Government

Freeholders Bruce Bergen Announced Initiatives as Second Board Chair Term Begins

ab4da455b8f5713384b0_unnamed__3_.jpg
Freeholder Chair Bruce Bergen receives the Oath of Office from the 22nd Legislative District Assemblyman Jerry Green with his family standing by. Credits: Fran Sullivan
e80825b3bda1c1ede7ee_Re-org_1.jpg
Vice Chair Sergio Granados is sworn in by State Senator Nicholas Scutari, accompanied by family members. Credits: Fran Sullivan
e91feb2b8cae2f894f11_unnamed.jpg
Freeholder Linda Carter is sworn in by 22nd Legislative District Assemblyman Jerry Green as her brother Herman Carter holds the Bible. Credits: Fran Sullivan
23f22eeadfbd4e7032bc_unnamed__7_.jpg
State Senator Nicholas Scutari adminsters the oath of office to Bette Jane Kowalski as her family looks on. Credits: Fran Sullivan
ae28e3b3135d8fc05200_unnamed__5_.jpg
Mayor Christian Bollwage swears in Sergio Granados, surrounded by family. Credits: Fran Sullivan
751d0d51fbb13bd09e4d_unnamed__6_.jpg
City Councilman Frank Cuesta and Sergio Granados Credits: Fran Sullivan
6347ca39df3249744c52_unnamed__1_.jpg
Former U. S. Ambassador Phil Murphy Credits: Fran Sullivan
f227615088934702da4d_unnamed__9_.jpg
State Senator Raymond Lesniak Credits: Fran Sullivan
4b9dab5c73a2ea2ef4e8_unnamed__4_.jpg
ab4da455b8f5713384b0_unnamed__3_.jpg

ELIZABETH, NJ – Freeholders Bruce Bergen and Sergio Granados were re-elected to a second term as chair and vice chair respectively of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders at the 2017 re-organization meeting, Jan. 8, held in the Union County Courthouse.

Freeholder Linda Carter was voted chair pro temp. State Senator Raymond Lesniak and Former U.S. Ambassador Phil Murphy, both running for governor, also spoke to the audience that filled Judge Karen Cassidy’s courtroom.

In addition, newly re-elected Freeholders Carter, Granados, and Bette Jane Kowalski were sworn in office.

Sign Up for E-News

In his Annual Address, Bergen announced a series of initiatives entitled Connecting our Community that focuses on jobs, education, and training for young people; social services; arts and history; public safety; parks and recreation; and the environment.

“Here in Union County, we are prepared to stand for our core governing values and protect the most vulnerable among us, and to continue to stand for those who could be impacted in an unfair manner,” said Bergen. “Union County’s residents, many of them immigrants, have the right to be treated with the dignity and respect that all citizens of the planet deserve, regardless of ethnicity, gender, race, or sexual orientation.”

The first initiative is UC LEAP, Learning, Employment, and Arts Programs. The county is working with the Simon Youth Foundation to establish an Alternative High School for at-risk youth that will open at The Mills at Jersey Gardens. The Simon Property Group, which owns the mall, has created 29 such schools located in their shopping malls, in 12 states. This will be their first in the tristate area.

The county is also co-sponsoring with Overlook Hospital to create Project Search that will provide employment and training for youth with disabilities. Overlook is only one of four employers chosen state-wide for this program.    

Union County Vocational Technical Schools will add the Academy for Law and Justice to its campus. Students will prepare for public service in law, government, and criminal justice.

The American Theater Group will hold their second Annual Group Drama Festival at the Hamilton Stage in April where high school students will present a scene from a play or musical. The students will receive a professional critique from theatre professionals.

The Freeholder Board will also continue to sponsor performances by local theater groups at UC PAC in Rahway as part of the Union County Advancing Community Theatre program.

The county is continuing to Go Green with increased funding for community gardens. In addition, the Department of Public Works will renew the leaf composting operations at the Houdaille Quarry. The compost collected will be sold to private companies, earning as much as $500,000 in annual revenues.

Veterans will also be remembered when the county partners with local veteran groups such as Operation Rebound and the New Jersey Vets Commission. The county will establish the Veterans Success Center to assist vets with job placement and training, career advisement, referrals to health resources.

Residents will soon see new signage celebrating the county’s designation as a National Parks Service, Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area.

Popular events will be easier to assess with a new online system that will keep residents up-to-date on programs and park events.

In the area of social services, Bergen spoke of the heroin epidemic now racing through the state. “This past year, the County Police, Prosecutor’s Office, and Sheriff’s Office, all engaged in training, response, or in supplying Narcan to local police departments to combat the plague.”

The county will fund beds for a minimum of 25 additional residents who need treatment that will include up to seven days DeTox and up to 28 days if inpatient rehabilitation.

