My Life Publications Online Local Community News for New Jersey Thu, 05 Sep 2019 12:12:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Denville September 2019 Thu, 05 Sep 2019 12:12:32 +0000

]]> 0
MORRIS COUNTY RECYCLING: TAG-IT AND LEAVE-IT INSPECTION PROGRAM BEGINS LATE SUMMER WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT Tue, 03 Sep 2019 22:19:39 +0000 Not everything with a recycling symbol goes into your curbside recycling bin for single stream collection.
Starting later this summer, Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, which collects recycling in 14 of Morris County’s 39 towns, will implement a “tag-it and leave-it” inspection program. When the inspection program begins, if your recycling contains contaminants, the entire bin could be left at the curb.
The goal is to ensure that bulk recycling loads sent by the MUA to the recycling market don’t get rejected (and sent to a landfill) because they contain too many items that don’t meet recycling standards.
While there are some minor differences in the recycling rules of the county MUA versus towns that don’t use the MUA for recycling pickup, the messages in these videos are pretty universal.
The most problematic recycling contaminants found by the Morris County MUA include:
Plastic bags (Take them to a retail store with a dedicated bin for bags. They jam machinery.)
Plastic film/plastic packaging
Foam/Styrofoam (Large amounts of clean block Styrofoam that hasn’t contacted food can be recycled at Foam Pack Industries in Springfield.)
Hangers (Plastic, metal or wood — they jam up the machinery.)
Food waste
Wood scraps
Plastic bottles/containers coded #3, #4, #6 & #7 (Recycle only plastic bottles/containers coded #1, #2 & #5. No medicine bottles at all).
Just for clarification, these items don’t belong in your recycling container either: Paper coffee cups, dirty pizza boxes, paper towels, and some less likely items such as diapers, bowling balls, hypodermic needles, animal carcasses, batteries and electronics. Batteries can cause a fire at a recycling center. People sort recycling – not machines, so keep them safe.
Also, recyclables must be empty, clean and dry — without food residue.
The MUA’s revised plastics acceptability guidelines now limits plastic recycling collection to only bottles/containers coded #1, #2 & #5.
The goal is to avoid rejected loads at the local recycling facility, which first separates the single-stream recyclables into the individual materials that make up the recycling stream. Cleaner loads result in less cost while rejected loads due to contamination result in a greater cost for all involved. The rule change is due to strict requirements for purity by companies who buy the bundled materials.
For curbside collection, recyclables must be loose in a reusable container with handles and a lid. For additional information, please visit
Towns served by Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority are: Boonton, Boonton Township, Chatham and Chatham Township, Denville, East Hanover, Florham Park, Hanover Township, Mine Hill, Morris Plains, Netcong, Pequannock, Rockaway Borough and Wharton. Not served by MUA? Check your town’s website for specifics.

]]> 0
Remembering 9/11 18 Years Later Tue, 03 Sep 2019 19:37:17 +0000 By Steve Sears

September 11, 2001 started out like a gorgeous late summer day. 

The beautiful day soon turned ugly, as the biggest attack against the United States of America on home soil claimed 2,977 lives combined in New York City at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

New View Media Group reached out to various community members, seeking their remembrance of that fateful day.

Alex Roman

Township of Mount Olive Councilman Alex Roman lost his Mom, 49-year-old Arcelia Castillo, on September 11, 2001. Instead of her normal 9:00 a.m., she had arrived early to work that morning at 7:45 a.m. to the World Trade Center North Tower.

American Airlines Flight 11 hit the tower at 8:48 a.m.

“I prefer to be left alone on 9/11,” says Roman. “Much like my mother, I’m not comfortable with being viewed as a victim. My kids also spend the day quietly reflecting.  We have attended several 9/11 ceremonies in New York City in the past, but mostly we prefer to go to the 9/11 Memorial at different times of the year.”

Roman celebrates his Mom’s life just like anyone else that has lost a loved one. “I never assume my loss is greater than anyone else’s,” he says. “I keep a picture of her at my shop along with a framed United States flag that was presented to us by President (George W) Bush. I routinely talk about her to my wife and kids and how each of them have some of her qualities. Her name regularly comes up at family gatherings.”

“As 9/11 approaches, I feel guilty being happy (my birthday is Sept. 8). It’s like a rollercoaster ride.”

Ray Perkins

Former Township of Mount Olive Town Council President Ray Perkins was on the West Side Highway of Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001.

“I was in the city that day that the attack happened, and I was on my way into midtown, and a plane probably hit a few minutes after I passed by there. I’m on my way to attend a meeting up near Grand Central, and I get a call from one of my colleagues, and he says, ‘Hey, a plane just hit the (World) Trade Center – and it was a commercial plane!’ I said, “You’re kidding me!’ I get up to my appointment – and I’m passing ambulances and fire trucks like crazy, they’re sailing down towards this place – and I get to where I’ve got to go, and everybody is sitting there looking at the television. Out the window you could see the buildings. I then said, ‘I can’t believe this – oh my God!”

Perkins headed to a pay phone (cell phone connections were knocked out that morning) line of about 200 people to wait and make a call, and then the second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, crashed into the South Tower. Perkins then exited the line and started running towards downtown, reached 23rd Street, then headed into a store to buy 12-packs of water, giving it to those who’d just experienced the most terrifying moments of their lives. “These people walking towards me look like someone had dumped flour on them, because now the buildings had collapsed.”

Perkins knew that Mount Olive needed to remember the lives that were lost that day, and he kicked a memorial idea in motion. “On (United Airlines) Flight 93 that went down (in Shanksville, Pennsylvania), was Hilda Marcin, a woman from town, was employed through the Board of Education as a teacher. I had met Hilda; what a pleasant lady. She was moving out to live with her other daughter in California.” 

