Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Township to Honor Former Council Members with Plaques in Town Hall

PARSIPPANY – Beginning this month and running into November, the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills will continue the tradition of honoring former members of the Township council who have passed away. This tradition dates back decades when the first plaque was fixed on the township walls in honor of former councilman Charles W. Denny for his service to the community. Currently, there are over 20 memorial plaques on the Council Chamber walls, paying tribute to the Township’s many mayors and councilmembers.

“It brings me great pleasure to honor the many local elected officials who stepped up, led, and helped represent the residents of our Township over the years,” said Mayor Michael Soriano. “These community leaders were often the voice and the spirit of our township and helped bring our community forward to where Parsippany is now. Though they are no longer with us, their memory and their contributions to Parsippany will not be forgotten.”

The plaque ceremony was intended to be a periodic event taking place throughout 2020 but was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic postponing in-person council meetings. Beginning with the September 21 Township Council Meeting to the November 23, 2021 council meeting, the Township will honor the following former council members:

– William Devine (Dates of service: 1984-1987).
– Vincent Ferrara (Dates of service: 2011-2013).
– William Taylor (Dates of service: 1981-1983).
– Arthur Vespignani (Dates of service: 1978-1981).

The plaques can be viewed in the hallway near Council Chambers at Parsippany Town Hall, located at 1001 Parsippany Blvd in Parsippany. For more information on the township council, please click here.

Video Footage Uncovers AJACO Towing is a Victim of Numerous Crimes, Including Terroristic Threats

MORRIS COUNTY — On August 18, 2021, the Mayor of Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, Michael A. Soriano, became aware of a thirty-second video clip in which a white man used a racial epithet against the person holding the camera. The white man in the video was assumed, based on context clues given in the Instagram post publicizing the clip, to be acting as an employee of AJACO Towing Inc., a company contracted by the township to provide professional towing and other emergency-related services for the Parsippany Police Department and other municipal operations.

MAYORS VERDICT WITHOUT ANY INVESTIGATION

However, instead of allowing the police department to complete an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, Mayor Soriano accepted the clip at face value and, without seeking approval from the town council or the township’s attorney or obtaining a single fact from the parties involved in the incident, made the decision to direct the acting police chief to terminate the townships nine-year-long contract with the 27-year-old company, AJACO towing Inc. without any investigation. Video footage uncovered and now reviewed for the first time by Detectives from Parsippany Police Department on August 27, 2021, reveal that AJACO Towing is a Victim of Crimes that include terroristic threats. Unlike the Mayor’s Actions in this matter, a complete investigation has begun.

THE ALLEGED CRIME

Mayor Soriano also instructed the township’s public information officer to issue a press release that branded AJACO Towing and everyone associated with it as racist, or, at the very least, as a business employing individuals who condone racist behavior. As a result, employees and even family members have endured harassment and even death threats on a near-constant basis since the press release was published and major media outlets began reporting about it.

The facts of the situation were never examined by Mayor Soriano, who acted wholly outside of his authority as township mayor by making an “executive” decision without giving a highly regarded company with nearly thirty years in business the rights afforded to that company by virtue of its contract with the township. He instructed the public information officer to issue a press release that can best be described as libel, which is defined by Cornell Law School as “a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.”

THE DEFAMATION

The release of this false statement to the public and the media has resulted in immediate negative consequences to AJACO Towing including financial damage related to the loss of its contract with the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, as well as immeasurable damage to its reputation, not only within the local community but across the country.

New Jersey Revised Statute Section 2C:27-12 describes the crime of corruption of public resources, which reads: “1. a. A person commits the crime of corruption of public resources if, with respect to a public resource which is subject to an obligation to be used for a specified purpose or purposes, the person knowingly uses or makes disposition of that public resource or any portion thereof for any unauthorized purpose.”

CORRUPTION OF PUBLIC RESOURCES

The township’s public information officer is indisputably a public resource. Instructing the public information officer to issue a libelous press release to the public and the media is almost certainly a misuse of that public resource. AJACO alleges that by using the public information officer to release a libelous public statement, Mayor Michael A. Soriano committed a crime against AJACO Towing, the municipality to which he was elected, and the PEOPLE for which he has taken an oath.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM VICTIM AJACO TOWING, INC.

“AJACO TOWING, INC. does not condone racism and never has. The Parsippany Public Information Office should not be used for one’s individual political gain nor should any government office be used to incite racism in our Parsippany Community. AJACO demands that the Mayor’s Press Release is rescinded without delay”

In fact, the public is welcome to visit with this author at AJACO Towing to review the actual facts of what happened that day on August 16, 2021.

This press release was submitted by Paul G. Argen, Investigative Reporter & Fraud Examiner

FULL DISCLOSURE: PAUL G. ARGEN is a Public Advocate and also employed as Chief Compliance Officer for AJACO Towing, Inc

Morris County Prosecutor Swears in New Assistant Prosecutors

Assistant Prosecutor Bridget Carr

MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll and First Assistant Prosecutor Maggie Calderwood announce the hiring of Bridget Carr and Tatijana Lindsey as Assistant Prosecutors for the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

Assistant Prosecutors Carr and Lindsey were officially sworn in at the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office on September 1, 2021.

