Sunday, January 17, 2021
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Free Radon Test Kits for Parsippany Residents

PARSIPPANY — January is “Radon Action Month,” in New Jersey, and with a grant from the NJDEP, Parsippany Township was able to purchase a limited number of radon test kits to be offered free to our residents.

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when uranium and radium break down in the soil and in rock formations. Radon gas moves up through the soil and finds its way into homes through cracks in the foundation and openings around pumps, pipes, and drains. But because radon is invisible and odorless it is easy to ignore this potential hazard in our homes.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is measured in picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. The average U.S. indoor level is 1.3 pCi/L. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the DEP recommend that action be taken to reduce radon levels if the level in the home is greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L.

These free radon test kits will make testing for radon simple and inexpensive. To obtain a free kit, come to the Parsippany Community Center, 1130 Knoll Road, Lake Hiawatha, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. Must show proof of residency.

For more information contact the Health Department at (973) 263-7160 or the DEP Radon Program at (800) 648-0394 or click here.

Board of Education will hold a “Virtual Hybrid meeting”

PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany-Troy Hills Board of Education will hold a “Virtual Hybrid meeting”  on Thursday, January 21. Closed Session starts at 6:00 p.m. and Regular Session begins at 6:30 p.m.

Superintendent’s Bulletin can be found by clicking here.

Members of the Public can click here to join the meeting; Passcode: 6YqfDG.

Members of the public will be given the opportunity for public comment during those times allocated on the agenda, and all comments must be in accordance with the procedures and time limits set forth in Board Policy 0167, which can be found on the District website by clicking here. To request a chance to speak during the public portion, please raise your virtual hand.

The purpose of this meeting include:

Progress Report on District Goals 2020-2021
Personnel
Award of Bids
Payment of Bills
Transfer of Funds
General Business Items

Action may be taken on these and such other matters that become known following the publication of this notice and included on the agenda.

Chairwoman Ali Says Morris Line Dissenters Are Acting In their Self-Interest, Not Party’s Interest

Laura Ali

PARSIPPANY — Morris County Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Ali said the obstructionists opposed to the creation of a party line for candidates are acting out of their own self-interest and not for the good of the party.

Ali said the small group of people who filed legal action to stop the Morris GOP County Committee from voting on Saturday, January 16 to adopt a party line are misusing the courts and misleading people to desperately grab power and influence within the party.

“It’s very unfortunate that some people who are used to getting their way are more concerned with obtaining power than in investing in changes that will make our party stronger,” said Ali.

“Creation of a party line will allow our valued county committee members to play a significant role in determining the candidates that will represent our party – bring more democracy to our party than we have now,” said Ali. “For selfish reasons, the opponents of the party line system want to continue to marginalize the county committee – and in the process — disenfranchise them and devalue their work.”

Ali said the party line system will make the Morris GOP stronger and better prepared to face off against liberal Democrats who have been making inroads in the county the last few years.  In fact, she stated, “The dissenters wanted this for years until they didn’t want it when it was initiated under our Administration”.

“The Democratic Party has gotten stronger in Morris County and the Republicans are losing ground because of obstructionists like this who spend their time trying to derail positive forward momentum, instead of spending time getting candidates elected. If objectors such as David Scapicchio and John Sette and their group worked half this hard during the election, Rosemary Becchi and Tom Kean would be in Washington DC as members of the United States Congress” observed Ali.

“So, I have to ask the dissenters if they want to continue on this path until the Democrats take control of Morris County, or are they willing to put their egos and interest aside and become team players and help us build a stronger Morris GOP?  As always, we have a big tent open to all.”

Ali said she has been working with a team of lawyers to bring the party line system to a vote by the county committee and is certain that everything is in order.

“Our legal team has assured me that everything we are doing is within the law and bylaws of our party,” said Ali.

Governor Murphy Signs Legislation to Reduce UI Payroll Tax

Governor Phil Murphy

MORRIS COUNTY — To continue supporting our small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Phil Murphy signed A-4853/S-3011 to reduce businesses’ UI contribution rate for a period of time.

“COVID-19 continues to pose economic challenges to businesses across the state,” said Governor Murphy. “Today’s bill signing will alleviate the financial burdens many businesses are facing and help them get back on their feet during this difficult time.”

