Saturday, February 16, 2019
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Payless shoe stores plans to close 2,100 locations

PARSIPPANY — Payless shoe stores plans to close 2,100 locations becoming the latest retailer to succumb to increasing competition from online rivals like Amazon It has over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries and was founded in 1956.

As part of the bankruptcy process, Payless is looking for buyers for its real estate, which could include selling large blocks of stores in certain areas of the country. If it cannot find buyers, it may need to shutter the majority, if not all, of its North American stores.

The discount shoe store will close all 2,100 of its locations in the United States and Puerto Rico in the coming months, including the store located in the Morris Hills Shopping Center. There are also stores in Livingston, Rockaway and Willowbrook Malls.

The debt-burdened chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017, closing hundreds of stores as part of its reorganization.

Payless was founded in 1956 by two cousins, Louis and Shaol Lee Pozez, to offer self-service stores selling affordable footwear.

American Equity Partners Acquires “The 9 at Parsippany”

PARSIPPANY — American Equity Partners has acquired “The 9 at Parsippany”, located on 9 Entin Road.  Newmark Knight Frank’s Tri-State Capital Markets team, led by Kevin Welsh, Brian Schulz, and Chuck Kohaut, represented an institutional investor and Lincoln Property Company on the transaction. The team also identified the buyer.

American Equity Partners is a real estate company, located in Edison, created as a conduit for investors to attain above market returns in diversified real estate investments. American Equity Partners’ investment strategy represents the vision of its founding partners.

The sale price was not disclosed. According to Real Capital Analytics, a proprietary research database that tracks commercial real estate transactions, the property has been owned since 2006 by a joint venture of Lincoln and UBS Realty Advisors, who acquired the asset from Hartz Mountain for $26.8 million.

The 9 at Parsippany is a three story, 196,894 square-foot class A office building that is 72%-leased to a mix of corporate headquarters and high credit-quality companies including Tilcon NY, Aetna, Med Metrix and HNTB, offering stable in-place cash flow with substantial upside through the lease-up of the 55,514 square feet of vacant space. The property is strategically located directly off I-287 (Exit 40B) in the prestigious Route 10 corridor. This micro market is evolving into an amenity-rich “live/work/play/stay” environment highlighted by the recent opening of Wegmans adjacent to the property, and a number of new multifamily developments in the corridor.

For more information on American Equity Partners, click here.

24 Hour Fitness to join Wegman’s

HANOVER — Mack-Cali Realty Corporation announced it has signed a lease with 24 Hour Fitness at the Company’s shopping center at the intersection of Sylvan Way and Ridgedale Avenue, in the Mack-Cali Business Campus. 24 Hour Fitness will join anchor tenant Wegmans and will occupy approximately 40,000 square feet. Construction on the new 24 Hour Fitness is underway.

Headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., 24 Hour Fitness is a leading fitness industry pioneer with nearly four million members in more than 400 clubs across the U.S. The new club will feature personal training services, popular group exercise classes, and a variety of strength, cardio, and functional training equipment.

Wegmans  opened their 134,000-square-foot supermarket on Sunday, July 23, 2017.

“Mack-Cali is thrilled about bringing 24 Hour Fitness to the Parsippany/Hanover area. 24 Hour Fitness will join Wegmans as key amenities not only for our office tenants and residents in the area but also the entire community. Adding amenities like 24 Hour Fitness and Wegmans are at the core of Mack-Cali’s commitment to its tenants and the markets in which we are a part of,” said Michael J. DeMarco, Mack-Cali Chief Executive Officer

Mark Needle of Triumph Realty Group represented Mack-Cali in the 24 Hour Fitness transaction, as well as, the Wegmans deal. Pierson Commercial represented 24 Hour Fitness.

Mack-Cali Realty Corporation is a fully integrated, self-administered, self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT) providing management, leasing, development, and other tenant-related services for its two-platform operations of waterfront and transit-based office and luxury multi-family assets. Mack-Cali provides its tenants and residents with the most innovative communities that empower them to re-imagine the way they work and live.

Victor Torres arrested for DWI and active warrant

Jamie Barberio

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Patrol Officer J. Garza and R. Taylor observed a 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe commit a motor vehicle violation and found that the vehicle’s registration was suspended, at 1:12 a.m. on Thursday, February 14. They stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Victor Torres, 34, Orange. While officers spoke to Mr. Torres, Officer Taylor observed approximately 15 beer cans inside the vehicle.

