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From Wings to Drumsticks: Don Chicken’s Menu Spoils Customers with Delicious Variety and Authentic Flavors

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Sweet and Sour

MORRIS COUNTY — C’mon, who doesn’t salivate over the sheer thought of sinking your teeth into a crunchy, crispy, tender, super juicy piece of freshly fried chicken? Fortunately, you don’t have to travel far to find some of the tastiest fried chicken you’ll ever sink those teeth into.  About a quarter mile from the Parsippany border, over the Vail Road bridge into Pine Brook (Montville), you will find Don Chicken, located at 48 Stiles Lane, tucked away on the side of a small strip mall, offering a salivating selection of Korean fried chicken that you will go back for time and time again. 

Pat Minutillo and Paul Ko

Don Chicken celebrated their grand opening in November 2023. The location was formerly occupied by Elian’s Café Bistro, whose owner has moved on to a new venue. Don Chicken, part of a popular and rapidly growing franchise, is owned by Paul Ko. The franchise was established six years ago when Paul and an enterprising group of five friends, all from Korea and all with a mutual love of Korean fried chicken, got together and decided to open a restaurant.  As Paul stated, “They all just loved the taste of Don Chicken; nothing is better.” Paul and one of those friends co-own two franchises, one which is Paul’s and one in Cranford, which his partner manages.

Gimmari

Paul Ko, a young man who came to the U.S. at age 16, is an amiable, enthusiastic, welcoming host with a sincere smile and a genuinely nice personality. His evident excitement about his new eatery was a pleasure to observe.  When asked what was special about Don Chicken, he responded, “We wanted to specialize in various sauces that are different than anyone else. We use 100% imported Korean sauces, and we incorporate those sauces into our dishes so that they will satisfy almost anyone’s taste buds. Quality control and flavorful food is always our first priority. We only use fresh ingredients and high-quality cooking oil and never frozen chicken. All our chicken is extremely fresh and inspected on delivery; it’s then cut and prepared at the restaurant, and everything is made from scratch, except for our sauces, which, as I said, we import directly from Korea.”

Don Chicken can comfortably seat 24 diners inside the restaurant; weather permitting, a couple of outside tables will also be available. The storefront is appealing and inviting, with an ample off-street parking lot; the interior is cozy, relaxed, and warm, with soft ambient lighting from the large storefront windows. The color scheme of gray-on-gray walls, ceiling, and floor, with brick and wood accents and a small service counter, creates a trendy, organized, and welcoming vibe. Simple, clean wooden tables and chairs, three large screen TVs mounted around the room, and simple and tasty décor complete the dining room. It’s a great place to sit back, relax, and enjoy phenomenal finger food while catching your team on TV.

Ddukbokki

Our group comfortably sat at several adjoining tables as Paul expediently addressed all our needs. Water glasses were filled, wine glasses arrived (did I mention that Don Chicken is a BYOB), and menus were distributed. Korean fried chicken is best paired with a nice cold, refreshing beer, whatever sauce you choose. I brought along some Kloud 100% Malt Classic Original Gravity, a beer imported from Korea, to compliment my meal. As usual, the group bombarded Paul with numerous questions about the menu, which he was happy to answer. The menu is appropriately limited, with eight choices of Korean Fried Chicken (Kalbi, Krispy, Ppurings, Soy Garlic, Sweet & Spicy, Hot Spicy (my favorite), Snow Cheese, and Green Onion. Korean Appetizers included ddukbokki, gimmari, and dduk ggochi. Additional sauces are available, as are several Lunch Box deals (available only on weekdays between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.). Choose between wings, boneless, and drumsticks in different serving sizes or on a platter. Or you may be interested in their Sweet and Spicy or Hot Spicy Chicken Sandwich! No desserts or coffee on the menu, just soda and water.

Ppurings

 As this group usually does, we ordered sharable portions of the menu. We were anxious to sample all those great sauces we heard about. Paul explained that they offer eight different sauces, including sweet & spicy, hot spicy, honey mustard, ranch, spicy ranch, and snow cheese. As Paul explained his business philosophy, “Korean cuisine is mostly about innovation, especially over the past 40 years. At Don Chicken, we like to believe we are innovative, always trying to improve, and always trying new things while at the same time keeping in line with Korean tradition.” By now, we had ordered enough food to feed an army.

Our servings arrived in metal mesh serving trays with paper lining. The somewhat fast-food style was perfect for holding and delivering the various varieties of wonderfully marinated and perfectly seasoned chicken. Everything came with individual coleslaw and pickled radish (which provided each dish with a crunchy, refreshing, and slightly sour enhancement). Our appetizers, all popular Korean street foods, included ddukbokki (Korean spicy rice cake), gimmari (seaweed wrapped around glass noodles, dipped into a batter that crisps up deliciously when deep-fried), dduk ggochi (sweet, spicy, toothsome, sticky rice cakes), pork fried dumplings (thick, tasty, chewy, and perfect for a dipping sauce), along with an order of krispy fries.