Mayor Rob Greenbaum got involved, donations gathered, and current Council President Joe Nicastro’s stepson, Michael Lalama, came up with the design rendition. Perkins then forwarded the design to a Canadian company called Picture This in Granite, who took care of the final product. “We got an amazing amount of support,” says Perkins. “It was tremendous. It was heartwarming to see the community members and the township employees that dedicated their time and expertise to getting this done.”

Bruno Varano

“Before it all happened, the day was incredibly beautiful.”

Bruno Varano officially became a United States citizen in 1961. The morning of 9/11, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge was at his office in Fairfield, New Jersey.

Varano, currently President of the Local 121 of the Federal Agent PBA, got a call that morning from one of his New York agents. “He said, ‘Listen, we got attacked.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ I told him to cut it out and he said, ‘No, I’m telling you – we got attacked.”

“I then got a call from D.C. and realized it did happen.”

 “It was right after the second tower fell that I got in there (to the city),” he remembers. “I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, The Terminator, and one scene showed that in the future there was a huge war, and there are atomic bombs, it was like hell – everything was gray, everything was cloudy, there was smoke and everything was destroyed. That’s what it looked like. It was incredible.”

Varano checked into his office several blocks north of the area, and he and his team tried to see what they could do. “It was just a mess; so chaotic.  Nobody knew what the hell was going on. Sirens – ambulances and fire trucks – were still going back and forth, and then at one point you couldn’t go anywhere. The soot, the dust, and the metal…you couldn’t move in cars, you had to go on foot. There were still fires going on there, the State police were there, they were bringing in the military. It took a day or so to get acclimated to what was going on.”

“But that first day – I don’t know how to explain it,” he states. “I guess try to walk into a volcano without getting cut, without getting burned, without getting killed. There was no ground to walk on. It was nothing but debris.”

Joel Katz

Joel Katz, an investment banking firm employee of Sandler O’Neill and Partners, was on the 104th floor of the South Tower that fateful morning.

“I was on the trading floor, we had all the window shades down on the windows because of the glare, so we can’t really see outside, and we hear a big roar – and we had heard roars before that high up – but this really shook the whole floor,” he recalls. “It kind of stopped the floor for a moment, but we went back to what we were doing.”

A man from the other side of the floor came running over to inform Katz and others that a commercial plane had just struck tower one. Katz started thinking. “It was a beautiful, crisp day. It didn’t add up that a pilot would do that. We had plenty of cloudy days when you wondered if that was going to happen, where we’re in the fog, but this was a beautiful day.”

The smell of jet fuel was very strong, and Katz felt that the situation was uncomfortable. He and 16 other people left the floor to start their descent and exit the building. Once he exited the building and was about fifty yards, he heard another big roar. It was another commercial jet, this time striking the very building he had minutes before departed.

“17 people who were at work at my company escaped, and 66 people died,” he says.

As Katz walked up the street, he thought about his coworkers. “I told them I was going downstairs, and they said, ‘Okay, see ya,’ and never gave it second thought. They had little babies at home, they had wives and families like I did – I had young children at the time – and they were in peril, so I thought of them. I thought of my family, obviously.” 

Eventually Katz made it to a friend’s home in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where he met his family. “This became a congregation area for us, and we were getting calls from the wives of coworkers asking if we had seen their husbands. They (the calls) were very hard and I didn’t know.” 

A few days later, Katz and his team were stationed temporarily at a new location, and all the surviving employees hugged. “We helped each other, spent the next two months going to funerals – sometimes three to four a day – and the company provided counseling services if we needed it.”

Katz, who now teaches Finance as an adjunct professor at County College of Morris, occasionally gives talks regarding 9/11. “The people who died were innocent people going to work like I, who had young families, who went to work and didn’t come home. I think  that’s obviously a tragedy, and I think in honor of them and the lives they led, the love they had and it was an injustice to them, their families and their country — I think it’s important to remember the lives they led, the spirit that they shared, and I don’t ever want to forget that I knew these people.”

“In my mind, they died as heroes.”

Tom Miller

Tom Miller has been practicing fine art for years. He has a master’s in fine arts from the University of Idaho. He works in watercolor, colored pencil, ceramics, and more, and his topics are a variety. A Marine veteran, he was working at the time at Madison’s Fairleigh Dickinson University on an Operation Harvest Moon project, which is the operation he got injured in during his time in the Marines. 

“Along comes the morning of 9/11, I’m at home waiting to go to a screenwriting course – it was a 9:30 class – I’m drinking a cup of coffee, and had the radio on, and heard of a plane crash (at the World Trade Center). So, I turn  the television on to see what was up, and then I saw a second plane go in.”

Miller went to his class but first stopped at Columbia Turnpike and Park Avenue in Florham Park to view the on-goings. “I could see it, just a bit of the towers and the smoke. “I tried to get into the city, asked the Morris County sheriffs to take me in, but they couldn’t.”

Learning that the towers had fell during the class, Miller started going to work on his 9/11 artwork. He has roughly 65 pieces, and he still creates them. His creations are given to first responders.

Miller, 78, lost a neighbor, Michael Sorresse, in the attacks. “He was a neighbor and a friend. I would say he was in his 30s, just had gotten married, worked for Marsh USA Agencies up on the 101st floor of tower one. I really liked him. He was a really nice kid. Then there was Giovanna Galletta “Gennie” Gambale (of Cantor Fitzgerald). I did a ceramic sculpture of her missing poster – I got her family’s okay.”

He then deeply reflects. “It (9/11) was as important as when my partner died in my arms (during an Operation Harvest Moon battle in 1965),” says Miller. “So many people, such a senseless thing, and because Mike died, too.”

Rita Weiner

When 9/11 occurred, a big piece of Rita Weiner’s heart was ripped apart.

