In an urgent phone conversation Saturday, March 21st with U.S. Ambassador to Peru, Krishna Urs, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged the Ambassador to reach out to U.S. citizens and reassure those spread-out across Peru that they have not been forgotten nor abandoned.
“There are reportedly 5,000 Americans trapped in Peru needing the immediate assistance of the U.S. government in order to get home,” said Smith, who has been contacted by more than a dozen travelers with New Jersey roots.
“The Administration has been working on some limited options, but we are asking the State Department to raise the bar and expand their efforts to include chartering planes or using military aircraft.”
“Seven hundred Americans, including some from my district, are stuck in parts of Peru, such as Cusco, which is 11,000 feet above sea level where air quality is thin and a strict curfew is enforced. It’s time to let these Americans and their worried families in the U.S. know that their country will employ more resources to bring them home safely,” Smith said.
In addition to speaking with the Ambassador, Smith has been working with State Department officials for several days. A human rights leader in the Congress, Smith has written three letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlining the location and needs of the New Jersey residents and others desperate for assistance to come home.
“I ask your assistance in prioritizing the evacuation from Peru of these and other Americans by any appropriate, practicable and timely manner, including the chartering of private or commercial aircraft or the utilization of military planes,” Smith said in his March 20th letter in which he named specific Americans needing assistance.
all borders, effective March 16, subsequently issuing a 15-day quarantine. It later announced that March 22 would be the final day the country would allow official flights to repatriate foreign visitors before the country closed all borders, effectively trapping many Americans and other international visitors in the South American nation. Further repatriation efforts require diplomatic intervention, something Rep. Smith is urging our Ambassador and State Department to prioritize.
ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–See letter sent out to families of Upper Freehold Regional School District:
March 20, 2020 Dear UFRSD Family, I hope this letter finds you well. It is remarkable to think about how different things are in such a short amount of time. In these times, we are seeing our schools, our staff, our students, our community, our state and country rise up to battle this moment in our history. I continue to be proud of the work that everyone is doing to make this moment meaningful for kids. We are all a part of this team of Redbirds, and I couldn’t be prouder of the entire UFRSD community. As you may remember, the UFRSD and Millstone Township School District made the decision last week to close our schools through March 27, 2020. We made this decision to support the recommendation of social distancing to help slow the spread of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) virus. This past week, the Governor closed all schools in New Jersey “until further notice.” All indications point to a much longer closure for our schools. Therefore, Dr. Huss and I made the decision to close schools through spring break. Spring break begins on Thursday, April 9th (early dismissal schedule) and has our schools reopening on Monday, April 20, 2020. There will be no remote learning during the week of spring break (April 10 – April 19), because, more than ever, we recognize the real need for a mental break this year.. We are fully aware that this date may need to continue to be adjusted. We will monitor all information and continually consult with the Department of Health and the Department of Education to determine if the April 20th date is a realistic one. I am an eternal optimist, and I know we will get through this challenging time together. We have always been a great district, and this extraordinary community just continues to show how amazing people do amazing things. Stay healthy, and I will continue to look forward to our return to school at some point in the future. I miss everyone. My best, Mark Guterl Mark Guterl Superintendent of Schools
The three States will limit crowd capacity for recreational and social gatherings to 50 people – effective by 8 PM tonight
Restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery only effective 8 PM tonight
Movie theaters, gyms and casinos will temporarily close effective 8 PM tonight
Uniform approach to social distancing will slow spread of COVID-19 throughout the tri-state area
PRESS RELEASE FROM GOV. MURPHY’S OFFICE: TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—Amid a lack of federal direction and nationwide standards, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced a regional approach to combatting the novel coronavirus – or COVID-19 – throughout the tri-state area.
These uniform standards will limit crowd capacity for social and recreational gatherings to 50 people, effective 8 PM tonight. This follows updated guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued yesterday recommending the cancellation or postponement of in-person events consisting of 50 people or more.
The three governors also announced restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery services only. These establishments will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol. These measures will take effect at 8 PM tonight.
Finally, the three governors said they will temporarily close movie theaters, gyms and casinos, effective at 8 PM tonight.
