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Defendant Sentenced to 9 Years for Eluding Police in a Stolen Vehicle and Receiving Stolen Property

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File Photo

HANOVER — Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Chief of Detectives Christoph Kimker, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, Hanover Township Police Chief Michael Loock, and Parsippany-Troy Hills Acting Police Chief Richard Pantina announce the sentencing of Isaac Zackery-Barnes, 24, Newark.

On September 22, 2020, a Hanover Township Police Officer initiated a pursuit of Zackery-Barnes, after Zackery-Barnes failed to yield to the officer’s commands to pull over what was later discovered to be a stolen motor vehicle from Nutley, Essex County. Zackery-Barnes created a risk of injury or death when he fled the scene, having swerved between lanes of traffic. At times he traveled on the wrong side of the roadway, ran a red light, left the roadway, hit a curb, all before continuing onto an entrance ramp to Route 287, where two tires were subsequently blown out as a result of his dangerous conduct. The pursuit was ultimately terminated in Parsippany-Troy Hills, and the defendant was arrested following a short investigation.

Following the arrest of Zackery-Barnes, members of the Hanover Township Police Department reached out to members of the Morris County Auto Theft Task Force to assist with the investigation, and to coordinate with agencies from neighboring counties as this investigation involved a stolen motor vehicle.

On November 17, 2021, the Honorable Stephen J. Taylor, P.J.Cr., accepted Zackery-Barnes’ pleas of guilt to second-degree eluding a police officer, and third-degree receiving stolen property, for operating the stolen vehicle during the police pursuit. Zackery-Barnes was sentenced on January 20, 2022, to nine years in prison on the eluding charge and four years concurrently in prison on the receiving stolen property charge. Barnes also agreed to pay restitution to the victim.

This resolution was the result of excellent police work by the Hanover Township Police Department, the Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department, the Morris County Auto Theft Task Force, and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Unit.

The prosecution of this matter was handled by Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Kelly of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Special Operation’s Division and Sgt. Thomas Joiner, who directly supervises the County Auto Theft Task Force. The ATTF was formed in 2019 to combat the growing number of motor vehicle thefts in Morris County. The ATTF is operated out of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Special Operations Division which also handled Narcotics Trafficking cases and other organized crime investigations.

Commissioner Director to Address Morris County Business Leaders

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Morris County Commissioner Director Tayfun Selen

MORRIS COUNTY — Director Tayfun Selen of the Morris County Board of County Commissioners will address the business community on “The State of Morris County” this Monday, January 24, at 12:00 Noon. Register for the free virtual meeting of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.

Newly appointed Morris County Commissioner Director, Tayfun Selen (R), is an American success story. He immigrated from Turkey with a degree in architecture in 1996 pumped gas and worked other entry-level jobs before earning an MBA and his CPA license. He became a US citizen in 2008 and today, he is an executive with a major national vocational school group. Selen previously served as Chatham Township Mayor and later filled a vacancy on the Morris County Commission before being elected to a full term in 2020. He has lived in Morris County for the past 23 years.

Presented by the Morris County Chamber Government Affairs Forum & ELC – Chairman: Alan Zakin, Alan Zakin Associates

Click here to register for the event.

Paul DeGroot Announces His Candidacy for US Congress

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MORRIS COUNTY — Former County Prosecutor Paul DeGroot officially announced his candidacy for the New Jersey 11th Congressional District United States House of Representatives. The life-long New Jersey resident will attract new, high-paying jobs while securing federal tax relief to the district, which incorporates portions of Essex, Sussex, Passaic, and Morris County, where he still lives today with his wife Sharon and two young children.

As a long-time supporter of the military and sensible law enforcement, the Republican plans to forge a closer relationship with the defense industry while reducing the burdensome regulations on businesses. His candidacy also intends to promote more opportunities for advancement for women and better treatment for the region’s veterans and seniors.

As a member of Congress, DeGroot will defend the first amendment by supporting a break-up of predatory big tech companies. “ Facebook and Google exert state-like monopoly power over America’s minds, markets, and wallets,” he notes. “The scale on which they operate simply cannot exist in a free society. Also, the United States must withdraw from multinational trade agreements that forfeit our sovereignty to anti-American globalists. Instead, end bad, multilateral trade deals and bring the supply chains home.”

DeGroot’s candidacy was catalyzed by Democratic incumbent Mikie Sherrill’s failure to protect the New Jersey 11th District in two key moments during her tenure. Tropical Storm Ida was one of the deadliest natural disasters for the state in the last century. Yet Sherrill neglected to secure appropriate federal aid for the deluged areas of Morris and Passaic County and beyond even though New Jersey residents routinely step up to support other areas of the country in their times of need.

Meanwhile, Sherrill missed a major opportunity to insist on a full SALT cap repeal in H.R. 3684, the $1.2 trillion Investment and Jobs Act. “New Jersey residents are among the highest taxed in the nation,” he states. “Even if democrats act like they permanently restored tax cuts in the Build Back Better legislations, the fine print reveals they merely raised the deduction cap for a few years before it goes right back to where it is now. Meanwhile, the gargantuan government spending spree that accompanies it reduces the purchasing power of any dollars we do save.”

So whether or not the Build Back Better (BBB) act passes the senate, her previous inaction already cost scores of New Jersey homeowners thousands of dollars annually for the foreseeable future. If it does pass, she will have helped tie just a temporary tax adjustment for New Jersey residents to a partisan, fundamental transformation of America that entrenches a socialist welfare state into society once and for all. “Meanwhile, she continues to support the Biden administration’s runaway spending, which has contributed to skyrocketing inflation and supply-chain breakdown.”

The son of a firefighter, Paul was born and raised in Passaic County where he attended public schools in Clifton. He commuted to Montclair State College before graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in political science. He earned his JD from Widener University School of Law in Delaware in 1993. DeGroot found his calling as a prosecutor for the State of New Jersey. “For 25 years, it was a beautiful career,” he states. “I learned how to debate, argue, persuade, and negotiate. I did close to a hundred trials and resolved thousands of cases.” DeGroot ultimately was promoted to Chief Prosecutor for the Homicide, Narcotics, and Internal Affairs Corruption units.