That morning, she was preparing to head into New York City with her daughter, Michele. “My husband called me and told me something had hit the World Trade Center. Then, while watching television, I saw the second plane hit.”

“We didn’t go in; no one went in. 9/11 was horrendous.” She pauses, then continues. “I was angry. I’m a New Yorker at heart and have always lived in the tri-state area. This is my heart, just like if you’re from France, Paris is yours. I grew up in the area — Rockefeller Center, skating over there, Times Square, the whole bit – and to see it demolished like this… it was very, very hard.”

The next day, Weiner saw a Salvation Army ad asking for help at Ground Zero. Her Dad was alive at the time, and he saw the same ad. “He said, ‘When I was in World War II, the Salvation Army brought me blankets, they brought me hope, and I never forgot it.’ And he suggested I join.”

She worked with the Salvation Army on Thursdays, noon – midnight. And when Weiner, who prepared meals as a volunteer, and her entourage first arrived at the sight, she was shocked. “It was an absolute disaster. It looked like a nuclear explosion. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen, and the smell…I’ll never forget it. It was like decay, decomp. It goes in your nostrils and you never forget it for the rest of your life. The ash would be up to your knee when you walked through it.” She then adds, “You would think from such large office buildings, you would find desks and other things…nothing, it was like a giant crematorium. Another thing: we were not allowed to cry in front of the people. If you had to cry, you had to go in the back.”

However, it was a period Weiner would not regret. “It was cathartic and healing for me. It was healing for them and healing for me. Instead of feeling helpless and important, I was doing something. I was helping somebody hurting.”

After serving at Ground Zero and the “other” Ground Zero (a morgue) with the Salvation Army from September 2001 to May 30, 2002, she then became a tour guide for World Trade Center Tribute Tours from October 2005 until 2018. She eventually received an award from the center for doing 500 tours, and even got her first tattoo ever…on her back, which has the 9/11 symbol and reads, “Remember and pray”. “It was in my DNA,” she says. 

The whole experience changed her. “There’s pre-9/11 Rita, and there’s post-9/11 Rita. Pre-9/11 was good; you never saw tragedy, you heard about Pearl Harbor, but you weren’t really a part of it. Post-9/11, I lived it personally; this was the first on my soil, in my town. I had hatred, and that bothered me, because I am a loving, giving person, and I don’t like having hatred in my heart. And I do believe when you have bitterness and hatred it kills you.” Serving with others fought the hatred. “I needed to express myself somehow to help others. The Salvation Army was the perfect way.’

Her advice? “Enjoy every day you have, because you see how quickly it can be taken away.”

]]> 0
Denville’s History, Right in Your Own Backyard Tue, 03 Sep 2019 19:13:18 +0000 By: Melissa A. Kay


There is a rich and important history in Denville, with an interesting past that some of the locals may not even be aware of themselves. But thanks to the Denville Historical Society & Museum, the many milestones and memories of Denville’s past make their way into the here and now of the present day, allowing visitors to become better educated and therefore more interested in and involved with their beloved community.

Denville’s historian and Vice President of the Denville Historical Society & Museum, Vito Bianco explains the main reasons the Denville Historical Society & Museum exists in the first place, “Our purpose is to preserve, research, promote, and teach Denville’s vast history.” Without dedicated and devoted individuals like Bianco to keep this rich Denville history alive, today’s Denville residents would not have the honor of knowing how the place they call home came to be. 

As per Bianco, “The Denville Historical Society was formed in 1971. The museum building was acquired in 1981 and moved across the Rockaway River to its present location for a cost of $25,000, raised through donations. We opened the the Denville Museum in 1982, and restored and opened the one-room 2nd Union Schoolhouse in 2005. Currently, we are restoring the two-room 3rd Union Schoolhouse. It is not open to the public during restoration.” Surely this current restoration will give way to a renewed spirit for the schoolhouse, adding even more charm to the “back in time” atmosphere. Maintenance such as this is important to keep the structures strong today and for the generations to come. 

There are a variety of ways the Denville Historical Society & Museum contributes greatly to the local community. Bianco shares, “We have made history presentations to many organizations and conduct periodic walking tours of Denville’s downtown, the schoolhouses, and Denville’s haunted history. So far, we have published two books on Denville’s history, and produced a documentary film for Denville’s centennial celebration in 2013. We typically participate in community events when invited as well.” With lots of enthusiasm for this sort of enlightening education, it is easy to see why Bianco and others involved with the Denville Historical Society & Museum are inclined to keep the information flowing and growing. And the more people who learn about the Denville Historical Society & Museum, the more meaningful it will become as they come to visit, tour, and explore for themselves. It’s not your “typical” day out and about, but it’s one that is unmatched in its importance. 

When asked what are some of the “must-sees” and “must-dos” at the Denville Historical Society & Museum, Bianco had a bunch. “The museum collection was assembled over (a span of) 30 years and focuses on Denville’s vast history. Many everyday Denville items can be seen on display. Some of our hand-blown glass bottles can also be found in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. There are some special collections and a library for genealogical research. The Haunted History walking tour (held during the last weekend in October) is the highlight of our fall events. The colonial herb garden next to the museum is maintained by the Historical Society and blooms in spring, summer, and fall.” There will be a fall yard sale coming up in September as well. A wide array of interesting items will be available to the public for sale, something collectors can’t wait for in the coming season. Plus, it is always nice to come by on a crisp fall day to mingle with friends and Denville neighbors while perusing the many yard sale finds. With so much to see and do, returning to the Denville Historical Society & Museum time and time again is a smart idea and something to look forward to. There is certainly no shortage of adventure, inspiration, and in-depth background to enjoy. Each visit provides a new tidbit of knowledge and another memory is kept alive and well. 

