Saturday, February 16, 2019
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The Friends of Doug Duchak donates to Elk’s Camp Moore

Elks member Walt Rusin, Merri Duchak, Mike Markoski, Sean Rice, Joe Serrecchia, Scott Burns, Eric Bisch, Brian Mohr, Janet Nemec and Mike Pietrowicz

PARSIPPANY — On Wednesday February 13, Merri Duchak, Janet Nemec and Parsippany Elks Lodge member Mike Pietrowicz presented a check for $2,000 donation to the Elk’s Camp Moore for Special Needs Children.

The donation was made in the honor of Larry Eckel. Larry was an avid supporter and dedicated countless hours on this Elks Special Needs Children committee for many years. Larry was passionate about this cause and the children were very near and dear to Larry’s heart…he truly cared about each and every one of these special kids!!

The donation came from an organization called “The Friends of Doug Duchak”. Merri, Janet and Mike are members on this foundation which helps raise money for two important causes that were close to Doug’s heart…recreational and social opportunities for individuals with special needs and scholarships for deserving high school students.

The organization, with the help from Mike, decided to choose Camp Moore to donate to this year. The Elks graciously thanks you for your generosity and most importantly, helping our Special Needs Children.

Elks Camp Moore for Special Needs Children is tucked away in the hill of the Ramapo Mountains. Elks Camp Moore offers a fun filled vacation away from home for children with special needs. A week at Elks Camp Moore is a remarkable experience not soon to be forgotten. The primary goal of the camp is to further develop the recreational and social skills of each child. In a relaxed and accepting atmosphere , each camper experiences new adventures, lasting friendships, and opportunities that promote independence and greater self-confidence.

For more information on The Friends of Doug Duchak, click here.

Parsippany Office Cleaners Rally for a Fair Contract

PARSIPPANY — Office cleaners, ignored by their employer, Eastern Essential Services, Inc., rallied on Valentine’s Day to have their benefits restored, after their employer slashed them. The group of workers rallied outside of 389-399 Interpace Parkway.

Solidarity Rally to restore benefits (includes health insurance, pension, paid time off, legal and training fund) and meet with the building owners.

Eastern eliminated meaningful benefits that the workers had under the prior contractor, including health insurance, pension, paid time off, legal and training fund.

“I need the benefits,” said John Hernandez, a cleaner. “I’m disappointed that I’m getting less while still doing the same work. This isn’t fair to me or to my family who depend on this job.”

The former union contractor for the buildings was replaced with Eastern Essential Services, Inc., in 2018. Eastern hired the incumbent union-represented workers. Eastern eliminated meaningful benefits and told them that there would be no union at the site.

32BJ has requested meetings to resolve these issues with the building owners, Vision RE Partners and Rubenstein Partners, for nearly one year.

“After many attempts to meet with Vision RE Partners and Rubenstein Partners to settle this, we must rally with our brothers and sisters who deserve family sustaining wages and basic benefits,” said Kevin Brown, 32BJ Vice President and NJ District Director. “We’re hoping that the building owners can employ a responsible contractor that meets the high standards both clients and workers. We’re calling on the owners to do the right thing and end the suffering. We will not back down.”

In July 2015, the National Labor Relations Board found that Eastern, at other worksites, wrongfully terminated janitors for their union affiliation. The NLRB ruled that Eastern was to reinstate the workers and recognize the union. Eastern agreed to pay $600,000 in back pay and had substantial legal fees.

With 163,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.


BettyLou DeCroce announced her plans to seek re-election

PARSIPPANY — With a background of proven bipartisanship, public service, and a successful career in business, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce announced her plans to seek re-election in the 26th District this year promising to be a check and balance against the extreme policies of Governor Phil Murphy and a voice of common sense in Trenton.

“The people in my district want a representative who is willing to compromise in order to get things done, but who is also unafraid to take a stand when extreme policies in Trenton threaten our taxpayers and our quality of life,” said DeCroce.

DeCroce will continue to fight for improving affordability for the middle-class, making life easier for small business owners, ensuring students receive a high-quality education, and making healthcare more affordable and accessible.

“Unlike most Trenton politicians, I refuse to believe that spending more money is the answer to every problem,” said DeCroce. “We need to stop with the band aid approach and advance real reform of our failed school funding formula that is cheating students and punishing taxpayers.  Moreover, we need to make healthcare more affordable by holding insurance companies accountable and putting healthcare decisions back in the hands of patients and their doctors.”

A successful private business owner for years, DeCroce previously served as Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and has been a trailblazer for women in politics and government since the early 1980’s. She has served in the Assembly since 2012.

Meet Bella! She is a petite princess

PARSIPPANY — Meet Bella, a one-year-old Beagle! This beauty was unfortunately surrendered to Wise Animal Rescue because her family did not want to exercise, train, or take care of her. While her previous situation was sad, we are so happy to have her in the rescue to find her forever home!

Bella is a petite princess who gets along with just about everyone and everything! She has attended playgroup before and was professionally trained. She is potty-trained and not destructive when left alone.

Since she is a young dog, she will need a family who loves to play with her and continue her training. Bella is super smart and super affectionate–happily accepting pets from anyone she meets!

If you’re looking for a young, happy dog to add to your family, apply to adopt Bella!

