SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Borough Mayor Ed Seely provided residents with his first weekly update for June. Seely noted that Spotswood's number of positive coronavirus cases has not increased for the past six days. The number of COVID-19 cases stands at 93 with three fatalities. The mayor discussed the small business grants available from Middlesex County in addition to the latest information from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on reopening the state.
While Seely stopped short of making a statement about the protests across New Jersey and the nation following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and the subsequent charges to Minneapolis police officers, the mayor did note the discrepancy between Murphy's order of gatherings of only 25 people and the large numbers of protestors that have been gathering while much of the state remains closed because of coronavirus concerns.
Seely did not discuss a timetable for the reopening of Spotswood parks though the Summerhill Road tennis courts have been reopened. He also spoke of the banners that will honor Spotswood High School graduates from Spotswood. A campaign to have banners depicting graduating seniors from Spotswood was spearheaded by resident Diane Wells. Helmetta Mayor Chris Slavicek recently unveiled 27 banners along Main Street in Helmetta honoring the high school graduates the borough.
Mayor Seely's June 4 letter to residents reads as follows:
Residents of Spotswood,
Hopefully, this letter finds you all well! We are four days into June, and, knock on wood, our numbers have not increased in six days. We are still at 93 positives with the loss of three precious lives. Let’s hope we continue on this downward trend.
The governor recently announced a few more openings, starting with restaurants being allowed to offer outside, in-person dining on June 15, and non-essential retailers will be back in business. Additionally, the long-awaited opening of barber shops and hair salons will, at last, begin on June 22. Youth Summer Programs will also be allowed to start up on July 6. Of course, all of these openings will come with guidelines and restrictions.
The County has begun taking applications for its small business grants to those impacted by COVID-19. The information is on our Borough website, was sent out as a Nixle alert, and was posted on the Office on Aging’s Facebook page. I will also be going door-to-door to local businesses to hand-deliver the information after work today. I have been told that even if you are in doubt as to whether you think you qualify, APPLY! These are grants, not loans, and will not need to be repaid.
There are times (perhaps more often than not) that government is difficult to figure out. We are told by Executive Order that no more than 25 people may gather at a time. However, it is a matter of great concern that the recent protests have garnered crowds as large as 4,000 people. Where does the social distancing come into play? How will this affect the number of positive cases? How much of a negative impact will this have on the progress we have made? I am not making a statement as to the reason for the protests; however, the fact that we are living through a pandemic is significant and must be considered.
Now for some positivity! You may have noticed that Mayor Slavicek has acknowledged the Helmetta students of the graduating Class of 2020 with portrait banners on select power poles in Helmetta. I’m pleased to share with you that local resident and mother of a graduate of the Class of 2020, Diane Wells, approached the Borough for assistance on a project to honor our own graduates. While we cannot pay for the banners, we were willing to do what we could to support Ms. Wells in her efforts. I approached JCP&L and applied for permission to hang banners in Spotswood, but there are simply not enough poles to accommodate the number of students we have. An alternate option was discussed, and the banners will be mounted on posts surrounding the Borough Hall and towards the entrance of the High School. Ms. Wells spearheaded this project and, with help of others, has raised the funds and will see this project through to completion. This once again proves that the people who volunteer and expend their energy for good can accomplish anything.
That’s it for today; as always Be Safe, Be Smart, and Stay Healthy!
Mayor Ed Seely