Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Pride in tearing down 26.6 acres of woods

Dear Editor:

As a 20 year resident of Parsippany, I love that the town prides itself on the following:

* Ranks #1 as the best small city to live in NJ, according to Money Magazine.

* Ranks #15 as the best small city to live in the Nation, according to Money Magazine.

* Celebrates 36 years as a Tree City USA.

* Being only one of 17 townships in the nation to carry the Tree City designation, every year that it has been awarded.

* Received a stewardship award just this month, by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for making significant improvements to the sewerage treatment plant, which will protect natural resources.

Now, the Mayor, Town Council and Planning Board can pride themselves on one more thing: Moving forward as quickly as possible to tear down 26.6 acres of woods, filled with wildlife as well as a historic cemetery.

What will replace these woods? Whole Foods, a big box retailer, 65 three-story townhouses, a strip mall, 1,100 parking spaces, thousands of extra cars daily, increased air pollution, noise pollution and light pollution. The acreage borders Rt. 46 to the south and Intervale Rd. to the west.

Please visit: www.dontrezonewaterview.com for upcoming Town Council meeting dates. Let your voice be heard!      

Paula Mondschein

Citizens for Health, Safety & Welfare


Letters to the Editor: Do you have an opinion to express? Send letters to flcahill@parsippanyfocus.com

NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month 2013

You may not know who is in recovery in your community – but you see them or know them as contributing to our businesses, connecting with their families, and giving back to the community – yet they are also recovering from alcoholism – whether from their own addiction or from the effects of a loved one’s drinking.

They have struggled with their own personal nightmares, but they have set their feet solidly on a path toward hope. For those still struggling, we need to take action now to help them find help for today, hope for tomorrow.

Every April, people across America celebrate Alcohol Awareness Month, an initiative founded and sponsored by NCADD. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.”

Locally, NCADD-NJ is celebrating Alcohol Awareness Month at the Parsippany Police Athletic League on Monday, April 22 by hosting a speaker program with an open dialogue between parents, young people, and community leaders on alcohol and addiction. Elected officials will also participate and Parsippany Mayor Barberio will present a proclamation for April, Alcohol Awareness Month.

Alcoholism does not discriminate — it affects people of all ages, ethnicities, genders, geographic regions, and socioeconomic levels. And too many people are still unaware that alcoholism is a disease that can be treated, just like we treat other health disorders such as diabetes and hypertension.

As someone who was exposed to recovery at 15 when my parents addressed family alcoholism, I have seen firsthand the benefits of self-help meetings. For the past almost 30 years, my family continues in recovery. My father for his sobriety, and my mother and I as affected family members. In my community, I served as the immediate past chair of VMAC (Verona Municipal Alliance Committee) and am currently an NCADD Advocacy Leader, helping raise awareness and prevention around alcohol and drug dependence.

Individuals who embrace recovery achieve improved mental and physical health, as well as stronger relationships and a sense of self-worth.

“Alcohol is a drug — a powerful, mood-altering drug – and alcoholism is a chronic disease, from which people can and do recover,” says David E. Lewis, M.D., Chairperson of the Medical-Scientific Committee of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD).

“Over the past two decades, scientific research has revolutionized our understanding of how alcohol and drugs affect the body and the brain. We now know that prolonged, repeated alcohol and drug use can result in fundamental, long-lasting changes in the body including brain structure and functioning.”

Alcoholism and alcohol-related problems touch all Americans, directly or indirectly, as our nation’s number one public health problem. Currently, nearly 14 million Americans — 1 in every 13 adults — abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. Several million more adults engage in risky drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems. In addition, approximately 53 percent of men and women in the United States report that one or more of their close relatives have a drinking problem. And, in purely economic terms, alcohol-use problems cost society more than $224 billion per year due to lost productivity, health care costs, business and criminal justice costs (the equivalent of $746 for every man, woman and child in the United States).

“The good news is that we are making progress,” says Robert J. Lindsey, President/CEO of NCADD. “It is now estimated that more than 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery. These individuals have achieved healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally, and contribute in positive ways to their communities. As a society, we’ve got to do a far better job of increasing awareness and understanding among the public and educate our young people that underage alcohol use is extremely risky behavior,” says Lindsey, “that they may be endangering not only their own lives, but the lives of friends, neighbors, and loved ones.”

“The bottom line,” he adds, “is that we all have an investment in reducing the devastating impact that alcohol has on us as individuals, family members and members of our communities. We need to educate ourselves – as parents, teachers, clergy, employers, counselors, friends and neighbors – about the devastating power of alcoholism and the healing power of recovery.”

