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February 2019

Township Reorganizes, Anna Columbus is Mayor for 2019 Branchburg Township held its annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 2. Anna Columbus, who won reelection to the Township Committee in November, was sworn in as mayor for 2019, and Robert Petrelli was sworn in as deputy mayor. Brendon Beatrice, incumbent member of the Township Committee, who also won election in November, was sworn in for a three-year term. A large group of volunteers took oaths to serve on committees and commissions. In her acceptance speech, Mayor Columbus expressed gratitude to all the residents and others who help make Branchburg work. Her full speech can be read on page 9. The mayor’s vision for the upcoming year includes •Refurbishing the Station House interior,

•Creating more children’s activities in the parks, •Opening a portable ice rink near the Snack Shack in White Oak Park, •Using the Snack Shack to serve hot drinks and snacks during skating weather, •Instituting a springtime food truck festival, •Working on the walking path in Neshanic Station, •Figuring out an effective solution to tractor trailers trying to use the NJ Transit wooden bridge, •Preservation of open space, •Addressing property maintenance, •Identifying a proper space for a dog park, Mayor Columbus reminded residents to air their township-related ideas and complaints at Coffee with the Mayor, held the second Saturday of each month at the Municipal Building. (See “Upcoming Events” on page 2.) Senator Kip Bateman, right, administers oaths for township officers during the reorganization proceedings. Lou Ann Provenzano holds the Bible along with Brody Beatrice. Anna Columbus and Brendon Beatrice take their oaths as members of the Township Committee.

New Mayor Anna Columbus presents a plaque of appreciation to outgoing Mayor Jame Schworn.

Grease is the Word on Feb. 28 for Meghan Rose Bradley Ladies Night Out

“Big Red Bus Garage” Rises Behind School

The Branchburg Township School District is constructing a maintenance garage behind the former Old York School for the district’s Office of Transportation. The garage will consist of three bus-sized bays and a small office for transportation director, Bob Cline, and his staff. Construction is scheduled for completion by Mar. 1. Asked for some comments about the project, Branchburg Township Board of Education President Terri Joyce wrote in an email, “The construction of the bus garage will ease the load on the township’s municipal maintenance garage and allow the school district transportation department to provide timely maintenance and repair for the district’s fleet of 37 buses. In addition, since 2010 our school district has maintained the Readington Township buses as part of a shared services agreement. Having 3 full maintenance bays will help the district ensure the safety of the children of both Branchburg and Readington.” What will the completed garage look like? Joyce wrote, “The district took inspiration from the township historical buildings, so you can look for the “big red bus garage” coming soon!”

The Meghan Rose Bradley Foundation will hold its 13th Annual Ladies Night Out on Thursday, Feb. 28, at Soriano’s Parkside in Bridgewater. This year’s theme is “Grease is the Word” – attendees are invited to a night of 50s fun. Costumes are optional, but guests can add to the fun by dressing in their 50s best, whether they are a “Sandy,” a “Rizzo,” or a “Frenchy.” A selection of wines will be paired with delicious food and desserts that complement the evening’s 50s theme. There will be plenty of opportunities for fun while supporting a very worthy cause. Tickets purchased prior to Feb. 1 are $50, and $55 after that date. The evening will feature a silent auction of baskets donated by local businesses and friends of the Foundation. To donate a basket – or items that can be combined into other themed baskets – contact Ileen Bradley at mrbfoundation@ All proceeds from the event will fund pediatric brain cancer research and provide scholarships to local area students. The foundation honors the life and memory of Meghan Rose Bradley who was diagnosed with brain cancer on

Oct. 1, 2004, and passed away just 38 days later on Nov. 7. She was 16. For more info on the foundation, mail mrbfoundation@ or visit :www. meghanrosebradleyfoundation. org.


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Upcoming Events Editors & Publishers: Bill Haduch, Monita Casey Haduch Advertising Manager: Heather Sanchez Writer/Ad Sales: Karen C. Muller Design & Layout: Jacki Hasko Web Manager: Steve Skladany Mailing Services: Mike Sanchez Art:: Kevin Gora, Cathy Zehr, Megan Moore The Branchburg News is mailed monthly, free-of-charge to every mailing address in Branchburg Township. Free copies are also available for distribution in places of business, schools, and municipal offices. DEADLINES FOR NEXT ISSUE March 2019 February 10 For Ad Materials February15 For News Materials The Branchburg News is not liable for failure to publish an ad, for typographical errors, or errors in publication, unless, in our judgment, the error materially affects the content and advertising value of the ad. Compensation will not exceed the cost of the space in which an error occurs. The Branchburg News has the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason, and is not responsible for claims made by advertisers. We ask our readers to keep us informed of any misleading advertisements. Phone/Fax: 1-800-530-3046 Email: Mailing address: P.O. Box 5351 Branchburg, NJ 08876 Web:

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more information. Location is 870 Comedy Show, Mar. 2 River Road, Hillsborough, just Annual Comedy Show at the across the Studdiford Bridge from Polish American Citizens Club, Branchburg. 29 Kline Blvd., Whitehouse StaWomen & Heart Health, Feb. 21 tion. Doors open at 6:30 pm. From 6:30 - 8 pm at the Paint Dinner at 7 and comedians 8-10 For info call Party Studio in Flemington. At- pm, cash bar.  Early bird prictendees will enjoy a night out learn- ing until Feb 23. $35 per person, 732-469-3363 or visit www. ing about heart health and taking $60 per couple. Tickets: Call the time to reduce stress by learning to club phone 908-534-6230 or paint. Benefits Hunterdon Medical visit For info and registration, ket/PACCWHS. visit www.thepaintpartystudio. Sweetheart Dance, Feb. 8 com – go to calendar and select Girl Scout Troop 60690 will Feb. 21 Hunterdon Healthcare host a Sweetheart Dance at St. the are $13 or $15 cash at the door. event.

Job Seekers Success Group, Feb. 6 From 7 to 9 pm at JFS, 150-A West High St. Somerville, Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties is offering a free session for active job seekers who are unemployed, underemployed or seeking a career change. Open to the community. To register or for more info about career counseling, contact Elise Prezant at 908-725-7799 X108 or

Feb. 11, 25

SHS to Present “Pippin”

Elizabeth Ann Seton Church from 7 to 9 pm. Girl Scouts in Daisies, Brownies and Juniors are invited to dress up and attend with their special guy (ie: dad, grandfather, uncle). For info contact Emily Zgombic at Coffee with the Mayor, Feb. 9 From 9:30 to 11 am at the Municipal Building. Listen, talk and learn about township issues and happenings in a casual setting.

Elvis Tribute, Feb. 9 Valentine’s Special at the Polish American Citizens Club, 29 Kline Blvd, Whitehouse Station. A Tribute to Elvis Thru the Years featuring Jim Barone. $35 per person. Doors open at 6:30 pm, buffet dinner at 7 pm, cash bar. Tickets: Call the club phone 908-534-6230 or visit   https:// Preschool Open House, Feb. 9 From 9:30 am to noon, the South Branch Reformed Church Preschool will have a registration open house. It is an opportunity to visit the classrooms and meet the staff. Registration forms for Sept. 2019 will be available. Contact the school at 908-369-7885 or Preschool@ to RSVP and for

Garden Club Meeting, Feb. 28 The Neshanic Garden Club will hold its regular monthly meeting at 9:45 a.m. at the Station House on Olive Street in Neshanic Station. The program this month will be “Design with Carmella Shepley.” Carmella will create a floral design using a tea cup, which can be used in a guest bedroom, or several could be grouped together on a large table. Carmella has owned and operated a florist business for 10 years, and has been a NGC member for 20 years. Carmella has exhibited designs in several State Flower Shows and local Standard Flower Shows. A workshop will follow to create your own tea cup floral design. Bring a bag lunch and beverage cup. Dessert and beverage only, will be served at noon. Prospective members are encouraged to attend. For further information about club meetings, please contact either club co president, Cathy Heuschkel at 908-3596881 or Kathy Herrington at 908-359-6835. For more information regarding the club, you can visit us at and “like us” on Facebook.

