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April 2019

RVCC Student Earns National Honor for Leadership Skills, Investment in Solving Public Problems Grade Point Average, Kaeley Ipson is a true student leader both inside and outside of the classroom. Her multiple engineeringrelated experiences have benefitted not only the College, but also the local community. Through her service learning coursework, she assisted engineers at a local municipal office in mapping out detention basins and educating residents about retro fitting. Kaeley has been involved with several initiatives to help combat food Kaeley Ipson insecurity. Her Hon-- photo provided by RVCC ors Research Capstone Kaeley Ipson of Branchburg, a project focused on developing an second-year Civil Engineering ma- innovative hydroponic system dejor enrolled in Raritan Valley Com- signed to be efficient, cost effective, munity College’s Honors College, and practical enough to be utilized has been selected as a Newman Civ- by busy low-income families for ic Fellow by the national civic en- growing food,” said RVCC Presigagement group Campus Compact. dent Michael J. McDonough. Kaeley joins 262 students from As President of RVCC’s Enactus across the country for this national team, Kaeley worked on an “illuhonor recognizing leadership skills minut” shake-light project manuand investment in solving public facturing eco-friendly lights, with problems. profits benefitting a local food Kaeley is a graduate of Somerville pantry. Her Enactus efforts also inHigh School (2017), and Branch- cluded volunteering at a food panburg Central Middle School (2013). try garden; creating a hydroponic Based in Boston, Campus Com- competition for homeschooled pact is a non-profit organization students; and offering multiple hyworking to advance the public droponic demonstrations for a food purposes of higher education. The pantry, environmental center, and Newman Civic Fellowship, named K-12 schools. As Vice President of for Campus Compact co-founder Communications for the Society of Frank Newman, is a one-year expe- Women Engineers, she participated rience emphasizing personal, profes- in projects supporting young fesional, and civic growth. Through males pursuing STEM careers. the fellowship, Campus Compact “We are proud to recognize each provides a variety of learning and of these extraordinary student leadnetworking opportunities, includ- ers and thrilled to have the oping a national conference of New- portunity to engage with them,” man Civic Fellows in partnership said Campus Compact President with the Edward M. Kennedy In- Andrew Seligsohn. “The stories of stitute for the United States Senate. this year’s Newman Civic Fellows The fellowship also provides fellows make clear that they are commitwith access to apply for exclusive ted to finding solutions to pressscholarship and post-graduate op- ing problems in their communities portunities. and beyond. That is what Campus “As an NJ STARS student and Compact is about, and it’s what our a member of the Phi Theta Kappa country and our world desperately Honor Society who maintains a 4.0 need.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation. For additional information, visit Campus Compact is a national coalition of 1000+ colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and educating students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, we provide professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity. Visit Ranked by,, and as the #1 community college in New Jersey, Raritan Valley Community College has been serving as an academic and cultural center for Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for 50 years. The college has been nationally recognized for its service to the community, environmental stewardship, and commitment to diversity. It is home to a Planetarium, Science Education Institute and 3M Observatory; a 1,000-seat Theatre offering professional performances for all ages; and an Honors College for high achieving students. The college offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, small business assistance through the Small Business Development Center, professional development, and adult and youth personal enrichment courses. RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg. For further information, visit www.

April Auction Action – As previewed in the January Branchburg News, the Township has ordered an auction of a 19th century historic home on about three-quarter acres it owns at 100 Elm St. in Neshanic Station Village. The auction, handled by Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Company, is scheduled for Apr. 17 at 3 pm. Property preview is Apr. 6 from 12 to 2 pm. The site is near the Neshanic United Methodist Church and the Neshanic Station Post Office. It was formerly part of the Neshanic Station Flea Market. The land borders Somerset County-owned land that will become part of the South Branch Greenway, an under-development open-space trail network along the river. The house will come with a deed restriction that will require the exterior be maintained with the historic character it has now. Info: auctions/. -- aerial map photo provided by Max Spann Branchburg Baseball Opening Day Events Will be April 27 The Branchburg Baseball Club (BBC) will hold its annual Opening Day Parade on Apr. 27 at White Oak Park. Activities for the whole family will begin at 9 am near field 9, and the parade and opening ceremony will follow. For more info, visit

Marchers and spectators gather in White Oak Park for last year’s Baseball Opening Day events

The Branchburg News • April 2019

2 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 May 2019 April 10 For Ad Materials April15 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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Trout Season Opens Apr. 6 At 8 am, waters in New Jersey will open for the 2019 trout fishing season. Stocked trout streams in Branchburg include the Lamington River, and the North Branch and South Branch of the Raritan River. For info, visit the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife at https:// Lenten Pierogi Dinner, Apr.12 From 5:30-7 pm, Our Lady of Lourdes Rosary Altar Society and the Knights of Columbus will sponsor at Community Hall, 390 County Road 523, Whitehouse Station. The cost is $15 for adults and $9 for children under 12. Takeout orders are available. All are welcome and the proceeds will benefit the Rosary Altar Society Scholarship Fund. For info, contact Gerry Boylan: grandknight.6930@

Upcoming Events prizes and warm-up exercises. Registration starts at 9 am, and the cost is $20. Call 908-5342077 or register online at www. and get Organize & Declutter a T-shirt. Proceeds will benefit Programs, Apr. 13 Family Promise of Hunterdon From 11 am to noon and again County and Readington Refrom 2 to 3 pm, professional orga- formed Church. nizer Jodi Jackson of Branchburg will present free programs on deBWC Flea Market, Apr. 27 cluttering and organizing. At Hab- From 10 am to 2 pm, at Branchitat Restore in the Marketplace at burg Central Middle School, Manville, 110 N. Main St., Man- 220 Baird Rd., the Branchburg ville. Info: 908-458-9770. Woman’s Club (BWC) will host an indoor flea market. Details for Church Walkathon, Apr. 27 participants and shoppers can be At 10 am at Pickell Park in White- found in the BWC article on page house Station, Readington Re- 7. formed Church will hold its 6th annual walkathon. Music, door

Coffee with the Mayor, Apr. 13 From 9:30 to 11 am at the Municipa Building. Listen, talk and learn about township issues and happenings in a casual setting.

Roast Beef Take Out Dinner, May 4 From 4 to 6 pm, Readington Reformed Church at 124 Readington Rd. will offer a take-out-only roast beef dinner. Adult tickets are $17 and advance tickets are highly recommended. Call Pat at 908-5268572 to order tickets no later than May 1. Ticket sales at door begin at 2 pm. on May 4.

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Food Truck & Music Festival Planned for May 11 A fun-filled family day is expected to blossom at White Oak Park on Saturday, May 11, as the first Branchburg Food Truck and Music Festival takes place from 11 am to 7 pm. The event is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Branchburg, in conjunction with Branchburg Township. About 20 gourmet food trucks are expected, along with bands, vendors and kids’ activities (for example, face painting, games, bounce house and the like). There will be a beer and wine garden, separately cordoned off within the larger festival. It will have its own conrtrolled entrance for those of legal age, and there will be a police presence. The location of the event is approximately where the Branchburg Country Fair sets up its tent every September. Branchburg Recreation Director Glenn Burrell wrote: “That is the first choice, however, weather and field conditions may dictate a secondary location within the park.” As of the end of March, there was no information about establishing a rain date. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, and a non-perishable canned or

boxed food item to help support the food pantry. Leashed dogs are permitted. Admission is $5 and kids under 10 are free. Facebook address is https://www.facebook. com/events/764585090600912/. It also possible to reach the facebook page by searching “Branchburg Food Truck & Music Festival.”

