Tuesday, September 14, 2021

FEMA/Mercer Disaster Recovery Center Opening


 Weekdays 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; weekends 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at Hollowbrook Center

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Mercer County has opened a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at Hollowbrook Community Center, 320 Hollowbrook Drive, Ewing Township, to assist any Mercer County residents or businesses whose property was damaged in the remnants of Hurricane Ida. The DRC is open starting today, Sept. 14 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sunday. Residents do not need to schedule an appointment to visit the center, nor must they be Mercer County residents.

The DRC will be staffed by FEMA representatives who can provide information on FEMA disaster aid and answer questions. Again, the DRC is open to residents and businesses from every municipality in Mercer County, and residents from any other county that received the FEMA "Disaster" declaration.

On Sept. 10, Mercer County residents were declared eligible to register for Individual Assistance with FEMA. Residents who previously registered for assistance via the Internet or by phone do not need to visit the DRC, but can ask questions or seek further information in person at the DRC. The eligibility for FEMA Individual Assistance means residents or business owners whose properties were directly damaged by the flooding or storm events on September 1-3 can apply to recoup their losses.

What is a Disaster Recovery Center?

A DRC is a readily accessible facility or mobile office where applicants may go for information about FEMA or other disaster assistance programs, or for questions related to a specific case.

Some of the services that a DRC may provide:

  • Guidance regarding disaster recovery
  • Clarification of any written correspondence received
  • Housing Assistance and Rental Resource information
  • Answers to questions, resolution to problems and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance
  • Status of applications being processed by FEMA.
  • SBA program information if there is a SBA Representative at the Disaster Recovery Center site.

Affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or registering by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

The toll-free numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time Monday through Sunday, and applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information such as their name, the name of the business, address, phone number, insurance coverage, and other information to help substantiate losses.

Individual Assistance, if awarded, can cover reimbursement for a variety of storm-related expenses.

These include, but are not limited to: rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are uninhabitable; grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance; low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance; loans for small businesses that suffered disaster-related cash flow problems; and loans for farmers and other agriculture operators to cover property loss.

Additionally, mall businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in Mercer County are eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Administration. For more information, visit https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/.

Residents in need of assistance with damage from Tropical Storm Ida may call a Home Cleanup Hotline at 844-965-1386 to be connected with volunteers from local relief organizations and community groups that may be able to assist with cutting fallen trees, removing drywall, flooring and appliances, tarping roofs and mitigating mold.

The hotline will remain open through Sept. 17

Friday, September 10, 2021

FEMA Issues Major Disaster Declaration for Mercer County Following Hurricane Ida


Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes today announced that FEMA has approved a Major Disaster Declaration in Mercer County, allowing individuals impacted by Tropical Storm Ida last week to register at www.disasterassistance.gov for direct assistance for Ida-related recovery.

Mr. Hughes urged those who were impacted by last week’s storm to register for assistance that may include home repairs, temporary housing, low-cost loans and other programs. FEMA advises individuals who have homeowners or renters insurance to file a claim as soon as possible. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance, but those who are uninsured or underinsured may be eligible for federal assistance.

“I greatly appreciate FEMA’s response to the situation here in Mercer County, where residents in some of our communities are in dire need of assistance,” Mr. Hughes said.  “And I thank the Biden Administration, Senators Booker and Menendez, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Governor Phil Murphy, as well as our county Office of Emergency Management, for their help in getting Mercer much-needed federal aid and accelerating our recovery process. I also thank our residents for their patience and perseverance during this difficult time.”

The fastest and easiest way to apply for assistance is by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov or by downloading the FEMA App on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

If it is not possible to apply online, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT, seven days a week. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.

When you apply for assistance, FEMA advises having the following information readily available:

• A current phone number where you can be contacted
• Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
• Your Social Security number
• A general list of damage and losses
• If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans are available for homeowners, renters, businesses of any size and most nonprofits. Similar to FEMA, SBA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance.

• For small businesses, those engaged in aquaculture and most nonprofits, up to $2 million is available for working capital needs even if there was no property damage, with a $2 million maximum loan for any combination of property damage and working capital needs.
• For homeowners: up to $200,000 is available to repair or replace their primary residence. For homeowners and renters: up to $40,000 is available to replace personal property, including vehicles.

Businesses and residents can apply at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/. For information and assistance completing an application, call 800-659-2955 or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. SBA will answer specific questions about how a disaster loan may help each survivor recover from the disaster damage.

