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UNION COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ANNOUNCE “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.

“The Board of Commissioners is proud to support the Farmers Market Voucher Program, which not only supports local farming but it helps provide easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables for Union County’s senior residents,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, Liaison to the Union County Human Services Advisory Council. “I hope that our eligible seniors take advantage of this program – it’s a great source for our community each year.” 

Eligible seniors can request a voucher application form by calling the Union County Division on Aging at 908-527-4870 or 888-280-8226. The Division on Aging office is open on weekdays from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

Requests can also be submitted after hours and on weekends, by leaving a voice message including name, address, and phone contact, or by emailing the information to Kathleen Malkiewicz, Nutrition Program Director, at kmalkiewicz@ucnj.org or at 908-527-4877.

A limited number of vouchers are available and applications will be evaluated on a “first-come first-served” basis.

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Participating Farmers Market in Union County are located in:

• Cranford (Dreyer Farms, 831 Springfield Avenue)

• Elizabeth (Elizabeth Avenue Farmers’ Market, Union Square between Elizabeth Avenue and High Street)

• Kenilworth (455 Boulevard)

• Linden (301 N. Wood Ave.)

• Plainfield (Watchung Avenue and East 6th Street, across from City Hall)

• Rahway (Rahway Farmer’s Market, at NJ Transit Train Station Plaza

• Roselle Park (Roselle ark Farmers’ Market, at Chestnut Street and East Grant Avenue)

• Scotch Plains (Scotch Plains Farmers’ Market, Municipal Parking Lot at 430 Park Avenue)

• Springfield (66 Mountain Avenue)

• Summit (Park & Shop #2, at Maple Street and DeForest Avenue)

• Union (Town Hall, 1976 Morris Ave.)

• Westfield (NJ Transit Railroad Station, North Avenue Parking Lot)

For more information about the Farmers’ Market nutrition program, or any services provided by the Division of Aging and Disability Resource in the Union County Department of Human Services, call 1-888-280-8226, or visit online at ucnj.org/aging. Please note that in-person services may be limited or modified due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

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Today, Undersheriff Dennis Burke retired from the Union County Sheriff’s Office after more than 27 years of service. His retirement was marked with a traditional walkout ceremony on the steps of the historic Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth.

Also in attendance were Commissioners Sergio Granados and Lourdes Leon as well as County Manager, Ed Oatman and Deputy County Manager, Amy Wagner.

 

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Union County Commissioners Announce “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.

 “The Board of Commissioners is proud to support the Farmers Market Voucher Program, which not only supports local farming but it helps provide easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables for Union County’s senior residents,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, Liaison to the Union County Human Services Advisory Council. “I hope that our eligible seniors take advantage of this program – it’s a great source for our community each year.”

Eligible seniors can request a voucher application form by calling the Union County Division on Aging at 908-527-4870 or 888-280-8226. The Division on Aging office is open on weekdays from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

Requests can also be submitted after hours and on weekends, by leaving a voice message including name, address, and phone contact, or by emailing the information to Kathleen Malkiewicz, Nutrition Program Director, at kmalkiewicz@ucnj.org or at 908-527-4877.

A limited number of vouchers are available and applications will be evaluated on a “first-come first-served” basis.

Participating Farmers Market in Union County are located in:

  • Cranford (Dreyer Farms, 831 Springfield Avenue)
  • Elizabeth (Elizabeth Avenue Farmers’ Market, Union Square between Elizabeth Avenue and High Street)
  • Kenilworth (455 Boulevard)
  • Linden (301 N. Wood Ave.)
  • Plainfield (Watchung Avenue and East 6th Street, across from City Hall)
  • Rahway (Rahway Farmer’s Market, at NJ Transit Train Station Plaza
  • Roselle Park (Roselle ark Farmers’ Market, at Chestnut Street and East Grant Avenue)
  • Scotch Plains (Scotch Plains Farmers’ Market, Municipal Parking Lot at 430 Park Avenue)
  • Springfield (66 Mountain Avenue)
  • Summit (Park & Shop #2, at Maple Street and DeForest Avenue)
  • Union (Town Hall, 1976 Morris Ave.)
  • Westfield (NJ Transit Railroad Station, North Avenue Parking Lot)

For more information about the Farmers’ Market nutrition program, or any services provided by the Division of Aging and Disability Resource in the Union County Department of Human Services, call 1-888-280-8226, or visit online at ucnj.org/aging. Please note that in-person services may be limited or modified due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

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Union County Pool and Spray Grounds to Open Saturday, May 28th

The Union County Board of County Commissioners announces that the County run spray grounds and pool will open for the summer season on Saturday, May 28th.

