Press Releases

Union County Freeholder Chairman Granados Announces "Moving Union County Forward" Initiatives During 162nd Annual Reorganization

229579ae085dcc55f095_2e027b2a93355f50d1ec_Chairman_Granados.jpg
Union County Freeholder Granados is sworn as the 2018 Chairman of the Freeholder Board by the Honorable Judge Carl Marshall, J.M.C. Holding the Bible for Granados is his nephew Amir Abuhamoud. Credits: Jim Lowney/County of Union
229579ae085dcc55f095_2e027b2a93355f50d1ec_Chairman_Granados.jpg

UNION COUNTY, NJ - Freeholder Sergio Granados has been selected as Chairman of the Board and announced a series of initiatives for 2018, entitled “Moving Union County Forward,” assisting families, youth, seniors, Veterans, those with special needs, and embracing progressive and inclusive ideals.

Included in these initiatives are the state’s first-ever Office of LGTBQ, Office for People with Special Needs, and the Level the Playing Field grant program---yet another example of a “first”---as Union County will become the first County in the state, and perhaps nation—to have every municipality create an inclusive playground.

Granados, a lifelong resident of Elizabeth who is the youngest Democratic Freeholder ever elected in the State of New Jersey, announced his initiatives at the 162nd annual reorganization meeting held in the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth on Sunday.

Sign Up for E-News

Sheriff Peter Corvelli, of Kenilworth, was sworn into his first term, and Freeholder Angela Garretson, of Hillside, was sworn into her first term. Freeholders Christopher Hudak of Linden and Angel Estrada were sworn into new terms. Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski was appointed as Freeholder Vice Chairwoman. Freeholders also voted to fill numerous positions on County advisory boards and to adopt the Board’s 2018 schedule and procedural rules.

As his “Moving Union County Forward” initiatives for 2018, Granados announced a new series of programs—including a number of first-time programs never done before throughout the state---championing advocacy and equality,  outreach and volunteerism, public safety, the environment and education.    (See www.ucnj.org/freeholders)

Most of these initiatives are at little or no additional cost, or use existing funding.

“We will be setting many ‘firsts’ this year, with innovative programs that will put Union County at forefront of the progressive movement in the State of New Jersey,” Granados said in his announcement. “Growing up I learned: You must empower yourself through hard work and effort; you must work on ways to help others empower themselves; and always give back to your community. Success is meaningless without helping others.”

The following is a summary below of “Moving Union County Forward” initiatives:

  • UNION COUNTY HEART--stands for Helping, Empowering, Advocating for, Reaching and Teaching others.
  • At the core of the UC HEART initiative, is the creation of the Office of Community Engagement and Diversity. The goal of the office will be to promote volunteerism and outreach. The office’s coordinator will work with other agencies to identify volunteer opportunities, coordinate events, and create a network of volunteer organizations to build relationships with the County's different communities. 
  • Partnering with the Union County Economic Development Corporation (UCEDC) to reinvest and create more jobs in Union County’s diverse communities. The UCEDC will receive a $250,000 grant to conduct outreach efforts in these areas and will provide at least half a million dollars in low interest loan capital to small businesses. 
  • The creation of the state’s first-ever LGBTQ Office. This office will advocate for our LGBTQ residents in working to provide the services they need and deserve. “This Freeholder Board has a proud record of honoring Union County’s diversity,” said Granados.
  • The creation of the state’s first-ever, Office for People with Special Needs. This Office will provide recreational and social opportunities for those with special needs, “as all residents deserve an equal chance,” Granados said. As part of this effort, the Sheriff’s Office will also revitalize and expand the Project Lifesaver program which provides tracking bracelets for those with special needs and those with Alzheimer’s. The County will also open a new Sensory-Friendly Trail at the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside—the County’s first such facility. And as the final part of this effort, the County will administer the Level the Playing Field grant program---yet another example of a “first”---as Union County will become the first County in the state, and perhaps nation—to have every municipality create an inclusive playground. This effort, which is funded through Union County’s Open Space program, will assist our towns in creating, enhancing, or replacing recreational facilities to make them inclusive for all wishing to use them.
  • The continuation of UC HERO, which has helped so many Veterans. This year will bring new job fairs, and the exploration of ways to diminish the PTSD epidemic. As a whole, the County Freeholder Board will continue to expand on the successful job fairs and employment training it has sponsored for all residents through the Union County Workforce Development Board.
  • Creation of the Union County Science, Technology, Engineering and Math grant program (known as UC STEM).  Under this program, funding will be available for STEM-related enrichment in our elementary and middle schools.  
    • UNION COUNTY PLANT A SEED, which involves educational and environmental components:
      1. The continuation and expansion of the UC Kids Dig In! Garden grants program, which offers grants to schools that engage young students in community gardening and donating produce to local shelters and pantries.
      2. Continuing on Freeholder Bruce Bergen’s idea, the County will continue to investigate the feasibility of constructing a Countywide Animal Shelter.
      3. New state funded Union County recycling initiatives with programs that encourage recycling amongst our municipal partners and will provide recycling supplies for schools and seniors. The recycling programs will be funded through state recycling grants.
  • PARKS INITIATIVES:

