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Local News | Parsippany Focus - Part 3
Sunday, June 23, 2024
Home Blog Page 3

Fatal Incident: Pedestrian Hit by SUV, Pronounced Dead

PARSIPPANY — Authorities reported that a pedestrian lost his life after being struck by an SUV on Thursday night along U.S. Route 46 East.

According to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the incident occurred around 9:50 p.m. when a 2015 Dodge Journey traveling eastbound collided with a pedestrian near Pep Boys, 1449 Route 46.

The pedestrian, identified only as an adult male, was pronounced deceased at the scene, with no identification released as of Friday afternoon.

The SUV driver stayed at the scene following the crash, as confirmed by officials.

The Parsippany-Troy Hills Police and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office will investigate the incident with the Morris County Prosecutor’s support.

According to data released by the State Police, this is the third fatality in 2024, with the other two taking place on Route 46 within one mile of each other.

As of now, no further details have been provided.

Letter to the Editor: 500PARQ and HK Truck Center Boost Parsippany Without Tax Breaks

Dear Editor:

Good News for Parsippany!!!  

As Parsippany Focus announced, 500ParQ, with its 275 multi-family residences, is ready to welcome individuals and families planning to make Parsippany their home. Replete with all types of amenities, including a kid’s playroom, the developers of 500ParQ seemed to appreciate all that Parsippany has to offer and did not insist upon securing a 30-year-long PILOT tax relief handout.  This good news follows the announcement only a couple of weeks ago that HK Truck Center, without demanding 30 years of PILOT relief, plans to develop a new state-of-the-art truck repair facility on Fanny Road.    

Bad News for Mayor Barberio!!!

The announcements about 500ParQ and the HK Truck Center are only the two latest examples of companies understanding all of Parsippany’s amenities. This undermines Mayor Barberio’s frequent, self-serving, and overly defensive claims that Parsippany, on its own merits, just isn’t good enough to compete with other municipalities.

Selling out your hometown to slick-talking lawyers and greedy out-of-town developers begs the question as to why Mayor Barberio has chosen this course of action.  Perhaps the Mayor will provide some straight answers at his upcoming Mayor’s Roundtable: (Redevelopment Challenges New Affordable Housing Mandates and PILOTs)  

Parsippany voters will be watching….  

Bob Crawford

Local Sons of Italy Lodge Recognizes Philanthropic Chef at Fundraising Luncheon

PARSIPPANY — On Sunday, June 2nd, Chef Matthew Pierone was recognized by the Morris County Sons of Italy Lodge 2561 with a brief ceremony at his restaurant, The Gourmet Café. He was presented with a “Certificate of Appreciation” in recognition of his ongoing service and generosity to the Sons of Italy and the community of Parsippany Troy Hills.

On hand to make the presentation were Parsippany Mayor James Barberio, Council President Paul Carifi, and former Council President Michael J. dePierro, all current members of the Sons of Italy. Following some brief comments from the Immediate Past President, Robert Adamo, Chef Matt (as he is commonly known) was presented with the framed certificate by Adamo, 2nd V.P. Michael Fazzio, and Treasurer Michael Zambito to the delight and applause of the 44 members, and spouses, who packed the restaurant.  

Immediate Past President Robert Adamo with Chef Matt

Chef Matt, who is about to celebrate the 17th Anniversary of the opening of the Gourmet Café on June 23, is no stranger to awards and recognitions for his private and business initiatives for the public good.

Many of these honors, plaques, certificates, etc., are proudly displayed on the walls of his restaurant.

Known for his generosity and amiable personality, not to mention his imaginative and extraordinary culinary skills, it is easy to see why the Gourmet Café is one of the most popular and in-demand Italian restaurants in the general Parsippany area.

Matt began washing dishes at the Cobblestone in West Caldwell, cooked at the Huddle Inn in Fairfield, and Columbo’s in Orange. Pierone graduated from The New York Restaurant School in Manhattan with the highest honors. While attending school, he worked at Gracie Mansion. The Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange was his next stop. He was the Poissonnier (Fish Chef) at the Rainbow Room in New York City.

Other credits are Executive Chef at the Racquets Club of Short Hills, Chef de Cuisine at Eccola Italian Bistro, Saucier at Rod’s Steak House, Chef at the Green House, and Sous Chef at the Grande Café, Morristown.

Gourmet Cafe is located at 136 Baldwin Road. Gourmet Cafe is a cozy BYOB restaurant offering classic Italian dishes in an upscale-casual dining room.

Ribbon Cutting Celebrated for 500PARQ’s New Rental Units and Townhomes

PARSIPPANY — 500PARQ, a luxury apartment community in former Lanidex Plaza, celebrated its ribbon-cutting grand opening on Friday, May 31. The complex offers a range of rental units, including studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. These units feature modern amenities such as Technistone quartz countertops, European-style cabinetry, GE stainless steel appliances, in-home washers and dryers, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The eagerly anticipated occupancy for 500PARQ’s luxurious apartments will commence on June 10, inviting residents to experience unparalleled elegance and modern living in the heart of Parsippany.

PARQ500: The complex offers a range of rental units, including studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments.

Residents at 500PARQ can enjoy various amenities, including a sparkling pool and sun deck, a fitness center and yoga studio, a sports bar with multiple TV displays, a game lounge, a private dining room with professional-grade appliances, and a kid’s playroom. The community also boasts outdoor kitchens with BBQ stations and a multi-station dog grooming facility.

Sparkling pool and sun deck

This event marks the completion of the 275 multifamily residences with state-of-the-art amenities for rent at 500 Parq Lane. The development also features newly constructed townhomes by NVR. In future phases, this vibrant multigenerational community will include additional multifamily residences, on-site retail, and open green spaces.

Parsippany Mayor James R. Barberio also addressed the attendees, highlighting the positive impact 500 PARQ will have on the local community.

“500 PARQ is more than just a building; it represents a vibrant new era for Parsippany- Troy Hills,” said Mayor Barberio. “I look forward to seeing the community thrive and grow, making Parsippany a top destination in New Jersey and the nation.”

During his remarks, Anthony Milelli, Managing Director of PARQ, took a moment to thank those who championed the project from its inception. “I am grateful for the endless support of the community and key individuals who have been with us from the start,” he said. “Among the many, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Bob Garofalo, Joe O’Neill, our families, and numerous others who have played integral roles in bringing this project to fruition.”

Haidar also appreciated everyone who contributed to the project over the years, particularly the Khoury and Milelli families. “This journey has infused me with gratitude and vision and ignited hope for the future of Parsippany.”

