Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vintage wheels to roll onto Shelton History Center grounds

Father's Day car show benefits Shelton Historical Society

This 1921 Locomobile Model 48, which belongs to John Curtiss of Shelton, received Best Antique honors at last year's Antique and Classic Car Show at the Shelton History Center. / Contributed photo

By Tracey Tate
Executive Director
Shelton Historical Society

SHELTON - Enjoy a day with Dad and Granddad peeking under the hoods of the cars they remember from their youth at the Shelton Historical Society’s Vintage Vehicles Antique and Classic Car Show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Father’s Day, June 17.
  Two wheels or four, from Model T’s to muscle cars, there’s bound to be something that will trigger a memory or maybe a chuckle from every visitor. 
   The event will be held at Shelton History Center, 70 Ripton Road.
    Past shows have featured everything from a 1928 Rolls Royce Phantom, to a restored rickshaw that was used as an ambulance in the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, to a 1911 wood paneled Model T.  A Locomobile produced in Bridgeport in 1921 was a one-of-a-kind entry last year.
Nearly every decade of automotive history from the 20th century has been illustrated on the shaded grounds of the Shelton History Center with more recent muscle cars, Mustangs, and Army Jeeps joining many Ford Model As and Ts. 
All vehicle owners generously share information, their cars, and their hobby with the public. 

There is still time for owners of antique and classic vehicles of all kinds to register to participate in this special event. 
Entry forms may be found at, or by calling 203-925-1803. Pre-registration costs $8; registration will be $10 on the day of the event.
Awards in five categories will be presented to crowd favorites.             
Visitors will enjoy tours of the buildings at Shelton History Center, refreshments, and voting for their favorite vehicles. 
Admission is $1 for dads, $5 for adults and $10 for family. Proceeds will benefit the educational programs of the Shelton Historical Society, whose mission is to “preserve elements of the community’s history in order to create connections between Shelton’s past, present, and future generations through education, maintaining a museum with its collections, and providing a voice in the community regarding matters of historical significance.”
For information including directions, call 203-925-1803 or visit

Library to host cooking demo, book discussion

    DERBY - The Derby Public Library has scheduled a cooking demo at 6:30 p.m. June 25.  Stacey Ference of Savour Catering will present Grilling Basics and Marinades
    Recipes and tips to enhance your summer entertaining will be presented.
  There will be samples of all demonstrated foods.  The class is for ages 18 years and older.  This program is part of the series, Monday Evening Escapes and Escapades, being offered every Monday throughout the summer.  Registration is required. 
    All 2012 Library summer programming is being made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Jane C. and David B. Cohen Fund through the Valley Community Foundation in memory of David B. Cohen.

Debut novel talk topic

    At 12:30 p.m. June 27 the Library will host the next Lunchtime Book Discussion.

    In her witty and wise debut novel, newcomer Helen Simonson introduces an unforgettable Englishman in Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.
    The story centers around Pettigrew’s fight to keep his greedy relatives from selling a valuable family heirloom – a pair of hunting rifles that symbolizes much of what he stands for, or at least what he thinks he stands for.  It is a wry, yet optimistic comedy of manners with a romantic twist. 
    Multiple copies of the book are available at the circulation desk. 
  Participants are asked to bring a sandwich and a friend as they “chat and chew.” Dessert and beverages will be provided.
    Registration is requested.
    For information on both programs, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St. or call 203-736-1482 or visit

The above information was taken from a press release from Cathy Williams, director, Derby Public Library.

Derby High School holds pre-prom safety day

 DERBY - The Derby Youth Bureau and Storm Engine Company recently sponsored the Derby High School Drive Alive Pre-Prom Safety Day.
Principal Greg Gaillard, Director of Youth Services John Saccu, and Storm Engine Company volunteers Lou Oliwa and Tom Lenart spoke to students about the real dangers of drinking and driving.
After the assembly students witnessed a real-life simulation of what happens at the scene of a car crash. Storm Engine Company volunteers responded to the crash site at the high school with fire, EMS and rescue equipment and performed a realistic demonstration of victim extrication.
A Connecticut state trooper who is a crash specialist was on hand with a rollover vehicle demonstrating what happens in a car crash when victims are not wearing seat belts.
Gaillard said this program is so beneficial in the prevention of drinking and driving that it should be scheduled every year at this time.

The above information was provided by Derby Director of Youth Services John Saccu.

Shredding event to benefit school

SHELTON - St. Joseph School Alumni Association is hosting a paper-shredding event to benefit St. Joseph School from 9 a.m. to noon June 16.
The rain or shine event will include an on-site paper shredding truck. St. Joseph Parish is at 430 Coram Ave.
The cost to shred documents is $10-25 per box/bag. 
For more information, e-mail the association at

Ansonia Middle School student wins plaudits

Justyna Cieslik of Ansonia. Photo by Patricia Villers

I recently interviewed an Ansonia Middle School eighth-grader whose essay about Harriet Tubman won semi-finalist status in a  New England-wide competition that focused on the achievements of African-Americans from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Justyna Cieslik's true interest lies in writing song lyrics but she clearly is a gifted essay writer as well. She said her younger sister is a talented singer, and they dream of teaming up someday as a singer-songwriter duo.

