Saturday, March 17, 2018

PACC hold successful “Lunch Dozen Networking Series” networking event

Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Clerk Khaled Madin speaking to Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce members

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Clerk Khaled Madin spoke at Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce’s new “Lunch Dozen Networking Series,” on Wednesday, March 14.

The program’s goal is to have a small group of members joining together for lunch and a great speaker regarding business, township ordinances, etc.

Parsippany resident Mark Rabson who attended the luncheon said “Informative and educational. Good as a small group to network and ask questions.”

“Excellent and very well done. Interesting subject and great Q & A. Be happy to attend another event in the future,” said Maxine Wolf.

Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Board Member Frank Cahill said “When we surveyed our members, the one suggestion was to have small initimate networking meetings, where you can get to know the other attendees. As we planned our 2018 marketing goals, and with our new offices on East Halsey we kept that goal in mind. Our premises has three conference rooms to utilize and hold small meetings. We are planning on hosting the ‘Lunch Dozen Networking’ on the second Wednesday of each month.”

Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce is located at 90 East Halsey Road, Suite 322. They can be reached by calling (973) 402-6400 or click here.


Letter to the editor: Parsippany Houses of Worship gathered at Town Hall

parsippany focus

parsippany focusDear Editor:

On Thursday, March 15, the leadership of the majority of Parsippany’s Houses of Worship gathered at Town Hall. The purpose was to meet the Mayor, members of his staff and Police Department, and to discuss ideas, issues and concerns about the town in which we live and serve.  There was a lot of positive energy in the room, we learned much about each other, and plan to meet on a regular basis.

Most importantly, we were able to affirm that the diversity each of these leaders represented in terms of faith, nationality, race, and gender is one of Parsippany’s most important assets.  As clergy, we look very much like what the rest of Parsippany looks like: some of us have well established roots here, some are recent immigrants, some of us are on assignment, just passing through.  We come from all over the world, speak different languages, and cherish different cultural traditions. Our families are traditional, blended, bi-racial, multigenerational.  They attend local schools, work in the area, play sports and enjoy all that this community has to offer.  Regardless of our faith perspective, clearly we all want what is best for Parsippany.

This is why, we as Clergy, have pledged to actively work together to help keep our town a safe and welcoming community for all.  And we have agreed to be public about our intentions to promote diversity, inclusivity, and hospitality as part of our service to the community.

I am grateful to Mayor Soriano and to my fellow Clergy and other Leaders who attended this meeting. I look forward to working with all of you in the future.

The Rev. Susan S. Sica
St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, Parsippany


Residents crowd Board of Ed Meeting over “Letter to the editor”

Parsippany residents angry over the "Letter to the Editor" by Nancy Choffo

PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany-Troy Hills Board of Education meeting was packed on Tuesday, March 13 with a number of concerned residents over a “Letter to the Editor” published in Tap Into Parsippany, written by Parsippany resident Nancy Choffo.  The letter published on Monday, March 12 was titled “Parsippany Now Appears to Be a Sanctuary City.”

Ms. Choffo is a One to One Paraprofessional at Intervale School.

In her letter, she states “Just last year, Parsippany was recognized as one of the safest towns in New Jersey.  Now, it is a safe haven for criminal illegal aliens. What a difference a few months can make!”

Resident Adam McGovern, stated “I want so speak in relation to a Letter to the Editor on Tap Into Parsippany from Nancy Choffo, who I understand is an employee of the schools.In recent meetings your position was stated clearly from Dr. Sargent, about immigration issues, which is no letting in ICE agents without judicial warrant, and that schools are in general area a safe zone, and i think it needs to be reaffirmed that of this public statement from a Parsippany school employee, although I think she was speaking as a private citizen. I feel it is important for the educational body of our town not be associated with erroneous information especially when that information did cause alarm. The Mayor of course, as stated in the letter, did not declare Parsippany as a “Sanctuary City” or any thing of the kind. That would take a vote of the Town Council, and no doubt a lengthy debate. What Ms. Choffo, is seems to referring to is not a “Sanctuary City” policy but the so called 287G program which deputizes local law enforcers as immigration agents. This is an opt-in since the 10th amendment of the Constitution prescribes federal functions being imposed on state or local jurisdictions. It’s usually done on a county, and not a town level anyway, and Hudson County for one just ended their 287G program and a very few in the state. In previous meetings you’ve stated clearly that you wanted a safe and welcoming environment for all students, and it’s also been expressed to me that you don’t want to draw unwelcome attention from extremists to more peaceful, diverse town. And that makes sense because our town is not being flooded by criminals, as, in the letter, but it’s largely composed of people from all over the world. Simply being here without documentation is a civil, not criminal offense and ICE arrested people with no criminal record of going up by a factor of 10 since 2016. And this fosters a climate that’s intimidating to everyone, I think. I mean, I’ve expressed to the board before that I think that we as a very diverse and peaceful town, you know, should get in front of this issue, not worry about the risks of drawing attention to ourselves because the spotlights now put on this issue, by somebody in your own employ whose position I believe is misinformed and exaggerated. So I’d like to hear whether you as a board will be aligned with that or not.”

