Monday, September 30, 2013

Harvest House V nets bounty for needy Valley families

(Peter Casolino — New Haven Register) Jack Walsh, President of the Valley United Way thanks the volunteers as they prepare to take a photo at the Harvest House V on the Riverwalk in Shelton. The items will go to Valley nonprofits that feed the needy.

SHELTON >> Non-profit organizations that feed the Valley’s needy Monday reaped the benefits from the Valley United Way’s Harvest House V.
Donated food in a 400-square-foot structure alongside the Shelton Riverwalk was distributed to several agencies.
Carpentry students from Emmett O’Brien Technical High School in Ansonia built the house inside the year-old Derby-Shelton Rotary Club Pavilion.
The pavilion was dedicated in September 2012. Harvest House is a biannual event, and the pavilion was not there at the Harvest House IV in 2011.
Valley United Way President Jack Walsh said the structure was completed much more quickly than in the past. “The pavilion made a big difference,” he said. “Everything seemed to go much faster.”
Walsh and Pat Tarasovic, Valley United Way Corporate Volunteer Council director, both thanked Prudential for its support. Prudential was the marquee sponsor for the event.
Tarasovic said constructing Harvest House “is part of our Week of Caring for the Corporate Volunteer Council.”
She said this year saw the most food ever collected. “Hundreds of people came out here Saturday” to help, she said. “It’s very important to CVC to make a difference in the Valley community.”
Walsh said “hundreds and hundreds” of photos and videos were taken of construction and during the weekend festival. Volunteers were treated to live music, magic, a pancake breakfast, and more.
He said the photos are posted on the Valley United Way’s web site and Facebook page.
Students from Emmett O’Brien will return Tuesday to take down the house. Walsh said a cookout will be held to thank them for their work.
One of the organizations benefitting from Harvest House V is the Parent-Child Resource Center. “This is wonderful,” said CEO Michael Wynne said as he took boxes of pasta off the shelves.
PCRC parent educator Patricia Colon was helping Wynne get the food. It was the first time she had been to Harvest House.
“It’s so amazing to see how everybody comes together for the Valley community,” she said. “It’s great to see the outpouring of help.”
Liz Holcomb, director of operations at ACT/Spooner House in Shelton, expressed gratitude for the food. “We‘re so fortunate.” She said Spooner House serves 8,000 to 11,000 meals a month.
“I would encourage people to give to their local United Way,” Holcomb said. “You’re feeding strangers.”
Later Monday a flurry of activity was visible at St. Vincent De Paul Helping Hands of the Valley in Derby as volunteers stocked food bank shelves.
Manager Cindy Barbian also expressed gratitude. “We got a lot more this year,” she said. “Harvest House is a blessing. The community really came together this time.”
Barbian said the phone has been ringing off the hook, with people seeking food assistance. “We’ve been packing groceries for six families a day, five days a week,” she said. “It’s hard when they come in and we have nothing to give them.”
Barbian said the need is never-ending, and she and director Sandi Bailie soon will be packing bags of food for clients for Thanksgiving.
 (Peter Casolino — New Haven Register) Mike Wynne and Patricia Colon collect items that will be brought back to the Parent Child Resource Center (in Derby) at the Harvest House V on the Riverwalk in Shelton. 

While there this morning I took a few photos as well:

I was impressed with the neatly stacked shelves.

 The morning was picture perfect. Pumpkins are photogenic, aren't they?

The Valley United Way offered plenty to do at the celebration over the weekend.

Congratulations go out to the Valley United Way and to all who contributed to the success of this worthwhile event!

Crisco: New laws to improve highway, consumer safety

HARTFORD – State Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. , D-Woodbridge, today said that among the many new laws set to become effective tomorrow, a handful stand out for their potential to improve safety on Connecticut’s roads – for both drivers and highway workers – and for consumers of two current, popular trends.

All told, dozens of state laws have an Oct. 1 effective date, but the measures to further restrict distracted driving, safeguard highway workers, and protect customers of tattoo parlors and indoor tanning facilities demonstrate the legislature’s responsiveness to these pressing issues, Crisco said.

“One new law fortifies consequences for driving while talking on a cell phone, texting, or engaged in other forms of distracted driving, increasing fines for first, second, and third offenses in an effort to protect all those on Connecticut roads,” Crisco said. 
“Likewise, another new law strengthens penalties for violations within designated highway work zones in a concerted effort to protect those who are making repairs and improvements to our roads.”

Crisco said the new sequence of fines to be paid for distracted driving are $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense, and $500 for each additional violation.

“In terms of consumer safety, we now have a state statute requiring state licensing and annual, local inspections of tattoo parlors to ensure safe and sanitary conditions therein,” Crisco said. “Body art seems to be very popular, particularly among young people in our state, and the legislature wants to protect them from inattentive tattoo artists.”

“Similarly, a new state statute prohibits indoor tanning facilities from accepting anyone under 17 from using a tanning bed again, to protect consumers from unnecessary risk,” Crisco added. “Some of these new tanning beds can alter a person’s skin tone in as little as 10 minutes, so we simply want customers and users of these strong machines to be at least 17 years old before doing so.”

