Downey Applauds DHS Move to Deliver Special Food Assistance Benefits to Children in Need

In response to an announcement from the New Jersey Department of Human Services that it will deliver special food assistance benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer initiative to children who normally would have received free or reduced-price school meals, Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, released the following statement:

“When schools closed this spring due to COVID-19, families struggling with food insecurity lost the nutritional support they normally received through their child’s school. Unfortunately, many of these same families faced more economic hardship during this time, making it even harder to put food on the table.

“I’m thrilled to see New Jersey taking action to combat childhood hunger and help families get through these difficult times. The pandemic has not changed our commitment to fighting food insecurity and prioritizing our children’s health.”

Greater Long Branch Free Public Library schedule

Our book drops are open to collect your returns! Please return your materials to the Main Library. No fines will be applied.  The book drops are open from 10:00am – 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.  


All library check-outs must be returned to the Main Library at 328 Broadway.  The libraries are currently still closed to the public. Any questions, please call 732-222-3900. Thank you!

Monmouth County has 9,492 positive cases of COVID-19

FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone and Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley have announced that, as of July 6, there are 35 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County, bringing the total to 9,492. There are no new deaths today, and the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in Monmouth County to 724.


Monmouth County offices are open to the public, by appointment only as of today, Monday, July 6. Face coverings are required.


The breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by municipality is as follows:

  • Aberdeen: 247
  • Allenhurst: 9
  • Allentown: 9
  • Asbury Park: 326
  • Atlantic Highlands: 37
  • Avon-by-the-Sea: 14
  • Belmar: 47
  • Bradley Beach: 61
  • Brielle: 40
  • Colts Neck: 93
  • Deal: 37
  • Eatontown: 313
  • Englishtown: 51
  • Fair Haven: 32
  • Farmingdale: 14
  • Freehold Borough: 420
  • Freehold Township: 708
  • Hazlet: 338
  • Highlands: 36
  • Holmdel: 318
  • Howell: 706
  • Interlaken: 4
  • Keansburg: 203
  • Keyport: 108
  • Lake Como: 18
  • Little Silver: 40
  • Loch Arbour: 1
  • Long Branch: 641
  • Manalapan: 506
  • Manasquan: 37
  • Marlboro: 514
  • Matawan: 217
  • Middletown: 767
  • Millstone Township: 91
  • Monmouth Beach: 22
  • Neptune City: 67
  • Neptune Township: 635
  • Ocean: 374
  • Oceanport: 67
  • Red Bank: 263
  • Roosevelt: 7
  • Rumson: 51
  • Sea Bright: 12
  • Sea Girt: 18
  • Shrewsbury Borough: 56
  • Shrewsbury Township: 11
  • Spring Lake: 20
  • Spring Lake Heights: 29
  • Tinton Falls: 235
  • Union Beach: 47
  • Upper Freehold: 67
  • Wall: 423
  • West Long Branch: 77
  • Unknown: 8


If you would like to read more Monmouth County news updates and information regarding the COVID-19 situation, go to

Local LWV wins National Award

During its recent convention , the  League of Women Voters-US  singled out  the LWV of Southern Monmouth County as a national leader in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

LWV member Annette Scott points to the importance of voting

The award comes in recognition of the initiative to register formerly incarcerated citizens on a regular basis at the ReEntry program in Neptune City.

Local League member,  Annette Scott went on to establish voter registration and encourage voter responsibility in the Re-entry programs throughout the state. Reenter–Register– Vote is the message of the program which seeks to build equitable partnerships  with programs such as ReEntry

“The national League has also awarded LWV-SMC  a $500 grant for its proposal  to develop  social media  to reach out to a greater number of  residents and groups” said Peggy Dellinger, League president.  She added  “We encourage voters to visit our website for  voter  registration, voter information on Vote 411, videos, upcoming events, important links, and an application to join the  LWV

Today’s Coronavirus News for New Jersey Business

Want a forgivable business loan from the federal government – the deadline to apply is extended. Summer camps and summer schools can resume today. State primary elections are tomorrow.

Want a Forgivable Business Loan from the Federal Government? The Deadline for PPP Loans is Extended – The deadline has been extended to Aug. 8 for small businesses to apply for loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The original deadline to apply was this past Tuesday. But $130 billion remain in the fund. Loans can be forgiven if businesses use at least 60% of the funds for payroll. (NPR)

The Latest Info on PPP Loans – Here is what you need to know about the latest changes to the terms of PPP loans. Businesses that want to qualify for loan forgiveness now have 24 weeks instead of eight weeks to spend PPP funds. The portion of the loan that must be spent on payroll has been reduced to 60% from 75%. Companies won’t be penalized if workers who have been offered their jobs back with the same hours and pay don’t return. (The Wall Street Journal)

How to Get a PPP Loan – Information on applying is here.

