UW offers virtual internships to promote youth empowerment through agriculture in Malawi

The University of Wisconsin partnered with the Associated Center for Agro-Based Development, an organization promoting youth economic empowerment through agriculture, and a student organization to create new internship opportunities for UW students.

The organization currently supports 3,000 rural youth farmers in central Malawi through skill development training, farm input loans and market facilitation, according to the ACADES website. Project Malawi UW is a student organization partnering with ACADES to promote agribusiness as an employment opportunity for the youth in Malawi. 

Project Malawi UW’s president and UW senior Lusayo Mwakatika said he led the organization’s partnership with ACADES after he attended one of their events while interning in Malawi in 2018.

“When I saw ACADES and what they were doing with agriculture, I thought it was a perfect organization for us to partner with,” Mwakatika said. “I saw that they’re actually doing something that has the potential to help the country as a whole.”

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UW International Internship Program advisor and program coordinator Nathaniel Liedl said the new ACADES internship offerings would not happen without Mwakatika — he approached IIP with the idea and suggested trying it virtually when it fell through in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mwakatika said ACADES is doing well keeping up with day-to-day activities, but has difficulty finding time to reflect and get creative with their work as an organization with a small staff now working with 5,000 people. 

“We found that an internship would be an extra addition to their work because now … if they have some overload, they can have an intern help them,” Mwakatika said.

ACADES offers two different virtual internships — Program Assistant Intern and Development Research Intern, according to the UW IIP website

Liedl said the two positions overlap a fair amount. Any students with a background in agriculture, economics, project management or research could benefit from these internships.

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“[The team] started working from just pure passion and believing in the dream of the organization, so you find that they’re not just there for a job,” Mwakatika said. “That’s a very good environment to be in as an intern, because once you can get that kind of spirit, you can take that with you wherever you go to work.” 

Mwakatika said this internship also benefits students by introducing them to another culture. This kind of cultural exposure is important, because it can help students grow and become more well-rounded citizens, Mwakatika said. 

While bigger companies tend to have interns focus on specific tasks, working for a startup-based organization like ACADES also gives students the opportunity to work in different areas, develop troubleshooting skills and have a deeper impact, Mwakatika said. 

While virtual internships cannot recreate the experience of living and working abroad, being engaged virtually still helped students develop valuable skills, the director of UW IIP Michelle Hall said. 

“With the virtual environment, I think they’re getting the network, connection and mentorship with someone abroad, but they’re also getting communication, time management and other practices that are needed to work across languages, time zones and cultural differences,” Hall said. 

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UW Study Abroad is regularly monitoring global circumstances with respect to COVID-19, but in-person summer programs starting prior to July 1, 2021 in addition to Spring semester 2021 programs were canceled, according to the UW Study Abroad website

Hall said she hopes virtual internships will continue to have a place within IIP, because many students appreciate part-time opportunities they can balance with their schoolwork. 

“This has opened up new channels and opened it up to students who might not have considered themselves able to go abroad or able to commit the time for something more intensive than this but have still gotten huge benefits, connections and work experience that these have offered,” Hall said. 

Including the ACADES’ offerings, UW IIP has many summer internships which are still open, Hall said.

Mwakatika said students can also get involved with ACADES’s mission by joining Project Malawi UW and supporting their fundraising efforts. In April, the student organization will be selling handmade jewelry from an artist in Malawi who works with young women who are jobless, Mwakatika said. 

Project Malawi UW will also be selling paintings by one of its artists and donating food from African restaurants in Madison, Mwakatika said. 

“We are also accepting members … and we are very happy to welcome new students who want to join us,” Mwakatika said.

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18 books that capture the spirit and essence of living in D.C.

One year ago, the coronavirus was already in Washington, but most people hadn’t yet experienced significant disruption to their daily lives. How naive we were.

Through the quarantines and stay-at-home orders, with restaurants closed, theaters dark and treasures locked up tight in museums, what some of us miss most is the spirit of city — D.C., not Washington — in all its wonderful, unpredictable, maddening glory.

One of the easiest ways to recapture those missing experiences is through literature, so we asked a spectrum of authors, librarians, booksellers and book critics to tell us about their favorite book written about D.C. — one that captures the essence of D.C., reminds readers how special living here can be, or shows a side of the nation’s capital that outsiders often miss.

Even the most jaded of book lovers should find a surprise in these recommendations. All but one are in print, which means you can find them on library shelves or order a copy from your local independent bookstore. After all, we want our neighborhood shops to be able to introduce us to the next great Washington novel.

Responses have been lightly edited for length.

“Heartburn” by Nora Ephron

(Vintage)

If you’re invited to a dinner party in Washington, chances are you’ll be seated by someone connected to journalism or politics. It’s true today — and it was true in 1983, when Nora Ephron’s watershed “Heartburn” was published. Writing a laugh-out-loud novel about the dissolution of a marriage because of infidelity seems counterintuitive, but Ephron, whose divorce from Carl Bernstein is widely considered to be her source material, succeeds brilliantly. Her observations about D.C. and the characters who populate it seem nearly as fresh today as when she penned them. A bonus: Woven throughout the chapters are recipes, including a delicious-sounding one for key lime pie. There’s also some diabolical inspiration on what to do with it, if you like your revenge served up sweet.

Sarah Pekkanen, whose books include “The Wife Between Us” and “You Are Not Alone”

Ephron’s 1983 roman à clef remains more compulsively readable than any political thriller. It contains no intrigue beyond some credit-card snooping, no world crisis greater than the battle to make truly crisp hash-browns, no power struggle other than that between a couple whose marriage is about to explode, but read the first page and I promise you won’t be able to stop. Ephron describes her heartbreak in the nation’s capital with such sharp wit and endless charm that D.C. readers will feel proud to have once been able to call her a Washingtonian. It’s a bittersweet thought, though, because I can’t help thinking that 2020 would have been at least a little easier if we’d had Nora Ephron to see it through with us.

Katherine Heiny, author of the upcoming “Early Morning Riser”

“You Can’t Take a Balloon into the National Gallery” by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser (illustrations)

(Robin Preiss Glasser)

While a grandma is giving her grandchildren a tour of the museum, their red balloon — left tethered outside — slips its moorings and blows recklessly through the city, offering us a gloriously playful look at some of D.C.’s most iconic sights. It also gives us glimpses of some of the famous women and men (Ben Franklin, Abe Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt and many others) who have contributed to Washington’s rich history. Back at the museum, we are treated to meticulously rendered works of art by the likes of Winslow Homer, Matisse and Manet. Full of fun, and painlessly educational, every place and person and painting is a pleasure to encounter in this wordless wonder of a book.

Judith Viorst, whose books include “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”

This book is out of print, but widely available online.

“Creatures of Passage” by Morowa Yejidé

(Akashic Books)

Set in Anacostia in 1977, the book revolves around Nephthys Kinwell, a taxi driver who ferries troubled passengers, citywide, in a haunted ’67 Plymouth Belvedere. Nephthys grieves the loss of her brother Osiris, murdered and dumped in the river, who returns in another form in a quest for vengeance. There are a multitude of characters, none given short shrift, all richly observed, and though the plot turns are sometimes harrowing, the author locates the humanity in a community that comes to together in the face of their own personal hardships to save an endangered child. “Creatures of Passage” shines a light on a section of the city mostly ignored by fiction writers. In its luminous prose, and its nods to mysticism and myth, the novel brings to mind the best of Toni Morrison. It’s that good.

George Pelecanos, who has written 21 novels set in or around Washington, most recently “The Man Who Came Uptown”

I’m a transplant to the D.C. area, so I know it in a broad way: monuments and museums and obvious landmarks. Morowa Yejidé’s forthcoming novel shares what might be the opposite of my experience. Set in 1977, it points a microscope at Anacostia, using this focus to reveal truths about the wider city. Mind you, this isn’t the real Anacostia. Yejidé’s version churns with myth and magic. We view the neighborhood through the eyes of characters both living and dead. It’s a haunted, supernatural place. In a way, Yejidé writes how D.C. feels, rather than how it strictly is. As if those two states are separable. Reality notwithstanding, the novel’s characters taught me a wise, D.C.-specific lesson: Wherever you are in our city, that’s the center. Landmarks be damned. D.C. asks us to know our neighbors where — and how — they live.

Zach Powers, author of “First Cosmic Velocity” and “Gravity Changes”

“Creatures of Passage” will be released March 16.

“The Lost Diary of M” by Paul Wolfe

(Harper)

Much fiction springs from the “what if” crevices of a writer’s imagination. “M” refers to the ex-wife of CIA operative Cord Meyer, Mary Pinchot Meyer, who had an affair and shared LSD with John F. Kennedy in the White House (1962-63). Months after the president’s assassination, Mary Meyer was mysteriously murdered in broad daylight while walking along the C&O Canal in Georgetown. The accused assailant was found not guilty. “The Lost Diary” refers to the journal Mary kept, later found by her sister, Toni Bradlee, then married to Ben Bradlee, later executive editor of The Washington Post. Toni turned her sister’s diary over to their friend James Jesus Angleton, CIA chief of counterintelligence. The diary was never seen again. Until this novel …

Kitty Kelley, author of biographies on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and others

“Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders

(Random House Trade Paperbacks)

I had often passed beautiful Oak Hill Cemetery on my walks around the city, but I didn’t get obsessed with it until I read “Lincoln in the Bardo,” a novel that might be described as a phantasmagoric “Spoon River Anthology” with footnotes. Set at the cemetery, and told by ghosts, it’s hilarious, disturbing and poignant by turn. George Saunders was inspired to write it after hearing about Lincoln’s visits to the cemetery to see his young son Willie, who temporarily lay in the Carroll Family Mausoleum after his death in 1862. The first time I tried to visit Oak Hill it was closing time, but an employee told me I could get a key and enter any time if I bought a plot, an idea I haven’t entirely ruled out. In the meantime I’ll make due with visiting hours.

Julie Langsdorf, author of “White Elephant”

“Lost in the City” by Edward P. Jones

I’ve come to really bridle at the term “the Washington novel,” which almost always describes a book that has little or nothing to do with the city itself. For me, the perfect antidote is Edward P. Jones’s matchless story collection, “Lost in the City,” which turns a relatively small patch of (mostly) Northwest D.C. into an infinitely rich terrain of love and loss. Jones is so attentive, so gentle, so precise and so open to possibility that, no matter how long you’ve lived here, you can’t help seeing D.C. with new eyes.

Louis Bayard, whose books include “Courting Mr. Lincoln”

(Amistad)

This collection of short stories lifts the political veneer off the nation’s capital to reveal the unheralded neighborhoods of what was once Chocolate City. Ordinary people doing ordinary things, yet extraordinary in the telling. Jones’s stories squirrel into the depth of humanity, leaving us breathless, at times horrified, sometimes chuckling and often heartbroken. An array of characters so vivid — from “The Girl Who Raised Pigeons” all the way to “Marie” — we feel their joy and shame, their pain and resignation, and their connection to a persistent city much of the world never sees. Jones shows us that these lives do matter. We see the majesty of D.C. in the small interactions between its residents, and we come to understand that life is lived in each precious moment.

Melanie S. Hatter, whose books include “Malawi’s Sisters” and “The Color of My Soul”

The stories, sometimes called a “Dubliners” for D.C., are unsparing yet rich in detail and insight into the lives of African Americans living in D.C. Communal and family ties are torn as the city is gentrified, deepening the characters’ sense of displacement throughout the book.

— Aaron Beckwith, co-owner, Capitol Hill Books

“The Passover Guest” by Susan Kusel and Sean Rubin (illustrations)

(Neal Porter Books)

A stunning new picture book made me gasp over the beauty of Washington and linger over the pages. Set in 1933, the story follows the story of a girl named Muriel who meets a magician at the Lincoln Memorial and goes on to take part in a miraculous feast that brings her community together during Passover. From the cherry blossoms in bloom to scenes of the Washington Monument, the White House and the Capitol building, this book is a gorgeous celebration of the Passover holiday, as well as the vibrant Jewish community that has long made the D.C. region their home.

Hena Khan, whose books include “Amina’s Voice” and its upcoming sequel, “Amina’s Song”

“Henry and Clara” by Thomas Mallon

(Vintage)

Henry and Clara Rathbone shared the box with President Lincoln and his wife on the day of Lincoln’s assassination. In fact, Henry was stabbed by John Wilkes Booth when he tried to restrain him after the shooting. What makes this book particularly appealing to D.C. residents is how Mallon uses streets and landmarks in D.C. that are as familiar and recognizable today as it must have been in the 1860s. We ride in the coach with the couple as they pass through Thomas Circle on their way to Ford’s Theatre. Thomas Mallon takes full use of the local geography.

— Mark LaFramboise, head buyer at Politics and Prose Bookstore

“Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston

(St. Martin’s Griffin)

When you hear “book set in Washington D.C.,” it’s easy to think “the White House, K Street, dirty politics, bad clothes, worse behavior.” But in 2019, Casey McQuiston gifted us with “Red, White & Royal Blue.” Yes, it has politics and a woman (!) in the White House, but also good clothes, great characters and so much charm. The question on the cover is: “What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?” The answer: the romance novel D.C. didn’t know it needed. It’s fun and frothy, with a dash of the passionate political activism that brings so many young people to Washington, and it reminded me that D.C. can be a glamorous city — even a sexy city — if you look at it through the right red, white and royal blue lens.

Karin Tanabe, whose books include “The Gilded Years” and “A Hundred Suns”

“The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears” by Dinaw Mengestu

(Riverhead Books)

Customers (especially tourists, when we used to have tourists) often ask me to recommend a “D.C. book.” There are lots of wonderful potential answers, but my first response is always “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears.” Dinaw Mengestu’s novel is the story of Sepha, an Ethiopian immigrant running a corner store here in the mid-1990s. It’s beautifully written with vivid characters, but the Logan Circle setting, on the cusp of gentrification, makes it a very D.C. story — a thoughtful look at the tensions between old and new, Black and White, and residents’ competing definitions of “progress.” Come for the gorgeous writing; stay for a story showing that Washington is not just the White House, Capitol Hill, or Georgetown. Our neighbors and neighborhoods are so much more.

— Emilie Sommer, book buyer at East City Bookshop

An impressive debut novel set in the gentrifying Logan Circle neighborhood of the mid-aughts, this is the moving story of an immigrant’s struggle for assimilation and acceptance, and the unlikely friendship that both will test and fulfill these desires.

— Jake Cumsky-Whitlock, co-founder, Solid State Books

“Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett

(Harper Perennial)

I’m invoking creative license in naming “Bel Canto.” Ann Patchett’s exquisitely told story does not take place in D.C., but it does take place in the residence of an unnamed nation’s vice president. His guests for the evening — diplomats, polyglots, artists, expats and business leaders — remind me of the people I’ve met around town. On occasion, I’ve mingled in embassies eating small bites from small plates with instrumental music floating in the air. I’ve listened to soaring voices, like that of Roxane Coss, fill the gilded hall of the Kennedy Center. D.C. being D.C., there were probably some in the audience who, like Patchett’s characters, revel in the fine arts almost as much as they revel being in the company of people who love the fine arts. And because truth is stranger than fiction, this year a group of terrorists stormed the Capitol looking for our sitting vice president. What transpired lacked all the elegance of Patchett’s novel but had Washingtonians duly riveted and eager for a peaceful denouement.

