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Union County to Hold First Juneteenth Flag Raising Ceremony on June 19th

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders in partnership with the Union County Juneteenth Planning Committee is pleased to announce the inaugural Juneteenth Flag raising ceremony on Wednesday, June 19 at 5:00 p.m. in front of the Union County Court house, located at 2 Broad Street, in Elizabeth.

“Juneteenth marks the date when enslaved Africans in America got word about the Emancipation Proclamation,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “In Union County, we are proud to raise the Juneteenth Flag to acknowledge this day in history and honor the long struggle of African-Americans for freedom.”

Juneteenth is recognized as a commemoration of the effective end to slavery in the United States. While President Lincoln delivered his famous Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, many slave owners in Southern states failed to inform their slaves of the landmark decision.

Freeholder Rebecca Williams said: “Juneteenth is a date on which I acknowledge the idea of justice delayed due to the pecuniary interests of slaveholders in the cotton industry in particular. I cannot underscore enough Galveston’s importance as a major port city during the slave trade, as well as Texas as a cotton empire built on the bodies of its enslaved. Juneteenth came about not because it took two months for word to get to Texas about the end of the war, but because the cotton industry needed the bodies of the enslaved blacks to ensure that there would be a crop that year. My father was born and raised in Galveston, and I have dozens of family members who still live there, so I take Juneteenth very personally. Although it has taken far longer for African Americans to be given equal protection under the law, this date marks the beginning of that journey.”

Freeholder Sergio Granados added: “I take great pride in recognizing our diverse cultures within the County and am honored to celebrate the strength of families in the spirit of freedom. “

It took until June 19, 1865 – over two years after Lincoln’s address freeing slaves – for Union soldiers to ride into Galveston, Texas and announce the abolition of slavery there.

Hence, Juneteenth is a celebration of the emancipation of all slaves. Every year around June 19, people participate in parades and cultural events to honor the true end of slavery. On June 22, 2019, the Juneteenth Planning Committee will host their 5th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Ball at the Renaissance Hotel located in Elizabeth.

For more information, contact Nathalie Hernandez, Coordinator of the Office of Community Engagement & Diversity at nahernandez@ucnj.org or 908-527-4880.

Weather Safety Tips

The Union County Freeholder Board would like to remind you about what you can do when severe weather—such a tornado—may strike. Please note the following:


  • Stay Weather-Ready: Continue to listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about tornado watches and warnings.
  • At Your House: If you are in a tornado warning, go to your basement, safe room, or an interior room away from windows. Don’t forget pets if time allows.
  • At Your Workplace or School: Follow your tornado drill and proceed to your tornado shelter location quickly and calmly. Stay away from windows and do not go to large open rooms such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, or auditoriums.
  • Outside: Seek shelter inside a sturdy building immediately if a tornado is approaching. Sheds and storage facilities are not safe.
  • In a vehicle: Being in a vehicle during a tornado is not safe. The best course of action is to drive to the closest shelter. If you are unable to make it to a safe shelter, either get down in your car and cover your head, or abandon your car and seek shelter in a low lying area such as a ditch or ravine.

For more information visit https://www.weather.gov/safety/tornado-during


Freeholders announce Field Upgrades to Snyder Avenue Park in Berkeley Heights

Athletic fields at Snyder Avenue Park in Berkeley Heights will be upgraded  over the next year with funds approved last night by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The measure approved last night starts the process for design and construction for returfing the multi-use field, plus turfing a baseball field within the facility that is currently natural grass. Once those plans are completed and a project budget is announced,  the returfing of the multi-use field is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and turfing of the baseball field by early 2020.

“This is a wonderful County Park, in use all year round by people of all ages,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “Over the past 15 years Union County has turned a former industrial site into a bustling and popular recreation area. It’s been a great investment.”

Freeholder Sergio Granados added: “Snyder Avenue Park is one of our best county parks. Thousands of residents use it every year, and we’re delighted to make these improvements.”

Granados appears in a video with Berkeley Heights officials, including Mayor Angela Devanney, announcing the project here: www.facebook.com/BerkeleyHeightsTwpNJ

“We will be thrilled to see our residents playing on these fields once they’re completed,” said Mayor Devanney, who noted that at the time the fields were initially installed well over a decade ago, she was the Township Administrator. “The fields need to be upgraded. I have been so proud to move this project forward from its beginning days. As a mom, who has served on the PAL Board, I know how important these fields are to the community. We thank the Freeholders for making these improvements.”

Union County will re-grade, stabilize and replace the existing turf on the multipurpose field at Snyder Avenue Park. The field, originally installed in 2010, is used for Football, Soccer and Lacrosse. The grass baseball field there will also be converted to turf.

Once an industrial site, Union County purchased the parkland (17 acres) in 2004, one of the earliest purchases made by the Trust Fund, and one of the largest at that time.  The purchase saved it from a plan to develop 259 residential units there.

Most of the 17-acre park is owned and operated by Union County. In addition to the multi- purpose and Baseball fields, it includes walking pathway and trails, two playgrounds and a spray park.

Union County Opens Wheeler Park Spray Park in Linden​

Union County Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski, Vice Chairman Alexander Mirabella and Freeholders Sergio Granados, Christopher Hudak, Angela R. Garretson, Rebecca Williams, Andrea Staten and Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded joined State Senator Nicholas Scutari, Clerk of the Freeholder Board James Pellettiere, Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, Linden Council President Michele Yamakaitis, Linden Council members John Roman, Lisa Ormon and Barry Javick in cutting the ribbon officially opening the Wheeler Park Spray Park—the largest of its kind in the Union County system—in Linden.

The spray park replaces the former pool, which had been built in 1931 and witnessed a physical decline over the past two decades.