This legislation will reduce the amount of an employer’s unemployment taxes through the Fiscal Year 2023. Additionally, the bill will permit nonprofit and governmental employers that elect to make UI payments equal to the full amount of benefits paid to individuals attributable to service in the employ of the nonprofit or governmental employer to reduce their UI benefit payments by fifty percent for the duration of the public health emergency. The bill will result in cost savings to State entities, public institutions of higher education, local governments, and school districts during the pandemic. The short-term savings will be made possible by federal unemployment insurance advances. The recently enacted federal stimulus package extended interest-free borrowing of these loans through March 14, 2021. As of December 17, 2020, 20 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have availed themselves of these loans.

“The contributions New Jersey employers have made to our Unemployment Trust Fund have helped keep a record number of workers afloat during this pandemic,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “This new law will help reduce further hardship on employers while protecting the vital lifeline of unemployment for the future.”

“Many New Jersey businesses are struggling right now, and we cannot allow them to be further penalized by a rise in Unemployment Insurance costs when layoffs were the only option for them to save their business,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “This law will be influential in preventing further economic damage to our businesses and communities.”

“Due to a loss of revenue, COVID-19 has forced many small businesses to lay off or furlough dedicated employees in an effort to stay in business,” said Senator Fred Madden, chair of the Senate Labor Committee. “These layoffs were not wanted by any employer and, as a result, they should not be punished with paying the cost for Unemployment Insurance claims.”

“The coronavirus has left businesses reeling from months of closures, mass layoffs, and declining revenue,” said Assemblyman Louis Greenwald. “By next year, the unemployment tax rate is expected to rise to the highest bracket, requiring employers to pay more at a time when many will likely still be getting back on their feet. We need to take action to ease the tax burden on employers during this economic crisis.”

“Many businesses were required to close quickly at the start of the pandemic. New Jersey’s economic recovery will not come as swiftly,” said Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo. “Anything we can do to reduce rising tax obligations resulting from COVID-19 is a step we need to take.”

“Not since the Great Depression has our country faced an economic crisis like the one we are seeing today,” said Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli. “After all they’ve endured, businesses need relief so that they can keep employees on the payroll and rise to meet any future challenges brought on by the coronavirus. This new law will provide critical tax relief to employers as they continue on the long road to recovery.”

“A similar phase-in payroll tax measure was utilized after the financial crisis of 2007-2009,” said Michael Egenton, Executive Vice President of Government Relations for the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce. “This legislation will provide predictability and certainty to employers, especially during these challenging economic times due to the pandemic.  Rather than move businesses into the most expensive of six columns to replenish the unemployment insurance fund, the bill will shift them one column over instead of five this July.  Additionally, this bill prevents a rate increase for employers who had to carry out layoffs through no fault of their own.  We commend the Governor, Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, and the sponsors – Senator Madden and Assembly Majority Leader Greenwald – for their support in making sure our employers do not experience “sticker shock” as we all work towards replenishing the UI fund.”

“NJBIA thanks Governor Murphy and the bipartisan supporters of this important legislation,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “Without it, New Jersey business owners would be looking at a massive payroll tax increase this summer, effectively penalizing struggling employers who were forced into workforce reductions beyond their control. Spreading out this increase over three years makes this increase more palatable and helps give our businesses a fighting chance.

“The CCSNJ commends Governor Murphy for signing this vital piece of legislation,” said Christina Renna, President, and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey. “With most businesses having to temporarily close their doors to help slow the spread of COVID-19, employers were forced to make tough choices in order to survive. An additional increase to the employer contribution of the UI Fund would have been a tax increase businesses did not deserve and could not afford as the pandemic continues. Thank you to the Governor and Legislature for recognizing and taking swift action to assure employers were not faced with this difficult burden.”

“The NJ YMCA State Alliance would like to commend the Governor for providing much-needed relief to the non-profit community,” said Dr. Darrin Anderson, CEO, New Jersey YMCA State Alliance. “The signing of this bill allows us to concentrate our resources on supporting the unprecedented needs in the community.”

Mayor Soriano Appoints Leading Critic of Route 202 Development to Planning Board

Nick Napolitano

PARSIPPANY – Mayor Michael Soriano has selected Nick Napolitano, a teacher and community leader, to serve a four-year term on the township Planning Board.