“Union County is home to several spray grounds and a pool that our residents can use during the hottest months of the year,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca L. Williams. “We encourage residents of all ages to come out and enjoy these family friendly facilities as we begin the summer season.”

The County pool and spray grounds will be open on weekends and Memorial Day through June 27th. On June 27, all County-run facilities will operate 7 days a week.

Union County Spray Grounds:

May 28, 29, 30 & June 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 (7 days a week starting June 27) from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

  • Wheeler Park, Linden
  • Mattano Park, Elizabeth
  • Rahway Park, Rahway
  • Rizzuto Park, Union

Union County Pool:

May 28, 29, 30 & June 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 (7 days a week starting June 27) from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

  • Walter E. Ulrich Memorial Pool, Rahway River Park, Rahway

Residents can visit https://ucnj.org/parks-recreation/pools/ for details on admissions fees.

Union County spray grounds and pools are run and maintained by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. For more information about Union County parks and facilities, including information about the Adopt-a-Park volunteer program, visit ucnj.org/parks-recreation or call the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation at 908-527-4900.

For more information about programs offered by Union County, please visit ucnj.org.

 

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

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Union County Celebrates Pride Month 2022 with Art, Dancing, Theatre & More

The Union County Board of County Commissioners invites all residents and visitors to join in the celebration of Pride Month 2022, with community activities scheduled all throughout the month of June.

“This year our Pride Month calendar includes a mix of activities from just plain fun to cultural enrichment, education, networking and awareness-raising,” said Chair Rebecca Williams. “We hope everyone can join with us in celebrating our LGBTQ community and renewing our commitment to equal rights and equal justice.”

“We are proud to celebrate our Union County community as one that honors diversity, equality, and respect for the dignity of every person, during Pride Month and throughout the year,” said Commissioner Alexander Mirabella, who is the Board’s liaison to the Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

Sponsored by the Union County Board of County Commissioners and organized through the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, this month-long series of events includes:

Union County Pride Flag Raising

Wednesday, June 1st at 1PM – 2PM

Union County Courthouse (2 Broad St, Elizabeth)

LGBTQ: Say It Gallery Exhibit

Friday, June 3rd from 6PM – 10PM opening night

Atelier Rosal, 74 East Cherry Street, Rahway

Presented in partnership with the City of Rahway

SAGE Table Community Lunch – 

An intergenerational lunch to share stories and connect our community

Sunday, June 12th from Noon – 3PM

Plainfield Performing Arts Center, 724 Park Ave, Plainfield

Presented in partnership with the City of Plainfield and SAGE

Registration Required: Register Online

LGBTQ+ Trivia Night

Thursday, June 16th from 6PM – 9PM

Please note the change of date

The Tavern at Ash Brook, 1210 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains

Registration Required: Register Online

Union County Pride in the Park, Plainfield – GRAND OPENING OF NEW INCLUSIVE PARK SPACE

Saturday, June 18th from 12PM – 4PM

Tëmike Park in Cedar Brook Park (Plainfield)

Queer Empowerment Hour: We Say Gay, the impact of anti-LGBTQ+ state laws and patchwork legal protections across the country

Monday, June 20th at 7PM

Virtual discussion

Registration Required: Register Online

LGBTQ+ Professionals Mixer

Date changed to Wednesday June 22nd from 6PM to 10PM

The Watt, 1403 Irving Street, Rahway

Presented in partnership with the Rahway SID

Registration Required: Register Online

Youth Pride Dance (Ages 13+)

Date changed to Friday, June 24th from 6PM – 8PM

Warinanco Sports Center, Roselle/Elizabeth

Registration Required (student ID required at check in)

NOTICE: all participating students will need to be dropped off and picked up by legal guardian, with consent form.

Registration Required: Register Online

Head Over Heels the musical

Thursday, June 30th at 7PM

Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving St, Rahway

General Admission – Free Tickets Available by reservation: Call the Box Office at 732-499-8226 or visit ucpac.org to reserve.

Presented in partnership with the City of Rahway and Rahway Social Justice Commission

Union County’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs was established in 2018 under the Department of Economic Development. It is the first county government office of its kind in the State of New Jersey. It offers a platform for leadership and collaboration to support equality, and serves as a catalyst for advocacy, awareness and action on current and emerging issues that impact the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals.