It's always refreshing to meet young people who are working hard to pursue their goals.

I wish Justyna and her sister all the best in their future endeavors.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Health district to host 40th anniversary event

Open house, tours slated June 12 
 SEYMOUR - The Naugatuck Valley Health District, 98 Bank St., will mark its 40th Anniversary June 12 with a 6 p.m. ceremony following a 4:30 p.m. open house, facility tours, and public health information and displays.   
Invited guests include U.S. Representatives Rosa L. DeLauro and Jim Himes, state lawmakers, the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Health, the mayors and first selectmen for the six communities served by the Health District, the NVHD Board of Directors, as well as other community and health leaders. 
The ceremony will feature the presentation of a legislative citation, a keynote address, and the packing, sealing and storage in the records vault of a time capsule.
The Naugatuck Valley Health District, founded in 1972, provides official local public health functions for Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Naugatuck, Seymour and Shelton; it serves the third largest population (126,270) among Connecticut health districts. 
 A salmonella epidemic at a local health care facility in 1953 and the Flood of 1955 gave early impetus to the discussion and eventual formation of a regional public health entity.
Over the past 40 years, Naugatuck Valley Health District has promoted health, prevented disease and assured a safe and clean environment by means of its three core divisions:  Environmental Health, Community Health, and Emergency Preparedness. 
The Health District adds value by vying for competitive private, state and federal grants, such as its new 3-year, $2.48 million grant to the Naugatuck Valley Emends Lead Hazards program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  
The Health District learned in March that its proposal was among 43 funded from 180 national applications.

The above information was provided by Cindy Vitone, Outreach and Educational Coordinator, Naugatuck Valley Health District.

Griffin Hospital recognizes employees

Honorees Bonnie Halligan and Patricia Thibodeau
Bonnie Halligan, RN, of Seymour, and Patricia Thibodeau, Medical Records, of Bridgeport, will share honors as Griffin Hospital’s 2012-13 “Employees of the Year.”
Laura Howell, Radiation Oncology, of West Hartford, won “The Spirit of Planetree Award” and the staff of the Radiology/Cardiology, was named “Department of the Year” at the hospital’s annual Employee Recognition ceremony May 17 at the Crowne Plaza in Southbury.
Griffin Hospital CEO and President Patrick Charmel made the award announcements at the event, held each year during National Hospital Week, which recognizes employees and physicians for years of service and for outstanding performance.
In addition to the employee and department of the year winners, 68 employees and physicians were recognized for five-year milestones.

Topping the list of service award recipients were: Carol Dalton, of Ansonia, Gene DeLaurentis, of Wallingford, Harold Hebb, of Naugatuck, and Nira Silverman, MD, of North Haven, for 40 years of service; Donna Branch, of Ansonia, Donna Costanzo, of Seymour, Thomas Creed, of Oxford, Gerald G. Germano, MD, of Oxford, Alma Harmon, of Ansonia, Thomas Hughes, of Milford, and M. Koneswaran, MD, of Shelton, for 35 years of service; and John Cannici, of Southbury, Israel Dvoretzky, MD, of Hamden, James R. Pinke, MD, of Shelton, Rory Proctor, of Ansonia, Kenneth A. Ward, MD, of Woodbridge, and Geraldine Robinson, of Derby, for 30 years of service.

The hospital's Employee of the Year selections come from its monthly ITIP (I Take It Personally) program, in which employees are nominated by fellow employees for the honor.
Each month, four employees are selected on the basis of attitude, behavior, accountability and personal appearance, one in each of four categories: Ancillary, Nursing, Service and Support.
Of these, four are selected as finalists for the honor of “Employee of the Year.” In addition to Halligan and Thibodeau, Howell and Ed Valente, RN, of Naugatuck, were finalists.

Four hospital departments also are honored annually as “Department of the Quarter,” with one selected as “Department of the Year.”
In addition to Radiation/Cardiology, Department of the Quarter winners were the Emergency Department, Information Services/Meaningful Use Steering Team, and Cardiac Rehabilitation.

Valente wins Nurse of the Year

In addition to these awards, several people were honored at the May 9 Griffin Hospital Nurses Day celebration, including: The Outstanding Nurse of the Year, given to Valente; The Physician of the Year, given to Joseph Gnanaraj, MD, of Oxford; The Marie Santini Perioperatice Nursing Excellence Award, given to Sue Bouton, RN, of Oxford; The Richard Stivala, MD, Obstetric Nursing Excellence Award, given to Jen Liao-Liu, RN, of Watertown; The Mary Schumacher Leadership Award, given to Susan Gucwa-Bucasas, RN, of Shelton; The Mary Nelligan Award for Continuing Education, given to Stephanie Sewersky, RN, of Bridgeport; The Donald Torok Memorial Scholarship, given to Lisa Vitale, MST; of East Haven; and two Shirley Yale Scholarships, given to Tricia DeGennaro, RN, and Yang Dhondop, LPN, both of Naugatuck.

