Friday, January 31, 2014

Crisco hails company's expansion in state

HARTFORD - State Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr., D-Woodbridge, today joined Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in announcing that Stamford-based Frontier Communications, which has 15,000 employees nationwide, has chosen Connecticut for the location of its captive insurance subsidiary.

“Frontier will be the state’s fourth licensed captive insurance company since we passed landmark jobs legislation in 2011 to clear the way for the state to license these specialty insurers,” Crisco said.
“This is precisely the sort of business expansion and potential job growth we anticipated when we passed the legislation, and I’m thrilled it is bringing new jobs and business to our state.”

A captive insurance company is wholly owned by a parent company to insure the risks of the parent and its subsidiaries.
The new subsidiary, Frontier Services Corp., is headquartered in Stamford and recently obtained its license from the Connecticut Insurance Department.

“Establishing Frontier Services Corporation in Connecticut demonstrates our commitment to the state, to prospective customers and to our shareholders,” said John M. Jureller, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Frontier.
“By taking advantage of this great opportunity in our home state, we will realize savings that will benefit our stakeholders and contribute to economic growth in Connecticut. Frontier thanks Governor Malloy, the Connecticut Insurance Department, and the Legislature’s Insurance & Real Estate Committee for their support of this important economic sector.”

“Giving employers the tools they need to manage their costs and re-invest in their employees and products is a commitment we have made from day one,” Malloy said. “These specialty insurers are just one example of the steps my Administration has taken to support business, encourage competition and create jobs. We welcome Frontier Communications, a company with deep roots in Connecticut, to this growth sector.”

With operations in 27 states, parent company Frontier Communications Corporation has been headquartered in Connecticut since 1946.
The company is expanding its footprint in Connecticut with the recent announcement that it was acquiring AT&T’s wireline business and statewide fiber network in Connecticut. Frontier is also acquiring AT&T’s U-verse video and satellite TV customers in Connecticut.

This is a press release from Crisco's office.

Comcast waives fees for Shelton fire victims

SHELTON - Today, in response to a request by U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, cable provider Comcast agreed to waive fees on damaged or destroyed cable equipment for their active customers affected by the massive fire that destroyed an apartment building downtown Jan 6. 

Murphy and Blumenthal released the following statement:

"We applaud Comcast for moving quickly to help families displaced by the terrible fire in Shelton. Many of these families lost everything they owned in this awful disaster, and Comcast waiving these fees will now be money saved for other items as these people work to recover from the blaze. 
"We’re glad that we were able to help facilitate this quick resolution so these residents have one less thing to worry about as they take on the daunting task of getting their lives back to normal.
"We’ll continue to work with those affected to offer any other assistance that we can to help."

This is a press release from Murphy's office.

Nonprofit to hold Valentine's Day benefit in Ansonia

To make reservations, contact Jenn at or call 203-446-1068.
All tickets must be purchased no later than Feb. 7.
For more information visit

This is a press release from Treasured Time.

CEO of TEAM to retire after 34 years

DERBY - The Board of Directors of TEAM, Inc. announced that Richard Knoll, Chief Executive Officer and President, will retire from the agency effective Dec. 31, after 34 years of service.
Knoll was hired in 1980 in accounting and human resources for an agency that struggled to improve community relations and program quality.

Prior to TEAM, his accomplishments included municipal administration, grants management, and vocational and educational counseling.
Since becoming CEO in 1991, Knoll championed the work of TEAM throughout the community and surrounding 10-town area.

Under his guidance and leadership, TEAM’s services multiplied; the agency is financially stable, and employs more than 80 professional staff.
TEAM operates from seven locations, serving thousands of individuals and families each year with a wide array of services from infant care and early education to senior independence programs.

Longest-serving president
Knoll said, “Managing TEAM has been a pleasure and a privilege. It has permitted me to meet and know a wide range of talented and dedicated people. I retire knowing that the agency is in excellent condition and professional hands.”

Knoll is the longest-serving president in the agency’s 49-year history.

In addition to his commitment at TEAM, Inc, he is active with Rotary International, and has annually brought over $8,000,000 in federal and state funding to Valley agencies and towns to help those in need. 
Active in the nonprofit sector at both the local and state levels, Knoll also serves on other nonprofit boards dedicated to human services.

Stephane Skibo, Board Chair, commented, “The Board of Directors and I make this announcement with gratitude for all Richard Knoll accomplished at TEAM.  He developed TEAM from an agency with serious deficiencies to one that is a model state-wide and a key partner to all other Valley non-profits.
"We applaud his legacy and know that finding a worthy successor will be our way to honor him and TEAM.”
The Board of Directors established an internal search committee to identify the next leader. 
Knoll will continue to serve as President and CEO to the end of 2014.
He will also assist with the search to ensure a successful transition to new leadership.

This is a press release from TEAM Inc., a private, 501(c)3 non-profit corporation whose mission is to connect individuals and families with solutions that lead to well-being, self-sufficiency and full participation in the community.  TEAM programs serve the communities of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Milford, Orange, Oxford, Shelton, Seymour and Woodbridge.       

Seymour Lions recognize members

The Seymour Lions Club held an Appreciation/Membership Dinner Jan. 10 at the Seymour Land Trust building. 
The event was held to thank all of the volunteers who help during the year and to present awards to members.
Pictured from left are Rose Marie Sheehy, Treasurer, Rose Marie Spatafore, Membership Chair, Annette Dlugokenski, Tail Twister, Sonia Barbieri, Yvonne Lorincz, President, Anne Barton, Lion Tamer, Melissa Smith Poynton, Secretary, and Frank DeLeo, Board of Directors. 
Lion Anne was presented "Ambassador of Sight" Award,  Lion Toni was presented "President's Award," Lion Colleen was presented "President's Appreciation Plaque," Lion Yvonne was presented "President Award," and Lion Melissa was presented "Melvin Jones Award."