Police union to collect food at Shelton Day

SHELTON - The Shelton Police Union will be holding a food drive on Sunday during Shelton Day. 
Non-perishable foods and cash donations will be accepted and will benefit the Shelton High School food bank.
 The Shelton High School food bank was started to help provide assistance to families with children who attend any school within the Shelton school system.
 Every day more and more of our residents, through no fault of their own, are finding it increasingly difficult to provide for their families. It is understood that everyone is feeling the impact of the current state of the economy, but it is important to help our neighbors in need.
 Since the food bank focuses on children, please keep “kid-friendly” items in mind. Items such as peanut butter, jelly, pancake mix, syrup, macaroni and cheese, hot chocolate mix, canned vegetables and fruit, and tuna will help build up the food bank before the upcoming holidays. Please be sure to check expiration dates on the donated items.
 Non-food items are also needed. These items include, but are not limited to, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, and deodorant. Also liquid dish detergent, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil will be accepted. 
Cash donations collected will be used to purchase grocery gift cards.
For more information contact Officer Mary Beth White at the Shelton Police Department, 203-924-1544 ext. 416. 

This is a press release from the Shelton Police Department.

Orienteering class planned at Ansonia Nature Center

ANSONIA - An orienteering program will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 14, Columbus Day holiday, at the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Road.

On this day off from school, participants will be able learn to use a compass and a map to find their way around the park.

Tuition is $3 per person.
Bring your own compass or buy one in the nature store. Presenter is Ranger Wendy.
Calling all Scouts and their leaders to take advantage of this program.
The class is to all but children must be at least six years old.

This information is taken from the nature center's website.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Talks at Griffin in Derby to focus on diabetes, healthy eating

DERBY - The Diabetes Education & Support Group at Griffin Hospital will host two free presentations about eating healthy Oct. 8 at the hospital, 130 Division St.

Mary Swansiger will discuss “Diabetes and Healthy Eating” at 2:30 p.m. in Griffin Hospital’s Dining Room 1 and at 6:30 p.m. in Dining Room 2.
Topics covered in these presentations will include the relationship between glucose and food; feelings about food and eating; the nutrients that make up food; how the amount of food you eat and when you eat can affect your blood glucose; meal planning and other strategies for healthy eating; and the importance of having a plan for eating and engaging your 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 Mary Swansiger, 203-732-1137.

This is a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Ansonia agency gets $20K grant for domestic violence services

ANSONIA - In advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, The Mary Kay FoundationSM has awarded $3 million in grants to 150 domestic violence shelters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

BHcare’s The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services received one of the $20,000 unrestricted grants to maintain critical services and programs for individuals who are survivors of domestic abuse.

UCDVS provides free, confidential services to more than 9,000 victims of domestic violence and their children each year.
The funds received from The Mary Kay Foundation will help UCDVS provide crisis services including shelter for women and children, a 24-hour crisis hotline, and in-person counseling for victims of domestic violence and their children.  

“Mary Kay is an incredible organization that is committed to supporting victims of domestic violence,” said Susan DeLeon, director of UCDVS.
“Their financial contribution is helping us at a critical time as client numbers have doubled in the last six months, and we’ve had an overwhelming increase in intakes for sheltering.  We are very appreciative of the support of The Mary Kay Foundation and look forward to working in partnership with them to continue making a difference in the lives of survivors and their children.”  

For nearly 20 years The Mary Kay FoundationSM has supported the prevention and elimination of domestic violence, an epidemic that touches one in every four women in her lifetime. Through the Foundation’s annual shelter grant program, $34 million has been granted to domestic violence organizations since 2000.

“The Mary Kay FoundationSM is proud to support local shelters that are on the front lines of helping the thousands of women and children who seek shelter and support from abuse,” said Anne Crews, Vice President of Government Relations for Mary Kay Inc. and board member for The Mary Kay FoundationSM.
“The shelter grants are a signature program for The Mary Kay Foundation and represent just one of the ways we are committed to breaking the cycle of domestic violence.”

Vvisit for additional information.

UCDVS is a program of BHcare that provides services for victims and children of domestic violence free of charge. Each year, over 9,000 abused women and their children walk through the door of UCDVS looking for shelter, help and hope. Learn more at
To learn more about The Mary Kay FoundationSM, visit or call 1-877-MKCARES (652-2737).

This is a press release from BHcare.

Shelton facility honors centenarians

Pictured from left, John Tiernan (who will turn 100 in October), Anny May Finnucan (who will turn 100 in November), Ella Bradbury, 105, and George "Bush" Clark, 102. / Contributed photo

SHELTON - What’s the secret to living to 100? 
The residents of Crosby Commons Assisted Living Community here have lots to say about longevity, especially with the celebration of National Centenarian’s Day.
On Monday, staff and residents at Crosby Commons were thrilled to honor four centenarians in celebration of this special day, created to recognize and honor seniors 100 years or older.
George “Bush” Clark, who turned 102 this past July and Ella Bradbury, who celebrated her 105th birthday in April, were two of the distinguished residents acknowledged and celebrated for their many years.
Also honored were two residents who will be celebrating 100 years this fall; John Tiernan in October and Anny May Finnucan in November. The ladies were presented with flowers, while the men received a large box of gourmet chocolates.
A reception with cookies and coffee followed the ceremony.

