Friday, August 30, 2013

Derby police identify victims of Thursday’s shooting

DERBY >> The victims of Thursday’s shooting have been identified as John Benitez, 21, of Ansonia, and Quincy Sanders, 30, of Derby, according to police spokesman Salvatore F. Frosceno.

Sanders was treated and released from Yale-New Haven Hospital for a gunshot wound to the abdomen, Frosceno said.
Benitez remains hospitalized in stable condition at Bridgeport Hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest, Frosceno said.
It is unknown whether both were the intended victims of the shooting.
The incident is still under investigation, and police are following up on leads.
Two or three potential suspects have been identified, and police are awaiting forensic evidence results, as well as interviewing witnesses.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Derby Police Department at 203-735-7811.
All calls will remain confidential.

Resident of Crosby Commons in Shelton honored

Crosby Commons resident Jeanette Dermody/Contributed photo

SHELTON - In honor of National Senior Citizens Day Aug. 21, staff and residents at Crosby Commons Assisted Living Community took a moment to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of a special lady.
Jeannette Dermody, 97, and a longtime resident of Crosby Commons, is also a dedicated volunteer at the community.

After many years of working as a school crossing guard, serving in local politics, participating in church choirs, teaching religious education, visiting the sick as a Eucharistic minister, and working with the American Legion, Jeannette has clearly displayed her heart to serve others.

As of resident of Crosby Commons, Jeanette has continued to offer her time, energy, and passions to the community.
Partnering with the activities and volunteer directors, Jeannette has continued to serve others by welcoming new residents, leading recreational activities, and encouraging involvement in community service projects.
A member of the knitting and crocheting group, Jeannette has helped to create dozens of prayer shawls for the Prayer Shawl Ministry which are then given away to Hospice patients.
She regularly leads rummikub and pinochle games, assists with sporting activities, facilitates a resident rosary group, and even dresses up like a clown for special events, such as the Family Day Picnic, the Wesley Village 5K Road Race, and more.

The community of Crosby Commons is honored to have Jeannette as part of its family and is truly grateful for the many contributions that she has made in the lives of all of our residents, staff, and families. Thank you, Jeannette!

For information about Crosby Commons or for ideas on how to honor a special senior in your life, check out our blog at or contact Lois Poutney, 203-225-5001.

This is a press release from United Methodist Homes.

Benefit planned in Derby for Valley resident

Derby Neck slates September sessions

Music and movement
DERBY - Young children and their parents are invited to the Derby Neck Library, 307 Hawthorne Ave. at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11 for Bedtime Music and Movement.

Join Miss Kathi in singing and dancing to fun tunes. Bring a favorite stuffed animal and wear your pajamas if you wish. 
Women's Forum
At 12:30 p.m. Sept. 16 the Library presents Women’s Forum - a discussion group focusing on literary, historical, social, and cultural topics of interest to women.
For September the group will discuss school memories and  old-fashioned poetry recitations.
Bring your ideas and recall your own memories of school days. An old primer or two will be available to explore.
Bring a light lunch if you wish; free tea and coffee served.
Read to therapy dogs
At 6 p.m. Sept. 18 children are invited to the Library for BARK (Be a Reading Kid) to read to therapy dogs Thor and Cosmo, two St. Bernards.
Register ahead to insure your child has a 15-minute session of reading.
Writers' Round
At 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19 the Library will host Writers’ Round, a monthly creative writing workshop.  Bring your original works to share including poetry, prose, fiction, nonfiction, scripts, and more.
For details on any of the above and to register for BARK call the library, 203-734-1492.

This is a press release from Derby Neck Library.

The Umbrella to host workshop in New Haven on domestic violence

The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services, a program of BHcare, will host a workshop Sept. 30 for members of the community to learn about the psychological and emotional abuse, stalking and how technology interfaces with domestic violence. 

The workshop will be held at Anthony’s Ocean View restaurant in New Haven.
The cost of the workshop is $95 for the public and $65 for students. Fee includes lunch, and continuing education and training credits are available.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month; a time to educate the community about healthy relationships, change attitudes that support violence and recognize that domestic violence can be prevented. 
Every nine seconds a woman in the United States is assaulted or beaten. 
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. 
In 2012, there were 12 reported homicides from intimate partner domestic violence in Connecticut. So far this year, five lives have been lost. (Source: CCADV).

The workshop will feature critically-acclaimed author Leslie Morgan Steiner. 
Her 2009 memoir about surviving domestic violence, Crazy Love, was a New York Times bestseller, People Pick, Book of the Week for The Week magazine, and subject of the first TED Talk by a domestic violence survivor. 
Other speakers include Mark Wynn, veteran police officer devoted to ending family violence, and Hema Khan, Program Attorney for the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime.

For information or to register, visit or contact Linda Luongo, Event Coordinator, at 203-736-2601, x1334,
UCDVS is a program of BHcare that provides services for victims and children of domestic violence free of charge.
 Each year, more than 9,000 abused women and their children walk through the door of UCDVS looking for shelter, help and hope.

This is a press release from BHcare.

