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A great resource for information in "The Valley" - Connecticut's Naugatuck Valley

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Help Derby High School Students Attend National Track Championships

DERBY -  There are some worthy young adults from Derby High School who need our help to attend the New Balance High School Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Greensboro, NC in June.
They need to raise $5, the next week.  Would you be willing to help them?  If each of us made a small donation, the job would be very easy.
Can we reach the goal by the end of this long weekend?
There are a few ways to make the donation:
1.You donate on-line through GoFundMe by clicking here -
2.You can make checks payable to the “Derby Running Club” and they can be dropped off or mailed to:
a.       Derby High School, 75 Chatfield Street, Derby, CT
b.      Derby Town Clerk’s Office, 1 Elizabeth Street, Derby, CT
3. I will gladly jump out of line at the Derby-Shelton Parade on Monday to personally collect your check and thank you for your generosity!
Please forward this email to as many people as possible.
On behalf of the grateful young adults of Derby High School, I thank you for your consideration!
Have a safe and relaxing weekend!
Marc J. Garofalo, MPA, CCTC - Town / City Clerk
(This is a press release from Marc Garofalo)

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Klarides-Ditria Issues Memorial Day Message/Parade Info

Memorial Day arrives this weekend, and it is a time to reflect on the service of those who answered our nation's call in times of armed conflict, and made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure future generations of Americans would remain free.
BEACON FALLS: There will be a Memorial Day ceremony Sunday, May 28, at 10:00 a.m. outside of the firehouse along with representatives of the Post. All veterans are invited to attend. Post 25 will host a ceremony at Veteran’s Park at 12:30 p.m. on North Main Street along with local and state dignitaries.
DERBY: The Derby - Shelton Memorial Day Parade will begin Monday, May 29, at approximately 9:00 a.m. on Howe Avenue in Shelton, and conclude at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Cottage Street in Derby.
SEYMOUR: The Town of Seymour will hold its annual Memorial Day Parade on Sunday, May 28, rain or shine. Activities for the parade begin at the reviewing stand on Main Street at Bank Street in downtown Seymour beginning at 10:30 a.m. The band, Performing Artists, will perform there until 11:00 a.m. The parade steps off at 11:30 a.m. at French Memorial Park. The parade route will continue from the park to Route 67 west heading toward the downtown area. It will turn left onto Main Street past the reviewing stand and continue on Main Street to Broad Street, where it will turn right onto Broad Street, cross the Broad Street Bridge and disband at the Seymour Community Center on Pine Street. A shuttle bus will run from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on the day of the parade from the Seymour Community Center (the ending point of the parade) to French Park (the beginning of the parade) for any participants in the parade.
I wish you and your family the best this Memorial Day weekend.
State Representative Nicole Klarides-Ditria 

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Valley Non-profits Raise Nearly $300K during the Great Give

