Friday, January 15, 2021

East Haven Courier Person of the Week

Valley Courier

As vice president for programs and operations at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Thayer Talbott has seen the community step up to help neighbors in need during the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Thayer Talbott

Thayer Talbott: It’s All About Community

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

Thayer Talbott gets to do something special at work: Give away money.

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Harbor News

Gardener extraordinaire for the Old Saybrook Historical Society, Bonnie Penders wants to share her enthusiasm and hard-won experience with others.

Photo courtesy of Bonnie Penders

Bonnie Penders: A Wise Yet Modest Gardener

Published Jan. 06, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Old Saybrook Historical Society’s celebrated gardener Bonnie Penders is an advanced master gardener, a certified Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut (FGCC) landscape design consultant, and the 2020 recipient of the FGCC’s prestigious Ellen Carder Memorial Award for noteworthy horticulture achievement.

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Harbor News

Clinton nurse Ivette Medina is taking healthcare talents outside the hospital through a rock-painting initiative aimed at getting people outside and engaged in the community. Photo courtesy of Ivette Medina

Creative an Active Community—Through Rocks

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

“There was a big sense of fear and rightfully so, because we didn’t know a lot when it started,” Ivette Medina recalls about the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the shoreline area.

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Harbor News

Faced with the prospect of another canceled graduation event, Kristin Cafferty stepped up to ensure The Morgan School Class of 2021 will have something to celebrate—safely. Photo courtesy of Kristin Cafferty

Planning a Safe Celebration for the Class of 2021

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

In the midst of all the school activities that were canceled as a result of COVID-19 such as prom, sports games, and school itself, one event might have been overlooked: Clinton’s Project Graduation.

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Harbor News

Bill Fish has been able to put his finance skills to work for the Westbrook Energy Committee, helping the town save significant money through energy efficiency investments over the past eight years. Photo courtesy of Bill Fish

Bill Fish: A Bright Light in Westbrook

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

When retiring from an eight-year stint on a town committee, it’s nice to be able to say your work will save the town a million dollars.

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Harbor News

In 2019, John May joined the Clinton Economic Development Commission and the former teacher has helped hone its focus on generating opportunities for youth entering the manufacturing fields. Photo courtesy of John May

Finding Ways to Make a Difference

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

From a recent political campaign to working with the town’s Economic Development Commission (EDC), John May is a name that people in Clinton are getting used to hearing regularly. How John got to Clinton is anything but a typical story.

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Harbor News

Helping ensure all her neighbors can celebrate the holidays is a key part of Dee Tully’s involvement in the Rotary Club of Clinton. Photo courtesy of Dee Tully

Dee Tully: The Drive Behind the Food Drive

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

Every year since 2008, the Clinton Rotary Club and Liberty Bank have partnered for the Rotary/Liberty Bank Thanksgiving Dinner Drive to raise money for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantry. Each year, Dee Tully has been instrumental in making that drive run smoothly.

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Harbor News

Old Saybrook history buff Laura Parker Gray stands in front of the 1853 map of Saybrook (which then included Essex and deep River) at Town Hall. Photo by David Gray

Laura Parker Gray: Using Her Voice for the Voiceless

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

Asked how she has time for everything she does, Laura Parker Gray explains that she doesn’t watch television.

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Harbor News

The Little Free Pantry in Clinton came about thanks to Christine Baker and, as she puts it, “the whole neighborhood.” Photo courtesy of Christine Baker

Christine Baker: ‘It’s About the Neighborhood’

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

About two months ago, Christine Baker was watching Channel 3 news when a story about something in Windsor called a Little Free Pantry caught her eye.

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Harbor News

Geraldine Brown Giomblanco had been collecting a lifetime of stories in her head, but it was a chance meeting of her future husband at a marina that led to her authoring Geraldina & the Compass Rose: One Woman’s Faith-Filled Journey to Find Love. A Memoir. Photo courtesy of Geraldine Brown Giomblanco

For Geraldine Brown Giomblanco, It’s About the Journey

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

Geraldine Brown Giomblanco may be a relatively new resident of Clinton, but pretty soon her story will be well known. Geraldine wrote an award-winning book published in 2019 that is in the process of being turned into a film by a production company.