Resident Beatrice Marquez then stated  “I was very very upset by the letter that went into Tap Into Parsippany, and I would like to use it as an opportunity for our community to start a dialogue about Sanctuary Cities, and about 287G, because my biggest concern was not that she wrote the letter, or even a member of the associate board, I didn’t like the inflammatory language. I think these are the kinds of issues that need to be addressed with facts and figures from people from both sides, from both sides, but less say it real information from people who are authorities on the subject because as someone who came to this country legally on Cuban American and you know, the US wanted lots of here I am here and I did suffer seriously discrimination because I was part of the ruling class. I happened to look white. If I were a slightly different color it would have been really hard for me.”

Dr. Rozella Clyde stated “I went to draw your attention to the young people in this school district because we’ve heard a lot information about a lot of attitudes concerning the inflammatory nature of the letter that was written by an employee, but that letter had been read by young people. I would really request you consider very, very seriously the impact that these kinds of ideas in this kind of rederick has on the young people in school districts. We had seen the students, the young people from Florida, step forward and assume leadership positions establish shape at sharing their anger fear hurt over what happened within their school district. The young people in Parsippany school districts have also been hurt by these attitudes and these ideas and I think that the ripple effect that it’s going to have across the families, young people cannot be ignored while we were talking about first amendment rights. We also have to think of the right of every single child to be safe and live in a safe environment, be educated in a safe and neutral environment and be welcomed and encouraged them very, very encouraged by your mission statement is it is a beautiful mission statement. If you really mean that mission statement, then action has to be taken to protect the young people and to let them know that the adults in the room are aware of the nature of these comments and that they will be protected.”

“I’m shocked that today in 2018 on reading something, this kind of letter I just wanted to, it’s just so upsetting or just can’t believe it or you went to school here and this is just upsetting to think that the board of education employee would write something like that. I’m the child of immigrants or somebody else here, Cuban, Jamaican, and my parents, when they came here to rent an apartment, they were told no and they had to go to court and they won. And I got to live here in this city. I’d love Parsippany and I, it just breaks my heart to think that this is the way, the type of letter that’s in the paper and that people will feel that way. And now children are going to be scared. And I just hope that the board of education does not feel this way and doesn’t advocate those feelings and that will work to make sure that children are taught to be accepting and loving and not be hateful,” said Mayra Yonebayski.

After the public session, Board of Education President Frank Neglia said “Let me start out by first saying our employees have the right to express themselves in the various public venues that are available to them. When they speak, they do not speak for this board. They speak as private citizens for themselves. The president of the board of education is the only individual authorized to speak on behalf of the board and the superintendent speaks on behalf of the district. We reiterate that the district and board remain committed to the safety, equality and welfare of all our children. Nothing is more important than the folks at this table.”

“To follow up, additionally the views presented by the writer do not represent the views of the board or of the district, as you’ve seen through a budget presentation we have not only the mission statement language, and which strategic planning goals that speech to developing compassionate learners and city minded students. I’ve been present numerous cultural days where students are celebrating your heritage with their friends and teachers. We value diversity and enriches our lives,” said Parsippany-Troy Hills School Superintendent Dr. Barbara Sergent.

Editor’s Note: Parsippany Focus did not receive this letter to the editor dated March 12, 2018, from Ms. Choffo. It is our policy to publish all letters of verified writers, with a disclaimer: All information contained in a letter to the editor, is the opinion of the writer and not the opinion of Parsippany Focus. We have on occasion received articles to publish from Ms. Choffo, in fact this week we received a press release regarding another matter, which was published on 


Inattentive driver following too close hits vehicle

The red 2012 Acura

PARSIPPANY — Mr. John Morales, Parsippany, was stopped in traffic in the southbound lane of Littleton Road making a left turn into the BP Gas Station, when he was struck in the rear by a 2012 Red Acura driven by Ms. Geetika Patel, Chatham.

Ms. Patel, told Parsippany Police she was looking through her mirror checking on her children in the back seat and did not see that Mr. Morales had stopped, and struck his vehicle.

Parsippany Police Officer James Seeger determined damage consistent with driver statements, and that the crash occurred due to Ms. Patel’s inattention and following too close.

Mr. Morales was driving a 2011 Hyundai Sonata

Mr. Morales was driving a Red Hyundai Sonata. Both vehicles were towed from the scene by Eagle Towing.


EMT father saves daughter using Heimlich Maneuver

Brian Wheelock, Molly, Jenn Sikora and members of the Parsippany Volunteer Ambulance Squad

PARSIPPANY — “Scariest moments of my life when our five-year old Molly started choking during dinner on Tuesday, March 13,” said Brian Wheelock.

The culprit hard crusty bread (not this actual piece)

“I didn’t even notice at first she couldn’t speak but was smart enough to get out of her seat and walk over to me. Face bright red-eyes wide and no air in or out,” he continues.

Brian has been an EMT for ten years and has taken CPR classes numerous times but never thought the first time he’d use the Heimlich Maneuver would be on his own child.

He honestly can’t remember many details except that he called 911 and his two daughters were amazing: using flashlights in the window to flag down the approaching Police and Ambulance then unlocking the door and leading them in and taking care of the dog (who was flipping out).

“We got the food to finally move (a piece of hard bread) and at first she could only exhale but soon it all cleared (I think I kept giving the Heimlich but so foggy),” he said.