During Alcohol Awareness Month, we recognize the damaging effects of alcohol and alcoholism and renew our support for individuals battling to overcome addiction. “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow” urges all Americans to promote treatment and recovery options and to support all those whose lives have been affected.

By raising public awareness and reducing the stigma often associated with alcoholism – we can prevent the stigma that stops millions of individuals and families from seeking help. A huge turn-out at these events will send a signal that New Jersey communities embrace recovery and want to provide much-needed support.
We urge local businesses, community organizations, colleges, schools, administrators, and government agencies to get involved in these activities. These are small and easy steps to take, and they can make a tremendous difference in the lives of many in our community. We must continue our efforts to reach out to those who are suffering and to help our next generation avoid the many problems associated with alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

We shouldn’t think twice about getting involved.

The Monday, April 22 event will include:

• Speakers include: Dr. Mattiace, former NFL player who works with/counsels kids; Devin Fox, Executive Director, Young People in Recovery; Steve Liga, NCADD-Middlesex, who specializes in underage drinking stats and prescription drug use; Christine Michaels, a person in recovery and an expert on the science around addiction; and Donovan Miles and Sam Archambeult, local young people in addiction and recovery.

• Organizations will have tables and representatives will be available to answer questions and to give free information. The public-at-large should feel comfortable as it is a safe place for those seeking resources – whether professionally or personally.

• The event will start with light refreshments served at 6:00 p.m. and will be held at the Parsippany PAL Youth Center, 33 Baldwin Road.

• For more information about this event, or to have a table for your organization, please contact Aaron Kucharski at akucharski@ncaddnj.org.

For more information about Alcohol Awareness Month, contact NCADD or one of its more than 100 National Affiliates at www.ncadd.org.

Maddy Loftus Memorial Scholarship Fund deadline nears

Qualified applicants must meet the following requirements:
Open to All Athletes
Parsippany Hills Senior
Pursuing College Athletics
Received at Least 1 Varsity Letter

Maddy’s Story:
Madeline Linn Loftus was 24 years old when she was taken from us in the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407 in Buffalo, New York.

A devoted daughter, granddaughter, sister and friend, Maddy was always ready to share her charming wit andinfectious smile. She was a beautiful, genuine young woman with a truly magnetic personality – the kind ofperson who, after meeting her, you remember forever. It’s a testament to her compassionate soul and strength ofcharacter that she was able to touch so many lives in such a short time. Maddy was always active, but her true passion was hockey. She broke down barriers and became the first female on the Parsippany Hills hockey team, later going on to play for Buffalo State College in New York and St. Mary’s University in Minnesota. While at St. Mary’s, she helped found the Cardinal Athletic Council to representstudent athletes and provide services to the community, and it is in this spirit that the Maddy Loftus MemorialScholarship Fund was created.

Scholarship Criteria:
In 2 or 3 paragraphs, please explain how you have broken down barriers and/or how Maddy’s story may inspire you in your future endeavors.

All applications must be submitted to:
AnnaMarie Russo
9 Grecian Street
Parsippany, NJ 07054

All applications must be received by March 31, 2013.

MADdash 5K Run/Walk to be held April 27


The MADdash is a certified 5k event sanctioned by USA Track and Field, in honor of Madeline Loftus. Madeline was only 24 years old when she was taken from us in the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407 in Buffalo, NY.

She was a beautiful, genuine young woman whose charming wit and infectious smile touched the lives of many. The MADdash 5k is meant to emulate Maddy’s spirit and honor her memory.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Maddy Loftus Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The 5k will take place on Saturday, April 27. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and the race itself starts at 10:00 a.m. Participants have the choice to either run or walk the race.

Go to www.maddash2013.kintera.org for more information and to register early!

Grossi Attacks Vigilante’s Military Service Record


At the Mount Olive Republican club meeting on Wednesday, March , Ann Grossi of Parsippany, a candidate for County Clerk, accused another candidate for County Clerk, Jim Vigilante, of lying about his military service record.

“I am disappointed by Ann Grossi’s false accusations,” commented Mr. Vigilante, “I have focused on my private business experience; my service for 12 years as a councilman; and my 18 years of service in the Air Force Reserves. I have answered my nations call to Active Duty on numerous occasions, the most recent last year at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan.  After I spoke, I was shocked to hear her tell members of the club along with local elected officials and Morris County elected officials that I was lying about my military record.”