DERBY- The Valley Community Foundation (VCF) is proud to announce that with the help of Valley residents, employees and VCF donor advised fund holders during The Great Give® 2017 nearly $300,000 was raised for nonprofit organizations located in Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour or Shelton. The total amount includes $25,000 in matching funds and prizes provided by VCF and others, which were shared during the fifth annual celebratory ice cream social on May 25.
“Of the nearly $1.3 million raised in The Great Give® 2017, approximately twenty-five percent will be specifically distributed for the benefit of Valley residents,” said Sharon Closius, President and CEO of the Valley Community Foundation. “It is truly inspiring to see this level of sustained support for local nonprofits, especially those here in the Valley.” For the fifth consecutive year, VCF has been the second largest sponsor of the event, incentivizing giving by matching funds and offering prizes to participating organizations.
This year, Valley-based organizations won multiple special prizes awarded throughout The Great Give® 2017, which was announced at the ice cream social. A total of $25,000 in prizes were awarded by VCF during The Great Give® 2017 to organizations located in the Valley. VCF awarded two prizes, the first to the Valley Independent Sentinel for greatest total number of Valley donors and the second to St. Mary-St. Michael School for the greatest number of new Valley donors. Both organizations also received additional prizes. The Valley Independent Sentinel received $250 as an Early Bird prize and St. Mary-St. Michael School received an additional $750 as a result of two hourly prizes. For the second year in a row, the Liberty Bank Foundation sponsored a prize in the amount of $2,000 for the Valley-based organization supporting basic needs that attracted the greatest number of individual donors during a specified time, which was presented to TEAM, Inc.
Center Stage Theatre was awarded a second place overall Grand Prize from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven for most money raised by an organization with less than five full-time staff in addition to a $1,000 Early Bird Prize. BHCare was also awarded a second place overall Grand Prize for the most money raised by an organization with more than five full-time staff. Derby Day Care, Shelton High School Robotics Team and Shelton Historical Society also received money as a result of competitive hourly prizes.
The Great Give® is the annual online giving event on®, a local resource for learning and giving created in 2010 by VCF’s partner in philanthropy, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to increase philanthropy in the Greater New Haven region of South Central Connecticut. Overall, The Great Give® 2017 generated nearly $1.3 million, including matching funds and prizes from the two foundations and other generous community sponsors for nonprofits serving the 20-town region of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, which includes VCF’s five-town service area. There were more than 8,000 donors who gave more than 11,000 gifts.  To see participating nonprofits and prize information, visit
About the Valley Community Foundation
Established in 2004, the Valley Community Foundation distributes hundreds of thousands of grant dollars each year to support the local nonprofit sector and the people it serves. In addition to grantmaking, VCF works in strong partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (TCF), to promote philanthropy in Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton and receives funding from The Gates Fund and other preference funds at TCF. To learn how your gifts of cash, life insurance, appreciated stocks, bonds, real estate, and other assets can help to support the quality of life in the Valley, please visit the website at or contact VCF President, Sharon Closius, at or 203-751-9162.
(This is a press release from Valley Community Foundation)

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Free Solar Workshop for Seymour Residents June 6

SEYMOUR - Solarize Seymour will hold an informational workshop at 6 pm on Tuesday, June 6th at Microboard Processing Inc., 36 Cogwheel Lane. Residents who are interested in learning more about Solarize Seymour are urged to attend. To participate in the benefits offered through the program, residents must sign a solar contract by August 16, 2017.

Solarize Seymour is part of Solarize Connecticut, a residential solar program that is intended to make going solar easy and affordable. It is supported by the Town of Seymour. PurePoint Energy will provide solar installations in Seymour at a special discounted rate in exchange for education and outreach efforts from the town. Solarize Seymour also offers residents access to special financing options that make going solar affordable with no upfront costs.  Other financing resources are also available.

“The Town of Seymour is excited to bring the Solarizes program to Seymour,” said First Selectman, Kurt Miller. Solarize is a great opportunity for homeowners and businesses to invest in their home and save on their ever-rising utility bills. Make sure to stop by one of our events to see how much you can save by going solar!”

Reservations for the workshop can be made by calling the First Selectman’s office and speaking to Rory Burke at 203-888-3511.

More information about Solarize Seymour can be found by visiting or by contacting Chamae Mejias at 

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Hometown Hoop Star to Participate in Ansonia Memorial Day Parade

ANSONIATierney Lawlor is coming home.

The former Ansonia High School basketball star and member of the University of Connecticut Huskies last three NCAA women’s championship basketball teams, will participate in Ansonia’s Memorial Day Parade on Sunday May 28.
Tierney will ride along the parade route with 2nd Ward Alderman Lori Vaccaro in a mint condition vintage 1968 Chevrolet Impala convertible.
At the conclusion of the parade in front of city hall at the parade grandstand, Tierney will be given the “Key to the City” in a proclamation ceremony hosted by Mayor Dave Cassetti.
Tierney was a member of UCONN women’s last three national championships (2014-2016) including a final four appearance in 2017. During her 4-year career at UCONN, she played in 123 games logging more than 400 minutes, scoring 47 points.
(This is a press release from Ansonia City Hall)

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Valley United Way Exceeds Fundraising Goal

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SHELTON- After 10 years of nearly reaching the Campaign goal, Valley United Way is happy to announce they have met and exceeded the 1 million dollar goal set for the 2016-2017 year. Valley United Way has raised over $1,050,000, $50,000 over the Campaign goal.

