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Person of the Week

Publications

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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The Sound

Since April 6, Jessica Ingarra, 22, has photographed unique portraits of more than 70 different North Branford and Northford families during the COVID-19 quarantine, as a local photographer volunteering to participate in The Front Porch Project. To date, her efforts have raised $1,715 for The Food Pantry of North Branford. Photo by Adriana Ingarra

Ingarra’s Eye Captures ‘Front Porch Project’ for North Branford

Published June 03, 2020 08:30 a.m.

A community project idea born March 17 as #TheFrontStepsProject quickly spread from its Needham, Massachusetts origins and became The Front Porch Project, inspiring local photographers around the country, including Jessica Ingarra of North Branford.

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The Sound

When COVID-19 closed the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter, Program Coordinator Amber Fearnley adapted to assist both animals and people in need during the pandemic through her work with the shelter and as a volunteer with Branford Counseling and Community Services. She’s shown here with Everest, one of her four rescue pets (she’s also adoptive mom to another dog, Remy, together with a turtle and a guinea pig). 

Photo courtesy of Amber Fearnley

Cosgrove Shelter’s Fearnley Helping People and Pets During COVID-19

Published May 27, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Like most who work or volunteer at an animal shelter, Amber Fearnley has adopted quite a tribe of rescues (to date, it includes a turtle, a guinea pig, and two dogs).

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The Sound

Matt LaPrino no doubt had a bit of a different vision of what his first day serving as the executive director of Soundview Family YMCA would be like. But that didn’t stop him from charting a new course to bring community connections and services to members and residents in the towns of Branford, North Branford, East Haven, Guilford and Madison during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo courtesy of Matt LaPrino

LaPrino’s Leadership Charts Course for Soundview Y COVID-19 Community Assistance

Published May 20, 2020 08:30 a.m.

“Monday, March 23, was my first official day. That was the day that the governor shut down non-essential businesses like the YMCA, because it’s considered a gym. But the Y is so much more than that.”

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The Sound

Branford Parks & Recreation Toddlers Instructor Erica McNamara has created Miss Erica’s Toddler Videos on YouTube to share stories, activities, and much more with toddlers during the pandemic. The shows features McNamara in her home’s mini-classroom with the three McNamara children (that’s Benson, 6, at work in the background). The YouTube channel now has more than a dozen Miss Erica shows, and counting—and an appreciative and growing audience tuning in for more. Image capture from YouTube

Stay Tuned for More of ‘Miss Erica’s Toddler Videos’

Published May 06, 2020 08:30 a.m.

When the pandemic closed the doors of the Branford Community House in March, Erica McNamara opened a digital window to her toddler classroom by creating Miss Erica’s Toddler Videos on YouTube.

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The Sound

As emergency preparedness coordinator/health educator for East Shore District Health Department (ESDHD), and Connecticut Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Region 2 lead (as well as heading MRC’s Shoreline Unit), Daisy Hernandez oversees some key COVID-19 crisis-focused efforts supporting public health and medical needs in this area. Photo courtesy of Daisy Hernandez

Hernandez Helps Keep Shoreline Prepared in a Pandemic

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

Ever since she started working in emergency preparedness, Daisy Hernandez’s main focus has been mostly training to prepare for natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and blizzards.

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The Sound

COVID-19 has temporarily stamped out the May 9 Letter Carriers’ drive that usually brings Branford Food Pantry (BFP) up to 8,000 pounds of donations in just one day. BFP Vice President Jaye Andrews is hoping the community can help drive donations in to assist the rising number of families relying on receiving free weekly groceries from BFP.

Photo courtesy of the Branford Food Pantry

Andrews Assisting Branford Food Pantry in Extraordinary Time of Need

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

COVID-19 has temporarily stamped out an annual food drive that usually brings Branford Food Pantry (BFP) up to 8,000 pounds of donations in just one day.

