Friday, January 15, 2021

East Haven Courier Person of the Week

The Sound

With hard work, determination, and the help of free courses offered through Shoreline Adult Education, Branford’s Antonio Villanueva achieved his dream of learning to speak English, becoming an American citizen, and voting, for the very first time, in the November 2020 U.S. presidential election. He’s shown here outside Branford Town Hall on the day he voted. Photo courtesy of Antonio Villanueva

Living the American Dream, With Help from SAE

Published Jan. 13, 2021 08:30 a.m.

It took five years, a lot of work and determination, and some very valuable help from free programs of Shoreline Adult Education (SAE), but Branford’s Antonio Villanueva has now achieved his dream of learning to speak English, becoming an American citizen, and voting, for the very first time, in the November 2020 U.S. presidential election.

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The Source

With enthusiastic assistance from artist Eileen Eder, Shoreline Arts Trail (SAT) ‘20 Virtual Open Studios is currently at the fingertips of art lovers as an online gallery sharing unique works to view and purchase now through Thursday, Dec. 31 at shorelineartstrail.com.

Photo courtesy of Eileen Eder

Eder Shares Shoreline Arts Trail ‘20 Virtual Open Studios

Published Dec. 23, 2020 08:30 a.m.

With enthusiastic assistance from artist Eileen Eder, Shoreline Arts Trail (SAT) ‘20 Virtual Open Studios is currently at the fingertips of art lovers as an online gallery sharing unique works to view and purchase now through Thursday, Dec. 31 at shorelineartstrail.com.

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The Sound

Recently retired North Branford Public Schools (NBPS) school security chief Bob Piascyk provided a decade of dedicated service backed by years of law enforcement experience. He was instrumental in helping North Branford become one of the state’s first school districts to undertake adopting an armed school security team early in 2013, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December 2012. Photo courtesy of Bob Piascyk

Piascyk Headed Up a Decade of Safety for NBPS

Published Dec. 16, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Eight years ago this week, on Dec. 14, 2012, a single gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

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The Sound

This time of year, Sal Anastasio is usually the man behind the music that lights up holiday gatherings for seniors and many others across the shoreline. While COVID-19 has curbed this year’s performance schedule, Sal has not hit the pause button. Instead, this local musician has recorded Happy Holidays from Sal Anastasio, a CD of seasonal songs, with sales going to give back to local causes in several towns, including Branford-based Orchard House Adult Medical Day Center, and Branford-North Branford’s Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter. Photo courtesy of Sal Anastasio

‘Happy Holidays from Sal Anastasio’ CD Benefits Local Causes

Published Dec. 09, 2020 08:30 a.m.

This time of year, Sal Anastasio is usually the man behind the music that lights up holiday gatherings for seniors and many others across the shoreline

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The Sound

Volunteer Rob Kovi and friends are planning to light up their Branford Point neighborhood with more than 1,200 luminaria for all to enjoy during the second annual Branford Harbor Lights CT, set for Saturday, Dec. 19. Photo courtesy of Rob Kovi

Kovi Helps ‘Harbor Lights’ Return to Branford Dec. 19

Published Dec. 02, 2020 08:30 a.m.

“The feeling that night in the air, so to speak, was really remarkable,” says Rob Kovi. “We’ve talked about it since. It was, ‘Is this a Hallmark movie? Are we living in a Hallmark movie somewhere?’”

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The Sound

Branford’s Dr. Valerie Hansen, who teaches both Chinese and world history at Yale, has recently published a new book, The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World and Globalization Began. Photo by Zekun Zhang

Valerie Hansen: Going Someplace?

Published Nov. 25, 2020 08:30 a.m.

One thousand years ago, adventurous people could do something that has become increasingly difficult in the age of COVID: They could travel, and travel far.

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The Sound

Volunteer, teacher, and artist Amy Peters is helping to piece together artful fabric bags that will be packed with take-out containers of soup and more for participants of Guilford Art Center (GAC) Soup for Good TO GO on Sunday, Dec. 6. Peters is hard at work with her friend and co-GAC volunteer Ellen Cordes to build enough bags as a way to give a gift of art to supporters during year when COVID-19 restrictions have made some changes to the annual fundraising event. Proceeds benefit non-profit GAC and non-profit Community Dining Room of Branford. Photo courtesy of Amy Peters

It’s in the Bag: Creative Support for ‘Soup for Good TO GO’

Published Nov. 18, 2020 08:30 a.m.

“It’s a beloved event that’s reinvented for this year, and we hope that its equally beloved this way,” says Amy Peters of Guilford Art Center’s (GAC) Soup for Good TO GO, set for Sunday, Dec. 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. at GAC.