This uniform approach to social distancing is meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Governor Murphy said, “With all we are seeing in our state – and across our nation and around the world – the time for us to take our strongest, and most direct, actions to date to slow the spread of coronavirus is now. I’ve said many times over the past several days that, in our state, we are going to get through this as one New Jersey family. But if we’re all in this together, we must work with our neighboring states to act together. The work against coronavirus isn’t just up to some of us, it’s up to all of us.”
“Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn’t crash our healthcare system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our people safe but also prevents ‘state shopping’ where residents of one state travel to another and vice versa. I have called on the federal government to implement nationwide protocols but in their absence we are taking this on ourselves.”
Governor Lamont said, “The only way to effectively fight the spread of COVID-19 is by working together as states. We have shared interests, and a patchwork of closures and restrictions is not the best way forward. I know that because of this collaboration, we will save lives.”
FREEHOLD AND MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Due to the cancellation of group activities on the local, state and national levels, all Millstone Township recreational programs, both travel and non-travel, adult and youth programs, have been suspended through Sunday, April 5th 2020. This includes games, practices and events. Further evaluation will be made in early April regarding lifting or extending this suspension.
Monmouth County takes action in response to COVID-19
Beginning Saturday, March 14, no public access to County buildings
FREEHOLD, NJ –The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and County officials are taking action out of an abundance of caution to protect and keep residents safe from the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). “Our number one priority is the safety of our residents and so, at this time, we have decided to take immediate actions to prevent the COVID-19 in Monmouth County libraries, parks and public buildings,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone. “In attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, Monmouth County will be suspending all public building access and programs beginning tomorrow.” “We want to remind residents to remain calm and make sure you have the most accurate and up to date information, which you can get from the Centers of Disease Control or the New Jersey Department of Health. Please help us spread facts, not fear,” added Freeholder Director Arnone. Beginning Saturday, March 14, and through Sunday, March 22, all Monmouth County Library branches and the Monmouth County Park System buildings will be closed to the public. County golf courses and park spaces will remain open. Beginning Monday, March 16, public access will be restricted from all buildings with the exception of the Monmouth County Division of Social Services (MCDSS). For MCDSS, protections will be put into place to ensure that there is no physical contact between Monmouth County employees and the residents seeking services. All Monmouth County employees will report to work and be available to residents by phone and by email. “We understand that the COVID-19 situation is unsettling for some and want to arm our residents with the information they need,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley, liaison to the Monmouth County Department of Health and Human Services. “There is a Monmouth County Health Department’s phone bank will open Monday at 9 a.m. for residents who have any questions and concerns about COVID-19, or need to talk to someone about how this situation is affecting them.” Crisis Counselors from the Monmouth County Division of Behavioral Health are available through the phone banks to help residents who may be experiencing stress or anxiety due to the evolving situation. The counselors will provide County residents with guidance to help them through this challenging time. The Monmouth County Health Department phone bank will open Monday, March 16 at 9 a.m. and can be reached at 732-845-2070.
County officials monitoring Coronavirus situation in Monmouth County
FREEHOLD, NJ –With four presumptive positive cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Monmouth County, County officials are assuring residents that they are monitoring the situation and taking action to ensure the public health and safety of Monmouth County residents. Two of the presumptive positive cases include a 66 year old female from Hazlet and an 83 year old female from Hazlet who are both being treated at Hackensack Meridian Health Bayshore Medical Center. The Golden Age Adult Day Care Program, where both of these individuals were clients, has voluntarily closed and is working in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Health and the Monmouth County Health Department. The two other cases include a 27 year old male from Little Silver who recently attended the Biogen conference in Boston and a 17 year old female from Little Silver who is an immediate family member of the 27 year old male. “We continue to assure you that the freeholder board is actively engaged and in constant contact with the local mayors and the New Jersey Legislative Delegation as well as the New Jersey Governor’s Office and the New Jersey Department of Health,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone. “We are committed to ensuring that the County has the necessary resources to respond and mitigate this evolving situation.” “All Monmouth County and municipal health officials are following guidelines set forth by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) the Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) for response to COVID-19 cases,” added Freeholder Director Arnone. All Monmouth County and municipal health officials are following the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the NJDOH for monitoring and response to COVID-19 cases. The best defense against the Coronavirus is to practice safe respiratory hygiene and take steps to prevent the spread of germs including washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick. However, residents should be aware that as investigations into these four cases continue, additional cases may be identified. “Again we would like to reiterate that it is important to have factual, up to date information about the coronavirus,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Kiley. “If you have questions, go directly to the CDC, the New Jersey Department of Health or the Monmouth County Health Department.” There have been social media reports of individuals going door to door claiming to be from the CDC. The CDC is not deploying teams of people to go door to door and conduct surveillance, so people should not let these individuals in their homes or speak with them. The CDC has a “share the facts, stop fear” page which is quite useful in determining what is fact vs. fiction with regard to the coronavirus. It can be accessed at cdc.gov/coronavirus. Timely and accurate information can also be found at http://www.nj.gov/health and anyone with questions can call the NJDOH COVID-19 24-Hour Public Hotline 1-800-222-1222 or email to email@example.com. Links to the CDC and New Jersey Department of Health are currently posted to the Monmouth County Health Department webpage, http://www.visitmonmouth.com/health.