“I deserve an apology and to have Mrs. Grossi stop denigrating my military service record. I have and continue to serve our country honorably as a Reservist in the United States Air Force.”

Jim Vigilante, a former Parsippany Councilman and business owner indicated Ann Grossi may have been upset that he pointed Grossi’s idea for Veterans ID Card was already in existence.  “When she mentioned the Veteran’s ID card as part of her platform, I showed the Mt. Olive Republicans my Veteran ID card issued by the County Clerk’s office on 2/13/13; as the program already exists.  While she may have been unhappy that I pointed out a flaw in her political platform, she should explain why she chose to respond by attacking my service in the military, and apologize”, not only to me but all Veterans.

Nelson Offers Substantial Savings to Parsippany

nelsonfeatureAt the first of several budget hearings for 2013, Parsippany-Troy Hills Councilman Nelson recommended that Parsippany-Troy Hills Township could save a substantial amount each year by converting municipal owed electric street lights to solar powered ones.

“The Township is currently budgeting $500,000 to fund the electrical bill for street lamps,” Nelson said.

“The cost of retrofitting each street lamp is minimal and with federal grant money possibly available, the Parsippany-Troy Hills  would be able to withdraw our energy dependency and within two years we could reduce our electric bill to almost zero. It’s a no brainer.”

Are You Concerned About a Veteran? The Veterans Crisis Line Can Help

The Veterans Crisis Line connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text messaging.

Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is also available. Click here to visit their website.

RIP Sgt. Derek McConnell – October 8, 1989 – March 18, 2013


“Welcome home Derek. It wasn’t suppose to be this way. You were more then just my nephew, you were one of my own. My life was better because you were in it. Love you D, forever! Stand down, Soldier. Your watch is over.

From the post on Facebook, posted at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Monday, March 18 by Krystina Dressler:

This morning, I went to wake Derek up at his normal time for the MATC and, he didn’t wake up…I tried everything I could think of. I held out hope when I listened for a heartbeat as I tried to wake him and there was none, and even still held out hope when they told me he was gone.I will miss you everyday, Derek. For your shenanigans, for always making me laugh, for being an amazing person, for loving me and all my craziness, for your insanities that drove me up a wall, for being there for me through everything. You gave me the best 6 years I could have ever asked for with someone. I know you’ll always be with me. I tried everything I could to help you today. I hope you know that, I’m so sorry. :[ I will always love you. You will forever be my toooots and ill forever be your crazy broad. Heaven gained an amazing angel today. I know you we’re greeted by my papa, my great grandma, my uncle richie, your amazing grandma and great grandma.

I love you, for always Derek



Robber with Sweet Tooth Arrested


Officer Jason Ferreira responded to the Exxon on the Run located at the intersection of Parsippany Boulevard and Route 46 to investigate a report of a robbery that had occurred, at 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday, March 26.

Upon his arrival, the store clerk stated to Officer Ferreira that a white female in her mid-twenties with long blonde hair wearing a black jacket and black pants entered the store and was shopping for approximately fifteen minutes. While she was shopping, the clerk saw her taking candy off of the shelf and concealing it.

She then walked up to the counter and placed numerous other items of candy on the counter and handed the clerk a twenty dollar bill. The clerk then advised her that he had seen her concealing candy. The woman then reached over the counter and began hitting the clerk before grabbing the twenty dollar bill and ripping it in half as she pulled away and ran from the store to a vehicle that was parked outside. The vehicle was described as a four door silver Nissan.

The vehicle left the scene and drove away on Route 46 traveling east. Parsippany Police Officers canvassing the area located the vehicle less than an hour later parked in the lot of the Days Inn located at 3159 Route 46.

Ms. Stevie Verbesky, 27, of Mount Arlington who was staying at the hotel was located a short time later and placed under arrest.

She was transported to Parsippany Police Headquarters where she was charged with Robbery. She is currently being held in the Morris County Jail in lieu of $25,000.00 bail.

Editors Note: A charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Tri-County Scholarship Fund Applications Available

Tri-County Scholarship Fund, a not for profit 501 (c)(3) organization which serves students in Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties, has applications available for families who wish to apply for financial assistance to send their children in grades Kindergarten – Twelve to an accredited private school in September 2013. The application deadline is May, 4, 2013.

About Tri-County Scholarship Fund

Established in 1981, the Tri-County Scholarship Fund is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that provides financial support to deserving, economically disadvantaged students, regardless of race, religion or national origin. The mission of the fund is to help these children obtain a quality, values-centered education through accredited private schools.  Since 1981, more than 30,000 scholarships have been awarded.

