Armchair Travels – Botanical Gardens

With the click of a button, you can experience travel, all from the comfort of your home.

KMM’s Armchair Travel is a weekly blog series that takes readers to all corners of the world with virtual tours and videos. For this week’s blog, we present Botanical Gardens – Orchid Show.

One of the oldest botanical gardens in North America, the United States Botanic Garden was established by Congress in 1820. We share with you a snip-it of their 2020 Orchid Show.

The New York Botanical Garden is a 250-acre oasis in the middle of the Big Apple. The historic, Victorian-style glasshouse provides a world tour of 11 distinct plant habitats, including tropical rain forest and desert environments of the Americas and Africa. We share with you a 25-minute video of the 2020 spring orchid exhibit.

Both gardens are expected to open to on May 1, 2020.

 

 

 

Outside in Open! Bicycle Helmet Safety Tips

Outside is Open! With so many of us practicing #Socialdistancing to #FlattenTheCurve, many of us are looking for ways to stay active. If bike riding is one of them, we share with you two quick videos on how to fit your #bikehelmet. Be safe and have fun!

Whether you’re riding a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, if there are wheels under your feet, NJ requires a helmet on your head up to the age of 17. Biking to school and around town can be a safe activity, though if you happen to fall, it’s smart to protect your head. Here are a few tips on how to wear a bicycle helmet safely:

For Adults:

For Children:

My Town – 3rd Grade Bookmark Contest

Open to all third graders in Middlesex County, KMM is tasking children to create a bookmark showing themselves walking or biking at a place that makes their town such an amazing place to grow up.

Bookmark Entry Rules:

  • The design must include original artwork in color.
  • The design must be submitted using this entry form.
  • One entry per student.
  • The winner will receive a $100 gift card from Provident Bank. The winning bookmark will be printed and distributed to schools in Middlesex County.
  • Entries become the property of Keep Middlesex Moving.
  • Entries must be submitted by April 15, 2020

3rd grade Bookmark Entry 2020

Armchair Travels – Museums

With the click of a button, you can experience travel, all from the comfort of your home.

KMM’s Armchair Travel is a weekly blog series that takes readers to all corners of the world with virtual tours and videos.  This week, we bring you three tours of the most popular museums in the world.  So sit back and enjoy tours of  Versailles, The Louvre, and The Smithsonian.

 

 

 

Have you visited these museums in person?  Please share your photos and memories with us at programs@kmm.org.

Chalk Your Walk – Safety Tips

If walks around your neighborhood have increased in the past week, perhaps you have seen inspirational messages drawn across the sidewalk and pavement.  This art is called #ChalkYourWalk and it’s springing up everywhere.

Given we are all practicing #socialdistancing to #flattenthecurve,  walking or biking in the neighborhood is one of the few things we can continue to participate in safely – while remembering to keep 6-feet between you and other pedestrians.   Here are a few safety tips for both the #ChalkYourWork artists and those walking and biking in the neighborhood.

For Parents and Artists:

  1. For neighborhoods without sidewalks, have an adult present that can watch for oncoming traffic while drawing in the driveway.
  2. If possible, wear brightly colored clothes as you create your art so that motorists and those walking or biking can see you.

For Pedestrians and Cyclists:

  1. Walk or bike focused.  If you are listening to music, make sure you can still hear the activity around you.
  2. If you are biking in the neighborhood, be especially attentive to neighborhoods without sidewalks.  Children may be drawing in their driveways.
  3. Heads up and Phones Down: Whether on bike or foot or even driving, there will be more children playing outside and many of them will be in groups of five or less and may not be as visible.

As we navigate these very unprecedented times and learn to adapt to the restrictions that are in place, we remind everyone that we are all in this together.  Stay safe and stay strong.

If your children have created #ChalkYourWalk art, please email us at programs@kmm.org so that we may share their happy messages with our followers.

Spring Ahead – Daylight Savings Time Safety Tips

Hello, more sunshine and daylight!  This Sunday, we will move the clocks ahead one hour.  Along with the extra daylight and sunshine can also bring sleepy, tired folks.  Here are some tips to help you prepare and adjust to the change.

