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Superintendent of Schools Release Graduation Ceremony Plans

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EAST HANOVER — A message from Superintendent of Schools Maria Carrell

Dear Students and Parents of the Class of 2020:

I hope this article finds you and your families well. Governor Murphy announced the ability for schools to host graduations after July 6. As we are still awaiting specific guidelines from the state, please know that the district is finalizing plans for in-person graduations at both Hanover Park High School and Whippany Park High School the week of July 6. We are in the process of coordinating with our insurance carrier and local authorities and will continue to await additional guidance from the state.

The district will continue to move forward with its virtual graduation process already in effect and confer diplomas on their previously established dates as follows and via the virtual graduation ceremonies:

Whippany Park High School – Thursday, June 25 at 6:00 p.m.
Hanover Park High School – Friday, June 26 at 6:00 p.m.

We are so happy that we are able to have the opportunity to enhance our graduation ceremonies given this new statement from the Governor’s Office.

As further guidance is released, specific information for these events will be forthcoming.

Please continue to stay safe and healthy.
All the best,
Maria Carrell
Superintendent of Schools

It’s official: In-person graduations can now take place

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MORRIS COUNTY — Reconsidering his ban on in-person graduation, Governor Phil Murphy finally decided to listen to New Jerseyans to allow in-person graduation ceremonies, albeit six weeks from now.

Assemblyman Jay Webber has been at the forefront of the “Let them walk” battle because he understands how important this milestone is for New Jersey’s high school seniors.

“It is good to see that Governor Murphy has arrived at the right answer on graduation ceremonies by finally reversing his irrational order against in-person graduations for our high school seniors,” said Webber (R-Morris). “Especially these days, when we all could use something to celebrate, high school graduations as we have come to know them can go on safely and the accomplishments of our state’s graduating classes can be recognized and honored appropriately.  In the process, so many of our 18-year-old citizens discovered that concerted public action – smartly, passionately and persuasively carried out – can achieve great things.  Our high school seniors deserve all the credit for fighting for this, which should make their unique graduation ceremonies even sweeter.”

However, Murphy’s seemingly arbitrary selection of July 6 for the start of the commencement season raised as many questions as it answered said, Webber.

“If ‘data determine dates,’ as the governor so often says, then he has failed to give any data to justify that July 6th is the right date for graduations,” continued Webber.  “It makes no sense.  Smart, properly spaced, in-person graduations can occur safely now, and should.  The governor can’t even let the kids walk without reminding everyone that his, and only his, preferences trump everything else.”

Public support for modified commencement ceremonies has been substantial.

Various online petitions to allow graduation ceremonies, including several started by students themselves, have amassed about 100,000 signatures.

A resolution (AR162) introduced by Assemblyman Jay Webber urging Governor Phil Murphy to allow high school graduation ceremonies garnered bipartisan support and sponsorship, including Assemblywomen Annette Chaparro (D-Hudson), Serena DiMaso (R-Monmouth), Aura Dunn (R-Morris), Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen) and Jean Stanfield (R-Burlington), and Assemblymen John Catalano (R-Ocean), John DiMaio (R-Hunterdon), Christopher DePhillips (R-Bergen), Jamel Holley (D-Union), Greg McGuckin (R-Ocean), Ryan Peters (R-Burlington), Erik Peterson (R-Hunterdon), Kevin J. Rooney (R-Bergen), Gerry Scharfenberger (R-Monmouth), and Hal Wirths (R-Sussex).

Hanover Rotary Delivers Food to Morristown Post Acute Rehabilitation

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Hanover Rotary donated Duncan Donuts Coffee, Donuts to the staff at Morristown Post Acute Rehabilitation and Nursing Center

HANOVER TOWNSHIP — Hanover Rotary made a food delivery to Morristown Post Acute Rehabilitation and Nursing  Center.

The Hanover Rotary Club, founded in 1941, promotes and supports many community and international initiatives through a variety of service projects. For more information click here.

Memorial Day 2020 – Like No Other

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MORRIS COUNTY — This year’s Memorial Day is unlike most of us have ever known, and hopefully unlike any of us will see again.

We are commemorating this solemn day dedicated to the people who gave their lives for American liberty at a time when our nation is facing the most destructive economic and social dislocation since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

Like the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the coronavirus blindsided America with the psychological and economic impact of a military invasion We were caught off guard…all of us. But we did not crumble. We are fighting back, and we are winning.

Like the young soldiers who throughout our nation’s history went off to war to defend freedom, we have embraced sacrifice and suffered casualties during the pandemic. Today our front-line soldiers are nurses and doctors in hospitals and people working nursing homes. Our troops today include the people who keep our supermarkets open, maintain our food supply train, produce medicines, and educate our children.  They answered the call to duty, as we all have.

