My Paper Online Online Local Community News for New Jersey Sun, 19 Jan 2020 17:43:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Norman Dean Home for Services are Ready When Your Family Needs Them Fri, 17 Jan 2020 19:55:12 +0000  

By Steve Sears

Norman Dean and his wife, Carolyn, opened in 1957 not just a funeral home, but a special place for those who are mourning a beloved family member be comforted in a place that could be (and is) a ‘home.’”

62 years later, son and co-owner Tom Dean, as well as fellow co-owner David Milne, still echo and live that past and assure that same care, love, and respect reign today for folks in Denville, Rockaway, Parsippany, Mountain Lakes, Boonton, Morris Plains, and the surrounding area who come with their needs to Norman Dean Home for Services.

“Dad always wanted it to be an atmosphere where people could feel comfortable coming in like it was their own home,” says Dean, “because back in the early 1900s, everything was done in someone’s home. My dad was all about service – hence the name Norman Dean Home for Services. It wasn’t about selling products; it was helping families go from the loss to the burial and moving on from there.”

Care, comfort, understanding, and guidance at a critical time, and the knowledge that there are no cookie-cutter funerals. “Guidance is extremely important because people don’t know what they want, they have no idea,” says Dean. “They just go by what they’ve seen, and find out later and say, ‘Wait a minute, let’s talk about this before you actually say that’s what we’re going to do.” Let’s find out what the family wants. With one family you could have two or three different ideas. So that’s when we have to sit down and explain things to people and let them know what they can do.”

Dean then alludes to the key thing. “It’s about family. We all create relationships with the families. It’s about trust, and how they can trust us. A lot of times we create relationships with them that last for years.”

Milne has grown up in and is now a partner in the business. As Dean in 1986 took over from his parents, he as he retires has passed the baton to Milne, knowing the Norman Dean Home for Services is in excellent hands. “I learned when I came here that a lot of the stuff that I learned in the school – meaning merchandising – kind of went out the window, and I was kind of happy about that,” affirms Milne. “Like Tom said, it’s not about products but caring for people. Once I learned that, I felt immediately comfortable that I was in the right place.”

“David and I,” says Dean, “share the same values that my parents and I had and have, so it was important that we do this (the partnership) correctly. It took a year and a half, but it was good for David, it was good for me, and it was extremely good for the community because it keeps the same atmosphere. This isn’t just a business; we are part of the community. We go out, we give talks, we give advice, we have people stop in and talk to us about pre-arrangements, and we understand the laws because that’s our industry.”

Dean also relates an example of the special Norman Dean Home for Services personal touch. “We bring ideas to the families. Making things personal; doing things that they don’t think they’d be allowed to do or ever would’ve thought of. We’ve always been focused on what the family’s needs are, and it’s been expanded to a little more about celebrating that person’s life by introducing into the funeral home itself parts of what that person did in their life.” One example was a woman who died many years ago, the family commenting constantly about her love of baking. Milne approached a friend who owned a store and borrowed a brand-new oven, placed it next to the casket in the funeral home, collected all the recipes the family agreed to share, “and people walked in and there it was,” says Dean. “These represent what that person meant to the family, and it doesn’t cost anything. It’s free.” And it’s the difference. “My employees are into listening to what the family tells about the deceased. They go out of their way to make it special so that all of their friends and relatives look at it and say, ‘Wow! That’s amazing.’”

“We celebrate and give nothing but 100% service and guidance to the family.”

Norman Dean Home for Services is located at 16 Righter Avenue in Denville, and can be reached by calling (973) 627-1880, or via email at Visit for more information.




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Faith Kitchen Feeds the Souls of the Needy Fri, 17 Jan 2020 19:40:35 +0000 By: Megan Roche

On East Blackwell Street in Dover, you’ll find a warm meal and a side of hope with a visit to Faith Kitchen. Located at 123 E. Blackwell Street (Trinity Lutheran Church), there is always a warm meal at lunchtime from 11:30-12:30 and positivity to be found for all in the community.

Faith Kitchen was started back in 1983. In 2005, it became its own 501c3 charity and still operates upstairs inside of Trinity Church. They serve a nice lunch 6 days a week to anyone in need, no questions asked. The line forms at their door by mid-to-late morning in anticipation of doors opening at 11:30 a.m.  No matter what the weather is, people are out there waiting. Those who come are hungry, tired, cold and wet. The outside elements wear them down. Some standing on the line outside the door have waited tirelessly because this will be the only meal they’ll eat today.

