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 

Bonfire Safety

As the air turns colder and crisp,  bonfires are a great way to enjoy the falling temperatures. There’s nothing quite as cozy as a fire on a cool night, but it presents safety hazards. Keep these tips in mind when it comes to fire use:

Never leave a burning fire unattended. Always make sure a fire is completely out before leaving it alone. In addition, keeping a fire in its proper place by using a fireplace screen or bonfire set up, helps keep the fire out of the open.

Fire can spread easily, so where and how you build your bonfire is important. Build the bonfire away from sheds, fences, and trees to avoid anything catching flames. It’s best to have a designated fire area that is in the clear open. When it comes to burning the fire, only burn dry material like wood and paper to avoid tons of smoke. Liquids on top of fires will either put the fire out or start huge flames, which can become dangerous

Most importantly, keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby. A fire can get out of hand quickly so it is always important to be prepared for emergencies. If a real emergency does occur, calling the fire department is your best source for safety.

And… we would be remiss if we didn’t remind everyone about candle use:

Candles are a great way to give a room that warm glow, but they can also cause fires. According to the National Candle Association, almost 10,000 home fires start with improper candle use. Never leave candles or fires burning if you go out or go to sleep.

Autumn Driving Safety Tips

There’s nothing more beautiful than an evening drive during the fall season, but this season brings more hazards for drivers than you may think. Being aware of the potential dangers while on the road can help keep you safe and prevent accidents.

The changing colors and falling leaves are what autumn is all about. However, as leaves begin to fall they litter the roads, making streets slick while obscuring your vision. Traffic lines, street signs, and other pavement markings become hard to see. Be aware of limitations in your visibility and slow down if you can’t see well.

With the days getting shorter and more storms approaching, you could find yourself commuting to or from work in the dark. This makes it more difficult to see children playing or pedestrians walking and biking. Using dimmed headlights in bad weather or low visibility is a good way to stay seen while on the roads.  Children also love to play in piles of leaves, so use extra caution whenever you see leaves piled at curbside.

Together, we are all responsible – as drivers and pedestrians, to make sharing the roads safe and efficient.

Share the Road. Share the Responsibility

Drivers and pedestrians share the responsibility of keeping themselves and others on the roads safe. Pedestrians should follow certain safety practices to help ensure their own safety when sharing the roadways. Here are some useful tips and guidelines to follow as a pedestrian:

Be Visible. You can do this by wearing bright-colored clothing during the day and reflective colored clothing at night. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32% of pedestrian-auto accident fatalities occur between 8 pm and 11:59 pm. The use of flashlights and reflective stickers can help make you visible during these late hours.

Avoid Distractions. It’s time to put down your phone and other electronic devices. The use of electronics is a daily part of life, but they distract your attention. When you decide to walk and text or listen to music through headphones, your attention focuses on that instead of the possible street signs and vehicles surrounding you. As a pedestrian, your eyes and ears are your best way to keep safe.

Use Caution. Before crossing the street always look left, then right, and left again. Make sure traffic has come to a complete stop before proceeding. You should cross only at intersections or street corners with crosswalks. By doing this, motorists should see you coming well in advance.

Remember, you as a pedestrian have a job to be seen and be alert at all times!

Fall Safety Tip Series

As the air turns cooler and leaves fall from the trees, it’s important to keep a few important fall safety tips in mind. This is why we have created our Fall Season Safety Tip Series! Our five blogs will cover the most important things to focus on during this year’s Fall season. We will cover the topics:

  1. Pedestrian Safety
  2. Driving Safety
  3. Weather
  4. Fire Use
  5. Lawn Maintenance

Make sure you stay connected with our KMM Website as well as our social media platforms to stay connected and informed! We will be posting a blog each week for the rest of the Fall.

A Farewell Post from our Intern

As summer comes to a close, we share with you a heartfelt post from our intern, Tyler.  We have been fortunate to have Tyler on our staff for the past few summers and we wish we much success in all of her future endeavors.