Napolitano has led the community-based opposition to the potential development of St. Christopher’s property along Route 202. In that capacity, he has organized the surrounding neighborhood and helped to amplify the voices of area residents. Nick has also served the community as a Little League coach, PTA member, and was selected to receive the 2009-10 New Jersey Governor’s Teacher of the Year Award.

“Nick has been fearless in his advocacy for the neighborhoods along the Route 202 corridor,” said Mayor Soriano. “It’s important that we have voices like his reviewing and voting on applications before the Planning Board.”

Napolitano will be appointed to the seat once held by Bob Keller, a longtime Planning Board member and chairman who oversaw the creation of Parsippany’s new Master Plan, passed in 2020.

“I have made it a point to serve my community as long as I’ve lived in Parsippany, and want to thank Mayor Soriano for recognizing that a diversity of voices is needed on our land use boards,” Napolitano stated. “There is a tremendous amount of work to do as a Planning Board member, and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Napolitano’s term will begin at the Planning Board’s January 25 meeting and run through the end of 2023.

DeCroce Bill Approved by Committee Expands age Discrimination Protections to Senior Workforce

Assemblywoman Bettylou DeCroce

PARSIPPANY — An aging workforce could benefit from a bill passed by a legislative panel expanding discrimination protections for those aged 70 years and older.

“There is no reason our laws should stop preventing age discrimination in the workplace once someone has reached 70 years old,” said Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, a prime sponsor of the legislation heard in the Assembly’s Aging and Senior Services Committee today. “Some seniors have to keep working because of New Jersey’s high cost of living, while others just find their careers very rewarding. Either way, their age shouldn’t hold them back.”

Under DeCroce’s bill (A681), public employers would no longer be permitted to force public employees to retire at a certain age under a law that allows them to do so if they can show retirement age relates to the employment in question. Additionally, higher education institutions would not be allowed to require tenured employees to retire at 70 years old. Employers would also be prohibited from refusing to hire or promote a person solely because a person is over 70 years old.

“The exceptions to the age discrimination protections on the books are discriminatory,” explained DeCroce (R-Morris). “Current and potential employees should be evaluated on their skill sets, performance history, and credentials – not the date on their birth certificates.”

According to AARP-NJ, workers 65 and older are the fastest-growing labor pool. Workers who are 50 and older will make up 35 percent of the workforce by 2022. The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey revealed more than one in three New Jerseyans between ages 65 and 74 were employed or looking for work. The latest data shows more than 21 percent of adults over 65 are currently working.

The bill does not make changes to the New Jersey Constitution, which includes mandatory retirement for Supreme Court justices and some other judges upon reaching age 70, and Police and Firemen’s Retirement System members.

Post Offices Observing Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

File Photo

MORRIS COUNTY — In observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday, Post Offices will be closed and only Priority Mail Express will be delivered on Monday, January 18. Full mail delivery, postal retail operations, and mail collections will resume on Tuesday, January 19.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.

Announces All New Jersey Residents Ages 65 and Older Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine

MORRIS COUNTY — Governor Phil Murphy announced two additional categories of New Jersey residents eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

Beginning Thursday, January 14, all New Jersey residents ages 65 and older, and individuals ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. Those conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, Down Syndrome, heart conditions, obesity and severe obesity, sickle cell disease, smoking, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Individuals who are pregnant and those in an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant are also eligible but should follow CDC guidance and first discuss vaccination with their medical provider before receiving the vaccine. In addition to paid and unpaid healthcare workers in Phase 1A, these two groups mark the expansion of eligible residents in Phase 1B, which recently opened to include sworn law enforcement and fire professionals. 

“Over the last several months, our Administration has built the infrastructure and laid the groundwork to support New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination demand,” said Governor Murphy. “Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are ready to begin ramping up our vaccination efforts exponentially and are confident in our ability to provide every willing New Jersey resident with a vaccine when it is available and they are eligible.”

“Expanding access to a vaccine to individuals in these categories is critical as we know they are at greater risk for severe COVID-19 illness and death,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Eighty percent of COVID-19 deaths in New Jersey have been among those 65 and older and overall 67 percent of deaths had one or more underlying conditions reported.”

