Friday, September 30, 2022

The Sound Person of the Week

The Sound

At the age of 90, North Haven resident Peter Balisciano earned his GED. Peter also recently received a certificate from the State of Connecticut in recognition of his military service during the Korean Conflict and the Cold War. Photo courtesy of Peter Balisciano

Peter Balisciano: It’s Never Too Late

Published July 13, 2022 08:30 a.m.

Some people embrace the idea of always seeking knowledge and growing as a person, no matter their age. One such person, Peter Balisciano, lives in North Haven and earlier this year he earned his GED at the age of 90. His love of life, people, and learning are infectious.

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The Sound

From serving in Vietnam to spanning more than three decades of service in the U.S. Army National Guard, to his most recent status as a CT Honor Flights ‘legend,’ Brian Miniter is grateful for his military service and continues to support veterans programs. Among many efforts, he assists by placing flags on Branford military graves and attending commemorative military programs in full dress, as shown here on Memorial Day 2022. Photo by Bill O’Brien

Brian Miniter: Positively Patriotic

Published July 06, 2022 07:52 a.m.

Eighteen-year-old Brian Miniter was two days away from his wedding when his Vietnam draft card came in the mail.

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Harbor News

After a 22-year career at Shore Publishing/Harbor News, former editor Brian Boyd will join the staff at the Vineyard Gazette, a storied 176-year-old weekly on Martha’s Vineyard, as the editor. Photo courtesy of Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd: Hail and Farewell

Published June 29, 2022 08:30 a.m.

I am going to break some time-honored rules about how to write a news story. In fact, I did it with the first word, I. In a news story, as opposed to a column, you never use I. If you have to refer to yourself, you do it in the third person: a reporter asked, not I asked.

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The Sound

As a member of the Community Dining Room (CDR) all-volunteer Program/Outreach Committee and new grandmom to Elle (shown here), Laura Gunneson is working hard to help grow programs centered around the Branford Diaper Bank, a collaborative of Branford-based CDR and Branford Early Learning Center. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Gunneson Helps Branford Diaper Bank Programs Grow

Published June 22, 2022 08:30 a.m.

Laura Gunneson is working hard to help grow programs centered around the Branford Diaper Bank, a collaborative of Branford-based Community Dining Room (CDR) and Branford Early Learning Center (BELC).

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The Sound

North Branford High School (NBHS) Class of 2022 Valedictorian Regan Leete will major in engineering next year at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Photo courtesy of Regan Leete

Hard Work Pays Off: Leete Named 2022 NBHS Valedictorian

Published June 15, 2022 08:30 a.m.

When you learn Regan Leete had her choice of entering Lehigh University or UConn next year, the fact she chose Lehigh’s intimate and rigorous academic setting in Bethlehem, Pa., is telling.

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The Sound

Dale Izzo is now serving her last year as president of the Branford Festival Corporate Board and excited to help bring the three-day festival back to the Town Green from Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19, following two years of cancellations due to the pandemic. 

Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Izzo Welcomes Community Back to the Branford Festival

Published June 08, 2022 08:30 a.m.

When Dale Izzo served as Branford Festival chair in 2003, only extreme weather could stop the ‘Fest from taking place. Fast forward to 2022, when Dale, now serving her last year as president of the Branford Festival Corporate Board, is relieved, delighted, and excited to help bring the three-day festival back to the Town Green.

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The Sound

As interim executive director of DreamKit, North Branford resident Alexandria “Alex” Bode has collaborated with non-profit Community Dining Room (CDR) to deliver DreamKit’s free, fun Learn & Earn Speaker Series. The six-part series, geared to assist unstably housed New Haven area young adults, is set for six Thursdays, June 30 to Aug. 4, from 1 to 3 p.m. at CDR in Branford. Photo courtesy of www.dreamkitapp.com

For Young Adults Facing Homelessness, Bode Delivers DreamKit ‘Learn & Earn’ Series at CDR

Published June 01, 2022 08:30 a.m.

