Voter registration deadline for June primary is tomorrow, May 13

voteFor those who want to be heard or take part in what many consider a civic duty, Tuesday, May 13  is  the final day to register to vote in the Primary Election, scheduled for Tuesday, June 3.

Voters registering in Morris County must be 18 years or older on or before June 3, and must have lived in the county 30 days before the election, Administrator for the Morris County Board of Elections Dale Kramer said.

Individuals can register to vote by completing a registration application form, which is available at the Morris County Board of Elections office, or by downloading by clicking here, or  a form from the county’s Election Center web site by clicking here.

Forms are also available at  the office of Yancy Wazirmas, Municipal Clerk, Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, 1001 Parsippany Boulevard.

Completed forms must be delivered to the Morris County Board of Elections, Commissioner of Registration, Administration & Records Building, 10 Court Street, Morristown on Tuesday, May 13, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

No-Smoking in Township Parks ordinance final reading on May 20

The Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council will consider Ordinance No. 2014:06, “an ordinance known to stop smoking in Township Parks” during the final reading on Tuesday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. or soon thereafter and vote on the Ordinance.

At the Council meeting on January 14, Girl Scout Troop No. 4383 of Rockaway Meadow, troop leaders and the Morris County Smoke-Free Parks Coalition made a presentation to the Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council. To view the ordinance, click here.

“We’ve identified the need to have smoke-free parks in Parsippany-Troy Hills because we care about the environment,” said the junior girl scouts. Their presentation is part of their process in obtaining the bronze award, which is the highest honor for a junior girl scout.

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Morris County Smoke-Free Parks Coalition member holding a sign that is available to the town at no charge for use in the parks.

The girls then listed off common statistics on the negative effects of tobacco and smoking.

The Ordinance will amend Township Section 290-18 of the Township Code, Smoking.  Smoking is defined as “The burning of, inhaling from, exhaling the smoke from, or the possession of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco or any other matter that can be smoked, or the inhaling or exhaling of smoke or vapor from an electronic smoking device.”

The ordinance states, “In all Township parks, smoking is prohibited in and around children’s play areas as designated by no smoking signs; and during any sporting event(s), smoking is prohibited at the athletic fields, sports courts, and play areas where the sporting event(s) are taking place, and is only permitted in associated parking areas. In all Township parks, the Township will post “No Smoking” signs around all children’s play areas, which shall read “No Smoking Beyond This Point Pursuant to Township Code 290-18.”

This Ordinance shall be enforced by the Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department and any person may initiate enforcement by registering a complaint with the Police Department.

Any person violating any provisions of this Ordinance shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to the penalties set forth in 1-17 of the Township Code.

According to Township Code 1-17 (A) (1) For violation of any provision of this chapter, any other chapter of this Code, or any ordinance of the Township where no specific penalty is provided regarding the section or sections violated, the maximum penalty, upon conviction, shall be a fine not exceeding $2,000, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 90 days, or both, or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days at the discretion of the Municipal Court Judge.

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Girl Scout Troop No. 4383 of Rockaway Meadow, troop made a presentation to create no-smoking in parks to the Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council

Morris Corporate Center 1 and 2 sold

morriscorporateBrookwood Financial Partners, a leading real estate investment and asset management company, announced that it has acquired Morris Corporate Center I & II, a multi-tenant office property consisting of two  four-story buildings from STRS Ohio (State Teachers Retirement Systems Ohio).

The property contains 529,362 square feet and built on 31 acres of the 182-acre Morris Corporate Center campus filled with preserved woodlands, jogging trails, ponds and a waterfall . The property is currently 78% occupied..

A diverse number of global investment-grade companies are currently tenants at the building, including Zurich Insurance, Medtronic, RalCorp, ICAP and Farmers Insurance.

STRS owned the building for more than 13 years and decided to strategically reemploy its capital into a different property types. Brookwood was the most qualified buyer and had the experience and capital needed, stated Kevin Welsh, senior vice president CBRE.