Assistant Prosecutor Carr will be assigned to the Juvenile Unit and Assistant Prosecutor Lindsey will be assigned to the Domestic Violence Unit. Assistant Prosecutor Carr served as a law clerk for the Honorable David H. Ironson, Judge of the Superior Court, New Jersey, Criminal Division-Morris County. She has held several intern and externships including at the U.S. Attorney’s Office-District of New Jersey, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Essex and Morris County Prosecutor’s Offices. She holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and a Juris Doctorate from Pace University.

Assistant Prosecutor Tatijana Lindsey

Assistant Prosecutor Lindsey began her legal career as a legal assistant for a private law practice in 2014, later joining the staff of judges in the Family Division of the Vicinage 5 Superior Court and then the Criminal Division, both in Newark. Assistant Prosecutor Lindsey served as a law clerk for the Honorable Christopher Romanyshyn, Judge of the Superior Court, New Jersey, Criminal Division-Essex County. She holds a B.A. from Seton Hall University and a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University. Prosecutor Carroll said, “I am confident that the incoming Assistant Prosecutors will serve honorably and will benefit the residents of Morris County.”

Coffee with a Cop Returns to IHOP

Remo D'Alessandro, Community Relations Officer: Parsippany Troy Hills Police Department

PARSIPPANY — This Wednesday, September 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon join officers from the Parsippany Police Department for another instalment of “Coffee with A Cop.”

This semi-regular get-together offers local residents the opportunity to chat with our local police force over a multitude of important issues affecting residents and their neighbourhoods while offering a glimpse into the day-to-day operations of running our police department.

IHOP is located at 792 Route 46 West in the Arlington Plaza. For more information, call (973) 263-4383.

Township Dedicates Veterans Memorial Park Gazebo to Mimi Letts

Mimi Letts, Howard Letts and Councilwoman Janice McCarthy

PARSIPPANY — In honor of departed former Mayor Marceil “Mimi” Letts, The Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills will dedicate the Gazebo at Veterans Park in her memory on Friday, September 17 at 2:00 PM. Letts passed away on September 15, 2019.

With a lifetime of public service to Parsippany and a dedication to municipal and community improvements for the Township, Letts was Mayor of Parsippany from 1994 to 2005, the first and only female mayor to serve in the Township’s history. She was instrumental in building the main branch library on Halsey Road, Veterans Park (home to summer concerts, cherry trees, and soccer fields wonderful walking trails), the Raoul Wallenberg monument, and many other significant contributions to the township.

“There will never be another Mimi Letts,” said Mayor Michael Soriano. “She was a fearless leader who got things done, thanks to her passion for improvement and steadfast determination. I’m honored to have called her not just a colleague, but a mentor to the end. Parsippany is a far better place because of her leadership, and dedicating this gazebo is long overdue. She loved gazebos, and this wonderful place will be enjoyed by residents for generations to come.”

Letts was a member of the township Planning Board and served as president of the board of directors of Parsippany’s Senior Citizen Housing Corp. She served on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Parsippany’s Historical Society, and the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany, and worked closely with New Jersey’s Highlands Council.

At the time of her passing, Rep. Mikie Sherrill said Letts was a “trailblazer and a champion of having more women engaged in politics in New Jersey … Mimi’s commitment to advocacy and to the residents of Parsippany continued even after leaving the mayor’s office.”

All residents are invited to participate in the dedication, with the request that all attendees wear masks and practice social distancing. For more information on the event, please call the Mayor’s Action Center at (973) 263-4262 or emailaction@parsippany.net.

“Paws for Peeps” Fundraiser to Support Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter

Prisha Khanna; Riya Jain; Jessica Garrison, Shelter Manager; Manya Sharma; and Anika Arora

PARSIPPANY — Manya Sharma, Anika Arora, Prisha Khanna, and Riya Jain are four Girl Scouts from Troop 95750 in Parsippany, who worked towards their silver award by supporting Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter.

Several animal shelters are in poor condition, and the pandemic made it even more difficult for them to run smoothly. They chose the Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter to support because they knew they wanted to better their facilities.

All of the girls have all been big pet lovers and jumped at the chance to help them! When they went to visit the shelter, they found out that they were in need of receptionist chairs and a lot of cleaning supplies.

The girls made tie-dye shirts and gave them to everyone that donated
The girls made tie-dye shirts and gave them to everyone that donated

The girls decided to tackle this by calling our project “Paws for Peeps” and asking people for donations, and giving them handmade tie-dye shirts (that were made during the pandemic) in return.

This was a little thank-you to the donors and a way to spread awareness. By doing this, they were able to purchase receptionist chairs and more supplies for the shelter.

Items Donated:
Two receptionist chairs
Four Cat Litter Boxes with carbon filters
Dawn Soap
Bleach
Paper towels

The girls would like to thanks their troop leaders Sara Chebishev, Kellie Andersen, Ann Marie Atwell for their guidance and help.