This is a press release from the Seymour Lions Club.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Diaper bank in Seymour needs donations, volunteers

Pictured clockwise from left are: Nicole Pelegrino, 23, MSW intern from Southern Connecticut State University; Lisa Lerissette, 21, BSW intern from SCSU; and Kathryn Murray, 22, MSW intern from Quinnipiac University. They are holding diapers collected during a recent drive at the Valley Diaper Bank in Seymour. / Contributed photo

SEYMOUR - Valley Diaper Bank founder Meghan Tarby, Connecticut Partnership for Children executive director, said, "We have begun repackaging diapers and branding them with our agency labels, a practice learned from The Diaper Bank in New Haven."  
Tarby founded the nonprofit Connecticut Partnership for Children in 2009.

Tarby said she and Pelegrino volunteered at The Diaper Bank as part of the United Way of Greater New Haven's 'Days of Caring.'

Derby mayor among guest speakers at St. Mary-St. Michael School

In conjunction with Catholic Schools Week, St. Mary-St. Michael School in Derby held Career Day. Derby Mayor Anita Dugatto speaks to students in grades 6-8 about her dual career as mayor and a practicing dentist. / Contributed photo

Other participants included Lt. Justin Stanko and the canine, Officer Bear with his handler, Ernie Lagoja from the state Department of Transportation, Seymour Police Sgt. Dave Parrat, James O'Neil, a Stamford firefighter, Dr. John Richter from New England Cat Care, EMT Bryan Ryan, Melissa Nicefaro, a local journalist, and Steve DiRienzo, a local artist.

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

Griffin Hospital in Derby seeks volunteers

Volunteer John Pitts of Ansonia

DERBY - As many make plans to improve their health and well-being in 2014, Griffin Hospital reminds everyone volunteering is a great way to help the community and can be a way to improve one’s own health.
According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, recent research shows that individuals who volunteer in their community experience physical and mental health benefits through receiving a greater sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Ansonia resident John Pitts understands the joys of volunteering.
For the past eight years, Pitts has baked fresh muffins in the morning for patients and their caregivers. He never envisioned himself as a baker, but Pitts said he loves the role.

“This is great job. I get to put a smile on people’s faces,” Pitts said. “I’m a bit of an underdog when I go in to see the patients because no one really wants to be in the hospital, but having that aroma of fresh baked muffins and giving something warm to eat makes people feel comfortable and you get a great feeling when you see smiles come across their faces.”

As a hospital committed to the Planetree patient-centered model of care, Griffin Hospital offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities that allow individuals to use their skills in providing a more comfortable and therefore better healing environment for its patients.
Planetree is an innovative model of healthcare that puts patients’ needs first. Planetree designated hospitals shape every aspect of their care by the Planetree principles, including welcoming and comfortable interiors and service, and an emphasis on patient and family involvement.
Volunteers play a critical role in providing this exceptional care at Griffin Hospital.
Starting with a patient’s first step in the door at the hospital, Volunteer Ambassadors escort the patient to his or her appointment. These ambassadors also assist visitors and caregivers find their loved one’s location in the hospital.
Room Service Volunteers visit patients to tell them about all the Planetree amenities, including complementary soft touch massage, therapeutic touch or Reiki treatments, therapy dog visits, guided imagery meditation, aroma therapy, portable DVD players or a fresh-baked cookie or muffin. In addition, to being the messengers about these services, Griffin Hospital offers opportunities to become the volunteer provider of these services, providing training in each of the therapies and baking.
Volunteer therapy dogs and their owners are also needed. People and Animals Working in Spirit (P.A.W.S.) bring smiles to the faces of patients as only the human-canine connection can.
Each dog must pass a rigorous behavior and medical screening prior to entry to the program. All breeds of dogs who qualify for testing for therapy dog work are welcome.

Every Griffin Hospital volunteer is required to attend a three-hour orientation, followed by a training session for their particular assignment. After four hours of service, volunteers are entitled to a free meal ticket at the hospital’s Dining Room.
For more information about these and other volunteer opportunities, call 203-732-7555 or visit

This is a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Crisco welcomes interns to orientation in Hartford

State Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. , D-Woodbridge, Chair of the General Assembly’s Internship Committee, welcomes new legislative interns as they begin an orientation program in the state Senate chamber. / Contributed photo

HARTFORD – This spring, a select group of college students will have the opportunity to get an education they simply cannot find in a classroom. 
The group has been selected through a competitive application process to participate in the Connecticut General Assembly’s prestigious internship program.

As Chair of the legislature’s Internship Committee, state Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. , D-Woodbridge, welcomed the students to the Capitol for their orientation last week.

“This is a highly competitive program, and each of the students was chosen based on the quality of their academic work, and the strength of their recommendations,” Crisco said.

 “The program is intensive and immersive. The students will get a look at the workings of the political process from the inside. They’ll engage with legislators and staff, and be an active part of the legislator's office to which they are assigned.”

The interns’ responsibilities may include legislative research, constituent letter writing and casework, working on press releases and tracking legislation as it makes its way through the legislative process.

The two-day intern orientation included a legislative staff panel on the day to day responsibilities of being an intern, and discussions with former interns about their experiences and keys to success. Interns also attended a panel discussion with current legislators, and heard from the director of the internship program about the academic components required for the internship.