As interim executive director of non-profit DreamKit, Alexandria “Alex” Bode has collaborated with non-profit Community Dining Room (CDR) to deliver an exciting, informative, and potentially life-changing opportunity for unstably housed New Haven area youth under age 25.

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The Sound

After 32 years as probate judge, Frank Forgione has announced he will retire when his current term ends in January 2023. He’s served as Branford-North Branford probate judge since 2011, when the two towns were first combined into one district; and, prior to that, as North Branford probate judge from 1990 to 2010. Forgione said it’s been an honor to serve the residents of both communities, and a privilege to provide individuals and families with compassion and guidance during what’s often a very difficult time. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Forgione’s Probate Judgeship: An Honor and a Privilege

Published May 25, 2022 08:30 a.m.

As Branford-North Branford probate judge, Frank J. Forgione has been honored to serve the residents of both communities and privileged to provide individuals and families with compassion and guidance during what’s often a very difficult time. After 32 years as probate judge, Frank has announced he will retire when his current term ends in January, and will not seek re-election this November.

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The Sound

Shoreline Eldercare Alliance (SEA) President Steve Cudgma encourages shoreline seniors, and those who care for them, to attend SEA’s Celebration of Healthy Aging set for Wednesday,

May 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Woodwinds in Branford. Photo courtesy of Steve Cudgma

Cudgma Helps SEA ‘Celebration of Healthy Aging’ Return

Published May 18, 2022 08:30 a.m.

It’s been a long wait for fans of Shoreline Eldercare Alliance (SEA)’s signature event, but SEA president Steve Cudgma says shoreline seniors, and those who care for them, will be thrilled when SEA welcomes them back to enjoy its Celebration of Healthy Aging on Wednesday, May 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Woodwinds in Branford.

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The Sound

Branford resident and well-known shoreline soccer coach Shane Smith is back in Poland for his second humanitarian trip since the Russian invasion broke out in February. He’s shown here at the April 24 Stand with Ukraine gathering outside the Blackstone Library. 

Photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Sound

Smith Seeks to Help Ukrainians in Need

Published May 11, 2022 08:30 a.m.

Shane Smith’s first trip to Ukraine in 1999 was far different from trips he has undertaken in recent months, on his own, to do what he can to help others in need in a time of war.

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The Sound

Rob Deko, Jr., credits his mother and father for a wonderful childhood filled with life lessons about helping others and the importance of giving back to one’s community.

Photo courtesy of Rob Deko, Jr.

Rob Deko, Jr: Heroes Helping Heroes

Published May 04, 2022 08:30 a.m.

Rob Deko, Jr., comes from a family of helpers, in the form of public service providers via firefighting through his father and nursing via his mother.

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The Sound

For the past 35 years, the James Blackstone Memorial Library has enjoyed the extraordinary effort Frank Zdunek, who works at the town’s iconic building as facilities manager. Frank, a Branford resident, is a native of Poland. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Zdunek’s Handywork Keeps Branford’s Blackstone Library Running

Published April 27, 2022 08:30 a.m.

He may have arrived in Branford speaking no English, carrying a single suitcase and with only $10 in his pocket, but Frank Zdunek feels enriched by the luck that brought him here, and that has helped him to become a beloved member of his adopted hometown.

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The Sound

Former TV journalist Erin Logan doesn’t gloss over some gritty details in her new self-help book, 'Reporting Facts and Running from the Truth' (see book image, next photo). The former Branford resident will be in town for a special book signing on Wednesday, April 27, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Loved Boutique & Resale, 847 West Main Street. 

Photo courtesy of Erin Logan

Logan Shares Self-Worth Journey in ‘Reporting Facts and Running from the Truth’

Published April 20, 2022 08:30 a.m.

Former TV journalist Erin Logan doesn’t gloss over some gritty details in her new self-help book, Reporting Facts and Running from the Truth—A TV Anchor’s Struggle to Find Self-Worth Beyond a Job Title.