In addition, residents in need of assistance with damage from Tropical Storm Ida may call a Home Cleanup Hotline at 844-965-1386 to be connected with volunteers from local relief organizations and community groups that may be able to assist with cutting fallen trees, removing drywall, flooring and appliances, tarping roofs and mitigating mold. The hotline will remain open through Sept. 17.


 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Mercer County urges Residents and Businesses to Register Storm Damage Information

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is urging county residents and business owners impacted by Tropical Storm Ida to report damage they sustained last week at www.nj.gov/ida, the State of New Jersey’s data collection portal.

Mr. Hughes said that while Mercer was not one of the six New Jersey counties for which FEMA has approved a Major Disaster Declaration, allowing individuals there to apply for direct assistance for Ida-related recovery, the federal agency is still evaluating damage in other counties. Registering damage on the state portal will help FEMA evaluate the county for potential assistance. The portal will record basic information including name, location, damages and cost, and need from impacted residents and businesses.

“FEMA is still performing its assessment with county and state guidance, and it’s premature to say Mercer will be excluded from the Major Disaster Declaration,” Mr. Hughes said. “Our Office of Emergency Management staff toured the county with FEMA representatives to survey the damage, and it certainly was extensive in a number of our communities.”

County properties that sustained storm damage include the Park Commission’s Howell Living History Farm, Mercer County Park, golf courses and trail systems; County roadways and eight bridges and culverts, Mr. Hughes said.

Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in Mercer County are eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Administration. For information, visit https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/.

Residents in need of assistance with damage from Tropical Storm Ida may call a Home Cleanup Hotline at 844-965-1386 to be connected with volunteers from local relief organizations and community groups that may be able to assist with cutting fallen trees, removing drywall, flooring and appliances, tarping roofs and mitigating mold. The hotline will remain open through Sept. 17

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Princeton TV Mourns the Passing of Donna Liu


With sadness Princeton TV lost a  
a colleague, a mentor and a friend. Donna passed Wednesday night with her family at her bedside. Donna was a former Chair of Princeton TV. She was a very warm person who loved community media.

Remember to always be kind to one another.


 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

NJ Dept. of Agriculture Expands Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Zone

Five Counties Added To Bring Total Number to 13


New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher today announced the Department has added five counties to the spotted lanternfly quarantine zone. The counties new to the list are Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex, and Union. They join the previously announced quarantine counties of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem, Somerset, and Warren.

“The spotted lanternfly’s excellent hitchhiking skills on all types of transportation have allowed it to spread, making it necessary to expand the quarantine zone,” Fisher said. “While we have crews working throughout the state to treat infestations of the spotted lanternfly, we are seeking the public’s assistance by asking anyone who sees this pest to destroy it whenever possible.”

Residents in the quarantine area are required to use a checklist before moving any of the articles listed here. The checklist serves to inform the public about the spotted lanternfly, including how to identify all life stages of the insect and minimize its movement. The Department is also asking for people to check their vehicles before leaving an area as the spotted lanternfly has the ability hitchhike on any vehicle for several miles.


Business entities that routinely travel in and out of the quarantine area are required to take, and pass, free training regarding the spotted lanternfly at https://bit.ly/3mDGv2d. Those businesses that interact exclusively in New Jersey’s quarantine zone must comply with the details outlined in the quarantine order. The quarantine also allows access to property for Department, USDA, or USDA contracted agents where the spotted lanternfly is suspected or confirmed so that the property can be evaluated and treated, if necessary.


The spotted lanternfly is currently in its adult stage and will begin laying its egg masses in September. While the spotted lanternfly cannot survive the winter, its egg masses can, and produce about 30 to 50 nymphs that hatch in the spring. While the spotted lanternfly is of no threat to humans or pets, it does feed on approximately 70 different kinds of vegetation. The pest prefers Tree of Heaven as its host.

The Department is asking anyone who sees a spotted lanternfly to destroy it whenever possible and then go to www.badbug.nj.gov and click on the spotted lanternfly photo, and then fill out the report a sighting form. There are resources links for homeowners and business owners on that site. Residents can also send the address of the spotted lanternfly sightings to SLF-plantindustry@ag.nj.gov.


 

Monday, August 23, 2021

Hot, Humid Summer Sets the Stage for a Dangerous Mushroom Season

 

Hot, humid, and wet — the perfect weather conditions for a potentially dangerous wild mushroom season in New Jersey. Each year the medical professionals at the NJ Poison Control Center are called upon to assist with cases of mushroom exposure and poisoning. Poisoning results from eating toxic species of wild mushrooms. Sadly, some cases result in hospitalizations and even deaths. Symptoms of mushroom poisoning include intense vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration, and damage to vital organs like the liver.


