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Local News | Parsippany Focus - Part 573
Sunday, June 23, 2024
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CCM and Send Silence Packing to Give Faces to College Suicide

RANDOLPH — Just be happy. Stop feeling that way. It only happens to “those” people.

These are just some of the comments of misconception when it comes to mental illness. They are the sort of comments that can prevent helping those who eventually commit suicide, the second leading cause of death among college students nationwide.

Misconceptions and stigma are something County College of Morris (CCM) is hoping to combat when Send Silence Packing and its powerful images come to the college’s Randolph campus, 214 Center Grove Road, on Thursday, April 30, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with a candlelight vigil to follow.

The event is an award-winning national public exhibit of 1,100 backpacks representing the 1,100 college students who die by suicide every year. It is a program of Active Minds, the leading national nonprofit organization working to engage students in the conversation about mental health. CCM is the first New Jersey community college to host the event.

ccmsilenceTo give a “face” to the lives lost, personal stories and testimonies written by families and friends accompany the backpacks.

“The impact is immense, as it puts a visual in people’s minds about what 1,100 really means,” says Joanna Leyko, of Landing, a CCM nursing student and the president of the college’s Active Minds chapter. “It means a large number of college students commit suicide each year.

“Our hope is it can change the perception on mental health. If people read the personal stories, they’ll see that it’s not just people who they believe are stereotypical who suffer, but everyone in all walks of life.”

Passersby will be invited to walk among the backpacks and read the stories of those who died. In addition, CCM’s Active Minds will hand out literature on mental health, suicide prevention and where to seek help.

“Send Silence Packing will give people a better understanding about suicide and mental illness,” says Jennie Abat, of Hackettstown, a liberal arts major and the vice president of CCM Active Minds. “Since mental illness is invisible to people who don’t suffer from it, this type of illness does not exist because there is no proof that is visible to justify it.”

The powerful outdoor exhibit sheds light on college student suicide and promotes a healthy dialogue around mental health. Statistics show more than half of college students have had suicidal thoughts and 1 in 10 have seriously considered attempting suicide.

CCM counselors will be on hand for those who feel they need to talk to someone. Representatives from the New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse and the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance will also be on campus.

“The misconception that those who suffer mental illness are weak is a dangerous one,” says Shelsey Vazquez, a liberal arts major who leads the public relations for CCM Active Minds. “These are real people who suffer. There are individuals behind it.”

A candlelight vigil will be held at the end of the event, featuring co-founders of Attitudes in Reverse (AIR) Tricia and Kurt Baker as guest speakers. The vigil begins at 7:00 p.m. and will take place in front of the flagpole outside of the Student Community Center, with a rain site in the center’s lobby. The Bakers lost their 19-year-old son, Kenny, to suicide. Experiencing judgement and stigma about their son’s mental illness themselves, they wanted to create an organization to educate others on mental illness.

Send Silence Packing is co-sponsored by the CCM departments of Campus Life, Counseling and Student Success, and Special Events. The event came about after CCM Active Minds applied to the organization’s national chapter to have the event come to the college during its northeastern tour.

“We felt it was important to try to host Send Silence Packing here to bring people’s attention full force on the subject of mental health awareness,” Leyko says.

The club members say they are proud to be making history at New Jersey community colleges, and hope that it will encourage more to host the event and call attention to mental health awareness.

Greater Morristown weekend preview: From Francis Albert to Pope Francis, art walks to AIDS walks

Compiled by Kevin Coughlin From Francis Albert (Sinatra) to Pope Francis, from Art Walks to AIDS Walks, from Beach Parties to 5Ks, Greater Morristown has plenty to offer this weekend. Looking for Great Conversations? You can find them, too. Scroll down for all this and more. And if you crave even more activity, see our handy…

Freeholders Celebrate Month of May as Older Americans Month

MORRISTOWN —The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders will be celebrating the month of May as Older Americans Month.  “May is set aside each year to honor and recognize older Americans for the contributions they make to our families, communities and society,” said Theresa Davis, Director of the Division of Aging, Disabilities, and Veterans.”

“Our senior citizens have contributed so much to our community that its important we remember to salute their achievements,” added Morris County Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo.

In anticipation of Older Americans Month, Morris County Freeholder Hank Lyon, liaison to the Department of Human Services, took time at the Freeholder’s April 22 meeting to highlight some of the county’s ongoing initiatives for senior citizens.