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The Sound

Amber Lake teaches 2nd grade at North Branford’s Jerome Harrison Elementary School, where she was named 2019 Teacher of the Year. She’s excited to be entering her fourth year as North Branford Public Schools summer camp co-director (with her co-director of three years, Ryan Dombrowski, a science teacher and science co-department leader at North Branford High School). Now in its 20th year, camp registration is open for kids entering grades 1 to 8, including those from surrounding area towns. Photo courtesy of Amber Lake

Amber Lake is Already Thinking Summer: NBPS Summer Camp, That Is

Published April 13, 2022 08:30 a.m.

It may feel like we just made it to spring, but Amber Lake is already thinking summer—North Branford Public Schools (NBPS) Enrichment Summer Camp, that is.

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The Sound

There’s not much Army veteran and American Legion Post 83 member Philip Zielinski won’t do for his hometown, from acting as Branford’s keeper of the flags to leading ceremonial rife squad duties and even serving as candy field-commander for the town’s annual Easter Egg hunt this Saturday, April 9, at Foote Memorial Park. Photo by Bill O’Brien

Philip Zielinski Fills Many Volunteer Roles for Branford

Published April 06, 2022 08:30 a.m.

There’s not much Philip Zielinski won’t do for his hometown, from acting as Branford’s keeper of the flags, to leading ceremonial rife squad duties, and even serving as candy field-commander for the town’s annual Easter Egg hunt this Saturday, April 9, at Foote Memorial Park.

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The Sound

On Thursday, April 7, at 7 p.m. Dr. Emma Cross will present her timely talk, “The Resilience of Marine Organisms to Future Climate Change,” at Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library in Stony Creek. Registration is open now for the free, in-person talk (also available to attend via Zoom) hosted by all-volunteer Friends of Outer Island as its annual outreach lecture.

Photo courtesy of Emma Cross

A Timely Talk on the Resilience of Marine Organisms to Future Climate Change

Published March 30, 2022 08:30 a.m.

With help from Friends of Outer Island, Dr. Emma Cross will help interested citizens learn about the resilience of marine organisms to future climate change—and how Long Island Sound, a coastal estuary, is already a bit of a bellwether, showing how some types of organisms will tolerate what climate change brings, while others will struggle.

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The Sound

Kim Cellini, interim director of Branford Public Schools Early Childhood Programs, is helping to bring back the Week of the Young Child, including free, fun activities with a focus on early education experiences on the Branford Green on Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additionally, 700 of Branford’s preschool students will receive a copy of Peter H. Reynold’s Be You! read-along book, as part of the the program’s “One Book, One Town” initiative. The program is a collaborative effort of The Family Resource Center, Branford Early Learning Center, and School Readiness Council with funding from the Branford Community Foundation. Photo courtesy of Kim Cellini

Cellini Helps Branford Bring Back ‘Week of the Young Child’

Published March 23, 2022 08:30 a.m.

For many reasons, Kim Cellini couldn’t be more excited about the return of Branford’s celebration of the Week of the Young Child, culminating with a day of fun activities with a focus on early education experiences on the Town Green on Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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The Sound

As Branford Parks and Recreation’s seasoned lifeguard trainer and pool supervisor, Lisa Rathsack is diving in to help community members become trained as certified lifeguards. She will soon head up American Red Cross-certified lifeguard training offered at no cost to recruits who commit to six months of service as a local lifeguard.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Rathsack

A Real Lifesaver for Branford Parks and Recreation

Published March 16, 2022 08:30 a.m.

When it comes to training certified lifeguards to aid swimmers at town beaches and pools, you could say Lisa Rathsack is a real lifesaver.

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The Sound

On Saturday, March 19, those who register in advance can meet The Victorian Lady, straight from the Gilded Age (1890), at Branford’s James Blackstone Memorial Library, 758 Main Street, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Registration for the free program, featuring living history presenter/performer Kandie Carle, is open now at blackstonelibrary.org. Photo courtesy of Kandie Carle

Meet ‘The Victorian Lady’ at the Blackstone

Published March 09, 2022 08:30 a.m.