If you are interested in adopting Bella, please fill out an application by clicking here.

Follow Wise Animal Rescue on Instagram by clicking here.
Follow Wise Animal Rescue on Facebook by clicking here.

Love Like Ashley Bingo Night to hold “Third Annual Fundraiser”

PARSIPPANY — Love Like Ashley Bingo Night “third annual fundraiser” will be held onMarch 16 at the Parsippany PAL Building, 33 Baldwin Road. They will play some Bingo, win some prizes and raise money for the Love Like Ashley Memorial Fund! All proceeds will fund two annual scholarships to graduating seniors at Parsippany High School and Parsippany Hills High School. The Fund also supports philanthropic causes in and around Parsippany.

  • Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; Bingo calling starts at 7:00 p.m.
  • BYOB & Snacks
  • 21+ only
  • $25.00 per ticket
  • Ticket price includes admission and a packet of Bingo boards for each regular game. Additional boards will be available for cash purchase at the event.
  • Two 50/50 games will be played. Boards will be available for cash purchase at the event.
  • We will have a Tricky Tray at the event. Ticket packets will be available for cash purchase at the event.

Contact for more information or to donate prizes.

To order tickets, click here.

The Love Like Ashley Memorial Fund, established in 2016, is a tribute to Ashley Nicole Cistaro. Ashley passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly on March 27, 2016.

About The Love Like Ashley Memorial Fund
Ashley was a sweet, loving, kind and happy nine year old whose scrunchy smile warmed the hearts of everyone who knew her. All it took was an introduction, and Ashley considered you her friend. She welcomed everyone into her circle with open arms. Even as a young girl, her empathy and compassion for others extended well beyond her years. She lived her life to make others feel accepted and always celebrated others’ successes regardless of her own. Her heart, mind and soul were filled with kindness, joy, love and so many sparkles. She wasn’t afraid to be herself and never felt the need to follow the crowd. Ashley truly was an angel on earth.

Ashley loved and adored her people: Mommy, Daddy, big sister Ella,  her puppy Huey, her kitty Charlie, her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and each and every one of her teachers and friends with her whole heart. She loved cupcakes, cookies, all things peanut butter, lip gloss morning, noon and night, cheerleading, dancing, being silly, the beach and anything pink, purple and sparkly. Ashley was a joy to be around, and truly left a little sparkle wherever she went.

The Love Like Ashley Memorial Fund exists as a community fund to support local, philanthropic causes that honor Ashley’s all-accepting, selfless, empathetic spirit. In addition, an annual scholarship will be awarded to a student who has overcome personal challenges and has demonstrated the qualities that Ashley possessed throughout their high school career.

While donations are much appreciated and what will keep this fund going for years to come, the Love Like Ashley Memorial Fund is solely about honoring Ashley’s beautiful spirit in all that we do. Be a friend to someone who needs one. Enjoy the little things in life…Snuggle with your loved ones. Say I love you any chance you get. Be silly and make people laugh. When life gets difficult, keep going and don’t ever give up. Most importantly, spread kindness where it is needed most.

Ashley was taken from us far too soon. In her short time here she created a legacy with her kind, sparkly spirit. Above all things, it is our hope that all who come upon this fund will dedicate their lives and choose to live and Love Like Ashley.

New Jersey’s Economic House is Crumbling, So, let’s Slap a New Coat of Paint On It

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (File Photo)

By BettyLou DeCroce

Many state policy leaders treat New Jersey’s economy as if it were a stately mansion to be admired. They pretend to noticed that the termites have eaten the columns by the front door, that the roof leaks and that the foundation has begun to crumble. If the state’s economy were a house for sale it would be listed as outdated and in need of significant structural repairs.

As the state’s chief “realtor” Gov. Murphy’s sales pitch for New Jersey is that the house just needs a coat of paint and all will be fine. The reality is the state’s economic house needs a lot more than cosmetic makeovers.

To the nation’s business community, the state is an economic eyesore. New Jersey routinely places at or near the bottom in almost every economic analysis of American states.  It has the worst business climate in the country; it has among the highest business and personal taxes; it’s overregulated; its electric utility rates are high and it has one the highest debt loads in the country. And its high property taxes are making home ownership unaffordable for middle-class workers.

Instead of addressing crucial structural issues with the state’s economy – like lowering corporate and property taxes, the leadership in this state has determined that that it’s more important to boost the minimum wage to $15, raise taxes on job producing people, legalize marijuana and lay down a welcome mat for illegal immigrants at taxpayers’ expense.

The Murphy administration tried to lure Amazon to Newark with an outrageous $7 billion incentive. Amazon thumbed its nose at New Jersey’s enticement and decided to open its headquarters in Queens, NY and Virginia – which combined offered billions less than New Jersey.

Our Wall Street governor says he is pursuing well-paying high-tech jobs, but he gleefully settles for low paying, low skill jobs.  While other states are getting Amazon’s six figure jobs, New Jersey gets Amazon’s warehouse jobs such as the one opening in Edison, which is staffed by 50 robots and many disgruntled human workers currently making less than $15 an hour. In his State of the State message, he beamed at the expansion of RealReal Inc. but the company is nothing more than an online consignment shop that pays wages ranging from $15 to $20 per hour.

