Monday, May 29, 2023
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Inspection Survey of the Whippany River Corridor

MORRIS COUNTY — The first step in launching the Whippany-Passaic Rivers’ Flood Mitigation project will occur on Thursday afternoon, May 18.

A low-flying helicopter will investigate approximately a 12-mile Whippany and Passaic Rivers corridor and its tributaries. The purpose is to identify areas in need of clearing and de-snagging. Data will be collected from a manned helicopter approximately 600 feet above ground level, traveling at 35 knots ground speed. The helicopter will utilize a high-tech camera to gather imagery. The survey will include tributaries such as the Smith Ditch, Black Brook, and Pinch Brook streams.

Once the aerial inspection survey is completed, Colliers Engineering & Design, the Task Forces’ designated engineering firm, will prepare a topographic base map of the approximately 500’ wide river corridor. The base map will represent existing site features observed during the field survey to identify drainage issues and blockages. It will also include other site features such as buildings, roadways, driveways, retaining walls, and individual trees in open areas.

 Following completion of the base mapping, Colliers Engineering & Design will identify the locations needed de-snagging and pinpoint site access to those areas, considering the need to minimize disturbance and environmental impact in each area. The partnering municipalities, Hanover, East Hanover, Florham Park, Parsippany, Morris Plains, and Morristown, will secure permission in their respective towns to use the site access points for the clearing and de-snagging work. 

Letter to the Editor: Expressing Shock Over Mayor’s Use of Out-of-Town Union Members at Budget Hearing

parsippany focusDear Editor:

I am writing this letter with a profound sense of shock and disgust regarding yesterday’s Council meeting involving our mayor’s decision again to bring out-of-town union members to a crucial budget hearing. I witnessed a strong amount of support during these hearings for Councilman Musella’s budget cuts and noticed so few residents buying the arbitrary claim made by the Mayor and the other Councilmembers that “nothing could be cut.” It’s important to say this because I have noticed a pattern whereby if residents support Councilman Musella on an issue, out-of-town union members show up to start repeating the Mayor’s talking points. I remember this during the Waterview episode. It was well-documented during the PLA meetings and now during a meeting about our budget that has no relevance to unions.

Of course, the Mayor will say he can’t control the unions, but the unions routinely show up whenever his back has been up against the wall. Yesterday, I got out of my car and saw almost 75 union members in our Town’s parking lot again, creating an atmosphere that felt very intimidating. I am sure these union members were following orders, and I wish them no ill, but it doesn’t make sense to me why they would come to support the Mayor’s tax increase that doesn’t affect them.

This action raises serious questions about the mayor’s priorities and motives. Why did the Mayor need to rely on outsiders rather than engaging with local residents? Is there a hidden agenda or a disregard for the opinions and expertise of our own community members?

I’d like to again thank Councilman Musella for being the lone voice last night, acting in the best interests of the Town.
Ray Gallup
41-year resident residing in Lake Hiawatha
Vietnam-era Veteran

Kimberly Leandry Named to SNHU Dean’s List

PARSIPPANY — Kimberly Leandry of Lake Hiawatha has been named to Southern New Hampshire University’s Winter 2023 Dean’s List. The winter terms run from January to May.

Full-time undergraduate students who have earned a minimum grade-point average of 3.500 to 3.699 for the reporting term are named to the Dean’s List. Full-time status is achieved by earning 12 credits over each 16-week term or paired 8-week terms grouped in fall, winter/spring, and summer.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, nonprofit institution with a 90-year history of educating traditional-aged students and working adults. Now serving more than 170,000 learners worldwide, SNHU offers approximately 200 accredited undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs online and on its 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH. Recognized as one of the “Most Innovative” regional universities by U.S. News & World Report and one of the fastest-growing universities in the country, SNHU is committed to expanding access to high-quality, affordable pathways that meet the needs of each learner. For more information, click here.

Parsippany Council Set to Adopt Budget

PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council will hold a general meeting on Tuesday, May 16, at 7:00 p.m.

Among the many topics to be discussed will be the adoption of the 2023 Township Budget.

Click here to download the agenda.

Regular Township Council Meetings will commence at 7:00 p.m. All meetings will be held on Tuesday evenings. Council meetings are held at Parsippany Municipal Building, 1001 Parsippany Boulevard. Formal action may or may not be taken at all scheduled meetings.

Any individual who is a qualified disabled person under the Americans with Disabilities Act may request auxiliary aids such as a sign interpreter or a tape recorder to be used for a meeting. Auxiliary aids must be requested at least 72 hours before the meeting date. Please call (973) 263-4351 to request auxiliary aid.