“The county has made a concerted effort over the past year to increase the operational and financial efficiencies at the Morris View Healthcare Center,” commented Freeholder Lyons.  “As a result, Morris View continues to be a home for a number of our most vulnerable senior residents. In addition, the Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance is one of the leaders on reducing the backlog of Food Stamp and Medicaid cases.”

Statewide, counties are experiencing backlogs after the State’s expansion of Medicaid.  These backlogs place a burden on the community, with seniors representing a large number of those affected.  In his remarks, Freeholder Lyons applauded the State for exploring the hiring of the Xerox Company to help process the Affordable Care Act application backlogs throughout New Jersey. Morris County maintains a high standard of efficiency with regard to Food Stamp and Medicaid eligibility processing in the State, at times beating State averages and surpassing Federal standards and the County will continuously strive to achieve a standard of excellence in this area.

Morris County also continues to provide hundreds of thousands of meals annually to seniors through the Meals on Wheels program. These meals are served at both nutrition sites across the county and at home to homebound seniors. The County will be holding a number of special events during May to celebrate the occasion.  More details will be made available shortly and can be found on the County website at http://www.co.morris.nj.us/.

The lights come back on at the former Revel, owner says

Nearly three weeks after the former Revel Casino Hotel went dark, the new owner of the boardwalk resort said that electricity has been restored. “There’s power on,” Florida developer Glenn Straub said Wednesday. ACR Energy cut off utility service to its sole customer two days after Straub’s Polo North Country Club closed on a deal to…

Westwood DWI driver clocked at 120 mph on Route 80 during Elmwood Park chase

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Westwood man fleeing Elmwood Park police drove drunk at speeds of up to 120 miles an hour on Route 80 last night, at times using the shoulder, before he became stuck in traffic, authorities said. Pursuing officers kept the vehicle in site before Vincent J. Giovanniello got stuck at the…

Enter to win: See Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at NJPAC

NEWARK — The balance and grace of one of America’s most successful dance troupes will sweep through Newark this Mother’s Day weekend, and here’s your chance to score some tickets. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company will perform Friday night at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and we are giving away three pairs of tickets…

Home health aide sentenced to three years for Medicaid fraud

TRENTON — A home health aide who pleaded guilty to submitting phony claims to Medicaid for patients he never saw was sentenced to a three-year prison term Wednesday. Anatoli Rountsev, 53, of Totowa was one of six employees from the Confident Care Corporation nabbed in the scam, according to an announcement from acting Attorney General John…

Want to be a Little Vikings Cheerleader? Registration will be held in May

PARSIPPANY — Registration will be held  for Little Vikings Cheerleaders at Parsippany Hills High School, 20 Rita Drive, Room D-36 on Wednesday, May 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturday, May 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Open to all girls in the PHHS sending district for grades 1 though 8 in September 2015.

Cheerleader (must be present for uniform fitting)

  • Completed registration form (download from website by clicking here)
  • Registration check for $150.00
  • Work bond check for $100.00 dated for November 1, 2015.
  • Proof of residency and copy of birth certificate for all new cheerleaders

Please make all checks payable to LVF Cheerleading

Please take note that if your child cheers, this should be their only fall sport.

For additional information or questions contact Maureen by clicking here.

Mission Statement
Little Vikings Football Cheerleading program is dedicated toinstilling firmly in the children of the community the ideals of good sportsmanship, honesty, loyalty, courage and respect of authority.  This program will give all children the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of cheerleading, regardless of ability, sex, race or religion.  Little Vikings organization as a whole provides continuity of teaching, strategies, and code of conduct for their football players and cheerleaders that prepares them for their high school career.

Valley National Bank to host Identity Theft Awareness Event

PARSIPPANY — Valley National Bank announced that it will host an Identity Theft Awareness Event on Saturday, May 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Parsippany branch, located at 800 Route 46 West, in the Arlington Shopping Plaza. This event is partnered with USA SHRED, which will provide an on-site truck to shred personal and confidential documents, at no cost, to help customers avoid becoming victims of identity theft.

Residents from the community are encouraged to bring documents such as old bank statements, checks, income tax returns, credit card statements, etc., that can be shredded on-site, for free. Staff members will discuss effective measures that can be used to reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft.

The event is also hosted by the Parsippany-Troy Hills Volunteer Fire Department District 5. Children will get a free tour of the firetruck and receive a hat.  Parents will also learn about fire safety tips.

For more information about this event, contact Branch Service Manager at (973) 263-0600. For information about similar events, click here.