Currently the kitchen is fully covered when it comes to groups or community organizations who want to serve meals, but the team can always use donations or benefit from fundraisers.

According to Executive Director of Faith Kitchen, Joanne Bleecker, “We have groups that come in each day to serve. They bring food, cook, serve and clean up. Since we do have a regular volunteering schedule of faith groups that serve here, we are blessed that we do not need to seek out individual volunteers for cooking and serving. What we need is volunteers to run paper drives for us. Any item collected helps to save us money and goes a long way in helping us feed those in need.”

After Faith Kitchen closes down for the day at 12:30 p.m., Edna’s Haven, a program of the Mental Health Association of Morris and Essex counties opens upstairs from 12:30-4:00 p.m. Edna’s Haven helps people get referrals for services. Once a month, the Zufall Mobile Medical Van also visits Faith Kitchen to help those on a limited income receive access to the medical care they need.

Bleecker, who has served as executive director for Faith Kitchen for 4 years, worked in corporate America in computer science. She has been a CIO and COO for midsize multi million-dollar companies. However, when she took over at Faith Kitchen, she discovered something close to her heart.

“The most rewarding part is making a big difference in someone’s day. It’s a joy and a blessing to get to know the people that come through our doors. Everyone has a life story.  Listening to their stories, struggles and triumphs are critical in truly understanding their challenges. Empathy is always the first step toward developing a deeper, sincere desire to help. I am amazed every day by their resilient spirit.” Bleecker said.

While the kitchen is about community, that’s what also stemmed from the organizations need for a new logo. Wanting to get the community involved in its creation, they reached out to County College of Morris’ Art and Design department.

“We worked with Professor Yvonne Bandy, M.A., M.S., Associate Professor, Liberal Arts Division, Art & Design Dept. at CCM.  We received 17 entries from her students and chose the design created by 21 year old student, Sebastian Torres. We asked for both a black and white entry as well as 2-color to be used for a future t-shirt fundraiser and other media uses.  We felt it was a great opportunity to get local college-level art students involved in a charitable organization and they were able to design for a ‘client.’  We were so impressed with the creativity and the thought put into this project by these students.” Tammy Roselle, a Faith Kitchen board member said.

Working at a food kitchen may be taxing for some, but for Bleecker, this is one labor of love, one she personally understands.

“At this point in my career, I was drawn to the goodness and importance of nonprofit work. My parents are first generation Americans, and both knew what it was like to be hungry, so this cause is personally important to me. They taught me the true value of a meal, of a kind word and of extending a helping hand. I do my best to fulfill that purpose each day here.”

To learn more about Faith Kitchen, visit

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Project Help: A Key to Helping New Jersey’s Veterans on the Homefront Fri, 17 Jan 2020 19:05:44 +0000 Project Help: A Key to Helping New Jersey’s Veterans on the Homefront


By: Megan Roche


For Sandy Mitchell, beginning Project Help in 2016 was one of those lightbulb-going-off moments. After losing her husband to suicide after he came back from the Vietnam War, she picked up the pieces for her children. She attended school in the evenings and worked a full time job to support her family. She found that she loved helping others, but was never truly satisfied.


“I started this by myself and was determined that no matter what, this was going to be successful. I wanted to accomplish our mission, no matter what it took. My husband got out after 11 years in the military and when I lost him to suicide, I had three kids. It was also a real learning point for me, dealing with a tragedy. From losing him, I really had to make a decision of where my life was going to go. I could either pick up the pieces and move forward and create a life for myself and my kids or I was going to become a victim and be a complete and utter failure in my life. I really recreated my life after losing him,” Mitchell said.


With many stints with other non-profits and through starting some of her own, her true passion in life was unlocked when she created Project Help. Project Help is designed to help veterans in need. Mitchell helps connect veterans to all sorts of organizations who can help with lawyers, mental and physical health issues, housing, and more. Project Help also offers financial assistance to New Jersey veterans who qualify.


“I am supposed to do this because of what happened in my life. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I have made tons and tons of contacts. I have grand visions of things to come and I am really excited about the organization. I have a good group of people who I work with and I think that we are all on the same track that we want to help veterans get through some of their darkest days and prevent as much tragedy in their lives as we can,” Mitchell said.


