A seal was spotted on the beach in Belmar. But before you get too excited, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center has tips for encounters with seals.
Ryan Ross and Susanne Cervenka, Asbury Park Press
Watson Coleman joins roundtable discussion
On Wednesday, March 20, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey hosted a roundtable discussion with U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson on the harmful impacts of the Trump-Pence administration’s new Title X gag rule. Nearly two dozen Planned Parenthood staff, patients and women’s health advocates attended the event, which was part of the kickoff of the national “Protect X” campaign. The roundtables and the Protect X campaign are helping to raise awareness about the dangers of the Title X gag rule, which threatens New Jerseyans’ access to birth control, STI testing and other essential reproductive health care. During the roundtable discussion, participants were not only able to learn about the potential impact of the gag rule, they were able share their concerns about the attacks. The gag rule includes language specifically designed to block patients from coming to Planned Parenthood, threatening their health, their rights, and their lives. Title X ensures that every person — regardless of who they are, where they live, how much money they make, or whether they’re insured — has access to basic reproductive health services. In New Jersey, more than 70 percent of the patients served by Title X received care at a Planned Parenthood health center. Planned Parenthood was the sole Title X provider in 13 New Jersey counties in 2018. Without Planned Parenthood, all other Title X-funded sites in New Jersey would have to increase their contraceptive client caseloads by 254 percent to serve the women who currently obtain birth control from Planned Parenthood health centers.Visit https://www.facebook.com/PPActionNJ/.
School’s advanced students to perform
Over the past few months, advanced students in the Edison School of Music and Dance’s “Rock School” program have been working and playing together as bands and ensembles, studying music of all genres. Members of the community are encouraged to come see the students play live at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, at Crossroads, 78 North Ave., Garwood. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door at From pop to 90s alternative and pop-punk, attendees can expect an incredible and diverse performance of hits across each genre. Visit edisonmusicanddance.com.
Chocolate Expo on March 31
The Chocolate Expo will make its debut at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 31. Attendees will be able to taste, purchase, celebrate and indulge in gourmet chocolates, baked goods, specialty foods, gelato, cheeses, wines, craft sodas and more from more than 70 local, regional and international vendors. Actor Paris Themmen who starred as Golden Ticket Winner “Mike TeeVee” in the movie “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” will be appearing at The Chocolate Expo to greet guests and sign autographs. This year’s Chocolate Expo will feature the “Extreme Magic” of America’s Got Talent former contestant and Rutgers alumni Eric Wilzig. Another Rutgers alum, “Professor” Adam Smasher, will lead guests in song as part of the Steampunk Duo “The Eternal Frontier.” The day includes many free activities for children including face painting, balloon twisting, wire art, chocolate craft making, walk-around magic shows and photo opportunities with storybook princesses and other costumed characters. Children of all ages are welcome to come in their own favorite costumes for photos with the characters. Admission to The Chocolate Expo is $15 and $10 for ages 5 to 11 when purchased online from www.TheChocolateExpo.com, or $20 and $15 for ages 5-11, at the door. The Chocolate Expo’s “5PM Special” ticket is priced at $10/person (all ages 5 and older) for admission after 5 p.m. when purchased online and $15 per person when purchased at the door. There will also be a limited-quantity, online-only Rutgers Student Special tickets (current Rutgers Student ID required) for $12. An online-only special VIP Ticket for $30 will offer priority admission at any time during the day and come with a Chocolate Expo insulated tote bag (a $10 value). For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit www.TheChocolateExpo.com.
Celebrate Environmental Heroes
Nominations are still open for the annual Union County Environmental Hero awards. Each year, the Environmental Hero program recognizes local citizens, businesses and organizations that inspire, motivate, and act to help preserve and protect natural resources in Union County and beyond. The Environmental Hero program is a partnership between the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Trailside Museum Association, a nonprofit organization that supports Union County’s Trailside Nature Museum and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation. Any Union County individual or group can be nominated for an Environmental Hero award. All nominations must be submitted online at ucnj.org/trailside by Friday, April 12. All awardees will receive certificates of recognition for their work and prizes courtesy of the Trailside Museum Association, and will be honored with a public event at Union County’s annual Wild Earth Fest. For more information about the Environmental Hero Award and all other Trailside programs, call 908-789-3670 or visit ucnj.org/trailside. Trailside Nature & Science Center is at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Somerset County Freeholder Sara Sooy and the Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition (RCDC), along with its partners, are urging residents to get screened for colorectal cancer and begin eating a healthy diet of fiber-rich foods during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Find out more about the dangers of colorectal cancer until Saturday, March 30, and visit the information table at the Somerset County administration building, 20 Grove Street, Somerville. Pick up a free “Fiber-Fridays” calendar that has tips about how to add delicious fiber-rich foods to your diet, and find other free resources and information about colorectal cancer. An online version of the calendar with interactive links can be found at http://bit.ly/CancerAware2019. Several screening methods are available including take-home tests, and many public and private insurance plans pay for colorectal cancer screening. For more information about free educational programs during the month of March, contact RCDC Coordinator Lea Kimmelman at 908-203-6077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pinkin, Karabinchak announce reelection bid
Assembly members of New Jersey’s 18th Legislative District, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-East Brunswick) and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-Edison) recently announced their 2019 re-election campaign to the New Jersey General Assembly. On Monday, March 11, Middlesex County Democratic Organization committee members from the 18th Legislative District selected Pinkin and Karabinchak as their candidate of choice in the Assembly. The 2019 Primary Election Day is set for Tuesday, June 4, and the General Election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 5. Visit http://bit.ly/2OhLWAJ.
Dog’s first-person story to debut
Canine Companions for Independence assistance dogs are taught more than 50 professional commands that are useful to a person with disabilities. Becoming a playwright isn’t one of them. But nonetheless, Gemini IV, a 3-year old black Lab/golden cross (in partnership with his “literary agent”) has been selected to debut his first-person story, “I’m Hungry, A Monologue Not About Squirrels,” as part the NJ Theater Alliance’s Healing Voices: Caregivers’ Stories performed at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, at George Street Playhouse, 103 College Farm Road, New Brunswick. Gemini IV is an assistance dog for Julian Senick Kaiman of Highland Park. Julian’s Dad, Fred, serves as Gemini’s literary executor, represented the dog at the Healing Voices writers’ workshop. Free. For information on Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, visit www.midatlanticarts.org.
American Diabetes Association Alert Day
Tuesday, March 26 is American Diabetes Association (ADA) Alert Day and Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network’s Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program is working with patients, healthcare providers and community organizations in New Jersey to raise awareness, share information about how to lower risk factors for getting diabetes and help those who have diabetes learn to best manage their condition for a healthier life. Quality Insights — supported locally by Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc. — has been providing free diabetes self-management education classes through the EDC program to people with Medicare in New Jersey since 2015. In addition to offering free workshops to the community, the program works with health care providers and community volunteers by training them to teach workshops themselves. Visit www.qualityinsights-qin.org for more information about the EDC program and for a listing of currently scheduled workshops or contact Christina Destro, outreach coordinator, by calling 732-955-8143 or e-mailing email@example.com. For more information on American Diabetes Alert Day, visit www.diabetes.org.
READ: Central Jersey Daily Rundown, Friday, March 22
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