Caregivers to learn coping with Alzheimer's at event in Shelton

Contributed photo
SHELTON - The Caregiver Support Group at Wesley Village invites you to “Coping with the Challenges of a Loved One with Alzheimer’s” at 2 p.m. Sept. 18.

This program will feature a representative from the Alzheimer’s Association and will include an overview of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, along with communication tips, behavioral challenges/strategies, and activities for staying connected with loved ones with dementia. 
Practical advice for keeping caregivers healthy will also be offered in the presentation.  
The event will be held at Crosby Commons Assisted Living Community at Wesley Village, 580 Long Hill Ave.
For information or to RSVP by Sept.17, call 203-925-4952 or visit

This is a press release from United Methodist Homes.

Ansonia Nature Center Friends seek members

ANSONIA - Join the Friends of the Ansonia Nature Center, Inc. at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11 for their monthly meeting.
All those with an interest in wildlife, environmental education, and protecting the environment are invited to join a group of residents dedicated to helping the nature center with its work and family programs.

The Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center is at 10 Deerfield Road.

This is a press release from the nature center.

Derby Public Library schedules 'chat and chew'

       DERBY - The Derby Public Library has scheduled its next Lunchtime Book Discussion for 12:30 p.m. Sept. 25.

       The selected title is best selling author Lisa Genova’s newest novel, Love Anthony.
      This warm and deeply human story involves two unforgettable woman on the verge of change and the irrepressible young boy with autism whose unique wisdom helps them both find the courage to move on.
      Genova’s profound insight once again takes a complicated topic and makes it understandable to readers.  

    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

This is a press release from Derby Public Library.

Concert in Seymour to feature oldies

Classic car show, block dance on tap
SEYMOUR - The Seymour Culture and Arts Commission will end its summer concert series with a block dance Sept. 7.

The concert will feature the band Flashback playing music from the '50s,' 60s and '70s.

The concert will be held at the corner of First and Bank Streets from 6-8 p.m. in conjunction with Seymour’s First Saturday events.

There will also be cruise night sponsored by the Seymour Lions Club featuring vintage and classic cars.
Parking is located on the streets and parking lots around the downtown area.
Do not park in the First Street plaza lot - your car will be towed by the plaza owners.
Bring your own chairs.
There will be no rain date or alternate location for this concert.

For information contact Kim Osgood, 203-888-7880.

This is a press release from Seymour Culture and Arts Commission.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Seymour church seeks crafts for Christmas fair

 SEYMOUR - Great Hill United Methodist Church,  225 Great Hill Road, is seeking crafts people for its 2013 “Christmas on the Hill” craft fair.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Fellowship Hall.
An eight-foot by six-foot space will cost $35 and a limited number of spaces will have access to electrical outlets.
Table rentals (six foot) are available for $5 each.
Only hand-crafted items can be sold.

            For information or registration forms contact Pat, 203-888-0489.

This is a press release from Great Hill United Methodist Church.

Griffin in Derby offers talks on diabetes

DERBY - The Diabetes Education & Support Group at Griffin Hospital will host two free presentations about diabetes treatments and management on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at Griffin Hospital, 103 Division St.

Dr. Masha Resman will present “New Frontiers of Diabetes” at 2:30 p.m. in Griffin Hospital’s Meditation and Learning Center Room 1.
Resman practices Internal Medicine with Griffin Faculty Physicians and has a special interest in diabetes and hypertension. 
She offers primary care full-time at her office at Ivy Brook Medical Center, 2 Ivy Brook Road, Suite 115 in Shelton.

Mary Swansiger will discuss “On the Road to Better Managing Your Diabetes” at 6:30 p.m. in Room 2 of Griffin Hospital’s Dining Room. 

Topics covered in this presentation will include what diabetes is and some of the common myths associated with diabetes, feelings about having diabetes, blood glucose and insulin, monitoring blood glucose and using the results, managing diabetes with healthy eating, physical activity and taking medicine, and the importance of having a plan and engaging a support network and healthcare team.

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. All diabetics and their families are welcome to attend. No registration is required. Free valet parking is available for the 2:30 p.m. session. 
For information, call Swansiger, 203-732-1137.

This is a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Ansonia announces new polling location for Ward 5 voters

ANSONIA - The city is notifying registered voters in Ward 5 of a change in polling locations for upcoming and future elections.

The polling location has been changed from Fountain Hose, 191 Howard Ave., to the Ansonia Middle School Gym, 115 Howard Ave.
The gym will be divided into two polling locations for Ward 4 and Ward 5.

This is a press release.

Shelton family hosting brunch to benefit Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness

The Durante family, pictured from left: Mario, Anna, Ralph, Luca and Santino. / Contributed photo

DERBY - The Durante family of Shelton is “paying it forward” with a community-wide fundraiser brunch Sept. 8 at the La Sala Banquet Hall, Sons of Italy, 23 High St., to benefit The Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital.

