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Jessica Marrone Parkes and Jackie Schatell

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

The Secret Life of a Special Needs Mom

May 2, 2015

As we mark the end of Autism Awareness month, I would like to share the challenges that we, as parents, confront each day as we try to give our kids a better quality of life. As a newly-minted spec...

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Today's Events

Press Releases

TAPinto.net Breaks 3.6M Annual Readers; Readership Up Over 75% Year-Over-Year

May 1, 2015

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - TAPinto.net, the network of more than thirty all-online local newspapers, had more than 3.6M absolute unique users visit the site between May 1, 2014 and April 30, 2015, an inc...

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Columns

West Orange Public Schools

Bowling for Betty Maddalena Scholarship Fundraiser Raises $3,000

​WEST ORANGE, NJ - On April 25, friends and colleagues turned out at Eagle Rock Bowling Lanes to raise funds for the Betty Maddalena Scholarship Fund for Special Needs students in the Wes...

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Golda Och Academy Corner

Golda Och Academy Names Christine Stodolski Upper School Principal

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Golda Och Academy has announced the appointment of Christine Stodolski as Upper School Principal. Stodolski will officially join the school on July 1, at which time current Ass...

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Guest Column

Crowds Gather In Washington D.C. for Marriage Equality Debate

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two Roselle Park residents, the former Mayor Joe DeIorio and his husband Thos Shipley, made the trip to Washington to cover the awaited Supreme Court verdict on same-sex marriage...

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Jordan Baris Inc. Realtors

Jordan Baris Inc. Helps People Find Homes Anywhere

Dear Friends: Last week, my family and I visited Charlotte, North Carolina. The purpose of the trip was to watch our daughter participate in the national swim invitational. Needless to say, the ...

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Doctors Express Urgent Care Center of West Orange

AFC/Doctors Express – West Orange—Spring Cleaning for a Healthier Home

Spring has arrived, and it’s time for a little spring cleaning. A clean home is one way to embrace the season and focus on your health at the same time. It’s easy to blame spring p...

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Discount Travel News

4 Bedroom Suite during Ski Season in Colorado. $398/wk

Pagosa Springs packs a dynamite ski trip into a small quaint town surrounded by three million acres of wilderness and national forest, and… Our travel club members get to enjoy its perks ...

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West Orange Mock Shooter Drill Ready to Roll on August 20

By CYNTHIA CUMMING

August 18, 2013 at 6:14 PM

WEST ORANGE, NJ - On Tuesday, Aug. 20, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Liberty Middle School will be the scene of the largest mock shooter drill ever mounted in the state of New Jersey.

The list of participants in the drill, spearheaded by West Orange Police Sergeant John Morella, is staggering. The West Orange Police Department, police departments from Essex, Passaic, Morris and Hudson counties, the Essex County Sheriff's Office, the Essex County Office of Emergency Management, the New Jersey State Police; the Defense at Picatinny Arsenal and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, along with the U.S. Federal Air Marshals; the Department of Homeland Security, St. Barnabas Medical Center, Monoc and University Hospital; and more than 100 parents, students and school district employees will participate to make the drill as realistic and educational as possible. Picatinny Arsenal, Rutgers, Montclair State University and Seton Hall University will all be filming the event.

West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi said, "The protection of our young people is our highest priority. Unfortunately, as we've seen in recent years, no school is immune to the possibility of an attack. This is an especially important drill because it increases our effort to provide safe and secure buildings for our students."

The ultimate goal is for not only the township of West Orange and its school district to learn how to handle such an unfathomable crisis, but for the drill to be used as a tool for law enforcement agencies, medical personnel, and other towns throughout New Jersey and the country. Morella reached out to outside agencies and DHS is funding the $140,000 project, which comes at no cost to taxpayers.

Mounting an exercise like this has been no easy task, but Morella remains excited about the possibilities of executing the daunting operation. "This is a very proactive approach with Law Enforcement and the U.S. military joining forces; to maybe not avert these types of incidents, but to be able to deal with them more effectively and efficiently in the hope of having fewer casualties in events such as this, and of having an understanding of how to react and deal with this type of incident as it unfolds,” he said.

The West Orange School district has recently updated several of its security measures and Interim Superintendent Jim O'Neill said, "We are proud to offer Liberty Middle School to law enforcement to hold this active shooter drill. The building is new and provides opportunities for a variety of scenarios. The grounds are expansive and can accommodate the many hundreds of participants and audience members expected. It is also an opportunity for the West Orange Board of Education to test our emergency management and communications plan for its level of effectiveness, and make adjustments if necessary.”

Chief of Police James Abbott noted, "In law enforcement, we are constantly training and preparing to respond to all different types of scenarios. This coordinated drill helps officers from multiple jurisdictions learn how to work together by establishing a standardized response that involves all parties responsible for the care and safety of our children. We will do everything with the resources we have to achieve our goal." 

The Alternative Press of West Orange will be on hand to cover the exercise beginning at 8:30 a.m., along with other local, and perhaps national, news sources.