Saturday, August 18, 2018

Sensory Friendly Trail Opens Monday, August 20 at Trailside Center!

With the kids at the Sensory Friendly Summer Camp
On Monday, August 20, 2018 at 10:00 AM, Union County will be hosting a ribbon-cutting for the new Sensory Friendly Trail at Trailside Nature and Science Center (452 New Providence Road) in Mountainside. The trails are ADA accessible, and there's a Braille Trail with guide ropes,  along with sensory gardens, outdoors classrooms, talking kiosks, interpretive sign language, and sensory play components. This past Thursday, Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados, Human Services Director Debbie-Ann Anderson, and I stopped by the Sensory Friendly Summer Camp, operated by the county's Office for People with Special Needs under the direction of Coordinator Manuel Ramirez. The young people were in the midst of a yoga session when we arrived, and afterward we chatted and enjoyed the outdoors. Additional recreation programs for people with special needs include: 

Karate (Clark Recreation Center) Thursdays, beginning August 23 - September 20
Yoga (Sensory Friendly Trail at Trailside, Mountainside) Mondays, beginning September 10 - October 8 from 5:00 - 6:00 pm; 
Ceramics (Gregorio Center, Linden) Tuesdays, September 18 and September 25. 

For more information, call Manuel Ramirez at (908) 527-4781 or email: Below is the stated mission of the Office for People with Special Needs:
  • To provide recreational and social opportunities for residents living with special needs including physical, cognitive and developmental challenges;
  • To provide outreach to community groups and organizations to identify needs and interests of persons and families living with special needs as an opportunity to design effective programs;
  • To develop additional resources to fund programs targeting engagement of persons living with special needs;
  • To identify and implement an effective means of communication to educate community residents on programs and social events available such as yoga, ceramics, zumba, cooking, golf, swimming, sensory friendly theatre shows, a carnival and a barn dance.

Carnival for People with Special Needs - A Wonderful Event!

Earlier today, Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados and I were on hand
as Union County's Office for People with Special Needs, under the direction of Coordinator Manuel Ramirez, hosted its first Carnival for People with Special Needs at Warinanco Sports Center in Roselle. This was a festive event, with games, a magician, a bounce house, slides, a photo booth, balloon twisting, bean bag tosses, dancing, music by an awesome DJ, and refreshments for the attendees. As you can see from the photos, all who attended had a fabulous time. 

Upcoming Events this fall from the Office for People with Special Needs include the Fall Fishing Derby on Saturday, September 15, from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside and the Walking Club for Teens and Young Adults with Special Needs, where kids (ages 13 - 21) can walk with a Girl Scout who is working to earn her Gold Award. These walks continue on August 25 and September 1 at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, and on September 15 at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.  
For more information on these events, as well as to learn more about the Union County Office for People with Special Needs, call Manuel Ramirez at (908) 527-4781 or send an email to

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Become a New Jersey Notary Public! Register for September 14 Seminar

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi will be hosting a New Jersey Notary Training seminar, presented by Union County Surrogate James LaCorte, Esq., on Friday, September 14, 2018 from 9:30 - 11:30 am at the John H. Stamler Police Academy (1776 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains - 2nd Floor Multi-Purpose Room). 

Notaries serve a variety of important functions, such as administering oaths and affirmations and witnessing the signing of documents. Law firms, banks, insurance agencies, title agencies, real estate companies, and other businesses use notary services. 

Pre-registration is required, as space is limited to 50! A $5.00 registration fee (payable to: Union County Clerk) is required, and applicants must register by Friday, August 31. Please note that there is a dress code (business casual--no jeans or sneakers. Men must wear collared shirts). For more information, see below, or call Donna Connell at (908) 527-4999, or email her at

As noted below, coffee, along with a light breakfast, will be served! Click here: to download the application. 

This link, from the State of New Jersey Department of the Treasury, New Jersey Notary Public Manual, provides more depth about the duties and responsibilities of a notary public.