Hosted by Ralph Durante, the brunch is inspired by his wife, Anna, who is a breast cancer survivor. The Durante family organized the event partly in gratitude for the support and services they’ve received, partly in tribute to the many members of their family and community who didn’t make it through their fight with cancer, and mostly in hope of saving someone else’s loved one or family member through awareness and prevention campaigns.
The brunch will be from 11:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 and are available in advance or at the door. Proceeds will benefit The Valley Goes Pink, a grassroots, community-wide effort throughout the Lower Naugatuck Valley to support The Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness. For tickets or more information, contact Ralph or Anna Durante at 203.732.1977 or or visit The Valley Goes Pink
A Commitment to Raising Awareness and Prevention
Anna Durante was diagnosed with breast cancer at her very first baseline mammogram at age 40. She credits that mammogram with allowing her to catch her breast cancer early.
As a result of that finding, it was recommended she have a double mastectomy.
At the time of Anna’s diagnosis, Griffin Hospital didn’t have a Center for Breast Wellness, so Anna drove to New Haven and Stamford to see her doctors.
“It would have been so much easier for me and so much less stress on my family if I could have stayed right here at Griffin,” Anna Durante said.
The Durantes were valuable supporters when The Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness was being built and stocked with state-of-the-art equipment.

The Center opened in 2011 and the Durante family continues to fund raise for new equipment, free mammograms to uninsured people, and breast cancer awareness and prevention campaigns.

Anna had a wonderfully supportive, but not very domestic husband in Ralph who had to bear the brunt of caring for their three sons, Santino, Mario, and Luca, as well as Anna while continuing to work. They now joke about the way Ralph did housework or the meals he cooked, but at the time, it wasn’t humorous at all.
“I worked all day. I came home. I cooked and cleaned. And then I had to go back to work at 3 a.m. where I was a supervisor at a waste management company,” Ralph Durante said. “She was in her room. I didn’t know what to say. It was tough. A lot of men don’t know what it’s like because they haven’t had to deal with it. It hasn’t hit their house.”
Shortly after Anna’s diagnosis, other family members were diagnosed with cancer. Ralph is also battling his own health issues.
Rather than spend their time dwelling on why so many cancers have struck their family, the Durantes prefer to put their energy into trying to help other families.
“We went through it as a family. If you stick together, you can get through it. We do this to show support to other families,” Luca Durante said.
The Durantes put their efforts into supporting each other as best they can through each illness and into trying to get the word out about prevention, early diagnosis and finding a cure.
They want people to know about the Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness and to encourage people to take advantage of the services available there.
Ralph credits “early detection and Anna’s positive outlook and strength” as the reason she is “alive and well” now.
“We have seen young and old lose their battles with cancer, but will never give up looking for cures and working toward prevention,” he said.
The Durantes are hard-working people. Ralph works for the Shelton Highway Department and Anna owns the Cappelli Salon of Derby.
Their commitment to family and health inspired them to host the brunch and they hope it inspires others to take action.
“If cancer hits your house, like it hit my house, you want to do something,” Ralph said. “You want to reach out and do something…anything. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just something - whatever your pocket can afford.”
For more information, contact Ralph or Anna Durante at 203-732-1977 or or visit The Valley Goes Pink at

About The Valley Goes Pink
The Valley Goes Pink is a grassroots, community-wide effort throughout the Lower Naugatuck Valley to sustain the efforts of The Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness to ensure the delivery of state-of-the-art care and create awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection for Valley residents.
Monies raised through The Valley Goes Pink are largely through individual gifts under $25 each.

About The Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital
The Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness was opened in 2011, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Campaign for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital.
A grassroots initiative, the Campaign raised $1 million to develop the Center for Breast Wellness, a comprehensive breast wellness and cancer prevention and treatment center for the people of the Valley.

This is a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Derby library to host driver safety class

DERBY - The Derby Public Library has scheduled an AARP Driver Safety Class from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Sept. 24. 
The cost is $12 for AARP members, $14 for non-members.  

Cars have changed and so have traffic rules, driving conditions, and the roads you travel. 
This refresher course is designed for drivers 50 and over to brush up on their driving skills.  
 No written tests, no road tests, and no information will be given to the Department of Motor Vehicles. 
Participants will learn how to drive more defensively and may save up to 10 percent on their present auto liability insurance.
Space is limited; registration is required. 

Participants may bring a bag lunch. Coffee and dessert will be provided.
For information, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482 or visit

Registration slated for junior rangers at Ansonia Nature Center

ANSONIA - Registration for the fall session of Junior Rangers begins at 9 a.m. Sept. 5 at the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Road.

This is a call to all kids ages 11-14 who love the nature center and want to help make it the best it can be.
Bring your dedication and enthusiasm and willingness to work hard, but also expect to have fun as you increase your environmental awareness during after-school sessions that start Sept. 12. Hours are 3:30 to 4:45 p.m.
Class size is limited to 12.
Register in person with a parent for this free program.

 This is a press release from the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center.

Sharing first day of kindergarten photos in Derby

Irving School kindergartner Harley Daniels, 5, shows off her 'rock star shirt' on the first day of school Wednesday.

Bradley School kindergartner Addison Brunetti, 4, waits to meet her new teacher with her dad, Joseph Brunetti, on the first day of school Wednesday. 

DERBY - The first day of school is always a big day for youngsters but for a kindergartner it must be overwhelming, with all those big people saying good morning and asking you your name, and more. 