For more information about statewide vaccination site locations and to preregister for a vaccination click here.

For more information on CDC criteria for eligibility, please click here.

Rockaway Township Man Charged with Invasion of Privacy, Peering & Stalking

ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP — Acting Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Investigations Christoph Kimker, and Wharton Police Department Chief David Young announce the arrest of Luis Rodriguez-Ponce, 29, of Rockaway Township.

The defendant has been charged with Invasion of Privacy, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-9a, a crime of the fourth degree; Peering into Dwelling Places, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3c, a crime of the fourth degree; and Stalking, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10b, a crime of the fourth degree.

It is alleged that between December 1, 2020, and January 9, 2021, the defendant stalked a female acquaintance, sent her harassing communications, and followed her back to her home on several occasions. It is further alleged that the defendant peered into her bedroom window as she was changing her clothes.

The defendant has been charged by warrant-complaint and is currently lodged at the Morris County Correctional Facility in accordance with Criminal Justice Reform. Acting Prosecutor Carroll would like to thank the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Endangerment Unit and the Wharton Police Department, whose efforts contributed to the investigation of the matter.

Anyone with information relating to this incident is encouraged to call the Sex Crimes/Child Endangerment Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office at (973) 285-6200 or the Wharton Police Department at (973) 366-0557.

Editor’s Note: An arrest or the signing of a criminal complaint is merely an accusation.  Despite this accusation, the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until he or she has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

Soriano’s Administration Continues to Litigate and Appeals the Captain Carifi Decision to the NJ Supreme Court

Attorney Christopher Deininger with retired Parsippany Police Capt. James Carifi

PARSIPPANY — On January 4, 2021, the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills filed their notice to appeal the December 14, 2020 decision made by the New Jersey Appellate Court.

The Township’s notice of appeal was sent to the Clerk of the NJ Supreme Court, Heather Baker.  The two-Judge panel of the Appellate Court who heard the matter and issued their opinion on December 14, 2020, were Judges Hoffman and Currier. (Click here to view the Township’s notice of appeal to the NJ Supreme Court.)

In their ruling Judge’s Hoffman and Currier stated in part “We are convinced the Judge’s (trial Judge) response had the capacity to mislead the jury and was clearly capable of leading the jury to an unjust result.  Based upon our review of the trial record, if properly instructed, a reasonable jury could have found that upper-level supervisory personnel within the Police Department retaliated against Plaintiff for engaging in protected whistleblower activities.  Plaintiff presented substantial evidence that would support a determination that other supervisory employees in the Police Department – the deputy chief and one or more captains – engaged in retaliatory action against the plaintiff.”

When referring to former Chief Paul Philipps’ testimony at trial, the Appellate Court stated “Plaintiff presented compelling evidence that this response was clearly incorrect and constituted either a careless misstatement or a deliberate lie.”

Former Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Chief Paul Philipps

At the September 17, 2019, Council meeting, Mayor Soriano stated on the record when speaking about Captain Carifi the following: “Look I maintain it, that last year once I became fully aware of the facts and got behind the wheel and saw what had happened and saw the documents that he was targeted as retaliation.” This portion of Mayor Soriano’s statement can be found at the 53:02 mark of this recorded Council meeting. (Click here to listen to Mayor Soriano at the September 17, 2019 meeting.)

“Regardless of the position one holds in this matter, this is an issue of Soriano unable to keep his campaign promise as to when he was a candidate, all he could talk about was how he was going to settle this case once and for all. Yet another Soriano stumble in upholding the pledges he makes to get elected,” said Mayoral Candidate Louis Valori.

“The situation needs to be brought to resolution, it’s gone on through two administrations now and should be brought to a conclusion one way or the other among the involved parties. A lot of time and monies are being wasted we have many more important issues that needed to be addressed in town,” said Chris Mazzarella.  According to sources, Mazzarella will be filing a nomination for Mayor.

Each year, the Supreme Court receives approximately 7,000 to 8,000 petitions for certiorari, of which about 1% (approximately 80–100), are granted plenary review with oral arguments, and an additional 50 to 60 are disposed of without plenary review.

