Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kids to get chance to read to therapy dogs at Derby Neck

DERBY - Derby Neck Library, 307 Hawthorne Ave., continues its children’s program, “Be a Reading Kid (B.A.R.K.)” in February.

Each child signing up for the event gets to read to a therapy dog and receives a personalized bookmark picturing them during their reading session.

Register your child to read to Grant for a 15-minute session from 3-4 p.m. Feb. 10.
Grant is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Register for a session planned 3-4 p.m. Feb. 17 to have your child read to Jake, an Australian Shepherd.

Thor and Cosmo, two St. Bernards, will appear from 6-7 p.m. Feb. 20 for their 15-minute sessions.

To register for one or more of these reading events, call the library, 203-734-1492.

Nominations sought for prestigious Flynn Award

Valley United Way is accepting nominations for the Charles H. Flynn Humanitarian Award. 
The award, which is the Valley’s oldest and most prestigious award for community service, has been presented annually since 1971 when Alice Russ Cochran of Shelton was named the first winner. 
The 2012 winner was David M. Grant of Shelton. The award is restricted to living persons whose service has been to the entire Valley community. Their service must not be limited to just one town or one organization.
The award is named for Flynn, who was, at the time of his death, editor of The Evening Sentinel and had been one of the founders of the Valley United Fund. He had been president of the Ansonia Community Chest.
 In 1968, he led that organization into a merger with the Derby-Shelton Community Chest and the Seymour United Fund which resulted in the formation of what is now known as the Valley United Way.
A native of Derby, he was an Ansonia resident most of his life and a long time Sentinel employee. He had an abiding interest in the Valley community and served it in myriad ways. 
At the time of his death he was first vice-president of the Valley United Fund; president of Catholic Family Services; president of the Ansonia Board of Assessors; director of the Ansonia Library and director of the Lower Naugatuck Valley Chapter, American Red Cross.
After his death in 1969, the award was established because of his life long dedicated service to the entire Valley.
Anyone wishing to nominate someone for the Flynn award may do so by submitting a written resume of that person to the Valley United Way, 54 Grove St., Shelton, or by filling out and submitting an electronic nomination form that can be found at 
The award will be presented at Valley United Way's annual dinner meeting in April.

 This information is taken from a press release from Jack Walsh, President and Chief Operating Officer, Valley United Way. 

Car seat initiative gets funding boost

DERBY - Griffin Hospital and Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley recently received several grants
to help provide child car-seat training and free child car seats to the community.

The CT Department of Public Health awarded Griffin and Safe Kids a grant to purchase 20 booster car seats, which will be distributed in a free training event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. April 11 at Griffin’s Dining Room, 130 Division St.

At the end of a two-hour training session, participants will receive a free highback booster seat and instruction on proper use.
To be eligible for the giveaway, participants must have a child that weighs between 40 to 80 pounds and is between 42 and 57 inches tall.
Also, the participant’s vehicle must have lap-shoulder seat belts in the back seat.
A Safe Kids Worldwide “Start Safe” grant has provided 16 child car seats.
The Griffin Safe Kids Chapter was one of just 17 across the country to receive this funding.
The seats will be distributed through a car seat clinic at the Head Start TEAM Early Care and Education Center in Ansonia.
The third grant comes from Valley United Way Special Needs program. This $1,100 grant will purchase car seats for special needs children.
For information about the car seat distribution or to register for the April 11 event, call Cathi Kellett, 203-732-1337. Please have the age, weight, and height of your child.

This information is taken from a press release from Griffin Hospital.

TEAM offers free tax help

DERBY - Tax season is here and many people may not be aware that they qualify for Earned Income Tax Credits.  
This tax refund is available to working families (earning less than $51,000) allowing them to reduce debt, save for the future or invest in a home or education. 
Free volunteer tax help is available with the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program, a nationwide initiative, offering families a free and easy way to access refunds and tax credits. 

VITA provides free electronic filing for federal and state tax returns.  
Taxes are prepared by IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers who will ensure that a taxpayer will get all the tax credits and deductions they are qualified to claim.

For information about earning this tax credit, filing taxes and claiming refunds, such as federal Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit contact one of the following local sites for a free appointment with a VITA volunteer:
·     TEAM, Inc. 30, Elizabeth St., and Derby Neck Library, 307 Hawthorne Ave.: by appointment only call  203-736-5420 x 220 between now and April 14.
·     Plumb Memorial Library, 65 Wooster St., Shelton: walk-in program, on Tuesdays (1-4 p.m.) and Saturdays (9 a.m.-1p.m.)
·     Huntington Branch Library: walk-in program on Wednesdays (5:30-7:30 p.m.) from Feb. 6-April 13.
For all walk-in programs, bring prior year’s tax return and all supporting documents for the 2012 tax year.

 This information is from a press release from TEAM, Inc. 

TEAM's programs serve the communities of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Milford, Orange, Oxford, Shelton, Seymour and Woodbridge.