This year, the Freeholder Board will create and fund the Union County Nonprofit Consortium Leadership Development program. It will be a series of management leadership training sessions. The Board will also establish an Office on Volunteer Services.

Two programs are aimed at assisting seniors. Funding for Senior Focus will be used for equipment, repairs, or rehabilitation of senior centers. “Almost all of our municipalities applied for the $25,000 grants, and we look forward to announcing the awards early this year,” said Bergen.

As part of the public safety concerns, the county will be purchasing a Fire Fighting Water Tanker that will bring 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of water to a fire scene. The Freeholder Board will expand the Mutual Aide Radio project that will assist 17 agencies who use the Union County Dispatch service with compatible radios.

The Bureau of GIS is working with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office to scan floor plans of important public facilities into the County GIS to speed emergency response. “We have already added the plans for the county’s 230 public and private schools and will continue to work to capture as many important buildings as possible,” said Bergen. “I know our municipalities are extremely excited about this service.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

You Meet the Most Amazing People on the Trail

The weather cooperated this weekend, so I went for more than one hike. After all, there are only just over fifty days before my walk to Maine commences, so why not.

This Saturday, some friends dragged me away from housecleaning (thank you!) for a quick jaunt through Watchung Reservation.  While we were there, we ran into two individuals from Westfield; the cosplayers introduced themselves ...

Go Take a Walk

Friday, March 30 was Take a Walk in the Park Day, so I did.  I really didn't have an excuse to not do so; the sun was shining, I had the day off, and I had no plans for the rest of the day.  So after a session with Abbe, my trainer at LifeTime Fitness, I made the short trip to Lake Surprise in Watchung Reservation. 

As I made my way around the lake, it was easy to see how ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Other

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Mon, April 23, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

Wardlaw+Hartridge Students Share Talents at Music Recital

April 22, 2018

EDISON, NJ -- The Music Department at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison staged its annual Spring Music Recital, and it was another spectacular show.

Held in the new Berry Performing Arts Center for the first time, this year's recital featured many of the school's most talented vocal and instrumental performers.

Students who participated in the recital included: Aum Mehta ...

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 22, 2018

After Bruce Patrson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting freeholder I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered. A the the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union County I conclude ...

‘A Sad Day for Paterson’ as Police Officer Loses Life in Car Accident

April 22, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- On what Paterson Superior Officers Association President Mason Maher called “a sad day for Paterson” a city police officer lost his life on Sunday after being involved in a motor vehicle collision while on duty.

According to a statement by Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Paterson Police Chief Troy Oswald, police responded to the area of 150 Getty ...

Blood Drive en Plainfield High School el viernes

April 12, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Un esfuerzo de sangre se llevará a cabo el viernes en Plainfield High School en asociación con la Cruz Roja Americana.

¿Alguna vez se ha preguntado qué le sucede a la pinta de sangre que dona?

Según la Cruz Roja, la donación se almacena en refrigeradores helados hasta que se transporta a un centro de la Cruz Roja y se escanea en una ...

Springtime Advice from Rapps Pharmacy

April 17, 2018

It may not feel like spring, but that spring weather is right around the corner and so is allergy season!  Here is some friendly advice from Rapps Pharmacy, your neighborhood pharmacy:

Combating the Allergy Season

As seasons change and pollen counts rise, more and more people clash with the aggravating symptoms of seasonal allergies. Beginning in February and lasting into early summer, ...

Featured Business: NJ Printing & Embroidery LLC

Featured Business: NJ Printing & Embroidery LLC

Nestled in the heart of Plainfield is NJ Printing & Embroidery, a family-owned business providing digital screen printing and embroidery for custom shirts, caps and other items.

The company also offers custom printed business cards, fliers, banners and storefront vinyls, and can provide expert graphic art design upon request.

Eric ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

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

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 ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

The German Girl

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa (Washington Square Press, 2016)

For each of the twelve million victims murdered during World War II there is a gutwrenching story to be told. I have read hundreds of memoirs, biographies, plays, and novels that recount the stories of the martyrs; some are exceptional, some are fair. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa, an award-winning journalist, ...

The Skin Collector

The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver (Grand Central, 2014)

Jack the Ripper. The Boston Strangler. The Texas Watchtower Killer. The Zodiac Killer. The Angel of Death. The Butcher. BTK. The police and the press have a long history of dubbing serial killers with names that catch the attention of the public, usually having the effect of instilling greater fear and selling more print media so that ...

Queen Mary and the Cruiser

Queen Mary and the Cruiser by David A. Thomas and Patrick Holmes (Naval Institute Press, 1997)

“Had the forenoon watch and after eating went out onto the fo'c'sle. Just arrived at the top of the ladder by the PO's heads when the wave hit me---waist high---and knocked me over. Looking astern---through the bulkhead door which was open, saw the stern of a ship sticking up out of ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)

 

In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...