Fasil Mediterranean Restaurant: Eastern Mediterranean Cuisine

MORRIS COUNTY — When one hears Mediterranean food, visions of Kebabs, hummus, baba ghanoush, baklava, and olive oil, at once come to mind. Of course, there is so much more to the various cuisines of the wide-ranging Mediterranean region than anyone usually realizes. Eastern Mediterranean cuisine includes regions such as Turkey, Greece, Egypt, and Israel; the Southern Med would include Italy, France, and Spain, and finally, North Africa, including countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya; and of course, this list of country’s is not all-inclusive, but you get the idea. We basically all use the same main ingredients wherever you may find yourself, but somehow every culture someone manages to produce something very distinct and unique relative to its own region. The fact is that Turkish food is remarkably like American food. All that differs is how it is cooked, some of the spices, and the name of it.

Fasil Mediterranean Restaurant, located in the Walmart shopping center in Boonton Plaza

Fasil Mediterranean Restaurant, located in the Walmart shopping center in Boonton Plaza, describes itself as specializing in Mediterranean food, grilled to perfection, specifically from Turkey. They go on to explain that their entrees are like Greek, Arabic, as well as other Mediterranean Country dishes. We in Morris County are fortunate to have several excellent Turkish restaurants where we can enjoy this cuisine and Fasil certainly fits into that select category. My neighbor, who is from Turkey and goes back annually, told me that Fasil always makes her feel at home.

That is a good enough recommendation for me to stop by. As stated earlier, Turkey is considered the eastern Mediterranean where foods are often made with a lot of yogurts and cheeses. In addition, spices such as parsley, sumac, mint, and lemon juice dominate dishes in this region. It is also known for its nuts, rice, pitas, chickpeas, and meat kabobs; it is the combination and preparation of these items that are at the heart of what makes this Mediterranean cuisine so incredibly unique, flavorful, and healthy, and as in every culture Turkish cuisine is a combination of the many other cultures that have left their influence over many centuries dating back to the times of then ever-expanding Ottoman Empire.

Tasteful Turkish décor throughout

Fasil Mediterranean, which translates to a suite in Ottoman classical music, exudes a classy, upscale-looking interior, yet the modern, yet rustic, ambiance is casual, comfortable, and welcoming. It is exceptionally clean and organized both inside and out. The beautifully tiled floors and walls, tasteful Turkish décor throughout, pleasant Turkish background music, bright but subtle lighting, soft black leather chairs, and nicely appointed wood-grained tables, all helped to create a vibrant, enticing, and true ethnic atmosphere that transports you to Turkey for the evening.

Yasin (waiter), Tulay (owner) and Pat Minutillo

The outdoor patio dining area is nicely covered, both overhead and along the sides for shade, privacy, and protection from the weather, along with well-spaced seating. There were several groups enjoying their meals al fresco on my arrival, but my guests and I dined inside.

Patrick Minutillo

I arrived at Fasil a little earlier than my guests and was sincerely and warmly welcomed to the restaurant by the owner, Tülay, and several staff members. Yaşin, apparently our head waiter, offered me a choice of tables and I chose one with window seating. The wine was opened and water glasses were filled immediately, and Yasin graciously offered me a complimentary glass of Turkish tea as we discussed various Turkish wines.

Since Fasil is a BYOB, I brought along a delicious 2012 Kavaklidere Öküzgözü d’Elazig dry red wine that my Turkish neighbors brought home from their recent trip to Turkey and gave to me as a gift, and which Yaşin immediately recognized from his homeland. My initial impression of Fasil was excellent, and I was looking forward to enjoying some of their fine cuisines.

Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Ezme, Stuffed Grape Leaves

As my guests arrived and were seated our very attentive, pleasant, and helpful waitress, Özüm was spot on seeing that everyone was comfortable and helped explain any questions we may have had regarding the menu. For our appetizers, we started by sharing a selection of hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Ezme, Stuffed Grape Leaves (Yaprak sarma), and a Tabouli Salad. The hummus was smooth, creamy, and oozing with rich umami flavors, while the Baba Ghanoush tasted equally smooth while being luxurious, smoky, and savory. The Ezme served as the perfect spicy condiment to go with our fresh and flavorful homemade pita bread. The Tabouli salad was bright, fresh, flavorful, and refreshing and was a perfect complement to the hummus and the pita. The grape leaves with their citrusy, green, and tangy taste were a great kick-off for the entrees to come.

The Tabouli salad was bright, fresh, flavorful, and refreshing and was a perfect complement to the hummus and the pita

As entrées, my guests settled on the Shrimp Kebab and the Iskender Kebab. I went with the Mixed Grill; one skewer each of lamb Adana kebab, lamb shish kebab, chicken and lamb kofte, lamb gyro kebab, and chicken kebab, which was an abundant dish and clearly a meal for two, so I knew I was going to be having it again for lunch the next day.

Shrimp Kebab

Everything was prepared, presented, and plated perfectly. All the meats were tender, moist, juicy, expertly seasoned, savory, and satisfying. I thoroughly enjoyed my dish. The Iskender Kebab; sauteed buttered bread topped over sliced lamb gyro served with fresh tomato sauce and yogurt also looked delicious and my friend told me it was fantastic. The Shrimp Kebab; grilled jumbo shrimp marinated with garlic, black pepper, and olive oil, and served with rice and a side salad, was tender and full of flavor. The portion sizes of all our entrees were more than ample and everyone left with enough take-out so that they could enjoy it again the next day.