Additional programs will be offered over the next few months to give interns the opportunity to meet with members of the legislature’s nonpartisan staff and lobbyists.

“I encouraged the interns to be active, and make the most of this exceptional opportunity,” Crisco said.

“The simplest and best piece of advice I gave them is to engage with their legislators, with their staff, and with their peers. If they do, then their time here will be extremely rewarding.”

This is a press release from Crisco's office.

Griffin Hospital in Derby to host 'Heart to Heart' talk

February is American Heart Month
DERBY - If you have questions about heart disease, treatment options and how to keep your heart fit and healthy, Griffin Hospital has the answers.

Griffin Hospital will host “Heart-to-Heart,” a free presentation by cardiologist Martin Plavec, MD, and Griffin’s Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation Eunice Lisk, at 6 p.m. Feb. 11 in the hospital’s Meditation and Learning Center, 130 Division St.

These two heart experts will provide easy-to-understand information about warning signs for heart problems and what you can do to help prevent them. They will also discuss common heart issues, like Congestive Heart Failure and high blood pressure, how to get tested for heart disease, and discuss the benefits and risks of treatment options.
In addition, attendees can receive free blood pressure screenings, Body Mass Index readings and medical consultation about their results.
The event is in recognition of American Heart Month.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but heart disease is preventable and controllable.

The presentation is part of Griffin Hospital's Healthy U “Tuesday Talks,” a series of free wellness talks featuring Griffin Hospital medical experts and community partners providing trusted health information and answers to questions on a wide range of topics.
All Tuesday Talks are held in Griffin Hospital’s Meditation and Learning Center at 130 Division Street.
Light refreshments will be served.
To reserve a spot or for more information, call 203-732-1511 or visit

This is a press release from Griffin Hospital.

Facility in Shelton seeks volunteers

SHELTON - Wesley Village is looking for adults interested in volunteering in its Hands of Comfort Program.

Volunteers will receive training in giving gentle hand rubs to residents.
Training will be held at 10 a.m. March 13 at Crosby Commons Assisted Living on the Wesley Village campus, 580 Long Hill Ave. Snow date is March 20.

For information contact Barbara Quinn, 203-944-8292 to schedule an interview before the training session.

This is a press release from United Methodist Homes. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ansonia plans emergency response training

ANSONIA – The Ansonia Rescue Medical Services and the Ansonia Office of Emergency Management will sponsor a Community Emergency Response Team Training to begin Feb. 25.

The training is free to applicants (18 years of age and older) and preference will be given to Ansonia residents, as class size is limited; senior citizens are also encouraged to participate.

No experience in emergency services is required. The training focuses on disaster preparedness and emergency response skills, as well as special training to aid in sheltering during an emergency.

An informational meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Ansonia Rescue Medical Services headquarters, 22 W. Main St.
Class size is limited.

The CERT training is scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday evenings from Feb. 25 to April 3 at the Ansonia Rescue Medical Service Headquarters from 6:30-9 p.m.
Graduates of the program who join the Ansonia CERT team will be issued CERT identification and a backpack with basic equipment.
After completion of training, members will be qualified to assist in operating a shelter during a major emergency as well as supporting emergency responders in various roles.
The Ansonia team members also will be eligible to participate in additional CERT training events in Connecticut.
 “We are very excited to host our second CERT class at ARMS. The initial group of CERT members are very active and will play a vital role in the leadership of new team members.  We are ready to bring Ansonia CERT to the next level with our new members,” said Jared Heon, Chief of ARMS.

The Community Emergency Response Team is a program of the Citizen Corps, a nationwide program supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. 
The purpose of CERT and the Citizen Corps is to train community members in emergency preparedness to support local emergency responders as volunteers with disaster relief and community safety.
The Ansonia Citizen Corps will work with the City of Ansonia’s Office of Emergency Management. The state-approved curriculum for basic training includes Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, and Terrorism.
In addition, classes will be given in sheltering, which is critical when people need to be evacuated to a local shelter.

For more information and registration forms contact Assistant Chief David Geloso, (ACERT) Coordinator, at or 203-410-7372.

Applications are available at Ansonia City Hall, Town & City Clerk’s Office, ARMS headquarters, Ansonia Police Department or at or

Applications should be dropped off at the Ansonia Rescue Medical Services headquarters or mailed to: ACERT, P.O. Box 149, Ansonia, 06401 no later than Feb. 21; advance registration is required.

This is a press release from Ansonia Rescue Medical Services.

Shelton man, 47, has been found

SHELTON >> Police have cancelled their alert for 47-year-old William Luciano who was found Wednesday morning in a cafe after he went missing Tuesday night, according to police.
Lt. Robert Kozlowsky said in a release that Luciano was found at Huntington Street Cafe, at 90 Huntington St., after receiving a tip.
Luciano was transported to the hospital and Kozlowsky said he was uncertain of Luciano’s medical condition.
Kozlowsky said in a release that when Luciano went missing, he was seen heading into the woods by staff members at Shelton Lakes Health Care Center, 5 Lake Road, Tuesday at 11:30 p.m.
Police, Fire and the EMS Department were searching for the man who reportedly has a medical condition. Kozlowsky said in the release that family members of Luciano were helping with the search as were state police and state police dogs.

Shelton man, 47, reported missing

SHELTON >> Police have issued an alert for a 47-year-old man who was last seen heading into the woods by staff members at Shelton Lakes Health Care Center Tuesday.

Lt. Robert Kozlowsky said in a release that William Luciano was last seen fleeing into the adjacent woods of the 5 Lake Road address at 11:30 p.m.
Police, Fire and the EMS Department are currently searching for the man who reportedly has a medical condition. Kozlowsky said in the release that family members of Luciano are helping with the search as are state police and state police dogs.