Project Help recently launched their Mobile Closet initiative. The mobile closet serves as a resource to veterans and their families. The converted school bus drives around the area and finds itself mainly outside colleges and career fairs to offer free interview clothing and career advice to local veterans. The bus also houses computers and printers for creating and printing resumes. The bus was unveiled in late 2019.


“It’s been an amazing ride right now. We have people calling left and right who want to volunteer or get involved. After launching the bus, it really became a launch pad for us. We have been getting a good bit of recognition lately, and it’s been really good for us,” Mitchell shared.


In addition to their mobile closet, they also host many fundraising events throughout the year. In December, the team works to collect Christmas cards for veterans and toys for children of veteran families. Many people comment on Project Help’s website about what the organization has meant to them.


Project Help has been a huge blessing for me, after going through a couple of challenging years of losing everything and having no place to live. When I finally got my apartment, Project Help paid one month’s rent for me. Not only was PH ready to help but Sandy put me in touch with people/organizations ready to help a Veteran in need. I’m so grateful for PH helping me at a pivotal, intricate time. Especially during the time when many of the larger organizations declined to help. Something that I will never forget about Project Help is that Sandy got to know me personally and she was able to connect me with amazing people who were eager to help me and go far beyond the call of duty. As a Veteran, it is important for me to know that Project Help is supported and able to continue their work, because they truly have a heart to help Veterans. Sandy, thank you times a million!” Rita, an Army veteran, posted on their website.


Mitchell’s work has become fulfilling for her in the best of ways. She is there for veterans, whether they need someone to vent to or by helping those veterans navigate problems in their life, she feels that she still has much to offer to these men and women who give their lives to defend our freedoms.


“Life is full of choices and you have to decide where you want it to go and what you want to do. I like to help these veterans come up with a plan for their lives. If you help one person, you have done good, and there is always more good to be done in this world,” Mitchell said.


Project Help is always actively seeking new volunteers to join their expanding team. Volunteers can give as much of their time as they wish by helping out at fundraisers, handing out marketing materials, placing phone calls, updating data spreadsheets, and keeping their mobile closet clean and ready to go.


“In 2018, our target goal for volunteers was 50.  Since most have limited time and experience, our need is more than if we pre-qualified volunteers.  Our best volunteers, often move on to joining a committee and some actually become board of director members,” Mitchell said.


The future of Project Help is bright. They have recently expanded their organization to Florida, and are hoping to add additional branches in New York and Pennsylvania in 2020. For more information on Project Help or to learn how to become a volunteer or donor, visit

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Sheriff Gannon Receives Major International Police Award for Hope One Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:15:07 +0000 Sheriff Gannon Receives Major International Police Award for Hope One

