Did you know? Earth Day Facts!

Many communities across Middlesex County will be hosting events celebrating Earth Day.  Stream and lake clean-ups, community shredding events, and tree planting are just some of the events happening this weekend.

Did you know…

  • The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.  On the very fist Earth Day, 20 million people gathered in the streets of America to protest the industrial revolution.  An environment movement was born as a result.
  • One result of the first Earth Day was the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act.
  • Dennis Hayes took Earth Day international in 1990.  It is believed that it’s now the largest secular holiday in the world.
  • In 2009, the United Nations renamed Earth Day as International Mother Earth Day.
  • In 2018, it is predicted that Earth Day will be celebrated by more than one billion people world wide.

Will you be one of those billion?

 

My Favorite place to Bike or Walk!

Walking and biking are fun and healthy ways to get around when it’s done safely.  KMM encourages 3rd graders across Middlesex County to walk or bike to school, to the park, and wherever you go!

Here at KMM, we are sponsoring a bookmark illustrating contest for all Middlesex County students in the 3rd grade to create a bookmark that best embodies the theme My Favorite Place to Walk or Bike.  Winner of the contest will receive a $100 gift card from Provident Bank and the illustration will also be printed and distributed to schools across the County.

For more details and to enter, Download the Form and mail it back to our offices.  All entries must be postmarked by March 24, 2018.

Travel Green. Travel Clean.

Keeping our water, air, and land pollution-free is vital to everyday life.   It’s our job to keep our Earth green! We must conserve as much energy as we can at home, at school, and in our day-to-day activities. For example, using the bus to get to school, riding a bike to the park, or carpooling with friends to a practice or game are all ways that we can help reduce pollution.

Here at KMM, we are sponsoring a bookmark illustrating contest for all Middlesex County students in the 5th grade to create a bookmark that best embodies the theme Travel Green. Travel Clean.  Winner of the contest will receive a $100 gift card from Magyar Bank and the illustration will also be printed and distributed to schools across the County.

For more details and to enter, download this form and mail it back to our offices.  All entries must be postmarked by March 24, 2018.

 

 

Distracted Driving Education Program

In 2017, KMM added a new Distracted Driving presentation for young drivers to our safety outreach program. The 45-minute interactive presentation, created by the Robert Wood Johnson Trauma & Injury Prevention Department, walks teens through sobering videos and interactive exercises that emphasize the life-threatening dangers of distracted driving. With assistance from the local Police Departments, more than 1400 students in Colonia, Woodbridge, John F. Kennedy High School in Iselin, Highland Park, South Amboy, and South River High Schools participated in this program.

Sometimes, the discussion gets personal.  During a presentation in South River High School, a police officer shared how his father died after a young distracted driver side-swiped him as he helped a disabled vehicle on the Garden State Parkway.  In Highland Park High School, a teacher recognized the smiling faces of a young couple in a prom photo. They were her neighbors’ children and they died in a car crash shortly after that picture was taken. With tears streaming down her face, she described the anguish of losing these young adults and the impact it had on the entire community.

KMM’s goal is to empower and educate Middlesex County’s young drivers to act responsibly and pay attention behind the wheel so they don’t become another statistic of distracted driving. If you would like to bring this program to your local high school, please contact KMM at 732-745-4465.

Everyone Needs to Know the Rules of the Road

 

East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen welcomed 35 municipal officials and police officers to the Township’s Cultural Center in October to discuss The Rules of the Road, a pedestrian safety seminar sponsored by KMM.  Bill Neary, Executive Director, and others discussed the various motorist and pedestrian safety programs available from KMM.

Will Yarzab of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority introduced Street Smart.  This statewide community-based campaign educates motorists and pedestrians about safe behaviors such as using crosswalks, waiting for the walk signal, obeying speed limits, and stopping for pedestrians.  And, everyone must avoid distractions.  Communities may enhance Street Smart with KMM’s pedestrian Safety Flags or Paint the Pavement programs.

Teenagers are the primary audience for KMM’s Distracted Driving presentation.  Videos and interactive exercises emphasize the importance of paying attention when driving.  Youngsters can benefit from Safe Routes to School which includes walk and bike to school events, bike rodeos, and classroom activities.  Senior citizens will enjoy “The Jay Walker Show” which reminds participants of safe walking tips.

Jay Muldoon, Borough Administrator for Metuchen, pulled all of the programs together as he described his experiences with KMM.

For more information, please contact Program Coordinator Arlene Holt at aholt@kmm.org or 732-745-4368.

Be Street Smart and Save Lives

In December 2017, in conjunction with Mayor Brad Cohen of East Brunswick, KMM conducted a #BeStreetSmartNJ pedestrian safety education campaign aimed at increasing awareness and education in busy shopping centers during the busiest part of the year – holiday shopping!

The Street Smart NJ campaign is a collaborative effort among public, private and non-profit organizations and comes at a significant time. New Jersey is ranked 15th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities in 2015, according to a recent report from Governors Highway Safety Association. The federal government has designated New Jersey a “focus” state and has provided funding to help NJ combat its higher-than-average pedestrian fatality rate.

East Brunswick joins over 40 towns across NJ, including Metuchen, Woodridge and Middlesex Borough, that have implemented Street Smart campaigns.  This Spring, the Borough of Milltown will join the growing list of cities committed to pedestrian and driver safety.  For more information, please contact Director of Operations at rkarpinecz@kmm.org or 732-745-4490.