Nadia Hashimi, whose books include “The House Without Windows” and “When the Moon Is Low”

“When Washington Was in Vogue” by Edward Christopher Williams

Edward Christopher Williams was the first African American professional librarian in the nation. Between January 1925 and June 1926 he serialized his only novel in The Messenger, called “Letters of Davy Carr, a True Story of Colored Vanity Affair.” But it wasn’t until 2003 that the novel was “rediscovered” by scholar Adam McKible and published as a book. “When Washington Was in Vogue” is an epistolary novel, written as a series of letters from our hero, Davy Carr, to an old Army friend. Carr moves to D.C. at the end of World War I and rents rooms in the Rhodes home, where he socializes with the owner’s two daughters and attends a range of social events at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. As Carr is a little slow on the uptake, we see him fall in love long before he does, in this hilarious novel of manners — in which not a single White person appears.

Kim Roberts, co-creator of D.C. Writers’ Homes and editor of “By Broad Potomac’s Shore: Great Poems from the Early Days of Our Nation’s Capital”

(Harper Perennial)

I was struck by this novel when it was “discovered” in the magazine archives and republished as a book in the early 2000s. It gives a vivid picture of Black Washington’s social elite in the 1920s in a fictional series of letters between a visiting scholar working on a research project in D.C. and a friend back in New York. I recognize many of the traditions that continue to characterize middle-class Black life in Washington. Long before social media, people have felt compelled to humble-brag, chronicle their every move and share it. I also recognized the tall skinny rowhouses, the homecoming games and dances, and society debates about respectability, privilege and colorism.

Natalie Hopkinson, author of “Go-Go Live” and “A Mouth Is Always Muzzled”

It’s a fantastic champagne glass of a Harlem Renaissance novel about the Black elite scene in D.C. in the 1920s. New York City wasn’t the only place where Black art and literary culture was thriving in the ’20s, and this is a wonderful book for anybody who wants to read more about D.C.’s gorgeous and diverse cultural history.

Amber Sparks, author of the short story collection “And I Do Not Forgive You”

“The Hopefuls” by Jennifer Close

(Vintage)

Theatrical presidents and quotable senators suck up all the limelight in Washington, but staff members, administrators and bureaucrats actually keep the government running. Jennifer Close’s comic novel “The Hopefuls” (2016) gives an insider’s view of what that world is like. Close knows from personal experience. When her husband got a job working on Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, she stopped editing in New York and moved to Washington. She was happy for her husband and optimistic about the campaign but found the hyper-politicized culture of D.C. deeply annoying. Fortunately, she funneled all her irritation into “The Hopefuls,” and the results are pitch perfect. Everyone the narrator meets is a grown-up version of the most eager kid from high school student council. They all wear ID cards around their necks, speak entirely in acronyms and brag about their security clearance. The only currency these civil servants and campaign aides care about is access to People in Power. As funny — and true! — as “The Hopefuls” is, what makes it sing is Close’s tender portrayal of a marriage caught in the vice of this frantic, idealistic, infuriating town.

Ron Charles, book critic for The Washington Post and host of TotallyHipVideoBookReview.com

“King Suckerman” by George Pelecanos

(Back Bay Books)

It’s 1976. Our protagonists are just normal D.C. guys playing ball and living and working. When they run into trouble, classic Chandler or Big Lebowksi-style, the whole city takes center stage, showcasing Chocolate City as it unabashedly, divinely was. “King Suckerman” is a gripping crime story, one that doesn’t raise up criminals or criminality. Through the ’70s-era glory of music, cars, cultural life and early home-rule, you can see the roots of what the ’80s bring to D.C.

— Scott Abel, co-founder, Solid State Books

“Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of Chocolate City” by Natalie Hopkinson

(Duke University Press)

Either by movement — willing and not — or by birth, we all inherit a city. Many in the capital region have inherited one of the most dynamic cities in the world, one caught in the throes of an ironic post-Obama administration transition from being “Chocolate City” into being … something else. Many of those who make up the changing Washington have heard the recent demands of the Don’t Mute D.C. campaign, but fewer really understand the braided story of people, politics and music that brought us to this contentious moment. Natalie Hopkinson does, and she offers a compelling glimpse in her book “Go-Go Live.” Part memoir, part ethnography, part case study of Black American urban sociopolitical life, the book starts the party at the soon-to-be redeveloped Reeves Center (a.k.a. Club U), dances us on a steady groove through go-go’s displacement from U Street to Prince George’s County, from live shows and cassette tapes to radio and streaming. If you find yourself thinking earnestly about what we should be preserving of the D.C. we have inherited, you should definitely read Hopkinson’s book and then keep your ears tuned to the sounds it amplifies.

Kyle Dargan, poet and associate professor of literature at American University

The spirit of D.C. is in our music, and until we can go to live shows again, dive into some of the many books and films documenting D.C. punk and go-go. Start with the catalogue to Roger Gastman’s 2013 exhibition “Pump Me Up — DC Subculture of the 1980s” for a visual feast of go-go posters, punk fliers and street art that will dispel any notion that D.C. is an uptight government town. For a deeper understanding of the importance of Go-Go music in a rapidly changing city, read Natalie Hopkinson’s “Go-Go Live.” D.C.’s underground music scene has been thriving for over 40 years — check out Cynthia Connolly’s “Banned in DC” and Farrah Skeiky’s “Present Tense” for photos and interviews from D.C. punk past and present.

— Michele Casto, D.C. Public Librarian and co-founder of the D.C. Punk Archive

“This Shared Dream” by Kathleen Ann Goonan

(Tor/Forge)

To use cinematic analogies, imagine a combination of “Inception,” “Back to the Future” and “Jumanji,” set largely in D.C. and Northern Virginia. Kathleen Ann Goonan’s characters attend Dunbar High School, take in movies at the Uptown Theater and ride the right Metro lines. Yet this beautifully written novel’s 1991 D.C. isn’t quite ours: John F. Kennedy wasn’t assassinated and Martin Luther King Jr. is about to become head of the United Nations. At the heart of the thrilling and intricate plot — some of which builds on Goonan’s award-winning 2007 book, “In War Times” — is the depiction of a wonderful Washington family and a house where the jazz record collection and the children’s board games might hold the secret to altering history. Goonan grew up in D.C. and in recent years taught creative writing at Georgia Tech. To the immense sorrow of her family, friends and readers, she died Jan. 28 of cancer at the age of 68.

Michael Dirda, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post Book World

“Speak No Evil” by Uzodinma Iweala

(Harper Perennial)

Uzodinma Iweala introduces us to an original, evocative main character in Niru, whose complex humanity defies conventional expectations — and threatens to undermine his closest relationships. Like the city in which it takes place, “Speak No Evil” is alternately sparse and gilded, hauntingly elegiac and completely real, a confluence of identities and influences that is greater than their sum.

— Angela Maria Spring, owner of Duende District Bookstore

“111 Places in Washington That You Must Not Miss” by Andréa Seiger

(111 Places)

A friend gave me this book as a gift last year. I was going to use it as a guidebook for taking trips around the city. I wanted to comfort the poet in me, find and touch my Walt Whitman. Being retired, I wanted to see the city anew and take in what I had been missing. However, the pandemic put an end to what would have been my summer exploring the city with new eyes. I wanted to return to Cedar Hill and visit the home of Frederick Douglass. I hoped it would be the nudge to begin reading David Blight’s biography of Douglass. Instead, this book with its beautiful pictures rests by my desk, asleep with its pages unturned. If I look to the future, I want this book to be my favorite, I want to celebrate a city that rediscovers not just its vibrancy but its breath. Sadly, a few weeks ago I walked down to Fort Stevens, a site included in the book. There I took pictures with my cellphone. I stood where Lincoln stood in 1864, watching Union troops defend Washington from a Confederate attack. I thought about the recent Confederate flag someone carried into the Capitol on Jan. 6. I wish it had been fiction. To hold Seiger’s book in one’s hand today, it is to think of all the things not to miss, and all the things to hold dear.

E. Ethelbert Miller, poet and literary activist

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Community Bulletin Board: the Sentinel (for March 3)

The East Brunswick Woman’s Club will hold its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. March 9 via Zoom.

Current club projects and activities will be discussed as they relate to helping the community and opportunities for future gatherings.

Anyone interested in learning more about the club’s activities or to participate in the virtual meeting should contact Laura at 732-254- 5742 or Joyce at 732-822-8989.

The East Brunswick Public School District offers General Education Inclusive Preschool classes. This preschool program is open to all 3- and 4-year-old children who reside in East Brunswick.

Children must be 3 years of age by Oct. 31, 2021, and not age eligible for kindergarten (5 years of age by Oct. 31, 2021) in order to participate in the program in September.

The classes are taught by certified teachers and supported with paraprofessional aides.  This program provides an inclusive educational environment for preschool children aligned with the New Jersey Preschool Teaching and Learning Expectations. This program includes both typically developing and special needs preschool children.

This tuition-based program is five days per week, two-and-one-half hours per day and follows the 10-month school calendar. Both AM and PM sessions are available.

Tuition is not assessed for families eligible for free and reduced lunch. Information on eligibility for free and reduced lunch and the application is available at www.ebnet.org/preschool and at each elementary school.

Transportation for this program is the responsibility of the parent/guardian.

Applications for the General Education Inclusive Preschool are available at www.ebnet.org/preschool and must be received by March 19.

Send completed applications to Assistant Superintendent of Student Activities/Services, East Brunswick Public Schools, 760 Route 18, East Brunswick 08816

A limited number of openings will be available. Requests for specific sessions will be considered based on the number of applicants. However, there are no guarantees for parental requested placements.

A lottery drawing will occur in April if the number of applicants exceeds the openings.

For more information, call 732-613-6750.

Township children who will be 5 years of age on or before Oct. 31, 2021, are eligible for the East Brunswick Public School full-day kindergarten program for the 2021-22 school year.

Visit www.ebnet.org/register to schedule a virtual appointment. All required forms and additional information can be found on the website.

To assist in planning for the upcoming school, register by April 30.

Students will be invited to participate in an informal screening process in the summer.

The Lost Souls Memorial Project (LSP) is releasing the official Request for Design Proposals (RFP), seeking design teams to submit their ideas about what the future Lost Souls memorial will be in East Brunswick.

The LSP seeks to create a permanent memorial to 137 African Americans who, in 1818, were stolen from New Jersey and transported to the Deep South to be sold into permanent slavery. Jacob Van Wickle, a corrupt Middlesex County judge, organized an extensive ring that included members of his family as well as highly placed members of the New Jersey elite. The state was phasing out slavery at the time, and under the state’s gradual emancipation laws no slave could be sent out of state without having given formal legal consent. The judge and his ring used deception, fakery and outright kidnapping of both free and enslaved people, who were held under guard in his home in what is now East Brunswick, New Jersey. They were sent on ships from Perth Amboy to Louisiana and Mississippi, many ending on the plantation owned by Van Wickle’s brother-in-law. Had they remained in New Jersey, they would in time have become free according to the state’s laws.

Outrage when the ring was discovered led to a few indictments, but Van Wickle was never brought to account, and the affair was forgotten.

The purpose of the Lost Souls Public Memorial is to ensure that these children, women and men are never again forgotten, and this horrific event be brought to light.

The New Brunswick NAACP, the New Jersey Chapter ​of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society, and The Unitarian Society, as well as other community groups and individuals, are working to bring this project to life.

For more information about the project, and to access the RFP, visit lostsoulsmemorialnj.org.

Mobile Family Success Center of Middlesex County will hold a COVID-19 series, A Year Later, during March.

The collaboration with Family Support Organization of Middlesex County will offer a public health and educational series intended for advocates, families, educators, mental health professionals and the community at large.

The conversation will focus on what has been learned in a year, how COVID-19 has impacted mental and behavioral health in adolescents and adults, and how adverse childhood experiences can be reduced.

To register for the 1 p.m. March 4 workshop, based on the experiences of the past year, visit https://link.zixcentral.com/u/70a2bb0b/0q-ceEN16xGVDWK8IYY8jw?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJcsc-quqDIrE9xNb76zFpe1RxIB-8g2AJFv

To join the 10:30 a.m. March 11 workshop about the impact on behavioral and mental health, visit https://link.zixcentral.com/u/3daeb9a9/lFbdeEN16xGQymK8IYY8jw?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJ0kcuCsqDkiGtwPFYXaadxfA7LcCsFbnKFw

To register for the 1 p.m. March 18 workshop on reducing adverse childhood experiences, visit https://link.zixcentral.com/u/5fa08222/NAHeeEN16xGOlGK8IYY8jw?u=https%3A%2F%2Fzoom.us%2Fmeeting%2Fregister%2FtJIpdOCvqjooGdXuS2NYbw0ikKJS6Hda4QSp

For more information, visit https://ccdom.org/mfscmiddlesex

Central Jersey SCORE, a non-profit resource partner of the Small Business Administration, is looking for volunteers to assist people looking to start a business or grow an existing small business.

The organization is recruiting business owners and executives, both current and retired, who want to share their experience and knowledge with today’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

The Central Jersey Chapter of SCORE serves Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon counties.

Central Jersey SCORE provides in-person mentoring and webinars, both offered virtually in line with current pandemic restrictions. In addition, the SCORE website offers tools and templates on a wide variety of topics and numerous online courses and webinars to assist small business owners through every aspect of business development and management. Services are offered free of charge.

Anyone interested in volunteering with SCORE or seeking additional information should email marcia.glatman@scorevolunteer.org

Monroe Township is seeking volunteers who, along with township employees, will be matched with a specific senior or other individual who does access to technology or family support to help navigate the state’s COVID-19 Appointment Vaccine System.

Any residents who wish to help a senior should email volunteer@monroetwp.com with their name, address and phone number.

As more volunteers are signed up, information will be provided on how seniors can request assistance.

The deadline for the 2021 Richard K. Meyers Memorial South River History High School Essay Contest is April 15.

The contest is open to all graduating high school seniors who are residents of South River and who are planning to continue their education.

To apply for the award, submit a typed essay of no less than 1,000 words (approximately two pages, single spaced in 12-point font) describing something that took place in South River in your lifetime. An event need only be of significance to you; it need not have been a major event in South River’s history.

Essays are judged by members of the South River Historical & Preservation Society and will be added to the permanent collections at the South River Museum – Old School Baptist Church. Judging is based solely on the quality of the essays, and all awards will be at the discretion of the judges.

Sponsored by the South River Historical & Preservation Society, award amounts will be $500 first place, $350 second place, and $150 for third place.

Submissions must be sent via email and include full name, address, phone number, email address, school name, expected date of graduation, date of submission and future education plans (e.x. college name).

Email the electronic version to southriverhistory@gmail.com

Or, mail a paper version to South River History Essay Contest, South River Historical & Preservation Society, Inc., P.O. Box 446, South River 08882.

***

In England in 1234, Jews were charged with abducting, circumcising and converting a five-year-old Christian boy to Judaism. As a result, Jews were executed, and Jewish homes were looted and torched.

Professor Paola Tartakoff, chair of the Rutgers Department of Jewish Studies, will examine the backstory on these accusations, how they perpetuated the myth of ritual murder, and what they meant to Christians and Jews during that period.

Tartakoff will draw from her new book, “Conversion, Circumcision, and Ritual Murder in Medieval Europe” with a response by Professor David Shyovitz, Northwestern University, during the program.

This online event will be held March 3 at 7 p.m. on the Zoom platform.

Free and open to the public, it is presented by the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University.

Advance registration is required at BildnerCenter.Rutgers.edu.

The auxiliary of VFW Post 133 will hold a takeout sandwich sale on March 13.

Menu includes corned beef sandwich, macaroni salad and pickle.

The cost is $10 per person.

Must call in advance from noon to 6 p.m. March 10 to place an order. Call Maureen at 732-254-9674.

The VFW post is located at 485 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick.

American Legion Post 253 will hold Friday Night Lenten Dinners through April 2.

Dine in or take out available from 5-7 p.m.

