Page 2 Thursday, May 7, 1998 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
Support of Port Authority Sought for County Projects
Concerned about the need for better road and rail infrastructure in Union County, the Board of Chosen Freeholders will hear a resolution pledging its support for a light rail or monorail connection to the Elizabeth Seaport through the county, and will request that the county's Council of Economic Advisors work with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to address the transportation project and other economic issues.
Union County Freeholder Donald Goncalves urged the authority to consider three important issues:
· A monorail connection to the Union County Light Rail Transit System.
· A more "equitable" payment system for the City of Elizabeth's property used by the Port Authority.
· Improved communications between Union County and New York City officials.
Union County's proposed 11- mile light- rail system could be connected to the Newark Airport monorail system to provide rapid access to Newark International Airport, the Elizabeth Seaport and the Jersey Gardens Mall from points south of Elizabeth and from Manhattan, Freeholder Goncalves said.
Improving rail systems would, in turn, cut down on traffic congestion and accelerate economic growth, he maintained. "People will have the convenience of taking these trolley- like cars to where they need to go in Union County and, ultimately, to Newark Airport," he said.
Concerning what he described as the Port Authority's focus on New York, Freeholder Goncalves said the agency "has proposed a $1 billion connection to Kennedy Airport, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is still not satisfied.
"While we were supportive of that proposal, maybe its time to sit
down with the Giuliani administration to discuss regional issues," he added.
Freeholder Goncalves, who is Liaison to the Union County Department of Economic Development, explained that, although the agency has proposed that the county expand its presence at Newark International Airport to promote economic development, it has given priority to Newark projects such as the $150 million connection of the airport to the Northeast Corridor rail line.
Some of Union County's transportation needs include completion of a project to widen North Avenue in Elizabeth; assisting in development of a public- private partnership to build the light rail transit system, and work toward passage of the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, which includes funds for Union County, Freeholder Goncalves said.
In addition to petitioning Port Authority support for the monorail connection, Freeholder Goncalves wants the Council of Economic Advisors — a consortium of 22 business, education and government officials who advise the Freeholder Board — to ask the authority to increase payments to Elizabeth in lieu of taxes for land the city sold the agency more than 30 years ago.
Freeholder Goncalves criticized what he called the "inequitable" system of Newark's receiving $25 million annually from the Port Authority in lieu of taxes, while Elizabeth gets only $62,000 from the multi- billion- dollar agency.
"New transit opportunities and economic equality are essential for Union County," Freeholder Goncalves said. "The Port Authority can help us do that by answering our concerns."
Freeholders Offers Free Funds For Trees to Municipalities TREES ARE TERRIFIC... Union County Freeholder Linda d. Stender, of
Fanwood, left, presents a "Trees Are Terrific" kit to Dr. Carol B. Choye, Superintendent of Schools for the Scotch Plains- Fanwood School District, that will be used by the fifth grades. In the background is the butterfly garden planted by the district's first graders.
The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has made an appropriation to provide shade trees, free of charge, to municipalities throughout the county as part of its "Trees Are Terrific" program launched by Freeholder Linda d. Stender, of Fanwood.
The trees are designated to be planted on the grounds of public schools in conjunction with the program. The program features a curriculum kit targeted to teach fifth graders tree identification and the importance of tree stewardship.
While attending an Arbor Day celebration at Central- Five Jefferson Elementary School in Union Township, Freeholder Stender said, "Arbor Day is a celebration of Stewardship and the Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to make this educational opportunity available to the
students of Union County. We are dedicated to a continuing focus on the environmental health of Union County."
The "Trees are Terrific" kits were sent out to all participating fifth grade classes in April. Freeholder Stender said 40 trees were handed out during the last two weeks of April.
In a meeting with Dr. Carol B. Choye, Superintendent of Schools in the Scotch Plains and Fanwood School District, Freeholder Stender saw where one of the white oak or maple trees will be planted.
"We are just delighted to participate in this program," Dr. Choye said.
"Our science program has gotten much stronger recently and projects such as this enforce the lessons learned in class by our students," Dr. Choye said.
Daniel P. Sullivan, Chairman of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, has announced a two- day music festival to be held Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13, at Nomahegan Park in Cranford.
The event, christened "Jersey Jazz by the Lake," will feature continuous live jazz and blues music and food.
"This is a great way to showcase Union County's rich musical and artistic talent as well as our beautiful parks system," said Freeholder Sullivan. "We are going to bring some of the best jazz musicians in the country to Nomahegan Park for this special two- day event."
The jazz festival will offer fun and great music for the entire family. A separate children's stage will have musical acts, improvisational troupes and other entertainment targeted to kids. A small amusement area also will
be set up for kids. "This is going to be a lot of fun and it's also going to show off all Union County has to offer," said Union County Freeholder Mary P. Ruotolo, of Westfield.
"We are developing new programs like this which enrich our quality of life," she explained.
The Board of Chosen Freeholders have said they want the festival to highlight the new energy and vitality in Union County government.
Besides being a lot of fun for families, the festival will bring business and visibility to Union County, a county spokesman added.
"Along with the summer concerts at Echo Lake Park, this is an example of Union County bringing the arts and entertainment to families," said Freeholder Sullivan.
County Clerk's Office Offers Photos for Passport Clients
Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi announced that her office will institute a passport and identification photo service for clients beginning on Monday, May 4.
"We're very pleased to be able to provide our residents with this service," Ms. Rajoppi said. "It allows passport applicants to visit one central location to obtain both the photographs they need for passports and process their application."
The service will provide applicants with two color photographs which are regulation- size for passport applications and alcoholic beverage card identifications. The photographs will be taken at the Clerk's office in the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth and are immediately processed for use. The charge for the photographs is $7.
Ms. Rajoppi said the tremendous increase in passport applications, up
almost 40 percent in the past two years, has necessitated a concurrent increase in serviceability.
"Last year we processed 19,000 passport applications," Ms. Rajoppi said, "and this year we expect an even greater increase." She ascribes the increase to the healthy economy as well as the increase in number of naturalized citizens.
The passport photograph service is available in the Clerk's main office located at the Union County Courthouse, 2 Broad Street, Room No. 114, Elizabeth. The office is opened, Monday through Friday, from 7: 30 a. m. to 4: 30 p. m. The Westfield Clerk's satellite office is open daily, Monday through Friday, from 8 a. m. to 4 p. m. and to 7 p. m. on Thursday.
There is no photographic service available in the Westfield office.
New Jazz Festival Planned For Nomahegan Sept. 12- 13
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