 

87-Unit Residential Units Approved for Johnson Road

Four story building was approved for 169 Johnson Road. It will contain 69 market priced units and 18 affordable housing units

PARSIPPANY — Plans by a developer to demolish the 33,736 square foot office building at 169 Johnson Road and replacing the structure with an 87-unit-three-story over a one-story parking garage. The existing two-story office building is known as Brevent Plaza. The application was approved 5-2, with Mr. Mele and Mr. Aperawic voting against the project.

The 33,736 square fot office building has a full-height landscaped atrium. The building features a reception/security desk in the lobby, an open foyer, and skylights.

The applicant, 169 Johnson Road, LLC. received approval for preliminary and final major site plan approval to construct the proposed four-story building at the Planning Board Meeting of December 21, 2020. The project was approved in the Parsippany-Troy Hills Fair Share Housing Center.

Outline of the property of 169 Johnson Road

The complex will include 69 market-priced units and 18 affordable housing units.

The existing office building was constructed in 1982.  The property is located on Block: 200 Lot: 8.

In April 2019, the Township executed a settlement agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center, to resolve litigation regarding Parsippany’s Prior and Third Round fair share affordable housing obligations. The agreement, which was accepted by the Court at a fairness hearing on June 21, 2019, sets forth the extent of the Township’s obligations and describes the compliance plan components by which Parsippany proposes to address those obligations. Part of this obligation has already been achieved in prior rounds, while other housing plan components will be undertaken through July 1, 2025, the end of the Third Round.

The Settlement Agreement identifies the following fair share obligations for the Township for the period from 1987 through July 1, 2025:
● Present Need (Rehabilitation Share): 190 units
● Prior Round (1987-1999) Obligation: 664 units
● Third Round (1999-2025) Obligation: 1,314 units

 

 

To watch the Planning Board meeting click here.

Parsippany-Troy Hills Planning Board Meeting – December 21, 2020

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Planning Board Meeting – December 21, 2020.

Click here to download the agenda.

Former N.J. Republican Chair Steinhardt Abruptly Drops Out of Governor’s Race

Douglas Steinhardt

NEW JERSEY — Former N.J. Republican Chair  Doug Steinhardt announced, “unfortunately, unforeseen professional obligations have made it untenable for me to continue in this race as a candidate for Governor.”

Steinhardt who stepped down as head of the state GOP to run for governor — also thanked his supporters, saying “your message was heard loud and clear, and you do have a voice.” Together we will rise above, and we will ultimately Take Back New Jersey.

Steinhardt, a 52-year-old Warren County attorney, said in a statement he was exiting the battle for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Governor Phil Murphy.

He did not specify what those obligations are.

Steinhardt is a partner in Florio Perrucci Steinhardt Cappelli Tipton & Taylor LLC .

Parsippany-Troy Hills Council Reorganization Meeting – January 5, 2021

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Council Reorganization Meeting – January 5, 2021

Parsippany-Troy Hills Council Agenda Meeting – January 5, 2021

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Council Agenda Meeting – January 5, 2021.

Click here to download the agenda.

SBA Extends Crucial Lifeline to Borrowers Impacted by COVID-19 with Debt Relief

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. Small Business Administration continues implementation of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza made the following statement in regards to Section 325:

“Small business is big business in America, and this Administration will continue to extend a lifeline to small business owners during this critical time. Congress charged the SBA with making debt relief payments (principal, interest, and fee payments) under Section 1112 of the CARES Act to help borrowers in SBA’s 7(a), 504, and Microloan programs; and now SBA is working expeditiously to implement the newly enacted assistance.

The new law extends SBA debt relief authority, allowing the Administration to continue alleviating adverse economic effects of COVID-19 for small businesses with SBA loans. Since April last year, the SBA has made over $7.1 billion in payments across 1,819,130 loans on behalf of these borrowers. It’s important to note that these firms were also initially able to access capital because of the SBA federal guarantee.”

The SBA is determining how much additional debt relief assistance can be provided to SBA borrowers with the newly issued Congressional appropriation. Debt Relief guidance will soon be posted on the SBA website.