Soccer Tykes Registration Ends Apr. 6 The Soccer Tykes program for ages 4-8 is run by the Somerville High School Girls Soccer Team and is sponsored by Branchburg In-Town Soccer and Somerville High School Girls Soccer Booster Club (SHSGSBC). Registration is now underway and ends Apr. 6. These soccer team girls have been specially trained to share some of their exercises and soccer-related games with young children. For questions about Soccer Tykes, email Terry Edris at if interested and registration form will be sent to you. --submitted by Terry Edris

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A note to the community by Recreation Director Glenn Burrell

On Apr. 1, Recreation Program Coordinator Mary Beth Ferris retired after 22.5 years of dedicated service to the residents of Branchburg. Over the years Mrs. Ferris has been responsible for the development and implementation of successful programs and events too numerous to mention. From sports to theater, fitness to cooking, there was no recreational interest she did not seek to provide for. While serving the entire populace, Mrs. Ferris always held a special place in her heart for the children of the community and worked tirelessly to ensure they were provided with programs and activities to ensure they are happy, healthy and safe. Additionally, Mrs. Ferris often added a fundraising and/or charity element to the programs she crafted. Not only did this serve to advocate for the needs of others, it also raised awareness among the participating youth that, while they enjoyed the activities afforded to them, they can also make a

difference in the lives of others who may not be as fortunate or are facing adversity in their lives. Her service to Branchburg has positively impacted the lives of all those she interacted with and she will be greatly missed. As she embarks on the next chapter in her life, we want to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation and wish her all the best in retirement and with all her future endeavors.

Easter Plant Sale at Rescue Squad, April 19, 20 On the Friday and Saturday before Easter, Apr. 19 and 20, the Branchburg Rescue Squad will hold Easter plant sales at its headquarters, 113 River Rd. in Branchburg (just up from Route 202). The times are 11 am to 7 pm on Friday, and 11 am to 4 pm on Saturday. There will be an opportunity to take pictures with the Easter Bunny.

Lawsuit Claims Harassment in Police Dept.


Computer Eye Strain?

The Branchburg News • April 2019

Mary Beth Ferris Retires from Recreation Dept.

Branchburg Police Officer Kate Proscia-Berger has filed a lawsuit against her department and Branchburg township, alleging long-time sexual harassment, creation of a hostile work environment, and retaliation by failing to

promote her after she complained to supervisors. Proscia-Berger, on the Branchburg force for about 17 years and a former Branchburg resident, now lives in Phillipsburg.

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Ladies Night Out Raised $10K to Support Cancer Research

The Branchburg News • April 2019


John Travolta and Olivia Newton John??! Nope, it’s Bob and Ileen Bradley, parents of Meghan Rose.

The Meghan Rose Bradley Foundation raised an additional $10,000 to support pediatric brain cancer research and local scholarships at a recent event. Ladies Night Out, now in its 13th year, has proven to be a fun and relaxing annual affair with wine tasting, a basket auction and plenty of camaraderie. This year’s event, held on Feb. 28 at Soriano’s Parkside in Bridgewater, was themed “Grease is the Word.� Attendees joined in the 50’s fun with vintage clothing and hair styles. There were plenty of opportunities for fun while supporting a very worthy cause. A selection of wines were paired with diner-themed food and desserts such as cheeseburgers and milk shakes that complemented the evening’s 50s theme. The silent basket auction featuring donations from local businesses. Also, guests received an update on the progress of the research teams working to eliminate pediatric brain cancer. The foundation honors the life and memory of Meghan Rose Bradley, who was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away just 38 days later on Nov. 7, 2004. For more information on the foundation, email or visit

Easter Egg Hunt! Goodies! Crafts! Games! Story time! Photos with the Easter Bunny!

Atop Hawk Mountain -- On a recent camping trip to Hawk Moun-

tain Scout Reservation in Schuylkill Haven, PA, Troop 185 Scouts completed a challenging, but rewarding hike in the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. With an icy start, they hiked more than four miles over snow-covered boulders under a beautiful blue sky. After a brief rest stop, it was time to tackle the strenuous mile-trek up the mountain. They expected the trip across the mountain ridge to be flat, but the entire blazed path was through rocks and boulders. Hitting the first big structure of boulders, the hikers thought they were at the top... Then they encountered the second mound. OK, this must be the top... Then a third, and then finally – they arrived at a huge grouping of boulders with an outstanding view where they stopped for lunch and then headed out for the final push to where, at last, they had to climb a 40-foot vertical rock wall to enjoy the view of the mountains and valley from North Lookout, elevation 1521 feet. Pictured from left to right: (front) Sebastian Blomquist and Jacob Cafferata, (back) Doug Sullivan and Ethan Miller – submitted by Walter Blomquist

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Rotary’s Comedy Night and Mega Raffle are Apr. 25

The Rotary Club of Branchburg will host a Comedy Night and Mega Raffle on Thursday, Apr. 25, at Raritan Valley Community College to support scholarships for local students. Doors open at 5:30 with free food. The

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ber or by calling 908-685-8080. The Rotary Club of Branchburg has always had education as a top priority in its community service efforts. More than $160,000 has been awarded to local students since 1988. Enjoy these outstanding comedians for a worthy cause: National headliner: Gemini Johnny Lombardi, comedian, magician and ventriloquist. He has performed at the Atlantis, Mohegan Sun and Borgata. Featured performer: Missy G. Hall from Levity Live; Hosted by Shay Farrell from Comedy Cove. Tickets are $35. You can reserve a table of 10 for a discounted rate of $300 to bring your friends and coworkers as a group to enjoy the show together. Individual tickets are on sale online at www.jerseynightlive. or call 855-JNLLIVE, (855-565-5483). For group reservations for 10 or more, contact JulieAnn Juliano at 908-685-8080. For sponsorship opportunities and a listing in the playbill contact Jodi DiPane at 908-962-6956 or email secretary@branchburg.rotary. org. For further information on the event call Rotarian Doug Bateman, Coordinator of Comedy Night, at 908-581-5034. -- submitted by Kathy Feigley

A look at the setup for a previous SHS Music Boosters Tricky Tray

The Somerville High School Music Boosters Association (SHSMBA) is hosting its 11th Annual Tricky Tray Fundraiser on Saturday, May 4, at Somerville High School. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the 1st drawing is at 7 p.m. In previous years, there have been close to 400 baskets to choose from. This fundraiser is part of SHSMBA’s efforts to raise funds to support the music programs at Somerville High School. All proceeds from the Tricky Tray will go directly to the Music Boosters to allow them to support all instrumental bands and ensembles, choirs, color guards and the Pioneer Marching Band. Admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the door if still available. This is an adults-only event.