While the governor pursues his Progressive “fairness economy” he is fumbling the opportunity to unlock New Jersey’s potential to attract investments that create jobs that support middle class families.

According to a recent report, the average salary in New Jersey ($57,000) is not enough to afford the average rent of $2,062. A $15.00 minimum wage will not help. State property taxes now average $8,700 a year; New Jersey has the sixth highest personal income tax rate in the nation (8.97 percent); one of the highest corporate tax rates (9 percent) the third highest per capita tax ($6,709) and the sixth highest debt.  Consequently, young people and retirees are fleeing the state – and business owners are taking note that the administration’s response to affordability is more taxes and more regulation.

If the governor is seeking a “fairness economy,” shouldn’t he be focusing on creating an environment that attracts good paying jobs for Millennials and older adults who want to own a home?  Jobs in technology and manufacturing that lift people out of poverty are going to less expensive states. Companies like Mercedes Benz and Honeywell Inc, are taking their high paying jobs to Georgia and North Carolina and it’s not hard to figure out why.

North Carolina ranks 12th on the business climate index by the Tax Foundation. New Jersey is 50th ( (

North Carolina’s corporate tax rate is third lowest in the nation, ours is the 47th highest at 9 percent. As a percentage of home value, New Jersey’s property taxes more than double North Carolina’s. ( Georgia is ranked 33rd in business climate but last year approved legislation to lower its top individual and corporate income tax rates from 6.0 to 5.5 percent

Amidst New Jersey’s economic gloom, the governor has established commissions to develop ways to bring 300,000 good paying jobs to the state.  His Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology, is staffed with academics, who never ran a business, and owners of very small businesses, one of which is based in Manhattan and ranks 2,689 on the list of top 5,000 companies in the U.S.

The governor has set up opportunity zones in 169 of the state’s poorest areas. But a recent report on the zones from the Tax Foundation suggest that: “…place-based incentive programs redistribute rather than generate new economic activity, subsidize investments that would have occurred anyway, and displace low-income residents….” In other words, opportunity zones, like the current state Economic Development Agency, will be of little or no help to economic growth.

Moreover, the findings and recommendations of the governor’s commissions will be irrelevant if the majority party in Trenton fails to take the actions necessary to energize the economy: cut spending and regulation, lower taxes and make the state affordable for the middle class.

If the governor’s administration is truly serious about improving the state’s economy, it will have to take the painful steps necessary to get the state off the floor of nearly every national measure of economic health. To pretend that the governor’s progressive agenda is benefitting working families is like slapping a coat of paint on a crumbling house – it looks good, but doesn’t stop the roof from leaking.

BettyLou DeCroce represents Legislative District 26 (Morris Essex & Passaic counties) and is a small business owner.

Two Parsippany Students Win Spelling Bee in Woman’s Club Highland District

Third-place winner Sahaj Bhandari, first-place winner Sanjana Veggalam (both from Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills), and second-place winner Lucas Zablocki, (GFWC Woman’s Club of the Denville – Rockaway Area.). Back row: Denville Mayor Tom Andes

PARSIPPANY — The NJSFWC sponsors an annual spelling bee program, with women’s clubs throughout the state hosting local events.  In the Highland district, several women’s clubs organized spelling bees representing thirty schools.  They sent their winners to a district spelling bee held in Rockaway on February 2.

Congratulations to the NJSFWC Highlands District spelling bee winners: first-place winner Sanjana Veggalam, third-place winner Sahaj Bhandari, (both from Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills), and second-place winner Lucas Zablocki, (GFWC Woman’s Club of the Denville – Rockaway Area.)

These three District winners will participate in the State Federation’s Annual State Spelling Bee, to be held Saturday, March 2nd at NJSFWC Headquarters, located on the Douglass campus in New Brunswick. Good luck to all!

It takes a lot of work and volunteer hours to host a successful spelling bee. Thanks to Denville’s Mayor, Tom Andes, Denville’s library director, Siobhan Koch, and NJSFWC Highlands District Vice President, Judy Filippini, who acted as judges, and members of the three women’s clubs (Denville-Rockaway, Parsippany Troy-Hills, and Vernon) who helped organize and support the district spelling bee.

Parsippany Police to hold “Citizen’s Police Academy”

Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Academy

PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department is hosting a free 10 week Citizen’s Police Academy program held every Thursday night from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. starting on March 7 through May 9 at the Parsippany Police Athletic League (PAL) located at 33 Baldwin Road.

The Citizen’s Police Academy is limited to twenty applicants and is available on a first come, first serve basis by completing the application which can be found online prior to the classes at Click here to download the application.
Applicants must be:
* 18 years of age or older
* Residents of Parsippany
* Parsippany business owners (on a limited basis)
* Parsippany township employees (on a limited basis)
The goal is to increase communication and partnership between the citizens and the police through education and discussion in order to establish a safer community. The classes provide an in-depth view into various areas of law enforcement such as criminal investigations, use of force, officer safety, motor vehicle stops and advancements in technology utilized in law enforcement today. Information is gained through classroom and practical scenarios.
Applications for the Citizen’s Police Academy can be completed and submitted by visiting www.parpolice.comor by saving and emailing the completed form to Community Relations Officer Remo D’Alessandro at
A minimum attendance of eight classes is required in order to attend graduation.

Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills Offers Love and Support

Back Row L to R: Ann Claassen, Beverly Frischer, Janet Reilly, Lois Brown Front Row L to R: Bernadette Cicchino (Project Chairman), Lorraine Steinsberger, Joan Garbarino. Photo Courtesy of the Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills

PARSIPPANY — Valentine’s Day became a happier occasion at the Jersey Battered Women’s Service (JBWS) when the Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills donated Valentine candy hearts and lipsticks for the women in residence.

Having been betrayed by a spouse or significant other, either emotionally or physically, Valentine’s Day can be fraught with regret, sadness and anxiety for those suffering from domestic violence.  Club members wanted to offer their love and support through this small personal gesture of candy hearts and lipsticks.

The new lipsticks, provided by Find Your Fabulosity, serve as a reminder for these women that they are beautiful and worthy inside and out.  Each child resident also received a personal valentine card along with a smile bag filled with novelties and candy.  The club also donated boxes of Valentine Cards for the children to distribute to friends and family

To learn more about JBWS click here. More information about Find Your Fabulosity can be found by clicking here.

The Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills is a member of NJSFWC, which is the largest volunteer women’s service organization in the state, providing opportunities for education, leadership training, and community service.  General Meetings are held the fourth Monday of each month from September to April at 7:00 p.m. at the Lake Parsippany Rescue and Recovery, 100 Centerton Drive. For more information call Marilyn at (973) 539-3703, e-mail the club at, or click here for website.

Applebee’s Announces 2nd Annual Above and “BEE”yond Teacher Essay Contest

Applebee's is located at 1057 Route 46, Troy Hills Shopping Center

PARSIPPANY — Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar announced the launch of its Second annual Above and “BEE”yond Teacher Essay Contest, which will recognize top teachers – as nominated by their students – by awarding them with a sponsorship check and end-of-year class party, courtesy of Applebee’s. The contest is being offered at Applebee’s restaurants in New Jersey owned and operated by local franchisee, Doherty Enterprises. Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar is located at 1057 Route 46, Troy Hills Shopping Center.

Specifically, Applebee’s will award six deserving teachers from 13 counties* with a $500 sponsorship check to use towards their classroom for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year, along with an end-of-year party for their current class. To nominate a teacher, students must submit an essay in-person at their local Applebee’s explaining why their teacher deserves to be “Teacher of the Year.” To sweeten the deal, students who enter an essay will receive a FREE ice cream certificate** to Applebee’s. Contest submissions will be accepted at participating Applebee’s restaurants from January 7 through March 3 and winners will be announced on Monday, April 8, 2019.

“We are thrilled to be holding our second annual Above and BEEyond Teacher Essay Contest at our New Jersey restaurants,” said Kevin Coughlin, director of operations, Applebee’s New Jersey. “Our restaurants are committed to giving back to the local community, especially schools within the communities we serve. The overwhelming support from last year’s campaign reminded us what an integral role teachers play in building a better community.”

Doherty Enterprises is committed to involvement in the communities it serves and is proud to support education year-round through its “A is for Applebee’s” program, which was created for teachers, libraries and scout leaders to use as an incentive for children to succeed and be rewarded. The program gives children an incentive to go the extra mile to help other students, read more books and make the Honor Roll. By obtaining the certificate from Applebee’s, children also gain a sense of accomplishment. Through this, and several other initiatives including donations, fundraisers, sponsorships and participation in community events, Doherty Enterprises gives back to local causes, helping organizations grow and flourish.

For more information about how Doherty Enterprises and its restaurants support local communities, or to get involved in one of the youth programs click here.

*One winner will be selected from each set of counties, grouped together by the following geographic areas, (Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon), (Bergen, Passaic, Essex), (Hudson, Union), (Morris, Sussex, Warren), (Monmouth), (Ocean).

**Limit one per person. Valid only at participating Applebee’s locations owned and operated by Doherty Enterprises.

Liquid Church hosted “Tim Tebow Foundation Night to Shine”

Guest at the Beauty Bar

PARSIPPANY — On Friday, February 8, Liquid Church partnered with The Tim Tebow Foundation to host Night To Shine, an unforgettable worldwide prom night experience designed especially for teens and adults ages 14 and older with special needs.

At Night To Shine, guests were greeted by their very own buddy who served as their host for the evening. Guests walked the red carpet and enjoyed the VIP treatment, including a friendly paparazzi welcome, flowers,Beauty Bar with hair and makeup stations, great food, fun games, and of course…the chance to dance the night away! The event was complete with a crowning ceremony where each guest will become a prom king or queen.

“It was a joy to serve our friends with special needs from Parsippany and Morris County through Night to Shine! The highlight was crowning each of our VIP guests as kings and queens made in God’s image and celebrating their special talents & unique abilities,” stated Tim Lucas is the founder & Lead Pastor Liquid Church.

This year, Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, was hosted  simultaneously by 655 churches in all 50 states and in 24 countries, including Albania, Burundi, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, US, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    • Preliminary estimation of more than 100,000 people with special needs attended Night to Shine proms and each one of them was crowned a King or a Queen.
    • Preliminary estimation of more than 200,000 volunteers served at Night to Shine proms around the world.
    • The Tim Tebow Foundation is inviting supporters to help grow this annual event. Donations can be made by clicking here.