I cried on my first day of kindergarten at High Plains School (now Community Center) in Orange. And I even had my best friend with me in the classroom. She wasn't scared at all.

I on the other hand was petrified, probably because I hadn't had any preschool experience.
Or maybe it was because I was an only child. My friend Suzy was the oldest of "many."

Here's to a great school year for students everywhere.

Ansonia police chief to serve as association president

    ANSONIA - Police spokesman Lt. Andrew Cota said in a release Wednesday that Chief Kevin Hale will take over as President of the New England Association of Chiefs of Police.

     The swearing-in will be held Sept. 10 at the Association’s annual conference in Plymouth, Mass.

     The Association was founded in 1926 and incorporated in 1939, and has several missions, which include:
    ·     A continuing partnership with Roger Williams University to provide outstanding police training to officers of all rank;
    ·     Specialized training for chiefs and upper level police leaders concerning the most relevant and contemporary issues facing law enforcement agencies today;
    ·     Continuing to grow a large network of contacts and resources throughout New England and beyond.
    Hale will serve a one-year term and will succeed the current president, Chief Mark Leonard of the Veazie, Maine Police Department.
    Seymour Police Chief Michael Metzler will take over as the Association’s Sergeant-At-Arms, Cota said in the release.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Paranormal group to speak at Derby Public Library

DERBY - The Derby Public Library welcomes CT Soul Seekers to the Library at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23. 
            This popular and active paranormal group will present Our Haunted Lives.
            The program will include video, photos, and audio in a power point format.
            Footage will include some of the many cases they have investigated.  Founders Nicole and Angel Ortiz will also discuss different paranormal theories.

           A question and answer period will follow. 
           Registration is requested. 
           For information stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482 or visit

Nonprofit to hold annual Shelton wheel walk

SHELTON -The fourth Annual Shelton Wheel-Walk to Work will be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Riverwalk and Veterans Memorial Park on Canal Street.

There will be free access to employment support services, health screenings, social services, as well as activities for children, live music, gift and food vendors. 
This event and these services will aid and sustain a level of community-based independence for people with disabilities, the chronically ill, first responders and veterans.

Come down and walk to support veterans, first responders and people with disabilities!

Proceeds from the event will benefit MovingWithHOPE, Inc., a Shelton-based non-profit 501(c)3 organization that helps to provide year-round access to independent living skills, training, and nutrition education programs to individuals with disabilities and their families.
To learn more about MovingWithHOPE’s mission and vision, visit

The Wheel-Walk to Work is an annual reminder to all residents and employers of Connecticut of the importance of programs and services that help to create opportunities for community-based independence for our neighbors, friends, families and co-workers.

This is a press release from MovingwithHOPE, Inc. 

School bells ring, Derby kindergartner shows off bling

An adorable Ariana Nickle, 4, strikes a pose.

DERBY - I covered the first day of school festivities at Bradley and Irving elementary schools this morning and met several adorable kindergartners. With few exceptions the children seemed fine with the start of their new adventure.
As for the parents, I'll just say some looked anxious to send their little ones off to school.

I met kindergartner Ariana Nickle in the gym at Bradley School and she immediately asked if I'd like to see her earrings. I said sure!

Griffin in Derby offers bereavement support groups

DERBY - Griffin Hospital offers support groups this fall for anyone experiencing the loss of a loved one.
The meetings provide grief education and support to ease the pain of loss as well as encourage healing and growth. 
The groups meet in eight-week cycles and require pre
registration due to limited capacity.
The following groups will begin again the week of Sept. 3 (please note if the group is a weekly or bi-weekly group):
·     The afternoon General Bereavement Group meets every Tuesday from noon–1:30 p.m. in Griffin Hospital’s Outpatient Psychiatry offices at 250 Seymour Ave. This group is for anyone grieving the loss of a loved one.
·     The evening General Bereavement Group meets the first and third Tuesday of the month from 6:30–8 p.m. at Griffin Hospital, 130 Division St. Attendees should ask the Information Desk for the location of each meeting. This group is for anyone grieving the loss of a loved one.
·     The Widow/Widower Support Group meets every Tuesday from 2:30–4 p.m. at Griffin Hospital, 130 Division St. Attendees should ask the Information Desk for the location of each meeting. This group is for anyone grieving the loss of a spouse or a partner.
·     The Bereaved Parents’ Support Group meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 6:30–8 p.m. at Griffin Hospital, 130 Division St. Attendees should ask the Information Desk for the location of each meeting. This group is for anyone grieving the loss of an adult child.
·     The Young Widows/Widowers Support Group meets each Wednesday from 6:30–8 p.m. at Griffin Hospital, 130 Division St. Attendees should ask the Information Desk for the location of each meeting. This group is for persons under the age of 50 who have lost a spouse or a partner.
To learn more or to register, call Andrea Rudolph, 203-732-1132 or Jo Clare Wilson, 203-732-1100.

 This is a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Sales to benefit Wesley Village in Shelton

SHELTON - Wesley Village, 572 Long Hill Ave., will be holding its annual tag sale from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 7.
An array of items will be for sale including furniture, jewelry, books and music, DVDs and videos, household items, and more. 
New this year will be a plant sale.
All proceeds from the two sales will be used to benefit the residents of Wesley Village.