MDA seeks volunteer camp counselors

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is seeking caring, fun-loving individuals to become volunteer counselors at a week-long summer camp to assist young people with muscular dystrophy and related diseases to have the time of their lives.
The MDA camp runs Aug. 3-9 at Camp Hemlocks in Hebron.

Volunteer counselors must be at least 18 and able to lift and care for a young person between the ages of 6 and 17. 
Each counselor becomes a companion to a camper with a muscle disease and helps them with daily activities such as eating, bathing, and dressing. 
Counselors also assist campers with recreational activities such as arts and crafts, swimming and archery.

Volunteer counselors say the experience is rewarding for them as well.
"MDA summer camp is a life-changing experience for the young people we serve," Casey
Bilodeau, Health Care Services Coordinator said. "It's a week of barrier-free activities and fun
where children can build confidence, nurture independence and forge lifelong friendships with
other children facing similar challenges."
“MDA has changed my thinking by allowing me to breathe and not take life's little things
for granted.” said Kyle Fecteau, camp volunteer.
“As for being a unit leader, MDA has been the hands to mold me into what I have become today; a courageous leader, efficient worker, and an enthusiastic motivator,” he added.
At no charge to families, MDA is sponsoring 77 weeklong summer camp sessions this year, serving   children across the country and in Puerto Rico. 
Volunteers give a week of their time to serve as MDA camp counselors and medical staff. It costs the Association $800 to send one child to camp.
To obtain a volunteer application or learn about other ways to support MDA's summer camp program, call the Hamden MDA office, 203-248-6500. 
Information about summer camp volunteers may be found at

This information is taken from a press release from the MDA office in Hamden. 

Talk to focus on winter challenges for visually impaired

SHELTON - The next meeting of the low vision support group in Shelton - Learn to See the World - is scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 20 in the library at Crosby  Commons at Wesley Village, 580 Long Hill Ave.

Light refreshments will be served.

Speaker will be Mark Leventhal, a member of the Board of Directors of the Blind Veterans Association, Connecticut Regional Group.

He will discuss how to safely navigate through the challenges of winter.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Individuals with low vision or are legally blind are encouraged to attend for fellowship and support.

Contact group facilitator, Mary Ann Milano, Activities Director at Crosby Commons, 203-225-5018 or at

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pre-school games, summer jobs on tap in Seymour

      SEYMOUR - Pre-School Sports Mania class will begin Feb. 13 and run through March 27. (No class March 6).
      Come join us from 9:30-10:15 a.m. to play sports, games for pre-schoolers ages 2-5. Cost is $20 for Seymour residents and $25 for non-residents.
      Space is limited. Call the Seymour Recreation Department to register, 203-888-0406.

Lifeguards, swim instructors sought
      The recreation department is accepting applications for employment opportunities for certified Lifeguards and Swim Lesson Instructors for summer programs.
      For information call 203-888-0406.

This is taken from a press release from the Seymour Recreation Department.

Conroy rallies for safety-net services

State Rep. Theresa Conroy, D-Seymour, joined more than 800 nonprofit service providers, their clients and advocates at a rally on the steps of the State Capitol calling on Connecticut to preserve safety-net services for poor and disabled residents.

“Thousands of our friends, family members and neighbors depend on these programs,” Conroy said.

During the rally, Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed a new $20 million state bond pool specifically designated for nonprofit, community-based providers that provide health and human services through contracts with state agencies. 

“The Governor’s commitment to the safety net is impressive,” Conroy said. “But with a billion dollar hole in next year’s budget, I am very worried that cuts will impact seniors, the disabled and the poor.”

Connecticut relies on private nonprofits to provide the most of its social services for abused children, the mentally ill, people with developmental disabilities, those suffering from addiction, prison inmates and others.

Conroy is a member of the legislature's Public Health, Government, Administration & Elections and Education committees.

The above is a press release from Conroy's office. 

The Sterling shines as a symbol of Derby's vibrant past

DERBY - Preserving the fascinating history of the stately Sterling Opera House should be enough reason to support a major project to renovate its interior.

An ornate balcony railing stands out in this view taken from the first floor.

Built in the Italianate Victorian style in 1889, the opera house graces Elizabeth Street in downtown Derby.  

The exterior has been restored and in 2011 a new cupola, which is illuminated at night, was installed.
The opera house was the first building in Connecticut to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it has an interesting history, for sure. 

Entertainers ranging from John Barrymore and Harry Houdini to Milton Berle, Bob Hope, George Burns and Gracie Allen all appeared there.  
Amelia Earhart spoke at the opera house, and John Phillip Sousa performed on its stage. The structure has what has been described as amazing acoustics.

It was used as a theater from 1889 until 1945. The lower levels housed municipal offices and the city jail for two decades before it was closed in 1965.  

The long-vacant building is filled with energy of the spirit kind. The theater has been investigated by numerous paranormal groups and time and again ghostly entities have made their presence known to visitors.
I've been fortunate enough to tour the interior on several occasions, and have witnessed several inexplicable paranormal happenings while there.
Each time I leave filled with enthusiasm about what the opera house could become.