Click here to download the 2023 agenda schedule.

Mayor and Council

Mayor James R Barberio
Council President Loretta Gragnani
Council Vice-President Michael J. dePierro
Councilman Paul Carifi Jr.
Councilman Frank Neglia
Councilman Justin Musella

Parsippany Tax Sale Public Notice

PARSIPPANY — Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills will sell at public auction several parcels of land, hereinafter described in fee simple, for nonpayment of 2022 and prior taxes as shown on the unpaid list, to such person or persons as will purchase the parcel subject to redemption at the lowest rate of interest, but in no case over eighteen (18) percent per annum.

Click here for the list and location of the lands subject to sale, the owner’s names as contained in such list, and the total amount due on the respective parcels as computed as of June 08, 2023. The names shown are as they appear in the Tax Duplicate and do not necessarily mean that parties are the present owners of the property. 

Industrial Properties may be subject to the Spill Compensation and Control Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq.), the Water Pollution Control Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10A-1 et seq.), and the Industrial Site Recovery Act (N.J.S.A. 13:1K-6 et seq.)  In addition, the municipality is precluded from issuing a tax sale certificate to any prospective purchaser who is or may be connected to the site’s prior owner or operator.

Payment must be made by cash, certified check, or money order on the amount due as advertised, together with interest and costs incurred up to the time of payment.

The Collector’s Telephone Number:   (973) 263-4252
The Collector’s Office Hours:  8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Monday to Friday

Meet the Merchant: Cerbo’s Greenhouse

PARSIPPANY — Cerbo’s Greenhouse, the oldest business in Parsippany, is celebrating its 110th year in operation. Even before Parsippany was incorporated as a township on May 9, 1928, the greenhouse operated as its property was originally part of Hanover Township.

Watch our video to learn about the history of Cerbo’s Greenhouse.

Dollar Tree in Troy Hills Closed

PARSIPPANY — We had all anticipated that the Dollar Tree, 1099 Route 46, in the Troy-Hills Shopping Center would not survive for long, especially after opening a newer, well-stocked store less than a mile away in the Troy Village Shopping Center.

During a recent visit to the store, a sign was posted indicating that the location has been permanently closed. The sign also thanked customers for patronage and encouraged them to visit neighboring Dollar Tree locations.
Even the sign on the store’s facade appears to have been removed.

The other Dollar Tree location in Parsippany, which opened in April 2022 at 1440 Route 46, is significantly larger than its counterpart in the Troy Hills Shopping Center. The other location spans 11,242 square feet, over 60 percent bigger than the Troy Hills Shopping Center.

Republican Candidates Take to the Streets to Campaign and Engage with Voters

PARSIPPANY — Recently, Republican candidates gathered at Morris County Republican Club to start canvassing the town to get their message out to voters.

Successful canvassing campaigns often involve well-organized and motivated volunteers and effective messaging and outreach strategies.

At the meeting, Parsippany-Troy Hills Council candidates included Matt McGrath, Adam Kandil, and Paul Carifi, Jr.,

As the primary election on June 6th approaches, you will likely notice increased political campaigning in Parsippany. This includes frequent candidate appearances, an uptick in political signage throughout the town, and a higher volume of campaign literature, such as mailers, distributed to residents via mail and door-to-door.

Tayfun Selen for Morris County Commissioner, Jay Webber for Assembly, Joe Pennachio for Senate, Brian Bergen for Assembly and Nick Grossi representing Ann Gross for Morris County Clerk

Political campaigning often involves various strategies, such as door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, social media outreach, and advertising, to persuade voters to support a particular candidate or party. Ultimately, the success of a political campaign depends on various factors, including the candidate’s platform, messaging, and the effectiveness of their campaign strategies.

It appears that several elected officials also attended the Saturday morning gathering. Assemblyman Brian Bergen, Jay Webber, Senator Joe Pennachio, and Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi. It is common for political figures to attend these types of gatherings to show support for their party and fellow candidates, as well as to engage with voters and discuss important issues in the community.

Senator Joe Pennachio will be challenged by Thomas Mastrangelo; Assemblyman Jay Webber and Brian Beregn are being challenged by Robert Peluso and BettyLou deCroce. Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi is not being challenged in the primary. Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen is being challenged by Paul DeGroot.

Gary Martin and Danny Desai are challenging Paul Carifi, Jr., Adam Kandil, and Matthew McGraft for Parsippany-Troy Hills Council.