Brookwood will update/refresh the exterior and interior signage, common areas lobbies, restrooms, fitness and conference centers, the cafes, elevators, parking lot, and make extensive landscaping improvements, Welsh added.“Brookwood has a fund that focuses in on very high-quality value office transactions and this opportunity was a perfect fit. The property offers high-quality real estate and a significant upside and Brookwood plans to effectively reposition the property through its capital. It’s hard to find this type of real estate,” said Welsh. “The deal also demonstrates that Brookwood really believes in the Parsippany office market and the suburban office market in general. It’s a true testimony of investors coming back into the office market and the market’s giant potential. This is an inflection point that demonstrates restored confidence in the market.”

Mr. Brown added that “Brookwood’s business plan is to invest approximately $3 million in capital to upgrade the exterior and interior signage, the common area lobbies and restrooms, the fitness and conference centers, the cafés, elevators and parking lots, and make extensive landscaping improvements. In conjunction with these property capital upgrades, we will be implementing an aggressive marketing program, offering prospective tenants attractive rental rates and full tenant improvement allowances, which should allow us to accelerate the lease-up of the remaining vacant space.”
This part of New Jersey is showing signs of stabilization, with positive absorption occurring in four of the five most recent quarters. The unemployment rate in Morris County has also decreased from a high of 8.0% in 2010 to the most recent rate of 5.8% in April of 2014. With no new Class A construction underway or expected in the near future, Brookwood expects that vacancy rates will continue to improve over the next 18 to 24 months.
About Brookwood Financial Partners, LLC – Brookwood is a Massachusetts-based private equity firm that acquires real estate and invests in private companies. Since 1993, Brookwood has acquired 129 properties totaling approximately 12.5 million square feet of office, retail, flex and research & development space as well as 143 hotel rooms, 138 condominium units, 572 apartment units and 1,360 residential building lots. Brookwood has acquired real estate throughout the United States including in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia. In addition, Brookwood has invested in private companies in the wireless communications, restaurant, software and outsourcing industries. Brookwood has invested over $593 million in equity to acquire assets with a realized and unrealized value of over $1.6 billion.

York Risk acquires Bickmore

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Richard Taketa

York Risk Services Group, headquartered in Parsippany, a national provider of risk management, claims management and managed care services, announced its acquisition of Sacramento-based Bickmore. York Risk is located at 99 Cherry Hill Road, Suite 102.

Bickmore operates a large national independent risk management, pool management and actuarial consulting firm. With clients in 36 states, Bickmore focuses on public entities, such as municipalities, counties and special districts, as well as municipal risk pools in California, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, New York and Alaska.

York Pooling, a division of York, provides risk and claims management services to public entity pools across the U.S., will complement Brickmore’s offerings, according to York.Bickmore also has a private sector presence, with clients in health care, construction, education and real estate. More than 40% of Bickmore’s employees are certified professionals in employment law, safety, human resources, business strategy, actuarial and finance.

“Bringing together Bickmore and York Pooling creates the premier pool management company in the nation,” aid Francis Fey, co-president of York Pooling.

Rick Taketa, president and CEO of York, said the combination shows a commitment to to public entities and pools, and provides “an unparalleled suite of risk management and insurance solutions to our customers, whether they are public entities, pools or private companies.”

“This is a great opportunity for our associates and customers, as we continue to develop innovative risk management programs for our clients and create new growth opportunities,” Trout said.

Jerzy Broniecki, 86, passed away on May 8

jerzy-broniecki-obituaryJerzy Broniecki, 86, Lake Hiawatha passed away on Thursday, May 8 at his home.

Born in Poland, he resided in England for a decade following WWII before emigrating to the U.S. in 1956. He lived in Irvington and later Lake Hiawatha, where he was a resident for 34 years.