How to Apply for a Scholarship

Tri-County Scholarship Fund scholarships are awarded based on financial need. Applications are available at most private schools and on line at www.factstuitionaid.com.  The application deadline for the 2013/2014 academic year is May 4, 2013.

Attention Freedom Scholars!

Tri-County Scholarship Fund is looking for eighth graders of high academic promise (A or A- average) to apply for this program which covers most expenses of a private high school for four years.  More info is available at www.tcsfund.org.  This program is for students who meet the financial as well as the academic qualifications.

Jump In the Lake Fundraiser


Community action has never been so much fun. Lakers are invited to take part in the first “Jump in the Lake!” event on Sunday, April 28 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Island Beach, Mountain Lakes.

The brisk event is a benefit to help preserve the quality of life in our community organized by the Citizens for Health, Safety & Welfare (formerly Don’t Rezone Waterview) in partnership with the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. Proceeds will go towards funding research and hiring professional experts to address the community’s concerns regarding the proposed development at Waterview.

Anyone age eight and above can take the plunge at 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m. Before or after the splash, enjoy music, food, vendors and entertainment for the entire family. Prizes will be awarded to the craziest outfits; largest sports, business or neighborhood teams; and biggest fundraisers. The Grand Prize for the top fundraiser is a hot air balloon ride for two donated by A Beautiful Balloon.

HOW TO REGISTER:  Start your own fundraising page and raise pledges.  You need to raise a minimum of $30.00 to participate and get a Jump in the Lake!” T-shirt.  Your efforts will help spread awareness about the proposed redevelopment and raise the critical funding necessary to help preserve the quality of life in Mountain Lakes. Local businesses who are concerned about the development and want to show their support can become a sponsor or donate prizes. Sponsorships levels are $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $1,000 and $500. You can register by visiting www.jumpinthelake.org.

For more information contact Sueanne Sylvester at (973) 265-4168; sdsylvester@optonline.net.

Charity Boxing Event Seeking Participants

Parsippany PBA 131 is holding a charity boxing event on Saturday, October 19. All proceeds benefit the Prayers and Pledges for Peyton Foundation. Peyton is a 20 month old resident of Parsippany that was recently diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma ( a rare form of cancer that forms in muscle tissue).

Anyone wishing to participate should be affiliated with a Police, Fire or EMS agency with NO PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE. The bouts will be matched by age and weight and will consist of 2-3 minute rounds. For more information or if you are interested in participating, contact Detective Daniel Cicala at dcicala@parpolice.com

For more information, click here or click here.

Prayers & Pledges for Peyton is a community focused on supporting a 20-month old girl named Peyton that lives in Matthew Santana’s Northern New Jersey neighborhood with her family. Peyton is suffering from alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that forms in the muscle tissue. Peyton and her family have to travel to a Philadelphia facility, where she receives weekly chemotherapy treatments.

As a result of her treatments, Peyton has begun to lose her hair. Matthew overheard the adults talking about her losing her hair, and how difficult it must be for her to understand and for her family emotionally. Not to mention how difficult it is financially with all the travel to Philadelphia every week, so Matthew decided he wanted to make a difference and help out.

In an act of solidarity, Matthew decided he would show his support by shaving his own head. He asked his father if people would sponsor him in hopes of raising a few hundred dollars, then he could give the money to the family for travel expenses and medical bills – I remind you, Matthew is 8! Well, Matthew’s act of kindness, dedication and commitment to seeing Peyton get better permeated through their local community, the state of New Jersey, the Tri-State area and across the country.

The residents of Parsippany are being deceived once again

Dear Editor,

It appears that the resident’s of Parsippany are being deceived once again. The fact that Mayor Barberio has refused to answer resident’s questions outright is testament to that.

At the town council meeting of March 12 Councilman Brian Stanton verified the following:
a) there was a meeting held at 8:00 p.m. Sunday, January 13, 2013 at town hall
b) there was discussion of creating a new job in the police department and that Brian was asked to poll other council members for their support
c) town attorney John Inglesino was in attendance
d) Brian did request resumes from Councilman Paul Carifi and Lou Valori.

The Town Council meeting of March 19 also had its problems. Two residents asked Mayor James Barberio specific questions regarding the Sunday, January 13 meeting. The Mayor refused to answer advising the residents to “wait” until the next day because he had sent out a press release to all the newspapers regarding this matter.  The Mayor’s response of March 20 discussed the retirements of Lou Valori and Paul Carifi  but it did not address the questions that were posed to him at the town council meeting. The questions Mayor Barberio refuses to answer are as follows:

1)     Did this January 13  8:00 p.m. Sunday meeting take place?  What was the purpose of this meeting?  Was there discussion about creating a new position at the police department?    (Councilman Stanton confirmed this, why won’t the Mayor)?

