Calendar

Summer Arts Festival

Drought-Wise Gardening in Union County

Despite the occasional thunderstorm, rain has been in short supply in Union County over the past several weeks. Gardens are wilting under dry conditions, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has declared a statewide drought watch. Union County gardeners can take steps to sustain their plantings through cycles of storm and drought by focusing on hardy native species and water conservation.

“Drought-wise gardens can help avoid the cost of high-maintenance plantings and save on water bills, while also attracting birds, butterflies and other beneficial pollinators. They can also help prevent excess stormwater runoff and flooding during heavy rains,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

During dry periods, hardy native plants, shrubs and trees help to conserve water and reduce the need for yard care chemicals. They also contribute to a more diverse and healthful ecosystem.

Union County’s free downloadable guide to planting native species, Plant This, Not That, is available online at ucnj.org/green-connection/gardens.

For more information: https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/08/09/drought-wise-gardening-in-union-county/

Join the Master Trees Stewards of Union County

Learn how to help the environment and teach about the importance of trees – no experience necessary.

Union County residents who are looking for a fun and rewarding civic service project can join the 4-H Master Tree Steward program and learn how to “speak for the trees.”

Master Tree Stewards are community volunteers who visit 4th-grade classrooms each spring to present an interactive lesson on trees. No experience is needed. All training and classroom materials are provided by the Master Tree Steward program.
Master Tree Stewards can also organize additional projects, such as the educational “Tree Trails” in Union County parks.

“Our Master Tree Stewards provide students with enriching educational experiences and important messages about trees and the environment. It’s a lesson about appreciation and stewardship that young people can carry into adulthood, benefitting our community and the world beyond for years to come,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

For more information: https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/08/04/join-the-master-trees-stewards-of-union-county/

Local Arts Grant Program Applications Now Open

The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce that applications to the 2023 Local Arts grant program (LAP) are now being accepted by the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, a division of the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Union County’s Local Arts grant program helps the organizations in our community sustain their operations and continue to bring high-quality programming to our residents, and it also enables other organizations to provide arts programming. We encourage eligible organizations to apply,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

Qualifying non-profit arts organizations can apply, as well as libraries, schools, and local government offices.

Two types of grants are available under the LAP program:

  • General Operating Support grants are available to arts organizations. The maximum request is $12,000.
  • Special Project grants are available to both arts organizations and non-arts organizations producing an arts project, such as a performance series. The maximum request $6,000.

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be based in Union County, and arts activities must take place in Union County during 2023. Grants will be awarded to applicants that demonstrate a high degree of professionalism in arts programming.

For more information: https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/07/29/union-county-local-arts-grant-program-accepting-applications/

HEART Grant Applications Now Available

The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce that applications for the 2023 Union County HEART Grant program are now available for Union County non-profit organizations, individual artists and scholars. Projects related to local history, the arts and humanities are eligible for consideration in the HEART Grant funding program.

“We created the HEART Grant program in 1998 to help foster a thriving environment for the arts and cultural activities in Union County, and the program has received an enthusiastic response ever since. We are looking forward to another exciting season of programming that reaches thousands of residents with enriching new experiences that enlighten, educate and entertain,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

The HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) program serves as a catalyst for Union County’s non-profit organizations, artists and scholars, enhancing their ability to connect residents with programs and activities.

Along with civic groups and cultural organizations, past HEART Grant recipients have included individual poets and writers, historians, painters, photographers, musicians, dancers and more.

Organizations can request a grant of up to $3,000, with a 25% cash match for any amount over $1,000.

Individuals can request up to $1,000, with no cash match required.

For more information: https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/07/28/heart-grant-applications-now-available-for-non-profits-individual-artists-and-scholars/

Come Visit Union County Teen Arts Touring Exhibit

The Union County Board of Commissioners is pleased to present the 2022 Union County Teen Arts Touring Exhibit, now on display at the Commissioners Gallery located on the 6th floor of the Union County Administration Building at 10 Elizabethtown Plaza in Elizabeth.

The exhibit is a selection of 36 works from the 2022 Union County Teen Arts Festival, an annual two-day event celebrating youth creativity in the literary, performing, and visual arts.

“The Touring Exhibit reflects the rich imagination, artistry and experiences of students all across Union County, and we are very proud to host these works at the Administration Building,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams.

