Monday, April 19, 2021

Harbor News Person of the Week

The Sound

Northford resident Luke Izzo, 16, is the youngest moderator of the 24,000-strong NY/CT/MA Vaccine Hunters and Angels Facebook group, for which he’s also established a hotline for non-English speaking folks in need of assistance with lining up their vaccinations. Photo courtesy of Luke Izzo

A Vaccine Hunter and Angel: Izzo Assists His Community and Beyond

Published April 14, 2021 08:30 a.m.

When 16-year-old Luke Izzo first joined the New York/Connecticut Vaccine Hunters and Angels Facebook group to see if he could help others, his efforts got noticed.

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The Sound

Photographer Peter Otis shares six photographs from among hundreds he’s captured while visiting a plethora of sites. His exhibit, A Treasure of Beauty, is featured now in a gallery that’s lighting up the walls of JavaHut in Guilford through Tuesday, May 11. 

Photo by Bobbe Otis

Otis Shares ‘A Treasure of Beauty’ with Your Java

Published April 07, 2021 08:30 a.m.

When you’ve visited dozens of national parks and many more state and local gems—and photographed them all—figuring out how to represent the lot in six pictures might sound like an impossible task. Somehow, photographer Peter Otis, who also regularly puts his talent on loan to assist his church, Branford’s Trinity Episcopal, has managed to do just that.

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The Sound

Tania Abbatello credits growing up in Northford—and early readings of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax—with her lifelong interest in environmentalism. She combines her biology background and her business experience when serving on the Clinton Sustainability Committee and as an alternate for the Inland Wetlands Commission. Photo courtesy of Tania Abbatello

Tania Abbatello: Merging Biology and a Business Background

Published March 31, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Tania Abbatello credits growing up in Northford—and early readings of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax—with her lifelong interest in environmentalism. Since then, Tania’s involvement with various organizations has increased as she seeks to improve her new hometown of Clinton as well as the state.

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The Sound

Branford resident and UConn Master Gardener Malaine Trecoske’s talk, Plant It and They Will Come: Gardening from a Native Bee’s Perspective, will be given as a free online presentation on Wednesday, April 7 at 7 p.m. presented by the Branford chapter of Living Wisely and Well on Planet Earth. Photo by Catherine Kiernan/Kiernan Photography

‘Plant it and They Will Come:’ Trecoske Will Share Ways to Support Native Bees

Published March 24, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Have you heard the buzz? The earliest of the area’s native bees, that fuzzy bumble bee, will be headed to your backyard soon—and it’s one of 340 native bee species in Connecticut that needs your help to survive.

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The Sound

At his studio in North Branford, artist Marc Potocsky displays the original canvas of the image he’s created for the Clara Barton Red Heart Medal honoring medical frontline heroes during COVID-19. Now, he’s planning to launch a crowdfunding page to raise funds to not only help produce a decal of the image that will initially be offered to some 15,000 Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) health care heroes, but also to raise money to assist with important support programs at YNHH for nurses, doctors, and other health care workers impacted by the trauma of working to save lives during COVID-19. Look for the launch of fundraiser to be announced soon at www.facebook.com/marc.potocsky. Photo courtesy of Marc Potocsky

Potocsky Puts His Art and Heart into Creating the ‘Clara Barton Red Heart Medal’

Published March 17, 2021 08:30 a.m.

In the heart of the pandemic last spring, artist Marc Potocsky was praying for inspiration to find a way to honor the brave men and women healthcare workers putting their lives on the line to help others. His prayers were answered with an image he quickly captured on canvas.

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The Sound

With decades of service to veterans, the Branford community, and in the military, Dennis Flanigan was selected to receive the Branford Elks’ Lodge #1939 Veteran of the Year Award. Dennis was presented with the award on Feb. 20. Photo by Lisa Arpin

Branford Elks Recognize Flanigan as Veteran of the Year and For His Service to Town

Published March 10, 2021 08:30 a.m.

With decades of service to veterans, his community in Branford, and in the military, Dennis Flanigan was selected to receive the Branford Elks’ Lodge #1939 Veteran of the Year Award.