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi
New Jersey Notary Training
presented by
Union County Surrogate James LaCorte, Esq.
A Notary Training Seminar for New Jersey Notaries Public will be held at the John H. Stamler Police Academy on Friday, September 14, 2018. 
Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi will make opening remarks and review the application process.  Union County Surrogate James LaCorte, Esq.will speak about the legal aspects of the functions of notaries public.  The course will encompass all aspects of being a Notary Public including the application process and legal requirements and responsibilities enabling you to perform your function as a Notary Public with confidence and skill.   
Date: Friday, September 14, 2018
Time: 9:30am – 11:30am
Place: John H. Stamler Police Academy, 1776 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076, The Multi-Purpose Room, 2nd Floor
For Info: Donna Connell: Call: 908-527-4999 / Email:
Fee  A $5 registration fee is required to register, payable to the Union County Clerk
Deadline: Register by Friday, August 31st
Note: Dress Code at the Police Academy is strictly enforced.  Business Casual.  No jeans / sneakers.  Men must wear shirts with collars.
Space is limited to 50 registrants.  Please register early! Coffee and a light breakfast will be served.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Summer Events This Week in Plainfield, Springfield, Clark, Roselle, Mountainside, and Union County!

Here are just a few of this week's events throughout Union County!

Tuesday, August 7: National Night Out at Meisel Park (off Meisel Avenue in Springfield) from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. There will be bounce house-type inflatables for the children to enjoy, free hot dogs for attendees, police and fire safety vehicles on display, and demonstrations by public safety personnel. After the National Night Out festivities, Family Fun & Flix will get underway at dusk with a screening of Cars 3. Free popcorn will be served--enjoy!

Wednesday, August 8: Science of Magic at Trailside Nature & Science Center at 1:30 pm. Focused on education and entertainment, the series continues. Tickets are $5.00. See my earlier post by clicking here: Wednesday Matinees for Kids at Trailside Nature & Science Center

Wednesday, August 8: American Rapture at the Summer Arts Festival in Oak Ridge Park in Clark at 7:30 pm. The concert will once again be preceded by UC Get FIT Community Yoga (from 6:30 - 7:15 pm). For the complete concert series schedule, click here: Union County Arts Festival Press release 

Thursday, August 9: Rhythm Review Dance Party at Plainfield City Hall Plaza (515 Watchung Avenue in Plainfield) from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. Those of you who came out to last year's Rhythm Review know how awesome this event is, featuring our DJs spinning a variety of music--classic house, old school, r & b, hip hop, and favorites from the 60s, 70s and 80s! Come on out for a fantastic evening of music, dance, and fun--bring a chair and a friend!

Saturday, August 11: Warinanco Fitness Festival 2018 from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. This event provides fun and health-related activities for the whole family, with over 30 workouts, cooking demos, activities for kids and more. For more information and to order tickets, click on the link: Warinanco Fitness Festival

So, come out and enjoy these wonderful events and activities--bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during these hot summer days!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Summer Fun in Union County This Week!

This week's summer fun events in Union County! The "Science of Magic" series (focused on education and entertainment) at Trailside Nature & Science Center continues today (Wednesday, August 1) at 1:30 pm. Tickets are $5.00. See my earlier post to learn more about this series by clicking here: Wednesday Matinees for Kids at Trailside Nature & Science Center

Also happening today, Wednesday, August 1, summer music continues in Clark, where music lovers can enjoy The Union County Summer Arts Festival at Oak Ridge Park, with music by Jo Bonanno & the Godsons of Soul, beginning at 7:30 pm. This special concert is dedicated to military personnel. The free community yoga class (from 6:30 - 7:15 pm) precedes the concert. For the complete schedule of concerts, click here: Union County Arts Festival Press Release 

Tomorrow (Thursday, August 2) Plainfield will host its annual Music in the Park Free Community Concert* from 4:00 - 9:00 pm at Milt Campbell Field (East 3rd Street, right off Terrill Road), features an amazing line up, with a DJ, comedy, and great music--to see the entire line up, click here:
Free Concert in the Park at Milt Campbell Field Thursday

On Friday, August 3, beginning at 6:00 pm at the Dunn Center (600 Pearl Avenue in Elizabeth), the Union County Prosecutor's Office is hosting Summer Slam! 2018, a youth basketball tournament in conjunction with personnel from the police departments of Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, and Plainfield. As part of an initiative to foster good relations between law enforcement and our youth, the tournament is free and open to the public. For more information, click here: Union County Prosecutor's Office Summer Slam! 2018

So, come and enjoy summer fun in Union County!