The scene out the window after the emergency was over

Brian says he was thankful the police and ambulance were both on scene within five minutes; and so glad by then Molly was breathing and things were calming. His adrenaline was pumping so much he needed Oxygen himself; but was relieved to Jenn Lappine Sikora and fellow members the squad (Parsippany Volunteer Ambulance) walking in to calm a stressful situation (and thanks for the hug, Jenn!).

Wheelock urges everyone especially parents with young kids: Take a CPR Class (where you will also learn The Heimlich Maneuver). You may save a life (and it could be someone dear to you).

To learn more about taking a CPR class click here. You can also contact the American Red Cross by clicking here.

The actual text that was transmitted to all the volunteers

Islamic Center opens in Parsippany

Mayor Michael Soriano

PARSIPPANY  — On Saturday, March 3, Mayor Soriano and Council President Paul Carifi Jr.  joined the Islamic community in welcoming the opening of Parsippany’s first Islamic center.  The Islamic Center of Lake Hiawatha is located at 292 Route 46 West, and is open 7 days a week for any Muslim who wishes to pray.

Mayor Michael Soriano speaking at the opening of the Islamic Center of Lake Hiawatha
Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr., speaking at the opening of the Islamic Center of Lake Hiawatha
Brother Abdul Rahman, Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr., Brother Aamir Yousuf, Mayor Michael Soriano and Brother Zuyhab Khan
Adam Kandil, Paul Carifi, Jr., Brother Aamir Yousuf, and Mayor Michael Soriano

Chief Philipps will receive payout of $429,379.11 from Parsippany

Police Chief Paul Philipps and Former Mayor James Barberio

PARSIPPANY — After serving the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills for over 38 years, Chief of Police Paul Philipps, retired on March 1, 2018.

According to public records, Philipps was earning annual salary of $196,805 prior to his retirement.

He will receive $418,517.14 in unused sick and vacation time, as well as another $10,861.97 for unused “comp” time, for a total of $429,379.11.

Philipps was named acting chief on March 1, 2013 after the retirement of Anthony DeZenzo, and was officially sworn-in as Chief by Former Mayor James Barberio on March 31, 2013. DeZenzo finished his PPD career with a payout of $379,082.31. DeZenzo also receives an annual pension of $131,951.76. As of this date, Philipps annual pension hasn’t been released by New Jersey Pension system.

He began his career in October of 1979, as a member of the 12th Police Academy Class at the Morris County Police Academy. Over the past 37 years he steadily progressed through each of the ranks and cycled through every division. He is a graduate of the West Point Leadership and Command Program, has received training in Leadership and Anti-Terrorism from the United Kingdom’s Police Staff College, and received his Master’s Degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He assisted during the recovery and cleanup of both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

Within the first three years of his career, while investigating a minor motor vehicle crash, he was struck by a pickup truck, which was driven by a drunk driver. He was hospitalized for over a week due the injuries he sustained. Two other notable events that occurred during his career occurred after a man he revived through CPR met him a year later on the anniversary of the event and thanked him for his lifesaving actions. The second notable event was when he prevented someone from harming himself while also preventing the man from harming the other officers on scene. Months later, that man apologized for his actions and thanked him for preventing him from injuring himself.

Chief Philipps has received a multitude of training over his career and participated in many community-based organizations. He has partaken in the following organizations and/or held notable positions in them, such as Director of Parsippany OEM, Company Commander of the Morris County Rapid Deployment Force, Dive Coordinator and Rescue Diver with Parsippany Rescue and Recovery, past President of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany and also served on their Board of Directors. He has also been an active participant since 2007 with the Police Unity Tour, which is a bicycle ride from Northern New Jersey to Washington, D.C. to honor and raise money for fallen police officers.

Throughout his 38 years of service he has earned numerous awards which include a Meritorious Service Medal when he prevented a suspect from stabbing a fellow officer, a Unit Commendation, 3 Command Citations, and an Exceptional Duty Award. He has also received multiple awards for his work with the community and as a police officer such as being named the Kiwanis Club Kiwanian of the Year, Rotary Club Outstanding Officer of the Year, and he received the Lakeland Hills YMCA Community Service Award.



Parsippany Police Chief Andrew Miller sworn in

Former Police Chief Paul Philipps, Captain Thomas Carney, Police Chief Andrew Miller and Mayor Michael Soriano

PARSIPPANY — Mayor Michael Soriano held a swearing-in of Parsippany’s newest Police Chief Andrew Miller, and Captain Thomas Carney on Thursday, March 15.

Miller appointed as Acting Chief on March 1, officially takes the position of Parsippany’s top brass. In his opening address, Soriano said he was informed that Miller is the eighth chief in the history of Parsippany.

Chief Miller took the oath of office in the Municipal Building, surrounded by family, friends, elected officials and residents of Parsippany.

Miller replaced Paul Philipps who retired on February 28.

The Miller Family: Paula Evans, Larue Miller, Chief Andrew Miller, Robert Miller, Corey Miller, Zacher Miller with Mayor Michael Soriano

“I don’t want to make one decision as chief without it being knowledge-based. It’s about communication and collaboration and constant assessment and reassessment, and making myself available to every member of this department, the community and the mayor’s office. That is my pledge,” Miller said.

Captain Miller has served with the Parsippany Police Department for twenty-six years, most recently serving as commander of the Investigative Division. In addition to eight years of honorable service in the New Jersey Army National Guard, he holds a Master’s Degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is also the recipient of eleven awards and commendations from the Parsippany Police Department, including the Exceptional Duty Medal and Life Saving Award.