Our entree selections consisted of Hot Spicy Boneless (crispy, well-balanced, twice-fried battered chicken in a spicy, sweet, and savory sauce), Kalbi (boneless, sweet, savory, and spicy), pouring (boneless, and cheesy coated). Krispy Drumsticks (generously sized), Sweet & Spicy (boneless), and Soy Garlic Wings (the most popular item on the menu).

I should note that all the boneless chicken is made with chicken thighs, not breasts, as in most places. The argument is that while breast meat can be more tender, leaner, and milder in flavor, thigh meat is generally juicier and more fat, which helps keep the meat moist and tender during cooking. Breast meat also tends to dry out when cooked.

Fried Pork Dumplings

Everything was a treat! The spicy, sweet, and savory elements harmoniously blended together in every bite, and it was a truly pleasurable dining experience. The twice-fried chicken (Did I mention that Korean chicken is double-fried to lock in that extra juicy flavor?) was perfectly seasoned, balanced, crispy and crunchy outside, and yet incredibly juicy and flavorful inside.  And those sauces can be addicting, so beware!  It’s no wonder that Korean fried chicken is a beloved dish worldwide.  

To sum up, our group enjoyed a fun and exciting dining experience at Don Chicken at a very reasonable price. The quality of the food, the ambiance of the restaurant, and the hospitality and service were spot-on. When you visit, try out those imported sauces and sides for a complete dining experience. I’m confident you’ll have a fantastic time exploring the flavors of Korean Fried Chicken at this relatively new restaurant.

Jeulgida (Enjoy)!

Don Chicken, is located at 48 Stiles Lane, Pine Brook. Weather permitting, they also have outside dining.

Don Chicken, 48 Stiles Lane, Pine Brook. Phone: (973) 287-7181 Web Site: www.donchickenus.com, Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 12:00 Noon to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Dine In – Take Out – Delivery – Parking Lot – BYOB

The restaurant offers a weekday lunch special from 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Customers choose a chicken style, sauce, and a side. Also, students receive a 15% discount on the lunch special.

Morris County Authorities Crack Down on Illegal Firearms: Columbia Resident Arrested

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Joseph Palumbo Jr., 33, of Columbia

MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Chief of Detectives Robert McNally, Warren County Prosecutor James L. Pfeiffer, and Denville Chief of Police Frank Perna confirmed the arrest of Joseph Palumbo Jr., 33, of Columbia on charges related to the unlawful manufacturing and sales of firearms without serial numbers, more commonly known as ghost guns, in Morris and Warren Counties.

Palumbo Jr. is alleged to have carried out the illegal manufacture and sale of ghost guns between December 2023 and February 2024. Specifically, he is alleged to have sold these ghost guns, the majority of which are alleged to be assault firearms, during this timeframe in Morris and Warren County. The sales involved one homemade handgun without a serial number, five homemade AR platformed assault firearms without serial numbers, and two large-capacity magazines. Palumbo Jr. was taken into custody following a motor vehicle stop on February 8.

During the subsequent execution of a search warrant on Palumbo Jr.’s Columbia residence, an alleged ghost gun manufacturing facility was located in the basement. Searches were also conducted at the defendant’s barbershop in Netcong and his vehicle. As a result of these searches, two additional homemade AR platformed assault firearms without serial numbers, approximately 36 additional firearms consisting of assault firearms and handguns, numerous firearms components used to manufacture firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and approximately three firearm silencers were seized.

Palumbo Jr. has been charged with:

• Four counts of Certain Persons Not to Possess a Firearm, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-7(b) (1), a crime of second degree.

• Seven counts of Unlawful Possession of an Assault Firearm in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-5(f), a crime of the second degree.

• Eight counts of Transporting a Manufactured Firearm Without a Serial Number in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-9(n), a crime of the second degree.

• One count of Conspiracy to Manufacture and Transport Firearms Without Serial Numbers, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and N.J.S. 2C:39-9(n), a crime of the second degree.

• One count of Purchasing Firearm Parts to Manufacture a Firearm Without a Permit, violating N.J.S. 2C:39-9(k), a crime of the second degree.

• One count of Child Endangerment, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:24-4(a)(2), a crime of the second degree.

• Eight counts of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Without a Serial Number, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-3(n), a crime of the third degree.

• One count of Unlawful Possession of a large-capacity ammunition Magazine, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-3(j), a crime of the fourth degree.

