HANOVER TOWNSHIP — Officer Josh Williams arrested Ms. Rachel Grant, 28, Parsippany, for DWI, on Monday, July 29.
Ms. Grant was originally stopped for a motor vehicle violation when it was determined she was intoxicated.
Ms. Grant was charged with possession of CDS and drug paraphernalia. She was also issued summonses for DWI, failure to follow the marked course, failure to maintain lane, failure to keep right, possession of CDS in a motor vehicle, reckless, careless, failure to signal, failure to yield, tailgating, speeding, and failure to stop for an emergency vehicle.
She was released to a friend pending her court date.
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.
MORRIS COUNTY — Governor Phil Murphy announced the decrease of indoor gathering capacity limit in response to the increase of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey.
Indoor gatherings are now limited to 25 percent of a room’s capacity, but regardless of the room’s capacity, the maximum limit shall be 25 persons, down from 100 persons.
For purposes of determining this limit, any private residence or residential unit shall be treated as a single room.
However, this change will not be applicable to the following events: weddings, funerals, memorial services, religious services, celebrations, or political activities. These events may continue under the previous rules that limited these events to 25 percent of a room’s capacity, but with a limit of 100 persons.
“In order to protect public health, we are retightening the restriction on indoor gatherings due to uptick of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy.
“We cannot stress enough that large and crowded indoor gatherings, where social distancing isn’t being practiced and face masks aren’t being worn, are not safe. Until there is a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases, these restrictions will continue to be in place.”
The Order takes effect at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 4.
MORRIS COUNTY — Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 172, allowing any public employee eligible for enrollment into the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) to immediately enroll upon hire, rather than waiting two months.
Previously, under Executive Order No. 115, the two-month waiting period was waived only for public employees hired specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Order, which will last for the duration of the Public Health Emergency, applies to any public employee eligible for enrollment into the SHBP who is hired on or after March 9, 2020.
“New Jersey’s skilled workforce is essential to the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and the lack of health benefits coverage for newly hired personnel may be a deterrent to attracting and hiring the key staff necessary to continue our work during the pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “We must ensure that our workforce has seamless access to health care, including preventive services and medical care relating to COVID-19, throughout this once-in-a-century pandemic.”
This order will take effect immediately. Click here to download Executive Order 172.
PARSIPPANY — Raksha Bandhan, or Rakhi, is one of the biggest festivals in India, is celebrated on Monday, August 3, across the country. It’s an occasion marking brotherly love between siblings. On the day of Raksha Bandhan, sisters tie ‘Rakhi’, a colorful band signifying love between siblings, on the wrist of their brother.
Heather Haque, 31, a transgender resident of Parsippany because of her emotional attachment with Mahat Jalan, an actor, and model, tied a Rakhi band on his wrist.
“Acceptability, love, and attachment are more important to me than what others of Hindu society might think,” says Mahat.
When Mahat came to the United States in January, he became friends with Heather. His approach towards life is different, and his perspectives are open-minded, unlike other Indian men who were often rude towards trans people. “I need respect, and Mahat has so far respected my thoughts. I’m glad to have such a brother in my life,” said Heather.
MORRIS COUNTY — Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will now begin written driver tests, including commercial drivers, starting Monday, August 3, announced the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. The tests will be given by appointment in all licensing centers except Oakland and Flemington, they said.
The demand is high, stated DMV officials so drivers are encouraged to make an appointment. Appointments can be made up to thirty days in advance click here.
Road tests restarted June 29, also on an appointment basis.
PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department was notified at approximately 4:30 a.m. on reports of a stabbing in the Mill Run Apartments, on Harry and Judy Drive, off Route 10 in the Powdermill section of Parsippany. Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and The Morris County Sheriff’s Department are on the scene.
Sources at the scene indicate a domestic dispute which led a female to stab a male. At this time there is no danger to the general public.
Parsippany Focus is waiting for an official statement from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and will update this article when additional information becomes available.
MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Supervisor Patrick LaGuerre, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, and Morris County Freeholder Tayfun Selen joined the local Islamic Community during an Eid Ul-Adha prayer service at the Islamic Center of Morris County in Rockaway Borough on Friday, July 31.
Eid-ul-Adha Prayer was celebrated around the world on Friday, as the pandemic curfew forced people to limit gatherings and maintain social distancing.
The Islamic Center of Morris County, NJ is registered with the State of NJ as a 501(c) (3), Non-Profit Religious & Educational organization for Muslims.