“This district deserves to have the best Republican representative in Congress and the one who has the best chance to beat Mikie Sherrill in November,” DeGroot declares. “The person that’s going to go on the offense; who knows how to cross-examine, knows how to debate, and knows how to build consensus. That’s been my job for 25 years. I’ll bring that energy and dedication to Congress to fight for this district every day.”

For more information click here.

Murphy Administration Launches Development of $1 Billion Water Infrastructure Investment Plan

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Governor Phil Murphy

MORRIS COUNTY — New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette today announced the launch of the state’s Water Infrastructure Investment Plan. This innovative effort aims to better understand and resolve water infrastructure challenges plaguing New Jersey communities and utilities through short- and long-term investments that will create good-paying jobs while delivering safe, reliable drinking water, reducing flooding, and improving the quality of New Jersey’s waterways.

Over the next three months, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank) will engage with a broad array of stakeholders in developing the Water Infrastructure Investment Plan (WIIP) parameters for the first of a five-year period. Direct engagement with communities and utilities about their water needs and challenges will enable DEP to set project priorities and establish the funding packages that will best support water system operators in upgrading drinking water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure throughout the state.

The WIIP will be fueled by new federal funding under the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and continuing state appropriations championed by Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature.

“This Water Infrastructure Investment Plan reaffirms our commitment to modernize New Jersey’s aging water infrastructure and deliver safe drinking water to our residents,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This once-in-a-generation opportunity allows New Jerseyans to participate in the planning process to shape and better their communities through these investments. I am grateful for the work of President Biden and our Congressional delegation to ensure that New Jersey receives billions of dollars for these critical water infrastructure projects while advancing environmental justice.”

DEP Commissioner LaTourette

“By coming together to shape the Wastewater Infrastructure Investment Plan, we can better deliver what New Jersey residents deserve and expect: safe drinking water when they turn on the tap, streets, and businesses not so easily overcome with floodwaters, and waterways that are clean and vibrant,” said DEP Commissioner LaTourette. “This is our moment to make once-in-a-generation investments that will create jobs improving our public and environmental health while motivating long-term term growth in communities that our infrastructure investments will uplift and support. My DEP colleagues and I are inviting every New Jersey community and water utility to join us in this exciting work.”

“Investing in New Jersey’s water infrastructure supports healthy, thriving communities while protecting the environment and creating good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a historic opportunity to Build a Better America, especially for overburdened and underserved communities. The law provides the largest ever investment in water and I applaud Governor Murphy’s leadership in putting these dollars to work where they’re needed most. EPA encourages all communities to invest in long-term health protections through water infrastructure, and we look forward to continuing a strong partnership with New Jersey and all states to get this right.”

U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

“Modernizing New Jersey’s aging water infrastructure is not only critical to protecting the health of our families and our environment, but it also creates jobs and helps lay the foundation for future economic growth,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “I was proud to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill that delivered this critical funding and applaud Governor Murphy and Commissioner LaTourette for their commitment to investing in New Jersey communities.”

“This historic investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help strengthen and modernize our state’s water infrastructure so that we can create new, good-paying jobs, ensure we are delivering safe drinking water to every home, and protect our coastal communities from the climate crisis,” said 6th District U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone. “As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I fought to ensure that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided significant funding to remove toxic lead service lines and clean up PFAS contamination from our water. I look forward to seeing this in action as we work together to bolster economic growth and make sure that every household can trust the water coming from the tap.”

District U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr.

“Our communities here in New Jersey and across America will benefit tremendously from upgraded water infrastructure,” said 9th District U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. “For too long, outdated sewer and drinking water systems have posed a risk to public health and safety. Today’s massive investment will help our kids access clean and safe drinking water, improve the quality of our rivers, streams, and beaches, create union jobs in New Jersey and help alleviate what is an expensive burden on our local governments. This is all thanks to a Democratic Congress and Biden Administration focusing on bringing our nation’s water systems into the 21st century. I look forward to working with DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette and Governor Phil Murphy to ensure these federal funds will reach the intended communities and support upgrading our water infrastructure, especially in North Jersey. These resources will be put to good use to make our communities more resilient, bolster the Biden Boom. This environmental investment is incredible news for New Jersey and for our nation.”

Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill

“The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is bringing federal dollars back to New Jersey and putting them directly to work in our communities,” said 11th District U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill. “Critical water infrastructure concerns around flooding, harmful algal bloom remediation, clean drinking water, and PFAS are top of mind for local officials in my district, and I appreciate that the NJDEP and the Governor have visited our communities with me to hear these concerns as well and are continuing this stakeholder engagement with the process outlined today. I look forward to offering any support I can to the development of the Water Infrastructure Investment Plan being launched today to ensure we translate this law into real, tangible change for New Jersey families, which will go an incredibly long way in ensuring that our region is safer and more resilient for decades to come.”

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is a big win for New Jersey, and I am proud to have played a key role in helping shape and pass this once-in-a-generation legislation. This investment will directly make progress on the concerns that I regularly hear from parents — that they are concerned about lead and other forever chemicals in their children’s drinking water. We cannot afford to take these risks with our children and students — the stakes are simply too high,” said 5th District U.S. Rep Josh Gottheimer. “Now, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, we will finally have the critical resources we need to help ensure that we have clean drinking water all across our state.”

“I’m proud to have worked on and passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that is now funding these vital clean water projects that will bring relief to families across New Jersey said 3rd District U.S. Rep. Andy Kim. “My family and my neighbors know the challenge of being unable to trust the safety of the water coming out of the faucet. From lead pipe replacement to eliminating PFAS chemicals from our drinking water, I’m thrilled to see these funding opportunities coming together quickly. Not only will the projects create good paying local jobs, but they will secure our state’s water infrastructure, so families know the water coming into their home is safe.”