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The Sound

After retiring as Branford’s Assistant Tax Collector in February, Anna DelRosso of Branford brought her years of experience to the Town of East Haven, serving as its new tax collector as of Sept. 28. Photo courtesy of Tina Hedley

From Branford to East Haven: DelRosso Puts Her Experience to Work

Published Nov. 11, 2020 08:30 a.m.

When Anna DelRosso retired as the Town of Branford’s assistant tax collector in February, she’d had big plans for her year. She and her husband, Cosmo, who were both born in Italy, had planned to spend much of the year exploring their birth country, but…COVID.

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The Sound

As growth director of member-supported, non-profit SAIL LAST, Harland Christofferson spent the summer on Branford waters helping junior and collegiate sailors gain instruction in the sustainable, environmentally responsible sport of keelboat racing while also building STEM skills. Photo courtesy of Harland Christofferson

A Year of Firsts for SAIL LAST

Published Nov. 04, 2020 08:30 a.m.

You could say 2020 has been a year of firsts for member-supported, non-profit SAIL LAST. With its first boat, a donated Henderson 30, SAIL LAST capped a summer’s worth of keelboat racing with Branford’s Around the Buoys with the wind in their sails and high expectations for the future.

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The Sound

Artist and educator Maryann Beatty Cook will share several beautifully painted doors among some 80 original designs on display at Branford Arts & Cultural Alliance’s (BACA) The Painted Doors of Branford, which she’s helping to organize. The free public art walk is coming to downtown Branford Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8 to help bring crowds to support local businesses along the stroll and to benefit non-profit BACA’s first student Arts Scholarship. Photo courtesy of Maryann Beatty Cook

Helping BACA Open ‘The Painted Doors of Branford’

Published Oct. 28, 2020 08:30 a.m.

“Branford, art, and Branford Arts and Cultural Alliance are gifts I already receive daily, teaching in an innate gift that I thrive on.”

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The Sound

Co-chair Lynn DeJoseph helped raise more than $330,000 over two days in Branford to benefit the cutting edge research supported by non-profit Cure Rare Disease (CRD). DeJoseph and co-chair Dave Rettig organized the second annual CRD Golf Tourney and added on ‘CRD After Dark’ events to raise funds on behalf of national CRD sponsor East River Energy of Guilford. Photo courtesy of Lynn DeJoseph

DeJoseph Assists on the Fundraising Forefront to Help CRD

Published Oct. 21, 2020 08:30 a.m.

In a year when most fundraisers have been canceled or otherwise compromised by COVID-19, Lynn DeJoseph helped raise more than $330,000 over two days in Branford to benefit the cutting edge research supported by non-profit Cure Rare Disease (CRD).

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The Sound

Guilford home cook and well-known Branford retired educator Virginia ‘Ginny’ Baltay has just unlocked the lid on her new cookbook, 'A Steamy Affair with a Pressure Cooker: Recipes, Stories & Saucy Suggestions.' She also plans to share her passion for pressure cooking during three Zoom-connected Shoreline Adult Education evening classes. Photo courtesy of Virginia Baltay

Baltay Uncovers 'A Steamy Affair with a Pressure Cooker: Recipes, Stories & Saucy Suggestions'

Published Oct. 14, 2020 08:30 a.m.

'When you mention the word ‘pressure cooker,’ people really turn off. But if you talk about in a saucy way, they get a kick out of it,' says Virginia 'Ginny'Baltay.

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The Sound

On Oct. 2, Sgt. David Madoule (right) was recognized and thanked for his 25 years on the force by North Branford Police Chief Kevin Halloran (left) during a social-distanced retirement ceremony held at the North Branford Police Department. 

Photo courtesy of the North Branford Police Department

NBPD’s Sgt. Madoule Retires to Head Up NBPS School Security

Published Oct. 07, 2020 08:30 a.m.

After 25 years on the force, North Branford Police Sergeant David Madoule retired on Friday, Oct. 2—but he only took the weekend off.

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The Sound

Sylvia Curcio has always made time to volunteer in various ways in the community, while also making family time a priority. Photo courtesy of Sylvia Curcio

Sylvia Curcio Loves Giving Back to Family and Community

Published Sep. 30, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Though Sylvia Curcio grew up in Canada and lived in Michigan with her husband, they have called the Connecticut shoreline home for more than three decades.

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The Sound

On Friday, Sept. 11, Branford Fire Department and the Town of Branford recognized and thanked Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Shaun Heffernan upon retiring from a remarkable 32 years tied to the town’s fire service as both a volunteer and career member. He’s shown in this file photo speaking at a past Branford 9/11 remembrance ceremony.

File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound

Heffernan Completes a Remarkable 32 Years Tied to BFD

Published Sep. 23, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Shaun Heffernan was still in Branford High School (BHS) when he went over to the Indian Neck firehouse and signed up with Volunteer Company No. 9. On Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, Branford Fire Department (BFD) and the Town of Branford recognized BFD Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Shaun Heffernan upon retiring from a remarkable 32 years tied to the town’s fire service.