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

Eccola Italian Bistro: Family-Owned Renown for Serving Delicious House-Made Pasta

Eccola Italian Bistro is located at 1082 Route 46, Parsippany

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany can boast of having several outstanding Italian restaurants. Notable among them, the extremely popular, Zagat rated Eccola Italian Bistro. Situated in a small strip mall located right off Route 46 west, nestled between a bank and an Indian Market, Eccola has been in business since 1990, making it a staple among the area’s finer restaurants.

A family-owned and operated business renown for serving delicious, innovative, authentic old-world style “house-made pasta”, as well as an extensive menu of Northern Italian and creative Italian American cuisine in a warm, cozy, casual, yet classy setting. Let me be blunt, you are not going to be around for 31 years if you are not doing something right! Do not be deceived by the relatively plain, unassuming, laid-back strip mall exterior, as a pleasant and impressive surprise awaits you within.

Once inside you will encounter a surprising ambiance, that in my opinion is part elegant and part casual, giving off a friendly, relaxing vibe in an upscale looking, beautifully appointed dining room with tasteful décor throughout. If you are looking for a romantic evening out this would be a restaurant to consider. Eccola’s commitment to cleanliness and excellence is also evident throughout. From their tasteful décor, wooden accents, recessed lighting, well-spaced tables, open kitchen, gorgeous wooden bar, and wood-burning over (both of which unfortunately is presently unavailable) this is a return visit location.
We were immediately welcomed and offered our choice of several tables.

Everyone was pleasant and extremely gracious. Our waitress, Estella, could not have been nicer or more accommodating. We were made to feel very much at home from start to finish. Service could not have been better, prompt, professional, and friendly. Our table was set up beautifully with sparkling glassware, nice white linen tablecloths, and plenty of fresh, cold water and hot, crispy bread and butter. As we pondered our appetizer selections, our choice of wine, recommended by Estella, was brought out, professionally uncorked, and tasted. It was clear we were in for a pleasant dining experience.
As a side note, I know some people are curious and confused about the name of the restaurant. I have one friend who tells me he has passed Eccola a hundred times and always assumed it was an Indian restaurant based on the name and the fact that it is attached to an Indian Market. Simply, Eccola is an Italian word that translates to “Here She Is”. And, for those interested in such things, Eccola has been frequented in the past by celebrities such as the Jonas Brothers and Britney Spears.

Owner Janet Tabmurin with Patrick Minutillo

On this visit, Chef Nino Tabmurin was unfortunately not available, but I was fortunate to have an opportunity to meet with the very pleasant and personable co-owner, Janet Tabmurin, who told me that Eccola’s loyal, longtime customers and staff are like family and it is only with the continued support that they have been able to survive through these hard times. After a brief conversation, it was evident that Janet’s sincere appreciation for both her customers and staff was clearly heartfelt. Janet explained it is her husband, Nino, who takes care of the front of the house and serves as the Head Chef and face of Eccola, while she often serves as the pastry chef behind the scenes. Nino and Janet’s culinary journey began in 1971 when Nino’s career started off in a Livingston area pizzeria which then eventually led to the Chessman Bistro, which Nino took over in 1974. As mention, in 1990 Eccola was opened and the rest is history. In those 50 years, Nino and Janet’s kitchens and dining rooms have served as the training ground for some of our areas now most well-known and admired chefs and restauranteurs.

At 73, and after 50 plus years in the food industry, Nino reportedly still retains his great love and passion for what he does, and does so well, and finds serving his customers with great food and top-notch hospitality very gratifying and rewarding. What is evident is that all his long time, regularly returning customers and staff clearly agree.

House Made Italian Meatballs (Marinara Sauce and Dollop of Fresh Ricotta Cheese)

For our appetizers we started off with one of Eccola’s Daily Specials, House Made Italian Meatballs (Marinara Sauce and Dollop of Fresh Ricotta Cheese). The meatballs were so savory you could taste the fresh ingredients, along with a great texture and delicious marinara sauce that perfectly complemented the meatballs it was clearly a great choice. The Melanzane Alla Griglia & Gorgonzola (Grilled Eggplant Topped with Gorgonzola Cheese over Tuscan Crostini, Garnished with Roasted Peppers and EVOO) was perfectly executed, well prepared, and seasoned exactly right, and the evident taste of Gorgonzola was a treat.

