News

Hillsborough Schools Eliminate 50 Jobs; Legislators Look for Help in Trenton

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Local legislators are trying to find money in Trenton that would help reverse, or lessen the loss of 50 jobs in the township school district announced earlier this week.

Those affected received notice during the week of April 15-18, just prior to Spring Break, according to Henry Goodhue, president of the Hillsborough Education Association, which represents 1,086 employees in the school district.

The job cuts are spread throughout the district, with 18 at the elementary schools, including 5 at Woods Road Elementary School; 6 at the Middle School and 10 at the High School. The others are support staff positions spread throughout the district.

 

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FREIMAN AND ZWICKER ISSUE STATEMENT ON CONTINUED SUSPENSION OF RARITAN VALLEY LINE ONE-SEAT RIDE INTO NYC

TRENTON) – Assembly Democrats Roy Freiman and Andrew Zwicker (D- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) issued the following joint statement Thursday in response to New Jersey Transit’s announcement that the currently suspended Raritan Valley Line one- seat ride into New York Penn Station will not resume until September, at best.

“This delay is extremely disappointing, because it requires Raritan Valley Line riders to continue coping with lengthy, stressful commutes into midtown Manhattan. Without direct rail service, these riders must endure the inconvenience of exiting their train at Newark Penn Station, switching to another train in the Northeast Corridor of the station, and then taking another train into New York. Missed connections add another layer to the distress.

“The continued suspension of the one-seat ride not only impacts commuters going into New York for work, but it also affects individuals and families traveling into one of the greatest cities in the world for pleasure. This is not welcome news as the summer months draw near and Raritan Valley Line riders look forward to convenient rail service into New York City.”


Zwicker to Host Claims Clinic for New Jersey Veterans

As part of a New Jersey General Assembly statewide effort to assist New Jersey veterans with the services that they have earned and deserve, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) will host a claims clinic for these service women and men on Wednesday, May 1 from 3-7 pm at the Somerville YMCA, 2 Green St, Somerville, NJ 08876. 

"Veterans have made tremendous sacrifices in order to defend our country and ensure our freedoms," said Zwicker. "It's only fitting that we provide them with the resources and support that they were not only promised, but deserve for their service to our country."

During the clinic, veterans will be able to file new claims, review the status of open claims, and discuss veteran-related issues with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) staff who will be onsite. 

"It is my privilege to do all I can to serve these courageous men and women and their families. We have an obligation to help them navigate the complex benefits system so that they receive the benefits they've earned," he said. "Bringing the VA into the community allows our local veterans convenient and direct access to those important resources and benefits."

For more information on the veterans' clinic, please contact the district office of Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker at (732) 823-1684.


Interfaith Forum Helps Teens, Parents Navigate Youth Angst

SOMERVILLE, NJ -- The Interfaith Community Action Network willl host a discussion panel and forum to help teens and their parents navigate the topic of youth mental health on Sunday, April 28, 2-4 p.m.. at St. John's Episcopal Church, 18 West High St. here.

From Surviving to Thriving: Navigating Adolescent Angst will include a keynote speech from Dr. Patricia Colontino, a Crisis Psychologist and Anti-Bullying Specialist at Hillsborough High School; several breakout sessions and a panel discussion.

“I am proud to have been a part of this group since its conception. It is an honor to be hosting our first event as I.C.A.N., which I hope will continue to grow as well as inspire our communities to keep coming together and rallying behind the important issues we are all facing,” said Father Ron Pollock of St. John’s Episcopal Church. 

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Freiman, Zwicker, Bateman on Early Opening of Dinky Line

Assembly Democrats Roy Freiman and Andrew Zwicker (D- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset), joined by State Senator Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset), issued the following joint statement Wednesday regarding the governor's announcement that the New Jersey Transit Princeton Branch (Dinky) line will be fully restored on May 12--nearly two weeks ahead of schedule:

"This is extremely welcoming news for the members of our community who rely on the Dinky Line both personally and professionally. Restoring the line ahead of schedule will help riders better plan the various logistical aspects of their daily commuting--a major win as the warm weather approaches. While this is significant progress, there is more work to be done for New Jersey commuters who depend on the other lines that are still suspended. We look forward to these lines being restored in the future to better meet the transit needs of all New Jerseyans."


