2008 STATE OF THE COUNTY MESSAGE
FREEHOLDER DAVID B. CRABIEL


September 18, 2008

 

 

2008 State of the County Address

Middlesex County Department Accomplishments:

Adult Corrections Middlesex County College
Aging Mosquito Commission
Clerk of the Board Parks And Recreation
Comptroller Personnel
Consumer Affairs Planning
County Clerk Prosecutor
County Counsel Public Works & Highways
Cultural & Heritage Purchasing
Economic Development Raritan Bay Medical
Emergency Management Real Estate
Engineering Shared Services
Fire Academy Superintendent of Schools
Health Surrogate
Housing Transportation
Human Services           Treasurer
Medical Examiner Vocational & Technical High School

 

FREEHOLDER DIRECTOR DAVID B. CRABIEL
STATE OF THE COUNTY ADDRESS
September 18, 2008

I would like to personally thank all of the men and women who work for Middlesex County, “The Greatest County in the Land!” Because of your commitment to serving the residents of this County, we continue to provide excellent services of which we can be most proud.

As Americans, we have faced many challenges in 2008. The economic downturn has resulted in hardships that have not only been felt at the Federal, State, and County levels, but also at the dinner tables of our residents. We must remain diligent in bringing financial prudence to our day-to-day operations to lessen the burden on our tax-paying citizens.

As a County, we have held to this commitment for more than a decade by cutting the equalized property tax rate for 15 years straight while maintaining, and even enhancing, our outstanding services that our residents want and deserve.

Middlesex County achievements in 2008 are many. At this time, I will offer what I consider to be the highlights of the year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

 

It is quite clear that our accomplishments demonstrate the progress we made in 2008 and how they have set the stage for 2009. Though the year ahead holds many challenges, I am confident we will continue to be vigilant in conducting prudent financial planning to ensure that each precious tax payer dollar will be used for the services that best serve our residents.

The role of government is twofold: First, we must care for those who need our assistance. Second, and equally important, we must provide opportunities so our residents can enhance their quality of life and their own economic success. We made great strides in both these areas in 2008 and I expect continued progress in 2009.

It is then and only then, that we can continue to proclaim that “Middlesex County is the Greatest County in the Land!”

 


 

Middlesex County Department Accomplishments
               

Adult Corrections

The Adult Corrections Center has recently augmented its medical program with a feature called Telepsychiatry.  This service will benefit every municipal police department in Middlesex County, while making the entire County safer.

Our jail currently has psychologists and psychiatrists on staff during normal business hours.  When municipal police officers apprehend someone and bring that person to the jail, he or she is evaluated by the staff before they are incarcerated.  If the professional staff determines that the person is seriously mentally impaired, they are then sent to the hospital, and ultimately, to an acute psychiatric services facility.  If the person is cleared by the jail’s medical staff to be incarcerated, the police officers who brought the person are then free to return to their posts or patrols.  If the person is deemed to need more specialized care, the police officers must take the individual to the hospital and to the acute facility.  This process can take several hours.

A problem for the police departments exists when offenders are brought to the jail during off hours – for example, at midnight on a weekend.  If the offenders in this scenario exhibit suicidal tendencies, or severe mental issues, they are currently sent to the hospital with the police officers who brought them to the jail.  The jail has nurses on staff round the clock, but not psychologists or psychiatrists.  So, the potential exists that an offender may need to be transported to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation – in the middle of the night – tying up the officers who originally brought the offender to the jail.

Telepsychiatry makes this process more efficient and economical for the police.  Using audio visual equipment already installed in the jail, the offender can be evaluated by an on-call psychiatrist, typically in about thirty minutes, and thereby potentially save the police officers the several hours of time spent transporting the offender to different facilities in the middle of the night.  The telepsychiatrist can perform a professional evaluation of the individual, and even prescribe medication based on this evaluation.  Under these circumstances, if the doctor determines that the offender can be held and treated at the jail, the police officers who apprehended him are free to return to their municipality.  In the middle of the night on a weekend, police officers can be back patrolling their towns rather than transporting an individual to hospitals and acute care facilities.

The cost for this service will be shared among all participating municipalities in Middlesex County.  There is no cost to the County for this service.

 

 Video Court for Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detainees

The federal government has agreed to install electronic video equipment at the jail for ICE detainees to have their court proceedings administered remotely.  This will greatly reduce the cost to the County of transporting detainees to and from federal court in Newark.  The County earns $100 per federal inmate, per day for housing these detainees.

Labor Assistance Program (LAP)

As an alternative to incarceration, judges may sentence qualifying offenders to serve their time outside the jail, on weekends, picking up litter or painting in communities or at County facilities.  This program saves on the cost of incarceration, and saves the County and municipalities costs they would otherwise incur for this work.  This program has expanded over the years, and thus far this year 186 inmates have completed their sentences via LAP, with 40 more inmates pending completion at this time.

Clean Communities

Security staff at the jail, reimbursed by State grant funds secured by the Division of Solid Waste Management, supervises inmate labor in cleaning up communities throughout the County.  This program has grown since its inauguration in 1996 to the point where, this year, inmates worked over 2,700 hours collecting over 1,500 bags of trash, cutting grass and removing weeds, cleaning storm drains and gutters and performing other maintenance tasks  in 16 locations throughout Middlesex County.

 

Aging

 

 The following performance outcomes relate to the above priorities:

The Department’s Information and Assistance staff was the “access link” for almost 30,000 individuals who enabled them to learn about senior resources and access potential services.  The comprehensive Resource Directory for older Adults was also made available in hard copy and on our web page enabling local and out of area individuals to directly obtain information on a broad array of programs and services for seniors in the county.  

Another key means to inform the public about issues, programs, and services has been the monthly Aging Today in Middlesex County show which airs on fifteen municipal TV stations and four regional cable stations to potentially 350,000 viewers.  The program is well received as evidenced by follow-up calls to the office and programs being discussed. The Aging Today show was nationally honored with a “Telly” award for public broadcasting highlighting Middlesex County’s Senior Farm Market & Senior Art Contest and with a “Home Town Video” award in public broadcasting for its Elder Abuse and Senior Scam segment. 

The Senior Meal Program further diversified its menu options to ensure more inclusiveness for older individuals and ultimately providing appropriate nutrition to a broader number of seniors.  In addition to a regular menu, options now include a vegetarian menu, Hispanic, Asian-Indian and Chinese dishes.   Just under 5,000 seniors obtained a meal from the county Senior Meal Program in the past year with 955 being older minority individuals who participated in these new options.   Due to the higher cost of food and fuel, this meal program has become even more critical to the wellness of our older residents.

The Department’s Health & Fitness focus included distribution of approximately 3,000 Senior Health calendars and pertinent health and nutrition information on the back of the Senior Meal menus which were distributed to over 3,200 individuals monthly.

The Department also coordinated the Senior Health & Fitness Walk which was a big success and drew in over 400 senior walkers to Johnson Park in Piscataway.  This venue was also used to promote various other activities that improve senior health & fitness.

 The Department on Aging collaborated with Middlesex County College to offer the first Caregiver Certificate program at the College for community caregivers and for individuals who are involved in or may be considering the home care/home health field.  The first class drew in approximately fifteen individuals and a second class is scheduled to begin in November 2008.

The intent of the Department’s home care initiatives is to provide home care support services for clients to avoid premature institutionalization and also assist caregivers by providing some relief from caregiving responsibilities.  Social work care managers in the Department were able to assist almost 1,000 individuals over age 60 and disabled persons ages 18-59 through 8 different home care programs supported with federal, state and county funding. Each program is designed to target specific needs and has different eligibility requirements.  

The Department continued working toward ensuring our staff reflect the diversity found within the county to better serve county residents. This cultural and linguistic diversity has enabled the Department to better serve the needs of 7,641 minority and ethnic individuals seeking assistance by the office. Staff are able to assist clients in English, Spanish, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Russian, Polish, Yoruba, French, Latvian and Norwegian.

Ensuring the fiscal integrity of programs funded by the Department is important and an integral part of the Department’s management process.  On-site
monitoring for all 49 agencies awarded grants/contracts was conducted.A formal report was issued to each agency after examining their program and fiscal effectiveness, management systems, adherence to the contract agreement, etc.  Programs with any noted deficiencies were provided related technical assistance and given a specific time frame for remediation of any deficiency.

 

Clerk of the Board

The County’s DARM Center received an upgraded version of its records management software and completed 16 years of operation servicing County departments, the Courts and several municipalities

An Archive writer has been installed at the DARM Center which creates microfilm from the images scanned by the County Clerk’s staff.  The addition of this equipment allows DARM staff to microfilm other projects while the County Clerk microfilm is being produced electronically.  This equipment was funded by the PARIS grant.

Comptroller
                       
 Implementation of new salary history cards, historically, this department has maintained manual salary history cards for each and every employee.  The cards contain each individual salary and/or title action each employee has undergone since their hire date.  Each record was reproduced and is being updated since this system’s roll out of January 1, 2008.

Created all prior year accounts on H.T.E, previously, all prior year accounts (two years old or older) were lumped in one single H.T.E. account and were maintained by this office using an old antiquated DOS program.  This office designed a new scheme and created a new fund where each old account is now maintained and controlled.  This automation also gave user departments the ability to view and control their own old accounts on line.

 

Consumer Affairs

With the gas price spike in 2008, the department received hundreds of calls from consumers to report stations for various problems.  Each and every complaint that filed is taken seriously and investigated by our department.  Stations were investigated for improper signage, calibration of meters, price changing, and charging more than the price advertised.  Weights and Measures also did random inspections for octane levels with an octane testing unit purchased in 2007.  Several stations were found in violation of deceiving the consumer by selling low octane grade fuel as premium fuel as well as other violations. 

 In 2007, the Department of Weights and Measures brought in fines that totaled $328,342.00 this is an increase of approximately $259,000.00 from the 2006 total of $69,573.00.  The entire department worked diligently together in making sure that the consumers of Middlesex County get what they pay for. As of August 29, 2008 the department has collected $217,259.67 with numerous violations waiting for court appearance, or outstanding payment of fines.

 
County Clerk

 

County Counsel

BAIL FORFEITURES

This office continues to vigorously pursue bail bond forfeitures. During the past year the County has received approximately $700,000.00 in settlements. All 21 bail forfeiture matters on appeal were affirmed, reversed & remanded or dismissed by settlement for total revenue of $423,000.00.

Most notably, the matter of State v. Leidy Granados was affirmed in favor of the County of Middlesex and State of New Jersey by the Supreme Court of New Jersey on August 5, 2008 in the amount of $40,000.00.

SOLID WASTE ADVISORY COUNCIL

In a prerogative action against the County of Middlesex, on July 2, 2008, the Honorable Jessica R. Mayer, J.S.C. held that the Freeholders’ adoption of Resolution #07-696 denying plan inclusion for JIS Co., Inc. of the proposed Plan Amendment into the Middlesex County Solid Waste Management Plan to operate a Class B Recycling Facility for premises located at 999 Cranbury-South River Road, in the Township of South Brunswick was not arbitrary and capricious or unreasonable and dismissed the action against the County.

AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT EASEMENTS

In the last year, three (3) Agricultural Development Easements have been completed.

PROPERTY ACQUISITIONS

This office has completed property acquisitions for five (5) Roadway/Bridge Improvement Projects and is in the process of acquiring property interests for three (3) additional Roadway/ Bridge Improvement Projects.

 

Cultural & Heritage

Awarded two statewide honors for publications of the Cornelius Low House/Middlesex County Museum, relating to the project Down the Jersey Shore, the history of river and shore ecology, immigration and architecture (grant funded!).

Named a Distinguished Service Agency by the NJ State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State for the period from 2007-2010.

Offered, for the first time anywhere in New Jersey, audio tours of the Cornelius Low House, the Middlesex County Museum, its original inhabitants, its architecture and more.  Visitors dial a special number on their cell phone (732-377-8970) and follow the prompts.  The Museum is open 6 days a week, but the public wants us open Saturdays and evenings as well.  This is not possible with limited staff.  Our new, cell phone tours, will provide historical information and interesting facts, plus hours we are open, contact info, etc, to visitors who stop by, in off- hours.

Anna Aschkenes, Executive Director was awarded the State’s highest history honors for cultural diversity, by the statewide organization called the Advocates for New Jersey History.

The Commission on behalf of the County applies for and receives monies from the State Arts Council and State Historical Commission for re-granting to local groups.  In the last 12 months, the numbers of local groups assisted with these monies, totaled 80 organizations – more than in any other year since the Cultural and Heritage Commission was formed in 1971!