Admission ticket order forms can be downloaded from the SHSMBA website, or call Loretta Kimmick at 908-310-1159 to have an order form sent by mail. Reservations will be taken for a table of 8, which is ½ of a cafeteria table. Coffee, tea and water will be provided. Attendees may bring their own food and drinks, no alcohol please. It is not too late to donate an item for this fundraiser. New items, gift cards and monetary donations or services from individuals or businesses will be gratefully accepted. For more information, email shs. or 908-3101159. -submitted by Maria Uy, President, SHS Music Boosters

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5 The Branchburg News • April 2019

Gemini Johnny Lombardi

show starts at 7. There will also be a cash bar available. Mega Raffle tickets are $20 for some outstanding prizes. First prize is a five-day cruise to Bermuda worth $2500. Second prize is an Atlantic City Golden Nugget Package, including a two-night stay in a luxury room, a $200 dining credit, a $150 spa credit and VIP CheckIn (excludes holidays, Friday and Saturday nights). Third prize is a foursome at Trump International Golf Course. Fourth prize is a foursome at Trenton Country Club. Fifth prize is a 15-yard dumpster. Sixth prize is a makeover at Hair House International. Seventh prize is an airplane ride over the Statue of Liberty. Eighth prize is a wheelbarrow of cheer. There are many more restaurant and massage prizes. Proceeds to benefit Branchburg Rotary Scholarship Foundation. The drawing will be Thursday, Apr. 25, at the Comedy Night. Winner need not be present to win. Mega Raffle tickets are $20 and can be purchased from any Rotary mem-

SHS Music Boosters to Hold Tricky Tray

The Branchburg News • April 2019


Readington Church Welcomes 23rd Pastor in 300 Years

Rev. Elizabeth Estes

Readington Reformed Church welcomes Rev. Elizabeth Estes, a.k.a. Pastor Liz, as its new, energetic pastor whose special interests lie in church, women’s and American history. This is Liz’s first pastoral position after her ordination in January at The Reformed Church of Highland Park. At Readington Reformed, she is replacing Rev. Cathryn Gumpert who married and moved to Buffalo. The church will publicly celebrate its 300th anniversary on Oct. 27, 2019, which is Reformation Sunday, the birthday of the Protestant church. “Freedom and Equality are American values that we trace

through John Locke, a Calvinist,” said Pastor Liz. In her professional career before seminary, Liz worked as a public relations manager and business strategy consultant. She holds an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, an M.A. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America, and a B.A. in Philosophy and the History of Mathematics from St. John’s College in Annapolis. Pastor Liz said she feels called by God to preach from Holy Scripture and to strengthen the church as a compassionate community in the service of Jesus Christ. As an experienced chaplain trained at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Pastor Liz provides supportive, non-anxious pastoral care. Pastor Liz loves worship, Bible study, problem solving, equipping leaders and facilitating organizational growth. At 10 am each Sunday, the congregation worships God together at 124 Readington Rd., Readington Township. Liz shares her life with her husband Mark, their daughters Olivia (18) and Josie (14), Liz’s adult son Michael, and mother Selma. -- submitted by Susan Sohl

Cubs Meet With Mayor -- On Mar.9, Cub Scouts from Den 9, Pack 315 met with Mayor Anna Columbus

at the Municipal Building. The visit was part of qualifying for their Arrow of Light rank. One of the requirements is to learn about the community, which they did during a question and answer session. Mayor Columbus can be seen behind the middle of the group, flanked by Den Leaders Dawn Weinblatt and Suzanne Confer. Cubs, from left, are Ceanan Zlatkov, Sam Talish, Sam Morais, Stephen Hojnoski, Jake Perrine, Daniel Silberstein, Liam Confer, C.J. Schmidt, Michael Weinblatt, Jonathon Weinblatt. -- submitted by Suzanne Confer, photo by Patricia Hojnoski.

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By Tricia Ihde for the Branchburg Woman’s Club The Branchburg Woman’s Club (BWC) will host an indoor flea market for the public from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, Apr. 27, at Branchburg Central Middle School, 220 Baird Rd. There will be a 50/50 raffle, a bake sale, refreshments, plus free admission and parking. The club’s proceeds benefit a variety of local charities. Shoppers may find crafts and other new items as well as attic finds in good condition. Each $15 sales space is 10 ft. deep by 8 ft. wide, and includes 2 chairs. A limited number of long tables are available for an additional $5 each. Interested applicants should contact the event coordinator at bwclubnj@ or leave a message at (908) 698-0776. The deadline for participants is Apr. 15. The Branchburg Woman’s Club is a 501(c) (3)

nonprofit organization through the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs. Auction to Help Foster Children via CASA-NJ Local women are invited to attend the 7 pm, Thursday, Apr. 18, club meeting at Branchburg’s Little Red Schoolhouse on South Branch Road. The club will hold a white elephant auction to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates for NJ Children (CASA-NJ) in the court/foster care system. Auction participants are asked to bring a new item to be auctioned for this cause. Payment for items is by check or cash. There also will be refreshments and a club meeting. For more information or to learn about becoming a BWC member, leave a message at (908) 866-1060.

BWC Helps Needy RVCC Students When the BWC donated warm coats to the Student Resource Center of Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in January, the club discovered an opportunity for community involvement and helping students. Although not a new problem, the increasing need for food banks and resource centers at community colleges, all over America, has been the subject of recent studies and national news articles. The fact that college students, both young and old, are going hungry may surprise some people. Even at RVCC, there are many less fortunate students who must decide between buying books, food, warm clothes, and transportation. To locally address this problem, the Branchburg Woman’s Club

has started a community service project to raise funds for RVCC’s Resource Center, aiding financially-challenged students. For this project, the Branchburg Woman’s Club will be selling ShopRite gift cards in $25 increments this spring. These gift cards cost the same as the ones purchased at any ShopRite store, but 5% of the value will help the RVCC Resource Center buy fresh produce and gas cards for these students. People interested in helping should contact the club’s Public Issues Chair Rita Bouwman at (908) 526-3094 by May 1. Founded 59 years ago, the BWC is a non-profit organization of women volunteers who share a common desire to help those in need, but also want to participate in fun and educational activities.

It’s time to think about renting plots at the Branchburg Community Garden at River Lea Farm on South Branch River Road. 10’ X 10’ plots are $30 (senior rate $20); 10’ X 24’ plots are $50 (senior rate $40). Both organic and non-organic plots are available. Those interested should send an email to bcgac.nj@ for more information about rules and an application. -- submitted by Roger Johnson, Branchburg Community Garden Advisory Committee

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7 The Branchburg News • April 2019

BWC Plans Flea Market and Auction in April

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The Branchburg News • April 2019


Hunterdon Medical Center Auxiliary Sets “Wine Women & Shoes” Event Hunterdon Medical Center Auxiliary and Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation will be host its first Wine Women and Shoes benefit event on May 9 at Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. A blend of fashion and compassion, Wine Women and Shoes is a strolling wine, food tasting and boutique shopping experience with a dream closet raffle, glass slipper live auction, fashion show, and a best shoe contest that come together for a few hours of fundraising, camaraderie and fun. Some of the featured wines include Conundrum, Double Canyon, Malene, New Age, Pine Ridge, Scout and Cellar and Tropical Moscato. The shop-for-a-cause market place will feature designs and products from Addicted Chic, Charleston Shoe, II Embers, LaVern Coffey Designs, Love Thir-

teen, la chele Medical Aesthetics, Tortured Soles and Beauty Counter. In addition to shopping while sipping Pinot or Chardonnay, guests will enjoy dinner and a runway fashion show presented by Bloomingdale’s. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation (HHF) Patient Assistance Funds which ensure that patients with cancer and/or financial vulnerability receive quality lifesaving medical treatments, wellness resources and non-medical support. The funds help those in the community who find themselves in the gap between what they need and what they can afford. Some of the local businesses in the area who are sponsors include Advanced Heart & Vascular Institute of Hunterdon, Mercedes Benz of Flemington, Buinewicz

