Moench's Musings

Really Phil? More Winter?


Well, it’s official.  Punxsutawney Phil as spoken and its six more weeks of winter. I had hoped that this article would be irrelevant and I’d have to draft a new one, but alas, no such luck. Maybe instead of our recent council discussions regarding chickens and bees we should be addressing banning groundhogs in Bridgewater. (Where’s Bill Murray when you need him?) I know many of our residents look forward to winter and enjoying cold weather activities such as skiing, ice skating, sledding and building snowmen. My 5-year-old son is one of them; it doesn’t matter what the temperature is, if there’s snow on the ground he wants to be outside and playing. For me, all I see is higher heating bills, driveways to shovel and unpleasant cold weather. As far as I’m concerned, once the holidays are over, the only things left to do in winter are watch the Super Bowl and countdown until spring. 

Whether you enjoy this cold weather or not, I thought I’d take a moment to provide some practical reminders and suggestions for our residents as we come into the coldest part of the year to make sure everyone arrives at spring safe and healthy. 

  • Check your batteries in your thermostat.  People forget that many thermostats require batteries to operate.  You’ll wake up very cold if those batteries go, and if not addressed quickly enough, there could also be issues related to freezing pipes or other damage.  While you’re checking batteries also check your smoke detector, flashlights, and make sure you have spare batteries for anything you may need during an extended power outage.
  • Beware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  Carbon monoxide poisoning is a greater concern in winter time.  In addition to checking the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarms (which you should have!), many experts suggest changing the filters on your heaters and shoveling the venting areas outside your home.  Also, make sure not to pre-heat your car in your garage. 
  • Make sure your address is clearly visible.  While not necessarily a winter-specific safety issue, make sure your mailbox is clearly identified with large, easy to read numbers.   Not having your house marked can delay emergency responders from finding your home quickly, and this can be exacerbated by winter weather that may make driving conditions unsafe.
  • Clear your sidewalks of snow.  Bridgewater Ordinance requires that residents clear sidewalks in front of their home within 12 hours of daylight after the snow ceases to fall. (Ordinance § 182-1)   You may also consider clearing areas right around fire hydrants even if not part of a sidewalk.   If there’s a fire, ensuring access to the hydrant may save your home.  Don’t forget that it’s a state violation to drive without also clearing your car of snow.  
  • Report street light outages.  If you see street lights that are out, please report them.   The township pays for these lights whether they are working or not, so let’s make sure we get our taxpayers’ monies’ worth.  
  • Make sure your generators meet local regulations.  In 2012, the Council passed an ordinance to specifically allow our residents to have generators for their homes, but also placed some regulations and restrictions on their use to make sure it is compatible with residential communities.  In addition to making sure your generator is prepared for use, make sure that your use is compliant with Township requirements regarding placement on the property, and use.  (Ordinance § 12-20).
  • Check on your Neighbors.   Make sure to check on your neighbors and friends who may be more vulnerable in adverse weather conditions due to age or illness.  I will be asking our township to act on recent legislation authorizing municipalities to establish a registry to do welfare checks.

Of course, snow plowing is always an issue on our minds this time of year.  The township is responsible for plowing township roads (the county and state handle county and state roads, respectively).  As a council, we do not have any direct control or oversight regarding snow plowing operations, however, if you have any questions, concerns, or complaints, you can email me at and I will be happy to forward those emails to the mayor and administrator to be addressed.  

As always, the best advice is to use common sense and to be prepared.  If you have any questions, you can always call the township at 908-725-6300, and, call 9-1-1 for any emergency.   Stay safe, stay warm and let the countdown to spring continue (45 days as of Feb. 2!)

Bridgewater resident, and township councilman, Matthew Moench will provide general commentary on state, federal and local issues affecting Bridgewater, as well as current events and other topics affecting the community.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Vauxhall Man Arrested for DWI, According to Bridgewater Police Report

May 19, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Vauxhall man was arrested for driving while intoxicated after being stopped on Route 22 West May 11, according to a report from Bridgewater Township Police.

James Scott, 37, was charged after being stopped for a motor vehicle violation.

Scott was issued motor vehicle summonses for driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to chemical testing of his breath, reckless ...

Bridgewater Hosts Second Community Narcan Training

May 13, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township Councilman Matthew Moench hosted a second free community Narcan Training May 8, in consultation with Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's Division of Addiction Psychiatry.

The event, according to a release, brought together citizens from around the community to learn how to recognize overdose symptoms and implement life saving ...

Lord Stirling Theater Company To Perform Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ at Farmstead Arts Center in Basking Ridge June 1-10

May 20, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - The Lord Stirling Theater Company will perform William Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice,” in the English Barn Theater at the Farmstead Arts Center, in Basking Ridge.

“Othello” will open on June 1, at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances June 2 at 7:30 p.m., June 3 at 2 p.m., June 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m., and ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

'The Sting' with Harry Connick Jr. Slithers and Shakes at Paper Mill

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and Chicago.  Scott Joplin’s music is intertwined with the show, especially “The ...

To Borrow or Not to Borrow?

If you are like me, you have debt. Whether it’s your mortgage, student loans, or credit cards – or all of the above – most people carry debt. It helps us pay off important but high cost expenses over time and makes them affordable and it helps us through difficult times when perhaps our cash flow isn’t what we need it to be. However, sometimes it just feels ...

$300 Million Fraud Accusation - NJ Resident, Parmjit "Paul" Parmar, 48, Former CEO of a Healthcare Services Company

May 17, 2018

NEWARK, N.J. – The former CEO, CFO and an executive director of a publicly traded health care services company were charged today with allegedly orchestrating a widespread scheme to defraud investors and others out of hundreds of millions of dollars in connection with a merger transaction designed to convert the company into a private entity, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito and Acting ...