“Thanks in part to all those who contributed to the Valley United Way, we have reached our $1 million Campaign goal this year. I am grateful to all those who supported our efforts, and our community will be better - and stronger - ​because of it,” said Jimmy Tickey, the Valley United Way Campaign Chair.

“The Valley United Way makes a difference in the lives of hard working people who ​struggle to make ends meet, senior citizens who need assistance, young people who are being prepared for a bright future and communities who are responding to crisis’, said Tickey. ‘The Valley United Way is working each and every day to alleviate these concerns, and is thinking strategically about their work so there are more long-term solutions.”
Valley United Way has been in the community for 49 years and thanks to the generosity of donors, Valley United Way has been able to invest over $35 million into helping youth, providing basic needs and working to prevent crisis. “The Valley is a caring community and it is not surprising that the community is so generous. Congratulations to the dedicated volunteers who worked tirelessly on the Campaign,” said Sharon Gibson-Ellis, President & COO of Valley United Way.
Valley United Way has many great programs that exist and are successful because of the community’s generosity. They aid in food insecurity for Valley families in need with programs such as Harvest House and the Grow Your Own program. Grown Your Own allows low income families to have a support system to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables and Harvest House is a house made from food and that is given to five food pantries in the Valley. The Back to School Program, another great program, provides clothing and school supplies that are needed for the initial start of the school year. The Corporate Volunteer Council is credited for the Harvest House and Back to School Program.
If an individual or company would like to find out more information on how to participate in either donating funds, volunteering time or donating in kind donations, please contact Valley United Way at 203-926-9478 or email:
For more information on Valley United Way, their funded partners and the programs and services they provide please visit and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Below is a clip of the meeting on YouTube:

(This is a press release from Valley United Way)

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Fashion Show for a Cause

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Boys & Girls Club Award Schlolarships to Valley Students

SHELTON – The Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley held its 2017 Scholarship Award Ceremony Tuesday. Linda Welch, Chair of the Scholarship Committee, awarded 20 students with a combined total of $28,949 in college scholarships.  

The scholarship recipients were: Samantha B., Matthew B., Megan B., Jess C., Holly C., Mackenzie C., Kiara D., Alina G., Julia H., Kyle H., Emily K., Jaylen L., Sabrina M., William M., Yancere P., Keith P., Taylor Q., Tayliah Q., Marila S. and Lauren S. 

The scholarships and awards amounts were as follows: 
Coram Gardens Civic Association - $7,000
This award was established in 1987 by the former Coram Gardens Civic Association to help improve the quality of life for those people from the geographic region of Coram Gardens. Since its inception, more than $137,000 has been disbursed to help defer the cost of college tuitions.
Raymond P. Lavietes - $4,000
This award was established in 2005 by long-time friend and supporter Ray Lavietes. Ray left our Boys & Girls Club a bequest of $100,000 to help our members afford a secondary education. Thanks to Ray’s generosity, more than $43,000 has been disbursed in scholarship funds. 
Dr. Edward G. Bednar - $5,000
This award was established in 2010, in memory of “Doc” Bednar, a long-time Board member and unfailing supporter of our Club and the children who attend every day. Since the first scholarship only seven years ago, the Bednar family has already awarded more than $12,200 to help students pursuing an education in the healthcare field. 
George C. & Margaret Smith - $5,000
George C. and Margaret Smith left a surprise bequest of $100,000 to our Boys & Girls Club. Since its inception this fund has provided more than $114,000 for secondary education to our young men and women. 
Fortin Family Foundation - $5,000
This new scholarship is being awarded for the first time this year, to a member of the graduating class to further their post-high school education at an accredited post-high school institution. A recipient may reapply for such scholarship in ensuing college years up to a maximum of four years.