And lastly, for the first time ever, the Commission with the help of the County’s IT Department, placed online, dozens of historical maps and images from an archaeological dig (conducted as a result of the re-alignment of Route 18, NB) and a 300 page manuscript of findings.  This remarkable resource is available to the public, free of charge, and may be utilized by students, educators and the public, at their convenience, without requiring additional staff time.

 

Economic Development

The department published the County’s first four-color tourism and economic development guide which features economic facts and figures as well as recreational and cultural opportunities throughout the County.  In the past this has been strictly an economic profile, tourism was included since facilities along the waterfront, cultural centers and Rutgers athletics are emerging.

The 15th update of the “Heart” of Middlesex County Book has recently been completed.  This publication is distributed to companies expanding and/or relocating in the County and schools.

Grants totaling $848,892 were awarded for sustainable economic growth improvements to nine municipalities.  These grant awards were for creative and innovative uses in projects that demonstrated a sustainability factor.  One of the awards was for solar-powered trash compactors in the downtown business districts of Woodbridge.

The County Economic Development Department, in conjunction with the Workforce Development Department, initiated a more hands-on approach of proactively working with businesses. Through these efforts, a $58,400 customized training grant was awarded to Sunny Delight Beverage who will now be expanding their South Brunswick manufacturing facility instead of relocating to Texas.

 

Emergency Management

HESS REFINERY / NEPTUNE EXERCISE

We were involved in the planning and participation of an exercise at the Hess Refinery in Port Reading that has occurred on September 24th.  The exercise will involved an intentional act causing a large fire with multiple local, counties, and out of county resources.

HOSPITAL EVACUATION

I am a member of the Central East Medical Coordination Center (MCC) Advisory Council located at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital.  There are several MCC’s located through out the state.  The Central East MCC at RWJUH covers Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union counties.  I am the County OEM rep.  One of the initiatives currently under development is a template for hospitals to use when developing their respective Evacuation Plans.

HURRICANE EXERCISE

On Thursday, July 10th I attended a table top exercise conducted by FEMA and hosted by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness as well as State OEM that considered the recovery from a direct impact of a Category 3 hurricane on New Jersey.  The exercise was attended by over 200 participants from numerous Federal, State, and local agencies from New Jersey and New York.

RUTGERS EXERCISE

We were involved in the planning and participation of a civil disturbance/ terrorist activity exercise at Rutgers which took place on Wednesday, July 16, 2008.

UASI

The Urban Area Security Initiative planning is an ongoing activity since Middlesex County was included in the UASI region. 

 

 

Engineering

Following are various Bridge/Culvert Replacement projects recently completed or under construction with a cumulative construction cost of approximately $20 million:

Culverts 2-C-105 and 2-C-106 (Freedom/Commonwealth) Piscataway
$ 834,000
Culverts 2-C-78 and 2-C-95 (Rock/Lakeview) Piscataway
$1,898,000
Bridge 3-B-152 (Ryder’s Lane) East Brunswick/Milltown
$ 5,547,000
Culvert 3-C-177 (Joyce Kilmer Avenue) New Brunswick
$ 918,000
Culvert 4-C-45 (Ridge Road) South Brunswick
$ 580,000
Bridge 5-B-83 (Gravel Hill Road) Monroe
$ 1,710,000
Bridge 5-B-122 (Federal Road) Monroe
$ 767,000
Bridge 5-B-164 (Probasco Road) Cranbury 
$1,470,000
Bridge 3-B-78 (Bordentown Road) East Brunswick/Sayreville
$6,268.000
Culvert 2-C-219 (River Road) Piscataway
$233,000


           
The replacement of Bridge 3-B-78 Bordentown Avenue over South River, East Brunswick, Old Bridge, and Sayreville. The existing two spans thru Girder Bridge were replaced with a prestressed adjacent box beam bridge on concrete abutments and steel pipe piles.  The roadway width was increased from 30’ to 40’ across the bridge.   The bridge was replaced in stages providing for a lane of traffic in each direction during construction.  The adjacent intersection on Main Street/River Road was widened and signalized as part of the project.  The project cost $6,268,000 and took approximately 14 months to complete.

Culvert 2-C-219, River Road over a Branch of the Raritan River in Piscataway, was repaired due to damages from flooding in the spring of 2007.  The emergency repairs included the replacement of a portion of the collapsed stone arch and concrete wing walls.  Plans and Specifications were prepared in-house and construction was completed within 60 days.  The repair cost of $233,193.50 was 100% reimbursed by FEMA.

The Manalapan Lake Dam in Jamesburg was rehabilitated in accordance with mandates from the NJDEP.  The rehabilitation included the placement of steel sheeting adjacent to the existing concrete dam to abate the seepage under the dam.  In addition, the flood gates were repaired and a new access bridge across the spillway was installed.  The rehabilitation costs were $1,299,000 and were completed by J.H. Reid Construction.  The dam is currently in compliance with the NJDEP, Dam Safety Regulations.

Following are various Roadway/Traffic projects recently completed or under construction with a cumulative construction cost of approximately $30 million:

 

Main Street Improvements, City of South Amboy 
$ 2,829,000.00
Intersection Improvements to Stelton Rd, South Washington Ave& Turner Place, Piscataway 
 $ 144,000.00
Installation and Upgrading of Guide Rail along Various County Roads, Middlesex County    
$ 2,955,000.00
Drainage Improvements, River Road within 3 Railroad Bridge Areas,
Middlesex Borough    
  $ 715,000.00
Intersection Improvements in the vicinity of Metro Park Train Station
Edison/Woodbridge, Contract #2    
$ 2,161,000.00
Intersection Improvements to Oak Tree Rd & Sugar Tree Plaza, Edison     
$ 493,000.00
Intersection Improvements to Main St. & Woodbridge Ave., Edison
 $ 1,636,000.00
Intersection Improvements to Metlars Lane, Suttons Lane & Drake Lane, Piscataway 
  $ 1,694,000.00
Intersection Improvement’s to Old Bridge Turnpike and Prospect St., East Brunswick/South River
$1,595,000.00

 The Hamilton Boulevard Improvements Phase 1 and 2 projects in South Plainfield were from Shevchenko Avenue to New Market Avenue.  The project included the reconstruction of Hamilton Blvd, new curbing, sidewalk, drainage improvements, signalization of 3 new intersections and upgrading to current standards 3 of the existing traffic control signals.  The total construction costs for both phases of the project were $11,677,000.00.  Metlars Lane in Piscataway was improved from South Randolph Ville Road to Lake Nelson.  The pavement of Metlars Lane was completely reconstructed and widened.  The new roadway accommodates one lane of traffic in each direction with a center turning lane.  Bicycles were addressed within this section of roadway with the addition of bicycle lanes.  Additional improvements include new curbing, sidewalk and upgraded drainage system.  The project cost was $2,277,000.00.

The intersection of West Avenue and Port Reading Avenue in Woodbridge Township was signalized.  Included with the signalization of the intersection was the addition of an emergency signal for the Firehouse and First Aid Squad on both West Avenue and Port Reading Avenue.  The project construction cost was $1,100,000.00.

The Middlesex County Transportation Advisory Committee was able to obtain a $3 million grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the study of a connection between Route 1 and Route 130.

 

Fire Academy

We are in the process of installing a new software program for a better class registration course management system.  This will let student’s fax and e-mail applications on-line to enroll in courses at the Middlesex County Fire Academy using a registration web interface.  This will make Middlesex County Fire Academy easily accessible for student’s course selection and enrollment.

A new motor vehicle extrication prop was installed.  This new expanded prop will be able to handle multiple training exercises such as truck/tanker rollovers, car accidents, specialty training such as bus and/or train accidents.

A Freeholder resolution was passed with Trinity Global, LLC.  The Middlesex County Fire Academy can now hold internet live picture in picture training anywhere in the world.  This technology lets the Middlesex County Fire Academy be the front runner in internet live training.  The Fire Academy has scheduled four (4) new courses for the fall semester to keep up with the changes in building construction, transportation, and storage facilities.

The Middlesex County Fire Marshal’s office over the last year has been working with the fire departments throughout Middlesex County to form different task forces to be used during any emergency.  The task forces are Large Diameter Hose, Foam Task Force, Wild land Urban Interface and Water Tenders.  Each task force is made up of several fire departments training together to perform a special job at an emergency incident.

The Middlesex County Fire Marshal’s office has finished upgrading our 800 MHZ Radio System from a four (4) site to a seven (7) site radio system.  Better radio voice quality and coverage throughout the entire county has been proven through this upgrade.  The county public safety and non-public safety users will now have better communications on a daily basis and in emergencies.

We have also started our county to municipality connection of radio systems so at times of need we can connect one (1) or multiple towns together so communications can continue through an incident with out delay.  This project will be finished Dec. of 2008.

 

Health

Public Health Department Exercises First Responder Medication Distribution Program
                 
On October 23, 2007, the Middlesex County Public Health Department spearheaded a full-scale exercise of the First Responder Oral Medication Distribution Program. Now accepted as a national model, this innovative program had its inception within our own County Health Department. During a public health emergency, specific medications would be provided by the federal and state government to break the chain of infection within our communities. The First Responder Program is designed to quickly protect police, fire, first aid, emergency management and other key staff in local government, along with their immediate family members, so critical community services and infrastructure can be preserved for the protection of all of our residents.
                 
During this exercise, all county departments and agencies, plus the emergency response forces in 24 municipalities were active participants. In all, approximately 22,000 people would have received their medication within hours of the arrival of bulk drug shipments to a central warehouse. Middlesex County Public Health Department personnel distributed pre-staged medication amounts to each municipality, as well as to county employees, as coordinated through the County’s Emergency Operating Center. The Public Health Department would like to thank all elected leaders, department heads and emergency management volunteers of the Borough of South Plainfield for hosting this major emergency response exercise.

First Public Health Emergency Response Plan for Radiological Response in New Jersey Developed by Middlesex County Public Health Department

In keeping with our commitment to public health emergency preparedness, the Middlesex County Public Health Department researched and developed a Radiological Response Plan which will be used as a model for the State of New Jersey. Within this plan, the goals, roles, and tasks that would need to be initiated during a radiological emergency as well as the roles of essential inter-agency partners were identified. This comprehensive emergency response plan was the first public health radiological program approved by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, and the New Jersey State Police.

New Public Health Clinic Opens

On Tuesday, September 25, 2007, the Public Health Department’s new Public Health Clinic was dedicated. Approximately seventy-five members of the public and community health partners attended this ceremony and toured the facility. Located at 596 Jersey Avenue, Suite B, New Brunswick, the clinic provides multiple clinical services including:  sexually transmitted disease screening, counseling and treatment; Well-Baby Clinics (medical assessment, anticipatory guidance and immunizations for children through age 5); childhood immunizations and Cancer Education and Early Detection (CEED) Program Screenings including breast, cervical, prostate and colorectal cancer screening; and Children’s Immunizations. For further information regarding these services call 732-745-3100. The new facility provides an updated, accessible and spacious clinic setting with parking onsite and is also accessible by local public transportation services (Hub City Trolley and MCAT).

Middlesex County has been named the top recycling county in New Jersey by the state Department of Environmental Protection. This honor could not have been achieved without the enforcement efforts of the Public Health Department’s Solid Waste Division Recycling Program. Program personnel conduct routine unannounced inspections of commercial, industrial, office, institutional, and multi-family generators. Generators found to be in non-compliance during inspections are issued a Notice of Violation. These generators are then subject to follow-up inspections until compliance is achieved. Generators who continue to be in non-compliance are issued Penalty Assessments as set forth in the County Solid Waste Management Plan.

From July 1, 2007 to the present the Recycling Program has conducted 2834 recycling inspections at commercial, industrial, office, institutional, and multifamily facilities throughout the county and has collected $12,390 in penalties.

As part of the 2007-08 Influenza Preparedness and Prevention Campaign, the Public Health Department developed a new program “Healthy Habits”. This program consists of a coloring book for children in kindergarten through third grade accompanied by a lesson plan for teachers to use in the classroom. This book was created to help parents and teachers talk to children about preventing the flu and other illnesses and was distributed throughout county schools. The lessons and activities in this book focus on germs, proper hand washing, healthy eating habits, and staying home if feeling ill. It is important for children to establish healthy habits at an early age and include them in their daily routine. Over 31,000 copies of the book were distributed throughout Middlesex County schools. Copies can be downloaded on the Public Health Department’s website:
This is under the publications tab. http://co.middlesex.nj.us/publichealth/publications.asp  
                       
As a part of a continuing program to effectively link the five local health departments with the Middlesex County Public Health Department, a new radio communications capability was initiated.  Under United States Homeland Security funding, each of the five local health officers in Edison, Woodbridge, Piscataway, South Brunswick and Middlesex Borough received specially programmed hand-held radios to provide secure and reliable emergency communications during public health emergencies. These radios will be essential in the event that the county-wide emergency public health mutual aid plan is activated.

