Road Construction on West Front Street in Middletown Until Aug. 8

Wall, NJ – New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) today announced that it is installing 1,500 feet of main on West Front Street in Middletown, between Hubbard Avenue and George Street, as part of its ongoing commitment to ensure system reliability and service to its customers. Work will be completed overnight, from 7 pm to 6 am, Monday through Friday, until August 8, 2014. Temporary lane closures are in place, and detour signs are posted. The road will reopen during the day and on weekends. Drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes to avoid delays. Service to customers will not be affected.

Immediately following the completion of this phase of the project, NJNG will begin installing 3,000 feet of main and renewing customers’ services on West Front Street, between George Street and Half Mile Road. This work will be completed during daytime hours, and is expected to be completed in the beginning of November. Temporary lane closures will be in place, and detour signs will be posted.

NJNG is working to complete this project as expeditiously as possible. It is closely coordinating its work with county, local and school officials to minimize traffic impacts during construction. The project is being completed in conjunction with Monmouth County’s replacement of the Front Street bridge into Red Bank as well as NJ Transit’s planned maintenance on Navesink River Road. 

This work is being completed as part of NJNG’s Safety Acceleration and Facility Enhancement (SAFE) program, through which NJNG is replacing 276 miles of cast iron and unprotected steel main and associated services in its delivery system. Cast iron and unprotected steel main and services were the most commonly used in the industry prior to 1970, and are more susceptible to corrosion and leaks.  Excluding third party damage, this aged infrastructure accounts for over 95 percent of all leaks found within NJNG’s system. Replacing this infrastructure will help to ensure the reliability of NJNG’s system and service to its customers.

Road Construction on West Front Street in Middletown Until Aug. 8

Wall, NJ – New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) today announced that it is installing 1,500 feet of main on West Front Street in Middletown, between Hubbard Avenue and George Street, as part of its ongoing commitment to ensure system reliability and service to its customers. Work will be completed overnight, from 7 pm to 6 am, Monday through Friday, until August 8, 2014. Temporary lane closures are in place, and detour signs are posted. The road will reopen during the day and on weekends. Drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes to avoid delays. Service to customers will not be affected.

Immediately following the completion of this phase of the project, NJNG will begin installing 3,000 feet of main and renewing customers’ services on West Front Street, between George Street and Half Mile Road. This work will be completed during daytime hours, and is expected to be completed in the beginning of November. Temporary lane closures will be in place, and detour signs will be posted.

NJNG is working to complete this project as expeditiously as possible. It is closely coordinating its work with county, local and school officials to minimize traffic impacts during construction. The project is being completed in conjunction with Monmouth County’s replacement of the Front Street bridge into Red Bank as well as NJ Transit’s planned maintenance on Navesink River Road. 

This work is being completed as part of NJNG’s Safety Acceleration and Facility Enhancement (SAFE) program, through which NJNG is replacing 276 miles of cast iron and unprotected steel main and associated services in its delivery system. Cast iron and unprotected steel main and services were the most commonly used in the industry prior to 1970, and are more susceptible to corrosion and leaks.  Excluding third party damage, this aged infrastructure accounts for over 95 percent of all leaks found within NJNG’s system. Replacing this infrastructure will help to ensure the reliability of NJNG’s system and service to its customers.

Telling Their Story Through the Power of Art

180 turning girls art showPHOTO: Amanda’s Easel Program Coordinator Cindi Westendorf (second from left) and Canterbury Art Show volunteers in the 2013 art show gallery of children’s art.

St. George’s-by-the-River’s Canterbury Art Show Will Benefit the Work of 180 Turning Lives Around Arts Therapy Program Amanda’s Easel

Rumson, NJ – St. George’s-by-the-River Episcopal Church’s Canterbury Art Show…a Tapestry of the Arts, a premier local exhibition and sale of juried and non-juried artwork which will take place Labor Day weekend August 29, 30 and 31, announced that a portion of its proceeds will once again benefit the work of Amanda’s Easel, a creative arts therapy program administered through 180 Turning Lives Around. The event will take place at St. George’s-by-the-River, 7 Lincoln Avenue, Rumson, New Jersey.