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and founding partners in the Hope One mobile substance use recovery program received an esteemed award for their public-private venture from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the largest professional association of police leaders in the world.
On behalf of Hope One, Sheriff Gannon accepted the 2019 IACP/Security Industry Association Michael Shanahan Leadership in Public/Private Cooperation Award at the IACP’s Annual Banquet in Chicago, Illinois.
“Hope One was based on a simple concept of treatment providers and specialists bringing critical recovery and resource services directly to people who may be too exhausted, frightened or overwhelmed by addiction to seek help on their own. Hope One, with its steadfast, compassionate team, has saved lives and is committed to keep doing so,” Sheriff Gannon said.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office and its Hope One partners – the Rockaway-based Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES), Daytop New Jersey, Prevention is Key (PIK) and the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris – are the collective recipients of the award named in honor of retired University of Washington Police Department Chief Michael Shanahan.
The non-profit Family Promise of Morris County, which specializes in finding emergency and permanent housing for homeless individuals and families, came aboard Hope One after its launch to make sure clients had essential toiletries and assistance in finding housing.
The award bestowed by the Security Industry Association and IACP, a global organization that prepares the next generation for the future of law enforcement, recognizes outstanding achievements in the development and implementation of public/private partnerships to promote public safety.
Sheriff Gannon was joined at the IACP Annual Banquet – the culmination of the 2019 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition – by Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Law Enforcement Undersheriff Mark Spitzer, Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano, the coordinator of Hope One, and Madine Despeine-Udoh, the Director of Self Help, Advocacy and Education for the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris.
Corporal Valvano and Director Despeine-Udoh are core Hope One professionals, along with Kelly LaBar, a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist from CARES.
Recognizing that opioid overdose deaths were reaching dire levels, Sheriff Gannon in January 2017 brought together law enforcement, substance use and mental health specialists for a solution.
The result, after just three months of planning and the formation of a partnership between law enforcement and non-profit agencies, was the launch of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One program on April 3, 2017.
Hope One is a mobile substance use recovery and resource outreach vehicle that was retrofitted out of a defunct SWAT vehicle. With $15,000 from drug forfeiture funds, the vehicle was stripped of all law enforcement markings and painted white and purple, a color symbolizing recovery. Its license plates read: “Hope One.”
Hope One travels at least twice a week, and often on weekends, to locations in Morris County that are known for opioid overdoses, homeless encampments, community soup kitchens, and areas where at-risk populations are known to congregate.
With the help of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the Hope One staff, the city of Newark and counties of Burlington, Atlantic, Cape May and Monmouth have replicated Hope One and are on the road.
With a stigma-free approach and toiletries, snacks and beverages to put visitors at ease, the Hope One staff from the start has made a new contact every 10.8 minutes. Individuals who request Narcan training aboard Hope One are given a free Narcan kit to take home, and 38 people have returned the used kits to Hope One after using the Narcan to reverse an overdose.
“Hope One, led by Sheriff Jim Gannon and his team, is the best example of a best practice between criminal justice and the substance use disorders treatment and recovery communities,” said James Curtin, Chief Executive Officer of Daytop New Jersey.
“Daytop New Jersey is grateful to play a part in this tremendously effective effort to get persons desperately needing treatment – as opposed to incarceration – connected to life-saving treatment,” Mr. Curtin said.
CARES, a project of the non-profit Prevention Is Key (PIK), has provided the critical expertise of Peer Recovery Specialists and its access to treatment providers to greatly bolster the success of Hope One. As has the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris since many people struggling with substance use disorders have a co-occurring mental health disorder.
“Hope One, under Sheriff Gannon’s leadership, has provided life-saving and life-changing services to the Morris County community. We are honored at the Mental Health Association to be a part of it,” said Robert Davison, the Association’s Chief Executive Officer.
Melody Runyon, Associate Director of PIK, said she sensed from the start that Hope One would be impactful.
“Prevention is Key and CARES are thrilled with the recognition by the International Association of Chiefs of Police of both the Hope One project and its collaborative partners,” Associate Director Runyon said.
“From the early planning days, when key stakeholders gathered at CARES to bring Hope One to life, we knew it would be something special. Hope One began as an admirable vision to change the way we help people in Morris County,” Associate Director Runyon said.
“We wanted to bring services directly to those most in need and to reduce the stigma associated with the disease of addiction and mental health disorders. I believe Hope One has surpassed what any of us had envisioned both within Morris County and the state of New Jersey,” she said.


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Mount Olive councilwoman speaks out for injustice and rights of all who are vulnerable Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:12:45 +0000 Mount Olive councilwoman speaks out for injustice and rights of all who are vulnerable


By Jillian Risberg 

It’s in her blood  — and a labor of love for Councilwoman Colleen Labow to help others and she’s been doing it all her life.

So it would seem only natural that she chose a life of service. But it didn’t start out that organically.

Back in 2001, one of Labow’s friends urged her to apply for the town’s newly formed Ethics Committee.

The councilwomen felt it was a bad idea.

“Judy, you know I can’t stand politics,” Labow told her friend.  “I really don’t want to get involved with that stuff. But she kept after me saying, ‘you really need to.’”

After two months of back and forth — Labow says she finally agreed, submitting her application and was actually chosen by the council for that committee.

“In the meantime, the council race was coming up,” she says.  “And I decided to run for the Mount Olive Township Council.”

But they informed her that she couldn’t be on the Ethics Committee if she was going to run for council, even though there was no selection criteria.

“So they decided to make changes to the selection criteria and violated the Sunshine Act actually,” Labow says.  “John Dorsey (Republican State senator, assemblyman), the township attorney at the time told me if I didn’t like it I would have to sue.”

According to the councilwoman, she didn’t want to sue the town, but she says they were doing everything illegally.

“I did file suit and had an attorney pro bono and I won,” Labow says. “It took two years and he told me it cost the town like $1200 in legal fees.”

