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Stormy, windy weather followed a Tri-state heat wave Saturday evening, leaving behind damages and inconveniences to some area residents even in close by downtown Trenton.

Andersson Veras of Trenton is owner of this car that is damaged by a fallen tree during the windy storm that ends a heat wave.
— Photo by Michelle Dryden

A Trenton City man, Andersson Veras, who lives on the 200 Block of Jackson St. lost his car of about three months and narrowly escaped getting hurt, when a sidewalk tree along the street fell across the windshield due to the force of the windy weather.

Veras, who uses his car predominantly for work, said, “It’s bad because I spend a lot of money to accessorize it.”

He also said he just parked and exited the 2001 Honda CR-V car about 20 minutes before the tree fell on it.

About this, he said, “I feel amazing that I was not in the car at the time. It could’ve been somebody else in the car.”

The fallen tree blocked the entire width of the street for about four hours before City Workers showed up to quickly remove it, so that residents can leave the block by driving their cars.

Most of the residents affected by the fallen tree were drivers on the 200 Blocks of Mercer and Jackson streets.

Windy storm tree accident - YouTube

Peter Scaglione of 257 Mercer St., and his girlfriend ordered pizza in Morrisville, Pa., and experienced inconveniences when they tried to drive around the block from Mercer Street to Jackson Street to go pick up their pie.

However, they figured they could use the alleys from Clay Street, and across Mercer and Jackson streets as emergency routes.

Scaglione said that although the trees make the streets look beautiful, he always tells his girlfriend to be careful when parking underneath them.

A City of Trenton tree removal worker said, it seems there were termites in the tree that caused it to rot and fell during the windy storm.

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Embracing resilience and triumphing over tragedy, the Trenton community supported the return of Art All Night festival in the City this past weekend.

As Tenton Art All Night 2019 returns from last year’s tragedy, supporters are excited about the artwork seen here.
— Photo by Michelle Dryden

With beefed up law enforcement following last year’s tragic incident, the 24-hour Artworks event was scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Saturday and to end at its usual time Sunday at 3 p.m., but there was a significant break from 1 to 7 a.m., for this year only.

This year, there were two public entrances to the event that the staff closed during the break as they asked patrons to leave at 1 a.m., and invited them to return at 7 a.m.

Artworks Director Lauren Otis explained that, “We want everyone to be comfortable…coming back, so we decided to close the event in the wee hours, but next year we’ll be back 24-hours.”

Otis appreciated turnout to see the art by 6 p.m. Saturday. He also said that more than 900 artists who

Art All Night 2019 - YouTube

promised to continue to support the fest submitted artworks, but there were about 500 less than last year.

This year’s incident-free Art All Night event depicts the City’s beauty, with everything coming “together in a perfect triumphant storm,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who spoke to a positive crowd at about 5:30 p.m.  Saturday.

Gov. Murphy said, “Art measures the soul of this particular community.” He believes that whatever takes place in Trenton affects the entire State of New Jersey.

Thanking all the supporters including City workers, law enforcement, artists, and the community at large, the Gov. officially kicked off the event by cheering it on.

“Go on Art All Night!” he said.

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“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles,” says the famous quote from Syndicated Columnist Doug Larson.

Hoping to engage the community in an important event, D&R Greenway invited the public to an evening of fly-fishing along the Stony Brook in Princeton earlier today, where Orvis of Princeton co-sponsored and provided stellar fishing equipment.

This is an annual event that welcomes all fishing skill levels, especially those with fishing licenses who are ages 10 years and older.

After the 5:30 p.m. registration, Orvis’ Fly-Fishing Manager Bruce Turner shared expert secrets of successful fly-fishing during a light meal.

Folks learned that fish are more easily caught at dawn, at dusk, and at full moon. Hands-on demonstration and actual fly-fishing followed.

Fishers are required to wear the appropriate footwear for being near the brook, have insect repellant, and use sunscreen.

For those who will need a fishing license, you may purchase and print them online at www.njfishandwildlife.com.