Luciano is described by police as 5 feet 1 inch tall and 145 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. Luciano was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt, dark color sweatpants and rubberized slippers. No photo was provided.

Anyone with any information should contact the Shelton Police Department at 203-924-1544.

Book discussion slated at Derby Public Library

DERBY - The Derby Public Library has scheduled its next Lunchtime Book Discussion for 12:30 p.m. Feb. 26.

The selected title is the gripping novel The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.

Discovering a tattered letter that says she is to open it only in the event of her husband’s death, Cecelia, a successful family woman, is unable to resist reading the letter and discovers a secret that shatters her life and the lives of two other women.

This is a thought-provoking story about how well it is really possible to know our spouses, and ultimately ourselves.

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 more information, stop by the Library at 313 Elizabeth St., call 203-736-1482 or visit

This is a press release from Cathy Williams, Director, Derby Public Library.

Crisco named to appropriations panel

HARTFORD - As the General Assembly prepares for the start of the 2014 legislative session, state Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. , D-Woodbridge, will be taking on new responsibilities as a member of the legislature’s powerful Appropriations Committee.

Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr., D-Brooklyn, recently notified Crisco of his appointment to the committee, and wished him well in his new position.

“This is a great honor that comes with enormous responsibilities,” Crisco said. “I’m grateful to Senator Williams for recognizing my expertise on fiscal matters as Chair of the Insurance Committee and Vice Chair of the Banks and Commerce Committees. I look forward to adding my perspective to the vigorous debates we will surely have this session on some of the most salient issues facing our state.”

“Joe is a knowledgeable and dedicated legislator," Williams said. “His experience and understanding of the state budget will be an asset to the Appropriations Committee.”

The Appropriations Committee consists of 11 senators and 45 representatives. It has cognizance over all matters pertaining to appropriations and the budgets of state agencies. Other issues within its purview include state employees’ salaries, benefits and retirement, teachers’ retirement, veterans’ pensions and collective bargaining agreements.

“The legislature’s capacity for spurring job creation and creating a pro-small business environment is inextricably linked with state spending,” Crisco said.
“We need to strike a fine balance by keeping our fiscal house in order, and also making critical investments that lead to long-term growth and prosperity. This is a challenge I am eager to take on in my new role.”

In addition to his appointment on the Appropriations Committee, Crisco is Chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee and Chair of the legislature‘s Internship Committee.
He is Vice Chair of the Banks and Commerce Committees, and a member of the Executive and Legislative Nominations and Legislative Management Committees.

This is a press release from Crisco's office. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spirit of community seen in Shelton

Donations are being sorted and distributed in this storefront on Center Street.

SHELTON - Since the Jan. 6 fire that destroyed a block of businesses and three stories of apartments on Howe Avenue nonprofit organizations, companies, and individuals have come together to help the displaced residents and store owners.

It is truly heartwarming to see something good come out of what can only be described as a  downtown disaster.

From individuals donating food, clothing, household supplies and money, to volunteers handling the massive amount of donations there is a spirit of caring that cannot go unnoticed.

On Monday I met Stratford resident Missy Samaha, who has taken charge of the donations.
She, several friends and a crew of Shelton firefighters have been working tirelessly to assist the 29 residents of the apartment building that was leveled.

They have set up "shop" at 91 Center St. in a storefront owned by firefighter Chris Jones. There, volunteers and victims have become what they call "a new family."

Samaha said residents who lost all their belongings have a chance to socialize at the shop while picking up whatever they need to get their lives back to normal.

These are wish lists posted in the shop. The fire victims need to replace everything they owned,  from TVs and cell phones, to work boots and more.

Missy Samaha Monday checks the expiration date on canned food donations. With her is volunteer Todd Dias, who said he lives on Howe Avenue and has been helping since the blaze.

Just some of the donated toiletries available for the displaced residents. 

This is an offer from the Friends of the Shelton Libraries for free books to help fire victims replace what they have lost.

Samaha said donations of gift cards to supermarkets and stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, The Home Depot and Lowe's, in addition to gas cards, would be a great help.

I wish her and her fellow volunteers all the best as they continue to help the displaced residents. 

Bradley School in Derby to host fun fair

Music will be provided by DJ Fran.

Valley troupe to kick off season at Derby restaurant

DERBY - Valley Shakespeare Festival will open its 2014 season with a Kick-Off Celebration from 5-9 p.m. Feb. 21 at Twisted Vine Restaurant, 285 Main St.

“Cocktails with Shakespeare” will take place on the restaurant’s lower level and, in addition to revealing the title of the company’s summer production, will feature prizes, live entertainment, cash bar and appetizers prepared by the Twisted Vine’s chef for an admission fee of $10 a person.  

Twisted Vine Restaurant is a loyal sponsor of Valley Shakespeare Festival, having sponsored three previous fundraisers for the company.

Valley Shakespeare Festival, a nonprofit theater company sponsored by Fractured Atlas and run entirely by volunteers, produced three free performances of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” in July in Shelton’s Veterans Memorial Park and two performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in December at Shelton History Center’s Wilson Barn. 

The staff of VSF is excited to begin its second season and is thrilled to be able to continue its mission of providing free theater to the Valley.

Members of the company will be in attendance at the fundraiser to relate their experiences with VSF, answer questions and encourage newcomers to join with them in bringing the brilliance and beauty of Shakespeare and other classic literary artists to their family, friends and neighbors in the Valley. 