The Tuberculosis Clinic at 29 Oakwood Avenue, Edison, provides medical and case management for residents affected by Tuberculosis. A new element has been implemented by the clinic staff to increase compliance for patients completing their medication; a video phone is utilized for some patients when the physician has ordered direct observed therapy.  The staff member calls the patient using the video phone and the patient takes their medication in front of the camera.  This allows the staff and patient to comply with the direct observed therapy order verifying that the patient has taken the medication with minimal inconvenience on the part of the patient. The method has been very successful in assuring that the patient completes therapy.

In February 2008, the Middlesex County Public Heath Department initiated a recall of beef products from a California firm, the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company, following news reports that these products had been distributed through the National School Lunch Program. The initial information on this product that was provided to health departments indicated that “no action is required of local health departments at this time for this recall.” Based on the information that E. coli contaminated ground beef was distributed to schools, serving a particularly vulnerable population, the Middlesex County Public Health Department contacted the New Jersey State Department of Health and began their own investigation of Middlesex County school lunch programs.

The MCPHD Inspection Division inspected all schools in our 20 contracting municipalities.  A total of 11 school districts in our jurisdiction had the meat products on site. All of the products were voluntarily destroyed.  Most of the product destruction was witnessed by the Inspection Division.  More that 130 cases of ground beef were destroyed. There were no reports of illness related to these recalled beef products.

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is operated and maintained in the Water Pollution Control program of the Environmental Health Division. This GIS is comprised of computer hardware and software which enables digital mapping of environmental issues throughout the County including private well locations, locations of high radon readings, hazardous material storage sites, and areas where positive rabies specimens have been found.

The Water Pollution Control program of the Middlesex County Public Health Department’s Environmental Division has undertaken a project to digitally map all homes that currently have a drinking water well onsite (as opposed to having a connection to a public water supply).  Any home which had a new well drilled which was witnessed by the Public Health Department or whose well was sampled under the Private Well Testing Act (PWTA) was mapped under the Geographic Information System (GIS), and a database was created providing information on the well. For 2008, prior paper documents on domestic wells which are on file in the Environmental Health Division are being researched to update the information on them. Once it is established that a well still exists on the property these wells are being mapped and added to the existing GIS database. To date four hundred and sixty (460) domestic drinking water wells have been mapped throughout Middlesex County.

The establishment of a GIS map and database of domestic drinking water wells will aid the Public Health Department in researching any contamination problems in drinking water in the County.

The New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services has recognized the Middlesex County Public Health Department for their hard work and dedication in increasing community awareness of the effects of selling tobacco products to minors through the Tobacco Age of Sale (TASE)  enforcement program.  Middlesex County achieved a compliance rate of 95% in 2007, well under the state and federally mandated 80% compliance rate.

The Middlesex County Public Health Department’s Cancer Education and Early Detection (CEED) program reported several success stories and is helping to save the lives of Middlesex County residents who are unable to afford routine cancer screenings.  Since January 2008, the CEED program has diagnosed three women with breast cancer. That makes a total of eleven (11) breast cancer and two cervical cancer diagnoses during the grant cycle of July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008.

The Middlesex County Public Health Department’s Air Pollution Division has begun a new program that will help to save lives. Under the County Environmental Health Act (CEHA) agreement they have begun performing dry cleaner inspections. To accomplish this task, we have recently purchased a RAE 3000 Photo ionization Detector using CEHA grant funds. This equipment is now mandated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to perform dry cleaner inspections in New Jersey, and it detects the presence of higher than normal levels of Perchloroethylene (PERC), a commonly used dry cleaning solvent and suspected human carcinogen.

The Middlesex County Public Health Department has received a FirstDefender®  handheld chemical detection instrument as part of the United States Department of Homeland Security Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program.  This equipment which will be used by the MCPHD Hazardous Materials Response Unit will enable rapid identification of unknown chemicals directly in the field including explosives, narcotics, chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), and more.

A new initiative being undertaken by the Environmental Division of the Public Health Department is the compilation of the locations of solid waste facilities in Middlesex County. This will be included in our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database. The database will initially include the landfills, both operating and closed, as well as solid waste transfer stations in the county. Later it will be expanded to include the various types of recycling facilities and compost sites. The database will serve as a means of mapping the locations of these sites for the purpose of generating maps and reports.

Starting September 2008, the Middlesex County Public Health Department will be participating in a new program. Student nurses in the practical nursing program at Lincoln Technical Institute, Edison, will be training with the Public Health Department Nursing Division. This arrangement will provide student nurses with public health experience, collaboration between academia and practice. The students will accompany County nurses to child health conferences, immunization clinics, and be trained in nursing services provided by the Public Health Department. 

This agreement will complement the partnership already in place with The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) School of Nursing and provide an opportunity for future nurses to explore the rewarding career of public health nursing. Hopefully, through these cooperative efforts we can provide the needed experience and increase the number of students who can pursue this crucial profession. 

In April 2008, Middlesex County Public Health Department Hazardous Materials Unit in cooperation with County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) obtained the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grant federally funded by the USDOT- Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Administration.  The grant involves obtaining baseline radiation readings at tiered facilities, other critical infrastructure, and emergency service sites. The radiation readings will be added to the County Annex and also layered into the CAMEO/MARPLOT/ALOHA software. It will become an invaluable tool for strategy, tactics, and risk communication. This information will facilitate the decisions at the Command Post during a radiation event or drill.

A new pesticide program is being conducted by the Middlesex County Public Health Department under the County Environmental Health Act agreement with the NJDEP. The inspection staff conducts routine inspections of schools, landscapers, golf courses, campgrounds, apartments, restaurants and rental properties to determine whether the owner or operator has applied any pesticide.   When pesticides are found to be used, inspection is conducted to determine whether such application was performed by a certified and registered pesticide applicator, operator and/or registered business.

Violations found and documented are referred to the NJDEP Bureau of Pesticide Enforcement for coordination of enforcement actions.

 

Housing

The Department’s American Dream first-time homebuyers’ program helped fifty families purchase their first home. Construction of ten family rental units was underway, and fifty new affordable senior units were in the pipeline. Six new rental units were completed for young women aging out of foster care. Three affordable apartments for special needs individuals were completed, with seven more in the pipeline. Home funds enabled the East Brunswick Community Housing Corporation to purchase five existing condominium apartments and offer them at very affordable rents. 

Rehabilitation of eleven owner-occupied homes was completed or underway, along with three special needs homes, and another eighteen homes were completed in CDBG-funded municipal rehab programs.

The County’s rental assistance program helped six hundred of the county’s neediest families by making decent quality apartments available at rents they can afford.

We provided Community Development Block Grant funding to seventy nine projects carried out by municipalities and non-profit organizations, benefitting senior citizens, people with disabilities, victims of domestic abuse and other low and/or moderate income citizens.

 

Human Services

DIVISION OF ADDICTION SERVICES

State Plan

The Division of Addiction Services engaged in a new State-developed planning initiative, which created a four year plan for establishing priorities for Prevention and Addiction/Mental Health treatment funded by AEREF (Beverage Tax) dollars.  The goal of this Unified Planning Process is to develop programs and activities that utilize evidence based approaches to Addictions Treatment and Prevention, which will create positive and effective health outcomes for the affected residents who seek assistance.

Middlesex County’s Prevention Priorities are as follows:

Community, identified as the town/city/borough itself, including all people;
School, identified as grades K-12, including all students, public and private;
Family, identified as the nuclear unit existing in a household, regardless of composition; and Individual, identified as a single resident, regardless of classification.

It was felt that, given the needs of the various communities identified and the projected available funding from all Prevention sources, that services/programs should be developed to address Addiction Prevention for the groups listed, in this order.  While several areas overlap, particular emphasis should be placed on creating evidence based activities targeting the four listed areas.

Priorities have been established for 2009-2012, with yearly updates scheduled to address emerging trends and issues.

IDRC

To better assist the growing number of multi-lingual residents entering the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), a bilingual administrative assistant was hired. This hiring was followed by the establishment of a Spanish Speaking Intoxicated Driver Education program for those residents who have a DUI ticket, but are predominately Spanish speaking. This special session allows these residents to complete the education session in their native language and have their driving privileges restored.

The State Intoxicated Driver Program (IDP) is requiring all local county affiliates to upgrade their ability to submit client information by mandating the use of internet connections directly to IDP. To accomplish this goal, the department has purchased four laptop computers with portable printers and modems for internet access. This equipment will be used by consultants at each twelve hour session to facilitate client testing and proper placement.  IDRC classes are held at the Middlesex County College.

Recovery Month

The Division will present its first “Recovery Month” Awards to two individuals from Middlesex County who have successfully completed treatment in any of the county funded/supported treatment agencies and have maintained two or more years of sobriety. The awards will be presented at a Freeholder meeting by the Department Freeholder liaison and a representative from the State Division of Addiction Services.

Professional Education in Co-occurring Disorders for Probation Officers

In June, the Middlesex County Division of Addictions Services began a series of educational presentations on Co-occurring Disorder (mental illness and addiction) for probation officers.  The first presentation, directed by Michael P. Giantini, Ph.D., was made to the Perth Amboy Probation Department.

The presentation provided a brief overview of Co-occurring Disorder (COD) and its various levels.  Probation Officers (PO’s) often encounter substance abuse problems as part of their daily workload and need to be prepared adequately to work with the co-existence of mental health and substance use.  Often, it is difficult to comprehend the complex interactivity that exists for clients with a Co-occurring Disorder, which may lead to their probationers being misdiagnosed or simply diagnosing one problem while the other is unintentionally overlooked.  If not coordinated properly, treatment failure and
recidivism becomes common place. All in all, client access to appropriate support and treatment is essential and critical. It is important that PO’s are prepared to work in harmony with trained professionals to provide services to probationers with COD.

DIVISION OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH & CHILDREN’S SERVICES

Laurel House

In 2008, the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders appropriated start-up funding for Laurel House, the very first community-based, cost effective clubhouse in New Jersey for mental health consumers. Laurel House offers members supported employment, education and socialization opportunities and complements existing mental health services. Membership is free, with no restrictions based on age, race, religion or type of mental illness.
Disaster Liaison Grant Award & Related Activities

For the second year, the Division was selected to receive a special Disaster Liaison Grant by the Mental Health Association in NJ through a grant from the NJ Division of Mental Health Services, Disaster & Terrorism Branch.  The Disaster Liaison Grant is for the purpose of maintaining and credentialing a volunteer Disaster Response Crisis Counselor (DRCC) workforce, maintaining a disaster response plan, assisting in the coordination of disaster and crisis response, planning and coordinating DRCC trainings, and other activities associated with supporting DRCC credentialing within our County. The Middlesex County Mental Health Administration has been working diligently over the past several years to support these disaster preparedness and credentialing efforts and is pleased to have received this most generous grant. 

Towards these efforts, the Division coordinated several local and statewide, best practice trainings for our DRCC workforce throughout the year.  All trainings were free of charge, fulfilled the requirements for DRCC certification, and were approved for continuing education credits.

The Middlesex County Employment Consortium

The Middlesex County Employment Consortium is dedicated to promoting employment opportunities for consumers of mental health services as well as promoting the overall message that employment contributes to recovery.  Recently the Consortium developed informational brochures to assist consumers who are considering going to school or work.  These brochures are listed below and can be viewed on the Department of Human Services Web site (http://co.middlesex.nj.us/humanservices/index.asp) at the following links:

Exploring Possibilities in Recovery (189k pdf)
So You Want to Work (200k pdf)
So You Need Some Training (210k pdf)

The Middlesex County Employment Consortium will sponsor a free forum for mental health consumers and providers entitled, “Exploring Educational & Employment Opportunities:  A World of Possibilities” on October 29, 2008, from 9:30am – 2:30pm at the Fire Academy in Sayreville.  This program will feature presentations by consumer providers, and representatives from a variety of community agencies, including the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, NJ WINS, local colleges and vocational schools, and other specialized higher education programs.   Several vendors will also be on site to distribute information and answer questions about local educational and employment resources. 