When asked the secret to their longevity, the centenarians had lots of good advice: “Don’t smoke, eat your vegetables, volunteer and attend activities at Crosby Commons, and maintain a positive attitude!”
The residents also expressed that having a positive attitude helped them live through difficult times, including the Great Depression and the Hurricane of 1938. While many people can’t imagine living 100 years, Crosby Commons is proud to honor their centenarians as role models for the future of aging.
To all of the centenarians (and future centenarians!) living life with a positive attitude: thank you for continuing to educate and inspire us!

Crosby Commons Assisted Living Community is proud to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of aging seniors and is owned and operated by United Methodist Homes, a local, faith-based not-for-profit organization based in Shelton.
For information about Crosby Commons, contact Lois, 203- 225-5000 or visit www.

This is a press release from United Methodist Homes.

Breast reconstruction topic of support group meeting in Derby

DERBY - Circle of Friends, a breast cancer support group at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital, invites the community to an open house and discussion on innovative breast reconstruction and enhancement techniques at 6 p.m. Oct. 10 at The Center for Cancer Care, 350 Seymour Ave.

Griffin Hospital Plastic Surgery Section Chief John F. Reilly and Assistant Plastic Surgery Section Chief Mark M. Melendez, will talk about the advances in breast reconstruction, including the Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator flap surgery, in which excess skin and fat along the lower portion of the abdomen is used to create a new ‘natural’ breast after mastectomy or for breast augmentation.
The open house will also mark the support group’s Fifth Annual Birthday Celebration, in which members celebrate the birthdays of all breast cancer survivors.

Visit, or call Donna Hayes, 203-732-1408 or Tori Kochiss, 203-732-1300 to reserve a spot or for more information.
This is a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Seymour war hero to have memorial dedicated

SEYMOUR - A permanent memorial will be dedicated to John Thomas DeBarber at a service at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at St. Augustine's Cemetery.

DeBarber was the first casualty from Seymour during the Vietnam War. He was killed in action on Oct. 17, 1966.
This memorial service, with full military honors, will take place at the family plot in St. Augustine’s Cemetery on Cedar Street.
A town wide reception will follow at the Seymour Community Center, 20 Pine St.

This is a press release from Michael Kearney, Commander, Emil Senger Post 10, American Legion, Seymour. 

Ansonia gets $70K for generator at police station

ANSONIA - Mayor James Della Volpe announced today he has received notification of an award to the City of Ansonia for a $70,000 grant from the Hazardous Mitigation Grant Program, through FEMA, for a new generator at the police station.

“During Hurricane Sandy, the current police generator was insufficient in meeting all the needs of the Emergency Operation Center and our disaster communications had been compromised,”
Della Volpe said.

This location had lost power for about 24 hours and the Army, through the Department of Emergency Management Homeland Security, transported a generator unit to temporarily address our needs.”
The mayor also commended the city’s grant writer, Eileen Krugel, for her diligent efforts in securing the grant funds.

The goal of the HMGP is to “reduce the risk of damage for future natural disasters” according to grant documentation.
The federal match for the $70,000 is 75 percent; with the city’s share of 25 percent.

Police Chief Kevin Hale commented that “this is very good news and relieves a huge concern that we have at this building. This generator not only backs up the police department, but also the EOC. This center over the past four storms has served as the nerve center for city services and as such, has to operate fully.”

Della Volpe also noted that the City of Ansonia is disappointed that it did not get funded in the first round of the State of Connecticut’s School Security grants. He is hopeful that the submitted grant application will be funded in subsequent rounds.
This was a collaborative effort between the Board of Education, the Ansonia Police Department and City Hall personnel.

Both the generator and school security funds are included in the November bond referendum. Della Volpe said that in securing these grant funds, it would reduce the amount of money to be expended for the bond if the referendum questions pass on Election Day.

This is a press release from Mayor Della Volpe's office.

Ansonia police chief asks state police to investigate town’s handling of evidence

Posted: |
ANSONIA >> Police Chief Kevin J. Hale has asked the state police to investigate the Police Department’s handling of evidence.

“We are also conducting an Internal Affairs Investigation regarding the personnel involved in this matter to determine whether any department rules, regulations, policies or procedures were violated,” Hale said in a written release late Thursday afternoon.
Lt. J. Paul Vance, state police spokesman, confirmed the department was contacted concerning the “possible misappropriation of mishandling of evidence.”
The case was assigned to a major crimes squad, Vance said.
Hale’s three-sentence release from department spokesman Lt. Andrew L. Cota, said he asked state police to conduct “an independent criminal investigation into irregularities that the Ansonia Police Department has discovered in the processing of evidence within the Ansonia Police Department.”
Hale’s press release said no further comments would be made.