March 5 will be Italian Trio, with a trio of eggplant parmigiana, stuffed shells and baked ziti with garlic bread for $8.

The menu on March 12 will include mussels marinara or fra diavolo over linguine with tossed salad and a roll for $11.

The menu on March 19 will be broiled flounder with rice and mixed vegetables for $12, or fried shrimp and scallop platter with tater tots for $12.

The menu on March 26 is to be determined.

The menu on April 2 will include tortellini alfredo with salad and garlic bread for $7.

Call or text orders in advance to 732-991-9507.

The Tamarack Women’s 9-Hole Golf League is welcoming new members for the 2021 season on Thursday mornings from April through October.

While the league is nine holes, ladies are welcome to play the remaining nine holes following league play each week.

Golf experience is required for membership.

Interested lady golfers should contact membership Chair Linda Schuller at lindaschu@comcast.net for further information.

The East Brunswick Library is offering the following workshops and programs:

  • Films focusing on climate change and its impact will be featured in the East Brunswick Public Library’s first-ever virtual film festival. The Option Green Virtual Film Festival is part of the ongoing partnership between the library and the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission. Each year, the two organizations host free events on environmental topics led by experts in the field. The film series is funded by the American Library Association’s “Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change” pilot program. The films will be available for online viewing. Participants can sign up for these free screenings online at www.ebpl.org/optiongreen. Links to view the films will be sent to ticket holders at the start time of this event, and will expire 48 hours later. Following each screening, there will be an ongoing, discussion on the EBPL Discord server. Attendees will receive the link in their ticket.

    The upcoming series includes:

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” March 16-17, is Is based on the = true story of 13-year-old William Kamkwamba, who finds inspiration from a science book. He builds a wind turbine to save his famine-ravaged village in Malawi. This film is rated TV-PG and runs 113 minutes.

    “Fire and Flood: Queer Resilience in the Era of Climate Change,” April 20-21, examines how the LGBTQ communities of Puerto Rico and Santa Rosa survived Hurricane Maria and wildfires, in late 2017. The film explores the vulnerability of LGBTQ communities to climate disasters. This film is not yet rated but runs 102 minutes. Trailer not available.

    The Option Green Virtual Film Festival is sponsored by the East Brunswick Public Library and the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission.

  • Signing up for Social Security is one of the most important decision retirees have to make. To help explain the process, the online presentation “Social Security Explained” will be held at 7 p.m. March 3. This program is led by special guest speaker Mark Lange of the Society for Financial Awareness. He will discuss several important topics, including full retirement age, delayed retirement, filing for benefits, retirement planning strategies and annuity type distinction. The workshop is free and open to the public. Registration is requested; visit www.ebpl.org/calendar or call 732-390-6767.

  • Saint Peter’s Healthcare System will address “Better Exercise, Best You,” presented by Dr. Bonnie Saunders PT, MPA, DPT, at noon on March 5.

    This talk will explore the various reasons and motivations to exercise and connect these to the various types of exercise. It will also discuss some of the more common barriers to establishing a successful exercise routine and some strategies to overcome these barriers.

    Registration is requested for this free program. To register, visit to www.ebpl.org/calendar.

    This program will be presented online using Zoom.

    This program is offered through the East Brunswick Public Library’s “Just For The Health Of It” consumer health and wellness information initiative. To learn more about these resources and programs, visit www.justforthehealthofit.org.

  • A virtual crafting workshop with fiber artist Pam Brooks will be making a women’s suffrage rosette, a symbol of the suffrage movement, at 7 p.m. March 18. There will be a random drawing for a limited number of free supply kits. Closed captioning will be provided. To reserve a seat, visit www.ebpl.org/womenvote or call 732-390-6767.
  • The Family Resource Network will host two online programs about health insurance.

    The first program, “Health Insurance Open Enrollment In NJ: What You Need To Know,” is at noon on March 18.

    The open enrollment period for 2021 health insurance has been extended until May 15.

    This program aims to answer health insurance questions, including what options are available to New Jersey residents and explaining the state-based exchange called Get Covered NJ.

    The second program, “Coverage 2 Care,” is a health insurance literacy presentation at noon on March 25. Coverage to Care helps consumers understand what health insurance is, how to choose coverage, and why it is essential to select coverage.

    The presentation helps consumers understand their health coverage after they have enrolled and connect to primary care and preventive services that are right for them to live long and healthy lives.

    Both programs are presented by Renata Svincicka and Yamilet Zegarra of the Family Resource Network.

    Registration is requested for both free programs. To register, visit www.ebpl.org/calendar or call 732-390-6767.

    These programs are offered through the East Brunswick Public Library’s “Just For The Health Of It” consumer health and wellness knowledge initiative. To learn more about the related programs and resources offered by the library, visit www.justforthehealthofit.org.

  • The Coalition For Healthy Communities will present “An Overview Of Marijuana Legalization In New Jersey” on March 19 at noon.

    This talk will discuss the history of marijuana legalization in New Jersey and throughout the country. It will look at the risks and benefits of using marijuana recreationally and medicinally. Lastly, it will delve into the lessons learned from other states that have legalized recreational marijuana before New Jersey.

    Mara Carlin, coordinator of Coalition and Community Programs at Wellspring Center for Prevention, located in East Brunswick, hosts this presentation.

    This program is presented online using Zoom; it is free and open to the public.

    Registration is requested by visiting www.ebpl.org/calendar or calling 732-390-6767.

  • Stockton University professor Linda J. Wharton hosts “Gender Equality and the Constitution: The Unfinished Business of Reform” at 7 p.m. March 25. She will discuss the renewed push for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment and explain why expanding protection for gender equality is needed. Closed captioning will be provided. To reserve a seat, visit www.ebpl.org/womenvote or call 732-390-6767.
  • Seniors can join “Are You Living Your Best Life Today?” at noon on March 31. This will be an interactive talk that centers around the concept of maturing adults living their best life now. Seniors will be shown how to rekindle their passions and natural talents and bring more richness into life. In addition, attendees will be reminded to get their affairs in order, so families can live with less stress and more joy. This program is hosted by Adrian Allotey, of You Are Not Alone Elder Care.The programs are presented online using Zoom unless otherwise noted.Registration is requested for these free programs. To register, visit www.ebpl.org/calendar or call 732-390-6767, unless otherwise noted.

Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a member of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, is hosting a free virtual lecture series on adolescent and family health issues.

Organized by Saint Peter’s Opioid Task Force, this virtual lecture series is designed for parents and families. The presentation will address common parental concerns about the numerous ways the pandemic has impacted teens, from issues like isolation to how they cope, socialize and develop. The series will also explore addiction which has escalated during the pandemic and resources for successful recovery.

Each lecture will start at 6:30 p.m.

The full list of lecture topics is:

March 10: Adolescent Brain Development and Addiction, presented by Dr. Tejal Mehta, Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital
Registration link: https://SaintPetersHCS.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_p6L9vxZ1SiuLRSQFuyW_Fw

March 24: Vaping and the Adolescent, presented by Nicki Francis and Mara Carlin, BS, CPS, Wellspring Center for Prevention
Registration link: https://SaintPetersHCS.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TswvyYdFTxm6d5qSNMRNJw

April 7: Recovery Coaches, presented by Bonnie Nolan, PhD, Woodbridge Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (WOORP)
Registration link: https://SaintPetersHCS.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dcB-NO7KQbCuOm1fhIIvqw

April 21: Successful Recovery from Addiction, presented by Don Rogers, Community Outreach director at The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper
Registration link: https://SaintPetersHCS.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5QCvDKsbSk-JkDa2sAna3w

For more information on any of the virtual lectures, contact Robert J. LaForgia, coordinator, Healthier Middlesex, at rlaforgia@saintpetersuh.com or 732-745-8600, ext. 5831. Allow up to 48 hours for a response.

Through March 31, visit Stop & Shop at 1600 Perrineville Road, Monroe, to purchase a specially marked floral bouquet, and Stop & Shop will make a donation to the Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County’s kosher food pantries to feed families in need.

Middlesex College is developing apprenticeship opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing through Career Advance USA, a U.S. Department of Labor-funded grant.

Apprenticeships, developed and implemented in collaboration with employers, are earn-and-learn programs that combine formal classroom learning with on-the-job training.

Those interested in the program should register for a virtual information session at middlesexcc.edu/manufacturing-apprenticeships. They will be held over Zoom at 10 a.m. Tuesdays, March 9, April 13 and May 11.

The college is also looking for employers interested in developing workers.

For more information about the grant and how to participate, visit middlesexcc.edu/manufacturing-apprenticeships or contact Yarelis Figueroa at yfigueroa@middelsexcc.edu or John Miller at jsmiller@middlesexcc.edu.

New Jersey is known as the Garden State. Few understand that the name highlights that the other states traditionally used New Jersey as their garden—a place to take beneficial resources and then bury their refuse, back when it was customary to bury your garbage in your backyard.

The East Brunswick Public Library will host “Disparate Environmental Impacts: Causes and Solutions to Environmental Injustice” at 7 p.m. March 11, focusing on the economics and discrimination that causes environmental inequality, their effects and how to prevent these inequalities.

The program is led by Dr. Maritza Jauregui, an associate professor of Sustainability at Stockton University.

Tickets are required for this free, virtual program; to reserve, visit www.ebpl.org/calendar.

This event is sponsored by the East Brunswick Public Library and the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission. It is funded by the American Library Association’s “Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change” pilot program.

It is part of the Option Green environmental education program series. Other partners include Highland Park Public Library, Matawan-Aberdeen Library, New Brunswick Free Public Library, North Brunswick Library, Old Bridge Public Library, Plainsboro Public Library and South Brunswick Public Library.

Recognizing the bravery and commitment of volunteer firefighters and first responders, New Jersey American Water announces its 2021 grant program for volunteer fire departments, ambulance squads and first aid squads located within the company’s service areas.

Grants may be used to cover the costs of personal protective equipment, communications gear, first aid equipment, firefighting tools, vehicle maintenance and other materials that will be used to support volunteer firefighter and emergency responder operations. Reimbursement for specific training courses, including the cost of training manuals, student workbooks, and instructors is also eligible.

To apply, organizations must complete the application available at www.newjerseyamwater.com under News & Community, Community Involvement.

The maximum grant amount awarded to any organization is $2,000.

The deadline to apply is March 12. Interested applicants can find more information and apply online at www.newjerseyamwater.com/community.

Grant recipients will be notified at the end of March.

Teens across the state can begin submitting entries for the 26th Annual New Jersey Teen Media Contest, which highlights the New Jersey Human Services’ mission to support families, especially during these challenging times.

The contest, run by the Division of Family Development, is open to all New Jersey middle and high school-aged children.

The 2021 contest challenges teens to illustrate – through art or the written word – how they and their loved ones have supported each other through all of the changes that have happened this year, from remote schooling to finding new ways to stay connected to friends and family.

All entries must be postmarked no later than March 31.

Staff from the Division of Family Development and its Office of Child Support Services will judge the contest. Winners will be selected in first, second, and third places in both the middle and high school groups, for each of the two entry categories. Typically, winning students are recognized at an awards ceremony in mid-May, but a final decision on an awards ceremony will be made at a later date based on the status of the public health emergency and related health and safety guidelines.

Winning entries from the contest will be included in the 2022 Office of Child Support Calendar, as well as potentially being included as part of the office’s marketing materials. A number of honorable mention entries will also be selected for possible inclusion in both areas.  

The 2021 calendar can be viewed or downloaded from the contest homepage, www.NJTeenMedia.org, to serve as inspiration for the teens. The website also provides the official rules, frequently asked questions, entry forms, a look at the winners and honorable mentions from previous contests and other important contest information.

Teachers and administrators can register their school by visiting www.NJTeenMedia.org or by contacting Matthew Cossel at 937-207-7627 or matthew.cossel@efkgroup.com. School registration is not required for direct student entry.

For complete submission guidelines, visit www.NJTeenMedia.org.

For more information about child support services, call 1-877-NJKIDS1 or visit www.NJChildSupport.org.

Gain stability from an in-demand occupation; apply for a Women’s Center career training grant from Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County.

Qualified persons who are active members of the JFS Women’s Center must submit an application and attend an interview. Grants are available for short-term training programs for in-demand jobs.

Eligible candidates must qualify as a “displaced homemaker,” a woman who is a single mother, divorced, separated, widowed, or living with a disabled spouse/partner.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, email womenscenter@jfsmiddlesex.org

New Jersey American Water is accepting applications for green project funding through its Environmental Grant Program.

The program offers grants of $1,000 to $10,000 for qualifying innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds, surface water and/or groundwater supplies throughout the company’s service areas.

New Jersey American Water will award the grants on a competitive basis and select projects based on various criteria including goals, impact, innovation, design and sustainability. The nature of the project’s collaboration with other community organizations as well as its overall community engagement will also be considered.

All applicants are expected to outline specific, measurable goals for projects in their proposals. At the conclusion of the grant project, the lead organization must provide a written report on the project results/impact.

Grant recipients will be notified in mid-April.

More information and application requirements can be obtained directly at newjerseyamwater.com/community.

East Brunswick residents can turn the page on a winter spent mostly indoors by renting a plot at the township’s Community Garden, located adjacent to the municipal complex off Rues Lane.

A limited number of 10-foot by 10-foot plots are now available for new gardeners on a first-come, first-served basis for $45 for the first season. The garden is open to township residents and people who work in East Brunswick.

All gardeners are required to put in four hours of community garden service each year by working with a committee and participating in work days, or paying $40 in lieu of service. Gardeners can select from a list of committees found on the registration form.

For more information and to register for a plot, visit registration form.

The garden’s website  offers timely articles, tips and tricks for gardeners, a calendar of events and information on donating surplus produce. Gardeners have donated more than a ton of surplus produce in the last few years. Meetings and events during the year also give gardeners a chance to share ideas outside the garden.

To keep gardeners safe, several rules, including mandatory mask wearing and social distancing while in the garden were instituted last year.

For more information, email to ebcgarden@gmail.com.

The East Brunswick Community Garden is a project of the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.

Nominations are being accepted for the South River High School Wall of Fame.

Nominees should serve as a role model for current and future South River High School students. This award is not limited to athletic achievement.

A Wall of Fame is erected in the main corridor of the high school with the names of the recipients on plaques of recognition.

Nominees will be considered based on the following criteria:

  1. Attended and graduated from South River High School.

  2. Exhibits a high level of achievement in his/her field.

  3. Possesses the qualities of a positive role model for South River youth.

The committee will consider all nominees based on the strengths of the candidates in the above areas. A maximum of two individuals may be inducted this year.

The deadline for nominations is April 1.

To make a nomination, visit www.srivernj.org for the nomination form.

The Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold the 75th annual Bernie Cohn Golf Classic from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. May 13.

Tee time is 9 a.m. at the Banks Course, Forsgate Country Club, 375 Forsgate Dr., Monroe.

Sign up at mcrcc.org or https://shotgunflat.wufoo.com/forms/z1qupopx0qkzr0t/

Ongoing

Trinity Presbyterian Church of East Brunswick invites all to join virtual worship services every Sunday at 10:15 a.m.

Visit http://Trinity-PC.org and click on the “Sunday Services” tab for a link to the service on YouTube.

In addition, Trinity offers a safe and socially distanced outside worship service every Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.

For more information, call the church office at 732-257-6636 or visit the website.

The Jewish Family Services Food Pantry needs volunteers to organize its food pantry and supply closet, located at 1600 Perrineville Road, Monroe.

The schedule is flexible.

Monroe Township residents can apply for current and future openings on township boards, commissions and advisory councils.