Kazan Dibi
The waitress, Özüm

As full and satiated as we were, we could not leave with trying some of Fasil’s desserts. I ordered the Kazan Dibi (Bottom of Cauldron), and my friends wanted to try the Baklava. The caramelized top of Kazan Dibi was fantastic and contrasted quite nicely with the sweet and milky flavors on the interior. It perfectly paired it with my cup of bright, fruity, sweet, hot Turkish tea. The baklava, the most popular dessert in this part of the world, a layered filo pastry dessert, filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with syrup or honey, was a definite crowd-pleaser. Interestingly, Özüm (our waitress) explained to my friend that his fortune could be revealed by the residual coffee grinds left on the bottom of his Turkish coffee. After a first flawed attempt, and with the assistance of a phone app and Özüm, his fortune was revealed. Of course, it was very positive.

Yasin (waiter), Tulay (owner) and Pat Minutillo

Fasil Mediterranean Restaurant is highly recommended. The food was delicious, and the menu is extensive enough to meet anyone’s needs or tastes. Prices are moderate and you get a lot for your money. The gracious hospitality and service cannot be beaten. If you do not have the time or inclination to travel, there is no doubt that one great way to experience a different culture is not by necessarily by going, but through their cuisine. Experience a taste of Turkey, visit Fasil!

Dine-in · Take Out – Curbside pickup · No-contact delivery; BYOB – Nearby Liquor Store – ample parking – outdoor dining; Closed on Tuesdays

Bir kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir

Translation – A coffee between new friends/acquaintance offers 40 years of friendship.

Fasil Mediterranean Restaurant is located at 308 Wootton Street, Boonton, NJ 07005. Call (973) 917-3334 or visit www.fasil.us.

Cup of bright, fruity, sweet, hot Turkish tea

Congratulations to University of South Carolina  Graduate, Vaibhav Patel

University of South Carolina Aiken (UofSC Aiken)

PARSIPPANY — The University of South Carolina Aiken (UofSC Aiken) celebrates August 2021 graduates. Congratulations to graduate Vaibhav Patel, from Parsippany. Patel graduated with a Master of Business Admin. in Business Administration.

UofSC Aiken, a comprehensive university in the University of South Carolina system, offers undergraduate and master’s degrees to approximately 3,700 students in 50 programs of study. U.S. News and World Report (2021): #1 Regional Comprehensive Public College in the South. This 2021 distinction marks UofSC Aiken’s 23rd consecutive ranking among the top three in this category. The university has won the first place ranking fifteen times.

CCM President Named to Influencers of Higher Education List

Anthony J. Iacono

MORRIS COUNTY — County College of Morris (CCM) President Anthony J. Iacono once again has joined a highly respected group of New Jersey higher education presidents who have been named to ROI-NJ’s Influencers list.

The latest listing is of top community college presidents in New Jersey. This is the third time Iacono has been selected by ROI-NJ as a predominant leader in higher education in the state. The latest ranking credits Iacono for leading CCM to its position as a top community college in New Jersey as rated by Intelligent and Academic Influence, as the top community college in New Jersey for graduates who earn the best salaries as reported by Newsweek and PayScale, and for the college’s $25+ million planned expansion of career readiness programs for high school students through adults.

“It is an honor to be named by ROI-NJ as an influencer in higher education and to be included among such an extraordinary group of colleagues,” remarked Iacono. “CCM would not be the strong community college it is without the support of our community and our industry partners, students, faculty, and staff, who have accomplished so much even during these challenging times. I am incredibly fortunate to work with remarkable people across our campus and honored to serve the community.”

CCM continues to grow in many ways, which includes its recent announcement about expanded partnerships with the Morris County Chamber of Commerce and the Morris County Vocational School District (MCVSD), resulting in new programs and facilities at the college. The planned expansion will provide opportunities for individuals of diverse ages and backgrounds to pursue rewarding careers. The new facilities are being made possible through the support of the New Jersey Legislature and Morris County Commissioners whose vision and commitment have been instrumental in supporting CCM’s growth and contributions to Morris County and northern New Jersey.

The newest facilities expansion includes the Center for Entrepreneurship, developed in partnership with the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. This expansion will focus on degrees in business and entrepreneurship and certificates in hospitality management and event planning, inventory management, logistics, and supply chain management. The center also will allow CCM and MCVSD to develop a dual-enrolled program for high school students interested in earning college credits toward a business degree.

Also included in the expansion is the Career and Technical Education Center to be constructed by MCVSD near the college’s new Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Center. That facility will allow more than 500 high school students to take part in dual-enrolled programs in health care, finance, technology, manufacturing, renewable energy, and supply chain logistics. Students participating in those programs will earn industry credentials, take part in work-based and project-based learning opportunities, and earn college credits.

“As the community’s college, the mission of CCM is to provide an exceptional educational experience that results in the credentials designed to fuel regional growth and to provide people with opportunities to realize their dreams,” said Iacono. “Both of these new facilities build upon our successful programs and demonstrate the college’s dedication to growing, thrive and honor its commitment to Morris County. Through the vision and support of our Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and administration and the extraordinary support of state legislators and county commissioners, we continue to strive to make CCM a college and partner of choice for area residents and businesses.”