On Monday city officials announced the receipt of $150,000 in federal funds to go toward the renovation of the interior. Cost estimate of the project is between $3 and $4 million.

U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3, secured the money. She had also secured $150,000 for the project in 2009. 

We who love the opera house thank DeLauro for her support of a project that will revive the building and bring it back to its former glory.

I took this photo from the Derby Green in August 2010. The cupola was replaced in February 2011.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Re-posting for a sweet church event

SEYMOUR - Great Hill United Methodist Church will host its Fifth Annual Chocolate Festival from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 10, or while supplies last.  

Chocolate lovers will receive an 8-7/8 inch plate on which they may place their choice of 12 fresh, homemade chocolate desserts and treats for $5. 

All proceeds benefit Missions and Ministry programs.
The church is located at 225 Great Hill Road. For information call Stephanie, 203-720-2124.

Distinguished alum sought in Seymour

SEYMOUR - Officials at Seymour High School are seeking nominations for the Distinguished Seymour High School Alumnus Award.  
The criteria for the award is as follows:

  1.  Be a Seymour High School graduate
  2.  Be out of high school twenty (20) years or more
  3.  Distinguished himself/herself as a contributing member of the community/society
  4.  Attend and accept the award at the June graduation ceremony.

Nominations for this prestigious award are to be forwarded to the following individual by March 4:

  Seymour High School
  c/o  Chris Vartko
   2 Botsford Road
  Seymour, CT 06483

Learn about groundhogs at Ansonia nature center

ANSONIA - The Nature's Child series of programs continues at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center with Groundhog Day festivities. Groundhog Day is Feb. 2.

If groundhogs in Connecticut could talk, they'd ask why people are waking up their relative in Pennsylvania!
Learn about their sleeping habits and hear a short story, make a craft, and walk to their den site.

Tuition is $6 per family ($4 for Ansonia residents or current family-level Friends of the Ansonia Nature Center, Inc. members).

Register in advance by calling 203-736-1053.
The nature center is at 10 Deerfield Road.

Valley mystery photo

Does this look like a giant bunny head or is it just me?

So...where did I take this photo on a beautiful day last October?

Please leave your responses/guesses in the comments section.


Seymour Rec to offer basketball, Zumba, chess

SEYMOUR - The Seymour Recreation Department is offering three upcoming activities:

Men’s Over 30 Basketball Pick-up Game nights will begin Feb. 13 from 7-9  p.m. at Bungay School gym.
All interested people must pre-register at the Seymour Recreation Department office.

The program, for Seymour residents only, will run for eight weeks. Cost is $25. 
Call the Recreation Department, 203-888-0406.

Zumba class
A Level I Zumba Class will start March 4 and run for six weeks. Class time is 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Bungay School gym.
Ages 14 and up are encouraged to attend.
 Cost is $40 per person,  $70 for two people from same family and $10 for a one night drop-in.

Anyone from surrounding Valley towns is welcomed. To register call the Seymour Recreation Department,  203-888-0406.

Youth chess
A Co-ed Youth Chess Class for grades 2 through 6 will begin March 5 and run for six weeks.
Class time is from 4-5 p.m. at the Seymour Recreation Department classrooms. Cost is $40 per child. No experience necessary and all equipment will be provided by instructor.
Space is limited. Call 203-888-0406 to register.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pet safety topic of talk at Derby Neck Library

DERBY - Pet Safety will be the topic of a program offered by the Valley Parish Nurses and Griffin Hospital at Derby Neck Library at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 6.

This is one in a series of topics on health and safety presented to children and their parents. Caring for your pet safely will be discussed.
This a free program; a different topic will be offered the first Wednesday of each month. 

The library also has the following events scheduled for February:

Bedtime music
Bedtime Music and Movement for young children will be offered at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6. 

Join Miss Kathi for songs and dance the night away.  Pajamas are appropriate wear for children who attend, and they are encouraged to bring a favorite stuffed animal. 

Medicare Madness
Medicare Madness, a free presentation focusing on the changes to the Medicare system coming with the national Affordable Care Act will  be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7.

The presenter is Jeannette Lewis from Bankers Life and Casualty and Colonial Penn.  Come hear how any modifications may affect you as we approach 2014,  and bring your questions.  

Teen Movie Night

The library will host Teen Movie Night from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 12 with a feature film to be announced—watch for details in the library. 

Free refreshments served; bring your friends for some fun. 

Women's Forum
On Feb. 18 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. the library offers the Women’s Forum—a new club dedicated to topics by, for, and about women.
This month we discuss love poetry that explores relationships.  The moderator will bring in the materials, but attendees are encouraged to select their own contributions as well.
Bring a light lunch if you wish; coffee and tea are served for free.