George & Beatrice Ryan - $2,949
After leaving the service after World War II, Shelton resident George Ryan jumped with both feet into the automotive industry.  Many years later, Ryan is still passionate about the career that has taken him from the gas pumps to the successful Curtiss-Ryan Honda car dealership.  And now George is eager to share his passion by extending a helping hand to others who enter the field.  “I always thought I should give back to the community,” Ryan said.  “It has supported me, and I believe that I should support it.”  In 2004, Ryan chose to do exactly that by establishing the George and Beatrice Ryan Scholarship Fund at Valley Community Fund, which provides scholarships to students who are planning to study automotive administration, sales or technology. 

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, visit
(This is a press release from the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley)

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Emmett O'Brien Teachers Receive Grant

ANSONIA - Fund for Teachers has awarded Emmett O’Brien Technical High School teachers a grant to attend the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York July 23 –July 28th 2017 to attend a conference called, Mindfulness in Education Teacher Training.

The  $4,800 grant award called “Mindful Teachers” will allow team leader, grant writer Mary Parady, EL & Language Arts Teacher and team members, Francesca Ford, English Teacher and Diane Salmeri, Hairdressing and Cosmetology Teacher the opportunity to learn, explore and research effective techniques into the way of mindful education and to introduce and implement mindfulness into the academic and trade areas. 
Schools worldwide are turning to mindfulness and social and emotional learning as antidotes to rising stress, and attention deficit. Research shows that students and teachers in school systems that have adopted mindfulness are happier, more focused, more compassionate, emotionally regulated and less impacted by stress.
Daniel Rechtschaffen, Morris E. Ervin Jr. and Rachel Brown will lead the conference.  
The teachers attended an orientation dinner at The New Haven Lawn Club on Tuesday May 2, 2017, with 125 Connecticut fellows. The O’ Brien fellows spent the evening with an amazing group of teachers travelling around the world to enrich the lives of their students.
Fund for Teachers supports educators' efforts to develop skills, knowledge and confidence that impact student achievement. By trusting teachers to design unique fellowships, Fund for Teachers grants validate teachers' professionalism and leadership, as well. Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has invested $22 million in nearly 6,000 teachers, transforming grants into growth for teachers and their students.
(This is a press release from Emmett O'Brien)

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Memorial Day Service Slated at Woodbridge Avenue Memorial

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ANSONIA- A Memorial Day Service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 21 at the Woodbridge Avenue Veterans Memorial, located at 61 Woodbridge Avenue, Ansonia. State Rep. Linda Gentile and state Sen. George Logan, along with local city officials will be on hand. The public is invited. (New Haven Register file photo by Arnold Gold)


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Sen. Logan, Senate Republicans Unveil Revised CT Budget Fix

Sen. George S. Logan (at right) stands with Senate Republicans May 16 to unveil a revised, line-by-line, 57-page state budget alternative plan.  The Senate Republican plan does not raise taxes, continues to protect towns and property taxpayers, provides funding for core social services, increases funding for education to towns and cities.  Left to right: Sen. Paul Formica, Sen. Kevin Witkos, Sen. Len Fasano, and Sen. Logan. 
Sen. George S. Logan and Senate Republican lawmakers on May 16 released a revised line-by-line
state budget proposal which:
·         Closes the deficit without tax increases.
·         Increases education funding.
·         Preserves funding for services to seniors, the disabled and Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents.
·         Lowers taxes for retirees.
·         Provides for structural budget reforms, like a state government spending cap and a bonding cap.
“The Senate Republican plan protects taxpayers from being overburdened by new taxes or policies which would result in significant increases to property taxes,” Sen. Logan said. “We protect hospitals from being hit with more taxes. Bottom line:  We have a plan to get Connecticut back on a path to sustainability, predictability, stability and economic growth.”
A full summary of the updated “Confident Connecticut” budget is available at
Line-by-line budget details are available at
“I urge taxpayers to contact me,” Sen. Logan said.  “I am fighting to get Connecticut out of this mess.  I am fighting against tax hikes.  I am fighting for the property taxpayers of Connecticut, and I will work with Democrats to make this thoughtful, detailed plan a reality.  Together, we can turn our state around.”
Logan represents Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge.
He can be reached at and 800-842-1421. 
(This is a press release from Logan's office)

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fill-A-Truck Event to Benefit Ansonia Animal Shelter

Bike Ride for Kids's Health

The Ride for Children at Quarry Walk, 6th Annual Pedal for PCRC, will take place on Sunday, June 4, and leaves from Quarry Walk in Oxford. Riders can choose from three routes, 15, 32, or 50 miles.