Follow Phyllis on Twitter: @pswebilius.

Election year politics?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Council to host Medicare presentation in Derby

DERBY - The Valley Senior Council, Education Committee will host a free “Welcome to Medicare” presentation at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Griffin Hospital, 130 Division St.
Led by Tom Davis, Information Counselor from the Area on Aging of South Central Connecticut, attendees will learn all the different parts of Medicare in an unbiased way and without being sold anything. 
The discussion will include Medicare parts A and B, Medigap Policies, Medicare part D, Medicare Advantage plans, and programs that may help pay your Medicare costs.
Individuals who are Medicare eligible are encouraged to attend as well as healthcare professionals who provide support and assistance to older adults.
A light supper will be provided on behalf of the Senior Meal Choice Program, a collaborative nutrition program initiative coordinated and funded by TEAM, Inc. and Griffin Hospital.
To register, call Diane Betkoski at 203-732-7434.

This is a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Seymour cyclist 'fair' after accident in Ansonia

ANSONIA - A Seymour man was listed in fair condition Wednesday at Yale-New Haven Hospital where he is recovering from injuries he received Sept. 19 in a bicycle accident.

George Correa, 34, of Colony Road, Seymour, was injured after he reportedly crashed into a stonewall on Colony Street.
Last week police spokesman Lt. Andrew Cota said, “Upon officers’ arrival they found a male lying along the side of the road against a stonewall on Colony Street near the Seymour town line. The male appeared to have serious head injuries and was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital.”

The incident is still under investigation. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Ansonia Police Department, 203-735-1885.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Arts council readies Thursday opening at Derby restaurant

Marco Pizzeria & Restaurant in Derby has joined with the Valley Arts Council to host 'Delicious!' a food-inspired art exhibit.
The opening reception - featuring pizza - will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday. The event is free and open to the public.

About 40 works will be on display, from paintings to photography and sculpture.

The restaurant is tucked into the far corner of the Walmart Plaza, 656 New Haven Ave.

Derby Neck launches game club, slates October programs

DERBY - Derby Neck Library, 307 Hawthorne Ave, will begin a new club for teens and adults - GO! from 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 1
Come learn the ancient Chinese board game GO!, which predates chess and checkers.
Game pieces and boards will be available at the library, as well as free instruction on rules and strategies.
This club will meet once a month on the first Tuesday.

Health care presentation
At 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 the Library will present a free program, “Medicare Meets Obamacare.” 
An expert from Bankers Life and Casualty & Colonial Penn will give the latest information on this health care program for the elderly-providing details and answering questions about what happens on Jan. 1.
Be prepared for any changes that may affect you.

Movie night
At 6 p.m. Oct. 8 the Library hosts Teen Movie Night.
The feature is “After Earth” starring Jaden Smith and Will Smith, run on Blu-Ray in high definition.  All teens and 'tweens are invited. Free snacks and a pizza supper will be provided.

Music and Movement
At 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9 join Miss Kathi for Bedtime Music and Movement.
Children can wear their pajamas and bring a favorite stuffed animal. The program is filled with singing and dancing and having fun. 

Tech Talks
From 10:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 16 the Library offers Tech Talks, a series of presentations featuring the latest trends and developments in technology.
This month’s topic is maintaining the hardware and software that make up your personal computer.    This series meets on the third Wednesday of each month. Various topics are discussed.

Read to canines
From 6-7 p.m. Oct. 16 the Library will host two therapy dogs, St. Bernards Thor and Cosmo, for B.A.R.K.—Be a Reading Kid.
Register your child for a 15-minute session of reading to these adorable dogs.

Writers' Round
From 6:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 Writers’ Round, a writing workshop for authors of prose, poetry, fiction, scripts, etc., will meet. Come bring your original works to share with other writers.

Women's Forum
From 12:30-1:30 p.m. Oct. 21 Women’s Forum, a discussion group focusing on issues, literature, history, and news relevant to women, will meet.
This month two short stories, "Mixed Doubles” by Irwin Shaw, and “The Biggest Words” by Torgny Lindgren, will be featured.
Copies are available at the front desk. Bring a light lunch; free coffee and tea served.

Registration is required for all of the above. For details and to register call 203-734-1492.

This post is taken from a press release from Pat Sweeney, reference and cataloging librarian, Derby Neck Library.

BHcare to host workshop in Shelton on medical marijuana

SHELTON - BHcare’s Greater Valley Substance Abuse Action Council will present a free workshop on medical marijuana, “Medical Marijuana: How will it affect your workplace and community?” from 8-10 a.m. Oct. 18 at Scinto Tower Auditorium, 3 Corporate Drive.

The workshop will educate businesses and agencies on the new Connecticut law authorizing the medical use of marijuana and its impact.  

Guest speakers include Phillip Adamo, Medical Review Officer for Griffin Hospital Occupational Medicine, Mark D. Soycher, Human Resources Counsel, Connecticut Business and Industry Association and John Daviau, Chair, Connecticut Association of Prevention Practitioners, Medical Marijuana Task Force.

