TAKE THE VACCINE
Dear Friend,

In our lifetime, we have never experienced anything like COVID-19, and we frankly lacked the leadership in the Whitehouse to fight a pandemic. Since March of last year, we have tried to adhere to CDC guidelines. We have sheltered in place, worn masks, and practiced good hygiene, including frequent handwashing and quarantine when necessary. Despite all our best efforts, the pandemic has raged on unabated here in the U.S.
The numbers since the second wave hit in October are staggering and frightening and quite frankly begs the question, “how and when does it end?”

The idea of our “adapted” way of living now being the accepted way to live is untenable. Human beings are social by nature. We thrive on personal interactions, and we react to tactile sensations. Newborn babies are comforted by touch and sensory input. Early man sought the comfort and safety brought by companionship and thrived in communal settings. We are not designed to live in isolation, devoid of personal and social interactions. While technology has allowed us to connect virtually, it cannot and was not meant to replace the bonds that are built and nurtured through personal interaction.

Fighting and successfully stopping a pandemic requires using every single tool available to us, including vaccines. If we are to return to any semblance of normalcy, availing ourselves of the vaccine is an essential step toward making that happen. I know there is skepticism and even fear from some communities about the vaccine, but we must take this in context. Never have we faced an enemy of such epic proportions. Never has our nation been forced to shut down totally. Never have children had to stay home from school for an extended time. Never have we said goodbye to so many because of one virus. It may not have touched your home or someone you know, but if unchecked, it will only be a matter of time.

Our best hope for addressing and halting the virus is by taking the vaccine. We must rebuild our economy; too many people have lost jobs and are fighting to survive. We must relieve the burden on our healthcare workers and the healthcare system. Most of them have been working around the clock without a break since the pandemic began. We must rebuild relationships, our lives, regain a sense of normalcy, re-open the country and the world and the vaccine represents our best hope of making that happen.

The relatively short time spent creating a vaccine should not be an indictment of its effectiveness but rather a testament to how proficient medical researchers and personnel have become. Even if a virus is new, developing a vaccine doesn’t mean they start at zero to fight back. Years of research on other virulent diseases must act as the foundation which automatically provides a base or jumping-off point. We must exercise common sense and separate fact from sensationalism and fiction. I implore you to do your research and give this careful consideration.

I will be in line to receive the vaccine once our healthcare workers and other essential personnel, and our seniors have received theirs. I will take the vaccine because I believe in its integrity, and I am convinced that it's our best chance to get back to a normal way of life. I encourage you to do the same so that we can resume the normal way of doing business and once more reach out and hug our family and friends. 

Creating One Plainfield. One Future.
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
Tomar la Vacuna de COVID-19 es Esencial
Querido Plainfield,

En nuestra vida, nunca hemos experimentado algo como el COVID-19 y, francamente, no estábamos equipados para combatir una pandemia. Desde marzo del año pasado, hemos tratado de cumplir con las pautas de los CDC. Nos hemos refugiado en el lugar, hemos usado máscaras y practicamos una buena higiene, incluido el lavado frecuente de manos y la cuarentena cuando es necesario. A pesar de todos nuestros mejores esfuerzos, la pandemia ha continuado sin cesar aquí en los EE. UU.

Las cifras desde que llegó la segunda ola en octubre son asombrosas y aterradoras y, francamente, plantea la pregunta: "¿cómo y cuándo termina?"
La idea de que nuestra forma de vida "adaptada" sea ahora la forma aceptada de vivir es insostenible. Los seres humanos son sociales por naturaleza. Prosperamos con las interacciones personales y reaccionamos a las sensaciones táctiles. Los bebés recién nacidos se reconfortan con el tacto y la información sensorial. El hombre primitivo buscaba la comodidad y la seguridad que brindaba la compañía y prosperaba en entornos comunitarios. No estamos diseñados para vivir aislados, desprovistos de interacciones personales y sociales. Si bien la tecnología nos ha permitido conectarnos virtualmente, no puede y no estaba destinada a reemplazar los lazos que se construyen y nutren a través de la interacción personal.