Mr. Broniecki was a machinist for Norpak Corporation in Newark for 30 years. He was also a crossing guard in Parsippany for 20 years.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years Helena (nee Niedbala), his three daughters, Diane Sim and her husband Peter, Margaret Kurdyla and her husband Chester, and Isa Pisillo. He is also survived by his eight grandchildren, Michael, Amanda, Alex, Lizzy, Becky, Sammie, Brianna, and Nicholas.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral on Wednesday, May 14, 8:30 a.m. from the Stephen J. Priola Parsippany Funeral Service, 60 N. Beverwyck Road, Lake Hiawatha with a funeral Mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. Peter the Apostle Church, Parsippany. Entombment at Gate of Heaven Mausoleum, East Hanover.

Visitation is on Tuesday, May 13 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Stephen J. Priola Parsippany Funeral Service, 60 N. Beverwyck Road, Lake Hiawatha.

In lieu of flowers there will be a blood drive during the next two weeks at the Blood Center of NJ Parsippany Donation Center, 1259 Route 46 West, Parsippany 07054. Telephone: (973) 316-1779.

Hammer for Habitat

On Saturday, June 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Morris Habitat for Humanity will host its second annual Hammer for Habitat fundraising event. It will take place rain or shine at Morris Habitat located at 274 South Salem Street in Randolph. The Hammer for Habitat event helps Morris Habitat build walls for stronger communities, new friendships, hope, and of course…a home!

Participants are encouraged to register online at www.MorrisHabitat.org as a sponsor, team, family or an individual before May 20th. All ages are welcome!

Now is the time to become a Hammer for Habitat sponsor! All sponsors will have a presence on Habitat’s web site, Facebook and in all media releases. Sponsorships range from $500 – $5,000 with each level providing opportunities to participate in building a wall at the event and, of course, raise money to build future Morris Habitat homes. To date we have gained the generous sponsorship of G4S Security, E-lend.com, Lakeland Bank, and NCJAR (North Central Jersey Association of Realtors). Additionally, we have Normandy Real Estate Partners as a Build a Wall sponsor and Madison Affordable Housing Corporation as a Hammer Sponsor. Visit www.MorrisHabitat.org to learn more about the specific sponsorship benefits.

Or you can build a team! The minimum team donation is $250. Ask your family, friends and co-workers to help you raise funds and invite them to come and hammer too! Your team can write messages and best wishes on a 2×4 for the families whose homes will be built with the wood! Simply download a Team Sponsor form and the 8 Easy Steps guide from the website to help you fundraise with your team!

You may also come out as a Family ($25) to sign, decorate a 2×4 and enjoy the craft station or as an individual ($10) to sign and decorate a 2×4.

Hammer for Habitat means swinging a hammer and having fun while raising money for more affordable homes for lower income families. This is a family- friendly fundraiser and the children’s activities include a Bird House Build sponsored by Home Depot (Roxbury location). Additionally, there will be face painting, food and music.
Help Morris Habitat make Hammer for Habitat rousing success! For further information, to register or become a sponsor click here or call Kathy Ritchey at 973-891-1934 ext. 122.

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About Morris Habitat for Humanity

Morris Habitat for Humanity is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization based on the Christian principles by building homes, communities and hope. Morris Habitat is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; advocating for fair and just housing policies; and providing training and access to resources to help families improve their living conditions. Morris Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion.

Since 1985 Morris Habitat has served 282 households though home ownership opportunities, home preservation, and international home building programs. Morris Habitat has set a goal of 9 housing starts for 2014, completing 19 homes at 8 different sites during the year. In addition, proceeds from the ReStore, which opened in 2007, have built 11 homes and diverted almost 4,000 tons of useable material out of landfills. Morris Habitat for Humanity is located at 274 South Salem Street, Randolph. ReStore hours are: Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday & Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For more information about Morris Habitat call (973) 891-1934 or click here. To learn about the ReStore call (973) 366-3358 or click here.