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The Sound

As a project manager for FIP Construction of Farmington, Stony Creek resident Tim Barry was part of a team that put in place three COVID-19 Triage Trailers and assessment tents, at three different emergency facilities, in just one week’s time. Photo by Amy Barry

Tim Barry Joins Team Effort to Construct COVID-19 Triage Trailers & Testing Tents

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

When Tim Barry and his team started working on a hospital interior renovation project in January, their goal was to be finished in under a year.

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The Sound

In North Branford, Northford resident Debbie DeLillo is now a leader of a mask-making village of sewers, pattern cutters, and others helping her to donate hundreds of the protective face coverings to those who need them most. Photo courtesy of Debbie DeLillo

DeLillo Helps Lead a Village to Make Masks for Others

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

She didn’t plan it this way, but Debbie DeLillo is now a leader of a mask-making village of sewers, pattern cutters, and others helping her to donate hundreds of the protective face coverings to those who need them most.

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The Sound

When the state’s gyms were ordered closed on March 16, Branford resident Lisa Peterson, the leader and trainer of Lisa’s Bike & Bootcamp Studio, loaned out all of her studio equipment to keep her family of 300-plus clients on track with exercise and training routines they can do with her from home, following daily videos she produces online.

Photo by Gabby Peterson

Lisa’s Bike & Bootcamp Rolls Out Support for Members

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

When Governor Ned Lamont ordered all gyms closed as of March 16 to help slow community spread of COVID-19, Lisa...

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The Sound

As local schools were shutting buildings down in response to COVID-19, Jim Woodworth was coordinating an emergency plan for 3,000 to 4,000 baby brown trout, or fry, being fostered in Trout in the Classroom tanks, including those in North Branford and Branford public schools. Photo courtesy of Jim Woodworth

Woodworth Works with Local Schools to Sustain Trout in the Classroom

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

As local schools were announcing shutting buildings down in response to COVID-19, Jim Woodworth was coordinating an emergency plan for 3,000 to 4,000 baby brown trout, or “fry,” being fostered in Trout in the Classroom (TIC) tanks, including those in four tanks spread out at public schools in North Branford and Branford.

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The Sound

Harold Shapiro’s Luminous Instruments solo exhibit currently lights up the main gallery at Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven. The North Branford native was first inspired to tinker with lights and lighting growing up on his family farm, while his roots in photography and music are tied to his school years in town. Photo by Harold Shapiro

Shapiro’s Eye Captures Music in Motion

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

With Luminous Instruments, Harold Shapiro marries his remarkable musicianship, passion for photography, and love of light. The result? Breathtaking images of instruments captured in a dance of light and dynamic motion.

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The Sound

Shown here helping 4th grade girls cross the finish line at the 2019 Girls Coach, Girls Run (GCGR) 5K Fun Run, Tara Henry (right) has experienced the empowerment of the Women & Family Life Center (WFLC) program in all of its stages—as a 4th-grade participant, an 8th-grade coach-in-training, and high school head coach. GRGC is now branching out to Branford, where Tara will be the head coach for a group that will meet at Tisko Elementary School beginning in April. Photo courtesy of the Women & Family Life Center

Sharing the Empowerment of ‘Girls Coach, Girls Run’

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

If anyone understands the empowerment of the ages and stages of Girls Coach, Girls Run (GCGR), it’s Tara Henry.

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The Sound

Ronald “Ron” DeNuzzo has had a long career in law enforcement, one that started shortly after his stint in the Navy and that continues today through service as a school resource officer in North Branford. Photo courtesy of Ronald Denuzzo

Ron DeNuzzo: A Desire to Serve

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

As an individual who served in the U.S. military, had an extensive career in law enforcement and is now a school resource officer in North Branford, Ronald “Ron” DeNuzzo understands what it means to put the larger goals of an organization before his own interests.

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The Sound

Branford artist Jean Polka, shown her with her brown pelican painting that’s featured on her calling card, has helped the Blackstone Library by donating her art. Most recently, she helped to put together an homage to the town, its history, locales and lore, as a pivotal member of the Branford 375th Anniversary Commemorative Map Committee. 