Is the Denville Historical Society & Museum suitable for young kids? It absolutely is. Bianco notes, “We tailor tours of the museum and schoolhouse to the needs of the public. Children particularly find the schoolhouse interesting; learning what school was like 150 years ago in Denville. Class trips and scout groups are always welcome at both locations. Senior groups are welcome as well. Each location is accessible for disabled persons.” No matter one’s age or stage, the Denville Historical Society & Museum has something for everyone. What kid doesn’t love a class trip, and when it is to a place as interesting as the Denville Historical Society & Museum, the “day off” from school is even more special. 

As far as the schoolhouse Bianco mentions, its quaint and quiet appeal is a far cry from most of today’s public schools, those in Denville included. Kids have to use their vivid sense of imagination to picture themselves learning in such a different kind of environment, especially the one-room schoolhouse – no hallways or homerooms to escape to. Today’s endless technology makes it even harder for the children to imagine, but with the in-depth tours and teachings the kids are exposed to at the Denville Historical Society & Museum, the “blast from the past” becomes more understandable. When they head back to their modern-day school, the kids must feel fortunate for all they have in terms of education. That said, the schoolhouse’s structure and surrounding grounds are kept impeccably, making the visit to the old-fashioned schoolhouse a real pleasure. 

The Denville Historical Society & Museum is free to visit to the public, but Bianco mentions that for special or private tours, a donation of one’s choosing is kindly suggested and greatly appreciated. Donations help keep the place up and running, so folks are happy to do what they can to keep it going. 

The Denville Historical Society & Museum is located at 113 Diamond Spring Road, right next to the Denville Library. The 2nd and 3rd Union Schoolhouses are located at 501 and 502 Openaki Road in Union Hill. The Denville Historical Society & Museum is open each year from the middle of March through the middle of December on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the 2nd and 4th Saturdays during July and August. The 2nd Union Schoolhouse is open by appointment only or on special occasions. Don’t miss out on this special historical Denville gem, a place that Bianco is proud to be an integral part of, along with the rest of the supporting staff and various volunteers throughout the year. Visitors always come away with a newfound appreciation for Denville, its important history, and where it is headed. 

For those who may be interested in becoming involved in some capacity with the Denville Historical Society & Museum, Bianco is always looking for helping hands, as they operate solely through volunteers. Be part of Denville’s history! 

The Denville Historical Society & Museum is a federal 501(c)(3) organization and a New Jersey not-for-profit corporation.

Contact the Denville Historical Society & Museum at 973-625-1165 or email

]]> 0
Cycle for Survival Battles Still Against Rare Cancers Tue, 03 Sep 2019 19:05:16 +0000 By Steve Sears

The numbers are astounding.

In 2018, $39 million raised to fight rare cancers. Over $222 million raised since inception in 2007.

100% of all donations go to rare cancer research led by Memorial Sloan Kettering, all monies released to the healthcare organization within 6 months.

Cycle for Survival, birthed as Spin4Survibal by Jennifer Goodman Linn and her husband, David, in 2007, survives this day and only becomes more beneficial because the movement started by a loving, fiery individual with no giving up in her being refused to quit.

Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) now owns Cycle for Survival, and Equinox is a founding partner. Equinox instructors lead high-energy, spin cycle rides at Equinox locations across the country in January, February and March. 

All can participate, no matter your athletic ability. It’s all about funding the fight against rare cancers. 

Sandy and Len Goodman reflect about their daughter. “Jennifer was raised here in Livingston, she’s a member of the Livingston High School Hall of Fame,” Len says. “One thing about Jennifer that I think is important to know is that she was philanthropic throughout her whole life. When she started Cycle for Survival, it wasn’t the first time she was philanthropic. While she was in high school, she was President of her Key Club, and the Key Club has a Single Service Event every year. When she was the President, they took over the Codey Arena (in West Orange) and they ran an event for the Make-a-Wish Foundation and raised $20,000 which, at that time, was the largest Single Service project they ever had.”

Jennifer then attended Duke University and graduated with honors, eventually going on to receive her MBA at Harvard University, where she met her husband. After departing Harvard, she worked as a Senior Executive for several companies. She and David married, and a year into the marriage she was diagnosed with MFH (Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma) Sarcoma, an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer which plagues the soft muscle tissue of the abdomen. She didn’t drink or smoke, and was in the gym every day a 6:00 a.m. An operation was performed to remove a football-sized tumor from her abdomen, and she was immediately sent over to Memorial Sloan Kettering. 

“I always remember the two of us sitting in the doctor’s office, and we received the diagnosis,” recalls Linn. “We both made a very conscious decision. We were, of course, scared, frightened, whatever word you want to use, and we had no idea what the future would hold. But I remember us both consciously deciding to take that fear and put it to the side and try to do everything we could to help Jen, and then help other cancer patients as well.”

There was a short window where Jennifer was declared cancer-free, and in Linn’s words, “we naively thought the worst was behind us.” Both decided in that moment that it was a good time to try and give back to the doctors, nurses, and rest of the medical staff that had done so much to help her. “That was really the beginning of Cycle for Survival. Even during her chemotherapy, Jen enjoyed getting up for her 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. indoor cycling class at Equinox, and we thought about it and realized this would be perfect as a way to give back, it would be perfect as a fundraiser because it’s not a triathlon or marathon that requires months of training. Anyone can get on a stationary bike and ride a little bit, and we started to encourage friends and family to join us for this small, little fundraiser that we were putting on.”

Spin4Survival in 2007 was held at the Equinox Columbus Circle location in New York City. A second successful event was held thereafter, the name was changed to Cycle for Survival, and in 2009 the Linns engaged MSK and Equinox for further, official involvement. 