Fishers stand by the Stony Brook.
— Photo by Laura Hawkins
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The more than 30-years-old Hafetz and Associates of Iselin will present two free Medicare seminars this month, starting Wednesday, and also on June 27 at 4 p.m.

Scott R. Hafetz, owner of Hafetz and Associates of Iselin, N.J. will offer free Medicare seminars starting Wednesday.
— Provided photo

Hafetz and Associates provides individual and group employee health products through innovative and cutting-edge ideas tailored to meet every client’s specific needs, they claim.

Their upcoming seminars will aim to  “inform the public about the many nuances of Medicare and ensure they’re knowledgeable about exactly what their plan covers,” said Scott Hafetz, owner of Hafetz and Associates.

Hafetz continued to say that, “Attendees are never pressured to sign up for a plan. Our goal is for everyone to better understand how Medicare works, and for Hafetz and Associates to be a resource they can go to for their Medicare questions and concerns.”

According to Hafetz and Associates, they have been offering highly personal attention and exceptional customer service for more than 30 years, and therefore is a trusted and devoted advisor.

At the seminars, they plan to discuss Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C Advantage plans, and Part D prescription plans and supplemental coverage.

In order to ensure everyone is knowledgeable about their Medicare plans and benefits, Hafetz and Associates will conclude each seminar with a question and answer session, as well as private consultations with Hafetz Medicare representatives.

The experienced Hafetz and Associates offers a variety of individual and group health and dental insurance products and services.

Amanda Reese of Hafetz and Associates is presenting at Hafetz seminars.
— Provided photo

For those switching from other plans to Medicare, it should be effortless with Hafetz.  Employed

seminar attendees may also receive information from licensed consultants on the best plans, and the benefits of choosing to transition from their group plan to Medicare.

To RSVP for these free seminars, you may call Amanda Reese at 609-872-0001 x107, or email areese@srhafetz.com.

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Welcome summer with a walk in the park as D&R Greenway teams up with a local restaurant for its

A lady stands by the lake along a trail in Kunkel Park in Pennington, N.J.
— Provided photo

3rdTrails-to-Table Walk and meals June 20thand 21st.

The Trails-to-Tables Walk will be a guided walk along PennView Heights Trail, following a picnic supper provided by Chambers Walk Café of Lawrenceville, under the gazebo at Pennington Kunkel Park on King George Road on June 20.

As D&R Greenway commemorates its 30thAnniversary of land preservation in Central New Jersey and beyond, it will also recognize the official beginning of the summer season and the two longest days of the year, by inviting the public to get to “know natural treasures which are close by and often adjacent to their very own neighborhood,” says a news release from D&R Greenway’s community relations person.

The beauty of PennView Heights property begins with a lengthy section of frontage along the Stony Brook. This land links the Baldwin Lake Management Area and Kunkle Park. The forested floodplain along the Stony Brook protects the water quality of this crucial stream, says the D&R Greenway news release.

Linda Mead, D&R Greenway’s president and CEO, says, “ This year, the summer solstice will officially occur on Friday, June 21st, at 11:54 a.m. In addition to enjoying the extra light during the year’s two longest days, participants will learn fascinating sagas of local and preservation, including that of PennView Heights.”

She encourages the community to, “join us for Thursday evening’s picnic supper and walk, or otherwise support preservation by having a meal at any time of day or evening at Lawrenceville’s Chambers Walk restaurant on Friday.”

When patrons enter the restaurant on Friday to show support by having their meal, you should say, “D&R Greenway,” upon ordering, and the restaurant will donate 10 per cent of your tab to support the Land Trust’s preservation and stewardship mission.

D&R Greenway continues its mission to recognize and appreciate those who support their land preservation efforts.

Thus, at the Trails-to-Tables event, they will also honor another member of their team similarly to their 30thAnniversary Greenway Gala awards in early May.

Alan Hershey receives the prestigious 2019 Donald B. Jones Conservation Award at the 30th Anniversary Greenway Gala this spring. — Provided photo

At this event, it will be Peter Dawson, a Pennington resident and member of D&R Greenway’s Board of Trustees, who they will honor for his volunteer commitment to the community.