Plastic Surgery and Medspa, Naveen Ballem MD, Advanced OBGYN, Hunterdon Hematology Oncology, ShopRite and MidJersey Orthopaedics. When asked why lead sponsor, Advanced Heart & Vascular Institute of Hunterdon, was enthusiastic about supporting this event, Dr. Andrey Espinoza responded, “As a cardiologist, I have conversations regularly with patients who may find themselves in the position of making difficult choices based on the costs of their medications and am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community we serve.” For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call the Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation office at 908-788-6591 or email

Troop 90 Hits the Slopes -- Members of Troop 90 participated in

two ski trips this winter. The trip to Mt. Snow VT, catered to more experienced skiers/boarders. The trip took place Jan. 18-21 and the Troop was lucky enough to ski in 14-inches of fresh powder. Troop 90 also skied Feb. 22-24 at Shawnee Mountain, PA. Beginners and intermediate skiers took lessons and honed their skills. The scouts also experienced cabin camping at nearby Resica Falls. These two trips have become a tradition in Troop 90 to introduce skiing and boarding to scouts and their families and to help them grow in the sport. Picture above, from left, are Jeffrey Uy, Jack Parisi, Brett D’Aprile, Brad Hieber, Miguel Aguirre, Evan D’Aprile, Nate Ahearn, Mark McArthur, Larry Ahearn (Scoutmaster), Mark and Chris McArthur and Zack Hoyer. Also attending but not pictured: Chris Rasch, Josh Rutka, Robert Wolfe, Hayden Brown, Joseph and Chris Keck and Matthew, Andrew and Joshua Dalessio, Kevin Lauducci, Peter Bellek, Damian Barczewski, Alex and Kacper Niewiadomski, Eric Hoyer, Paul Parisi, Tom D’Aprile, Mark, Diane, Kristofer and Lukas Litwinko. For more information, visit -- submitted by Jack Parisi

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The Branchburg News • April 2019

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10 The Branchburg News • April 2019

Information Sessions, Campus Tours Planned in April at RVCC RVCC’s general information sessions and campus tours are scheduled for Wednesday Apr. 3, 10-11 am in the RVCC Conference Center (Room 102); Tuesday, Apr. 6, 4-6 p.m., in the Conference Center (Room 102); and Wednesday, Apr. 24 in the Conference Center (Room 101). During the sessions, RVCC Admissions specialists will provide information about: · Enrolling in classes this summer and the Fall 2019 Semester · Programs designed to help students transfer to top colleges and universities in New Jersey, across the country, and even in Europe · Career training programs, designed in partnership with local industry, that can be completed in a year or less · The admissions process · Financial aid options and scholarship opportunities. An information session for adults who are considering returning to college or have never attended college will be held Saturday, Apr. 6, at 10 am, in the Conference Center (Room 101). Aside from general admissions information, the session will focus on transferring college

Puppets Helped Kangaroo Kids Celebrate “Read” Week – Puppeteer Rich Palumbo helped promote the “Read

Across America” program at Kangaroo Kids Child Care & Learning Center as part of the festivities surrounding Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2. Other activities during the week included a visit from Sparkee, the Somerset Patriots mascot, and teachers and children dressing up as Dr. Seuss characters. Kangaroo Kids has been an avid supporter of Read Across America since its inception in 1991, and uses each teachable moment as an opportunity to encourage its students to “read, read, read.” – submitted by Kathy Feigley

credits, earning credits for life experience, and making a successful transition back to school after being away from the classroom for years. RVCC will offer an information session for its Beauty Professions programs Tuesday, Apr. 23, 5-6:30 pm, in the Workforce Training Center. During the Beauty Professions information session, participants will learn about RVCC’s programs in Cosmetology and Esthetics (Skin Care) as they view and participate in hands-on hair demonstrations, meet the programs’ director, take part in a question-and-answer segment, and apply for either program. RVCC’s Cosmetology and Esthetics programs feature an accomplished teaching staff, innovative teaching methods, and opportunities for job shadowing and salon practicum. The programs offer proactive job placement for graduates. To register for an information session, visit and click on April. For additional information, contact the Admissions Department at 908-5261200, ext. 7009 or


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Municipal Building News | in print and online at Recreation News

Fire Safety Office

Summer Camp 2019 Registration begins online thru Community Pass on Monday, April 1st Registration ends on Monday, May 20th. CAMP dates: June 24th to August 2nd Sites available: Grades K-5 - White Oak Park & Stony Brook School site. Teen Scene for 6 - 8th graders, at BCMS Register online through Community Pass or download the paperwork and mail it into Recreation @ 34 Kenbury Road, Branchburg, NJ 08876. If you have registered online, there is no need to download the forms.

There’s nothing like outdoor grilling, it’s one of the most popular ways to cook food in the warmer months. Help protect yourself, your family and your friends by grilling safely.

Registration for Spring & Summer Programsbegan on March 18th & is still going on! Don’t miss out on the great Spring & Summer fun! Check out the Program brochure on the Township website! *Girls Fall Field Hockey Registration began March 18th * Even though this is a fall sport, please register your daughter according to her current grade. **** CAMP Counselor Job Applications **Summer Camp Counselor and Counselor-inTraining** Applications are available on the Township website under Recreation. (Application & references must be received by 4/1st) **** FOOD TRUCK & MUSIC FESTIVAL Saturday, May 11, 2019 @ White Oak Park 11:00am – 7:00pm $5.00 admission - Kids under 10 FREE ~ Upcoming Events ~ Movies in the Park – 6/22 & 7/13 Whitehouse Wind Symphony – 6/25 @ WOP Fishing Trips – 7/12 & 8/16 on the Mi-Jo SUMMER DISCOUNT TICKETS AVAILABLE Adventure Aquarium, Six Flags, Dorney Park, Hershey Park, Morey’s Pier, Philadelphia Zoo, Diggerland, iPlay America, Crayola, Medieval Times, Blue Mountain Adventures & Mountain Creek & more! **CALL RECREATION for availability and prices 908-526-1300 x 188** Follow Branchburg Recreation on Facebook at:

Tips for safe grilling: · Before igniting the grill for the first time every year and every time you change the LP-Gas cylinder check the cylinder and hose connections for leaks with a 50/50 solution of liquid soap and water. If this test method reveals the presence of a leak, immediately turn off the LP-gas cylinder. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, get to a phone and dial 9-1-1. · Grills should be placed at least five feet away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. · Grills shall NEVER be used on a balcony or deck. · Keep lid open when igniting the grill. · Never leave a grill unattended. · Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill. · Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. · Always store LP-gas cylinders outside, in the upright position and NEVER inside your residence. · When you purchase a new LP-Gas cylinder, take it home and get it out of the vehicle immediately. This is especially important on a hot and sunny day because an overheated LP-Gas cylinder can vent. · Grill accidents on residential properties result in an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 Million in property loss each year. For more fire safety tips visit:

Township Clerks Office: The 2019 Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, June 4 th. Polls will be open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. The last day to change your party affiliation is April 10 th (55 days prior to the election). In a primary election a “declared voter” is only permitted to vote in their designated political party. An “undeclared voter” or “unaffiliated voter” may declare their political party at the polling location. However, once a voter declares a political party, the voter will be affiliated with that political party until they file another party affiliation form to change to a “declared party” or “unaffiliated”. Registered voters can complete either a declaration of party affiliation form or a voter registration form to make the change. The last day to register to vote for the Primary Election is May 14 th (21 days prior to the election). All registered voters can chose to vote in any election by use of a mail-in ballot. Mail-in ballot applications must be received by mail in the County Clerk’s office no later than 7 days prior to the election, or in person no later than 3:00 PM the day before the election. Please keep in mind that a voter must make an application for the mail-in ballot upon which a ballot will be mailed or granted to them. Upon receipt of the ballot, it must be completed and returned to the County Clerk’s office no later than the close of polls. Mail-in ballot applications, voter registration or party declaration forms are available in the municipal office or through the website at, please click on document center and look under election information. These forms are also available in the Somerset County offices or on the county website at In addition, please check your sample ballot (which should be mailed to you on or before 12 noon the Wednesday preceding the election) for your polling location. If you have any questions, please contact the Clerk’s Office at 908-526-1300 ext. 104 for more information.