Located at the junction of I-287 and I-80, the project will transform the former Lanidex Plaza. The celebration of 500 PARQ signals the dawn of a transformative era in community living and development within Parsippany. To learn more, click here.

Some of the available apartments at 500PARQ include:

  • Apartment 106: One bedroom, one bath, 723 square feet, $2,938 monthly.
  • Apartment 108: Two bedrooms, two baths, 1,116 square feet, $3,962 monthly.
  • Apartment 125: One bedroom, one bath, 884 square feet, $3,296 monthly.
  • Apartment 133: One bedroom, one bath, 748 square feet, $2,840 monthly.

These units offer a variety of layouts and sizes to cater to different preferences and needs. For a complete list of available apartments, click here.

Floor Plan
The dining area of a one-bedroom apartment
Common work areas
Common work areas

Mayor’s Roundtable: Redevelopment Challenges – New Affordable Housing Mandates and PILOTs

PARSIPPANY — The Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills and Mayor James R. Barberio invite all residents to a Mayor’s roundtable focused on the impact of new Affordable Housing laws and the use of redevelopment tools such as Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs). This event will occur on Monday, June 10, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel at 199 Smith Road.

Join Mayor Barberio, alongside leading Mayors from Morris County, for an engaging and insightful journey into how our municipalities are adapting to new laws. Attendees will delve into the benefits and challenges of these redevelopment tools and hear firsthand experiences from current Mayors on navigating these complexities. Local mayors will share their firsthand experience navigating the complexities and challenges of dealing with the new affordable housing mandates and PILOTs.

Moderated by Bill Spadea, the top morning drive talk show host in New Jersey with 1.5 million daily listeners on 101.5 FM, this informative session promises valuable insights on strategic planning, smart growth, and the effects of overdevelopment. As the founder and head of the “Common Sense Club,” Spadea advocates for policies that support small businesses and families through smart, fiscally responsible government management. With 18 years of executive experience in the real estate industry, Spadea brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the discussion and leads Mayors from Morris County on an engaging and insightful journey into how our municipalities adapt.

This event is open to the public, but seating is limited. To secure a spot call the Mayor’s Office at (973) 263-4262 or email Action@Parsippany.net by June 6, 2024.

Individuals who do not RSVP are still welcome to attend, but admission will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, so individuals are encouraged to register before seats fill up!
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the experts and participate in the conversation shaping our community’s future.

Esteemed Panelists

• Mayor James R. Barberio, Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills
• Mayor Thomas “Ace” Gallagher, Township of Hanover
• Mayor Joseph Pannullo, Township of East Hanover
• Mayor Michael Stanzilis, Borough of Mount Arlington
• Mayor Mark Taylor, Borough of Florham Park

Jackson Cuts Brings Modern Barbershop Services to Lake Hiawatha

PARSIPPANY — Jackson Cuts, a new barbershop located at 54 North Beverwyck Road in Lake Hiawatha, recently celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Notable figures, including Mayor James Barberio, Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Chairman Frank Cahill, and Nicolas Limanov, a Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce board member, attended the event. Council Vice President Frank Neglia, Councilman Justin Musella, and Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce member Umang Shah joined the celebration. This opening marks a significant addition to the local business community.

Jackson Cuts Owner John Youssef Honored by Parsippany Economic Development Chairman Frank Cahill.

Jackson Cuts offers various hair services, such as haircuts, styling, and grooming for men, women, and children. The shop is dedicated to providing high-quality services in a welcoming and friendly environment.

Featuring modern decor and skilled barbers, Jackson Cuts aims to become a popular destination for residents of Lake Hiawatha and nearby areas.

The barbershop offered special promotions and discounts during the grand opening event, allowing new customers to experience their services.

Jackson Cuts strongly emphasizes customer satisfaction and is committed to building a loyal clientele through excellent service and active community engagement.

Jackson Cuts Opens in Lake Hiawatha with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Mark Youssef, Umang Shah, and owner John Youssef

Provident Bank’s Long-Time Support Continues with $5,000 Donation for Parsippany Concert Series

PARSIPPANY — Provident Bank in Parsippany has donated $5,000 to the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills to support the summer concert series. The concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m., with the schedule to be announced soon.

Additionally, the Parsippany Farmer’s Market will open on June 28 every Friday night from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. through October 28. The lineup for concerts during the Farmer’s Market is:

  • June 21: Alternate Groove
  • June 28: Twilight Disciples
  • July 12: Rated R Band
  • July 19: Movie showing – “Elemental”
  • July 26: Five Wheel Drive
  • August 2: Garden State Radio
  • August 9: 3 Day Weekend
  • August 16: Movie showing – “Super Mario Bros.”
  • August 23: Super Trans Am

The town said that in the case of inclement weather in the forecast, officials will post any decisions by 2:00 p.m. on the township website and Facebook page.

Both events are held in Veterans Memorial Park, 1839 Route 46.

Provident Bank has been a long-time supporter of the concert series.

New Grants for Parsippany Businesses Help Cover Building Improvements and Lease Payments

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Chairman Frank Cahill recently collaborated with John Youssef, the owner of the newly opened business Jackson Cuts, to secure grants for the establishment. Jackson Cuts is estimated to qualify over $75,000 in these grant programs.

Jackson Cuts is located at 52 North Beverwyck Road, Lake Hiawatha. This unisex barbershop offers a variety of services, including shaves, hot towel treatments, haircuts, shape-ups, buzz cuts, blow drying, curly hair cuts, hair styling, hair design, fades, skin fades, waxing, hair maintenance, military cuts, blading, cold towels, trims, eyebrow grooming, beard trims, hair coloring, and skin care.

In collaboration with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Cahill has been working with Parsippany businesses to discuss the various grants available to them. So far, local business owners have been able to apply for over $700,000 in grants.

The Small Business Improvement Grant supports the growth and success of New
Jersey small businesses reimburse business owners for costs associated with making interior or exterior building improvements or purchasing and installing new furniture, fixtures, and equipment. The grant will reimburse a small business, as defined in the statute, for 50% of eligible total project costs incurred after March 9, 2020, but no more than two years before the time of application. The total grant amount is not to exceed $50,000.

The Small Business Lease Grant supports the growth and success of small businesses and nonprofits by providing grant funding to cover a portion of lease payments. These resources will help establish and grow small businesses while also helping to fill vacant space and prevent future vacancies.

The Small Business E-Commerce Support Program provides free e-commerce and digital marketing consulting services (up to $11,400) to small businesses in the restaurant, retail, and personal care industries that operate from a commercial location.

The Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Committee has 11 members, five of whom are appointed by the Mayor and six of whom are appointed by the Council.