“Having proudly served the Parsippany Police Department for twenty-six years, it is with great excitement that I accept the honor of serving as Chief of Police,” Miller commented.  “This incredible opportunity is owed to the Parsippany Police Officers who I’ve worked for and with over the years, whose leadership, influence and shared job experiences provide the knowledge and ability necessary for me to assume this trust.  To Mayor Michael Soriano, your confidence and trust in me is greatly appreciated.”

Former Police Chief Paul Philipps, Morris County Freeholder Heather Darling, Morris County Prosecutor Fred Knapp, Parsippany-Troy Hills Council President Paul Carifi, Jr., Parsippany-Troy Hills Councilman Michael dePierro, Councilwoman Loretta Gragnani, Parsippany-Troy Hills Town Clerk Khaled Madin, Director of Utilities Jonathan Nelson, Parsippany Business Administrator Ellen Sandman, Parsippany CFO Ann Cucci, Chief of Staff Matt Clarkin, Public Information Officer Tom Jones were among the officials at the ceremony.

“I want to congratulate Chief Miller. It was an honor and a privilege being able to be there today for his swearing in. I have known Andy for his entire career and he has always been a true professional and an excellent police officer,” said Council President Paul Carifi, Jr.

“Two Good Police Officers … I wish them the best,” said Councilman Michael J. dePierro.

In addition to swearing-in Chief Miller, Lieutenant Thomas Carney was promoted to Captain.

Captain Thomas Carney has been a member of the Parsippany Police Department for 26 years.  He became a Sergeant in 2005, Lieutenant in 2010, and was appointed as a Provisional Captain between April 2014 and April 2017. He has previously commanded both the Support Service Division and the Patrol Division. He will now reassume the position of Division Commander for the Patrol Division.

During his career, he has received numerous Unit Citations and Letters of Commendation.  His training includes the NJ Chief of Police West Point Command & Leadership Program, Supervision & Police Management FBI Program, Advanced Police Traffic Control Engineering, Special Large Events Management Program and numerous other certifications.

He has an associate’s degree from F.I.T. in New York City.  Has been studying martial arts for over 30 years, and currently holds a title of master in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu.
Captain Carney has a loving family which includes his wife, Liz and five children: Maye, Avery, Zion, Xander and Autumn.

Prosecutor Knapp and Deputy Chief of Investigations Wilson Attend Homeland Security and Preparedness Presentation

FBI Special Agent in Charge Tim Gallagher, NJOHSP Director Jared Maples, Prosecutor Fredric Knapp, and Deputy Chief of Investigations Stephen Wilson.

MORRIS COUNTY — Prosecutor Fredric Knapp and Deputy Chief of Investigations Stephen Wilson attended the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness quarterly Interfaith Advisory Council meeting at Christ Church’s West Campus in Rockaway, on March 14. The guest speakers at this event included the Director of the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Jared Maples, FBI Special Agent in Charge Tim Gallagher, Pastor David Ireland of Christ Church, Jeff Gold of NJOHSP, and Chief of the Grants Bureau at the NJOHSP Dan Morocco.

The purpose of the quarterly Interfaith Advisory Council meetings are to create strong and lasting partnerships between local clergy, community leaders, law enforcement, and the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. They give these various members of the community a platform to host positive discussions, concerning the best methods of ensuring that all parties have the capability to work together to create a safe environment.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Tim Gallagher, Pastor David Ireland, NJOHSP Director Jared Maples, and Prosecutor Fredric Knapp

Director Maples opened up the morning with some welcoming remarks, thanking Pastor Ireland and the Christ Church for hosting the event, as well as their local partnerships such as the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office for attending. He kept his remarks brief, but the one main point that he got across to the audience, was that the first responders in New Jersey are working with the NJOHSP, to become “first preventers”. Director Maples stressed the importance of preventing major incidents before they occur.

Following Director Maples, the next speaker was FBI Special Agent in Charge Tim Gallagher. Agent Gallagher spoke on how the NJOHSP has been working to foster relationships with community leaders. He specifically noted that their goal is to get to know local clergy and county leaders on a one to one basis, so that if the time comes when there is an incident, all stake holders they will already have a working relationship.

Pastor Ireland spoke on behalf of Christ Church and their two parishes, one in Rockaway and the other in Montclair. He ran a short presentation focusing on Christ Church’s goals of reaching the younger generation. Pastor Ireland aims to rebrand the church, while maintaining the message that has drawn approximately 9,000 people to their congregation. In this day and age, young men and women need a safe space to speak about their problems, or problems they see in the world, and Pastor Ireland wants them to know that Christ Church is open for that.

Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) plays a major part in the work that the NJOHSP does. Jeff Gold broke down the various ways that their office has worked with the community in the past to stress how useful SAR can be. Partnerships with the New York Giants, New York Jets, and NJ Transit have helped spread the “See Something, Say Something” campaign.

The final speaker of the morning was the Chief of the Grants Bureau at NJOHSP Dan Morocco. He spoke on the newly created Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program, which is a competitive grant program that has one million dollars available in 2018. This program will allow approximately one hundred recipients to afford security at their offices, and events, ultimately making New Jersey a safer place for all involved.