The Branchburg News • April 2019


The Branchburg News • April 2019


School, won the Rotary Club of Branchburg Essay Contest for February. The presentation reflected the student’s goals for the future and the steps necessary to achieve her goals. Phoebe is planning on studying to become an animator. She was awarded a Rotary certificate, a gift crtificate and a special Rotary coin that reminds Rotarians to live their lives by the Rotary 4-way test. “Of the things we think, say and do, is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

Branchburg Newsmakers Central Middle School, won the Rotary Club of Branchburg Essay Contest for January. The essay reflected the student’s goals for the future and the steps necessary to achieve his goals. Matthew is planning on studying to become a meteorologist. He 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: “Of the things we think, say and do, is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill Matthew Wright and better friendships? Will it be Student of the Month, Matthew beneficial to all concerned?” Wright, a student at Branchburg


Phoebe Montemurro Student of the Month, Phoebe Montemurro, a student at Branchburg Central Middle


Among undergraduates at the University of Kansas earning honor roll distinction is Erik Settle of Branchburg, a student in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

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In recent JOGA and USAG gymnastics competitions, Branchburg residents were part of teams from Paramount Gymnastics of Hillsborough that captured state championship titles including the #1 team in the state. Branchburg competitors included Sophie Candia, Cameryn Clifford, Helen Dailey, Brooke Hibbard, Danika Ondovik.

2/8/19 9:42 AM

Jason Lauducci Jason Lauducci, An eighth grader at Branchburg Central Middle School, represented BCMS in the Fourth Annual Spelling Bee Spectacular hosted by the Somerset County Library System on Mar. 16 at the Somerset County Vocational and Technical School. A Hillsborough middle schooler won the bee among 33 competitors.


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Deer Resistant Screening Trees Green Giant Arborvitae 6-7’ • $160 each 7-8’ • $180 each Ronnie Rinaldi 3rd, with a patient

Ronnie Rinaldi 3rd of Branchburg has been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine for the fall of 2019. In May, he will graduate from the Animal Science program at Rutgers University. Ronnie is a graduate of BCMS (2011) and SHS (2015). For the past five years Ronnie has been working at All Pets Animal Hospital, operated by Dr. Morsy Alsamadisi on Rt. 202 in Branchburg. His primary interest is small animals, and he also likes surgery, oncology, and animal dentistry. With only 30 veterinary schools in the United States, the veterinarian field is very competitive and it is extremely hard for students from states like New Jersey, without a veterinary school of its own, to obtain seats in out-of-state schools.


Sharon Brienza She worked for Branchburg Township for 29 years, retiring as Municipal Clerk in 2016 and moving to Delaware. Now Sharon Brienza sends news that she was chosen to fill an open seat on the Town Council of Millville, near Bethany Beach. In the photo above, Sharon is seen taking her oath of office as a new council member at the Millville Council meeting on Mar. 12. Sharon emailed a comment the next day, “When I retired and we moved to Delaware, I thought I would wait about 5 years before I thought about serving on the governing body. With a recent vacancy on the Town Council, I couldn’t resist and submitted my name for consideration. It felt so natural when I took my seat on the dias! I’m really looking forward to serving my new home town and the residents.”

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The Branchburg News • April 2019

Sharon Brienza Selected for Town Council in Delaware

Rinaldi Will Attend UPenn Vet School

The Branchburg News • April 2019


Scouts from Packs 94, 185, and 315 competed in the annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby on Saturday Jan. 12, at the Midland School. A nationwide event in which Cub Scouts have participated since 1953, the derby invites scouts to work with their parents to build a small gravity-powered car and then race it in a series of heats to determine the speed champions for each pack.  The top three finishers from each pack return in the evening for a TriPack Run-Off to crown the overall fastest car.  The day-long event promotes bonding between sons and parents, camaraderie with fellow scouts, craftsmanship, good

Somerville High School Hosts Winter Guard Show at BCMS on Mar. 30

Annual Pinewood Derby Delivers Lots of Benefits

Tri-Pack Run-Off Winners -- From left: Jonathon Weinblatt, second place, Pack 315; Hayden Conner, first place, Pack 94; Sam Morais, third place, Pack 315.

sportsmanship, and of course, fun. In addition to speed, cars are judged in various design categories, such as most patriotic, best movie theme, best craftsmanship, and most scout-like. Top winners from each pack were: Pack 94: 1st Hayden Conner, 2nd Conner Lilly, 3rd


Patrick Duffy. Pack 185: 1st James Scholz, 2nd Andrew Smith, 3rd John Dugan. Pack 315: 1st Jonathon Weinblatt, 2nd Sam Morais, 3rd Jake Perine. Tri-Pack Run-Off winners are listed in the photo caption. -- submitted by Scott Conner



Golden Dragon Acrobats

Friday, April 5 at 7PM Tickets: $25 & $35 The Golden Dragons Acrobats combine thrilling acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes, and ancient and contemporary music in an unforgettable performance of spectacular skill and spellbinding beauty.

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 its 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 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. Somerville’s award-winning performance attracted the attention of musician David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame), who selected the team to be one of 10 to collaborate with indie musicians to create a live music and winter guard show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, and Toronto’s Air Canada Center. The show 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


Rhonda Badonda – The Adventures of a Girl with a Pain in her Brain

Rhonda S. Musak Tuesday, April 9 at 1PM & 7PM Tickets: $15 When a mysterious pain dismantles her coping strategies, Rhonda embarks on a journey that leads her to the Paris Opera, Mozart, and the ultimate face-off... with her brain.

continued on page 15


The Early Mays

Thursday, May 2 at 1PM & 7PM Tickets: $15 With Appalachian-inspired harmonies and a sweet, old-time sound, The Early Mays have captivated both regional and national audiences with songs that range from traditional to modern in style, and from contemplative to barn raising in spirit.

Illusionist Kevin Spencer Broadway’s Next H!T Musical

Sunday, April 7 at 3PM Tickets: $20 & $30 NYC’s original, award-winning improvised musical comedy! Join the fun as master improvisers create a spontaneous evening of music, humor and laughter.

Friday, April 12 at 7PM* Ages 4+ All tickets: $10 *Relaxed performance A world-renowned illusionist with dozens of accolades to his credit, Kevin Spencer brings audiences a relaxed, familyfriendly performance brimming with fastpaced magic and illusion guaranteed to capture the imagination.

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More SHS Winter Guard Show...

The Branchburg News • April 2019

Pictured are some members of the Somerville Scholastic Regional A team, also known as the Performance Group (PG). -- photo by Amy Sutphen

The Somerville Scholastic World team is seen in action. -- photo by Alaine Sheeley continued from page 14

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 Bal-

buena 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 Re-

gional 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. Admis-

sion 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. Visit winter-guard-show for more information, including the show schedule.

