Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Montgomery Branch Construction Continues

As Montgomery Township works to complete construction on a new Library in Montgomery, New Jersey, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) is working in parallel to release innovative digital technologies available for use by staff and customers.

Director of Operations Lynn Hoffman and Technical Service Manager Rebecca Sandoval took a walk through the branch to share some of those plans. Explore the video or read the highlights below.

“We got a grant in 2018 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which allowed us to preserve community memories,” said Sandoval. “We asked the community members to come in, and we digitized their memories. So, whether it was a photograph that was important to them, a Bible that somebody had inscribed in, there were quilts that had been made, anything that was part of our community's past that was important to them, we wanted to preserve that. Then, we load them into an online platform so that anybody can see them and they're able to be shared.”

“We're going to have some cool equipment in this room,” said Hoffman. “One thing is a large-format scanner digitizer. So, we'll be able to handle things like newspapers and maps. And, we'll also have equipment that you can use bringing your own memories in from home to make digital preservation copies of them. So if you have VHS tapes, or cassettes or a bunch of slides, we'll have an easy way for you to process those and get a digital copy for you to keep.”

As Sandoval and Hoffman moved further through the branch, they arrived at the reservable, private meeting and study rooms.

These are small rooms that can be used for private study or meetings,” said Hoffman. “We have eight of them all together, which is really awesome that we were able to fit that into this design. One of them actually is going to be soundproofed so you can use it, you can bring in your podcasting equipment from home, and have a nice quiet place to record your podcast. And, the other thing that I'm excited about from a technology standpoint is that they're all going to be reservable through our online meeting room reservation system. You'll be able to go in and see when they're available and make a reservation. Each one of them will have a keypad on the door and the system will send you a text when it's your turn to have study rooms.”

Finally, Sandoval and Hoffman arrived at the new automated materials handling system (AMH), a sorting device that will be exclusive to the Montgomery location.

“We are standing in front of what will be the sorting room at the new Montgomery branch,” said Hoffman. “In this space behind me, we will have what's known as an automated materials handling system. And, what that does is it takes care of some of the most basic things that we do when you return your materials to the library. So when you return your materials, the machine will check them in. And then it will talk to our catalog and checkout system and figure out how to sort it to make it easier for our staff to go back and put stuff back on the shelf. Checking stuff in. It's not a customer service thing. It's not like we're having a conversation with you. A machine totally can do that job for us. We're really excited to have it here at Montgomery because we know this is going to be a popular location and lots and lots of materials will flow through here. Fortunately, the room will have windows so if you would like you can put your book in the slot and then turn around and watch it go down the conveyor belts. Fun not just for kids but grownups, too.”

View the video - Groundbreaking Episode 2: View Groundbreaking Episode 1: Subscribe to SCLSNJ on YouTube and never miss an update:

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Businesses Can Still Apply for Crisis 0% Loans under Mercer County-UCEDC Partnership

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes would like small-business owners to be aware of a unique funding opportunity with the UCEDC.  Mercer County, which has an ongoing partnership with the UCEDC on a variety of different lending packages, is continuing to promote the Crisis Loan – Second Round.  Small businesses can still apply to borrow up to $15,000 in funding at 0% for up to five years with no collateral requirements to meet their COVID-19 and other emergency needs.

The Crisis Relief Loan Program is designed to provide broad access to much-needed working capital.  The program features a quick turnaround (after completing the application requirements), no collateral requirements, no pre-payment penalties, and no processing or application fees.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Businesses operating at least two years and with a credit score of 660 and up are eligible to apply for up to $15,000.
  • Businesses operating prior to March 21, 2020 but less than two years, or with a credit score between 630 and 659, are eligible to apply for up to $10,000.
  • No loan or credit card charge-offs within three years.

The UCEDC has also outlined application requirements that include a personal guarantee of all owners with more than 10% ownership interest. 

For more information about this opportunity, contact Liz Williams, Vice President of Lending, at or visit the UCEDC website at

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

2022 Gypsy Moth Treatment Program Announced


The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) has proposed treating approximately 5,000 acres of residential and county owned properties in Burlington and Cape May counties this year to combat the tree-killing gypsy moth caterpillar. 


“The treatment program has proved very effective during the last several years and has significantly decreased the gypsy moth caterpillar populations across the state,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher said.  “By treating these areas now, we can prevent this insect’s spread and keep the populations at a minimal level for the years to come.”

