Thursday, October 22, 2020

Valley Courier Person of the Week

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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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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