Following the speakers, an open forum was held, so that all attendees had the opportunity to share their ideas, as well as ask questions of the NJOHSP representatives. The forum lasted approximately one half hour, and allowed the various community leaders and clergy to meet each other.

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Prosecutor Knapp embrace the opportunity to work closely with local clergy and community leaders throughout Morris County.

Woman’s Club Members Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday as Cats in the Hat

Woman's Club of Parsippany-Troy member Cathy Haney and Marilyn Zarzycki, WCPTH Dr. Seuss Reading Project Chairman, help present Parsippany Child Day Care Center Director Peggy Rauscher, with a copy of The Foot Book. Also pictured are club members Janet Reilly, Lois Brown and MaryAnn Coyne

PARSIPPANY — In celebration of Dr. Seuss’ March birthday, members of the Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills (WCPTH) once again read to the children at the Parsippany Child Day Care Center.  The National Education Association (NEA) Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually in March   Read Across America  is the nation’s largest reading celebration, with more than 45 million students, parents, educators and others participating every year.

WCPTH members donated a copy Dr. Seuss’s The Foot Book to the Day Care Center Library and provided afternoon snacks to the children for a Dr. Seuss party!   As part of their Annual Dr. Seuss Project, copies of Dr. Seuss’s Hunches in Bunches were also donated to the three Parsippany Libraries.

Proceeds for this and other educational projects, were made possible by the funds raised at the club’s annual Tee Off for Education Golf Classic Fundraiser.  This year’s 37th Annual Tee Off for Education Golf Classic & Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, July 10 at the Knoll Country Club (West).

The Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills is a member of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs, which is the largest volunteer women’s service organization in the state, providing opportunities for education, leadership training, and community service.   The next General Meeting is Monday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Lake Parsippany Rescue & Recovery Building, 100 Centerton Drive. For more information call Cathy at (973) 984-0758, e-mail the club at, or click here. 

Meeting schedule is subject to change.  Please contact Cathy (Membership Chairman) if interested in attending a meeting or to confirm date and time.

PHS Academic Decathlon Team participated in Competition

Jacqueline Lui, Varshini Chennupati, Sejal Murthy, Jessica Ho, Alice Limanova, Hugh Kwong, Ellie Xu, Sriram Rao, Adam Ye, Richard Sevilla, Aneesh Kakirde, Shiv Patel, Anthony Martucci, Philip Varghese, Andrew Lie and Daniel Kuo

PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany High School Academic Decathlon (AcDec) Team recently participated in the New Jersey State Competition. The competition was held at Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes on Saturday, March 3. Parsippany High School’s team placed first in the state and won the Super Quiz.  As State Champions, Parsippany High School will advance to the National Competition April 19-21 in Frisco, Tx. This is their 6th state championship.

Eight team members and nine alternates competed in the State Competition. Team members who participated were: Daniel Kuo, Hugh Kwong, Andrew Lie, Alice Limanova, Anthony Martucci, Shiv Dipak Patel, Adam Ye and Ellie Xu,  Overall, the Parsippany High School team took home 57 awards and honors for the regional competition.

Academic Decathlon is a ten-event scholastic competition for high school students. The events include math, science, social science, literature, economics, art, music, speech, essay and interview. This year’s theme is Africa. Team coaches are Nancy Lennon, Science Teacher and Stacy Cozin, Media Specialist.


Troop 173 received the Fishawack Community Service Award

PARSIPPANY — Boy Scout Troop 173 has received the Fishawack Community Service Award on behalf of Patriot Path Council.
In 2017, Troop 173 worked 1,392 community service hours on over 12 projects.  This is the highest number of service hours of any Troop in the District.  These projects included Troop sponsored hurricane relief collection, toy drive, food drives, Eagle projects and individual community service time. The scouts dedication to helping others truly makes a difference to so many people and communities and their efforts are not going unnoticed.  A patch will be awarded to each Scout and a ribbon for the Troops flag.
Troop 173 was chartered by the Sedgefield Civic Association in 1957. Yet from its beginning, Troop 173 has included boys from all over Morris County in its programs. While most of our members come from the area of Parsippany from Lake Parsippany to Powder Mill, we have had members as far away as Succasunna and Randolph.
For more information click here.

Letter to the editor: Resolution Politically Designed to Take the Moral High Ground 

parsippany focus

parsippany focusDear Editor:

At the last council meeting of Tuesday, March 13, Councilman dePierro read his reasoning for why Parsippany should express opposition to proposed State legislation to permit “recreational use” of marijuana. In my opinion this unnecessary concern is designed purposely to hold back and slight the newly elected administration and Governor Murphy. In short to somehow seize a pretended moral ground. At the very least should not this issue be taken up, if at all after State legislatures decide the issue and pass a law?

dePierro’s marijuana resolution does not represent a wholesome discretion in its scope and findings; in short it is political rather than scientific or based on known facts and contentions. His resolution first proposed by former councilman Valori after he lost reelection equated marijuana with opiates and was a throwback to the 1930’s equated pot with being a “gateway drug” on a road to addiction and degeneracy, in my opinion to deliberately cause a rift not in the town’s best interest but to serve vested private interest in local governance.

What councilman dePierro read at town hall near the end of the meeting was based on an already made up mindset with selected and biased anti marijuana literature coming out of the State of Colorado, a one source one-sided paper, presented to him by a member of the public. He did no further research or due diligence concerning valid and available research from reliable and recognized sources.