Par-Troy Little League East serves up breakfast

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Alexandra Hiltz was greeting all the guests and gave flowers to all the mothers. Pictured with Alexandra is Kristen Lecomte and Donna Insinnia.
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Seven-Year old Edward Limanov and his brother, Nick, were early morning customers enjoining breakfast served by the Little Leaguers at Applebee’s. 
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The Hansberry Family – Heidi, Kevin, Kathy and Ed, with Little Leaguers Sean, Seamus and Liam.
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Domonic Cattani was serving the delicious food to the guests. Pancakes, Sausage and scrambled eggs were prepared by Applebee’s.
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The clean up crew — Dylan Preston Sean Hansberry and Frank DeMary were cleaning the tables.

The Par-Troy Little League East were serving breakfast at Applebee’s on Route 46 for Mother’s Day. Applebee’s was used as a fundraising project for the group. All the mother’s that came for breakfast were given a flower by Alexandra Hiltz in celebration of their day.

J.C.’s Italian Bakery is officially closed

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J.C.’s Italian Bakery is officially closed. Photo by Nicolas Limanov.
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Mr. Antonino “Nino” Vassallo

According to their Facebook page, J.C’.s Italian Bakery closed its doors after 33 years in business. J.C.’s was located at 1561 Route 46 East.

J.C.’s Italian Bakery was a staple of Parsippany cuisine for many years. Quality foods were prepared daily. From breads to cannolis, you could stop by J.C.’s for quality baked goods any day of the week.

Mr. Antonino “Nino” Vassallo, the owner of J.C.’s Italian Bakery passed away on December 14, 2013.

He worked for several bakeries before buying J.C.’s Bakery with his partners in 1982. 

Mr. Vassallo is survived by his wife, Agatha Vassallo; four daughters, Piera Salerno, Lisa Koves, Dana Bamber (Joseph), and Joanne Madalena (David); sister, Pietra Vassallo Tomassoni; brother, Rosario Vassallo; 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

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Platter of our Butter Cookies put together for a Girl Scout bridging ceremony, prepared by J.C.’s Italian Bakery

Beautiful day at Stickley Museum Family Fun Day

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The children petting the animals during the live animal show.
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The children petting the animals during the live animal show.
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There were many items on sale at the Stickley Museum Gift Shop
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Curious George holding two year old Jayden Staten
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Six Year Old Jawad Ahmed is listening very closely as Gloria Ceballos is reading “Best Nest” to the children, as Amparo Codding holds the book so the children can see the pictures.
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Gloria Cevallos reading “Best Nest” to the children as Jawad Ahmed stands next to Gloria. The Best Nest by P. D. Eastman in both English and Spanish were read to the children.
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The children received samples of all the items that birds use to make their nest.
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Nine year old Sklyar Donaldson and Seven year old Tiffany Byers during a can walk race.
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Five year old Sara Lim blowing bubbles.
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Curious George pointing at Nick Limanov.
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The Kona Ice truck was selling sno cones. Part of the proceeds are donated to Craftsman Farms.

The Stickley Museum celebrated spring with the second annual Family Fun & Games Day funded by Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany. The day’s activities were built around the theme “My Home” and included bilingual components. Children of all ages were there to learn about homes of all kinds, including the Stickley family’s home, the Log House at Craftsman Farms.

Curious George made an appearance and activities delighted children and adults alike, courtesy of the Stickley Museum’s continuing partnership with PBS Kids Club THIRTEEN. The North Cottage hosted a story time reading of The Best Nest by P. D. Eastman in both English and Spanish and other stories. Perennial favorite Animal Experiences returned again this year.

While focused on family fun, this program encouraged children to consider concepts that Gustav Stickley held dear, like the value of nature and the meaning of home. The program included scavenger hunts, both indoors and out, that encouraged a fun exploration of the Log House and its beautiful natural environment, craft activities, games and snow cones from Kona Ice!