Members shall be Township residents who have knowledge of or have demonstrated an interest in the economic well-being of the Township. Each member shall be chosen based on a particular view of qualifications and fitness for service on the Committee. Members shall serve without compensation.

The committee members are Dr. Phil Santiago, Robert Peluso, Raviram Medapati, Scott Donnelly, Adam Kandil, Drew Blind, Nick Rafanello, Loretta Gragnani, and Jigar Shah. The Chairman is Frank Cahill, the Vice Chairman is Dr. Bhagirath Maheta, and the Secretary is Raj Dichpally.

To see if your business qualifies for these or other grants, contact Chairman Frank Cahill at (973) 559-6000.

Lawmaker to Gov. Murphy: The OPRA Bill is an Abomination. Veto it

MORRIS COUNTY — Governor Murphy, this is your watershed moment.

Will you stand with citizens or with everything that frustrates New Jerseyans about their government? Will you sign legislation that purports to “modernize” the state’s Open Public Records Act, which reached your desk earlier this month, or veto a bill that is a brazen attack on government transparency and accountability?

In a democratic society, the free flow of information between government and the governed is essential. Transparency is not just a buzzword but a critical component of a functioning democracy. When government operates in the shadows, corruption, abuse of power, and inefficiency flourish. We should view any attempt to weaken OPRA with great skepticism, as it has been essential in preventing or exposing these problems.

Consider the long-term implications. While it may provide short-term relief to government clerks seeking to limit public scrutiny, it ultimately harms the relationship between the government and the citizens it serves. By vetoing this bill, you can demonstrate your dedication to maintaining a transparent government that respects the rights of its citizens and upholds the values of democracy.

No doubt, you face a challenging situation amidst tense budget negotiations, but succumbing to pressure from lawmakers should be the least of your concerns.

You have the opportunity to be a real hero. The earmarks and promises made to secure votes before the bill’s passage are insignificant compared to preserving public trust. The essence of OPRA has always been about government integrity and the questionable manner this bill was pushed through underscores that point.

Sure, OPRA needs modernizing, but you should veto this flawed bill and make the Legislature start from scratch.

This time, ensure real public input by holding hearings on what should be done before drafting a new bill rather than crafting one behind closed doors. In these modern times, we should be expanding access and making the process more efficient, not restricting it.

One of the bill’s most troubling aspects is that it allows state and local agencies to sue people who request too many documents at once, essentially punishing them for seeking information.

Last year, the Township of Irvington sued an 82-year-old woman, claiming her frequent requests “bullied and annoyed” municipal officials. This is a clear example of the bill’s unintended consequences.

Another provision eliminates the requirement for governments that lose records disputes in court to pay the requesters’ legal fees.

Meanwhile, the bill does nothing to stop the commercial mining of government information for profit – the issue lawmakers initially aimed to address but failed to do.

Like a bag of potato chips, this bill offers citizens considerably less while costing more, all supposedly in defense of taxpayers. It’s a bad joke, so public interest groups are screaming.

Some are surprised that conservatives and progressives have rallied against the bill, but if they understood history, they’d realize it strikes at the heart of what is truly American. Those lawmakers who voted for it either flunked history or should have.

You have expressed a commitment to transparency and good governance throughout your tenure. Vetoing this bill would be a strong affirmation of those principles. It would send a clear message that New Jersey values openness and accountability, and we will not tolerate efforts to erode the public’s right to know.

The OPRA reform bill is a step backward. Governor Murphy, I implore you to stand with the people of our state and veto this bill. Like it or not, this is your legacy calling.

By Brian Bergen

Montville UNICO Foundation Hosts Luxury Handbag Bingo Fundraiser

MORRIS COUNTY — The Montville UNICO Foundation is excited to announce its upcoming Luxury Handbag Bingo fundraiser, set to take place on Thursday, June 13, 2024, at St. Pius X Church Gym, 24 Changebridge Road, Montville. This fun-filled event will feature a variety of luxury handbags as bingo prizes, promising an evening of excitement and community spirit.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the first bingo game will begin at 6:30 p.m. Attendees will have the chance to win fabulous luxury handbags while supporting the Foundation’s charitable goals. Refreshments will be available; you may bring your own snacks. No alcoholic beverages are permitted on the premises. Additional bingo cards, daubers, and raffles can be purchased on-site.

“We’re thrilled to bring the community together for a night of bingo and beautiful prizes,” said Michele, President of Montville UNICO Foundation. “All proceeds from the event will go towards our ongoing efforts to support local scholarships, community service projects, and charitable goals.”

Tickets are available for purchase in advance for a $50.00 donation. Each game includes 3 bingo cards. Tables of 8 may be reserved, but they are not required. Don’t miss out on a great evening for a great cause!

For more information, please call Nancy Metz at (973) 713-1652

Please mail your payments to Montville UNICO Foundation, c/o Nancy Metz, 42 Quail Run, Randolph, NJ 07869. Make checks payable to Montville UNICO Foundation.

Councilman Musella Honored with Prestigious America’s Future Award

PARSIPPANY — In a night filled with celebration and recognition, Councilman Justin Musella of Parsippany-Troy Hills was inducted into the 1995 Society of America’s Future at the annual gala held at the historic Larz Anderson House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

This prestigious award, presented by America’s Future, honors outstanding young leaders who have significantly contributed to the cause of freedom in their communities. Councilman Musella was recognized for his unwavering dedication to liberty, commitment to activism, and innovative policy initiatives.

America’s Future Executive Director, Hannah Earl, praised Musella’s contributions, noting, “We admire Justin’s leadership and bravery in the face of adversity and welcome him to the 1995 Society!”

Other notable inductees included Nicholas Horton and Daniel Di Martino, who were also recognized for their exceptional contributions and leadership.

Known for his energetic approach and forward-thinking strategies, Musella has been a transformative figure in Parsippany-Troy Hills. Since taking office, he has enhanced transparency, promoted engagement, and spearheaded cost-saving measures to increase affordability. His efforts to engage with constituents through transparent and accessible communication have set a new standard for local governance.

In his acceptance speech, Musella expressed deep gratitude for the recognition and highlighted the collective efforts of his team and community. “This award is not just a testament to my work, but to the incredible support and dedication of the people of Parsippany-Troy Hills. Together, we are making our community a better place for everyone,” he stated.

This award is not just a testament to my work, but to the incredible support and dedication of the people of Parsippany-Troy Hills. Together, we are making our community a better place for everyone.