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The Sound

Four years ago, Northford resident Kim Mucha began meeting friends in the crafting community at fairs and other events, where she set up to sell items from her company, Second Time Around. Now, she’s organizing a craft show to help many of them connect with customers after months off the circuit due to COVID-19 cancellations.

Photo courtesy of Kim Mucha

For Crafters and Community: Mucha Helps Organize Branford Hill Craft Fair Sept. 27

Published Sep. 16, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Think about it: When was the last time you browsed a booth at a local artisan craft fair?

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The Sound

Lisa Hughes hopes to hit a technical homerun for Guilford Agricultural Society and the shoreline community with the Virtual Guilford Fair, coming to Facebook (@guilfordagsociety) Friday, Sept. 18 to Sunday, Sept. 20. She says the key will be driving in plenty of exhibitors who will post their photographed entries in departments of their choice beginning Saturday, Sept. 12 through Thursday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. Photo courtesy of Lisa Hughes

Hughes Helps Tech Meet Tradition with Virtual Guilford Fair

Published Sep. 09, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Send up that drone for a spectacular shot of your 500-pound pumpkin.

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The Sound

Architect Leonard Wyeth is the design mind at work on the restoration of Stony Creek’s historic Legacy Theatre, the founder and creative force behind Guilford’s renowned Acoustic Music and acousticmusic.org, and now promoter of a newly launched weekly YouTube series featuring local musicians. Photo courtesy of Leonard Wyeth

Wyeth Crafts Creative Solutions

Published Sep. 02, 2020 08:30 a.m.

When non-profit Legacy Theatre CT and its supporters recently celebrated “topping off” the renovated structure of the historic Stony Creek theater building on Aug. 21, they were also applauding the work of Chester-based architect Leonard Wyeth, a man of many talents.

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The Sound

During this time of pandemic and “new normal” Marie Mordarski has taken on the role of volunteer/program coordinator for non-profit Community Dining Room (CDR), based in Branford. Photo courtesy of the Community Dining Room

During a ‘New Normal,’ Mordarski Helps CDR Volunteers Make a Difference

Published Aug. 26, 2020 08:30 a.m.

At a time when programming and in-person volunteering looks quite different at many non-profits, Marie Mordarski has taken on the role of volunteer/program coordinator for the non-profit Community Dining Room (CDR), based in Branford.

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The Sound

North Branford’s new recreation director, Jessie Caetano, has been on the job since June 15. She looks forward to the day when she can welcome community members and seniors to a freshened-up Stanley T. Williams Community Center and is inspired by the creativity, innovation, and energy her team has put into programming and special events during the pandemic and those planned for the future. Photo courtesy of Jessie Caetano

Finding Silver Linings in Pandemic Clouds: North Branford’s New Recreation Director, Jessie Caetano

Published Aug. 19, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Due to COVID-19, North Branford’s Stanley T. Williams (STW) Community Center still awaits the go-ahead to reopen safely, but that’s not stopping the town’s new recreation director, Jessie Caetano, from finding silver linings in the pandemic clouds.

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The Sound

The annual tent sale was canceled due to the pandemic, but Jonathan Clark and the all-volunteer team will offer a series of Friends of the Blackstone Library Warehouse Book Sales at 59 School Ground Road, Unit 6, Branford. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Clark Helps Host Friends of the Blackstone Library Warehouse Book Sale

Published Aug. 12, 2020 08:30 a.m.

COVID-19 may have knocked the tent poles out of this year’s gigantic Friends of the Blackstone Library (FOBL) Book Sale on the Branford Green, but Jonathan Clark and the friends’ all-volunteer team have added a new page to their playbook to come up with an alternative: Friends of the Blackstone Library Warehouse Book Sale.

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The Sound

Robyn Genzano, a North Branford resident, is an active volunteer with the East Haven Arts Commission, which is hosting virtual classes this summer. Photo courtesy Robyn Genzano

Robyn Genzano Carries on Passion for Theater

Published Aug. 05, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Growing up watching her mother Cindy Genzano direct shows at North Branford High School (NBHS), Robyn Genzano has fond memories of watching rehearsals, interacting with students, and seeing the production come together

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The Sound

As Branford’s first sustainability and compliance manager, Diana McCarthy-Bercury is ready to take sustainability to the next level for the town. Her role is the next evolution of the town’s former solid waste supervisor position. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

McCarthy-Bercury’s New Role Supports a More Sustainable Branford

Published July 29, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Diana McCarthy-Bercury is a new face at Branford Town Hall and an ideal person to fill an open position that, with its new title, takes sustainability to the next level for the town.