Equinox is a huge part of Cycle for Survival’s success. Jennifer had stated from the beginning that Memorial Sloan Kettering was responsible for her physical well-being and physical health but looked to Equinox for the emotional aspect. “She would get strength from being in those classes,” says Linn, “so when we first had this idea, all of these instructors at Equinox who had become Jen’s friends over the years didn’t hesitate for a second, and basically said, ‘Whatever we can do to help.’ In those early years, it was a grass roots type of effort with all Equinox employees just volunteering their time to help us on this, and what’s been really great to see is as the partnership has formalized over time and Equinox has become the founding partner, it seems like each year they’ve become a bigger and bigger part of the success for Cycle for Survival. It’s been fantastic.”

“One of the best ways to describe Jen is that her personality and spirit comes alive,” adds Linn, describing the evident feeling during a Cycle for Survival spin. “What I mean by that is, when you go to one of these events, there are people dancing – she loved to dance. There are people who are in tough health situations that, despite those challenges, they’re filled with hope and optimism, and that’s the type of person she was; she was filled with positive feelings. There is that feeling in the air that something is a bit magical, special, that anything can happen. And when Jen would enter a room, she would give that feeling to everyone in the room. There was the little extra, that little extra bit of energy, that extra feeling that something special is happening here and anything is possible. The events themselves mirror her personality.” One thing that’s important is that Jennifer always wanted it to be bigger than her, wanted it to be about others, and so all the choices made along the way bore that fruit. “It was not named after her, it was not all about her, it was about, ‘How can we help as many cancer patients as possible?’ And that you can see at the events as well, because while there are many people who are inspired by Jen, there are far more people at the events who don’t know her and they’re inspired by somebody else – a friend or family member – who may be a survivor or maybe going through treatment. It was always in her mind to be bigger than her, and that has played out.”

Katie Klein is the Director of Cycle for Survival for MSK. “One of the things I think that Cycle for Survival has provided and kind of the nature of what the event is, it’s a big community coming together and the beautiful Equinox clubs that we take over, and people participating as a team. There’s a really very strong kind of community aspect to it. I really think for people facing these rare diseases like Jen did, having an outlet where you can channel whatever you’re feeling – whether you are feeling strong or sad or mad, or you want to sing and dance to the music in a real joyful way – really all of those things can happen at Cycle for Survival. That’s very intentional. It’s such a personal experience.”

MSK shares treatment results with other healthcare organizations, all in the interest of curing those battling rare cancers, and as well is very open with how funds are utilized. “Our ability to track that and to report back to our supporters and participants in a very transparent way has been really key to the growth and success of this movement.” Available links to visit are, and the following page breaks down the funding allocation from 2018, with 2019 soon to come:

For Klein and MSK, they search for every opportunity to make everything better, whether it be a user experience on the website or an opportunity to improve the event experience. “I think we owe it to everybody that we’re continuing to evolve this event. One of the things we’re trying to do, and that we’re very fortunate in, is that we are very close to the participants. They over the years really have been our partners in the evolution of this event and this movement, so that really helps us continue to make this the best thing that it can be because people are pouring their heart and soul into this. They deserve to walk into the doors and have it exceed every expectation they can have. They give so much, and we’re grateful for that.”

Klein is also grateful for the working relationship with the Goodmans. “It has been amazing with all of us to be able to partner with them in building Jen’s legacy, and all the years in between when she was still with us. They‘ve always just been there for everything and we cannot be more grateful for all that they have done over the years.”

“Spinning is symbolic,” says Sandy, dispelling worthwhile wisdom. “Everybody can do it; all ages, all races, all educational levels. Rare cancers are not rare. Also, sometimes — and I’ve heard this from different places — people feel at this point that the  charity is so successful that their contribution is insignificant. But it isn’t. It’s all important. Don’t think you’re not helping.”

Len and Sandy Goodman welcome the opportunity to speak to businesses and groups (please call 973-994-9440 to schedule), and are seeking entertainers (face painters, balloon twisters, dancers) to volunteer their time at events. 

Cycle for Survival events will be held in 17 cities across the country in 2020, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. At the February 1, 2020 Summit, New Jersey event, teenagers 14 years to 18 years can spin and enjoy a special teen event from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (*Note: a special ½ day event has been added in Summit on February 2). For more information, or to register or donate, visit at You can also call 888-72-CYCLE.

]]> 0
Denville Community Church Volunteers Repair Homes and Build Relationships Tue, 03 Sep 2019 19:00:14 +0000 By Steve Sears

The numbers are astounding. 

Since 1969, nearly 415,000 volunteers involved, and 18,500 homes repaired.

Meet the Appalachia Service Project, where it’s about much more than grabbing a hammer and driving a nail into a soon-to-be-refurbished or newly-built-house. It’s more about relationships, and volunteers from Denville Community Church (DCC), a United Methodist church, venture one week every summer to aid the impoverished of the southeastern part of the United States by, yes, working hard, but also to build friendships and spread some hope.

The dates of the trip were June 29 – July 7, 2019, and the trip this year was made to Hancock County, Tennessee. 

Husband and wife James and Kim Graceffo are ASP Team Leaders for DCC.

“Yes, it is,” responds Kim, when it is suggested that the above numbers are eye-opening. “And that it’s survived 50 years and it’s still going strong.”

“We’ve also worked with other churches from (as far away as) California before,” adds James, speaking to the camaraderie of groups working together in service.

DCC has been taking part in ASP since 1992. Kim’s Dad traveled with the first team and many subsequent groups that ventured south. “Now I’m running the trip with my husband and Janice,” says Kim. “It does kind of feel like family tradition with a lot of the groups that go, myself included,” she says. “I know there are a lot of families in the church where it’s kind of expected that the kids grow up wanting to follow in their parents’ footsteps in going.”