For Pride Month schedule updates and more information about the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, visit ucnj.org/LGBTQ.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

 

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A Memorial Day Message

By Rebecca L. Williams

Chair, Union County Board of County Commissioners

May 26, 2022

As Memorial Day approaches, our thoughts turn to those in our Union County community who made the ultimate sacrifice, and gave their lives in the service of our country.

Each year, the Commissioner Board honors their memory by distributing thousands of American flags to veterans’ groups and civic organizations. Together, we visit cemeteries across Union County to ensure that every veteran’s grave is recognized with a flag.

When we walk these sacred grounds, we are reminded that our safety, our security, and above all, our freedom, is a foundation built at great cost through generations of American history.

In death, those who served in the Armed Forces have left an eternal message for all of us, and for the world beyond.

They define us as one people, one country, one guiding principle to light the way.

Ours is the light of democracy.

Ours is the will to meet the future as a nation of respect for human dignity. 

And, ours is the obligation to carry forth the promise of so many brave service members, so many lives cut short, to preserve and protect our beloved country as a beacon of hope for the human spirit.

Those who have fallen have passed on to us a precious duty.

They have tasked us to carry out the cause for which they died, to continue our own journey in pursuit of equal justice and equal rights.

We, the living, can honor their memory on Memorial Day and all days, year in and year out, by striving for a better tomorrow, a stronger community, and a nation that embodies and transcends the vision of our founders.

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For information about services for veterans, active duty military and military families in Union County, please visit the Union County Office of Veterans Affairs at ucnj.org/uc-hero, email the Office Coordinator at W.Geoff.Smith@ucnj.org, or call during office hours, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except holidays.

To reach the 24/7 VA Crisis Hotline call 1-800-273-8255 (24/7), or use the online chat at veteranscrisisline.net.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media

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Enjoy Union County Parks, the Zero Waste Way

Visitors to Union County parks this summer can give their outdoor gatherings a zero waste makeover by using washable or recyclable picnic gear including plates, cups, utensils and tablecloths.

“Cutting down on single-use paper or plastic items in our parks is a simple way to help the environment while enjoying the outdoors with friends and family,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

“Zero waste” generally refers to sturdy, reusable items that can be washed or recycled, instead of being disposed in landfills or incinerators.

First-timers can take a step-by-step approach to organizing zero waste meals, starting with a few items before moving on to others.

  1. Inexpensive, reusable plates, cups and utensils are widely available for recreational camping and other outdoor uses. They come in a variety of patterns and shatterproof materials including bamboo and stainless steel (plain or enameled) as well as melamine and other durable plastics.
  2. Reusable food containers can substitute for disposable plastic or foil food wrappings. Other reusable options include washable beeswax wraps and silicone pouches.
  3. Washable cloth table covers or sturdy reusable plastic table covers can substitute for flimsy single-use plastic tablecloths.

Reusable options are also widely available for napkins, towels, table decorations and other items.

Union County residents can stay up to date with their local and countywide recycling programs by downloading the free Recycle Coach app.

For more information about Recycle Coach and all county-run recycling programs, visit the Union County Bureau of Recycling and Planning at ucnj.org/recycle.

More information about the Union County parks system is available at ucnj.org/parks.

Quick links to all environmental programs and activities hosted by Union County are available at ucnj.org/green-connection.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

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Moody’s Reaffirms Union County’s Aaa Bond Rating

Union County’s Aaa bond rating was reaffirmed by Moody’s Investor Services this week. The County maintains its strong financial position looking forward through 2022 and beyond. A rating of Aaa is the highest a county government can achieve. 

“The reaffirmation of a Aaa rating from Moody’s reflects the efforts of our County Management team and affirms our ability to continue fulfilling the civic mission of County government administration in the sectors of public safety, public works, human services and other foundational programs,” said Chair Rebecca Williams.

In its report, Moody’s noted that the Aaa rating reflects the county’s strong fundamental credit quality, reflected in its Aaa GOULT rating, healthy liquidity, and established record of market access.

