Westfield Symphony 3x10½
Broadway Dance 3x6 Next Exit
1x2 Concert in the Park Brings
Big Band Sounds to County BIG BAND NIGHT…Union County Freeholder Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan,
center, and Freeholders Mary Ruotolo, on left holding Alexander Mirabella, Jr., and Alexander Mirabella welcome county residents to the fifth concert in the Summer Arts Festival Concert Series in Echo Lake Park in Westfield on July 22, entitled “Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye.” Sammy Kaye Orchestra Director Roger Thorpe, second from right, and Kurt Bendendistel from Union County’s Division of Parks and Recreation are pictured going over the program for the evening.
The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Comcast of New Jersey co-sponsored “Swing and Sway to the Music of Sammy Kaye” on July 22 in Echo Lake Park in Westfield as part of the summer series of concerts in the park.
Under the direction of Roger Thorpe, the Sammy Kaye Orchestra performed songs such as “Baby Face,” “Harbor Lights,” and “It Isn’t Fair.”
“We would like all county residents to know about the concerts in the park, and how fortunate we are to be able to offer this entertainment during the summer,” said Freeholder Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan, who
was joined by fellow Freeholders Mary Ruotolo and Alexander Mirabella in welcoming residents to the concert.
“We thank Comcast for co-sponsoring the Sammy Kaye Orchestra,” he added.
The Union County Summer Arts Festival is held at 7:30 p.m. each Wednesday during the summer. Residents are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic dinner.
For more information on the Union County Summer Concert in the Park series or other activities open to county citizens, please call the Union County Division of Parks and Recreation at (908) 527-4900.
Union County Clean-Up Crews Make a Difference in Towns
What began as a simple request to clean up litter has turned into a very effective and successful program utilized this summer by all 21 Union County municipalities, according to the Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Freeholder Linda d. Stender, frustrated by litter seen in many areas of the county, created a solution. “I knew something had to be done to clean up the roadways and public areas of the county,” Mrs. Stender said.
That “something” was the creation of the Operation: Clean and Green Program. Begun in June, the initiative will continue through the summer months to combat litter in Union County municipalities.
Freeholder Mary Ruotolo of Westfield, along with Westfield Mayor Thomas C. Jardim participated in the program this week in their home town.
“Litter impacts every part of a community’s life, including quality of life, property values and even the success of the downtown shopping areas,” Freeholder Ruotolo said.
“We want residents and visitors to have a clean, vibrant place to live and work,” she added.
The county uses five crews in targeted locations, including parks, county roads, areas specially designated by local officials, and county “gateway roads that lead into downtown and civic areas,” according to the Freeholders.
Officials in each municipality helped identify areas to be cleaned up by the labor crews. These crews consist of supervised inmate crews working on the gateway roads; public works youth crews cleaning up county roads; building service crew members responding to requests from municipal officials, and a crew of 15 seasonal workmen who target county parks, especially Warinanco and Rahway.
Mayor Jardim said he is pleased with the impact the program has had in Westfield, and emphasized the importance of shared services in the county.
“This Clean and Green Program will help make Westfield a cleaner better place to live and work,” the Mayor said.
Freeholder Ruotolo said she is pleased that in addition to the county becoming a cleaner place to live, the program provides jobs for residents.
“So far, over 200 yards of debris has been picked up, but there are still many areas that need to be targeted,” she revealed.
County Reaches Pact With Largest Union
The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has announced that the county has reached an agreement in contract negotiations with its largest union, Council 8.
The three-year contract, which extends from January 1 of this year through December 31, 2000, was ratified in a union vote on July 21.
“I am proud of the agreement we have reached,” said Daniel P. Sullivan, Chairman of the Freeholder Board. “This contract reduces the minimum salaries for new employees and it will allow us to award bonuses based on performance.”
Council 8 represents more than 800 county workers in a wide range of areas including clerical staff, juvenile detention officers, building maintenance workers, road crews and many of the employees at Runnells Specialized Hospital.
While the general wage increase for each year ranges from $600 to $750 in the first and second years (depending on the number of hours worked per week), and between $700 and $850 in the third year, the cost increase to the county is only 2.7 percent in the first year, 2.65 percent in the second year and 2.9 percent in the third year.
Under the new agreement, Council 8 agreed to a 15 percent reduction in the minimum salary levels for their members, which reduces personnel costs over the life of the contract.
The savings from the reduction will be shared by the county and Council 8, making available funds for a merit-based bonus program and improved disability benefits, while reducing the overall cost by about .5 percent a year.
A major improvement in the plan is an agreement on merit-based bonuses, according to County Manager Michael J. Lapolla. In the past, performance evaluations were used only to withhold automatic annual incremental increases in pay for members.
Under the new contract, a supervisor may recommend the bonus, which is $500, for employees who exhibit outstanding job performance.
“This contract allows us to reward long-term employees and employees who do outstanding work,” said Mr. Lapolla. “At the same time, it reduces the cost of the contract to the county by .5 percent each year.”
Savings from the contract also will help fund a higher benefit level for employees who are on disability leave with no additional cost to the county. The benefit will increase from $225 per week to $275 per week.
“By working in cooperation with Council 8, each of us finding our shared goals, we were able to negotiate a contract which is a winner for both management and employees,” said Freeholder Sullivan.