There is always something to do at MCRC


Reform Congregation Opens New Sanctuary in Conservative Synagogue

PARSIPPANY — Temple Beth Am, meeting on Zoom and in a temporary location for two years, has found a new permanent home. The congregation celebrated the opening of their new sanctuary, which is located within the premises of Adath Shalom in Morris Plains. Previously, Temple Beth Am was located on South Beverwyck Road.
Despite being forced to sell their building, the members of Temple Beth Am were determined to preserve their identity and voted to find a new home. With the Covid-19 pandemic preventing in-person gatherings, they continued to hold services and Torah study on Zoom while searching for a new space. Eventually, they signed a lease with Adath Shalom and began constructing a beautiful new sanctuary within the Adath Shalom building.
Temple Beth Am’s new home was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by 1st Vice President Pat Greenberg, Mayor James Barbeiro, and Rabbi Matthew Reimer.
On Friday, May 5 Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor James Barberio cut the ribbon as the congregation escorted their Torahs into their new home. A  joyous family Shabbat service included the Temple Beth Am choir and special Oneg.
Members of the congregation carry the Torah.
The celebration continued on Saturday morning, May 6, with Torah Study led by Rabbi Matthew Reimer and a complimentary breakfast. Saturday evening offered an evening of fun, food, and entertainment. Dinner was served, and a comedy show followed with comedian Johnny Lampert ( The cost was $36.00 per person.
To enjoy a Temple Beth Am tour, don’t hesitate to contact the Temple office at [email protected]. They will gladly give you a tour of their new Sanctuary and Religious School classrooms. The celebratory weekend concluded with a free breakfast on Sunday morning as they completed another successful Religious School year. 

Morris Habitat for Humanity CEO Blair Schleicher Wilson Announces Retirement

MORRIS COUNTY — Morris Habitat for Humanity Chief Executive Officer Blair Schleicher Wilson has confirmed her retirement plans. Wilson has led the affordable housing organization since 2004 and will continue to serve as CEO until July 31.

“It has been my great honor and privilege to serve as the leader of Morris Habitat for nearly 20 years,” said Schleicher Wilson. “I am proud of the organization we are today and our impact, working with thousands of outstanding people, groups, and networks to advance the cause of safe, decent, and affordable housing for everyone.”

Schleicher Wilson is an accomplished leader who has helped transform lives by furthering Morris Habitat’s mission of providing affordable homeownership to those in desperate need. During her remarkable 19-year tenure, Schleicher Wilson has grown a once-small New Jersey nonprofit into one of the nation’s top Habitat for Humanity affiliates.

During her tenure, Schleicher Wilson has developed and implemented strategic business plans that have accomplished extraordinary program and revenue growth, increased staff size and tripled the number of homes built and families served. She is a sought-after thought leader for her accomplishments and advocacy efforts to serve more deserving, hardworking families with a hand up to homeownership. She has also built an increasingly diverse board that reflects the functional knowledge needed for effective leadership and governance oversight and counsel while deepening political relationships and community engagement.

Schleicher Wilson’s accomplishments leading the organization to unparalleled growth in program and revenue:

  • Achieved nonprofit affordable homeownership developer of choice by municipalities, building 166 homes in five counties and 30 municipalities, with an additional 25 set to close in 2023 and over 80 homes planned for completion over the next four years.
  • Developed a property pipeline of more than 200 homes.
  • Added Neighborhood Revitalization/Home Repair/Aging in Place Programs to assist lower-income homeowners with home preservation activities, assisting nearly 500 households.
  • Led successful acquisition of Greater Plainfield & Middlesex County Habitat for Humanity, creating a service area of 68 municipalities in three counties.
  • Established the organization’s ReStore retail operation and its virtual e-commerce store, supporting the organization with annual revenues of more than $3 million.
  • Grew philanthropic support, including an equity revolver fund and $20 million in governmental funding; established strong collaborative partnerships with non-profit housing organizations, municipalities, corporations, congregations, businesses, and organizations.
  • Rated in the top 4% of Habitat affiliates nationwide in its new home construction and in the top 10% in overall program delivery.
  • Successfully led program activities during COVID, serving 60 families with housing solutions and hundreds more through donations of N95 masks to first responders, furniture to local nonprofits serving the homeless, laptops to inner city school children, and launched an online food drive as well as assisting with food distribution activities.

With over 25 years of experience in the affordable housing sector, Schleicher Wilson has served on numerous boards, including Habitat for Humanity International’s U.S. Council, the Housing & Community.

Development Network, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at her alma mater, William Paterson University, and the Housing Alliance for Morris County.

