A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood Thursday, July 2, 1998 Page 3
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Union County Freeholder Chair- man Daniel P. Sullivan and Free- holder Linda d. Stender joined the many dignitaries, family members and well-wishers congratulating the graduates of this year's class at the Fire Science Academy Graduation Ceremony, held at Union County College last month.
"One of the most pleasant duties a Freeholder performs is that of con- gratulating the graduates of the Fire Science Training Academy," Free- holder Stender said.
"These men and women give up hundreds of hours to learn the dan- gerous skills of firefighting so they can enter burning buildings, an- swer calls in the middle of the night, battle fatigue, extreme heat and cold They are also required to perform hours of maintenance, cleaning and upgrades to keep the fire fighting and rescue equipment safe and effective. We don't ex- press our gratitude for your dedica-
KEY NOTE ADDRESS...Union County Freeholder Linda d. Stender, left, joined the many dignitaries, family members and well-wishers at the Fire Science Academy graduation ceremony that was recently held at the Union County College' Cranford campus. Also pictured is retired Deputy Chief of the Westfield Fire Department, Roy Cross, who delivered the keynote address at the graduation.
Fire Training Academy Grads Recognized During Ceremony College Retirees
Include Three Township Residents
Thirteen Union County College (UCC) faculty and staff members who are entering retirement during the 1997-1998 academic year were hon- ored by the college administration during a reception held on May 14 at the UCC Cranford Campus.
Dr. Thomas H. Brown, college President, presented each retiree with a gift and honored them with indi- vidual remarks.
Among this year's retirees and their years of hire at UCC are: Dolores Bruschetti, Vice President for Finan- cial Affairs and Treasurer, 1976; Eleanor Fuller, Secretary in the Health Technologies Department, 1975, and Doris Schaefer, clerk in the Student Accounts Office, 1975, all of Scotch Plains.
Also retiring is Roy Smith, board secretary and former Vice President for Institutional Advancement. He has worked for the college since 1957.
Freeholder Speaks Before Chamber on County Projects
Aimed at Economic Growth Mr. Ponte Resigns as Director
Of County Jail; Mr. Coleman To Takeover Later This Month
Joseph Ponte, announced his res- ignation from the Union County's Director of Correction Services.
"In a short period of time, Joe Ponte improved the professionalism and culture of the county's correc- tional system," said County Man- ager Michael J. Lapolla.
James E. Coleman, an official with the City of Nashville, Tennessee, with more than 25 years of corrections experience, has been named to take Mr. Ponte's place. He will assume the position later this month.
Named Assistant Director of the county's Department of Corrections in April of this year, Mr. Coleman is a former corrections officer and di- rector of an inmate work program for the Davidson County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Department. From 1980 to 1993, Mr. Coleman worked for the Tennessee Corrections Institute, de- veloping training programs for local and county level corrections and law enforcement personnel as well as acting as a consultant in jail opera- tions.
He left the Institute in 1990 to work with the National Statute of Corrections in Boulder, Colorado, where he coordinated management training programs for corrections departments across the country.
From 1993 to 1996, he was Direc- tor of Parole Training for the State of Tennessee, then worked and as a Nashville city official within the Mayor's office.
"James Coleman brings a strong background in corrections, having worked as an officer and in the area of officer training on the local, county and national levels," said Mr. Lapolla. "He continues this county's focus on training and professionalism."
On an average day, the county's jail system holds 1,300 to 1,400 pris- oners, the numbers fluctuating widely depending on intake. It has a staff of 380, of which 330 are uniformed officers.
Mr. Coleman said that he plans to focus on overtime at the jail.
"I want to ensure that the facil- ity has proper staff for each shift," he said. "I also want to focus on training and to ensure that the staff has the most up-to-date train- ing possible."
Mr. Ponte began at Union County's jail in November, 1996, following a national search by the county.
He was retired from the position of Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.
Mr. Ponte had also worked for the Rhode Island Department of Correc- tions, a private correctional firm, before coming to the county position.
As Director, Mr. Ponte focused on bringing greater professionalism and increased training to the system. He instituted a number of changes pre-
viously requested by county officials including a strategic planning pro- cess which provided staff participa- tion to resolve problems at the jail. He also brought new management techniques to the jail.
Mr. Ponte, increased the officers training time to 26,000 hours in his first year, and began using the John H. Stamler Police Academy in Union County for corrections officer train- ing. Orientation time for corrections officers increased from three weeks to five weeks per year.
He also increased the training staff by hiring a full-time training officer for the corrections department. Tougher, physical fitness require- ments also were introduced for of- ficer recruits.
"Overall I wanted to develop a more professional highly-trained staff within the county's corrections sys- tem, and we accomplished that," Mr. Ponte said.
Union County Responding To Demand for Soccer Fields
The Union County Board of Cho- sen Freeholders' recent purchase of a 14-acre plot of land from the Kean family not only increases the amount of open space in Union County, but also will help meet the need for soc- cer fields in this area, according to Freeholder Donald Goncalves of Elizabeth.