Monroe is accepting volunteer applications for appointments to the Americans with Disabilities Act Committee, Affordable Housing Board, Commission on Aging, Cultural Arts Commission, Environmental Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Human Relations Commission, Library Board of Trustees, Open Space & Farmland Preservation Commission, Planning Board, Recreation Advisory Board, Shade Tree Commission, Sustainable Jersey – Green Team Advisory Committee, Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Residents should visit https://monroetwp.com/index.php/boards-commissions and select from a list of boards and commissions to review full descriptions of each group.

They then can send the downloadable form located at the bottom of the boards and commissions page of the website for their area of interest.

Submissions may be sent to the Municipal Clerk by mail at the Administrative Offices, by email at preid@monroetwp.com, or by fax to 732-521-3190.

All submissions will be retained for a maximum period of one year from the date of filing.

Volunteer vaccinators may be needed in Middlesex County and at other vaccination sites.

Licensed nurses, doctors and medical professionals who are willing to volunteer should email their name, address, phone number and license information to Lt. Jangols of the Monroe Township Police Department at sjangols@monroetwppolice.org

The East Brunswick Police Department has established a “Safe Exchange Zone.”

Two parking stalls in the lot of the municipal court next to police headquarters, 1 Civic Center Dr., are available to the public for conducting in-person transactions that have been facilitated through online marketplaces. The parking stalls are indicated by signage.

The designated zone is available to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.

Access to the police headquarters lobby may also be granted for “safe exchanges” during non-court hours and may be arranged in advance by calling the police department.

French American School Princeton (FASP) is accepting enrollment.

At FASP, students in preschool (3 years old) through grade 8 benefit from a rigorous bilingual curriculum accredited by the Middle State Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools and the French Ministry of Education; personalized attention thanks to small class sizes; and a multicultural community with more than 30 nationalities represented.

FAPS is located at 75 Mapleton Road, Princeton.

Visit ecoleprinceton.org, call 609-430-3001 or email admissions@ecoleprinceton.org.

To document the experiences of the community while living through the COVID-19 pandemic, the East Brunswick Public Library has been collecting submissions to a COVID-19 Community Time Capsule.

The time capsule can be viewed online at www.ebpl.org/history

The library is still taking submissions at this time.

The Community Pet Food Bank by New Beginnings Animal Rescue is open from 1-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, with varying hours on Saturdays, on the grounds of Nativity Lutheran Church, 552 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick.

For more information, visit nbarnj.org

The Jamesburg Public Library will hold its board meetings on the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m.

These meetings are open to the public, and will take place on Zoom for the remainder of the year.

Visit jamesburglibrary.org or www.facebook.com/JamesburgLibrary/ for further information.

Each meeting will have a different Zoom link and passcode

The East Brunswick Recreation, Parks & Community Services Department is collecting non-perishable food, cash and gift cards for distribution to Aldersgate Community Outreach Center.

Drop off food in the back of the box truck parked in the parking lot, 334 Dunhams Corner Road; the door is kept down so lift it to put donations inside.

Or, drop cash/check/gift cards in an envelope and put in the drop box next to the front door to the Recreation Department.

Raritan Valley YMCA is encouraging residents to #StayWithUs during this time, in particular by visiting the Y’s Facebook page for virtual events, programs and classes.

Adult programs include group fitness classes provided by Y360, Les Mills and from Y instructors. Programs and classes will be updated on a week-to-week basis. The ZOOM app is required; email lramos@raritanvalleyymca.org for log-in details.

The Facebook page also features live story time and creative arts with Ms. Preeti and Ms. Brenda.

Details Camp Yomeca day camp are available on the website. Online registration is open.

For more information, visit raritanvalleyymca.org.

The United Way of Central Jersey’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund will assist individuals and families affected by the novel coronavirus with crucial basic expenses including rent, utilities, prescription medication/medical supplies, child care and food.

United Way will work with trusted community partners to identify individuals and families most in need of this temporary support.

Donations to the UWCJ COVID-19 Support Fund may be made online at www.uwcj.org. Checks made payable to United Way may be mailed to United Way of Central Jersey, 32 Ford Ave., Milltown 08850.

Monroe Township Jewish War Veterans Post 609 is collecting United States and foreign stamps, both on and off envelopes.

Stamps are used by veterans as hobbies and as therapy to support medical staff at VA Medical Centers nationwide.

Stamps are not traded or sold; they are forwarded to veteran patients at no charge.

Also requested are DVDs suitable for veterans at those locations.

Send all items to JWV Post 609, c/o Charles Koppelman, 6 Yarmouth Dr., Monroe 08831-4742.

The East Brunswick Domestic Response Team is seeking volunteers.

Citizens are trained to respond to local police departments on an on-call basis to provide support and information to victims of domestic abuse.

For more information, email domesticviolence@ebpd.net.

The Korean War/Defense Veterans Association Central Jersey Chapter No. 148 extends an invitation to any veterans, regardless of branch of service, who served during the war from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953, in any location, including Europe, or who have served in Korea from July 27, 1953, through the present.

The group meets at 10 a.m. the second Wednesday of every month —except January through April — at the Monroe Township Municipal Building, 1 Municipal Plaza.

Membership dues are $25 to the Korean War Veterans Association and $10 chapter fee per year.

The chapter is involved in various functions during the year, including parades, flag raisings, visiting the Korean War Memorial in Atlantic City, etc.

For more information, contact Charles Koppelman at 609-655-3111 or kwvanj@yahoo.com.

Dove Hospice Services of New Jersey seeks compassionate volunteers to provide support to local hospice patients and their families.

Hospice patient care volunteers visit with patients in their homes, which can also be nursing facilities or assisted living facilities, at least once a week. They read to the patient, reminisce about their lives, play cards, help with letter writing and provide respite for caregivers.

Visits can be virtual, and are either during the day or early evening.

Volunteers may also assist with administrative work within the hospice office.

Patient care volunteers complete an application and attend a virtual volunteer training program that covers the role of a hospice volunteer. Day and evening virtual training programs are offered.

To sign up for the next virtual training class, contact Volunteer Coordinator Deborah Adams at 732-405-3035 or email deborah@dovehs.com.

Source

With Infections Dipping, Governors Across U.S. Start Easing Restrictions

Fenway Park will be allowed to reopen at 12 percent capacity starting March 22.
Credit…Elise Amendola/Associated Press

With the pandemic slowly receding, governors around the United States are beginning to relax restrictions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

But the rules ae being eased much the same way as they were imposed: in a patchwork fashion that largely falls along party lines. Republicans are leaning toward rollbacks and Democrats are staying the course or offering a more cautious approach.

On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said he was considering lifting a statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since July.

“We’re working right now on evaluating when we’re going to be able to remove all statewide orders, and we will be making announcements about that pretty soon,” Mr. Abbott said.

Mr. Abbott, a Republican, has been scrutinized for his handling of the pandemic, especially given the runaway infection rates in his state’s border cities. In November, he ruled out “any more lockdowns,” determined to keep Texas open despite a surge in cases.

As Mr. Abbott weighs easing restrictions, the state’s vaccination effort has yet to fully rebound from the winter storm that knocked out power to millions and crippled water systems across Texas last week, as it has in other parts of the country.

According to a New York Times database, 11.7 percent of Texas’ population have received their first of two shots and 5.4 percent have been fully vaccinated. Nationally, 14 percent of the population have received their first doses. Texas is one of four states in the country to have vaccinated under 12 percent of its population (the others are Georgia, Tennessee and Utah).

In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves said he was also considering pulling back some restrictions, particularly mask mandates for those who have been fully vaccinated. Just over 12 percent of the state’s population has received at least one shot and 5.5 percent have received both.

But in Mississippi and elsewhere, even as a mass vaccination campaign continues to pick up momentum, new dangers loom in the form of more contagious coronavirus variants. The variants might cause new spikes in infections that outpace the gains made by vaccination. So could lapses in social distancing and other precautions.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican who has been criticized for a rocky vaccine rollout, announced Thursday that the state would move into the next phase of reopening in March as long as infection rates continue to trend downward. Capacity limits for indoor dining will be lifted starting next week, but bars and nightclubs will remain closed.

Large sports facilities like Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and TD Garden can reopen at 12 percent capacity starting March 22, he said.

“We’ve been watching how these venues perform in other states and believe with the right safety measures in place they can operate responsibly and safely here in the commonwealth,” Mr. Baker said.

Red Sox opening day is scheduled for April 1 at Fenway.

In Philadelphia, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said he, too, was “optimistic” that there would be some fans in the stands for the Phillies’ opening day.

On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, announced some changes to Covid-19 restrictions in North Carolina, eliminating the state’s nightly curfew and easing occupancy regulations at indoor and outdoor businesses.

The Republican-led North Dakota House of Representatives went a step further, passing a bill on Monday that would prohibit state and local governments from creating mask mandates in the future. The bill is headed to the State Senate.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Jeff Hoverson, said during a radio interview that he questioned the effectiveness of masks, and wanted to preserve people’s individual freedoms.

Gov. Doug Burgum allowed the state’s mask mandate to expire in January.

Some Democratic leaders are taking more measured steps.

In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam said he was easing limits on outdoor gatherings and ending a 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. curfew starting Monday; restaurants and bars will be permitted to serve alcohol until 12 a.m.

“We hope that with trends continuing as they are, that we can look at further steps in the coming months,” Mr. Northam said Wednesday. “But it’s critical that we do this slowly and thoughtfully.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan said at a news conference on Wednesday that she also planned to ease some restrictions “in the coming days,” though she provided few specifics.

“Our case numbers and public health metrics are trending in the right direction,” she said. “I’m very pleased to see that, and feeling very optimistic.”

Florence Mullins, 89, sits in a chair as a family member holds her place in a long line to receive a coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 11 at Fair Park in Dallas.
Credit…Pool photo by Smiley N.

Reports of new vaccinations have started to increase again across the United States, after a week of declines brought on by severe weather.

The country administered an average of about 1.5 million newly reported doses a day in the seven-day period ending Thursday, according to federal data, a slight increase from a low point of 1.4 million doses a day through Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that nearly 68.3 million doses of vaccine had been administered across the country since the U.S. vaccination campaign began in December. Since Jan. 20, the C.D.C. has reported that more than 50 million shots have been administered across the country.

But even as the pace of vaccination rebounds, it remains well below the roughly 1.7 million doses the country was averaging each day before a powerful winter storm disrupted shipping nationwide last week and forced vaccination sites to close in parts of the South and Midwest.

The average number of daily doses administered across the country had been steadily increasing as the two federally authorized vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, became more efficient and expanded production for their two-dose vaccines.

While that acceleration had been expected well before President Biden assumed office, officials have been anxious to highlight every increase in shipments as evidence that the new administration is fiercely battling the pandemic. A third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, which is a one-dose vaccine, is expected to be authorized soon.

On Thursday, Mr. Biden watched two firefighters and a Safeway grocery store manager get vaccinated at an event in Washington, and used the moment to mark the nation’s progress toward goal — considered fairly unambitious by many many experts — he set before he took office: 100 million shots in his first 100 days.

“We’ve been laser-focused on the greatest operational challenge this country’s ever undertaken,’’ he said, taking a shot at his predecessor, Donald J. Trump. “We are going from a mess we inherited to moving in the right direction,’’ he said.

At one point, Mr. Biden suggested without specifics that in late April or May there may be more vaccines available than people willing to take them.

“We’re gong to hit a phase in this effort, maybe as late as April or May, when many predict, instead of long lines of people waiting to get a shot, we’ll face a very different scenario, we’ll have the vaccine waiting,” he said.

The president’s optimism about supply tracks with congressional testimony from vaccine manufacturer officials earlier in the week. Pfizer and Moderna executives testified at a congressional hearing that they would deliver a total of 400 million doses by the end of May, and a total of 600 million by the end of July. Johnson & Johnson has pledged 20 million doses by the end of March and 100 million doses by the end of June, if its shot is authorized.

But on Thursday, Mr. Biden repeated his warning that “this is not a victory lap” and said he could not predict when life might return to normal.

With plans to distribute more doses in the weeks ahead, states have moved to expand eligibility to additional high-risk groups. But unlike in the early days of the vaccine campaign, when many states limited doses to medical workers and nursing home residents, a complex patchwork of rules has emerged from state to state and even county to county.

People 65 and older are eligible for vaccines in most states, but a handful of states still limit vaccines to those who are at least 70 or 75. At least 45 states have also expanded their occupation-based vaccination programs to include some nonmedical workers, such as police officers or grocery store workers, though the list of eligible professions varies widely. At least 32 states are allowing some teachers to get shots.

Many states have offered vaccines to adults with certain high-risk medical conditions, but others have decided to focus for now on their oldest residents. Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota said Thursday that eligibility would not be further expanded in his state until at least 70 percent of residents 65 and older had been vaccinated, a goal he hoped to reach by the end of March.

“Older Minnesotans have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic and we are focused on making sure they get vaccinated and keeping them safe,” Mr. Walz said in a statement. “These vaccines work — we can see that in the plummeting cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in long-term care facilities around our state.”

Sharon LaFraniere contributed reporting.

Shoppers in Chinatown. With the rise of coronavirus cases in New York City, more restrictions may come for small businesses that have already taken a financial hit.
Credit…Lanna Apisukh for The New York Times

As the rate of positive coronavirus test results and the number of virus cases have trended downward to pre-holiday levels, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has reopened a spigot of activity in New York: indoor dining at reduced capacity in New York City, major sports stadiums and arenas with limited fans, movie theaters in the city and wedding venues.

But virus variants, including a new form spreading in New York City, could pose threats to the city’s progress. Mr. Cuomo said he did not want to keep things closed just because the variants were here.

“On a daily basis we are looking at the data and calibrating this,” said Gareth Rhodes, a member of Mr. Cuomo’s coronavirus state task force. “You have to be very, very careful, but also recognize that you cannot keep the economy indefinitely closed.”

But experts noted that, with the arrival of the variants, keeping community transmission at bay is more important than ever.

“It does not make epidemiologic sense to me,” said Dr. Denis Nash, an epidemiologist at the City University of New York. “I see how it makes economic sense, on the one hand. In the short term, it will help the bottom line of restaurant workers and employ people. But it also puts employees at risk, and it is at cross purposes with the larger goal, which is to get the vaccine into as many arms as possible before the virus gets them.”

New York City has seen a steep decline in the number of people testing positive for the virus each day, but the drop has not been as dramatic as it has been nationally and community transmission in the city remains high.

One encouraging sign is that there has been a steeper drop in the positive test rate among New Yorkers over 75 than in New Yorkers as a whole, likely because of vaccinations. Also, emergency room admissions for people over 65 have stabilized and are falling gradually.

As of Tuesday, the city had partially or fully vaccinated about 1 million people — a major milestone for the rollout. Of those, about half a million people had received both shots.

But the vaccine rollout has been uneven across racial groups, with those hit hardest by the virus being vaccinated at lower rates. Though nearly one-quarter of New Yorkers identify as Black, for example, Black people account for only 12 percent of the vaccinations, according to city statistics.

In addition, about a quarter of the people who have been fully vaccinated in New York City do not live in the city, but outside it, according to the data. It is unknown how many qualified because they work in the city or were vaccinated at state sites, and how many broke the rules.

The pace of vaccination in recent days has also been slower than the city would like, as delivery delays caused by bad weather compounded shortages in supply. In the past week, the city has administered about 30,000 vaccines a day, down from a peak of 60,000 doses per day the prior week.

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III greeting troops aboard the carrier Nimitz on Thursday.
Credit…Helene Cooper/The New York Times

ABOARD U.S.S. NIMITZ, off California — Many Americans might have given almost anything to have escaped the past year in their country, but consider the experience of the crew of the Nimitz.