Luchar y detener con éxito una pandemia requiere utilizar todas las herramientas disponibles, incluidas las vacunas. Si queremos volver a algo parecido a la normalidad, hacer uso de la vacuna es un paso esencial para lograrlo. Sé que hay escepticismo e incluso miedo de algunas comunidades sobre la vacuna, pero debemos tomar esto en contexto. Nunca nos habíamos enfrentado a un enemigo de proporciones tan épicas. Nunca nuestra nación se ha visto obligada a cerrar por completo. Los niños nunca han tenido que quedarse en casa y no ir a la escuela durante mucho tiempo. Nunca nos hemos despedido de tantos por un solo virus. Es posible que no haya tocado su casa ni a alguien que conozca, pero si no se controla, solo será cuestión de tiempo.

Nuestra mejor esperanza para abordar y detener el virus es vacunarnos. Debemos reconstruir nuestra economía; demasiadas personas han perdido sus trabajos y luchan por sobrevivir. Debemos aliviar la carga sobre nuestros trabajadores y el sistema sanitario. La mayoría de ellos han estado trabajando sin descanso desde que comenzó la pandemia. Debemos reconstruir nuestras relaciones, nuestras vidas, recuperar un sentido de normalidad, reabrir el país y el mundo y la vacuna representa nuestra mejor esperanza de que eso suceda.

El tiempo relativamente corto empleado en la creación de una vacuna no debería ser una acusación de su eficacia, sino más bien un testimonio de cuán competentes se han vuelto los investigadores y el personal médico. Incluso si un virus es nuevo, desarrollar una vacuna no significa que comience de cero para defenderse. Años de investigación sobre otras enfermedades virulentas deben actuar como la base que proporciona automáticamente una base o un punto de partida. Debemos ejercitar el sentido común y separar los hechos del sensacionalismo y la ficción. Le imploro que investigue y le dé esta cuidadosa consideración.

Estaré en la fila para recibir la vacuna una vez que nuestros trabajadores de la salud y otro personal esencial, y nuestros ancianos, hayan recibido la suya. Tomaré la vacuna porque creo en su integridad y estoy convencido de que es nuestra mejor oportunidad para volver a una forma de vida normal. Los animo a hacer lo mismo para que podamos reanudar la forma normal de hacer negocios y una vez más acercarnos y abrazar a nuestra familia y amigos.

Creando Un Plainfield. Un Futuro.
Alcalde Adrian O. Mapp
Statement from Mayor Adrian O. Mapp Regarding the Actions of Protestors at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
From the Mayor’s Office
 
Statement from Mayor Adrian O. Mapp Regarding the Actions of Protestors at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

January 6, 2021

With a heavy heart, I find it necessary to address the insurrection currently taking place at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
On a day when the democratic electoral process should be winding down to its constitutional end, we are instead dealing with a situation that threatens to rock the very foundation of American Democracy.

I strongly condemn the actions of the insurrectionists. They have desecrated a structure that is a symbol of American Democracy. They have endangered the lives of elected officials, and they have shown a blatant disregard for the sanctity of the electoral process and the building that is home to those who defend our constitutional rights daily.

I call upon everyone in Plainfield to remain calm and to be careful. There is no precedent for this, and we must trust that law and order will prevail while taking all precautions to stay safe. We have no reason to believe that we will see these kinds of protests here in Plainfield or elsewhere in Union County. As always, let us err on the side of caution and pray that the security forces will restore order quickly in Washington, D.C.
Ultimately, we want congress to resume counting the Electoral votes so that our nation can move on, swear in the duly elected President, come together and begin to heal.

Earlier today, I met with members of my administration with a focus on our First Responders. I asked them to be on high alert for signs of any similar action taking place within our city's jurisdiction. While I am a proponent of peaceful protest, our residents' well-being and safety is and will always be my first concern. We will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions in our community's and city's best interest.

Stay safe, and may God continue to bless each of you.