Works by students from the following municipalities are included in the Touring Exhibit: Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Elizabeth, Garwood, Kenilworth, Linden, Mountainside, Plainfield, Roselle, Roselle Park, Springfield.

The Union County Teen Arts Touring Exhibit is currently on display at the Commissioners Gallery at the Union County Administration Building located at 10 Elizabethtown Plaza, Elizabeth.

On August 1, the exhibit will move to the Union County Courthouse at 2 Broad Street in Elizabeth.

For more information: https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/07/27/2022-union-county-teen-arts-touring-exhibit-visits-midtown-elizabeth/

Special Needs Night at Wheeler Spray Park in July, August

The Union County Board of Commissioners is pleased to invite children age 12 and under, accompanied by an adult, to attend the “Special Needs Night at Wheeler Spray Park” series. The series takes place every Wednesday evening during July and August from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The next session will take place on Wednesday, July 13.

The Special Needs Night at Wheeler Park series is organized through the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs in the Union County Department of Human Services.

“The Special Needs Night series is part of our inclusive recreation programming. It provides special needs families with an opportunity to enjoy one of the most popular features in the Union County parks system in a safe, welcoming environment,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams.

“We continue to strive for inclusivity throughout our County programming and we are proud to support the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs in presenting recreational programs that are accessible to all residents. We are excited to bring this wonderful event back this summer for our special needs families,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados.

The series takes place at Wheeler Spray Park, located at 234 West Stimpson Avenue in Linden, and continues each Wednesday through July and August.

The event is free but pre-registration is required online for each child through the Union County events registration page. Visit secure.rec1.com/NJ/union-county-nj/catalog and scroll to “Recreation Programs for People with Special Needs.”

For more information:  https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/07/11/special-needs-night-at-wheeler-spray-park-begins-in-july/

Fall Park Events

Volunteering in Union County Parks is Easier than Ever

Each year, hundreds of community volunteers fan out through Union County parks to clean up litter, clear debris, repair trails and improve natural habitats. Now volunteering is easier than ever before, thanks to free tools and other assistance provided by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Bureau of Recycling.

“We are very grateful for the many individuals, environmental groups, Scouts, schools, businesses and other organizations that dedicate their time and energy to help keep our parks beautiful and welcoming, year in and year out,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “By coordinating the resources of our Parks and Recycling offices, we aim to make organizing a volunteer project easy and hassle-free for everyone.”

The Union County parks system hosts four main types of volunteer programs:

Adopt-a-Park: Beautification and restoration projects including clearing litter and debris, restoring native plants and removing invasive plants.

Adopt-a-Trail/Trail Stewards: Help remove encroaching vegetation from trails and paved pathways; help repair eroded sections and clear debris from culverts.

Chainsaw Crew: Help remove fallen trees from trails and paths (training required to participate).

Clean Communities: This program focuses on litter cleanups with support from the statewide Clean Communities program. Organizers only need to bring themselves and their volunteers. Work gloves, litter grabbers and bags are all provided free of charge.

Individuals or groups that are interested in organizing a volunteer project in any of these four areas can contact the Department of Parks and Recreation by email at park.env.services@ucnj.org to start the process.

For more information: https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/07/14/volunteering-in-union-county-parks-is-easier-than-ever/

Senior Services – Just “ASK” information kiosk

Residents seeking information about services for seniors and their care givers can come to Union County’s Aging Services Kiosk events and meet in person with professional staff for guidance on senior programs and resources, including help with filling out applications and forms.

ASK is a program of the Union County Department of Human Services through the Division on Aging and Disability Resources, serving seniors age 60-plus and their care givers. Staff at the ASK events can help seniors and care givers connect with a variety of services including home delivered meals, respite care, home care, adult day care and support services for caregivers.

Any Union County senior or care giver can visit any ASK event, regardless of their hometown. No appointment or pre-registration is needed.

Thursday, August 4
Union Public Library

1060 Stuyvesant Avenue
Union, 07083
10:00 – 12:00

Monday, August 8
Clark Public Library

303 Westfield Avenue
Clark, 07066
10:00 – 12:00

For more information: https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/06/29/new-dates-added-for-union-countys-just-ask-for-information-about-senior-services/

2022 Queer Empowerment Hour Series

The Union County Board of County Commissioners is proud to announce the 2022 OUT in Union County: Queer Empowerment Hour series with host Micayla Mirabella. The free virtual series, organized by the Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs, begins in April and runs through December 5, 2022. Each conversation will be held on the third Monday of each month (except December) and each hour-long session will begin at 7:00 pm. (update: please note, the series will begin in April).

