Friday, November 30, 2012

Talk about Derby's 'darker side' enlightens

When Shelton resident Robert Novak talks local history, the locals love it.

Earlier this week his presentation drew a crowd of about 45 to Derby Public Library. My daughter and I were part of the audience.

Allegra and I are both local history buffs. She has worked as a docent in the Derby Historical Society's "A Day in 1762" program at the David Humphreys House in Ansonia, and I enjoy learning about what and who were here before us.

Novak is Shelton's municipal historian and the former executive director of the Derby Historical Society. 
His nearly 90-minute presentation was filled with facts about the trials and tribulations faced by Derby residents over a 300-year span, ending with the Flood of 1955. 

Novak describes clashes between Native Americans and the Colonists.

The crowd gathered at the library was most attentive, as were we. As Library director Cathy Williams said afterward, Novak "outdid himself" in the copious amount of information he covered.

I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Nature center hosts ongoing free programs

Learn about critters, take a hike 

ANSONIA - Saturday Creature Features, held weekly at noon, is a short program that features the birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles that reside at the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Road. 
It's a chance to get up close and personal with your favorite critter.
Every Sunday at 1 p.m., weather permitting, join a Ranger for a Sunday afternoon hike.
Observe seasonal changes, and find out how the local wildlife has prepared to survive the cold months.
There is no need to register in advance for either of these two free programs.
For information, call 203-736-1053.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Presentation at Griffin to help diabetics

DERBY- The Diabetes Education & Support Group at Griffin Hospital will host a free presentation about what diabetics should do to navigate the holidays and vacations from 6:30 – 8 p.m. Dec. 11 in the hospital’s Childbirth Classrooms A & B at 130 Division St.

Megan Moran, RD, CDE, CD-N, Diabetes Educator from Novo Nordisk, Inc. will discuss “Handling Holidays, Vacations and Special Occasions for People with Diabetes.”

The Diabetes Education & Support Group meets September - June on the second Tuesday of each month to discuss management of diabetes, its challenges and day-to-day dietary concerns.
This group is open to all diabetics and their families, at no charge.
For information, call Mary Swansiger, R.N., MPH, at 203-732-1137.

Griffin offers 'The Newborn Channel' to help parents

DERBY -  The Newborn Channel is now available at The Childbirth Center at Griffin Hospital.
The Newborn Channel delivers essential newborn and parenting information to help prepare new moms when they need it most. 
New parents and their families can enjoy easy access to highly trusted, professionally endorsed content on infant and mom care, siblings and family living, work-life balance, and more. 
The Newborn Channel provides engaging and accessible programming on many topics, including:
• Diapering, bathing and other infant care;
• Mom health and recovery topics;
• Breastfeeding basics and tips for success;
• Safety topics like Car Seat Safety, Smoking Cessation, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and more;
• Programs and transcripts from the Newborn Channel are also available for new parents on demand before, during and after their hospital stay.
The educational content on the Newborn Channel is overseen and reviewed by a Medical Advisory Board which works diligently to ensure all content is up-to-date and presented in a clear and understandable way for patients and their families.
“The Newborn Channel helps supplement our nurses’ patient education efforts. Because it is always available, our nursing and education staff is able to recommend quality, up-to-date education for new parents in their time of need,” said Luanne Miller, BSN, R.N., director of the Childbirth Center.

“The Newborn Channel's baby care and postpartum programming is available in over 1000 U.S. hospitals” said Dave Ross, COO of The Wellness Network. “Having a baby, especially the first time, can be a little scary for new parents. Our videos are meant to help demystify diapering, feeding, and caring for both mom and baby. Moms and Dads can view programs and talk to the hospital’s educators with their questions before they are back home on their own with their new baby.”  
For information about The Newborn Channel, visit
The Childbirth Center follows the patient-centered Planetree philosophy that focuses providing a warm, caring atmosphere for the patient and loved ones, including childbirth and child care education, and support groups.

For information, call 203-732-7252 or visit

This was taken from a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Tree dedicated to Seymour man's memory

Ceremony held at Town Hall

SEYMOUR - I attended a heart-warming event Wednesday as town officials, friends, and colleagues dedicated a Japanese maple tree to the late Keith Mitchell.

