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– Est. 1892 –
Transportation Projects in Union County Detailed For Business Leaders During Alliance Conference
By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
ELIZABETH — Described as a “virtual who’s who of transportation,” the Union County Alliance, a bi-partisan consortium of government, business and civic leaders, last week hosted a conference on transportation issues facing the county.
The efforts of the Alliance are aimed at advancing the county’s interests on development issues.
Among those issues covered were the Transportation Development District (TDD) for the Route 1&9 corridor, the master plan for the Port of Elizabeth, Cross-County Link, and improvements along Route 82/Morris Avenue, and the South Avenue corridor. The Cross-County Link is the third and final segment of the proposed Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link.
The TDD was established by the county to address the demands of the surge in economic development opportunities, particularly in the Port Elizabeth and Linden Airport areas. The airport and the surrounding area are part of a major planned redevelopment.
Among those businesses that are included in the port plan — still in the development stages — are hotels/ conference facilities, distribution centers to service the Port of Elizabeth and Newark Airport, office and logistics centers to support trade and commerce, as well as a intermodal trans-shipment area.
Freeholder Donald Goncalves said that the conference, attended by NJ Transit officials as well as Department of Transportation representatives, proved that, “Union County is back on the map on transportation issues.”
He cited the many projects NJ Transit has completed, including major
improvements to the Westfield and Rahway railroad stations, as well as an $8 million restoration project planned for the Plainfield Train Station. A new station in the Townley section of Union Township on Route 82 is also in the hopper for the agency.
“I felt that people (attending the conference) were really able to see the fruits of our labor coming to bear,” said Freeholder Linda d. Stender, Chairwoman of the board’s Economic Development Committee.
Mrs. Stender said the meeting gave the business community the opportunity to see that their tax dollars are being properly allocated for investments within the county.
She said officials were able to look at the county’s plans regarding such projects as the proposed Cross County Link. The link will provide a seamless transit east-west route from Plainfield to Elizabethport, with access to Newark International Airport.
It will utilize the former Central Railroad of New Jersey right-ofway from Cranford to Elizabethport.
The link will use both the old Central Jersey track as well as NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line, thus passing through Fanwood, Westfield, Garwood and Cranford.
In other business, Freeholder Stender noted that the county will sponsor a Shade Tree Education Conference on Tuesday, March 16. Governing body members, Department of Public Works employees and Planning Board members, as well as shade tree and environmental commissions from the 21 mu
nicipalities in the county, are invited to attend the conference.
Officials from the Department of Forestry will speak on the Community Forestry Act and its implications for local towns.
Mrs. Stender said “there are some very significant training issues we believe municipalities should be informed about that will assist them” in potential liability cases that might pop up regarding town-owned trees. Also, details of this spring’s county tree planting program, in accordance with Arbor Day, will be unveiled.
The Freeholders were greeted with bag pipes at the start of Thursday’s meeting, as members of the county’s St. Patrick’s Day Committee marched into the room.
The third annual county parade will take place Saturday, March 13, beginning at 1 p.m. The parade will travel down Morris Avenue, also known as Route 82, in Union.
Picking up from last September, when the county held its first jazz festival, Jersey Jazz by The Lake, the board again awarded a contract at $28,000 to “This is It!” Concept and Event Production Company of Hoboken as the event promoter. Last year’s jazz festival was held in Cranford’s Nomahegan Park.
The company is noted for its work
Paul J. Peyton for The Westfield Leader and The Times
DON’T FORGET YOUR GREEN...Members of the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee were presented with resolutions in recognition of their efforts in planning this year’s event. The parade will be held on Saturday, March 13, beginning at 1 p.m. on Morris Avenue in Union Township.
Paul J. Peyton for The Westfield Leader and The Times
RECOGNIZED BY BOARD...Scotch Plains Municipal Attorney Andrew Baron accepts a resolution from Freeholder Linda d. Stender of Fanwood, commending him for his efforts as Deputy County Counsel. Mr. Baron resigned to accept his new position. Pictured with him are his wife, Ellen, and children, Ross, 2, and Dory, 5.
SAVING ENERGY…Governor Christine Todd Whitman, seated, signs S-7, a landmark energy deregulation bill, into law. The law will grant a mandatory 10percent rate reduction off electric bills that are currently 50 percent higher than the national average over the next three years, resulting in an average monthly savings of $10 to $20. This is also the equivalent of receiving a free month of electricity each year. Applauding the Governor’s action, pictured left to right, are: Board of Public Utilities Commissioner Herb Tate, Senator Peter Inverso, the sponsor of S-7; Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano, the assembly sponsor; Assembly Speaker Jack Collins, and Senate President Donald T. DiFrancesco.