The gala, held at the Larz Anderson House, an architectural gem in the heart of Washington, D.C., provided a fitting backdrop for the event. Attendees included prominent political figures, numerous liberty-minded organizations, and young leaders from across the country, all gathered to celebrate the achievements of outstanding individuals like Musella.

America’s Future Executive Director, Hannah Earl, praised Musella’s contributions, noting, “We admire Justin’s leadership and bravery in the face of adversity and welcome him to the 1995 Society!”

The evening concluded with a renewed sense of optimism and a call to action for the next generation of leaders to continue striving for excellence and making a positive impact in their communities.

Councilman Musella’s recognition at the gala underscores his role as a rising star in New Jersey politics.

Eastern Janitorial President Nicholas Rafanello Joins NJBIA Board

PARSIPPANY — New Jersey Business Industry Association (NJBIA) President Michele Siekerka announced that the organization has added two more top business executives to its Board of Trustees. Both executives bring extensive expertise in business and banking to the board. 

Citizens Commercial Bank President and Head of Middle Market Rebecca O’Connell and Eastern Janitorial Company President and CEO Nicholas Rafanello recently joined the NJBIA Board of Trustees and will each serve three-year terms. 

“Both Nick and Rebecca bring very informed voices from their respective fields, and we are very fortunate and grateful to have them join our expanding board,” Siekerka said. 

“The expertise and experiences they bring to the table perfectly match our highly engaged and valued board of trustees. We are honored that they are joining us to bring more support to our mission of advancing the competitive excellence and success of New Jersey businesses.” 

O’Connell represents Citizens Bank throughout the region, which encompasses New York City and its surrounding boroughs, Long Island, Westchester, and Northern and Central New Jersey. 

In her role, O’Connell is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the extended region, encompassing headship for a team of expert middle market bankers and liaising with colleagues to deliver the bank’s full suite of capabilities to deepen client relationships across the broader organization. She drives effective partnerships across key stakeholders to accelerate growth and community impact in key markets where the bank has recently expanded its footprint. 

O’Connell held previous roles at JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America after spending time in the private sector as a global Treasurer/Finance and consulting professional.  

In addition to NJBIA’s board, she currently sits on the board of the Moxxie Mentoring Foundation in Long Island. She is a founding board member for the Saint Anthony’s High School Business and Entrepreneurial Center in Huntington, New York.  

Eastern Janitorial Company is a second-generation, family-owned business that serves public and private facilities’ janitorial and maintenance needs throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Eastern Janitorial Company is located in Parsippany.

Rafanello assumed full control of the business in 2013, re-branded it as a deeply experienced service contractor, and quickly became a market leader in the region. The company has also established new service offerings focused on deepening its relationship with existing janitorial customers. 

Raffaello is a member of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Committee.

Founded in 1977, Eastern has grown substantially over the last decade and now employs hundreds of workers in the tri-state area. It operates in three divisions: Commercial Cleaning, Specialty Flooring and Surface Restoration, and Engineering/Handyman Services.  The Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University recently named Eastern Janitorial Company its Family Business of the Year. 

Rafanello previously served as vice president of investment banking at Credit Suisse and principal at Xerox Global Services. He graduated from Lehigh University’s P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He also earned a Master of Business Administration, specializing in Finance and Entrepreneurship, from the NYU School of Business.   

Rafanello lives in Morris County with his wife and three children. He is heavily involved in the local community, volunteering on regional economic development, soccer, and baseball boards. 

Other NJBIA Board of Trustees Moves 

Along with the addition of O’Connell and Rafanello, NJBIA announced the board retirements of Rashaad Bajwa, CEO of Integris, and Domenick Cama, who recently retired as president of NYC Metro & New Jersey Markets of Citizens Bank. 

Deanna Sperling, president and CEO of RWJBarnabas Behavioral Health Center, has been appointed Treasurer of NJBIA’s board. 

“I thank Rashaad and Domenick for their dedication to the board, for always bringing valuable input to our meetings, and for sharing NJBIA’s mission,” Siekerka said. “And we thank Deanna for taking on this new and important role with our board.” 

The complete list of members of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association Board of Trustees is below. 

  • Clifford F. Lindholm, III, (Chair), President & CEO, Falstrom Company 
  • Lori Roth, CPA/ABV, CFF, (Vice Chair), Co-Managing Partner, Prager Metis 
  • Denise Beckson, VP of Human Resources & Government Relations, Morey’s Piers 
  • Marcy Bliss, CEO, Wedgewood Pharmacy 
  • Tim Corriston, Managing Partner, Connell Foley 
  • James W. Horne Jr., President & CEO, Junior Achievement of New Jersey 
  • Anthony Iacono, Ph.D., President, County College of Morris 
  • Jaclyn Kator, Regional Vice President, External Affairs, AT&T 
  • Rebecca O’Connell, President & Head of Middle Market, NYC Metro, Long Island, NJ, Citizens Commercial Bank 
  • Nicholas Rafanello, President & CEO, Eastern Janitorial Company 
  • Celestina S. Quintana, Owner/Operator McDonald’s restaurants 
  • Michael Reagan, Senior Vice President of Consulting Services, CGI
  • Michael Renna, President & CEO, South Jersey Industries 
  • Gail Friedberg Rottenstrich, CEO & Co-Founder, ZAGO Manufacturing 
  • Deanna Sperling, MAS, RN, NE-BC, President & CEO, RWJBarnabas Behavioral Health Center 
  • Rick Thigpen, Senior Vice President-Corporate Citizenship, PSEG 

Lawmaker to Gov. Murphy: The OPRA Bill is an Abomination. Veto it

MORRIS COUNTY — Governor Murphy, this is your watershed moment.

Will you stand with citizens or with everything that frustrates New Jerseyans about their government? Will you sign legislation that purports to “modernize” the state’s Open Public Records Act, which reached your desk earlier this month, or veto a bill that is a brazen attack on government transparency and accountability?

In a democratic society, the free flow of information between government and the governed is essential. Transparency is not just a buzzword but a critical component of a functioning democracy. When government operates in the shadows, corruption, abuse of power, and inefficiency flourish. We should view any attempt to weaken OPRA with great skepticism, as it has been essential in preventing or exposing these problems.

Consider the long-term implications. While it may provide short-term relief to government clerks seeking to limit public scrutiny, it ultimately harms the relationship between the government and the citizens it serves. By vetoing this bill, you can demonstrate your dedication to maintaining a transparent government that respects the rights of its citizens and upholds the values of democracy.

No doubt, you face a challenging situation amidst tense budget negotiations, but succumbing to pressure from lawmakers should be the least of your concerns.