If you think women’s corsets caused fainting spells during the Gilded Age, think again—and this time, think spandex-style shapewear.

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The Sound

On March 12, retired Branford Public Schools teacher Kathy Nelson will head up Branford Parks & Recreation’s newly named Jeannette Palluzzi Annual Memorial Spelling Bee. Palluzzi, who passed away in 2021, was a great friend, mentor and long-time volunteer leader of the annual Bee, said Nelson. Photo courtesy of Kathy Nelson

Kathy Nelson: How Do You Spell Thank You?

Published March 02, 2022 08:30 a.m.

For Kathy Nelson, the question is, “How do you spell ‘Thank You?’” On March 12, Kathy will head up Branford Parks & Recreation’s newly named Jeannette A. Palluzzi Annual Memorial Spelling Bee

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The Sound

Adult Services Librarian Teresa Holabird is ready to welcome 15 eager teams back to the Edward Smith Library’s annual Puzzle Off on Saturday, March 12. Established at the Northford library by Holabird in 2010, the contest has grown to become one of the state’s most popular puzzle competitions and is returning after a two-year pandemic pause. 

Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Holabird Pieces Together a Winner with Smith’s Annual ‘Puzzle Off’

Published Feb. 23, 2022 08:30 a.m.

Take it from Teresa Holabird, the competition can be fierce during Edward Smith Library’s annual Puzzle Off, which is hands-down one of the hottest contest tickets in the state for puzzle teams. After a two-year pandemic pause, the Puzzle Off returns to the Smith Library in Northford on Saturday, March 12.

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The Sound

Back in 1978, Greg Dillon took his first law enforcement job with the Branford Police Department. He went on to work as a special agent for the FBI and a supervising investigator with the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office. In 1998, Dillon won a landmark whistleblower court ruling against the FBI and his boss, Connecticut’s chief state attorney. Now, his true accounting of events leading up to the trial that took this state by storm, and the fallout from doing the right thing, is revealed in his new book, The Thin Blue Lie: An Honest Cop vs. The FBI (Bombardier Books, Feb. 2022). Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

An Honest Cop vs. the FBI: Dillon’s Story of ‘The Thin Blue Lie’

Published Feb. 16, 2022 08:30 a.m.

Back in 1978, Greg Dillon took his first law enforcement job with the Branford Police Department (BPD). Twenty years later, after working for the FBI, then joining the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, Greg filed—and won—a landmark whistleblower court ruling based on FBI misconduct he’d discovered, reported—and then learned was covered up by his boss at the time: Connecticut’s chief state attorney.

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The Sound

Branford’s Ethan Hershman is moving mountains with Move to Heal, a non-profit seeking to better the lives of those in recovery from addiction, alcoholism, mental health issues, and life traumas by offering a powerful mix of twice-weekly group exercise and recovery meetings together with nutritional counseling, and mental health counseling.

Photo courtesy of Ethan Hershman

Moving Mountains with Move to Heal

Published Feb. 09, 2022 08:30 a.m.

With the commitment of a person in recovery for 28 years, the passion of a dedicated fitness enthusiast, and the drive of a successful entrepreneur, Ethan Hershman is moving mountains with Move to Heal.

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The Sound

In January, Marie-Louise Burkle marked her 20th anniversary as CEO of Autac, the company her father founded in 1947 and moved to its current Branford facility in 1977. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of Autac, a manufacturer of high-quality coiled cords often referred to as “curly cords.” Photo courtesy of Marie-Louise Burkle

Like Father, Like Daughter: Burkle Leads Autac

Published Feb. 02, 2022 08:30 a.m.

At Autac’s website, there’s photo from 1976 of a little girl keeping pace with a towering figure.