“My community’s way of life depends on efficient and effective water infrastructure,” said 2nd District U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew. “It is time for New Jersey and the United States to invest in critical infrastructures like water treatment and stormwater management systems. I will do everything I can to make sure we strengthen South Jersey through these investments.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the single largest investment in our nation’s water infrastructure ever, providing New Jersey with $169 million this year for drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater infrastructure improvement projects. This is the first of five years of investment through the law.

Further supported by corollary state investments, these funds will spur the construction of projects that better protect drinking water supplies, ensure the delivery of clean drinking water to all New Jersey communities, and reduce the risk of exposure to lead and synthetic chemicals that can impact the safety of our drinking water. The funding will also improve our community’s resilience in the face of increasing precipitation, extreme weather, and flooding by right-sizing stormwater infrastructure. The funding will also improve the quality of New Jersey’s lakes, rivers, and streams through upgrades to wastewater infrastructure, including long-deferred improvements to combined sewer overflow systems, the pollution from which disproportionately impacts underserved communities.”

This funding will support federal and state priorities to help communities replace lead-containing water service lines, reduce pollution of waterways from combined sewer systems, harden critical infrastructure to climate change, adapt and modernize stormwater management systems to a changing climate, improve wastewater treatment plants and their collection systems, and help public water suppliers to install treatment systems to address threats from emerging contaminants such as per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

“This year’s budget included record investments in our communities, few of which will have a more profound impact on the people of this state and the places they call home,” said State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. “Treasury stands ready to work with DEP to facilitate the funding needed to help our partners in local government deliver clean, safe drinking water, bolster our stormwater infrastructure, and improve our resiliency in the face of ever-increasing storm severity.”

“The quality of one’s water should never be a consequence of their location, vocation, or pigmentation. At a time where there is such division in our direction in terms of voting rights, police reform, student loan debt cancellation, and more, it’s refreshing that water can be a conduit for a consensus, said NJSC NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Chairman Marcus Sibley. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a declaration that water, free of lead and pfas is a right and an acknowledgment that until now far too many Americans have been wronged. This is a tremendous step towards us truly becoming a great country, for all.”

“Everyone – regardless of their income level or socioeconomic status – deserves the right to have access to clean drinking water,” said 7th Legislative District Senator Troy Singleton. “That is why over the past several years, I have worked tirelessly with my legislative colleagues and the Governor to promote environmental justice and upgrade, modernize and safeguard New Jersey’s water infrastructure. It is our hope that through the adoption of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, New Jersey will make significant investments in our state’s water infrastructure so every one of our residents will have access to safe drinking water.”

“For far too long, we have seen a critical need for investment in water infrastructure across the country,” said State Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz. “When considering the importance of collaborative planning and essential investment, it’s worth amplifying the example that our state set through supportive efforts on every level to aid Newark’s robust lead replacement line program. I applaud federal leadership for delivering on an over $50 billion investment for a nationwide overhaul of outdated and deteriorating service lines.”

“It’s no secret that New Jersey’s water infrastructure is outdated,” said 14th Legislative District State Senator Linda R. Greenstein. “We’ve taken great strides in the last few years to invest in our drinking and stormwater infrastructure, reduce exposure to lead and other pollutants, and protect the many bodies of water in this coastal state. But this cannot be done without a strong partnership between the federal government, the State, and the local communities impacted most. With the help of the Water Infrastructure Investment Plan, we will be able to replace lead service lines throughout the state, invest in the longevity of our water infrastructure, and ensure that drinking water will be safe for all New Jerseyans for decades to come.”

“Clean water is an essential right for every New Jerseyan. From replacing lead service lines to restoring our coastal estuaries, the BIL will make the most significant investment in water infrastructure in American history,” said 18th Legislative District Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak. “Our communities must be made safer and healthier by eliminating hazards like PFAs and controlling stormwater runoff. We are in a great position to leverage BIL funds through the NJ Infrastructure Bank, an essential component of the Water Infrastructure Investment Plan.”

The DEP is kicking off the WIIP development effort with a series of stakeholder sessions beginning January 24 that will gather input from interested parties on the broad goals of WIIP. The sessions will help the DEP develop criteria for prioritizing drinking water and clean water infrastructure projects to be funded through an initial investment of $169 million provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The process will culminate in the adoption of a WIIP for State Fiscal Year 2023/Federal Fiscal Year 2022.

For a series of introductory videos and other information click here.

The trillion-dollar Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, known more commonly as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, was signed by President Biden on November 15. This sweeping legislation provides federal funds to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, railroads, and water infrastructure while advancing environmental justice and tackling climate change – core principles of the Murphy Administration.

The DEP and the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank) work closely on innovative funding programs that provide low-interest but high-impact options for local communities and utilities to meet their drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater infrastructure needs. In Governor Murphy’s first term, the DEP/I-Bank program facilitated more than $2 billion in water infrastructure projects. This highly successful effort has made more than $7.6 billion in investments possible since 1987, saving ratepayers $2.76 billion in financing costs.

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for communities to invest in the health and economic well-being of their constituents for years to come,” said David Zimmer, Executive Director of the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank. “With the influx of federal funds into the DEP over the next five years combined with what are still historically low-interest rates, there has never been a better time for stakeholders to get engaged, to provide feedback on the State’s plans for these funds, and to participate in the DEP/I-Bank Financing Program. We look forward to working with our partners at the DEP to facilitate these informative WIIP sessions.”

“While a meaningful increase in low-cost financing for water infrastructure projects across New Jersey will be available shortly, strategic investment of new and existing funds is necessary given the overwhelming needs our communities have,” said Dan Kennedy, Senior Director for Environmental and Utility Operations with the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association. “New Jersey’s State Revolving Funds have evolved into a national model for success and are built to efficiently deliver from an administrative perspective. That said, DEP is rightly opening opportunities for the public to provide input on priorities so that this generational investment opportunity in clean water construction is targeted to projects and places that need it the most. I encourage all that have a stake in seeing our water infrastructure assets upgraded to meet the needs of the future to engage through these upcoming meetings and other public comment opportunities with clear, actionable input for DEP to consider.”