It was clear as I listened to those who shared their thoughts that Mitchell, who served as Seymour's tree warden for a quarter-century, was a well-respected member of the community.

Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller, left, and James Govoni, president, Board of Directors of the Tree Wardens Association of Connecticut, dedicate a Japanese maple Wednesday in memory of longtime Seymour tree warden Keith Mitchell who died earlier this year.  Patricia Villers/Register

Mitchell was described as humble, loyal, articulate, and hard-working. His fellow tree wardens from across Connecticut who gathered Wednesday to honor Mitchell's memory said he was a docent at the New York Botanical Gardens and was extremely knowledgeable about trees and plants.

In 1998 a 229-acre parcel off Great Hill Road was named for Mitchell.

I'm sorry that I never had the opportunity to meet him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Remodeled liquor store reopens in Seymour

Wine tastings held on Fridays
Pictured from left,  Economic Development Director Fred A. Messore, Chris, Ali, Dave, and Sheila Ierardi, First Selectman W. Kurt Miller, and Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce President Bill Purcell. / Contributed photo

SEYMOUR - Dave and Sheila Ierardi are the new owners of Special Discount Liquor, 147 Main St.
The store is a family-owned small business. Their daughter and son, Ali and Chris, help out to give their parents some time off from work. 
The grand re-opening was celebrated Nov. 20, with local officials, downtown merchant owners, and family.

“Residents may remember this liquor store as dark and dreary, but Dave and Sheila have truly cleaned up the place,” says First Selectman W. Kurt Miller. The interior has been cleaned up, brightened, and organized. 
Economic Development Director Fred A. Messore and Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce President Bill Purcell joined Miller in congratulating the new owners for their work on refurbishing the location.
“I am pleased with the revitalization of our downtown area and the redesign of this store,” Miller said. “The turnout of the merchant owners today and their willingness to work together is really stunning.”
The Ierardis have greatly expanded the wine selection, catering to the quaint downtown feel of the area and the antique shops in the district. 
Wine tastings are held from 4-7 p.m. Fridays. Sheila Ierardi said this gives shoppers a chance to sample before they buy or try something different. 

The Ierardis said they also will help plan for a party, deliver, and take back empty or unopened bottles for certain orders.  

Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For information call 203-888-5922; anyone can ‘Like’ Special Discount Liquor on Facebook as well.

This information was provided by Christine Conroy, Administrative Assistant to First Selectman Kurt Miller.

Bird count slated at Ansonia Nature Center

ANSONIA - Join a small band of dedicated birders from the New Haven Bird Club at about noon on Dec. 15 at the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center who since daybreak were locating, identifying, and counting every bird that they saw as part of a 113-year old tradition counting winter birds.
After a short break inside the Center, 10 Deerfield Road, join dedicated birders in scouting the park to help spot the many species of birds spending the winter in our area.

There is no need to be a skilled birder to participate.
Bird count results are sent to the National Audubon Society, and are included in the international census of early winter bird populations.

Call to register or contact Leader, Chris Los calzo at

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Salvation Army needs Valley's help for holidays

New donation kettles created by a local resident. 

The Greater Valley Salvation Army, based in Ansonia, is gearing up for the holiday season.

When I visited Major Theresa Burkholder Monday she told me the organization will provide holiday meals and four boxes of food to at least 200 families in Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, and Shelton.
Additional applications will be taken Dec. 4.

A pantry room at The Salvation Army headquarters in Ansonia.

Burkholder said although there is non-perishable food in stock now, the supply will soon be depleted after the organization's regularly scheduled distribution as well as the Dec. 20 Christmas distribution.

Burkholder said the staff concentrates on making sure clients' children up to age 12 get holiday gifts. She is asking for donations of new winter clothing.

The Salvation Army also needs people to volunteer at kettle stands that are located at nine stores throughout the Valley. 

For information on how to volunteer or donate call the office, 203-736-0707.  

Ansonia to mark 71st anniversary of Pearl Harbor

ANSONIA - A ceremony to honor all veterans will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 7 in Veterans Park, adjacent to City Hall.
It will mark the 71st anniversary of the Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941. The attack thrust the United States into World War II.