More Commuters Means More Mass Transportation – More mass transit options are returning in New Jersey – including more trains, ferries and buses – as New York City moves to its new coronavirus reopening phase. (

Outdoor Graduation Ceremonies Are Back– New Jersey schools can begin holding outdoor graduation ceremonies of up to 500 people today as Gov. Murphy continues to peel back coronavirus restrictions. (

Summer Camps and Summer Schools Can Resume Today – Summer camps and summer schools in New Jersey can open today, but it is not the same as ever. Restrictions here

For Those Struggling to Pay Rent – New Jersey residents can apply for rental relief beginning today. The state’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide up to six months of emergency rental assistance to low- and moderate-income households that have been affected by coronavirus. (

New Jersey Primary Elections are Tomorrow – Voters can find key information here about the candidates and details on where and how to vote. (NJ Spotlight and NJTV News)

You Don’t Have to Vote by Mail – Don’t want to put your ballot in the mail? Here is where the New Jersey primary election drop boxes are. (
Get Counted – New Jersey residents can respond to the 2020 Census to ensure the state gets its fair share of federal funding. The Census provides valuable data for businesses, including population trends, growth projections and demographic information. Spread the word! Respond to the Census.

N.J. Coronavirus Cases – New Jersey Residents
(Source: N.J. Health Department)

Total Confirmed Deaths Reported: 13,355, up from 13,224 on Thursday.

Total Positive COVID-19 Tests Reported: 173,402, up from 171,928 on Thursday.

For data on hospitalizations and discharges, click here.

Rutgers to Go Mostly Remote in the Fall – Rutgers University will remain mostly remote for the fall semester due to the pandemic. A limited number of on-campus classes that “benefit from direct access to campus facilities” will take place in-person, including lab work, clinical, and some arts instruction. (

Buy From New Jersey Businesses – To promote the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Buy NJ’ campaign, put this ‘postcard’ on your website and share it on social media with the hashtags #BuyNJ and #BuyLocalNJ.

A New Fight for Independence

By Vin Gopal, Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey

Celebrating July 4 this year made us think of how our country is engaged right now in another battle, this time to win independence from an insidious virus that restricts our freedom and threatens our lives.

Like our founding fathers in 1776, we are engaged in a citizens’ war, a long battle that will take the perseverance of every citizen to win. As our state continues reopening, each of us must do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 that threatens our lives and our livelihoods and the future of the New Jersey economy.

While states across America are seeing surges and second waves, New Jersey is holding steady—and that’s in no small part thanks to you. Over the past several months, New Jerseyans have buckled down, wearing masks, social distancing, and doing everything we can to stop the spread of this virus. As our reopening continues, we’ll need to keep that going strong.

We know how exhausting these restrictions have been—believe us, there’s nothing we’d like more than to eat out with friends, head back to the gym, or take back any of the other things we’ve sacrificed. But our well-earned freedom to return to the things we took for granted before the pandemic can be easily lost. We’re seeing it every day on the news in other states that reopened earlier only to pull back because residents too quickly forgot or ignored precautions and new cases of COVID-19 spiked.

COVID-19 briefing

On July 2, the indoor portions of New Jersey malls and casinos reopened, along with outdoor playgrounds, outdoor amusement parks, and outdoor water parks. We were able to enjoy shopping and get our kids back to some of the entertainment they expect to enjoy during their summer vacations. Museums, libraries, aquariums, and indoor recreational facilities also reopened with capacity limits, expanding our opportunities to enjoy a good book, an art exhibit or a walk through our history and cultural past. These venues are restricted to 50 percent capacity. Face masks are required when indoors and social distancing is required everywhere when possible.

You can get back to your gym or fitness center, which were allowed to reopen in outdoor spaces on July 2 and you can get limited individualized training inside the gym by appointment.

This Monday, July 6, parents were able to experience the joy and pride of watching their children graduate in person as outdoor ceremonies began again. You’ll see some changes. Students, guests and school staff will be wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.

Also on July 6, youth day camps and summer programs were able to open. You’ll see differences here, too. Campers and staff should expect to be screened for fever and other signs of illness before being allowed in. Kids can expect to be in the same group of campers with the same staff each day to reduce their exposure to others, and they’ll be eating lunch in shifts to make it easier to social distance. Everyone in the camp should wear cloth face coverings when they can’t stay at least six feet apart and full-contact sports and overnight stays won’t be happening this summer.

We are all suffering from the drag of this pandemic on our lives. But we are in a citizens’ war. If each of us does our part – social distance, wear a face covering, avoid large crowds and frequently wash our hands – we will win our freedom again.

Stay safe.

New Downey Bill Establishes Guidelines for Voluntary Emergency Special Needs Registries

OCEAN TOWNSHIP – Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold) is introducing legislation that would direct the Attorney General, in consultation with a county prosecutor who has established and maintained a voluntary special needs registry, to issue guidelines for county prosecutors to use in establishing voluntary special needs registries, which would be used to provide emergency medical care or assistance to a resident, student, or employee in the county who has a special need.