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Harbor News

The shoreline’s first build by Middlesex Habitat for Humanity is going well in Westbrook, thanks to volunteers overseen by Construction Site Manager Jonathan Good. 

Photo by Aviva Luria/Harbor News

Jonathan Good: Building for the Good of Community

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

Habitat for Humanity works from the premise that affordable housing is the foundation on which stable families and communities are built.

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Harbor News

Justin Teague, a software consultant by day, also volunteers on the Clinton Sustainability Committee and pursues his hobbies through his downtown shop Akiba Underground and travel. This picture was taken during a trip to Tokyo. Photo courtesy of Justin Teague

Helping his Hometown Thrive

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

Justin Teague has long appreciated Clinton’s natural beauty, in particular the marshes and bird sanctuaries by the rivers.

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Harbor News

Clinton Teacher of the Year and Presidential Excellence winner Stephanie Quarato is, like her colleagues across the nation, keeping classes moving ahead despite the current COVID-related challenges. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Quarato

Stephanie Quarato is Making the Grade and More

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

Stephanie Quarato wasn’t a big fan of math class when she was a middle school student. In fact, it was one she struggled with.

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Harbor News

Since arriving in town six years ago, Michael Hornyak has served on numeorous boards and committees, including the Charter Revision Committee that proposed the successful adoption of a new form of town government. Photo courtesy of Michael Hornyak

Michael Hornyak: A Newcomer at the Center of the Action

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

Though he has only lived in Clinton for six years, Michael Hornyak has quickly made a name for himself in Clinton.

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Harbor News

Experience helping family led Becky Cuevas to where she is today, leading ACES Head Start in Middlesex County. Photo courtesy of Becky Cuevas

Becky Cuevas: A Focus on Family

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

Becky Cuevas’s concern for struggling families has deep roots. A native of New Haven, Becky was around 15 years old when she became an advocate for members of her own large and close-knit family, many of whom had come to Connecticut from Puerto Rico and weren’t fluent speakers of English.

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Harbor News

When outdoor tennis season winds down, Kevin Joyce switches gear (and strategy) by shifting to paddle tennis. Photo by Rita Christopher/Harbor News

Kevin Joyce: Paddle Tennis Anyone?

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

Do what your physician recommends: exercise. But how to do it in the era of COVID-19, especially with warm weather dissolving into fall and winter? Old Saybrook native Kevin Joyce has a suggestion. Play paddle tennis.

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Harbor News

Clinton’s Deborah Gilbert brings her appreciation of and insight into the local arts scene through her VSCTV program Arts and Entertainment with Deborah Gilbert. Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Deborah Gilbert is Celebrating the Local Arts Scene

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

Deborah Gilbert developed a love of the performing arts at an early age. During a recent chat, Deborah recalls the feeling of excitement she got when she would get on stage in elementary school plays or singing in the chorus.

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Harbor News

From his tiny house in Clinton, Mark Kimball Moulton lives a very large life.

Photo by Aviva Luria/Harbor News

Mark Kimball Moulton: Embracing New Challenges

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

For those inclined to believe in reincarnation, Mark Kimball Moulton seems to have lived many lives in one.

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Harbor News

Catherine Zamecnik is dedicated to sharing her appreciation of the natural world with new generations. Photo courtesy of Catherine Zamecnik

Catherine Zamecnik Works Toward a More Connected and Stable Environment

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

Catherine Zamecnik has always been interested in the outdoors. Growing up in West Haven, Catherine has fond memories of her childhood running around on the beach with her friends. That love of the outdoors continues in her current role as the chair of Clinton’s Conservation Commission.

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Harbor News

Clinton PTA President Heather Moore has taken the reins of a very active organization at a time when every bit of help is needed. Photo courtesy of Heather Moore

Heather Moore: Leading Through a Time of Uncertainty

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

As the new school year gets ready to start, big changes are also coming to the Clinton PTA.