Blues performance
At 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 join us for an evening Blues Music Performance.
Our musical duo consists of Mark Naftalin on piano and Mike Michaels on harmonic, guitar, and vocals.
These two talented musicians have performed with such greats as Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Duane Allman, Bill Wyman, and others.
Come bring your friends for good quality, live music. This is a free program for an adult audience.

Writers' Round
At 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 Writers’ Round meets. This is a workshop for writers of all genres—fiction, poetry, prose, drama, film scripts, etc. Come share your original works and hear what other writers are doing.

Current Events Club
The Current Events Club meets at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26. This group meets to discuss the news—including the arts, medicine, finance, politics and the like. An interesting evening always ensues.

Health Matters
Health Matters, a series of free talks by area experts on health topics, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27. This series is presented by the Valley Parish Nurses and Griffin Hospital.
This month’s topic will be breast wellness. Bring a friend and bring your questions for an informative evening.

For information on any of the above events call 203-734-1492. The library is at 307 Hawthorne Ave.

Archaeologist to present program on Lakota Sioux Indian

At annual meeting of Shelton Historical Society

SHELTON - Connecticut State Archaeologist Dr. Nicholas Bellantoni will present “The Long Journey Home for Albert Afraid of Hawk,” at 2 p.m. Sunday at the annual meeting of the Shelton Historical Society. 

Albert Afraid of Hawk was a Lakota Sioux Indian and a performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show when he died of food poisoning in Danbury in 1900.  His unmarked grave in Wooster Cemetery was discovered last summer by a local historian who notified family descendants in South Dakota. 
 Bellantoni’s presentation will tell the story of Albert and his family (his father fought with Crazy Horse against Custer at Little Bighorn) and the process of repatriation, including the archaeology and forensic science behind the work. He has said that it is one of the most interesting projects of his career.
As State Archaeologist, Bellantoni is on the faculty in the Anthropology Department at the University of Connecticut. He is a popular and enthusiastic speaker who conveys his passion to audiences throughout the state.
The meeting is free and open to the public.  It will be held at the Huntington Congregational Church, 19 Church St. There will be a brief business meeting prior to the presentation. 
Refreshments will be served.  (In case of inclement weather, an announcement will be made on WICC-AM radio.)

           For information or directions, call 203-925-1803 or visit

          This information was taken from a press release from Tracey Tate, executive director, Shelton Historical Society.

Proposed Ansonia project is intriguing

This is an artist's rendering of an organic recycling and energy anaerobic digestion facility that a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company proposes to build next to the waste-water treatment plant on North Division Street in Ansonia.   

I attended an informational meeting about the project at Ansonia City Hall last week and came away intrigued by what the $30 million, state-of-the-art plant could mean for the city's future.

What do you think of the proposal?

United Way grants to Valley nonprofits top $31G

Funds to aid programs for children, seniors

    Valley United Way has announced 17 grants to area nonprofits covering a wide range of issues in the Valley.
    The Special Needs Grants Program is a small grants program created with funds that donors have designated to address needs in the community.
    The funds are separate from the traditional United Way funding program which takes place each year.
    Grants awarded in this round of funding total more than $31,000.
    In making the announcement of the awards, United Way Board Chair Fred Ortoli and Allocations Committee Chair Adrian Cabral said, “Valley agencies requested funding that was more than double the dollars available for a wide variety of needed and innovative programs.
    “The Allocations Committee and the Board of Directors were impressed by the quality of the requests and wished that more of the programs could have been funded. However, we are pleased to see that the 17 programs selected will make a measurable difference in the Valley area this year.”
       The programs in this year’s cycle include a series of workshops for senior caregivers, before and after school programs for children, and resources for literacy programs.
    Grants for training in mental health first aid and reducing school based arrests are also in this year's mix.
    The full list includes:
    Ansonia Community Action: Before and After School Program, $1,600; Area Congregations Together, Bus Token Assistance, $1,000; BHcare Antoinette's Angel's House, $500; BHcare Mental Health First Aid Training of trainees youth program, $2,000; Boy Scouts, BSA Technology, $1,500.

    Bureau of Youth Services/Derby, Reducing school based arrests, $1,500; Discovery Project, Valley Early Childhood Task Force Play and Learn Fair, $2,390.70; Junior Achievement of Western CT,  Achievement Middle School Graduation Pathway Programs, $3,000; Literacy Volunteers, Literacy volunteers test books for literacy volunteers, students and teachers, $1,777.

       Salvation Army, Family night and kids' club, $2,000; Shelton Youth Services Bureau, Remedial tutors, $400; TEAM, Inc. Caregivers’ Workshops; $1,750; TEAM, Inc. Early head start diapers by the dozens program, $4,320; TEAM, Inc., Volunteer caregivers shoveling for seniors program, $1,560.

    United Way Community Gardening $972.25; Griffin Hospital's Valley Parish Nurse program, Children restraint seats; $1,102.21; Valley YMCA, Members in residence, $4,000.