“This new funding has the potential to help every community turn the corner on intractable obstacles to affordable, safe drinking water, flood protection, and clean waterways,” said New Jersey Future Managing Director of Water and Policy Chris Sturm. “We urge all water stakeholders to get involved with the DEP’s Water Infrastructure Investment Plan and offer practical solutions to leverage funds, lower costs, and prioritize environmental justice.  Ensuring clean water for all New Jerseyans is everyone’s responsibility, and we all have a stake in a healthier future.”

For 2022—the first of five allotments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – New Jersey will receive:

  • $73.3 million for any eligible Clean Water State Revolving Fund project
  • $30.6 million for any eligible Drinking Water State Revolving Fund project
  • $48.3 million to address drinking water lead service line replacements
  • $12.9 million to address contaminants of emerging concern, such as PFAS in drinking water
  • $3.8 million to address contaminants of emerging concern in wastewater.

During the forthcoming engagement sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to share their water infrastructure needs and challenges and shape WIIP, criteria including project priority rankings, affordability criteria, funding packages, and project types that qualify for principal forgiveness. The sessions will also include discussions on the allocation of principal forgiveness and funding packages to address lead, PFAS, climate change, and sea-level rise.

The session schedule is as follows:

  • Elected officials, including mayors and county officials, on January 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Register here.
  • Potential applicants, professional organizations, and other agencies, January 24, from 1:00 p.m. to 3;00 p.m. Register Here.
  • Environmental Justice advocates, non-governmental organizations, and interested members of the public, January 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Register Here.

Ai Sakae Asian Cuisine: Chinese, Thai and Sushi

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Ai Sakae Asian Cuisine is located at  970B Tabor Road, Parsippany

MORRIS COUNTY — Have a craving for Asian food, but the family cannot agree on what kind? Someone wants Chinese, another wants Thai, and then someone else is really in the mood for Sushi. Dilemma solved!

Dine-In, Take-Out, Contact Free Delivery (Grubhub), BYOB, and Catering. Special Requests Taken for Food Allergies. Off-Street Parking Lot, Open 7 Days a Week.

Joining the eclectic Parsippany culinary scene this past November 29, despite all the unpredictable and challenging issues facing small businesses, was a very welcomed new addition to our community, Ai Sakae Asian Cuisine. Ai Sakae, an attractive, classy-looking, glass-fronted building nestled in the Tabor Road Plaza, a small strip mall on Tabor Road, also known as Route 53. Ai Sakae’s cordial manager, Lynnsie, who was kind enough to spend time answering my many questions, explained that the name comes from “Ai,” a Chinese word for love, and “Sakae” a Japanese word for prosperity. And despite its Morris Plains address, this great new venue is in fact situated in the Township of Parsippany.

The seating area at Ai Sakae Asian Cuisine

This family-owned and operated eatery, owned by Ken and Cindy Chen, is not an Asian fusion restaurant, nor is it strictly a sushi restaurant, even though their sushi and sashimi selections are excellent. Ai Sakae’s menu interestingly consists of a wide variety of authentic selections and modern interpretations of classic dishes from China, Japan, and Thailand. Not to forget a wide selection of sushi and sashimi choices artfully prepared and presented by the restaurant’s extraordinarily talented and skilled sushi chef, Ai Sakae’s owner Ken.

Ken Chen’s culinary journey includes many years in the restaurant industry, sharpening his skills and mastering the different food preparation styles, cooking techniques, and various nuances common to the three diverse cultures to ensure authentic dishes, before he and his wife, Cindy, opened their former restaurant, Mintea in Cedar Knolls, an Asian eatery utilizing the same multi-Asian menu concept that we now find in Ai Sakae.

For first-timers, or those not familiar with these cuisines, there are a lot of unfamiliar words, flavor combinations, and ingredients to wrap your head around, but no fear, the staff at Ai Sakae will be more than happy to answer any questions and/or offer recommendations if requested.

Ai Sakae is small in size, with only 10 or 12 tables and a standalone sushi bar with several seats, but it gives the impression of being welcoming, cozy, comfortably spacious, and airy once inside. Newly renovated (formerly part of a neighboring business) the atmosphere and ambiance provide a comfortable, casual (with a touch of semi-elegance), well lighted, and thoughtfully decorated dining room. The warm orange walls adorned with a few tasteful paintings, offset with brown leather wall accents, and tiled walls, all work well together to create the proper mood. Immaculately clean, small wood-grained laminated tables, soft black leather chairs, and well-appointed tables set with chopsticks, soy sauce, and Ai Sakae’s extensive menu, complete the initial introduction to Ai Sakae.

Pat Minutillo, Cindy Chen, Lynnsie and Chef Ken Chen

I arrived with several friends, and we were immediately greeted and seated by our attentive and well-humored waiter, Stanley. We never felt rushed and were able to enjoy some of our culturally appropriate BYOB while we perused the menu. Since Ai Sakae is a BYOB, I brought along some Orion, a Japanese lager with a bit of a punch and a depth of flavor. Mike F. went with Japan’s most popular beer, Sapporo, while Mike Z. went Thai with Chang, a full-flavored subtle lager. Dennis preferred a non-alcoholic house Thai Iced Tea.  As a special treat, the restaurant sent over a well-appreciated complimentary plate of delicious sushi pizza, a crispy, yet chewy, fried rice patty topped with avocado, salmon, tuna, or crab meat, and drizzled with blended mayonnaise and wasabi mix.  First time I have had it and it was a treat. Great start!