Janice McCrostie is in her 5th year as Director of Youth Ministry at DCC. “Every year, all the anxieties and stresses of leadership evaporate as we watch the teams go out and help people who are in need. Creating friendships while making folks homes ‘Warmer, Safer & Drier’ is what keeps people coming back year after year. This was my fifth year in attendance and ASP has become a part of who I am. I do not see a summer passing in which I wouldn’t attend – a sentiment most of our members would agree with.”

“We are very proud of our team and all that they accomplish each year!”

“The service project operates over the course of the summer,” says James, “so we go for one week, and our church is split into a couple of different teams, and one of the teams will work on a house, and over the course of the summer there will be several different churches who will also work on that house – I think there were four this year.”

“We’re not usually building a new house,” says Kim, “it’s generally repairing issues in an existing house.”

“The goal,” interjects James, “is to make their homes warmer, safer, and drier.”

A brief  history. The Appalachia Service Project celebrates 50 years in 2019, and it was started by Rev. Glenn “Tex” Evans, a United Methodist minister, in 1969. The focus of ASP’s programs are home repair and new home construction for low-income families in the Appalachian region of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.  ASP operates about 30 centers throughout that area. 

There are challenges in planning for the trip and work to be done. “Some of the biggest challenges I have found are overcoming my own anxieties at being a leader our group deserves,” states McCrostie. “The DCC ASP teams is wholly dedicated to helping the people of Appalachia, and each year I hope to be a leader that can direct them towards that purpose with faith and love, truly being the hands and feet of Christ in Appalachia.”

 “Sometimes when we do a home, we feel we’re putting a band-aid on a gushing wound,” says Kim, recognizing another concern. “Anything we do might make a year’s worth of difference but really the home might need to be replaced.” She then lauds ASP for addressing the issue. “ASP realizes that, too, and is actually taking an initiative right now to start building some new homes. They’re working through that right now and that could be a significant improvement. There are times when we really are doing a very temporary fix, it really needs more than that, and we’d really like to be able to give them that blessing. ASP is making that change right now to make that happen – they have started building new homes in some of their disaster recovery areas. So that is something they’re working to implement more in the future.”

Preparation for next summer’s trek starts when the current one ends. Fundraisers (summer car washes, February pancake dinners) are thought out for monies to rent vans, pay for those making the trip, and pay for food at the sites. Activities and meetings are held to start building the team to make the trip. “We are already making a list of people to go next year; we’re trying to figure out which way to go – it (the planning) starts right away,” says Kim.

One factor that is huge when the team from northern New Jersey visits the impoverished area is noticing the difference in lifestyle. “A lot of the places ASP has centers is in the poverty area for their respective state. A lot of the areas are pretty impoverished,” says James. “I know a lot of them are old coal mining towns. It’s a really big culture shock, coming from here and going down there. There’s a lot of things we’ll notice when we’re walking into a house that we might feel like correcting up here but it’s functional for them. What we really want to do is focus on the things that are really important for the family: making sure the house stays warm for the winter, the floor is solid, the roof isn’t going to leak.” 

“It is very different there,” agrees Kim. “They survive on a lot less than we do. But every year, the youth that we bring kind of have a tremendous experience, that even though the people we serve don’t have a lot, they want to give back to us when were there. They host us for dinners, and their thanks mean so much, because we know they’re giving anything they can to help us out and pay us back for what we’re doing even though they can’t pay us back monetarily, and we wouldn’t ask them to.”

“Serve” is the key word. “One of the many mottos of the trip,” adds Kim, “in addition to ‘Warmer, Safer, and Drier’, is ‘It’s a relationship building ministry with home building on the side.’ So part of our priority is to build a bond with the homeowners, and sometimes even more than the roofs were fixing to give them hope, building a relationship with them, showing them that someone still cares, showing them that someone from New Jersey – someone many states away – still cares that they are living a safe life and are able to take care of the children, and so on.” 

When trips end, friendships formed are kept, bonded through long distance via social media. Kim, who has been making the trip for ten years, has remained friends with three different homeowners. This year, the team built a wheelchair ramp for a homeowner who took phone numbers and addresses, the gentleman seeking to send out birthday and Christmas cards to volunteers. “He was so moved by the experience.” 

Donations are welcome, including supporting the group’s fundraising efforts, but there are other ways donations can be made. Checks can be sent to Denville Community Church, but checks must be earmarked that they are for ASP. 

“I think the trip has just as much an effect on us as the homeowners down there,” says James. “Especially seeing the youth go down. It takes a special youth to give up a week of their summer to do something like this, but seeing them go down, seeing them serving and realizing what some people are going through, it’s definitely a change, and they mature over the week..” 

Kim adds, “Every year it refreshes my soul to see the youth that go on the trip and see how engaged they get with the homeowners, and some of the things they give up while being there. Often, we don’t have cell (phone) service, sometimes they’re climbing under the house with the possibility of encountering snakes and things…they’re willing to do something for someone who needs it.”

DCC invites everyone who would like to be included to attend and, in McCrostie’s words, “see who steps up to the plate. We do have to send ASP a tentative number of people, and we try our hardest to get as close as we can to that mark. This year we were almost right on the nose, only one under this year!”

Denville Community Church is located at 190 Diamond Spring Road and can be reached by calling (973) 627-1041. For more information about DCC ASP, visit For information abut ASP in general, visit

]]> 0
Meet Denville’s Newest Business and Budding Entrepreneurs: Giuliana Verdicchio and Colleen McGavin Tue, 03 Sep 2019 18:50:51 +0000 By: Megan Roche


For most twelve year old’s, they are spending their summer at the beach, on a family vacation, hanging out at the mall, going for ice cream, and enjoying their time off from school. For Denville residents Giuliana Verdicchio and Colleen McGavin, what started out as fun this summer has now become about their budding new business.