    Valley United Way, based in Shelton, is the leading philanthropic resource for the Valley towns of Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton matching the needs of the community and the interests of donors to improve the quality of life in the community.
    United Way supports and creates initiatives addressing youth, families and people in crisis. Each year Valley United Way funds programs and organizations that make a measurable difference in the lives of people living and working in the Valley.

This information is from a press release from Jack Walsh, President/Chief Operating Officer, Valley United Way.

St. Mary-St. Michael School posts honor roll

DERBY - St. Mary-St. Michael School Principal Linda Coppola has announced the honor roll for the second marking period:
Grade 4: High Honors:  Nico D’Ambrosio, Cassidy McNeil.
Honors:  Maria Ahmed, Brandon Aponte, Owen Clark, Jack Foley, Adriana Kolanovic, Amber Lagoja, Aryanna Ryan.  
Grade 5: High Honors:  Elizabeth DeCrisanti, Gabriela Soriano, Sofia Soriano, Joanna Wypasek.
Honors: Lexi Brinkmann, Joshua Celentano, Kinga Cieslik, Vincent Iacuone, Samantha Landona, Samantha Muncy.
Grade 6: High Honors: Genesis Brito, Emily Lucke, Makayla Naranjo, Alexis Pudimat, Alexys Ryan. 
Honors:  Cristina Carloni, Shannon Cobaugh, Maja Cuprys, Michael Rizzitelli, Emily Tokash, Shirley Torres, Isabella Tufaro.
Grade 7: High Honors: Jessica Gallagher.
Honors: Moazzum Ahmed, Gabriela Koziol, Ashley Lotto.
Grade 8: High Honors: Madison Clark, Kristina Fiallos, Brittany Gerckens, Aleksandra Koziol.
Honors:  Michael Burke, Ashley Gerckens, James Goncalves.

This information is from a press release from St. Mary-St. Michael School.

Friday, January 25, 2013

2-alarm blaze in Ansonia extinguished, Metro-North trains back in service

This was taken from a video, looking at the former Ansonia Copper and Brass Co. from the Riverside Drive side of the bridge over the Naugatuck River.

It was the first two-alarm fire scene I've been to where no fire or smoke was visible. It felt surreal. 

I was glad to learn no injuries were reported.

This was posted earlier this evening on our website:

ANSONIA - Firefighters are on the scene of a two-alarm fire at the former Ansonia Copper and Brass on Liberty Street.

Metro-North has stated on its official Twitter account that service on the Waterbury line in the area was experiencing 20 to 30 minute delays.

Marjorie Anders, the media liaison for the Metro-North Railroad & Long Island Rail Road, said a 4:50 p.m. southbound train from Waterbury was stopped on the tracks for 28 minutes while firefighters dealt with the blaze. Once the fire was out and the hoses were removed, the train could proceed, she said.

The train resumed its trip at 5:51 p.m., she said. The train was headed for the Bridgeport station, for transfer to New Haven, she said.
“Only one train was affected, everything is back to business,” Anders said.

Check back for more information. Firefighters can be seen all throughout the area. The former plant has a new name, and has been operating up until Friday's fire.

Friday Five ~ A recap of stories

These are five of the stories that made headlines in the Valley in the past week.

They are written by Register Correspondent Jean Falbo-Sosnovich and me, and they are listed in no particular order.

Ansonia's Farrel complex sells for $1.9M

Seymour weighs use of FEMA funds for weather emergencies

Derby jewelry designer Hollywood-bound

$30 million recycling plant pitched for Ansonia

Ansonia marks MLK Day

Enjoy the weekend!

Library offers introductory computer classes

  DERBY - The Derby Public Library continues to offer free monthly walk-in basic computer
classes. They are held on the third Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. and the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
             This introductory class, taught by Library staff, covers computer hardware, Windows, basic word processing and internet searching. 
             The class is 90 minutes long. No reservations are accepted and there is a seven-seat limit per class. February classes are at 10 a.m. Feb. 19 and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20.
              For information, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482 or visit

Request shared from TEAM, Inc.

Naugatuck Savings Bank is currently holding its Fourth Annual Community Awards Program.
Please vote for TEAM if you are a customer of Naugatuck Savings Bank. Voting takes place until March 31, 2013.
We greatly appreciate your vote of confidence and recommendation of TEAM's community services!
Program link and voting instructions:

Book discussion offers chance to 'chat and chew'

DERBY - The Derby Public Library has scheduled its next Lunchtime Book Discussion
at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 27.
            The selected title is the enchanting novel "Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale" by Lynda Rutledge. 
            On the last day of the millennium, sassy Faith Bass Darling, the richest old lady in Bass, Texas, decides to have a garage sale.
           As the townspeople grab up five generations of heirlooms, everyone drawn to the sale finds that the antiques not only hold family secrets, but also inspire some of life’s most imponderable questions.
           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, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482 or visit  

Conroy urges residents to weigh in on gun violence

Public hearings planned

State Rep. Theresa Conroy, D-Seymour, today reminded residents of a series of public hearings being held by the Connecticut General Assembly's Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety.