The Somerville High School Drama Club presents the musical “Pippin” on Feb. 28, Mar, 1 and Mar. 2 at the high school. Based on the medieval legend of Charlemagne’s son, Pippin, heir apparent to the Holy Roman Empire, “Pippin” is a parable about a young man’s search for meaning and truth. It was a huge Broadway hit in the early 1970s, toured for many years and had a revival on Broadway in 2013. Tickets can be purchased online via the Somerville High School website: Prices

The lead cast: Jessica DeSarno (Leading Player), Hayden Verbanas (Pippin), Tevin Ighalo (Charlemagne), Megan Fitzgibbon (Fastrada), Ally LaMont (Berthe), Sophie Belkin (Catherine), Grayson Nierenberg (Lewis) and Danielle Hadley (Theo). The ensemble: Will Adams, Melissa Andia, Colin Bower, Paris Bozutti, Aiden Broadbent, Shannon Dempsey, Julie Ettore, Breanne Fabriczi, Marcello Fois, Kylie Hache, Imani Jackson, Kaleigh Jess, Sebastien Kilduff, Sophia McKean, Julia McKenna, Josie McNeil, Joshua Millman, LindaRose Piccolo, Victoria Piccolo, Christina Pinho, Grace Pivarnik, Marcus Polanco, Michaela Ryan, Noah Sadin, Hope Tracey, Quinn Tovey, Becca Wasserman and Robyn Wasserman. -- submitted by Patti Verbanas

Community Garden Plots Available It’s time to start thinking about renting plots at the Branchburg Community Garden at River Lea farm on South Branch River Rd. 10’x10’ plots are $30 (senior rate $20); 10’x24’ plots are $50 (senior rate $40). Both organic and non-organic plots are available. Those interested should send an email to for more information about rules and an application. -- submitted by Roger Johnson, Branchburg Community Garden Advisory Committee

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Homesharing, Inc., Central Jersey’s affordable shared housing program, will hold its Designer Handbag Bingo on Friday, Mar. 1, at the Somerville Elks Lodge, 375 Union Ave., Bridgewater. A wide array of handbags from internationally known designers will be the prizes during this entertaining evening. Doors open at 6 pm, with a cold buffet at 6:45. Bingo games start at 7:30. Cost of the event, which includes the buffet and 10 bingo cards, is $45 in advance via Ticketleap, $50 by mail or at the door. The evening will also feature a 50/50, tricky tray and other raffles. A cash bar will be available. Reservations for tables of eight to ten will be taken. To purchase tickets, visit https://homesharing.ticketleap. com, or contact HomeSharing at 908-526-4663 for more information.

Barbara Bye, Former Mayor, Passes Away

Registration for the 2019 spring season of the Branchburg Baseball Club (BBC) is open until Feb. 15. Boys and girls in preschool through 12th grade are eligible to play baseball. Girls in pre-K (entering kindergarten Sept. 2019) through eighth grade are eligible to play softball. For more information and to register, visit Also, the BBC is looking for additional sponsors for this season. If interested, email Rich Muratore at -- submitted by Allison Sorrentino

Hunterdon Behavioral Health Offers Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders The co-existence of both mental health and substance-use disorders is referred to as co-occurring disorders. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 8.2 million adults aged 18 or older had co-occurring needs in the year previous. Hunterdon Medical Center is licensed by the State of New Jersey to treat patients with co-occurring disorders.  Treating both the mental health and substance use problems simultaneously leads to better outcomes and is widely considered “best practice” for treatment. Addiction Treatment Services and the Acute Outpatient Program have a multi-disciplinary team of psychiatrists, advanced practice nurses and therapists who provide enhanced services for mental health and substance abuse disorders.   Treatment is available at Hunterdon Medical Center as well as off-campus sites in Washington and at the Pavilion in Flemington. Services are covered by most insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Self Pay. For more information, call 908-788-6401 extension 5101. --submitted by Hunterdon Healthcare System

Barbara Bye, 77, died Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 surrounded by her loving family. She was born to her dear parents Agnes (Fiorino) and Eugene Napoleon on July 4, 1941. Barbara loved her family and was a devoted mother, grandmother, aunt and loyal friend. She was a kind, caring, generous woman. Barbara was a committed citizen and served in many facets of the community. She was Mayor of Branchburg in 1998, Deputy Mayor in 1997, and served on the Township Committee from 1997 to 2002. She also served on the Branchburg Board of Adjustment from 2003 to 2019. She was a member of Branchburg’s Olde Towne Homeowners Association and the original founder of the Branchburg Country Fair. Previously she was a member of the Piscataway Chamber of Commerce, and the Board of Education in Piscataway, She was Director of New Jersey One Call, and a member and officer of the Somerset County Federation of Republican Women. She currently worked for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office as Confidant Aide to Sheriff Frank Provenzano. Barbara is survived by her son Robert (Eileen), daughter Dana Manno, grandchildren Spencer Manno & Robert Anthony Bye, Nephew Anthony John “AJ” Napoleon. Barbara is predeceased by her parents and brother Anthony Napoleon. Viewing was set for Thursday, Jan. 24, from 1-4pm, and 6-9 pm and Friday, Jan. 25

Barbara Bye

from 9-10 am at Branchburg Funeral Home, 910 US Highway 202 S, Branchburg Funeral Mass was set for Friday, Jan. 25 at 11 am at St. Ann Church in Raritan. Disposition was private. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Bongiovi Funeral Home of Raritan, utilizing the Branchburg Funeral Home facility for viewing. To send an on-line condolence, visit www.bongiovifuneralhome. com

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3 The Branchburg News • February 2019

Homesharing’s Designer Handbag Bingo is Mar. 1

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The Branchburg News • February 2019


Troop 90 Finds High Adventure in Northern Tier of Minnesota

Pictured is guide Emily Rodrigue with Mark McArthur, Joshua Millman,Bradley Heiber, Peter Bellek, Austin Hackerd, Richard Millman, Nathaniel Ahearn, Adam Millman, Alexander Scotte, Gary Hackerd, and Larry Ahearn.

By Joshua Millman It all started at 4:30 am on the day after Christmas. Eleven brave souls from Branchburg Troop 90 drove to Newark Airport en route to camp outdoors at the BSA’s Northern Tier National High Adventure Bases in upstate Min-

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nesota. The group traveled about eight hours, including the flight and bus ride to the base camp outside of Ely, MN.  Once there we stayed in a cabin the first two nights. During our first full day, we shoveled a lake to make a broom

ball court. Once ready, teams of eight played broom ball (hockey using brooms and a ball instead of a puck, no skates). Spectators were encouraged to throw snowballs and often did.  The score didn’t matter as the teams changed often.  Snowmen, snow forts and snow furniture were built on the sidelines while the players were assaulted with snowballs for that little edge in the game. On day two the crew geared up with additional clothing, boots, extreme sleeping bags, known as browning bags, and other winter camping gear.  Led by our guide (Emily) we took our fully loaded sleds and headed out for the ice.  Our first camp site would be on Lake Snow Bank approximately two miles away.  Upon arrival at the campsite, we had to build weather barriers, a snow kitchen and drill through the ice for water with an auger. Once collected, the water had to be boiled prior to drinking.  Night fell early as sundown was around 4:30 pm. The temperature began to drop so rapidly that each second was colder than the last until finally, the overnight temperature climaxed


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at -22 degrees F, qualifying each of our participants for the Zero Hero patch. As we woke on the third day, we arose slowly as we had to dress in our sleeping bags, reluctant to return to the tundra of the outdoors. With clothing starting to freeze stiff, it made it even more challenging to face the frigid air. Once fully up, we had a hot breakfast, then packed up camp and moved to another site. It was time to move to Flash Lake. In our new site, we built Quinzhees, snow structures resembling igloos in which to sleep. The quinzhees were giant piles of snow with hollowed out middles to create insulated shields from the elements. Each one supported 2 – 3 people. Drilling for water and building a kitchen were done once again. The quinzhees proved to be much warmer than the outdoors and while a bit cramped, they were amazing places to sleep. On day four, we broke camp and packed before breakfast. We did not destroy our quinzhees or snow kitchen however. They were to be left for the next crew to camp at the site.  After we ate, we learned about ice fishing and attempted to catch a fish. While waiting for a bite on our trip line, we played a rousing game of tag.  All the movement helped to keep us warm.  After ice fishing some of the team tried some cross-country skiing. Then, at 3:00, the crew was mushed by dog sleds and learned about the dogs’ history and what it takes to be a sled dog. It was after the dog sleds that we left for the warmth of our cabins, ending our nights on the ice and earning the crew the Ookpik patch. Though the crew’s nights on the ice were over, the days were


not. After awaking in the cabins and enjoying breakfast outside, the crew hiked approximately four miles on the trails, taking in the sights. During the hike we learned that the weight of the fresh snow had caused cracks in the ice, creating slush in some areas. After returning to base camp, the crew returned all of the rented gear to the camp and began preparations for the ride home, but not before celebrating the New Year with hot iron branding of personal equipment (as a momento), root beer floats, board games, and a movie, courtesy of Northern Tier. The crew prepared to go home the next day after celebrating the New Year. While the crew woke up to -18 weather, they were all ready to go home and did not mind the cold. After enjoying breakfast one final time, the crew said their goodbyes to the staff and took one last photo in front of the Northern Tier. The crew then left, arriving at home around 8. The crew had an amazing time that many people never experience.  Ours was the first crew from Patriots Path Council to experience the winter trek at Northern Tier.  We all had a great time and will send a good word to the rest of the Troops in the council to also go to Northern Tier. While it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the crew learned a lot about what to do and what not to do in extremely cold weather, which they have passed down to the next generation of Troop 90. The Crew thanks all of the parents, especially those who organized the trip and the ones who were adult leaders during, who gave them this incredible opportunity like no other.