Senator Kip Bateman Assemblyman Zwicker & Assemblyman Freiman to host Interfaith Forum with the Interfaith Community Action Network


NJDOT Awards Somerville $353,167 for Road Improvement

TRENTON, NJ – Somerville will receive $353,167 from the state Department of Transportation 2019 Municipal Aid Program.

Assembly members Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) made the announcement Monday. More than $3.7 million will be distributed to 12 municipalities in the 16th Legislative District through the program, according to the assemblymen.

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Zwicker, Freiman Announce Over $3.7 Million in Grants for 16th Legislative District Transportation Projects

Assembly members Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman (Both D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) announced Monday the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has awarded more than $3.7 million to municipalities in the 16th Legislative District through the Fiscal Year 2019 Municipal Aid Program. 

"Securing the funding to provide these much-needed repairs to our roadways are a crucial part of drivers' safety," said Zwicker. "Not only will these funds improve our roadways, it will ensure that several of our roadway projects that may have been stalled can move forward, something that will help improve the quality of life for our residents and commuters."

"In advocating for these funds, driver safety remains at the forefront of our efforts," said Freiman. "These funds also help create jobs in the transportation field. I am grateful that we were able to secure these funds for our district."

DOT Municipal Aid Program Grants for Legislative District 16 total $3,788,277.

The projects that will be funded under this Program are as follows:

Legislative District 16

Legislative District County Municipality Name of Project Type of Improvement Total

16 Hunterdon Delaware Township Improvements to Sanford Road Roadway Preservation $150,000.00

16 Hunterdon Flemington Borough Hopewell Avenue Road Improvement Project Roadway Preservation $212,110.00

16 Hunterdon Readington Township Old Highway Route 28 Improvements Roadway Preservation $175,000.00

16 Mercer Princeton Improvement of Witherspoon Street Quality of Life $610,000.00

16 Middlesex South Brunswick Township Major Road Roadway Improvements Roadway Preservation $276,000.00

16 Somerset Branchburg Township Holland Brook Road West Improvement Roadway Preservation $250,000.00

16 Somerset Hillsborough Township Willow Road Phase I Roadway Preservation $425,000.00

16 Somerset Manville Borough Improvements to Brooks Boulevard - Phase 1 Pedestrian Safety $375,000.00

16 Somerset Millstone Borough 2019 MILLSTONE BOROUGH ROADS FOR RESURFACING Roadway Preservation $147,000.00

16 Somerset Montgomery Township Blue Spring Road Improvements Roadway Preservation $385,000.00

16 Somerset Raritan Borough Improvements to Woodmere Street Pedestrian Safety $375,000.00

16 Somerset Rocky Hill Borough Washington Street/ Merritt Lane Intersection Pedestrian Safety $55,000.00

16 Somerset Somerville Borough South Cadillac Drive Roadway Preservation $353,167.00

The NJDOT Municipal Aid Grant Program provides grant funds to municipalities who are advancing projects that enhance safety, renew aging infrastructure and support the State's economy with new transportation opportunities. Municipalities can apply for projects for Municipal Aid within the categories of bikeway, bridge preservation, mobility, pedestrian safety, quality of life, roadway preservation, and roadway safety. 

The Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) provides the opportunity for State assistance to local governments for the funding of road, bridge and other transportation projects. Funds are appropriated by the Legislature annually and apportioned to counties based on the formula contained in the legislation which gives equal consideration to municipal road mileage within the county and municipal population. 


