County Executive Hughes Announces New Electric Car Charge Stations

Good news! Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced that Mercer County has been awarded a grant of $88,000 to install EV charging stations at close to a dozen county-owned locations. Three of the locations for the new charging stations are in Ewing. We share the announcement below:

County awarded $88K DEP Pay$ to Plug grant

Ownership of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles is growing by the year, and with an eye toward that trend, Mercer County is committed to the inclusion of sustainable practices such as the support of EVs. To meet the growing need for vehicle charging stations, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announces that Mercer County has been awarded a grant of $88,000 to install EV charging stations at close to a dozen county-owned locations.

The funding comes through the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection’s Pay$ to Plug In Program, which was designed to expand the state’s growing network of electric vehicle infrastructure, allowing residents, businesses and government agencies to purchase and drive electric vehicles.

“Studies show that range anxiety, the fear that the car will somehow run out of power, is a fear that keeps consumers from investing in electric vehicles, and our goal is to expand the opportunities to charge a vehicle and further educate consumers on the environmental benefits of gasoline alternatives,” Mr. Hughes said.

The transportation sector accounts for 46 percent of the New Jersey’s net greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest emissions source in the state, according to drivegreen.nj.gov. By installing EV charging stations on county property, Mercer County can help to slow climate change and reduce air pollution while providing an essential service for the growing number of EV drivers in the region, Mr. Hughes added.  Additionally, the number of EVs will likely increase due to the initiatives from the New Jersey State government to promote the purchasing of electric vehicles.

On recommendation of the Mercer County Planning Department, the new charging stations will be installed at (Ewing sites bolded and in green) :

  • Mercer County Administration Building, 640 South Broad St., Trenton
  • Mercer Office Park, 1440 Parkside Ave, Ewing
  • Hopewell Valley Golf Course, 114 Pennington-Hopewell Road, Hopewell
  • Mercer County Improvement Authority, 80 Hamilton Ave., Trenton
  • Mercer County Boathouse, 334 South Post Road, West Windsor
  • Mercer Oaks Golf Course, 725 Village Road West, West Windsor
  • Mountain View Golf Course, 850 Bear Tavern Road, Ewing
  • Princeton Country Club, Wheeler Way, West Windsor
  • Mercer Meadows (Hunt House), 197 Blackwell Road, Pennington
  • Mercer County Technical Schools Assunpink Center, 1085 Old Trenton Road, Hamilton
  • Mercer County Technical Schools Sypek Center, 129 Bull Run Road, Ewing

It Pay$ to Plug In provides grants to purchase, install and maintain EV charging stations in New Jersey.  Eligible costs include those necessary for and directly related to, the acquisition, installation, operation and maintenance of new EV charging stations.

Discover the Night: International Dark Sky Week 2021 – April 5 -12

Have you ever vacationed or visited a remote or rural destination and wondered why you felt particularly refreshed or rested afterwards?  Have you marveled at the starry skies and thought to yourself “Why are the stars so much brighter here?”  Have you wondered why it has become the norm to leave outdoor lights on through the night and so endanger not only our own nighttime heritage, but also cause serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife and our planet?

Help make a difference. Turn out your lights and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. Join the Ewing Green Team in addressing this issue during International Dark Skies Week (April 5th – 12th) and every night and help to reclaim our nighttime heritage.

Light Pollution Matters

The nighttime environment is a crucial natural resource for all life on Earth, but the glow of uncontrolled outdoor lighting has hidden the stars, radically changing the nighttime environment.

Before the advent of electric light in the 20th century, our ancestors experienced a night sky brimming with stars that inspired science, religion, philosophy, art, and literature. (Think of van Gogh’s Starry Night.)

The common heritage of a natural night sky is rapidly becoming unknown to the newest generations. In fact, millions of children across the globe will never see the Milky Way from their own homes.

We are only just beginning to understand the negative repercussions of losing this natural resource. A growing body of research suggests that the loss of the natural nighttime environment is causing serious harm to human health and the environment.

Light Pollution Threatens Wildlife

For billions of years, life has relied on Earth’s day-night rhythm to govern life-sustaining behaviors. It’s encoded in the DNA of all plants and animals. Humans have radically disrupted this cycle by lighting up the night. Research shows that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many species.

Sea turtles live in the ocean but hatch on the beach at night. Hatchlings find the sea by detecting the bright horizon over the ocean. Artificial lights can draw them away from the sea, stranding them on land. In Florida alone, millions of hatchlings die this way every year. Many insects are drawn to light, but artificial lights can create a fatal attraction. Think of the fireflies that used to dance around by the millions on lawns in our youth.  Or even the bug-splattered windshields of our cars that traversed the nights.  Where are they now? 