• One count of Manufacture, Transport, and Disposition of Large Capacity Magazines, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-9(h), a crime of the fourth degree.

• One count of Manufacture, Transport, and Disposition of Firearm Silencers, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-9(c), a crime of the fourth degree.

As a result of this investigation, Monica D. Scaglione, 30, of Columbia, was also charged with one count of Child Neglect in violation of N.J.S. 9:6-3, a crime of the fourth degree after it was determined that minor children reside in Palumbo Jr. and Scaglione’s shared home, where an abundance of unsecured firearms and ammunition were located and seized.

Under the Criminal Justice Reform Act, Palumbo Jr. has been detained in the Morris County Correctional Facility pending future court proceedings. Scaglione was charged on a summons complaint, processed, and released pending a court appearance.

Prosecutor Carroll would like to thank the following agencies for their hard work and dedication during this investigation: The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Special Enforcement Unit, consisting of the Roxbury Township Police Department, the Town of Boonton Police Department, and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Denville Police Department, Warren County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Taskforce, the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor under the NJ Attorney General’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) and its taskforce officers, which include Immigration and Customs Enforcement specifically, the office of ERO under the supervision of Field Office Director John Tsoukaris, and the New Jersey State Police (NJSP).

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, this Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Morris County Proclaims February 2024 Black History Month

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Brian Murray, Assistant County Administrator and Amanda Hefferan, Director of the Morris County Heritage Commission, archiving the manumissions at the Heritage Commission office located at the Morris County Library, 30 E Hanover Ave. in Whippany

MORRIS COUNTY — February 2024 was unanimously proclaimed Black History Month by the Morris County Board of County Commissioners recently, as an ambitious Morris County Historical Society effort continues to survey, document, and preserve the heritage of African Americans in Morris County.

“We encourage everyone to join us in recognizing and celebrating the important contributions African Americans have made to our society throughout history to support the success of our county and the United States,” said Commissioner Director Christine Myers.

Earlier this year, the Historical Society launched the county’s first survey of African American historic sites, making Morris County the second in New Jersey to undertake such a project, according to Amy Curry, Executive Director of the Historical Society.

The wide-ranging survey is being completed in four phases in four different county regions. The Historical Society’s goal is to complete one survey phase each year. Phase 1 is underway and focuses on an area that includes Chatham Borough, Chatham Township, East Hanover, Florham Park, Hanover, Harding, Long Hill, Madison, Morristown, Morris Plains, and Morris Township.

“The county is big and has significant African American history that spans its whole history, from pre-revolutionary to whatever we consider the recent past. As a museum, and having a collection with very few tangible objects to connect visitors to that history makes it more difficult to tell the history,” Curry said.

Included in the history of Morris County and the rest of the state is the stain of slavery, which only gradually ended in New Jersey starting in 1804 and culminating with a state constitutional amendment signed January 23, 1866, several months after the end of the Civil War.

Last year, Morris County rescued five historic documents related to the emancipation of slaves in the area – specifically local manumissions regarding five African American slaves living in Morris County. Manumissions are official, hand-written documents by which slave owners certified the freedom of individual African Americans held in bondage.

Joseph R. Klett, Director of the New Jersey State Archives, discovered the five Morris County documents were being advertised on the Internet last year for sale at a pending auction. Klett notified Morris County, which worked with the state to secure the return of the 19th Century manumissions.

The auction house and the estate of a private collector who had owned the documents for many years voluntarily provided them to Morris County once the county and state notified them that the documents were official public records belonging to Morris County. The documents are now being held in the Morris County Heritage Commission archives.

“This was an important find, and we are very thankful the state archivist acted quickly to help us secure these historical documents once they were found for sale online. We are also grateful to the auction house and the family of the collector, both of whom were understanding, cooperative, and responsive when we laid claim to the documents,” said Director Myers.

Beverwyck estate in Parsippany-Troy Hills operated as a plantation under owner William Kelly from 1759 to 1771.

To inspire more residents to participate in the African American history survey, the Morris County Heritage Commission provided a grant supporting three community engagement workshops hosted last year by the Historical Society and Sankofa Heritage Collective of Morris County, Morris County’s first Black historical society.

The survey was made possible through a grant awarded in December by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. The Historical Society, a member-supported 501(c)3 non-profit, secured another state grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission to support its work.

The Historical Society has a collection of over 27,000 historic objects from Morris County. However, Curry said it became apparent that objects specific to local African American history were lacking when the collection was showcased during the Historical Society’s  75th Anniversary celebration and the 50th Anniversary of its ownership of Acorn Hall in 2021.

Local historic manumissions denoting the emancipation of five African American slaves living in Morris County.