MORRIS COUNTY — Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 171. The Order extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020, through Executive Order No. 103, which was previously extended on April 7, May 6, June 4, and July 2. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed.
“New Jersey has made a lot of progress in the fight against COVID-19, but we cannot declare victory yet,” said Governor Murphy.“As we continue to work to save lives and stop a resurgence of this virus, we need access to all resources available to do so.”
Executive Order No. 171 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.
I had the pleasure of watching our high school athletes participate in outdoor socially distanced conditioning drills this week. Our coaches and teacher helpers have organized safety measures to keep students safe and following health guidelines. With all the uncertainty as states make decisions about returning to live instruction or remote learning, it was a hopeful sign to see our students on their home sports fields working out and enjoying time with their friends and coaches.
The current version of our Return to School Plan was presented at Wednesday evening’s Board of Education meeting and is available on our district website for review. There were several questions after the presentation related to students’ in-person and online instructional experiences. These included:
How often will live-streamed instruction occur for students during their week away from school?
How will science labs be replicated?
What should students expect on Virtual Fridays?
What will Band and Chorus instruction look like?
Which teachers will handle the remote instruction? Will it be the classroom teacher?
A committee of administrators and teachers is working to address all aspects of in-person and online instruction.
I understand that decisions in this area may determine whether you choose for your child to attend school or be fully remote. We may not be able to provide this for you within the time frame you desire. Nonetheless, it is important that parents log into their child’s Genesis account to answer questions for September regarding attendance in school and bus transportation. The deadline is Monday, August 3 and you may change your mind at any time.
As we move into August, things will begin to happen quickly. I will continue to utilize these Friday letters to keep you updated and communicate decisions about the school year, the academic experience, and more.
Best wishes for a great weekend!
Barbara Sargent, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Supervisor Patrick LaGuerre of the Community Outreach & Recruitment Unit joined the local Islamic Community during an Eid Ul-Adha prayer service at the Islamic Center of Morris County in Rockaway Borough on July 31, 2020.
Hosted by the Islamic Center of Morris County (ICMA) and the Jam-E-Masjid Islamic Center (JMIC), Eid Ul-Adha, also called the Festival of Sacrifice, is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year. It honors the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God’s command. But, before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this intervention, an animal, usually, a sheep, is sacrificed ritually. One-third of its meat is consumed by the family offering the sacrifice, while the rest is distributed to the poor and needy.
Prosecutor Knapp stated, “I was delighted that the Islamic Center of Morris County extended an invitation to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office to participate in the prayer service celebrating the holiday of Eid Ul-Adha. The Islamic residents of Morris County and the surrounding region consistently demonstrate their commitment to our diverse community and quality of life”.
BOONTON TOWNSHIP — For almost as long as it has existed as a member-supported, non-profit land trust, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey has been providing scholarships to residents of New Jersey pursuing degrees in environmental science, natural resource management, conservation, park administration, and related fields.
For the past 36 years, this program has been rewarding environmental scholars who plan to pursue careers protecting the natural resources of their home state. This year the $7,500 Russell M. Myers Scholarship is awarded to Jessica Zhao, a senior at Duke University majoring in environmental science and policy with a concentration in marine conservation.
During the past year, Zhao volunteered with Peruvian nonprofits to reverse eutrophication in an Andean wetland and met with sustainability-focused businesses, organizations, and leaders across Scandinavia. She also studied at the Duke Marine Lab under a Rachel Carson scholarship, which trains promising students to become the next generation of marine conservation leaders. She will use her research on governance in Eastern Indonesian marine protected areas to complete an honors thesis before graduation.
This summer she is gaining political experience in a state-level organization that holds elected officials accountable for the environment. The $7,500 Rogers Family Scholarship goes to Toyosi Dickson, a recent Rutgers graduate whose deep involvement in her campus and devotion to her community has earned her the Reich Scholarship, Dr. Samuel D. & Anne E. Faust Memorial Award, and a place in the George H. Cook Honors program at Rutgers.
In between all research, she found time to dedicate herself to her EOF program’s Community of Students Involved ‘N’ Education (COSINE) Club as the chair for professional development. Dickson is going on to pursue a master’s degree in environmental justice at the University of Michigan—a place she has already gotten to know as a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar.
Rick Simon led the Conservancy’s Scholarship Committee. This year there were more applicants than ever, and the competition was tough. The committee reviewed 20 applications from current undergraduate and graduate students, paring down the candidates to five who that they wanted to interview (this year, over Zoom). From this pool of superbly qualified individuals, Zhao and Dickson were chosen. Simon says, “TLCNJ is proud to be able to help these two outstanding women achieve their career goals. It was a pleasure for our entire committee to meet Toyosi and Jessica, as well as all of the applicants we interviewed.