2)     What was the purpose of town attorney John Inglesino’s attendance at this meeting? Was this billable time? What was the town billed for his services on that day?  If the township wasn’t billed than the question becomes WHY NOT?

3)      Did Mayor Barberio ask Councilman Stanton to get resumes from Councilman Carifi and Lou Valori? Why were the resumes requested? If the Mayor didn’t ask Councilman Stanton to request these resumes than who did?

4)     Why weren’t the police chief or deputy chief in attendance?  (This meeting was to create a new position within the police department. One would think they should have input)

I would think these questions are simple enough to answer so why is Mayor Barberio not being transparent? Why is the Mayor avoiding responding to these specific questions? Mayor Barberio I implore you to respond to these questions in the media. If there is nothing to hide give the residents of Parsippany the answers they deserve instead of the dribble that was your reply of March 20.  Put the PRIDE back in Parsippany.

Pat Petaccia



Letters to the Editor: Do you have an opinion to express? Send letters to flcahill@parsippanyfocus.com 

NJBIZ Honors CEO an employee benefits expert as one of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business

Aida Visakay

Aida Visakay, CEO of AxisPointe, an Employee Benefits Advisory Firm has been named one of New Jersey’s 2013 Best 50 Women in Business.

The Best 50 Women in Business Awards program honors New Jersey’s most dynamic women in business that have been making headlines in their field. To qualify, a nominee had to meet selection criteria that included living or working in New Jersey and holding significant authority for decision making in a for-profit company.

An independent panel of judges selected the top 50 winners based on their dedication to business growth, professional and personal accomplishments, community involvement, and advocacy for women.

“We are truly fortunate to have the opportunity to recognize this outstanding group of women.” said Thomas Curtin, publisher of NJBIZ. “As business and community leaders, they are constantly redefining success within and outside the business arena. On behalf of NJBIZ, we would like to thank and congratulate these fifty outstanding women for their dedication to New Jersey’s future.”

NJBIZ and the program sponsors honored this year’s winners during an awards ceremony on Thursday, March 21  at The Palace at Somerset in Somerset.

Aida Visakay, CEO of AxisPointe, brings sincere passion to her work. Her extensive knowledge and forward thinking allows her to manage and implement employee benefit plans for both the private and public sector that bring employers the greatest return on their investment. AxisPointe, as a member of United Benefits Advisors, brings a wide variety of proprietary tools and services, including access to the largest Benchmarking Analysis, Employment Law and ERISA attorneys, HIPAA compliance tools, Health & Wellness Initiatives, and proprietary Internet and Human Resources technology. Aida works with her clients to analyze benefit needs, prioritize goals and provide technology tools that will streamline costs and improve overall benefit packages. Ms. Visakay was a contributor to the February 2013 issue of Employee Benefit Advisor magazine with her comments on employee assistance programs. Her summary of the sweeping changes that occurred in 2010 with the passage of the Health Care Reform (PPACA) was published in Ezine Articles. Ms. Visakay provides webinars, seminars and does public speaking on Health Care Reform, helping employers understand their financial impact come 2014 when most of the sweeping changes occur.

Ms. Visakay offers internships to high school and college women, continuing her commitment to expand diversity and advance women in the workplace. Through this program she has helped women on their path to establishing a career.

Ms. Visakay, a graduate of Leadership Morris 2009, is an active member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce where she participates in Government Affairs and serves on the steering committee for Women in Business. A longtime supporter of charitable and service organizations, Ms. Visakay serves on the Board of Directors for Literacy of Morris County.

AxisPointe is located at 2001 Route 46, Parsippany.

Barberio Appoints New Police Chief

Parsippany Police Chief Paul Philipps

phillipsMayor Barberio announced the appointment of Paul Philipps to the position of Chief of Police for the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills. Chief Philipps was serving as Acting Chief upon the retirement of Anthony DeZenzo on March 1. Chief Philipps will also be assuming the duties of Director of the Office of Emergency Management.