When the aircraft carrier departed Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash., on April 27, George Floyd was still alive. Donald J. Trump was still president. Georgia had two Republican senators. And some 56,000 people in the United States had died of the coronavirus.

Now, 10 months later, the nuclear-powered warship is returning home to a country vastly different from the one it left. That difference was highlighted on Thursday when the new defense secretary — for the first time, an African-American — landed on board to talk to a travel-weary and isolated crew.

“Secretary of defense in combat!” came the announcement.

Lloyd J. Austin III, his baritone ringing through the ship’s public-address system, told the sailors and pilots on the Nimitz that he knew what it felt like to be cut off from life during extended deployments: Mr. Austin, a retired Army four-star general, was posted in Iraq about a decade ago for a tour even longer than the Nimitz’s.

But that was on land, in Army bases near Baghdad and flying around to Erbil and Ramadi. The Nimitz sailors and Navy and Marine pilots were at sea, spending 2020 in what sometimes felt like a time capsule, sailors said.

They had to quarantine for two weeks before they even boarded the ship and, once on, they basically could associate only with one another, even during port calls.

On the rare occasions that the ship came into port — in Guam or in Manama, Bahrain — the 5,000-strong crew was not allowed traditional shore leave, and had to sleep on board, in berths with around 100 other sailors. They were told not to interact with the public on land, because of the pandemic.

They watched the presidential election returns from the Indian Ocean and woke up the morning of Jan. 7, in the Persian Gulf, to the news that rioters had stormed the Capitol.

Among crew members on Thursday, there was a palpable sense of excitement, but also some trepidation about what they would find after 10 months in a bubble at sea.

Some had lost family members to Covid-19 — after all, more than 450,000 morel people in America had died of the disease while the Nimitz was sailing the world.

Petty Officer First Class Christina Ray, 31, said she was hopeful — but wary.

“I am filled with so many emotions,” she said. “We’ve been so removed from the world, and now it’s like, ‘How do I be normal?’”

A Covid-19 victim being placed in a hearse in El Cajon, Calif., in January.
Credit…Mario Tama/Getty Images

“It’s really hard to put all of it into words.”

It was December, as Covid-19 deaths were besieging California, and Helen Cordova, an intensive care unit nurse in Los Angeles, was trying to describe what it was like.

“This is a very real disease,” Ms. Cordova said. “Those images of inside of hospitals, that’s very accurate.”

Two months later, it is still hard to put in words how deeply the pandemic has scarred the state, but one single number told the story: 50,000.

That is how many people have died from coronavirus over the past year in California — the first state to pass that milestone. The record was hit on Wednesday, and by Thursday deaths were nearing 51,000.

It was a bleak reminder that the recent progress the state has made against the pandemic may be fragile. Most of those deaths were recorded recently, during a frightening winter surge that followed a period of relatively low case counts and cautious hope.

According to a New York Times database, California, the country’s most populous state, averaged more than 560 deaths a day at its peak in January. By contrast, for much of November, it reported fewer than 50 deaths a day on average.

Though the state has reported more total deaths than any other in the nation, it is far from the hardest hit relative to the size of its population. At least 30 states have reported more total deaths per capita, and New Jersey has recorded twice as many.

Tallying the loss of life across California’s vast expanse belies the virus’s uneven impact on poorer communities of color, particularly in the Central Valley and Los Angeles.

“We’ve created a separate and unequal hospital system and a separate and unequal funding system for low-income communities,” said Dr. Elaine Batchlor, chief executive of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles, the hardest-hit hospital for its size in the hardest-hit county in the state.

Latinos, who are more likely than other Californians to work in essential industries and less likely to have the resources or space to isolate themselves if they get infected, have been sickened and have died at disproportionately high rates.

And so far, California has failed to prevent the same inequities from plaguing the state’s vaccination effort, a process that has been criticized as chaotic and confusing.

Nearly all of California’s roughly 40 million residents spent the holidays under strict orders to stay at home. Gatherings with people they did not live with were banned.

Even with those restrictions, the virus spread rapidly and hospitals were overwhelmed.

Doctors and nurses like Ms. Cordova treated patients in hospital lobbies. Relatives watched remotely as loved ones took their last breaths. Health care workers who held the screens for them are still grappling with the lingering effects of sustained trauma.

Now, as in the fall, there is a feeling of hope.

California is reporting half as many new cases a day, on average, as it did two weeks ago. Some counties have been allowed to lift restrictions, and local officials say more reopenings are on the way.

And California has administered many more vaccine doses than any other state.

The first in the state to get one outside of a clinical trial?

Ms. Cordova.

The Chinese pharmaceutical company CanSinoBIO ran a late-stage clinical trial for its coronavirus vaccine candidate in Oaxaca, Mexico, in November. It is now seeking regulatory approval.
Credit…Jorge Luis Plata/Reuters

China has approved two Covid-19 vaccines whose manufacturers say are effective at preventing serious illness, paving the way for their deployment in the country and the developing world over the next few months.

China now has four vaccines approved for general use; two are already being mass produced, by the companies Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech. The addition of two more could significantly speed up China’s strategy of vaccine diplomacy and its mass domestic inoculation drive, which has been slow in part because the government is prioritizing the export of its vaccines.

All four vaccines have been shown to prevent severe illness, but they have been dogged by a lack of transparency around clinical data.

CanSinoBIO, which has teamed up with a military institute that belongs to the People’s Liberation Army, said this week that its one-shot vaccine had an efficacy rate of 65.28 percent at preventing all symptomatic Covid-19 cases. Separately, Sinopharm, a state-controlled company with a vaccine that is already in use in China, said the shot that it developed with its affiliate, the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, had an efficacy rate of 72.51 percent.

The companies gave few details on their analyses, such as how many people contracted Covid-19 during the trials. That will make it hard for scientists to evaluate the new vaccines independently.

Several developing countries have already ordered the two new vaccines, which can be easily stored at refrigerated temperatures.

Like other Chinese vaccine makers, CanSino had to start its Phase 3 clinical trials abroad — in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Pakistan and Russia — because there were so few domestic cases. The company’s vaccine has already been approved for use by the Chinese military.

Unlike Sinopharm and Sinovac, CanSino’s chief executive, Yu Xuefeng, has indicated that the company could struggle to ramp up production to meet the needs of China’s 1.4 billion people. Mr. Yu has said that the company’s vaccine production capacity was 100 million doses per year, or 200 million doses at the most.

The CanSino vaccine is made with a virus, called Ad5, that is modified to carry genetic instructions into a human cell. The cell begins making a coronavirus protein and the immune system learns to attack it. Before the release of the efficacy data, scientists were doubtful that the Ad5 vector would work effectively because it is a common cold virus that many people are likely to have been exposed to.

Sinopharm tested its Wuhan vaccine in seven countries, including Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. In December, the vaccine that it developed with the Beijing Institute of Biological Production was approved for use. Like the Beijing vaccine, the Wuhan shot was made using a tried-and-tested technology that relies on a weakened virus to stimulate the immune system.

Both Sinopharm vaccines were approved in July for emergency use and rolled out to thousands of health care workers and travelers even before the completion of Phase 3 trials. The company said it could produce a maximum of one billion doses this year.

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New Covid-19 Infections Have Fallen to Half in Europe, W.H.O. Says

Heightened restrictions on social interaction have caused the rates of Covid-19 cases to fall in Europe. But the World Health Organization cautioned that new cases were still 10 times as high as they were last May.

For the second consecutive week, less than one million new cases were reported as transmission continues to slow across the region. The decrease in new cases in the past month is driven by countries that have implemented new measures to slow transmission. New reported cases have declined by almost a half since the end of 2020. However, to put that into perspective, the number of new cases in the region now is 10 times higher than in May last year. The burden is real, and it is significant. About one in 10 Covid-19 sufferers remain unwell after 12 weeks, and many for much longer.

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Heightened restrictions on social interaction have caused the rates of Covid-19 cases to fall in Europe. But the World Health Organization cautioned that new cases were still 10 times as high as they were last May.CreditCredit…Alastair Grant/Associated Press

With much of Europe living under heightened restrictions on movement and social interaction, the rates of Covid-19 infection across the continent have been cut in half from the winter peak, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

But as pressure on national governments mounts to ease lockdowns, Hans Kluge, the W.H.O.’s director in Europe, cautioned new cases were still 10 times as high as they were last May and that the region was still experiencing high rates of community transmission.

“No one can predict the course of the pandemic,” Mr. Kluge said. “This really depends on our individual and collective measures.”

His caution reflected the broad concern over new virus variants while the infection rate remains stubbornly high.

Europe has now experienced close to 38 million coronavirus infections and at least 850,000 deaths. In the past two weeks, new cases have fallen below one million in the 53 countries covered by the W.H.O.’s European regional office.

But Europe has an increasing geographic spread of new infections and increasing prevalence of variants of concern, Catherine Smallwood, W.H.O. Europe’s senior emergency officer, told reporters.

More infections in the human population means more variants will arise over time, she noted.

Public health officials have been pushing back at growing calls to open up economies and loosen controls as health services complete vaccinations of older and more vulnerable members of society — a campaign that has gotten off to a sluggish start in many nations.

“What we should be absolutely clear about is that will simply encourage the emergence of more dangerous variants,” said Martin McKee, professor of European public health at London University’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Health. “The places the variants have come from are the places with high levels of community transmission.”

European countries needed to step up their capacity for the genome sequencing used to detect characteristics of the virus and which enables scientists to spot the emergence of new variants. Only a small number of European countries are doing it, Mr. McKee said.

“That is a really high priority now,” he said.

The Acropolis archaeological site in Athens reopened to visitors in May. Greek officials are hoping to bolster the tourism industry with vaccination certificates.
Credit…Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

European leaders, deeply concerned that another summer’s lucrative tourism trade could be lost to the pandemic, are escalating calls for the European Union to introduce a common system that would allow borders to reopen to people who have been inoculated against the virus.

Even as Europe’s vaccination program contends with long delays and one senior European Union official admitting it would be “difficult” to reach the bloc’s goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults by the end of summer, the idea of a European Union-wide vaccine passport system has become a hotly discussed topic.

Senior officials in Greece and Spain — countries heavily reliant on tourism — are among those who have supported proposals for a program of so-called vaccine passports.

They argue that requiring people to show a certificate proving they have received a coronavirus shot would restore the bloc’s pillar of free movement, help draw in summer holidaymakers and allow business trips to return.

Before a scheduled online meeting on Thursday of the heads of all 27 European Union nations, the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, added his voice in support of the idea.

“We want to get back to normal as quickly as possible, have our old lives back and maximum freedom,” Mr. Kurz said in a tweet on Wednesday. “We therefore want an EU-wide Green Passport, with which people can travel freely, do business without restrictions and go on holiday, as well as finally enjoy gastronomy, culture, events and other things again.”

But there is concern brewing that introducing a vaccine passport system so early in Europe’s vaccination program would create a two-tier system by the summer of inoculated people who could travel carefree while those yet to be vaccinated would be grounded.

European leaders are not expected to make a decision at the summit meeting on Thursday on the use of vaccination certificates, but they are expected to discuss how to ensure such a program would be able to run across all countries in the bloc.

In an interview with Bild Live, a digital offshoot of the German tabloid, Mr. Kurz urged that the passport system to be one easily accessible on a cellphone.

He said he supported the idea “so everyone can have all the freedoms back that we value so much,” adding that he was “personally very optimistic about the summer.”

Cold storage freezers with Covid-19 vaccines at the Pfizer Kalamazoo Manufacturing Site in Michigan.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Federal regulators on Thursday approved a request by Pfizer and BioNTech to store and transport their vaccine at standard freezer temperatures instead of in ultracold conditions, potentially expanding the number of sites that can administer shots.

The Food and Drug Administration said the change allowed for “more flexible conditions.”

“The alternative temperature for transportation and storage will help ease the burden of procuring ultralow cold storage equipment for vaccination sites and should help to get vaccine to more sites,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the F.D.A.’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

Now, smaller pharmacies and doctors’ offices should be able to administer shots, since they can use their existing refrigerators or freezers.

Until now, distribution of the Pfzier-BioNTech vaccine has been complicated by the requirement that the vaccine be stored in freezers that kept it between -112 and -76 degrees Fahrenheit. But last week, the companies submitted new data to the F.D.A. showing their vaccine could be safely stored at -13 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two weeks.

Moderna’s vaccine can be stored in standard freezers and then in a refrigerator for up to 30 days. That has allowed it to be used more readily at smaller vaccination sites.

Several employees at Russia’s embassy in North Korea left the country on a journey that included a trip on a hand-pushed railroad trolley, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Credit…Russian Foreign Ministry

North Korea sealed its borders more than a year ago, grounding flights and shutting its borders with neighboring China and Russia because of the pandemic.

This week, a few Russians found a way out.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that several employees at its embassy in North Korea had taken an unusual route — one that included a bus ride and a trip on a hand-pushed railroad trolley — to reach the country’s border with Russia.

The group included the embassy’s third secretary, Vladislav Sorokin, and his 3-year-old daughter, the ministry said on its official Facebook page. It also posted a photograph showing several children sitting on the trolley beside suitcases, with adults walking behind them on a railroad track and snow-capped hills in the distance.

When the group arrived at a Russian border post in Siberia, they were meet by colleagues from the Foreign Ministry and taken to an airport in Vladivostok, the ministry’s post said.

It was not clear from the post whether the group had broken any North Korean regulations or encountered any police or border officials. The ministry did not immediately respond to an email on Friday requesting further details about the journey.

North Korea closed its borders in January 2020 out of fears that a Covid-19 outbreak could seriously test its underequipped public health system and a domestic economy that was already struggling under international sanctions, analysts say.

The country has also deployed crack troops along its border ​with China ​with “shoot to kill​”​ order​s​ to prevent smugglers from bringing ​in ​the coronavirus​, Gen. Robert B. Abrams, commander of the United States military in South Korea, said in September.

The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said last summer that he would not accept international aid after devastating floods in his country for fear that outside help might bring in the virus, the state news media reported.

But Mr. Kim is apparently willing to import Covid-19 vaccines. According to a report this month by Covax, an international group that has negotiated for vaccine doses, North Korea is expected to receive nearly two million doses of the AstraZeneca shot by the middle of this year.

The North’s state news media has long insisted that the country has no confirmed Covid-19 cases, but outside experts are skeptical.

Unlike some of its neighbors, France has resisted imposing a new national lockdown to fight back the more contagious variants, instead opting for restrictions at the regional level.
Credit…Ian Langsdon/EPA, via Shutterstock

The prime minister of France said Thursday that several regions could face new pandemic restrictions starting March 6, as the country recorded a sharp increase in Covid-19 infections.

“The virus has been gaining ground again in the past week,” Prime Minister Jean Castex told reporters at a news conference, adding that the surge in infections was attributable to new variants of the virus, such as one originally detected in Britain that now accounts for half of infections in France.

France on Wednesday registered more than 30,000 new coronavirus cases, up from a daily average of 20,000 new infections in recent weeks and the biggest daily tally since mid-November.

Mr. Castex said that 20 of the country’s administrative regions would be put on alert and that stricter limits on movement would be enforced there if infections rise further in the coming week. The regions include the Paris area and the northern and southern tips of the country.

Restrictions could include weekend lockdowns, increased checks at airports and a crackdown on public gatherings in public places, similar to measures that were recently enforced on the French Riviera and in the city of Dunkirk, Mr. Castex said.

Unlike some of its neighbors, France has resisted imposing a new national lockdown to fight back the more contagious variants, instead opting for restrictions at the regional level.

Reacting to the news, Paris’s deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire said such measures would not be enough to fight back rising infections. Instead, he suggested a total lockdown of the capital for three weeks so the city would “have the possibility to reopen everything” afterward, including bars, restaurants and cultural venues.