Volunteers are Sought For 1998 Heart Walk
Echo Lake Park in Westfield will be among 14 New Jersey locations on Saturday, October 3, for the American Heart Association’s 1998 American Heart Walk, presented by Aetna US Healthcare.
Volunteers are needed in various capacities for the Union County Heart Walk, including: photography, performers and entertainers; disk jockeys, clowns, walksite set-up and take-down personnel; check-in support, publicity, and distribution of food, beverages and other items at checkpoints.
To volunteer, register or for more information about the 1998 American Heart Walk, individuals may call their local American Heart Association or 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800242-8721).
Peanut Butter-n-Jamm’n Due at Trailside Aug. 19
Peanut Butter-n-Jamm’n will appear at the Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside on August 19, at 1:30 p.m. for the final program in Union County’s Wednesday matinee summer series.
According to Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, Liaison to the Union County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, “Dawne Lehman and Michael Thomas’s unique blend of playful antics and their musical talents lead children and their families on an interactive and entertaining journey for the imagination. Audience participation is irresistible.”
Peanut Butter-n-Jamm’n make regular appearances at hundreds of
indoor and outdoor concerts all year round, performing at arts centers, fairs and festivals. They have also appeared on television with their own half-hour show produced and taped in New York.
Wednesday Matinee performances are for children 4 years old and up and their families. Tickets are $4 per person and are sold at the door the day of the program.
Anyone with questions about the Wednesday Matinee program or other activities at Trailside may call (908) 789-3670. Trailside Nature and Science Center is located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside, and is a facility of the Union County Division of Parks and Recreation.
Freeholders Offer Brochures in Spanish
In order to make Union County government more accessible to people who speak Spanish, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has translated two of its important brochures.
“Tu Guia del Condado de Union” and “Que Es Un Freeholder do Condado de Union” are described as easy use informational brochures which the board is distributing at each of its sites and at special events.
“Residents can use these guides to connect to more than 40 county offices and hotlines, to find charities and private organizations which provide assistance, or to learn more about their county government,” said Freeholder Donald Goncalves.
“We want county government and services to be open to everyone,” he said.
The brochures are being sent to Latino churches, senior centers, clubs and social organizations and to the general public. They will also be made available at county functions such as the Summer Arts Festival concerts and the Jersey Jazz by the Lake Festival planned for Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13.
“There are at least 70,000 people of Hispanic origin living in Union County according to estimates by the United States Census Bureau,” said Daniel P. Sullivan, Chairman of the Freeholder Board, and an Elizabeth resident. “We want to help them use county services and activities.”
Copies of the brochure are available from the Union County Office of Public Information free of charge. Please call (908) 527-4744 to request a copy.
Westfield Students Honored As Teddy Roosevelt Scholars
The first group of Westfield public school students to receive the distinction as Teddy Roosevelt Scholars was honored at a dessert reception in the Media Center of Roosevelt Intermediate School in June.
Twelve members of the eighth-grade class earned the awards by successfully completing in-depth independent research projects in an area of academic interest. Each student worked individu
ally with a faculty member over a sixmonth period.
Opportunities were provided to eighth-grade students in history, language arts, Spanish, French, mathematics and science.
The Teddy Roosevelt Scholars for 1998 are as follow: History, Alexandra Fetissoff, Matthew Lowenstein and Nikhil Koparkar; Language Arts, Kathleen Dura, Elizabeth Heisler, Brian Levy, Katherine McGuiness, Elizabeth Perrella and Elisabeth Salemme; Spanish, Alexandra Brill and Elizabeth Imbert, and French, Megan Lesko.
The students presented the results of their work and thanked their mentors for the many hours of support and guidance.
The mentors included John Martin, Anne Marie Murphy and Barbara Ball in Language Arts; Frank Nolde and Tom Brown in History; Phyllis Freedman in French, and Lynne Gerber in Spanish.
In addition to parents and friends of the honorees, Westfield Superintendent Dr. William J. Foley and Board of Education President Darielle M. Walsh attended the reception.
Fanwood Postmaster Will Meet and Greet Customers Each Day
Early morning customers can count on some additional help next time they go to the Fanwood Post Office. Fanwood Postmaster John Alvarez recently announced a plan to open the lobby doors and greet retail customers at the beginning of every business day from Monday through Friday.
“We are attempting to enhance customer service and speed up the early morning lines,” said Postmaster Alvarez.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to do business with us,” he continued. “The increased interaction with our customers will also provide an excellent opportunity to solicit customer feedback, ideas and suggestions on improving service,” he stated.
The Postmaster indicated that he will have additional postal managers in the lobby to help customers during peak hours. A manager will also be in the lobby on Saturday or during the Postmaster’s absence.
The Fanwood Post Office retail unit is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Helping early morning customers is a local postal initiative designed to complement the Postal Service’s national “Easy Stamps,” program in addressing customer needs, according to the Postmaster.
Market research shows that offering stamps for sale at other outlets clearly reduces the wait in line at the post office for service, and increases customer satisfaction, the Postmaster explained. The Postal Service has set this as a primary goal.
The “Easy Stamp” program allows customers to buy stamps at face value at local retailers like A&P Supermarkets.
Consumers may also use Stamps by Phone at 1-800-STAMP24; Stamps-by-Computer at WWW.USPS.GOV, and Stamps by Mail via a postage paid order form available in any post office lobby.