Zwicker, Freiman & Project BEST Host Free Vision Screening to Promote Eye Health, Prevent Blindness

With the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reporting that approximately 11 million Americans over age 12 need eye correction, Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) will partner with the New Jersey Department of Human Services' Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired to host a free vision screening Tuesday, April 9, noon-3 pm, at the Hunterdon County Library, 314 Route 12, Building 3, Flemington, NJ 08822.

"Eye health can often be overlooked, but by bringing this no cost mobile vision screening to our community, we can provide both health access and education," said Zwicker. "This service and similar initiatives are crucial steps to improving overall health outcomes."

"As with many health issues, people often delay getting their eyes screened until there is a problem," said Freiman. "This is unfortunate since regular eye screenings are one of the most effective ways to protect one's vision."

The screening is part of Project Better Eye-Health Services and Treatment (BEST)-- an ongoing effort by the Commission of the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) to reduce the incidence of blindness. The program provides eye health education and safety by offering no-cost vision screenings for adults and children throughout the state. 

For more information, please call (908) 788-1434 or log onto: http://hclibrary.evanced.info/signup/Calendar. For general information about Project BEST, please call 877-685-8878 or email AskCBVI@dhs.state.nj.us. 


Benson, Zwicker & Lampitt Measure Creating Task Force to Study Autonomous Vehicles Now Law

(TRENTON) - To ensure self-driving cars are safely integrated on New Jersey roads, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Andrew Zwicker and Pamela Lampitt to establish a task force to evaluate autonomous vehicles was signed into law by the Governor Monday. 

"As major auto companies explore developing semi and fully autonomous cars, we need to prepare for the day when we'll see only self-driving vehicles on our roadways," said Benson (Mercer, Middlesex). "The goal of this task force will be to assess how we can introduce autonomous vehicles to our roadways while keeping drivers safe."

The new mandate (formerly bill AJR-164) creates the New Jersey Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, comprised of eight members. The panel will be responsible for conducting a study of autonomous vehicles and recommending laws, rules, and regulations that the state may enact to safely integrate these vehicles on the roads.

An advanced autonomous vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle with a driving automation level of three, four, or five, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers International, and is used by the United States Department of Transportation for autonomous vehicle policy guidance. Level three vehicles are classified as having conditional automation, during which an autonomous system operates under certain conditions with human drivers as a back-up; level four vehicles have high automation, such as Google's test cars; and level five cars are fully automated and do not have a steering wheel.

"It may not be long before self-driving cars are commonplace in New Jersey, marking a significant change in how people get around each day," said Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). "We need to make sure our transportation regulations are up to date to meet this influx of innovation."

"As drivers begin using autonomous cars equipped with new, never-before-seen technology, it's essential to study how to best introduce and regulate these vehicles," said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). "The work of this task force will help us gain a better understanding of how self-driving cars will impact our roads, and how we can improve existing laws to ensure the safety of all drivers."

The task force shall be comprised of the following members: the Commissioner of Transportation (DOT); the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC); the Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety; three public members appointed by the Governor including a member who was recommended by the Division of Banking and Insurance; one public member appointed by the Senate President; and one public member appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly.

The task force will be required to meet within 90 days after the bill's effective date, and within 180 days of the first meeting. It must also issue a report to the Governor and the Legislature evaluating safety standards and recommending best practices. The New Jersey MVC and the DOT will assist the task force with necessary duties.

Additionally, the task force will conduct an evaluation of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's safety standards for advanced autonomous vehicles and whether the state may enact stricter safety standards; an evaluation of existing state and federal law concerning advanced autonomous vehicles with a focus on safety standards; an evaluation of existing legislation and regulations in other states concerning advanced autonomous vehicles with a focus on safety standards; recommendations on how New Jersey could safely integrate advanced autonomous vehicles on the highways, streets, and roads; any other information relevant to the subject of the report; and any draft legislation the task force deems appropriate.

If enacted, New Jersey will join Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Oregon in using a task force to study the implementation of autonomous vehicles.