“It’s important to help a young group begin a wonderful journey,” explained Linda LaReau, a volunteer from the very inception. 
Cindy Vitone shares LaReau’s opinion and believes that Free Shakespeare provides an indispensable service for the Valley.
Vitone said, “‘Free’ opens peoples’ minds to the possibility of ‘Why not?’”
VSF provides individuals with the opportunity to explore their personal interest in theater in a hands-on manner as well as help to expand the arts in the Valley.  

Kevin Mackowski  is a relative newcomer to the company who joined after reading about the group in a news article.
“It is a great opportunity for those who have an interest in theater to take an active role, big or small, in this field,” he said. 

“The art scene in the Valley is operating in a diminished capacity, and bringing these events to the folks in the Valley, right in their towns, is the easiest way to enrich and expand the arts here.”
 Since it is run entirely by volunteers, VSF is always seeking to broaden its staff.  It is hoping that “Cocktails with Shakespeare” will entice some of those audience members who enjoyed their previous productions to drop by and learn just how exciting and rewarding it is to be a part of an emerging theater company.
 “I offered my services as a volunteer without knowing any of the troupe and I was made to feel very welcome and accepted right away,” said Mackowski.  “I could see the passion and dedication in the people involved and it is contagious.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased by calling Valley Shakespeare Festival, 203-513-9446 or by visiting

This is a press release from Valley Shakespeare Festival. 

TEAM offers tax help in Derby, Milford, Shelton

Tax season is here and many people may not be aware about how to qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit.

EITC is one of the nation's largest anti-poverty programs, annually lifting over six million people out of poverty each year;  half of those impacted are children.
EITC can be a boost to you, your family and community.
Anyone with earnings under $51,567 should see if they qualify at, or visit a volunteer tax assistance site.
This credit in combination with other can increase refunds to working families allowing them to reduce debt, save for the future or invest in a home or education.
Free volunteer tax help is available to those who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.

IRS-certified volunteers are part of the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program, a nationwide initiative, offering families a free and easy way to access refunds and tax credits.
VITA provides free electronic filing for federal and state tax returns.
Taxes are prepared by volunteer tax preparers who ensure that each taxpayer receives the tax credits and deductions they are qualified to claim.

For more information about earning this tax credit, filing taxes and claiming refunds, such as federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) contact one of the following local sites for a free appointment with a VITA volunteer:

Derby: TEAM, Inc. 30, Elizabeth St., by appointment only on Monday afternoon, Wednesday night and Saturday morning and Derby Neck Library, 307 Hawthorne Ave., by appointment only on Sunday afternoon, call: 203-736 5420 x 206 now through April 14.

Milford: Milford Senior Citizen Center, 9 Jepson Drive, by appointment only on Sunday afternoon and Monday evening, call 203-736-5420 x 206 now through April 14.

Shelton: Plumb Memorial Library, 65 Wooster St.: walk-in program on Tuesdays (1-4 p.m.), Wednesday (5:30-7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m.-1 p.m.) from Feb. 4-April 14.
For all walk-in programs, bring prior year’s tax return and all supporting documents for the 2013 tax year.

This is a press release from TEAM Inc., a private, 501(c)3 non-profit corporation whose mission is to connect individuals and families with solutions that lead to well-being, self-sufficiency and full participation in the community. 
TEAM programs serve the communities of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Milford, Orange, Oxford, Shelton, Seymour and Woodbridge.           

Monday, January 27, 2014

Learn about Social Security at Ansonia library

ANSONIA - Robert Condon from Edward Jones will present a workshop on Social Security at 1 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Ansonia Library, 53 S. Cliff St. 

Topics will include: How does Social Security fit into my retirement income plan?  When should I start taking benefits?  What about taxes?

For information or to register call 203-392-3654, Karen or Bob, or Joyce Ceccarelli, 203-734-6728.

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

Author to discuss diners in talk at Derby library

DERBY - The Derby Public Library welcomes Garrison Leykam at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24 to discuss his book, Classic Diners of Connecticut.  

More than 100 diners dot the 20,000 miles of roadways in Connecticut.
This book celebrates the buildings, local recipes, and diner lingo, as well as stories that make each diner unique. 

One of the diners featured, Tony’s Diner in Seymour, still keeps pictures of the 1955 flood to always remember the tragedy the diner overcame.  
More stories of triumph, comfort and community fill the pages in this celebration of Connecticut diners.  
Leykam is not only an author, but also the reality television host and producer of Diners that aired on CPTV.  He currently hosts the online radio program Those Diner and Motorcycle Guys which has more than a million listeners.

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

This is a press release from Cathy Williams, Director, Derby Public Library.

Foundations assist TEAM to serve Shelton fire victims

Three major Valley funders, the Valley Community Foundation, Valley United Way and the Katharine Matthies Foundation, are helping Derby-based TEAM Inc. serve the Jan. 6 Shelton fire victims.

Shortly after the Jan. 6 blaze that destroyed a city block along Howe Avenue in Shelton TEAM Inc. became the lead agency in helping resettle the fire victims.
The fire displaced 29 people who were living in 23 low-income apartments above the stores destroyed in the fire.

BHCare is helping secure housing for their clients who were affected by the fire and the Red Cross helped fire victims find immediate short-term housing. The majority of the fire victims are being assisted by TEAM Inc.

TEAM Inc. staff has worked tirelessly to help fire victims identify potential housing sources, find donated furniture and clothing and secure security deposits on new apartments.
The work has taken precedence over TEAM's daily operations and has created a significant ripple effect in the amount of work needed to be completed by the Derby-based nonprofit.