Sincerely,
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
Why It's Important to Get the
COVID-19 Vaccine
MAKING IT PLAIN
What Black America Needs to Know About COVID-19 and Vaccines
Tonight, January 7th at 7:00PM
We invite you to attend a Virtual Town Hall Meeting tonight beginning at 7:00pm with the nation's top COVID-19 experts as they address questions and concerns about this virus and the vaccine options currently available.

The meeting is available on Facebook and YouTube.

It is important that we have all of the necessary information to make decisions in the best interest of our families.
Important COVID Vaccine Updates
Attention Plainfield residents and friends! Healthcare workers in New Jersey are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. If you are a healthcare worker and would like to register for a vaccine, please click here. 

To view a list of vaccination site locations, please click here.
COVID-19 Resources
The situation with the Coronavirus changes rapidly and we want to ensure that you are aware of all resources available to you. Please click the below buttons for updates about COVID-19 on a local and state level.
State and County COVID-19 Utility and Rental Relief Programs
State of New Jersey Provides NJ
Assistance Programs
The State of New Jersey has programs that can assist with rental assistance, home heating, emergency fuel and electricity costs. Click here for more information and to see if you qualify.
Union County Announces COVID-19 Rental Relief Program ROUND 1 Funds
Residents will be eligible to receive up to 6 months of rental assistance

UNION COUNTY – The Union County Freeholder Board is pleased to announce a rent relief program for eligible residents adversely impacted by COVID-19. Residents can apply through one of three partner non-profit agencies for needed assistance beginning November 16. The Board approved funding for the program through the federal CARES Act on November 12.

A total of $1,350,000 will be available through federal funds for residents who have fallen behind in payments as a result of job loss or income reduction. The program will provide a minimum of three months of assistance. An additional three months of assistance will be provided to eligible County renters in need of further assistance.

“Many residents have been furloughed or laid off because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and are facing tough choices between food, housing, and other necessities,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “The Freeholder board is committed to doing all that we can to assist those in need, and the new rental assistance program is an important part of those efforts.”

Starting Monday November 16, 2020, interested residents can submit their application on one of the following non-profit websites:
· Family Promise Union County (https://familypromise.org/fpuc/)
· Urban League of Union County (http://uloucnj.org/rentalreliefprg.aspx)
· United Way of Greater Union County (https://www.uwguc.org/)

Eligibility requirements for applicants are as follows:
• Renters living in Union County;
• Household Income is at or below 80% of Median Family Income (MFI);
• Household income loss must be due to Covid-19;
• Applicants must be able to provide documentation of income received as a result of any governmental response program due to Covid-19 (such as unemployment compensation) as well as a current lease agreement.

Residents requiring information or assistance with the application process can call any of the three nonprofit partners involved and schedule an appointment. Staff will inform applicants of the required documentation to bring to the appointment. Once staff has a complete application with all required documentation, the application will be reviewed for eligibility. Applicants will be provided with documented proof of their filed rental assistance application for their landlord.

Once the application is approved, funds will be disbursed by mailed check directly to the landlord. If you have any other questions please reach out to Brandon Givens, Director of Community Services at 908-527-4462 or via email bgivens@ucnj.org.

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español (Click here for Spanish version)
Free COVID-19 & Influenza Testing
SAVE THE DATE
Getting Started with Government Contracting Live Seminar
Plainfield is a Report It Community
"See Something Say Something"
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp and the City of Plainfield are committed to making it as easy as possible to report concerns in your city. To that end, we've partnered with REPORT IT, which is now live in Plainfield and ready to be used as an important supplemental reporting tool.

Report it makes community reporting easier than ever! Residents and visitors can download the app by scanning the barcode below or by going to your phone's app store. Your reports will be submitted to the appropriate city department, and the city will work to resolve the issue or complaint.

You have the power to be the eyes and ears of our city! Your reports can greatly increase the quality of life in Plainfield. Let's work together to keep our city safe- If you see it, say it with Report It.