For more information, contact David Primini, 203-225-5020.

This is a press release from Wesley Village.  

Troop 3 in Derby to hit century mark

Members of Troop 3 gather for a group shot. Photo contributed by Randy Ritter

DERBY – Made up of boys 11 to 17 from throughout the Valley, Housatonic Council Boy Scout Troop 3 Derby will begin its 100th year of Scouting at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Second Congregational Church on Elizabeth Street, across from the Derby Green.

The troop, among the oldest in Connecticut, was founded in 1914, and is still sponsored by the Second Congregational Church. 
Meetings are held at the church each Wednesday through June and all interested boys may visit with a parent or guardian. 
Boys younger than 11 who are interested in Scouting can visit Cubmaster Dan Cyrul and Cub Scout Pack 3 at 6 p.m. Mondays at the Derby Methodist Church.

The Junior Leaders who run the weekly troop meetings and monthly campouts as members of the Patrol Leaders Council include Senior Patrol Leader Ryan Cafaro, Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders Justin Patten, Anthony Bartholomew, Steve Tracz and Colby McLiverty, Patrol Leaders Jason Edwards, Mike Flora, James Chopak and Ryan Kish, Scribe Joe Szewczyk, Chaplain’s Aide Michael Shea, OA Representative Ben Grasso, Webmaster Jason Edwards, Quartermaster Dominic Livoti, Historian Naveen Madivala, Librarian Julian Gilloren, Troop Guide Jim Butler, and Junior Assistant Scoutmasters Matt Moran and Andrew Devine. 

The patrol leaders’ council is guided by Troop 3 Scoutmaster Randy Ritter and Assistant Scoutmasters Bill McDonnell, Chris Cafaro, John Spinetti, Mike McMahon and others.

Monthly meeting themes include: Iron Chef cooking, history, paranormal, wilderness survival, cinematography, criminal justice, outdoor skills, military and cycling.
Highlighting the 2013-14 Scouting year will be 100th anniversary celebratory activities, performing in the 90th Annual Scout Gang Show, attending Strang Scout Reservation summer camp and a three-week cross-country camping trek with scouts from Ireland and England.

The Troop also schedules camping trips at least one weekend a month throughout the year and conducts regular community service efforts like Scouting for Food and Good Friday service projects. In addition scouts working towards Scouting’s highest honor, Eagle Scout Rank will lead significant community service projects like the Derby Dog Park project lead by Troop 3 Scout Anthony Bartholomew. 
Almost 300 scouts have achieved Eagle Scout Rank in Troop 3’s history.

Cub Scout Pack 3, Boy Scout Troop 3 and Venture Crew 33 will be offering a free hands-on activities to introduce the program to all youths. 
The annual event, called Ed Strang Day on the Derby Green in honor of the late Scouting pioneer, will be held Sept. 28. 
For information call 203-732-0343.

This is a press release from Troop 3 Scoutmaster Randy Ritter.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Garden author to speak at Derby library

DERBY - The Derby Public Library welcomes back Colleen Plimpton, a popular garden author, lecturer, instructor and coach, at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16.  

             The topic of the evening will be Good Night My Garden.
            This is a show ‘n tell presentation with visuals of tools, and equipment used to put our gardens to bed.
            Bulb planting, what to leave up and what to cut down, composting, lawn care, bird feeding, and much more will be discussed.
            Plimpton's award winning one-acre ornamental garden has been on numerous tours and serves as a living classroom laboratory where she teaches composition, color, composting, and other how-tos of gardening.
           She runs a garden coaching business, teaches gardening at the New York Botanical Garden, and works with many local garden clubs and non-profit groups.
          Plimpton is also the author of Mentors in the Garden of Life. 
          Registration is requested.
          For information, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1418 or visit

This is a press release from Derby Public Library.

TEAM in Derby uses technology to reinforce math, reading

Preschoolers learn computer skills at TEAM Early Education. / Contributed photo

DERBY - The generosity of Pitney Bowes provided a seven-week enrichment program of computer-assisted learning for area students.

Preschool children learned technology skills with a laptop and tablet, and participated in activities that reinforced math and reading readiness skills.

In each weekly class four children met with an instructor, for a 30-minute lesson. More than 220 children benefited from the program.
“The students greatly enjoyed their Friday computer lessons and learning about all the different countries. Many of the children can now navigate our computer with greater ease because of the skills they learned,” teachers of TEAM Early Education reported.
Skills assessed
Students were assessed on their cultural and language skills in identifying numbers, colors and vocabulary in both English and Spanish.
They were also assessed on technology hardware vocabulary and basic skills in manipulating the mouse, touch screen and keyboard. 
“This Computer Tots program established computer skills that the children will use for the rest of their lives. We are very proud of this initiative to improve the school readiness skills for each student and the progress they made during the seven week program,” said David Morgan, TEAM Vice President of Early Education.

Technology lesson taught at TEAM Early Education. / Contributed photo

This post is taken from a press release from TEAM, Inc. in Derby.