As a result, the Valley Community Foundation and the Valley United Way each committed $5,000 and the Katharine Matthies Foundation, for which Bank of America serves as Trustee, donated $7,500 towards TEAM's work to help fire victims cover the costs of initial rent payments and security deposits, which are often double or triple the cost of one month's rent.

 TEAM Inc. also received assistance from The Howe Avenue Relief Fund (created by the Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Company 1 that responded to the fire), the state Department of Social Services and New Haven Home Recovery to help fire victims cover move-in costs.
The total estimated cost for helping the fire victims is $20,000.

Thanks to TEAM's tireless work, seven fire victims have already found new apartments, and more are in the process of securing apartments. TEAM has collected enough furniture to help individuals replace what they lost in the fire.

"The United Way is pleased to be able to help the displaced tenants get back on their feet," said Jack Walsh, President and Chief Operating Officer, Valley United Way.
"The efforts of the firemen and other first responders have been incredible and the outpouring of support from the community was exceptional. We are pleased to support TEAM, whose effort is now focused on bringing some normalcy back to the lives of the displaced by getting them into permanent housing."

"Shortly after learning how devastating the fire was, Jack Walsh and I were on the phone to figure out where our resources could best be put to use to help the fire victims. Our Board of Directors quickly agreed that it was important to support TEAM while they take on this unexpected task without diverting their much-needed resources from the community they serve," said Valley Community Foundation President and CEO Sharon Closius.

"We at TEAM were so impressed to see how quickly the entire Valley rallied around the fire victims," said TEAM Inc. President & CEO Richard Knoll.
"We are especially grateful to the Valley's three biggest funders for coming together to help us recover the costs of resettling the victims, which will allow us to continue our regular work of serving the area's economically vulnerable."

About the funders
Thanks to the generosity of Valley donors, hundreds of thousands of grant dollars each year are distributed from the Valley Community Foundation (VCF). In addition to grantmaking, VCF works in strong partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven toward building a stronger community by: working closely with donors to grow and deepen the impact of their philanthropy; identifying and supporting grassroots leadership; and strengthening nonprofits and promoting philanthropy through technical assistance programs.

For more information, visit; find VCF on Facebook and Twitter. 
The Katharine Matthies Foundation was established in 1987 to support and promote quality educational, human services, and health care programming for underserved populations.
Special consideration is given to organizations that work to prevent cruelty to children and animals. The Matthies Foundation specifically serves the people of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. KMF is administered by Bank of America.

Valley United Way is the leading philanthropic resource for the Valley towns of Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton matching the needs of the community and the interests of donors to improve the quality of life in the community. United Way supports and creates initiatives addressing youth, families and people in crisis.

Each year Valley United Way funds programs and organizations that make a measurable difference in the lives of people living and working in the Valley.

This is a press release from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Victims of Shelton blaze get some good news

Low-interest SBA disaster loans available

SHELTON - A press conference Saturday at Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Company 1 firehouse brought a glimmer of hope to business owners and tenants affected by the massive Jan. 6 blaze downtown.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Saturday announced approval of Small Business Administration disaster loans for businesses and residents affected by a Jan. 6 fire on Howe Avenue. He made the announcement at Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Company 1 firehouse in Shelton. With him are, from left, U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3, Lt. Gov. Nancy S. Wyman, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, and Bernard M. Sweeney, SBA Connecticut district director.  


Mayor Mark A. Lauretti  said opportunity will come out of the tragedy. "When one door closes, another one opens," he said. 

 Malloy meets with Echo Hose firefighter and training coordinator Kevin Lantowsky, center,   and firefighter Chris Jones before the press conference. 

U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3, greets Shelton resident Michele Bialek and her daughter, Bridget, 3, before the press conference. 
Bialek and her husband, Fred Bialek, own Liquid Lunch, which was destroyed by the fire. The Bialeks operate two other Liquid Lunch locations, but she said they lost "a third of their heart" in the blaze.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Shelton firefighter wins kudos for rescue

Shelton volunteer firefighter Chris Jones points to where he saw an 'orange glow' coming from a window on the first floor of a house on Howe Avenue.

I didn't want to let the day go by without giving a huge shout out to Shelton volunteer firefighter Chris Jones.

On Wednesday Jones happened to see a fire in a multi-family house on Howe Avenue in Shelton.

Without a second thought he ran to the house and led four residents to safety.
A fifth occupant, who was in the apartment where the fire started, died Thursday morning.

Jones not only showed bravery and quick thinking, he demonstrated for all to see his dedication to the city he calls home.

This is the front of the house at 593 Howe Ave., Shelton as it looked the day after the fire.

School in Derby posts honor roll

DERBY - St. Mary-St. Michael School has announced the honor roll for the second marking period.

Grade 4
High Honors
Teresa Joseph
Tennyson DeLos, Max Shuart, Brooke Sobolisky, Emilia Wypasek

Grade 5

High Honors
Cassidy McNeil
Maria Ahmed, Bridget Calderon, Nico D’Ambrosio, Caitlin Owens, Aryanna Ryan, Pearse Wojczak

Grade 6

High Honors
Sofia Soriano
Lexi Brinkmann, Joshua Celentano, Elizabeth DeCrisanti, Samantha Muncy, Gabriela Soriano, Joanna Wypasek

Grade 7

High Honors
Emily Lucke, Alexis Pudimat, Alexys Ryan, Maja Cuprys,
Genesis Brito, Cristina Carloni, Makayla Naranjo, Igor Poliwoda, Michael Rizzitelli, Emily Tokash, Shirley Torres, Isabella Tufaro

Grade 8 

High Honors
Jessica Gallagher, Gabriela Koziol
Moazzum Ahmed, Dominic Campbell, Steven Sciaraffa

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

Housatonic Council to honor Scout leader at Derby event

DERBY - A Winter Gathering for camp alumni, camp staff alumni and friends of Housatonic Council Boy Scouts of America will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 7, at Grassy Hill Lodge, 77 Sodom Lane.