Dawson, who is also owner of Leigh Imaging Inc., helped D&R Greenway design signs that introduce the public to D&R Greenway’s properties. He also created effective merchandise to herald the inaugural River Days – a celebration of the Delaware River watershed by twenty-three nature centers belonging to the Alliance for Watershed Education.

“Peter has a wholehearted and hands-on understanding to our mission to preserve and care for land and inspire a conservation ethic,” Mead says. “He mirrors the integrity and passion of his Pennington neighbors, past and present, who solicited funding to preserve these forty-two acres.”

Mead also mentions D&R Greenway Executive Director Maude Backes and D&R Greenway Board Chair Alan Hershey, who both helped with acquisition of the properties.

D&R Greenway nature specialists will be available for the June 20thtrail walks to guide participants along these properties.

To reserve a spot, or sign up, pleas evisit www.drgreenway.org, or call (609)924-4646.

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Societies and families have evolved, so why shouldn’t our Family Court laws reflect these evolutions?

A crowd of supporters voice their concerns about the current state of the Family Court in Trenton, at a recent rally in Newark, N.J.
— Provided photo

This is the question that Family Advocate Network Political Action Committee (FAN-PAC) asked at a recent rally in Newark.

“The Family Court is not meeting the needs of those it is meant to serve and whose interests it is supposed to protect. In specific, our children,” states FAN-PAC President and Founder Rafael Franco.

Formed in October 2017, FAN-PAC wants to update the Family Court laws in Trenton, which they say are ambiguous and no longer support children and families.

Thus, FAN-PAC has introduced two bills, A-1091 and S-273, which have many supporters.

“These bills are designed to encourage cooperation by both parents rather than a parent vs. parent dynamic,” notes FAN-PAC.

A current problem FAN-PAC recognizes is that the Family Court has cases where it picks a “’winning’” parent and a “‘losing’” parent when called upon to make custody decisions.

FAN-PAC believes that picking a winning parent means that the children always lose, because children usually need both parents.

And such was a reason behind the FAN-PAC rally, where they were “advocating for policies in Trenton to create a system better suited to recognize the critical role the Family Court plays in meeting the needs of all children in New Jersey regardless of the family structure,” Franco states.

The legislators also want the court to understand the needs of the 21st century families instead of being guided by a 1950s view of the family.

“Gone are the days where dad worked from 9-5; mom stayed home with the children. Now, it is more likely both parents work out of the home,” Franco explains.

He also addressed the fact that New Jersey, like many other states, allows for LGBTQ couples to marry and have children nowadays, unlike the times of the 1950s.

FAN-PAC supporters rally for children and families at a demonstration in Newark, N.J. recently.
— Provided photo

Franco believes that “reform is not only about today’s parents who have experienced dysfunction in the court; the true need for reform lies in the next generation of moms and dads,” he says.

He thinks that the future generations should be given tools to deal with adult issues, and that they will need to exhibit the right behaviors when they are married and have children of their own.

Children who are free to love and be loved by both parents, “are less likely to try to pit parents against each other,” he states.

FAN-PAC believes there are global benefits and better outcomes for children who are not exposed to the conflicts and trauma of divorce.

Some benefits include:

  • Children who are better behaved because they know the lines of communication between parents are open.
  • Children who are more successful both academically and socially.
  • Children who are less likely to suffer from depression and are generally happier.
  • Children are more satisfied with their living arrangements
  • They have higher feelings of self-worth
  • They feel more positively about the impact of the divorce on their lives.

Franco states that all of society benefits when we meet the needs of our children, because they are our most valuable natural resources.

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The progressive dialogs between the Trenton community and its leaders continue, as a local filmmaker creates “Common Ground” — another film within his docuseries.

Trenton police officer Sh’Quanah Lopez plays ball with Trenton youth.
Photo by Margaret Casperson

Last Saturday, Joseph A. Halsey, founder of the James R. Halsey Foundation of the Arts, along with co-founder of seven13 Films, Lee Kolinsky, and several community members wrapped up day four of filming “Common Ground,” which is a part of his Generation Change docuseries that focuses on positive changes within the community.