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)—The 2020 Census count is underway and I received my invitation by mail today. As per the instructions I logged onto My2020census.gov and entered my code Census ID Code. There were some very basic questions of who was living in the home and birthdays. It was one of the easiest census forms I have ever completed and took less than two minutes to complete from start to finish, even though it says it could take an average of 10 minutes to complete.
The Census is counted every 10 years and many things from voting districts, financial aid, Federal, State and Local government services and more use this government data. A response is required by law and should be very easy to complete if you have received the invitation from United States Census Bureau.
What is the 2020 Census?The goal of the census is to count every person living in the United States, once, only once and in the right place. Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that this population and housing count occur every 10 years. Census data guide how more than $675 billion of federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year.
Am I required to respond to the 2020 Census?Yes, you are required by law to respond to the 2020 Census (Title 13, U.S. Code, Sections 141 and 193). We are conducting the 2020 Census under the authority of Title 13, U.S. Code, Sections 141, 193 and 221. This collection of information has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The eight-digit OMB approval number is 0607-1006. If this number were not displayed, we could not conduct the census.
Who should complete the 2020 Census questionnaire?This 2020 Census questionnaire should be completed by the person who owns or rents the living quarters or any other person who is at least 15 years of age with knowledge of the household.
How do I change my answers?For questions where you must choose a single response from a list, clicking another response will change your answer to that response.If it is a “select all that apply” question, you may click on a selected check box to unselect the box and remove it as one of your answers.
How long will the 2020 Census questionnaire take?The Census Bureau estimates that completing the questionnaire will take 10 minutes on average.
How will the Census Bureau use the information I provide?By law, the Census Bureau can only use your responses to produce statistics.
Will the results be published?Yes. By law, the Census Bureau can only use your responses to produce statistics. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify you or your household. The Census Bureau plans to make results of this study available to the general public. Results will be presented in aggregate form and no personally identifiable information will be published.Information quality is an integral part of the pre-dissemination review of the information disseminated by the Census Bureau (fully described in the Census Bureau’s Information Quality Guidelines at https://www.census.gov/about/policies/quality/guidelines.html). Information quality is also integral to the information collection conducted by the Census Bureau and is incorporated into the clearance process by the Paperwork Reduction Act.
Do I have to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire for my household members?Yes, you will be asked to provide information for each household member.
HAMILTON, N.J. (MERCER)– It’s not too late for high school students to sign up for the national 2020 Annual Congressional Art Competition hosted locally by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) for Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean students who live in the Fourth Congressional District he represents.
The deadline for entry is March 13 for current high school student artwork recently completed, or works specifically created just for the competition, that meet the originality, suitability, size and other entry guidelines of the national competition. Click here for 2020 rules of entry, entry forms, a list of towns in the Fourth District and other important information.
“Every year the artwork submitted by the students is impressive,” Smith said. “It is encouraging and inspiring to see such a high level of artistry being pursued by our students and fostered by art teachers in the Fourth Congressional District. Three professional judges, whose artwork will also be on display, will pick the winners.”
The artwork entered into the competition this year will be displayed and open to the public at the Lake Front Gallery of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton (RWJ-Hamilton) from March 31, 2020 through May 1, with winners announced at the end of the show. Last year the nearly 70 entries represented a variety of styles and mediums.
The judges are dedicated, experienced local artists who have roots in the community.
