these statistics from the event. 500 burgers (most with cheese), 96 veggie burgers, 160 hot dogs, and hundreds of individual bags of potato chips - all provided by Chartwells Food Services - were served. In addition, the Class of 2017 purchased 350 chicken tenders from Tender Lovin' Grill in Hillsborough. One parent also provided gluten free burgers.


Preparations began before 8am and four grills, manned by parents of seniors, were in constant use for two hours starting at 9am. Parents brought garden and fruit salads and beverages while the PTSA provided seven large tubs of vanilla, chocolate, and mint chocolate chip ice cream in case students were still hungry for dessert.


Hope Boczon, who is a special education teacher in MHS' math department and an advisor for the senior class, noted that Chartwells, led by Pat Kurczewski at MHS, did "an amazing job. They were so helpful and attentive and provided everything we needed, including condiments, utensils, and napkins. They also provided things we realized we needed in a pinch."


Even though the event was held on the paved area under the science wing, Boczon said she was thankful that the weather cooperated after the preceding stretch of rainy days. And it is safe to say that no one left hungry. 

Sustainability and Homegrown Goodness at Terhune Orchards

Terhune Orchards at 330 Cold Soil Road in Lawrence is synonymous with apple farming in Central New Jersey and its popularity has grown into a staple of the greater Princeton area in "agri-tainment."


But Terhune's brand new wine barn, which opened to much fanfare in December 2016, could soon be decorated with prestigious awards. A dozen years of growing wines has culminated with Terhune Orchards winning nine medals in the annual Governor's Cup New Jersey Wine Competition organized for the Garden State Wine Growers Association by Dr. Gary Pavlis of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. This year's competition in late May featured wines from 21 New Jersey wineries. Terhune Orchards Winery prevailed and won the Cup for best Fruit Wine with its blueberry wine, Harvest Blues. Terhune Orchards was awarded three gold medals for Harvest Blue, Blossom White and Just Peachy, two silver medals for Chambourcin and Vidal Blanc and four bronze medals for its Apple Wine, Barn Red, Farmhouse White and Rooster Red.


This summer's "Sips & Sounds" series, featuring wine tastings and local musicians from 5 to 8 pm, every Friday evening from June to September 8, is an opportunity for Terhune Orchards and guests to celebrate their medal-winning wines. Terhune Orchards will pour one complimentary sample of a Gold Medal winning wine to anyone who purchases a wine tasting flight, which includes samples of five wines. Sips & Sounds is held rain or shine. Stroll around the 200-acre farm with your favorite glass or enjoy the climate controlled wine barn or Terhune's outdoor seating area.


Gary and Pam Mount began Terhune Orchards legacy in 1975, returning to Central New Jersey in the early 1970s after spending three years as Peace Corps volunteers in the South Pacific. In 2006, Gary and the couple's younger daughter Tannwen planted five acres of grapes. Terhune Orchards started bottling in 2010 and have expanded the vineyard to nine acres. Pam and Gary's older daughter, Reuwai, oversees cultivation of the vineyard. The couple named their eldest for a family friend in Micronesia. Both Reuwai and Tannwen followed in their father's footsteps and earned degrees at Princeton, graduating in the 1990s.
"When Tannwen returned from San Francisco she was really interested in starting the winery. The grapes were planted just over ten years ago and then it took four to five years to get enough grapes on the vines to actually make wine. We have been making wine since 2010 but we never had our own all-in-one-facility, compete with tanks and bottling space. We started planning to build the wine barn and it took the last six years, and now we have space for wine tastings and seating in there," Pam Mount says.


Terhune's 14 wine varieties can be sampled inside the wine barn as well as a 200-year-old red barn which has a fireplace and benches outside its entrance. The mix of barns, a farm store, orchards of apple trees and livestock out back create a tremendous and inspiring environment. Inside the new barn group events are accommodated.


"It's really added a whole new dimension to our wine tasting experience and it's very popular. We hosted Sips N' Sounds on Sunday afternoons in March and April and now that shifts to Friday nights for summer. It's sunlight out till later and people can sit, spin wines and enjoy light fare," Mount said.
Children love Terhune Orchards' small farm animals from sheep and goats to ponies, chickens, and guinea fowl that prowl around. Not to be outdone are Apple and Peach, the yellow labs greeting visitors at the farm. Little kids also play on Terhune's toy/replica farm tractors and climbable structures.


Tannwen Mount-Washburn is married to Jim Washburn, a social studies teacher at Montgomery High School since 2005. At MHS Washburn teaches AP U.S. Government & Politics and U.S. History I. He also advises the Model U.N. and coaches JV ice hockey.