The above was taken from a press release from Griffin Hospital in Derby.

Strawberries arrive early at Jones Family Farms

By Keith Padin
Director, Marketing and Hospitality
Jones Family Farms

SHELTON - The winter and spring seasons of 2012 were ones for the record books. 
 Record high temperatures, droughts, late spring frosts and freezes and weeks of misty rain have all added to a very unusual climate in southern New England. For several weeks area farmers have been trying to figure out what all this means for their crops. 

For Terry Jones, one of the longest-continuous strawberry growers in the Connecticut, it brings a picking season earlier than ever.
  “This is the earliest we’ve ever had people harvesting strawberries at our farm,” said Jones who has been inviting guests to pick their own berries at his Shelton farm since the 1960s. 

Jones Family Farms opened for pre-season picking Tuesday and will continue to pick through June – or as long as the berries last. “It’s a quick season,” Jones said, “once the berries turn ripe, there’s no stopping them. The season usually lasts up to four weeks.”
  One of the biggest challenges of strawberry season is public understanding of the time frames. 

  “Years ago, our strawberry season wouldn’t be in full swing until Father’s Day weekend” said Jones. “So, people still have that idea in their head – mid to late June for strawberries. Well, Mother Nature has pushed that time frame up considerably in recent years, and this year it’s especially early. Everything seems to be earlier and earlier every year.”

Connecticut residents planning to secure their annual strawberry harvest should look for information from their local farmers soon. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture lists many of the pick-your-own farms in the state on their website ( before you know it, the season will be over.

Jones Family Farms is located in off Route 110 in Shelton. For more hours, picking locations, picking tips and other information visitors may call the Farmer Jones crop-info line, 203-929-8425 or visit or

Event to benefit program for children with disabilities

SEYMOUR - Freedom Rides, an interactive horse-riding program serving children with autism and other disabilities in the Valley, will hold a fundraiser from 7-9 p.m. June 20 at the Inn at Villa Bianca, 312 Roosevelt Drive.

Freedom Rides is a non-profit 501C organization based in Oxford. All donations are tax-deductible.
For details or tickets contact Peggy Freeman, 203-231-5078 or go to

Shows this weekend to benefit Strand Theater restoration

Some of the cast of this weekend's show, "Never, Ever After," presented by Looking Glass Events, LLC are pictured above. Also pictured are two cast members from "Burlesque 2.Oh" which will run June 29-July 1. Meg Tarby, who owns Looking Glass Events, said the photo was taken on the organization's float at the Seymour Memorial Day Parade. / Contributed photo

On Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m., Looking Glass Events presents "Never, Ever After," a live musical comedy at the Strand Theater, to benefit the Theater Restoration Project. 
This production, written and directed by Meg Tarby and Kathie Vrlik, features 1/2 dozen or more fractured fairy tales, narrated by the Hatter. The show is appropriate for all ages.

Tickets are $15 for ages 11 and up, $7.50 for ages 10 and under and are available at the following locations: Seymour Town Hall (Tuesday-Thursday), the Mad Hatter Boutique (Wednesday-Friday), at the door, or by calling 203-400-4625.  

The show stars Sam Cournoyer, 14, of Seymour, as the Hatter; Dawn LaLlave, 28, of Brooklyn, N.Y. as the Wicked Queen; Jess Gagne, 14, of Seymour, as Snow; and a supporting cast of more than 10 Valley residents. 
Other credits include Marissa Tkacz, ensemble choreographer, from Aimee's Academy of Dance in Seymour; Aidan Vrlik, 13, of Seymour, musical director; and students from Bethwood Suzuki Music School in Seymour. 
Show your support of the Strand Theater this Founder's Day Weekend!

The above release and photo were provided by Meg Tarby, owner, Looking Glass Events, LLC.

Talk to focus on controlling blood glucose levels

DERBY - The Diabetes Education & Support Group at Griffin Hospital will host a free presentation about keeping blood glucose within a healthy target range from 6:30 – 8 p.m. June 12 in the hospital’s dining room, 130 Division St.

Attendees of this “Continuing Your Journey with Diabetes” presentation will learn how healthy eating, keeping active and medication can help them control their blood glucose levels.
In addition, the talk will cover potential long-term complications of diabetes, how to delay or reduce the risk of long-term complications by keeping blood glucose on target, the importance of checking for long-term complications and knowing your ABCs (A1c, blood pressure and cholesterol).

The Diabetes Education & Support Group meets from September through June on the second Tuesday of the month to discuss the management of diabetes, its challenges and day-to-day dietary concerns. It is open to all diabetics and their families, at no charge.

For information, call Mary Swansiger, 203-732-1137.

The above information is from a release from Ken Roberts, director, Griffin Hospital media relations.