It was exciting and inspiring to hear about the leading-edge discoveries and breakthroughs they are all involved in, related to clean water, land preservation, and combatting climate change. Our only regret is that we are financially limited to these two scholarships since each year we meet more and more truly remarkable young people who are making a huge difference in this field.”
Both students are up for the challenge. Dickson says, “You would think that the award money is the most important thing to me about this scholarship, but it’s not. This is the culmination of all my hard work finally being valued and recognized; it’s earned me this scholarship and admission into graduate school. It tells me that others—professionals in my field—value my research studying the impact of environmental decisions on underrepresented communities, and I am further determined to go the distance.” Zhao expressed a similar sentiment. “It is an honor to be this year’s recipient of the Russell W. Myers Scholarship. I am excited to use my education to continue advancing climate action and influencing policy in New Jersey and beyond.”
The Russell M. Myers Scholarship was established in 1983 to honor Mr. Myers, founder of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey. An outstanding leader in the field of conservation, Mr. Myers was the first Director of the Morris County Park Commission. His dynamic leadership established the Morris County Park System, which remains the largest county park system in New Jersey and one of the finest in the nation.
The Rogers Family Scholarship was established in 2005 by Gray and Mollie Rogers, dedicated conservationists who wanted to expand The Land Conservancy’s educational support for outstanding students passionate about protecting our natural environment. Gray Rogers is a trustee emeritus of The Land Conservancy. In 36 years the scholarship program has awarded $300,000 in grants to 60 outstanding college students.
Past recipients have hailed from nearly 40 different New Jersey towns and have used their scholarships to obtain bachelor, master’s, and doctorate degrees at an array of institutions including New Jersey’s own Rutgers and Stockton Universities.
Their fields of study have included environmental law, policy, and planning, as well as chemistry, wildlife ecology, geography, landscape architecture, and forestry management. The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is a member-supported, non-profit, accredited land trust dedicated to preserving and protecting natural land and water resources throughout the State. Originally founded as an all-volunteer group in 1981 the organization has worked with 100 municipalities in 13 counties and continues to be recognized for meeting the highest standards for protecting open space, upholding the public trust, and ensuring that their conservation efforts are permanent.
For more information about the work of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, visit their website www.tlc-nj.org or call (973) 541-1010.
MORRIS COUNTY — Senator Joe Pennacchio voiced his concern that the state’s special education students are being forgotten as plans for the re-opening of schools in September continue to evolve.
“Going back to school is a dynamic situation right now, and specifics are changing every day,” said Pennacchio. “What about the plans for special education students? These students face unique challenges and the Department of Education and school districts must make it a priority to ensure their needs are met and the quality of special education exceeds the standards.
“My message to the Governor and the education commissioner is clear: Don’t forget about special needs. Special needs should be on the top of your list.”
Disruptions like those created by the coronavirus pandemic can have a much more severe impact on special students who depend on consistency and familiarity, Pennacchio noted.
“They learn differently. They are taught differently. We can’t expect to sit them in front of a computer at home and effectively educate them,” said Pennacchio. “It’s just not practical.”
Pennacchio said the state has had five months to devise a plan for special education, but there has been no sign of one.
“I don’t want special education to resemble the horrific rollout at the MVC. These kids and their parents deserve better, and they are counting on a responsible approach from the state,” said Pennacchio.
“We should have had a plan in the works for months. The Legislature should have been involved, holding open committee hearings to determine the best ways to approach this,” the Senator said. “Where’s the plan, any plan, that could be properly vetted out and discussed?”
Senator Pennacchio has been on the forefront of fighting for special needs children. For years he has been calling for the state to pay the entire cost of special education, a move that would help students and property taxpayers.
Pennacchio also worked with Senate President Steve Sweeney, trying to get the state to pick up extraordinary special education costs.
Extraordinary special education costs are expenses districts incur while providing direct instructional and support services to a special education student. In some cases, the costs for an individual student can exceed $100,000.
PARSIPPANY — Frustrated by the Governor’s refusal to loosen restrictions on restaurants for indoor dining, Senator Joe Pennacchio proposed legislative action to address the stalemate that is suffocating the state economy.
Pennacchio implored the Senate to adopt an amendment to S-766 to allow restaurants to follow appropriate precautions and open their doors to indoor customers immediately.