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The Sound

Mike Mullen rose through the ranks of Indian Neck/Pine Orchard Volunteer Fire Co. 9 over the decades, first serving as an officer in the rescue squad, and then, at age 22, as lieutenant of Co. 9. In 1986, he was elected Co. 9 captain, the same post once held by his dad, former Branford Fire Chief Peter Mullen. Mike Mullen served as Co. 9 captain until January, 2021, when he officially retired. Photo by Sandy Hawthorne

Many Milestones with Co. 9 for Newly-Retired Captain Mike Mullen

Published March 03, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Mike Mullen was 16 years old when he joined up with Indian Neck Volunteer Fire Co. 9 in 1974, and for a pretty good reason: His dad, the late Peter Mullen, captained Co. 9 at the time (and went on to serve as Branford’s fire chief, for many years, in the years the followed).

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The Sound

Since October 2020, the first Saturday of every month at Cynthia’s Flower Shop in Branford is Solidarity Saturday, when owner Cynthia Purcell offers small, stunning floral arrangements designed with a local charitable organization in mind. She gives 100 percent of the funds from every Solidarity Saturday arrangement sold to the month’s selected local non-profit group. So far, the program has pumped $3,625 into local programs supporting those impacted by the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Cynthia Purcell

Cynthia’s Flower Shop Keeps Contributing to the Community

Published Feb. 24, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Contributing to the community has been a constant theme at Cynthia’s Flower Shop since owner Cynthia Purcell first opened her Branford business in 1992

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The Sound

Cindy Genzano led the expansion and success of the North Branford High School (NBHS) drama program for more than 36 years, until a pandemic scene stealer brought down the curtain. Photo courtesy of Cindy Genzano

A Well-Deserved Curtain Call for Cindy Genzano

Published Feb. 17, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Cindy Genzano led the expansion and success of the North Branford High School (NBHS) drama program for more than 36 years, until a pandemic scene stealer brought down the curtain—and dimmed the lights on the opportunity for Cindy’s fans and friends to congratulate her and send her off on her retirement with a well-deserved curtain call.

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The Sound

For 14 years, Karen Miller has been providing supportive care as a nurse at Connecticut Hospice in Branford in addition to volunteering with several supportive programs along the shoreline, including SARAH Tuxis Residential & Community Resources, which provides support services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in multiple towns including Branford and North Branford.

Photo courtesy of Karen Miller

Karen Miller: Knowing Her Values and Living Them

Published Feb. 10, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Growing up, Karen Miller lived in a multifamily house with her cousins. The older cousin was a nurse and Karen admired her.

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The Sound

Keeping a schedule is no problem for Community Dining Room (CDR) volunteer delivery driver Leo Whelan, who drove trains for 40 years before retiring from the job nine years ago. The Branford resident began volunteering with CDR 15 years ago as a homebound meal delivery driver and was trained by the program’s founder, the late Betsy Klarman.

Photo courtesy of Leo Whelan

Whelan’s Volunteer ‘Drive’ Helps CDR

Published Feb. 03, 2021 08:30 a.m.

When it comes to volunteering to drive meals to the homebound for Community Dining Room (CDR), you might say Leo Whelan is “driven” to help—and that he learned from the best: CDR Home Delivery founder Betsy Klarman, for whom the program was named, posthumously, in 2019.

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The Sound

Reaching out through social media, Jackie Ford recently hosted a virtual collection drive help donors purchase and drop-ship new, life-like baby dolls to give to those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s while receiving assistance from Orchard House Medical Adult Day Center in Branford. It’s one of many different volunteer efforts spearheaded by Jackie, who is also an active member of Branford social media volunteer group #Volunteer-ItsWhatWeDo. Photo courtesy of Jackie Ford

Baby Dolls and Beyond: Ford Makes Connections to Help Others

Published Jan. 27, 2021 08:30 a.m.

As a member of Branford social media group #Volunteer-ItsWhatWeDo and through her own efforts to help others during the pandemic, Jackie Ford found a way to bring baby dolls, comfort, and joy to non-profit Orchard House Medical Adult Day Center in Branford.

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The Sound

Branford’s James Blackstone Library presents a new lecture series, Awakening to Change, which kicks off Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. with a talk by Debby Irving, author of Waking up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race. To register and receive a meeting link, visit blackstonelibrary.org. Photo courtesy of Debby Irving

‘Waking Up White’ Author Debby Irving Kicks Off Blackstone’s ‘Awakening to Change’ Series

Published Jan. 20, 2021 08:30 a.m.

“I was age 48 when I started really waking up. How did I go half a century like that?” asks racial justice educator and writer Debby Irving, author of the award winning book, Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race.

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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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