Declining insect populations negatively impact all species that rely on insects for food or pollination. Nocturnal mammals sleep in the day and are active at night. Light pollution disrupts their nighttime environment.

Artificial lights also endanger many bird species. They can disrupt the migratory schedules of birds causing them to leave too early or too late in the season, missing ideal conditions for nesting. Birds that navigate by moonlight and starlight can wander off course. Millions die every year by colliding into illuminated buildings.

Light Pollution Threatens Human Health

Humans are not immune to the negative effects of light in their nighttime spaces. Excessive exposure to artificial light at night, particularly blue light, has been linked to increased risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes and breast cancer.

Light Pollution Wastes Energy and Money

In the U.S. alone, there are about 162 million public and commercial outdoor light fixtures including

  • 45 million streetlights,
  • 52 million parking-lot lights,
  • 62 million lights on commercial buildings.

Residential outdoor lighting isn’t as bright, but there’s a lot more of it — about 1 billion light fixtures.

Lighting consumes lots of energy. In an average year in the U.S., outdoor lighting uses some 120 terawatt-hours of energy, mostly to illuminate streets and parking lots. That’s enough energy to meet New York City’s total electricity needs for 2 years! Excessive light at night causes light pollution and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.

So, let’s stop wasting so much energy! With so much lighting, even modest efforts to control outdoor lighting saves money, reduces carbon emissions, and helps the environment. We do need some light at night, but much of it is wasted by lights that are overly bright or left on when not needed. Unshielded fixtures waste the most energy. Their light shines upward, instead of down on the ground where it’s needed. At least 30% of outdoor light is wasted. That adds up to $3.3 billion and the release of 21 million tons of CO2 per year! To offset all that CO2, we’d have to plant 875 million trees annually.

But Don’t We Need Nighttime Lighting for Safety & Security?

There is no clear scientific evidence that increased outdoor lighting deters crime. It may make us feel safer, but it does not make us safer. The truth is bad outdoor lighting can decrease safety by making victims and property easier to see.

Glare from overly bright, unshielded lighting creates shadows in which criminals can hide. It also shines directly into our eyes, constricting our pupils. This diminishes the ability of our eyes to adapt to low-light conditions and leads to poorer nighttime vision, dangerous to motorists and pedestrians alike.

What Can Be Done?

The EGT is regularly asked: “What can I do to make a difference?” Well, here is one way that you can make a contribution.  The good news is that light pollution is reversible and its solutions are immediate, simple and cost-effective. Here are a few simple things you can do to confront the problem and take back the night:

  • Check around your home. Use only fully shielded, dark sky friendly fixtures for all outdoor lighting, so lights shine down, not up, to minimize “light trespass” beyond your property lines.
  • Use only the right amount of light needed. Too much light is wasteful, harms wildlife and creates glare.
  • Install timers and dimmer switches and turn off lights when not in use. If you must have security lighting, use motion sensors.
  • Use only lighting with a color temperature of 3000K and below. This means that there is less blue (cool) light that is more harmful to many animal species.

Check out this resource page on outdoor lighting basics.

Talk to neighbors. Explain that poorly shielded fixtures waste energy, produce glare and reduce visibility. Work with your local governments to ensure outdoor lighting isn’t harming the wildlife in your area.

Become a Citizen Scientist with Globe at Night and document light pollution in your neighborhood and share the results. Doing so, contributes to a global database of light pollution measurements.

[Resources and background materials for this article come from The International Dark Sky Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Tucson, Arizona. For 25 years, it has advocated for the protection of the nighttime environment and dark night skies by educating policymakers and the public about night sky conservation and promoting environmentally responsible outdoor lighting. More information about IDA and its mission may be found at http://www.darksky.org.]

Ewing Community Gardens Registration Set to Begin March 1st

Spring is not far off and now’s the time to grow local and get involved in community gardening in Ewing.  Ewing Township invites interested residents to register for a garden plot at the Ewing Community Gardens on Whitehead Road Extension.

Returning gardeners can register beginning on March 1st. New applicants may register beginning March 15th.

There is an active gardening organization so be sure to meet your neighbors and get involved.  Regular site clean ups will be held.

REGISTRATION DETAILS FOR THE 2021 GARDENING SEASON

The 2021 registration for garden plots at the Ewing Community Gardens on Whitehead Road Extension will begin in March in the

Office of the Clerk (2nd floor)
2 Jake Garzio Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628

In Person Registrations Are By Appointment Only

Call 609-538-7609 To Schedule

Plots are $5.00 each and you can purchase up to two plots.