Amanda’s Easel, the nationally recognized creative arts therapies program, is designed to create a support system to help both children and their non-offending parents cope with the life changes precipitated by violence and abuse. The program provides art, play and music therapy that promotes healing by encouraging clients to express and understand their feelings and fears in a safe and nurturing environment, through various creative arts intervention and case management services. Children don’t often know how to describe the overwhelming feelings associated with domestic abuse. Amanda’s Easel gives them the tools so that they can begin healing.

Continue reading Telling Their Story Through the Power of Art

Telling Their Story Through the Power of Art

180 turning girls art showPHOTO: Amanda’s Easel Program Coordinator Cindi Westendorf (second from left) and Canterbury Art Show volunteers in the 2013 art show gallery of children’s art.

St. George’s-by-the-River’s Canterbury Art Show Will Benefit the Work of 180 Turning Lives Around Arts Therapy Program Amanda’s Easel

Rumson, NJ – St. George’s-by-the-River Episcopal Church’s Canterbury Art Show…a Tapestry of the Arts, a premier local exhibition and sale of juried and non-juried artwork which will take place Labor Day weekend August 29, 30 and 31, announced that a portion of its proceeds will once again benefit the work of Amanda’s Easel, a creative arts therapy program administered through 180 Turning Lives Around. The event will take place at St. George’s-by-the-River, 7 Lincoln Avenue, Rumson, New Jersey.

Amanda’s Easel, the nationally recognized creative arts therapies program, is designed to create a support system to help both children and their non-offending parents cope with the life changes precipitated by violence and abuse. The program provides art, play and music therapy that promotes healing by encouraging clients to express and understand their feelings and fears in a safe and nurturing environment, through various creative arts intervention and case management services. Children don’t often know how to describe the overwhelming feelings associated with domestic abuse. Amanda’s Easel gives them the tools so that they can begin healing.

Continue reading Telling Their Story Through the Power of Art

The Community YMCA Kicks Off ‘Togetherhood’ Initiative with School Supply Drive to Benefit Kids Near and Far

ymca sahar akbarzaiPHOTO: Sahar Akbarzai of Old Bridge helps Y campers create a mural that will travel to Afghanistan along with school supplies being collected at both the Red Bank YMCA and the Old Bridge YMCA. 

Shrewsbury, NJ – The Community YMCA is hosting a school supply drive through August 15 to help give kids in Red Bank and Afghanistan a great start to the new school year. The drive is part of the Y’s new national Togetherhood initiative that encourages Y members to give back and support their neighbors through community service projects.

“Togetherhood is a great opportunity for Y members to activate social responsibility and give back to organizations that need our help,” said Rhonda Anderson, President and CEO of The Community YMCA. “We’re pleased to bring the community together to help children right here in our community and in Afghanistan. “

Stacey Lastella, Vice President of Camping and Outreach Services for The Community YMCA, who oversees the Togetherhood initiative for The Community YMCA, said it is designed to be “a simple, fun and rewarding way for members to identify ways to give back through their own ideas, skills and energy, and the network of the Y.”

Continue reading The Community YMCA Kicks Off ‘Togetherhood’ Initiative with School Supply Drive to Benefit Kids Near and Far

The Community YMCA Kicks Off ‘Togetherhood’ Initiative with School Supply Drive to Benefit Kids Near and Far

ymca sahar akbarzaiPHOTO: Sahar Akbarzai of Old Bridge helps Y campers create a mural that will travel to Afghanistan along with school supplies being collected at both the Red Bank YMCA and the Old Bridge YMCA. 

Shrewsbury, NJ – The Community YMCA is hosting a school supply drive through August 15 to help give kids in Red Bank and Afghanistan a great start to the new school year. The drive is part of the Y’s new national Togetherhood initiative that encourages Y members to give back and support their neighbors through community service projects.