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The Sound

With support from his community and loads of talent at hand, Northford’s Michael Horn won a national Christmas music piano competition in December. In two weeks’ time, Michael perfected, recorded, and uploaded his performance of Utah-based composer Jon Cheney’s newly released arrangement “Santa’s Bringing Christmas to Town,” which was viewed and supported by thousands during the contest voting period. Photo by Rachel McPherson

Horn’s Performance Wins National Christmas Piano Music Contest

Published Jan. 26, 2022 08:30 a.m.

With the speed of the Polar Express and the support of his community, Northford’s talented Michael Horn quickly rose to the top to win a national Christmas music piano competition in December.

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The Sound

No matter a cat’s age or stage, non-profit Branford Compassion Club (BCC) is dedicated to feeding, sheltering, and caring for homeless, abandoned, and feral cats and providing many with forever homes across the shoreline and the state. It’s a mission that resonates with Melissa Kelsey, who joined BCC as a volunteer four years ago and was recently elected vice president of the BCC board. Now, Kelsey is helping the board with some big plans to celebrate BCC’s 25th anniversary in 2022. Photo courtesy of Melissa Kelsey

Calling All Cat Lovers: Kelsey Helps BCC Celebrate 25 Years in 2022

Published Jan. 19, 2022 08:30 a.m.

Melissa Kelsey’s favorite personality is a funny, red-haired lady named Lucy. There’s just something about that gorgeous, fuzzy face that makes her smile.

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The Sound

Susan Mulqueen has seen Nonnie’s Toy Closet, which was formed in honor of her late mother, grow over the past six years as it’s been supported by her family and the community at large. Photo courtesy of Susan Mulqueen

Susan Mulqueen Honors Late Mother with Nonnie’s Toy Closet

Published Jan. 12, 2022 08:30 a.m.

When Carol Mulqueen passed away in March 2016, her daughter Susan Mulqueen wanted to find a way to channel her grief to keep memories of her mother close.

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The Sound

As a member of the Guilford Saving Bank (GSB) Non-Profit Committee, and as someone who has turned his love of woodworking into building furniture for his family and friends, Randy Sonzoni raised his hand when Guilford Art Center came to GSB seeking its newest board member. Sonzoni is pictured here with his wife, Alison and their daughter, Brooklyn.

Photo courtesy of Randy Sonzoni

Through GSB, Randy Sonzoni Supports GAC

Published Jan. 05, 2022 10:02 a.m.

As a member of the Guilford Saving Bank (GSB) Non-Profit Committee, and as someone who has turned his love of woodworking into building furniture for his family and friends, Randy raised his hand when Guilford Art Center (GAC) came to GSB seeking its newest board member.

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The Sound

Zoe Johnson of Gracious Gifts and Home uses a special product key throughout her new Branford shop to help customers note whether each unique item has been made by a local artisan, a Connecticut business, a special needs artisan, a small business and/or one that includes a portion of proceeds donated to charity. Her own aromatherapy line in the shop, Zen by Zoe, fits all five categories. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Zoe Johnson Has the Key for Supporting Others, Graciously

Published Dec. 22, 2021 08:30 a.m.

“L CT SN SP $” — that’s the product key 21-year-old Zoe Johnson wants customers to notice when browsing her beautiful new Branford shop, Gracious Gifts and Home.

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The Sound

On Tuesday, Dec. 21, Monica Sullivan will start her day opening the registration window at Branford’s Joe Trapasso Community House for the 34th year in a row. She was hired in 1987 as a Parks & Rec administrative assistant by the building’s namesake, the late Joe Trapasso, who nicknamed her ‘Mighty’ due to her multitasking talents. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

‘Mighty’ Monica Sullivan Marks 34 Years with Branford Parks & Rec

Published Dec. 15, 2021 08:30 a.m.

On Tuesday, Dec. 21, Monica Sullivan will start her day opening the registration window at Branford’s Joe Trapasso Community House for the 34th year in a row.

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