She didn’t win that initial election but two years later the councilwoman ran again and secured a seat on the council.

“I started my service in January 2004,” Labow says.  “And it became like a joke after that whenever we were talking about ordinances or things you could do with a resolution vs. an ordinance.”

“John Dorsey used to kid around and say, ‘You gotta ask Mrs. Labow, she’s the ordinance expert around here.’”

When it comes to politics, the councilwoman says you like to think on a local level that everybody, including your fellow residents are concerned about the township.

“They always say there’s no Democratic or Republican way to plow the roads or to pave the roads,” Labow says.

Council President Joe Nicastro echoes that sentiment, adding that when he looks at an issue he only sees a Mount Olive issue and what the right thing is to do for the residents. Working with Labow they are able to make that determination.

“Colleen is very knowledgeable and passionate and I enjoy our time together serving on council,” he says.

The councilwoman tries to stay as informed as possible so when a resident comes to her with a question or concern, she is able to direct them to the proper channels.

“But sometimes things do become very political,” Labow says.

Fortunately for the past several years, especially since Rob Greenbaum’s been there, the councilwoman says they haven’t experienced those political games and it’s been great.

“Because my dreams of how government should run, our government is running about as best as it could be,” Labow says. “Everybody is very respectful of others opinions, ya know we don’t always have to agree.”

And the councilwoman says that none of them have any problem agreeing to disagree.

“I love that we all listen to each other and want to hear what the other one has to say,” Labow says.  “Sometimes we change our minds, sometimes we don’t.”

She says they’re not fighting about it, instead staying focused and realistically looking at how to perform the most effectively for the township.

“It sounds like it doesn’t seem possible but it’s really exciting that it’s actually working,” the councilwoman says. “That’s why I think when you keep politics out of it you can get things accomplished.”

She calls it an honor to be a member of the council and can’t think of a better government entity to work with than Mayor Rob Greenbaum and all the commissioners.

“We have a rare mindset,” she says. “We all keep what we believe is in the best interest of our community the priority.”

According to Labow, even if you don’t like whoever’s elected, try to work with the person during their term to see what you can get done.

That type of collaborative effort has paid off for the council.

“We have worked very hard to improve roads, programs and services, reduce debt, increase our financial rating and (always) look for more ways to make improvements and keep municipal taxes stable,” the councilwoman says.


Looking ahead to 2020, there will be new tenants in town, as Amazon intends to repurpose the old Sam’s Club (ITC Crossings Mall) into an e-fulfillment center sometime in the new year, the company announced.

Stunned workers were greeted with locked doors when the Budd Lake site closed abruptly in early 2019 due to nationwide budget cuts, along with 175 jobs.


When the giant retailer moves into the space, they plan to hire hundreds of full- and part-time employees.

“They’re contemplating putting a flex warehouse,” Labow says. “Of course they’d have to improve the cap for the landfill and all that other stuff. So all these things are really nice items that are happening.”


On the other hand, the councilwoman says you get the frustrating end of the job and you have to have a lot of patience.

“We had this nice donation of land in the ITC for the section of the Morris Canal piece,” Labow says. “Our insurance company is concerned because of some waste material that it cost us about $30,000 to have an environmental company come to the state-owned access road to get to this junk, clean it up so we can get this really nice donation. But he wants to charge us $8,000 in permit fees.”

Labow says it’s the only section in what’s left of the Morris Canal that actually has water.

“I don’t know if that part is part of it or if it attaches to it but I’m fortunate that I’ve taken a hiking course over in that area and it’s just gorgeous,” the councilwoman says.

She says it’s been three years trying to get this piece of property in the township’s name.

“Then you have people in the public who are constantly complaining, why isn’t our government doing this or that,” Labow says. “Just because you’re not seeing something completed doesn’t mean we’re not working on it.”

“There’s no class to take that teaches you how to be a legislator, you really need to educate yourself and you have to care enough to want to learn.”


According to the councilwoman, whenever there is an accomplishment— you just relish those moments.

“Anytime you’re able to help somebody it’s very, very rewarding,” Labow says.

As chair of the Mount Olive Board of Health, Labow oversees anything related to wellness for the council.

“I’ve been fortunate enough that my colleagues have voted for me to be the chair,” Labow says. “Joe Nicastro was before me and I think Ray Perkins was before Joe and then I was it before Ray — so you kind of switch off and on.”