Charles “Chuck” Hemstreet, Sr, a long time Scout leader, will be recognized with the Outstanding Camp Staff Alumni Award for more than 50 years of service to Housatonic Council.
Charles Hemstreet

Hemstreet joins previous award recipients Emil “Bill” Martin, Henry “Jay” Decho, Robert “Bob” Dion and the late Rudy Gajdosik Jr.

In 1960, Charles Hemstreet Sr., of Seymour, joined Derby Methodist Church sponsored Pack 3 Derby as a Cub Scout under the direction of Edmund D.Strang and Paul Kassheimer. 

Advancing then to Derby Second Congregational Church sponsored Troop 3, where he attained Eagle Scout Rank, and then becoming an adult leader within Troop 3 and Derby-Shelton Rotary Club sponsored Explorer Post 33. 

Served on camp staff 
He was among the founding members of the Order of the Arrow Paugassett Lodge 553 and has been a lifelong supporter of Edmund Strang Scout Reservation in Goshen. Hemstreet served on Summer Camp staff for many years and has volunteered an extraordinary number of hours providing electrical upgrades to the campgrounds and cooking for fundraising activities.
He has served Troop 3 as a chaperone on numerous camping trips to Canada, 1971 Europe Trip and 1991 Cape Cod trip. 
He has also hosted English and Irish Exchange Scouts and participated on the National Jamboree Committee for Housatonic Council.

In 2002, Hemstreet arranged for and transported $30,000 worth of previously owned cooking equipment to upgrade the Strang Scout Reservation Dining Hall. In 2004, he served Paugassett Lodge 553 as the Chairman for the Section Conclave, an annual gathering of 300 O/A Lodge members from throughout the region.
He is a Vigil Member and Associate Advisor of Paugassett Lodge, a Troop 3 committee member and an Associate Advisor for Venture Crew 33.

Hemstreet has worked as an electrician for Ansonia Copper & Brass and has been involved in numerous community organizations such as the Derby Lodge of Elks, Sons of Legionnaires and the Valley United Way Campaign.
He has been married to Scouting volunteer Kathy Hemstreet for 41 years and they are parents of Troop 3 Eagle Scouts Chuck Hemstreet Jr. and Jay Hemstreet, as well as daughters Mary Kate and Allison. They have three grandchildren.

The event includes hors d'oeuvres, soda, coffee, cash bar. 
Cost is $25 for registered members of the camp alumni association and 2013 camp staff, $30 all others. RSVP to Raymond Oppel, 203-929-6616 or email at 

Proceeds to benefit Housatonic Council’s Edmund D. Strang Scout Reservation.

This is a press release from Scoutmaster Randy Ritter. 


Ansonia Library to host financial seminar

ANSONIA - The Ansonia Library will present a seminar, Foundations of Investing, at 1 p.m. Feb. 19.

The seminar will provide participants with information on bonds, stocks, mutual funds and much more.

The seminar will be offered by Robert L. Condon, CFP, CLU, ChFC, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones Investments.

For information or to register call 203-392-3654, Karen or Bob, or call Joyce Ceccarelli, 203-734-6728.

The library is at 53 S. Cliff St.

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

Heart club to mark anniversary at Griffin Hospital in Derby

DERBY - The Valley Heart Club will celebrate its 30th anniversary and National Heart Month at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at Griffin Hospital’s Dining Rooms 1 & 2, 130 Division St.

Griffin Hospital Medical Director and Cardiologist Dr. Kenneth Schwartz will be the featured speaker.

The event is free and open to the public, and will include a Chinese auction.
The Valley Heart Club holds its meetings on the third Tuesday of each month, which include monthly educational events with guest speakers.

Its “Sharing Hearts of Griffin Hospital” support group is a heart disease support group that holds monthly support group sessions also on the third Tuesday of the month from 5:45-6:30 p.m.

To reserve a spot at the Feb. 18 celebration or for information about The Valley Heart Club, call Linda, 203-735-6172.

This is a press release from Griffin Hospital. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

'Dolley Madison' to visit Shelton Historical Society

SHELTON - Local historian Carolyn Ivanoff, Housemaster at Shelton Intermediate School, will 

present An Afternoon with First Lady Dolley Madison at 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at the annual meeting of the 

Shelton Historical Society.  

The meeting will be held at the Huntington  Congregational Church  Fellowship Hall, 19 Church St.

The meeting is free and open to the public.

Ivanoff’s presentation will speak about the founding of our nation, the fourth  president James 

Madison’s role as the Father of the American Constitution, and the difficult events of the early 


Madison acted as hostess during her  husband’s presidency, helping to increase his popularity, and is 

credited with rescuing  George Washington’s portrait from the newly completed White House while 

the British  burned the city of Washington during the War of 1812.

There will be a brief business meeting prior to the presentation.  Refreshments will be served. 

In case of inclement weather, an announcement will be made on WICC-AM History Center.

The Shelton Historical Society owns Shelton History Center, a museum complex

of six historic buildings located just north of the Huntington Green, and strives to provide

programs of historical interest to the community.   

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

Shelton man found in Howe Avenue fire identified

SHELTON >> The man who was found during a fire in the first-floor apartment of 593 Howe Ave. Wednesday night has died, according to fire officials.