After a brief investigation, Mr. Torres was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated and for an active traffic warrant.

He was transported to Parsippany Police Headquarters for processing. While there, he was charged Driving While Intoxicated; Reckless Driving; Failure to Signal; Driving with a Suspended Registration and Possession of an Open Container of Alcohol in a Vehicle.

He was released on his own recognizance pending his court date for the new charges. He also posted bail in the amount of $350.00 for his active warrant and was given a new court date.

Editor’s Note: A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendant is presumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Florida resident charged with DWI in a school zone

PARSIPPANY —Patrol Officer J. Hughes observed a 2017 Nissan Rogue make an illegal U-turn and conducted a motor vehicle stop on the vehicle at 11:19 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13.

Officer Hughes made contact with the driver, Barry Dutton, 55, Rockledge, Florida.

While speaking to him, he detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage. After a brief investigation, Mr. Dutton was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated and transported to Parsippany Police Headquarters.

While there, he was charged with Driving While Intoxicated; Driving While Intoxicated in a School Zone; Improper U-Turn; Reckless Driving and Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing.

He was released on his own recognizance into the custody of a sober adult pending his court date.

Editor’s Note: A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendant is presumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

East Orange resident arrested for Possession of CDS

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Patrol Officer J. Garza observed a 2003 Mitsubishi Galant driving approximately 35 miles per hour in a 55 miles per hour zone and conducted a motor vehicle stop on Wednesday, February 13 at 1:15 a.m.

As he approached the vehicle, he detected the odor of burnt marijuana emanating from the vehicle.

After a brief investigation, the passenger, Kiondre Williams, 24, East Orange, was placed under arrest for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He was transported to Parsippany Police Headquarters for processing.

While there Williams was charged Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana, a Disorderly Persons Offense and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Disorderly Persons Offense.

He was released on his own recognizance pending his court date.

Editor’s Note: A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendant is presumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Orange resident arrested for Shoplifting at Target

parsippany police

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Officers responded to Target, 1157 Route 46, on a possible shoplifting at 2:22 p.m. on Tuesday, February 12.

Upon their arrival, they spoke to the Loss Prevention Officer who advised them that a male who just finished an interview for possible employment at Target was observed concealing an item in his waistband prior to the interview.

After a brief investigation Mark Lawrence, 19, Orange, was placed under arrest for shoplifting an item worth approximately $32.00. He was transported to Parsippany Police Headquarters for processing. While there, he was charged with Shoplifting, a Disorderly Persons Offense.

He was transported to the Morris County Correctional Facility pending his initial court date.

Editor’s Note: A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendant is presumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Pennsylvania Driver Charged with Driving While Intoxicated

PARSIPPANY — While on patrol at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 12, Sergeant R. McGinnis located a 2018 Infiniti Q56 that had crashed into a utility pole at the above intersection. This incident occurred on Route 46 West at Condit Street. He, along with other responding units began rendering aid to the driver, Derriek Daniels II, 39,  Easton, PA.

After a brief investigation by Patrol Officers J. Seeger and J. Hughes, it was determined that the Infiniti was travelling eastbound on Route 46 and crossed the grass median and continued traveling east in the westbound lanes until the vehicle ran off the roadway and struck the utility pole.

Mr. Daniels was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated and transported to Saint Clares Hospital for minor injuries sustained during the crash.

During their investigation, officers also found that Mr. Daniels had an active warrant for his arrest.

Prior to transferring Mr. Daniels to the Morris County Correctional Facility due to the active arrest warrant, he was charged with the Driving While Intoxicated; Driving While Suspended; Reckless Driving; Failure to Produce Registration; Failure to Produce Insurance and Failure to Wear a Seatbelt.

Editor’s Note: A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendant is presumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Teens Learn About Careers in Aviation

MORRIS COUNTY — Young men and women, ages 14-20, who are interested in careers in aviation are invited to join Aviation Explorer Post 523 on Wednesday, February 20 at 6:00 p.m. at Morristown Airport. The goal of the post is to help teens experience different career paths in aviation. At biweekly meetings, youth meet professionals from different areas in the aviation industry.