  1. Prepare – Beginning two or three days before daylight savings, head to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier.  This will allow your body to ease into the change in time.
  2. Don’t hit snooze – Resist hitting the snooze button on your alarm in the first few days.  Staying on your regular schedule will help tremendously in getting through the week.
  3. Avoid Afternoon Caffeine – By Monday afternoon, chances are you will be feeling sluggish and tired.  Fight the urge to have that afternoon cup of coffee.  Instead, have a glass or two of water and if possible, walk outside and soak in the sunshine and fresh air.
  4. Take a late-day walk – Given we have more sunshine, consider taking a walk after dinner.  Not only will it help digest your meal, but it will also help you fall asleep later in the evening.
  5. Be Smart – Despite taking all of these precautions, you may still be tired.  If so, do not operate any machinery including a vehicle or bicycle.  It’s best to just bite the bullet and take a long nap.  Driving, biking – operating any type of machinery – while drowsy is not safe.

Coronavirus: Implementing a Telecommute Contingency Plan

According to the CDC, Americans need to start preparing now for the possibility that more aggressive, disruptive measures might be needed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S.; this includes the workforce.  It is recommended that companies put a contingency plan in place.  Here are some guidelines to help you create your contingency plan.

Responsibility – Sit with your staff and have them identify their day to day functions and what programs they use to perform these functions.  Understand the tools and software they use and determine whether there are any security risks associated with them working remotely.

Hours – Although a simple idea, it’s smart to establish the hours in which the employee will be working remotely.  It provides accountability and a sense of routine.

Technology – Establish the ways in which you and your team will accomplish their daily tasks. Do they have internet access, laptops and the correct software needed while working remotely?  Can their office phone calls be forwarded to the remote phone line?

Cost / Logistics – What are the costs involved in working remotely? Once you have determined what is needed to work from home, be sure to outline what costs – if any – you will reimburse your employees (i.e. internet, phone calls).

Communication – The key to a successful telecommute program is communication.  Establish a schedule of when your office team will meet remotely and establish the tools you will use.  Skype, GoToMyMeeting and FaceTime calls are all ways for everyone to meet remotely.  Programs such as Basecamp can be a helpful tool for those working on different components of a project.

Accountability- In instances where telecommute programs are in place as a benefit, reviews are often scheduled every three months to ensure deadlines have been met and the work-from-home program is working for both the employee and employer.  However, in an instance such as a temporary telecommute program due to a crisis, these telework situations may last a few weeks.  None the less, it would be prudent to set up calls between all levels of staff and support to assess everyone’s performance.

Earth Day – 5th Grade Bookmark Contest

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the United States Postal service is again issuing an Earth Day stamp.  Other countries, too, have celebrated Earth Day with a postal stamp.  Now, we want you to join in on the fun!  We invite all 5th-grade students in Middlesex County to draw a stamp commemorating Earth Day.

Bookmark Entry Rules:

  • The design must include original artwork in color.
  • The design must be submitted using this entry form.
  • One entry per student.
  • The winner will receive a $100 gift card from Magyar Bank. The winning bookmark will be printed and distributed to schools in Middlesex County.
  • Entries become the property of Keep Middlesex Moving.
  • Entries must be submitted by April 15, 2020

Download the Entry Form by Clicking Here

National Crossing Guard Day

School crossing guards play an important role in the lives of children who walk or bicycle to school. They help children safely cross the street at key locations and they also remind drivers of the presence of pedestrians.  Regardless of the weather, our crossing guards provide safety and smiles each and every school day.  Join us in recognizing the crossing guards across Middlesex County on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, by showing your thanks.