Editor’s note: This article was written and printed prior to the show at BCMS on Mar. 30.

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Master Gardeners’ May 22 Bus Trip has Apr. 5 Deadline

The Somerset County Rutgers Master Gardeners group is planning a bus trip to visit Chanticleer Garden and Jenkins Arboretum in Wayne, PA on May 22. Deadline for registration and payment is Apr. 5. Chanticleer has been called the most romantic, imaginative and exciting public garden in America. Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens is one of Pennsylvania’s major horticultural showcases of native trees, shrubs, rhododendrons, azaleas, laurels, blueberries, ferns and wildflowers. The bus departs from the rear of the Ted Blum 4-H Center, 310 Milltown Rd, Bridgewater at 8:30 am. Please arrive 15 minutes early. Parking for personal vehicles is available at the back of building. At Chanticleer Garden there is a docent-led tour at 10:30 am. Lunch is on your own and avail-

able at the Wayne Square Mall where there are a variety of places to dine. The bus departs from Wayne Square Mall at 2 pm for a docentled tour at Jenkins. A plant shop with in-house propagated plants is on site. The bus departs Jenkins Arboretum at 4 pm arriving in Bridgewater at approximately 6 pm. To repeat, deadline for registration and payment is Apr. 5. The cost of the trip is $55. Checks should be made payable to: Rutgers, the State University and should be sent to L. Bell, 317 N. Polktown Rd. Glen Gardner NJ 08826. Please include two dollars in cash with your check for the bus driver gratuity. (Only full payment and the $2 guarantee a seat on the bus.) Any problems the day of the trip call 908303-4257.

“Pink Game” Raises Over $7K for Steeplechase Cancer Center -- The Somerville

High School Girls Basketball Team hosted its annual “Pink” game event against Immaculata High School on Saturday, Jan. 26. This year’s event raised $7006 to benefit the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset In Somerville. Over the last few seasons the SHS girls team has raised nearly $20,000. Items that were raffled off included Billy Joel, Pink, and Devils/Rangers tickets and 40 gift baskets. There were also t-shirt sales and baked goods, all of which contributed to the final amount. Special thanks go to all who helped and everyone who came out to support the event. As seen in the photo, Deirdre Blaus, AVP of Cancer Services welcomed the team along with many of the staff to Steeplechase for a special check presentation reception. It was a great afternoon and a heartwarming event. -- submitted by Susan Gesualdo

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Long before President Eisenhower signed the interstate highway bill into law in 1956, the Atlantic, Central and Pacific flyways served as major superhighways for migrating birds. The primary exit ramps for these super flyways are the rivers which radiate out along the north-south migration routes to distribute the migrating birds far and wide. New Jersey sits directly on the Atlantic flyway, bounded by the Delaware River and the Atlantic Ocean. Within the state’s interior flows the Raritan River, the longest inland river in the state which serves as a major migratory off ramp. The confluence of the North and South Branches may then be considered the prime visitors center and rest area, as birds funnel down the Raritan to disperse inland. Look at a colored distribution map in any bird book and discover that many species are specific to defined regions. You might not expect to see a rufous hummingbird from the northern Pacific coast, sipping nectar in central New Jersey.

However, in 2012, a rufous hummer showed up in our midst and stayed the winter, surviving by the kindness of human intervention. Marlene Scocco reached out to this wayward hummer providing food and shelter, causing a stir in the birding community which gratefully documented this migratory anomaly. Checking the records for rare hummingbird visitors to New Jersey, other hummer species like the calliope and green violet eared were also documented. How these birds end up on the east coast is pure speculation. The point is they do and they are here for you to discover. Feathered visitors from faraway places to the Raritan valley are not just limited to hummingbirds. In 1963 I was handed a small owl taken from a guard tower in the Raritan arsenal. It died shortly after. I mentioned this to a friend’s dad who was an avid bird watcher. Told him it was a boreal owl. He smiled and assured me it was probably a saw whet owl. We ended up at the Newark Museum and showed it to the curator, Irving H. Black. Confusion ensued and experts from across the country were consulted. The experts concluded the bird was indeed a boreal owl. It set a new record for the southernmost sighting in the US. The boreal owl, briefly known as the Richardson owl, is a fulltime resident of the coniferous forests

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The Branchburg News • April 2019

Expect the Unexpected

A white fronted goose, rarely seen east of the Mississippi River, enjoys grazing on Central New Jersey grass.

of the arctic region. The owl is preserved at the Newark museum. The visitors keep coming. In mid March of this year I noticed an inconsistency in the color pattern of a flock of grazing geese, as I drove by. The geese blended together in one giant mosaic, painted with repetitive splashes of black, white and brown. I pulled over and focused on the colors that didn’t belong. I was looking at a white fronted goose, another bird that was obviously unfamiliar with distribution maps found in bird books. The white fronted goose is rarely seen east of the Mississippi river, the main artery of the central flyway. To see a white fronted goose in central NJ is therefore a surprise and evidence that nature has a tendency to violate scientific generalizations. The following week, a Canada goose with an orange and white collar marked OHOX was observed along Route 22. It also had a metal band on its left leg. While editing images, I was shocked to see the goose standing next to it also wore a leg band. Reporting this goose to the USGS bird banding website I was provided with a certificate noting that the goose was a female, banded as a flightless gosling near Varennes, Quebec, Canada, on the Fourth of July, 2016. Adding to the distinguished list of local visitors was the osprey I observed April 7, 2016, just upstream of the confluence of the North and South branch. The os-

This Canada goose seen along Route 22 was traced to records that show it was banded in Quebec on July 4, 2016.

prey had a blue plastic band on its left leg, with stacked letters, DV, visible on one of the images taken. Again, making a report to the USGS banding website, a certificate soon arrived, stating the osprey was born on a bulkhead in Portland, Maine, and banded on July 27, 2011. To report a banded bird, visit the USGS bird banding website, The spring migration is now in full swing. And along with colorful warblers, ruby throated hummingbirds, woodcock and osprey, come the errant travelers. Diverging from their evolutionary migration patterns, these intrepid winged visitors explode the myth that, “birds of a feather flock together.” Migrating birds that nest in our region, along with birds just passing through, are now appearing along our waterways. The confluence that forms the Raritan River is the staging area that hosts a feathered extravaganza of unimaginable variety.   Contact See more articles and photos at

The Branchburg News • April 2019


Two Branchburg Teachers Enrolled in “Teachers Who Make Magic Class of 2019” Wendy Michels, media specialist at Branchburg Central Middle School, and Olivia McNamara, fourth grade teacher at Stony Brook School, have been named to Radio WCTC 1450 Teachers Who Make Magic Class of 2019. BCMS Principal Matthew Barbosa nominated Mrs. Michels: “Thanks to her passion and determination, she’s made the media center the hot and happening spot for teachers and students to learn, create and connect with the world. While most people take time off to enjoy a summer vacation, Wendy used that time to update the space, move the furniture, and reorganize the existing fixtures. When school resumed in the fall, the media center had been transformed to include two classroom learning areas, a green room for filming, and a cozy meeting room. All students who enter the media center are greeted by Wendy, and no task is out of her realm of responsibility. She’ll help with everything, from gathering information to co-teaching classes, to recommending a good book to read.