On February 20, they will meet with a corporate aviation flight department and one of their aviation mechanics and hangar managers.

Post 523 is chartered to DM Airports Ltd. and will meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month. New Explorers are welcome and can register by clicking here.

Exploring is a worksite-based program of Learning for Life, a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America.  Exploring units, called “posts”, usually have a focus on a single career field, such as police, healthcare, law, aviation, engineering, fire/rescue or the like, and may be sponsored by a government or business entity.

For further information please contact Al Thomas, District Executive at (973) 765-9322 ext. 229, or email:

Michigan Driver arrested for possession of loaded handgun

parsippany news

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Patrol Officer J. Williams observed a silver sedan traveling on Route 46 East without its headlights turned on and conducted a motor vehicle stop on Sunday, February 10 at 6:30 p.m.

He made contact with William Stewart, 31, Flint, MI. After a brief investigation, Mr. Stewart was found to be in possession of a loaded handgun and placed under arrest.

He was transported back to Parsippany Police Headquarters for processing. While there, he was charged with one count of Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun.

He was subsequently transported to the Morris County Correctional Facility pending his initial court appearance.

In accordance with the New Jersey Bail Reform Law, he was released from the Morris County Correctional Facility pending his next court appearance.

Editor’s Note: A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendant is presumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Dewberry Announces Promotions in its Parsippany Office

PARSIPPANY — Dewberry has announced the promotion of more than 65 employees nationwide, including staff members within the firm’s  Parsippany office. The promotions coincide with Dewberry’s ongoing expansion of engineering and consulting services in the Northeast region, where the firm has practiced for more than 60 years. Dewberry is located at 600 Parsippany Road.

In Dewberry’s Parsippany office the promotions include:

Robert Foley, PE, and Erin Gehan have been promoted to senior associate in the Parsippany office.

Foley is a senior project manager in the site/civil group. He is responsible for management, design, regulatory approvals, and construction phase oversight of residential, commercial, and mission critical development projects. He earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (1987). Foley is a professional engineer in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and 7X24 Exchange.

Gehan is the marketing manager for the design and environmental services branches. She earned a bachelor’s in English from Fairfield University (1986), and is a member of Professional Women in Construction (PWC) and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME).

Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. Recognized for combining unsurpassed commitment to client service with deep subject matter expertise, Dewberry is dedicated to solving clients’ most complex challenges and transforming their communities. Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 50 locations and 2,000+ professionals nationwide. To learn more click here.

Local students named to Dean’s List at RIT

Rochester Institute of Technology

PARSIPPANY — The following local residents made the Dean’s List at Rochester Institute of Technology for the 2018 Fall Semester:

Nicholas Breeman of Morris Plains who is in the electrical engineering program.

Abby Melake of Morris Plains who is in the biomedical sciences program.

Jeffrey Karger of Morris Plains who is in the game design and development program.

Degree-seeking undergraduate students are eligible for Dean’s List if their term GPA is greater than or equal to 3.400; they do not have any grades of “Incomplete”, “D” or “F”; and they have registered for, and completed, at least 12 credit hours.

Rochester Institute of Technology is home to leading creators, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers. Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls about 19,000 students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, making it among the largest private universities in the U.S.

Shane Vyskocil Named to Deans’ List at Bryant University

Shane and Ryan Vyskocil

PARSIPPANY — Bryant University is committed to the pursuit, recognition, and celebration of academic success. Shane Vyskocil, class of 2019, from Parsippany, has been named to Bryant University’s Deans’ List for the fall 2018 semester. Shane is a graduate of Parsippany Hills High School Class of 2015.

Shane has been also named to the President’s List for the fall 2018 semester. The President’s List is an academic distinction reserved for Bryant’s highest achievers who earn a GPA of 4.0 or better for at least 12 semester hours of work.

Congratulations to Shane on this outstanding achievement!

For 156 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. Bryant delivers an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education that inspires students to excel. With approximately 3,700 graduate and undergraduate students from 38 states and 53 countries, Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Barron’s, click here.

Police arrest pair for Prostitution and Drug Offenses

Jamie Barberio

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Patrol Officer R. Taylor observed a 2012 Nissan Rogue with an equipment violation and also found the registered owner to have a suspended license.