You have the opportunity to be a real hero. The earmarks and promises made to secure votes before the bill’s passage are insignificant compared to preserving public trust. The essence of OPRA has always been about government integrity and the questionable manner this bill was pushed through underscores that point.

Sure, OPRA needs modernizing, but you should veto this flawed bill and make the Legislature start from scratch.

This time, ensure real public input by holding hearings on what should be done before drafting a new bill rather than crafting one behind closed doors. In these modern times, we should be expanding access and making the process more efficient, not restricting it.

One of the bill’s most troubling aspects is that it allows state and local agencies to sue people who request too many documents at once, essentially punishing them for seeking information.

Last year, the Township of Irvington sued an 82-year-old woman, claiming her frequent requests “bullied and annoyed” municipal officials. This is a clear example of the bill’s unintended consequences.

Another provision eliminates the requirement for governments that lose records disputes in court to pay the requesters’ legal fees.

Meanwhile, the bill does nothing to stop the commercial mining of government information for profit – the issue lawmakers initially aimed to address but failed to do.

Like a bag of potato chips, this bill offers citizens considerably less while costing more, all supposedly in defense of taxpayers. It’s a bad joke, so public interest groups are screaming.

Some are surprised that conservatives and progressives have rallied against the bill, but if they understood history, they’d realize it strikes at the heart of what is truly American. Those lawmakers who voted for it either flunked history or should have.

You have expressed a commitment to transparency and good governance throughout your tenure. Vetoing this bill would be a strong affirmation of those principles. It would send a clear message that New Jersey values openness and accountability, and we will not tolerate efforts to erode the public’s right to know.

The OPRA reform bill is a step backward. Governor Murphy, I implore you to stand with the people of our state and veto this bill. Like it or not, this is your legacy calling.

By Brian Bergen

Parsippany PAL Flag Football Championship: Celebrating Athletic Excellence and Community

PARSIPPANY — The annual Parsippany Police Athletic League (PAL) Flag Football Championship, held on Wednesday, May 22nd, showcased an impressive display of skill, teamwork, and sportsmanship. The event brought together the best teams from the region, each demonstrating the dedication and hard work that led them to the championship.

Athletes and Coaches Celebrate Success at Parsippany PAL Flag Football Championship

The championship games were a testament to the athletes’ determination and the competitive spirit cultivated throughout the season. From the opening whistle to the final touchdown, each team played with heart and enthusiasm, making the event an action-packed experience for all spectators.

Jay Hersh, the Program Manager, expressed his pride in the program and the athletes’ growth over the season. “I am incredibly proud of what our teams have achieved this year,” Hersh said. “The dedication and improvement we’ve seen from every player is remarkable. Our program is not just about winning games but developing skills, building character, and fostering community. This championship is a celebration of all those efforts.”

The team’s growth this season has been nothing short of extraordinary. With precise training sessions, strategic coaching, and unwavering support from families and fans, each team has shown significant progress. The championship highlighted the program’s positive impact on the athletes’ physical and mental development, reinforcing the importance of sports in youth development.

Dedication and Sportsmanship Shine at Parsippany PAL Flag Football Championship

As the season concludes, anticipation for next year’s championship is already building. The Parsippany PAL Flag Football Championship continues to be a community cornerstone, bringing together athletes, coaches, and fans with a shared passion for the sport.

Since 1965, the Parsippany PAL has been working hard to provide the children of Parsippany with various activities and sports programs. With only 240 children registered in three programs, the Parsippany PAL has grown to serve more than 4,000 children from the surrounding area with over 15 programs.

The focus of the Parsippany PAL is entirely on the kids!

The Parsippany PAL currently manages/hosts various programs, including Basketball, Cheerleading, Flag Football, Wrestling, Enrichment, and more! Additionally, throughout the year, the Parsippany PAL hosts several camps, clinics, and more!

For all programs available at the PAL, click here.

4,000 Attend Parsippany Memorial Day Parade to Remember and Celebrate Heroes

PARSIPPANY — Despite the looming threat of rain, the skies held clear as the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills hosted a vibrant Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 27th, along North Beverwyck Road in Lake Hiawatha. The event drew 4,000 spectators who gathered to honor the memory of American soldiers lost in combat.

Parsippany District 5 Fire Department

The Memorial Day parade is a longstanding tradition in the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, offering a sense of continuity and connection to the past. These parades are a cherished ritual that bridges current generations with those who have come before, preserving the memory of the brave individuals who have served our country.

VFW Post 10184 and American Legion Post 249, who led the procession

Emceed by Dr. Phil Santiago, the parade featured a variety of participants, including VFW Post 10184 and American Legion Post 249, who led the procession. All of Parsippany’s Fire Departments and Emergency Services and the Parsippany High and Parsippany Hills High Schools Marching Bands were in attendance. The parade included Girl Scouts, various civic organizations, bands, and jugglers marching from Katherine Drive to Condit Avenue.

Jugglers add a touch of entertainment as they march in the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, captivating the crowd with their impressive skills.

“It turned out to be a great day for a parade,” remarked Mayor Barberio. “It is important to remember and celebrate the lives of all the brave men and women who served this country and made the ultimate sacrifice. We owe them our freedom and our many opportunities here in America.” The parade was not just a tribute but a vibrant community celebration, underscoring the importance of unity and remembrance on Memorial Day.