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The Central Jersey Housing Resource Center (CJHRC) will offer a free financial literacy program on Feb. 6 from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. Location is CJHR, 600 First Ave. in Raritan. Topics include •Budgeting and tracking of expenses, •Ways to obtain savings, •Getting a free soft pull copy of your credit report with scores, •Understanding what makes up a credit score, •Basic credit strategies if you have errors on your report or need to clarify items. Latosha Taylor of PeapackGladstone Bank and Kenneth Myers of Synchrony Bank are the expert presenters for the evening. A $10 gift card will be provided for every participant who pre-registers, completes release/forms and evaluation. Pre-registration is required by Feb. 2 as the class has limited space. To register or to get more information, call 908-704-9649 (mailbox 7) or email A light dinner will be served.  This Financial Literacy Program is made possible through the generosity of the following funders: Affinity Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, Franklin Township CDBG, Investors Bank Foundation, Johnson & Johnson SC Companies, M&T Charitable Foundation, Macy’s, Magyar Bank Foundation, NJM Insurance Group, Novartis, Peapack-Gladstone Bank, PSE&G, Roselle Savings Bank, Santander, Somerset County Human Services, Somerset Savings Bank, SLA, Synchrony Bank, TD Charitable Foundation, The Provident Bank Foundation and Wells Fargo.

Daytona 500 Party Planned for Banquet Hall

The 61st running of The Great American Race is coming to Central Jersey on Feb. 17, noon to 6 pm, as the Three Bridges Volunteer Fire Company again hosts a Daytona 500 party at the Three Bridges Banquet Hall, 467 Main St., Three Bridges. The hall will be transformed into a virtual speedway with jumbo screens and a 150-watt stereo sound system. Door prizes and race pools are planned. The catered event will include

buffet dinner, desserts, draft beer, soft drinks, and five varieties of wine in the ticket price. Tickets are on sale online via (search on the event line for three bridges). $30 is the price of admission, with full-table tickets offering discounted rates. Will-call tickets are also available by mailing $30 per person, payable to TBVFC,  PO Box 127, Three Bridges, NJ, 08887. Include an email address, or send an email to ThreeBridgesBanquetHall@ to confirm your purchase. Tickets will be waiting for you at the door.  All proceeds benefit the  Three Bridges Volunteer Fire Company,  a 501(C)3 organization.

Community S.T.E.A.M. Night is Feb. 19 at BCMS For more than a decade, awareness has grown in America’s schools about the value of teaching and studying the so-called STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Now, artistic expression is joining the fun. After all, designing a beautiful and sturdy bridge not only requires proficiency in STEM, but also an appreciation of aesthetics. And so, a new acronym is gaining recognition in the educational world. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math. On Feb. 19, from 6 to 7:45 pm, the first-ever Community STEAM Night will be held in the Branchburg Central Middle School cafeteria. Middle-schoolers, families, teachers and the community will discover the fun of STEAM as they work together on activities that show how science, technology, engineering, art and math are all interconnected. The free event is open to the public, and light refreshments will be served. Helpers are invited to volunteer for the evening. Questions to Maggi Emmons at 908-526-1415, ext. 4154. RSVP by email to and include the name and number attending.

English, Spanish Information Sessions, Campus Tours Set at RVCC Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) is offering general information sessions as well as special sessions for those interested in its Automotive Technology, Cosmetology and Esthetics (Skin Care) career programs. In addition, RVCC will hold information sessions for adult students in English and in Spanish. General Information Sessions and campus tours are scheduled for Thursday, Feb.7, 10-11 am (Conference Center, Room 101); Tuesday,

Feb. 12, 4-6 pm (Conference Center, Room 102); Wednesday, Feb. 20, 10-11 am (Conference Center, Room 101); and Thursday, Feb.28, 10-11 am (Conference Center, Room 102). To explore and/or register for any information session, visit and click on February. For additional information, contact the Admissions Department at 908-526-1200, ext. 7009 or

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Branchburg Woman’s Club Focuses On Helping Children By Tricia Ihde for the BWC Starting at 7 pm, Thursday, Feb. 21, the Branchburg Woman’s Club will meet at the Township’s Little Red Schoolhouse, 2120 South Branch Rd. Adult guests and membership inquiries are welcome. For club and carpooling information, call 908-866-1060. The featured program at the February meeting will be a presentation by Tracey L. Heisler, MA, who is the Executive Director of the CourtAppointed Special Advocate organization for Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties. She will talk about CASA-NJ, its child advocacy mission, and how community partners (such as the BWC) may help children in foster care.

Aiding CASA-NJ is special state project of the BWC and the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs for 2018-2020. As part of this effort, BWC members have been crafting children’s blankets from fleece fabric and yarn with the goal of providing some extra comfort to children in New Jersey’s foster care system. Thanks to the generous donations from the community, the club has made over 44 blankets so far. More donations of fleece fabric and yarn are requested for this two-year project; a collection basket for the materials is available at the Branchburg Municipal Building. The BWC is a volunteer, nonprofit organization providing opportunities for community involve-


ment, personal growth, networking, and enriching quality of life. Since its founding over 58 years ago, the club has supported many projects that help children and families including Visions and Pathways (formerly known as Somerset County Home for Temporarily Displaced Children), Safe + Sound Somerset (formerly Domestic Violence Awareness), Autism Awareness, Food Bank Network of Somerset County, Interfaith Hospitality Network, and Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey (PCANJ). Club information is available by Gifts for Cats at St. Hubert’s -- Branchburg fifth-grader Sarah Gracalling 908-866-1060 or 866-1824, ber only wanted one thing this past Christmas -- donations for the cats at St. Hubert’s. on the club’s Facebook page, or on the BWC website at https://staging. While Santa fulfilled her wish and brought her cat food, toys, and equipment, Sarah used gift cards from her family to purchase even more to donate. Some of Sarah’s previous teachers heard about her Christmas wish and gave her cat items or money to donate. Other family friends brought towels and blankets. On Jan. 13, Sarah took a whole trunk of donations to St. Hubert’s and personally delivered them to the cats in the cat x room. by Lisa Graber 3.5” 2.5”--|submitted Maximum Font Size: 30 pt

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IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY | BROKERS PROTECTED Raider Realty is a licensed real estate broker. No warranty or representation, express or implied, is made to the accuracy of the information contained herein & same is submitted subject to errors, omissions, change of price, rental or other conditions, withdrawal without notice & to any special listing conditions, imposed by our principals & clients.

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The Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium in Branchburg will present a variety of offerings for all ages in February, including laser concerts featuring rock music, star shows highlighting the current night sky, and programs celebrating love. The following shows have been scheduled: Follow the Drinking Gourd, Saturdays, Feb. 2 & 9 at 3 pm -- Learn to find the Big Dipper and other stars in the night sky. Then, go back in time with a family trying to escape oppression, as the slave song “Follow the Drinking Gourd” is explained. (Recommended for ages 6-12.) Laser Magic, Saturdays, Feb. 2, 9, 16 at 4 pm --The laser show features songs by a variety of songs and artists including “We Are All Made of Stars” by Moby, “We Will Rock You” by Queen, “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors, and “Let It Go,” sung by Idina Menzel. (Recommended for ages 6-12.) Astronomy Tonight, Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7 pm -- Using the Planetarium’s DigitalSky digital theater, experience a guided tour of the night sky. Learn about some of the popular constellations visible from sunset to sunrise, as well as the stories behind them. Hear about how and where in the sky to find the brightest planets. Weather permitting, the 3M Observatory will be open after the show. (Recommended for ages 8-adult.)

An image from the planetrium’s latest laser concert, “Laser Love.”