Drug Awareness Week Begins This Weekend
WESTFIELD — The Westfield Municipal Alliance/PANDA (Preventing Alcohol, Narcotic and Drug Abuse) has announced a series of events to highlight Drug Awareness Week, March 7-13, in the town.
The events are as follows:
· Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7: “Red Ribbon Weekend” – featuring special activities in churches and synagogues.
· Monday, March 8: “Red Ribbon Rally Day”: The community is encouraged to wear a red ribbon and tie ribbons everywhere.
· Tuesday, March 9: “PANDA Day”: A proclamation will be signed by Mayor Thomas C. Jardim at 7:15 p.m. Residents are asked to turn their porch lights on from 7 to 9 p.m.
· Friday, March 12: “Wear Red Day”: Residents are asked to wear red clothing throughout the day.
County Commission to Honor Local ‘Women of Excellence’
The Union County Commission on the Status of Women has selected 12 local women who have distinguished themselves in business, education, health care, government, law, art and community service.
The women will be honored at the commission’s seventh annual awards dinner on Friday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at The Westwood in Garwood. Tickets for the dinner will cost $40 per person and reservations are required.
One woman of excellence, Adele Kenny, is a longtime Fanwood resident. As a teacher, writer and community volunteer, she has distinguished herself for many years. She is being honored for her work in Journalism and Public Relations.
Ms. Kenny founded the Scotch Plains chapter of the Secular Franciscan Order and she is currently coordinator of the Carriage House Poetry Reading Series in Fanwood.
Another honoree, Susan M. MacMullan, currently serves as Municipal Court Judge for Fanwood, Roselle and Garwood.
From 1988 to 1997, she served in the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, where she prosecuted more than 60 jury trial and more than 30 bench trials assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit, the Juvenile and Family Court Section, the Trial Unit and the Appellate Section.
A 1987 graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law, Judge MacMullan is a Westfield resident and a mother of one son.
Geri M. Samuel, the Mayor of Scotch Plains, was also selected as a ‘woman of excellence.’ She was elected to the Scotch Plains Township Council in 1998. A longtime volunteer for community causes, she
is being honored for her work as an advocate for women.
Mrs. Samuel has been deeply involved in the Jewish Federation, cochairing Operation Exodus from 1989 to 1993 and the federation’s women’s division from 1990 to l992.
Last year, Mrs. Samuel donated one of her kidneys to save the life of a Cranford woman.
Another honoree, Nellie Suggs is a Westfield resident who is being honored for her advocacy on behalf of women. She is a career employee with the United States Customs Service and serves as an Equal Employee Opportunity Specialist.
Mrs. Suggs has been instrumental in enabling women to reach supervisory and management positions in the Customs Service through career advancement programs. In addition, she is Treasurer of St. John’s Baptist Church in Scotch Plains, mother of two children and grandmother of three.
Other honorees include Hazel H. Garlic, Glenda Magliore and Roberta T. Feehan, all of Elizabeth; Senator Wynona M. Lipman of Newark; Nora Holley MacMillan of Summit; Sergeant Nancy McKenzie of Rahway; Nancy Terrezza of Union Township; and Charlotte DeFilippo of Hillside.
“It’s wonderful to recognize the accomplishments and community spirits of these fine women,” said Freeholder Mary Ruotolo, of Westfield, liaison to the Commission on the Status of Women. “Their hard work should motivate and inspire all of us.”
“These ‘women of excellence’ are truly remarkable,” added Freeholder Linda d. Stender, of Fanwood. “They inspire us with their intelligence, compassion and determination to improve themselves and the rest of society at the same time.”
For tickets to the dinner, please call (908) 276-1192 or write to the Union County Commission on the Status of Women, c/o Carmela Colosimo, 22 North 19 Street, Kenilworth, 07033. in promoting the Riverfest jazz fes
tival in Red Bank. This year, two additional events will be held. In June, July and August, a “Kids Kingdom Jubilee” will take place at three locations in the county. A Blues festival will be held in July in Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield, followed by the second annual jazz festival on Saturday and Sunday, September 18 and 19, at Nomahegan Park.
The board also approved a longterm plan to renovate the county’s Oriscello Correctional Facility.
The Musial Group of Mountainside was issued a $15,000 contract to draw up architectural plans for renovations to the first floor of the jail.
Jail officials want to eliminate “blind spots” throughout he facility – areas where the line of sight is blocked for jail guards.
“These renovations will make the flow of people, both visitors and prisoners, safer and more efficient,” Freeholder Goncalves noted in a prepared statement issued to The Westfield Leader and The Times.
Located on Elizabethtown Plaza, the facility houses an average of 1,475 prisoners daily in new and older buildings located behind the Union County Courthouse.
Scotch Plains, Summit, Edison,