Veterans of all wars will be recognized. All Valley veteran organizations are asked to be present. Veterans, friends, relatives, and residents are invited.  
The Ansonia Veterans of Foreign War Post 597 will host the program. 
For information call 203-735-5106. 

Historical society plans 'Christmas in Newport' bus trip

          Why not spend this Saturday touring historic Newport, R.I. ?
          Your day begins with a drive around this seaside town overlooking Narragansett Bay.
          The sparkle of silver and the glitter of gold will dazzle you as you tour the magnificent Breakers Mansion decked out in Yuletide finery. Hundreds of poinsettia plants, spectacular evergreens, wreaths, fresh flowers, and 19th-century style ornaments turn the house and grounds into a Christmas wonderland. 
A dining room set with period silver and china and mannequins dressed in authentic costumes complete the elegant setting.       
           The Canfield House restaurant will provide lunch in a gracious Victorian setting. Your choice of chicken marsala, baked scrod with lobster sauce or shoulder tender steak with demi glace, includes vegetables, a garden salad and a slice of strawberry cheesecake.     
          After lunch, there is time on your own to stroll the streets, scenic harbor and wharves of Newport and visit the many shops for the start of the town’s holiday season.
The coach bus departs from the Shelton History Center, 70 Ripton Road, Shelton, at 7:30 a.m. and returns approximately 8 p.m. 

Cost is $84 a person for non-members, $79 a person for Shelton Historical Society members and includes transportation, driver’s gratuity, admission to the Breakers Mansion, and
luncheon/gratuity at Canfield House.

Registration is taken on a first-paid basis. Forms are available at Shelton libraries, at or at 203-925-1803

Talk to focus on crocodile ancestors

Lecture series to kick off at nature center

ANSONIA - Jonathan Weinbaum, a professor at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, will give the first in a new series of SCSU lectures at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center.
Imagine looking for crocodiles in the desert. Weinbaum conducts field research in the colorful badlands of the American Southwest in search of fossils of the extinct ancestors of modern crocodylians.
Research results suggest that ancient crocodylians were not cold-blooded unlike primitive reptiles and modern crocodiles and alligators. This changes the way scientists think about what it means to be a reptile.
This free program is geared toward adults and older students. 
To register, call 203-736-1053. The nature center is at 10 Deerfield Road.

This information was provided by the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ansonia boy receives early holiday gift

8th grader wins bike from stunt cyclist

I was happy to be behind-the-scenes recently with teachers and Ansonia Cultural Commission members at Ansonia Middle School to see eighth grader Jason Edwards get a cool surprise: a visit by professional stunt cyclist Chris Clark.

Clark, from Hoboken, N.J., performed at the Ansonia Harvest Festival in October. He had told spectators about a nationwide Facebook contest he was running, and Jason won.

The surprise continued when Clark presented Jason with a "lightly used" Giant STP mountain bike.

Jason is all smiles as Clark talks to him in the AMS gym about using the mountain bike.

Winning the expensive bike was indeed a lucky turn of events for Jason, since his own bike had been stolen earlier this year.

Congratulations again, Jason! Here's to lots of cycling fun.

Evergreen trees are topic of Nature's Child program

ANSONIA - The Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Road, will hold a preschool program at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 7. The program is for preschoolers accompanied by their adult caregivers.

Participants will join Ranger Wendy to learn about beauti­ful evergreen trees and create one-of-a-kind woodland holiday cards.
Read a short story, and take a short hike to find your tree!

Call 203-736-1053 to register by Thursday.
Tuition is $6 per child; $4 for Ansonia residents and family-level F.A.N.C.I.  (Friends of the Ansonia Nature Center, Inc.) members.

Derby library offers chess club to teens

DERBY - The Derby Public Library Teen Chess Club invites young adults ages 11 to 17 to meetings from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Mondays (excluding holidays).
All skill levels are welcome. Participants will learn how the game is played as well as new and classic defensive/offensive strategies. Julio Maldonado provides superb expertise from a life-long love for the game. 
Registration is requested. For information stop by the library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482, or visit

This information was provided by Tony DeLos, Young Adult/Reference Librarian, Derby Public Library. 