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Harbor News

Starting as the new director of the Westbrook Public library amidst a pandemic has allowed Tim Kellogg to familiarize himself with facility before the library begins a gradual and careful reopening. Photo courtesy of the Westbrook Public Library

Timothy Kellogg: Respecting the Past, Embracing the Future

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

What’s it like to step into the directorship of a public library in the middle of an international pandemic and after the retirement of the former director, who served a community that adored him for 40 years?

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Harbor News

A familiar face at town fields and Town Hall, Tim Guerra has been an active Clinton citizen for decades. Photo courtesy of Tim Guerra

Tim Guerra: Helping the Town Move Forward

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

Whether through coaching their kids in Little League, going for walks around town, or serving on the town’s boards and commissions, Tim Guerra is a familiar face to many in Clinton.

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Harbor News

Though it took until retirement for Karen Nourse to achieve her dream, the Clinton author is now on a tear publishing children’s books. Photo courtesy of Karen Nourse

Living the Dream as a Children’s Book Author

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

Most people can remember the first career they seriously wanted to pursue when they were a teenager, but how many people can say they actually gave that career a shot, let alone decades later?

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Harbor News

When disaster strikes—whether it’s a sudden storm or the relentless creep of sea level rise—Doug McCracken knows the importance of having a plan.

Photo courtesy of Doug McCracken

McCracken Knows the Need to Be Ready

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

After Tropical Storm Irene whipped across Connecticut on the last Sunday in August in 2011, followed that autumn by the bizarre “Snowtober,” a nor’easter that downed power lines, dumped as much as 24 inches of snow in various towns, and canceled Halloween celebrations, Doug McCracken started a new position: director of emergency preparedness for Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P).

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Valley Courier

Coping with stress is a challenge in the best of times. Licensed counselor Samantha Steinmacher knows these are not the best of times, but she has some excellent ideas to share. Photo courtesy of Samantha Steinmacher

Samantha Steinmacher: Did You Say Stress?

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

Samantha Steinmacher knows stress. In fact, stress is her business and with all the complications of COVID-19, stress has not been in short supply.

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Harbor News

Clinton’s Robert “Woody” Wilkins founded Dances with Wood more tan two decades ago and continues to expand the mission of helping improve lives through hand-crafted projects. Photo courtesy of Woody Wilkins

Still Dancing with Wood—and More

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

“I always tell people the worst compliment you can give me is to call me perfect,” says video storyteller Pat Lore.

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Harbor News

Wendy Mill enjoys giving back to her community as part of Old Saybrook’s Youth & Family Services. Photo courtesy of Wanda Barnes

Wendy Mill: A Sense of Community, Support for Youth

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

For Wendy Mill, her 13 years at Old Saybrook’s Youth & Family Services (YFS) brings together many threads of her life and weaves them together.

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Harbor News

Longtime Registrar of Voters June Hansen is as prepared as can be for the upcoming November elections. Photo courtesy of June Hansen

June Hansen Brings ‘People Person’ Skills to Registrars’ Office

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

Every time there’s an election or referendum in Clinton, people pack into the Town Hall Green Room as polls close and spend the night excitedly talking until the moment the results are about to be announced.

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Harbor News

History, philosophy and law teacher Jeff Motter is retiring after 19 years at The Morgan School. Photo courtesy of Jeff Motter

Jeff Motter Retiring After 19 Years

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

Graduation day wasn’t just the last time at The Morgan School for the Class of 2020, it also was the last day for Jeff Motter, who has retired after 19 years at the school.

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Harbor News

Maple Breeze Farm in Westbrook has long helped to preserve the heritage cow breed the American Milking Devon, and now Bonnie Hall is taking the next step by raising and training two calves, Logan and Morgan (shown here), to work the farm as a set of oxen.

Photo courtesy of Bonnie Hall

Bonnie Hall: Building a Future on Old-Fashioned Farming

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

If things were different, Bonnie Hall would be a vegetarian.

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