To learn more about the plans to expand career readiness programs at CCM click here.

New Program Explores Faith’s Relevance Today

St. Peter's Church, is located at 215 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes

MOUNTAIN LAKES – How is faith relevant in my life? How do I deepen my faith? Where is God in my life?

Beginning September 22, an eight-week evening program of faith exploration and discovery will provide an opportunity to explore these questions.

The series will include inspirational talks, discussions, and workshop experiences offered through the collaborative ministry of the Episcopal Churches of Northern Morris County. It is open to anyone interested, whether they belong to a faith community, are exploring different faiths, or have no faith affiliation.

Participants will gather Wednesdays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at St. Peter’s Church, 215 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes. Free childcare will be available.

For more information, contact Rev. Michael Muller at St. Peter’s at (973) 334-4429 or mmuller.stpetersml@gmail.com.

Bianchi to Lead Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America

Robert A. Bianchi

PARSIPPANY — On Saturday, August 14, Morris County criminal defense attorney Robert A. Bianchi was sworn in as President of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA), the nation’s largest Italian-American organization. The event was live-streamed on the OSDIA YouTube Channel.

Mr. Bianchi currently serves as the group’s National First Vice President. OSDIA officers frequently meet with White House officials, members of Congress, and other senior federal officials on issues of concern to Italian-Americans.

The Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) was established in 1905 to create a support system that would help Italian immigrants with becoming citizens, provide health and death benefits and educational opportunities, and offer assistance with assimilation. In 2017, the Order Sons of Italy in America was renamed the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA).

To date, OSDIA members have given more than $164 million to educational programs, scholarships, charity donations, disaster relief, cultural advancement, and medical research. The group has lodges and chapters throughout the United States, Canada, and Italy.

As Morris County Prosecutor, attorney Robert A. Bianchi was the county’s chief law enforcement officer from 2007 through 2013. He now leads a team of distinguished and dedicated New Jersey criminal defense attorneys (all of whom have served as prosecutors previously) at the Bianchi Law Group, LLC in Parsippany.

Mr. Bianchi is a host/anchor at the Law & Crime Network and is frequently seen as a legal analyst on CNN, ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC. He has also appeared on legal documentary programs including The Geraldo Rivera Show, Due Process, and New Jersey Capitol Report.

Parsippany Area Chamber to hold Wine and Cheese Networking Event

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a Wine and Cheese Networking event at VentureX, 8 Campus Drive, Parsippany, on Wednesday, September 15.

Share the invite with your friends and associates! You can expect free admission, great vibes, assorted wines, delicious cheeses, new connections, and a great group of attendees.

The event starts at 5:00 p.m. and will run until about 7pm-ish. This free event is being made possible by our generous sponsor VentureX, Arbor Circle South, 8 Campus Drive, Parsippany.  This event is for members and non-members.

Any Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce member wishing to sponsor a Wine and Cheese event, contact Frank Cahill, Executive Board Member, at (973) 402-6400.

To register click here.

Parsippany Women’s Theater to ask for Proof of Vaccine or COVID Test

PARSIPPANY — The Women’s Theater Company will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test before entering their venues. The organization joins about 30 New Jersey theaters that will impose the same requirements, along with indoor masking.

Forty members of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance took a pledge for reopening campaign “Opening Night, Opening Right.” All members that took the pledge promise to follow the most current medical advice, meeting or exceeding all local and national safety guidelines, such as:

  • deep cleaning and disinfecting before all performances
  • clearly communicated mask policy
  • contactless transactions available
  • health screening before entry
  • flexible ticket policies for anyone feeling ill or at risk due to COVID-19 variants
  • sanitation stations for all patrons and staff

Audience members 12 and older will need to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering the venues. Exceptions will be made for children under 12 and those with medical or religious exemptions. These guests must show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 36 hours of the performance time or a negative antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance time.

All guests, regardless of age or vaccination status, will be required to wear masks while inside the theater building.

“The professional theatre community in New Jersey has always been a collaborative one, and we have seen unprecedented engagement and cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John McEwen, executive director of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. “The unified statement of the safety pledge and the decision by many theatres to require proof of vaccination for audience members were made with great care, thought, and guidance from medical experts.”

The Women’s Theater Company, located in the Parsippany Community Center, 1130 Knoll Road, is a not-for-profit organization operating under an Actors Equity Association contract and is a member of the New Jersey Theater Alliance. For more information call (973) 335-3038 or click here to visit their website.

Kaitlynn Pinero selected for New Jersey COVID-19 Service Corps

Kaitlynn Pinero

LAKE HIAWATHA — Kaitlynn Pinero was named to the New Jersey COVID-19 Service Corps (NJCSC).

The Center for Community Engagement at Montclair State University, in collaboration with the NJ Commission on National and Community Service and additional higher education institutions, state entities, and local nonprofit organizations, have come together to establish the New Jersey COVID-19 Service Corps (NJCSC).