After three summers Interning with KMM, as my term comes to an end, I am writing to say goodbye. I am so fortunate to have found this position right after high school in 2016. Never having a job before, I must say that I was pretty nervous to take on this role.

I am extremely proud of the work that I have done as well as the things I’ve accomplished while being at KMM. From starting with a blog post a week to creating a new Distractive Driving flyer, helping update the KMM Website, and working different Bike Rodeos, I’d say that my time here was well worth it.

Working with the KMM staff has been fantastic! Getting to know each member has helped me gain new connections as well as friends. They have all taught me valuable life lessons and for that, I am grateful. I can’t thank Cristina Fowler enough for her help and guidance throughout my time at KMM. She’s a wonderful boss, mentor, and friend.

As I move onto the next chapter of my life, graduating from college is next on my agenda. I will be graduating from Long Island University- Brooklyn, with my Bachelors in Health Science and minor in Psychology. I am not sure what the future holds once I graduate, but I do know that I’ll have friends at KMM to update along the way. Thank you all for everything!

-Tyler  (Intern)

Fishing Trip Tips

As we head into the last week of summer, back to school is on everyone’s mind. BUT before summer ends, grab your friends and family and have a go at fishing! After all, August is National Fishing Month so what better way is there to celebrate other than doing just that?

It does not matter what age you are, or what previous experience you have. Fishing can be for everyone! Here are some tips to help you plan for the perfect fishing day:

Understand the basics. Get familiar with such tasks as adding fishing bait to the hooks, tying the knots and casting your line. These tasks are essential in order to fish.

Location. Have an idea of where/when you would like to fish and do research. Some places require permits in order to fish on the property, but many local ponds and waterfronts do not require this information.

Check the weather. An overcast day can lead to some of the most successful fishing trips. If being in the rain isn’t your thing, fishing on a warm sunny day will also allow you to get a good catch.

Patience. This is what fishing is all about. Staying calm, cool and collected while waiting for that bite will make your fishing experience so much better.

With a little bit of knowledge, understanding, and patience you are ready to take a go at fishing!  Enjoy your trip and remember to drive safe and drive smart to and from your fishing trip!

Red, White And Blue! Let’s Celebrate!

As we get ready to celebrate Independence Day, many of us plan to attend fireworks displays, host or attend barbecues, or perhaps enjoy some fun in the water. No matter how or where you celebrate, KMM wants you to have a fun-filled and safe holiday!

Heading to a public firework display?  You should stay at least 500 feet away from the show and always be aware of your surroundings in case of any fireworks that may have been misfired.

Hosting or attending a barbecue?  Be sure to always have someone supervising the grill when heating up or in use. Keeping the grill out in the open is the best way to keep everyone safe since there is less likely of a chance for other objects to catch fire. If you’re the one doing the grilling, make sure you have clean hands before touching any food.

Hanging by the pool or taking a trip to the beach on your agenda?  Make sure you apply sunscreen prior to being exposed to the sun and reapply when needed. The temperature is always rising so drink water or eat fruits to stay hydrated. Swim sober and never alone. Having a friend with you in case of an emergency is the safest way to swim.

No matter what you do this Fourth of July, remember that the roads will be crowded. Be mindful of others, watch your speed, don’t use your cell phone while driving and most importantly, do not drink and drive.

Whatever your family tradition is on the Fourth of July, have fun, stay safe and celebrate America’s birthday!

Pick Up the Trash!

While there are many environmental challenges we face on a global level, what we do everyday can affect our environment globally and most importantly, locally.  One such action is picking up trash in our community.  Every piece of trash we pick up helps to keep our neighborhoods clean and safe.

We challenge you to make a difference.  Here’s how:

  1. Find a local clean-up event.  There are many happening during the month of April.  Check with your local townships or environment commissions for dates.
  2. Take a Walk with a Trash Bag and Gloves. With so many of us taking walks in and around our neighborhood, designate one walk per month to collect the trash you see along your path.  Be sure to wear gloves and bring two or three trash bags to collect and separate the trash.

Small gestures can have big impacts.  Don’t underestimate the power you have to change your neighborhood, community and Mother Earth.