Participants will learn about what employers can do to reduce any risks or additional exposure associated with the new law, and how they might revise their policies to accommodate the new law. 
Participants will also learn about medical marijuana grower and manufacturer moratoriums, and how to implement them in their communities, as well as marijuana trends in the local community among youth, and the impact and concerns for our youth and adults.

Register by Oct. 14 by calling VSAAC, 203-736-8566 or by visiting Space is limited.

VSAAC, a program of BHcare, is a public/private partnership comprised of community leaders and citizens who develop and carry out strategies to reduce alcohol, tobacco, drug use, suicide, risky behaviors, and promote good mental health among youth and, over time, among adults through community education, community mobilization, public awareness, and advocacy in the Lower Naugatuck Valley, Greater New Haven and surrounding communities. 
For more information, visit

BHcare is a regional community provider of behavioral health, addiction prevention, and domestic violence services for the Lower Naugatuck Valley, Greater New Haven and Shoreline communities. For more information, visit

This is a press release from BHcare. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Haven Land Trust to hold benefit

Bus tour, happy hour on tap
NEW HAVEN - The New Haven Land Trust is offering a fun and festive benefit bus tour Oct. 6 to celebrate the beauty and bounty of its community gardens and nature preserves.

Culminating in a party at Westville’s new farm-to-table dining hotspot, this spirited event will support land conservation, community gardening, and environmental education programs.

The event is called Habitat, Harvest, and Happy Hour.

The bus tour departs at 4:30 p.m. from the Stone Hearth restaurant, 838 Whalley Ave., with a party to follow at the restaurant.

The event features a ride in a coach bus with stops at Land Trust community gardens and nature preserves. 

Guests will see hidden New Haven environmental gems -- from marshes and woods at the edges of the city to expansive gardens within urban neighborhoods. A guide at each stop will share the location's story—its history, the people involved and other tidbits that make it special.

Capping off the evening is a cocktail party at Stone Hearth, a new Westville restaurant popular with the sustainable food crowd for its creative preparations of locally-grown food. 

Party-goers will enjoy beer and wine and a variety of fresh seasonal appetizers, including some made with produce from Land Trust gardens. 
To showcase the harvest, Stone Hearth will also have live cooking demonstrations.

The New Haven Land Trust will also honor outdoor outfitters Trailblazer with the Environmental Business Award. 

This award recognizes the locally-owned store's longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the environment, including its support of osprey nesting platforms at the Land Trust’s preserves.

Tickets may be purchased online at for $50 per person, $85 per couple. 

Admission includes the tour, party, and food and drink. Money raised will go directly into Land Trust programs that protect open spaces and fragile ecosystems, offer educational events on environmental topics, and make it possible for thousands of people in New Haven to reap the benefits of community gardening. They include access to affordable, nutrient-rich food, connecting with neighbors, increased safety, and physical activity.

Habitat, Harvest, and Happy Hour is made possible by supporting sponsors The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Trailblazer, and event sponsors Grillo Services, NewAlliance Foundation, Suzio-York Hill, United Way of Greater New Haven, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and Yale University.

For information, contact Catherine Bradshaw at

This post is taken from a press release from New Haven Land Trust. 

Seymour Rec plans basketball registration, tryouts

SEYMOUR - Youth basketball league registration will be held 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 15 and 17 at the Seymour Recreation Department offices in the Community Center, 20 Pine St.

This league is for Seymour youths only who are currently in grades Kindergarten through Grade 8.
Program generally runs from mid-November to mid-March.
Rates and start time vary by division. Registration forms are available at the Seymour Recreation Department office, Town Hall, and Seymour Public Library.
They also are distributed through Seymour public schools. You must have the 2013-2014 form to register and no registrations will be accepted after Oct. 25.

Volunteers, coaches, and sponsors are needed.
Call Missy Orosz or Jack Ahearn for information, 203-888-0406.
Boys Travel Teams 
In conjunction with the Seymour Recreation Department tryouts will be held Oct. 19 for two travel teams.
Any Seymour youth interested in trying out must attend.
Those in Grades 5 and 6 will try out from noon-2 p.m. and Grades 7 and 8 will try out from 2-4 p.m. at the Seymour Community Center gym.
Fees are much higher for this program and participants are required to play in two to four games per weekend, plus practices during the week.
To obtain a registration form or for information, contact Joe LaRovera, 203-668-0048.

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

Seymour nonprofit seeks help to provide holiday meals

Connecticut Partnership for Children, Inc., the Valley’s first diaper bank, is running its fourth annual Thanksgiving Food Program.
Last year, this program provided complete Thanksgiving meals to 36 families throughout Connecticut.
This year, CTPFC plans to feed 50-100 families, but we need your help! 
The Partnership received a grant from Stop & Shop for $1,000, as well as several in-kind donations, including Great Expectations Day Care and Learning Center in Southbury, and the Walnut Hill Community Church Valley Campus in Seymour. 
CTPFC has estimated that it will cost approximately $25 to feed a family of four to five people.
We are asking for monetary donations from individuals and businesses, sponsorship of a family (providing non-perishable food items), and that that your group or business hosts a food drive. 