Numerous organizations and businesses have recognized her work in the nonprofit housing sector, including NJBIZ Best Women in Business, the New Jersey Builder’s Association, SmartCEO Magazine, and the Legacy Award for Distinguished Alumni Excellence from William Paterson University.

Schleicher Wilson is also a former Mountain Lakes four-term town council member, having served as Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Morris Habitat Board Chair Richard Barrett said, “Blair’s leadership has led to a phenomenal increase in affordable houses built and home repairs. She has been an inspiration to everyone she has worked with.”

Liz DeCoursey, Chief Operating Officer, will serve as interim CEO while the Morris Habitat Board searches for Schleicher Wilson’s successor.

Nikita Sifonios Named to President’s List at Bob Jones University

PARSIPPANY — Nikita Sifonios, a Senior Health Sciences major from Haskell, was among over 650 Bob Jones University students named to the Spring 2023 President’s List.

The President’s List recognizes students who earn a 3.75 or higher grade point average for the semester.

Nikita, formerly of Lake Hiawatha, is the son of Michael and Joanna Sifonios. Michael is employed by the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills.

Located in Greenville, South Carolina, Bob Jones University provides an outstanding regionally accredited Christian liberal arts education designed to inspire a lifelong pursuit of learning, loving, and leading.

BJU offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs in religion, education, fine arts and communication, arts and science, health professions, and business.

BJU has over 3,000 students from nearly every state and more than 40 countries. We are committed to the truth of Scripture and to pursuing excellence in all we do.

Parsippany Education Foundation Golf Tournament

PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany Education Foundation will host its annual Tom Ladas Memorial Golf Classic on Tuesday, May 16, at the Knoll West Country Club.

Starting at 11:30 a.m., participants will be treated to lunch, a premium bag, locker room access, a full round of golf, carts, dinner, and an awards presentation.  

While on the course, golfers will participate in contests for longest drive, straightest drive, closest to the pin, a putting contest, and a hole-in-one luxury automobile prize sponsored by Trend Motors of Rockaway.

The golf format will be a four-person team scramble with awards for first, second, and third-place teams.  The entrance fee for the tournament is $200.00 per golfer, and sponsorship packages are available.  

Proceeds benefit the foundation’s mission of supporting new, unique learning opportunities and enhancing educational experiences for Parsippany Pro Hills school district students.  To register or become a sponsor, contact the PEF at [email protected].

Letter to the Editor: Musella and Barberio Compromise: A Good Thing

parsippany focusDear Editor:

After watching the budget hearings, I’m glad the residents could hear how their money was being spent and what each department was doing. The second meeting ended on a positive note, I believe between the potential budget cuts compromise between Councilman Musella and Mayor Barberio. This would be a positive development for seniors in our community.

As we all know, some seniors in Parsippany rely on public services and programs to help them with healthcare, transportation, and other essential needs. I do not need them and find the new proposed money spent on trips to Atlantic City is a waste.

That is why I am encouraged by the efforts of Councilman Musella and Mayor Barberio to find a compromise that would preserve funding for services while also addressing our town’s never-ending budgetary challenges. By working together and finding common ground, they are showing a commitment to putting the needs of our seniors first.

We now have to anxiously wait and see what comes out of this meeting, hopefully moving us toward greater affordability.

Debbie Nemorovich


Barberio and Musella Agree to Discuss Budget Cuts Further Following Second Hearing

PARSIPPANY — The Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills held a second special meeting to “Review and Discussion of the Mayor’s 2023 Budget Recommendations” on Tuesday, May 9.

The following departments were on the agenda: Sewer Department – Joe Beckmeyer; Water Department – John Wieworka; Knoll Golf Utility – Joe Jannarone; Recreation – Sam Yodice and Planning, Zoning, Construction – Jennifer Vealey.

In April, disagreements arose between Musella and Barberio over the budget process’s transparency, leading to two budget hearings. While some members of the Council expressed concern that implementing proposed cuts could lead to reduced municipal services, not all favored the proposal.

During the public comments period, most residents thanked the Council and Administration for having these hearings as they were helpful. Some residents said they had a better understanding as to how their money was being spent but still wanted there to be cuts. Mayor Barberio responded, “I wish it were a 0% increase, but to get there, we’d have to cut services which I don’t think anybody wants to do.”

Following a lengthy second budget hearing on Tuesday evening, May 9, Mayor James Barberio and Councilman Justin Musella agreed in principle regarding the necessity for additional reductions in the municipal budget.

Musella pointed out it was mentioned repeatedly throughout the course of the hearings that each department has nothing to cut and has been historically understaffed. I want to dispel this notion by highlighting the numbers within the budget.