Seymour students collect items for Sandy victims

A note from Bungay Elementary School staff:

What an incredible amount of support Bungay Elementary School received from our students and staff for those in need due to Hurricane Sandy.

So many people donated clothing, non-perishable food, flashlights, and other essential items in support of our fellow Americans. 
Thank you to Rich Kearns and several fifth graders for helping load the items on a school bus and prepare the supplies to be transported.
It is an excellent learning experience for our children to see acts of kindness and giving to people in distress.

Deck the halls and more for contest in Ansonia

ANSONIA - The Cultural Commission and the Valley Arts Council are hosting the second annual "Deck Your House & Yard Contest."

'Tis the season to deck those halls and trim those trees, and be sure to enter your masterfully decorated house and yard for a chance to win the "bragging rights" of your Ward or even the Grand Decor Award for the entire city.

Awards include gift cards from local vendors.

Entry deadline is Dec. 9. Judging will be held Dec. 14-17.

Winners will be announced in local media and on the city of Ansonia website. Entry forms are available for download on the city's website.

For information contact Cultural Commission member Mary Gibson at or at 203-734-2484.  

Ansonia nature center to host holiday vacation days

'Toys without Batteries' is theme
ANSONIA - Children ages four to 10 are invited to the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center to discover the fun and excitement to be had without using electronics.
Four- and five-year olds meet from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Six-to 10-year-olds meet from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Bring a snack or lunch.
Tuition for four- and five-year olds is $55.  (Priority students pay $40.)
Tuition for six- to 10-year-olds is $75. (Priority students pay $60.)
Registration for Ansonia residents and family-level F.A.N.C.I. (Friends of the Ansonia Nature Center, Inc.) members begins at 9 a.m. Dec. 3. 
Open registration begins Dec. 10. Registration must be done in person by a parent or legal guardian.
The nature center is at 10 Deerfield Road.
For information call 203-736-1053.

Oxford church to hold service of Lessons and Carols

OXFORD - There will be a service of Lessons and Carols at 3 p.m. Dec. 16 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 421 Oxford Road. 

The community is invited. Light refreshments will be served. 
Please bring an item of non-perishable food to share with the Seymour-Oxford Food Bank. 
For information call 203-888-6388.

Night hike, documentary showing slated at Ansonia center

ANSONIA - Two free programs Friday at the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center will offer participants exercise as well as information.
At 5:30 p.m. as the full "white frost moon" rises over the Hilltop, Rangers Wendy and Martin will lead families on a unique hike by moonlight.
Participants will use their night vision and all their senses for this after-dark exploration.

At 7 p.m. Friday the final offering of the Friday night film series will be shown.
"The City Dark" is a documentary about night light effects on stars, birds and our health.
The showing is co-sponsored by Audubon Connecticut and the Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society.
Call 203-736-1053 to register for these programs.
The nature center is at 10 Deerfield Road.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Derby lights tree on Green with Santa's help

Santa waves to crowd on the Green as people await the arrival of the "real" Santa Claus.

DERBY - The Cultural Commission sponsored the city's annual tree lighting Friday night on the Green. Kids of all ages were on hand for the festivities.

Christmas songs and carols were performed by St. Mary-St. Michael School chorus as well as the combined chorus from Derby middle and high schools.

St. Mary-St. Michael School students sing Christmas carols.

Music teacher Kim Stoll, left, sings with her middle and high school students.
Frosty was there at the gazebo too.

Mayor Anthony Staffieri greets the crowd.   

                      Santa arrived via firetruck; here he waves to all, much to the kids' delight.

Cultural Commission member Gloriann Albini sings 'Jingle Bells' with Santa.
The Green was transformed with the flick of a switch.

Note: These photos were taken off of a video, which explains the less than clear quality.
I hope they convey the festive air the Cultural Commission created on the Green.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Santa to visit Seymour for Sunday breakfast

Re-posting this as a reminder:

Jolly Old Elf to take part in TEAM's Toys 4 Kids benefit 

    SEYMOUR - Santa Claus is coming to town for a special visit Sunday.

     It’s TEAM, Inc.’s Eighth Annual Breakfast with Santa to benefit Toys 4 Kids.