Tim Tebow was able to surprise volunteers and guests at five different Night to Shine locations:

  • Unsion Foundation, Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Familia De Dios, Puerto Peñasco, Mexico
  • Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX
  • Compass Christian Church, Grapevine, TX
  • Crossroads Christian Church, Grand Prairie, TX
  • Legacy Church, Albuquerque, NM
  • ZOE Church, Los Angeles, CA

Tim was accompanied by some incredible supporters of Night to Shine. Their visits to prom locations consisted of praying with and encouraging volunteers, walking the red carpet with the honored guests, shining shoes, dancing with alot of Kings & Queens and sharing the message of God’s love with all volunteers and honored guests.

“Night to Shine is special because there are so many things in our society that tear people apart and this night is a night that brings people together. Because every single person is important…we are all loved, we are all created in God’s image and there is a reason and a purpose for each our lives,” shares Tim Tebow, Founder and Chairman of the Tim Tebow Foundation. “God gave his very best for each of us – he gave us his Son – and because he was willing do that, we are willing to do whatever it takes to make these honored guests feel special and feel loved. They are worth it,” said Tim Tebow.

Tim Tebow Foundation supplied the above video.

Toys”R”Us Emerges with New Vision, Team and Global Strategy; Opens headquarters in Parsippany

Toys“R”Us store at Phoenix MarketCity Bangalore, India.

PARSIPPANY — Toys”R”Us® has officially emerged as a new company, with new leadership and a new vision to deliver the magic of its iconic brands around the world. Tru Kids, Inc., has opened their corporate headquarters at 5 Wood Hollow Road.

Tru Kids Inc. leased approximately 26,000 square feet at 5 Wood Hollow Road

Effective January 20, the new company, Tru Kids Inc. doing business as Tru Kids Brands, became the proud parent of Toys”R”Us®, Babies”R”Us®, Geoffrey® and more than 20 established consumer toy and baby brands. Toys R Us was established in 1948; Babies R Us in 1996; and Geoffrey the Giraffe, Beloved Mascot, in 1965.

Richard Barry

Tru Kids Brands will be led by Richard Barry, the former global chief merchandising officer at Toys”R”Us, who will serve as President & CEO along with an experienced management team that includes Matthew Finigan as CFO, James Young as EVP of Global License Management & General Counsel, and Jean-Daniel Gatignol as SVP of Global Sourcing & Brands.

Yehuda Shmidman

The company also appointed brand management veteran Yehuda Shmidman as Vice Chairman to advise on global strategy and execution. Shmidman is the CEO of Wave Hill Partners, and the former CEO of Sequential Brands Group.

For over 70 years, Toys”R”Us has celebrated the joys of childhood with kids of all ages and Babies”R”Us has been the destination for all new and expecting parents.  Geoffrey the Giraffe, the beloved mascot of Toys”R”Us for more than 50 years, is adored by kids and their families all around the world.

This brand power remains as Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us generated over $3 billion in global retail sales in 2018 through more than 900 stores and e-commerce businesses in 30+ countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.  In the U.S., Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us continue to have incredibly strong brand affinity and loyalty with more than 9.5 million followers across their social media channels.

“Despite unprecedented efforts to capture the U.S. market share this past holiday season, there is still a significant gap and huge consumer demand for the trusted experience that Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us delivers,” said Richard Barry, President & CEO of Tru Kids Brands. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write the next chapter of Toys”R”Us by launching a newly imagined omni channel retail experience for our beloved brands here in the U.S. In addition, our strong global footprint is led by experienced and passionate operating teams that are 100% focused on growth.”

Global partners include Al Futtaim Sons Co. LLC (UAE), Green Swan (Iberia), Keshet-Hypertoy Ltd (Israel), Lotte Shopping Co. Ltd (S. Korea), Marketing Services and Commercial Projects Operation Company (Saudi Arabia), Tablez & Toyz Private Ltd. (India), and Toys (Labuan) Holding Ltd. in partnership with Fung Retailing Ltd. (Asia).  The Company will work closely with each to expand the Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us businesses in their respective markets as well as actively seek opportunities to bring the brands to new and emerging territories.

Tru Kids’ global partners are set to bring the joy of Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us to more customers through the opening of 70 stores this year in AsiaIndia and Europe and the development of new e-commerce platforms in several key markets.

Tru Kids will be headquartered in New Jersey with a skilled team of returning Toys”R”Us employees.

“We have an incredible team focused on bringing Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us back in a completely new and reimagined way, so the U.S. doesn’t have to go through another holiday without these beloved brands,” added Barry.

Further updates on the U.S. business strategy to follow.

Tru KidsTM is the parent of beloved brands, including Toys”R”Us®, Babies”R”Us®, Geoffrey the Giraffe®, Journey Girls®, Fastlane®, True Heroes®, You & Me®, Imaginarium®, and Just Like Home®. Established in January 2019, Tru Kids is focused on growing its family of brands through innovative partnerships that deliver kid-and-parent-focused experiences that expand beyond traditional retails concepts in the physical and digital spaces.

The company delivers a wealth of services to our valued license partners around the world, in addition to design and development of over 20 additional established consumer brands. The company has offices in New Jersey, USAHong Kong & Shenzhen, China.