Every year the Congressional Institute sponsors this national high school visual art competition to recognize and foster artistic talent in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Participation in the contest is at the discretion of each Member office.
Students who place will receive ribbons and all participants are presented with congressional certificates.
Student artwork will on be display during normal hospital visiting hours at the RWJ-Hamilton Lakefront Art Gallery located in the Tower on the first floor mezzanine, directly above the café and gift shop area. RWJ-Hamilton is located at One Hamilton Health Place, Hamilton, NJ, Mercer County.
To enter a piece of artwork or for more information, call Smith’s Constituent Service Center at (609) 585-7878.
Information about the 2020 NJ-04 show or to view the 2019 and prior year winners visit Congressman Smith’s Congressional Art Competition web page.
Municipalities in New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District 2013-2022 Allentown Manasquan Bay Head Avon-By-The-Sea Middletown (part)* Jackson Belmar Millstone Lakehurst Bradley Beach Neptune City Lakewood Brielle Neptune Township Manchester Colts Neck Ocean Township Plumsted Eatontown Red Bank Point Pleasant Borough (part) * Englishtown Roosevelt Point Pleasant Beach Fair Haven Rumson Farmingdale Sea Girt Freehold Borough Shrewsbury Borough Freehold Township Shrewsbury Township Holmdel Spring Lake Howell Spring Lake Heights Mercer County Lake Como Tinton Falls Hamilton Little Silver Upper Freehold Robbinsville Manalapan Wall
Point Pleasant Borough and Middletown are split between Congressional Districts. If students live in either of these towns and are unsure of their District, please call 609-585-7878 and provide the student’s complete home address. The staff will be able to research in which District the student lives.
Robbinsville Police, East Windsor Police and NJ State Police are on scene, as well as the Robbinsville Township Fire Department, East Windsor Fire Company, Hightstown Fire Company, and Millstone Township Fire Department. Allentown First Aid Squad and Robbinsville FD EMS also on scene.
Update, Robbinsville, East Windsor, and Hightstown Fire has cleared the scene. Millstone Township Fire Department remaining on scene since it is Millstone Township. Expect power problems, traffic delays and detours until repairs are made.
Updated 11:48 am 1/5/2020, with information from Millstone Township Fire Chief John Fiore
MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)—Fire fighters responded to a 3 Alarm Fire including sending a “Tanker Strike Force” at 4 Fitzpatrick Lane at 8:59 pm sending fire departments from 4 counties to the scene.
According to Fire Chief John Fiore, calls were reporting flames from the rear of the home, adding to the difficulty of finding the exact address was multiple calls reporting addresses on nearby Pine Hill Road. The fire chief called a 2nd alarm prior to the arrival of fire apparatus due to the amount of calls and information provided by the public and a call from the fire alarm monitoring company.
Milestone Township does not have fire hydrants so water must be trucked in using fire service tankers (aka tenders in other parts of the country) a “tanker strike force” was called. Due to strong winds and blowing embers neighbors homes were checked to make sure the embers did not start a fire and in the nearby woods the chief told our corespondent.
The site remains a NJ State Police “crime scene” while the Monmouth County Fire Marshall’s Office conducts their investigation. The cheif stated that homeowners were not home at the time of the fire. One wall and the garage is still standing everything else is a total loss. The fire department cleared the scene around 4 am.
The house measurement from Google Maps is approximately 110×65 feet and appears to be 2 ½ stories falling into the definition of a “mansion” Firefighters, police and fire investigators were on scene at the time of this report. More information will be released when it becomes available.
List of fire departments responding:
32-1 Millstone Township, 82 Allentown/Hope Fire Company, 56 Jackson-Cassville, 54 Jackson Mills FD, 12 Englishtown, 57 Monroe-Applegarth, 16-1 Freehold Township Independent, 19-2 Howell Township- Adelphia Fire Company, 26-1 Manalapan- Gordons Corner Fire Company, 26-2 Manalapan Fire Company, 41 Highstown Fire Company, 39 New Egypt Fire Company (Plumsted Twp), 23 Monroe District # 3, 49 Plainsboro, Jamesburg, East Windsor, West Windsor, Cranbury. Chesterfield covered Allentown, Helmetta covered Monroe 57.