Click here to download the app.
Skip the Trip to City Hall
Do Business Online!
Omita el Viaje al Ayuntamiento
 Hacer Negocios en línea
Emergency Food Resources Available
in Plainfield
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
DID YOU KNOW?
Every January, National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month is observed. This observance started in 2011 when Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation. Even though slavery has been abolished in the United States, there are forms that still exist, like human trafficking. This can happen to anyone, no matter race, age or gender, and is a highly profitable crime. Every year millions of people are trafficked around the world, including inside the United States. There are many forms of human trafficking, but the three most common types are: forced labor, sex trafficking, and domestic servitude.

In the United States, many human trafficking cases go unnoticed because it is a hidden crime as many victims are afraid to come forward or the signs may be unrecognizable. An important part of ending human trafficking is being able to recognize it and bring this crime to the forefront.

UNION COUNTY:
New Certified COVID-19 Testing Lab
Opens at Kean
Partnership between County of Union and Kean transforms testing in New Jersey
UNION COUNTY, NJ -  A new federally certified campus lab that will process COVID-19 test results opened at Kean University today, building upon an unprecedented partnership with the County of Union in diagnostic testing and critical public health research during the pandemic. The lab will deliver test results in 24 to 48 hours.

With the new facility, Kean becomes one of the first universities without a medical or
veterinary school to host a federally certified lab to process COVID-19 tests and marks a critical milestone in its work toward achieving formal designation as a research institution.

“Access to testing remains a critical part of our overall effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “I am grateful to Union County officials and Kean University President Repollet for their collaboration and innovative partnership to expand the state’s testing capabilities to benefit all New Jerseyans. Together, we will continue the fight against COVID-19.”

The new lab at Kean will process COVID-19 tests and deliver test results in 24 to 48 hours.

The new lab is located in the Kean STEM Building at 1075 Morris Avenue on Kean’s main campus in Union Township. It was funded through the federal CARES Act for COVID-19 relief, under a combination of grants administered by Union County and the University. The Union County Division of Health also worked with Kean to equip the lab and apply for federal certification and licensing by the State of New Jersey, which expedited their review in the interest of public health.

To date, Union County has administered more than 100,000 COVID-19 tests at its drive-through site on Kean’s campus and via its mobile testing program, including 10,000 tests for residential students and athletes on Kean’s campus. 

“Kean University has proven to be a dynamic, steadfast partner in our efforts to protect the Union County community during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Alexander Mirabella, chairman of the Union County Board of County Commissioners. “With the unwavering support of President Repollet and his team, we established the first free countywide drive-through test center in New Jersey, and we have continued to bring new COVID testing technology to the community during the outbreak. The new on-campus lab will enable our partnership to improve testing services even further, while providing students and educators with invaluable hands-on experience in COVID response and related fields.”

“Kean is on a path to become the next great research University in the state of New Jersey,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “This lab combines our research expertise from our world-class faculty with our commitment to public service. We are grateful for the chance to serve our fellow New Jerseyans during this pandemic and beyond. Keeping our community safe is truly a team effort. Kean cougars are always striving to climb higher academically, professionally, and in support of the larger community. This lab is part of much more to come.”

The new lab will enable the County to eliminate the need to ship specimens to other locations for processing. It is expected to deliver results in 24 to 48 hours for up to 30,000 tests per week from the drive-through center and other locations. Union County residents, first responders from around the state and members of the Kean community will all benefit from faster turnaround times for the free testing program.

The new lab is part of the University’s new Center for Clinical Laboratory Science and Pandemic Research, one of the first interdisciplinary academic centers in the nation to focus on education, clinical diagnostics and research of pandemics.

The Center also coordinates and facilitates pandemic research initiatives in science, social science and other disciplines across the University. In addition, the Center is the hub for launching new related academic programs.

“Kean is at the forefront of pandemic research on drug therapies and medicinal chemistry, social and emotional responses to mask wearing and more,” said Jeffrey H. Toney, Ph.D., Kean’s provost and vice president for research and faculty. “The Center brings that work together and allows the entire University community to benefit from our shared research on behalf of public health.”