*The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is a co-sponsor of this event, along with the City of Plainfield. 

"Paint by the Pond!" at Warinanco Park on Sunday, August 19

Paul Cézanne, Lake Annecy, 1896, Oil on canvas, 64 x 79 cm, Courtauld Gallery, London
Here's an upcoming activity for our youth (ages 4-12) to express their creative powers through art--the 3rd annual Paint by the Pond, scheduled for Sunday, August 19th from 12:00 - 4:00 pm at Warinanco Park (Gregory's Woods Areas 1 and 2). For more info, call Parks & Recreation at (908) 529-4900. See the press release below for full details.

Press Release
For Immediate Release: August 1, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ — The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites youngsters ages 4 to 12 years old to participate in “Paint by the Pond.” This will be the third year for this interactive art project which will take place on Sunday, August 19 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the pond in Warinanco Park.
The event will take place in Gregory’s Woods Areas 1 & 2, and will allow children to paint cardboard model houses and create art on poster board.
“The Gregory’s Woods setting near the pond will provide the young artists an excellent setting to capture the glorious colors of one of Union County’s showcase parks,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados.
The “Paint by the Pond” project encourages everyone to express themselves and create art with any materials that may be available, even household items that are usually discarded.
There will also be miniature houses made from cardboard boxes floating in the pond at Warinanco Park during the event.
For more information on this exciting event, please call the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation at (908) 527-4900.
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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Upload Recycle Coach: Free App for Recycling & Solid Waste

This is just a reminder for residents of Union County to upload the new app, Recycle  Coach, which debuted this past April. Recycle Coach provides a calendar (personalized for each municipality and zone), that reminds residents of the pick-up days for solid waste and recycling, updated with holiday and weather changes. The app also highlights countywide recycling dates for disposing of electronics, mobile paper shredding, scrap metal, and household special waste (aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, fluorescent bulbs--unbroken, gasoline, mercury switches, motor oil and oil filters, oil-based paints--no latex, pool chemicals, thermostats, antifreeze, batteries, caustics, corrosives and cleaners, pesticides and herbicides). The county website ( also notes what household special waste materials will not be accepted for disposal, along with tips on how to dispose of these items. Read the press release below, and download the app!
Free app connects residents with recycling information in handy mobile format.
Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce the launch of Recycle Coach, a free app designed to help make recycling and solid waste information more accessible to County residents and engage the public in the principles of “Reduce, Re-use and Recycle.”
Recycle Coach provides accurate, up-to-date information on Union County’s recycling events as well as local recycling schedules in a handy, user-friendly mobile format.
“Recycle Coach is an excellent opportunity for Union County residents to obtain accurate, up-to-date information on both county recycling events and local recycling schedules with the touch of a button,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “We look forward to partnering with all 21 Union County municipalities on this exciting new initiative, and pitching in together to boost participation and improve recycling rates countywide.”
The app provides personalized collection schedules based on place of residence. Once a resident downloads Recycle Coach, their calendar will list Union County recycling events along with local curbside garbage and recycling schedules.
The app will advise if there are changes in local collection due to holidays or weather.
Recycle Coach users can also set up recycling reminders and improve their recycling rates through a “What Goes Where?” search tool.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is the first state to purchase the Recycle Coach app and make it available to all New Jersey residents free of charge.
“By improving recycling rates here in Union County, we will also be contributing to our state’s ongoing commitment as a national leader in recycling,” said Chairman Granados.