House Made Linguini with Seafood Fra Diavolo

The menu offered one tantalizing dish after another, but I finally ordered as my entrée, the House Made Linguini with Seafood Fra Diavolo (Jumbo Shrimp, Calamari, Sea Scallops, St. Peters Fish, Clams and Mussels in a Zesty Marinara Sauce over al dente pasta). Outstanding dish loaded with flavor. An abundant portion of fresh, assorted seafood served over an ample serving of house-made al dente linguini pasta, all extremely tasty, beautifully prepared, and presented.

House Made Gnocchi

The House Made Gnocchi (Topped with Pan-Seared Filet Mignon Tips, Sauteed Mushroom and Onion finished in a Barolo Red Wine Demi Sauce Garnished with Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese) was also mouth-wateringly delicious. The gnocchi, which I had to try in addition to my own meal, met all my expectations and more, and it certainly deserves two thumbs up.

Yes, I know, I am a gavone. I had planned on trying one of Eccola’s highly praised desserts, but I could not eat another bite, so we finished off a great meal with a nice cappuccino and put it in the books as another fantastic dining experience.
If you have not visited Eccola yet I would suggest you give it a try.

And please come out and support all our small, independent local businesses in any way you can.

Patrick Minutillo

COVID 19 Health and Safety Measures Strongly Enforced, Dine-In, Takeout, Curbside pickup, Small Strip Mall Parking Available, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options.

Eccola Italian Bistro is located at 1082 Route 46, Parsippany. For reservations or additional information call (973) 334-8211 or click here.

Reservations are required and limited due to regulations mandated by the state of New Jersey.

Walk-ins are welcome and will be accommodated by table availability.

Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center Opens

Sagar Kadakia, Emergency Medical Technician with the Parsippany Volunteer Ambulance Squad, receives a vaccination

MORRIS COUNTY — The County of Morris and Atlantic Health System joined New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in a huge step forward in the fight against COVID-19 by officially opening the doors to the Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center. This facility, housed in a former Sears store at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, will eventually deliver thousands of doses of vaccine a week in accordance with the phased eligibility system provided by the State of New Jersey.

Currently open to all phase 1A health care workers, law enforcement officers, and firefighters, the COVID-19 Vaccination Center or “mega-site” will deliver vaccinations using the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. Reservations will be made using an on-line registration form, a link to which can be found at the Atlantic Health System website. Appointments for second doses will be made on-site (the Moderna vaccine requires a second dose approximately four weeks after the initial dose).

To sign up for an appointment at the Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center click here or click here.

“The arrival of safe and effective vaccines represents a landmark moment in our fight against COVID-19, making this center a place of hope and healing for our entire region,” said Brian Gragnolati, President and CEO, Atlantic Health System. “On behalf of patients and caregivers across New Jersey, I want to thank Governor Murphy and Morris County leaders for their tremendous support and partnership.  Together, we are taking the next big step forward in protecting our friends, neighbors, and communities.  I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to receive their vaccinations as soon as they are eligible.”

“This is a tremendous logistical undertaking by Morris County in partnership with Atlantic Health System and the State of New Jersey. Our Offices of Public Health and Emergency Management worked tirelessly through the holiday season with Atlantic Health to identify and transform an empty retail space into a large scale, safe, secure regional vaccination facility,” said Stephen H. Shaw, Director of the Morris County Board of County Commissioners. “Morris County remains steadfast in its commitment to allocate the resources necessary to protect public health. We anticipate being able to inoculate as many as 2,400 individuals daily at this facility. Our thanks go out to Atlantic Health for its contributions of staff and assets, Governor Murphy for his support, everyone in our Offices of Public Health and Emergency Management, the National Guard, our Sheriff, and all the healthcare workers who have made this possible.” Gragnolati, President and CEO, Atlantic Health System. “On behalf of patients and caregivers across New Jersey, I want to thank Governor Murphy and Morris County leaders for their tremendous support and partnership.  Together, we are taking the next big step forward in protecting our friends, neighbors, and communities.  I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to receive their vaccinations as soon as they are eligible.”