Our group decided to start off with some shared appetizers. First to arrive at our table was one of the Sakae Special Rolls, the Ridgedale Roll.  Filled with crunchy spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, and cucumber with soy paper, topped with avocado, caviar rice, and crunchy yellowtail, and then topped with five diverse kinds of fish and special sauce. It was as good as it sounds.

Ridgedale Roll

For first-timers, or those not familiar with these cuisines, there are a lot of unfamiliar words, flavor combinations, and ingredients to wrap your head around, but no fear, the staff at Ai Sakae will be more than happy to answer any questions and/or offer recommendations if requested. Remember that while it is true that China, Japan, and Thailand share some ingredients, some methods, and some ideas about food (like using an abundance of fresh ingredients), their cuisines are distinctly different, and Asian cuisine is unique in comparison to various parts of the world.

Tempura Shrimp and Tempura Vegetables arrived next. The deep-fried tempura batter covering the elongated shrimp, and veggies, had a super crispy texture and was full of flavor, and perfectly complemented with an accompanying dipping sauce.

Love Boat

The “Love Boat” sailed in next. Ten pieces of sushi, six kinds of sashimi, and a love roll. The fish was so fresh it could have just come out of the Ocean. As we dabbed the wasabi with our chopsticks and quickly devoured the abundant assortment of spicy tuna, salmon, striped bass, yellowtail, roe, fluke, white fish, and more, we were beginning to wonder if our mouths were bigger than our stomachs, but we soldiered on.

Mike F. enjoyed an aromatic bowl of sour, salty, and spicy Tom Yum Seafood Soup as we pondered over our choice of entrees. This went on for a while, as one might expect based on the vast selection of mouth-watering choices listed on the menu.

Hunan Style Chicken; a favorite Chinese American stir fry made with juicy

I finally settled on Mongolian Beef, which came with a choice of white or brown rice (I went with brown), and a side of Miso Soup. The beef had a mild taste, as Mongolian beef should have, and came with those trademark green onions and sauce. Mongolian beef has a complicated sweet and spicy taste and can or cannot be spicy hot. The dish was scrumptious, but the next time I will ask them to punch up the heat index, as I tend to prefer very spicy food. The Miso Soup was savory with a nice umami flavor. You could taste the fresh ingredients in every bite.

Shrimp with Garlic Sauce

Others in the group, for their entrees, went with the Hunan Style Chicken; a favorite Chinese American stir fry made with juicy, thinly sliced chicken breasts and veggies, in a dynamic savory sauce; and the Teriyaki Chicken, grilled chicken lacquered with a sweet soy teriyaki sauce; and a specially made order of Shrimp with Garlic Sauce. You have to love the healthy and light appearance that dominates Japanese cuisine. I should mention that the presentation of every dish was artistic and tantalizing. You could clearly see the effort put into the careful preparation of every serving. As they say, “food presentation is the key to pulling all five senses into the experience of eating.” The consensus was that everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meals, as well as the sincerely warm hospitality and truly professional service by the entire restaurant team. Very pleasant culinary experience, but unfortunately, not one of us had any room left for their tempting, decadent desserts.

Teriyaki Chicken, grilled chicken lacquered with a sweet soy teriyaki sauce

So, when that craving for Asian food kicks in, I would highly recommend giving Ai Sakae a visit. I am confident you will enjoy it as much as I did. And please remember to continue to support all our local businesses. It is appreciated!

Quote from Ai Sakae Asian Cuisine’s Website:

“The key to our success is simple: providing quality consistent food that tastes great every single time,”

“I think it’s important to be open-minded and expand. Be adventurous with your palate and you’ll come across a lot of good people, good food, remarkably interesting cultures.” Vietnamese Chef, Vy Nguyen.
Dine-In, Take-Out, Contact Free Delivery (Grubhub), BYOB, and Catering. Special Requests Taken for Food Allergies. Off-Street Parking Lot, Open 7 Days a Week.

Ai Sakae Asian Cuisine is located at  970B Tabor Road, Parsippany. (Morris Plains, NJ 07050) – (973) 998-8818 www.aisakae.com

Hyatt Regency Morristown Unveils Multimillion-Dollar Renovation

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Hyatt Regency Morristown

MORRIS COUNTY —  Hyatt Regency Morristown, one of the area’s premier downtown hotels for business and leisure travelers, unveils a reimagined hotel experience following a multimillion-dollar renovation. Designed by Gensler, a global architecture and design firm with a Morristown office, the hotel debuts today a complete transformation of the property’s guestrooms, lobby, food, and beverage offerings, and indoor meeting spaces. The property is located in the center of Headquarters Plaza, which is a multifaceted mixed-use development comprised of the hotel, three office towers, a gym, restaurants, and covered parking, owned by the Olnick Organization and Fisher Development Associates.

Lobby with Lounge

“We are thrilled to announce the completion of an extensive renovation project at our downtown hotel,” said Jeff Babcock, general manager of Hyatt Regency Morristown. “The renovation was thoughtfully designed by Gensler, our neighbors here in downtown Morristown, to incorporate the unique and rich history of our local area. The newly renovated property features a modern colonial theme, which can be observed throughout all aspects of the property. We can’t wait to introduce the reimagined Hyatt Regency Morristown experience to both travelers and the local community.”

Lobby and Public Spaces
The hotel’s lobby has been redesigned to incorporate distinctive elements of Morristown’s unique history. Two Mediterranean-inspired trees are the focal points upon arrival inside the hotel’s main entrance, which is backdropped by a dramatic fireplace fixture and lush greenery. The public spaces have also been outfitted with modern furnishings that feature brass tones and various shades of blue, symbolic of officer uniforms from the American Revolution. The refreshed lobby area also includes new carpeting, lighting, and artwork.

Food and Beverage Offerings
Hyatt Regency Morristown’s revamped dining experience includes an updated lounge with evening food service and a new grab-n-go food market and café offering a variety of healthy and hearty snacks. The lounge has been completely transformed to provide an open and spacious seating area featuring 30-foot windows that provide expansive views of downtown. In addition, the hotel bar has been reoriented to face the entryway and offers updated seating and lighting to create a welcoming atmosphere.