The ride benefits the Parent Child Resource Center which provides innovative mental health services, prevention and early intervention programs for more than 1,000 children and families in the Valley and beyond.
Register here or call (203) 736-2601 and ask for Joy.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pizza Eating Contest for a Cause

Assumption School to Present "The Music Man, Jr."

Iconic Valley Music Store Unveils New Sign

ANSONIA - The renovation of Banko’s Music is nearly complete with the addition of its new storefront sign, replacing the 70’s “feeling groovy” signage predecessor.
New owner Joe Shapiro of Shelton acquired, last year, the 1955 founded Ansonia landmark and has since completely renovated the interior retail space, exterior façade and second floor offices which also double as weekly open jam sessions and for music lessons.
Banko’s is located on 360 East Main Street.
They are planning a Grand Opening event later this summer.
(This is a press release from Ansonia City Hall)

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Monday, May 15, 2017

DMV Issues New Process for Licenses, Other Photo ID's

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Just when you thought you were learning to navigate the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles again, they are updating the process for licensing, issuance of ID cards and other photo-credentials.  I thought it important that you learn this sooner rather than later, as it will impact all of us. Please remember, I am just the messenger.   
Ready?  The Connecticut DMV will no longer issue driver's licenses, ID cards, or other credentials on-site at branch locations. At the end of May, a rolling phase-in of a new process will begin, by former AAA service areas, with the first phase-in occurring in the former Willimantic and Cromwell AAA service area.  Subsequent service areas will follow after each successful implementation.
The new process of acquiring or renewing a CT license, ID card or other credential will now include you receiving a 30-day written notice to renew, assuming DMV has your current mailing address.  Prior to expiration, you will need to visit one of  these locations for processing, but you will no longer leave the branch with your valid, permanent card.  Instead, it will arrive in the mail within 20 days of your visit.  At the visit, you will now be issued a temporary paper license or ID for use until the permanent one arrives in the mail.
This new system is part of Connecticut's central issuance program designed to reduce fraud.
Note: If your current license or ID card is still valid, there is no need to replace it with the new card until it expires.  
Please see below for details. Click here for PDF versions.
If you have any additional questions on the updated license renewal process, or any matter related to state government, I can always be reached at or by calling 860-240-8700. 
State Representative Nicole Klarides-Ditria 

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Healing Workshop Offered at Griffin Hospital

DERBY - Griffin Hospital will offer a basic level Soft Touch workshop June 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. June 10 at the hospital, 130 Division St.

Soft Touch is a therapeutic, relaxing, and gentle massage that can be given to an individual's hands, feet, or back. Griffin Hospital offers variations of this therapy to patients and their caregivers as a way to reduce their anxiety, pain, and stress.
The workshop is led by Licensed Massage Therapist Joanne Halstead, R.N., BSN, and Physical Therapist Nancy Corvigno, MSPT, PRPC. This basic-level training includes a demonstration of various Soft Touch techniques as well as opportunity for hands-on practice.
The cost is $30. There are no prerequisites to attend the workshop and it is open to the public.Space is limited and sign-ups are due by June 1. Contact Laura Murphy, Planetree Services supervisor, at 203-732-7466 to enroll.
(This is a press release from Griffin Hospital)

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Soupstock Music & Arts Festival Announces its 2017 Music Lineup

Inline image 1SHELTON- Soupstock Music & Arts Festival proudly announces its 2017 music lineup bringing together national and local touring acts and exciting newcomers to the stage. The Festival once again invites area residents of all ages to come and experience an arts, music and culinary experience like no other.

The annual event will take place over two days on Saturday June 10th and Sunday June 11th at Veteran’s Park in Shelton.