Safety Tips for Back to School

bigstock-Watch-Out-For-Children-427446As children across Middlesex County head #backtoschool this week, they will again be sharing the roads with school buses, other young pedestrians, and bicyclists.  Whether your children walk, ride their bike, or take the bus, help ensure they take the proper safety precautions​.

Children who walk to school:  When walking, stay on the sidewalk if one is available. If the street does not have a sidewalk, walk facing the traffic so as to have a clear view of the traffic.  When crossing a street,  look left, right and left again to see if any cars, buses, or bicyclists are coming.  If possible, make a point to set time aside to practice walking their route to school.  Together you can use pedestrians signals, ensure they are crossing streets correctly, and get a good idea of the path they are taking.

Children who bike to school: When riding a bike to and from school, children should always wear a proper fitted helmet and sneakers at all times. The same procedures apply when crossing the street.  Riders must come to complete stop, look left, right and left again, and always walk their bike across the street. Parents should practice and teach children the rules of the road to help insure they get to school safe and sound.

Children who ride the bus to school: Rain or shine, the big yellow bus gets the children to school. To ensure a safe ride to school, make sure children stand six feet away from the curb when a bus is pulling up or driving away. Remind children to fasten their seat belts and to remain seated throughout the ride.  While it’s exciting to chat with friends, children should keep  screaming and jumping for the playground and home so that the driver can focus on the road.

Regardless of how children make their way to school, we wish everyone a safe and enjoyable school year!

What a Wonderful Picnic!

picnicImagine feeling the breeze flow through your hair and the sunshine warming your face. Being outside soaking in all the wonderful sights and smells that it has to offer. Most importantly tasting all of the wonderful homemade family treats that you and your family savor the most. August is National Picnic Month, so we should all celebrate by planning picnics with our loved ones!

Gathering family and friends together at a nearby park and bringing your favorite foods will hit the spot. For a traditional picnic cold foods can be eaten, they are easy to store and always ready to go. Another option is to bring a small grill to prepare and cook your favorite warm foods. A great way to help you make your picnic an adventurous one is to take a hike along with it. If you’re already enjoying the weather and the outdoors, exploring nature while hiking can be fun for everyone.

A perfect place to celebrate national picnic month is Cheesequake State Park, which is located in Old Bridge in Middlesex County. The 11 acre park has plenty of space for picnics on the grass, hiking on its 5 different trails and everything in between. Each of its trails leads to different sights that will make your day a memorable one. If you don’t like to hike, bicycling is a another way to add to your picnic day. Besides it being great exercise, bicycling is also a form of transportation which can get you to and from the park safely.

This August make sure you remember your blanket, picnic basket, food/drink, hiking shoes, bikes and helmets to help make celebrating picnic month a great experience!

 

Avoid Tragedy During Prom Season!

Now that June is here, prom season is at it’s highest peak. It’s an event many teenagers diligently plan for months and eagerly await. However, all too often the excitement on prom night is overshadowed by a tragic event. IMG_7403

Vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for young people aged 12 to 19. On prom night, it can be a particularly dangerous time with so many teens on the road late at night. According to AAA, 87% of teens reported that their friends have driven after drinking rather than calling home for a ride, just on prom night alone. On prom night, friends may try to use peer pressure to entice you to have a drink or two, but be sure to think about the dangers that come with underage drinking. Too many tragic incidents have already taken place where underage drinkers have gotten into driving accidents — causing lifelong injuries, paralysis, and for many even death.

For parents, make prom safety just as important as the dress your daughter will wear or the style of your son’s tuxedo. Giving teens your advice will play an important role when discussing teenage driving tips that might prevent them from becoming a tragic statistic on their prom night. Some tips you should cover are:

  1. Limit the number of kids in the car and make sure all passengers (including the driver) are wearing their seat belts.
  2. Instill the importance of concentration behind the wheel. Being distracted behind the wheel is a major cause of vehicle accidents, but its something that is very easy to avoid. Put down the phone, don’t listen to loud music and be sure to focus on the road.
  3. Discuss the dangers of drinking/drug use and driving. There will always be peer pressure and temptation on prom night. Be sure to remind your teen that the number one killer of teenagers is car accidents caused from driving under the influence.

Prom night is supposed to be something special and night full of great memories. As a teen you have your entire future ahead of you, so make sure it doesn’t get ruined by one night.

Memorial Day & Summer Kick-Off Driving Tips

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Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service and over the course of the years has been considered the unofficial  “kick-off” of the Summer season.  The day and long weekend are often marked by family gatherings, parades, barbecues, and road trips.  As a result, highways and local roads alike, see high volume of cars on the road along with traffic and impatient drivers. According to the National Safety Council, more than 400 people will be killed during their Memorial Day weekend travels.

When driving to your destination this weekend, here are a few tips to help insure you have a fun and safe travel weekend:

 

  1. Buckle Up  Always wear your seat belt on every trip and make sure your passengers are wearing theirs. If you are traveling with children, make sure they are restrained in safety seat that is appropriate for their height, age and weight.
  2. Don’t get Distracted  Never use your cell phone while driving, even if your hands are free. Avoid listening to loud music and eating during your drive, these can be more distracting than you think.
  3. Take Breaks  Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue while on the road. If you know you have a long trip ahead of you, plan to have another driver to switch off with or plan to make a few rest stops during your travels.
  4. Plan Ahead  Don’t be in a rush to get to your destination. There will be plenty of cars on the road so it is important to keep a safe distance and go the speed limit while driving.  If you know you will be going to a party or gathering, always assign an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation. Impairment begins with the first drink you have and its not worth getting behind the wheel afterwards.

Make sure you have fun by planning ahead so you, your family, and friends are sure to have a great time!