Formed after the December tragedy in Newtown, the task force is focusing on three policy areas: gun violence, mental health and school safety. 
The task force's School Safety Working Group today heard from local officials, teachers, school administrators, parents and social workers during a public hearing in Hartford focused on school safety and security.
"This is an issue that demands a swift, meaningful response," Conroy said.

The task force will hold several additional public hearings:

Gun Violence Prevention Working Group Public Hearing
Monday, Jan. 28
Legislative Office Building, Hartford
10 a.m., Room 2C

Mental Health Working Group Public Hearing
Tuesday, Jan. 29
Legislative Office Building, Hartford
10 a.m., Room 2C

Full Bipartisan Task Force Public Hearing
Wednesday, Jan. 30
Newtown High School
6 p.m.

"Please consider attending any or all of these important hearings," Conroy said. "Your voice and insight on these issues can shape the discussion."

Conroy urged residents to reach out to her at 800-842-8267, or check the task force's new website if they have questions or need additional information.

Residents unable to attend the public hearing can email public hearing testimony to: 

This information was taken from a press release from Conroy's office.

Conroy is a member of the legislature's Public Health, Government, Administration & Elections and Education committees.

Library slates college fair

DERBY - The Derby Public Library in partnership with regional colleges and universities will host
Mission Possible: College Fair. 

The event will include representatives from various local colleges and universities who will speak to
participants about the application process and the resources available to help them attain a bright future with a college education.

The college fair will take place from 5-7:30 p.m. in the Library’s upper level meeting room. 
This event will bring under one roof more than six college and university representatives who will address questions and concerns about regional higher academic institutions and will have information about the application process. 

Confirmed participating institutions include Albertus Magnus College, Gateway Community College, and more to come. 
Participants will have the opportunity to talk individually with each of the representatives and will also be provided with guidelines on how to apply for Financial Aid.  
Refreshments will be provided. 

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

Water main break in Seymour fixed, but road problems continue

SEYMOUR — A water main that broke on Bungay Road at about 7 p.m. Thursday has been repaired, but it caused traffic detours overnight and into this morning.

Police spokesman Lt. Paul Satkowski said, as of 10:40 a.m. today, the roadway was still closed but crews hoped to have it reopened by noon when nearby Seymour High School dismisses on an abbreviated day schedule.

The closure on Bungay Road is between West Church Street and Bungay Terrace.

“Public Works was called out last night to sand and salt the road,” he said. “Obviously, any water on the roadway turned to ice.”
Bungay Elementary School and Seymour High School are in session, Satkowski said.

Family opens Gina's Closet in Seymour

SEYMOUR - Last Friday I attended the opening of a unique consignment boutique, Gina's Closet.

The story appears today in the newspaper.

Gina Del Toro
Here is a photo of the family's beloved daughter and sister, for whom the shop is named. Her framed photo sits on a shelf in the store.

I wish the family all the best in the new business venture.

Friday mystery foto

So ... where in the Valley did I snap this photo?

Hint: Historical significance.

Please post your answers in the comments section. Good luck!

*Update: Jack Walsh again gave the correct response. It's the well behind the historic David Humphreys House, 37 Elm St., Ansonia, home of the Derby Historical Society.

Diabetes support group at Griffin adds session

DERBY - The Diabetes Education & Support Group at Griffin Hospital is offering an afternoon session to make it easier for members to attend.

In recognition of National Heart Month and the fact that diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease, the group is offering a free presentation on the connection between the two medical conditions from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Feb. 12 in Griffin Hospital’s Childbirth Education Classroom A and from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Meditation and Learning Center. 
Griffin Hospital is at 130 Division St.
Dr. Shilpa Shetty, of Griffin Hospital Primary Care, will be the presenter for the afternoon program and Mary Swansiger, R.N., MPH, of Griffin Hospital’s Community Outreach and Parish Nursing program, will present in the evening.

The Diabetes Education & Support Group meets September - June on the second Tuesday of each month to discuss the management of diabetes, its challenges and day-to-day dietary concerns. This group is open to all diabetics and their families, at no charge. 
Free valet parking is available for the afternoon sessions until 4:30 p.m.
No registration is required. For information, call Swansiger, 203-732-1137.

This information is taken from a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Derby students learn about blindness, history of Braille

On Wednesday afternoon I attended a program presented by Ellen Bedford, a retired Derby teacher of the visually impaired.

She spoke to third graders at Bradley Elementary School in Derby about the challenges faced by the blind, and taught them about the use of Braille.

Mary Montini, 8, checks out a book printed in Braille and regular type.

Stay tuned for a story in the paper about the presentation in the near future.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Griffin parish nurses to offer breast health info

DERBY - The Griffin Hospital Community Outreach and Parish Nurses program will host a breast health information table on from 1-5 p.m. Feb. 6 at Liberty Rehab & Patient Aid Center, 49 Pershing Drive.
Registered nurses will provide free handouts and answer questions about breast cancer screening guidelines, how to get a mammogram, and other health issues that affect women.