Photo courtesy of Jean Polka

Jean Polka’s Artful Assist to Branford and the Blackstone Library

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

With seemingly boundless energy and a special talent as a watercolor and sketch artist, Jean Polka has been very generous in giving back to her hometown of Branford.

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The Sound

As a benefactor, volunteer and board member of Shoreline Arts Alliance (SAA), Steve Kops will happily don the king’s crown and encourage all to join the krewe (Mardi Gras lingo for the organization that puts on a parade or ball during Carnival season) at this year’s SAA Mardi Gras Gala on Saturday, Feb. 29. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

King-Sized Support for Shoreline Arts Alliance

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

To benefit and support the artistic talents of students from Branford, North Branford, and 22 other shoreline towns between East Haven and Lyme, Steve Kops will happily don the king’s crown and join his krewe and many revelers at this year’s Shoreline Arts Alliance (SAA) Mardi Gras Gala on Saturday, Feb. 29.

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The Sound

Now employed by Shoreline Prime Meats & Deli in Branford, Sky Bussey got his start with vocational training offered by Community Dining Room (shown here). Now, he’s hoping his story will inspire other organizations and businesses to connect with school district programs such as the one he experienced through Branford Public Schools’ ‘Access Transition’ program. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Sky Bussey Hopes More Will Offer ‘Access’ to Success

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

By offering him a variety of vocational training, some local groups and businesses have made a huge difference in Sky Bussey’s ability to nail down a great job.

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The Sound

Daniel Hand High School Assistant Principal Melanie Whitcher previously worked as a math coordinator for the school and as a math teacher and coach in Branford. The North Branford resident has a master's degree in teaching and a sixth-year degree in educational leadership. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Sound

Melanie Whitcher: Math Smarts + People Skills = Career in Education

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

Melanie Whitcher's career path to become Daniel Hand High School's new assistant principal began in a rather unusual place—in college as a business major with a focus on accounting.

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The Sound

Shoreline Community Church (SCC) Special Events Coordinator Rachel Kalman says there’s a big team to thank for bringing Night to Shine to this area on Feb. 7, including SCC Pastor Paul Allen and event co-lead (and church secretary) Vanessa Fleming-Redd as well as many other church members and community members and businesses. 

Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

For Kalman, Teamwork Makes SCC’s Night to Shine

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

It’s nearly time to roll out the red carpet for the shoreline’s first-ever Night to Shine, and Rachel Kalman says it’s all coming together thanks to some incredible teamwork and community support.

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The Sound

Among his other community connections, Dan Armin is a board member of Community Dining Room (CDR) who helped spearhead the recent expansion of CDR’s North Branford/Northford home delivery service, which is now operating out of a new satellite location at St. Andrews Church in Northford. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Armin Helps CDR Home Delivery Grow in North Branford

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

With a great track record of helping his hometown and helping others, Dan Armin is the perfect person to spearhead the expansion of the North Branford homebound home meals delivery program for Branford-based Community Dining Room (CDR).

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The Sound

North Branford’s Alex DeFrancesco, proprietor and head brewer of Stewards of the Land Brewery, has brought a “true Connecticut farm brewery” to his hometown, while also serving up a special place to create community. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Alex DeFrancesco: A True ‘Steward of the Land’

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

Long before opening Stewards of the Land Brewery in North Branford on Nov. 1, 2019, Alex DeFrancesco was brewing up ideas to bring a “true Connecticut farm brewery” to his hometown, while also serving up a special place to create community.

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The Sound

Since 1999, Rabbi Yossi Yaffe has led Chabad of the Shoreline. Together with his wife, Rochel Baila Yaffe, he has helped to foster, educate, and celebrate the heritage of the area’s Jewish community, as well as working to bolster that identity by offering special programs. 

Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Sharing the Spirit of Chabad

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

Just as he has done for several years, every night during Chanukah (celebrated Dec. 22 to 29 in 2019), Rabbi Yossi Yaffe of Chabad of the Shoreline successively lit the candles of large, public menorahs on the Branford, Guilford, and East Haven town greens

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