The Colorado papers leave many obvious questionable assertions; increase in auto accidents for one. Siting the number of accident over a given time frame is pure randomness blamed on marijuana. This increase is simply applied to the dates after legalizing, where as marijuana was still being used illegally, and accidents are random occurrences increasing or decreasing at any time.  To the contrary; however a large case-control study conducted by the National Highway Traffic safety Administration found no significant increased crash risk attributable to cannabis after controlling for drivers age, gender, race and presence of alcohol.

dePierro’s contentions that marijuana unlike alcohol remains in the body longer, as if alcohol is somehow healthier in comparison is ludicrous. His example are almost fantasy scenarios of extreme if at all cases; including woman becoming sterile. He imagines marijuana chainsmokers. He asserts seven hours after consuming alcohol all is fine again, ignoring for example alcoholism or sclerosis of the liver. A walk around the town reveals thousands of waste debris all related to alcohols readily made convenient consumption.

Everything must be seen according to it’s background when we take the role of drugs in history, beginning with the Chinese Opium Wars of 1841, 1861 fought to keep Chinese laborers on opium to be exploited by the British. The iron-triangle of Southeast Asia and the CIA during the Vietnam War; Iran-Contra drug smugglers of the NSA up to the present poppy economy of Afghanistan. Combine this with the pharmaceutical promotions of their many drugs and side effects and ask what are we really talking about here? Many social and psychological factors are involved with addiction many studies of substance abuse use often dependence as a proxy for addiction even though it is possible to be dependent without being addicted.

The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine has more than enough literature and studies based on investigative knowledge disproving the gateway contentions of anti-marijuana advocates. Facts Matter the science is clear; marijuana is not a gateway drug.
 Mr. dePierro’s resolution should be voted down. Parsippany has more obvious and ongoing problems that Mr. dePierro seems not to be concerned.

Its telling how we never see the very system of our way of life as the reason why so much need to escape it exists, there is a big difference between a pastime of recreation and that of addiction.
Nick Homyak
Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034

eBorg Robotics Triumphs at NJ & PA FTC State Championships


PARSIPPANY — eBorg Robotics team organized a free STEM Career Day at Enrich Learning, 50 Route 10 West on Friday, March 9. The Team coordinated a panel of doctors, engineers, professors, and technocrats to speak about their experiences and offer advice.

Rookie Team #12538 eBorg Robotics is a non-profit organization that participates in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). The goal of FTC is to ensure students develop STEM skills by designing and building robots to solve an annual challenge, learn to raise funds, and do community outreach. Each season ends with the Super-Regional and then FIRST Championship.

eBorg Robotics consists of Middle and High school students from Morris and Essex Counties. Team members include: Team Captain Kevin Mathew, Neil Mathew, Arnav Khanna, Tesia Thomas, Anish Chidella, Brain Liew, Emily Liew, Mihir Vemuri, Rahul Mehta, and Tiffany Thomas. Team Coach Amit Joglekar described the Team saying, “What powers the human hands is not just one or two fingers, but it’s the synchronized effort of all the uniquely gifted yet diverse tactile members. I believe the same is true for the power behind our Team.”

The Team had the opportunity to meet with Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano. Eighth grader Mihir Vemuri from Central Middle School, Parsippany said, “It was an honor to meet with the Mayor who was amazed to hear about our journey. He encouraged us to continue pursuing our interest in STEM and told us to keep updating him on our journey.” Mayor Soriano praised the team and wished them luck in their upcoming competition.

On Saturday, February 24, eBorg Robotics became the Champions of the Pennsylvania FTC Championship Tournament. eBorg Robotics was part of the winning alliance, automatically qualifying the Team for the Super-Regional. eBorg Robotics was also the Team that won the most Judged Awards. The Team won the Inspire Award, which is given to the team that most embodies the goals of FTC. The judges said that eBorgs, “is spreading the word of FIRST not only across their community and their state, but also around the world. Their enthusiasm and energy propelled them to become a shining beacon of possibilities in FTC. The judges found it futile to resist them.”

The Team was also awarded the Promote Award for making the most compelling video that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Coach Amit Joglekar received an Honorable Mention for the Compass Award for all his guidance and support. The Team was awarded second place for four awards including the Motivate, Robot Design, Connect, and Think Awards. The Promotion and Outreach Manager of the Team, Emily Liew, said, “Our team does more than just build robots; we want to open doors for those with fewer resources and less exposure to STEM and that was what our Promotion video was all about!”

On Sunday, February 25, the Team participated in the New Jersey FTC Championship and won again and qualified for the Super-Regionals. However, since they had already qualified from Pennsylvania, the Team graciously offered their spot to the next winning team.

Team Captain Kevin Mathew, a junior at The Academy for Mathematics, Science and Engineering, said, “As a Rookie Team, we went through many challenges. We had to go through many iterations of our robot to perfect its design, which was an expensive endeavor. Therefore, we had to improve our marketing skills to find more sponsors. I am proud of the successes our Team has achieved.”

eBorg Robotics’ mission is to spread knowledge of STEM in their local and global communities. Some of their outreaches have been in India, Livingston and Millburn High Schools, Liberty Science Center, Greater Life Community Center in Newark, and local libraries.