“Togetherhood is a great opportunity for Y members to activate social responsibility and give back to organizations that need our help,” said Rhonda Anderson, President and CEO of The Community YMCA. “We’re pleased to bring the community together to help children right here in our community and in Afghanistan. “

Stacey Lastella, Vice President of Camping and Outreach Services for The Community YMCA, who oversees the Togetherhood initiative for The Community YMCA, said it is designed to be “a simple, fun and rewarding way for members to identify ways to give back through their own ideas, skills and energy, and the network of the Y.”

Continue reading The Community YMCA Kicks Off ‘Togetherhood’ Initiative with School Supply Drive to Benefit Kids Near and Far

Assistance Available for Organic Certification Costs

nj dept agriculture logoTRENTON, NJ  – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced a partnership with the federal government to reduce organic certification costs as part of the Christie Administration’s ongoing efforts to promote New Jersey-grown and marketed organic food products.

Through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Certification Cost Share Program and Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program, each qualified producer or handler of organic products is eligible for a reimbursement of up to 75 percent of its costs of certification not to exceed $750.  Certification costs include fees and charges levied by the certifying agent for certification activities.

To qualify for reimbursement under this program, an organic producer or handler must have been certified or incurred expenses for the continuation of certification during the period of October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014.  Certification must be through a USDA-accredited certifying agent.

In the event that demand exceeds the amount of funds allocated to New Jersey, applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis.  Operations may receive one reimbursement per certification or category of certification per year.

Applications must be received by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture no later than November 19, 2014.  Applications and more information about the program are available online at http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/grants/organiccostshare.html

Please contact Debra McCluskey with any questions at (609) 984-2225 or [email protected]

Assistance Available for Organic Certification Costs

nj dept agriculture logoTRENTON, NJ  – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced a partnership with the federal government to reduce organic certification costs as part of the Christie Administration’s ongoing efforts to promote New Jersey-grown and marketed organic food products.

Through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Certification Cost Share Program and Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program, each qualified producer or handler of organic products is eligible for a reimbursement of up to 75 percent of its costs of certification not to exceed $750.  Certification costs include fees and charges levied by the certifying agent for certification activities.

To qualify for reimbursement under this program, an organic producer or handler must have been certified or incurred expenses for the continuation of certification during the period of October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014.  Certification must be through a USDA-accredited certifying agent.

In the event that demand exceeds the amount of funds allocated to New Jersey, applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis.  Operations may receive one reimbursement per certification or category of certification per year.

Applications must be received by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture no later than November 19, 2014.  Applications and more information about the program are available online at http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/grants/organiccostshare.html

Please contact Debra McCluskey with any questions at (609) 984-2225 or [email protected]

Not the Kind of Anchovy You Put on Pizza

joe reynoldsIf someone were to ask you the question what’s the most abundant and frequently found fish in Lower New York Bay, including Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay? What would you first think it might be, a type of flounder, bass or maybe even a shark.

All wrong. Many people I think would be surprised by the answer.

It’s actually a small, silvery, semi-transparent schooling fish called a Bay Anchovy. Not though the type of anchovy you put on a pizza.

The small silvery fish that swims in New York Harbor doesn’t have enough substance or taste to truly enjoy. It’s more salt than fish flavor. I mean you can’t just pop any old fish in your mouth.

anchovy 1

The best-flavored anchovies are harvested from the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay Of Biscay. It’s within these far-off European waters that the anchovies seem to be a juicy morsel of food, smooth-textured, with a perfect balance between savory and salty. Just right for a tasty fish topping on a cheese pizza.

Unfortunately, over the last few decades, anchovy populations from Europe have at times reached all time lows due primarily to over-fishing. A significant reason why anchovies are so expensive in many local pizza restaurants, that is if you can find them at all. While anchovies on a pizza were a popular treat 30 or more years ago, most pizza places today don’t even have anchovies if you ask for them. People tastes have changed to other less expensive toppings.

Meanwhile In New York Harbor, our anchovies are not a popular food source for humans, but they nonetheless play a very important role in the health of our estuary. Without this modest fish there just wouldn’t be enough food for wildlife to survive in and near the water.