Tru Kids is a new company celebrating over 70 years of heritage with an expert team focused on families, kids, and play.

Boys and Girls from Eastlake and Lake Parsippany Schools Race Their Pinewood Derby Cars

PARSIPPANY — On Friday, February 8, boy and girls from Cub Scout Pack 14 had their first Pinewood Derby in the Lake Parsippany school gym. During the preceding weeks, the Cub Scouts each created their own car. Each Cub Scout started out with a small block of wood and, with parent’s help, whittled or sanded it to the shape they desired.

The Cub Scouts waited with excitement as each den had its races and then cheered for the pack championship.

Cub Scout Pack 14 is chartered to the Lake Parsippany Volunteer Fire Company and accepts boys and girls in grades K-5 from Eastlake and Lake Parsippany schools.  Cub Scouts of the same age meet in dens to work on earning their rank badge.  The rank requirements include fun activities, life skills and service to others.

Once a month, all the dens come together for a meeting of the whole Pack. Pack meetings include the Pinewood Derby, Bear Carnival, and the Blue and Gold awards dinner. Aside from Pack meetings, the Pack also gathers for service projects, hikes and campouts.

For information on Pack 14, contact Al Thomas,; (973) 765-9322 ext. 229.

State of Emergency and Commercial Vehicle Travel Restrictions on Interstate Highways

Snow covered the trees in Lake Parsippany

MORRIS COUNTY — New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials issued a Winter Weather Alert and are reminding motorists that Governor Phil Murphy has declared a State of Emergency and the NJ State Police issued a commercial vehicle travel restriction, both starting at 12 midnight tonight, Monday, February 11, due to the anticipated severity of Winter Storm.

NJDOT is prepared and coordinating our response with our regional transportation partners to ensure the safety of all travelers. The Department has 2,500 plows and spreaders that are ready to be activated statewide wherever they are needed.

Ice and winds could bring trees and branches down on roadways. NJDOT crews have tree-clearing equipment available to remove debris from state highways to ensure plows, emergency personnel and utility companies can get through. In addition, the Department and our transportation partners are prepared for possible flooding in South Jersey from heavy rain.

The Department is reminding motorists:

  • AVOID UNNECESSARY TRAVEL during the storm
  • Consider Telecommuting tomorrow, if possible
  • If you must drive and road conditions deteriorate, GET OFF THE ROAD somewhere safe and wait it out
  • Always STAY CLEAR of plows and spreading trucks.  If they are behind you, let them pass
  • DO NOT PASS between trucks that are in a plow formation
  • Be patient and use caution

Commercial Vehicle Travel Restriction

The restriction applies to the entire length of all Interstate Highways in New Jersey including:

  • I-76
  • I-78
  • I-80
  • I-195
  • I-280
  • I-287
  • I-295
  • I-676

The restriction DOES NOT apply to:

  • New Jersey Turnpike
  • Garden State Parkway
  • Atlantic City Expressway

The commercial vehicle travel restriction in New Jersey applies to the following vehicles:

  • All tractor-trailers
  • Empty straight CDL-weighted trucks
  • Passenger vehicles pulling trailers
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Motorcycles

In order for NJDOT and our regional and local transportation partners to safely and efficiently clear roadways of snow and ice, motorists need to Clear the Roads so We Can Clear the Roads.

NJDOT will deploy our Incline Package assets on I-280 and I-78 at Jugtown mountain (between Exits 7 and 11), which includes pre-positioning towing assets, NJDOT Safety Service Patrol (SSP) trucks, and coordination with New Jersey State Police.

NJDOT will be using Variable Message Signs throughout the storm to provide updates. Once conditions improve, NJDOT will lift the Winter Weather Congestion Alert.

Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website for real-time travel information and for NJDOT news and updates follow us on the NJDOT Facebook page or on Twitter @NJDOT_info.

Pennacchio Calls for Tax Incentive Reform, Greater Transparency at Committee Hearing

parsippany focus
At a February 11 joint hearing, Senator Joe Pennacchio called for greater oversight and accountability of tax incentive programs and the NJ EDA.

MORRIS COUNTY — Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26,) a member of the Senate Economic Growth Committee, today once again called for greater oversight and accountability of tax incentive programs and the NJ EDA, including the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act.

Below are Senator Pennacchio’s remarks as prepared for delivery during the February 11 joint meeting of the State Senate Economic Growth and Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committees:

“We are here today to discuss the quote ‘oversight and effectiveness’ of the NJ EDA’s tax incentive programs.

“I think that it’s pretty clear from the comptroller’s report last month that “effective” is not a word that any of us would use to describe many of the tax incentives that have been doled out in recent years.

“And certainly, there should have been MUCH more oversight of the dollars that were distributed on the backs of our taxpayers. If anyone deserves a tax break, it’s them. As the comptroller’s report illustrated, the extreme lack of oversight has created an environment that is ripe for abuse.

“There is one stark example of this that I feel we have a duty to address today – and that is the recent signing of the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act.

“I can’t imagine how any elected official can call tax incentive reform in one breath, and then dole out millions to Hollywood millionaires in the next.

“New Jersey faces serious financial challenges. We have the highest property taxes in the country. Our schools are still underfunded, and so are our public employee pension and health benefit systems.