“To create an accessible, hospitality-driven destination for both guests and the Morristown community, we reimagined how the lobby can be experienced and enjoyed throughout the day,” said Siobhan Barry, design director at Gensler. “The café is now part of a new grab-n-go food market, and the lobby bar is relocated closer to the street for better visibility and ample natural light. The interior reflects Morristown’s revolutionary ties with a modern colonial aesthetic.”

King Room

Guestrooms and Corridors
Distinctive hallway carpeting designed to mimic the topography of New Jersey farmlands leads guests to their rooms. The hotel’s double rooms have been converted to queen rooms with two queen beds, and king bedrooms have been outfitted with modern glass showers. The guestrooms also feature a “show closet,” a luxury, open concept closet with concealed lighting, in addition to contemporized bathrooms.  The hotel’s 50 studio suites were redesigned to provide more spacious accommodations with comfortable and well-appointed seating areas including sleeper sofas.

Hyatt Regency Morristown Terrace

Meeting and Event Spaces
The property’s 31,000-square feet of conference space has also been updated, including flexible meeting rooms and the Terrace and Plaza Ballrooms. Groups will also have the availability to host events at a brand-new outdoor venue at the adjacent Pioneer Park courtyard beginning in April 2022. The hotel’s former restaurant was also converted into a new meeting venue and all spaces include updated lighting, new furniture, and modern artwork.

Nearby Proximity to Premier Attractions
In addition to the updated accommodations and guest experiences available at Hyatt Regency Morristown, the hotel is in close proximity to more than 40 restaurants, shopping, and entertainment venues.  The hotel also offers guests complimentary access to the adjacent Crunch Fitness, one of the largest fitness facilities in Morristown, with state-of-the-art cardio and weight equipment.

Several nearby attractions also showcase the area’s history. Travelers can experience Fosterfields Living Historical Farms, a 200-acre farm that produces a historical reenactment of farm life as it was done more than 100 years ago. Just a short drive away is the Schuyler-Hamilton House, the Historical Speedwell, and the Morristown National Historical Park, which features George Washington’s headquarters and more than 24 miles of hiking trails that explore the area. The property is only a 30-minute drive from Newark Liberty International Airport and a one-hour train ride to New York City.

For more information or to book a stay at Hyatt Regency Morristown, click here, or call (973) 647-1234.

Eugene J Sullivan, Teacher at Ridgedale Middle School in Florham Park for 38 years

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Eugene James Patrick Sullivan

BOONTON — Eugene James Patrick Sullivan, 74, of Kinnelon, formerly of Boonton, suddenly passed on Friday, January 7, 2022.

Gene was born in Morristown to James and Margaret Sullivan, raised in Boonton, and graduated from Morris Catholic High School.  He earned a BA from F.D.U. and his MA from William Paterson.

He loved to teach art to his students at Ridgedale Middle School in Florham Park for 38 years. Gene was the beloved softball and basketball coach to many. After his retirement from the Florham Park Board of Education, he was a substitute teacher for the Kinnelon Board of Education for several years.

Married to the love of his life, Virginia “Ginny” (nee Colvin), they shared memories to last a lifetime.  Together they raised their sons, Ryan and Kevin in Kinnelon and enjoy their families including three grandchildren.

Gene loved playing the drums and was always active in local bands and venues that are far too many to list or remember!  His music career started with Harmony Senior Drum Corps of Boonton and ended with the Another Time Band.

He also enjoyed nature and the outdoors.  He loved the lake as well as the shore.  In his semi-retirement, he became a wonderful cook and culinary epicurean.  Gene loved to create beauty in the art of music but he also painted and made ceramic pottery.  Some people may still have his works from craft shows.

Surviving is his beloved wife, Ginny; devoted sons and their wives, Ryan and Nicole, Kevin and Jennifer, adored grandchildren, Jane, Beck, and Caelynn. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his sister, Maryann (Barnish) Kaszak.

Relatives and friends are invited to visit with the family on Thursday, January 13 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Dangler, Lewis & Carey Funeral Home, 312 West Main Street, Boonton.  We will meet at Our Lady of the Magnificat R.C. Church, 2 Miller Road, Kinnelon on Friday, January 14 at 10:00 a.m. for the Liturgy of Christian Burial.  The interment will follow at Our Lady of the Magnificat Cemetery in Kinnelon.

*The family requests for all to wear masks and social distance at the funeral home and church for everyone’s safety.*

In lieu of flowers, donations to Gene’s beloved Harmony Senior Drum Corps,  P.O. Box 296, Boonton, NJ 07005 or Samaritan’s Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607 (www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/donate-online) would be deeply appreciated.

Area Students Included in MPAC Music Students of the Month

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PARSIPPANY — Students from schools in Parsippany, Florham Park, Chester, Jefferson Township, Morristown, Whippany, Mt. Arlington, and Madison have been named as Mayo Performing Arts Center’s January 2022 Music Students of the Month – Outstanding Percussionists.

The students will receive a certificate for their honor from MPAC and will be featured on the Music Student of the Month page on the MPAC website.

Students were nominated by their teachers and were chosen by the Theatre’s Education Department based on their commitment to and excellence in the performing arts. The Theatre will honor a group of students every month throughout the season and invites area teachers to nominate students for this honor.

The 2021-2022 Music Student of the Month program is supported by The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Foundation, Inc.

Kendra Brooks

Grade 8, Ridgedale Middle School; Florham Park; Nominated by Michael Leone

Kendra is currently an 8th-grade percussionist at Ridgedale Middle School. She has been with us since sixth grade. March 2020, during her sixth-grade year, we closed our school building and went fully virtual. Our instrumental music program was fully virtual through the remainder of her sixth-grade year and her entire seventh-grade year. Despite these obvious and enormous challenges, Kendra has shown diligence and respect for her craft well beyond her years. She is a strong and reliable leader in our 7th/8th Grade Band and always strives to help others succeed, as well as lead by example. Our instrumental music program is very successfully beginning its climb back from more than an entire fully virtual school year, and Kendra Brooks is one of the reasons for that success.