1.) The building of numerous turf fields in Plainfield, Summit, Scotch Plains and Rahway;

3.) A skate park at Mattano Park in Elizabeth;

4.) A spray park at Wheeler Park in Linden;

5.) A new golf clubhouse at the Ashbrook Golf Course in Scotch Plains;

6.) Tutoring and mentoring programs at the Warinanco Park Sports Center in Roselle;

  •  PUBLIC SAFETY INITIATIVES:

1.)                The County will partner with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in NJ, and offer a gun buyback program through the County Police, Prosecutor’s Office, and Sheriff’s Office.

2.)                The County Police will partner with local police departments to provide additional public safety services for our school districts.

3.)                The expansion of prisoner re-entry programs that give a second chance for those who seek it: The Department of Corrections will be providing special assistance easing their re-entry into society; and the Department of Human Services will be providing support services after their release, aimed at reducing recidivism.

Granados closed off his initiatives with a call for continued fiscal responsibility, announcing the Freeholder Board will work with the County Manager to examine cost savings through the creation of a Fiscal Efficiency Taskforce.

Granados concluded his speech by emphasizing the importance of teamwork and unity in achieving all goals:

“We have announced many ‘firsts’ today. This all speaks to the vision of this Freeholder Board moving Union County forward in a progressive manner. We are connected...we are inclusive…we are united. And we will work to support one another. I look forward to ‘Moving Union County Forward’ with all of you. Thank you.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Union

2018 Summer Concert Series

May 22, 2018

UNION, NJ – The line-up for the Township of Union’s 2018 Summer Concert Series, kicking off on July 4, has been announced.  The series will feature concerts in the parks every Thursday in July.

“We have an outstanding lineup this year,” said Mayor Suzette Cavadas, “In addition to bringing back some fan favorites, we’ve added some brand ...

Scholarships Available to Union High School Graduates and the Class of 2018

UNION, NJ - The UTCAO Foundation, Inc. has announced the availability of the Oliver E. Young, Jr. Scholarship Fund to all graduates of Union High School and the class of 2018.

The Foundation, an independent subsidiary of the Union Township Community Action Organization, Inc. awards scholarships up to $1,500 per recipient.

An application and eligibility guidelines are available here.  ...

The Week Ahead in Union

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 5/21

Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 9:00 a.m., Senior Center
Construction Zone, 3:15 p.m., Union Public Library
Read to Waldi, 4:15 p.m., Union Public Library
Career Coach, 5:30 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Hilton Readers Book Discussion Group: "Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls, 6:00 p.m., Vauxhall ...

Union High School's April Female Athlete of the Month: Chidumga Nkulume

May 15, 2018

UNION, NJ – Union High School sophomore Chidumga Nkulume, a member of the Girls Track and Field, has been named April’s Athlete of the Month.

What’s your favorite part of being a high school athlete?. 

My favorite part about being a high school athlete is the attention. Everywhere you go, people know your important. It’s a really good confidence booster and it ...