Terhune Orchards farm store offers 50 different crops and cultivars of each fruit or vegetable.
"Everything is fresh picked, our sweetcorn is picked each day. We have a wonderful, active bakery preparing cookies, apple crisps, our pie varieties and who can forget...cider donuts!" We also make our apple cider year-round and using the cider we make an Apple Wine which became popular too," Mount said.


Now Apple-Blueberry wine and Apple-Peach wine will be popular as they come in season. For warm weather Terhune also offers a slushy frozen cider.


The first weekend of May brought chilly weather to the area but Terhune Orchards' Kite Day weekend was a success. Each January guests partake in the tradition "Wassailing the Apple Trees." But the big Sunday, June 25 Firefly Festival from 3 to 9 p.m. is likely the largest draw on a single day every year.
This July 8 and 9 Terhune Orchards will also host its annual Blueberry Bash festival as during the month guests can pick their own blueberries. "This July 20 is our now-famous farm to table dinner, which is a fundraiser for all Mercer County's Sustainability Programs. We collaborate with all the chefs from the Momo Bros. group (Eno Terra, Mediterra, Terra Momo Breads) Their chefs come to Terhune and make a fantastic five or six course meal and we pair each course with one of our wines," said Pam Mount.
A native of Northampton, Mass. Pam Mount moved to Princeton as a child. She graduated from Princeton High in 1963. Mount ran for student council as a sixth grader. Ultimately she became a council member and mayor of Lawrence Township. As mayor she started the Sustainable Lawrence group, a division of Sustainable New Jersey under a state certification program. She's also chair of the Lawrence Green Team and chair of the Lawrence Nature Center.


"I started and now sit on the board of the Lawrence Community Foundation which gives grants to nonprofits here in Lawrence. Now I am board member of C-Change Conversation, short for Climate Change Conversation. She arranged a speaker to present a Climate Change lecture at Terhune in June. Gary Mount is on the Mercer County Agricultural Committee and the Agriculture Development Board which oversees farmland preservation programs.


Pam explains that her family is deeply interested in creating a more sustainable community. With Terhune Orchards being a hub of the greater Princeton area built by the Mounts' ingenuity, the eco-conscious movement is homegrown. Contact Pam and Gary at 609-924-2310 or visit terhuneorchards.com.

 

Rock Brook School Hosts 3rd Annual Community Open House

 

On May 19, the Rock Brook School in Skillman, NJ hosted its 3rd Annual Family Night/Community Open House. Growing bigger and better every year, this event offers the opportunity to the community to visit the school and meet the students, staff and families who make Rock Brook such a special place.


For more than 40 years, Rock Brook School has provided education and assistance and support for children with special needs, their families and professionals. Serving children from 3-21, the school has helped hundreds of kids reach their full potential as fulfilled, self-confident individuals and in turn become productive members of the community.


Mark Caliguire, Somerset County Freeholder and former Mayor of Montgomery, attended the festivities. He thanked RBS Director Mary Caterson for her 30 years of service and spoke of the tremendous impact she and the school has had upon thousands of our children. RBS' event took place at the conclusion of Special Education Week. A chain link Connections Project was unveiled which demonstrated how each student, staff and family is connected. This year's Open House festivities also included several food trucks, arts & crafts, a DJ and pony rides by Dustin, courtesy of Unicorn Therapeutic Riding.


For more information about Rock Brook School, visit www.rock-brook.org, call (908) 431-9500 or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
 

Controversy over Gen. Washington’s spy topic of talk

Griggstown native John Honeyman was a secret agent who saved George Washington and the Continental Army after a string of defeats and helped win the battles of Trenton and Princeton. Or is that so much poppycock?

“John Honeyman, Washington’s Spy: Unsung Hero or Urban Legend,” is the topic of a talk by Tim Strollery, to be held appropriately in Griggstown during the annual meeting of the Delaware & Rartian Canal Watch, 2 p.m. Sunday, June 11.

The meeting, free and open to the public, will be held in the mule tenders barracks on the Griggstown Causeway. The barracks building is adjacent to the canal towpath, 4 Griggstown Causeway, Franklin Township. Parking is available along the causeway.

Mr. Stollery, a winner of two local Emmy awards and six Emmy nominations, is an independent videographer, producer and editor and contributed many video features and profiles for New Jersey Network. He is a member of the Hillsborough Historic Preservation Commission.

The story of John Honeyman, a Griggstown butcher and cattle dealer, has intrigued historians for generations and was even the topic of an article published by the CIA.

Light refreshments will be served.

The nonprofit D&R Canal Watch helps promote, enhance and preserve the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park.

For further information, contact Canal Watch President Linda Barth at 908-240-0488 or barthlinda123@aol.com.