When this administration took office, there were 437 full-time and 28 part-time employees for $58,465,715. As proposed in 2023’s budget, there is a growth to 453 full-time employees and 68 part-time for $63,743,794 to the taxpayer. That is an increase of 26 full-time and 40 part-time employees.

“On top of this, there are almost 24 non-essential and presently vacant Township positions, many of which have been vacant for two years. These vacant positions alone are budgeted for $1,363,155. For this reason, I would like to eliminate vacant positions from this budget so that we can cut the tax increase almost in half by 2%. In addition, Musella would also propose we reduce the increases of the following departments in the following: Salary Raises and Bonuses $328,731;  Parks and Recreation Services $200,000;  Legal Services  $100,000; Summer Concert Series $90,000; Administration $20,000; OEM $20,000 and Tax Collection $10,000,” said Musella.”

Parsippany-Troy Hills Council President Loretta Gragnani

I am not asking my colleagues to take a different position than they have in the past. In 2019, an article was written during a budget spat with the previous administration where my colleagues called on eliminating vacant positions, saving taxpayers almost $1,000,000. I agreed with them then and agree with those cuts now, so I am calling on my colleagues to join me in a formal motion to minimize the tax increase on residents. I formally move that the 2023 proposed budget be reduced by $2,131,886 according to the adjustments I have laid out,” said Musella.

Council President Loretta Gragnani questioned Musella, “And where will that be putting our services for our people? What about the police department? What about our Parks and Forestry? What about our public works? What about our senior citizens? Do you know Councilman Musella, these are great cuts that you wanna make, but we’ve just heard from each and every department over the past two weeks that we need workers. We’re losing workers because we’re not paying enough money. But you wanna cut the concert summer series. You wanna cut legal bills? I don’t know what’s going on with the legal department. Do we have some issues that are gonna be coming up? Negotiations.”

Councilman Frank Neglia asked CFO Leonard Ho, “How much would it benefit the homeowner instead of $8.33 a month? If you were to cut $2 million?”

CFO Ho replied, “$2 million would put you under 1%.”

Council President Gragnani replied, “What is it doing to our residents? What about our safety? What about all the other services that we are receiving? We can’t arbitrarily say let’s deduct $2 million from this budget.” 

Musella replied, “

Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor James Barberio

Respectfully, councilwoman, I want to address your points. I made no mention of cutting any funding to the police department. I was fully supportive of the additional police offers that we have. In my view, these are mostly edits to ancillary items if negates any layoffs, and it’s eliminating vacant positions, something that people on this council previously supported doing. So if we can’t go the full way of $2 million, that’s fine. But let’s at least take steps in that direction. Let’s have the dialogue about what we cut can cut. Because for the better part of these two meetings, the tonality has been we can’t cut anything. Everything off is off the board. But let’s turn that on its head. Let’s explore how we can better allocate our resources to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Mayor James Barberio said to Musella, “How about we do this? You come into my office, and we’ll sit and talk, we’ll go, we we can go through the budget. We’ll have ’em run there. We’ll discuss it. Maybe something can be cut, but I can tell you this. In the millions would, which would devastate the town. Maybe there’s a, you know, it’s like Ronald Reagan said, better get a half over bread than none. I get all that. We can discuss it, but I will say this, and you and I agree. We have a very good, very good forecast on Rateables coming. We’re gonna have 200 million in new rateables, and you take the rate; if the rate is now 3%, that’s a 6 million increase in revenue. That’s significant.”

Councilman Paul Carifi asked, “I’m gonna ask the two money people here, Mr. Ho and Mr. Cryan. If we cut $2 million from the budget, would that devastate our town and operations?

Mr. Ho responded, “I’m completely against it because that prevents us from regenerating surplus.”

Mr. Cryan responded, “I agree. Yeah, it would be devastating. The mayor especially mentioned the affordable housing element that’s coming on. There are going to be an incredible amount of units coming on each year. To make these cuts would be devastating.

The story will be updated when the meeting between Mayor Barberio and Councilman Musella meets.






Annual Native Plant Sale Helps Foster Sustainable Ecosystem in Parsippany

PARSIPPANY — At the Parsippany Library at 449 Halsey Road, avid gardeners eagerly collected their purchased plants from The Great Swamp Watershed Association’s 3rd annual online Plant for Pollinators Native Plant Sale. The sale featured a diverse range of attractively priced native perennials and simple instructions for planting pollinator gardens that will flourish with minimal upkeep.