Valley National Bancorp is a regional bank holding company headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey with $18 billion in assets. Valley National Bank is one of the largest commercial banks headquartered in New Jersey and is committed to providing the most convenient service, the latest in product innovations and an experienced and knowledgeable staff with a high priority on friendly customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For more information about Valley National Bank and its products and services, click here or call Customer Service, 24/7 at 800-522-4100.

Christie not concerned over Bridgegate probe or report that former ally Wildstein may plead guilty

NEW BRUNSWICK — Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday said he’s “not the least bit concerned” about the federal probe into the George Washington Bridge lane closure controversy that’s rocked his administration. The governor, speaking to reporters in New Jersey for the first time in months, also refused to speculate on the outcome the probe just as…

Christie pal to plead guilty, report says

David Wildstein, the former ally and classmate of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will plead guilty on Thursday, according to a report this afternoon in Bloomberg.

The report says Wildstein may be cooperating with prosecutors investigating the traffic jams he ordered near the George Washington Bridge.

For the full report, go here.

Talk of impending indictments have been occurring for weeks. One Parsippany Focus source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said charges would be made public as early as tomorrow .

Increased law enforcement leads to quiet night in Baltimore the day after riots

National Guard members, state troopers and Baltimore Police patrolled Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Tuesday.

Dozens of Guard members and police were stationed outside of the National Aquarium, the Cheesecake Factory and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! museum. Crowds along the promenade were lighter than normal, but several people walked, pushed strollers and ran along the scenic route.

A city-wide curfew went into effect at 10 p.m. on Tuesday; the curfew is schedule to last one week.

baltimore3The relatively quiet night spurred business owners to launch a petition asking Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to lift the curfew.

According to the petition: “With National Guard, we feel safe. With a curfew, you will do more damage financially to our bars & restaurants than rioters will do. In this month, we have to deal taxes, license renewals, and more. Now you are cutting businesses, employees ability to recover. We have insurance for vandalism, not loss of revenue. Please lift the Curfew for at least Over 21. We are adults and can make our own choices.”

Wednesday’s Orioles vs. White Sox game is being played in a nearly empty ballpark; the game was closed to fans.

According to a team announcement: Due to circumstances involving riots and protests in the city of Baltimore, today’s Orioles-White Sox game will begin at 2:05 p.m. ET and be closed to the public. In addition, this weekend’s games against the Rays, originally scheduled to be played at Camden Yards, have been moved to Tampa Bay.

baltimore2Orioles pitcher Zach Britton told Focus that the decision was correct and that pulling law enforcement resources away from the important task of protecting the city would not have made sense. Britton currently has 4 saves and 12 strikeouts for the last place Orioles.

Near-perfect spring weather in Parsippany today before slightly cooler temperatures arrive

Spring weather in New Jersey doesn’t get much better than it will be Wednesday. Then conditions take a bit of a slight turn for the worse on Thursday and Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Enjoy today though — it will be sunny and warm with highs in the mid 70s, though it will be…

Four Parsippany Schools Join In With Acclaimed Composer, Musician Mark Miller

Mark Miller
Mark Miller

PARSIPPANY — Thanks to a grant by the Parsippany Education Foundation, Central Middle School Choral teacher Adam Aguanno has made arrangements to bring renowned composer and musician and Drew and Yale Universities Choral professor Mark Miller to Parsippany to work with and inspire all chorus students from Central Middle School, Brooklawn Middle School, Parsippany High School and Parsippany Hills High School, on Friday, May 1.

Approximaely 350 students and their choir teachers will come together at Parsippany Hills High School to spend the afternoon participating in workshops and rehearsing with Mr. Miller and his group of musicians.

Mr. Mark Miller believes passionately that music can change the world. He also believes in Cornell West’s quote that ‘Justice is what love looks like in public.’ His dream is that the music he composes, performs, teaches and leads will inspire and empower people to create the beloved community.

Support from the Parsippany Education Foundation has also allowed the commissioning of a new song written by Mr. Miller specifically for the PTHSD students. Lyrics for this newly commissioned piece were developed using poems and essays written by select student participants across the district. The song will be premiered and performed by these 350+ PTHSD students under the direction of Mr. Miller and his musicians in a culminating concert that will take place on Friday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m., at the Parsippany Hills High School Auditorium.

The concert will also include performances from each of the four schools. All parents and community members are welcomed to attend the concert.

This is an exciting opportunity for the district’s choral students and their teachers to join in this music collaboration, benefit from the expertise of and be inspired by Mr. Mark Miller and his musicians, and celebrate the talent and gifts of the PTHSD students.