That is when plans began to survey the county and Black history sites, including the people and the stories within those physical locations that make them significant.

To learn more about Black History Month, click here.

The Ties that Bind exhibition is currently on display at St. Elizabeth University until February 29th to commemorate Black History Month. 

Taj Khokhar Joins Parsippany Kiwanis

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Taj Khokhar Joins Kiwanis

PARSIPPANY — Taj Khokhar was one of the newest members to join the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany. Club member Connie Keller sponsored Taj into the club.

Club President Carol Tiesi said, “Kiwanis is something so good that each of us loves to share it. What better way to show our love for our club and our community than to welcome a new member to our club? Today, we’re very pleased to welcome Taj to our club. We welcome Taj to our global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.”

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time.  It is not religious-based or partisan in any way.

Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany supports ten K-Kids clubs, Lake Parsippany Elementary School, Eastlake Elementary School, Intervale School, Mt. Tabor Elementary School, Littleton Elementary School, Lake Hiawatha Elementary School, Troy Hills Elementary School, Northvail Elementary School, Knollwood School, and Rockaway Meadow Elementary School, two builders clubs, Central Middle School and Brooklawn Middle School; two Key Clubs, Parsippany Hills High School and Parsippany High School and one Aktion Club.

If you are interested in learning more about the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany, contact President Carol Tiesi. Click here to view the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany website.

Applications are Now Open for the 2024-25 School Year at Preschool Advantage

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File Photo

MORRIS COUNTY — Preschool Advantage is currently accepting applications for tuition assistance for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year. Families demonstrating financial need and a strong commitment to education are encouraged to apply through the Preschool Advantage website. Priority consideration will be given to applications received by March 1, with later submissions considered based on fund availability.

With only 25 percent of New Jersey’s school districts offering free public preschool, many families struggle to afford tuition fees. Preschool Advantage collaborates with 28 reputable preschools in Morris and Somerset counties to provide access to quality preschool education for financially challenged families. Eligible families, with earnings of up to $80,000 annually depending on family size, have received support since 1995, totaling over 1,500 families throughout the region.

In the 2023-2024 academic year, Preschool Advantage assisted 106 children with tuition funding and aims to support an additional 100 in 2024. To apply and view the list of partner preschools, click here or contact (973) 532-2501.”

Routine Traffic Stop Ends in DUI Arrest for Parsippany-Troy Hills Man

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File Photo

PARSIPPANY — During a DUI stop on Saturday, February 17, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Denville Township Police apprehended a man wanted on a warrant from Denville Township. The police had pulled over a vehicle on Route 10 for a “maintenance of lamps” violation, as its rear license plate lights were not functioning.

Subsequent investigation revealed the driver to be Jose Cardona-Ramirez, 29, from Parsippany-Troy Hills. Allegedly, Cardona-Ramirez was operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Following his apprehension, it was uncovered that Cardona-Ramirez had an outstanding warrant from Denville Township Municipal Court. He now faces a litany of charges, including DUI, careless driving, reckless driving, driving without a license, maintenance of lamps violation, and contempt of court.

Unable to meet bail requirements, Cardona-Ramirez was remanded to the Morris County Correctional Facility.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, this Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

County College of Morris Awarded Two Grants from NJDOL

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MORRIS COUNTY — County College of Morris (CCM) was recently awarded two grants from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) that will help students who are enrolled in Advanced Manufacturing programs, including both Pre-Apprenticeship Boot Camps and Apprenticeship Programs. The college was awarded $237,109 as part of the PACE grant and $299,566 as part of the GAINS grant, totaling over $535,000 secured in grant funding.

“Receiving both of these grants from NJDOL positively impacts our students, manufacturing partners, the college and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, President of County College of Morris. “We are grateful to provide students with opportunities to be educated and trained in manufacturing, develop their resumes through apprenticeship programs, and be placed in jobs earning family-sustaining wages.  As a community college, CCM strives to support our communities’ economy and economic mobility and provide a pipeline of employees to industries throughout Morris County.”

The Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education (PACE) Program will support 40 CCM’s Advanced Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Boot Camp participants. Most of the funds will go directly towards tuition and participant stipends. The mission of the PACE Program is to align better secondary, post-secondary, adult education, and occupational training to meet labor demands unique to New Jersey and develop career pathways that lead to economically sustainable wages. Through the PACE funding received, CCM hopes to increase the number of apprentices from underrepresented groups. Many organizations in Morris, Sussex and Warren Counties help recruit participants and support those facing barriers. Following the boot camp, CCM’s Advanced Manufacturing team stays connected with those placed in Registered Apprenticeship programs, connecting them with additional support through related technical instruction.