The Media Center has become the place to go to connect with people on a local or global level. Students have been given the opportunity to skype with people featured on TV shows, authors of books, and more importantly, with each other. Wendy took her vision for the media center and made it come to life. She knows the power of connection and how to make learning fun and interesting.” Randi Morin, Stony Brook School teacher, nominated Ms. McNamara: “Many of her fellow teachers say if you google the word ‘efficient’ Ms. McNamara’s picture should directly follow its meaning. Her classroom environment is welcoming, neat, and organized. While she holds her students to high standards, she also knows that a little bit of fun is conducive to learning, and hard work is always rewarded. For example, if students complete a project or lesson ahead of schedule, they have the chance to earn a little extra recess. Olivia

knows how to engage students with special activities, and as a result, learning becomes fun and lessons are absorbed quicker. She teaches her students routines and procedures that instill important life skills such as responsibility and independence. For the past several years, Olivia has been a part of a collaborative teaching effort, working closely with a special education teacher in a class made up of general and special education students. All students are given the chance to shine as they work closely with their peers. When new curriculum directives are issued, she takes the initiative to develop resources to help her colleagues, and is always willing to share ideas, knowledge and materials. Olivia McNamara leaves a positive and lasting impression on anyone she comes in contact with, and possesses the skills that make her a highly effective educator. For the complete listing of Teachers Who Make Magic, visit

Experience Newborn Baby Bison at Red Dog Day

Newborn bison calves are also known as“red dogs” --submitted photo

Readington River Buffalo Farm, 937 Route 523, invites the public to celebrate the newborn bison calves at Red Dog Day on May 5 from 9 am to 5 pm. In addition to hayride tours to see the spring crop of calves, the day will be filled with activities that highlight the farm’s ecosystem, showcasing the many efforts that farmers take to keep the air, water, and soil healthy. Entertainment will include live music by Ed Jankiewicz and Thomas Johnston, a food court, beer at the farm’s saloon, and a craft bazaar. Vendors include local farms and agricultural agencies such as Valley Crest Farm, Profeta Farm, Schaefer Farm, NJ SADC and NJ RC&D. Learn about conservation, organic farming, preservation of farms, and river friendly farming. There will be face painting, make-your-own bug repellant, and a free wooden craft for kids sponsored by Flemington Home Depot from noon to 2 p.m. There is no admission fee, and most activities are free or under $5.

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The summer of 2019 will include the 50-year anniversaries of two big events, a few weeks apart, that captured the imaginations of the world. The first manned moon landing took place on July 20, 1969. The Woodstock music festival,

in Bethel, NY, spanned Aug. 1518, 1969. The Branchburg News annually publishes a combined July-August issue. For 2019, Editor Bill Haduch thinks it might be interesting (and historic) to publish in that issue how Branchburg residents remember these two famous events. Did neighbors get together for TV viewing parties of the moon

Branchburg Seniors Club Enjoys Surprises

landing? Did anyone go to Florida for the launch? Considering that Woodstock was only about 100 miles north of Branchburg, do we have any festival attendees living among us? What was most memorable? Did anyone get stuck in the legendary traffic jams? Anyone with a Branchburg connection who has interesting memories of one or both events is invited to write down those memories and send them for consideration to be included in the July-August issue. Let’s keep the requirements simple. Just email your memories to or send them in postal mail to Branchburg News, PO Box 5351, Branchburg, NJ 08876. All senders must include their name and phone number. Phone numbers will not be published. Anything for the July-August issue should be received by The Branchburg News before June 15. Questions about the project should be sent to the email address or postal address listed above.

By Rita Jordan The past few months have been busy with surprises, first for Valentine’s Day and then St. Patrick’s Day. What a nice surprise to find little tokens and jars of candy from the young folks at Branchburg Recreation It was really a good feeling to know that that someone cares about us. Thank you. Another surprise awaited us! We always have 50-50 drawings, but this time we also had some special Valentine door prizes. It was a fun day. This was followed by our St Patrick’s Day dinner on March 21. Rita Jordan told a story of a famous Irish man who never was very famous at all. She told the story of William Bradley after whom nearby Bradley Gardens was named . We also had a wee bit of Irish music,. Again, we were surprised with extra Irish door prizes. Now if that wasn’t the luck of the Irish! The month of April will have more special times. The theme will be baseball. We will just have to wait and see how that plays out. For May, plans are already underway for our 48th Anniversary Spring Luncheon at the

Somerville Elks. Everyone, be sure you sign up for these things when you sign in. We can tell you that Jeanmarie will be the DJ and she always keeps things moving along. Coming events: Social Meeting is Apr 18, Business Meeting is May 2 , .Fun Days are Apr 11, 26, May 9. Exec. Meeting is Apr. 28. Spring Luncheon is May 16, 11:30 am at the Somerville Elks Club. Membership Information: Membership is open to ages 55+. Dues are $15 annually. 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 light lunch.

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19 The Branchburg News • April 2019

50 Years Since the Summer of ‘69: Remembering the Moon Landing & Woodstock

The Branchburg News • April 2019


It Happens Every Year: Onset of Spring Weather Conjures Up Senioritis THE S.H.S SCOOP By Caroline Kornbrek

In the blink of an eye, winter seems to have turned to spring. In mid-March, students arrived at Somerville High School wearing shorts in 70 degree weather, less than two weeks after a snow day.

With the warm weather, feelings of senioritis have certainly kicked in for seniors, as more and more of us know where we are going to college. As spring starts, so do spring sports. Many students are involved in the wide variety of spring sports including baseball, softball, boys tennis, golf, lacrosse, and track. The track team is one of the biggest teams in our school, consisting of sprinters, distance runners,


jumpers, and throwers. The first home track meet is on Apr. 10. Congratulations go to the cast of Pippin, as well as the pit, stage and lighting crews for their three spectacular shows. On a similar note, Somerville’s Got Talent was scheduled for Mar. 28 at 7 pm. Last year this competition was called Ville Idol and solely featured singers. In an attempt to open it up to more students, it was switched to a talent show open to

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anyone. Katie Updegrove, the student who won the 2019 Youth Art Month Design Contest, now has her art featured on a billboard in Somerville near the train tracks. Be sure to check out her design. Coming up in April is the biannual music trip, this year to Chicago with pit stops in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Students involved in all choirs, concert band, and marching band are taking a trip to compete at the Dominican University Performing Arts Center in River Forest near Chicago, as well as visit many local attractions. In Cleveland the group will be seeing The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In Chicago, the Willis Tower (the former Sears Tower), Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, Millennium Park are all stops as well, making for an exciting trip. Huge congratulations go to Nikhil Kamdar for winning a National Merit Scholarship. This

award is based on intense academic testing, essays and recommendations. Less than 1% of seniors become semi-finalists, and only 7,500 scholarships are awarded each year. The Somerville High School Consumer Bowl Team is the winner of the Somerset County Competitions and will be heading to compete at the Regional level. Consumer Bowl is an educational competition that happens across the state. It is a game-show style event about issues relating to the marketplace. Members of the team include captain Kevin Sokol, Matt Koj, Jack Dailey, Luke Harney, Tessa Svoboda, Elizabeth Taber and Francesca Smith. Hopefully, as we begin the last leg of this school year, senioritis will not get the best of me or my peers. With prom, the senior picnic, and senior assassin, there is enough to push us forward until the end of our high school careers.