Rock of Ages laser concert, Saturdays, Feb. 2 & 23 at 8 pm -Laser concert with songs drawn from the popular Broadway show and feature film. Sing along to “We Built This City” by Starship, “I Wanna Rock” by Twisted Sister, and “Talk Dirty to Me” by Poison. To Worlds Beyond, Saturdays, Feb. 9 & 23 at 7 pm -- Discover what stars are visible in tonight’s sky. Then take an amazing journey through our solar system, visiting each of the planets as well as the most famous dwarf planet, Pluto. The show features beautiful images taken from orbiting satellites, blended with high-end animations. It also includes current information on our neighborhood of planets. (Recommended for ages 10-adult.)  Laser Love, Saturdays, Feb. 9 & 16; Thursday, Feb. 14; Friday, Feb. 15, all at 8 pm -- The Planetarium’s newest laser concert features songs that celebrate love. Selections include “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher, and “Tale as Old as

Time” from Beauty and the Beast. Earth, Moon, Sun and Coyote, Saturday, Feb.16 at 3 pm -- Coyote thinks he knows everything about the sky, but he’s surprised by how many misconceptions he has about eclipses, moon phases, and the motion of the day and night skies. (Recommended for ages 6-12.) Our Lovely Skies, Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7 pm -- Constellations memorialize love lost and love gained. Planets are named for Roman and Greek gods who have stories of their own. And beautiful stellar nebulas remind us of celestial flower bouquets. Discover these treasures and more in this light-hearted, familyfriendly show about the love stories in the sky. (Recommended for ages 10-adult.)  Rockin’ Rocket Ride, Saturday, Feb. 23 at 3 pm -- Blast-off into outer space to visit the Moon, Sun and planets. A lively experience for young people, the show features selected music from “Journey into Space” by Jane Murphy. (Recommended for ages 3-8.) Storybooks in Space, Saturday, Feb. 23 at 4 pm -- Enjoy story time at the Planetarium with informative tales about the stars and planets. (Recommended for ages 4-8) Planetarium tickets cost $10 for one show, $16 for two shows on the same day. For reservations and information, call 908-231-8805. For additional information, visit www. 

North Branch Volunteer Fire Company Names 2019 Officers

Following December elections, the North Branch Volunteer Fire Company has named its 2019 fire line and executive officers. Extremely grateful, and always honored for the opportunity to serve the residents of Branchburg, this year’s line brings a tremendous blend of fire service experience to the leadership of the department, while also welcoming some officers as they get the opportunity to serve in a capacity for the very first time.

Pictured above are this year’s NBVFC officers. Numbers in parentheses show the consecutive years each officer has served in that position. Top row: Michael Russoniello, company chief (2nd); Dan Russoniello, deputy chief (1st); John Deitrick, captain (1st); Zois Pournaras, first lieutenant (2nd); Middle Row: Keith Schroeder, second lieutenant (1st); Leigh Taylor, president (6th); Tom McCartney, vice president (4th); Raj Srivastava, secretary (7th); Bottom Row: Chris Zownir, treasurer (3rd); John Corbo, company trustee (3rd); Rick Schwarz, company trustee (1st); Ed Chabak, company trustee (1st).

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7 The Branchburg News • February 2019

RVCC Planetarium Offers Laser Concerts, Star Shows for All Ages in February

The Branchburg News • February 2019


For Seniors at SHS, End of High School Looms Large

THE S.H.S SCOOP By Caroline Kornbrek

Students begrudgingly returned to the high school in early January after a long winter break, ready to start 2019. We seniors are still trying to accept the fact that this is the last year that we will be spending at Somerville High School. The Somerville Swim Team was victorious in its meet against Warren Hills on Jan. 9. The boys won 122 to 37 and had 17 swimmers beat their personal records. The girls won 101 to 69 and also had many swimmers set new personal records. The swim team is led by captains Adam Murrison, Sebastian Rebolledo, Jordan Smith, and Greta Wickman. Students involved in Model UN returned from their conference in Hershey, PA, over the weekend of Jan. 5. Model United Nations is an educational simulation program in which students learn about international relationships. Over 1700 students from New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware

attend the conference, and represent countries in specific committees. Students research their countries and prepare an argument to present in their committee. Two students from SHS, Hannah Shahinian and Katie Dailey, were awarded premier first delegate in their committee. After a fantastic season last year, the girls basketball team is looking for another year of success. Last year their record was 22-7 and as of mid-January, they were 7-4. The past two years, they have been North 2 Group III Champions. The captain for the basketball team this year is Emily Markowski. Boys Basketball is in full swing with a recent win against Bernards on Jan. 10. In a game against Bound Brook, captain Kevin Sokol hit the game winner at the buzzer. Other captains are junior Sean Reilly and Pat McVerry. Katie Updegrove, a Junior, won the 2019 Youth Art Month Design Contest for her drawing of a logo for New Jersey. Her design will be featured on a billboard and honored at a reception in March. Peer Leadership recently made a trip to BCMS and performed skits warning students about situations they might encounter in high

school. These seniors have been very involved in outreach to help middle schoolers with the transition into high school. They made a trip to Van Derveer Elementary School to spend the day with some young students doing arts and crafts projects. Genesis club, a service organization, will be making its annual trip to New York soon to visit a soup kitchen. Later they will make a trip to Philadelphia to pass out coats, blankets, and hygiene items. The Senior Engineering class made a trip to Visikol, a local bio-imaging company for a tour of the facilities. Two seniors, Alex Scotte and Joe Napoli, work there part time. The Senior Engineering class will be giving their mid year presentations soon, demonstrating what they have been working on independently for the first half of the year. Projects include making computer games, camera sliders, and tennis ball launchers. We are hoping for our first delayed opening and possibly some snow to come as we make our way through the end of winter. I am sure that the end of the year will fly by as I head towards graduation.

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February Happenings at Kangaroo Kids Kangaroo Kids is planning some fun events in February. It is healthy heart month, so students will be learning about keeping their hearts healthy. Kangaroo Kids will jump through hoops for healthy hearts to raise money for children dealing with heart issues at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Kangaroo Kids wel- Lead teachers in the Waddler Room, Jackie comes parents to stop by Russano Weiss and Fatima Pidany, will be for a Valentine Treat on handing out Breakfast to Go on Feb. 14 Feb. 14. “Breakfast to Go” from 7 free. to 9 am is a handy stop for those on On Feb. 21 at 5 pm, Kangatheir way to work. roo Kids will host a kindergarten Parents Night Out is Feb. 15 -- orientation for those interested in an opportunity for mom and dad Sept. 2019 kindergarten. to go out, shop or just rest while There will be a magic show on the kids have fun at Kangaroo Friday, Mar. 1, from 6:30 to 7:30 Kids. Also a good night for sweet- pm. The performance is geared hearts to go out for a slightly be- for children 10 and under and the lated Valentine’s Day. community is welcome to attend. Children can learn more about For information on attending dental health on Feb. 8 for a fun these special events at Kangaroo presentation by a local dental Kids call 908-231-7800 or email hygienist on how to keep teeth healthy. “Like” the Kangaroo Kids Child February is also the month for Care Facebook page for updates. “Be a Kangaroo Kid for a Day!” Kangaroo Kids is at 1047 Route New families can experience Kan- 28 in Branchburg. garoo Kids, the #1 child care in -- submitted by Kathy Feigley America, any day in February for


Municipal Building News | in print and online at ‘Our Work is Your Play’ *** Recreation News*** Love to Ice-Skate? The township is in the process of purchasing an ice rink for White Oak Park. Be on the look-out for details which will follow in the coming weeks. Winter Programs are well underway and if by chance you missed out on the opportunity to exercise the winter blues away, you will have another opportunity to sign up for the second session. Several of our programs continue with additional session and registration will be later this month. Keep an eye out for Gov-delivery notification when the next sessions begin!

At the Reorganization Meeting of the Township Committee on January 3, 2019, the following notable events took place: Mrs. Anna Columbus and Mr. Brendon Beatrice were sworn into office as Township Committee members for a three year term to expire on December 31, 2021. Mrs. Anna Columbus was nominated and unanimously elected as Mayor for a one year term to expire on December 31, 2019. Mr. Robert Petrelli was nominated and unanimously elected to serve as Deputy Mayor for the upcoming year.

Mayor Anna Columbus delivered the following opening remarks: Good Evening and Welcome.