Middlesex County Mental Health Board Goals and Objectives 

The Mental Health Board developed a plan of goals and objectives in March, 2008 that will guide Board activities for the next 3 years.  This process also led to the adoption of a revised, consumer driven Mission Statement for the Mental Health Board:
The mission of the Middlesex County Mental Health Board is to promote efforts that will enhance the wellness and recovery opportunities of consumers.  The Board will advocate for consumer driven community supports, services and best practices throughout the continuum of care.  The Board is dedicated to consumer empowerment, ending stigma, and educating the community on all aspects of mental health awareness.
Empowerment * Advocacy * Education * Wellness & Recovery
Hallmarks of the Middlesex County Mental Health Board

PAC Meeting Presentations:  Bringing Valuable Resource Information to Our Membership

Throughout the year, the Division invited guest speakers to attend monthly PAC meetings to bring valuable resource information to its membership and to raise awareness about key issues.  2008 highlights include:

Community Outreach

New Brunswick Middle School First Annual Black History Month Celebration  

Presentation to students on how it is possible to “be smart and cool at the same time.” Presentation focus points were around self-esteem, peer relations, positive interactions, and behavior.  It was the hope that the students would leave recognizing that being smart is not only related to books, but extends to the important decisions they make regarding their own behavior every day.

Redshaw Elementary School Career Day (Looking Beyond What I Want to Be)

Presentation to students on establishing career goals and the importance of planning, decision making, outreach, and behavior.

New Jersey Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Young Women’s Action Alliance 10th annual Celebration of Womanhood Conference

The theme for the 10th.series of conferences was “A Celebration of Womanhood – Step Up Your Game My Sister, A Call for Sisterhood and Respect.” The fourth conference was held at the Juvenile Female Secure Care and Intake Unit at Hayes.  This was the first time in history that the conference was held at Hayes or any secure facility.  OCS staff conducted a workshop entitled, “What You See on TV Isn’t Me: A Look at Media Images and Self Image.”  The theme of the workshop was based on the impact of media on young women in the 21st Century in regard to self-esteem, self-respect, self-sufficiency, and the development of self-image.

County Interagency Coordinating Council Systems Partners Presentation

Collaborative presentation with other system partners, Children’s Mobile Response and Stabilization System, Care Management Organization, Youth Case Management, Family Support Organization, Division of Youth and Family Services, Value Options, and Division of Child Behavioral Healthcare, to educate the community, parents, and schools on ways to obtain services for youth with behavioral heath challenges.  A step by step process was demonstrated on how to make referrals to appropriate agencies for particular behavioral situations, on how to follow up on services, and on support groups for parents/caregivers, youth, and the family as a whole.

Trainings

Somerset County Youth Services Commission Ignite Program Training  

Training focused on the power of positive peer pressure and how to get youth to demonstrate such behavior. IGNITE is a school-based program featuring programming that builds on the positive peer pressure youth possess to help each other, and be engaged in important/meaningful work.   Participants were educated on the three stages of how to “ignite” positive behaviors: Celebrating What’s Right With the World; Smart & Good: Empowering Youth to be Part of the Solution, which highlights research and evaluations that help schools develop into Ethical Learning Communities; and The Power of Youth mentoring, which invites organizations to tap into their biggest resource, youth, helping to support their goals and directions, and training them to be part of the solution. 

 

Girls Bullying Girls: Understanding Relational Aggression

The training focused on relational aggression and female bullying.  Only recognized in the last decade, female bullying is a growing problem, damaging and manipulating relationships.  There is an increase in female juvenile incidents of aggravated assaults. Experts are finding relational aggression affecting girls in their early school years.

National Conference on Relational Aggression, Mean Girls and Other Forms of Bullying

The Second Annual Conference held in Florida, provided strategies to deal with relational aggression, also known as, “girl bullying.”  Participants were given the opportunity to brainstorm and network with various conference presenters and participants who work in the field or aspire to work in the field.  Some key areas that were focused on were intra-racial bullying among girls, mentoring, and universal strategies to deal with bullying.  Overall, information gathered from the conference will assist in the County’s yearly planning process as the Division seeks to create new and innovative programming. 

DIVISION OF SOCIAL WORK SERVICES

“Access Housing” Pilot Program for the Homeless

As a means to assist employed homeless individuals and families obtain permanent housing, the Homeless Hotline Committee, under the auspices of CEAS (Comprehensive Emergency Assistance Services) and the Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC), set aside State Social Services for the Homeless (SSH) funding to provide one to two months rent for homeless people who have located prospective permanent housing.  The purpose of this funding is to assist them to obtain a lease, and to educate them about security deposits and how to retrieve them at the end of their lease.  The success rate for the first phase of the pilot, calendar year 2006, was 75% of participants remaining in permanent housing.  During the second phase, calendar year 2007, the success rate was at 100%.  Since the first phase, all assisted homeless individuals and families continue to be housed.  For calendar years 2006 and 2007, a total of $14, 985 housed 49 people in 16 units.

Continuum of Care Homeless Grant Success

The New Brunswick/Middlesex County Continuum of Care (CoC) funding for homeless services significantly increased its score from 89 to 92, moving the CoC to a ranking of third in the state.  The total funding allotment from HUD totaled nearly $1.4 million, including close to $700,000 in additional funds.  Additionally, ten new units of supported housing for the Chronically Homeless with mental illness were awarded for the next five years.  The pending 2008 grant application to HUD includes an additional 15 units of supportive housing for chronically homeless persons.

Point in Time/Project Homelessness

January 2008 marked the County’s second concurrent implementation of both the Point in Time Count and the Project Homeless Connect. Point in Time is a HUD required survey of the homeless during a specific 24 hour time span and includes individuals living in emergency and transitional housing and on the street.  Project Homeless Connect is a one day event in which the homeless are surveyed at predetermined locations, where they also receive various items such as food and clothing, and links to supportive services.  County staff and volunteers added questions to the survey boilerplate and received kudos from the national Corporation from Supportive Housing, with many of those questions placed on the 2008 statewide survey used by all counties.  Over 900 surveys were completed; 519 of those surveys were deemed to be clearly homeless.  The approximate 400 other households were deemed “precariously housed.”  Of the 519 homeless households counted, 125 were family households including 273 children.  61 were chronically homeless individuals – those with a disabling condition and lengthy or frequent episodes of homelessness.  38% (196) of the identified households had been homeless for one year or more.
 
Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness Crafted and Coming Home of Middlesex County, Inc. Established

The Middlesex County Housing First Steering Committee, under the auspices of CEAS and the HSAC, continued to work diligently on the Middlesex County Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness.  The three Task Forces:  Permanent Housing, Single Point of Entry, and Point-in-Time/Project Homeless Connect completed a working draft in June 2008.  After receiving the endorsement of the CEAS Committee and the HSAC, the co-chairs of the reorganized 10 Year Plan Steering Committee, Elizabeth Hance, President/CEO of Magyar Bank, and Robert Mulcahy, Rutgers Athletic Director, presented a summary of the draft to the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders on July 24, 2008 for their endorsement.  The original six co-chairs [United Way of Central Jersey CPO Gloria Aftanski, Bishop Paul Bootkoski, Mayor Jim Cahill, Elizabeth Hance, Robert Mulcahy, and Freeholder Blanquita Valenti] are in the process of incorporating Coming Home of Middlesex County, Inc., to be the driving force in implementing the Middlesex County Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness.  It is hoped that the final Plan will be publicly launched late in 2008.

Middlesex County 2009 Support Grant Application Uses Logic Model to Manage Outcomes

The annual Middlesex County Support Grant process not only affords an objective method to recommend County funding to non-profit agencies serving the County’s most vulnerable and low income residents, but also prepares agencies to apply for competitive grants in the private and larger public arenas.  To those ends, the HSAC this year altered a major section of the application, the “Outcomes” section.  Several years ago the Rutgers University School of Social Work introduced the Logic Model as a methodology of measuring the benefits to clients of social service programs.  The HSAC looked at the advantages of the logic model before incorporating it into the application.  The logic model allows funding bodies, such as the Freeholders through their surrogates on the HSAC’s Proposal Review Committees, to evaluate the value and effectiveness of a program.  In addition, it benefits the agency in many ways, e.g., determining if the program’s goals are met; ensuring and improving program quality and results; providing accountability to the community, funders, the agency’s governing body, and the program’s consumers, etc.  An HSAC member, Marge Bailey, formerly of the School of Social Work, provided special training to prospective applicants at the 2009 Support Grant Technical Assistance Session on the Logic Model. 

Camp Kilmer Collaborative

The Permanent Housing Subcommittee of the 10 Year Plan Steering Committee, under the auspices of CEAS and the HSAC, proposed potential uses of the soon to be closed Camp Kilmer Army Base in Edison.  The Collaborative has suggested the possibility of permanent, accessible, affordable and supportive housing units for our most vulnerable populations, including the homeless, low income working poor and special needs residents.  This is also a part of the initiative to end homelessness in Middlesex County. The application was submitted to the Township of Edison in November of 2006 and the Local Redevelopment Advisory Committee, appointed by the Edison Township Council to prepare the official redevelopment proposal for HUD, was very pleased with the Collaborative’s housing proposal.  The Local Redevelopment Advisory Committee received the “green light” in late 2007 to proceed with their plan.  In light of the new 3rd Round COAH regulations, Edison is expected to request the Collaborative to expand the number of permanent affordable housing units to 120.  While awaiting the Army to vacate the property, the Collaborative continues to work on pre-development issues.

Barrier Free Modular Ramp and Long-Tread, Low-Riser Step Program

A recent program enables persons with disabilities to attain accessibility by modifying the exterior of their home with a modular ramp or low-rise stairs.  Funded by a grant from the Henry H. Kessler Foundation, the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Disability Services, is administering the program and collaborating initially with only Middlesex and Union Counties as their pilot sites.  Since June 2007, Middlesex County has had eight ramp projects completed through this State program.

Other partners involved in the Ramps program include the Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey; the New Jersey Institute of Technology; the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; New Jersey Protection and Advocacy; the Middlesex County Office for the Disabled; and the Union County Office for the Disabled. 

Increase from the State Affords Additional PASP Services for County Resident

Thanks to increased funding from the New Jersey Division of Disability Services, Middlesex County’s Personal Assistance Services Program (PASP) was able to eliminate its waiting list for services.  The PASP program provides personal care services such as bathing, meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, and transportation assistance for individuals who are physically disabled and self-directing.   The PASP program was able to enroll over a dozen new consumers and expects to end the year 2008 with a caseload of 60 consumers, making Middlesex County one of the largest programs in the State.  The major focus of the program is to assist individuals not able to secure Medicaid Personal Care Assistant services.  PASP program regulations require that participants be actively engaged in community activity such as work or schooling.  Other criteria include Jersey residency and being under the age of 65. The program has a cost-share for services based on a sliding fee scale and the cost-share revenue is used to provide additional services. Consumers of the program credit PASP with helping them to live independently and safely in the community.  “PASP makes it possible for me to work full-time and live in my own home,” notes John Fig, Middlesex County PASP Consumer and member of both the State and local PASP Advisory Councils. John Fig, a quadriplegic, is employed as a Project Analyst at Wakefern Corporation. Middlesex County’s PASP consumers participate in a wide range of activities, including as teachers, telemarketers, college students, and volunteers.

Middlesex County Initiates Summer Campership Program for Children with Special Needs

The Middlesex County Office for the Disabled piloted a “Campership” program to help defray the costs of sending a child with a disability to summer camp.  The Office is providing families with grants ranging from $50 to $300 to help offset the costs associated with a camp program. Grant amounts were calculated based on family size and income, with a gross family income cap of $100,000. The Campership is a stipend paid directly to families upon verification that their child has completed the camp program.  Families were able to choose a camp and combine the Office for the Disabled grant with other financial support programs.  Grant applications are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.  At the beginning of August, three families had received grants but the camping season lasts until the end of August.  This program is expected to be quite successful and the Office plans to offer it again next year.

Middlesex County Office for the Disabled Hosts Its First Weekend Outing For Persons with Disabilities—winter fest 2008                

The Office for the Disabled piloted a “Winter Weekend Camping Trip” for adults with disabilities.  The overnight program was held on February 9 & 10, 2008, at the John E. Toolan Kiddie Keep Well Camp in Roosevelt Park, Edison.  Eleven campers participated in this event and enjoyed a weekend filled with assisted camping activities.  For many individuals, this was their first overnight “camping” experience.  The program was well organized and executed by seasoned Kiddie Keep Well staff.  Middlesex County Area Transport provided transportation assistance.  Department of Human Services staff members were on hand to lend support as needed.  Due to the overwhelming success of this program, plans are underway to offer a Fall Weekend trip in October, 2008.