Chief Paul Phillips first began his career as a Police Officer in Parsippany in 1979. During his 33 year tenure he has served as Patrol Officer, Patrol Sergeant, D.A.R.E. Officer, D.A.R.E. Coordinator, Youth Services Sergeant, Planning and Research Sergeant, Police Explorers Coordinator, Lieutenant in the Investigative Division, Investigative Division Commander, Internal Affairs Division Commander, Support Services Division Commander, Patrol Division Commander, Investigative Division Commander and Deputy Chief.

He is the recipient of numerous awards including Command Citations, a Unit Commendation, an Exceptional Duty Award and a Meritorious Service Medal. In addition, Chief Philipps currently volunteers as an associate SCUBA diver and dive coordinator with Parsippany’s Rescue and Recovery Unit.

Chief Philipps received an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from the County College of Morris, attended Seton Hall University and has Bachelors and Masters degrees from Farleigh Dickinson University. In addition, Chief Philipps is a graduate of the West Point Leadership and Command Program. He resides in Parsippany with his wife and two sons.

The swearing-in of Paul Philipps by Mayor James Barberio will take place Thursday, March 28 in the Council Chambers of Town Hall at 11:00 a.m.

Parsippany Town Council Budget Meeting 03/25/2013

Pennacchio, Webber, DeCroce Announce re-election Run

Betty Lou DeCroce and Jay Webber

The State Legislators representing the 26th Legislative District — Senator Joe Pennacchio, Assemblyman Jay Webber, and Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce — announce today their running for re-election. In addition to the gubernatorial contest, all seats in the State Legislature are up for election in 2013.

Senator Pennacchio commented, “I look forward to running with our team and serving the constituents of the 26th Legislative District. It has been an honor to represent our constituents but more importantly to advocate and fight for what is in the best interests of the people we serve.”

“I love New Jersey— it’s the place where I grew up, where my parents still live, where I am raising my own kids, and where I hope to spend the rest of my life,” stated Assemblyman Webber. “I serve, and hope to continue to serve, so that our Garden State keeps moving toward an affordable and prosperous future as great as our State’s citizens. I am committed to pursuing policies that balance the provision of essential government services and the protection of the most vulnerable among us — while never losing sight of those too-often-forgotten folks: the hard-working taxpayers who play by the rules and ask only a fair shake from their government.”

“Dedication, Commitment, Responsiveness — these are the qualities of professionalism we bring as representatives of the District 26 team fighting for the residents we serve,” stated Assemblywoman DeCroce. “We believe in seeing and hearing for ourselves, the challenges and issues facing our district and pursuing the means to address them. We stand ready to enhance the quality of life of our constituents while keeping the tax burden low. I welcome the opportunity to run with Senator Pennacchio and my partner in the Assembly Jay Webber to proudly represent the 26th District.”


Joe Pennacchio

Joe Pennacchio was elected to represent the 26th District from the New Jersey State Senate in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. Pennacchio has been assigned to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, as well as the Senate Transportation Committee. Prior to serving in the State Senate, Joe Pennacchio served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2001 to 2008 and on the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1998 to 2001. As Freeholder, Pennacchio created the Morris County Distinguished Service Medal Program to commemorate all eligible residents who have served in war conflicts. To date, more than 10,000 deserving veterans have been recognized for their service. In the Senate, Pennacchio was a prime sponsor of the historic Pension and Health Care Reform Act of 2011. He has been on the forefront of Transparency in Government, where his efforts are helping to bring a comprehensive, inclusive website to New Jersey. Taxpayers can see how each and every dollar is being spent in a timely, user friendly manner on an easy to use website; a useful tool in cutting wasteful, questionable spending. His pending legislation would also bring transparency to all levels of government. As Assemblyman, Pennacchio secured 300 acres of the former Greystone tract for Morris County to be used in perpetuity for open space and recreation. In 2012, he successfully lobbied the Christie Administration to commit an additional 100 acres of the former Greystone tract for the same purpose. Senator Pennacchio has been recognized as a “Taxpayer Champion” by the New Jersey Taxpayer Alliance, having received a perfect score and as a Guardian of Small Business from the New Jersey Federation of Independent Business. The Senator and his wife Diane live in Rockaway Township.