The museum’s regular hours are Thursday through Sunday, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. year round, with tours hourly from 12:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. The entrance is located at the intersection of Manor Lane and Route 10 West, Morris Plains. Standard admission is Free for Members; $10 for Adults; $5.00 for Seniors and Students; $4.00 for Children.

For further information, call (973) 540-0311, email education@stickleymuseum.org or visit the museum’s website by clicking here.

Craftsman Farms, the former home of noted designer Gustav Stickley, is owned by the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills and is operated as The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms by The Craftsman Farms Foundation, Inc. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in the State of New Jersey. Restoration of the National Historic Landmark, Craftsman Farms, is made possible, in part, by a Save America’s Treasures Grant administered by the National Parks Service, Department of the Interior, and by support from Morris County Preservation Trust, The New Jersey Historic Trust, and individual members. The Craftsman Farms Foundation received an operating grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission. The Craftsman Farms Foundation gratefully acknowledges a grant from the New Jersey Cultural Trust. Educational programs are funded, in part, by grants from the Arts & Crafts Research Fund.

Curious George is a production of Imagine, WGBH and Universal. Curious George and related characters, created by Margret and H.A. Rey, are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and used under license. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLC. Television Series: ©2014 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Friends of the Parsippany Library Celebrates Anniversary

friendsBy Roland S. Pianotti, Special to Parsippany Focus

The Friends of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Library (Friends) recently celebrated their 30th anniversary.  During the past 30 years members have remained firm in their conviction that their mission is to support and promote projects that enhance the operation of the three-branch library system in Parsippany.  Established in 1984 and recognized in New Jersey as an incorporated entity, the volunteer, not-for-profit organization conducts fundraising events to enable their mission.

A significant percentage of the Friends income is derived from sale of used books and membership dues.  However, fundraising endeavors have also included garage sales, tricky trays and solicitation of local business.  No feasible opportunity to generate funds is overlooked.  The Friends occupy a permanent site at the Parsippany Community Center used for the collection and sale of donated books.  Named the “Book Nook”, this site is staffed by member volunteers and is open for business Tuesday thru Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Book sales are often augmented by on-line connection with book vendors. The site is a staging area for the popular Bag-of-Books sale held biannually at the Main Library at 449 Halsey Road.

During the past 30 years, the Friends have raised countless funds used to supplement the cost of diverse library events scheduled for children and adults.  The Friends have provided for the ancillary needs of the library such as a Defibrillator Unit recently installed at Main Branch, refreshments, and for items on the library’s wish list.  The Friends frequently render hands on assistance by their presence at library events.

Currently, as part of their 30th anniversary celebration, the Friends are conducting a “30 club” fundraiser. The Friends have set a goal to raise $30,000 to support the Parsippany Library’s literacy initiatives. These initiatives include library classes and collections that promote literacy. Some examples are: special children’s programs that develop language skills; language development classes and book collections; cultural programs such as art and music programs; e-books and print book collections and technology classes. Thirty dollar donations can be made to the Friends of the Library, by dropping off the donation at any one of the three library locations, or mailing a check payable to the “Friends of the Library, 449 Halsey Road, Parsippany, NJ 07054. Donors will be recognized with their name on a star posted on the library wall.

Membership of the Friends includes more than 100 dues paying members with about 30 attending monthly meetings.  Meetings are generally held at the Main Library and are scheduled on the second Tuesday of each month, starting at 1:00 pm.  In addition to social time at the meeting, upcoming fundraisers and future library events are discussed.  At the Friends meeting, we discuss fundraising ideas and up-coming library events.  We are not an “all work” group.  Part of our meeting, includes a “social or fun time”.  Some examples are: a Tea with entertainment, held during National Library Week (April); an annual picnic (June) and a cookie exchange (November).  For the past two years we have sponsored a one-day bus outing attended by members and non-members alike.

The Friends always welcome new members.  For additional information, click here,  or stop by any one of the library branches and pick up a membership form.