The funding secured through the Growing Apprenticeships in Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS) grant program will help 25 participants in CCM’s Registered Apprenticeship programs (RAPs) in Advanced Manufacturing. The GAINS grant program promotes expansion of U.S. Department of Labor-approved Registered Apprenticeship programs to support better-paying careers and the attainment of advanced credentials. The program seeks to develop new and existing apprenticeship programs and create Registered Apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries. CCM will use the GAINS grant funds to add the Robotics Technician apprenticeship program, maintain key personnel in established, successful RAPs and enhance already elite Related Technical Instruction (RTI), which is classroom and lab instruction that provides theoretical knowledge and technical skills.  

These programs are a part of CCM’s Center for Workforce Development, which allows students to learn cutting-edge skills and boost their marketability in an ever-changing job market. It is a vital part of CCM’s mission, and advanced manufacturing is a growing, in-demand sector with a proven impact on the community. According to the Research Institute at Dallas College, CCM has the country’s third highest Economic Mobility Index of all community colleges. Education and support provided by CCM unlocks lasting occupational proficiency, advancement, and economic prosperity for learners from low-income or marginalized backgrounds in northern New Jersey. Furthermore, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 93 percent of apprentices who complete an apprenticeship retain employment with an annual salary of $77,000.

CCM developed the Advanced Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Boot Camp that links directly to eight Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Labor and are currently offered at CCM. The RAPs are as follows:

  • CNC Operating: Milling
  • CNC Operator: Turning
  • CNC Operator: Milling and Turning
  • CAD/CAM Programmer
  • Quality Assurance/Quality Control
  • Industrial Maintenance Mechanic
  • Robotics Technician (this apprenticeship will be piloted in the 2024 calendar year)
  • Tool/Die Manufacturer

Many target occupations result from these programs, including CNC operators, maintenance roles, tool/die manufacturers, QA/QC inspectors, CAD/CAM drafters, and robotics technicians. The daytime boot camp lasts over seven to ten weeks and totals 159 hours. It introduces participants to shop basics, advanced manufacturing equipment, OSHA 10, resume development, and other topics pertinent to successful job placement.

To learn more about CCM’s Pre-Apprenticeship Boot Camp and Apprenticeship Programs in Advanced Manufacturing, click here.

 To learn more about CCM’s Center for Workforce Development, click here.

Rockaway River Barn Hosts GOP Fundraiser

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Morris County GOP Winter Fundraiser Draws Dignitaries from Across New Jersey

MORRIS COUNTY — Impressive turnout at the Rockaway River Barn for the Morris County GOP Winter Fundraiser under the leadership of Chairwoman Laura Ali. It’s always wonderful to gather with fellow proud Republicans and dedicated elected officials, many of whom spent the day in Trenton combating the overdevelopment of our suburbs. Proud to show my support!

Senator Tony Bucco, Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen, and Jon Bramnick
Parsippany-Troy Hills Councilman Justin Musella, Morris County Chairwoman Laura Ali, Parsippany-Troy Hills Councilman Matt McGrath and Amanda McGrath
Morris County Commissioner John Krickus and Pompton Lakes Councilman Ekamon Venin
Rockaway Boro Mayor Tom Mulligan with Police Chief Conrad Pepperman
Assemblyman Mike Inganamort with Morris County Commissioner Deborah Smith
Chris Ilic with Jack Ciattarelli
Parsippany-Troy Hills Councilman Justin Musella and Senator Joe Pennachio
Assemblywoman Aura Dunn with Rockaway Boro Mayor Tom Mulligan
Toby Anderson with Chris Ilic
Joseph Belnome and Chris Ilic. Joseph Belnome is running for election to the U.S. House to represent New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District. He declared his candidacy for the Republican primary scheduled on June 4, 2024

Caught on Camera: Suspect Steals Landscape Lights in Parsippany

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Landscape Lights Stolen

PARSIPPANY — A homeowner on Stephen Terrace noticed two of his landscape lights were missing from his front lawn.

Upon viewing his video surveillance footage, he observed a male wearing a blue jacket remove the lights. The male suspect took one light on February 7 at 2:17 p.m., and the same male suspect took the second on February 8 at 2:46 p.m.

The homeowner advised the reporting officer that he observed the male park, which appeared to be a mini-van, up the street from the victim’s home and paced back and forth before stealing the light.

The incident is currently under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Parsippany Department’s Investigative Division at (973) 263-4300.

Stolen Vehicle Found Abandoned at Rutgers Village Apartments, Investigation Ongoing

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File Photo

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany Police Recover Stolen Vehicle at Rutgers Village Apartments During a routine property check at 2 Rutgers Lane on February 7, 2024, 9:52 a.m.

Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Officer Cavaliere was alerted by the Property Manager to a 2018 Silver Chevy Camaro parked in the lot for approximately three months without movement.