Marketing Manager Tesia Thomas from Liberty Middle School said, “I am very proud of all our accomplishments during this season. A big thank you to our Grand Sponsor Enrich Learning East Hanover and our Terabyte sponsors Vertellus, Parsippany and Radiant Solutions who continuously support us. We are excited to give back to the community with our STEM Career Day and we hope that we can spark interest in STEM and Robotics to other students.”

More information about eBorgs and their progress can be found by clicking here. The Team is now preparing for the Super-Regional Championship on March 16-18, 2018 with the hopes of qualifying for the FIRST World Championship in Detroit.


Parsippany Elks to hold Craft and Vendor Fair

Landon Weiss, an 8th grader at Central Middle School, began to practice the art of book folding

PARSIPPANY — The Ladies Auxiliary of the Parsippany Elks Lodge #2078 will be having a craft and vendor fair on Saturday, March 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 230 Parsippany Road.

The event is to raise funds that go directly to support children with special needs, Elks Camp Moore and veterans.

Take a chance on winning the lottery tree which has $100 in scratch off tickets on it. Walking tacos will be sold again too. There is no entry fee for this event.

The list of vendors to date are:
B&B Apiarists-Fresh local Honey
Cathy’s Creations-Crocheted Animals and Baby Blankets
Connie’s Homemade Xhocolates
Janet’s Keepsake Cards
Handmade pressed flower serving plates
My Timely Creations-crafty clocks
Book Folding Fanatic by Landon Weiss
Shelter Helpers-Pet items
Hey Whichcraft-Customized Easter baskets
Get Impressed-Customized/personalized items
Doug’s Homemade Meat Rubs/Jerky
Lisa Barnett  beaded handmade jewelry
Lisa Lags – Affordable Bling Jewelry
Glass painting and wire art
Unique Cosmetics
Nail Art
Mary Ann- Embroidered Hand Towels
Flats for Feathered Friends-Handmade Birdhouses
LulaRoe Clothing
Moscati’s Biscotti
Smart Soap & Candle Co.

Pennacchio Urges Action on Legislation to Hold Utilities Accountable

File Photo

MORRIS COUNTY — Outraged by repeated power outages following recent nor’easters that left tens of thousands of New Jerseyans without electricity for days on end, Senator Joe Pennacchio is pushing for action on legislation that would hold utility companies accountable for their failure to provide reliable service.

Senator Joseph Pennacchio

“After a string of long-term power outages in 2011, I began working on an effort to require utility companies to improve their preparedness and reliability, and to hold them accountable when they fail to restore service in a timely fashion,” said Pennacchio. “When Sandy resulted in even longer outages, the critical need for this legislation became even more evident. Our recent week-long outages following this winter’s nor’easters proved the point yet again. After six years of inaction, we can no longer ignore the need to improve the reliability of the electric service that our families are dependent on to be safe and secure in their homes.”

Pennacchio’s legislation, “The Reliability, Preparedness, and Storm Response Act of 2012,” was first introduced on October 1, 2012, nearly a month before Superstorm Sandy, in response to extended power outages following Hurricane Irene and an October snowstorm in 2011.

The legislation, S-889, requires the Board of Public Utilities to develop and enforce performance benchmarks for service reliability and communications for electric utilities. Additionally, the bill requires public utilities to file a service reliability plan and an emergency communications strategic plan for review and approval by the BPU.

If the BPU finds a utility has failed to implement its service reliability or communications plan, or finds the utility’s performance to be less than effective, the legislation allows for the imposition of civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day for each violation, up to $2 million for any series of related event.

Pennacchio said the current penalties of only $100 a day have proven to be ineffective.

“The significantly stronger penalties proposed under this legislation will ensure that power companies have a real financial incentive to get people reconnected as quickly as possible,” said Pennacchio. “Since utilities would be barred from passing on the cost of penalties to ratepayers, it will impact their bottom lines, providing an additional incentive to get the lights turned back on without delay.”

The legislation, first introduced in 2012, was reintroduced at the beginning of each new two-year legislative session in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Each session, it was referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee, where it languished without hearing.

Prior to the recent nor’easters, Pennacchio sent a formal request to the new committee chair to ask that the legislation be given a hearing.

“We have families, seniors, and children all over New Jersey who repeatedly suffer through long-term power outages due to this Legislature’s inaction,” said Pennacchio. “It’s beyond time that we work together to solve this problem.”

Pennacchio noted that although local utility companies have been contrite following outages in each instance, they still haven’t improved in their preparation, reliability, or ability to recover quickly when outages occur.

“JCP&L has been responsive to our outreach, but we continually find ourselves in the same situation over and over again,” added Pennacchio. “It’s insane to expect a different result if we’re not willing to demonstrate that we’re serious about holding power companies accountable.”

Smith Road Coffeehouse Launching new Concert series

Loretta Hagan (Photo by Tracy Stoft)

PARSIPPANY —  Smith Road Coffeehouse announces the launching of its’ new concert series at St. Ann Church with the Loretta Hagen band in Concert on Saturday, April 14.

Award winning singer-songwriter Loretta Hagen has been described by reviewers as ‘heart driven, soul filling, Folk Americana.’  With four CDs to her credit, Loretta’s rich alto voice and strong song-writing skills have led her to win many awards, including a JAM Awards’ (Jersey Acoustic Music Awards) “Top Female Songwriter of the Year,” JAM nomination for “Album of the Year,” winner of the NJ Folk Festival Songwriter Competition and two time designation as a CT Folk Festival finalist.