CTPFC Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donation may be tax deductible.
For more information, or to sign up as a donor/sponsor, contact Nicole at or at 203-881-1804.

This is a press release from Meghan Tarby, founder and executive director, CT Partnership for Children.

Friends of Library in Seymour to host meet and greet

Update: This event has been postponed to Oct. 22.

SEYMOUR - The Friends of the Seymour Public Library will sponsor a "Meet and Greet"   from 1-3 p.m. Oct. 15 at Seymour Public Library, 46 Church St. 

Coffee, tea, and pastries will be offered along with the opportunity to meet members of the Friends and learn more about their purpose.  Members of the Friends' monthly Book Club will also be meeting. 

Beginning at 1:30 p.m., there will be a Book Club discussion on The Aviator's Wife for all those interested. Book Club participants meet the third Tuesday of each month and select a variety of books to discuss based on the opinions of everyone in the group.  Guests are more than welcome to sit in on Tuesday's discussion to discover if they may enjoy participating in the future. 

Whatever your interests the Friends of the Seymour Public Library would like to meet you on Oct. 15.  

This is a press release from Gerry Eckhardt, vice president, Friends of the Seymour Public Library.

Ansonia Library to host spirited event

ANSONIA - A paranormal evening will be held Oct. 29 at the Ansonia Library, starting at 5:45 p.m.
The program will be presented by CT Spirit Investigators

Group members will discuss their experiences with paranormal activity and discuss local paranormal cases. 
Rose Porto, lead investigator and founder of CT Spirit Investigators, will also discuss her book, Mingling with Spirits.  
Copies of her book will be available for purchase.

For information call Joyce Ceccarelli or Mary Ann Capone, 203-734-6728.

The library is at 53 S. Cliff St.

 This post is taken from a press release from Joyce Ceccarelli, Director, Ansonia Library.

Harvest House V in Shelton to help feed Valley needy

SHELTON - Harvest House will be built Saturday and Sunday at the Riverwalk, 100 Canal St.

Valley United Way’s Harvest House is a biannual festival during which a 400-square-foot house is constructed out of shelves and filled with more than 100,000 nonperishable food items.
The food that is collected is distributed to food banks serving Ansonia, Derby, Seymour, Shelton, and Oxford.

This year marks its fifth year and as a result of the past four Harvest Houses, over a million meals have been provided to Valley families in need.
Harvest House is compared to a classic barn raising in that it utilizes the collective action of the community for the common good.
Families in need, in turn, are able to thrive rather than go hungry.
This is a festival where people can do something good for the community and have fun at the same time.

Activities for all ages
This year’s Harvest House will feature even more events than before.
There are lots of great activities for all such as a visit from animal friends from the Beardsley Zoo, face painting, arts and crafts, a comedy magic show, touch a truck, moon bounce, hula hoops, karate, dance, fitness and acting performances, Cub Scout Olympics, and live music.
A “CAN”tastic Construction Competition will be held where teams can enter structures built out of non-perishable food items.

The Girl Scouts, Liquid Lunch, and the Shelton and Valley volunteer fire departments and ambulance corps will be serving a Hot Diggity Dog and Harvest Soup Supper as well as a Pancake Breakfast. Learn more about Harvest House at

This is taken from a press release from Valley United Way. 

BEST program starts at Shelton school

Businesses urged to support early childhood education

SHELTON - The Susanna Wesley School in Shelton has six new smiling faces for the start of their school year, thanks to a new program, Connecticut BEST Businesses Enriching Scholars Together.  

Established by Shelton farmer Terry Jones, and Roberta Cenci, Director of Susanna Wesley School, BEST seeks to create opportunities for the private sector to help children from families whose socioeconomic situation impacts their ability to acquire a quality early childhood education for their sons and/or daughters.

Jones said, “A few years ago, we at Jones Family Farms were asked to adopt a street in Shelton – to be responsible for cleaning up roadside trash, etc.  It struck me that if we could adopt a street and make an impact, maybe we could get the business community in general to “adopt” kids in need of a better start in education - to reach out to children who might not otherwise be able to attend preschool. 
"I started thinking about it, and came up with the idea of businesses providing scholarships to a local preschool.  We’ve had a long standing relationship with Susanna Wesley School here in Shelton, and after contacting them, their Board was willing to partner with us to help move this pilot project forward. 
"We’ve also developed great partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club and TEAM to help identify children to participate in this program, as well as the Valley Chamber of Commerce to help get the message out to the business community.”

To get the BEST Program up and running, the Jones Family Farms has established the BEST Fund at the Valley Community Foundation in Derby.
This donor advised build-a-fund has been endowed at $10,000, and will help provide initial working capital for students to participate in the program. 
“We are delighted that Terry and the Jones Family have chosen VCF to partner with them on this exciting endeavor,” said VCF President and CEO Sharon Closius. 
“VCF is committed to helping children and families throughout the Valley, and this is an excellent opportunity to expand our relationship with one of our existing fund holders to help bring this program to fruition.  We look forward to working with the Jones Family in the coming years to continue to bring even more students into the BEST program.”