The NJDA held an informational session in Ewing today to outline its 2022 Aerial Gypsy Moth Suppression program. Egg mass surveys were conducted from August to December in 2021.


A combined seven municipalities in Burlington County and Cape May County are recommended for treatment. Participation in the program is voluntary. If the towns agree, treatments will take place in May and June. To qualify for the program, a residential or recreational forest must have an average of more than 500 egg masses per acre and be at least 50 acres in size. A single egg mass contains up to 1,000 eggs.


Less than 200 acres were recommended for treatment in 2021, also in Burlington and Cape May counties. The Burlington County municipality opted to not do treatment last year and 50 acres were treated in Cape May County. No areas of the state were recommended for treatment in 2019 and 2020. In 2018, the NJDA’s program included approximately 4,000 acres of residential and county owned properties in Burlington, Morris, Passaic, and Warren counties. That was about an 80 percent reduction from the 2017 program. The defoliation decreased due to a combination of effective treatments and sporadic E. maimaiga (gypsy moth fungus), reducing the populations.


The NJDA and Department of Environmental Protection use Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) to combat gypsy moth.  It is a biological insecticide that kills the gypsy moth caterpillar when ingested.


Two to three consecutive years of significant defoliation (defined as 75 percent or more) can kill an otherwise healthy tree. However, any gypsy moth defoliation can make trees more susceptible to other damage that can lead to the death of the tree.   Oak trees are the preferred host for gypsy moths, but the caterpillars can be found feeding on almost any tree in the vicinity.


For more information on New Jersey’s gypsy moth suppression program, visit: Also, for national gypsy moth material, visit


Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello Warns of Delays In Passport Services


Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello sends this update that the U.S. State Department is experiencing longer than usual delays in the processing times of passports. For those looking to travel and needing to renew their passports, it is advised to begin this process immediately. The current wait times for passport services is 10 weeks for expedited services and up to 14 weeks from the time of submission for a regular application. This delay is likely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information regarding passports, please visit the Mercer County Clerk's website at or call the County Clerk's passport office at 609-989-6473; for Spanish, call 609-989-6131 or 609-989-6122

Appointments at the Mercer County Connection, located at 957 Route 33, Hamilton, are available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To schedule an appointment at the Mercer County Connection, please contact the office at 609-890-9800. Please note that all customers must have applications filled out, money orders and checks along with documentation and copies prior to appointment. Please note that delays in appointment availability may be experienced due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Home for the Holidays Hidden Hazards of the Holiday Season

The holidays are an exciting and busy time of year! Whether you’re traveling near or far, hosting or attending a gathering, or just cozying up at home, it’s important to be aware of hidden holiday hazards that can cause potentially serious injury. 


“Poison-related mishaps and injuries often occur right under our noses, especially during busy times of the year,” says Diane Calello, executive and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical SchoolDepartment of Emergency Medicine.


“There are many hidden holiday hazards that can be dangerous to people and pets including decorations, plants, toys and family dinner,” says Calello. “When we’re busy we often don’t pay attention to what’s happening around us, making it more likely to accidentally misuse common household products. If you’re concerned something may be dangerous, call the NJ Poison Control Center for information and medical treatment advice for your individual situation.” 


Anything can be poisonous if used in the wrong way, in the wrong amount, or by the wrong person. Hidden dangers involve more than just medicines and chemicals. It’s important to note that accidents happen to everyone, not just kids and pets.


Safety Tips

  • Give guests a safe space (locked up is best) to keep potentially dangerous items including marijuana edibles, medicines, vaping/nicotine products, hand sanitizers, etc.
  • Use caution with antique ornaments and those not made in the United States. These items may be decorated with harmful lead paint.
  • Do not burn wrapping paper/foil, garland and tinsel. Inhaling the fumes can be harmful.
  • Decorate with plants that are not poisonous if you have young kids or pets.
  • Many baking extracts contain high levels of alcohol — the same alcohol found in liquor, wine and beer. Keep extracts out of sight and reach of kids and pets.
  • Snow spray should only be used in areas that have good air circulation (outside is best) to prevent inhaling potentially harmful fumes. Keep this product away from flames.
  • Have working carbon monoxide (CO) detectors on every level of your home. If the CO alarm sounds at any time, get out of the house right away and call for help. 
  • Keep household items that have disc batteries and small magnets out of sight and reach of kids and pets. They are a choking hazards and can cause damage to internal organs.
  • Alcohol poisoning can cause serious illness and lasting health effects. Know how much alcohol you are drinking. Empty unfinished drinks to prevent kids and pets from accidentally drinking alcohol.
  • Use simple food safety steps to prevent food poisoning, which can cause severe illness. 
  • Keep items dangerous to pets up high and out of sight and reach — chocolate, candy, products containing xylitol (a sugar substitute), bread/dough, fatty meat scraps, raisins/currants, alcohol, medicine, and recreational and illegal drugs.