Media Producer Margaret Fontana said that, Generation Change is the first of docuseries since they switched from producing fiction, and that “this could potentially spark new positive conversations and create a more open forum and platform for community members … challenging social issues they face daily.”

Since its inception, Generation Change has presented a previous Youth Symposium called, “If I Were Mayor” at Rider University last spring where the youth questioned mayoral candidates.

This year’s symposium, “Common Ground,” also involves teens and young adults who came out to the Sam Naples Senior Center in Trenton to meet with Trenton police officers and have a conversation about some of the issues they face within the community.

Award-winning Television Personality Alicia Nieves hosted both events, where she facilitated the conversations between the youth and their leaders.

Community members on the last day before post-production also included the Mayor of Trenton Reed Gusciora and staff members from the City of Trenton, and the Sam Naples Senior Center.

The issues the community members discussed during the “Common Ground” meetings ranged from their relationship with police officers, to filmmaking, to economic issues within households to college careers.

Common Ground by J. Halsey - YouTube

The purpose of the discussions was to find a “common ground” especially between the young community members and their police force.

Fontana states that “Common Ground” has allowed Law Enforcement and the young community members to, “voice their opinions on how to overcome historically, negative interactions that have resulted in distrust, a lack of respect and violence within the community.”

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BURLINGTON TWP., N.J. – Responding to recent school tragedies, the New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) is building trust in the school systems through “honest

From left: Paul Minoff, a father of two survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS shooting; with Jeff Gale of NJDOE office of School Safety and Preparedness; and Scott Newgass of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement speak at the NJSPRA – School Safety Communications Symposium in Burlington recently.
— Provided photo

communications.”

Two weeks ago, the NJSPRA took action by hosting and event called, “School Safety Communications Symposium: The Parent Perspective,” at Burlington Township High School Performing Arts Center, where 75 New Jersey school administrators attended.

A parent name Paul Minoff, who is the father of two survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy that took place in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018, spoke at the event.

Minoff said, “It is critical to those who put their trust in the school systems for education to also be able to trust that the school officials will properly communicate with them.”

He continued to say that, “thorough and honest communication is key.”

Joining Minoff on the dais, were other supporters such as Jeff Gale from New Department of Education’s Office of School Safety and Preparedness and Scott Newgass of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement.

Also, joining via video conference from Minnesota, was Rick Kaufman, a school communications professional who was among the first-responders to triage victims during the Columbine High School tragedy that occurred in April, 20 years ago.

The symposium informed and educated school administrators on the best practices related to school crisis communications.

“Schools that are willing to take the perceived or imagined risks of communicating difficult information are usually rewarded by the appreciation and trust of their community,” said Newgass.

Leading the panel was Alicia D’Anella, Esq. of the Comengo Law Group who also sponsored the event.

D’Anella commented that, “Developing a communications strategy that anticipates the needs of stakeholders is an essential component of risk management. Districts that are prepared to communicate responsively, rather than reactively, provide leadership, reassurance and healing to their communities.”

Other co-hosts of the event were Burlington Township Public School District and the Camden County Educational Services Commission.

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PRINCETON, N.J. — With funding from the William Penn Foundation, D&R Greenway plans to develop

From left – D&R Greenway Land Trust President & CEO Linda Mead; Bordentown City Mayor James Lynch; Joel Dowshen of the Abbott Marshlands Council; and Kay Widmer, representing Friends of the Abbott Marshlands. All welcome the new sign at Bordentown Beach that signals community partnerships.
— Provided photo

more interpretive signage like the new one at Bordentown Beach that connects communities.

As part of its new “Community Conservation” initiative, D&R Greenway, Abbott Marshlands, and TravelStorys App will partner to connect the Greater Philadelphia and Greater Trenton Circuit Trails.

The connectivity of these trails will feature historical and educational signage along their paths. There will be about four new signs.

“D&R Greenway’s expertise lies in maximizing existing partnerships and building new partnerships at all levels – State Government, County Government, Municipal Government, corporations, community groups, nonprofit organizations and individuals,” says President and CEO Linda Mead.