The first floor, 30,000 square feet of the former Sears store, was converted from shuttered retail space to a vaccination mega-site in less than four weeks. Initially able to administer one thousand doses per week (contingent on vaccine supply), the Regional COVID-19 Vaccination

The Center will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The goal is to eventually be able to administer 2,400 doses per day (contingent on vaccine supply), from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Governor Murphy (center) toured the vaccine center with Commissioner Director Stephen H. Shaw (left of Governor). Also touring were AHS CEO Brian Gragnolati (far right), U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (right of Governor), and state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli (far left).

“Throughout this pandemic, our first responders have continued to save lives and protect our communities, and I am proud today that we are able to provide them with this added level of protection as they continue to do their jobs,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “When we’re ready to move forward, this site will serve as one of six mega-sites for the general public to receive their vaccinations. With hundreds of thousands of preregistrations already received, we know there will be a strong demand when that day arrives.”

All sworn law enforcement and fire professionals in New Jersey are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which is estimated to include about 55,000 individuals. These first responders are the first individuals in Phase 1B to become eligible for vaccination. EMS professionals, also considered first responders, are already eligible for the vaccine under Phase 1A as health care workers.

“We’re all used to charging head-on into potentially dangerous situations, but COVID-19 has added a whole new layer of uncertainty and change for all of us,” said John Alderton, a career firefighter and EMT with the Morris Township Fire Department. “This vaccine is the first step of us moving in the right direction. Thank you Governor Murphy for bringing this vaccine to not only first responders but hopefully in the near future, to every New Jersey resident.”

To help ensure the safety of everyone inside, the building features 16 air purifiers that turn over the air every nine minutes. An estimated 100 county workers, Atlantic Health team members, sheriff’s officers, and National Guard are on site today and their ranks are expected to expand to 150 when the center is at full capacity (contingent on vaccine supply).

“This Mega Center is a wonderful example of a great partnership between the State, County, and Atlantic Health. I give the Morris County Commissioners and the Morris County Sheriff a great deal of credit for once again being ahead of the curve and making sure Morris County is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.  Morris County always seems to rise to the occasion when a response like this is necessary for the public health, safety, and welfare of our residents,” said state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, who also visited the center.

The Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center is one of six mega-sites planned for New Jersey, with other locations in Gloucester County (Rowan College of South Jersey in Sewell – also scheduled to open today), East Rutherford (The Meadowlands), Edison (New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center), Burlington County (The Moorestown Mall) and Atlantic City (The Atlantic City Convention Center).

Morris County Commissioners Stephen Shaw, Tayfun Selen, and John Krickus touring the vaccine center prior to its official opening

Joining Commissioner Shaw, Gragnolati and Gov. Murphy in a tour of the facility that was led by Scott DiGiralomo, Morris County Director of Law and Public Safety, were state Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police and Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (11th Dist).

Delta Dental Donated $250,000 to Food Banks

Volunteers at Community Food Bank during a food distribution

PARSIPPANY — Delta Dental of New Jersey announced it is donating $250,000 to three organizations in New Jersey to combat food insecurity caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The funds will support the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside, Fulfill in Neptune, and The Food Bank of South Jersey in Pennsauken. The three organizations will dedicate the funds to help food pantries with capital needs, such as refrigerators, storage shelving, and delivery trucks.

“The pandemic has created a hunger crisis with more people than ever before relying on food pantries to feed their families,” said Dennis Wilson, president, and CEO of Delta Dental of New Jersey. “We are thankful for organizations like Community Foodbank of NJ, Fulfill, and The Food Bank of Southern NJ that help ease this burden, and we are humbled to provide this vital support so that families across the state can feed their loved ones.”

Delta Dental of New Jersey, through employee donations and volunteerism, as well as corporate giving, has supported food banks for many years. In addition, the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation has provided more than $20 million in grant funding since 1986 to provide access to dental care for uninsured children, seniors, developmentally disabled, and veterans throughout New Jersey and Connecticut.

“We salute Delta Dental for stepping up at this time of urgent need to help shore up the delivery of food to hungry families in our communities,” said Hans Dekker, president of the Community Foundation of New Jersey, which is coordinating the initiative on behalf of Delta Dental of New Jersey.

Parsippany Board of Education Announces 2021 Meeting Dates

PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany Board of Education has released its 2021 Board of Education Meeting Dates.

Click here to download the schedule.