“We simply cannot afford to spend money on a single tax incentive program that doesn’t create jobs or produce revenue.

“The Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act is a giveaway to special interest groups who have no interest in the long-term financial wellbeing of our state.

“Why even call it a tax incentive program? As designed, the program does not give these companies any reason to invest more money into our economy than they have previously spent. It is, in my view, an unconscionable waste of State resources.

“Go back and take a look at the fiscal note of that law. OLS is on record as saying that there is absolutely no proof that it will produce a return on investment.

“Multiple studies have also shown that in other parts of the country, film industry tax incentive programs simply don’t pay off.

“The first study, published by the journal The American Review of Public Administration, ‘examined the impact of the programs on states’ motion picture industry employment and wages. Thom found that the incentives had no sustained impact on wage growth and little effect on employment. The programs also failed to prompt an expansion or relocation of filmmaking businesses from concentrations in California and New York.’

“The second study, published the journal American Politics Research, ‘examined why states kept or terminated their incentives from 1999 to 2015. States that slashed the incentives already had spent very little or had grown skeptical that the program wasn’t working, the researchers found.’

“In fact, more than a dozen states have discontinued film tax credits in recent years, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

“By green lighting tax incentives for the film industry, New Jersey wasted at least $425 million on companies that will at best, make a temporary investment in our communities before laying off workers and heading back to the Hollywood Hills.

“For $425 million, we could have hired more than 6,000 additional special education teachers to help our must vulnerable students, and still pay them the going rate.

“I was absolutely appalled to see this tax incentive program signed into law, which is why I immediately began exploring ways to ensure we don’t waste any more money on these unnecessary handouts.

“In October, I formally introduced legislation, S-3051, which would require regular audits of every single business tax incentive that is managed by the NJ EDA.

“My bill would also ensure that reports on these audits are published prominently on the Legislature and State Auditor’s websites.

“The comptroller’s report that brought us here today proves that this Legislature must take action to prevent the continued waste of taxpayer dollars.

“We can start by posting my bill for a vote, so that every taxpayer and leader can see exactly where our money is going.

“If we really want to create jobs, than we need to focus on cutting taxes and reducing regulations to make New Jersey more business-friendly.

“State agencies and politicians should not be in the business of picking winners and losers in the private sector, or using agencies like the EDA as a way to hand out favors to friends and donors.

“To protect the public’s trust in government this must change, and it must change now.

“I look forward to working with you, as we fight for a more transparent, accountable and affordable state for all.”

Click here for a copy of Senator Pennacchio’s legislation, S-3051.


Washington Township Police arrest Joshua Ganter for Parsippany warrants

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP — On Wednesday, February 6, at 5:41 p.m., Washington Township Patrol Officer David Beltran responded to a report of a motor vehicle crash on Route 46.

While completing his investigation, Patrol Officer Beltran learned that an involved occupant later identified as Joshua Ganter, Hackettstown, had a pending warrant for his arrest.

The warrant for Mr. Ganter was issued by Parsippany Municipal Court and he was placed under arrest and transported to Washington Township Police Headquarters.

Mr. Ganter was later issued a motor vehicle complaint for Careless driving and turned over to Parsippany Police Department.

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.

Register Now for CCM Summer Sessions

Group of happy college students studying at campus on digital tablets

MORRIS COUNTY — County College of Morris (CCM) offers an affordable and convenient way to earn some extra credits, fast-track a college education to completion and lighten the course load for the next academic year through its Summer Sessions program.

Registration for Summer Sessions is open starting February 11. By registering now, students are provided with the best selection of courses to fit their busy schedules.

Courses offered cover a range of general education requirements and disciplines such as the arts, humanities, science, business, engineering, health and more. Summer Sessions courses are offered in a variety of formats – traditional in-classroom courses, online or as hybrid courses with instruction provided both in-class and online.

CCM offers four Summer Sessions for 2019:

  • Early 5 Week: May 20 – June 24
  • Late 5 Week: June 25 – July 29
  • 7 Week: June 27 – August 15
  • 3 Week: July 30 – August 19

To view available courses click here.

Individuals not currently enrolled at CCM first need to apply as a “Visiting Student” by clicking here, before registering for Summer Sessions courses.

For more information click here or call the Admissions office at (973) 328-5100.

Morris County Tax-Aide Free Tax Preparation

PARSIPPANY — The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program provides totally free tax preparation services at the Parsippany Community Center, 1130 Knoll Road, Lake Hiawatha, on Tuesdays and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

You can also visit by appointment the Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library, 449 Halsey Road. Appointments available on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feel free to schedule an appointment by clicking here.

You don’t need to be a member of AARP to benefit from this service. It is open for all ages and income levels. The only limitation is that your taxes be within the scope of our volunteers’ training.

Things you can do if you want to speed up your time at the tax preparation site.

  • Print and fill in the Tax Year 2018 Intake Form and bring it with you.   If you don’t fill it in before you arrive, you will be asked to complete one at the site before your tax return can be started.  Do your best. We’ll help you if you get stuck on any of the questions.  This year, in addition to the normal tax return-related questions, you will find three consent forms and a request for demographic information on the Intake Form.  This document will help you to decide whether you wish to give your consent and answer the questions.
  • If you had your return prepared by AARP Foundation Tax-Aide last year, try to return to the same location where you visited last year.
  • Bring last year’s tax return, if you have it.
  • Bring your PTR (blue booklet), if you want help completing it.