Jay Webber is serving his third term in the New Jersey General Assembly and serves on the Assembly’s Budget and Labor Committees. From his position on the Assembly Budget Committee, Assemblyman Webber has helped put New Jersey back on the right track — sponsoring Governor Christie’s first Budget that closed an inherited $11 billion deficit without raising taxes, sponsoring historic teacher tenure reform in our schools, capping property taxes, and enacting pension-and-healthcare reforms saving taxpayers $120 billion and preserving those benefits for those who rely on them. Assemblyman Webber recently has led passage of legislation assisting flood-mitigation programs, bringing education funding back to local communities, supporting families in domestic violence shelters, and combating tax fraud. Meanwhile, Assemblyman Webber continues to be a tireless advocate for policies that cut taxes by over $1 billion, promote the purchase of health insurance across state lines, provide innovative ways to fund college education, and increase access to healthcare for the underserved. From 2009 to 2011, he served as Chairman of the New Jersey Republican Party, where he led the NJGOP to its first statewide victory in 12 years with the election of Chris Christie as Governor. In the Fall of 2010, TIME Magazine named Assemblyman Webber as one of the nation’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars of U.S. Politics, described by TIME as “a new generation of civic leaders . . . already at work trying to fix a broken system  and restore faith in the process.” He is an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership, a national bipartisan program of “Rising Stars” in Governance dedicated to transcending partisanship, focusing attention on overarching questions of leadership and governance, and working across party lines to seek solutions to public problems. Assemblyman Webber earned the 2009 Defender of the Family Legislative Award from the New Jersey Family Policy Council. He is also the founder and host of NJ Reagan Day, an annual tribute to the life and leadership of President Reagan. He and his wife Johanna live with their six children in Morris Plains.

No stranger to municipal, county and state government, BettyLou DeCroce won a November 2012 special election to represent the 26th District. BettyLou has served in a number of capacities from Councilwoman to Deputy Township Manager and Municipal Clerk; Chair, Morris County Joint Insurance Fund; Commissioner for the North Jersey Health Insurance Fund and appointed by Governor Christie as Deputy Commissioner for the NJ Department of Community Affairs, where she authored the Best Practices for municipalities, a model for identifying efficiencies in local government that reduce property taxes. DeCroce is a strong advocate for lowering taxes through business development as a catalyst for economic revitalization. To create jobs and spur economic growth, DeCroce sponsored A-1063, a bi-partisan bill that provides that certain permits and approvals for critical infrastructure projects such as roads, sewerage, and building projects must be acted upon within 45 days. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and other recent storms, DeCroce sponsored “The New Jersey Residents’ Power Protection Act” A-3495, which proposes to create a tax incentive to help finance the mandatory installation of natural gas or propane-fired generators for certain vital businesses, facilities and nursing homes, which play significant roles in protecting people’s lives. DeCroce is committed to fighting for common sense legislation to promote jobs through private sector growth, and reducing the tax burden on small businesses and families. DeCroce is an ardent supporter of local charitable organizations, civic groups and other noteworthy endeavor. She has served on the boards of the Morris County Cancer Society; NJ Crime Victims Law Center; Morris County Clerks Association; state of NJ clerks Association; International Clerks Association; and Vice Chair – employees Legislative Council (NJBIA 1990-2000). The owner of the Parsippany based real estate firm ERA Gallo & DeCroce, Inc., BettyLou has two children and three grandchildren, and lives in the Powder Mill section of Parsippany.

Vote for responsible leadership in Parsippany on June 4th

Dear Editor:

I recently received a letter in my mailbox from Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr., who is running for Mayor in Parsippany. In his letter, Mr. Carifi STRONGLY opposes the Waterview Plaza Plan, which will tear down 26.6 acres of woods, that are filled with wildlife and a historic cemetery. The area borders Route 46 to the south and Intervale Road to the west.

What will replace these woods? A Whole Foods, a big box retailer, a strip mall with 1,100 parking spaces and 65 three-story townhouses.

How will this development affect you? Area property values will likely drop, resulting in higher taxes for all Parsippany residents. Thousands of additional cars daily will be added to current Route 46 traffic. You’ll also get more air pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, and more water restrictions along with poorer water quality, due to additional demands placed on town water.

Mr. Carifi is the ONLY Mayoral candidate to oppose this senseless development!!  He wants to revive the local economy by filling EXISTING commercial space, which is everywhere in Parsippany, and not by destroying more neighborhoods and property values.

We must USE OUR VOTING LEVERAGE to make sure that we elect a mayor who will reject this plan!

You must be a registered Republican to vote for Paul Carifi in the June 4th primary. If you wish to re-affiliate your party for this election, send in this simple form:


DON’T WAIT!! The form must be received by April 10, 2013.

Send to:

Morris County Superintendent of Elections

Ms. Dale Kramer, Chief Deputy

PO Box 900

Morristown, NJ 07963-0900

Contact: 973-285-6715  8:30am-4:30pm

They cannot accept faxed copies or emailed forms, as an original signature is required.