Local residents lining North Beverwyck Road, showing their support and honoring fallen heroes at the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade
Council President Paul Carifi, Jr., met with residents at the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, engaging with the community and honoring the memory of fallen heroes.
Former Council President Michael dePierro rode the golf cart during the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, greeting spectators and participating in the community tribute.
The Parsippany Hills High School Band performed at the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, adding a spirited musical tribute.
Morris County Commissioner Thomas Mastrangelo and Parsippany resident Rajendar Dichpally attended the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, joining the community to honor fallen heroes.
Morris County Commissioner Thomas Mastrangelo and Parsippany resident Rajendar Dichpally attended the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, joining the community to honor fallen heroes.
Army trucks rolling down North Beverwyck Road during the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade serve as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by our armed forces.
Army trucks rolling down North Beverwyck Road during the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade serve as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by our armed forces.
Funny Books participating in the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, bringing smiles and laughter to the spectators with their whimsical and entertaining presence.
The Knights of Columbus, Parsippany Council 3680, marching proudly in the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, demonstrating their commitment to community service and honoring those who have served our country.
Clowns bringing joy and laughter to the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, delighting spectators of all ages with their colorful costumes and playful antics.
Of course, the proud volunteers of the Parsippany Ambulance Squad, participating in the Memorial Day Parade and showcasing their unwavering commitment to serving the community.
The Rockaway Neck Volunteer First Aid Squad participating in the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, showcasing their dedication to serving the community and honoring those who have sacrificed for our country.
Smiling members of the Rockaway Neck Volunteer First Aid Squad participating in the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, showcasing their dedication to serving the community and honoring those who have sacrificed for our country.
Members of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Rotary Club participating in the Memorial Day Parade, demonstrating their commitment to community service and honoring the memory of fallen heroes.
Members of the Womans Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills participating in the Memorial Day Parade, demonstrating their commitment to community service and honoring the memory of fallen heroes.
The Parsippany High School Marching Band performing at the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, filling the air with music as they honor the memory of our fallen heroes.
Adorable Lacey Anderson rides in the Rescue and Recovery truck during the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, bringing smiles to the faces of spectators.
Parsippany High School Band
Parsippany’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) participated in the Memorial Day Parade, exemplifying their dedication to keeping the community safe and prepared.
Parsippany-Troy Hills Council Vice President distributes candy to children during the Memorial Day Parade, spreading joy and connecting with the young spectators.
Smiling members of Parsippany’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) participating in the Memorial Day Parade, exemplifying their dedication to keeping the community safe and prepared.
Girl Scout Troop 98272 marched proudly in the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, representing the spirit of service and community involvement.
Morris County Surrogate Heather Darling waves at the crowd during the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, engaging with the community and honoring the memory of fallen heroes.
Councilman Justin Musella draws a crowd during the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, engaging with residents and honoring the memory of fallen heroes.
Paul Anderson, Chief of Rescue and Recovery, participated in the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, demonstrating his leadership and dedication to the community.
Morris County Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo hands candy to the children during the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, spreading joy and engaging with the young spectators.
Councilman Matt McGraft chats with residents during the Parsippany-Troy Hills Memorial Day Parade, fostering community connections and honoring the memory of fallen heroes.

Sherrill Announces 15 New Projects for Community Enhancement

MORRIS COUNTY — Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) announced the 15 Community Project Funding (CPF) requests she submitted to the House Appropriations Committee for Fiscal Year 2025. If included in next year’s budget, these local projects will create jobs, drive our local economic growth, and improve the quality of life throughout the district and state.

“I am excited to announce the 15 new Community Projects I am submitting this year on behalf of the 11th Congressional District. From public safety to water infrastructure to streetscape improvements and recreational spaces, all of these projects would improve the quality of life and meet the needs of residents without raising local taxes,” said Rep. Sherrill. “I want to thank the local officials for submitting their projects. In Congress, I’ll continue to fight to deliver these funds for our community.” 

Over the past three years, Congresswoman Sherrill has secured over $43 million in federal funding for 39 projects across North Jersey. Just this week, she was honored by the New Jersey Conference of Mayors as the U.S. Representative of the Year for the resources she has brought back to the Garden State.  

Congresswoman Sherrill submitted the following requests for Community Project Funding. Projects will be reviewed by the Appropriations Committee later this year for inclusion in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget, which must be passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.

Whippany River Improvement Initiative Phase 3 (Hanover Township, on behalf of 6 municipalities): Requested Amount: $3,500,000

This project will fund a third phase of the Whippany River Regional Improvement Initiative, which began as an FY23 Community Project that emerged from a discussion on flood issues impacting multiple towns along the Whippany River. This project is a direct result of a collaborative effort by local officials in Hanover Township, East Hanover, Parsippany, and Florham Park. It has been expanded to include Morristown and Morris Plains. Phase 3 will involve more expansive clearing and desnagging of the river and its associated tributaries. Over the past decade, the Whippany River has seen more frequent and intense flooding events posing high-level community risks. The project will provide crucial public benefit by ensuring the river stays on its current course. It does not eventually veer off into inhabited areas, and it limits public and private property losses caused by flooding.

Public Safety & Emergency Response Robot Acquisition (County of Morris): Requested Amount: $700,000

Morris County will purchase new quadrapod public safety robots to respond to hazardous situations. This equipment will allow first responders to gather important information and respond effectively while remaining safe in dangerous situations. Traditional “bomb squad” robots do not have the capabilities of modern technology like these new robots, which have valuable uses in additional public safety areas, including hazardous materials and devices, building collapses, gas leaks, and interactions with individuals in dangerous situations. 

Drew University Forest Preservation (Borough of Madison): Requested Amount: $5,000,000

This funding will assist the Borough of Madison in purchasing and preserving the Drew Forest, which has been at risk of being sold and developed for market-rate residential development. The Forest provides regional environmental and public benefits that would be lost if cleared for development, including 22 acres of public trails, unique educational opportunities, and natural water resources. The Forest captures and purifies approximately 71.5 million gallons of rainfall each year. Its aquifer is a major source of drinking water for 31 municipalities in Morris, Essex, Somerset, and Union County. It provides all the drinking water for Madison, Chatham Borough, Florham Park, and East Hanover. 

Lead Service Line Replacement (Town of Dover): Requested Amount: $2,500,000

The Town of Dover will use this funding to complete the next phase of its “Lead Service Line Replacement” project. Replacing these lines will provide residents with safe and clean drinking water in the most urgent areas that need upgrading. It will also bolster community development in Dover’s most economically vulnerable areas.

Booster Pump Station Enhancement Project (Township of Nutley): Requested Amount: $500,000

The Township will construct a new water booster pump station to ensure residents can access a safe and reliable water supply. These new redundancies will help keep the water supply secure and functioning in emergencies. 

Community Center Improvement Project (Borough of Woodland Park): Requested Amount: $2,000,000

The Borough will fully redevelop the existing Boy’s & Girls Club location to be used as a new, fully functioning community center and better serve the needs of residents. The facility is a vital building mainly composed of storage closets and a mid-size all-purpose room primarily used for community gatherings. While the current space has served many residents, the borough aspires to renovate the facility into a multifaceted learning, creativity, and recreation hub that serves additional needs and residents.

Downtown & Train Station Streetscape Improvements (South Orange Village): Requested Amount: $2,670,000

This project would improve the downtown sidewalks and streetscape to support and strengthen its role as a regional transportation hub for Essex County, promote multimodal transportation, and improve safety, accessibility, and walkability throughout the Transit Village. Upgrades include sidewalk replacement, street furniture, lighting,  raised curbs/platforms, tree wells, bike lanes and bike shelters, and ADA-compliance improvements. The planned improvements also adhere to the Smart Growth principles applied to the various redevelopment projects, adding over 300 residential units within 1⁄4 mile of the train station.