“It has been four years since the Office of LGBTQ Affairs was created and the Union County Board of County Commissioners continue to remain an ally and advocate for our LGBTQ+ community,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “This office does a wonderful job at hosting a variety of programs and events which aim to educate, start a conversation on LGBTQ+ issues and introduce resources available to our residents. I would like to thank everyone that is involved in the coordination of these efforts.”

The OUT in Union County: Queer Empowerment Hour series explores LGBTQ+ specific topics and offer stories and discussions involving queer folks from different backgrounds and experiences, in an hour-long format that includes some of New Jersey’s most dedicated LGBTQ+ advocates, community leaders, and allies.

Registration is required to join the Zoom session or watch live on the County of Union, New Jersey Facebook page. The schedule and registration links can be found at ucnj.org/lgbtq

Full Time Emergency Medical Technicians

Job benefits include free training opportunities and HazMat cross-training through the Union County Fire/EMS Academy.

Union County has full time job openings for certified Emergency Medical Technicians. The full-time benefits package includes free career development through the Union County Fire/EMS academy.

All applicants must be residents of Union County.

“We are very proud of our EMTs, who work to meet the daily needs and extraordinary demands for life saving services in our community. We are looking forward to meeting the newest members of our emergency services team,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “

For more information: https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/04/26/union-county-is-hiring-full-time-emergency-medical-technicians-apply-today/

“Jersey Fresh” Farmers’ Market Voucher Program for Seniors

Due to ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19, the Union County Board of County Commissioners is announcing that Farmers Market vouchers for eligible Union County seniors will be distributed only by mail. Each eligible senior can obtain five, $6-dollar vouchers for a total of $30.00 to purchase “Jersey Fresh” fruits, vegetables and herbs at Farmers Markets that display the black and yellow WIC (Women, Infants and Children) posters.

“Good nutrition is important and the County of Union is excited to offer a safe and convenient way for our seniors to increase their consumption of healthy foods through these vouchers,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “I encourage anyone interested, who meets the requirements, to register.”

To be eligible, seniors must be age 60 and older. A single person’s annual income cannot exceed $2,095 per month and a couple’s combined income may not exceed $2,823 per month.

For more information: https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/05/27/union-county-commissioners-announce-jersey-fresh-farmers-market-voucher-program-for-seniors

Union County Host Donation Drive for the people of Ukraine

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has uprooted families, injured citizens, and left thousands of Ukrainian refugees without access to basic necessities. To date, nearly 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, many leaving behind necessary supplies.

To support individuals in need, the Union County Board of County Commissioners and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office have partnered to organize a county-wide donation drive for the people of Ukraine.

Beginning today, a donation box will be available in the lobby of Union County law enforcement agencies, twenty-four locations in all. Members of the public are invited to bring donations of first aid supplies, toiletries, flashlights, blankets, batteries, clothing, shoes, diapers, formula, and more. The program will run for the foreseeable future, as long as continued aid is needed. This donation drive is made possible through a partnership with law enforcement and local Polish and Ukrainian organizations.

For more information: https://ucnj.org/press-releases/public-info/2022/03/15/union-county-to-host-donation-drive-for-people-of-ukraine/

Cultural Events Around the County

July & August 2022

FREE CONCERTS – Wednesday evenings, 7:30 pm (free yoga class at 6:30 before each concert)

FREE MOVIES – Tuesday evenings, kids dance party at 7:30, movies unspool at dusk

The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to present movies, music and fun for all in Union County Parks this summer.* Bring a blanket or lawn chair.

*In the event of rain, concerts will be held at Crossroads, 78 North Ave., Garwood

Learn more and mark your calendar.

Aug 11
6:30 pm
FREE (Live in-person)
CONCERT

All New Beatles Concert

Rewind will perform an All New Beatles program, featuring songs as a group and a few songs from the Beatle members’ solo careers. Rewind features Jersey guys John Delgiodice of Hasbrouck Heights on guitar, Ken Cohen of Kenilworth on drums, and Rich Loughlin of Oceanport on bass — entertaining audiences with a mix of classic rock hits.

Kenilworth Public Library
548 Boulevard, Kenilworth
908-276-2451

Wheelchair accessibility via the side entrance of the library.