     This community event is hosted by the Yankee Clipper Country Barber Shop and is held at the Baklik Family home, 19 Chucta Road.
     Participants will enjoy a variety of breakfast goodies.
     The program begins at 9 a.m. with the Posting of the Colors by Emil Senger Post 10, of Seymour followed by a 10 a.m. Brass Band performance.
    Santa is scheduled to arrive at 10:30 a.m.  

     Sunday is the day where Santa gets his annual “haircut and trim” by Tom Baklik for the holiday season.
    An unwrapped toy to donated to TEAM’s Toys 4 Kids is requested to participate in this program.
    Dress warmly and don’t forget to bring your camera!
    TEAM Toys 4 Kids is the largest holiday toy drive in the region; toys are collected for children from infancy to 12 years old who live in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, Orange, and Woodbridge.
    TEAM has conducted the drive for the past 27 years. In 2011 the agency provided 6,326 toys to 1,514 children and other community agencies.

Osborne Homestead always delights

Historic house in Derby decorated for holidays

DERBY - I visited the Osborne Homestead Museum yesterday on the first day of its holiday tour schedule. 
I was the first visitor, without even trying. I always enjoy visiting the house each November to marvel at the creativity of members of area garden clubs who decorate it.

This year's theme is "Holiday in Bloom."
Newly named curator Susan Robinson offered lots of information about legends connected to a variety of plants and herbs as she showed me around the house.

A tinsel tree! Remember those? 

These lit ceramic trees displayed on the grand piano in the living room caught my eye.
The sign says, "Have you ever made one of these?" 

Coincidentally a woman I met as I was leaving, Cindy Joy of Oxford, told me her husband makes and sells ceramic trees. She said he also sells kits to those who would rather create one themselves.


The fireplace and mantel in the living room create a feeling of warmth as well as elegance.   


 The Oxford Garden Club decorated the library. This is the fireplace in the library. 

Ivy was the theme the Pomperaug Valley Garden Club used to adorn the formal dining room. Robinson told me ivy is a tenacious plant, and it "symbolizes youth and exuberance."

 I didn't have my camera with me, but I was able to take a few snapshots off of a video, and I hope I've given you the idea of the classic beauty of this 19th-century home. 


Do opposites attract? Santa and the Grinch seem to get along together in a corner of the library.

Holiday tours are from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday though Sunday until Dec. 16. Holiday Twilight tours are from 4-6:30 p.m. Friday as well as Dec. 7 and 14.
Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.
For information, call 203-734-2513.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Shelton Police, restaurant team to collect toys

SHELTON - The Shelton Police Department has teamed up with Outback Steakhouse of Shelton for an annual toy drive. 
People are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys that will be distributed to local families in need. 
The toys can be dropped off at the Shelton Police Department, 85 Wheeler St., or Outback Steakhouse, 698 Bridgeport Ave. All toys must be received by Dec. 19.
Outback Steakhouse of Shelton is giving away a free appetizer or dessert to any customer who brings in a new, unwrapped toy to the restaurant by Dec. 19 for the drive.
Any questions about the toy drive should be directed to Officer John Petrillo, 203-924-1544 ext. 349. 

This information was provided by Lt. Robert Kozlowsky.

Shelton firefighters to welcome Santa to town

 Annual tree lighting, toy drive scheduled in White Hills
SHELTON - White Hills Voluntary Fire Company is getting ready for Santa’s annual tour of White Hills and the White Hills Tree Lighting Ceremony in conjunction with the Toys for Tots Drive.

Friends and neighbors in White Hills are invited to the firehouse at 2 School St. for a community tree lighting at 6 p.m. Dec. 8. 

This year Santa hopes to be joined by a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserve for the tree lighting. 
All are welcome to join fire company members for a cup of hot chocolate after the tree lighting.
Toys will also be accepted that night for the Toys for Tots Drive.  
Each year through the generosity of Shelton residents, the fire company provides truckloads of new, unwrapped toys to The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.

The following Saturday, Dec. 15, from 9:15 a.m.-5 p.m., Santa will be escorted on a fire truck through the White Hills of Shelton. 

He and his helpers will be passing out popcorn balls to children.
The trip begins in Upper White Hills and ends in Lower White Hills.