Further investigation revealed the vehicle had been reported stolen from Franklin Township. The incident is currently under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Parsippany Department’s Investigative Division at (973) 263-4300.

Burglary to Auto in Lake Parsippany: Suspect Makes Off with 75 Cents, Investigation Underway

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Parsippany Police Department is located at 3339 Route 46.

PARSIPPANY — On February 5th, 2024, at 4:45 a.m., a burglary to an automobile occurred. A resident of Lake Shore Drive in Lake Parsippany discovered that her 2022 Silver Ford Eco Sport had been ransacked.

Upon reviewing surveillance footage, she witnessed an unidentified male wearing a hooded jacket, face covering, and gloves enter her unlocked vehicle.

The suspect absconded with only $0.75 inside the vehicle before departing the scene on foot. Further details about the suspect were not provided. The incident is currently under investigation, and anyone with information is urged to contact the Parsippany Department’s Investigative Division at (973) 263-4300.

Local Fire Department Elections Scheduled for February 17

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Mount Tabor Volunteer Fire District 1

PARSIPPANY — Reminder: Saturday, February 17, 2024, marks the Annual Fire Department Election. Please cast your vote to support the local budget for our 100% Volunteer Fire Department; vote for Commissioners and other items that will affect your local fire district.

Polling stations will be open from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at your neighborhood fire department.

Musella’s Fundraiser Draws Massive Turnout at Miller’s Ale House

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Senator Jon M. Bramnick, Parsippany-Troy Hills Councilman Justin Musella, and Assemblyman Brian Bergen attended Musella's Valentine Celebration.

PARSIPPANY — The recently opened Miller’s Ale House air crackled excitedly on Valentine’s Day as Councilman Justin Musella prepared for his highly anticipated fundraiser. With heart-shaped decorations adorning the walls and freshly cooked food wafting through the air, the atmosphere was set for an evening of love and community support.

As the clock struck 6:30 p.m., the doors swung open, and the crowd began to pour in. From all corners of the town, friends, families, and supporters of Councilman Musella made their way into the bustling restaurant. Some arrived hand in hand, while others came solo, eager to join the festivities and show their support for their beloved councilman.

Musella with Parsippany Resident Jeff Camiscioli

Musella, sporting a sharp suit and a warm smile, greeted each guest with genuine enthusiasm. His passion for serving the community was palpable, and it resonated with everyone who crossed his path. As the night progressed, the restaurant buzzed with laughter and conversation, filling the air with camaraderie and goodwill.

The fundraiser featured diverse attendees ranging from many elected officials to grassroots activists. Senator Bramnick gave introductory remarks before welcoming Assemblyman Brian Bergen, the headline speaker.

Assemblyman Brian Bergen and Chris Ilic

What truly stood out, however, was the overwhelming turnout. Many joked that the fire inspector should have been called because Musella tends to draw crowds that exceed the fire occupancy limit! Over a hundred people packed into Miller’s Ale House, demonstrating their unwavering support for Musella and his vision for a brighter future for Parsippany.

As the night drew to a close, Councilman Musella took to the stage to express his gratitude to everyone who had contributed to the fundraiser’s success. His heartfelt words resonated with the crowd, leaving them inspired and uplifted.

Justin Musella and Elaine Gavalyas

“The future begins with the right step forward,” Councilman Musella declared, his voice filled with emotion. “Together, we’re going to do everything in our power to make this town the best possible.”

Parsippany-Troy Hills Councilman Matt McGrath and Carl Burwell
Musella with Erick Paley

Dramatic Police Pursuit: Boonton Vehicle Escape Ends with Suspect Arrests in Parsippany

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Boonton Police

BOONTON — A police officer from the Town of Boonton Police Department attempted to initiate a motor vehicle stop with a 2015 White Honda that was observed to be failing to maintain lane discipline on Morris Avenue. (Click here to read the original story)

The vehicle then dangerously failed to stop at a red light from a residential road onto Main Street. When the officer activated the patrol vehicle emergency lights, the suspect vehicle continued without stopping, eluding the law enforcement officer onto Interstate 287 southbound.

The suspect vehicle quickly accelerated away from the officer and turned off all its lights. At this point, the officer lost visual sight of the suspect vehicle. The officer terminated the motor vehicle pursuit. The officer believed the suspect vehicle entered Interstate 80 westbound.

Shortly thereafter, the New Jersey State Police came across a single-vehicle motor vehicle crash where a vehicle had collided with the center lane barrier for the westbound lane of Interstate 80, adjacent to the ramp for Interstate 287 southbound at the entrance for Interstate 80 westbound.