Club in Shelton to host health fair, fun activities

Carnival games, magic show to be featured
SHELTON - The 12th Annual Children’s Health and Safety Fair will take on a Family Carnival theme this year.
It will feature free food and games along with health, wellness, and safety programs and displays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 22.

The fair will be held at the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, One Positive Place.

It is sponsored by the Valley Parish Nurses of Griffin Hospital, The Valley Community Foundation, Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley, Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, and Griffin Faculty Physicians Primary Care.

The fair will feature carnival games, a moon bounce and magic show.
Free food, drinks and healthy snacks will be available.

Free bike helmets
Other activities include health, wellness, and safety interactive displays, a car seat and bike helmet clinic, the Child Identification Program (CHIP), fire engines and rescue vehicles, a safety house to teach about safety features in homes, and more.

Free bike helmets will be available for the first 400 children.
The Griffin Hospital Valley Parish Nurse program was established in 1990 and is now one of the largest in the country, with nearly 40 participating churches, more than 125 parish nurses, and 350 additional volunteers who support the nurses and who serve on the health cabinets of the individual churches.
The Boys & Girls Club provides, in a safe environment, programs that inspire, educate, guide, and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.
Griffin Faculty Physicians Primary Care is a multi-specialty medical group affiliated with Griffin Hospital, offering exceptional, personalized care to residents in the Lower Naugatuck Valley and the surrounding communities at conveniently located offices in Derby, Oxford, Southbury, Seymour and Shelton.
For information about the fair, call 203-732-1137 or 203-732-7584.
This post is taken from a press release from Griffin Hospital.

TV star to headline Griffin Gala in New Haven

Ana Gasteyer / Photo by Andrew Parsons
DERBY - Ana Gasteyer, star of ABC’s hit series Suburgatory and former Saturday Night Live star, will headline the 2013 Griffin Hospital Gala “Something Wicked Funny This Way Comes” Sept. 20 at the Shubert Theater in New Haven.
Famous for her impersonations of Martha Stewart, Barbara Streisand and an NPR co-host, Gasteyer’s performance will feature the musical talents that earned her roles in Wicked and The Rocky Horror Show.
In addition to musical entertainment, the Griffin Gala offers a unique, optional ‘dining experience’ at several restaurants in the New Haven theater district. 
Dinner guests ($175 ticket) will gather at the Shubert Theater at 5 p.m. for a networking cocktail reception before being escorted to their chosen restaurant. 
Guests not attending dinner ($85 ticket) will gather at 7 p.m. to begin their evening with a cocktail reception.
Proceeds will benefit essential programs and services for the Griffin Hospital community, ensuring patients have access to state-of-the-art care in a healing, patient-centered, Planetree environment.

For information on tickets or sponsorship opportunities call 203-732-7504 or visit

This is a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Saturday will be busy at Seymour church

Lobster dinners, contemporary worship planned

SEYMOUR - Great Hill United Methodist Church invites the community to a Contemporary Worship Service on Saturday.

Drumming Circle is at 3:30 pm, followed by worship at 4 p.m. Bring your percussion instruments:  drums, rhythm sticks, tambourines,
maracas, etc.
Feel the spirit as we join our hands and hearts in rhythm together.  Let’s explore how we can reconnect with God’s rhythm.
This is a “Come As You Are, Come Where You Are” Service.

Lobster bake
Lobster lovers: why not invite your friends, family, and neighbors to your home for a fantastic Lobster Bake and let the Great Hill United Methodist Church do all the cooking?
The 5th Annual Lobster “Take- Out” Dinner will be held Saturday. Plan to pick up your reserved dinners between 4 - 7 p.m. at the church.
Menu will include a 1-1/4 lb. steamed lobster, baked potato, ear of corn, cole slaw, and large homemade cookies.
All this will be packaged and ready for pick up for $20.
Reservations are required for this “take-out only” dinner.
For information call the church, 203-888-9425 or Ken Shaw, 203-415-7093.
The church is at 225 Great Hill Road.

This is taken from a press release.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Couple ties knot at Bishop Wicke rehab facility in Shelton

Mother of bride, community share in ceremony
Bishop Wicke resident Barbara Charles poses with her daughter, “Barbie” after the ceremony.

SHELTON -  On Aug. 10, with the sun shining brightly over the beautiful pond and gardens of Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center, wedding bells were ringing.

Bishop Wicke resident Barbara Charles was beaming with joy as she witnessed the marriage of her daughter and her new husband in the company of family and friends. 
The entire community of Bishop Wicke played a part in the special day with the Rev. Jim Stinson, Director of Spiritual Life, performing the ceremony.
Volunteer and friend of the family, Nick Grasso, provided accompaniment on the accordion. 

A wedding cake was created by Bishop Wicke chefs and served to all the guests, along with a sparkling cider toast for the occasion.
The couple shared in a cake-cutting ceremony before heading off to their reception, which Charles also attended, transported by Bishop Wicke drivers, Ron Linebarger and Jordan Cohen, in the community’s wheelchair-accessible van.