The sale featured a diverse range of attractively priced native perennials

The Native Plant Sale is operated with promotional support and volunteers from the Community Plant Sale Partners, which include 16 local towns and eight non-governmental organizations. Our joint goal is to foster broad adoption of native plant gardens across our area to create necessary habitat for the pollinator insects and bird communities that are foundation elements of our local ecosystem – pooling our private yards to create what the popular lecturer and entomologist Doug Tallamy describe as a Homegrown National Park.

The yards have the power to provide critical habitat for threatened bird and insect populations and also provide us with beautiful flowers to enjoy. Create an important part of the region-wide network of yards supporting a sustainable ecosystem – a Homegrown National Park.

Finding a good selection of locally appropriate native plants for your garden can be difficult. This GSWA sale makes it easy for you by providing a selection of native plants suited to our local soils and climate (our local ecoregion).

Why is a native plant more appropriate than an exotic or non-native plant? Wildlife may eat the fruit and seeds of exotics or non-native plants, but it does not mean their nutritional needs are fully met. Pollinators and other wildlife co-evolved with native plants and require them for food and habitat throughout their life cycle.

To request ongoing email updates and reminders about the GSWA Native Plant Program, click here.




Video: Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council Budget Meeting – May 9, 2023

PARSIPPANY — Review and Discussion of the Mayor’s 2023 Budget Recommendations.


Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided under the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Law by filing the notice in the Office of the Township Clerk and by posting the meeting notice on the bulletin board at the Municipal Building on May 3, 2023, where it has remained posted since that date. A copy of this notice appeared in The Daily Record on May 8, 2023, and was faxed to The Star Ledger on May 3, 2023.

Click here to download the agenda.

Click here to download the 2023 agenda schedule.

Mayor and Council

Mayor James R Barberio
Council President Loretta Gragnani
Council Vice-President Michael J. dePierro
Councilman Paul Carifi Jr.
Councilman Frank Neglia
Councilman Justin Musella


May MPAC Music Students of the Month Outstanding Band Members

MORRIS COUNTY —The outstanding band members of MPAC’s Music Students of the Month are recognized for their exceptional performance.

Students from Parsippany, Boonton Morristown, Mendham, and Butler schools were honored as Mayo Performing Arts Center’s May 2023 Music Students of the Month – Outstanding Band Members — before the Friday, May 5 performance by John Pizzarelli.

Students were nominated by their teachers and were chosen by the Theatre’s Education Department based on their commitment to excellence in the performing arts. The students were honored on stage before the concert and had an opportunity to meet John Pizzarelli.  The Theatre will honor a group of students every month throughout the season and invites area teachers to nominate students for this honor.

The 2022-2023 Music Student of the Month program is supported by The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Foundation, Inc.

Dominick Caponegro: Grade 11, Parsippany High School; Parsippany; Nominated by Gregory Dalakian

Dominick Caponegro has been a dedicated member of our music program since, even before, he entered Parsippany High School! He always shows great enthusiasm and passion for being a member of the PHS Band program. He is a talented musician and has contributed his skills to our ensembles (Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Marching Band) on various instruments, including trumpet, tuba & sousaphone, bass trombone, and even guitar. Dominick has even gone on to participate in local area ensembles, including the North Jersey Area Band and TubaChristmas. He has performed with classmates at local stores for PHS Band Booster fundraisers. He gives 110% to the PHS Band program, always representing PHS with Pride, Honor, and Spirit.

Sri Naranjan Gandhirajan Shivakkumar: Grade 8, Brooklawn Middle School; Parsippany; Nominated by Joseph Stella

Sri is one of the top musicians in our 8th-grade band.  He was originally a clarinetist, but when asked to help fill in a need for an oboe player last year, he rose to the occasion and began practicing even more to become proficient on this new instrument.  Although he is now playing oboe in our concert band, he still auditioned successfully for this year’s Intermediate Region Band on the clarinet.  He can often be found around the room practicing during his free time at lunch.  This year, he has even taken on the additional challenge of learning to play the tenor saxophone for our school’s jazz band and the English horn for our school musical.  He is already excelling at both of those new instruments.  Besides being a great musician, he is kind, respectful, and a joy to teach. Sri would be a fitting recipient of the Outstanding Band Member recognition.

Paul Ippolito: Grade 8, John Hill School; Boonton; Nominated by Yvonne Manca

Paul has been an asset to the music program at John Hill School. He has been at every practice with great enthusiasm. He has improved greatly over the course of the past two years. He can read difficult rhythms and can play with ease over the break.