D&R Greenway recognizes all the beneficiaries of land preservation, and so the new totem-designed signage at Bordentown Beach in the Abbott Marshlands lists collaborators of the effort.

The sign helps to promote the use of the Circuit Trails, Tulpehaking Nature Center, and the TravelStorys app.

“D&R Greenway has acted as the leader to bring all these groups together to understand the importance of connecting communities and merging resources to do so,” Mead says.

“The signage will also acknowledge the perseverance and volunteer work of key community people, those who ultimately protect and care for our watershed with boots on the ground,” she says.

For 25 years now, D&R Greenway has been working toward preservation and stewardship of the Abbott Marshlands. It has worked with Mercer and Burlington counties to make the Abbott Marshlands and the Circuit Trails the robust community assets they are today.

An oasis of natural beauty, the Abbott Marshlands is a unique urban wetland where osprey, marsh wrens, and many kinds of butterflies and dragonflies live. There are also the occasional beluga whale and harp seal.

Human visitors include students on field trips, hikers, cyclists, bird watchers, canoeists, kayakers, fishers, hunters, photographers and artists.

Folks along these trails can also enjoy the offerings at the Tulpehaking Nature Center created by D&R Greenway and N.J. Green Acres Program in partnership with Mercer County.

Along with 15 new signs and trail maps, the new TravelStorys app that was released in 2017 provide paddling and walking tours, enabling visitors to imagine journeying back in time.

This app allows them to navigate Crosswicks Creek in the Abbott Marshlands, visit the bluffs that witnessed Lenape Indian life, early English settlers and French royalty. App users can hear the sounds of a railroad, summer insects and the call of an osprey while learning about key events that shifted the course of American history.

Both the app and new signage along the regional network of hundreds of miles of multi-use trails, enhance community connections, and will soon add the Tulpehaking Nature Center, Abbott Marshlands and Lawrence-Hopewell Trail to the Circuit network.

The William Penn Foundation not only funds the new signage for the Circuit Trails, but it also funds the Alliance for Watershed Education, which is a group of 23 nature centers that bring educational programs to the public with a goal of protecting natural resources of the Delaware River Watershed. More than 15 million people get their drinking water from the Delaware River Watershed.

D&R Greenway Land Trust and the Tulpehaking Nature Center are members of the Alliance for Watershed Education.

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BORDENTOWN, N.J. – In order to better reflect their geographic coverage area, the Northern

Local Chamber of Commerce changes its name to Burlington Mercer Chamber of Commerce.
–Internet image

Burlington Regional Chamber of Commerce has recently changed its name to Burlington Mercer Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber President Bill Ryan announced this official name change last Thursday night at their Pi Day Business Networking Special Event held at the Scottish Rite Hall in Bordentown.

The Chamber has served the Burlington-Mercer county areas for more than 40 years, with its commitment to providing affordable networking opportunities and special events to connect their members with customers in those areas.

Even though the new name better reflects their geographic coverage areas, Ryan said they also have members who have joined from Bucks, Monmouth and Ocean counties, in order to also promote their businesses to a wide variety of diverse, engaged business people.

Not only does the Chamber help its predominantly small and mid-sized chamber members, but it also has a huge impact on local communities by donating thousands of dollars annually to local non-profits and awarding business and art scholarships each June to area high school seniors.

The affordable annual membership is $125. The Chamber also hosts many events that are free or discounted for its members.

Coverage area for the new Burlington Mercer Chamber of Commerce.
— Google map

Both Chamber members and all other businesses are warmly welcomed to monthly networking breakfasts or luncheons, evening networking events, a Business Expo, the Hidden Treasures Scholarship Calendar, and the Bordentown Street Fair each May.

Their next event will be the Evening Business to Business Networking Event scheduled for March 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Hamilton Tap and Grill.

There are several avenues for involvement with this Chamber. And, at this time they are accepting nominations for two open seats for their Board of Directors.

For more information, visit their new website at www.BurlingtonMercerChamber.org.

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