Mr. Castex said that by mid-May, everyone over 50 should have received a first Covid-19 vaccine dose. With about 4 percent of its total population, or 2.7 million people, having received a first dose, France trails countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel but is on par with its Spanish and German neighbors.

“Everything possible must be done to delay” a new national lockdown, Mr. Castex said. He added that tightening restrictions just enough to stave off a new surge of the virus without affecting businesses and people’s lives too much was a “difficult balance” to strike.

Students wearing masks on campus at Marquette University in November. More than 530,000 coronavirus cases have been linked to college campuses since the beginning of the pandemic
Credit…Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

Coronavirus cases have continued to emerge by the tens of thousands this year at colleges, a New York Times survey found, after students returned to campuses during a period when case numbers were soaring across much of the country.

More than 120,000 cases have been linked to American colleges and universities since Jan. 1, and more than 530,000 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic. The Times also identified more than 100 deaths involving college students and employees. The vast majority occurred in 2020 and involved employees.

Nearly a year after most universities abruptly shifted classes online and sent students home, the virus continues to upend American higher education. When many campuses reopened in the fall, outbreaks raced through dorms and infected thousands of students and employees.

Since students returned for the spring term, increased testing, social distancing rules and an improving national outlook have helped curb the spread on some campuses. At Ohio State, where the test positivity rate once peaked at about 5 percent, university officials reported a positivity rate of just 0.5 percent across 30,000 tests on campus in one recent week.

Still, major outbreaks continue.

The Times surveyed more than 1,900 colleges and universities for coronavirus information and found at least 17 colleges have already reported more than 1,000 cases in 2021. At the University of Michigan, a highly infectious variant turned up on campus. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where more cases have been identified in 2021 than during the fall term, in-person classes are resuming after a difficult start to the year.

Kumble R. Subbaswamy, the chancellor at Massachusetts, wrote in a letter to the university community last week of a “promising but fragile opportunity” to resume campus life, warning that “we stand at a critical juncture of the spring semester.”

Despite surges at some colleges, there are positive signs. In counties with large populations of college students, coronavirus cases have been falling, mirroring a national trend in declining cases.

A nurse gets her first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at the vaccination center in Rostock, Germany, this month. Many people are skipping appointments or refusing to sign up for the AstraZeneca shot, which they fear is less effective than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Credit…Lena Mucha for The New York Times

BERLIN — A preference for the vaccine developed by the German company BioNTech with Pfizer is causing a surplus in Germany of the shot developed by AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish company, according to state health officials.

Many people — including health workers — are skipping appointments or refusing to sign up for the AstraZeneca shot, which they fear is less effective than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the officials say. As a result, two weeks after the first delivery of 1.45 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Germany, only 270,986 have been administered, according to data collected by the public health authority.

“Vaccinating fast is the order of the day,” Germany’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said Thursday during a videoconference in Bavaria, stressing that all three vaccines in use in Germany had been approved by the European Medicines Agency and were trustworthy.

“I personally have little sympathy for the reluctance to use one vaccine or another,” he said. “This is a first-world problem, certainly for those who are still waiting for their first vaccination and even more so for people in countries who might not even have the prospect of receiving a first inoculation this year.”

The rejection of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been fueled by weeks of negative coverage about it in the German media, which has portrayed it as “second-class,” citing its lower efficacy rate compared with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and reporting stories of people suffering adverse reactions.

Clinical trials do suggest that Pfizer’s efficacy, at 95 percent, is higher than AstraZeneca’s, which is between 60 and 90 percent depending on factors such as the spacing of doses. Still, it is difficult to directly compare shots unless they are tested head-to-head in the same trial. And many health professionals suggest getting whichever vaccine is available first, since Covid-19 poses such significant health risks.

Widespread skepticism in Germany about vaccines has exacerbated people’s reluctance to take the AstraZeneca shot. Medical and other frontline workers have also expressed resentment about being given unused AstraZeneca shots, instead of the Pfizer-BioNTech one, saying it showed a lack of respect after their efforts to help the country fight the pandemic over the past year.

The rejection of the AstraZeneca vaccine has caused delays in a mass vaccination campaign that was already struggling with bureaucratic and logistical hurdles. That has raised concerns that failure to immunize people quickly enough could stymie efforts to return the country to normal life, as new coronavirus infections are increasing even as Germany remains largely locked down.

Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., seen here at a news conference in May, announced on Wednesday that her sister had died after falling ill with Covid-19.
Credit…Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

As the coronavirus death toll in Washington, D.C., reached 1,000, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser declared that Wednesday would be “a day of remembrance for lives lost” to the virus.

“Most importantly,” she said in the proclamation, “these 1,000 beautiful souls who passed were our parents, children, cousins, neighbors, classmates, colleagues, friends, and our cherished loved ones.”

By that afternoon, Ms. Bowser was announcing that the milestone had become even more personal: Her sister was among those who had died.

Mercia Bowser, whom the mayor said had helped people with behavioral disorders, children and older people while working for Catholic Charities and the city’s Office on Aging, had died on Wednesday morning of “complications related to Covid-19.” She had been treated for pneumonia related to the virus at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, the mayor said.

The death of Ms. Bowser’s only sister was the latest reminder that the virus has been unsparing as it has killed more than 500,000 people and spread from nursing homes to grocery stores to the White House and through other halls of government. And it was also another sign of just how severe and disproportionate the virus’s impact has been on Black people, who make up 46 percent of Washington’s residents but 75 percent of the city’s Covid-19 deaths.

“Mercia was loved immensely and will be missed greatly, as she joins the legion of angels who have gone home too soon due to the pandemic,” Ms. Bowser said in a statement, in which she asked for privacy as she and her family mourned. Mercia Bowser is survived by both of her parents, Joan and Joseph Bowser, as well as several brothers, nieces and nephews.

The mayor said her sister, who was 16 years older than she is, was her oldest sibling. She said she would soon share more about how her family would be honoring her.

Transporting a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms in Austin in August.
Credit…John Moore/Getty Images

Contagion and death have been intertwined with nursing homes since the coronavirus made its first appearance in the United States.

Some of the grimmest chapters in the book of death the pandemic has written over the past year have been set in the very places where the weakest Americans were meant to be sheltered.

The virus has raced through some 31,000 long-term care facilities, killing more than 163,000 residents and employees. They accounting for more than a third of all virus deaths since the late spring.

But something is changing.

Our graphics team has taken a look at nursing home deaths and found heartening news.

Since the arrival of vaccines, which were prioritized to long-term care facilities starting in late December, new cases and deaths in nursing homes have fallen steeply, outpacing national declines, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data.

The turnaround is an encouraging sign for vaccine effectiveness and offers an early glimpse at what may be in store for the rest of the country, as more and more people get vaccinated.

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Officials Monitoring New Variant Detected in N.Y.C.

New York City officials said on Thursday that they are investigating possible risks of a new coronavirus variant spreading in the city, but that it did not appear yet to require change in public health response.

“So right now, at least for the report that we hear — we have from Columbia — we need to just consider this a variant of interest, something that’s interesting that we need to follow and track. But it doesn’t change anything about our public health concern. We need more data and studies to understand that. So we are able to detect and track this new strain that’s been reported, and we’ll continue to follow it. We have the ability also to now collect information about those patients, and to understand better whether or not they have different features or outcomes. And through our test and trace score, which is the best performing test and trace score in the country, has the ability to offer. You know, if somebody was infected, did they spread it to other people more often than something else.” “Because I understand when people hear variant it is a cause for concern, of course. And there’s something about it that’s unknown, and that gets people worried. I don’t blame anyone who’s feeling that way. But I want to really take the essence of what Dr. Varma is saying here: Until there’s evidence that tells us that a variant is not handled well by vaccine, for example, or a variant has different impacts, we shouldn’t assume the worst. We should say we need the full truth. We need the facts because so far the experience with the variants has been, even where there’s been some proof of being more transmissible for example, and it’s not changed the reality, it’s not changed the impact of the disease, it’s not changed our ability to fight the disease with the vaccine and all the other measures we take.”

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New York City officials said on Thursday that they are investigating possible risks of a new coronavirus variant spreading in the city, but that it did not appear yet to require change in public health response.CreditCredit…James Estrin/The New York Times

New York City officials said on Thursday that the full possible risks posed by a new form of the coronavirus spreading in New York City were unknown, but that it did not appear yet to require that the city modify its public health response.

Two teams of researchers have reported that the new virus variant carries a worrisome mutation that may weaken the effectiveness of vaccines.

Right now, “we need to just consider this a variant of interest — something that’s interesting, that we need to follow and track,” Dr. Jay Varma, the mayor’s senior adviser for public health, said at a news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“But it doesn’t change anything about our public health concern,” he added. “We need more data and studies to understand that.”

Public health officials have also been working “incredibly intensively” to improve efforts to detect new variants as a whole, Dr. Varma added.

The new variant, called B.1.526, first appeared in samples collected in the city in November. By the middle of this month, it accounted for about one in four viral sequences appearing in a database shared by scientists.

Asked about the new variant on NBC’s “Today,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, said any new version of the virus is a concern, and he urged people to get vaccinated to stop it from spreading.

“Other strains or mutants or variants, as we call them, are coming up, but the major spread in the country right now — the vaccine is good against it,” he said. “And even ones in which it may be somewhat less effective, the vaccine is still good against severe disease.”

One study of the new variant found in New York City, led by a group at Caltech, was posted online on Tuesday. The other, by researchers at Columbia University, was published on Thursday morning. Neither study has been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, said on Thursday that officials had no evidence that the B.1.526 variant was concentrated in specific areas or contributing to the broader spread of the virus in the city.

The variant carries a mutation, shared with other variants discovered in Brazil and South Africa, that partially blunts the body’s immune response. The authorized vaccines are still effective, scientists say. But now Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are examining whether third booster shots may be necessary to counter new variants as they arise.

The new variant “is not particularly happy news,” said Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University who was not involved in the new research. “But just knowing about it is good because then we can perhaps do something about it.”

Dr. Nussenzweig said he was more worried about the variant in New York than the one quickly spreading in California.

Since the peak of the holiday surge in early January, New York City has seen a steep decline in the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus each day, as have the state and the nation. But the drop has not been as dramatic as it has been nationally, and community transmission in the city remains high, with about 3,200 probable and confirmed new cases reported daily. As more contagious variants spread, the city’s positive test rate has only dropped slowly, to over 7.1 percent this week from 8 percent two weeks ago, according to city data.

Yet another variant, discovered in Britain, now accounts for about 2,000 cases in 45 states. It is expected to become the most prevalent form of the coronavirus in the United States by the end of March.

Patients infected with virus carrying that mutation were about six years older on average and more likely to have been hospitalized. While the majority of patients were found in neighborhoods close to the hospital — particularly Washington Heights and Inwood — there were several other cases scattered throughout the metropolitan area, said Dr. David Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University.

“We see cases in Westchester, in the Bronx and Queens, the lower part of Manhattan and in Brooklyn,” Dr. Ho said. “So it seems to be widespread. It’s not a single outbreak.”

Still, some experts remained optimistic about the fight to control the spread of the disease, now that a number of vaccines are being distributed.

As the virus continues to evolve, the vaccines may need to be tweaked, “but in the scheme of things, those aren’t huge worries compared to not having a vaccine,” said Andrew Read, an evolutionary microbiologist at Penn State University. “I’d say the glass is three-quarters full, compared to where we were last year.”

On the “Today” show, Dr. Fauci said the new findings underscore the need for Americans to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“When a vaccine becomes available, take it,” he said. “The longer one waits not getting vaccinated, the better chance the virus has to get a variant or a mutation.”

Eileen Sullivan and Sharon Otterman contributed reporting.

People wearing protective masks in central Warsaw on Wednesday. The government announced it would tigthen restrictions on face coverings.
Credit…Kacper Pempel/Reuters

With many businesses in Poland in open revolt against coronavirus restrictions — and their cause increasingly backed by the court — the Polish government is hoping to blunt a recent rise in cases by turning to the one tool known to work: masks.

The Polish government announced this week that face coverings like scarves and bandannas can no longer be worn instead of protective masks.

The announcement came as the number of new cases rose for a second straight day — with some 12,000 new infections detected on Wednesday.

“The third wave of the epidemic is gaining momentum,” said the Polish health minister, Adam Niedzielski, during a news conference on Wednesday.

He also said that restrictions would be tightened in the Northeastern region of the country where the growth in cases has been highest.

Children in early primary school will be forced to return to remote learning and galleries, museums, swimming pools, movie theaters and hotels will have to close down again — less than two weeks after they were allowed to reopen.

The minister, who is currently self-isolating after coming into contact with a virus-infected member of the government during a news conference last Friday, announced additional restrictions on the Polish southern border with Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Both of those neighboring countries have seen even larger surges in new cases and nearly all people entering Poland from those nations will have to present proof of a negative coronavirus test or proof of complete vaccination.

An employee carries oxygen tanks to refill them at an uncertified private oxygen provider in Mexico City this month. In Mexico, hospitals have been so overrun that virus patients have been dying in their homes, gasping for air because there are not enough oxygen tanks to meet the need. As many as 20 poor countries were in urgent need of oxygen.
Credit…Luis Antonio Rojas for The New York Times

The World Health Organization on Thursday warned that as many as 20 poor countries were in urgent need of oxygen, as more than 500,000 Covid-19 patients in low and middle income countries around the world need an oxygen treatment each day.

Access to oxygen has always been difficult for some countries, and the pandemic has exacerbated the problem, leading to deaths that might have otherwise been avoided, the global health organization said.

In Mexico, hospitals have been so overrun that virus patients have been dying in their homes, gasping for air because there are not enough oxygen tanks to meet the need. In Egypt, patients died last month at a hospital because of an interruption in oxygen supplies.

Last month in the northern Brazilian state of Amazonas, patients died of asphyxiation because hospitals ran out of oxygen amid a sharp rise in critically ill patients. The director of the country’s health regulatory agency, Alex Machado Campos, called the oxygen shortage the “saddest and most outrageous expression of the government’s abject failure at all levels.”

The W.H.O. created an emergency task force to address the shortages. The group identified countries that were in immediate need, including Afghanistan, Malawi and Nigeria, and said it would cost $90 million to address the most urgent needs. The task force estimates it will cost $1.6 billion over the next 12 months to address the global oxygen shortages in the short run.

“Many of the countries seeing this demand struggled before the pandemic to meet their daily oxygen needs,” said Dr. Philippe Duneton, the executive director of Unitaid, a Geneva-based global health agency that pledged to help fund the emergency response.

“Now it’s more vital than ever that we come together to build on the work that has already been done, with a firm commitment to helping the worst-affected countries as quickly as possible,” he said.

Former President Jimmy Carter at his Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., in 2019.
Credit…Dustin Chambers for The New York Times

The list of announcements at the Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., on Sunday included some routine business. There was a reminder of a deacons’ meeting immediately following the service and a request for donations of macaroni and cheese for a local food bank.

Then the pastor said he had one additional announcement to share, and it was good news: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were back.

The former president, 96, and his wife, 93, had returned to the church to worship in person for the second Sunday in a row, now that both had received vaccinations against the coronavirus, the pastor, Tony Lowden, said.

“Let’s welcome them back,” Pastor Lowden told the congregation, according to a video of the service posted on the church’s Facebook page. The Carters, wearing masks, waved from their familiar spot in the front pew, acknowledging applause from the church.

Pastor Lowden gently reminded the members that if they “get tackled” by the Secret Service when approaching the Carters, it would only be because the church was practicing social distancing.