Gilbert Place Stormwater Pump Station (Township of Millburn): Requested Amount: $1,500,000

A sizable portion of the township is subject to flooding from the East and West Branch of the Rahway River. The river’s East and West branches overtop their banks during major storm events. Before the river was breached, several low-lying areas were prone to flooding even during smaller storm events due to poor drainage and lack of pumping capacity. The Township’s current stormwater pump station is grossly undersized and provides limited flood protection. The proposed project will increase the existing pump station’s capacity, upgrade, improve electrical equipment reliability, and provide emergency backup power. The new pump station would provide flood mitigation for major storm events before riverbanks are breached.

Livingston Streetscape Improvements (County of Essex): Requested Amount: $3,400,000

This Essex County project seeks to improve the pedestrian and transit user facilities on the Livingston Avenue roadway between Mount Pleasant Avenue (Route 10) and Northfield Road in Livingston. The proposed improvements will address signage, pedestrian safety, and traffic calming issues. This roadway section has high vehicle traffic speeds, non-ADA compliance, poor pedestrian experience, no bicycle accommodations, and a lack of transit user amenities. The county has identified this as a high priority in their transportation planning goals focused on safety, economic development, and community fabric. This area is frequented by shoppers, students, and residents who currently dodge traffic to access the businesses, houses of worship, schools, and community facilities along this commercial district.

Multi-Agency Shared Service Records & Communications Equipment (North Caldwell, on behalf of 12 police departments): Requested Amount: $5,000,000

This funding will support purchasing equipment and software, allowing 12 police departments in Essex and Passaic counties to integrate their records and communications systems. Currently, these departments use multiple platforms that are not interoperable, creating a barrier to better coordination, real-time data and intelligence sharing, and a more efficient use of emergency dispatch resources. When local governments face pressure to keep property taxes low, looking for opportunities to share services with neighboring towns is necessary. The requested funds will support the upfront systems costs needed for an eventual regional dispatch center, saving taxpayer funds while enhancing law enforcement and first responder capabilities. 

Peckman River Bank Stabilization Project (Township of Little Falls): Requested Amount: $4,000,000

On multiple occasions, flash floods caused severe destruction in many riverbank areas, particularly at river bends. The existing conditions leave the area vulnerable to another severe rain event, particularly regarding lives and property. This area includes Passaic Valley Regional High School, which serves students from Little Falls, Woodland Park, and Totowa. The project includes clearing, grading, and stabilizing efforts to prevent further erosion at seven highly vulnerable locations along the riverbank. By funding this project, the riverbank will be stabilized and less susceptible to flooding and damage for years. 

PFAS Treatment (Montville Township): Requested Amount: $5,000,000

Montville Township Utility Department maintains three wells impacted by new EPA regulations for PFAS chemicals. Given the efficiencies that can be met under a single processing plant, MTUD would treat all three wells affected by this new regulation as a single project. The project will help ensure residents access safe and clean drinking water.

PFAS Remediation and Mitigation Project (Pequannock Township): Requested Amount: $3,800,000

A new water treatment facility will be constructed to remove PFAS contamination from the township’s two primary drinking wells. One was preemptively shut down due to public health concerns about high PFAS contamination above the maximum contaminant levels. This has created greater reliance on expensive bulk water purchases from other water systems to meet demand.

Safety Inspection Enhancement Program (New Jersey State Police): Requested Amount: $400,000

The New Jersey State Police has requested this funding to expand their capacity to inspect state-licensed firearm dealers for compliance with state and federal regulations. State firearm dealer inspections are effective at preventing illegal firearm trafficking before it occurs. Through this project, the NJSP will be able to improve its licensee inspection program, with more inspectors and advanced technology, to ensure that firearms dealers are following safe and responsible standards so firearms are not diverted toward illegal activity.

Special Needs Assistance Technology (Essex County Sheriff’s Office): Requested Amount: $375,000

The Essex County Sheriff’s Department, in collaboration with the Essex County Division of Community Health Services, will provide GPS and voice monitoring technology tailored to the needs of individuals with special needs, providing caregivers with tools to ensure their loved one’s safety and security and offering protection from the dangers of wandering. The wearable devices are paired with a mobile app and web portal for caregivers to track and monitor their loved ones in real time. The program provides GPS monitoring, safety alerts, voice monitoring, and school bus monitoring. The project will enhance the safety and well-being of some of our most vulnerable Essex County residents, specifically youth/young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and adults suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other cognitive disabilities.

Key Clubs Highlight Volunteer Work at Kiwanis Breakfast Meeting

PARSIPPANY — Key Club board members and Advisors from Parsippany Hills High School and Parsippany High School joined the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany during their breakfast meeting at IHOP on Thursday, May 30.

The Key Club members enthusiastically detailed their activities and fundraisers for the 2023-2024 service year. These events included reading at elementary schools, creating Valentine’s Day cards for hospital patients, organizing “Halloween at the High,” collecting food for local pantries, donating pet food to animal shelters, and making greeting cards for veterans.

The Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany proudly sponsors the Key Clubs at Parsippany Hills High School and Parsippany High School.

Key Club is a student-led organization that provides its members with opportunities to perform service, build character, and develop leadership skills. Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, Key Clubs are found in high schools and aim to foster a sense of community involvement and civic responsibility among young people.

Reprinted from Parsippany Focus Magazine, June 2024. Click here to view.

Rajendar Dichpally’s Community Involvement Continues with Kiwanis Membership

PARSIPPANY — Rajendar Dichpally has recently become one of the newest members of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany, sponsored by club member Frank Cahill.

Club President Carol Tiesi expressed her enthusiasm, saying, “Kiwanis is something so good that each of us loves sharing it. What better way to show our love for our club and community than to welcome a new member? Today, we’re very pleased to welcome Raj to our club. We welcome Raj to our global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.”

Sponsor Frank Cahill places the official Kiwanis Pin on Rajendar Dichpally, marking his induction into the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany, with Club President Carol Tiesi looking on.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. It is non-religious and non-partisan.

Rajendar Dichpally, a resident of Parsippany for nearly three decades, has been a U.S. citizen for fifteen years. He holds a master’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) and two MBAs (in Marketing and Finance) from India. Rajendar is an active volunteer focusing on strengthening U.S.-India relations and serves on the Board of the U.S.-India Security Council (www.usiscouncil.org) and Diwali at Times Square. He has collaborated with numerous prominent Indian American organizations and contributed to various causes in the USA and India.

Rajendar is married to Manju Latha Dichpally. They have two sons, Mohan and Aryam, who were raised and educated in Parsippany. He looks forward to actively participating in Kiwanis activities and events.

In addition to his volunteer work, Dichpally serves as Secretary for Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development.

The Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany supports ten K-Kids clubs, including those at Lake Parsippany Elementary School, Eastlake Elementary School, Intervale School, Mt. Tabor Elementary School, Littleton Elementary School, Lake Hiawatha Elementary School, Troy Hills Elementary School, Northvail Elementary School, Knollwood School, and Rockaway Meadow Elementary School. They also support two Builders Clubs at Central Middle School and Brooklawn Middle School, two Key Clubs at Parsippany Hills High School and Parsippany High School, and one Aktion Club.

For more information about the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany, contact President Carol Tiesi. Click here to view the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany website.

Resource Realty Welcomes Blair O’Connor to CRE Brokerage Team

PARSIPPANY — Resource Realty of Northern New Jersey has welcomed Blair O’Connor, a seasoned acquisitions executive, to its commercial real estate brokerage platform. O’Connor, the former senior director of real estate acquisitions with Wonder Group, Inc., a tech-enabled company operating within the food-service marketplace, joins Resource Realty as a vice president in its Parsippany office.

Highly proficient in asset management, development economics, capital markets, and structuring commercial real estate transactions, O’Connor has extensive experience representing landlords and tenants.

“Blair is a wonderful addition to our brokerage team at Resource Realty, where we welcome his corporate-client perspective and relationships,” said Tom Consiglio, firm founder and principal. “In addition to offering our clients a unique depth of expertise, combined with an understanding of capital markets and deal structures, Blair will play a key role in advancing each client’s growth strategies – and our presence – throughout New Jersey and New York State.”

Resource Realty of Northern New Jersey, which specializes in dispositions, acquisitions, and leasing of office and industrial/warehouse properties as well as land development, is one of three offices in the state focusing on a specific New Jersey Metro—North, Central, and South Jersey. Each office is independently owned and operated, with the North Jersey branch led by Consiglio since its establishment in 1990.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Resource Realty, where deploying creativity beyond the usual, traditional, or conventional is highly encouraged,” said O’Connor.      

A graduate of Michigan State University with a B.S. in finance, O’Connor launched his commercial real estate career in 2019 after several years as a trader specializing in energy futures, equity and debt markets, and agricultural commodities.

Based in Morris County, Resource Realty of Northern New Jersey is a world-class provider of commercial real estate solutions delivered with a boutique firm’s personalized attention and autonomy. Custom services include sales and leasing, landlord and tenant representation, corporate advisory and consulting, and investment property acquisitions. Founded as part of a collaborative consortium of three like-minded firms, Resource Realty of Northern New Jersey’s 30+ year reputation is rooted in market-specific expertise, a core client base, and the cultivation of long-term industry-wide relationships.

Historic Parsippany Home Welcomes Old-Fashioned Pest Control

PARSIPPANY — When Parsippany’s Livingston-Benedict House was built circa 1752, New Jersey’s native bats were among the few and most reliable mosquito controls. At that time, this property was a refuge to the first elected governor of New Jersey, William Livingston, who might have welcomed the relief on summer evenings, as it would be another 150 years before citronella oil came into popular use.

This week brought a return to tried-and-true insect control to this historic Parsippany estate, currently home to three generations of the Peterson family. Purchased by the 8th-great-uncle of resident Julie Peterson in 1857, this charming property on the National Register has remained in the family since then.  Julie, who grew up in the home, became the owner in 2001 and, with her family (husband Bob, son Mark, daughter-in-law Emily, and grandson James) recently oversaw the installation of a bat nesting box on their 1700s barn in an area identified by the Parsippany Bat Protection Project (PBPP) as potential bat habitat.

The PBPP, an initiative of the Parsippany Green Team, has spearheaded several initiatives to enhance habitat within the Township for New Jersey’s native bat populations and to bring community awareness to the importance of bats in the ecosystem. In October of 2021, the PBPP hosted the first of its kind “Batapalooza and Parsippany GreenFair” at the Parsippany Main Library and followed that with an initiative to plant native vegetation and install bat nesting boxes in Parsippany parks [including Jannarone Park, Volunteers Park, Lake Parsippany Park, and Lenni Lenape Park at Knoll Country Club.] The PBPP hosts annual educational “bat walks” at Wildlife Preserves’ Troy Meadows in Parsippany, with the next Bat Walk scheduled for July 13th, 2024. These events feature a presentation by experts from the Rutgers Wildlife Conservation and Management Program, followed by a walk at dusk to locate and identify bats in real-time.

The Petersons and friends in front of their 1700s barn with newly installed bat nursery box Bob and Julie Peterson; Emily, James, and Mark Peterson; Anita Shotwell, Lisa Plevin. Photo Credit Parsippany Bat Protection Project

Bats are one of the most misunderstood yet essential species on our planet. They perform an invaluable ecological function by eating up to 3,000 insects per bat per night! This dramatically reduces the need for pesticides and produces an estimated value to the country’s agricultural industry of over $22 billion annually. Unfortunately, numerous bat species may face extinction due to the deadly White-nose Syndrome fungus, killing millions of these vulnerable creatures.

This bat nesting box, installed at Peterson’s, was handmade by Whippany Eagle Scout Noah Kaplan, a first-year Environmental and Sustainability student at Cornell University. After years spent on athletic fields, Kaplan had the idea to build bat boxes to solve the insect problem that plagues youth athletes and spectators. He connected with the PBPP and built these nursery boxes last summer, using woodworking plans from Rutgers Wildlife.  Through Cornell’s Outdoor Education program, Kaplan continues to employ the lessons learned as an Eagle Scout both inside the classroom and in the woods. On his college campus, he still encounters bats near the Cornell Arboretum and Beebe Lake.

Back at the Livingston-Benedict House, 11-year-old James Peterson watched excitedly as PBPP members Luca Fariello and Len Cipkins installed the new nesting box on the south-facing side of the family’s 200+-year-old barn. It is hoped that the bat box, with enough room to support a maternal colony of 300 bats, will be discovered and occupied by the resident bat population and used to expand their range of natural insect control on the property. Thanks to the continued care and attention of the Peterson family, who have been home stewards for almost 170 years, it is easy to imagine James there one day with his children, watching descendants of these bats dart across the evening sky. Parsippany is no stranger to progress, but some things cannot be improved.

Click here to learn more about the Parsippany Bat Protection Project, including information on upcoming events.

Luca Fariello installs a bat nesting box on the side of a 1700s barn at the Peterson home in Parsippany—photo Credit: Parsippany Bat Protection Project.
Eagle Scout Noah Kaplan with one of the bat nursery boxes he built and donated to Parsippany’s Bat Protection Project-Photo credit: Parsippany Bat Protection Project
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