9-17: Nineteen new COVID Cases; Pandemic Healing Event Monday; Storm Debris Pickup Underway; Donations Accepted for Displaced Residents; Detour for Bridgepoint Area Roadwork; Disaster Resources Available; 2021 Election BeginsPosted on September 17, 2021
NEW COVID CASES AT 4-MONTH HIGH
There have been nineteen (19) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 9-14-21. For the week ending today, the township had twenty-seven (27) cases, the highest weekly total since early May.
“We’re experiencing a bump up in cases that is associated with family clusters and late summer travel,” said Montgomery Township Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey. “About half of today’s new cases are among unvaccinated children, who are now quarantined and not attending school.”
The health department strongly encourages residents to get vaccinated and is offering two clinics today, Friday, with a J&J clinic this afternoon from 1-3 pm at the Municipal Building, and a Moderna Clinic this evening from 5-7 pm the Pike Run Clubhouse. More information on municipal clinics is available on the health department website.
About two-thirds of eligible teens have been vaccinated. For those who aren’t, the quickest option is to find a local pharmacy offering the Pfizer vaccine, approved for teenagers, through the NJ Vaccine Finder.
PANDEMIC HEALING EVENT MONDAY
Residents of all ages are encouraged to attend a pandemic-inspired community event, Montgomery Together: Lighting the Way Forward, an Evening of Hope and Healing. The event will be on Monday, September 20, from 3 to 8 pm, at the Princeton Elks Lodge on Route 518 in Skillman.
The event will feature paintings, drawings, videos, crafts, poetry, essays, etc., all inspired by the pandemic. Organizers are the Montgomery Township Health Department and Municipal Alliance, in partnership with the Montgomery Recreation Department, Princeton Elks Lodge, and Somerset County Department of Human Services.
An indoor gallery will be open from 3-7 pm, with an outside candlelight vigil to follow. The rain date for the Candlelight Vigil is Tuesday, September 21st at 7pm (dusk). Masks will be required both indoors and outdoors.
For more information or questions, email Celine LaBelle at email@example.com or call at 609-874-8007.
LIMITED CURBSIDE IDA DEBRIS PICKUP UNDERWAY
The Montgomery Township Department of Public Works has received DEP approval and is picking up storm debris from residences most seriously impacted by the Hurricane Ida flooding.
Residents unable to address debris removal themselves are advised to fill out an Emergency Help Form on the township website indicating their situation. Township staff will review requests and let you know whether and when assistance can be provided. Alternatively, call Montgomery’s storm Ida hotline at (908) 395-7991 and leave a message with your name, address, and phone number.
“If you can remove debris to our Container Facility at 12 Harlingen Road, that’s going to be your quickest solution,” said Township Administrator Donato Nieman. “But we’ll eventually get to every seriously impacted neighborhood, as we did after Hurricane Irene ten years ago.”
The Container Facility will be open Monday through Saturday this week and next, 8am to 2pm, with coupons/fees waived for storm debris originating in Montgomery. Be prepared to prove residency when dropping off debris.
DONATIONS ACCEPTED FOR DISPLACED RESIDENTS
Montgomery Township is aware of at least 18 homes seriously damaged during Storm Ida, and these households remain the focus of township attention. Seven of them, so far, that have been condemned as uninhabitable. Some of the displaced families have school-aged children.
Residents wishing to donate recovery aid to residents impacted by Storm Ida may consider donating online to the Montgomery Charity Foundation or to the Princeton Elks Lodge 2129. Both organizations are coordinating with the township to identify families most in need.
BRIDGEPOINT AREA ROADWORK TO TAKE THREE+ WEEKS
Roadwork on Dead Tree Run Road (Bridgepoint Road to Mill Pond Road) and Mill Pond Road is expected to start on or about Monday, September 20, 2021 and last for three to four weeks.
A detour plan has been established. Follow the posted detour signs around the construction zone between Bridgepoint and Mill Pond Roads. Access will be maintained to residents who live in the work zone. Mill Pond Park will be accessible using Dead Tree Run Road from River Road.
Please sign up for Montgomery Police Nixle alerts for periodic updates. (You may also text your zip code to 888777 to subscribe.) Construction time will depend on the weather.
DISASTER RESOURCES FOR RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES, NONPROFITS
Somerset County is part of a declared Federal Disaster area due to Hurricane Ida, meaning that Federal relief monies may be available to residents through the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster process. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
If you are facing a major loss, use the state portal to report damage and keep documentation, photos, and receipts. This should expedite reimbursement. Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. FEMA has created a webpage that includes New Jersey resources and assistance for families. If you wish to assist with the recovery efforts, visit FEMA’s Volunteer/Donate page.
Last week, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board approved a disaster relief program that will provide grants between $1,000 and $5,000 to New Jersey businesses and non-profits with up to 50 employees that suffered physical damage as a result of Tropical Storm Ida and any additional flooding immediately thereafter. Landlords and home-based businesses are not eligible.
Governor Phil Murphy also announced a rideshare partnership with NJ 211, United Way Worldwide, Uber, and Lyft to provide access to free and discounted rides to New Jersey residents who lost a personal vehicle as a result of Tropical Storm Ida. For the next two weeks, New Jersey residents who lost a vehicle and need help accessing essential services can text NJIDARIDE to 898-211 to request a Lyft or Uber ride. Those without access to a smartphone can dial 2-1-1.
Local lists of recovery resources are available on the Montgomery Township and Somerset County. websites. Montgomery’s Office of Emergency Management has established a special hotline for Ida-related questions or concerns at (908) 395-7991. In addition, Montgomery Township is collecting requests for help with a range of extraordinary challenges via an Emergency Help Form on the township website. Use this to report problems with housing, food insecurity, transportation issues, debris removal, etc.
Additional resources include these hotlines: NJ Mental Health 866-202-HELP, SAMSA Disaster Distress Hotline: 800-985-5990.
2021 ELECTION BALLOTS MAILED AS COUNTY SEEKS POLL WORKERS
Mail ballots for the 2021 New Jersey State Election soon will begin arriving in the mail. Elections for governor, state legislature, county commissioner, and municipal governing officials are on the ballot.
Mail ballots can be returned via the US Postal Service or deposited in a secure drop box beginning late next week. The Somerset County list of drop boxes includes the Montgomery Township Municipal Building at 2261 Route 206 in Belle Mead.
Somerset County is seeking paid poll workers for Election Day and for the first-ever “early in-person” voting that begins October 23. Residents interested in learning about temporary employment as a poll worker should visit the Somerset County Board of Elections website, where they will also find an application form.