Union High School's April Male Athlete of the Month: Zach Fernandez

UNION, NJ – Union High School junior Zach Fernandez, a member of the school’s baseball team, has been selected April’s Male Athlete of the Month.

What’s your favorite part of being a high school athlete?. 

My favorite part of being a high school athlete is having the opportunity to continue to play alongside my friends that I have been playing baseball with ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b2da18d99997907ea0e8_058657bd35e426dc45e0_babies_in_the_library

Wed, May 23, 10:30 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Babies in the Library

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_3d8f41d8095df1ff2e94_music

Wed, May 23, 1:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Qello Film Concert: "Billy Joel"

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_206bea79da6b7ba3db43_mini_magick20180513-109889-1ihqyq3

Wed, May 23, 4:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

ShopRite Kids Cuisine

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_d3cd5d357ce47d22eac8_199e03780f1632936343_mini_magick20180516-125430-194eg8f

Thu, May 24, 2:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

International Film: "Ushpizin"

Arts & Entertainment

Chibuike Obinnakwelu honored at YSU's Student Awards Banquet

May 21, 2018

YOUNGSTOWN, OH - Chibuike Obinnakwelu of Union was one of 65 students given special recognition at Youngstown State University's annual Student Awards Banquet. Obinnakwelu, a junior Exercise Science PT Track major, received the Presidential Mentor award in recognition of serving as a presidential mentor.

The event was sponsored by YSU Student Government, Student Experience and Student ...

Rae-Yanna Johnson Graduates from York College of Pennsylvania on May 12

YORK, PA (05/17/2018)-- Rae-Yanna Johnson of Union, NJ, 07083 graduated Cum Laude from York College of Pennsylvania on May 12. Johnson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

A private college located in southcentral Pennsylvania, York College offers more than 50 baccalaureate majors in professional programs, the sciences and humanities to its 4,600 undergraduate students. The ...

Students from Union Initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

BATON ROUGE, LA - The following Union residents were recently initiated at Kean University into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.

Jenny Borges 

Kimmarah Casey

Daryll Adrian Henson 

Laura Vidarte 

These residents are among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, ...

Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Pedestrian in North Plainfield

May 16, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ -  A 58-year-old man was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver early Tuesday morning on Watchung Ave.

The incident occurred at 1 a.m. as the victim, identified as Jose Humberto Burgos, a resident of Plainfield, was crossing the street, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Burgos was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University ...

An Evening of Career Explorations at Union High School

May 18, 2018

UNION, NJ - The Union High School PTA and Counseling Department will be hosting a 'Career Explorations' workshop on Monday, May 14.

Guest speakers will present a day in the life of their career and discuss training they have acquired.  A question and answer period will follow.

The event begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Union High School Library.

Burnet Middle School Hosts Poetry Workshop for Eighth Grade Students

Union, NJ – Burnet Middle School students in Erik Gabriel’s classes recently immersed themselves in the art form of figurative language to foster mastery of the tools of poetic writing.

The students moved through the unit surveying classical poets; those poets students could identify with in the contemporary world.  Classical and new age hip-hop allowed the students to ...

Livingston School PTA to Host Makeup Night

UNION, NJ - The Livingston School PTA will be hosting a Makeup Night on Wednesday, May 16.

The event will include makeup tips and tricks for the summer.  Learn from professional makeup artists Erica Jubin from Laura Mercier, Karinna Cabangon from NARS and Livingston parent Nicole Famarin.

Light refreshments and snacks will be served.  The event is for adults only.  There will ...

Jefferson School: Meetings Set for Incoming 5th Grade Students

UNION, NJ - Meetings have been scheduled for incoming 5th grade students to Jefferson School.  

Parents and students are invited (no siblings).  The meetings are set for Tuesday, June 5, in the Jefferson School Auditorium.  Sessions are scheduled by elementary school:

6:00 - 6:45 - Battle Hill, Connecticut Farms, Hannah Caldwell

7:00 - 7:45 - Franklin, Livingston, ...

Shop Til You Drop at the Battle Hill PTA Vender Fair

UNION, NJ - Battle Hill's Vendor Night is set for Friday, June 1, from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. in the Battle Hill auditorium, 2600 Killian Place.