This information is from a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Ansonia to offer emergency response training

Informational meeting slated Feb. 18
           ANSONIA – The Ansonia Rescue Medical Service and the Ansonia Office of Emergency Management will sponsor a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training to begin March 5. 
            The training is free to applicants (14 years of age and older) and preference will be given to Ansonia residents, as class size is limited; senior citizens are also encouraged to participate.  No experience in emergency services is required. 
            The training focuses on disaster preparedness and emergency response skills, as well as special training to aid in sheltering during an emergency.

An informational meeting will take place Feb. 18 (snow date Feb. 20) at the Ansonia Rescue Medical Services headquarters, 22 West Main St., beginning at 6:30 p.m. for those interested. Class size is limited.

The CERT training is scheduled from 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays March 5-28 at the Ansonia Rescue Medical Service headquarters. 
Graduates of the program who join the Ansonia CERT team will be issued CERT identification and a backpack with basic equipment.  
After completion of training, members will be qualified to assist in operating a shelter during a major emergency as well as supporting emergency responders in various roles. The Ansonia team members will also be eligible to participate in additional CERT training events in Connecticut.

 “In times of disasters we find our City’s emergency services, namely police, fire, medical services and public works are taxed to the limit. By implementing CERT in Ansonia, we can supplement city services by training CERT members to help with vital tasks,” said Jared Heon, Chief of Ansonia Rescue Medical Services.

The Community Emergency Response Team is a program of the Citizen Corps, a nationwide program supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. 
The purpose of CERT and the Citizen Corps is to train community members in emergency preparedness to support local emergency responders as volunteers with disaster relief and community safety. 
The Ansonia Citizen Corps will work with the City of Ansonia’s Office of Emergency Management.

           The state-approved curriculum for basic training includes Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, and Terrorism. 
           In addition, classes will be given in sheltering, which is critical when people need to be evacuated to a local shelter.

For information and registration forms: contact Assistant Chief David Geloso, (ACERT) Coordinator, at or at 203-410-7372. 
Applications are available at Ansonia City Hall, Town & City Clerk’s Office, Ansonia Rescue & Medical Service Headquarters, Ansonia Police Department or online at Applications should be dropped off at the Ansonia Rescue Medical Services Headquarters or mailed to: ACERT, PO Box 149, Ansonia, CT. 06401 no later than Feb. 28 as advance registration is required. 

This information is from a press release from the City of Ansonia.

Gentile, Crisco welcome bonding for 2 projects

O'Brien upgrades, Rt. 34 bridge rehab slated for funds 

State Rep. Linda M. Gentile, D-Ansonia, and state Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. D-Woodbridge, today welcomed the expected passage of a pair of items for Ansonia and Derby when the State Bond Commission meets Friday.  

     Emmett O'Brien Technical High School in Ansonia is set to receive $87,000 for technology upgrades and renovations and improvements to its buildings and grounds, tools and supplies necessary to update curricula.
     “I am thrilled with the funding allocated for Emmett O’Brien,” Gentile said. “These funds will improve the facilities at the technical high school, make learning easier for students and provide the technical education and skills needed to support local businesses and grow our economy.”
     Emmett O’Brien is located at 141 Prindle Ave., Ansonia. 
     The school offers programs in automotive mechanics, carpentry, culinary arts, electronics and machine drafting among others.

     In addition, a separate item on the bonding agenda sets aside $11 million for the rehabilitation of the Route 34 bridge over the Naugatuck River in Derby.  
    The bridge is at the intersection of Route 115 at the off-ramp of Route 8 at Exit 15.   The bridge will be widened slightly to accommodate a sidewalk. 
    Construction is anticipated to start in spring of 2014 and continue until the fall of 2015. 
     "I have long maintained that an investment in our state's vo/tech high school system is a sound investment in our future to yield a well-trained, experienced workforce in Connecticut, so I'm pleased about this funding for the Emmett O'Brien school in Ansonia," Crisco said. 
    "Likewise, I'm pleased about the planned infrastructure upgrades for the Naugatuck River bridge at the interchange of Routes 8, 34, and 115. We must suitably maintain our transportation network to efficiently move people and goods - the building blocks of a thriving economy - and that crossing is among the busiest in my entire district."

     The State Bond Commission is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. Friday in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

This information was taken from a release from Gentile's office.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Talk at Derby Neck to highlight heart health

    DERBY - The Derby Neck Library, 307 Hawthorne Ave., will host a program, “Health Matters, Get Heart Smart” at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30.
    Guest presenter will be Eunice Lisk, Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Griffin Hospital.
    This is a new monthly health series being offered through a partnership between Derby Neck Library and Griffin Hospital Valley Parish Nurses. 

MLK program in Ansonia uplifting, inspiring

On Monday my daughter and I attended an annual observance in Ansonia of the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

As in the past the program was sponsored by Ansonia Branch 2000 of the NAACP. This year it was held at Macedonia Baptist Church on Pershing Drive.