Directors Nicole Heriot-Mikula, Joe Mango and Derek Signore unveil a lineup that follows the contour of previous festivals celebrating the best in local talent to match national acts otherwise reserved for ticketed events. New for 2017, Ska and Reggae Legends The Skatalites and Electrofunk powerhouse Particle co-headline the main stage with newcomers Sophistafunk and American Idol’s Elise Testone. Also returning is favorite Ryan Montbleau with his new ensemble, Yes, Darling featuring Hayley Jane.  Also sharing top billing are local mainstays, The Alpaca Gnomes and Bella’s Bartok, both returning to this year’s festival.

Established in 2010, Soupstock Music & Arts Festival has grown organically into one of Connecticut’s leading independent arts and music events. The festival has earned its reputation by attracting premier talent across all mediums to provide a landscape meant to please all the senses.

The festival’s mixture of arts, cuisine and culture means there is something for everyone. Our Vendor Village will have over 30 handmade artisans and non-profit organizations and the Kids Zone will be better than ever, providing a safe interactive environment for children of all ages with two major highlights this year: One World Puppetry and Creation Song Project. Our Annual Pro/Am Soup& Chili Cook-Off round out the event to make it extra delicious!

Proceeds will benefit the Mary A. Schmecker Turtle Shell Fund, furthering Art, Craft and Music Education for children and young adults.

For more information and to purchase tickets,  visit: or join us on:


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Friday, May 12, 2017

Ansonia Nature Center Announces Summer Programs

ANSONIA- The Ansonia Nature & Recreation Center has announced the following  programs for June:
Join Nature Center Director Alison Rubelmann and Ranger Dan Bosques for this morning walk. Discover the beauty of the Nature Center’s typical New England woodland during the CT Forest and Park Association’s annual Trails Day weekend. We might get lucky and find a lady slipper or two. This moderate hike will also visit the settlement of the Paugasucks. Bring water, a snack, and bug spray, and wear sturdy shoes. Suitable for older children and adults. FREE.
CARTOONING THE NATURAL WORLD – Sun. June 10 & 24, 10 am
Please see May 7 listing.
SUMMER SUN SPOTS – Sat. June 10, 1 pm
Join Bob Carruthers for a chance to view the sun safely. Serious eye damage or blindness can result from even a brief glimpse of our star. Never view it directly with the naked eye or with any unfiltered optical device, such as binoculars or a telescope. Bob will use a special instrument to observe the sun spots safely. He will project an image of the sun through a telescope onto a white screen. He will teach you what the sun is, what makes it shine, and what it’s made from. FREE.
In this family program, participants learn how birds adapt to their environment, and why they look and act the way they do. Be captivated by Henry Lappen’s beautiful masks and by his dances among the crowd demonstrating the form and motion of the different species. The audience joins him while learning some mime skills and imaging. FEE: $5 per person.
EXPLORE REDWING POND – Wed. June 14, 1 pm
An introduction for our young naturalists and adults to learn about the inhabitants of Redwing Pond. We will scoop with ponding nets to capture and identify aquatic insects, fish, frogs, and turtles. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes—you will get muddy and wet.  FREE.
If you’re a member of FANCI and can’t make the regular meetings, now is the time to find out what we’ve been up to! Reports and the election of officers will take place. Bring your own table setting and a dish to share (12 servings), and your ideas and suggestions for next year’s activities. Please register by June 9.
FIELD TRIP: Meigs Point Nature Center, Three Shoreline Ecosystems – Wed. June 21, 10 am–12 pm
Meet the Ansonia Nature Center staff at the Meigs Point Nature Center, Hammonasset Beach State Park. We will explore three very distinct shoreline ecosystems with the Meigs Point staff – rocky shore, sandy beach, and salt marsh. We will learn what makes a species invasive and how animals adapt in order to survive in the intertidal zone at the rocky shore. Along the sandy beach we’ll identify shells and seaweed as well as drag a seine net to see what lives in Long Island Sound. In the salt marsh we’ll discover its age and why marshes are important to people and Long Island Sound. Please dress appropriately for the weather and wear shoes that can get wet and muddy. FEE: $5 per person. Please visit for directions. We will meet promptly at 9:45 am.  Limited space.
NIGHT HIKE: Strawberry Moon – Fri. June 23, 7 pm
Native American tribes traditionally kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. The name of this moon, given because strawberries are harvested in June, was universal to all Algonquin tribes. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon. Wear appropriate footwear. For all ages (children must be accompanied by an adult). FEE: $1.00.
And register now for SUMMER NATURE DAYS!
Open registration; choose one or more of our week-long sessions, each held Mon.–Fri., 9 am to 3 pm.
Dates: July 31–Aug. 4, Aug. 7–11, Aug. 14–18.
For children 5 to 11 years old who love the outdoors and wildlife, these popular classes will be not only educational but also a chance to explore the 156 acres the park offers.  We will visit a variety of habitats in the park such as wetlands, fields, and woodlands. Hikes, games, crafts, and cooking will be incorporated into our lessons. A great choice for a fun late-summer experience!
TUITION PER WEEK: $150 for priority students (Ansonia residents and current family-level FANCI members), $175 all others.
•  Sundays: Guided Hikes, 1 pm  •  Thursdays: Yoga for Your Health, 6:30 pm — call Pam, 203-888-4124 •  Saturdays: Creature Features, 12 noon 
***THINGS TO COME  (Summer 2017)***  •  Firefly Hike  •  Summer Nature Days  •  Astronomy  •  Insects  • Chris Rowlands