Mushroom poisoning is a preventable injury — do not eat wild mushrooms unless they’ve been identified as safe to eat by a mushroom expert. Picking and eating wild mushrooms growing in gardens/fields, on lawns or in the woods is a dangerous game. Even experienced and expert mushroom pickers are fooled at times by toxic look-alikes.

 

“Don’t be fooled, eating the wrong species of mushroom can result in devastating health effects,” says Diane Calello, executive and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical SchoolDepartment of Emergency Medicine. “Mistaken identity is a significant risk of picking wild mushrooms. Many edible mushrooms growing in the wild have toxic look-alikes. It can be extremely difficult to tell an edible species of mushroom from a toxic one as they can look identical.”

 

Some recipes online and in specialty cookbooks encourage adding an adventurous twist to meals by foraging for wild mushrooms. This suggestion poses an incredibly dangerous risk to the general public as they do not have the many years of education and experience needed to identify toxic look-alikes. 

 

“The cooking process does not prevent the toxic health effects of some mushrooms,” says Calello. “Depending on the type of mushroom, eating even a few bites can cause serious health concerns. Our recommendation is it’s unsafe for the general public to pick and eat mushrooms found in the wild, no matter the scenario.”

 

Children and pets are especially at risk for mushroom poisoning, and should always be supervised when they’re outdoors. They too can suffer serious injury and even death from eating a toxic wild mushroom. Teach children to ask an adult first before putting anything in their mouths.

In the event of a potential mushroom poisoning: 

       Do not wait until symptoms appear or spend time looking for information online. It’s important to get medical help immediately.

       Call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 to get expert medical treatment advice. Poison center help is free, confidential and available 24/7. Your poison control center may arrange for an expert to identify the mushroom(s). 

       Remove all pieces of the mushroom from the person’s mouth. Put the pieces into a paper bag (NOT plastic). Also collect and bag all mushrooms growing near the one that was eaten. You may put all the mushrooms together in one paper bag or use two separate bags.

       Take a digital photograph of the mushroom(s) in question. It helps to take a picture of the mushroom next to other objects such as a coin, ruler, etc. to provide a sense of size. 

 

Poison control centers are not only a great resource in the event of an emergency, but also for questions and concerns. New Jersey residents can contact the center’s medical professionals in the following ways: Call the Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222Text 973-339-0702; Chat via the Poison Center’s website. Stay connected on socialFacebook Twitter.

If someone is unconscious, not breathing, hard to wake up, or having a seizure, immediately call 9-1-1.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Second Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy Case for New Jersey in 2021

 

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has quarantined a property in Hunterdon County after one horse developed the highly infectious equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM).  The horse, a 30-year-old mare, developed clinical signs on August 08, 2021, and was subsequently humanely euthanized. EHM is the often-deadly neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) infection. Other horses on the premises are under quarantine. Temperatures are also being taken twice daily on all quarantined horses to monitor for sickness. The NJDA is tracing and notifying the appropriate parties regarding recent horse movement.

“The Department took swift action to prevent the disease from spreading to other horses by enacting a quarantine, which stops movement of horses in and out of the properties and puts in place preventive measures to contain the virus,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher said. 

The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse and can cause respiratory problems, especially in young horses, spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares, and the neurologic form of the virus can result in death.  The incubation period of EHV-1 is typically 2-10 days. Clinical signs include respiratory disease, fever, nasal discharge, depression, cough, lack of appetite, and/or enlarged lymph nodes. In horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1, clinical signs typically include mild incoordination, hind end weakness/paralysis, loss of bladder and tail function, and loss of sensation to the skin in the hind end. The virus spreads readily through direct contact with infected materials. The virus is endemic in the country and although highly infectious, it does not persist in the environment for an extended period and is neutralized by hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and sunlight. The virus does not affect humans and other domestic animals, except for llamas and alpacas.

The NJDA Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory is available to assist veterinarians with the EHV-1 testing. For contact information, please visit the lab website: www.jerseyvetlab.nj.gov. Concerned owners should consult with their veterinarian prior to taking any action as the clinical signs of infection with the neurological form of EHV-1 (EHM) are common to many other diseases. EHM is a reportable disease in New Jersey.  If an owner has a horse exhibiting neurologic signs or suspects Equine Herpes, they are directed to call their veterinarian immediately.