The two twelve year old’s were recently playing in the pool at Giuliana’s house and were looking for a new game to enjoy. They started to play their favorite game with a water bottle cap, but Giuliana’s dad was concerned about the cap breaking his pool filter. How would they continue to play a game they have come to love? 


Time for these two twelve year old’s to get creative. After the bummer of not being able to play with a bottle cap, the two sought out ways to continue playing their favorite game that wouldn’t cause damage. Cue the Dibble disc, Giuliana and Colleen’s creation. 


Dibble can be played by as many people as possible. The object of the game is for one person to put the Dibble disc at the bottom of the pool and the first person to find it that is located outside the pool must jump in and grab the disc before anyone else gets to it. Easy, simple, and a fun summer time game for all ages in the family. 


“There are no rules to playing the game, we really just want everyone to have fun playing it.” Verdicchio said. 


The two recently created social media pages and a website where the product is for sale. The miniature disc that is used to play Dibble resembles that of an ice pack. The girls even have some tips and tricks on how the Dibble disc can be repurposed when it’s not in the pool, a great ecofriendly option.


“Dibble is a multipurpose tool. If you need to keep your lunches cold or if you get hurt and you need an ice pack, the Dibble disc stays cold for a really long time. It’s perfect to use year round, not just for Dibble fun in the pool.” McGavin said. 


The girls were invited by a local business, Sisters, to have a stand outside their storefront at the annual Downtown Denville Block Party in July. After receiving approval from Ryan Gleason, Executive Director of the Downtown Denville BID, Giuliana and Colleen came armed with plenty of Dibble discs to sell and guess what? The two sold out completely. Not bad for their first pop up shop experience!


“It was such a fun and great experience and our visitors to our table felt that our business was such a great idea. We got a lot of community support and we’ve really enjoyed the process. We got to meet so many people who really supported us and they were just as excited about our business as we were.” Verdicchio said. 


As summer winds down and the two head back to the books and homework that await them at Valleyview Middle School, they hope to continue to grow Dibble and plan to stick with their newly established company. For these two, the creation of their business was much more than just a simple creation to pass the time during the summer months. 


“We really wanted to encourage kids our age to get off their phones and social media. We just want kids to be kids again. We heard stories from our parents about their childhoods and we really found that important. We really wanted to create a game for kids our age to have fun without a phone.” McGavin said. 


As if running their business hasn’t taught them enough, the two credit their parents with helping them through the beginning stages. From that one day at Giuliana’s pool in June to where they are now, the two are nothing but smiles. They also offered words of wisdom to other kids who want to start their own businesses. 


“People really appreciate our game. We’ve had lots of positive comments. For other kids who want to start their own business, just follow your heart and if you believe in yourself and your product, you can do exactly what we did.” Verdicchio said. 


The feedback from customers has been great so far. The two young entrepreneurs have been very impressed by the support of their company, especially considering their ages. Through their own business, the two were able to learn about money management, business and marketing skills, among others. 


“We really learned about money and what it’s like going to a bank. We also really learned to have fun and why spend our time inside? We really want people to get outside and have fun. That’s the whole point.” McGavin said. 


As the girls look to the future of Dibble, the two would eventually like to take portions of their profits and donate them to local charities throughout Denville. For more information on Dibble, visit or follow the two on Instagram at @DibblePoolGame. The two have also established an Etsy shop. Dibble discs are currently priced at $15.00 plus shipping.


“We’re both just so grateful to all our customers so far. All of the support has been really special. We really hope they enjoy the game just as much as we do. We really appreciate the feedback and we always want people to let us know what they think about our business,” the two shared. 

]]> 0
Ronin Martial Arts Opens in Denville Tue, 03 Sep 2019 18:47:40 +0000 Ronin Martial Arts is a new business in Denville. Actually, being located in Denville is new while the business owner is well established in the area. John Hertzel, a Fourth Degree Black Belt and Master Instructor in Tae Kwon Do opened the new business here in July 2019. Ronin is more than an academy for Martial Arts lessons, Ronin also offers Yoga classes as well as Kickboxing classes. John Hertzel and his team of instructors have been teaching martial arts in the Denville and Rockaway area for fifteen years. 

Students at Ronin are involved in goal-oriented training. Unlike some schools and training centers where students participate as individuals trying out different moves, exercises and techniques, at Ronin each student is assisted by the staff to set long term goals and work toward them in a realistic and consistent fashion at their own pace. Students achieve more and are generally happier when their instructors are receptive to their individual needs. John and his team of instructors see their students as much more than people passing through their school. Some students have trained with John for as many as 20 years. Students share information about their interests and life experiences with their martial arts instructors. One result of this sharing of interests is that John has become a mentor to many of his students. Parents explain that Hertzel and his team of instructors have had a huge positive influence on the children’s lives. John has forged long-lasting relationships with many students. Ronin is a culture of its own. All students are fully welcome at Ronin. People at Ronin are of all ages, all abilities, and any identity. After training with Ronin and achieving Black Belts, many students return to Ronin to share in their life accomplishments with their Instructors. “Its very rewarding to us as instructors to see how these lessons learned in Martial arts have helped our students achieve their goals throughout their lives. Its nice to know we are having an impact on the lives of our students.” Said Hertzel. Instructors at Ronin commonly provide letters of recommendation for students, helping them to be accepted for admission to some of the top schools. Students at Ronin come from all walks of life and range from age 4 to 72. Parents note improvement in their children’s character development, Ronin instructors help accomplish this by encouraging students to bring in report cards, and help students work on elements of their public/private education careers. Parents request assistance in addressing school issues that need attention. Leveraging their Mentoring relationship with their students, Ronin’s instructors reinforce attention/effort with positive reinforcement and orientation toward goals. Hertzel explained, “Every student here takes classes for a different reason. Some need a way to learn how to interact with others and cooperate as a team, and others work on focus and paying attention.” A multi program approach allows for complete family involvement. Children can participate in Tae Kwon Do and Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles in Fitness Kickboxing, Yoga, or Adult TKD.