I so humbly accept the position of Mayor of Branchburg for the year 2019. Being the Mayor of 14,556 residents is a commitment that I take very seriously. I thank all of you who had the confidence to vote for me. To quote Sally Field in her Academy Award Acceptance Speech for the movie “Places in the Heart” in 1984, “You Like Me – You Really Like Me”, thank you. I would like to acknowledge some people in attendance: Senator Kip Bateman; my brother, Sheriff Frank Provenzano; Freeholder Patricia Walsh; former Freeholder Mark Caliguire; former Assemblywoman Donna Simon; former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli; Somerset County Republican Chair Al Gaburo; Branchburg Republican County Chair Marty Herrman; Mayor Carol Bianchi of Basking Ridge; Chief David Young of the Branchburg Police Department; my DISCOUNT SKI tickets are available for: campaign manager, Anthony Attanasio; Janice Fields, State Committeewoman; and Kathy Callahan, PresiBlue Mountain, Palmerton, PA dent of the Somerset County Federation of Republican Women. If I missed anyone, I do apologize. My Weekend/Holiday - $57, Midweek non-holiday - $47 family members are my rocks and Tom, you are my sounding board. I love you all. My philosophy is, if Night – anytime 4-10pm - $32 you surround yourself with good people, good things happen. Thank you to the Township Committee for the ability to discuss issues and to come to a conclusion that will benefit all of Branchburg. I am looking Shawnee Mtn, PA order tickets online at:, go to “Tickets & Rentals”, on forward to working with all of you again this year. I want to thank the people who keep us safe – Chief David Young and the entire Branchburg Police Department, the firemen from the three towns that support us dropdown tab go to “e-Ticket login”. Enter club along with the EMS and CERT teams who sometimes have to jump out of a warm bed to fight an emergenname: NJRPASSOC and password: njrpassoc1 cy. Thanks to Bill and Monita (Haduch), who report the Branchburg News, in good order once a month. (password is case sensitive-use lower case) Maggie, my Clerk and Greg, the Administrator, thank you very much you have answered all my questions Tickets are also available for: all year long. Thank you Bill (Willard), you’ve been there for me all the time and thank you to the best workforce in the State. A special thank you to all those who volunteer to serve on our boards. You take the time out of your busy schedules for the benefit of the town. This year, we had an outstanding response to our call for volunteers and actually have a waiting list for the Boards and Committees which says someAdventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ - Adult @ $21.50 thing for the people coming together in Branchburg. A few things I would like to accomplish this year – The outside of the Station House in Neshanic Station looks good, the inside is in shambles. One of my Adventure Aquarium-Child (2-12) @ $17.50 goals is to put the Station House back in good order. We have received some bids and will soon choose a Medieval Times, Lyndhurst, NJ @ $37.00 contractor. When finished, we will have an Open House to show it off. Our parks need a few more activiCrayola Experience, Easton, PA online at: tickties for the children. We have a portable ice rink that will soon be constructed with very shallow water near and enter the the Snack Shack. The Snack Shack will be open on certain occasions to sell hot drinks and other snacks. If Code: NJRPA Pay by credit or debit and print eticket it does well, we may put in an ice hockey rink. One of the parks will get a sandbox similar to one we have to Crayola Experience, must buy ticket in advance. seen in Princeton. Our children will love it. Since the Country Fair is so successful, thanks to Bob Bouwman and his team, I am thinking about having a food truck festival in the spring. I think that this will Call Recreation with questions! boost morale for the town. The completion of the walking path on Elm Street is going to keep us all in Follow Branchburg Recreation on Facebook at: shape. We partnered with the Freeholders and acquired the property. Thank you to our Somerset County Freeholders for joining in on this project. The railroad bridge on River Road – discussions have taken place as to what we can do. How do we put in a new bridge? Can we negotiate for a new bridge? We will have to work with the State and County; this is a priority to at least start. Those of you who travel that way will Happy Valentine’s Day see the new signs. Hopefully the tractor trailer drivers will see the signs and not try to go over the bridge. I would like to see a property maintenance ordinance to keep properties properly maintained. Preserving Part-Time Substitute Crossing Guard Position: open space is crucial to me. We are being targeted to develop since we have such beautiful land. We must Needed for 2019 School Year. The hours are up to not allow overdevelopment, however, as Jim said, some is inevitable. The Dog Park – we are looking for a 1-3 per day mornings and/or afternoons on an as suitable space and will partner with the Branchburg Rotary Club to make this happen. This space must not needed basis Monday-Friday; $16.65 per hour, interfere with the quality of life of our residents. Coffee with the Mayor will continue on Saturday, January uniforms / training provided. Applications can be 12th from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. Bring your ideas/complaints and let’s talk. In closing, I would like to say, picked up at the Town Hall. Contact Sgt. Kathank you for believing in me. Have a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year and we will reconvene the meeting at the Stoney Brook Grille, for all those who would like to attend. czorek / Cpl. Cronce at the Police Department (908) 526-3830 x 410 with any questions.

Thank you very much.

The Branchburg News • February 2019


10 The Branchburg News • February 2019

Branchburg Newsmakers

Ground-Penetrating Radar -- In early January, as part of an archaeological investigation of the area

near the Two Bridges Battlefield along Old York Road, ground penetrating radar and electro-magnetic induction equipment were used to “look” under the ground for distortions and anomalies indicating the presence of large hard objects and patterns. As seen above, Geophysicist Bob Wiencek operates the radar device. Dr. Richard Veit, a well-known New Jersey archaeologist, is seen at the right. The Branchburg Historical Society has partnered with the American Battlefield Protection Program, and has received federal grants in an ongoing study of the area, which sits on the bluff overlooking the open land near the confluence of North Branch and South Branch of the Raritan River. The area was the site of a skirmish between patriots and British sympathizers during the American Revolution.


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Denise Bayles is pictured with her speech-friend, Jack Scrocca of Branchburg, celebrating being voted a Favorite Kids’ Doc in Speech Therapy.

Denise Bayles of Branchburg was voted, by her patients’ families, as a “NJ Favorite Kids’ Doc in Speech Therapy” for the 9th year in a row. NJ Family Magazine is celebrating the 10th year of its New Jersey’s Favorite Kids’ Doc campaign. With this campaign, parents vote for the pediatric healthcare professionals who go above and beyond for their children. Denise’s practice, The Bayles Family Speech Center, LLC, is located at 191 Church Rd. in Bridgewater.

Johnson & Wales University student, Anne Zarzycki of Branchburg, a Sports, Entertainment, Event – Management major in the College of Hospitality Management, has been named to the dean’s list for the fall 2018 term. To receive dean’s list commendation, students must earn a grade point average of 3.4 or above. Anne, a sophomore, is the daughter of Kathleen and Vincent Zarzycki and a 2017 graduate of Immaculata High School.


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Lily Tews Student of the Month, Lily Tews, a student at Branchburg Central Middle School, won the Rotary Club of Branchburg Essay Contest for January. The presentation reflects students’ goals for the future and the steps necessary to achieve their goals. Lily is planning on studying to become a biomedical engineer. She was awarded a Rotary certificate, a gift certificate and a special Rotary coin that reminds Rotarians to live their lives by the Rotary 4-Way Test.

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Branchburg Senior Citizens Plan Activities for the Year 2005. Linda and her husband Lou lived on Preston Drive with their four children who all went to school in Branchburg. She was a gracious lady who always spent time greeting each senior, making people feel welcomed. She and Lou had many speakers and programs to keep us informed and entertained. She was a community person and she always marched in the Memorial Day Parade with the Branchburg Seniors. Linda died in 2011 while she was on a trip to Germany. People who knew Linda will remember Linda and Lou Grube fondly. Coming Events: Business Meeting is Feb. 7 with lunch. Social Meeting is Feb. 21 with pizza. Fun Days are Feb 14, 28. Community STEAM Night is Feb. 19 at Branchburg Central Middle School, 7 to 8:30 pm. Membership Information: Membership is open to all Senior citizens in our area ages 55+. Dues are $15 annually. We invite people to join us at our meetings and our bus trips. Non-members will be asked to pay the cost of the event and a nominal fee for the bus. Meetings are held on the first and third Thursdays of the month at Building 10, in the Whiton Hills Community Room on Rt. 202 South. It’s

on the lower floor. The business meeting is always on the first Thursday. The third Thursday is the social meeting, which includes a light lunch. Time: 11 am to 3 pm. “Fun Days” are social times to meet up with friends. These are on Thursdays when there are no meetings. Shooting pool or playing cards are favorite activities. Playing board games and selecting books from the Book Nook, or just socializing are fun, too. You can even get a low cost Park Commission Continues Dog Walks-- The Friends light lunch. of Lord Stirling Stable Saturday Dog Walks on the trails at Somerset County February Birthdays, Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Ave. in Basking Ridge, compiled by Gail Mantz continue weekly through the winter. Check-in time for owners and their pets Feb. 1 Joe Abate Feb. 11 Feb. 13 Feb. 14 Feb. 17 Feb. 19 Feb. 23 Feb. 26

William Willey Denis Hackett Mary Guth Melania Hoffman Joseph Mills Harriet Davis Henry Schnakenberg

begins every Saturday at 10:15 a.m. The guided trail walk commences at 10:30 am and lasts for approximately one hour. Registration is $3 per dog and all pets must be leashed and kept under control at all times. These sanctioned Dog Walks offer participants the only opportunity to explore the beautiful equestrian trails of Lord Stirling Stable on foot. For more information, contact Martha at 973-635-8672 or online at For directions, call Lord Stirling Stable at 908-722-1200, ext. 5010.