The Democrat majority instantly moved to block the effort, and as a result, restaurants remain off-limits indefinitely, subject to the Governor’s impulse.
“Arbitrary rules are destroying an entire industry. This was an opportunity for the Legislature to become directly involved in pandemic public policy but the Democrats passed,” said a disappointed Senator Pennacchio. “They chose politics over the best interests of New Jersey’s crucial hospitality industry and the hundreds of thousands of residents who depend on it for their livelihoods.
“I appreciate my Republican colleagues who backed the amendment, but it was disappointing we didn’t have bipartisan support, and the measure was voted down. This is something our state desperately needs right now,” Pennacchio said.
The floor amendments proposed by Pennacchio would permit indoor dining as long as establishments followed basic health precautions, including a 25 percent seating capacity, maintaining recommended social distancing guidelines, and restrictions on customers tested with a fever of 100.3 or higher.
“We would require common sense,” said Pennacchio. “Social distancing, wear a mask when you enter the establishment, monitor temperatures before patrons are seated, no congregating around the bar. These are workable solutions that would enable the state to move into the next critical phase of economic recovery.
“Every weekend that passes without indoor dining, the number of established, successful restaurants in danger of going out of business forever increases. This can’t go on.”
PARSIPPANY — Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) released a statement slamming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his failure to act with any sense of urgency on the expanded unemployment benefits that expire today:
“Seventy-eight days ago, the House passed the Heroes Act, which included critical funding for state and local governments and expanded unemployment benefits. Since May, the unemployment rate has remained higher than even its height during the Great Recession, including in New Jersey. Economists on all sides have said that the expanded unemployment benefits have helped millions of Americans, keeping them out of poverty and ensuring that consumers are spending at Main Street businesses. In my own community, I heard from housing and homelessness organizations this month about the crucial role of expanded unemployment benefits in keeping residents in their homes during the pandemic.
“The expanded benefits expire today. For the Senate to allow a lapse in these benefits now, as COVID-19 continues its spread across the country, is unacceptable. It will put more stress on families and is contrary to our obligation to support Americans during this time of crisis. I told my constituents I was going down to Washington last week to pass additional relief measures, but Senate Majority Leader McConnell has refused to move forward on a realistic package that will keep families whole and this week said he supported slashing benefits to millions of Americans.
“The Senate GOP’s proposed 70% wage replacement level, in particular, represents a huge loss to New Jersey claimants. Our state’s normal UI law already provides a 60% wage replacement, so this new federal supplement would at most provide an additional 10% of an unemployed person’s pre-crisis average weekly wage. For a family who earned $40,000/year before the pandemic, this would be a weekly benefit of just $77/week compared to their current federal benefit of $600/week.
“Senator McConnell needs to act with the urgency this situation demands. Millions of Americans are depending on Congress to extend this vital lifeline.
“It is also critical to ensure that employees are incentivized to return to work when it is safe for them to do so, especially as our small businesses work to rehire and reopen. I’ve crafted a proposal that will both continue to support our families through this critical time period as well as provide incentives for people who are able to find jobs and safely go back to work.”
PARSIPPANY — Town Hall is open to the public for business. We’ve put forth a number of procedures to ensure the safe re-opening of town hall including
• Masks must be worn at all times
• Must maintain social distancing
• Please follow entry, walking directions, and exit procedures to ensure foot traffic moves in an orderly fashion.
Town Hall also has drop box locations around the building if you do not wish to enter the premises. You can also continue to call or email for most information regarding the township. Click here for all town-related needs and information.
MORRIS COUNTY — Senator Anthony M. Bucco said a new commercial rental assistance program announced using CARES Act money wouldn’t help Morris County, showing that Governor Phil Murphy continues to play favorites through his coronavirus response.
“Once again, the hardworking, taxpaying residents of Morris County have been overlooked by Governor Murphy in their time of need,” said Bucco. “We have suffered just as much as anyone in New Jersey during this public health emergency, yet we’ve gotten none of the support we need through the $2.4 billion of federal CARES Act money that was provided to the State of New Jersey to help all of its residents.”
A $6 million commercial rental assistance program announced by the governor yesterday will only be available to support businesses in 64 municipalities that are covered by the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, none of which are in Morris County.
“We have small businesses all over Morris County that are struggling to pay their rent, but they won’t be eligible for help under the governor’s new commercial rental assistance program,” said Bucco. “Their only fault is that they aren’t located in the most urban municipalities that Governor Murphy always seems to favor. They deserve help too. It’s not like he doesn’t have billions in federal relief funds in the bank. Once again, the governor is picking winners and losers and deciding which businesses he’ll allow surviving.”