The council president is proud to serve with Labow.

“She is such a caring person,” Nicastro says. “No matter what an issue is Colleen will give her all to try to help.”

In 1999 to 2001 Labow did just that, joining the Mount Olive Police Department’s Crisis Response Team to become an advocate for victims of domestic violence.

“There’s a big anonymity thing,” Labow says. “If I were to run into somebody that I advocated for in the store you can’t even say hello. Then I realized as an elected official running for office you start to become known, people recognize you and I didn’t want that to interfere with anybody finding their path to a healthier, safer way of life.”

And the councilwoman’s years as a real estate agent have allowed her to share extensive experience with numerous issues related to septic systems and wells.

She also enjoys working with the Board of Health, including Animal Control (with free rabies vaccinations twice a year), the Senior Center/township nurse, septic installation projects and well water testing.

In 2009, she helped launch the Mount Olive TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) Project, a grassroots effort to manage the feral cat population in the township.

“The volunteers are fantastic people,” Labow says.  “That evolved where all of a sudden people who needed help with having their cats (or even their dogs) spayed or neutered, resources, make connections — find homes for some of the pets — it was wonderful to keep that group going.”

And she’s especially passionate about the Mount Olive Health Improvement Coalition, trying to find better ways to connect with the community on wellness related issues.

“Sometimes we have our seniors and disabled population, which is really hard for them to get out as much on their own,” Labow says.  “And there are a lot of people who are lonely.”

According to the Board of Health chair, having a healthy life isn’t all about physical health. So in one of the coalition meetings they discussed meeting up for various activities, possibly (with Labow saying she loves this idea) a crochet or knitting class at the library, book of the month club, holiday cookie swap and go back to basics.

Labow recalled a time when there were quilting parties and whole communities would get together, sharing snips of fabric to make a great big quilt.

“I’ve been collecting all these patterns for mittens and hats,” the councilwoman says. “I used to crochet with my grandmother — she taught me how.  And my sister, niece and I went to that place in Hackettstown; Pinot’s Palette and made chunky afghans. It was really cool.”

When Labow first became chair of the Board of Health a couple of terms ago she volunteered for Meals on Wheels, even going on apartment inspections because she’s all about having a hands-on approach — to get a feel for what everyone in the department does.

“I’ll never forget as long as I live that in some cases people have to wait for somebody to come by and take out your garbage or change a lightbulb,” Labow says. “Probably not supposed to do stuff like that but what are you gonna do, I’m right there.”

So they’re trying to set up a program for those who don’t have family close by who can visit on a regular basis to check on them and help with the little things.

“Get volunteers and we have to vet the people and make sure they are on the up and up plus reliable that they will actually be there,” the councilwoman says. “I think it’ll work out just fine; it’s that everything takes so long. I’m more of the, if something needs to be done — let’s just do it.”

And they have to be very conscientious to make sure to follow that line and not waver because Labow says there’s too much at stake.

“It’s always nice to get that reassurance and people give you the thumbs up and want you to keep going,” the councilwoman says. “I’m out there doing everything I can.”


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Denville Life January 2020 Thu, 16 Jan 2020 23:33:21 +0000

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Soldier Surprises Sibling with Military Homecoming Wed, 15 Jan 2020 02:24:09 +0000 Last spring Roxbury High School watched graduating senior Tyler DePree commit to joining the United States Army. Tyler left shortly after graduation to head to basic training in North Carolina and then on to Virginia for Advanced Individual Training where he’s been since. 


During this time, communication with his family has been limited as cell phones weren’t permitted so when Tyler had a chance to come home, he wanted to be sure to see his younger brother, Kevin Powers, a third grader at Nixon School.


Tyler actually arrived home yesterday afternoon and even surprised his mom who thought he wouldn’t be home until the 20th. Tyler told his mom, Krystin that he wanted to surprise Kevin at school. With a day’s notice, Krystin DePree called up Principal Lynch to set the plan in motion.


Tyler came to Nixon School Friday morning and surprised Kevin with their favorite shared meal for lunch, chicken nuggets, fries, and a Frosty from Wendy’s. When Kevin saw Tyler, he jumped in his arms for a big brotherly hug. Tyler stayed for the rest of lunch and dined with Kevin and his classmates. 


As Kevin headed to Technology after lunch with his big brother he shared “He’s the biggest Christmas present I’ve ever gotten!”