He conducted a motor vehicle stop and spoke to the driver, Francinelly Deoliveira, 38, North Arlington. While speaking to her, he detected the odor of raw marijuana coming from the interior of the vehicle.

The driver, along with the passenger, Patricia Lima, 31, Newark, were both removed from the vehicle. Patrol Officer W. Torres-Czajka arrived on scene to assist.

During the initial investigation, both occupants were placed under arrest after a vape pen containing suspected THC oil was found. After further inquiry, they were also advised that they were being arrested for prostitution. They were both transported to police headquarters for processing.

While there, they were both charged with the following:

• Prostitution, a Disorderly Persons Offense
• Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Disorderly Persons Offense
• Possession of Less than 5 grams of Hashish, a Disorderly Persons Offense

Mrs. Deoliveira was also charged with Improper Display of a License Plate. They were both released on their own recognizance pending their court dates.

Editor’s Note: A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendant is presumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

We are months away from Chick-fil-A

MORRIS COUNTY — The first Morris County Chick-fil-A being built in the Briarcliff Commons Shopping Center on the corner of Route 10 and Route 202 in Morris Plains.

The Morris Plains Board of Adjustment approved the application from Morris Plains Holding UE LLC to construct a 4,836 square foot, free-standing restaurant with a drive-thru window. They are expected to open in the beginning of May.

The most popular item on the Chick-fil-A menu is the waffle fry. They are arguably the tastiest way to eat a tater.

There’s no doubt that the Waffle Fries seem to be the perfect side for just about anything else on the lunch and dinner menu. Cooked with canola oil and sea salt, put simply, they are pure perfection!

There are 36 Chick-fil-A restaurants in New Jersey, six of them in North Jersey with two in Paramus, one in Union, one in Teterboro, one in Jersey City and one in Englewood.

Chick-fil-A is an American fast food restaurant chain headquartered in the city of College Park, Georgia, specializing in chicken sandwiches. Founded in May 1946, it operates more than 2,200 restaurants, primarily in the United States. The restaurant serves breakfast before transitioning to its lunch and dinner menu.

Ricoh USA Commits to 55,893 square foot at 2 Gatehall

Ricoh USA leases 55,893 square feet at 2 Gatehall

MORRIS COUNTY — Electronics industry giant Ricoh USA has leased 55,893 square feet at 2 Gatehall Drive, Parsippany, announced Cushman & Wakefield. The new location will house back-office operations for the production print products, services and solutions firm.

Cushman & Wakefield’s William O’Keefe, Charles P. Parmelli, Curtis Foster, and Jerry Shifrin represented landlord Silverman Realty Group Inc., of White Plains, N.Y. in brokering the long-term lease. Drew W. Persson of Newmark Knight Frank served as broker for Ricoh USA, which will relocate to 2 Gatehall from West Caldwell.

A recently completed, multi-million-dollar renovation at the Class A office property was key in securing the Ricoh USA commitment, according to O’Keefe. “Silverman Realty Group orchestrated a comprehensive improvement program to elevate 2 Gatehall’s position as a go-to address,” he said. “This effort to attract high-end companies and build on an already impressive tenant roster is proving out.”

“The redesigned, three-story atrium lobby serves as a central common area and access point to 2 Gatehall’s offices and amenities and features a new skylight installation, an innovative, multi-purpose furniture plan and modern finishes,” stated Parmelli. This space is large enough to host town hall-style meetings and includes a technology package and workspaces, while also serving as a social gathering area with lounge-style seating and a fireplace. A new full-service café provides breakfast and lunch, offering hot and cold stations as well as catering options for meetings and events. The main dining area for the café is located off the central atrium with additional outdoor courtyard seating. Tenants also enjoy an espresso bar serving hot drinks and grab-and-go food options.

Other onsite amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center with all-new training equipment and a private yoga studio, adjacent to new locker facilities. 2 Gatehall offers raised floors designed for convenient wiring and IT infrastructure, and houses a new 600kw three-phase generator available for tenant use. An enhanced security package includes a 24/7/365 manned desk, multiple cameras, keycard access at various entryways and a centralized control panel.