This vehicle was determined to be the same vehicle that eluded the Town of Boonton Police. The Town of Boonton Police Department and surrounding towns were notified.

A subsequent search for the driver ensued as it was reported that the driver had fled the scene. Two 16-year-old juveniles were located in the vehicle with significant bodily injuries from the motor vehicle crash. Mountain Lakes Police Department then located the driver on Parsippany Boulevard, who also had bodily injuries. He was apprehended and taken into custody.

All three were transported to Morristown Medical Center for treatment and evaluation.

During the investigation, the vehicle’s owner reported the vehicle missing and that the occupants did not have permission to take the vehicle.

A firearm was recovered from the vehicle, and a juvenile passenger was charged.

All three were charged with theft through conveyance “joyriding.”

The adult driver, Nathaniel Arocho, 18, Bloomfield, was charged on a warrant complaint with Eluding and Aggravated Assault. Arocho was also charged with eight motor vehicle offenses, including driving without a license, speeding, and reckless driving.

The juveniles were released to their parents with a notice to appear for processing at the Boonton Police Department. The adult was committed to the Morris County Jail pursuant to Criminal Justice Reform.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, this Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Acts of Kindness in Action: Kiwanis Club Supports Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter

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Lorri Caffrey, Executive Director of Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, and Carol Tiesi, President of Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany, showcase some of donated items.

PARSIPPANY — The Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany actively engages in “Random Acts of Kindness Day.” Club members have generously donated essential items to the Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, demonstrating their solidarity and support for the cause.

Lorri Caffrey, Executive Director of Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, recently visited the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany. In her presentation, she showcased the various volunteering opportunities available at the shelter and shared accomplishments attained in 2023.

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CFO Accused of Embezzling Funds and Tax Evasion

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File Photo

MORRIS COUNTY — John Dunlea, formerly the Chief Financial Officer of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP, a national law firm with offices in Morristown and throughout New Jersey and other states, faces charges of embezzling over $1.5 million from the firm and evading payment of state income tax. Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) confirmed.

According to a criminal complaint, Dunlea, 61, of Westfield, is accused of theft by deception (2nd degree) and five counts of failure to pay tax (3rd degree) concerning the alleged fraud.

The charges stem from an investigation by DCJ’s Office of Securities Fraud and Financial Crimes Prosecutions, with assistance from the New Jersey Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigations.

Allegations suggest that between 2017 and 2022, Dunlea diverted funds from the McElroy Law Firm, including unauthorized compensation totaling $1,182,965, and falsely claimed $355,256 in credit card expenses as business costs. These expenses purportedly covered personal expenditures such as flights, hotels, and dining for Dunlea and his family. Additionally, Dunlea is accused of evading state income tax for tax years 2018 to 2022 related to income from the credit card scheme.

Attorney General Platkin emphasized the state’s commitment to prosecuting fraud and tax evasion, ensuring accountability for those who exploit New Jersey businesses and evading taxes owed to the state.

Deputy Attorney General Janet Bosi is leading the prosecution for the Office of Securities Fraud and Financial Crimes Prosecutions under the supervision of Deputy Chief Adam Heck and Legal Chief Pablo Quiñones.

While the charges are allegations, and Dunlea is presumed innocent until proven guilty, second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of ten years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The potential sentences are provided for informational purposes, as determined by a judge.

Traffic Mishap in Parsippany: Vehicles Collide, No Injuries Sustained

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PARSIPPANY — On Friday, February 9, at 11:15 p.m., Mr. Robert Hays, aged 61, was traveling north on Parsippany Road (near Freneau Road) with Mr. Adrian Louis, aged 26, directly behind him. Mr. Hays suddenly applied his brakes as a vehicle ahead of him immediately stopped. Mr. Louis, who was following too closely, attempted to stop but collided with the rear of Mr. Hays’ 2014 Toyota Corolla.

Mr. Louis was driving a 2021 Jeep Cherokee. Both vehicles were subsequently towed from the scene by Eagle Towing.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported, and as of this report, no summonses had been issued.

Celebrating Community Impact: Bedding Shoppe Named GOAT in Parsippany by Derek Jeter Contest

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PARSIPPANY — Bedding Shoppe and its owner, Mike Hatler, have been honored by Optimum and Derek Jeter as the epitome of community service, earning them the title GOAT (Greatest of All Time) in their community.

With 36 years of dedicated service, Bedding Shoppe has significantly contributed to the local community through its anniversary food drive, which has amassed over 6,000 pounds of food for the Community Foodbank of NJ and the Interfaith Food Pantry of Morris County. Additionally, Bedding Shoppe supports various local organizations, churches, and schools.