Remember to bring with you all of the following that apply to your situation.

  • Picture ID for you and your spouse (if married)
  • Social Security document for you and every person on your tax return. This can be a Social Security Card, Form 1099-SSA if it contains your full Social Security Number, a Medicare Card if the number on the card ends in the letter “A” or a letter from the Social Security Administration with your social security number on it.
  • The folder we gave you last year with last year’s returns and tax documents (If AARP Tax-Aide did your tax return last year)
  • Checkbook if you want to direct deposit any refunds or direct pay any amounts owed.
  • All of your current tax year income documents
    • W-2 (Wages)
    • 1099 (Interest, dividends, security sales, and other income)
    • 1099-R Pensions
    • 1099-G (State income tax refund) (You must get this online from the NJ Treasury by clicking here.
    • Unemployment compensation statements 1099G (You must get this online from NJ Unemployment by  clicking here.
    • Social Security SSA-1099 or Railroad Retirement (RRB-1099 Tier 1 &2)
    • Brokerage statements
    • End of year pay stub (with breakdown of deductions, etc.)
    • Health insurance documents received from the government insurance marketplace, your employer and/or your insurance provider. 1095-A, 1095-B, 1095-C.
    • Any other income documents
  • PTR amount received in the current tax year and forms (PTR-1 or PTR-2 last year and this year if available)
  • Forms and/or cancelled checks as a record of all Federal and State Taxes Paid in the current tax year including any estimated tax payments
  • Mortgage interest statement (Form 1098)
  • Property tax statement and/or postcard from your local tax office or other records of property tax paid (should include Block, Lot and Qualifier)
  • A list of all out-of-pocket medical expenses including health insurance payments and long term care insurance payments, that can be backed up with receipts and/or canceled checks
  • Round trip medical miles driven to/from medical facilities (doctors, hospitals, prescription drug locations, etc.)
  • Distributions from an HSA (health savings account if you have one) (Form 1099-SA)
  • A list of charitable contributions backed up with receipts and/or canceled checks
  • Child dependent care provider information
  • Cancelled checks and/or 1098-T related to secondary education expenses
  • If Alimony was paid, SSN for recipient(s) (may be on prior year return)

Life events that may affect your taxes:

  • Purchased a new vehicle? (Bring documentation of sales tax)
  • Purchase or sold a home? (Bring closing documentation)
  • Have debt from a credit card cancelled/forgiven by a commercial lender? (Bring 1099-C)
  • Receive a First Time Homebuyers Credit in 2008? (Bring repayment letter)

 The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act requires that every person on the tax return have Minimum Essential Coverage health insurance or be eligible for an exemption. Be prepared to answer the following questions as part of the preparation of your tax return:

  • Did you have health insurance coverage for you, your spouse, and all qualifying dependents for the entire current tax year ? If not, for which months did you have health insurance coverage?
  • Did you, your spouse, or any of your qualifying dependents purchase health insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace (also known as The Exchange)? If yes, you will need to bring form 1095-A which you should have received from The Marketplace.
  • If you did not have health insurance that meets the Minimum Essential Coverage requirements for any month in the year, we will explore your eligibility for an exemption. If you do not qualify for an exemption, you will be required to make a Shared Responsibility Payment as part of your current year taxes.
  • Note:  Medicare Part A and some Medicaid coverage qualifies as Minimum Essential Coverage.

William Schievella, Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD) National Executive Board Member Visits the White House to Discuss Drug Interdiction and Prevention

Morris County Police Chiefs Association President Ciro Chimento pose with LEAD Executive Board members Tom. Marinaro and William Schievella before being briefed by Vice President Pence at the White House complex

MORRIS COUNTY — This week the leadership of Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD) were invited to the White House for a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and National Drug Control.

Policy Director Jim Carroll, National LEAD Executive Board member William Schievella and Morris County Police Chiefs Association President Ciro Chimento were among leaders that spent a day discussing the alarming rise in fentanyl laced heroin and cocaine.

“Aggressive law enforcement and prosecution needs to be coupled with prevention strategies to stop people from becoming addicted in the first place”, said Schievella a retired Chief of Detectives from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and former Morris County Undersheriff.

LEAD is the largest growing evidence based drug prevention program in the nation which places law enforcement and educators together with the community to stop children from using Drugs. LEAD is glad to work closely with the National Drug Control Policy Office within the White House to be in the forefront of the fight against drugs.

Vice President Mike Pence
LEAD Executive Board members William Schievella and Tom Marinaro pose with White House National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll
Law Enforcement leaders from through the nation pose with White House National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll at the White House complex

Driver leaves keys in vehicle; Stolen vehicle found in Newark

2018 Dodge Durango (File Photo)

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Patrol Officer R. Appel responded to a residence on Alloway Road for a vehicle theft.

After a brief investigation it was determined the victim’s 2018 Dodge Durango was left unlocked with the key fob inside.

The theft is believed to have occurred between 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 6.

The vehicle was recovered by Newark Police Department on Friday, February 8.

This incident remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact the Parsippany Police Department Investigative Division at (973) 263-4311.