The Union County Board of County Commissioners and Kean University mobilized scores of volunteers and professional staff to open Union County’s Drive-Through Center on March 23, 2020, when the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns struck the nation. In addition, the County Commissioners Board created the Union County COVID-19 Mobile Test Unit to conduct walk-up tests in local communities, including visits to senior residences and other vulnerable populations.

The new lab has been certified for COVID-19 testing by the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and is licensed by the Division of Public Health and Environmental Laboratories in the New Jersey Department of Health. The lab is also in the process of applying for federal certification for influenza Types A and B, which is administered in the three-panel test provided by the Drive-Through Center.

Robert Pyatt with Keith Bostian, Ph.D., dean of the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics at Kean

Keith Bostian, Ph.D., dean of the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics at Kean, said launching the lab was a complex undertaking with the County that involved bringing in new equipment and hiring and training staff, including Kean alumni, to process results around the clock.

“Kean is a burgeoning hub for scientific research so launching this lab was a natural next step for the University,” Bostian said. “Not only are we advancing public health, but we’re also providing opportunities for our students and alumni to participate in this groundbreaking work and grow as scientists.”

Frequent testing was at the core of the Kean’s Return to Campus initiatives during the Fall semester. The University conducted weekly testing of all residents and made testing available to other members of the community, including those who remained remote and those who came to campus for hybrid courses. Similar protocols are planned for the Spring 2021 semester.

FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE:
Governor Murphy Signs Historic Economic Recovery Legislation
TRENTON, NJ -- Governor Phil Murphy today signed into law the landmark New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, which will provide economic support for small businesses, while propelling New Jersey’s economic recovery and growth for much of the next decade.

“These programs are the product of nearly three years of hard work, during which we received input from hundreds of voices on how best to structure our state’s recovery and growth,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “I am immensely proud of the result, which will not only provide much needed relief for our small businesses, but will also fundamentally change economic development in our state while creating thousands of high-paying job for our residents.”

The legislation includes a host of new initiatives including the Main Street Recovery Finance Program, which will provide a direct $50 million appropriation for grants, loans, loan guarantees, and technical assistance to small and micro businesses. 

This bill will also bolster the state’s startup and entrepreneur economy through implementation of the Innovation Evergreen Fund, a first-of-its-kind program that will combine state funds with private capital to support innovative new businesses.

The new legislation also includes several cutting-edge programs designed to promote growth in New Jersey’s urban centers, including the Brownfields Redevelopment Incentive designed to facilitate the redevelopment of environmentally contaminated properties; the Historic Property Tax Credit, which will incentivize the restoration of historic buildings, many of which are located in New Jersey’s oldest and most distressed neighborhoods; and the Community-Anchored Development Program, which will incentivize the construction of innovative new developments by partnering with universities, hospitals, arts, and cultural organizations and give the state an equity stake in the development. 

“This incentives package will not only help strengthen our economy, but it will help address some of the longstanding inequities faced by the most distressed communities in our state,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “These renewed incentives are specifically directed toward reviving our local economies and helping main streets thrive throughout this crisis and beyond. I want to commend Governor Murphy and the legislature for their leadership in passing this bill which will put our state on a renewed path to prosperity.” 

“The New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 presents a strong recovery and reform package that will position New Jersey to build a stronger and fairer economy that invests in innovation, in our communities, and in our small businesses the right way, with the protections and oversight taxpayers deserve,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Tax incentives and other investment tools are critical to economic development, and when used correctly they can drive transformative change that uplifts communities and creates new opportunities for everyone.”

"Renewal of New Jersey's tax incentive program was essential to ensuring our state's competitiveness in attracting and retaining jobs and businesses in our global economy," said Senate President Steve Sweeney. "I am pleased that the compromise we reached includes a sufficiently high cap on total incentives to enable New Jersey to compete for mega-projects, and that it ensures that all regions and sectors of our state will benefit from the various programs. I would like to thank Senators M. Teresa Ruiz and Paul Sarlo, former Senator Ray Lesniak, who served as our special counsel, and of course, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Governor Phil Murphy for working together to bring this legislation to fruition." 