Members of the White Hills Fire Company will follow Santa’s engine with pickup trucks as part of the fire company’s Toys for Tots drive. 
 New, unwrapped toys will be collected by the firefighters for distribution by the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children.

In the event of foul weather please visit or the White Hills Fire Company Friends and Neighbors Face Book Page for the rain date.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish my readers in the Valley and beyond a happy holiday today.

I'm thankful for your support.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving a helping hand in Derby

Jim Guarrera, center, hands a bag of groceries to volunteer Bill Steeves at Tuesday's St. Vincent DePaul Helping Hands of the Valley Thanksgiving distribution in Derby.

Guarrera, an owner of Carey and Guarrera Real Estate in Shelton, has coordinated volunteer efforts at the organization's Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter distributions for many years.
He recruits employees, Shelton High School students and community members to help give out food to needy clients.

Valley Council to present awards at annual meeting

Keynote speaker to focus on nurturing youth development

DERBY - The Valley Council for Health & Human Services will hold its Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation Dec. 4.

The event will feature a keynote presentation, “What Kids Need to Succeed: Inspiration for the Valley Community” by Tim M. Duffey, M.Ed., a nationally recognized expert on mobilizing communities to nurture positive youth development with an assets-based approach.

The Valley Community Foundation is sponsoring the breakfast meeting and awards presentation. The event will be held from 7:30-10 a.m. at Grassy Hill Lodge, 77 Sodom Lane. 

Duffey currently serves as President and Training Manager of Vision Training Associates, an authorized provider of training services for the Search Institute, a leader in national and international efforts to train communities in positive youth development methods. 
Duffey has extensive experience serving as a public speaker, trainer, and training program designer for organizations and communities interesting in creating community change to improve the lives of young people.

Jennifer L. DeWitt, Executive Director of the Central Naugatuck Valley Regional Action Council, highlighted the role of Duffey’s inspiring presentations and training in helping to create the award-winning youth development efforts of the City of Waterbury. 
“Tim Duffey and the Search Institute understand that in order to prevent risk-taking behaviors and their associated consequences, we have to build strong communities of care that speak the language of assets, value all youth, and work together to create opportunities for young people to thrive and be successful in life,” DeWitt said. 

The Valley Council also will present community service awards.  The Agency/Program of the Year Award recognizes a nonprofit agency that has made a significant and lasting contribution to the health and well-being of Lower Naugatuck Valley residents.
This year’s award will be presented to the Derby Bureau of Youth Services for its outstanding efforts to address the needs of the city’s young people.

The Lewis Savitsky Staff Excellence Award, named in honor of a long-time Valley United Way employee and community leader, is presented to individuals for outstanding achievement as employees in the non-profit community. 
This year’s honoree is Rita L. Fazzino, a Sanitarian and Housing Code Enforcement officer at the Naugatuck Valley Health District, for her tireless efforts to protect the health of Valley citizens. 
The Richard O. Belden Community Service Award, named in honor of late state Rep. Richard O. Belden, is given to an individual or group whose efforts have made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life of Valley residents. 
The Council will present the Belden award to Naomi Wallace, for her many years of generous dedication to improving the lives of Valley residents.  

In addition, this year the Council will present a special Chairperson’s award to John McGann, who until recently served as Clinical Director at Catholic Charities in Ansonia and Milford, for his committed leadership and service to the Valley Council and his many years of work to nurture the mental health and overall well-being of Valley citizens.   

An invitation and registration information for the Valley Council Annual Meeting and Awards presentation is available online at or by calling Valley United Way, 203-926-9478.  
Registrations will be accepted at the door.  Registration and breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. The registration fee is $20 a person for Valley Council member agency representatives and $25 a person for other attendees.

Derby Neck Library to show 'Men in Black 3'

DERBY - Derby Neck Library, 307 Hawthorne Ave., will host Teen Movie Night from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 19.
Join us for a free screening of "Men in Black 3" on a large-screen television.  Free refreshments will be served; come and bring a friend or two.
To register and for information call the library, 203-734-1492.