This response is no accident. The civic DNA of America stems from generations of soldiers, sailors, pilots, and nurses who put their lives on the line to fight tranny around the world. They believed their duty was not to themselves, but to their country and their countrymen. That DNA, that heroism that we commemorate on Memorial Day has been passed down to us today – and we all the better for it.

The spirit of Memorial Day lives with us this year, even if the traditional ceremonies are absent. There will be no parades, fewer ceremonies, and limited celebrations this year. Social distancing is the order of the day now. But no amount of distancing and precautions should cause us to forget to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We can honor them this Memorial Day by working together to defeat the viral enemy that has taken so many lives, destroyed businesses, and disrupted families.

And let us remember too that wars and sacrifice are not eternal. Just a few scant months ago the U.S. economy was booming; unemployment was at an all-time high; people were prospering, companies were hiring, wages were increasing and dreams were being realized.

We can get there again. We will get there again. Because the American Spirit cannot be defeated!

Enjoy Your Memorial Day
BettyLou DeCroce

Drew University Hosts Virtual Commencement

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MADISON — Drew University held a virtual Commencement ceremony full of Drew pride to send off the Class of 2020.

More than 1,000 people checked in throughout the event, watching the live stream or viewing in one of several watch parties, and filled the live chat with congratulations, emojis, and plenty of exclamation points.

President MaryAnn Baenninger began the festivities via Zoom before giving way to recorded greetings and speeches from Javier Viera, vice provost and dean of the Theological School, William W. Landis III C’85, chair of the Board of Trustees and Debra Liebowitz, Provost & Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.

Student speakers Pooja Manhas C’20, Jessica Brandt G’20, and Ama Aidoo T’20—representing each of Drew’s three schools—delivered spirited addresses to their classmates.

Provost Liebowitz encouraged virtual cheers. The Forest heard, and responded. President Baenninger honored the 2020 Teachers of the Year, Brianne Barker (CLA), Kathie Brown (Theological School), and Kristen Turner (Caspersen).

Following a symbolic conferral of degrees, a full roster of graduating students scrolled up the screen as faculty and staff offered shoutouts and words of congratulations, inspiration, and gratitude.

Speeches from Madison Mayor Robert Conley, Board of Trustees member Michelle Hampton C’85 and Bishop John R. Schol gave way to a celebratory tossing of confetti and playing of the alma mater to close out the ceremony.

The deferred in-person Commencement is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, August 1, 2020. A final determination about its viability will be made by June 1.

Sunrise Movement Morris County Endorses Charlie Baranski

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Charlie Baranski

MORRIS COUNTY — The Morris County hub of the national Sunrise Movement has thrown its support behind Charlie Baranski’s campaign for Morris County Freeholder. “We know first hand that Charlie is ready to fight for all of us in Morris County on the freeholder board. Charlie understands that climate change is affecting and will continue to affect every aspect of society. He is committed to bringing bold progressive change to our county and always puts people over profits.” said its members in a statement endorsing Baranski.

“Morris County and Northern New Jersey is an epicenter of the climate crisis,” said Baranski in accepting the endorsement and outlining his environmental priorities. “Our waters and natural resources are suffering, and warmer summers have poisoned Lake Hopatcong, driven up our flood and fire insurance costs, and made it more expensive just to live as we always have. As we prepare for more extreme heat this summer, we need to vote for a genuine climate champion who can stand up for Morris County residents and resources against those who seek to develop or sell off our county parks, or discount the destructive effect the climate crisis has on our residents.”

Sunrise’s endorsement is their first in a county-level race in Morris County and the first of any environmental group in the July 7th Democratic primary for Freeholder. You can learn more about Mr. Baranski’s campaign by clicking here.

Mr. Baranski helped to found the Morris County hub last year and remains a member. He fully recused himself from the whole of the endorsement process, as did hub coordinator Ms. Samantha DiFalco, who holds a position on Mr. Baranski’s campaign.

Front Line Morris and Bednar Landscaping Cleans Pool at St. Peters

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MORRIS COUNTY — Rob Zwigard and Teddy Stanziale, volunteers from Front Line Morris, along with Bednar Landscape Services, Inc. worked very diligently in cleaning up the pool and tuning the filter at St. Peters Orphanage.

The pool hasn’t been open for the adolescent boys for the past few years due to a lack of maintenance of the pool and surrounding area.