Our friends at New Jersey Safe Routes to School put together some ideas to recognize your crossing guards:

  • Students, parents, and other community members can sign Thank You cards and present them to crossing guards. Thank-you-card-template can be customized or design your own!
  • Work with your local government to recognize these municipal employees with a certificate at a town council meeting, school board meeting and/or school event.  Here is a Template-Recognition-Certificate-for-CGthat you can use and customize.
  • Coordinate with your municipal police department to present a pedestrian safety program in the schools and invite your crossing guards.
  • Work with your school’s PTO or PTA to organize a thank you breakfast for your crossing guards.
  • Recognize your crossing guards in the school newsletter, school email and on the website. Send the notice to the local media.
  • Post a thank you on outdoor school notice boards and lighted signs.
  • Create a thank you banner and hang it at the crossing guard post.
  • Post flyers around school and town to remind people to thank a crossing guard.
  • Simply say “Thank you” to your crossing guard.
  • During your school’s daily PA announcements, inform students about the recognition initiatives and encourage students to give their crossing guards a big smile and thank you.
  •  Ask parents to donate a small token of appreciation for each guard (pocket hand warmers, a cookie, a thank you card, etc.).
  • Solicit local businesses to donate gift cards or a small gift that could be given to your crossing guard.

 There are many inexpensive ways to show your appreciation to your crossing guards!
Thank your crossing guard today and every day!

Original post – click here

Legislation (A-4819), now Law

In an effort to facilitate increased demand for energy-efficient vehicles in New Jersey as the market expands, legislation to establish new goals and incentives that support the use of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) was signed into law by the Governor on Friday. The measure is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Nancy Pinkin and James Kennedy.

The legislation (A-4819), now law, establishes new goals for the use of plug-in electric EVs, and establishes incentive programs regarding the use of light-duty plug-in EVs and in-home charging equipment. It pertains to a “light-duty vehicle” which under the law includes, but is not limited to, any vehicle commonly referred to as a car, minivan, sport utility vehicle, cross-over, or pick-up truck.

“Our goal is to get more electric vehicles on the road, which in turn will result in less greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, more local jobs to put the charging infrastructure in place, and cleaner air for our communities,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. “For a cleaner, healthier State, this law puts forth strong attainable goals to increase the number of electric vehicles and charging stations in New Jersey.”
Among the new State goals established by the law:

  • At least 330,000 of registered light-duty vehicles in the State are to be plug-in electric vehicles by December 31, 2025, and at least 2 million by December 31, 2035;
  • At least 85% of all new light-duty vehicles sold in the State are to be plug-in electric vehicles by December 31, 2040;
  • At least 400 DC Fast Chargers to be available for public use at no fewer than 200 charging locations in the State by December 31, 2025;
  • At least 15% of all multi-family residential properties in the State are to be equipped with Electric Vehicle service equipment (EVSE) for the routine charging of plug-in electric vehicles by residents by December 31, 2025; and
  • At least 10% of new bus purchases made by NJ Transit are to be zero-emission buses by December 31, 2024, 50% by December 31, 2026, and 100% by December 31, 2032.

“It is estimated that 75 billion miles are traveled on New Jersey roads every year in vehicles fueled by gasoline and diesel,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. “By promoting the use of electric vehicles under these goals, we can help make New Jersey air cleaner which would be a huge win for the environment and public health. With the climate crises we are seeing across the world, it is imperative that we move to reduce our carbon footprint as quickly as possible.”

Under the provisions of the law, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is tasked with establishing and implementing incentive programs for the purchase or lease of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles; and purchase and installation of in-home electric vehicle charging equipment.

In the first year of the incentive program for electric vehicles, the amount of the incentive is to equal $25 per mile of EPA-rated electric-only range up to a maximum of $5,000 per eligible vehicle. For in-home charging equipment, individuals will be eligible to receive one-time payments of no more than $500 per person.

“Incentivizing the switch to electric vehicles will not only help save money and reduce emissions but will be critical in laying the foundation for a self-sustaining market in the long term,” said Kennedy (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “This law equips us to build on year-to-year successes.”

The law also provides for the creation of the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Incentive Fund administered by the BPU to be used solely for disbursements under the light-duty plug-in electric vehicle and in-home electric vehicle charging equipment incentive programs. It further requires that no less than $30 million in annual disbursements from the fund be made available under the programs.

Additionally, the Department of Environmental Protection will develop and implement a public education program to provide consumers information regarding the availability and benefits of plug-in electric vehicles, the new State goals and availability of incentives.

The law was given final legislative approval 65-9 in the full Assembly and 27-12 in the Senate in January 2020. It will take effect immediately.

This article is shared from NJ Democrats