This initiative has rapidly boosted New Jersey’s capacity to address and ameliorate the devastating public health impact of COVID-19 by increasing vitally needed services to those community members most affected by the economic, physical, and mental health repercussions of the pandemic. At the same time, it has provided paid training opportunities and education awards to undergraduate students and recent graduates in the allied health fields, including public health, social work, nursing, and counseling.

The NJCSC has leveraged the state’s existing AmeriCorps program to fast-track the deployment of student volunteers to local, on-the-ground community organizations, human service agencies, hospitals, health clinics, affordable housing agencies, and K-12 schools, rapidly boosting the ability of these organizations to efficiently and effectively address the physical and mental health impacts of the coronavirus.

Pinero, a/n Sustainability Science major, was one of 19 current and former Montclair State students to be selected for the NJCSC.

Montclair State University is a research doctoral institution ranked in the top tier of national universities. Building on a distinguished history dating back to 1908, the University today has 11 colleges and schools that serve 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students with more than 300 doctoral, masters and baccalaureate programs. Situated on a beautiful, 252-acre suburban campus just 12 miles from New York City, Montclair State delivers the instructional and research resources of a large public university in a supportive, sophisticated, and diverse academic environment.

Senate Candidate Christine Clarke Receives Endorsement of American Federation of Teachers

26th Legislative District State Senate candidate Christine Clarke

MORRIS COUNTY — 26th Legislative District State Senate candidate Christine Clarke has received the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers in New Jersey.

“Christine Clarke will be a leader who believes workplace safety standards should be extended to all schools and their personnel. She understands these standards should be permanent, not implemented just for the pandemic. As we rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, Clarke is advocating it is done by investing in a clean-energy economy, which means good-paying union jobs with prevailing wage agreements. AFTNJ supports candidates who not only support our values but are strong leaders who put that support into action. It is because of her integrity, commitment, and determination that AFTNJ has endorsed her for Senate in New Jersey’s 26th District,” said Donna M. Chiera, President, AFT New Jersey.

The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ) is a federation of unions representing 30,000 education workers in pre-kindergarten to 12 school districts, private, religious, and charter schools. AFT locals represent faculty and staff at all public four-year colleges and universities and half of the state’s community colleges.

Clarke is an environmental advocate, a grassroots organizer, and a mother-of-four running for State Senate to build the job-creating clean energy economy, improve healthcare and lower costs, protect clean air and water, and lead with empathy and fiscal sense.

Her opponent, incumbent LD26 State Senator Joe Pennacchio, has not been a supporter of workers’ rights. Among other concerns, he voted against extending family leave benefits, voted against requiring employers to pay sick leave and voted against raising the minimum wage five times.

“I am honored by AFT New Jersey’s support and looking forward to working together,” said Clarke.

Clarke is endorsed by a growing number of environmental groups, women’s rights groups, unions, civic engagement, and grassroots organizations. She has lived in Jefferson for 16 years with her husband and four children. Learn more about her by clicking here.

The 26th District includes 13 communities in Essex, Morris, and Passaic counties: Butler, Fairfield, Jefferson, Kinnelon, Lincoln Park, Montville, Morris Plains, North Caldwell, Parsippany, Rockaway Township, Verona, West Caldwell, and West Milford.

How about this weather?

PARSIPPANY — Like for many of you, at 2:34 a.m. on August 20 my phone sounded jolting me out of sleep with an emergency alert tornado warning. Do I really need to go into my basement? Then it sounded again.

In the basement my family watched a local station as the anchor discussed the record heat and wildfires out west, the tropical storm moving up the east coast, fatal flash flooding in the Midwest, and the spotted lanternfly in NJ. If it wasn’t so serious it would seem like a bad dream. Sadly, young people see these events increasing and intensifying in their lifetimes, not in some distant future.

That tropical storm made it up to us as yet another extreme event. And every year, successively, for the last 20 have been the warmest on record. Climate crises affect health, economy, quality of life, food, and water security.

A couple of weeks ago the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released an alarming scientific report showing that the impacts of climate change are getting worse — and happening faster than previously thought.

We’re seeing raging wildfires, massive floods, extreme heat, tropical cyclones, and killer storms, all supercharged by climate change. Leaders around the world must take swift, decisive action to combat the climate crisis.

Some big takeaways from the report are:

  • The changes to our planet are accelerating, unprecedented and irreversible
  • Human impacts to the climate system are the main drivers of change
  • Every increment of warming matters, driving potentially catastrophic events

We know what we need to do and we must act now!

Many local mayors have been advocating and initiating changes to help educate, increase awareness and invest in sustainable initiatives. Working with the Parsippany Green Team the township of Parsippany is actively seeking to cut our carbon emissions.   Last February, Mayor Soriano pledged to attain Sustainable Gold in Energy through Sustainable Jersey. This is important because his action offers resources, networking, and education to Parsippany to initiate and succeed in accomplishing this courageous goal.  Sustainable objectives benefit the residents and businesses of the Town and also indirectly ensure a more sustainable environment all at no cost to the taxpayers. With efforts like this locally, statewide and now, nationally, there is hope for making impacts on the climate crisis.