Loretta Hagan (Photo by Trevor Lanning)

Loretta Hagen’s new CD, “Lucky Stars,” takes the listener on a personal journey through loss, healing, and ultimately the promise of hope. Four years in the making, “Lucky Stars” brings Loretta’s journey full circle, when faced with the heartache of illness, death, and going on without loved ones so cherished. She finds solace in the promise of new beginnings, love, and the inherent knowledge that our Lucky Stars are watching over us.

Loretta’s previous release, “Mud and Stone,” was well received by DJs worldwide, debuted at #10 on Folk DJ Charts, consistently #1 on the Roots Music Report for NJ, #5 Top 50 Folk Albums RMR, and topped many best of lists. Loretta has performed at premiere venues across the Northeast and Nashville, sharing the stage with Pete Seeger, Roger McGuinn, Sloan Wainwright, Steve Forbert, Richie Havens, and Marshall Crenshaw, among many others.

“Lucky Stars”… is a strong album, a beautiful pleasure. ” – Mike Penard, Radio Isa France –

“Loretta Hagen writes songs that sound like they can come from the Heartland, but they also come from the heart.” – John Platt, WFUV

“This effort [Mud and Stone] is first class, top tier, a true contender as an artist to reckon with.”  John Apice – No Depression

Tickets are $15.00 at the door,  Doors open at 7:30 p.m, refreshments available.

For more Information click here or call (973) 884-1986. St. Ann’s Church is located at 781 Smith Road.



Superintendent of Schools presents 2018-2019 School Budget


PARSIPPANY — Superintendent of Schools Barbara Sergent presented the 2018-2019 school budget at a rescheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 13.

Video On The Go filmed the presentation.

Matthew R. Petracca Named Super Lawyers 2018

Matthew R. Petracca, Esq

PARSIPPANY – Parsippany Attorney Matthew Petracca at King & Petracca, has been selected to the 2018 New Jersey Super Lawyers list. No more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Previously he was named Rising Stars from 2014 to 2017.

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase process that includes peer nominations, evaluations and independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.

As a partner at King & Petracca, Matthew R. Petracca is dedicated to serving clients in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. From the firm’s office in Parsippany, he focuses his practice on family and civil litigation and is experienced in a wide variety of areas, including family law and divorce, domestic violence, guardianship actions, and municipal court cases, which include traffic court and driving while intoxicated matters (DWI / DUI). He also assists clients with estate litigation, insurance litigation, personal injury litigation, property tax disputes, property transactions and disputes, and probate matters.

Mr. Petracca graduated magna cum laude with his bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University. He subsequently earned his Juris Doctor cum laude from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2007. While in law school, Mr. Petracca authored an article on the constitutionality of legislation by state municipalities for the Seton Hall Legislative Journal. He is also a certified tax assessor in New Jersey.

With nearly 10 years of litigation experience, Mr. Petracca is admitted to practice law before all New Jersey and New York state courts as well as before the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Committed to public service, he serves the Borough of Morris Plains, the Township of Randolph, the Township of Mendham and the Township of Morris in the role of municipal prosecutor. Mr. Petracca also serves the people of the Borough of Wharton as conflicts counsel. Previously, he served the Borough of Lincoln Park as a councilman and member of its Planning Board.

Parsippany Attorney Matthew Petracca and his family

Mr. Petracca’s experience as a trial attorney enables him assist clients through extremely difficult and complex legal issues, with experience arguing cases before the trial court, Appellate Division, and the State Supreme Court.

The office of King and Petracca is located at 51 Gibraltar Drive, Suite 2F, Morris Plains, and can be reached via telephone at (973) 998-6860.  To learn more about the firm and Mr. Petracca their website can be visited by clicking here.

Joseph Bock, Jr. joined Kaufman Semeraro & Leibman

Joe Bock

MORRIS COUNTY — Joseph Bock, Jr. joined Kaufman Semeraro & Leibman, LLP as an associate in 2018. Mr. Bock’s practice areas include land use, zoning, development, local government law, commercial litigation, commercial and residential tax appeals and insurance defense.

Mr. Bock counsels and represents clients throughout all stages of land use applications. Throughout his career, Mr. Bock has participated in numerous municipal governing body meetings as legal counsel. Mr. Bock has successfully tried numerous trials and argued motions before the Tax Court of New Jersey.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Bock gained valuable litigation experience by serving as Municipal Public Defender for the Township of Boonton and the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, by serving as insurance defense counsel for the Morris Joint Insurance Fund, and by serving as Law Clerk to the Honorable James M. DeMarzo, Superior Court of New Jersey.

Bock graduated from Hamilton College in 2009 and then Rutgers University School of Law in 2012. He is also a graduate of Mountain Lakes High School.

He was admitted to the New Jersey State Bar Association in 2012, United States District Court, District of New Jersey in 2012 and Pennsylvania Bar Association in 2013. He belongs to New Jersey State Bar Association and Bergen County Bar Association. He is also past President of Morris County Young Republicans and current Treasurer.

Kaufman Semeraro & Leibman is located at Fort Lee Executive Park, Two Executive Drive Suite 530, Fort Lee.