The spray park encompasses 11,000 square feet of the total 49,000 square foot area, and also contains picnic tables, ample space for lounging, gazebos for shade, artificial turf areas, and plenty of free-play space.

A new 24,000 square foot building, which replaces the old Wheeler Pool building, contains lockers, bathrooms, changing space, vending machines and mechanical and electrical facilities.

Wheeler Park is located at Route 1 and 9 between South Wood Avenue and South Stiles Street. Parking for the spray park is off W. Stimpson Avenue. Hours for the spray park are: Monday-Friday: 12-6 p.m., Saturday, Sunday, holidays 11a.m.-7 p.m.

Union County Flag Deployment on Veterans’ Graves for Memorial Day

Union County Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski, Vice Chairman Alexander Mirabella and Freeholders Sergio Granados, Christopher Hudak and Angela R. Garretson joined Clerk of the Freeholder Board James Pellettiere, Union County Office of Veteran Services Coordinator Janna Williams, VFW Post 2230 Commander Robert Jeans, Jim Daly of VFW Post 335, Boy Scouts and dozens of volunteers for the annual American flag deployment on veterans’ graves this morning at Graceland Cemetery in Kenilworth. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders supplied more than 30,000 flags to mark veterans’ graves throughout Union County. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)

2018/2019 UC STEP Start Now Grant Winners

Union County Freeholders Sergio Granados, Rebecca Williams, Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded and Christopher Hudak present checks and resolutions to students and teachers congratulating them on winning the 2018/2019 UC STEP Start Now Grant and for participating in the UC STEP “Link Up for Life” Suicide Awareness and Prevention Civic Engagement Campaign. They were joined by Union County Deputy Manager Amy Wagner and Deana Mesaros of the Union County Department of Economic Development.

The first place winner of the UC STEP Start Now Grant “Link Up for Life” is the Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth. The runners-up are the UC Teams Charter School and Roselle Catholic High School.

UC STEP (Union County Student Training & Enrichment Program) was created to provide high school students the opportunity to develop a countywide community service around a topic they feel is important, while teaching them leadership, personal growth skills, and responsibility within their communities.

The Freeholder Board also presented a resolution and a check to Caring Contact Executive Director Janet Sarkos acknowledging the efforts of the award-winning, volunteer-staffed caring and crisis hotline and listening community for those dealing with depression, anxiety, other sources of stress or suicidal thoughts. Caring Contact received a donation of the proceeds raised by the UC STEP “Link Up for Life” Suicide Awareness and Prevention Civic Engagement Campaign.

(Photos by Jim Lowney/County of Union)

Mosquito Control will be spraying for Adult Mosquitoes tonight, Friday May 24, 2019

Please be advised, Union County Mosquito Control will be spraying for Adult Mosquitoes tonight, Friday May 24, 2019, between the hours of 7:00 P.M. and 12:00 A.M. (Weather Permitting).

Check below and see if your Town is on the list. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mosquito Control: 908-654-9873

Berkeley Heights– Camp Grounds (Mountain Ave.), Mead St., Kuntz Ave., Lone Pine Dr., D.P.W. yard, Delmore Ave., Marion Ave.

Clark – Oakridge Rd., Willow Way, King St.

Cranford – Springfield Ave. (500 Block), Holly St.

Elizabeth – Clarkson Ave. Area, High St., Joint Essex – Union Sewerage Authority

Hillside – Hillside Ave., Aldene St., Race St., Central Ave., Harvard, Cornell, Westminster area, Race St.

Kenilworth –  Water Company Rd., Dorsett Dr., Pembrook Dr., Shady La., Commonwealth Rd., Columbia Ave., Lafayette

Linden – Tremley Point, Bradford Ave., Lexington Ave., Marion Ave., Clinton St., Brookside Gardens 14th St., South Tremley Point Rd., L.R.S.A. , Princeton Rd.,         

New Providence – Quatic Club / B&D @ 730 Central Ave., Maple Ave. (pool), Division Ave., Charnwood Dr & Charnwood Ave.

Plainfield –East 3rd St. & St. Nicholas Blvd.

Rahway –Allen St. & Price St. area, Elizabeth Ave. Kearny Ave., Donald Ave., Scott Ave., Whittier St., Leesville Ave

Roselle– Raritan Rd., Pine St., Chestnut St.

Scotch Plains – Hilltop Rd., Newark Ave., Elizabeth Ave., Jersey Ave.

Summit– Stanley Ave., Summit transfer station

Winfield – Union County Parkway

County Parks–  Rahway: Rahway Pk.   Hillside: Pool and Pk.   Garwood- Unami Pk.  Elizabeth: Mattano Pk. Union: Rabkin Pk. Hillside: Rutgers Pk.       

Municipal Parks – Union: Biertuempfel Pk Linden: Memorial Pk.  Scotch Plains: Brookside Pk.  Clark: Bartell Pk.  Westfield: Tamaques Pk. (near pond)

Regional Plan Association Presents “A Preventable Crisis, The Economic and Human Costs of a Hudson River Rail Tunnel Shutdown,” Report to the Freeholder Board

Union County Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski and Bruce Bergen, the Chair of the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, welcomed Nat Bottigheimer of the Regional Plan Association, a non-profit public policy agency that examines various issues, as he presented its report: “A Preventable Crisis, The Economic and Human Costs of a Hudson River Rail Tunnel Shutdown,” to the Freeholder Board. Learn more at www.raritanvalleyrail.com/news. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)

Union County Honors Elizabeth Portugal Day Committee

Union County Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski and Freeholders Sergio Granados and Angel G. Estrada present resolutions to the Elizabeth Portugal Day Committee congratulating them on their 41st Grand Portuguese Day Parade in Elizabeth on June 2, 2019. The Freeholders also honored Grand Marshal Joaquim Martins. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)