Middlesex County’s Veterans Services Office and MCVAC Assume Responsibility for Distribution of Memorial Day Flags

The Middlesex County Veterans Advisory Committee (MCVAC), along with veteran volunteers from throughout the County, distributed over 27,000 Memorial Flags and markers to veterans organizations representing the more then 50,000 veterans residing in the County.  The Flag Distribution took place on May 19-21 at the Middlesex County Fire Academy.  Representatives from each of the organizations in turn distributed the memorial items to their members, who then placed one flag and marker on each veteran’s gravesite in the County.  In addition, 237 Memorial Wreaths were distributed to these organizations on May 24th.  Beginning on September 1, 2008, the responsibilities of the County Veterans Interment Officer will be assumed by Doug Breen, the County’s Veterans Services Coordinator.

MCVAC Sets Up County Collection for Troops

The Middlesex County Veterans Advisory Council (MCVAC) is sponsoring an ongoing Personal Items Drive for deployed troops in the Global War on Terror (GWOT).  The drive, which began on September 11, 2007, has to date collected hundreds of items from hand lotion to insect repellant, which are sorted and sent to Ft. Dix, where they are distributed by the Red Cross to outgoing troops destined for duty stations overseas.  All items are travel size so that the troops can store them in their packs and have easy access to them.  A main collection receptacle has been placed on the first floor lobby near the employee lunchroom, with backup receptacles on the fifth floor in the Department of Human Services, and the Public Health Department.  Periodic contribution reminders have also been e-mailed to all County employees through the Department of Personnel.  As of June 2008, over half of New Jersey’s National Guard is in the process of being deployed to Iraq.

Success of Vietnam Era Traveling Trunk

The Vietnam Era Traveling Trunk, designed by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, and co-sponsored by the Middlesex County Veterans Advisory Council (MCVAC), is the first traveling educational trunk in the state of New Jersey that focuses on the Vietnam Era.  It includes not only guides, photographs, and pamphlets, but real hands-on objects, including donated articles of clothing worn by servicemen and women who never returned from war.  While most museum displays discourage or outright forbid visitors from handling artifacts exhibited, one of the guiding principles of the traveling trunk exhibition is that only through reading, touching and, yes, sometimes smelling the objects, can viewers get a feel for what was special about the time.  The trunk, which started touring in January 2007, has been viewed by over 4,000 students in Middlesex County, and there is a waiting list for the 2008-2009 school years.  The Trunk is also available upon request to interested veterans organizations and other community-based groups.

MCVAC Sponsors Veterans Forum

More than 100 area veterans and their family members attended the annual Middlesex County Veterans Outreach Forum held in October at the Woodbridge Community Center.  The forum included a brief overview of new legislation affecting veterans, followed by a panel discussion and a question and answer period.  Speakers included representatives from the NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Systems, the Middlesex County One Stop Career Center, the Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park, and the Employees Support for Guard and Reserve.  Additionally, a number of the vendors and agencies offering services to veterans and the senior population in general were present to offer and explain their services.  Another Veterans Forum is planned for October 2008.

ADMINISTRATIVE INITIATIVES

Differential Response Initiative

In April 2008, the NJ Department of Children & Families (DCF) announced that funding of $1.15 million has been awarded to Middlesex County for the Differential Response Initiative (DRI), making it only the fourth county initiative funded to date.  Differential Response promotes the strengthening of families at risk by offering support services in the community to assist in the prevention of child abuse and neglect through coordinated, community-based case management and service delivery system.  Responding to voluntary requests for services by families, the process determines that these are not cases of abuse or neglect.  Currently referred to as Child Welfare Assessments (CWA’s) these cases are handled by Department of Youth and Family Services (DYFS).  The use of Differential response services will free up DYFS staff to work with the more serious issues of abuse and neglect. 
 
In partnership with the NJ Department of Children & Families, the Middlesex County Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC), a component program of the Middlesex County Department of Human Services, will coordinate with other community partners, such as United Way of Central Jersey, Catholic Charities, Puerto Rican Action Board, Jewish Renaissance Foundation and Info Line of Central Jersey, to ensure the program’s success.  It is estimated that 364 cases will participate in the program annually.  The project is scheduled to begin implementation in Middlesex County during the autumn of 2008.

Adolescent Brain Forum

In April 2008 the Department of Human Services facilitated a four-hour training titled “Welcome to the Adolescent Brain.”  Staff worked in collaboration with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Coordinated Family Care and the Middlesex County Family Court to accomplish this successful forum which was held at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville.

The training focused on the adolescent brain and how its development impacts adolescent behavior.  This program was attended by prosecutors, probation officers, public defenders, juvenile court personnel, middle school and high school counselors, social service staff, and others who work with teenagers.  The training was provided by an internationally known consultant on youth and substance abuse prevention and education, youth at risk and violence prevention and was evaluated as highly effective and successful by attendees. 

Family Court Childcare: Status Update

The “Children’s Waiting Room” at the Family Court, which offers temporary child care for children whose parents or guardians are involved in the court process, saw a surge in usage.   Since January 2008, 3,635 children have been served by the day facility, which is administered by the Department of Human Services, under the auspices of the Board of Chosen Freeholders.  This in-court childcare facility allows impressionable young children to be separated from often, lengthy heated and uncivil family court proceedings.

Accessible Golf Cart

At the initiative of the Department of Human Services and the Middlesex County Commission for Persons with Disabilities, the Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA) purchased a modified single rider golf cart designed for golfers with disabilities.  The lightweight cart was purchased for the Raritan Landing Golf Course in Piscataway and can traverse tee boxes and greens.  The accessible cart affords opportunities for golfers with mobility disabilities to play through an entire 18 hole course.

The MCIA intends to purchase additional accessible carts in 2009 for Tamarack Golf Course in East Brunswick and The Meadows at Middlesex in Plainsboro.

Staff Retreat

In October 2008, staff of the Middlesex County Department of Human Services participated in a day long retreat at Camp Kiddie Keep Well’s log cabin in Roosevelt Park, intended to promote the concept of “healthy helping” 30 staff members used the day to assess their roles and responsibilities as public employees and how the daily challenges at work interface with their personal lives.

The program facilitator thanked staff for the hard work they do “helping others,” but reminded them to take time to help themselves. The program provided strategies to increase productivity and decrease stressors, with participants asked to consider what they can do to bring personal and professional enrichment into their lives.   Program reviews indicated that the vast majority of the participants left the park feeling invigorated and appreciative of this out-of-the-office experience that offered an opportunity for personal and professional reflection and developed an enhanced level of camaraderie with fellow workers.

 

Medical Examiner

Earlier this year, the Middlesex County ME Office was granted full 5-year Accreditation by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME).  This accreditation is in recognition of the overall high standards of the office, making the MCMEO one of only two accredited offices in the State, with only 52 offices accredited Nationwide.  Funds for this accreditation were obtained through the 2006 Coverdell Grant. 

We are in the final stages of installing a generator to run the entire office.  This will ensure that the office will continue to operate in the case of a power failure, particularly in the event of a mass disaster.  Funds for this project were obtained through the State Homeland Security Grant.

Recently, we installed a server to store case scene and autopsy photos, as well as autopsy reports.  By centralizing data storage we can now access this information from each personal computer as needed, rather than printing photos on all cases.  This makes our data storage more efficient, in addition to saving funds on print paper and ink.  We have also purchased digital transcription equipment which will be linked into the system.

We are also in the final stages of a bid process for the installation of a portable x-ray unit which can be used on human remains as needed.  This will supplement our existing fixed x-ray unit.  In conjunction with this process we are planning to upgrade the X-ray processing equipment to a modern digital system.  This will improve the quality of radiographs taken, which will be accessible through the server on all personal computers as needed.  In addition, digital X-ray plates can be used over a thousand times each, without loss of quality.  This will be of great benefit in the case of Mass disasters, where we will not be limited to the available number of x-ray films on hand.  Funds for these projects were obtained through the State Homeland Security grant. 

Applications for certification as a “Registered Medico legal Death Investigators” have been submitted for all 4 investigators in the Office, who will be taking the test in the coming weeks.  This is part of our ongoing efforts to continue raising the overall standards in the office, and funds for these applications were obtained through a Coverdell grant.

One of our investigators, Geralda Hill, has completed a training program “Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)” at JFK in grief counseling.  Grief counseling services are now available to families upon request. 

Pathology residents at RWJUH will continue to attend teaching rotations in Forensic Pathology at the Middlesex County Medical Examiners Office since the contract with RWJUH is currently under renewal.

Dr. Falzon, together with Dr. Rachel Hudacko, Pathology Resident RWJUH, authored an article on Airbag Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents, to be published as a Check Sample in November 2008.

 

Middlesex County College

 

Mosquito Commission

The water management staff has completed a large project along the upper Woodbridge River near Omar Avenue.  This project restored the natural drainage of approximately 105 acres of wetlands, and eliminated the need for aerial application of larvicide.  The result is an enhanced environment and significant financial savings in terms of costs associated with larvicide application.

After extensive field testing and evaluation, the MCMEC expanded the use of BTI in the helicopter larval control operation to minimize the negative impact of nuisance mosquitoes on outdoor recreational activities throughout the County.  BTI is not only more environmentally sensitive, but is also over 30% more economical to use.

From June 2007 to August 2007, the MCMEC performed a soil remedial action at its South Brunswick facility consisting of:
1) Excavation of impacted soils and removal of impacted groundwater;
2) Application of an oxygen release compound (“ORC® Advanced”); and
3) Transportation and off-site disposal of impacted soils and concrete at an approved facility.

It should be noted that MCMEC personnel were responsible for the excavation, stockpiling and loading activities, saving the significant expense of contracting heavy equipment and labor.  Pennoni Associates was contracted for the field oversight, post excavation sampling and reporting, and Enterprise Network Resolutions Contracting, LLC of Winslow, NJ for the characterization and disposal of the site soils and concrete.

The MCMEC public education program has been expanded to include not only West Nile Virus (WNV) awareness, but the Asian tiger mosquito (ATM), a vicious day-time biter new to Middlesex County.  This species lays eggs in small artificial containers typically found in back yards, including kid’s toys, buckets, pool covers, and tires.  It is becoming ever more difficult to respond to service requests involving the inspection of such back yard habitats, and our resources have been tested in terms of available man-hours.  The MCMEC is therefore asking the public to help by eliminating standing water on their property.  We have already developed door hangers to distribute in highly infested neighborhoods, and recently placed a sizable public service announcement in the Home News Tribune.  We are, of course, applying control measures against the ATM to the best of our ability, but must also budget time and materials for normal control operations.

 

Other Accomplishments:

Continued to improve the West Nile Virus surveillance program to facilitate a quick response to virus activity in accordance with the CDC Guidelines for WNV Surveillance, Prevention, and Control.  Staff also significantly increased larval control efforts in catch basins.

Partnered with the County Parks Department on significant water management projects in Donaldson Park and in Thomas Edison Park.  The MCMEC also worked with Monroe Twp. to restore a man-made drainage system adjacent to Gatzman Avenue, eliminating mosquito-producing habitat and localized flooding.  In the Borough of South River, MCMEC staff cleaned the drainage way on Lark and Kamm Avenues to provide a more permanent and economical solution to mosquito production.

Project in Development:

The Commission is in the process of development and implementation of a GIS map system and relational database for use in both helicopter and ground-based larval control operations.  The maps include a layer with geo-referenced points, lines, and polygons that represent all mosquito water sources within the county.  A relational database will contain inspection and larvicide application records, which can be searched and analyzed to identify high priority sources.  This system will significantly improve the overall performance of field operations by better focusing the man-hours available on sources more likely to produce mosquitoes. Field implementation of phase 1 is expected in the spring of 2009. 

 

Parks and Recreation

Donaldson Park

25 Acre North Brunswick Park (Former DKM Property)

Middlesex County Conservation Corps

Middlesex County Greenway

 

Middlesex County Open Space Recreation and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund

Open Space Acquisitions

Open Space Acquisitions Since October 1, 2007

Farmland Preservation Total

Farmland Preservation Total Since October 1, 2007

Open Space Trust Fund – Municipal Recreation Grants From October 1, 2006

Raritan Bay Waterfront Park

Thompson Park

We have not included the following projects, which have plans and specifications ready and could be bid immediately pending Open Space Trust Funds availability:

Thomas A. Edison Park

Johnson Park

Alvin P. Williams Park at Sewaren Peninsula

Warren Park

 

Personnel

As you are aware the Personnel Department serves as the Human Resource Department for County employees, so most of our services are specific to county employees. 
However, we do participate in and administer several programs that are beneficial to county residents which include:

 

Planning

On May 20, 2008 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection released information which reflected that we have achieved a recycling rate of 64.5% for 2006. This, for the fourth time since 1995, ranks Middlesex County as the #1 Recycling County in New Jersey. It also marks the 10th time since 1995 that Middlesex County has met and exceeded the State’s recycling target goal of 60% recycling of the County’s total solid waste stream. Of the 2,662,046 tons of waste generated in Middlesex County in 2006, we recycled 1,715,845 tons or 64.5% of our total solid waste stream. Between 1995 and the end of 2006 Middlesex County has generated 25,227,032 total tons of solid waste, recycled 15,695,500 of those tons and disposed 9,531,492 of those tons for an average recycling rate of 62.22% or 2.22% in excess of the State’s recycling target rate of 60%.