“It’s often easy for an emergency situation to turn south when the person in need of help has a physical, emotional or intellectual/developmental disability,” said Downey. “If we want to minimize the chance of accidents and empower our first responders to provide the best care and support possible, we need to make sure that they have information on any illnesses, challenges, or triggers that the individual may be experiencing.

COVID-19 Briefing

“This type of system has already seen great success in Monmouth County under the guidance of Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, and I am confident that this strictly opt-in, self-reporting program will protect patients’ privacy while providing the information that first responders need to de-escalate conflicts, treat stressed or injured patients with care, or otherwise serve and protect the members of our disability community.”

Any information provided through a county voluntary special needs registry would be provided only to a law enforcement officer who is dispatched to the scene of an emergency situation for the purpose of providing medical care or assistance.

The guidelines shall include, but not be limited to:

  1. Methods that will be used to notify members of the public the benefits and availability of the special needs registry;

  2. Information to be included on the registry that would help a first responder provide appropriate assistance when dispatched to the scene of an emergency situation;

  3. Procedures to maintain confidentiality about the information on the registry; and

  4. A requirement to link the information on the registry to the first responder who is dispatched to the scene of an emergency situation.

“We are thrilled that Assemblywoman Downey’s legislation will assist other counties and municipalities in the creation of their own special needs registries and we are honored that our program is being used as a model,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor Gramiccioni. “We will gladly assist any agency who is interested by sharing our experiences, materials, and the tools we used to launch our program. Since the start of our program in 2016, we have assisted more than 1300 citizens with special needs in building supportive bridges with their local law enforcement agencies to provide meaningful assistance and support in times of need.”

Assemblywoman Joann Downey represents New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District in the State Assembly, where she works to make the Garden State more affordable for its hard-working residents. The 11th District includes the Monmouth County municipalities of Allenhurst, Asbury Park, Colts Neck, Deal, Eatontown, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Long Branch, Neptune City, Neptune, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Tinton Falls and West Long Branch.

Outside dining a big hit in Long Branch


Long Branch bicycle route revisited

The road from Seven Presidents Park to the Church of the Presidents is widely used by both Long Branch residents and visitors to the city.

Bike route

It is a popular place to bike and walk with historical sites along the way and is referred to as the ‘Seven Presidents Historic Trail’. This route also includes the city/county beaches and Pier Village Town Center. It is heavily trafficked with vehicles, especially during the summer months and has increasingly become less comfortable for pedestrians and bikers alike.

Visit City site for COVID update

In order to identify opportunities for improvement, the Long Branch Green Team commissioned a sub-team to conduct a bike and pedestrian audit. Training on how to conduct the audit was provided by EZ Ride and the audit was conducted by the Green Team. Feedback from a variety of Long Branch City personnel and other community stakeholders was incorporated into the final report


● Long Branch Green Team including Faith Teitelbaum, Kathy Buchan, Annette Benanti, Chuck Ficca, Phil Falcone, Rich Catanese
● Michael Sirianni, Long Branch Chamber of Commerce
● Danna Kawut, Long Branch Programs and Events
● Dennis Sherman, Save Ocean Avenue Committee Chair
● Lisa Lee, EZ Ride
● Jessica Lisa, Long Branch Environmental Commission

Back to Business with Long Branch Free Public Library

Seven Presidents Historic Trail and Beach Areas (Ocean Avenue from Seven Presidents Park to Museum of the Presidents and Ocean Blvd from Brighton Ave to Matilda Terrace)


Summary of Opportunities and Constraints:

Bicycle route map of historical sites

1. The most significant area of concern is for bikers traveling on Ocean Avenue between South Bath Ave and Madison Ave. North and south of this section, bike lanes do exist on Ocean Avenue, but there is nothing in place to connect them through the busiest section of Ocean Ave. Instead, there is very limited room for biking with cars parked along the road and heavy traffic, especially during beach season, travelling both north and south. The sidewalks are also very crowded and there are no designated bike lanes despite a number of cyclists who use this road. The adjacent street, Ocean Boulevard, which runs parallel to Ocean Ave, does not offer a safer alternative.

2. Two additional areas of concern are the Brighton Ave and West End Court intersections. These are heavily trafficked with cars making turns into the West End Business District and/or dropping off beach goers at the designated drop-off points located in this area making it dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists alike. Cyclists, in particular, get squeezed by right turn lanes that leave them with nowhere to proceed.

3. While not as significant a safety concern due to the relatively wide street, there is an opportunity to take advantage of the large grass shoulder on the stretch of Ocean Ave that borders the west side of Seven Presidents Park. While the street does not have a bike lane, there is room to cut a bike/pedestrian path into the grass shoulder without infringing upon the street. Alternatively, opening up a path through the park parallel to Ocean Ave would also work well.