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

Tuesday December 12, 2017


Montgomery News Directory



BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Somerset County Park Commission Rangers and representatives for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recently performed a “Controlled Burn” on 128.5 acres of Washington Valley Park in Bridgewater, NJ.

According to smokeybear.com, “Prescribed fires, also known as prescribed burns or controlled burns, refer to the controlled application of fire by a team of fire experts under specified weather conditions that helps restore health to ecosystems that depend on fire.”

Led by Manager of the Park Rangers Dave Dendler and NJDEP Section Fire Warden George Efinger, the “controlled burn” at Washington Valley Park in Bridgewater near the Hawk Watch, was conducted to reduce fuel in the park and create an urban interface fuel break. Without the controlled fire, the area would become less resilient, creating the potential for increased greenhouse gas emissions when catastrophic wildfires do occur.

According to Efinger, “An added benefit to the burn is that it eliminates invasive species of plants and creates a welcoming wildlife habitat.”

Dendler added, “We are grateful to George Efinger and his team. Protecting our parks and protecting our neighbors are our most important function and the contribution of NJDEP allows us to accomplish our goal.”

Information on Somerset County Park Commission activities and programs may be found at www.somersetcountyparks.org. 

Planetarium to Offer Star Shows, Holiday Presentations

The Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium in Branchburg is offering shows for all ages in December including special holiday star shows and laser concerts. The following productions will be presented:


The Alien Who Stole Christmas, Saturdays, December 2, 9 & 16, 3 p.m.
Discover the stars visible in the winter sky. Then follow Santa on a trip through the solar system as he’s kidnapped by a friendly alien. The kids on the other planets also need presents. (Recommended for ages 6-10)


Winter Wonder Lights, Saturdays, December 2, 9 & 16, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Enjoy a laser light show featuring such holiday hits such as “Wizards in Winter,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Dominic the Donkey.” (Recommended for ages 6-adult)


Astronomy Tonight, Saturday, December 2, 7 p.m.
Join us on the first Saturday of the month as we use the Planetarium’s DigitalSky theater to take visitors on a personally guided tour of the night sky. Audience members will learn about some of the popular constellations visible from sunset to sunrise, as well as the stories behind them. They’ll also see how and where in the sky to find the brightest planets. Weather permitting, the 3M Observatory, located next to the Planetarium, will be open after the show. (Recommended for ages 8-adult)


Mystery at the North Pole, Fridays, December 8 & 15, 7 p.m.
Santa is sick and he’s too ill to deliver presents this year. Who could have done this? Who would want to sabotage Christmas? Was it an elf? A reindeer? The audience will examine all of the suspects and figure out who is guilty. (Recommended for ages 10-adult)


Black Holes, Saturdays, December 9 & 16, 7 p.m.
Black Holes takes audience members on a journey through one of the most mystifying, awe-inspiring phenomena in the universe, pondering such questions as: Where do black holes come from? How do we find them? Is there one on Earth's horizon? (Recommended for ages 8-adult)


Planetarium show tickets cost $8 for one show or $14 for two shows on the same day. Reservations are strongly suggested for all Planetarium shows. For additional information or to make reservations, call 908-231-8805 or visit www.raritanval.edu/planetarium.


Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu. 


Environmental Education Center December 2 through 29, 2017

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center will present Somerset County’s most creative and beautiful winter spectacular, the 40th Annual Festival of Trees at the Environmental Education Center located at 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

Visitors to the Festival are asked to bring donations for Somerville’s Agape House that focuses on assisting families that are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Donations of new clothing, new toiletries, new linens, pantry items including non-perishable foods, foil, plastic wrap, etc., and gift cards are welcome.

The 40th Festival of Trees opens to the public on Saturday, December 2 and will remain open seven-days-a week until Friday December 29, 2017 with the exception of Sunday, December 24 through Tuesday, December 26, 2017. Exhibit hours are 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. daily.

Kicking off the Festival on Saturday, December 2 from 12:00 Noon to 2:00 P.M. will be a live performance by Moggy Hill featuring holiday music with a Bluegrass twist.

A non-denominational event, the Festival of Trees transforms the Environmental Education Center into a joyful spectacular featuring a remarkable display of holiday trees, designed and created by local groups, clubs, businesses, and individuals who select the theme and decorate in their own style with their personal artistic ability. The annual Central Jersey holiday tradition provides a great way for families to enjoy the festivities of the holiday season.

The Snowflake Café will provide the opportunity to enjoy a hot beverage, fresh baked goods, and live holiday music on presented on weekends by both professional and amateur performers. A schedule of performers is available by calling the Environmental Education Center at 908-766-2489 or on the website at www.somersetcountyparks.org.

There is a suggested donation of $5 per person. Groups of 12 or more who schedule in advance will receive a 20% discount. Disadvantaged or disabled groups will be admitted for free. Proceeds from the event help support educational and community service programs at the EEC.

For information or group reservations, contact the Environmental Education Center at 908-766-2489 or NJ Relay at 711 for individuals with a hearing or speech impairment, or email mjuhasz@scparks.org

Information on this event and other Somerset County Park Commission activities may be found on the Internet at www.somersetcountyparks.org.