For more information on Parsippany Education Foundation, click here.

Morris County Young Republicans hosting State Convention

stateconventionThe Morris County Young Republicans will host the Biennial NJ Young Republican State Convention at the Hyatt in Morristown, said Gary La Spisa, Chairman, Morris County Young Republicans.

 Tickets for the event are $125.00 which includes the open bar and welcome dinner at Pazzo Pazzo on Friday, May 1 as well as breakfast and lunch during the convention on Saturday, May 2. 
If you can’t join us for the convention, you can purchase a ticket for the event at Pazzo Pazzo for $50.00. 
After the convention you can join the group for the annual MCYR Spring Stroll starting at 6:00 p.m., just in time for the Kentucky Derby!  
Tickets for all events can be purchased by clicking here.
You can find more information about the convention by clicking here.
The MCYRs is planning to send out weekly “Volunteer Call” emails throughout the rest of the primary election season.  Any local, county or state candidate who is seeking volunteers should send an email to morrisyr@gmail.com.

All emails should include: candidate, meeting place, task, contact person and contact email or phone number.  The Morris County Young Republicans DOES NOT endorse candidates in primaries. 
Emails will include any Republican candidate who submits a request and will be organized by office and listed in the order in which they were received.

Sections of Smith Road temporarily closed this week

PARSIPPANY — Smith Road will be closed between East Halsey Road and Westminster Drive on Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Detours signs will be in place and the routes are listed below:

  • Vehicles driving south on Smith Road will have to make a right onto East Halsey Road and take the second left onto Westminster Drive, which brings you back to Smith Road.
  • Vehicles driving north on Smith Road will have to make a left onto Westminster Drive, which will bring you to East Halsey Road. Once there you will make a right turn which brings you back to Smith Road.
  • Vehicles traveling eastbound on East Halsey from the Jefferson Road area that need to take Smith Road southbound will need to take Westminster Drive to the end and turn right onto Smith Road.

As a reminder Westminster Drive has a 25 mph speed limit and East Halsey Road has a 30 mph speed limit.

Anisha Shah was inducted into Rho Chi, the Academic Honor Society in Pharmacy

Anisha Shah
Anisha Shah

PARSIPPANY —Anisha Shah, a 2011 graduate of Parsippany Hills High School, was among the newest members in 2015 from University of the Sciences inducted into the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy Alpha Tau Chapter of Rho Chi, the Academic Honor Society in Pharmacy. The Rho Chi Honor Society recognizes and encourages academic excellence.

Shah is doctor of pharmacy student. 

To be nominated for membership in Rho Chi, a student must rank among the top 20 percent of his or her class and have completed at least the fall semester of their fourth year.

The society also accepts membership for graduate students, faculty, alumni, as well as an honorary membership. New members are inducted into Rho Chi during the spring semester of each year.

University of the Sciences has prepared students to be leaders and practitioners in the healthcare and science fields for nearly 200 years. Key to our distinctive education is a tradition of hands-on research and experiential learning that is evident in every graduate who has walked its campus.

Since its founding in 1821 as Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, the first college of pharmacy in North America, USciences has grown to more than 30 degree-granting programs from bachelor’s through doctoral degrees in the health sciences, bench sciences, and healthcare business and policy fields. Discover how USciences students are proven everywhere they go at usciences.edu.

7 of the 10 counties in America with the highest property taxes are in N.J; Morris included

It’s no secret that New Jersey homeowners are hit with some of the highest property taxes in the nation. But just how high, relative to other parts of the country, might be a bit of a shock. A typical homeowner in Bibb County, Ala., paid just $228 in property taxes in 2013, according to an analysis…

1 receipt, 2 shopping carts, nearly $500K in losses for Home Depot

NEWARK — A Bloomfield man was sentenced to three years probation Monday for scamming Home Depot out of nearly $500,000 with an elaborate ruse prosecutors say was carried out hundreds of times at stores in New Jersey and along the East Coast. Daniel Chalet, 29, pleaded guilty in January 2014 to conspiring to commit wire fraud…

Convicted burglar from Hopatcong, found hanging from tree in Washington state

YAKIMA, WASH. — A man found hanging from a stranger’s tree earlier this month in Yakima, Wash. was identified Monday as a 39-year-old Hopatcong man who was previously convicted of breaking into a woman’s Rockaway home and attacking her boyfriend. Mike Bastinelli, a spokesman for the Yakima police, told NJ Advance Media that police received a…

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