1/5/2019 10 am Update from NJ State Police: NJ State Police received the call at 9:01 pm and said that no one was home was unoccupied at the time of the fire. NJ State Police said based on preliminary investigation nothing suspicious was noted. No additional information from police was available.
MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The Millstone Township Fire Department (IAFF Local #4388) responded to a school bus accident at 1:40 pm today. The school bus was carrying sixteen students in grades Kindergarten though 5th grade. At the intersection of Sweetman’s Lane and Millstone Road it collided with a Dodge Ram pickup.
The crash brought down a utility pole and transformer on top of the school bus. The sixteen children from the Millstone Elementary and Millstone Primary Schools were evacuated and uninjured in the accident. The driver of the bus was hospitalized with non life-threatening injures at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. The driver of the Dodge Ram pickup refused treatment at the scene.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the NJ State Police.
Millstone Township Schools dismissed classes early today in anticipation of today’s winter storm.
Shout out to Vesuvio’s Pizzeria & Family Restaurant, the kids were evacuated to the pizzeria and were treated to pizza while waiting transport back to the school. (Ed note: After years of sampling Vesuvio’s pizza it is great pizza)
MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Millstone Township, Boy Scouts of America, Troop 116 held an Eagle Court of Honor today. Six Scouts made the Rank of Eagle Scout, it is the the highest rank in BSA an honor that only 2 to 4% of all Scouts achieve. Luke D. DePinho, Jordan Daniel Lisnow, Nicholas Luke Meier, Noah Lee Meier, Andrew Joseph Raccuglia, and Jared Scott Skidmore obtained the highest rank in the BSA as Eagle Scout.
TRENTON, N.J. – Thirteen municipalities in the 12th legislative district will receive more than $3.25 million in grants from the Department of Transportation, Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Rob Clifton announced today.
“This funding will help get vital roadway projects moving and will make much-needed improvements for the benefit of motorists,” said Dancer (R-Ocean).
The towns in Dancer and Clifton’s district will use the money for roadway preservation, one of the seven project categories under the municipal aid program. The others include roadway safety, quality of life, mobility, bikeway, pedestrian safety and bridge preservation.
“Local commuters and families deserve safer roads, resurfaced roads and peace of mind when travelling in our district. These funds will provide a better and safer experience,” said Clifton (R-Monmouth).
NJDOT provides 75 percent of the grant amount when a town awards a contract and the remaining 25 percent upon completion of the project.
The following towns and projects in district 12 have been awarded funding:
Municipality Grant Amount Name of Project Chesterfield Township $244,000.00 Sykesville Rd Improvements Phase II New Hanover Township $244,000.00 Cookstown Hockamick Road North Hanover Township $240,000.00 Schoolhouse Road Phase II Old Bridge Township $312,338.00 Phillips Drive Improvements Allentown Borough $180,000.00 Improvements to Waldron Road, Quinn Road, and Hamilton Street Englishtown Borough $154,000.00 Heritage Drive and Raymond Court Improvements Manalapan Township $270,000.00 Improvements to Gordons Corner Road Matawan Borough $200,000.00 Overbrook Lane Improvements Millstone Township $180,000.00 Nurko Road Roosevelt Borough $255,000.00 Improvements to School Lane Upper Freehold Township $330,000.00 Burlington Path Road Jackson Township $425,000.00 Improvements to Wright DeBow Road, Phase II Plumsted Township $218,000.00 Tower Road Resurfacing
MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ–Scouts are HELPFUL As we move into the season of giving, the scouts from Pack 116 in Millstone Township held their annual Scouting for Food drive and collected over 1,250 lbs of food and other non-perishable items that were donated to the Caring Hearts Food Pantry, also in Millstone. (www.upcm.org)
ranging in age from 5-10 years old collected food from friends, neighbors and
family, then sorted and stacked food on the shelves of the food pantry last
For more information about joining Pack 116, please visit
The New Jersey State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with identifying a man who committed multiple vehicle burglaries earlier today between the hours of 1 a.m and 4 a.m. in the townships of Millstone and Upper Freehold, Monmouth County.
The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6 feet tall, stocky build, wearing a green-hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and gray and white sneakers.
The suspect was observed entering unlocked motor vehicles and removing items.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Jersey State Police Hamilton Station at 609-584-8115.
As always, we urge residents to lock their vehicles and keep valuables out of sight.