Please fill out the following (We ask that you please prefill to help shorten your personal interaction in the Clerk’s Office during the Pandemic.):

  1. Ewing Township Community Gardens Application
  2. Guidelines  

REGISTRATION DATES

  • Monday, March 1, 2021 Registration will Open for Previous Year Plot Holders. (Owners of Plots in 2020 will have an opportunity to reserve their same plots from the prior year.)
  • Monday, March 15, 2021 Registration will Open for New Applicants
  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 If there are still plots available on April 15th, 2021 you may purchase additional plot(s).  Please call the clerk’s office at (609) 538-7609 to find out if more plots are available.

REQUIREMENTS

New applicants must be present to buy their plot(s).  Previous Year Plot Holders may drop off their filled application forms along with their payments in the Tax Drop Box at the rear of the Municipal Building (upper level). Garden plots are open to Ewing Township residents only  with proof of residency required.  No exceptions will be made!

We request that you supply us with a valid email address to ensure that we can keep you up to date on all information related to the gardens.

The official opening of the gardens is weather determined and announced later in the season.

For information about the Ewing Community Gardens Association email  ewingcommunitygardens@gmail.com.  Look for the upcoming ad in the March Ewing Observer.

COMMUNITY GARDENS CORONAVIRUS GUIDELINES

To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and keep both the garden and gardeners safe, we recommend following these guidelines while gardening on site.

MOST IMPORTANT: IF YOU FEEL AT ALL SICK, STAY HOME.

Ask a friend or fellow gardener to water your plot if you need to. You can email garden leadership if you don’t have someone to help. They may be able to help your make alternate arrangements. It is essential that we continue to work diligently to reduce the spread and keep this virus out of the garden.

TOOLS

We recommend using tools that you bring from home if you have them (and take them home with you when you leave). If you need to use the community tools such as the wheelbarrows and hoses, please follow these guidelines:

  • Wash or hand sanitize your hands before touching the tools. Gloves help here.
  • Don’t touch your face while using the tool (and until you remove your glove and wash/sanitize your hands).

HAND WASHING

  • Be sure to wash your hands frequently, especially before and after touching the shared tools, hoses, etc. Carry hand sanitizer or bring a Ziplock bag or other container with soap, a washcloth, or nailbrush inside.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • We will not have paper towels at the garden, so air drying or wiping on the inside of your shirt is best.

GLOVES

Garden gloves are not a substitute for proper hand sanitation procedures. The outside of your glove can transmit diseases from one surface to another, including transmitting the disease to yourself and others.  It is a good idea to wear gloves while in the garden, but not a replacement for sanitation.

FACE MASKS

Follow CDC recommendations for wearing masks, especially when you might be close to others.  A well-fitting face mask might not filter out the virus, but it will keep you from touching your face and keep you from spreading the virus if you are asymptomatic yet infected.

MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCE

  • Stay 6 feet from other gardeners
  • Young children should stay in their garden plot or with an adult
  • Work at being efficient when you are using shared spaces or during joint projects

A Call to Residents to Participate in Our Spring Clean-Up at Moody Park on March 20

In coordination with AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassador Program, we will be holding a Community clean-up event at Moody Park on March 20.

Residents are encouraged to sign up for a 1 and a ½ hour slot between the hours of 10:30 am and 3 pm online to ensure proper social distance and health protocols at Moody Park.

“Our Community Clean-up, slated for the first day of spring, coincides with regional and state events focused on beautifying the community.” stated Ewing Green Team Chair Joanne Mullowney.

Community members will be notified upon sign-up as to their reporting location at the Park.  An inclement weather date is planned for Saturday, March 27, 2021.

“We are so appreciative of residents who are willing to give up a bit of their Saturday to help beautify an important recreational space in Ewing.”  said Ewing Mayor Bert Steinmann.

Community members, unable to participate in the event at Moody Park are encouraged to consider cleaning up their portion of the community, whether that be a street corner, storm drain or common area.

MCIA Document Shredding Event This Saturday, October 17th

The Mercer County Improvement Authority will be hosting its October Document Shredding event this Saturday, October 17th from 9 am – 12 pm in Lot 4 of 651 South Broad Street in Trenton (across from the Mercer County Administration Building).  The event will be held rain or shine.

A maximum of eight boxes and/or Bags of Paper will be accepted.  No Household chemicals will be accepted.  This event is for Mercer County residents only, NO commercial businesses allowed.  Proof or residency is required (Driver’s license).

For more information call 609-278-8086 of visit www.mcianj.org.