National Night Out

This year marked the 29th year the National Association of Town Watch. The Maplewood Police Department invited the public to join them in observing National Night Out.

National Night Out took place on Tuesday, August 4th from 6PM till 9PM. The event was held at DeHart Park, 120 Burnett Avenue in Maplewood NJ.

The event promoted various crime prevention programs including: neighborhood watch groups, neighbor home security surveys, crime prevention tips and bike registration.

Since 1984, the National Bike Registry (NBR®) has been working with law enforcement to return stolen bikes to their rightful owners. A bike registered with NBR, the only true national database, can be identified by police and returned to its rightful owner instead of being sold at an auction.

By registering your bike in the National Bike Registry. You will receive a Certificate of Registration and a tamper-resistant NBR label to identify your bike. Then, if your bike is ever stolen and recovered, no matter where, it can be returned to you.

All members of the community participated in this year’s event. The event was free to participants and included food, drinks, music, video game truck, bounce house, dunk tank and other activities. A police car, fire truck, and an ambulance was on display. All participants were be able to their register bicycles.

Woodbridge Wraps Up Shaping NJ Grant

20150616_180743     Woodbridge completed their ShapingNJ grant initiative this month. The Food Pantry Nutrition Program had great success. The Registered Dietician made 10 visits 20150616_174605to the food pantries and she provided nutritional educational outreach to many of their clients. The My Plate educational program was held for seven of the food pantry volunteers. While cooking demonstration by Wegman’s Food Markets was held at Public Health Day. Food tasting by NJ SNAP-ED was held at the Kids Day Out event at Parker Press. In addition, 964 nutritional information flyers were distributed throughout the grant period. A healthy donation handout was also developed for the food pantries to distribute to the community through their locations. A pre and post assessment survey was provided to residents who use the 2 selected food pantries. The results indicated that more residents were reading nutrition labels, especially for sodium. In addition residents were making better use of foods received in regard to healthier eating.

Our walking path and bike rack initiative has seen tremendous response from the community. We participated in the Middlesex County Greenway Walk held June 16, 2015. Sixty participants attended the event. In addition, a new walking path was installed at the Woodbridge Health Center that now completes a loop around the fields next to the Health Center. Almost immediately, many residents and employees have begun using the path. Five bike racks have been acquired and are currently being installed at various sites including the Evergreen Youth Center. Our Walking brochure was developed and distributed to strategic locations within the Township to highlight our walking paths throughout the Township. The walking assessment survey was utilized and distributed randomly at the Senior Center, Youth Center and Municipal Alliance meeting. A total of 141 surveys were completed. The results indicated that adult residents identified walking paths close to where they live and the youths surveyed were cognizant of school walking path sites. One resident indicated that markers should be provided at Evergreen Center walking path. Our final event will be an awareness event with the Mayor and the students that attend the Youth Center. The event is scheduled for Thursday September 24, 2015 to encourage use of the new bike rack installed at that location.

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Interview

I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride my bicycle

I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Doris Fernandez, the recreation aide in the Maplewood Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs. Doris provides information regarding activities and registration procedures and is entrusted with organizing and promoting recreational activities within the township.

1) What were your expectations for Improving Bike Safety in Maplewood?

The expectations for the bike network plan to provide a safe and inviting bicycle infrastructure. We want to improve the quality of life for the residence of Maplewood, by improving providing safer streets to ride on. By improving the air quality, reducing congestion on our streets and keeping everyone cycling for fun, exercise and transportation.

2) What has surprised or delighted you during the project?

Maplewood’s Bicycle Safety Program began last fall under the auspices of Overlook Medical Center – Atlantic Health. The first part of the project was when our Police Department registered bikes and gave free helmets at the Wellness Fair in our main park.

We were truly delighted by the turn out! Half of the helmets we purchased with the grant funding were given to residents

3) What unanticipated obstacles or challenges have you experienced?

When the street markings for the additional bikeway blocks were put on the asphalt, an error was made. The vendor acknowledged the problem and installed an additional marking at no cost. A challenge with a great outcome!

4) Do you think that the bike infrastructure will bring a positive impact to our community?

The bike infrastructure will bring a positive impact to our community by providing connectivity to destinations such as workplaces, schools, parks and public transportation. We also anticipate that the improvements will attract new riders.

Bike Racks and Healthy Food Will Improve Community Health in Somerset County

Healthier Somerset presented the last of its nutrition seminars last week. Children and adults of all ages attended the Bound Brook session, which featured fun and informative games about nutritious foods, smoothie and salad demonstrations and sampling, and information about public transportation options.

EmPoWER Somerset and Zufall Health Centers partnered with NJ SNAP-Ed to plan and implement the seminars.  RideWise TMA presented the transportation information and provided bus tickets purchased with ShapingNJ grant funds.

Our Complete Streets component is moving along nicely. Bound Brook, the most recent of the three boroughs to adopt the program, will install its just-delivered bike racks shortly.

We think the bike racks look like little robots!

More good news — Manville has adopted a “Complete Streets” policy! They will receive their bike racks soon.

We’re now at 7 municipalities (one-third of Somerset County) that have passed a resolution of support for the program.  Our final ShapingNJ grant partner, Somerville, will vote on a Complete Streets resolution at its meeting on Tuesday, September 8.  We’ll be there to support passage of the resolution!

Summer Biking and Beyond

This summer we’ve been busy installing the rest of the bike racks.  In the last two months, ten bike racks have found a new home in Bloomfield.  A big shout out to the Bloomfield Recreation Department, the Department of Public Works, and the Bloomfield Board of Education who all coordinated to agree on sites and arrange for their installation. Now students and residents can get around town in a healthy and sustainable manner knowing there are places to keep their bikes secure.  Don’t forget your locks, though.

Taking the stairs campaign will be working with the Bloomfield Historical Society http://www.bloomfieldhistorical.org.  We are thinking of utilizing historical photos such as these to hang in the stairwell in an effort to draw town employees and residents to the stairs. Isn’t it fun to look at old photos of your community and spot the differences? Can you see modern Bloomfield in these photos?

greetingscard

The Bloomfield Centennial Monument to the Soldiers and Sailors of the Spanish American War, Civil War, War of 1812, and the American Revolution, was dedicated in June of 1912.

The Bloomfield Centennial Monument to the Soldiers and Sailors of the Spanish American War, Civil War, War of 1812, and the American Revolution, was dedicated in June of 1912.

Our team also followed up with the Friendly News and Food, one of our Health Corner Store participants.  We compiled and analyzed the questionnaire findings from the 51 fifth grade students from Fairview school who completed the survey, and shared the results with the store owner, Vijay.   We learned that 70% of fifth graders visit the store “sometimes,” and that the most likely reason they visit is to purchase a snack, 75%.  Also, their most desired food choice is fruit and their most preferred beverage is water. Now Vijay can be prepared in September when the children come bustling in the doorway on their way to school.

By the way, thanks to Janet Heroux, we learned that this process of questioning a group of potential consumers is also know as market research.  A process the Bloomfield Health Department is undergoing in an effort to complete the national standards as set forth by the Public Health Accreditation Board.