He noted that the county has in- vested in new soccer facilities or in renovations to existing fields throughout the county in order to meet a growing demand for field space.
"As more and more young people, both boys and girls, take up soccer in our 21 municipalities, they are creat- ing a huge demand for space in both municipal and county fields," said Freeholder Goncalves. "Union County is happy to step in and help."
Unlike baseball or football, he noted, soccer is played through the fall, spring and summer months, plac- ing a constant demand for playing fields.
In addition, there is a great de- mand for adult-sized soccer fields in Union County, which is home to thousands of men and women from the soccer-playing nations in Cen- tral and South America and in Eu- rope. They have formed leagues or informal soccer teams which present a strong demand for adult-sized soc- cer fields, the Freeholder explained.
In the past year, Mr. Goncalves pointed out that Union County has recently completed work on two new fields at Warinanco Park in Roselle. The county is also planning major renovations to a field in Mattano Park in Elizabeth, funded in part by the United States Soccer Federation, which donated $50,000 toward the renovations. It will develop at least one soccer field at Ursino Park on land purchased from the Keen Fam- ily on the border of Elizabeth and Union and will develop a field on Glenside Avenue in Summit. Union County is also working with officials from Scotch Plains and the Voca- tional-Technical Schools to develop a joint soccer/baseball field in the township.
"We responded with new fields or plans to create soccer fields in four county parks and with 'Project Pocket
Parks' which will fund athletic fields in our municipalities," said Free- holder Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan
He noted that the county's efforts help ease the burden on municipali- ties, since teams often use both local and county fields.
"It is my hope that our support for soccer in Union County will ulti- mately lead more young athletes to focus their time and abilities on the soccer field," said Freeholder Goncalves.
Union County Freeholder Donald Goncalves recently spoke before the Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Com- merce to discuss initiatives spear- headed by Union County, which will help spur further economic develop- ment.
The presentation included a discus- sion on the county's support of road and rail improvements leading to the Jersey Gardens Mall and the Elizabeth Center at Exit No. 13A on the New Jersey Turnpike, and increased devel- opment of Route 1 and Route 9 in Linden and Rahway.
The mall, now under construction, is expected to be completed by No- vember of 1999.
Motorists will be able to access the mall and increased retail development, centered around IKEA, via a new over- pass now under construction.
Sixty percent of the airport lies in Elizabeth which has resulted in offi- cials now referring to the facility as the "Newark-Elizabeth Airport."
"The Route 1 and 9 corridor is the backbone of Union County, helping to connect our airport and seaport," stated Freeholder Goncalves. "Increases in development create a need to improve our road and rail infrastructure, that is what the Transportation Development District (TDD) allows us to do."
Another initiative referred to by the Freeholder was the recent approval of $30 million for the Union County Light
FAIR DAYS…Union County Freeholder Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan, right, and Freeholders Deborah Scanlon center, and Alexander Mirabella are seen at the Union County exhibit at the Nomahegan Park Crafts Fair held last week in Cranford. "The county utilizes these fairs as ideal opportunities to reach residents with the diverse recreational and cultural activities available to our residents," Freeholder Sullivan said.
Rail Initiative. This is included in the transportation legislation passed by both houses of Congress and awaiting President Clinton's signature.
"The original proposal to link Eliza- beth exclusively to Newark did not give the residents of Union County the opportunity to connect directly to the airport as well as to the area where the major economic developments are tak- ing place today, such as the Seaport," he said.
He added that the Union County Light Rail Project will help to connect towns such as Roselle, Roselle Park, Cranford and to the west, Plainfield.
The presentation ended with Free- holder Goncalves stating the philoso- phy of the board on economic develop- ment:
"People today are choosing places to invest in, based on quality of life issues," he told the Chamber.
He referred to the recent purchase of the Kean family property in Union to help increase parks and recreational opportunities for the residents of Union County.
"We can talk about economic devel- opment, but we can't make it our only priority. Improving parks, neighbor- hoods, major corridors as well as en- hanced transportation is part of a over- all package that helps to make Union County a more livable place and that should be our legacy for our children," he said.
More County News On Page 18
tion and hard work as often as we should, but it is always there," Free- holder Stender said.
"We are particularly proud to be on the governing body which funds this academy. The science and skills of fighting fires and saving lives have changed dramatically over the past 50 years. Newer improved materials have become available in this field that save lives, making the training received at the academy vital to the welfare of our communities," Free- holder Sullivan said.
Among the spring graduates were Stephen Szanto of Fanwood, and Peter Hampton, Jr. and Stephen Marinaro of Scotch Plains.
"These graduates are continuing a proud and honorable tradition of sac- rifice and dedication to the commu- nities in Union County. We are proud for whatever role the county has played in helping prepare them to meet the challenges they will face," Freeholder Stender said.
Barbara Gilmour Awarded Scholarship At Campbell University
Barbara Gilmour, of Scotch Plains, has been awarded the Alton Glenn and Mary Green Johnson Fine Arts Scholar- ship from Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina.
Campbell University is a liberal arts university offering undergraduate and graduate programs.