Fire Marshal Jim Tortora said that Michael Boroski, 52, died Thursday morning after being taken to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit, following his removal from the burning building Wednesday evening.
Tortora said he is uncertain of the cause of death but Boroski was the only occupant in the first-floor apartment where the first started in the living room.

Firefighters had responded to the scene just after 5 p.m. Wednesday and found flames coming out the rear window of the first floor unit.

Tortora said a firefighter who happened to be near the address at the time helped the three occupants of the second-floor apartment escape safely before firefighters arrived, and the occupant of the basement apartment was not home at the time.

When firefighters entered the home, they found Boroski semi-conscious on the floor of the apartment. He was immediately taken to a waiting ambulance outside. The fire was under control within 20 minutes.

Tortora said the state Fire Marshal and the Shelton Police Department had been called in to help investigate, and they were on the scene until around 12:30 a.m. Thursday. Fire officials believe the cause of the fire was reckless use of smoking materials.

Tortora said all the occupants of the residence are staying with family or friends.

Bowl-2-Benefit planned in Milford

Sponsors, bowlers sought for 26th annual event

The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services, a program of BHcare, is looking for bowlers and sponsors to participate in the 26th Annual Bowl-2-Benefit to be held March 8 at AMF Lanes in Milford.

All proceeds benefit UCDVS which provides services to more than 7,000 victims of domestic violence and their children each year throughout the Greater New Haven, Greater Naugatuck Valley, and Shoreline communities.
UCDVS provides free emergency safe shelter, 24-hour crisis services, counseling, court advocacy, support and other crucial services.

The Bowl-2-Benefit, one of the largest fundraising events of its kind in the state, attracts more than 1,300 participants.
Bowlers of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate in teams of 4-6, in one of five bowling sessions scheduled for 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Bowlers pay a minimal $5 registration fee and are asked to collect pledges to support their efforts.  Each bowler will receive 90 minutes of bowling, an event t-shirt, shoe rental, soft drink, and a chance to win prizes.
The event is ideal for clubs, schools, organizations, corporations and families.

The Bowl-2-Benefit offers sponsorship opportunities for all budgets, with levels starting at just $75.  Sponsors reap the benefit of exposure to the more than 1,300 participants as well as additional exposure online.
T-shirt sponsors receive continued exposure with their logo printed on the event tee that is distributed to all bowlers. T-shirt level sponsorships start at just $500.

Decreases in state and federal funding coupled with increases in demand for services make fundraising events such as the Bowl-2-Benefit critical to sustaining services for those at risk and in need.
Last year, the Bowl-2-Benefit raised more than $93,000. Event organizers hope to exceed that amount this year and attract an even larger bowling crowd. 

The 26th Annual Bowl-2-Benefit is being sponsored by the Bassett Family Fund and by WPLR 99.1-FM and Star 99.9-FM.
Anyone interested in receiving more information about, or participating in the Bowl-2-Benefit, should call Debbie Soulsby, 203-736-2601, ext. 1321 or visit

Deadline for bowler registration is Feb. 27.

This is a press release from BHcare, 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 information, visit

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ansonia plans bus trip to UConn game

Tierney Lawlor
ANSONIA - The University of Connecticut Women’s Husky basketball team is the number 1 team in the country and has never been more popular.

UConn freshman and former Ansonia High School basketball team captain point guard Tierney Lawlor now plays for the Lady Huskies.

Mayor David S. Cassetti wants to give Ansonia residents an opportunity to go see Tierney play again.
In a release today he encouraged all residents who would like to see the Lady Huskies play to take advantage of the following opportunity: 

The Ansonia Recreation Department is organizing a bus trip for the UConn Women's Basketball game Feb. 19.

The price is $25, which includes transportation and a ticket for the basketball game.
The bus will depart from Nolan Field at 4:30 p.m.

For more information contact Recreation Chairman Jeff Coppola, 203-231-2209.

This is a press release from Ansonia Mayor David S. Cassetti's office.

Coloring contest to benefit Ansonia shelter

This is the picture to be colored for a contest to raise funds for the Ansonia Animal Shelter.

Animal Control Officer Jean Roslonowski credited Seymour resident Brandon Tomas, 12, for finding an appropriate line drawing to be used in the competition. 

Spring nature days signups slated in Ansonia

ANSONIA - Registration will begin at 9 a.m. Feb. 3 for Spring Break Nature Days at the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, 10 Deerfield Road.

The nature days will be held April 14-18.

Classes are for children ages 4-11, with an interest in the natural world.

The class for four and five-year-olds will meet from 9 a.m.-noon. Tuition is $95 for priority students (Ansonia residents and current family-level member of Friends of the Ansonia Nature Center, Inc.) and $120 for all others.

Children ages 6 to 11 will meet from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Priority students pay $150; tuition for all others is $175.

Priority students may register beginning at 9 a.m. Feb. 3, all others may register beginning Feb. 10.

All registrations require the signature of a parent or legal guardian.

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

Life coach to address club at Shelton facility

SHELTON - Crosby Commons Assisted Living Community will host the “Smiles Within A Village” Happiness Club at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 4.

The event will feature a discussion with Jeff Monachelli, Certified Life Coach and Holistic Astrologer, entitled “Your Thoughts Create Your Reality”.

Monachelli will talk about how to think positively, using a mind-body approach in one’s daily life to attain maximum satisfaction and happiness.

The event is free and open to the public. Crosby Commons is on the Wesley Village campus, 580 Long Hill Ave.

For more information about the event, or to RSVP, call 203-225-5000.

This is a press release from United Methodist Homes.

Paint the Town and Your House Pink

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