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The Branchburg News • February 2019

By Rita Jordan For the Branchburg Senior Citizens Club, January was a quiet month of recovery from all the December activities. It’s time to regroup and make plans. The executive committee, which consists of ex-presidents, trustees and elected 2019 officers, has been meeting to plan activities for the coming year. The trend is to have more social events which include meals and fun within Whiton Hall, hopefully a trip, and our 48th Spring Luncheon which will be held in May. More information about where and when to be announced. We have been invited by Maggi Emmons, teacher at Branchburg Central Middle School, to come to the first ever Community STEAM Night on Feb. 19. Ms. Emmons made it sound exciting to come to see and participate in school subject activities shared with the students. This includes science, art, math etc. The best way to stay young in spirit is to be with young people. We expect that many of our young-in-spirit Seniors will be there. The time is 7 to 8:30 pm. Refreshments, too. Last month we learned about Hank Phillips, our ninth president. This month we remember president #19 Linda Grube,

The Branchburg News • February 2019


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Somerville High School’s Winter Guard Show is Coming to Branchburg Central Middle School in March

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Photos of the Scholastic World Guard in performance last year. --photos by Suzanne Updegrove

guards in the world that competes in the World Class — the highest level of scholastic competition — at the WGI World Championships, which takes place annually at the University of Dayton in Ohio. Their award-winning performance attracted the attention of musician David Byrne, who selected the team to be one of ten to collaborate with indie musicians to create a live music and winter guard show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Toronto’s Air Canada Center, which was featured in the 2017 documentary Contemporary Color.

The 2019 Somerville Winter Guard will participate in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary Marching to the Coolest Beat, which will

focus on how this dance sport tradition binds communities together and brings creativity and joy to performers and audiences,

especially at the high school level. The documentary will highlight the competition across the nation and as well as look at the impact of Contemporary Color and discuss what performing at the event meant to participants and creators. The documentary is expected to reach 120 million people and will be translated into other languages. The Somerville Winter Guard shows are directed by Joe Harris, Jay Drake, Marcus Henry, Cindy Wong and Amy Sutphen. The 19-member Scholastic World team includes captains Morgan Yap, Ally Willoughby and Ashley Balbuena Moreno; section leaders Ellie England, Carri Polansky, Jenny Le and Adelina Gallo; and members Kiara Dalida, Alanna Hadley, Wanda Lopez-Cruz, Breanna Malanga, Kayla Morgan, Gianna Perrine, Alessia Petroni, Jennifer Rojas, Alexandra Schweid, Colin Sheeley, Katie Updegrove, and Heather Young. The 11-member Scholastic Regional A team include captains Allison Sheats and Elizabeth Herrera, and members Montserrat Atenco, Diego Gonzalez, Lizzie Malanga, Carlene Recto, Kylie Ronning, Jazmine Tucker, Hannah Varley, Selina Verbanas, and Crystal Whitlock. The competition begins at 2 pm and lasts until about 8 pm. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children and seniors, cash only, and concessions will be sold.  Spectators can attend any time during the show.

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The Branchburg News • February 2019

By Patti Verbanas On Saturday, March 30, the Somerville High School Music Boosters Association will host its 15th annual Indoor Color Guard show at Branchburg Central Middle School. More than 35 competing winter guard teams will attend, with a concluding performance by the two-time world champion Somerville High School Scholastic World Winter Guard team  performing their show “Remember Me,” with music by Chris Mann about the struggle of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the Somerville High School Scholastic Regional A Winter Guard team will perform its show “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” with music by P!nk. Winter guard — known as “the sport of the arts” — is a competitive indoor color  guard activity in which performers use flags, rifles, sabers and other equipment combined with dance to produce a choreographed show. Teams are judged in various  categories, including movement, technique, design analysis, equipment and general effect.  Somerville Winter Guard is the 2012 Scholastic A and 2015 Scholastic Open Class Winter Guard International (WGI) World Champions. It is one of 28 scholastic


The Branchburg News • February 2019


End Hunger 3.6 – Winter Food-Packing Event is Mar. 30 The Branchburg Rotary Club has announced that March is “End Hunger month” for Rotary. As part of this campaign, Central New Jersey Rotary, Rotaract, Interact Clubs and community organizations and individuals are planning to join together on Saturday, Mar. 30, noon to 6 pm at the Raritan Valley Community College cafeteria. The group will prepare 150,000 food packages for malnourished children in the community via donations to the local food bank. Why is the initiative called “End Hunger 3.6?” Because every 3.6 seconds, someone dies of starvation or malnutrition. This special service project is a part of Central NJ Rotary Club’s effort to curb hunger in the Central New Jersey area. This project is more than just bringing a smile to the recipients; it is also an opportunity for each club’s members to gather with their spouses and/or children to enjoy a day of fellowship

and the joy of giving back. “The members of the Rotary Club value the relationship we have developed with the Central New Jersey communities and Rotary clubs, and look forward to working on service projects in the future,” said Rotary Past District Governor Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan. “This is the 5th Annual Winter Meal packing event. The goal, with your help, is to raise $45,000 to fund over 150,000 meals to feed 900,000 children who are suffering from hunger. Volunteers of all ages are welcome.” Suggested donation is $25 per person and/or $40 per family, and $150 per community organization. Contact: RotaryDistrict7475@ or 908-369-4318. Volunteer registration: https:// w w w. s i g nu p g e n iu s . c o m / go/4090448aea92da3fd0-endhunger – submitted by Tulsi Maharjan

Knights of Columbus Present Mardi Gras: Fun Before Lent Knights of Columbus Council 6930 will present Mardi Gras, an outstanding fun filled evening of food, drink, live music and dancing. Date: Saturday, Feb. 23. Featuring Entertainment from “Who Are You Guys?” Performing 50’s, 60’s and 70’s Hits. The event to benefits local charities that the Knights of Columbus support. Place: Community Hall, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 390 County Road 523, Whitehouse Station. Tickets: $35 per person, includes dinner, wine and beer. For tickets and information, contact: Roman Hnidj at 908256-9760, email: romanhnidj@ OR Tom DiQuollo at 908-217-4330, email:

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Two yearling bears curled up to sleep in a jumbled embrace, to form a single pile of pulsating fur, from which random legs protruded. Upon waking, one bear walked downhill 500 paces to its right, the other 500 paces left; each bear seeking to satisfy its thirst in the nearby streams. Rested and full of adventure, thirst satisfied, both bears began to follow their respective stream in the direction the water flowed. One bear followed Plum Brook to Wickecheoke Creek and ended up on the Delaware River, while its sibling rambled along the Second Neshanic River, to the First Neshanic River, to the Neshanic River, to the South Branch of the Raritan River, to the Raritan River and on to Raritan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The two streams, arising from springs on each side of a common ridge, a mere half mile apart, lead to the state’s opposite coasts. Together, the streams form a direct pathway from coast to coast.   We live in a provincial world defined by geopolitical borders, reinforced by the scale of our selfimposed home range. When we travel US Route 1 in New Brunswick, we never consider that if we go straight, instead of turning into Chipotle, we end up in Caribou, Maine, or the Florida Keys. Same situation as the two bears. Whether tracing the tracks of a rambling bear down a watery trail to the coast, or driving a paved highway to opposite ends of the continent, we begin to see a connectivity to distant places. Artificial borders fall away and perspective comes into focus. Taken to the highest resolution, we see that celestial events in the cosmos dictate the requirements and conditions for life on earth. Adjust the resolution, and closer to home we see the Atlantic flyway, a major bird migration route from the Arctic to Mexico. Events at either end of the spectrum and along the flyway can have a dramatic impact on population dynamics of many species. Preserved lands like the Rachael Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Maine and the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey are just two of many areas critical to migrating, nesting and overwintering avian activity. Private lands cannot be overlooked and must be appreciated for their valuable contribution outside established state and federal refuges and wildlife management areas. On a smaller scale, though still expansive, is the critical need for

Bear have no need to read signs, much less pronounce the names of obscure creeks, to figure out where they are going. They just put one foot in front of the other and see where it leads.

linear greenways in an area broken into isolated segments of habitat. Many reptiles, amphibians and furbearers are impacted. Isolated populations require a critical amount of genetic variation to remain viable into the future. Slow-moving turtles such as the bog and eastern box turtle are especially threatened. They are now exposed to predators and cars on their journey to lay eggs or migration forced by habitat loss. To celebrate the establishment of isolated patches of open space is misplaced, if a pathway is not considered. Concerned with isolated habitat and lack of greenways connecting them, the State of NJ, Dept of Environmental Protection, Natural and Historic Resources, Div of Fish and Wildlife, have established a program to examine the impact of isolated habitat and genetic variation. Their program is CHANJConnecting Habitat Across New Jersey. “The goal of this project is to collect DNA samples from a variety of native, terrestrial mammal species across NJ that represents the spectrum of movement capabilities. The genetics analysis will help us understand the impact of landscape fragmentation and road barriers on wildlife mobility.” ( I have volunteered to participate and collect tissue samples