Ronin and its instructor team actively participate in community events such as the Denville Polar Plunge, and Volunteer to participate in local events, street fairs, demonstrations, fall festivals, and other holiday events.  Ronin also makes donations to tricky trays and fund raisers. Hertzel and his instructors also assists students in preparation for school talent shows and accompany students during their talent show presentations.


While breathing new life into the “Pella Plaza”, Ronin Martial Arts is helping to revitalize a space that has been empty for some time. With a Nail salon in the same building, families can enjoy the convenience of having a manicure or pedicure while students are in class. The Ronin facility is perfect for family involvement. With a spacious waiting area with large viewing windows into the classroom. Ronin has all new construction, wi-fi available for parents, and a complimentary coffee bar where parents can relax and enjoy chatting with others. 

At Ronin there is a program for everyone. Ronin has a comprehensive and flexible class schedule with over 30 classes offered per week, which compliments students’ other activities such as seasonal sports, camps, vacations, etc. Having such an extensive class schedule also eases stress of overscheduling. Children and adults alike feel comfortable that their instructors teach on their level. Each person feels as important as the next. Ronin’s staff creates an atmosphere of congeniality and comfort. Ronin is a one-of-a-kind facility. All styles and disciplines are accepted for transfer students. 


Ronin offers a full schedule year-round. Get started with Summer, holiday, and grand opening specials, family discounts, and FREE class trials today.

]]> 0
19th Annual Pumpkin Festival at Whippany Railway Museum Tue, 03 Sep 2019 18:42:42 +0000 Spend the day at the Whippany Railway Museum and Celebrate the Fall Harvest and the Season of the Witch, during the Museum’s 19th Annual Pumpkin Festival.  Walk among the pumpkins, corn shocks and grinning scarecrows.  Enjoy the wares of local craft merchants and railroad memorabilia dealers at the “Pumpkin Market Place Crafts Fair”.  Enter the cab of 112 year-old steam locomotive No. 385 where you can sit in the engineer’s seat and blow the whistle and ring the bell.  View two operating model railroad layouts. Climb aboard the “Pumpkinliner” excursion train and relax as the train follows the route of the historic “Whippanong Trail”.  For full details and online tickets, visit  or call:  973-887-8177.


Sunday, October 6, 2019 from 12 Noon to 5:30 p.m., Rain or Shine. Trains depart every 45 minutes beginning at 12:30 p.m. through 5:00 p.m.

 Trains depart from 1 Railroad Plaza (intersection of Route 10 West & Whippany Road) in Whippany. The cost is Adults: $16.; Children (under 12): $11.; Infants (1 year & under): Free (*NOTE: Train Fare includes admission to Museum Building & grounds) 


For Tickets and More Info:   973-887-8177

]]> 0
Your 2nd Look Takes A 2nd Look, At Your Radiology Study Tue, 03 Sep 2019 18:40:47 +0000 Courtesy of Your 2nd Look

Here’s a shocker: Up to 30% of radiology reports may not be correct or complete. Crunched for time, or lacking advanced sub-specialty radiology training, your radiologist may have misread your MRI, CT or PET scan, Cardiology CTA, mammogram, x-ray or ultrasound.


So, you might not need that surgery after all. Or that drug.  Or that injection.

Serious stuff, right?

Wouldn’t another pair of professional eyes give peace of mind? But too often we don’t get second opinions. We don’t know whom to ask. Or we simply don’t want to second guess our doctors.

  Your 2nd Look Takes A 2nd Look, At Your Radiology Study

This new web-based service, Your 2nd Look, makes it easy for patients to get another pair of professional eyes on radiology studies.

Patients simply upload images to the website (your imaging center has to provide them upon request), and a radiologist will send a comprehensive report back within 48 hours. No computer? You can send your CD to Your 2nd Look and they will upload it for you, return it to you and pay your postage.

Your 2nd Look radiologists view the same images but never see the first report. So your images are studied with fresh eyes.

Your 2nd Look’s radiologists are chosen because of their many honors; some graduated AOA (Alpha Omega Alpha) at the top of their medical school class. Knowledge and experience matter in radiology just as much as in other fields of medicine, and Your 2nd Look assures you that you will have the best. 

Fees, which are not covered by insurance, are $69 – $249 depending on the type of study. Your 2nd Look offers military, veteran, clergy, senior (and all immediate family members) discounts, and is negotiating with membership-based organizations and retailers for group deals.

One of the founders of Your 2nd Look shares a personal story. His 89-year old mom had had a series of strokes and the ER doctor, looking at her CT scan, thought there was no hope and did not see the value of giving her a clot-busting injection.  The son insisted on the injection and had a highly trained neuro radiologist read the CT scan. The second radiologist disagreed with the ER physician. It was a complicated case with the strokes located at the base of the brain, and this neuro radiologist spent the time to go through all the scenarios. It’s just sometimes not the way an 89 year old woman is handled in an ER room with all the pressures of the moment.  Well his mom recovered and lived a wonderful four more years with her son and her family. So for that family the use of a second radiologist (albeit a very highly trained neuro radiologist) saved a wonderful life for his family. 

As with other areas of medicine it is usually advised that the patient try to get a 2nd opinion. Certainly for cases involving surgery or major treatments and, now, radiology. Is it not worth peace of mine for a family faced with serious medical decisions? Be an advocate and always consider all of your options for yourself and for your family.

For more information visit the company’s website at or email or call 833-226-3566. 

]]> 0