Shelton crash victim identified

SHELTON - Police have identified the motorcyclist who died late Monday afternoon in a motor vehicle accident as Brian C. Laneuville, 24, of Seymour, Detective Sgt. Kevin Ahern said today in a written release.
 The operator of the other motor vehicle has been identified as Noreen Labranche, 54, of Seymour. She reported no injuries, police said.
 Although there is an ongoing investigation into the crash a preliminary investigation shows both vehicles were southbound on River Road, the release said.
The collision occurred at the driveway to the Riverdale Diner. No arrests have been made.
Anyone who may have been a witness to the crash is asked to call the Shelton Police Traffic Division, 203-924-1544.


Ansonia 4th-graders look up to teen role models from O'Brien

O'Brien teacher Dominic Lemma and freshmen unload a picnic table.

O'Brien freshman Ray Witalis of Shelton works with Prendergast fourth-grader Janeliz Diaz in the school courtyard.

New Haven Register photos by Peter Casolino 

Over the years I've attended many events that involve high school students interacting with the older generation, either at senior citizen centers or nursing facilities.
On Monday I covered a different kind of inter-generational program: Emmett O'Brien Technical High School school students acting as role models for fourth graders at John G. Prendergast Elementary School in Ansonia.

Although the teens are not that much older than the elementary schoolchildren - they were approximately five years apart - there is a world of difference in their perspectives.

One fourth-grade girl told me she liked learning how the high schoolers "do their jobs." And one of the O'Brien freshmen said he enjoyed seeing the smiles on the Prendergast pupils' faces.

It's good to see teenagers enjoying their interaction with younger children who see them as so much more experienced and worthy of their attention.

Nature center to hold Connecticut Trails Day hike

 ANSONIA - The Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association are sponsoring a free educational hike to identify trees by their bark from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, rain or shine.
    Saturday is Connecticut Trails Day.
    WalkCT Family Guides Peter and Barbara Rzasa will lead hikers on a two-mile journey through the nature center’s woodland trails, which include a large variety of hardwoods and softwoods.
    The traits most often used to describe tree species - leaves, buds, and twigs- are often not clearly visible or seasonally absent. However, bark is a tree characteristic that is visible in every season.
    Participants will learn about a system for classifying bark characteristics into different types , and for using bark to identify species.
    Hikers will begin to discover why such a variety of bark characteristics exists - and why some species have smooth bark, while on others it is thick and broken. Participants will learn different patterns in bark as trees age.
    This hike is open to naturalists at all levels of experience. Hikers are asked to meet at 8:45 a.m. at the nature center, 10 Deerfield Road, and to bring water and insect protection.
    For information and to register, call the nature center, 203-736-1053.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Motorcyclist, 24, killed in Shelton crash

SHELTON — A 24-year old motorcyclist died late this afternoon after the bike collided with another vehicle on River Road (Route 110), police said.
At approximately 4:20 p.m. today police received multiple 911 calls reporting a motor vehicle versus motorcycle crash in the area of the Riverdale Diner, 521 River Road, Detective Sgt. Kevin Ahern said in a written press release.
Police and Shelton EMS responded.
A 24-year old male who was operating the motorcycle was transported to the Bridgeport Hospital Trauma Center where he was later pronounced dead, Ahern said.
The Shelton Police Accident Reconstruction Team is  conducting an investigation. No other details are available.
The name of the victim is not being released pending notification of family, the release said.
Route 110 is reduced to one lane in the area and there are delays. Police are asking the public driving in the area to use alternate routes.

Teens invited to discuss life strategies, conflict resolution

'Eco Art' also part of reading club activities 

    DERBY - The Derby Public Library invites young adults ages 12 to 17 to a Teen Reality Roundtable, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. June 13.
     Participants will exchange ideas and interests with peers on successful strategies for navigating day-to-day life as a teenager.
    Guided discussion topics will explore: life strategies for successful teens; urban improve/violence and conflict resolution; coping with the body image blues;  plus other important contemporary issues.
    This program is part of the Library's 2012 “Balance Your Life” Summer Reading Club.
    The Library also invites young adults ages 12 to 17 to a Teen Zone Mural Conjure, June 19 and 20, and June 26, from 4-5 p.m. all three days.
    “Eco Art” advocate and artist Kelly King redefines material function as you employ important steps of artistic process.
    Participants meet as a team to: brainstorm a concept; “incubate & illuminate” the design; and implement collective creative energy to produce a mural for the Teen Zone. This program is also part of the 2012 “Balance Your Life” Summer Reading Club.
    Registration is requested for both programs.
    For information, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482, or visit

Report: Search for new Ansonia Housing Authority director delayed

The Valley Independent Sentinel is reporting that the Ansonia Housing Authority's choice to become director has declined the offer.

Report: Shelton teen seriously injured after being hit by a car

The Valley Independent Sentinel is reporting that a Shelton teenager was injured after being hit by a car today.

Kidney recipient, donor doing well after surgery

Paul Lucuk and Kristie Kennedy
Melissa Cook said today her brother-in-law Paul Lucuk of Ansonia, who underwent a kidney transplant May 17, is doing well. Lucuk, 51, was suffering from Stage 5 chronic kidney disease.