The Carters have long been devoted members of Maranatha Baptist — she as a deacon, and he as a deacon and, for many years, a Sunday school teacher.

The Sunday school classes, which he no longer teaches, for decades drew Democratic presidential candidates and visitors from across the country, who made pilgrimages to hear the former president teach at the church in the tiny southwest Georgia farming community where he was raised.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken listened as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada spoke during a virtual meeting with President Biden on Tuesday.
Credit…Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken plans to take virtual “trips” to Mexico and Canada on Friday, an effort to continue diplomacy in as normal a fashion as possible at a time when the coronavirus has shut down most foreign travel.

Mr. Blinken will first “visit” Mexico, the State Department announced in a statement on Thursday, where he will meet with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard and Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier to discuss issues like trade, migration and climate change. Mr. Blinken and Mr. Ebrard will also pay a joint virtual visit to the Del Norte border entry point to discuss management of the southern U.S. border.

The digital facsimile of travel is an innovative, if potentially awkward, effort by the State Department to compensate for Mr. Blinken’s inability for now to take physical trips amid the pandemic, a frustrating condition for a newly installed diplomat determined to rebuild U.S. alliances after the Trump era.

“We’re trying to make it resemble, as closely as we can, a physical trip,” said Ned Price, a State Department spokesman.

Mr. Blinken has been vaccinated, but State Department officials say that given the size of his overseas entourage, and potential risks to people who might gather for his visits in host countries, he is not expected to take a physical trip before late March at the earliest.

Later on Friday, Mr. Blinken will meet with Canadian officials, according to the State Department, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Marc Garneau, as well as a group of Canadian students.

Mr. Blinken’s meeting with the students, visit to the border, and “meet and greets” with embassy employees are intended to replicate the sort of interactions with host countries outside of government ministries that enrich diplomatic travel but have become dangerous because of the virus.

Mr. Blinken joined President Biden on Tuesday for a virtual meeting with Mr. Trudeau, who was broadcast onto a large video screen about 20 feet away from his American hosts, and then appeared on another screen alongside Mr. Biden, standing at a podium, for press statements.

As Julie Chung, the acting assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, put it in a briefing for reporters Thursday: “This is the new world we live in.”

Source

Community Bulletin Board: the Sentinel (for Feb. 24)

The Tamarack Women’s 9-Hole Golf League is welcoming new members for the 2021 season on Thursday mornings from April through October.

While the league is nine holes, ladies are welcome to play the remaining nine holes following league play each week.

Golf experience is required for membership.

Interested lady golfers should contact membership Chair Linda Schuller at lindaschu@comcast.net for further information.

American Legion Post 253 will hold Friday Night Lenten Dinners through April 2.

Dine in or take out available from 5-7 p.m.

The menu on Feb. 26 includes fish or shrimp tacos with Mexican rice and beans for $12.

March 5 will be Italian Trio, with a trio of eggplant parmigiana, stuffed shells and baked ziti with garlic bread for $8.

The menu on March 12 will include mussels marinara or fra diavolo over linguine with tossed salad and a roll for $11.

The menu on March 19 will be broiled flounder with rice and mixed vegetables for $12, or fried shrimp and scallop platter with tater tots for $12.

The menu on March 26 is to be determined.

The menu on April 2 will include tortellini alfredo with salad and garlic bread for $7.

Call or text orders in advance to 732-991-9507.

The auxiliary of VFW Post 133 will hold a takeout sandwich sale on March 13.

Menu includes corned beef sandwich, macaroni salad and pickle.

The cost is $10 per person.

Must call in advance from noon to 6 p.m. March 10 to place an order. Call Maureen at 732-254-9674.

The VFW post is located at 485 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick.

Gain stability from an in-demand occupation; apply for a Women’s Center career training grant from Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County.

Qualified persons who are active members of the JFS Women’s Center must submit an application and attend an interview. Grants are available for short-term training programs for in-demand jobs.

Eligible candidates must qualify as a “displaced homemaker,” a woman who is a single mother, divorced, separated, widowed, or living with a disabled spouse/partner.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, email womenscenter@jfsmiddlesex.org

In England in 1234, Jews were charged with abducting, circumcising and converting a five-year-old Christian boy to Judaism. As a result, Jews were executed, and Jewish homes were looted and torched.

Professor Paola Tartakoff, chair of the Rutgers Department of Jewish Studies, will examine the backstory on these accusations, how they perpetuated the myth of ritual murder, and what they meant to Christians and Jews during that period.

Tartakoff will draw from her new book, “Conversion, Circumcision, and Ritual Murder in Medieval Europe” with a response by Professor David Shyovitz, Northwestern University, during the program.

This online event will be held March 3 at 7 p.m. on the Zoom platform.

Free and open to the public, it is presented by the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University.

Advance registration is required at BildnerCenter.Rutgers.edu.

The Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold the 75th annual Bernie Cohn Golf Classic from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. May 13.

Tee time is 9 a.m. at the Banks Course, Forsgate Country Club, 375 Forsgate Dr., Monroe.

Sign up at mcrcc.org or https://shotgunflat.wufoo.com/forms/z1qupopx0qkzr0t/

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The East Brunswick Library is offering the following workshops and programs:

  • Films focusing on climate change and its impact will be featured in the East Brunswick Public Library’s first-ever virtual film festival. The Option Green Virtual Film Festival is part of the ongoing partnership between the library and the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission. Each year, the two organizations host free events on environmental topics led by experts in the field. The film series is funded by the American Library Association’s “Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change” pilot program. The films will be available for online viewing. Participants can sign up for these free screenings online at www.ebpl.org/optiongreen. Links to view the films will be sent to ticket holders at the start time of this event, and will expire 48 hours later. Following each screening, there will be an ongoing, discussion on the EBPL Discord server. Attendees will receive the link in their ticket.

    The upcoming series includes:

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” March 16-17, is Is based on the = true story of 13-year-old William Kamkwamba, who finds inspiration from a science book. He builds a wind turbine to save his famine-ravaged village in Malawi. This film is rated TV-PG and runs 113 minutes.

    “Fire and Flood: Queer Resilience in the Era of Climate Change,” April 20-21, examines how the LGBTQ communities of Puerto Rico and Santa Rosa survived Hurricane Maria and wildfires, in late 2017. The film explores the vulnerability of LGBTQ communities to climate disasters. This film is not yet rated but runs 102 minutes. Trailer not available.

    The Option Green Virtual Film Festival is sponsored by the East Brunswick Public Library and the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission.

  • The Take A Business Break Series continues in 2021 with “How to Read, Analyze and Understand Financial Statements,” at noon on Feb. 25. It is based on CPA Edward Mendlowitz’s MBA course, and attendees will receive a free PDF of his 160-page book. Mendlowitz explains the seven elements of a financial statement, their purpose and how to use each to better understand your business. 

     

  • “529 College Savings Plans: Simply The Best Way To Save For College” will be presented at noon on Feb. 26. Thinking about saving for college tuition can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. This webinar will help attendees understand the challenges that students have today and in the future, when it comes to paying for college, and rethinking several misperceptions that many people have about college planning. Additionally, attendees will learn about the different options available to fund a college education while focusing on the features and benefits of one option, particularly the 529 Plan, an education savings vehicle.
  • Signing up for Social Security is one of the most important decision retirees have to make. To help explain the process, the online presentation “Social Security Explained” will be held at 7 p.m. March 3. This program is led by special guest speaker Mark Lange of the Society for Financial Awareness. He will discuss several important topics, including full retirement age, delayed retirement, filing for benefits, retirement planning strategies and annuity type distinction. The workshop is free and open to the public. Registration is requested; visit www.ebpl.org/calendar or call 732-390-6767.

  • Saint Peter’s Healthcare System will address “Better Exercise, Best You,” presented by Dr. Bonnie Saunders PT, MPA, DPT, at noon on March 5.

    This talk will explore the various reasons and motivations to exercise and connect these to the various types of exercise. It will also discuss some of the more common barriers to establishing a successful exercise routine and some strategies to overcome these barriers.

    Registration is requested for this free program. To register, visit to www.ebpl.org/calendar.

    This program will be presented online using Zoom.

    This program is offered through the East Brunswick Public Library’s “Just For The Health Of It” consumer health and wellness information initiative. To learn more about these resources and programs, visit www.justforthehealthofit.org.

  • A virtual crafting workshop with fiber artist Pam Brooks will be making a women’s suffrage rosette, a symbol of the suffrage movement, at 7 p.m. March 18. There will be a random drawing for a limited number of free supply kits. Closed captioning will be provided. To reserve a seat, visit www.ebpl.org/womenvote or call 732-390-6767.
  • The Family Resource Network will host two online programs about health insurance.

    The first program, “Health Insurance Open Enrollment In NJ: What You Need To Know,” is at noon on March 18.

    The open enrollment period for 2021 health insurance has been extended until May 15.

    This program aims to answer health insurance questions, including what options are available to New Jersey residents and explaining the state-based exchange called Get Covered NJ.

    The second program, “Coverage 2 Care,” is a health insurance literacy presentation at noon on March 25. Coverage to Care helps consumers understand what health insurance is, how to choose coverage, and why it is essential to select coverage.

    The presentation helps consumers understand their health coverage after they have enrolled and connect to primary care and preventive services that are right for them to live long and healthy lives.

    Both programs are presented by Renata Svincicka and Yamilet Zegarra of the Family Resource Network.

    Registration is requested for both free programs. To register, visit www.ebpl.org/calendar or call 732-390-6767.

    These programs are offered through the East Brunswick Public Library’s “Just For The Health Of It” consumer health and wellness knowledge initiative. To learn more about the related programs and resources offered by the library, visit www.justforthehealthofit.org.

  • Stockton University professor Linda J. Wharton hosts “Gender Equality and the Constitution: The Unfinished Business of Reform” at 7 p.m. March 25. She will discuss the renewed push for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment and explain why expanding protection for gender equality is needed. Closed captioning will be provided. To reserve a seat, visit www.ebpl.org/womenvote or call 732-390-6767.
  • Seniors can join “Are You Living Your Best Life Today?” at noon on March 31. This will be an interactive talk that centers around the concept of maturing adults living their best life now. Seniors will be shown how to rekindle their passions and natural talents and bring more richness into life. In addition, attendees will be reminded to get their affairs in order, so families can live with less stress and more joy. This program is hosted by Adrian Allotey, of You Are Not Alone Elder Care.The programs are presented online using Zoom unless otherwise noted.Registration is requested for these free programs. To register, visit www.ebpl.org/calendar or call 732-390-6767, unless otherwise noted.

Black History Month will be honored in East Brunswick through a series of programs.

The East Brunswick Arts Commission, East Brunswick Department of Aging, East Brunswick Department of Recreation, East Brunswick Human Relations Council, East Brunswick Public Library, East Brunswick Youth Council, EBTV and the Lost Souls Public Memorial Project are partnering for the events.

The East Brunswick Public Library will host a lecture about the Harlem Renaissance with Randall Westbrook at 7 p.m. Feb. 24.  

EBTV, the East Brunswick Arts Commission and the East Brunswick Youth Council are recording several special Black History Month programs to be shared on the television network.

EBTV also broadcasts a 45-minute concert of jazz standards and soul classics performed by singer Rhonda Denet. This program is sponsored by the East Brunswick Arts Commission and the library.

 

The Lost Souls Public Memorial Project released several presentations about their work to memorialize over 177 African Americans kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1818.

 

All of these programs can be viewed online, either live or prerecorded.

A complete guide to the Black History Month programming can be found online at www.ebpl.org/blackhistorymonth.

Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a member of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, is hosting a free virtual lecture series on adolescent and family health issues.

Organized by Saint Peter’s Opioid Task Force, this virtual lecture series is designed for parents and families. The presentation will address common parental concerns about the numerous ways the pandemic has impacted teens, from issues like isolation to how they cope, socialize and develop. The series will also explore addiction which has escalated during the pandemic and resources for successful recovery.

Each lecture will start at 6:30 p.m.

The full list of lecture topics is:

Feb. 24: Adolescents/Family Coping Skills During the Pandemic, presented by Dr. Suzanne Lind, Psychiatry, The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital
Registration link: https://SaintPetersHCS.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IG_wNhblTnSCIdlhFDU5kw

March 10: Adolescent Brain Development and Addiction, presented by Dr. Tejal Mehta, Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital
Registration link: https://SaintPetersHCS.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_p6L9vxZ1SiuLRSQFuyW_Fw

March 24: Vaping and the Adolescent, presented by Nicki Francis and Mara Carlin, BS, CPS, Wellspring Center for Prevention
Registration link: https://SaintPetersHCS.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TswvyYdFTxm6d5qSNMRNJw

April 7: Recovery Coaches, presented by Bonnie Nolan, PhD, Woodbridge Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (WOORP)
Registration link: https://SaintPetersHCS.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dcB-NO7KQbCuOm1fhIIvqw

April 21: Successful Recovery from Addiction, presented by Don Rogers, Community Outreach director at The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper
Registration link: https://SaintPetersHCS.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5QCvDKsbSk-JkDa2sAna3w

For more information on any of the virtual lectures, contact Robert J. LaForgia, coordinator, Healthier Middlesex, at rlaforgia@saintpetersuh.com or 732-745-8600, ext. 5831. Allow up to 48 hours for a response.

From Feb. 26 to March 31, visit Stop & Shop at 1600 Perrineville Road, Monroe, to purchase a specially marked floral bouquet, and Stop & Shop will make a donation to the Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County’s kosher food pantries to feed families in need.

Middlesex College is developing apprenticeship opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing through Career Advance USA, a U.S. Department of Labor-funded grant.

Apprenticeships, developed and implemented in collaboration with employers, are earn-and-learn programs that combine formal classroom learning with on-the-job training.

Those interested in the program should register for a virtual information session at middlesexcc.edu/manufacturing-apprenticeships. They will be held over Zoom at 10 a.m. Tuesdays, March 9, April 13 and May 11.

The college is also looking for employers interested in developing workers.

For more information about the grant and how to participate, visit middlesexcc.edu/manufacturing-apprenticeships or contact Yarelis Figueroa at yfigueroa@middelsexcc.edu or John Miller at jsmiller@middlesexcc.edu.

New Jersey is known as the Garden State. Few understand that the name highlights that the other states traditionally used New Jersey as their garden—a place to take beneficial resources and then bury their refuse, back when it was customary to bury your garbage in your backyard.

The East Brunswick Public Library will host “Disparate Environmental Impacts: Causes and Solutions to Environmental Injustice” at 7 p.m. March 11, focusing on the economics and discrimination that causes environmental inequality, their effects and how to prevent these inequalities.

The program is led by Dr. Maritza Jauregui, an associate professor of Sustainability at Stockton University.

Tickets are required for this free, virtual program; to reserve, visit www.ebpl.org/calendar.

This event is sponsored by the East Brunswick Public Library and the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission. It is funded by the American Library Association’s “Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change” pilot program.

It is part of the Option Green environmental education program series. Other partners include Highland Park Public Library, Matawan-Aberdeen Library, New Brunswick Free Public Library, North Brunswick Library, Old Bridge Public Library, Plainsboro Public Library and South Brunswick Public Library.

Recognizing the bravery and commitment of volunteer firefighters and first responders, New Jersey American Water announces its 2021 grant program for volunteer fire departments, ambulance squads and first aid squads located within the company’s service areas.

Grants may be used to cover the costs of personal protective equipment, communications gear, first aid equipment, firefighting tools, vehicle maintenance and other materials that will be used to support volunteer firefighter and emergency responder operations. Reimbursement for specific training courses, including the cost of training manuals, student workbooks, and instructors is also eligible.

To apply, organizations must complete the application available at www.newjerseyamwater.com under News & Community, Community Involvement.