Writers Round
Writers Round convenes at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20. This is a workshop for writers of all genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, and the like. Come share your work and learn about the creative process.
For information call 203-734-1492.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Demolition begins at Seymour site

Former Housatonic Wire Co. site. / Photo contributed by Alex Budzinski

This is the former Housatonic Wire Co. on River Street in Seymour, which burned down in a Sept. 11, 2010 accidental fire. Demolition started up again today after months of delays, red tape, issues with the contractor and the owner, Alex Budzinski, being accused by Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller of taking a cut of the $200,000 state loan. The state has said Budzinski spent the money properly. / Submitted photo

Derby to hold Christmas tree lighting Friday

    DERBY - The Cultural Commission will present the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. Friday on the Derby Green.
    There will be carolers and a visit from Santa Claus.
    Hot chocolate will be for sale. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for TEAM’s Toys For Kids drive and get a free hot chocolate.   

Town seeks service members' names for Christmas checks

SEYMOUR - The Town Clerk’s Office is reminding town residents to submit the names of servicemen and women serving in the military.
Their complete service address should be submitted to the Seymour Town Clerk including their Seymour home address and the name of the person submitting the request.

The Town of Seymour would like all Seymour service members currently serving in the military to receive a Christmas check from the Richard R. Pearson Memorial Fund.
Please submit names as soon as possible to: Seymour Town Clerk's Office, 1 First St., Seymour, 06483.

Griffin Hospital to offer CNA course

DERBY - The Griffin Hospital School of Allied Health Careers, at 300 Seymour Ave., Suite 206, will offer its Certified Nursing Assistant program beginning in January 2013.
The CNA program begins Jan. 14. The 13-week course will be held Mondays and Wednesdays from 5-9 p.m. 
Course content includes infection control, legal and ethical responsibilities, communications, body mechanics, moving and positioning residents, personal care skills, nutrition, measuring vital signs, and restorative care. 
Once a student successfully completes the course and clinical experience, they will be qualified to take the State exam for certification as a Nursing Assistant in Connecticut.
The $1,200 CNA course tuition fee includes the course book, workbook, and malpractice insurance coverage for the clinical rotation, which will be held on Monday and Wednesday evenings as well as Saturday mornings.
Anyone 18 years of age or older with a High School Diploma or GED may apply for admission. For information or to apply, call 203-732-1276 or visit Early application is encouraged, as space is limited.
Griffin Hospital's School of Allied Health Careers was one of the first hospital-based schools of its kind to be authorized by the Connecticut Department of Higher Education and offers professional educational programs to provide training, education, and certification in selected health careers. Classes are taught by certified instructors in the Griffin Hospital Medical Building, located at 300 Seymour Ave.

Friends of Derby Neck to host free holiday performance

DERBY - Christmas comes to the Derby Neck Library, 307 Hawthorne Ave., at 2 p.m. Dec. 16 when talented and inspirational actors present Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”

This is a free performance for adults and family members sponsored by the Friends of the Derby Neck Library.
This family-friendly classic focuses on Christmases of old, reminding us why we celebrate the holidays.

Traditional sweet and seasonal refreshments will be served following the performance.
For information call the library, 203-734-1492.

The above was provided by Derby Neck Library.

Angel graces Gallery@37 window in Derby

Artist calls work 'autobiographical'

'Angelus Temporaria' / Contributed photo

Artist BillieJo, gallery manager, created this stunning piece. 
She said, "On display now at Gallery@37 is a visually and spiritually arresting 3-dimensional collage entitled, 'Angelus Temporaria.'
"It is, every bit and every inch, an autobiographical assemblage composed of countless found objects that mark important moments, memories, passions, pastimes, and worldly achievements of the artist's life. It is, at one and the same time, singular in its self-portraiture and universal in its visual metaphor of the artist as divine creatrix.
"Encountering this work of art and engaging with it, even briefly, could be life-changing in the very best of ways. Don't miss this temporary Gallery@37 guest. This is guaranteed to be a once in a lifetime appearance and opportunity, now through the winter holidays."

The Valley Arts Council's Gallery@37 is located at 37 Elizabeth St., Derby. 