Over the past twelve months 22 paper shredding events have been hosted around the County. 2,285 County residents delivered 172,144 pounds of documents for shredding. Since the July 13, 2005 inception of our Paper Shredding Program 4,427 County residents have delivered 303,191 pounds or 151.5 tons of documents for recycling. This fee-funded program was started to determine whether bringing a mixed paper-recycling program directly to the public was feasible. A document destruction company, which has mobile shredding units, has been employed to provide the shredding services. Not only has this program proven to be a very successful recycling initiative but it has resulted in an ancillary benefit of the protection against identity theft which our County residents deemed to be equally as or more important than just shredding the paper for recycling.  Nine (9) additional community shred events have been scheduled through the end of November. Plans for 2009 are to schedule paper shred events so that at least one event is held in each Middlesex County municipality.

The County Offices Recyclables Collection Program resulted in 58,780 pounds or over 29 tons of office paper being collected and recycled during 2007. This program is a grant funded program whereby a contract has been awarded to the Easter Seals Society of New Jersey. Personnel from ESSNJ perform recyclables collection at 20 outlying County facilities each week. All collected recyclables are delivered to a recycling facility in New Brunswick. Between 1995 and the end of 2007 1,209,000 pounds or 604.5 tons of County generated recyclables have been handled through this program.

Book Recycling Program - A joint initiative undertaken in cooperation with the Middlesex County Improvement Authority. Under this program county schools are given an opportunity to request and utilize a specially designed recycling container into which old/unwanted school books can be deposited. When the school has purged all their old/unwanted books the contents are delivered to a recycling market. Revenue from the sale of the books is returned to the respective school. Since this program began in December of 2006, 10 schools have generated 28.18 tons of old school books for recycling. 

2007 ended with the collection of 60,569 pounds of residentially generated Household Batteries from more than 50 drop-off locations across Middlesex County. Since the inception of the program in 1995 Middlesex County has collected 317,601 pounds or 158.8 tons of household batteries which are collected by a contractor and sent to facilities for proper processing/recycling thus averting their disposal at the County’s Landfill. Each municipality has at least one drop-off location.

2007 marks the sixth year that the Division has sponsored the chlorofluorocarbon – CFC Recovery Reimbursement Program. This grant-funded program provides up to 75% reimbursement to municipalities who participate in the program. The program, initiated on January 1, 2002, is intended to provide for the proper removal of chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone depleting compounds from household appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners and dehumidifiers. CFCs are coolants that can damage the ozone layer if discharged into the atmosphere. Federal and State laws prohibit the release of CFC refrigerant into the air. A secondary benefit of the program is that the contractor processes and recycles the appliances after the CFCs are removed. Through the end of 2007, twelve (12) participating municipalities have collected 25,475 CFC containing appliances resulting in the recovery of 29,438 pounds of refrigerant and the recycling of 3,459,065 pounds of appliances. The total cost of this program through the end of 2007 has been $207,374.00 paid by the municipalities of which $155,530.00 or 75% was reimbursed to the participating towns.

During 2008 inmates working in the Adult Corrections Road Clean-up Detail Program worked 60 days expending 2,700 man-hours collecting approximately 5000 bags of litter within 16 municipalities. This program, supported by Middlesex County’s Clean Communities Grants distributed by the NJDEP has been in effect since 1996 and has resulted in a total of 1,251 clean-up days, 50,046 man-hours, 48,062 bags of litter from 213 municipal locations.

The continued public popularity of the County’s Paint Drop-Off Program has yielded over 4.5 million pounds of residentially generated unused/unwanted paints and paint related items delivered to our 9 County paint drop-off sites. Between the inception of the Program in May 1997 and the end of 2007, 44,461 residents have delivered 658,858 containers of paint and paint related items weighing 4,582,846 pounds. This material was diverted from the waste disposal stream thus protecting our environment and conserving valuable landfill space. A contractor handles all the paint program materials with the largest portion or approximately 74% consisting of latex paints, which are fully recyclable.

The County’s Consumer Electronics Drop-Off Program continues to exceed the Division’s expectations. During 2007, 8,617 County residents generated 797,663 pounds of consumer electronics equipment. During 2008, Metuchen, Milltown, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, South Amboy, and South Brunswick became municipal partners in the County’s Electronics Drop-off Program by opening a municipal electronics drop-off at their respective recycling centers. They join existing municipal partners Cranbury, Dunellen, East Brunswick, Edison Middlesex, Monroe, New Brunswick, South Plainfield, South River and Woodbridge in the electronics partnership. The intent of the County’s Electronics Drop-off Program and Municipal Electronics Drop-off Partnership is to provide convenient residential drop-off for used/unwanted consumer electronics such as computers, televisions and other consumer electronics that contain toxic materials. By diverting these unwanted electronics from the waste stream we are saving valuable landfill space and reducing the potential for these items to pose adverse impacts on our environment. Since the start of this program in September of 2001, 1,843,593 pounds of consumer electronics have been received.

In the spring of 2002 national safety regulations governing propane tanks resulted in New Jersey mandating a valve change on all outdoor barbeque grill propane tanks. Since that time all 20 pound BBQ tanks are required to be equipped with an overfill prevention device (OPD). As a result the public, when finding out that they could no longer get their old tanks refilled, have been generating thousands of unusable propane tanks. In quick response to this occurrence and to prevent clandestine and/or unsafe disposal of old propane tanks Middlesex County researched and located a recycler who accepts unusable propane tanks at no cost to the County and its residents. Using municipal drop-off locations as collection points the County has arranged a special consolidation program, which resulted in the recycler – at no cost to the County – removing 12,456 propane tanks. This program will remain in place until the number of unusable propane tanks levels off. After that time, unusable propane tanks will continue to be accepted at the County sponsored household hazardous waste drop-off events, which have separately handled an additional 10,857 propane tanks.

On October 2, 2004 the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Division of Solid Waste Management began sponsoring a Mercury Thermometer Exchange Program. Since that time 2,915 residents have turned in 4,176 mercury containing thermometers and received a new mercury-free digital thermometer – FREE OF CHARGE. Additional thermometer exchange events are scheduled throughout the year. The thermometer exchange program is intended to both remove mercury from the municipal waste stream and to educate County residents about the potential hazards posed by mercury found in thermometers. Mercury thermometers may be accidentally broken allowing exposure to hazardous mercury in a resident’s home. Mercury spills are extremely difficult to clean and can pose a health hazard to those exposed to this metallic element. We anticipate that this program will be expanding especially in light of the fact that New Jersey has passed legislation that became effective in October 2005, which bans the sale of mercury containing thermometers to the public.

A Portable Fuel Container Exchange Program began in conjunction with the Household Hazardous Waste Day Event held in Sayreville on March 18, 2006. The Amerada Hess Corporation provided Middlesex County with 2,346, 2-gallon fuel containers specifically designed to be spill proof and airtight.  These containers, provided at no cost to the public, prevent the release of fuel vapors into the open air. Fuel vapors are known to react with sunlight in the atmosphere and form photochemical oxidants, which result in smog and unhealthy air quality. The program ended in April 2008 with 1,847 County residents having turned in 2,508 old fuel containers to the benefit of a “greener” environment.

For the 2007/08 school year the Division awarded $17,305.00 to Middlesex County schools under its Environmental Awareness Grant Program.  Nineteen (19) grant proposals for various environmental and recycling projects were submitted and selected for grants. Since its inception in 1996, 157 grants have been awarded totaling $105,305.00.

In 2007 a total of $107,213.00 was awarded to nine (9) County municipalities under the Division’s Recycling Enhancement Grant (REG) Program. This matching grant application program was initiated in 2004 with the intent of assisting municipalities in implementing projects to enhance their local recycling programs. A total of 28 grant awards totaling $316,962.00 have been made to fourteen (14) municipalities since the start of the Program.

 

Prosecutor 

Investigations:  The MCPO was involved in a total of 478 investigations. 

Grand Jury Activities: As a result of presentations of cases to the Grand Jury, a total of 2,696 indictments were returned.  Additionally, another 307 defendants were charged through accusation.

Guilty at Trial, Most Serious Offenses

Youth Development Academy:

         This is a comprehensive six-weekend, twelve session program targeting juveniles who are involved with the Juvenile Justice System.  The intent of the program is to provide them with the skills, understanding and initiative necessary to avoid further involvement with the Criminal Justice System.  The emphasis of the Academy is to provide participants with interactive programs, instructional periods, mentoring and activities that promote team work, education, self-esteem, self-examination and overall cooperation.  A total of 53 juveniles successfully completed this program during the 12 month period in question. 

 

 Shaken Baby Initiative

This “train the trainers” program was open to all school districts to send representatives to become certified as instructors in this program.  This interactive program was designed to teach teenagers that characteristically are involved with providing baby sitting services with the necessary skills and understanding as to how to handle infants/young children who are crying extensively and provide basic caretaking tools.  A total of 41 attendees from 17 school districts were represented at this training course. 

Accredited Status for our Victim Advocacy Center

This Center continues to receive accredited status, resulting in an annual $10,000 grant from the National Children’s Alliance.  This grant was utilized to help fund counseling sessions for victims and to subsidize a small portion of salary for a staff member. 

Installation of computer modules for Duty Referral, E-Prosecution, Sex Offenders and Municipal Access to the Intelligence of our CSI Records Management System

This multi-year project has continued to move our office forward in terms of implementing and utilizing technology to assist us in providing the services required of our office as well as the sharing of information.  We are currently in the third year of this projected four year project.  At the conclusion of this project, our entire Records Management System will be completely computerized.  This will enable us to perform most of our functions electronically, thereby reducing the amount of paper utilized, as well as share information contained on our data base with law enforcement agencies both in the county and the State.  The aforementioned modules were purchased late last year and are now in full use.  Additional modules from the third year of the project will be purchased once capital monies are released in 2008.  This project is on-going.

Training Center Addition:
 
During the 2008 budget process, the Prosecutor requested funding to construct an addition onto the Police Training Center.  The Training Center has undergone significant changes since 2002, both in terms of the physical facility as well as the planning and management of training courses offered to law enforcement personnel in the county and beyond.  Seldom is the facility not in use.  However, the existing size of the facility greatly limits our ability to offer additional courses or expand our curriculum or class size.  A total of $1,000,000 was approved for an addition.  The plans have been completed and the project is currently out to bid.  We anticipate the addition to modernize the facility, maximize the available space and double the size of the facility.  This project is on-going.

New Work Stations in the Sex Crimes Unit:

This was the last remaining Unit that never received new work stations.  The work stations that were being utilized were old and beyond repair, and were not serviceable.  New work stations were purchased and installed.   The styles and sizes of the work stations maximize use of available office space.  This project is now completed. 

Creation of a Gang/Career Criminal Enforcement Unit

Gangs and career criminals have historically been responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in our society.  In addition to the quantity of crimes they commit, they are often responsible for the most violent of crimes.  They are not afraid to utilize force to perpetuate their criminal activities and to utilize intimidation to discourage the citizenry from cooperating with law enforcement.  It has been proven that removal of such violent individuals from society result in a much safer environment for our residents.  In response, the MCPO has created a specialized Unit to reduce the negative impact gangs and career criminals have on our quality of life.  This Unit is responsible for:

We have reallocated valuable resources to this Unit without expanding our work force.  A career Assistant Prosecutor, supervisory personnel, investigators as well as intelligence analysts have been reassigned to accomplish our goal of a safer environment for our residents.  

In 2007, the Department of Weights and Measures brought in fines that totaled $328,342.00; this is an increase of approximately $259,000.00 from the 2006 total of $69,573.00.  The entire department worked diligently together in making sure that the consumers of Middlesex County get what they pay for. As of August 29, 2008 the department has collected $217,259.67 with numerous violations waiting for court appearance, or outstanding payment of fines.