Front Line Morris is looking for additional volunteers to help in the final steps of getting the area in shape for the summer months. If you are interested in participating in this or other Front Line Morris volunteer opportunities please email Stanziale01@gmail.com.

To donate to Front Line Morris GoFundMe fundraiser, click here.

St. Peter’s Orphanage is located at 170 Diamond Spring Rd, Denville.  (973) 627-0212.

St. Peter’s Orphanage is a residential treatment facility for adolescent boys, whose parents, for a variety of reasons are unable to care for them. Their boys have mild to moderate emotional, behavioral or social problems Although St. Peters is a residential facility, they work very hard to assure our residents an atmosphere that is truly non-institutional, and more like a large family.

St. Peter’s Orphanage is always looking for donations. Donation Line proudly accepts vehicle donations for St Peter’s Orphanage. We have towing agents in all areas of the United States ready to pickup your car donation ASAP. Non-Running, junk, and salvage cars are also accepted. In addition to auto donations we accept donations of boats, trucks, RVs, motorcycles, jet skis, snowmobiles, planes, and real estate. Click here for more information.

There are many volunteer opportunities for schools, businesses, community organizations, and individuals at St. Peter’s Orphanage. The residence is set on nine acres and houses more than sixteen young men so they can always use landscaping assistance and contracting type maintenance/upgrades in the plumbing, painting, electrical, heating/cooling, and carpentry areas. Community organizations/groups and schools can volunteer time with grounds clean up, smaller-scale on-site projects, fundraising for specific needs related to the residents (e.g., camping/sporting equipment, clothing or furniture, etc.). Corporate sponsorship is another way local, state, and national/international business can improve both the quality of life for these young men and the facility they live in.

St. Peter’s Orphanage also has a wish list that can be ordered directly from Amazon. Click here for more details.

Senate Accepts Pennacchio Call for Special Committee to Investigate COVID-19 Crisis

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Senator Pennacchio, who has been calling for a Senate committee to investigate the state’s pandemic response, thanked Senate President Sweeney and Senate Republican Leader Kean for their leadership after they announced the formation of a special panel.

MORRIS COUNTY — State Senator Joe Pennacchio thanked Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. for allowing the formation of a special committee to investigate the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Pennacchio released the following statement:

“I echoed the same concerns and desires articulated by the Senate President and Republican Leader Kean in today’s announcement. The focus of our committee must be a factual review of what has happened to date, what should not have happened, and how we can make it better going into the future.

“I would hope the Senate would vote to form this committee, with subpoena powers, as soon as possible. I would also hope the committee, like Governor Murphy, will hold its meetings in Trenton, in the People’s House, for all to see.

“The special committee must be able to work in real-time to share its concerns and determine how we can open up our economy and return to normalcy. It must determine how we can better safeguard the lives of our most vulnerable citizens living in long term nursing facilities.

“To that end, I stand prepared to begin work and I challenge the Senate to construct and enable this committee as soon as possible.

“On behalf of the citizens of New Jersey who want answers, I thank the Senators Sweeney and Kean for their leadership.”

CCM to Conduct Online Commencement Ceremony to Honor the Class of 2020

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MORRIS COUNTY — Since County College of Morris (CCM) is not able to hold an in-person commencement ceremony this year, the college will provide the Class of 2020 with a virtual celebration Friday, June 12, at 7:00 p.m. on YouTube.

This year’s commencement was originally scheduled for Friday, May 22, but with the college’s move to a remote teaching and learning environment and the extension of the Spring Semester, the date has been moved to June. More than 1,200 students will receive degrees or certificates this year.

The video will be available on the CCM Class of 2020 website by clicking here.

Rev. Dr. Sidney S. Williams, Jr., an impact investor and practical theologian with more than 30+ years of experience in corporate and community development, will serve as the keynote speaker. Prior to becoming a minister, he worked on Wall Street where he developed a successful track record for managing the research, analysis, and development of sustainable business models for new products and services; participated in over $10 billion in public equity and debt offerings, acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, and intellectual property licensing; and worked for first-tier investment banks.

Williams has pastored churches in Cape Town, South Africa, and trained pastors and served as a missionary on three continents. He currently serves as the senior pastor of Bethel Church of Morristown and has guided the development of the Spring Street Community Development Corporation to improve the quality of life for Morris County families. Programs operated through the community development corporation include Table of Hope, which serves meals five days a week, offers a food pantry and operates a mobile food delivery service, all at no cost; the SOAR program to provide middle and high school students with a pathway to college; and the New Life Recovery & Reentry Program to support those suffering from addictions. He is the author of two books, Morning Meditations: 100 Days to Believing You’re Successful and Fishing Differently: Ministry Formation in the Marketplace.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University, Williams earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and then a Masters of Divinity from the Wesley Theological Seminary. In 2018, he earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Payne Theological Seminary. Like many CCM students, he was the first in his family to graduate from college.