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The Sound

Shown here at Branford Fire Department’s (BFD) prolific vegetable garden, which she also helps to maintain, Branford Firefighter/ Paramedic Alexandra Demitrack is putting her organic gardening experience to work to help BFD establish organic pollinator pathway gardens on the grounds of the firehouse on North Main Street. Photo courtesy of Alexandra Demitrack

Demitrack Helping BFD Pollinator Pathway Grow into Reality

Published July 22, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Branford Fire Chief Thomas Mahoney’s idea and effort to install a native, sustainable, and all-organic pollinator pathway garden on the grounds of the firehouse is rapidly growing into reality with the help of project leader and Branford Firefighter/Paramedic Alexandra Demitrack.

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The Sound

Natalia Imperato joined the Orchard House staff a little more than three years ago and is a much-loved certified nursing assistant, but she has also found many other ways to contribute her time and talent to assist this non-profit organization, such as coming in to the Orchard House kitchen during the pandemic, as shown here, to cook meals for client deliveries. Photo courtesy of Natalia Imperato

Imperato Adds Hands-on Help to Further Assist Non-Profit Orchard House

Published July 15, 2020 08:30 a.m.

If you’re looking for Natalia Imperato, you’ll probably find her doing everything she can to help Orchard House Adult Medical Day Care in Branford.

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The Sound

Venice Garner Moore made the leap to begin her own practice, Embrace Your Difference, and is sharing the importance of the concept, self career, and more in a column throughout July in honor of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Photo courtesy of Venice Garner Moore

Venice Garner Moore Shines Light on Minority Mental Health Awareness

Published July 08, 2020 08:30 a.m.

At a peaceful protest in Madison, Venice Garner Moore—a therapist, life coach, author, and motivational speaker—met an editor from the Courier, and Venice suggested a story highlighting Minority Mental Health Awareness.

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The Sound

Shown here pictured at last year’s SARAH Gala, a major fundraiser that has been canceled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, SARAH Foundation’s Kim Vigliotti is hoping the shoreline will rise to support the virtual Summer Breeze Challenge fundraising event benefiting SARAH. The program’s traditional one-day cycling event has been re-imagined for participants who can enter online, log miles with a recreational activity of their choice, and raise pledges toward completing their goals anytime between July 1 to 31.

Photo courtesy of Kim Vigliotti

Vigliotti Hopes Many will Rise to the Summer Breeze Challenge for SARAH

Published July 01, 2020 08:30 a.m.

With some major fundraisers set aside due to COVID-19 this year, SARAH Foundation’s Kim Vigliotti is hoping the shoreline will rise to the challenge—the virtual Summer Breeze Challenge, that is.

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The Sound

On June 19, the third annual StoryWalk along Main Street launched in Branford. For the next nine weeks, Blackstone Library Associate Librarian for Youth Services Carly Lemire is hoping those who follow the picture book story, My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood, will also be inspired to embrace the message it shares. Services at the library continue to be virtual this point; information about StoryWalk and other offerings can be found at www.blackstone.lioninc.org. Photo courtesy of Carly Lemire

Lemire Helps Bring StoryWalk to Downtown Branford

Published June 24, 2020 08:30 a.m.

On Friday, June 19, the third annual StoryWalk along Main Street launched in Branford.

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The Sound

As valedictorian of the North Branford High School Class of 2020, Ava Galdenzi videotaped her valedictorian’s speech and its positive message to her classmates for this year’s virtual graduation ceremony. The stand-out student athlete will attend Wesleyan University to play field hockey and pursue studying her field of interest, psychology.

Photo courtesy of Ava Galdenzi

Graduating on A Positive Note: NBHS Valedictorian Ava Galdenzi

Published June 17, 2020 08:30 a.m.

No one could have predicted the pandemic, but those who know Ava Galdenzi can tell you that this exceptional young woman would find a way to help the North Branford High School (NBHS) Class of 2020 graduate on a positive note during a challenging time.

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The Sound

Attorney and Northford resident John Gesmonde portrays a civil rights lawyer in a powerful new film, Justice on Trial: The Movie, in which he fights the U.S. Department of Justice for reparations to disrupt systemic, unfair issues faced by black Americans. The film’s virtual world premiere on Saturday, July 4 will include distribution on Amazon Prime.

Photo by Cynthia Lang

Gesmonde Fights for Reparations in ‘Justice on Trial: The Movie’

Published June 10, 2020 08:30 a.m.

A powerful new film, Justice on Trial: The Movie will feature local attorney John Gesmonde as a civil rights lawyer fighting for reparations to disrupt systemic, unfair issues facing black Americans. The film’s virtual world premiere on Saturday, July 4 will include distribution on Amazon Prime.

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