The holidays are also a time to be aware of the increased risk of illness. Holiday activities carry a high risk for spreading germs causing colds, flu and COVID-19.  This year choose safer ways to celebrate, including becoming fully vaccinated and getting a COVID-19 booster


If you think someone has come in contact with something potentially dangerous, contact your local poison control center immediately. Poison control centers are a medical resource for both the public and healthcare professionals. Get help 24/7.Call 1-800-222-1222 or Chat Here


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

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Ten Crucial Days Commemorative and Memorial Events 2021 – 2022

On Sunday, December 26, and Sunday, January 2, four memorial wreath laying events will be held commemorating the events of the “Ten Crucial Days” of the American Revolution, December 25, 1776 to January 3, 1777. Deemed “…the times the tried men’s souls” by Thomas Paine, General George Washington’s Continental army crossed the Delaware River, captured the Hessian garrison in Trenton, fought a defensive stand at Assunpink Creek, then captured the British garrison at Princeton thereby changing world history. In attendance and offering remarks will be Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, Princeton Mayor Mark Freda and President General of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Davis Lee Wright. Also in attendance will be representatives from the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Sons of the Revolution, and Color Guard Units from the SAR Societies from New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.  


At the January 2nd events will be the following members of the legacy units that fought at the battles. From:

§  Rutland, England, representing the 17th Regiment of Foot, the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment B Leicester Company.

§  Fort Reilly KS, representing the New York Provincial Company of Artillery, the 1st Infantry Division, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, "Alexander Hamilton’s Own".

§  Pennsylvania Army National Guard, the 1st Division, representing the Philadelphia Associators, the 111th Infantry Battalion.

§  Pennsylvania Army National Guard, representing the Philadelphia Artillery Battalion, the 103 Engineer Battalion, "The Dandy First". 

§  Maryland Army National Guard, the 175 Association 1st Division, 175th Infantry Battalion, representing The Maryland Regiment.

§  Delaware Army National Guard, representing Haslet’s 1st Delaware Regiment, the 198th Signal Battalion. 

§  New Jersey National Guard, representing Neil’s Battery, East New Jersey Artillery, the 112th Field Artillery Battalion.

The schedule and location of these events are:

  1. Sunday, December 26 - 11:00am Memorial Wreath Laying Washington Crossing Historic Park, 1112 River Street Washington Crossing, PA 18977  Parking is either at the Visitor Center, or just north of the Visitor Center at "Valley of Concentration" Parking Lot.
  2. Sunday, December 26 -@ 2:30 pm-  Wreath Laying Trenton Battle Monument 350 N Warren St, Trenton, NJ 08618  Parking is along North Warren Street.
  3. Princeton Battlefield Society's "Experience the Battle of PrincetonSunday, January 2@ 8:30 am - Lecture and re-enactment, 500 Mercer Street, Princeton NJ 08540 (Register @, Parking will be along Mercer St.
  4. Sunday, January 2@11:30 am - Wreath Laying, Princeton Battlefield Colonnade and Memorial Grove  Parking will be along Mercer St.
  5. Sunday, January 2@ 3:00 pm - Wreath Laying Battle of Assunpink Creek, Mill Hill Park, East Front Street, S Broad St, Trenton, NJ 08608  Parking is across the street from NJ Motor Vehicles at Artworks,  Ten minute walk, due west on a foot path along Assunpink Creek. Mill Hill Park is west of S. Montgomery St. 


Monday, December 20, 2021

Have an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season!


Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day Americans throw away almost a million extra tons of garbage each week?! Try to make waste reduction a priority this holiday season, even small steps can make a big difference. Try purchasing recycled paper, or using color comics for wrapping. Author Robert Lilienfeld notes that if every family reused just 2 feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet! And for those of you decorating your homes and trees with holiday lighting, keep in mind that LED holiday lights use about 90 percent less energy than conventional lights.