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Bringing the Fun of Scouting to GiGi’s Playhouse duced the participants to a fun game they play at scout meetings called “silent ball.” The rules are simple: sit in a circle, throw and catch the ball around, but no talking or you’re out! The participants

really enjoyed this, and they were good at it, too. Troop 185 had a great time volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse and plans to go back again. Who doesn’t like a good campout?

The Branchburg News • April 2019

By Brody Bouziotis, Troop 185 Scribe Recently, Troop 185 scouts brought all the fun and adventure of a traditional Boy Scout campout to participants at GiGi’s Playhouse-Hillsborough, GiGi’s is an organization that provides free educational, therapeutic-based, and career development programs for individuals (birth through adult) with Down syndrome. First, the scouts made teams and had a contest to see which team could put up a tent the fastest. Everyone got really into it and cheered loudly for their team. Once the tents were up, it was time for songs, jokes, and of course, s’mores around an indoor campfire. For the s’mores, the scouts had all the ingredients ready in an assembly line, and the GiGi’s participants were able to assemble and make their own s’mores. After eating, singing, and joketelling, everyone was ready for a little hiking, but this hike was an indoor Ninja-Warrior-style obstacle course that each participant had a chance to complete several times. Lastly, the scouts intro-

Asher the Snow Cat -- After an early March snowstorm, Quinn and

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Above, scouts Brody Bouziotis, Mahin Patel, Luke Bouziotis, Andy Ghosh, Zachary Tistan, and Aaron Berry (not pictured) led the group through stories, songs, and jokes tent-side.


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The Branchburg News • April 2019


Growing Up Neshanic By Woodrow Higgins III 08853. After learning to count, this zip code contained some of the first numbers I was required to memorize. Practicing my writing on double spaced paper with the dashes separating two solid horizontal lines. Name, Address. Name, Address. Name, Address. I repeatedly etched it out using the large #2 pencil of a kindergartner in 1974. My name was the easy part, I knew that already. But the rules of big letters and little letters were not consistent. Big letters extended between the solid lines, us-

ing those dashes as a middle point, but why were some little letters allowed to stretch up top while others had to stay down below and yet others allowed to fall below the bottom line all together? This kindergarten thing was going to take some getting used to. Now on to the second line. We were instructed to write the capital letters RD. I do not recall being told what it meant, just that we were to write it, followed by the symbol ‘#’ and then the number ‘1’. As I learned at a much later date, the RD stood for Rural Delivery, I was thankful for the ab-

breviation, as most of us that had such a designation also had rather long road names. Most of the roads of my youth were long family names or ones that described the areas’ surroundings, like Woodfern or Long Hill roads. Our hands were already tired by the end of that second line, and we were happy to be getting near the end. The Grand Finale! That third line. The line we all had in common, though with some variation, some more confusion and even controversy. That third line began with a big ‘N’, stretching proudly from top to bottom, followed by a little ‘e’ and ‘s’, tucked nicely below those dashes. Then came

the questionable little ‘h’, mostly below with a reach for the top, like a younger brother thinking he’s as strong as his elder sibling. Slipping in below those dashes again come little ‘a’ and ‘n’, followed by the little ‘i’ with that dot, ‘a belly bottom just above the waist line’. Who is making up these rules? And finally, the little ‘c’ completes it. Neshanic. Made it! It was this line that came with some controversy, for the word ‘Station’ was to follow for some while others were to leave it out. It was almost like religion, as it was left to each particular family’s’ beliefs whether it was proper to use or not. The letters and bills showed up regardless of the presence or absence of the word ‘Station’ , but it was through my father’s regular frustration I became acutely aware that our family was NOT to use such a distinction. For my father was in what appeared to be a never-ending argument with the Postal System or at least the envelopes that appeared in the box where our dirt driveway met the asphalt. It was as if we were peasants of sorts to those who lived in the more populated area downstream and my dad was

proud to make this distinction. So finally, after this sticking point, we all wrote out New Jersey. Apparently, the abbreviated version was to be used when we matured some, after all this was a learning lesson. Another lesson, in a childhood filled with them. Those met with resistance, those sought after, and most importantly, those that were not realized until years of perspective settled in. All began and ended with 08853!

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One Year Ago, Apr. 2018: A team of seven bold and creative students from Branchburg Central Middle School won the Odyssey of the Mind State Championship at Ewing High School on Apr. 14. Team members included Matthew Buttgereit, David Frankel, Jamie Chiang, Avni Maheshwari, Ella Romano, Mina Batra, Katherine Shi. Five Years Ago, Apr. 2014: At its Apr. 29 meeting, the Branchburg Board of Education approved full-day kindergarten to begin in the fall. 10 Years Ago, Apr. 2009: The wooden bridge in North Branch Station reopened on Apr. 17 after being closed for several months. One of the stone abutments had been damaged by a vehicle and the bridge needed repairs. The Somerville High School Class of 2018, seen enjoying last year’s Project Graduation at Rutgers

By Fran Culver Somerville High School started a tradition 27 years ago by hosting Project Graduation. The event is sponsored by the SHS PTO to provide all seniors of the Class of 2019 an opportunity to participate in Project Graduation and spend a fun-filled evening together as a class (one last time) celebrating their graduation all night long. Project Graduation is a nationally recognized program started by MADD to provide a celebration for the graduates after their ceremony in a safe, drug and alcohol free environment. The message of Project Graduation’s yearlong efforts is to let students know that we are offering them the ability to have a good time in a safe environ-

ment that does not include alcohol or drugs. The goals of the activities are to increase awareness of the dangers of drinking, drugging and driving and to reduce the number of youths involved in alcohol and other drug-related highway crashes. This year’s event will be held the evening of June 21 at the Sonny Werblin Center at Rutgers University, from 10 pm to 4 am. An event of this magnitude is not possible without the support of local vendors, families, Somerville HS faculty, Somerville PD, Branchburg PD and volunteers. The event, which is financially covered by the SHS PTO, includes transportation, Rutgers facility rental, food, entertainment and prizes, and is

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coordinated by the Somerville High School PTO Project Graduation Committee. If anyone is interested in donating or volunteering for PG 2019, please reach out to Fran Culver and Elyse Belkin at Somerville.

25 Years Ago, Apr. 1994: A Branchburg police officer was sitting in his car doing radar checks from the median of Route 202 when a woman’s car drifted onto the median, slammed into the police car and burst into flames. Both were hospitalized – the policeman with head and arm injuries, the woman with a deep facial cut. 50 Years Ago, Apr. 1969: Melville Wilson of Branchburg, a mechanical engineer and businessman, was named Man of the Year of the Somerset Valley Chamber of Commerce. In 1950, Wilson started his own company in Neshanic Station. He was a member of the Industrial Commission of Branchburg.

Burrito Sales Bring Bucks to Ville Track & Field On April 3, from 4 to 8 pm, BubbaKoo’s Burritos at 936 Route 22 East in Somerville will donate 25 percent of proceeds from sales to the Somerville High School Track & Field program. To make the donation happen, just mention the program to the cashier at checkout. For info about Bubbakoo’s Burritos, visit https:// -- submitted by Terry Edris

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23 The Branchburg News • April 2019

Ville’s 27th Project Graduation is Underway

This Month In Branchburg History

The Branchburg News • April 2019





People have been thinking about spring for months, but now, with all the potholes, they’re thinking more about the springs on their cars.

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

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Profile for Town Media

Branchburg News, April 2019  

Online edition of the monthly community newspaper of Branchburg, NJ

Branchburg News, April 2019  

Online edition of the monthly community newspaper of Branchburg, NJ

Profile for townmedia