Cook said he is on a restricted diet and is recuperating at home. He has already had his first post-op checkup.

Derby resident Kristie Kennedy, 40, Lucuk's kidney donor, longtime friend and "little sister," as he likes to call her, is also doing well after the surgery, Cook said.

Here's hoping they both have a speedy recovery.

Seymour School Board Chairman tries to clarify budget request

Dear Seymour Taxpayers;

As Chairman of the Seymour BOE, John Putorti, I have read the comments about the school budget and would like to offer clarity around some of the misinformation and rumors that have been circulating.  I conducted two sessions this spring in order to present the facts and figures of the BOE budget and unfortunately very few chose to attend and become more informed.  Please visit for copies of the presentation.  

I encourage you to reach out to me directly to share information you may be hearing so that we can discuss the facts.  If you have factual information that contradicts any of these statements I encourage you to bring it forward.
I    "I can’t pay more taxes.” – Are you certain that yours will increase?  A call to the Tax Collector’s office will confirm your new payment.  Not all taxpayers will see an increase.  In fact there are many that will see no increase or even a decrease with the proposed budget.
“   " The BOE must do more with less.” – Over the past 3 years the BOE has received $677,000 while costs have risen over $3 million.  The administration has worked very hard to find the least impactful areas to cut and still provide as many services as possible.  That has led to the comment, “the BOE got no increase, but were able to educate the children, so they really didn’t need the money”.  We should be doing far more but continue to be constrained due to less than optimal funding.  The bare essentials are no longer enough to produce college or career ready students.
 “    "The superintendent makes too much money.” – Actually the data shows that her salary is in the mid-range of her peers.  The salary is fair compensation for the multitude of responsibilities in the job description.  It should also be noted that the Central Office administrators have returned their increases back to the town for the past few years.
            “There are too many administrators.” – Comparing our school district to Milford, Stratford or Hartford is not appropriate.  In our District Reference Group (towns where the socioeconomic demographic is similar), our staffing is very comparable.  Often other districts have more administrators than it appears at first glance because they are not called principals but rather department heads or subject area coordinators.  Seymour does not have that layer of administration.
“    "Teachers should pay more for health insurance.” – The fact is that with each contract renewal they have paid more.  Both premiums and copayments have increased. Details can be found on the district website.
      “The BOE doesn’t think about taxpayers.” – We are taxpayers too.  No one wants to pay more.  As a board we are charged with ensuring a quality education for the youth in our town.  We evaluate incoming requests against our collective ability to pay on a regular basis.  We should be providing so much more but understand that it is not possible at this time.
“    "Too much money is spent on salaries.” – Education is a service organization.  The bulk of the cost goes towards the personnel who educate and support the students.  Infrastructure expenses will always be much lower.
“     "Private school costs less.” – At the high school level the cost is very similar.  In per pupil spending Seymour ranks 157 out of 169 districts.  Only 12 districts in the state spend less.  We don’t want a bargain education; we want an excellent one for our students. Additionally, at many private schools, tuition is less than the cost of the education – endowment funds and fund raising typically pick up a portion of the cost of infrastructure and educating students.
 “    "The BOE threatens to cut programs to force the public to pass their budget.” – There are no threats.  Once a budget has been passed the BOE will complete the difficult task of deciding what won’t be funded next year.
 “    "We need more teachers and fewer administrators.” – As adults we like to reflect on our childhood education and say it is fine with fewer administrators.  That may be true.  However, if you saw the amount of work that is required to fulfill the current state and federal mandates, I believe you would think differently.  In order to comply with the paperwork, evaluation standards, legal and reporting requirements, administrators are essential.  I would be happy to share with you the volumes of information that we receive each month that we need to understand and implement within our district.  The amount that needs to be read is mind-boggling.

"Please consider these facts when you come out to vote on Wednesday, May 30th"

Derby educator files first post from Kenya

May 29, 2012

By Lois Knapton
Director, Special Education
Derby Public Schools

OK, so I feel like I am trying to make chocolate chip cookies by starting with grinding the flour.

I have been in Nairobi for four days, two at work. 
Talk about a culture shock….not to mention the large monkey running along the stonewall outside the house.
I am so glad I do not have to cook or clean, but that means I eat what is offered. Breakfast was bread, peanut butter, (but nothing like peanut butter from America), bananas, hot milk, and ground meal.
Lunch was kale, ugali (a mix between rice and mashed potatoes, but very thick) and mystery meat stew with potatoes. Dinner was ugali, kale, rice, and fish.

Thankfully, I am rationing my chocolate!
So back to the chocolate chip cookies: I am working with a social worker over here trying to develop a sustainable system of referral and assessment for students with special needs.

With no laws to guide the process, I am pulling from American federal laws, IDEA, and my background in special education, to shape this Kenyan system.
Let’s see what day three brings!

Note: Knapton left Friday for a three-month mission to Kenya, where she will be working at a private school to help develop a system to assess special needs students. She plans to contribute updates about her experiences on a regular basis.

