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Schools Closed Monday, Wires Still Down, Meals Available in Bernards

Additional homes and areas expected to come online over weekend.

Thousands of homes are expected to continue to come online through this weekend, with the township website quoting estimates that another 2,228 customers will receive power on Saturday, and an estimated 1,622 will be back online by Sunday night.

By that point, about 41 percent of the township's residents should have power back, according to power company estimates quoted by the township. As of Saturday's 9 a.m. post on the website, 10,069 homes were without power.

Schools closed on Monday

A phone alert went out to parents on Saturday evening saying that township schools are closed on Monday. Parents were advised to refer to the township website for continuing information.

The 6 p.m. update on the website said that JCP&L's website said that power outages in the township were down to 8,068, a reduction from 9,335 at 11 a.m. and down from 13,710 on Tuesday at 9 a.m., hours after Sandy's damaging winds.

"We are trying to get more detailed information regarding neighborhoods and streets if possible," the website said.

Scheduled recycling collections will resume on Monday where streets are passable. Election sites to be used if power is restored are on the website.

An earlier letter online from Bernards Mayor Mary Pavlini said the township has no information for when specific neighborhoods might be restored.

In the meantime, water main breaks were being addressed on Saturday morning that affected Linden, Blackburn, Knollcroft, Spencer, Oxbow, Dryden, Summit, and Pennwood resulting. Those streets have little or no water pressure for these properties, according to the website.

"The New Jersey American Water has advised as we receive further information, we will let our residents know," the website said.

Some residents reportedly blocked by downed trees with wires

While the situation may not have been Township Committeeman John Carpenter on Saturday afternoon confirmed that some streets in Bernards also are blocked by downed trees mixed with wires.

Deputy Mayor Carolyn Gaziano agred that those locations should be given the highest priority with JCP&L tree crews. They include: Deer Ridge Road, Lone Oak Road, Old Farm Road, Old Army Road, Hardscrabble Road, Fieldstone Drive, Dayton Street, Stone Ridge Road, Parkwood Lane and Parkview Avenue.

Those residents sometimes — and sometimes can't — bypass downed trees, Carpenter said. However, those streets are blocked to emergency vehicles, he said.

"We are doing everything we possibly can," Carpenter said. He said the township had contacted JCP&L, state Sen. Jon Bramnick (R-district 21) and the township's coordinator of the Office of Emergency Management, Mike Shimsky, had been in communication with the county OEM.

Carpenter said that assisting those residents is top priority, and next is getting facilities like the Somerset Hills YMCA's main facility on Mount Airy Road back up since it can offer services to many residents.

Do not touch wires

"It's extremely frustrating because we can't move (wires)," Carpenter said.

Police have meals available

The Bernards Township Police Department currently has two pallets of "heater meals," meals ready to eat, at the police headquarters lobby for public distribution. They will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until supplies run out.

Delivery of water and ice will be arriving shortly, police said.

The Pill Hill recycling center will be open for brush only (no bulk) everyday beginning Tuesday, Nov. 6 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Only the Meeker Road
entrance is open at this time. Bernards Township identification is required.

The 3 p.m. update on the township website said the Somerset County Clerk’s office will be open Saturday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to assist residents who want to vote by mail.

On Monday, Nov. 5, the office will issue mail-in ballots from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. The statutory deadline to accept mail-in ballots is 3 p.m. Monday. Residents who pick up a vote-by-mail ballot Saturday, Sunday or Monday will be able to complete it and drop it off at the Board of Elections, located next to the County Clerk’s Office.

The office is located on the first floor of the Somerset County Administration Building at 20 Grove Street, Somerville, N.J. 08876. Residents should come in person to pick up a vote-by-mail ballot. For further information, call the Somerset County Clerk’s Office at (908) 231-7013.

There is free parking in the Bernie Field Parking Deck, which connects to the county building; the entrance is on East High Street.

While much of the northern part of the township remained without power, modern conveniences had returned to the southern portion along Martinsville Road, where the Somerset Hills YMCA has been reported open, along with businesses, shops and restaurants there down through the 100 Marketplace Mall.

But as of Saturday morning, downtown Basking Ridge remained blockaded from both the north and south entrances along Finley Avenue. However, most of the two large trees that had fallen across North Finley just beyond The Presbyterian Church of Basking Ridge had been removed as of Saturday morning.

Pavlini and Carpenter both said that they and the Township Committee commended our volunteer first reponders in the Basking Ridge Fire Company No. 1, Liberty Corner Fire Company and Liberty Corner First Aid Squad, along with the Department of Public Works and the municipal staff.

Meanwhile, the Liberty Corner Fire Company announced it will hold a free spaghetti dinner at the Liberty Corner firehouse on Church Street between 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday night.

On Saturday morning, municipal employees were at the township police headquarters at 1 Collyer Lane to take electronic devices that can be charged at that location.

Regular Sunday masses, recharging both electronically and spiritually at St. James

The Rev. Glenn Comandini said there are generators in the older chapel at St. James Roman Catholic Church and the regular schedule of masses, starting at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, and continuing at 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon on Sunday will be held. However, as of Saturday morning, the church was to be closed, and the reverend cautioned that those who attend Saturday evening mass would need to park in the dark.

Comandini said the chapel, running on generator power, had been open for people to come in to charge electronic devices, make conference calls and have access to heat, hot water and a little prayer.

Fellowship Village on Allen Road remains open as a warming center in the Liberty Corner area.

b miller November 04, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Hind sight being what it is: wouldn't it have been great if the $760,000,000,000 (thats $760 Billion) of stimulus had been focused on, oh say, something useful like updating the national power grid instead of being squandered on "investments" like non-defunct solar power manufacturers. Fellow citizens, make your vote count on Tuesday. Think about the last 4 years of political grid lock and imagine what we will be facing in 2014, 2015, and 2016 if we allow status quo to be "good enough". Paraphrasing Mr. "O", "I say it ain't!"
LC November 04, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I'm with you! Nothing will stop me from voting Tuesday.
Grete Terjesen November 04, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Another Spring Ridge Resident who could not agree withmyou more. I am forced to live 70 miles from home. All my neighbors have left also. Who is making sure our community is safe? What happens if we have a community full of frozen pipes? We pay extremely high maintenance fees, and get very little for it.
Grete Terjesen November 04, 2012 at 07:03 PM
JCP&L has a sense of humor. I received an email threatening to turn off my power if I don't pay a $50.00 bill. What power? Another Spring Ridge resident
Lisa Silvershein November 05, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Are we going to be allowed to vote at the Liberty Corner firehouse? I can't possibly drive to Somerville to hand deliver a mail in ballot.

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