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Please email jjmish57@ if you spot a fresh roadkill other than deer. from roadkill or harvested animals. Please contact me if you spot a fresh roadkill other than deer: jjmish57@ Far away places exist only in our limited imagination, programmed with a distorted sense of scale. Put one foot in front of the other and see where it leads.      Contact See more articles and photos at

A multitude of outstanding prizes will be awarded when the Rotary Club of Branchburg holds its Mega Raffle at Branchburg Rotary Club Comedy Night, Thursday, Apr. 25 at Raritan Valley Community College. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from any Rotary member or by calling 908-685-8080. Following are a few of the prizes listed so far, with values in parentheses: Five-Day Cruise to Bermuda ($2,500), Wheelbarrow of Cheer ($200), Golden Nugget Atlantic City two-night getaway ($1,500), Char Restaurant in Raritan gift certificate ($150), Trump International golf foursome ($1,500), Verve Restaurant in Somerville gift certificate ($100), Trenton Country Club golf foursome ($1,000), Alfonso’s in Somerville gift certificate ($100), 15 yard dumpster ($400), King Tut Restaurant in  Somerville gift certificate ($100), Makeover by Hair House International in Manville ($200), Uncle Vinnie’s Restaurant in Raritan ($100), Statue of Liberty airplane ride ($200), One hour of massage therapy ($100).  Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide to provide humanitarian service and help to build good-

will and peace in the world. It is comprised of 1.2 million members working in more than 33,000 clubs in 200 countries. If you want to make a difference in your world and at the same time share some lifelong friendships with professionals of high ethical and moral character come find out more about how you can be involved in Rotary. For more information about the Rotary Club of Branchburg call 908-685-8080 or “like” Rotary Club of Branchburg Facebook page or attend a meeting at Stoney Brook Grille any Wednesday morning at 7:30 am.   -- submitted by Kathy Feigley

American Classics is now building the Williamsburg II which will be available for a late Spring delivery. The 4-5 bedroom colonial features: • Gourmet kitchen • First floor full bath • Sumptuous master suite • Jack and Jill bathroom • Two interior staircases • Custom trim package • Hardwood floors

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15 The Branchburg News • February 2019

Early Prize List Released for Rotary Mega Raffle in April

The Branchburg News • February 2019


Girls on the Run Central NJ Seeks Volunteer Coaches for Spring Season Girls on the Run of Central New Jersey (GOTRCNJ) is seeking volunteer coaches for its Spring season starting the week of April 1 for Whiton Elementary School, Stony Brook Elementary School, Branchburg and Van Derveer Elementary, Somerville. Both men and women are invited to volunteer, and you don’t have to be a runner.  Just bring your energy and enthusiasm. Girls on the Run is a positive youth development program for girls in third through fifth grades.  The ten-week program incorporates running to teach critical life skills, encourage personal development and foster team building and community service. Volunteer coaches use a curriculum to engage teams of girls in fun, interactive lessons.  Teams meet twice a week for 75 minutes for ten weeks, and the program culminates with all teams participating in a 5k run in June. Volunteers provide critical leadership and the non-profit organization is currently seeking coaches to facilitate the program with teams of 8 to 15 girls. Girls on the Run was recently included as a top research-based program in a Social-Emotional Learning Guide developed by re-

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searchers at Harvard University and has been recognized by the National Afterschool Association (NAA) as one of the most influential after-school programs in the nation. For more information about coaching GOTRCNJ contact Donna York, Executive Director at, 908.285.9202 or go to Girls on the Run is a national physical activity-based positive youth development program for 3rd-8th  grade girls. Participants develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and oneself with care, create positive connections with peers and adults and make a meaningful contribution to community and society. Each session is led by trained volunteer coaches that guide and mentor the girls. The ten-week program concludes with all participants completing a celebratory 5k event which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.  Girls on the Run has served over 1.2 million girls since its inception in 1996. More information can be found

Seen at left, students from the BCMS Financial Literacy class, taught by Maggi Emmons, line the observation deck of the Oculus at the World Trade Center in New York City on Jan. 7. The group saw a number of famous financial district sights including the New York Stock Exchange, the Charging Bull statue and Fearless Girl statue, the Freedom Tower and 9-11 reflecting pools. Emmons organized the NYC trip to cap off what the students have learned in her classroom.

2019 FEBRUARY AT RVCCArts 2019 When I Put On Your Glove Sandglass Theater Fri., February 1 at 7pm Sat., February 2 at 3PM Tickets: $15 Through puppetry, dance and spoken word, a daughter explores her relationship to her father’s artistic legacy.

Hiroya Tsukamoto Thu., Feb. 7 at 1PM & 7PM Tickets: $15 Innovative composer, guitarist and singer/ songwriter Hiroya Tsukamoto fuses folk, jazz, world music and storytelling into intoxicating performances.

Emily Brown and the Thing Tall Stories Sat., Feb. 9 at 1PM & 3:30PM Ages 3+ All tickets: $10 *Relaxed performance This magical show features great songs, clever puppets and lovable characters that audiences of all ages will adore.

42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels Cirque Mechanics Fri., Feb. 15 at 7PM Tickets: $25 & $35 A unique interpretation of the traditional one-ring circus, filled with mechanical marvels, thrills, laughs and excitement!

Kristin Andreassen Thu., Feb. 21 at 1PM & 7PM Tickets: $15 A singer, award-winning songwriter and percussive dancer who combines those skills in musical performances that are both “inventive” (The New Yorker) and “haunting” (NPR’s Folk Alley).

The Bright Siders Fri., Feb. 22 at 7PM* Ages 4+ All tickets: $10 *Relaxed Kristin Andreassen and Brooklyn child psychiatrist Dr. Kari Groff present music that helps kids and families have meaningful conversations about emotions.

Shaun Boothe’s Unauthorized Biography Series Thu., Feb. 28 at 7PM Tickets: $15 & $25 Award-winning hip hop artist, Shaun Boothe celebrates the world’s greatest cultural icons through biographical rap songs and documentary-style music videos. FREE SHOW STARTER EVENT! 42FT—A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels FREE pre-show juggling workshop 6—6:40PM, Fri., Feb. 15, Welpe theatre Juggling Life Charity volunteers and Cedar Hill Prep Juggling Club members will conduct a free pre-show workshop. Ages 8 to adult. Registration is required. Email with name, phone, number and names/ages of participants to reserve your spot. Space is limited. Come join the fun! (Open to 42FT ticketholders only.)

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The Branchburg PTO will host The Harlem Wizards family event on Feb. 1 at 7 pm at Branchburg Central Middle School. The Wizards will take on the Branchburg All-Stars, a team made up of school administrators, teachers and community members. All info is available at www. As in the past, it is likely this event sold out long before the game date, but here are some reminders for those who have tickets: Doors open at 6 pm. Tickets are not available at the door. Pre-event sales were available online only. Branchburg PTO will have a concession stand and a 50/50 raffle. All proceeds benefit Branchburg schools. This is not a drop off event; K-8 students must be accompanied by an adult. 



Rent includes Electric, S&W, Garbage, Cable/Wi-Fi. Two BR, One Bath, Gourmet Kit, Two FP's, Deck and Two car garage etc. Peaceful country setting. $2150. p.m. Alice Mills

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Eagles Four -- Troop 90 is proud to have four scouts this year who have earned their Eagle Scout rank. From

left are Alexander Scotte, Michael Malatesta, Austin Hackerd and Bradley Moore. As part of the Eagle requirements, each scout must complete and lead a project. Alexander’s project was at Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage in Somerville. He cleared, repaired and prepared an historic garden area of 100’ by 100’. There were three projects at The Creative Campus at Old York School in Branchburg. Michael cleaned and regraded the play area plus added a bench and tic tac toe game. Austin built five 4’ x 8’ planting beds for the students. Bradley built a 10’ by 10’ gazebo for outside learning in inclement weather. Additionally, Eagle candidates must earn at least 21 merit badges and been in a leadership position for a combined 14 months. Troop 90 meets every Thursday at 7:30 pm in the Midland School. -- submitted by Larry Ahearn

3782 sq. ft. Tudor situated on 6.8 Ac. cul-de-sac location. Estate setting, Kit. w/island, DR w/French door, private LR, sunken FR w/FP, Den may be au-pair, Sun Room w/hot tub, MBR w/sitting area. 4/5 BR and 4 baths + 3 Car garage.