Calyb Craig

Grade 8, Black River Middle School; Chester; Nominated by Dr. Kenneth Piascik

Calyb Craig is the definition of a well-rounded, dedicated, and talented musician. A “Complete” Percussionist!  Mr. Craig joined our music department in the sixth grade and has continued to develop our program above and beyond.  His energy, positive attitude, helpfulness, leadership, and passion inspire us all. Not only is Mr. Craig in the full band, but he also participates in our Honors Percussion Ensemble, “Encore” Jazz Ensemble, Theory Program, and is a top member of our “Music Level System.” Where there is music at Black River, you will find Mr. Craig close by.  One of the great parts of being a teacher is listening to my students talk about their passions in life.  This has given me the chance to experience some amazing people and achievements. Mr. Craig cares deeply about our world, other people’s feelings, and improving everyone’s quality of life. He extends this kindness to our community and the members of the band respect and considers him to be a great leader.  Calyb Craig is without a doubt an “Outstanding Percussionist”, and I am very proud to be part of his musical journey.

Michael Dalessio

Grade 12, Jefferson Township High School; Oak Ridge; Nominated by Dan Gugger

Michael Dalessio is among the top percussion students I have worked with within my career.  He has all the traits of someone who can enter a successful career in performance. He is a fantastic reader and player of battery percussion and drum kit.  He recently made the rounds on social media playing quints upside down in our marching band. Mike is consistently accepted in external ensembles like County, Area, and Region Band. He is a section leader in every area of our music program and sets a great example for his peers. I highly recommend Mike Dalessio for Outstanding Percussionist!

Dean Dooley

Grade 9, Delbarton School; Morristown; Nominated by Andrew Lyman

Sean is a fantastic person and a highly skilled percussionist at a young age. At the start of the year, all students auditioned for seating in our music ensembles, and Sean became the principal percussionist in our High School Band. Throughout the past few months, Sean has been extremely reliable, trustworthy, and helpful. He works hard to learn his music as soon as possible and lends a helping hand to the other percussionists in his section. Sean is very confident in his playing and always strives to help make the other musicians around him better. He is a true leader and it is a pleasure to have him in our ensemble.

CJ Guarente

Grade 8, Mountain View Middle School; Florham Park; Nominated by Michael Leone

I am nominating CJ Guarente for Music Student of the Month because he is a great example of a music student and learner, and just a wonderful young man with qualities that the world needs more of. CJ is motivated to learn. He takes ownership of his musical growth. He doesn’t wait for instruction to come to him; he identifies what he needs to improve on and reaches out to ask for help. CJ is self-disciplined and very consistent; he always showed up for virtual lessons during the pandemic, on time, and well prepared. He takes instruction well and applies all that is taught to him. He has taken on the challenge to become a well-rounded percussionist learning not only snare drum, but mallet instruments, drum set, and every other percussion instrument as well. Slow and steady, little by little has shown that small gains made consistently add up to amazing progress. This year CJ is participating in the All-District Honors Band and is auditioning for Regions Band. He also pursues high-level private instruction. CJ is a fine musician, but more important than that, a fine young man with a wonderful attitude, a kind heart, and an unflappable positive attitude that will take him far in life.  If only adults could be as self-composed as CJ is at such a young age. The world needs more people like CJ and it is for this reason that I nominate him for Music Student of the Month.

CJ Guarente

Grade 8, Mountain View Middle School; Florham Park; Nominated by Joseph Stella

Darian is an eighth-grade percussionist who has shown tremendous growth in concert band during the past two years making him one of our top players. In addition to building on his musical skills, he has really improved his attitude toward music.  This year, he has also taken on the challenge of being the drum set player in our school’s jazz band.  He would be a fitting recipient of the Outstanding Percussionist recognition.

Gerard Palmieri

Grade 7, Mount Arlington Public School; Mount Arlington; Nominated by Dr. Michael Aberback

Gerard Palmieri is an exceptional percussionist and band member. He has been a dedicated and enthusiastic member of my band program for the past four years. He currently plays in our school Concert Band and Percussion Ensemble. In order to participate in these ensembles, Gerard attends before-school morning rehearsals three times a week. He is never late for rehearsal, has not had a single unexcused absence this year, and he always arrived prepared and excited to play. Gerard is a well-rounded percussionist. He is an excellent drum set player as well as a talented mallet player. He has a very solid sense of tempo, a good ear, and strong technique. Gerard is hard-working, good-natured, and well-liked by his peers. He is a pleasure to work with the band. I think he would greatly enjoy as well as benefit from seeing the Stomp show at MPAC as we are currently working on a Stomp-style piece for garbage cans in a percussion ensemble. It is without hesitation that I nominate Gerard Palmieri for the Music Student of the Month Outstanding Percussionist award

Jimmy Scholz

Grade 12, Whippany Park High School; Whippany; Nominated by Carl Sabatino

Jimmy has shown continued growth from his time as a freshman until now. His passion for percussion as well as his drive to improve make him a fine student musician worthy of this honor. As a leader, he is determined to leave the percussion section better than he found it. He has both the patience to work with the younger students and the technique to teach the older ones. He is always the first person at every one of our rehearsals and is among the last to leave. He does everything that needs to be done so that the members of his section have the best chance to succeed. I highly recommend Jimmy Scholz.

Meredith Weiner

Grade 12, Madison High School; Madison; Nominated by Russ Batch

Meredith is one of the best percussion students I have had in 26 years of teaching. Not only does she take her own craft seriously, and rise to the occasion for all forms of percussion playing, but she takes her relationship with the other students in the section seriously as well. Meredith can often be seen helping those that need extra assistance with rhythms, or techniques. Students seek her out with questions about music or how to maintain instruments. Meredith, in addition to being our leader in Marching Band, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, is also involved in an entire host of outside-of-school percussion activities that allow her to grow her skill and knowledge of the instruments.