“Connecticut BEST is a wonderful program, and we’re delighted to pilot it here at Susanna Wesley,” said Roberta Cenci.  
“When Terry and I first started to discuss this, what struck us was that it was really life changing for these four year old children.  It provides an opportunity for them to have a level playing field as they move forward into Kindergarten, and gives them a positive head-start in their educational career.
"We are hopeful that the Connecticut BEST Program at Susanna Wesley School can serve as a model that can be replicated in other schools throughout Connecticut.  As additional businesses become involved, even more children in the Valley will be able to benefit from this wonderful experience.”

Many eyes are on this unique Valley project and its potential for success.
 “The spirit of businesses joining the BEST pilot program in the Valley will be a great contribution to leadership in our state’s education reform,” said Connecticut State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.
“You are pioneers, innovating to make our “Connecticut Way” the BEST!”  Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also expressed his support for BEST.  
“The BEST program demonstrates the role our business community can play in helping young people – especially those that would otherwise miss out on a preschool experience.  We know that early learning is critical to a young person’s future academic success – BEST encourages early education, and gets the business sector involved in a meaningful way.”

“At the Farm, we spend our time growing trees from seeds,” said Terry Jones. “The most critical time in that growth cycle is when we are nurturing the seedlings. A well nurtured seedling becomes resilient and can be transplanted and able to deal with adversity. There are unquestionable comparisons between seedlings and young children – the greatest return on investments for both to succeed happens early on. It is our responsibility as a society to help them as much as we can to grow and to thrive.”

For information about how to contribute to the BEST Fund at VCF, contact Sharon Closius, VCF President and CEO, at 203-751-9162 or at

This is a press release from the Valley Community Foundation.

Derby Historical Society slates Legends by Lantern tours

DERBY - The Derby Historical Society will host a return of its Legends by Lantern tours on Oct. 18 and 19 on the Derby Greenway.

The presentation will feature “The Revolutionary Robbery of 1780.” 
Tours begin at 6:30 and 8 p.m. 
Please arrive at the partking lot on O'Sullivan's Island 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour. 

Reservations are required; tour sizes are limited.
The cost is $15 for adults; $10 for children ages 8-16.  
Call 203-735-1908 for ticket information or e-mail
The Derby Historical Society is a regional historical society dedicated to preserving, maintaining and celebrating the rich and varied history of the Lower Naugatuck Valley.
Staff offices are located at the Sarah Riggs Humphreys House, 37 Elm St., Ansonia.
For more information, visit


Monday, September 23, 2013

Wheel-A-Thon rolls out awareness, raises funds

To benefit advocacy organization in West Haven
It was a beautiful morning for the Center for Disability Rights' 8th annual Wheel-A-Thon Sunday at Savin Rock in West Haven.

Wheelchairs wait for riders.

West Haven Mayor John Picard, right, addresses the group prior to the start of the event.

Participants listen to remarks before getting ready to roll.
And they're off ...

Able-bodied volunteers try manual wheelchair ambulation. 
Message on sign along route: "Did you know only 10 percent of young adults with learning disabilities make it past the second year in college? Your donations help CDR to help students succeed in college."

Nothing stopped this flower ...  it reminded me of the members and staff at CDR.

I don't know how much was raised to benefit programs for youths with disabilities. CDR executive director Marc Anthony Gallucci said the goal was $20,000; about $16,000 was raised last year.

But just as important as the funds raised by the event is the awareness raised of the challenges faced by those who live with a disability.

Luncheon in Derby to honor Valley women

Seymour church to hold basket bonanza

SEYMOUR - Great Hill United Methodist Church will sponsor its annual Basket
Bonanza Oct. 5. 
           The evening of fun and entertainment will begin with a preview of the baskets from 5-6 p.m.
           During the preview hour, tickets are placed in the cup corresponding with any basket; the baskets are given away starting at 6 p.m. 
           More than 75 special theme baskets and door prizes will be handed out.

         For the admission price of $15, hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and beverages will be served and patrons will receive 25 free basket tickets, a door prize ticket and a grand prize ticket.  
          Children age 10 and under admitted free. Basket themes include movie, travel, spa, handyman, entertaining, sports, kids, baby, pets, hobbies, cooking, seasonal, and many others.
 This year’s Grand Prize Basket will include a wide variety of gift cards with an estimated $500 value.
            The public is invited; reservations are not required. For information call Faith Williams, 203-910-5713.

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

Valley Health to offer flu vaccine clinics

The Naugatuck Valley Health District will offer influenza vaccine clinics to residents of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Naugatuck, Seymour and Shelton during October and November. 
The 2013-2014 trivalent influenza vaccine is made from the following three viruses: an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus; an A(H3N2) virus like the A/Victoria/361/2011 virus; a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus. 
Flu vaccination (the shot or nasal spray) is now recommended for everyone six months of age or older.

