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MLK Holiday Monday, Brown Bag Lunch With Mayor Coming This Week

Ridge High School seeking families to host exchange students from Japan.

New Bernards Township Mayor John Carpenter (second from right) will host a brown bag lunch next Saturday. Courtesy of John Carpenter
New Bernards Township Mayor John Carpenter (second from right) will host a brown bag lunch next Saturday. Courtesy of John Carpenter
Martin Luther King's birthday on Monday will close a number of offices and programs in Basking Ridge — although not Bernards Township schools — but there's still plenty coming up this week.

Although schools may be open, the Bernards Township Library, town hall and the Senior Wellness Center all will be closed for the federal holiday.

Next Saturday, 2014's new township Mayor John Carpenter will host his first "brown bag" lunch next Saturday, at which residents will be invited to bring their own lunch — and exchange some food for thought — at the first of what are expected to be periodic get-togethers through the year.

The first “brown bag” lunch is scheduled for noon on Saturday at the Somerset Hills YMCA, 140 Mt. Airy Road, Basking Ridge, in the Millicent Fenwick Daycare Center on the main level.

The second lunch is scheduled to be held at noon on Feb. 22 at the Bernards Township Library, 32 S. Maple Avenue, Basking Ridge.

“Residents should bring their own lunch and share a meal with me while we discuss township matters in an informal setting,” Carpenter said. 

Meanwhile, the Bernards Township Shade Tree Commission, part of the effort to encourage residents to replant healthy trees after the devastation caused to the area by Superstorm Sandy and previous storms, is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the first-floor conference room at the town hall at 1 Collyer Lane.

The Shade Tree Commission last year launched a campaign with the goal of persuading residents to plant an overall 5,000 trees within the next five years. 

This promises to be a busy week in local schools. 

Ridge High School has put a callout to its families to respond by this Friday if they would like to host an exchange student from Japan for a long weekend in March.

Ridge High School has been selected by the Japan Foundation to host 22 to 25 high school students from Japan as of part of the school's annual World Language Month, according to an email sent home to parents.

As part of the Kakehashi Project, the exchange students will participate in a homestay and school/community visit for a long weekend. They would arrive on Saturday, March 22 and depart on Tuesday, March 25, according to school officials.

During the visit, the main goal is to experience a cultural exchange between the United States and Japan. Furthermore, the students will give an hourlong presentation about their hometowns and Japanese culture on March 24 for the Basking Ridge community.

"This is a great opportunity for you and your family to learn more about Japanese culture and customs while sharing those of your own!" the email said. For most of the students, this would be their first visit to the U.S.

"It is common to meet Japanese people who still keep in touch with their first host families for years and decades after they meet, even for very short programs," according to school officials.

Host families would be required to complete a background check, and would receive $114 per student as an honorarium, according to the high school.

More information is at http://www.laurasian.org/kakehashi/.

Those interested in becoming a host family for the Kakehashi Project should contact Kristin Wingate, who teaches Japanese at the high school, at kwingate@bernardsboe.com.

Also on Friday, the Bernards Township Parents of Exceptional Children Group and the Ridge High School Comprehensive Behavior Analystics Program will present a special showing for children with disabilities of the movie "Despicable Me 2" at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at the high school.

Light and volume will be adjusted to meet the needs of children with disabilities. The cost is $2 per child, which includes popcorn. 

RSVP by Monday

Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP by Monday to Lvalera@bernardsboe.com.



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