Photographer's take on Valley's two-city parade

Do yourself a favor and check out Register photographer Peter Hvizdak's fantastic photo slideshow of Monday's Shelton-Derby Memorial Day Parade.

There are some really creative shots here. I can't choose a favorite.

Which one do you think best captures the spirit of the holiday?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Derby-Shelton Memorial Day Parade draws huge crowd

Mattatuck Drum Band from Waterbury performs in Monday's parade.

Students from Derby's Irving and Bradley elementary schools march in a combined band.
I almost missed the Jones Family Farms truck as it passed by. The farm employees are marching in yellow T-shirts in front of the truck.

A classic Shelton Fire Department truck makes an appearance.

And a classic Shelton police car, a '57 Chevy, rides up Elizabeth Street in Derby.

Register photos by Patricia Villers

I enjoyed the parade, did you?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Derby special ed director travels to Africa

3-month mission to assist teachers at school in Nairobi

Lois Knapton

My name is Lois Knapton and I am the Special Education Director in Derby Public Schools.

I am privileged to have an opportunity to go live for three months in Nairobi, Africa and share my special education knowledge base with a country that does not even acknowledge disabilities or have any laws regarding them.
My job here in America is to advocate for students with disabilities, assuring they get the education they deserve. 

 In Kenya, if you are disabled, you are lucky to stay alive. I will be spend three months working alongside staff and students of a private school called Missions of Hope

   It was founded in 2000 by Mary Kamau. She had a dream of building a school in the largest slum in Africa, the Mathare Valley. It is three miles long and one- half mile wide and houses over one million people. There is no sewer and no running water.
 Until  you have witnessed this kind of poverty firsthand,  you simply cannot imagine it. No words describe it.  But there is hope.... The school started with 50 children and has grown to more than 7,000.
        So how did I get this opportunity?  I went a missions trip with 24 other educators, last summer, with my church from New Haven. I loved it so much, I wanted to go back. When Missions of Hope called and asked me to come back, I was elated.  But this time I am going alone. I'll have support when I get there.
 I will be posting a weekly blurb and photo, describing the trip from the inside. Please follow my weekly blog as I embark on this profound life-changing experience.

Note: The above was provided by Knapton, who left Friday for a 24-hour trip to Africa. Stay tuned for updates as she writes about her experiences.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Students meet veterans at Bradley School

Patriotism shines in annual program
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Bernard Williamson of Derby Thursday speaks to students and staff at Bradley Elementary School in Derby about the meaning of Memorial Day. Standing in rear is Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tracy, left, and Mayor Anthony Staffieri. Patricia Villers/Register

Friday, May 25, 2012

Eating out in Derby: Food is always a good topic for a post

With the long Memorial Day holiday weekend at our doorstep, I'm sharing a few words about food. Not the kind you cook at home, but rather the kind you enjoy at a restaurant.

This post is from a post written by my husband, Ralph, on his personal blog.

The place is Grant's Smoke & Bones BBQ in Derby, which opened in early November. I wrote a story about the grand opening celebration, but only had a piece of the celebration cake that day.

We finally got a chance to taste the BBQ fare one night in March. And we liked it!

Here's an edited version of his original post:

"On Friday, Patti, Allegra, and I traveled two miles from our Ansonia home to Derby to a delightful new BBQ restaurant, Smoke and Bones. It is about the only traditional low-and-slow barbecue in southern Connecticut.

"The building dates
back to around 1900, sits next to railroad tracks, and was a packing plant for the Armour meat company. The striped awnings add a bit of whimsical chic to the brick edifice.

"Inside, diners are treated to this heavy steel door. Not pretty, yet its function is what defined its looks.

"As we know, the building is next to the RR tracks, so this door opened up to a dock where the beef was offloaded from a rail car all those years ago...

"The food was smoked perfectly, I had sausage but the brisket looked divine."

We highly recommend the restaurant, and plan to go back there soon, on our upcoming summer staycations.

FRIDAY FIVE: A recap of this week in the Valley

A look back at the week that was in the Valley ... it's budget time again.

These stories, written by Register correspondent Jean Falbo-Sosnovich and Register reporters Bridget Albert and Patricia Villers, are listed in no particular order.

Lawyers for both sides perplexed by Derby board's rejection of settlement.  The case of the finance director v. mayor.

Ansonia budget approved  Taxes to rise 1.4 mills.

Seymour budget carries less than a mill rate hike. Third referendum slated May 30.

Derby budget still in the works.  Mayor Anthony Staffieri introduces last-minute budget; meeting set May 30.

O'Brien names Teacher of the Year. Ansonia resident wins honor.

Derby poetry reading, part deux

The Valley Arts Council held its first poetry reading last Saturday evening at the Gallery@37 in downtown Derby.

Here are some photos from the event taken by arts council vice president Steve DiRienzo of Derby.

Norma Jean Moore of Seymour reads one of her poems.

New Haven artist Floatin' Fred gestures as he talks to the audience.