After spending many memorable weekends visiting her mom at Bishop Wicke and getting to know the staff and residents who care for her, Charles’ daughter, “Barbie,” and her husband, Ralph Meliso, chose to celebrate and share their special day at the community their mom has called home for the last two years. 
The community of Bishop Wicke was thrilled and honored to be part of Charles' and her family’s  special day.
To find out more about how caring relationships make a difference at Bishop Wicke,  contact Debra Samorajczyk, 203-225-2748 or visit
Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center is part of the Wesley Village campus, owned and operated by United Methodist Homes, a faith-based, not-for-profit organization in Shelton.

This post is taken from a press release from United Methodist Homes.

Salvation Army gives out school supplies at Fun Fest in Ansonia

Inflatable basketball hoops stand ready Sunday morning for the kids to arrive.

ANSONIA - As members of the Advisory Board for the Greater Valley Salvation Army, my husband Ralph and I attended Sunday afternoon's Back-to-School Fun Fest at the Salvation Army HQ. It was a wonderful event for some of the needy families in the Valley.

Salvation Army Major Theresa Burkholder, who has been working in Ansonia for five years, has been reassigned to Providence. Staff and volunteers will soon welcome Lieutenants Anthony and Stephanie Rivera and their son, Ethan.
The line started to grow as it got closer to 1 p.m. Two Griffin Hospital Valley Parish Nurses, Cary Carpino and Maggie Sessa, arrived with the hospital's mobile Resource Center to do their community outreach work.

Seventh grader Jontea Hargrove, 12, of Ansonia, is 'wearing' three backpacks she had picked up for herself and siblings. Her sister, Anjahane McFadden, 2, was along for the fun.

This little guy was learning how to bounce a basketball.

He didn't quite seem to get the hang of the hula hoop.

This girl braved the dunk tank. Here she is on her way into the water.

The line to take a turn was long but the kids didn't seem to mind the wait.

It's safe to say everyone who attended the fun fest had a good time. There was also a bounce house, which was a big draw for the little ones.

Hot dogs, chips, cupcakes, and lemonade were available for all, as were school supplies for those who had pre-registered. There were some extra ones given out to those parents who could produce proper identification.
Inside the sanctuary, backpacks filled with supplies and categorized for children going into K-Grade 5, middle school Grades 6-8 and high school.

And more!

Deflated hoops game symbolizes the party is over.

Plaudits go out to all those who organized the event to make back-to-school a positive experience for needy children.

And I wish Major Theresa all the best in her new position.

Chess club, book talk slated for teens at Derby library

DERBY - The Derby Public Library Teen Chess Club invites all young adults ages 12 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 defensive/offensive strategies.
Julio Maldonado provides superb expertise from a life-long love for the game. Registration is requested.

Book talk
DERBY - The Library hosts the YA Book Talk for patrons ages 12 to 17 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 10.
Participants gather to chat about titles each have recently read. This venue will focus on sharing reviews and opinions on a variety titles, as well as a means to decide upon future reading. 
For more information about either activity, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482 or visit

This is a press release from Derby Public Library.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

TEAM in Derby offers heating bill assistance

DERBY - Families and individuals needing financial help to off-set their winter heating bills, now is the time to apply to TEAM for assistance. 
Households may qualify for assistance if they fall below these income levels: $32,190 for a household of one, $42,094 for a household of two, $51,999 for a three-person household and $61,904 for a four-person household.
“We know there are individuals and families who may not be aware of the heating assistance program,” said Ellen McAuliffe, TEAM Manager of Energy Assistance.
“We want to help those vulnerable families who financially struggle in this economy, to get through the upcoming winter months.”

Direct payments 
Applicants are eligible based on review of their total gross household income, such as job earnings, unemployment compensation, Social Security, pension, etc.; household size; and liquid assets, as shown through bank statements.
If an applicant is approved for assistance, TEAM will make direct payments to their home heating provider.
Both homeowners and renters who are residents of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Milford, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, and Woodbridge may apply for energy assistance from TEAM.
To schedule an appointment with TEAM Energy Assistance, call 203-736-5420 ext. 3 (phone line opened in August) or in Milford, 203-783-3253 (phone line starts 9/16); Woodbridge, 203-389-3429 (phone line starts 9/9);  and Orange, 203 891-4787 (phone line starts 10/1).

This is a press release from TEAM.

Career coach to return to Derby Public Library

DERBY - The CT Works Career Coach returns to the Derby Public Library from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 13.

During both the morning session, 10 a.m.-noon, and the afternoon session, 1-3 p.m., instructors will be offering  Using Social Networking in Your Job Search.
This workshop will explain very useful tools that job seekers need today. Social Networking has become one of the most popular ways of landing your next “big” job by creating useful connections online.  
           These connections make it easier to look for a job on-line through your created network.  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
           For information, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482 or visit