Real change, every action no matter how small, is always a grassroots effort and comes from citizens. As co-leader of the Parsippany Green Team, I encourage anyone who wants to feel empowered to join us, participate and learn about how together we can make a difference. Please feel free to contact us at parsippanygreenteam@gmail.com.

Judy Hernandez
Co-leader Parsippany Green Team

 

 

Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany is Now the Largest Club in New Jersey

Justin Carifi, Darshan Parikh, Jimmy Parikh, Lt. Governor Frank Cahill, Tom Toomey, Kent Mancini, and Justin Musella

PARSIPPANY — Kiwanis Club Lt. Governor Division 9 Frank Cahill is pleased to announce that Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany is now the largest club in New Jersey.

The New Jersey District of Kiwanis International currently has 79 active Kiwanis Clubs, with a total of 1476 members. Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany has a total of 76 active members as of Thursday, August 26.

“I recently conducted a membership drive and recruited six new members into our great organization,” said Frank Cahill. Our volunteers have been active in collecting food at various supermarkets to donate to Parsippany Human Services, been helping distribute food during our ‘Operation Feeding Morris County’, cooking at Homeless Solutions, purchasing school supplies for students in the Parsippany-Troy Hills School district, and buying ShopRite Gift Cards during the pandemic to help families purchase food. We also distribute hot meals to residents that were donated from Calabria Restaurant & Pizzeria. Our volunteers have been tremendous during the pandemic. When other people hear about the Kiwanis initiatives, they want to be part of our organization.”

During the recent membership drive in Parsippany, Cahill was able to sign up six new members, Justin Carifi, Laura Marie Ali, Kent Mancini, Tom Toomey, Jimmy Parikh, and Darshan Parikh. Laura Marie Ali was sponsored by Justin Musella.

Kiwanis Operation Feeding Morris County has distributed over 189,000 pounds of food, to 4,755 families, over 8,000 children with a retail value of over $475,000.

“Kiwanis Operation Feeding Morris County” was started in December by Kiwanis Club of Greater Roxbury President Cain Pope and has spread to many Morris County Kiwanis Club and other clubs in New Jersey as far away as Asbury Park, South Orange, Maplewood, Clifton, and Bridgewater.

Kiwanis does not ask for proof of income. The only thing we ask for is name, email address, the town of residence, and the number of children. The information is 100% confidential and is used to make sure we have a sufficient supply of food at each location and for informing the public of future food distributions.

Justin Carifi is a graduate of Parsippany Hills High School and was a former Key Club member. Lt. Governor Frank Cahill placed the Kiwanis pin on Justin

Justin Carifi is a graduate of Parsippany Hills High School and was a former Key Club member. In addition, Tyler Lee, a Parsippany Hills High school graduate, and former Key Club member joined our club in July.

“I am so excited to be part of the greatest and largest Kiwanis chapter in the state! I was a member of the Key Club at Parsippany Hills High School and I look forward to continuing to create ways to better the children of our communities,” said Justin Carifi.

Key Club, part of the Kiwanis family, is an international service organization for high school students. As a student-led organization, Key Club’s goal is to encourage leadership through serving others. In 2020 there were 229,652 members.

“Kiwanis club members believe in service,” said Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany President Laura Wohland. “They care about children. They’re interested in the community around them because the community matters to them. They’re people like you. Friends. Neighbors. Volunteers who want to make a difference.”

Jimmy Parikh being pinned by Frank Cahill after the official swearing-in

“As a long-term Parsippany resident, I am excited to have the opportunity to join Kiwanis. Moving through the public school system in Parsippany, to now being a young professional, I have formed a genuine understanding and appreciation of the local community and its progressive resources. Kiwanis is an incredible, national and forward-looking, organization with a mission statement that I truly standby. Being a new member of the Parsippany Kiwanis, I look forward to working with the rest of the Kiwanis family to continue to improve and give back to this community, and beyond,” said Jimmy Parikh.

Tom Toomey receiving his official Kiwanis pin during the swearing-in ceremony

Tom Toomey said, “I’m excited and honored to join the Kiwanis Club today – they do incredible work for people that need help in our community and I look forward to doing my part.”

Frank Cahill places the official Kiwanis pin on Darshan Parikh during the swearing-in ceremony

Laura Marie Ali couldn’t make the group swearing-in but will be sworn in at a later date by club President Laura Wohland.

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

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

Interested in learning more about the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany, contact President Laura Wohland, by emailing law4pres@gmail.com. Click here to view the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany website.

Parsippany Leaders’ Frontline Strategies and Actions During Pandemic 

Aadit Tembe

PARSIPPANY — “In the last 14 months, we learned how to do more with less. We learned to listen to scientists especially while making policy decisions for people,” said Michael Soriano, Mayor of Parsippany-Troy Hills.

As COVID was spreading in early 2020, his key challenges were maintaining the community’s health and enforcing the best sanitization practices in the most populous township in Morris County.

“As a team, keeping egos out and doing what’s best for the community was important,”  Mayor said. He proudly mentioned an example demonstrating how help was extended to local businesses: “Working with the building department’s director, site plans were approved quickly and outdoor dining permit fees were waived for restaurants.”

“Township community-supported leaders and the youth spirit was uplifting,”  Mayor Soriano remembers. Residents and community organizations raised money, donated food, and created masks.