Artist Dara Nelson emcees the event.

My husband and I both enjoyed listening to the talented poets as they shared their work. Maybe next time I'll share a poem or two. Maybe...

Library to commemorate special day

June 19 is birth date of boy in whose memory library was built    
Holton Harcourt Wood

  DERBY - The Derby Public Library will commemorate the birthday of Holton Harcourt  Wood, the young boy in whose memory the Library was built, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 19.
  The Library will be decorated with flowers in compliance with Colonel H. Holton Wood’s request, which he made at the dedication of the Library in 1902.
 At that time he asked that flowers be placed throughout the Library every year on the birth date of his son.  His request has been honored ever since.
Several years ago, the Library added the tradition of commemorating this special day with a birthday cake. This time-honored tradition has become well known over the years, throughout the Valley, and beyond, and has been written about in the New York Times.
A plaque in Harcourt’s memory is displayed at the front entrance of the Library.
The public is invited to visit throughout the day for cake and to learn more  about the history of the Library.
For information, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St. or visit

The above was provided by Cathy Williams, Director, Derby Public Library.

Derby Day is on the way

Derby public works employees Friday hung a banner across Elizabeth Street announcing the upcoming Derby Day festival. The annual event features arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment, and a variety of ethnic foods. It will run from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. June 16 along Elizabeth Street and on the Derby Green. Patricia Villers/Register

Derby library to come alive with stories, bubbles

      DERBY - The Derby Public Library will offer a summer session of weekly story times on Thursdays, June 28 through Aug. 2. 
       One and two-year olds along with a caregiver are welcome to attend Toddler Time at 10 a.m., which includes stories, rhymes, and finger plays along with music and movement.
    Preschool Story Time takes place at 11 a.m. for children ages 3-5.  This independent class features stories, songs, instruments, and a craft.
      Families are invited to kick off the children’s summer reading program Dream Big-Read at the Derby Public Library at 11 a.m. June 27 when Casey Carle presents "Bubblemania: Science, Art & Comedy."
    Come discover the world of bubbles during this exciting and interactive program geared for children ages 4-11. Registration is requested for both programs.
     For information or to register, call the Children’s Room at 203-736-1482, stop by the library at 313 Elizabeth St., or visit 

Fairy tale production to benefit Strand restoration

    SEYMOUR - Looking Glass Events, LLC presents “Never Ever After,” a group of more than a half-dozen fractured fairy tales, at 7:30 p.m. June 1 and 1 p.m. June 2 at the Strand Theater, 165 Main St.
    Doors open a half-hour before the performances.
    The fairy tales will be narrated by “the Mad Hatter.” The show is written and directed by Meg Tarby and Kathie Vrlik.
    Tickets are $10 for ages 11 and up; $7.50 for ages 10 and under.
    Tickets are available at the Mad Hatter Boutique, 5 Bank St., or Seymour Town Hall, or by calling 203-400-4625.
    Profits benefit the Strand Theater Restoration Project. 

The above information was provided by Meg Tarby, owner of Looking Glass Events, LLC and the Mad Hatter Boutique.

2nd Shelton man arrested in probe into counterfeit bills

By Register Staff
SHELTON — Police Thursday arrested a second man in connection with an investigation into counterfeit bills passed at a local convenience store.
Patrol officers served an arrest warrant on Gary S. Ouellet, 48, of 52 Shinnacock Trail. This arrest is a follow up to the incident Detective Richard Bango was investigating in which two $20 counterfeit bills were passed on May 5 at Cumberland Farms, 819 River Road, police said.
Ouellet was charged with first-degree forgery and sixth-degree larceny, police said. He was released on a court set bond of $5,000, with a court date of June 7 in Derby.
On May 15, detectives had arrested 22-year-old Kyle S. Ouellet of the same address. At the time detectives seized approximately $7,000 in counterfeit money, police said.
Shelton police said in a release that they do not expect to make any more arrests.

Historical society to hold silver tea

Mary Todd Lincoln at President Lincoln's inauguration

    ANSONIA - First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, a.k.a. actress Sally Mummey of Seabrook, N.H., will be the featured guest at the Derby Historical Society’s 22nd annual Silver Tea at 2 p.m. July 9 at John J. Sullivan’s restaurant, 557 Wakelee Ave.
    Donation is $25 a person.
    For reservations call 203-735-1908 or 203-676-0324.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Derby-Shelton Memorial Day parade details