Mayo Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich, and educate the diverse population of the region and enhance the economic vitality of Northern New Jersey. The 2021-2022 season is made possible, in part, by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support received from the F.M. Kirby Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. Mayo Performing Arts Center was named 2016 Outstanding Historic Theatre by the League of Historic American Theatre and is ranked in the top 50 mid-sized performing arts centers by Pollstar Magazine.

Jeffrey Gallup named to President’s List at Coastal Carolina University

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Coastal Carolina University

BOONTON — Nearly 1,000 students were named to the President’s List at Coastal Carolina University for the Fall 2021 semester, including Jeffrey Gallup, a Theatre Arts major from Boonton.

Coastal Carolina University is a dynamic, public comprehensive liberal arts institution located in Conway, located just minutes from the resort area of Myrtle Beach, S.C.

CCU offers baccalaureate degrees in 95 major fields of study. Among the University’s graduate-level programs are 27 master’s degrees, two educational specialist degrees, and doctorates in education and in marine science: coastal and marine systems science. CCU boasts a growing array of internship, research, and international opportunities for students, as well as numerous online programs through Coastal Online.

More than 10,400 students from across the country and around the world interact with a world-class faculty and enjoy a nationally competitive NCAA I athletic program, an inspiring cultural calendar, and a tradition of community interaction that is fueled by more than 180 student clubs and organizations.

Click here for more information.

Andrea Martone: Giving It All When It Comes to Giving Back

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Andrea Martone

MORRIS COUNTY — Andrea Martone, a top New Jersey Realtor® and the owner of Realty Executives Platinum Agents, has an unquenchable passion for real estate combined with compassion for her community… and both of those qualities are evident through her dedication to both her clients and community service.

Martone was raised in Parsippany, as was her partner, Paul Cristelli. She has called Rockaway home in the past and currently resides in Denville. Today, she proudly boasts that she has been a Morris County resident for over 45 years. To Martone, real estate is more than helping clients buy and sell homes – it is about cultivating thriving communities and forming relationships with thousands of neighbors that call these communities home.

Martone began her real estate career 21 years ago and immediately began sponsoring charity events to promote her new business and expand her contacts. Her participation in Morris County events quickly led to invites to food drives, fundraisers for animal shelters, and more. She discovered that charity events were a great way to authentically connect with various members of the community and saying ‘no’ was not an option. The deep ties Martone developed with the community helped her become a true neighborhood expert and advocate.

“I believe that when you put out positive, positive things come back. These communities have been so supportive of me, my family, and my business over the years; the communities trust us. I want to do anything and everything I can to reciprocate that,” says Martone.

While Martone’s career has evolved over the years from agent to top producer to brokerage owner, her commitment to growing the community has not waivered. She is a longtime active member of the Elks Club in Parsippany, participating in the Ladies Auxiliary. The auxiliary hosts fish fry dinners, garage sales, raffles, and social events to raise money for initiatives such as Camp Moore, a vacation away from home for children with special needs.

Recently, both Martone and Cristelli joined the Kiwanis Club of Denville. Their work with the club helps raise money for various children’s initiatives through awards dinners, pancake breakfasts, paper shreds, and more. They also participate in the Denville library’s trunk or treat, safe and fun activity for local children.

But Martone and Cristelli cannot stop with one or two clubs when there are more communities to serve.  The team sponsors trick-or-treat trails in Boonton and Rockaway and volunteer in the Parsippany Food Truck Festival supporting Parsippany Kiwanis.  They participate in the Denville Fall Festival benefitting the fire department, and Parsippany’s trunk or treat. They have become the local go-to Realtors® when it comes to service, filling nearly all their non-business hours with events to benefit the neighborhoods they love. “We have so much fun that time truly flies by at each of these outings. We love catching up with everyone, seeing their kids grow, and having a great time together,” says Martone.

The project nearest and dearest to Martone is the Pink Witches Night Out. This Denville-based fundraiser occurs annually in October and supports breast cancer awareness. Deemed “New Jersey’s best girls’ night out for a great cause,” this year’s event benefited a 29-year-old local woman with stage three breast cancer. Attendees don witch hats with pink ribbons to honor cancer survivors, current warriors, and family members.

“The importance of giving back to the communities where you live, work, and play cannot be understated,” says Patrick van den Bossche, president of Realty Executives International. “Our Executives are attracted to real estate because it provides a tremendous opportunity to serve others, especially beyond a transaction. The Martone Team recognizes and understands that charitable service strengthens the community from the inside out, making a lasting impact.”

Stay tuned for Martone’s upcoming community activities, including Platinum Agents’ fundraiser for a local food pantry, complete with pictures with Santa.  To learn more, visit MartoneTeam.com or connect with her on Facebook.

A Note About Andrea Martone
Andrea Martone is a top-quality real estate professional who possesses a high level of integrity and knowledge of the community to serve all your real estate needs. Her market awareness, coupled with marketing savvy, effective negotiation skills, and personal guidance, are exactly what is needed to navigate the real estate market. Andrea provides top-quality customer service by putting her clients first. She keeps herself accessible, response to her client’s needs, is an effective communicator and is an excellent listener. She also provides real estate information and listings on her Twitter page and her Facebook page.

This “client first” philosophy has always been Andrea’s approach and requires her to continually improve her skills and ways of doing business. Additionally, she has found that the latest technologies enable her to provide efficient service to buyers and sellers.

Martone has earned the Circle of Excellence Award each year for the past 20 years and has achieved the Platinum Circle of Excellence Award, the pinnacle accolade for Realtors® in New Jersey, for the past four years.  She has been in the top one percent of New Jersey Realtors® since 2005. For more information, visit martoneteam.com.

Reprinted from Parsippany Focus Magazine, January 2022. Click here to view the article.

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