Aaron Andino: Grade 12, Morristown High School; Morristown; Nominated by David Gallagher

Aaron is the principal trombone player for our wind ensemble at Morristown High School. He always leads by example and is caring and mature in his approach to music and interaction with his peers. He produces an incredibly vibrant sound and is an absolute rock in our low brass section. Aaron also played for our middle and high school pit orchestras this year. His talents are surpassed only by his work ethic, and I am proud to have taught him these past seven years.

Neil Chopra: Grade 8, Mountain View Middle School; Mendham; Nominated by Leigh Carpenter

Neil is a musician who performs at a level years above his age. His tone is that of a high-school or college-level player. He challenges himself with repertoire at that level as well. Recently he learned the All-State high school audition solo and memorized all 12 scales. What is even more impressive about Neil is his maturity and focus as a learner.  Neil is a consummate scholar. He is self-motivated and takes ownership of all aspects of his learning. He continually works to improve himself and always asks for clarification and help. He advocates for himself, volunteering to do solos and practicing consistently to master his music. He has participated in NJ Arts Solo and Ensemble, Junior Regions, District Honors Band, and High School Wind Ensemble auditions and performed solo at our concerts.  Neil is a musician, learner, and a fine young man of character, mature, respectful, and kind. He gets along well with his classmates and is foundational in our band sound.

Thalia Milow: Grade 8, Frelinghuysen Middle School; Morristown; Nominated by Tim Beadle

Thalia has been a multi-instrumentalist at FMS for three years and has never turned down a challenge.  Though she arrived as a flute player, she has played piano and saxophone in the jazz band and bassoon in the concert band and wind symphony.  Though Thalia has only played bassoon for about a year and a half, she successfully auditioned for North Jersey Area Band NJSMA Jr. Region band this year.  It seems no matter what she is asked to do. She works at it until she gets it.  I cannot think of a better band student to represent Frelinghuysen Middle School for Music Student of the Month!

Everett Palumbo: Grade 8, Randolph Middle School; Morristown; Nominated by Tom Davidson

Everett is consistently prepared for band rehearsals and serves as a musical leader for others in his section.  In 7th grade, Everett auditioned for the Randolph Middle School Jazz Ensemble and made the cut.  Everett found that he loved playing jazz music and liked the style and flow of it. Everett is now in 8th grade and has successfully auditioned for the RMS Jazz Ensemble again.  He had a solo in the annual Randolph Jazz Coffee House performance earlier this year.  Everett looks forward to continuing his saxophone career next year with Randolph High School and their outstanding music ensembles. Due to their amazing saxophonist Jeff Coffin, Everett loves listening to his favorite band, The Dave Matthews Band.

In addition to playing music, Everett is a multi-sport student-athlete, playing lacrosse, ice hockey, and soccer for Randolph. Lacrosse is Everett’s main sport; he plays on four teams yearly.  Everett plays for Randolph Recreation Lacrosse and was selected to play for STEPS Elite Lacrosse Club, 1More Lacrosse Select Team, and NJ Sixers Box Lacrosse Club. Everett has been chosen as the captain of his Randolph Lacrosse team this year, hoping to lead them to a championship. Even when playing sports, music helps Everett prepare for his games and helps him celebrate his achievements afterward.  Aside from playing sports, Everett is an honor student in all honors classes.

Natalie Roszkowski: Grade 8, Richard Butler Middle School; Butler; Nominated by Lyn Lowndes

I am privileged to recommend Natalie Roszkowski for the Mayo Center of the Performing Arts “Outstanding Band Member” Award. I have known Natalie since September 2018, when she joined the Richard Butler Middle School Band. Throughout the time that I have been teaching Natalie, I have found her to be a hard worker that cares about her school band, practices her clarinet, works diligently on academics, and is kind to her peers.  Natalie participates in the Concert Band and Jazz Band and has successfully auditioned on clarinet for and performed with the North Jersey Junior Area Band in both 2022 and 2023. She is also an active member of the local Girl Scout Troop in the Butler/Bloomingdale area.  Natalie asks questions, takes advice, and is passionate about music. She works well with her classmates and helps them when needed.

Benjamin Sebiri: Grade 12, Morristown High School; Morristown; Nominated by David Gallagher

Ben is the principal horn player for the Morristown High School Wind Ensemble. Throughout the year, Ben has had numerous solos and exposed passages in his music, and he has risen to the occasion time and time again. Ben was originally a saxophone player but took up the French Horn in high school to help the band, and you would never know that it was not his primary instrument. Ben also played for our middle and high school pit orchestras this year. He is an incredible musician who works as a terrific leader for his section, and I am so proud to have taught him these past seven years.