Members of the choir, Voices of Praise, perform.

We both enjoyed the uplifting music, and the speakers inspired us.

Special recognition must be given to an impressive Ansonia Middle School eighth grader.

Shamir Hughes, 13, read an essay about helping others.

Shamir reads his essay.

He exemplifies all that is good about the kids of today and he symbolizes hope for a brighter tomorrow.

I wish him the best in his future endeavors. 

(I apologize for the photo quality. My camera equipment is not the best.)


Monday, January 21, 2013

Stuffed monkey drive needs your help

Monkeys, monkeys, everywhere ~

The seventh annual Monkey Love drive is in full swing.

Help out this worthy cause and donate a huggable plush monkey to put a smile on a needy child's face this Valentine's Day.  

Pictured here is Jen Sneider, owner of J Cuts, a barber shop at 505 Howe Ave., Shelton.

For the third consecutive year she's coordinating the drive and collecting stuffed monkeys of all shapes and sizes.

Kudos go out to her and to all who help collect and distribute the stuffed simians.

Chocolate lovers take note: Church to host festival

SEYMOUR - Great Hill United Methodist Church, 225 Great Hill Road, will host its Fifth Annual Chocolate Festival from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 10, or while supplies last.  
             Chocolate lovers will receive an 8-7/8 inch plate on which they may place their choice of 12 fresh, homemade chocolate desserts and treats for $5.
          All proceeds benefit the Missions and Ministry programs of the church.
          For information call Stephanie, 203-720-2124. 

Naugatuck mayor to be among honorees

Women and Heart Disease program slated Feb. 7

DERBY - The Valley Women’s Health Initiative/Women Making a Difference and Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo will be honored with the Community Caring Heart Award at The 8th Annual Women and Heart Disease program  Feb. 7 at Grassy Hill Lodge.

The award recognizes individuals and groups that foster initiatives that promote and improve the general health and well-being of all. 
This is the fifth year the award will be bestowed.

The 8th Annual Women and Heart Disease program will also feature a talk by Griffin Hospital’s Director of Pastoral Care and Education, The Rev. Jo Clare Wilson, M. Div. Wilson will present “A Heart with Soul is a Healthy Heart” which explores the connections between spirituality and heart health.
The event is hosted by Griffin Hospital’s Women and Heart Disease Committee. 
Event registration and a silent auction will start at 5 p.m., followed promptly at 6 p.m. by dinner and the program.
Tickets are $35 and the event is open to the public. 

To make a reservation or for information, call 203-732-1137. Proceeds benefit the Women and Heart Disease Fund. Reservations are due by Jan 31.

Career coach plans return to library

DERBY - The CT Works Career Coach returns to Derby Public Library from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 15. 
During both the morning session, 10 a.m.-noon, and the afternoon session, 1-3 p.m., instructors will be offering Job Search Assistance.
Learn where to look for jobs, how to get the job you want, and how to search for jobs on the Internet.
The workshop is free and open to the public.  Registration is requested but walk-ins will be welcomed on a first come first served basis.
The CT Works Career Coach is a project of The WorkPlace, Inc. operated by Career Resources.
For information, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482 or visit

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Shelton troupe to present 'Big River'

A celebration of Americana 
SHELTON - Center Stage Theatre, in the former Lafayette School, 54 Grove St., will present "Big River, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" for 10 performances. 

The show is directed by Gary Scarpa, with music by the late Roger Miller (King of the Road). It features Derby natives Ali Dunne, Marc Garofalo, and Travis Pyka.

A classic American musical, Big River won seven Tony Awards in 1985, including Best Musical, and then the 2003 Broadway revival of Big River won a special Tony for "Excellence in Theatre."

Mark Twain's timeless classic sweeps us down the mighty Mississippi as the irrepressible Huck Finn helps his friend Jim, a slave, escape to freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River. 

Their adventures along the way are hilarious, suspenseful and heartwarming, bringing to life your favorite characters from the novel - the Widow Douglas and her stern sister, Miss Watson; the uproarious King and Duke, who may or may not be as harmless as they seem; Huck's partner in crime, Tom Sawyer, and their rowdy gang of pals; Huck's drunken father, the sinister Pap Finn; the lovely Mary Jane Wilkes and her trusting family. 

Propelled by an award-winning score from Roger Miller, the king of country music, this jaunty journey provides a brilliantly theatrical celebration of pure Americana.

Performances are:

Feb. 1, 2 - 8 p.m.;
Feb. 3 - 2 p.m.;
Feb. 8, 9 - 8 p.m.;
Feb. 10 - 2 p.m.;
Feb. 14 - 7 p.m.;
Feb. 15, 16 - 8 p.m.;
Feb. 17 - 2 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for adults; $10 for students. For information call 203-225-6079.

Or you may choose your own reserved seating at

The above information is taken from a press release.