Among the ten winners selected by Optimum, Bedding Shoppe had the privilege of being flown to Miami to meet Derek Jeter, renowned for his Turn 2 Foundation, established in 1996 to promote healthy lifestyles among youth and prevent substance abuse. During the event, Mr. Jeter graciously engaged with the winners, addressing questions and capturing memorable moments through photographs.

As part of the recognition, Optimum is generously donating $1000 in the name of each winner. Bedding Shoppe has chosen the Interfaith Food Pantry of Morris County as the recipient, an organization dedicated to improving the well-being of Morris County residents in need for over 25 years by providing essential resources, including food and education.

Expressing gratitude for the unexpected recognition, Mike Hatler remarked, “I never expected this recognition for something we do under the radar. We’ve been a part of the community for a long time and enjoy giving back. Derek Jeter is a humble, gracious human being, and shaking his hand and listening to him was an honor. Thank you, Optimum.”

Bedding Shoppe was further honored by Parsippany Mayor James Barberio, who presented a proclamation declaring December 5th, 2023, as Bedding Shoppe Day in Parsippany.

Established in 1988, Bedding Shoppe is a family-owned retail mattress and furniture store located at 811 US Highway 46 in Parsippany. For more information, contact Bedding Shoppe at (973) 334-9000 or at beddingshoppe@optonline.net. Visit the website by clicking here.

Elevate Your Spirituality: The Wellness Gala Invites You to “A Day Like Never Before”

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Concetta Bertoldi

MORRIS COUNTY — The Wellness Gala is thrilled to present “A Day Like Never Before” on Sunday, March 3, at Calandra’s Best Western in Fairfield, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Join The Wellness Gala for an enlightening event where a panel of World-Renowned Intuitives and healers will gather to share insights on various pertinent topics. Their expert panel will cover everything from heart matters to career choices, spiritual growth, and communicating with departed loved ones. After their discussions, the floor will be open to the audience for Q&A sessions.

They are honored to have Concetta Bertoldi, a NY Times best-selling author and world-renowned psychic medium, as part of our esteemed panel.

In addition to the enlightening discussions, attendees can enjoy coffee, dessert, readings, healing sessions, and explore unique vendor offerings.

For tickets and more information, call (973) 713-6811 or click here. Join them for a day of insight, healing, and connection.

Spreading Valentine’s Cheer to Parsippany’s Hometown Heroes

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Hubotics members continue their tradition of honoring local heroes by presenting Valentine's Day cards to the Parsippany Police Department.

PARSIPPANY — In a heartwarming Valentine’s Day tradition, students from Hubotics, a non-profit organization co-founded by Parsippany High School teenager Aarjun Bodade, dedicated their time to creating over 450 personalized cards for the town’s first responders this year. Joined by fourth-grade volunteers Raayan Bodade, Arjun Jadhav, William Bonfanti, Rishith Bhoopathi, Tvisha Singh, and Varun Shankar, they set out to express gratitude to the community’s police, fire departments, EMS, and rescue teams with heartfelt tokens of appreciation.

Continuing Hubotics’ tradition of honoring local heroes each Valentine’s Day, the students thanked Parsippany teachers last year. This year, their mission was to show appreciation for the tireless service of first responders who work diligently to keep Parsippany safe.

HuBotics members distribute Valentine’s Day cards to the volunteers of Rockaway Neck Volunteer Ambulance.

In total, the students crafted 450 cards for various departments, including the Parsippany Police Department, Office of Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services such as the Parsippany Volunteer Ambulance and Rockaway Neck Volunteer Ambulance, as well as the Parsippany Rescue Squad and all six fire stations across different districts including Mt. Tabor, Rainbow Lakes, Lake Parsippany, Lake Hiawatha, Old Bloomfield Ave, and Littleton Road. As they distributed their handmade creations across town, they were met with touching reactions from the surprised recipients.

Parsippany Rescue and Recovery Team Deputy Chief Andrew Ludwig demonstrates using the “Jaws of Life.”
A highlight for the students was an insightful tour of the Parsippany Rescue and Recovery team.

A highlight for the students was an insightful tour of the Parsippany Rescue and Recovery team. Deputy Chief Andrew Ludwig and Lieutenant Nick Limanov led an engaging tour that gave the children a firsthand understanding of the technology and science behind the emergency response. Chief Paul Anderson’s thoughtful gesture and eagerness to learn about service deeply moved his team.

Through their annual Valentine’s Day tradition, the Hubotics students experienced the power of community and the importance of showing appreciation. Their cards and lessons on selflessness brought extra love to Parsippany’s heroes this February 14th.

To participate in future service projects or volunteer opportunities, visit Hubotics by clicking here.

HuBotics members distribute Valentine’s Day cards to the volunteers of the Lake Hiawatha Fire Department.
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