Derby library to host treat-decorating session

DERBY - The Derby Public Library invites young adults ages 11 to 17 to a Holiday Treats Decorating program from 4-5 p.m. Dec. 12.
Participant creativity will be applied to brownie pops and cookies. All materials will be provided.

Registration is requested. For information, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482, or visit

Christmas ornaments, canines in spotlight at Derby Neck Library

DERBY - The Current Events Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 27 at Derby Neck Library, 307 Hawthorne Ave. This discussion group focuses on the news, including the arts, politics, medicine, and finance, among other topics.
For details, call 203-734-1492.

Make a cloth ornament
On Nov. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. get in the Christmas Spirit by making a beautiful Christmas ornament.
This is a workshop in the art of folded and pinned quilting, which will result in a colorful cloth ornament, an example can be seen at the library.
For information and to register call 203-734-1492.

Read to Thor and Cosmo
The St. Bernards, Thor and Cosmo, visit the library at 6 p.m. Nov. 30.
Each child visiting gets to read a story aloud to the dogs. To reserve a 15-minute session, call 203-734-1492.

Music and movement
Miss Kathi presents Bedtime Music and Movement at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5.  Bring your child to sing and dance with a favorite stuffed animal from home. For information call 203-734-1492.

Quilling class
From 6-8 p.m.,Dec. 12 join us to make a paper quilled Christmas ornament. This class guides you through the ancient art of quilling, using foldable paper strips.
Come relax and bring a friend and leave with a lovely, unique ornament. To register, call 203-734-1492.

Seymour is Santa's first stop

Jolly Old Elf to take part in TEAM's Toys 4 Kids benefit 

    SEYMOUR - Santa Claus is coming to town for a special visit Sunday.

     It’s TEAM, Inc.’s Eighth Annual Breakfast with Santa to benefit Toys 4 Kids.

     This community event is hosted by the Yankee Clipper Country Barber Shop and is held at the Baklik Family home, 19 Chucta Road.
     Participants will enjoy a variety of breakfast goodies.
     The program begins at 9 a.m. with the Posting of the Colors by Emil Senger Post 10, of Seymour followed by a 10 a.m. Brass Band performance.
    Santa is scheduled to arrive at 10:30 a.m.  
     Sunday is the day where Santa get’s his annual “haircut and trim” by Tom Baklik for the holiday season.
    An unwrapped toy to donated to TEAM’s Toys 4 Kids is requested to participate in this program.
    Dress warmly and don’t forget to bring your camera!
    TEAM Toys 4 Kids is the largest holiday toy drive in the region; toys are collected for children from infancy to 12 years old who live in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, Orange, and Woodbridge.
    TEAM has conducted the drive for the past 27 years. In 2011 the agency provided 6,326 toys to 1,514 children and other community agencies.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Derby library to show holiday film

DERBY - The Derby Public Library has scheduled a Holiday Movie Night at 5:30 p.m. Dec.
The evening will include the showing of a favorite holiday film and a light dinner.
Adults, ages 18 and over are invited to come and enjoy the spirit of the season. 
Registration is required. 
For information, stop by the Library, 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482, or visit

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Need a little Christmas?

This weekend's 9th annual 'Festival of Trees' sparkles in Shelton 

I covered the preview reception for TEAM Volunteer Caregivers' ninth annual "Festival of Trees" last night at Wesley Village in Shelton. 
My husband accompanied me and we marveled at the artistic decorations on the trees, as well as holiday wreaths and gift baskets. So much creativity!

By comparison our tree usually looks more like Charlie Brown's tree than what I viewed last night. 


One of the taller trees, "Roses and Ribbons."

This is "Angel Dreams," sponsored by the Shelton Butterfly Project, standing atop a grand piano in the front room at the adjacent Crosby Commons.

These are the first two we came upon when we arrived.  On the left is "Amethyst Advent," and on the right is "Christmas in the UConn." 

This elegant tree, "Victorian Secret," graces a corner of the library.

Here are "Holiday Fantasy," left, and a candy-covered "Sweet Holiday."

After all that decorating one might need a coffee break...this is "Dunkin' Donuts Delight."

This fun event includes a craft fair which benefits Wesley Village senior activity programs.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and tomorrow. If you go, you'll surely get into the holiday spirit. 

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