Players Honored by Little League East

PARSIPPANY — Par-Troy Little League East restores tradition and presents awards to players during Opening Day Celebration. “It’s not about being a good ballplayer, but rather about being a good teammate, a leader, and most of all a good person,” said President Chris Mazzarella.

The 2021 winners are Softball Charlotte Inauen and Baseball Dylan Mazzarella.

The 2022 winners are Softball Nicole Caughlin and Baseball Tyle Huppert.

The 2023 winners are Softball Nisha Rana, Baseball Anthony Gallo and Dan Regan.

Darden Restaurants to Acquire Ruth’s Hospitality

PARSIPPANY — Darden Restaurants, Inc. and Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which Darden will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Ruth’s for $21.50 per share in an all-cash transaction with an equity value of approximately $715 million. Ruth’s, owner and operator of Ruth’s Chris Steak House will complement Darden’s portfolio of differentiated brands, which currently includes The Capital Grille, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen,  Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s.

Ruth’s Chris was founded in 1965 in New Orleans, Louisiana, by Ruth Fertel and features signature USDA Prime steaks served sizzling on 500-degree plates, New Orleans-inspired sides, and an award-winning wine list. Ruth’s Chris has 154 locations around the globe, including in the Parsippany Hilton, including 80 company-owned or -operated restaurants and 74 franchised restaurants, generating systemwide sales of over $860 million, total revenues of over $500 million, and average annual restaurant volumes for company-owned or -operated locations of $6.2 million in Ruth’s fiscal year 2022.

“Ruth’s Chris is a strong and distinctive brand in the fine dining segment with an impressive history of delivering elevated dining experiences to their loyal guests,” said Darden President and CEO Rick Cardenas. “It fits our criteria for adding a brand to our portfolio and supports our winning strategy. Ruth’s Chris is a great complement to our portfolio of brands, and I’m pleased to welcome their nearly 5,000 team members to Darden.”

Cheryl Henry, President, CEO, and Chairperson of Ruth’s, stated, “We are excited about the opportunity to join the Darden family. Our strategy and operating philosophy align well with Darden, and we have a strong cultural fit that should ensure a smooth transition. This transaction will also provide more opportunities for our team members to develop in their careers as we continue to grow our 57-year-old iconic brand.”

Mayor of Parsippany Join VSA Future for Grand Opening Celebration

PARSIPPANY — VSA Future, the enrichment learning center that has served students in New Jersey and worldwide since 2015, celebrated the grand opening of its Morris Plains/Parsippany location at 2561 Route 10 East on Saturday, April 29.

Among those attending the VSA ribbon-cutting ceremony were Parsippany Mayor James R.
Barberio, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, the Parsippany Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Frank L. Cahill, Chairman Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development and members.

Mayor James Barberio and Dr. Julia Guo of VSA Future Cut Ribbon at the Grand Opening Celebration

At the ribbon cutting, Mayor Barberio said to VSA Director Dr. Julia Guo, “Welcome to
Parsippany, and I wish you the very best with VSA! Thank you for being a member of
businesses in Parsippany. If you need anything, feel free to contact my office. We’re here for you.”

VSA teachers and directors were present alongside the current and new parents and students who attended the academic center’s classes.

Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Chairman Frank Cahill presented a plaque to VSA Future in congratulations for the new location and thanked Dr. Guo for choosing Parsippany.
Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Chairman Frank Cahill, VSA teachers Cary Griffin, Kaitlyn Lally, and Julius Adena, and Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development member Adam Kandil were in attendance to celebrate the opening of VSA Future. 

Cahill presented a plaque for the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development, congratulating VSA Future on its new location.

“We’re excited to welcome students to our new home base for learning and academic
excellence, right here in Morris Plains and Parsippany,” said Dr. Guo. “And we’re
so grateful to local leadership for welcoming our presence here in the community as we
continue to build upon the work we’ve done in the last eight years, teaching and inspiring
students across New Jersey, the country, and the world.”

Dr. Guo, a lifelong education advocate and a biologist who previously conducted research at
Merck, in New Jersey, and the Hospital for Special Surgery, in New York, now apply her
scientific background to developing data-driven, rigorous curricula for children ages 5 to 18 in English, Math, Writing, Public Speaking, Vocabulary, and more.
VSA Future offers in-person and virtual courses across academic disciplines, challenging
students to become self-sufficient thinkers and learners with strong interpersonal skills.

The April 29 grand opening paves the way for the academic center’s 2023 in-person summer camp, which will run from June 26 to September 1.

VSA Future is located at 2561 Route 10 East, Morris Plains. You can reach VSA at (973) 951-9600 or by clicking here.