The maximum grant amount awarded to any organization is $2,000.

The deadline to apply is March 12. Interested applicants can find more information and apply online at www.newjerseyamwater.com/community.

Grant recipients will be notified at the end of March.

Teens across the state can begin submitting entries for the 26th Annual New Jersey Teen Media Contest, which highlights the New Jersey Human Services’ mission to support families, especially during these challenging times.

The contest, run by the Division of Family Development, is open to all New Jersey middle and high school-aged children.

The 2021 contest challenges teens to illustrate – through art or the written word – how they and their loved ones have supported each other through all of the changes that have happened this year, from remote schooling to finding new ways to stay connected to friends and family.

All entries must be postmarked no later than March 31.

Staff from the Division of Family Development and its Office of Child Support Services will judge the contest. Winners will be selected in first, second, and third places in both the middle and high school groups, for each of the two entry categories. Typically, winning students are recognized at an awards ceremony in mid-May, but a final decision on an awards ceremony will be made at a later date based on the status of the public health emergency and related health and safety guidelines.

Winning entries from the contest will be included in the 2022 Office of Child Support Calendar, as well as potentially being included as part of the office’s marketing materials. A number of honorable mention entries will also be selected for possible inclusion in both areas.  

The 2021 calendar can be viewed or downloaded from the contest homepage, www.NJTeenMedia.org, to serve as inspiration for the teens. The website also provides the official rules, frequently asked questions, entry forms, a look at the winners and honorable mentions from previous contests and other important contest information.

Teachers and administrators can register their school by visiting www.NJTeenMedia.org or by contacting Matthew Cossel at 937-207-7627 or matthew.cossel@efkgroup.com. School registration is not required for direct student entry.

For complete submission guidelines, visit www.NJTeenMedia.org.

For more information about child support services, call 1-877-NJKIDS1 or visit www.NJChildSupport.org.

New Jersey American Water is accepting applications for green project funding through its Environmental Grant Program.

The program offers grants of $1,000 to $10,000 for qualifying innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds, surface water and/or groundwater supplies throughout the company’s service areas.

New Jersey American Water will award the grants on a competitive basis and select projects based on various criteria including goals, impact, innovation, design and sustainability. The nature of the project’s collaboration with other community organizations as well as its overall community engagement will also be considered.

All applicants are expected to outline specific, measurable goals for projects in their proposals. At the conclusion of the grant project, the lead organization must provide a written report on the project results/impact.

Grant recipients will be notified in mid-April.

More information and application requirements can be obtained directly at newjerseyamwater.com/community.

East Brunswick residents can turn the page on a winter spent mostly indoors by renting a plot at the township’s Community Garden, located adjacent to the municipal complex off Rues Lane.

A limited number of 10-foot by 10-foot plots are now available for new gardeners on a first-come, first-served basis for $45 for the first season. The garden is open to township residents and people who work in East Brunswick.

All gardeners are required to put in four hours of community garden service each year by working with a committee and participating in work days, or paying $40 in lieu of service. Gardeners can select from a list of committees found on the registration form.

For more information and to register for a plot, visit registration form.

The garden’s website  offers timely articles, tips and tricks for gardeners, a calendar of events and information on donating surplus produce. Gardeners have donated more than a ton of surplus produce in the last few years. Meetings and events during the year also give gardeners a chance to share ideas outside the garden.

To keep gardeners safe, several rules, including mandatory mask wearing and social distancing while in the garden were instituted last year.

For more information, email to ebcgarden@gmail.com.

The East Brunswick Community Garden is a project of the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.

Nominations are being accepted for the South River High School Wall of Fame.

Nominees should serve as a role model for current and future South River High School students. This award is not limited to athletic achievement.

A Wall of Fame is erected in the main corridor of the high school with the names of the recipients on plaques of recognition.

Nominees will be considered based on the following criteria:

  1. Attended and graduated from South River High School.

  2. Exhibits a high level of achievement in his/her field.

  3. Possesses the qualities of a positive role model for South River youth.

The committee will consider all nominees based on the strengths of the candidates in the above areas. A maximum of two individuals may be inducted this year.

The deadline for nominations is April 1.

To make a nomination, visit www.srivernj.org for the nomination form.

Ongoing

Trinity Presbyterian Church of East Brunswick invites all to join virtual worship services every Sunday at 10:15 a.m.

Visit http://Trinity-PC.org and click on the “Sunday Services” tab for a link to the service on YouTube.

In addition, Trinity offers a safe and socially distanced outside worship service every Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.

For more information, call the church office at 732-257-6636 or visit the website.

The Jewish Family Services Food Pantry needs volunteers to organize its food pantry and supply closet, located at 1600 Perrineville Road, Monroe.

The schedule is flexible.

Monroe Township residents can apply for current and future openings on township boards, commissions and advisory councils.

Monroe is accepting volunteer applications for appointments to the Americans with Disabilities Act Committee, Affordable Housing Board, Commission on Aging, Cultural Arts Commission, Environmental Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Human Relations Commission, Library Board of Trustees, Open Space & Farmland Preservation Commission, Planning Board, Recreation Advisory Board, Shade Tree Commission, Sustainable Jersey – Green Team Advisory Committee, Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Residents should visit https://monroetwp.com/index.php/boards-commissions and select from a list of boards and commissions to review full descriptions of each group.

They then can send the downloadable form located at the bottom of the boards and commissions page of the website for their area of interest.

Submissions may be sent to the Municipal Clerk by mail at the Administrative Offices, by email at preid@monroetwp.com, or by fax to 732-521-3190.

All submissions will be retained for a maximum period of one year from the date of filing.

Volunteer vaccinators may be needed in Middlesex County and at other vaccination sites.

Licensed nurses, doctors and medical professionals who are willing to volunteer should email their name, address, phone number and license information to Lt. Jangols of the Monroe Township Police Department at sjangols@monroetwppolice.org

The East Brunswick Police Department has established a “Safe Exchange Zone.”

Two parking stalls in the lot of the municipal court next to police headquarters, 1 Civic Center Dr., are available to the public for conducting in-person transactions that have been facilitated through online marketplaces. The parking stalls are indicated by signage.

The designated zone is available to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.

Access to the police headquarters lobby may also be granted for “safe exchanges” during non-court hours and may be arranged in advance by calling the police department.

French American School Princeton (FASP) is accepting enrollment.

At FASP, students in preschool (3 years old) through grade 8 benefit from a rigorous bilingual curriculum accredited by the Middle State Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools and the French Ministry of Education; personalized attention thanks to small class sizes; and a multicultural community with more than 30 nationalities represented.

FAPS is located at 75 Mapleton Road, Princeton.

Visit ecoleprinceton.org, call 609-430-3001 or email admissions@ecoleprinceton.org.

To document the experiences of the community while living through the COVID-19 pandemic, the East Brunswick Public Library has been collecting submissions to a COVID-19 Community Time Capsule.

The time capsule can be viewed online at www.ebpl.org/history

The library is still taking submissions at this time.

The Community Pet Food Bank by New Beginnings Animal Rescue is open from 1-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, with varying hours on Saturdays, on the grounds of Nativity Lutheran Church, 552 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick.

For more information, visit nbarnj.org

The Jamesburg Public Library will hold its board meetings on the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m.

These meetings are open to the public, and will take place on Zoom for the remainder of the year.

Visit jamesburglibrary.org or www.facebook.com/JamesburgLibrary/ for further information.

Each meeting will have a different Zoom link and passcode

The East Brunswick Recreation, Parks & Community Services Department is collecting non-perishable food, cash and gift cards for distribution to Aldersgate Community Outreach Center.

Drop off food in the back of the box truck parked in the parking lot, 334 Dunhams Corner Road; the door is kept down so lift it to put donations inside.

Or, drop cash/check/gift cards in an envelope and put in the drop box next to the front door to the Recreation Department.

Raritan Valley YMCA is encouraging residents to #StayWithUs during this time, in particular by visiting the Y’s Facebook page for virtual events, programs and classes.

Adult programs include group fitness classes provided by Y360, Les Mills and from Y instructors. Programs and classes will be updated on a week-to-week basis. The ZOOM app is required; email lramos@raritanvalleyymca.org for log-in details.

The Facebook page also features live story time and creative arts with Ms. Preeti and Ms. Brenda.

Details Camp Yomeca day camp are available on the website. Online registration is open.

For more information, visit raritanvalleyymca.org.

The United Way of Central Jersey’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund will assist individuals and families affected by the novel coronavirus with crucial basic expenses including rent, utilities, prescription medication/medical supplies, child care and food.

United Way will work with trusted community partners to identify individuals and families most in need of this temporary support.

Donations to the UWCJ COVID-19 Support Fund may be made online at www.uwcj.org. Checks made payable to United Way may be mailed to United Way of Central Jersey, 32 Ford Ave., Milltown 08850.

Monroe Township Jewish War Veterans Post 609 is collecting United States and foreign stamps, both on and off envelopes.

Stamps are used by veterans as hobbies and as therapy to support medical staff at VA Medical Centers nationwide.

Stamps are not traded or sold; they are forwarded to veteran patients at no charge.

Also requested are DVDs suitable for veterans at those locations.

Send all items to JWV Post 609, c/o Charles Koppelman, 6 Yarmouth Dr., Monroe 08831-4742.

The East Brunswick Domestic Response Team is seeking volunteers.

Citizens are trained to respond to local police departments on an on-call basis to provide support and information to victims of domestic abuse.

For more information, email domesticviolence@ebpd.net.

The Korean War/Defense Veterans Association Central Jersey Chapter No. 148 extends an invitation to any veterans, regardless of branch of service, who served during the war from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953, in any location, including Europe, or who have served in Korea from July 27, 1953, through the present.

The group meets at 10 a.m. the second Wednesday of every month —except January through April — at the Monroe Township Municipal Building, 1 Municipal Plaza.

Membership dues are $25 to the Korean War Veterans Association and $10 chapter fee per year.

The chapter is involved in various functions during the year, including parades, flag raisings, visiting the Korean War Memorial in Atlantic City, etc.

For more information, contact Charles Koppelman at 609-655-3111 or kwvanj@yahoo.com.

Dove Hospice Services of New Jersey seeks compassionate volunteers to provide support to local hospice patients and their families.

Hospice patient care volunteers visit with patients in their homes, which can also be nursing facilities or assisted living facilities, at least once a week. They read to the patient, reminisce about their lives, play cards, help with letter writing and provide respite for caregivers.

Visits can be virtual, and are either during the day or early evening.

Volunteers may also assist with administrative work within the hospice office.

Patient care volunteers complete an application and attend a virtual volunteer training program that covers the role of a hospice volunteer. Day and evening virtual training programs are offered.

To sign up for the next virtual training class, contact Volunteer Coordinator Deborah Adams at 732-405-3035 or email deborah@dovehs.com.

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Is Mnangagwa a lost cause?

One of Barack Obama’s contribution to US foreign policy was the encouragement of a class of liberal whites and blacks with absolutely first-class brains, but above everything else, loved their subjects. The Africa corps was one unit; they were Afro-philes (many of them African Americans). On several occasions, they beat me to information on Zimbabwe.

One such bright “chap” was Todd Moss, an assistant secretary, and three other southern Africa experts. Their report about President emmerson Mnangagwa came out in the US on July 25, six days before the Zimbabwe 2018 elections.

ED (as our president is called by his friends) had been coached by British Ambassador Katriona Laing, an M-IV intelligence officer with special skills in regime change. As long as Ms Laing was holding eD’s hand, he said the most wonderful things and convinced the world that under his wise leadership, Zimbabwe would come out of the woods.

The report by Moss and his colleagues said that all those (and the British) who believed such nonsense, that a leopard can change its colours, were in for a long riede (supposedly on the back of the same leopard). They said that the idea that eD was a reformer was a lost cause.

I was devastated. At that time eD had made the most wonderful statements. I flew home with four investment portfolios under my arm. We had access to US$1 million for a dry-run experiment, but our goal was to raise US$3 billion. There was a Zimbabwean investment company in Birmingham which had US$400 million which served as our role model.
That company worked with the national Railways of Zimbabwe, but as we speak, has migrated (with its bags of money) to South Africa.

I was devastated. I should have listened to that Todd Moss “chap”. The report says that all the talk about reforms is a “charade” (word in the report) probably concocted by Ms Laing.

ED’s lack of projection

I came to this topic when I got an email from Hopewell Chin’ono in simple words. “Mukoma Ken, long time.” I feared the worst. When I checked the brother was in some stupid jailhouse, over a crime that was not in the crime books. This was the third time in 12 months.

After calming my tempestuous heart, I returned to reading the US reports on Mnangagwa’s government. A report from some senators who had just returned from Zimbabwe said that eD is surrounded by “thugs”.

Zimbabwe minister of Security Owen Mudha ncube is, in this report, alleged to be the capo-del capo of maShurugwi machete gangs. The name describes their activities. Serious though this allegation is, the second allegation was that this Mudha (Congressmen pronounced the name to mean a devil) had gone on rampage at Gaika Mine, destroying a 100-year-old mine structure.

When you add the name of nick Mangwana and George Charamba to the team whose job is to project eD’s mission to Zimbabweans and to the world, one comes out with a very sorry picture.

If the devil were served by such a projection team, all sinners would have long migrated to the Cross.

Again, here, those whose business is to project government policies need to study Obama’s projection by the press.

Policies

Alex Magaisa has argued that before one can project a leader, there must be something there to project. I agree and I also appreciate that there was a lot to project about Obama: a clean and seductive smile, no scandal behind his name, soaring black rhetoric and a lovely family.

ED may not have Obama’s natural gifts, but he (and perhaps Ms Laing had crafted for him) a pretty convincing message. Allow me to repeat the message.

“Fellow Zimbabweans…the time has come to say nO to demigods and people that are self-centred and only think of themselves and their families. Let us now put our differences and rebuild a new prosperous Zimbabwe, a country that is tolerant to divergent views, a country that respects opinions of others, a country that does not isolate itself from the rest of the world, because of a stubborn individual, who believes he is entitled to rule this country until death.

We want a country that gives every citizen the opportunity to prosper, to take care of their families, a country that encourages Zimbabweans to invest in their economy and contribute to the development of infrastructure for their future.” (Mnangagwa//Exile//Nov 2017).

The above words summarise what a normal country looks and sounds like. Zimbabweans want a normal country. There are no police roadblocks in Malawi. Kids are not in jailhouses in Malawi. Here is a University of Zimbabwe kid, Allan Moyo, has been in jail for 71 days. Moyo, in an attempt to impress his girlfriend, said some bad words about “overthrowing” the Zimbabwean government. His weapon was a dirty handkerchief which he used to pierce the sky as if he was holding a spear.

Please have some imagination. It would have done a lot of good to lock up the kid for criminal mischief in an open-fenced yard and provide him with ice-cream until his mother came to pick him up. The member-in-charge would welcome the distressed mother with kind words.

“Mum, we want to see your kid graduate. Take him home and talk to him. I hope I do not see you and him here again.”

I am sure Todd Moss and brother Magaisa will say: “Ken, your trouble is that you don’t know these people. They are heartless.”

I agree. I have no experience of their Philistine world, except what I read that loyalty is unknown among them, mercy is distinguished by its absence, common sense is a curse word and love that passes all understanding is regarded as a weakness. Moss concludes in one report that all the talk about Zimbabwe is “open for business” is nothing but a “charade”.

I hope there is something left for us to redeem.

—–
Ken Mufuka is a Zimbabwean patriot. He can be reached at mufukaken@gmail.com. His books are available in Zimbabwe from INNOV bookshops and from the world on kenmufukabooks.com

All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24’s community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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