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

An Amazing Personal Story of Mesothelioma Survival

Being diagnosed with mesothelioma is a terrible blow. This aggressive type of cancer is nearly always incurable. It is difficult to treat, the prognosis is rarely positive, and it causes uncomfortable symptoms that cause quality of life to deteriorate quickly. And yet, some people do fight back and survive this awful cancer. Katherine Keys is one of those survivors and her story is one she loves to share, to give hope and provide inspiration to others.
When Katherine first noticed the symptoms that she now knows were caused by mesothelioma, she assumed she had a bad case of the flu or another respiratory infection. She was struggling to breathe, she had a cough, and she just didn’t feel well. There are several types of mesothelioma but the most common type affects the tissue, called the pleura, that lines the lungs and interior of the chest cavity. Because of its location in the body, pleural mesothelioma causes symptoms that mimic infections like the flu or pneumonia. This, combined with how relatively rare it is, makes mesothelioma difficult to diagnose.
Katherine got sick and when what she assumed was an infection failed to get better, and in fact only got worse, she ended up in the emergency room. Eventually she received the terrible diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma, and the prognosis wasn’t good. She had something on her side, though. She was diagnosed with stage I mesothelioma.
A stage I diagnosis, the earliest stage of cancer in which it has not yet spread very far in the body, is not common with mesothelioma. This cancer has a long latency period and is often diagnosed when it is already in stage III or IV. With a rare early diagnosis, Katherine had hope. She was only 49 and she was told by her doctors that she would be lucky to live two years, but Katherine was ready for a fight.
To give herself the best possible chance of remission and a cure, Katherine chose to go through the most aggressive type of treatment: a surgical procedure called an extrapleural pneumonectomy. This radical surgery is done only by expert surgeons specializing in this kind of treatment. It involves removing an entire lung, most of the pleural tissues, lymph nodes, and part of the diaphragm. Some patients do not survive this surgery, and for those who do there are potential complications and a long recovery period.
Katherine’s surgery was a success. After surgery, she underwent radiation therapy to kill any lingering cancer cells, and months later her check-ups kept coming back clear. She had no recurrence of cancer at a month after surgery, two months later, six months, later, and finally 1 year later. At this point she was declared a survivor. She had beaten one of the toughest types of cancer and was in remission.
Today, nearly 10 years later, Katherine is still cancer-free. Her battle to survive was just the beginning, though, now she lives life with physical limitations because she has only one lung. Katherine isn’t bothered by that, though. She is thrilled to be alive and to still be with her family and friends. She is also thrilled to share her story every chance she gets. To be able to inspire others to fight back against cancer, even when the odds are not good, is something that Katherine treasures. She hopes that her story will give others hope when everything seems hopeless, and that her survival will encourage other patients to take a chance with the risky surgery to have a better chance of being survivors too.

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.