Anchovies can be found swimming throughout this urban-suburban estuary during the warmer months of the year. They rarely exceed 4 inches in length and look like shiners or silversides, but have a rounded head with a short snout. The body has silvery stripe along the sides, a single dorsal fin on the back, and a forked tail fin.

anchovy 2

The bay anchovy consumes zooplankton, including  fish larvae and copepods, and, in turn, is primary prey for several significant species of game fish including Bluefish, Striped bass, Fluke, and Weakfish.  In some cases Bay Anchovies may make between 60 to 90 percent of the diets of large fish easting fish. In addition, water birds, such as the New Jersey endangered Least Tern and other terns, including the Common Tern and Royal Tern, feed extensively on anchovies throughout the summer.

The little Bay Anchovy is a significant food source for almost every predatory fish and fish easting shore bird within New York Harbor. Without Bay Anchovies around many animals wouldn’t have the strength for breeding activities or enough food to nourish their young. Life in our estuary is strongly connected to Bay Anchovy abundance. Lots of estuarine animals are fond of feasting on anchovies.

Yet, many places down south are reporting dramatic declines of Bay Anchovy populations since at least 2000, including Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay and along the South Carolina coast. This is the first long-term decline ever recorded for the Bay Anchovy. Perhaps an indicator of a food chain imbalance and a reason why Weakfish populations are also in decline in some of these estuarine systems.

No one is quite sure why Bay Anchovy populations are falling off, though there are many theories. Global warming could be the answer, since Bay Anchovies tend to prefer cooler waters in the North Atlantic. Maybe the decline is  due to an increase in jellyfish distribution or an increase of polluted runoff and freshwater entering waterways from storm drains, which degrades the estuarine habitat upon which the Bay Anchovy and its prey lives. The waning of Bay Anchovy populations also may be due to being entrained and impinged in ever-increasing power plant cooling systems. Any one of these or all of these factors could be playing a role in the  lack of abundance of Bay Anchovies.  

While there are no hard facts to suggest the Bay Anchovy population is in decline within New York Harbor, we should take note of what is occurring down south as perhaps an omen of what is to come. Now is the time to take precautions to preserve our important forage fish population, which so many larger fish and water birds depend on for their survival.

anchovy 3

Certainly, at a bare minimum, we need to spend time to monitor our local Bay Anchovy population and to determine important feeding and nursery areas within New York Harbor. We also need to put limits on coastal development and increase open space and restoration efforts of tidal wetlands and beaches. We need to reduce nutrient run off (primarily phosphorus and nitrogen) from urban development, and reduce sediment runoff by encouraging people to use natural vegetative buffers near waterways. Furthermore, we need to continue to monitor the effects of global warming on marine ecosystems.

These and other actions are important for the long-term survival of the little Bay Anchovy and the many species that prey upon it. The Bay Anchovy, though small in size, is an important and key species in the food web of New York Harbor. Living organisms within this estuary co-exist in a network of interdependent feeding relationships, take away one primary species and the whole food web becomes severely degraded for a very long time.

For more information, pictures and year-round sightings of wildlife in or near Sandy Hook Bay, Raritan Bay, and Lower New York Bay, please check out my blog entitled, Nature on the Edge of New York City at http://natureontheedgenyc.blogspot.com/

Not the Kind of Anchovy You Put on Pizza

joe reynoldsIf someone were to ask you the question what’s the most abundant and frequently found fish in Lower New York Bay, including Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay? What would you first think it might be, a type of flounder, bass or maybe even a shark.

All wrong. Many people I think would be surprised by the answer.

It’s actually a small, silvery, semi-transparent schooling fish called a Bay Anchovy. Not though the type of anchovy you put on a pizza.

The small silvery fish that swims in New York Harbor doesn’t have enough substance or taste to truly enjoy. It’s more salt than fish flavor. I mean you can’t just pop any old fish in your mouth.

anchovy 1

The best-flavored anchovies are harvested from the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay Of Biscay. It’s within these far-off European waters that the anchovies seem to be a juicy morsel of food, smooth-textured, with a perfect balance between savory and salty. Just right for a tasty fish topping on a cheese pizza.