An article in NJ Spotlight (Click here) detailed how the Murphy Administration has not spent more than $2.1 billion of the $2.4 billion in federal CARES Act relief funds delivered to New Jersey four months ago to help provide support during the unprecedented crisis.
While 97.7% of the funds remain unspent, more and more struggling businesses that could have benefited from relief funds are closing their doors permanently.
Additionally, Bucco noted that Morris County was not among the New Jersey counties with populations over 500,000 that received direct aid from the federal government under the CARES Act.
With a population of approximately 492,000 people, Morris County is among the counties that were expected to receive assistance through the State’s allocation. Four months after those funds were distributed to the State, counties like Morris are still waiting for the Murphy Administration to begin distributing relief funds to support their many COVID-19 response efforts.
“Morris County has not gotten its fair share of CARES Act funds from the State,” added Bucco. “That’s 100% on the governor. The $2.1 billion of unspent relief funds that are sitting in a State account isn’t helping anyone. Governor Murphy needs to start putting it to work now, and he needs to do so in a way that helps everyone, not just a favored few. If the governor doesn’t provide us with the reimbursement we’re owed to comply with his executive orders, he’ll be guaranteeing property tax increases across Morris County.”
BOONTON TOWNSHIP — Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Marc Adamsky and his K-9 partner Tim succeeded in getting a suspect to surrender inside a vacant home in Boonton Township after searching for her for nearly six hours with the assistance of Township police.
“I commend Detective Adamsky and his partner Tim for their professional and tenacious search that ended in the best way possible – with the suspect’s surrender after commands from the Detective who did not have to release K-9 Tim,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section is a shared service that provides all 39 Morris County municipalities with expert teams that find missing people of all ages, suspects, narcotics, explosives, and indications of arson.
“Our Officers work tirelessly each and every day to help ensure the safety of all of our residents here in Boonton Township. We are extremely fortunate to have such a great working relationship with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s office is truly a first-class organization, and their assistance on July 21 helped ensure a positive and safe resolution to an otherwise very dangerous situation.” Boonton Township Police Chief Michael Danyo said.
Detective Adamsky and K-9 Tim, a three-year-old Dutch Shepherd, responded to a call for assistance from Boonton Township Police on July 21 at 3:49 a.m. and was at the scene by 4:30 a.m. Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detectives Mike Carbone and David Marshall, with their respective K-9 partners Loco and Ollie, also responded to assist with the search. A vehicle pursuit that began in a neighboring municipality had extended into Boonton Township and momentarily ended when the driver of a Jeep carrying three passengers crashed at the intersection of North Main Street and Powerville Road around 3:45 a.m.
A female fled from the Jeep after the non-fatal crash and immediately became the focus of the search to which Detective Adamsky and K-9 Tim were called. Meanwhile, the Jeep that had crashed left the scene, and its three occupants were quickly apprehended in Denville Township. Boonton Township Sgt. Thomas Cacciabeve said the search for the woman – later identified as Sheironda Geffrard, 20, of Orange, ended peacefully through a combination of Detective Adamsky and Tim’s doggedness and witness reports. The Morris County Office of Emergency Management also released a drone to assist in the search. The K-9 team of Detective Adamsky and Tim searched for the woman from the scene of the crash onto North Main Street and Powerville Road, with the assistance of Detectives Carbone and Marshall.
Detective Adamsky and Tim remained in the township while police developed leads and ultimately found the woman at 10:34 a.m. inside a vacant house on North Main Street, about a half-mile from the crash site. Detective Adamsky gave the woman verbal commands to surrender over his vehicle public address system and warned that K-9 Tim would be released if she did not comply. The suspect obeyed the caution and emerged from the house onto a rear porch where she was arrested. She currently is charged with burglary.
Earlier in July, on July 12, Detective Adamsky and K-9 Tim and Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon, with K-9 Kai, were successful in having a suspect surrender during announcements in Chatham Township. The suspect was involved in a motor vehicle pursuit while allegedly driving a stolen vehicle. He surrendered without incident after warnings were delivered over a Sheriff’s Office vehicle’s PA system.
K-9 Tim is certified in both narcotics detection and patrol, which encompasses obedience, tracking, evidence recovery, and criminal apprehension. A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite the accusation, the defendant is presumed innocent unless, or until, they are proven guilty in court.