“This is comprehensive legislation which will grow new industries and foster innovation around the state. It will create greater investment in our communities by providing further incentives to locate in distressed municipalities, build affordable housing and redevelop brownfields,” said Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, the prime sponsor. “This law will help increase access to employment in high-growth industries, drive sustainable economic development and most importantly help our state to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This effort is balanced in its approach, it will ensure responsible investment, greater oversight and tangible community benefits.”

“This legislation provides the tax incentives we will need to spur business and job growth as we come out of a pandemic crisis that has devastated broad sectors of our economy,” said Senator Paul Sarlo. “Most importantly, it will provide tax incentives to attract the jobs we want – jobs that pay high salaries in cutting edge industries that will transform communities, partner with our higher education sector on R&D, provide valuable job training and be good corporate citizens.”

“This new law builds a new economic recovery and incentive program that will bolster businesses from Main Street small business to attracting new and larger job-creating corporations to make New Jersey home,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “This legislation also creates programs that address the problem of food deserts giving families fighting hunger greater access to healthy food options in the future as well as others similarly aimed toward historically underserved communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Reauthorization of a large scale job incentive package has been a long time coming in this state. This is a plan that will lead New Jersey to a stronger economic future.”

“We worked to develop a comprehensive piece of legislation that will put New Jersey on a path to economic recovery post-COVID-19 and beyond," said Assembly Budget Chair Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin. "It includes a wide range of critical business and redevelopment incentives, which will spur growth in many areas that have been longstanding concerns for the state. New Jersey has been without an incentive program for over a year and a half, and this measure will make our businesses competitive with those in other states again. When combined with incentives to invest in technological innovation, developing brownfields, and eliminating food deserts, among others, we can help those struggling and drive the entire state forward.”

The legislation also includes a groundbreaking Food Desert Relief program designed to ensure that all communities have access to fresh, healthy food. Incentives would offset the cost of development of a fresh-food grocery store in an area designated as a food desert, while also strengthening existing community assets like bodegas, corner stores, and mid-sized retailers by equipping them with the necessary equipment and infrastructure to provide healthier food options.

The legislation reforms the state’s two main tax incentive programs, placing caps on the amount of incentives awarded each year, as well as over the life of the programs. The programs, which incorporate many of the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on EDA’s Tax Incentives, greatly enhance compliance restrictions to ensure that money is being well spent and jobs are being created, including the creation of an inspector general post to investigate claims of abuses within the programs.

The New Jersey Emerge program is a job creation tax credit focused on bringing new middle-class and well-paying jobs to our communities, with base and bonus structure for targeted industries and geographies.

The New Jersey Aspire program is a gap financing program to support commercial, industrial, mixed-use, and residential real estate development projects, with an emphasis on higher need communities.

Separate from the Emerge and Aspire program cap is a set-aside for large, transformative projects. There can be a maximum of ten such projects over the life of the incentives program.

This legislation will provide additional protections for organized labor, a longstanding promise of the governor’s, as well as community benefit agreements, which are designed to ensure an award recipient will engage and stay engaged with local government. For the first time, New Jersey’s economic development programs will include prevailing wage for building service work and labor harmony provisions, which will protect building trades and building service workers from unfair practices.

This sweeping legislation revamps several existing programs, including the successful Film and Television Tax Credit, which was expanded and enhanced to attract large studio construction to New Jersey, and the Offshore Wind Manufacturing credit, which now encompasses the entire state and will allow more businesses to qualify.
Several existing NJEDA programs have been folded into the legislation as well, including the Angel Investor Tax Credit, the Net Operating Loss Credit, and the New Jersey Ignite Program.

For a list of over 100 New Jersey leaders – spanning government, the private sector, and organized labor – who urged passage of the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, please click here.

Help us Spread the Word
Please have family and friends sign up to receive these important weekly updates. They can sign up by calling 908.753.3015 or emailing communications@plainfieldnj.gov 
One Plainfield. One Future
Volume 8 - Issue 1