By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich 
Register Correspondent
Shelton Police Chief Joel Hurliman has announced the schedule for upcoming Memorial Day observances in both Shelton and Derby.
The Derby-Shelton Memorial Day observances will kick off with a memorial service at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Derby High School. The service honors all veterans who passed away from Derby and Shelton since last Memorial Day. The guest speaker is Shelton native Col. Robert Cody from the Connecticut Army National Guard. Families who lost a veteran in the past year are invited to attend and will be presented with a flower of remembrance as a roll call of the deceased is conducted. The Derby High School Band will play a medley of military music and provide buglers for taps.
Then on Monday the annual Derby-Shelton Memorial Day parade will step off at 9 a.m. at Howe Avenue and Wharf Street. The parade will take place rain or shine. The Second Company Governors Foot Guard will participate as the military marching unit representing the State of Connecticut. The Derby and Shelton Police Departments will be joined by the Bridgeport Police Color Guard and the New Haven Police Emerald Society.
 The parade will briefly stop on the Bridge Street bridge for a short ceremony. A wreath will dropped into the water in memory of all veterans lost at sea. A flyover by the Connecticut National Guard will conclude the ceremony. The parade will then continue into Derby.
The parade route begins in Shelton from Howe Avenue (Route 110) to Kneen Street, right on Coram Avenue, right on White Street, right on Howe Avenue (Route 110) and left onto Bridge Street Rte 712. The parade crosses into Derby turning right on Main Street (Route 34), left on Elizabeth Street and concludes past Cottage Street.
Residents are reminded of the parking ban which takes effect at 6 a.m.Monday and lasts until the conclusion of the parade in both Shelton and Derby. Cars on the parade route and line-up area will be towed after 6 a.m. 

Actress to share performing arts experiences

 SHELTON  - The next meeting of the Smiles Within A Village Happiness Club will be held at 2 p.m. June 18 at Crosby Commons at Wesley Village, 580 Long Hill Ave.
    Light refreshments will be served.
    The meeting, which is free, will feature a presentation by Martina Sternfeld, a screenwriter, actress and teacher. She will share her many experiences of being involved in the performing arts through audience participation in theater exercises.
    Meetings of the Smiles Within A Village Happiness Club are held on the third Monday of every month at Crosby Commons.
    Contact the group facilitator, Mary Ann Milano, Activities Director,  203-225-5018 or by e-mail:

This information was provided by Mary Ann Bradshaw,  Development Coordinator, United Methodist Homes.

Cycle event to benefit Parent Child Resource Center

Calling all cyclists to the first ever Pedal for PCRC Fundraiser. The event will be held July 15.

To register as a single participant, team, sponsor, volunteer, or virtual fundraiser, visit

Participants who register may bring children to participate in the kiddie ride or hula hoop challenge at the event site. Children must be supervised by an adult at all times (see website for rules).
This community-friendly cycling event will start at the lower parking lot of PerkinElmer, 710 Bridgeport Ave., Shelton and will tour throughout the Valley.
Participants may register to cycle for 15, 30, or 62-mile rides.
Organizers say this will be a great community event while it raises awareness and funds that will positively impact the futures of today's children.

The above information is from a release provided by Krista Colletta, Development Director, Lower Naugatuck Valley Parent Child Resource Center in Derby.

Ansonia club donates $5,000 to Griffin Hospital 5K Walk/Run

Griffin Hospital Vice President for Ambulatory Care Services Marge Deegan, center, accepts a $5,000 sponsorship check from Ansonia Rod & Gun Club President Warren Connors. Also celebrating the donation were, from left, radiation therapist and co-chair of the 5K Walk/Run Laura Howell, Ansonia Rod & Gun Club Treasurer Horace Behrle, and Chief Radiation Therapist and co-chair of the 5K Walk/Run Lori Murphy. / Contributed photo 


DERBY -The Ansonia Rod & Gun Club continued its support of the annual Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital 5K Walk/run with a recent donation of $5,000.

The donation was spearheaded by Ansonia Rod & Gun Club Treasurer Horace Behrle, who also serves as a Volunteer Ambassador at the Center for Cancer Care.
Scheduled for Oct. 6, this will be the fourth year for the Center For Cancer Care 5K Walk/Run, which brings together cancer patients, their family members, and friends, to run or walk throughout Derby and Ansonia in honor, memory, or celebration of a loved one and their cancer journey.
The event has grown from approximately 250 participants in its inaugural year in 2009 to more than 500 participants last October.
For information on how to sponsor or participate in the 4th Annual Center for Cancer Care 5K Walk/Run, call 203-732-1284 or email

 The above information is from a Griffin Hospital  press release.

No Vet Left Behind to hold vigil

 2nd annual event slated Saturday at Shelton park

A Vietnam veteran portrays a prisoner of war at last year's vigil. Patricia Villers/Register

SHELTON - The public is invited to join No Vet Left Behind, Inc. and its supporters in unity Saturday to honor those who gave so valiantly during the times the country has been at war.
A second annual vigil will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Veteran's Memorial Park on Canal Street, adjacent to the Riverwalk. 
To participate in the vigil or to volunteer, contact Mary Porter, 203-906-0533.

The above information was provided by Mary Porter of Derby, President, No Vet Left Behind, Inc.  The nonprofit organization is dedicated to helping veterans reintegrate into the community, find employment, and navigate the bureaucracy of the Veterans' Administration.

Paint the Town and Your House Pink

  Pinkest House/Yard/Business Decorating Contest Sharing from Seymour Pink founder Mary Deming: "We love seeing all of the pink ribbons...