 “As Chairman of the County Commissioner Fiscal Committee, I am proud of our continued efforts to responsibly manage our County’s budget as we provide for the many important needs of our residents. We strive to demonstrate fiscal responsibility with tax dollars, and this is our third consecutive year with a zero percent tax increase, all while maintaining current services and creating new programs to benefit residents as we navigate the post-pandemic recovery,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados. “County Management has worked aggressively towards our policy objectives while maintaining operating efficiency and that has led to material financial gains. This Aaa rating is a testament to the arduous work of our County Manager, Edward Oatman and Finance Director, Bibi Taylor. ”

“The Aaa rating also applies to the County’s outstanding general obligation unlimited tax (GOULT) debt. This reflects the county’s favorable location and strong economy. Union County is located immediately adjacent to New York City (Aa2 stable) and benefits from easy access to major transportation networks. In addition, strong county management has aggressively pushed operating efficiency, leading to extremely strong finances. The rating also considers the county’s above average wealth and resident incomes and low long-term liabilities.”

“The MIG 1 short-term rating reflects the county’s strong fundamental credit quality, reflected in its Aaa GOULT rating, healthy liquidity, and established record of market access. The pandemic has not had a material impact on the county. The county’s property taxes are guaranteed by its municipalities and management is exceptionally strong and made budgetary adjustments early on in the pandemic,” explained Moody’s.

Among the benefits, maintaining an Aaa rating means the County can borrow money at the lowest available interest rates, saving tax dollars.

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For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

 

Connect with Union County on social media.

 

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Come to the Free “Native Plant Swap and Shop,” June 9

 

Union County residents can come to the free “Native Plant Swap and Shop” event on Thursday evening, June 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and trade harmful, invasive plants from their yard for up to three colorful native varieties that attract butterflies and other pollinators, free of charge. More native plants will also be available for purchase at the event.

The Native Plant Swap and Shop is hosted by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. Pre-registration is required online at ucnj.org/plant-swap.

“The Swap and Shop is a fun way to start introducing beneficial native plants into your yard and garden. It has been a big hit with gardeners in our community, and we are delighted to bring it back this year,” said Union County Commission Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

The Swap and Shop will take place at the Scout Camping Area in the Watchung Reservation, located below the Trailside Nature and Science Center at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside. Ample free parking is available on site.

Admission to the event is free. Attendees can arrive any time after 5:30 and stay as long as they like. Expert naturalists will be on site to provide guidance and information on gardening with native plants.

Attendees can bring any number of invasive plants from their yards to swap for up to three native flowering plants including swamp milkweed, blue wood aster, creeping phlox, narrow leaf sunflower, tall white beardtongue and cardinal flower.

Examples of invasive plants to bring are: Japanese barberry, pachysandra, butterfly bush, garlic mustard, porcelain berry, periwinkle, English ivy and Chinese silvergrass. The invasive plants should be dug up with roots included, and brought to the event in a sealed box or bag.

Residents are also welcome to attend Swap and Shop to purchase native plants. It is not necessary to bring invasive plants from home in order to make a purchase. Toadshade Wildflower Farm will be on site with a variety of native plants for sale. Preordering for pickup is advised, online at toadshade.com.

For more guidance on gardening with native plants, download the free “Plant This, Not That” guide.

For more information about Union County parks visit online at ucnj.org/parks, email parksinfo@ucnj.org, or call 908-527-4900.

Quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities are available at The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection/.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

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A statement from the Union County Board of County Commissioners

 “The Union County Board of County Commissioners share our sentiments of sorrow and sadness over yesterday’s unspeakable tragedy in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. It is extremely difficult to comprehend the horrible and violent actions of people, and even more so when directed at – what should be – a safe space. Violence on this scale at a school is almost impossible to process.

Far too often, we have seen horrific scenes like this play out, places like Newtown, Parkland and Columbine have been etched into our minds. And now, once again, we are left to try to make sense of a senseless act, one that cut short the lives of at least 19 innocent children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.

We stand with Uvalde, Texas and its community. We are heartbroken. We are frustrated, and we are dispirited as we mourn with their students, parents and staff who face a grief that is unimaginable. As we think about these losses and our shared values in relation to the Uvalde community, we need to also work together to find solutions with compassion and partnerships.

While there is so much more we can do as a country, the County of Union continues to fight for smarter Gun Sense laws with having partnerships in place like Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action. We continue to create initiatives such as the Gun Buyback/Turn-In Programs and mental health programs. As elected officials, we work to do everything in our power to protect our residents, our children and our families from gun violence—and we will continue to remain connected and vigilant.

The Board of Commissioners extend our deepest condolences to all those who have been impacted by this horrific crime. We remain united and County strong. May you keep your loved ones close to you during these unsettled times.”