Unfortunately, over the last few decades, anchovy populations from Europe have at times reached all time lows due primarily to over-fishing. A significant reason why anchovies are so expensive in many local pizza restaurants, that is if you can find them at all. While anchovies on a pizza were a popular treat 30 or more years ago, most pizza places today don’t even have anchovies if you ask for them. People tastes have changed to other less expensive toppings.

Meanwhile In New York Harbor, our anchovies are not a popular food source for humans, but they nonetheless play a very important role in the health of our estuary. Without this modest fish there just wouldn’t be enough food for wildlife to survive in and near the water.

Anchovies can be found swimming throughout this urban-suburban estuary during the warmer months of the year. They rarely exceed 4 inches in length and look like shiners or silversides, but have a rounded head with a short snout. The body has silvery stripe along the sides, a single dorsal fin on the back, and a forked tail fin.

anchovy 2

The bay anchovy consumes zooplankton, including  fish larvae and copepods, and, in turn, is primary prey for several significant species of game fish including Bluefish, Striped bass, Fluke, and Weakfish.  In some cases Bay Anchovies may make between 60 to 90 percent of the diets of large fish easting fish. In addition, water birds, such as the New Jersey endangered Least Tern and other terns, including the Common Tern and Royal Tern, feed extensively on anchovies throughout the summer.

The little Bay Anchovy is a significant food source for almost every predatory fish and fish easting shore bird within New York Harbor. Without Bay Anchovies around many animals wouldn’t have the strength for breeding activities or enough food to nourish their young. Life in our estuary is strongly connected to Bay Anchovy abundance. Lots of estuarine animals are fond of feasting on anchovies.

Yet, many places down south are reporting dramatic declines of Bay Anchovy populations since at least 2000, including Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay and along the South Carolina coast. This is the first long-term decline ever recorded for the Bay Anchovy. Perhaps an indicator of a food chain imbalance and a reason why Weakfish populations are also in decline in some of these estuarine systems.

No one is quite sure why Bay Anchovy populations are falling off, though there are many theories. Global warming could be the answer, since Bay Anchovies tend to prefer cooler waters in the North Atlantic. Maybe the decline is  due to an increase in jellyfish distribution or an increase of polluted runoff and freshwater entering waterways from storm drains, which degrades the estuarine habitat upon which the Bay Anchovy and its prey lives. The waning of Bay Anchovy populations also may be due to being entrained and impinged in ever-increasing power plant cooling systems. Any one of these or all of these factors could be playing a role in the  lack of abundance of Bay Anchovies.  

While there are no hard facts to suggest the Bay Anchovy population is in decline within New York Harbor, we should take note of what is occurring down south as perhaps an omen of what is to come. Now is the time to take precautions to preserve our important forage fish population, which so many larger fish and water birds depend on for their survival.

anchovy 3

Certainly, at a bare minimum, we need to spend time to monitor our local Bay Anchovy population and to determine important feeding and nursery areas within New York Harbor. We also need to put limits on coastal development and increase open space and restoration efforts of tidal wetlands and beaches. We need to reduce nutrient run off (primarily phosphorus and nitrogen) from urban development, and reduce sediment runoff by encouraging people to use natural vegetative buffers near waterways. Furthermore, we need to continue to monitor the effects of global warming on marine ecosystems.

These and other actions are important for the long-term survival of the little Bay Anchovy and the many species that prey upon it. The Bay Anchovy, though small in size, is an important and key species in the food web of New York Harbor. Living organisms within this estuary co-exist in a network of interdependent feeding relationships, take away one primary species and the whole food web becomes severely degraded for a very long time.

For more information, pictures and year-round sightings of wildlife in or near Sandy Hook Bay, Raritan Bay, and Lower New York Bay, please check out my blog entitled, Nature on the Edge of New York City at http://natureontheedgenyc.blogspot.com/