Clinics will be held at the following locations: Naugatuck Senior Center, from 9-11 a.m. Oct. 1; Ansonia Senior Center, from 9-10:30 a.m. Oct. 3; Shelton Senior Center, from 9-11 a.m. Oct. 8; Derby Senior Center, from 10:30 a.m.-noon Oct. 10; Seymour Senior Center, from 9-10:30 a.m. Oct. 22; Beacon Falls Senior Center, from 9-10 a.m. Oct. 24; and the Senior Health Fair, Warsaw Park, Ansonia, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 17. 
No appointments are necessary.
 Flu vaccine for adults and children will also be available by appointment during the district’s immunization clinics from 1-3 p.m. Tuesdays during October and November at the district office in Seymour.
The Health District will accept AETNA, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, ConnectiCare, Cigna and Medicare Part B if it is the primary insurance plan. 
Clinic attendees should bring all of their insurance cards to better verify their eligibility for flu vaccine coverage by their insurer. Medicare HMOs, United and Oxford Health Care will not be accepted this year. 
The cost of the flu vaccine for those with other forms of insurance is $20, payable by cash, check, Visa or MasterCard. All clinic attendees should wear loose fitting clothes with short sleeves.
Elderly home-bound persons who reside in district towns and who cannot attend any of the clinics may contact the Naugatuck Valley Health District, 203-881-3255 to make arrangements for a nurse to administer the vaccine at home. Such individuals should have permission from their physicians for the influenza vaccine. 
There are certain days scheduled for each town; call for an appointment.
For more information call 203-881-3255, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
The Naugatuck Valley Health District office is located at 98 Bank St., Seymour. It serves residents of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Naugatuck, Seymour and Shelton.
Updates and additions to the clinic schedule will be posted on 

This is taken from a press release from the Naugatuck Valley Health District.  

New Haven conference to address domestic violence issues

NEW HAVEN >> By all appearances, Leslie Morgan Steiner has everything. She’s a graduate of Harvard and the Wharton School, and she’s had a successful career as a magazine journalist, book author and marketing executive.
And, she’s a mother who carts her kids around in a minivan.
She’s also a survivor of domestic violence. She was married to a man who beat her so severely she feared he would kill her.
“I come off as someone who’s strong and confident,” Morgan Steiner said. “The stereotype of a domestic violence victim is that they have self-esteem problems, they’re weak, impoverished. “I deliver the message obliquely that this” – domestic violence – “is an everyone problem.”
Morgan Steiner is one of three experts on domestic violence set to speak at a conference called “Beyond the Bruises: A Conference on Psychological Abuse and Stalking” set for Sept. 30 in New Haven.
Also speaking will be Mark Wynn, a former police officer and a consultant and trainer on domestic violence and sexual assault issues, and Hema Khan, an attorney for the Stalking Resource Center.
The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services is holding the conference. The Umbrella Center is a program of BHcare, a nonprofit health service provider based in Branford.
BHcare recently tried, unsuccessfully, to open a domestic violence shelter in Milford. Neighbors near the proposed site exposed the address in public, leading the BHcare executive board to vote to abandon the plans. Most shelter addresses are kept confidential to protect the residents.
BHcare spokesperson Emily Granelli said the seminar is about spreading awareness of domestic violence and stalking.
A grim statistic cited on the flier for the conference reports that 12 people died in 2012 in domestic violence situations, and six have died this year, according to statistics from the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Morgan Steiner wrote the book “Crazy Love” about her experience being married to a batterer. Her abuse took place more than two decades ago, but it also took her that long before she could talk about it publicly.
“It took about five years before I could talk about (the abuse), and another 10 years before I could write ‘Crazy Love,’” she said.
She began speaking publicly about domestic violence after the book was published. Her story is an example of how it’s possible to survive an abusive relationship, she said.
“The most important thing I can do is get up there and say, ‘It happened to me, I’m not ashamed, and I made it out,’” she said.
Wynn, a former Nashville, Tenn., police officer, said he’ll talk about the entire sphere of violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, and what kind of law enforcement response those crimes bring.
“Often, we focus on just domestic violence, which is a large component, but when you look at all the crimes committed against women, it’s a big, big problem for the community and law enforcement,” he said. “When we show that most of the crimes in the country are committed against women, you refocus your resources.”
He’ll also talk about empathizing with domestic violence victims and how, for a victim, leaving an abuser is an intense process.
“We’re still dealing with this problem of people focusing more on the victim than the offender,” he said. “The question should be, what are we going to do for her when she decides to leave? When you talk to victims, it’s the process of leaving that’s the most difficult.”
Morgan Steiner had the rare opportunity to walk away from her abuser. One night, when they were both students at Wharton, she experienced “the worst one” of his beatings. After, he simply left their apartment. That was the end of their relationship, but he was never punished for his crimes.

For more information about the conference, visit

Note: BHcare is a behavioral health organization serving the Valley, Greater New Haven, and Shoreline communities.

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