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The Branchburg News • February 2019

Harlem Wizards Reminders for Feb. 1

SCVTHS and RVCC Create Cosmetology Completer Program Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School and Raritan Valley Community College entered into an agreement to start a Cosmetology Completer Program (CCP). The CCP will enable up to six cosmetology students (each year) to complete the hours and curriculum required to take the state board exam at Raritan Valley Community College, upon graduation from high school. The CCP is taught by qualified workforce educators and is aligned with the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology guidelines. Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, SCVTHS will admit six juniors into the CCP, which will then enable them to earn 575 hours to be transferred to RVCC. Upon graduating from SCVTHS the students will be able to complete the remaining hours at RVCC towards the goal of receiving 1,200 to sit for the New Jersey State Cosmetology license exam. An advantage to completing the program at RVCC is the placement into a practicum. This will allow students to work in the field as interns to gain the necessary skills prior to employment. For more information on this article, contact James Strickhart at (908) 526 – 8900 x7169 or

“Walk With A Doc” Heart Event is Feb. 21 Hunterdon Healthcare and HealthQuest of Hunterdon will host the Walk with a Doc – Cardiac Health Program on Thursday, Feb. 21, from noon to 1 pm at HealthQuest on the indoor track. Walk with a Doc is a program for everyone interested in taking steps for a healthier lifestyle. While you walk at your own pace, you’ll have the opportunity to have questions answered by a Cardiologist from Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates. No special gear is required and there are no special rules. Just put on a pair of comfortable shoes

Don’t Forget Yer Groundhog Supper, Feb. 2 It’s an old Branchburg tradition to prepare a groundhog supper for Feb. 2. For this recipe, adapted from the book “Unmentionable Cuisine” by Calvin W. Schwabe, you’ll need one fresh groundhog, ½ cup flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ cup cooking oil, ½ teaspoon sugar.

and walk alone, with friends, a partner or family or with a group. This program will be led by Rupen Parikh, MD, Cardiologist, Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates. The program is free and open to non-members of HealthQuest. Location is 310 Highway 31 N, Clean and skin groundhog and remove all Flemington, NJ 08822. To regisscent glands. Cure in cool place by suspendter, call 908-788-1710 ext. 250 or ing from hook approximately four days. 268. If you need special accomDress groundhog as for rabbit, remove the modations with hearing or vision issues, so that you are able to par- small sacs in the back and under the forearms. Soak groundticipate in any of the programs, hog overnight in salted water to remove wild flavor. Comemail bine flour, salt, pepper and soda; rub into groundhog pieces.

Brown groundhog in hot oil in skillet; sprinkle with sugar. Reduce heat; add ½ cup water. Cover; simmer for about 30 minuites or until tender. Remove cover; cook for 10 minutes longer and turn off heat. When cool, discard contents of skillet and treat yourself to a civilized supper at one of Branchburg’s fine dining establishments, preferably a Branchburg News advertiser.

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The Branchburg News • February 2019


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Enter Drawing By Feb. 15

Freeholder Director Brian D. Levine invites Somerset County nonprofit and community organizations to enter the annual TD Bank Ballpark drawing for a chance to win tickets to a home game and seating in the ballpark’s 30-seat community box. The deadline to submit entry forms is Friday, Feb. 15. To be eligible, applicants should be a nonprofit organization with 50 percent of its clients who are residents of Somerset County, or a community organization that serves the citizens of the county. If the facility is not located in Somerset County, it should provide significant community

service or a volunteer element to Somerset County residents. “Since the county has constructed the ballpark, we have made the 30-seat community box available for nonprofits and community organizations every year,” said Brian D. Levine. “We are pleased to continue the tradition again. “We are grateful for the work that our community-based organizations commit to every year. Many of the members are volunteers that dedicate their time and service without compensation,” he said. “Free tickets and box seats are just one small way for the Board of Chosen Freeholders to show our appreciation for the dedication and

hard work of these organizations.” The drawing will be held in March to choose the winners. Organizations will be assigned seating-dates in the order in which they are drawn. Participants will be notified accordingly. Entry forms must be received or postmarked by 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, and include the organization’s name and address, a contact person’s name and phone number, the organization’s mission or purpose, and information about its volunteer work and/or community service. To obtain an entry form, call 908-231-7040 or visit http:// bit .ly/2 019Pat r iot B ox S e at s. Submit entry forms via US mail

to the Somerset County Administrator’s Office, 20 Grove St., P.O. Box 3000, Somerville, NJ 08876-1262. Entry forms can also be submitted via fax 908-231-1740 or email Organizations who use the community box must comply with all applicable rules, regulations and ordinances. Groups are responsible for purchasing any food or beverages. The community box is accessible to people with disabilities. For additional information, call the Somerset County Administrator’s Office at 908-231-7040.

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The Branchburg News • February 2019



Residential Customer

TO PLACE A CLASSIFIED AD: Type your ad exactly as you want it to appear. Ads are limited to 30 words (phone numbers count as one word). Mail your ad along with a check for $20 made payable to “The Branchburg News” to The Branchburg News, PO Box 5351, Branchburg, NJ 08876


New Brunswick, NJ Permit No. 1757


RITTER BROTHERS PAINTING, Readington, NJ. Interior & Exterior. Business: 908-233-8904, Home: 908-534-9390. A groundhog and a beagle fell in love and had a baby. Veterinary sciFD MASON CONTRACTOR - Over 30 years of experience. Brick, entists declared it a new species – the block, stone, concrete. No job too large or small. Fully insured & li- grounddog. censed. Free estimates. 908-385-5701. Lic# 13VH05475900. What’s the difference between a CARPENTER - Branchburg Carpenter with 35 years experience avail- duck and George Washington? One able for all jobs around the home. Additions, Remodeling, Kitchens, has a bill on his face, and the other Bathrooms, Basements, or that small job. Quality work at a reasonable has his face on a bill. rate. 908-256-9128. On Lincoln’s birthday, Johnny said, HELP WANTED - Full or Part Time Laboratory Assistant/Technician “Lincoln was a great man, wasn’t for Environmental Testing Laboratory located in Hillsborough. Please he, Dad?” The dad, always ready to send resume to ECM, Inc. P.O. Box 427, Neshanic Station, NJ 08853; teach his son a lesson, answered, “He or, email sure was, and mind you... when Lincoln was your age, he was out splitGARDENER WANTED part time for gardening business. Pruning, ting rails.” planting, weeding & more. Gardening knowledge required but will train. “Yes, Dad, I know,” replied Johnny. Learn about trees, shrubs & perennials working in beautiful gardens. “And when he was your age, he was Dream Gardens 908-725-9855. president of the United States.” SUMMER EMPLOYMENT - Teachers, College Students & Retirees What did one snake say to the other -Winnewald Day Camp, Clinton Twp., is now interviewing for 2019 snake on Valentines Day? Give me a leadershippositions: arts & crafts, nature, life guards (will train), division little hug and a hiss, honey. leader and part-time maintenance. They say there’s a divorce lawyer in Somerville who gain a whole year’s worth of cases every February by What They sending out 1000 Valentines cards simply sgned “Guess Who.” Went For Recent property sales reported in 6 Navajo Trail $323K Branchburg Township: 41 Oriole Lane $423K 3 Fawn Run Lane $749,900 862 Parsonage Hill Road $926K 30 Henry Road $402K 221 Pleasant Run Road $342,500 1953 Holland Brook Road W. 401 Red Crest Lane $270K $515K 55 Robbins Road $280K 33 Iroquois Trail $280K 25 Thoroughbred Drive $680K 617 Magnolia Lane $239K 523 Wren Way $369K

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One Year Ago, Feb. 2018: The Walmart on Route 22 in Readington, sometimes identified as the “Branchburg Walmart” online and on receipts, closed its doors on Feb. 28. In a statement, the company cited financial performance and strategic alignment wth long-term plans as reasons for the shutdown.

was closed for repairs by New Jersey Transit, which owns the bridge over the Raritan Valley train line. 25 Years Ago, Feb. 1994: The Float

Place day spa on Route 202 offered sensory deprivation tanks as a place to float and “shed the stress accumulated in your everyday hustle and bustle.”

Five Years Ago, Feb. 2014: Relentless snowstorms dumped more than 40 inches of snow by mid-month, and Branchburg Florist enlisted the help of a high-riding monster truck to deliver Valentines Day flowers.

50 Years Ago, Feb. 1969: Troop 185 was planning to celebrate Boy Scout Week with an exhibition of camping skills at the Branchburg Municipal Park on Baird Road. Scoutmaster Al Reeves was to lead the scouts in knife and ax wielding, 10 Years Ago, Feb. 2009: The one- fire building, archery, lashings and lane wooden bridge on River Road first aid. Summer Workshop Registration Opens


Girl: “I can’t be your valentine for medical reasons.” Boy: “Really?” Girl: “Yeah, you make me sick!”

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This Month In Branchburg History

In February a Pottersville guy promised his girlfriend a diamond. In April, he made good – he took her to a baseball game.

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Profile for Town Media

Branchburg News Feb. 2019  

Online edition of the community newspaper for Branchburg, NJ.

Branchburg News Feb. 2019  

Online edition of the community newspaper for Branchburg, NJ.

Profile for townmedia