This report focuses on how such local leaders outside the healthcare profession adapted during the COVID pandemic.

At the Board of Education, superintendent Dr. Barbara Sargent prioritized transition to virtual classrooms to minimize interruption in learning. “To find out who had a device and internet connection, we conducted a survey and made the necessary equipment available.” To communicate the BOE’s decisions about school schedules consistently and regularly, during rapidly shifting information, she started a Friday Letter to all parents.

As her proudest moment, Dr. Sargent notes, “Our teachers, principals, BOE members, and administrators — Wow! They rolled up sleeves and worked with sheer will, dedication, determination, innovation, and collaborative attitude!”

“Thinking ahead and planning for what we know today while anticipating the change was critical,” recalled Dr. Sargent.

“Post-pandemic,” she said, “instructional technology innovations, such as online interactions with classroom guests, will continue.”

Police Department Chief Andrew Miller said, “Accurate inventory and sanitization of Personal Protective Equipment were critical.” The Police Department managed budgets and secured emergency funds creatively. Community members provided help by sharing business contacts and donations.

The Police Department reduced indoor staff interactions by minimizing overlapping schedules.  He emphasized,  “Until late 2020, there was no COVID positive case in the department!”

Because people worked from home, burglaries went down and Calls-For-Service (CFS) was reduced by 70%. This provided additional time to officers for COVID-related training. “Officers read complex medical materials and routinely consulted with experts,” recalled Chief Miller. Sometimes, officers operated with full PPE gear for 10-12 hours which was stressful.

“I am a proud Chief!” He continued with appreciation, “The officers showed great professional attitude in serving the community while overcoming stress.”

In summary, by quickly adapting during the pandemic, these leaders continued to serve and help maintain the well-being of their communities.

This article was written Aadit Tembe, a 5th grader at the Lake Hiawatha Elementary School (LHS). He enjoys singing as well as playing musical instruments. He was the winner of LHS variety show 2020 organized by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). Additionally, he enjoys playing cricket & soccer. 

Aadit compiled this report as a voluntary extra-curricular activity by interviewing the community leaders.

Township to Honor the 20th Anniversary of September 11, 2001 at Town Hall

Parsippany-Troy Hills Town Hall is located at 1001 Parsippany Boulevard
PARSIPPANY – As the nation pays its respects marking the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States, the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills will also honor the victims with an in-person memorial ceremony at Town Hall.

On Saturday, September 11 beginning at 8:30 a.m., Mayor Michael Soriano will be accompanied by civic and faith leaders, along with members of the Township’s Police Department, Fire Crews, and EMTs to honor the memory of the fallen, and reflect on the events that unfolded on that Tuesday morning in New York City, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania.

The event will be live-streamed on the township social media pages and website and will be shown in its entirety on Parsippany’s Own Video on The Go Channel 21 throughout the day.

“It’s been 20 years since 9/11, that fateful day when the whole world came to a halt to watch the horrors unfolding before our eyes,” said Mayor Michael Soriano. “It’s almost unimaginable that this took place a generation ago, as it still seems so vivid to so many of us. The feelings we’re all reminded of each September must also include the unity and togetherness we felt in the aftermath. I do hope that residents join us at Town Hall for this memorial ceremony to mark two decades since the horrible tragedy that has shaped so much of our lives in its wake.”

The Township will welcome members of the Christian and Muslim faiths for prayer and reflection, along with patriotic songs and a moment of silence by the Twin Tower steel beam and plaques showing the names of Parsippany’s victims at the front of the Town Hall Courtyard.

“None of us can avoid fear, pain, and suffering,” said Mayor Soriano on the subject of 9/11. “But out of fear comes bravery, out of suffering comes healing, and out of pain comes understanding. It’s my hope that our service helps our residents in the grieving process as we look back on this tragedy while reminding each other that we’re here for one another each and every day.”

CCM Foundation Annual Golf Classic to Raise Funds to Support Student Athletes

MORRIS COUNTY — Enjoy a day out on the links with the County College of Morris (CCM) Foundation and help support students with fulfilling their dreams for a rewarding and satisfying life.

This year’s Annual CCM Foundation Golf Classic takes place Monday, September 27, at the Picatinny Golf Club in Dover and includes lunch and an extended cocktail hour. All participants will receive a special Golfer Gift and there will be a Hole in One Car and Prize Contest. Raffle prizes also will be given out during the evening program. The cost is $175.00 per player.

The outing raises funds for the college’s scholarship programs and this year is focusing on supporting student-athletes and the college’s athletic programs.

Picatinny is an exclusive, membership-only facility that is considered to be the most respected, perfectly balanced course in New Jersey.

“We’re thrilled to offer golfers this opportunity to experience and play on this top-notch, picturesque course in northern New Jersey,” said Katie Olsen, executive director of the CCM Foundation. “Players will discover why this course is so well respected for its toughness, fairness, and excellent greens.”

The day begins with registration at 10:00 a.m. followed by a shotgun start at noon. The extended cocktail reception takes place from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Corporate foursomes, sponsorships, and individual players are being sought. For more information and to register, call (973) 328-5060 or click here.