 

Public Works and Highways

         As you are aware, the Public Property Division of the Middlesex County Public Works Department continues to maintain many County owned and leased facilities.
The scope of maintenance varies ranging from custodial and minor mechanical through major mechanical and renovation projects – dependent upon the facility.

The following are a few examples of projects and cost savings for the year of 2008 to date:

Public Property Division continues to maintain many County owned and leased facilities:

 Public Property has been instrumental in delivering Election ballots (school, primary and general) and delivery of materials to Freeholder’s four times monthly.

 

Following resurfacing work has been completed by the Division of Highways:

Resurfacing Work B April 2008 to Present:

Inter-Departmental Assistance
We have assisted the Prosecutor’s by lending them a vehicle to use in their DUI Checkpoints.

MCOP (Middlesex County on Patrol)
Middlesex County Road Department continues to participate in the MCOP Program making numerous observations throughout the year.

MAP (Middlesex Alert Program)
Middlesex County is equipped with variable message boards to be mobilized, if and when needed, by the County Prosecutor’s Office for alerting the public concerning a missing child.

Middlesex County Fair - August 4-10, 2008
The Road Department sponsored a booth at this year’s fair where we answered questions concerning all types of road maintenance issues and advertising our Stormwater Management Program. 

 

Purchasing

We continue to operate the Middlesex County Co-operative Pricing Program which has 40 members throughout Middlesex County.  This program provides savings to all members.  In addition, the County has become a participant in the Middlesex County Regional Education Services Commission’s Energy Aggregation Cooperative Purchasing System. It is anticipated that the upgrade of the County web site will include items and prices that are available to all co-op members.

Last year, the annual Middlesex County auction brought in $171,494.00.  This year’s auction will be held in September.

The Middlesex County Rx Savings Program continues to be a success.  As of June 2008, there are 2,140 members.  While this is a decrease in the number of participants as compared to this time last year, the savings have increased.  The most recent average savings per prescription is $40.62. From January 1, 2008 through June 31, 2008, members have saved almost $206,300.00. This remains a free service to the residents of Middlesex County.

For the coverage year 2007, the County received $562,409.00 in rebates for the Self-Insured Prescription Drug Plan for County employees.

From January 1, 2008 through June 30, 2008, this department issued 4,456 purchase orders, solicited 100 bids and 94 proposals.

 

Raritan Bay Medical

Raritan Bay Mental Health Center has provided 43,399 contacts to 3,060 people, including 5,748 contacts to children and 1,039 contacts to senior adults.  Mental health services are available in English and Spanish and some Indian dialects. 

The Center has also provided internships and observational learning opportunities to graduate M.S.W. students and nursing students. 

Center staff have participated in several trainings over the last year including, but not limited to, Cultural Competency, Wellness & Recovery, Tobacco Cessation, Child Sexual Abuse, Ethical Decisions and Bridging the Gap between Physical and Mental Health.

The Center’s client-run Thrift Store relocated to a brighter, newer location and received a Citation from Mayor Vas of Perth Amboy for the store’s contribution to the economic development of the area.

The Partial Care area and South Wing of the Center was renovated providing a cleaner, brighter area for patient programming.

Partial Care Program received 100% compliance from Medicaid Review.

 

Real Estate

Consolidation of units of the Probation Departments into one site is in the process of being finalized which will allow for a more efficient utilization of personnel thus creating a more streamlined operation.  There will be on site parking with a significant decrease in parking cost.

The Raritan Bay Mental Health Department Thrift Shop, which is run by their clientele to enable them to interact with the general public in a sales atmosphere, has been relocated to a more modern facility at a reduced cost. 

The Probation Department site Lease in Perth Amboy has been extended with no rate increase and substantial upgrades for the benefit of staff & clientele.

Prosecutors Office ID Unit site has been at no cost, refitted to enhance the productivity of the Unit.

Board of Election site has been upgraded with a temperature controlled area to eliminate the possible malfunctioning of a recently installed computer server mandated by the State for the State - Wide Voter Registration System. 

We presently have seven Mega Hertz sites throughout the County to provide security services and communication enhancement to all types of safety and enforcement agencies in the County.

We continue to work in tandem with the Engineering Department in respect to the land acquisitions necessary to enhance the conditions of the roads and bridges throughout the County.  These projects are undertaken to ensure the safety and quality of life for not only our County residents, but those individuals of a transient nature. 

 

Shared Services

Middlesex County Shared Services Portal - All municipalities, agencies, authorities and school districts throughout the County will be able to use the portal to explore shared services and benefit from the best contracted prices for goods and services through an interactive pricing database.

Vehicle Washing Facility Initiative – Through Middlesex County’s equal partnership with 4 municipalities, real savings and a financial boom will occur for County while protecting our environment by reducing pollutants in storm water runoff.

Public Safety Dispatch Initiatives – Assisting several municipalities with feasibility studies to merge and share public safety dispatch in order to provide the most reliable and cost effective 9-1-1 service.

NJ Shared Services Association – Through the efforts of Middlesex County, the creation of the NJ Shared Services Association was formed to assist all local units throughout the state with innovative ways to reduce the cost of goods and services, while providing opportunities for Middlesex County to partner with other Counties in cost reduction programs.

 

Superintendent of Schools

 

Surrogate

Transportation

 

Treasurer

The Treasurer’s Office is pleased to report that we have received, disbursed And invested nearly $850 million dollars in tax payer money and can account for every dollar.  During the past year we have implemented a “Positive Pay” Accounts Payable Transaction.  This method of payment insures that even if our checks were forged they would not be honored by our bank.

 

Vocational & Technical High Schools

Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools are pleased to provide a status report on the progress attained in advancing our district-wide goals:  Increasing Student Achievement; Advancing Ongoing Communication; Acknowledging Professionalism of Staff; and Maximizing Quality and Value.

Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools continue to maintain their ongoing commitment to provide the highest standard of vocational and technical education to the residents of Middlesex County.  Some 9,500 students, high school age and adults, within Middlesex County benefited from our program offerings.

The national, state, county and local recognition the District received during the 2007-2008 school year indicates the remarkable progress attained.

District Recognition at the National, State, County and Local Levels

The following are a sampling of some of the recent national, state, county and local recognition received by our District over the past year:

On the National level, several recent awards are noteworthy:

            The Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering technologies received national recognition as America’s best high schools:

                   The Academy has been singled out for an outstanding national recognition.  The Academy was listed in the US News & World Report as one of the Country's Best High Schools.  We were awarded a Bronze Award for our achievements. US News and World Report published the list of America’s Best High Schools. They evaluated 22,000 public high schools in the country using various benchmarks such as college placement, standardized test scores, SAT scores, ACT and other measures. The list was finalized into three categories: Gold, Silver and Bronze. Of the 397 public high schools in New Jersey, sixty-six schools were honored with national recognition; the Academy received a Bronze medal. Only two schools made the Best High School list in Middlesex County, our Academy was one of them.

The Piscataway Campus’ school newspaper, ALL EYES ON PVT, received 2nd place in the nation in the American Scholastic Press Association's 2007 - 2008 competition.  This is an annual contest for scholastic newspapers and other publications.  Strict professional guidelines must be followed as part of the contest rules including pictures and original articles written by the newspaper staff.

The Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies had six students named as commended students in the 2008 National Merit® Scholarship Program.  A letter of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), who conducts the program, was presented to these scholastically talented seniors.

The East Brunswick Campus’ Auto Services Program received the 2008 Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) Award for “Best Overall Placement in a Career.” This award was based on the total number of program graduates working in a dealership or automotive service related career.   One hundred percent (100%) of recent Auto Services graduates were placed at area dealerships.  Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools is one of 374 schools nationally who participate in AYES. The Auto Services Program produces competent technicians and employable students needed by the automotive industry.

An Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies student was recognized as a scholar in the 2008 National Hispanic Recognition Program. 

The Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies won a 2007 National Soccer Coaches Athletic Association (NSCAA)/Adidas High School Academic Award.   A total of 412 soccer teams from throughout the United States earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team during the 2006-2007 academic years. To qualify for the award, the team must have had a minimum grade point average of 3.25 for the entire academic year.  The team GPA is determined by adding every player's GPA, then dividing by the number of players. The Academy Eagles Soccer Team achieved an aggregate 3.38 GPA to qualify for the award. 

Automotive Programs at three of our schools achieved certification by the National Institute for Automobile Service Excellence. Programs were evaluated according to strict standards set by the automotive industry.

The Piscataway Campus was featured in the winter 2008 Edition of Skills USA Champions, a national publication. One of the carpentry students who had won two State competitions was featured along with his teacher.

The National School Public Relations Association selected our Annual Report and our www.mcvts.net Website Campaign out of 1121 nation-wide entries for Awards of Honorable Mention.

The Practical Nursing Program continues to earn high rank in the nation for student performance on the National Council Licensure Examination with a 96% pass rate on the most recent assessment of our graduates.

The National Center for Competency Testing conferred on our District the distinction of being a designated National Certified Proctor Site for various medical and allied health occupations such as Pharmacy Technician, Esthetician, Phlebotomy Technician and ECG Technician.

Two of our students who were 1st place winners in the HVAC and Computer Technology contests at the State level, recently competed in the Skills USA National Competition held in Kansas City, Missouri.  They finished in the top 10 nationwide, with one of the students finishing 4th overall in the nation.

District Chapters of various honor societies held annual events. The National Technical Honor Society inducted thirty-three (33) students from our East Brunswick, Piscataway, Perth Amboy and Woodbridge Campuses who joined over 600 former inductees to become distinguished members of our chapter’s technical honor society. At the Academy for Mathematics, Science and Engineering Technologies The National Honor Society inducted 13 new members and La SOCIEDAD HONORARIA HISPÁNICA inducted 18 new members.

On the State level, we are pleased to highlight the recognition our schools and students received in prestigious programs, competitions and initiatives over the past year.  Some of the most noteworthy include:
 
The East Brunswick & Piscataway FFA Chapters garnered nine 1st place awards in the State FFA Horticulture Expo.

Our District won two Awards of Excellence from the New Jersey School Boards Association.  The Award of Excellence is the highest level of award bestowed in their 2007 Annual School Communications Competition. The Annual Report was chosen by the New Jersey School Boards Association to receive an Award of Excellence in the 2007 School Communications Competition.   In addition, the new district website www.mcvts.net, launched last spring, received an Award of Excellence.

A graduate of our Practical Nursing Program was selected to receive the New Jersey 2008 STAR Award, which is a financial scholarship from the local Workforce Investment Areas. The recipient is selected because they have excelled both personally and professionally through participation in the one stop system.  The award was presented at the Garden State Employment and Training Association Conference Awards Ceremony. 

The Piscataway Schools Robotic Team - Team 223 participated in and received statewide recognition at Project First’s Statewide Regional Competition. Our Robotics Team 223 won the New Jersey Imagery Award for best graphics and team image. 

For the fourth year in a row, the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies had students selected to attend the prestigious Governor’s School. And for the past three years there will be a total of two Academy students attending separate Governor’s Schools - The School of the Arts at the College of New Jersey and The School on the Environment at the Richard C. Stockton College of New Jersey. 

At the East Brunswick Campus, the Auto Services Instructor, Mr. Delena was selected as the recipient of the 2008 Career Connections 21st Century Teaching and Counseling Excellence Award from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University.  Our teacher and program were featured at the “Career Education and the 21st Century Classroom: How Modern Workplaces Can Enliven High School Instruction” forum. Our “Best Practices” in a Career & Technical Education (CTE) Program involves infusing mathematics into Auto Services.  Mr. Delena participated in a two year Math in CTE study directed by the National Research Center for Career & Technical Education at the University of Minnesota. The study succeeded in proving that when algebra is presented in an automotive setting, the students' understanding of math and their grades improve. As a result, he was able to infuse algebra into the Auto Services Program. His lessons were based on the “Seven Elements: Components of a Math-Enhanced Lesson” from the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education.  As the first place winner, Mr. Delena and his description of his “Best Practices” will be featured on the Career Connections website that will be shared with teachers statewide through Verizon’s Access New Jersey Network.  The school also received a camera for video-conferencing, compliments of Verizon New Jersey.

Five of our East Brunswick Retail Sales Class received awards and qualified to compete in the New Jersey DECA State Career Development Conference. Four of the five students who competed received awards in the state competition, with five 1st Place awards in different competitions. One student qualified to compete in the National Career Development competition as a result of her first place overall win in the state contest.
 