Table rental is $25 and includes two chairs.  Vendors are asked to donate a product to be raffled off that night.  Tables must be paid for by Friday, May 25.  

The vendor fair will be going on inside while the free ice cream ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 20, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

South Orange Village President Issues Statement About Traffic Stop of School Board Member

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Village President Sheena Collum issued a statement on Thursday, addressing a video in which South Orange Maplewood School Board member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad appeared to suggest that she would contact South Orange Village President Sheena Collum in regards to a traffic stop by police.

Lawson-Muhammad is heard on the video asking if the officer is from ...

News from South Orange: Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

20th Legislative District Assemblywoman to Receive Champion for the Common Good Award at United Way Annual Event

May 22, 2018

On Wednesday, June 13, 2018, United Way of Greater Union County will present Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, of the 20th Legislative District, with the 2018 Champion for the Common Good award at its 2018 Annual Celebration event. 

“I am incredibly humbled to be chosen to receive this award,” stated Assemblywoman Quijano. “I work hard every day to fight for the common good ...

Union County Celebrates National Trails Day with Free Guided Hikes and Activities, June 2

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors of all ages to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of National Trails Day at the Watchung Reservation on Saturday, June 2, where the County’s Trailside Nature & Science Center will host four different guided hikes and an Adopt-a-Trail volunteer activity along with special programs throughout the day for all ages. The ...

Union County Honors Residents During Military Appreciation Month

UNION COUNTY, NJ - Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados and Freeholder Alexander Mirabella present resolutions to local residents honoring those who served in the military and those who provide services to military veterans while expressing gratitude during Military Appreciation Month.

Those honored are: Joe O’Neil who is the President of Benner’s Auto Body in Cranford, ...

Sample Ballots Now Available on Union County Clerk Elections Website and App

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi announces that sample ballots for the June 5 Primary Election are now available on the Union County Votes mobile app for Apple and Android devices, and on the County Clerk’s election website at unioncountyvotes.com.

“The mobile app and website enable voters to see their sample ballots quickly and conveniently on their computers, laptops and other ...

Columns

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

What Union is Reading: April 2018

May 9, 2018

What Union is Reading: Month ending April 2018

Some great new books have topped the list last month; how many have you read? The top circulating print books in six categories for the Union Public Library in April 2018 follows. The top circulated digital books from RBdigital make up the seventh category, download the app today and start borrowing books from home!

Coming soon: the library ...

Tour of Somerville Weekend: Quarter-Mile Sprints Add High-Speed Dynamic

May 20, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - The grand daddy of ‘em  all, the 75-year-old Tour of Somerville 50-mile bicycle race, anchors a weekend of world class cycling in Bound Brook and downtown Somerville May 24-28, with a new event added Sunday night to draw more spectators downtown.

Spectators this year will see an additional day of racing beginning with the Bound Brook Criterium on ...

Neighbor Tells Grandma of Roxbury Kid With Cancer to Clean Her Yard, Town Responds in Force

ROXBURY, NJ — The dark side of humanity presented itself last Friday to Landing resident Elise Ryan. It came in the form of anonymous letter, stuck in her mailbox, telling her to "show some pride" and clean up her property.

The bright side of humanity showed up today. Dozens of Roxbury residents - including many young people - converged to tidy up the ...

Letters to the Editor

Why I Support Peter Jacob For Congress 2018

May 22, 2018

I strongly urge all registered Democrats or Unaffiliated to vote for Peter Jacob in the NJ-7 primary on 6/5. Peter has name recognition and the experience running one of the most cost effective congressional campaigns in the U.S. during 2016, an example that he walks the talk to get big money out of politics. In addition, his support for health care for all, a $15 minimum wage, free tuition at ...

Peter Jacob, Clear Choice for CD7

To the editor,

In the fall of 2016, I was driving down Main Street in Flanders. As I always do before an election, I was conferring with my sister about the available choices for voting on my way to the polls. The last thing I said before I hung up, “You are going to want to make sure you check out Peter Jacob.” He is a 30 year old social worker who works with the ...