Tyler returned later in the afternoon to read a book to Kevin’s class.


Tyler, a former Nixon student himself had a special request, to see one of his former teachers, Mrs. Maureen Milde. Milde retired last year after teaching 23 years in Roxbury but was happy to come back for this special surprise. Both Tyler and Kevin had Mrs. Milde as a teacher.


Kurtis Start and his second-grade class also stopped down in the cafeteria to watch the special reunion as Tyler too had Mr. Start as a teacher while at Nixon.


Tyler was only home for a short time and headed back to Virginia on January 3rd.


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Roxbury School Psychologist Recognized with Externship Commitment Award Wed, 15 Jan 2020 02:21:04 +0000 One of Roxbury’s School Psychologists, Deborah Wetreich was invited last weekend to attend the Lafayette College Volunteer Awards Ceremony where she was honored with the “Externship Commitment Award”.
Wetreich, an alumnus of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania has hosted Lafayette College students as “externs” in the Roxbury Public Schools for the past ten years.
Lafayette students participate in a career shadow experience through the College’s Career Services Department over Lafayette’s January break. These college students learn about the roles and responsibilities of a School Psychologist in a public school district.
“This volunteer effort is a way for students to experience the profession first hand as they are deciding on future career choices,” shared Wetreich.
Lafayette honored its ten-year participants at the Alumni Volunteer Award Ceremony where a fall luncheon and Tiffany gift were provided.

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Roxbury HS becomes first certified district in NJ for Stop the Bleed Wed, 15 Jan 2020 02:18:10 +0000 Members of the Roxbury High School staff became the first certified trainers in New Jersey for Stop the Bleed.
Roxbury High School’s Health and Physical Education teachers and lead nurse took part in an intense two-day training by a military veteran from Velumcore and Dr. Jay Rosenberg from Cornell Medical Center. Their training ended with the first students in Roxbury becoming certified.
All Roxbury High School students and staff will be certified in the Homeland Security developed program in the future.
Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and call-to-action. Stop the Bleed is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before

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Dorene Roche Sworn in As New Randolph Board of Education Member Wed, 15 Jan 2020 02:15:41 +0000 By Steve Sears

Dorene Roche, a Randolph resident for 17 years, was recently sworn in as the newest member of the Randolph Board of Education.

“I always felt that Randolph has had a very high-quality school system,” says Roche. “The public, teachers and all the staff in our district really care about giving the best to all the students.”

Perfect proof of that is right in the Roche home. Two of Roche’s sons have graduated from Randolph High School and a third son is currently in his junior year at the school. 

“I am very excited to be on the BOE. I like to try and learn different things, so I am looking forward to learning more about the district,” she says. Roche was sworn in on November 18, 2019. “I was not sworn in at the BOE meeting but in the main office during the day,” she explains. “I had to meet with Ronald Conti, the President of the BOE, to go over things regarding the BOE. I also met with Ms. Jennifer Fano, Superintendent (of Schools) of Randolph, where she asked if I had any questions. They both made me feel very welcome. I then was sworn in. I feel very honored to be part of the BOE.”

Roche has been an advocate for Special Services in the district for over five years. It is very important to her that every student has the opportunity to have the best education that Randolph can offer. “If I can be any help to bridge the gap between the special education and mainstream education departments, it would mean a lot to me.”

In addition to her duties as a wife, mom, and BOE member, Roche has also been a dance teacher and choreographer for over 30 years. “I teach many different types of dance to adults, children and children with special needs,” says Roche, who is 55. She has also done a lot of volunteering in Randolph from class parent, PTOs (Parent Teacher Organization) and committees, and for sports programs. “For the last 5 years,” she adds, “I have served on the PAG (Parent Advisory Group) and have been the President of PEC (Parents of Exceptional Children), where I have been working with parents and the Special Services department by providing support and advocating for families with children of special needs. I help with communicating between parents and the Special Services department.”

Roche mentions that her fellow BOE members have welcomed her with open arms. “Just being involved in one meeting so far, I see that everyone on the BOE works very hard at doing the best for everyone in the school district. Randolph Township is a community that cares about each other and making Randolph a wonderful community where people want to live.”

Summing it up, she says, “I would hope to help uphold the quality that the BOE has established over the years.”

For more information about the Randolph Board of Education, visit

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