2 Gatehall is located in a market populated by numerous Fortune 500 companies and corporate headquarters operations. “This is the heart of Morris County’s business corridor,” O’Keefe noted. “Within it, 2 Gatehall sits at the intersection of Routes 10 and 202, just minutes away from I-287 and I-80, providing multiple access points from both main thoroughfares and congestion-free back roads. Nearby train and bus services, retail, restaurants and hotels – including an adjacent Residence Inn – add to its appeal.”

Cushman & Wakefield currently is marketing units from 10,000 to 118,000 square feet at 2 Gatehall.

Goddard School participates in “Pajama Program”

PARSIPPANY — For the past two weeks, preschoolers at the Goddard School have collected over 1000 of pajamas – surpassing their initial goal of 900 pajamas! The students at the Parsippany Goddard School collected over 40 pajamas.

The pint-sized preschoolers’ pajama drive is in partnership with Pajama Program, who believes every child deserves to change into cozy, clean pajamas before bedtime.

The Goddard School is located at 311 Smith Road.

At Pajama Program, they know that this doesn’t have to be their story. They know that they can do something that not only validates their worth and shows them love, but that also transforms their nights and their days. By offering the magical gifts of pajamas and books, they bring a caring bedtime ritual into their lives. Changing out of their clothes and into warm, cozy pajamas lets them shed the stresses of their day, trading them for feelings of warmth and hope. With enchanting stories, their imaginations are opened, helping them to dream again. These unconditional gifts fill them with love and a feeling of being cared for, transitioning them to bedtime and delivering a good night — preparing them for a good day that leads to a better life.

For more information on the Pajama Program click here.

Pennacchio Calls for India to Have Permanent Seat on UN Security Council

Sen. Joe Pennacchio has introduced legislation urging the United Nations to seat India as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, pictured in the photo above. The resolution has received the support of India’s Consulate General

MORRIS COUNTY — As part of an ongoing effort to strengthen ties with the New Jersey’s Indian community and in recognition of India’s longstanding global peace initiatives, Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) has introduced legislation urging the United Nations to seat India as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

Senator Joe Pennacchio

“As the largest democracy in the world, India has proven to be a worthy partner in our efforts to maintain peace and security throughout the globe. The United Nations Security Council was established with this noble goal in mind. It’s time for the Council to recognize what the U.S. has long held to be true: that India is one of our strongest allies in that fight,” Senator Pennacchio said. “We have reaped the rewards of this international friendship in New Jersey, where more and more Indian-Americans continue to grow and prosper in the land they now call home.

“I urge the UN Security Council to honor this bond of friendship, by immediately instating India as a permanent member of the council. We cannot continue to take their military and economic contributions for granted. India is certainly deserving of a seat at the table.”

The United Nations Security Council is currently composed of 15 members. The five permanent members include: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. There are also 10 non-permanent members, with nonconsecutive two-year terms, that are elected on a regional basis.

Although India has been a member of the United Nations since the UN’s inception in 1945, India has only served as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for seven terms. This is despite the fact that nation has been a strong participant in many multilateral international and regional organizations, such as the G20 Summit and the World Trade Organization.

With more than 1. 3 billion citizens, India represents one-sixth of the global population. India has the second largest military and the second largest labor force. They are also one of the fastest-growing major economies worldwide.

The Trump Administration expressed its support of making India a permanent member of the UN SEC as recently as last September.

Senator Pennacchio’s resolution, SR-114, is also sponsored by fellow Senate Republican, Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), a longtime advocate for Indian-Americans in New Jersey.

“The New York-New Jersey metro area is home to the largest concentration of Indians in the United States, making our State Legislature an appropriate advocate for granting India a seat on the UN Security Council,” Senator Thompson noted. “The nuclear challenges we are facing from abroad, and the tenuous circumstances in the Middle East, mandate that the United States maintain strong, strategic partnerships with allies that are loyal and committed to our cause. We cannot continue to address these challenges on a united, global scale without establishing India as a permanent member of the Security Council. For the sake of our world and the health and welfare of future generations, I hope that the U.N. heeds our call to action immediately.”

The resolution has also received the support of the Consul General of India.