If you are not sure which party you are registered with, call the Morris County Clerk at 973-285-6066 to confirm.

Let your voice be heard on June 4th!

Paula Mondschein



Letters to the Editor: Do you have an opinion to express? Send letters to flcahill@parsippanyfocus.com

Council did right by tabling overlay zone

Dear Editor:

On behalf of Citizens For Health, Safety, and Welfare, we believe the Council did the right think by tabling the draft overlay rezoning ordinance during it’s March 19, 2013 meeting. The governing body recognized the need to further investigate all of the available options in order to ensure that there are true benefits to the residents.

We appreciate that the council didn’t rush to judgment, took the time to listen to the residents, and were not intimidated by a developer who is desperate to quickly make a profit without the slightest regard for those who will be most negatively impacted by his proposal. At this point, we strongly urge the governing body to slow down, gather all the facts, listen to both sides, and carefully deliberate before rushing to judgment and making a decision.

There is so much at stake with this colossal and substantial draft ordinance, and once the council moves forward, there is no undoing the effects it will have on community. While we understand the need to listen to the developer’s point of view, we implore the council (and planning board) to also listen closely to our point of view, the point of view of our experts, and the point of view of the citizens who are so genuinely concerned.

As always, we welcome any opportunity for any council member to meet with and address the Trustees and Board of our organization.

David Kaplan

President, CHSW


Letters to the Editor: Do you have an opinion to express? Send letters to flcahill@parsippanyfocus.com

A letter to my son, my hero

memorialDearest Derek,

There are no words.

There are no words to describe this feeling.

There are no words to express what is going on in my head.

There are no words to explain what happened.

There are no words that can make this even slightly better.

I can talk and talk and talk but it all comes out in circles, fragments, empty thoughts.

How can I say “good-bye,” when I have no words?

The world was a better place with you in it. The people who knew you are better for having you as part of their lives. The world will never be the same. The world is a darker, sadder place now that you are gone.

The emotions, stories, love expressed during our last two days at Walter Reed was overwhelming. The tears shed could fill the Potomac. The laughs as we told our Derek stories still ring through the halls. Everyone who knew you, loved you.

We don’t know what happened. Investigation is pending.

What we do know is that you are dancing in Heaven, your body restored. Please hug Noni, Nana and Granny for me.

We also know that our lives are irrevocably changed. We went from VA appointments, preparing for retirement, training with an amazing service dog with an angel’s name, Gabriel, and planning a wedding, to dealing with Casualty Affairs, muddling through Army protocol, and planning a funeral.

Krystina and Derek

How do we wrap our heads around this?

How do I wrap my head around going from a Blue Star Mother, to a Silver Star Mother, to the dreaded Gold Star Mother, all within two years’ time.

I could have accepted this better twenty months ago. When you were so sick. When you were in the ICU. When Dr. Ugo took my hand and simply said, “I don’t know if I can save him.” When Dr. Perdue was in constant touch, giving me his cell phone number, and working so hard to save your life. When I was standing guard at the door demanding action and refusing to let anyone into the room who did not know you or who would not give exemplary care. I could have accepted it then. Almost.

But now? After twenty months of fighting to get you better? When you were a couple of months from coming home to us?

This is not okay.

This will never be okay.

I am angry.

I am hurt.

I am heartbroken.

Your little lady is the strongest woman I know. She was there for you for the six years since you waltzed into her classroom with a smile, of course cutting your own class to hang out and chat with her teacher. She was there for you for the twenty months you were at Walter Reed. That morning, she was there trying in vain to wake you. But you were gone. You were the love of her life.christmas

We will miss your Derekisms. “Mom? Did some old lady somewhere, ever call baseball, basketball?” Your singing, “Baby, come back! You can blame it ALL on ME!” when you ticked Krystina off and she walked out of your hospital room. The “hot boxes” in the car or elevator when you burped that darn colostomy bag. The evil laugh. The sick sense of home. Your devilish smile. You were a hot mess. Yes, I know, I remember your response to that time I called you a “hot mess.” “Well, Mom, at least I’m hot.” You kept us laughing. We were the noisiest room on the ward. The party room.

I love you. I will always love you. Everyone is better for having known you.

Rest well, my son, my angel, my hero. You earned your rest.

Stand down, Solider. Your watch has ended. You are now Heaven Deployed. Never to be forgotten.

In loving memory of my baby boy, my soldier, my hero

Derek Tra McConnell, October 8, 1989 – March 18, 2013

—- Siobhan Fuller McConnell