Annual vigil offers comfort to families of missing persons

NAUGATUCK >> Family and friends of missing persons can set up displays about their loved ones this year at the annual vigil "A Night of Hope," planned to mark the state's Missing Persons Day.
The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 25 on the Green on Church Street in Naugatuck. If it rains, the event will move indoors to the Naugatuck Town Hall, 229 Church St.
"Every year we try to bring together families of missing loved ones, and the public is always welcome," said Janice Smolinski of Cheshire. "It will be a night of peace, hope, support and learning."
The event, sponsored by the Smolinski family and the LostNMissing Inc. organization, is free and open to all.
Smolinski's son, William Smolinski Jr. of Waterbury, disappeared Aug. 24, 2004, at the age of 31. Police have said they believe he was the victim of foul play.
The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception's Ladies Guild in Waterbury has offered to make hand-made prayer blankets for a few families who are in need of prayer and peace, Janice Smolinski said. These will be presented at the event.
Janet Frisco of New Haven, whose daughter Evelyn Frisco disappeared in June 2004, said she goes to the event every year. Police have said Evelyn Frisco, who was 42 when she vanished, is presumed dead.
"They have my daughter's pictures and photos of others who are missing" at the event, Janet Frisco said. "It makes you feel better to go to the vigil because there are others in the same situation."
Space will be available for families to set up displays to bring awareness about their missing loved one. There will also be singing and refreshments.
"Butterflies will be released, as legend says they bring wishes to heaven," Smolinski said.
Sgt. James Thomas, who heads the state police's Missing Persons Unit, has been invited to speak about the unit's work and progress in solving missing persons cases.
State Rep. David Labriola, R-Oxford, said the event typically attracts more than 100 participants.

Gentile named to environmental committee

     State Rep. Linda M. Gentile, D-Ansonia, has been appointed by Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, to serve on the National Council of State Legislature’s Environment Committee.

State Rep. Linda M. Gentile
     The NCSL Environment Committee is one of 12 standing committees of the National Conference of State Legislatures responsible for state and federal natural resources legislation, regulations and policies. 
      Its goal is to educate Congress and federal agencies as to state concerns regarding these issues and serve as a forum for legislators and legislative staff to learn about and share information about options being considered in other states. 
       The NCSL uses these policies as guides to advocate at the national level.

    “Few issues are as important to me as the environment,” Gentile said.  “As the House chair of Connecticut’s Environment Committee, I look forward a continued exchange of ideas and bringing them back to the state.”

     The National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization that serves legislators and staffs of all states, commonwealths and territories.
     NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and advocate for the interests of states in the American federal system.

     “Rep. Gentile’s state legislative experience, particularly as House Chair of our Environment Committee, will allow her to represent Connecticut well as she undertakes this exciting challenge,” Sharkey said. 
      “Linda’s work on this committee will not only strengthen the effectiveness of NCSL, but also protect Connecticut's environmental interests at the national level.”

This is a press release from Gentile's office.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ansonia native discusses film about hometown

John Denton, who lives in San Francisco, is gearing up to shoot a feature-length film, 'Ansonia,' next June.

I had the opportunity to meet filmmaker John Denton, 24, Wednesday when he was back in the Valley for a visit.

Denton is an interesting and intense young man who is dedicated to his craft. He is getting ready to direct a feature film, "Ansonia," about a young man who returns to his hometown after suffering a mental breakdown.

Denton, a 2007 graduate of Ansonia High School, said "Ansonia" is a coming of age film. "It's my passion project," he said. "I can't imagine doing anything else."

Denton has already cast the main characters in San Francisco, but he will be looking for extras in the Valley.
Filming will take place on Wakelee Avenue in Ansonia, where his parents live. Denton also has several restaurants and locations in mind for filming scenes.

"Ansonia has been good to me," Denton said. "I want to do the Valley justice."

I wish him all the best in his project. Stay tuned for updates.

Crisco: New law allows firefighters' fundraisers on state roads

Creates special event permits 
HARTFORD - State Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr., D-Woodbridge,  joined Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in his Capitol office last Friday for the ceremonial signing of Public Act 13-93, “An Act Authorizing Firefighters to Conduct Charitable Fundraising Boot Drives on State Highways.” 

The law will allow special event permits for “boot drives” held by firefighters statewide.

Charitable “fill-the-boot” events have been held regularly for years by fire departments to raise much-needed, supplemental funds. Recently, local law enforcement agencies and the state Department of Transportation raised safety concerns about the events. 
In Derby, firefighters were ordered to end a fundraiser because it took place on a state road.

“When requested, these permits will allow firefighters to lawfully hold their fundraisers in locations where traffic controls are already in place and the speed limit is reasonably low,”  Crisco said. “This law is a commonsense solution that allows our firefighters to continue to raise essential funds to purchase equipment or provide monetary assistance to fire victims, while adhering to safety protocol so as to ensure that no firefighter or passerby is put in harm’s way.”

The new law limits the allowable locations for these boot drives to intersections where there is a stop sign or traffic light, and where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour or less.

Firefighters from Derby joined Crisco at the bill signing, and were thrilled that these special event permits will allow them to continue their fundraising efforts.

The Derby Fire Department had conducted Boot Drives for nearly three decades along Route 34 without incident. 
It was only in 2010 that they were notified by the state Department of Transportation of a prohibition on boot drives along state highways.
The special event permits created under this new law will remedy this problem by exempting certain fundraisers such as these from the prohibition.

This is a press release from Crisco's office.

Paint & Sip Event in Seymour