“As an organization, the United Nations must evolve and adapt itself to a rapidly changing environment and to serve better the needs of the world community,” Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India, said. “It is India’s belief that no reform of the United Nations is complete without the composition of the Security Council changing to reflect contemporary realities of the 21st century. This requires expansion in the membership of the Security Council in both the permanent and non – permanent categories. By any objective criteria, such as population, territorial size, GDP, economic potential, civilizational legacy, cultural diversity, political system and past and ongoing contributions to the activities of the UN — especially to UN peacekeeping operations — India is eminently qualified for permanent membership. India has affirmed its willingness and capacity to shoulder the responsibilities of permanent membership.”

Freeholders Approve New, Expanded Space For Morris County Head Start Program

Head Start children planting flowers

PARSIPPANY — The Morris County Board of Freeholders introduced a $1.2 million ordinance for the rehabilitation of space at the county’s Central Avenue Complex in Parsippany to create new and expanded quarters for children who attend the Head Start Community Program of Morris County in the Morristown region.

The new facility would double Head Start’s capacity in this area, allowing it to accommodate additional underprivileged children in the program, which currently operates in space provided by the county, for a minimal annual fee, at its Morris View building in Morris Township.

Head Start children at breakfast

The Freeholder Board should consider final adoption of the ordinance at its February 27 meeting, which could lead to a bidding process for the construction project by late March or early April. The new center likely would open in late 2019 or early 2020.

“Head Start offers a very important services to some of Morris County’s most in need children and families,” said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “We have been working closely with Head Start so we can improve their space and offer this important program to even more of our Morris County children.”

“Head Start is very grateful for our longstanding partnership with Morris County, which enables us to provide life-changing services for the area’s most vulnerable children and families,” said Head Start of Morris County Executive Director Susan O’Donnell.  “This project leverages county, state and federal resources that work together to break the cycle of poverty for the neediest families in our community,” she added.

O’Donnell explained that with the opening of this new Head Start facility in the county’s Central Avenue Complex, twice as many families in the general Morristown area would be able to access free early childhood programs.

These families also could connect to a wide array of human services available at the same location.

Financing approved by the Board of Freeholders for the construction work is a loan to Head Start, which would reimburse county taxpayers for the project.

The county and Head Start will negotiate an annual lease for the new space. Head Start now pays the county just $8,000 annually for its Morris View location.

Since 2005, Head Start has leased space from the county to provide services for preschoolers from low-income families in the Morristown area. It currently occupies three classrooms in a second-floor wing of the Morris View Healthcare Center, in addition to the program’s main site in Dover.

The new facility would serve 90 preschoolers, including children with special needs. Free, full-day preschool services would be offered through a Federal Head Start grant and a preschool education expansion aid collaboration with the Morris School District.

Wrap-around childcare and summer programming also is planned to support working parents.

The mission of Head Start Community Program of Morris County, founded in 1965, is to partner with families to provide comprehensive support for child development and school readiness, from prenatal through kindergarten ages, for the community’s most vulnerable children.

The organization serves 245 families countywide, providing free programs for expectant mothers, infants, toddlers and preschoolers in Morris County. Head Start services are designed to be responsive to the ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage of each child and family.

The agency’s early childhood programs have achieved 4-star quality ratings through Grow NJ Kids, the state’s quality rating system for early care and education programs.

Information about services is available by calling Head Start at (973) 989-1430, or through the organization’s website by clicking here.

Head Start Children Coats

Legislation outlawing armed drones advances

Jay Webber

PARSIPPANY — With more than 1.3 million drones registered with the FAA and possibly as many unregistered, the potential for criminals or terrorists to arm an unmanned aircraft and use it to threaten, injure, or kill people is sky high.

That danger was realized by Assemblyman Jay Webber, who sponsors legislation (A1739) criminalizing weaponized drones.  It unanimously passed the Assembly Homeland Security Committee today.

“This is a situation where the law should keep pace with the technology,” said Webber (R-Morris). “While recreational drones have many harmless and fun uses, a weaponized drone in the wrong hands is just plain dangerous.  The U.S. military has had great success with pilotless planes on the battlefield. The potential grows for bad guys using armed drones to turn a crowded event into a crime scene, and our law should be updated to deter and punish the weaponizing of drones.”

The bill prohibits unmanned aircraft mounted with explosives, firearms, or projectiles that could injure or kill.  Violations are punishable with fines of $10,000 and 18 months in prison.