The commencement ceremony will be led by Faculty Grand Marshal Laura Gabrielsen and will feature remarks from President Anthony J. Iacono, who will highlight several outstanding graduates from the Class of 2020. Also providing remarks will be Morris County Freeholder Director Deborah Smith and a member of the CCM Board of Trustees. Serving as the speaker from the Class of 2020 will be Emma Mendoza, president of the Student Government Association during Academic Year 2019-20, who was named to the 2020 Phi Theta Kappa New Jersey All-State Academic Team for her academic excellence. In addition, the 2020 Peace Prize (www.ccm.edu/peace-prize/) will be presented by Professor Laura Driver. A listing of the names of graduates also will be provided, along with the conferral of degrees and certificates and video tributes for each of the academic schools.

To mark the celebration, CCM has developed a lawn sign families can have printed to recognize the accomplishments of their graduate, noting that the Class of 2020 is “Virtually the Greatest Class of All Time.” That can be downloaded by clicking here. Also housed on the website are Zoom backgrounds of the campus that graduates, their families, and friends can use for virtual celebrations. In addition, the college is asking graduates to post photos on its Instagram account,www.instagram.com/ccm_nj, using the hashtag #CCMGrad2020.

The YouTube Class of 2020 video will remain available for viewing following the premiere airing on June 12.

Tricentennial History Found Underfoot

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HANOVER TOWNSHIP — 2020 is Hanover Township’s Tricentennial Year, so you’d think that the “big” things in our Town’s History would be known and well understood.  They are not.  One big thing – well, three of them – are the Brickyard Ponds in Bee Meadow Park.   Between 1880 and 1930 clay from them made tens of millions of bricks.

The memory of the Brickyard hides silently in all the walls built from its bricks.  Rare ones have been found with finger or toe marks left by a workman. Memory is also submerged in large, water-filled holes. These are the remnants of the work done by the sweating men of the Hanover Brick company. They dug clay until the company closed, and the holes filled with water.  We now call them ponds.

Hanover Township is now building a walking trail around the ponds. During construction, a backhoe broke into one of the remaining tunnels in the Brickyard. The tunnel is made of brick, five feet tall, and shaped like a keyhole.  The round sides of each end are foot-wide shelves, two feet high. At the bottom of the tunnel, tracks remain.

These tunnels are mostly remembered by locals as, “there were a lot of them,” and “we played in them as kids.”  No one knows what they were for, how many there were, or where they all were. There are no maps of the Brick Yard, but we are looking for old ones.

Some say the tunnels carried water; or they were used to haul clay from the bottom of the pits. Another idea is the tunnels followed veins of clay. There is also a rumor they were used to bake bricks — but how would this have worked?  The tunnels extend far from the Brickyard’s chimney. Were there multiple furnaces, or just the one?

There are other mysteries associated with the Brickyard. Legend maintains that its clay was both wonderful for brickmaking and uniquely colored.  Does it extend under many of our Hanover Township backyards?

Unknowns also surround why the brickyard closed in 1931. According to legend, the pit got so deep it hit a spring, and the pit filled in overnight and forced the company to close.  How deep are the ponds?  Are there digging machines at the bottom?  More likely, the Great Depression at that time caused the demand for bricks to plummet.

Those who attend Recreation’s summer concerts will see the mouths of two, sealed tunnels remaining on Bee Meadow field. We are told that there once was a vault under the parking lot.   We don’t know — it’s another mystery.

The recently exposed tunnel has been secured for safety reasons, but the Landmark Commission is looking to develop plans to expose it and give a view of a remnant of our history and to remind everyone of time from a past era when a “good job” meant making bricks out of clay. The brickmaking-profession is thousands of years old and even mentioned in the Bible by Moses. Our historic brickyard is ‘modern’ by comparison to biblical times.  You’d think by now we’d understand how ours operated.

Landmark is seeking information from anyone who can solve the Brickyard’s mysteries so that our history will be made clearer. This is not just for our Tricentennial, but also for children in years to come to give them an understanding of our heritage of hard work.

If you have any information that might help the Landmark Commission solve the mysteries of the Brickyard, contact Landmark Chair, Mike Czuchnicki by e-mailing him at MikeCz@bemorebetterbooks.com.

Be sure to check the Township website, and local newspapers for future articles about your community’s historic treasures and plans to commemorate the Township’s Tri-centennial later this year.