Two members of the New Jersey Assembly visited our school district on October 11, 2007.  An invitation was extended to the legislatures to visit our school district in coordination with the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools' Legislator Outreach Weeks, October 1-12, 2007. Assemblyman Joe Vas visited the Perth Amboy Campus and spent time talking with students and touring the construction trades shops. Assemblyman Chivukula visited the Piscataway Campus to meet and have lunch with student representatives.  He shared his own personal educational experiences with the students and gave each one some personal advice about goals, careers and continuing their education.
           
            Ms. Lisa Ann Moschera has been nominated by the New Jersey FFA Association Executive Board to receive the 2008 Honorary State FFA Degree.  This degree is presented in recognition of her significant contributions to the FFA and Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Education in New Jersey.  The formal presentation was made at the 79th New Jersey State FFA Convention in May at Rutgers University.
                       
            Four students won their industry contest at the New Jersey State Skills USA Championships held at the Garden State Exhibit Center.  Gold 1st Place medals were won in Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning and Baking. Both of our two gold medal winners competed in the National Skills USA Championships in Kansas City, Missouri as well as one of our silver medalist was eligible to compete in the national competition due to the fact that the original gold medal winner was unable to attend. 
                       
            The following teachers were selected for the 2008 Governor’s Teacher/ Educational Services Professional Recognition Program based on their classroom climate, effective instructional techniques, positive interaction with students, staff, and parents and fostering an appropriate environment for learning:

Campus                     Award Recipient                    Position
Academy                   Mr. James McCormick                Teacher of Biology
East Brunswick Ms. Elaine Levine                           Teacher of English
Perth Amboy             Mr. Scott Kotora                        Teacher of Electrical Technology
Piscataway                Mr. Joseph Kotora                      Teacher of Automotive Repair 
Woodbridge              Mr. Sean Sullivan                        Teacher of History

On the County level, students won the following distinctions:
 
The Perth Amboy Campus took 3rd place in the annual 3-D Middlesex County Public Service Announcement Video Contest, “Don’t Drink and Drive.”

Mr. James McCormick, Teacher of Biology at the Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies, is one of three recipients of an Excellence in Science Teaching Award, High School Category, for 2008.  Each year the Rutgers Chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, conducts a program to honor Teachers of Science from throughout Middlesex and Somerset counties.
     
Librarian Dagmar Finkle received the Bill A. Peterson Award from the Union/Middlesex Association of School Librarians (UMASL) for demonstrating excellence in creating a School Library Media Program that is an integral part of the school community.
     
Our District collected a total of approximately 7,500 pounds of food for the 2008 M.C.F.O.O.D.S. School Food Drive. The Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies placed 1st in Middlesex County by having collected 5,430 pounds of food for the Middlesex County Emergency Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services' (M.C.F.O.O.D.S.) 2008 School Food Drive.  This is the second year in a row that the Academy was recognized for having donated the most food out of the 161 schools participating.
           
The Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies is the Gold Division Co-Champion in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC).  The Academy tied with South Amboy for the Gold Division Championship.  The Academy finished the season with an 11 – 2 record.

The Perth Amboy sports program was recognized by the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) for the 2007-2008 Soccer seasons and received the GMC Sportsmanship Award.

The East Brunswick and Woodbridge sports programs were recognized by the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) for the 2007-2008 Basketball seasons.

GMC Sportsmanship Awards

GMC Coach of the Year

A Perth Amboy Campus student won the Voice of Democracy essay contest sponsored by the local Veterans of Foreign War Chapter. The essay submitted was entitled "My Role in Honoring America's Veterans." The essay was selected as the winner for the High School Division, which allowed the entry to advance to the next level- the Middlesex County contest to compete for a scholarship.

 

At the Local level, many exceptional events and activities occurred that received recognition. Some of the significant events follow:

The Academy for allied Health and Biomedical sciences held a program dedication and community forum to announce September 2008 opening:
 
The Program Dedication for our new Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences was held at the Woodbridge Campus on Wednesday, May 14, 2008. The dedication was attended by representatives from the Board of Chosen Freeholders, Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools’ Board of Education, and many of our community partners from agencies such as the New Jersey Department of Education, Middlesex County College, the New Jersey Department of Employment and Training, several health care institutions and area hospitals. The Program Dedication was the culmination of three years of preparation and renovations at our Woodbridge Campus. The Academy, which officially opens in September 2008, provides students with a small learning community that will focus on college preparation. Technology labs will foster hands-on applied learning, while rigorous and relevant academy courses with an emphasis on math and science will be integrated into the career majors of Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences. This our newest Academy – the Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences is our response to regional needs for skilled health care professionals. The Academy will prepare students to enter higher education – college and beyond, which is needed for many of the fields in the medical profession.  Physicians, pharmacists and allied biomedical professionals are a few of the careers we hope our students will ultimately enter. The Program Dedication was followed by a Community Forum held from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the evening. Interested people from the community attended the evening information program.  We received many positive comments from our guests.  Tours of the facility were well received.

The Middlesex County readiness and emergency management for schools program continues as collaborative under a shared service agreement:

As a result of the competitive Emergency Response and Crisis Management (ERCM) Grant received from the United States Department of Education awarded to Middlesex County and its consortium of 25 school districts, safety in our schools improved. As the lead agency, Middlesex County Vocational & Technical Schools, in collaboration with the Middlesex Executive County Superintendent and the Middlesex County Emergency Response and Crisis Management Task Force were able to significantly impact school safety and emergency preparedness within Middlesex County. The ERCM Grant provided a multitude of technical assistance and staff training opportunities that focused on “Best Practices” in crisis management and school safety.  The recently produced “Active Shooter” video is being utilized as a training tool for school staff within the county.

In response to the grant ending June 2008, our District in conjunction with the Middlesex Executive County Superintendent developed a shared-service consortium of local school districts designed to further advance the capacity and the implementation of “Best Practice Guidelines” for emergency response and crisis management in schools.

The District held the 34th Annual Employer Appreciation Awards Banquet at our Piscataway Campus on Wednesday, April 30, 2008. Nearly 230 cooperative education students, employers, and vocational school staff attended this event to recognize the 87 employers who have hired our cooperative education students.

This year 107 students have gained valuable work experience by participating in our cooperative education program. Collectively, students realize approximately $500,000 of earnings while working in the program. To thank their employer for their support, cooperation, and commitment, students invite their employer to this event as their guest.

A staff development program was held at all campuses on School Safety. The presentation included a review and distribution of our four model “Emergency Response Protocols” accompanied by the active shooter video presentation “When Disaster Strikes,” which was produced through funds from a Federal Grant in cooperation with the Middlesex County Executive Superintendent’s Office.

East Brunswick Campus seniors in the School of Performing Arts presented their annual Senior Showcase at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.  Students directed their own screen plays; presented a documentary; as well as a variety of scenes, both comic and dramatic. Professional casting directors, agents, and other industry people were invited to the showcase to view the seniors’ talent.

Mr. Bill Leary, a 1988 graduate of the Piscataway Campus of Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools’ HVAC program, was chosen as the New Jersey Council of County Vocational Schools’ Successful Graduate for 2008.  As a senior, Bill was the New Jersey State VICA gold medal winner in his occupational area.  The owner of Bill Leary Heating, Air Conditioning, Duct Cleaning, Bill’s goal is to maintain a 100% customer satisfaction rate.  His company, which employs between 50 and 75 technicians depending on the season, has been approved by the State of New Jersey Department of Building and Construction to perform work on jobs up to 15 million dollars. For nearly ten years, Bill has served both on the Board of Directors for the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America and on the Edison Wetlands Association as the Chief Financial Officer. Over the years, Mr. Leary has continued to employ students enrolled in our Cooperative Education Program.  Since the company is a union shop, a number of his apprentices have attended the Evening School Program at Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools.

Stelton Cabinet - The Kitchen & Bath Center, located in Piscataway was selected as our Outstanding Business Partner for 2007-2008 and received a Business Partnership Award at a statewide event hosted by the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools. For over thirty years, this company employed at least one student each year from the Middlesex County Vocational Schools either as part of the Cooperative Education Program or one of our graduates. 

The Annual Advisory Committee Dinner Meeting was held on April 16, 2008 at the Piscataway Campus.  Over 275 individuals that represent business and industry met with district administrators and instructors to provide an evaluation of career programs and curriculum. Advisory Committees provide guidance in identifying and expanding the use of new technologies, comparing career curriculum with current and future occupational competencies, skill proficiencies, and advise on labor market needs and trends.   

The 2008 Albert Hudanish Leadership Award, presented annually to recognize an outstanding leader from business and industry, labor, government, or education that has made a significant contribution to apprenticeship was presented to David J. Socolow, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  Commissioner Socolow is responsible for the management of apprenticeship, on the state level, throughout New Jersey.  The award was presented at the Apprentice Graduation, during which sixty-six (66) apprentices received their Certificates of Completion of Related Instruction. Albert Hudanish, Regional Director, United States Department of Labor, Region II, New York, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, retired, provided congratulatory remarks. More than three-hundred fifty individuals attended, most of them family, friends and sponsors of the graduating apprentices.
           
Ray Catena Automotive Dealer, Edison, NJ donated a 2005 Infinity Q45 automobile to our Automotive Programs at our Piscataway Campus for instructional purposes.  The vehicle will be utilized as an instructional/demonstration vehicle for diagnostics and repair.

The District initiated a new student activity in February 2008, The Green Tech Expo, which was planned as the final celebration of Career Technical Education Month utilizing the theme of “Green Attitudes: To make a better world!”  One hundred and fifty two (152) students throughout the district participated in the Green Tech Expo that was held on Wednesday, February 27, 2008.  The Green Tech Expo Students' career major presentations demonstrated the skills and talents acquired in their occupational programs. Presentations focused on inventions in their given career major and how the invention affects the environment and sustainability.  A model of the invention was also replicated using recycled materials. A panel of volunteer judges from the community, Rutgers University, Middlesex County Division of Solid Waste Management, various trades, and business and industry from Middlesex County evaluated each presentation.  The judges brought their wealth of experience to share with our students.  Each presentation was judged on performance, public speaking, organizational style, content and the students’ career expertise.  Those participating in the Green Tech Expo spent many hours in preparation for the event.  First, second and third place winners at each campus were awarded a medal and prizes for placing in their school.
           
To compliment the Green Tech Expo, a poster contest entitled “Green Attitudes: To make a better world!” was held.  A panel of judges reviewed and scored the posters for quality of design, originality, and use of slogan.  The posters emphasized a positive approach and focus on solutions to solid waste, trash problems and recycling.  One hundred and forty-four (144) students submitted entries with five (5) students receiving the top awards.
           
Students at all schools conducted many community and civic projects. A sample of these follow:

The District PLACEMENT REPORT – CLASS OF 2007, which is an annual follow-up study of graduates, indicated the following:

The overall percentage for job placement was 99%.

 

The Academy for allied Health and Biomedical sciences held a program dedication and community forum to announce September 2008 opening:

The Program Dedication for our new Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences was held at the Woodbridge Campus on Wednesday, May 14, 2008.  The dedication was attended by representatives from the Board of Chosen Freeholders, Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools’ Board of Education, and many of our community partners from agencies such as the New Jersey Department of Education, Middlesex County College, the New Jersey Department of Employment and Training, several health care institutions and area hospitals.  The Program Dedication was the culmination of three years of preparation and renovations at our Woodbridge Campus.  The Academy, which officially opens in September 2008, provides students with a small learning community that will focus on college preparation.  Technology labs will foster hands-on applied learning, while rigorous and relevant academy courses with an emphasis on math and science will be integrated into the career majors of Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences.  This our newest Academy – the Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences is our response to regional needs for skilled health care professionals.  The Academy will prepare students to enter higher education – college and beyond, which is needed for many of the fields in the medical profession.  Physicians, pharmacists and allied biomedical professionals are a few of the careers we hope our students will ultimately enter.  The Program Dedication was followed by a Community Forum held from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the evening.  Interested people from the community attended the evening information program.  We received many positive comments from our guests.  Tours of the facility were well received.

District received State and National awards for website and annual report:

Our District won two Awards of Excellence from the New Jersey School Boards Association.  The Award of Excellence is the highest level of award bestowed in their 2007 Annual School Communications Competition.  The Annual Report was chosen by the New Jersey School Boards Association to receive an Award of Excellence in the 2007 School Communications Competition.   In addition, the new district website www.mcvts.net, launched last spring, received an Award of Excellence. 

Both entries were also recognized at the National level.  The National School Public Relations Association selected our Annual Report and our www.mcvts.net Website Campaign out of 1,121 nation-wide entries for Awards of Honorable Mention.

            The District continued a high placement record for high school graduates:

              The District PLACEMENT REPORT – CLASS OF 2007, which is the annual follow-up study of
             
           Graduates indicated the following: