Monday, January 25, 2021

Person of the Week

Guilford Courier

Noemi Zelanski Kearns, a Guilford mom of three and founding principal and creative director of Ink&Pixel (formerly How2Designs) of Guilford, is giving back to her community by providing the pro bono services of her agency to create and brand Guilford High School’s (GHS) new Grizzlies mascot, and develop a plan so school-based sales of official sports merchandise will channel back to GHS to offset costs for new uniforms and more.Photo by Lanny Nagler Photography

Kearns Gives New GHS Grizzlies Mascot a Creative Assist

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

When it comes to navigating the needs of creating and branding Guilford High School's (GHS) new Grizzlies mascot, and developing a plan so school-based sales of official sports merchandise will channel back to GHS to offset costs for new uniforms and customizing a gym floor graphic, perhaps there's no better person for the job than Noemi Zelanski Kearns.

Read More

The Source

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. 20, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Thayer Talbott gets to do something special at work: Give away money. Now, wait a minute; that’s not to just anyone.

Read More

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.

Read More

North Haven Courier

After learning about StudioBE’s efforts to perform The Nutcracker from his neighbor, Bryan Lauriat wanted to support the arts and found a new interest. Photo courtesy of Bryan Lauriat

Bryan Lauriat Discovers Passion for the Arts through Nutcracker Sponsorship

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

Growing up in North Haven, Bryan Lauriat has fond memories of his days playing baseball and hockey, including playing both at North Haven High School.

Read More

East Haven Courier

Joe Ciscone has served the Town of East Haven as a firefighter in different capacities for more than three decades. Photo courtesy of Joe Ciscone

Joe Ciscone Fulfills Childhood Dream of Becoming a Firefighter

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

Ever since he can remember, Joe Ciscone has been drawn to firefighting.

Read More

Valley Courier

Artist and animal welfare advocate Cari Jansen has, with her partner Garret Sands, turned Spruce Ledge Tree Farm into a working farm and a place for creativity to flourish. 

Photo courtesy of Cari Jansen

Cari Jansen: I Think That I Shall Never See...

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

It happens every year after the holidays are over: What to do with the tree?

Read More

Harbor News

Some people just know how to put on a show. For Clinton’s Sam Reed, that includes the annual holiday light show he creates at his family home each winter, as well as his passion for theater end music. Photo courtesy of Sam Reed

Thriving In—and Adding to—the Creative Community

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

During this holiday season did you take time to drive by the light show at Frederick Place in Clinton?

Read More

East Haven Courier

Growing up in East Haven, Giana Fazzino is excited to return to her childhood alma maters as a social worker. Photo courtesy of Giana Fazzino

EHPS Social Worker Giana Fazzino Returns to Her Roots

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

Giana Fazzino has always loved school, reading, and writing. She has fond memories of her early years at Carbone Elementary School (now East Haven Academy) and East Haven Middle School.

Read More

The Source

Cooper Schwartz is making a difference through his socially conscious company, Hedgehog Beanies, with each sale adding up to give another cozy cap, as well as warm socks and gloves, to homeless folks enduring New England’s winter cold.

Photo courtesy of Cooper Schwartz

Heads Up: Schwartz’s Hedgehog Beanies Help the Homeless

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

In the heat of the summer, Cooper Schwartz was sweating the details on launching his socially conscious company, Hedgehog Beanies.

Read More

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.

Read More

North Haven Courier

At the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce’s annual Women’s Achievement Awards, a virtual event on Thursday, Jan. 28, Nanette Pastore will be presented with the Woman of the Year award. Photo courtesy of Nanette Pastore

Nanette Pastore Named Woman of the Year by Quinnipiac Chamber

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

The Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual Women’s Achievement Awards as a virtual event on Thursday, Jan. 28, honoring seven local women, including North Haven resident Nanette Pastore.

Read More

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.

Read More

The Source

Captain Eva Van Camp’s U.S. Coast Guard career has taken her from the Pacific to the Deepwater Horizon response in the Gulf of Mexico and now to serving as commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard

Capt. Eva Van Camp Takes on the Hardest Jobs as Coast Guard Leader, Trailblazer

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

Strength and service. That’s what U.S. Coast Guard Captain Eva Van Camp, who oversees hundreds of miles of dangerous waters along the Connecticut and Long Island shoreline, spoke of from her New Haven office along the harbor.

Read More

Valley Courier

Chester cheerleader Mandy Carroll is helping the merchants’ group spread the word about the “magical, creative” town through T-shirts, Instagram, and the Internet. 

Photo courtesy of Mandy Carroll

Mandy Carroll: The Merchant of Chester

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

Mandy Carroll says she should have seen it all coming at the beginning on 2020 when she was asked to design the T-shirt for Chester Rotary’s Four on the Fourth race.

Read More

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.

Read More

North Haven Courier

Dan Montgomery will do whatever it takes to support a great cause; he’s shown here on Dec. 12 chairing a Toy Drive event in the Washington Commons Plaza on behalf of non-profit Kids for Kids Dancing for Life, Inc. Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier

This Dance Dad Steps Up: Montgomery Helps ‘Kids for Kids’ and More

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

Whether it’s standing outside for hours in the freezing rain or breaking out his “Dance Dads” sneakers, Dan Montgomery will step up to support a great cause, and he’s found another one in his volunteer work with non-profit Kids for Kids Dancing for Life, Inc.

Read More

East Haven Courier

Eric Casner, aka DJ Cassinova, brought his love of music to others as a quarantine DJ in the early COVID days and has recently seen a return of community support in a time of need. Photo courtesy of Eric Casner

Eric Casner Sees Community Giving Come Full Circle

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

Eric Casner has always made helping others a priority and whenever he could lend a hand to those in need, he took the opportunity. Having recently had an accident that resulted in two surgeries and nerve damage throughout his leg, Eric has seen that community support come back to him and his family.

Read More

North Haven Courier

Dan Montgomery will do whatever it takes to support a great cause; he’s shown here on Dec. 12 chairing a Toy Drive event in the Washington Commons Plaza on behalf of non-profit Kids for Kids Dancing for Life, Inc. Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier

This Dance Dad Steps Up: Montgomery Helps ‘Kids for Kids’ and More

Published Jan. 04, 2021 08:16 a.m.

Dan Montgomery will step up to support a great cause; and he’s found another one in his volunteer work with non-profit Kids for Kids Dancing for Life, Inc.

Read More

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.

Read More

North Haven Courier

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 North Haven’s Animal Haven. Photo courtesy of Sal Anastasio

‘Happy Holidays from Sal Anastasio’ CD Benefits Local Causes

Published Dec. 23, 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...

Read More

Valley Courier

A self-described Chester cheerleader, Carol LeWitt is one of the local stakeholders behind the Chester Leadership Fund. Photo courtesy of Carol LeWitt

Carol LeWitt: An Opening to the Future

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

Closing down in the face of COVID-19 was an unexpected problem. Opening up once again, though most welcome, has its challenges, too. And it is those challenges to which Carol LeWitt has been devoting time and energy.

Read More

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.

Read More

East Haven Courier

Inspired by her mother’s cancer treatments and the other women met at the hospital, Gianna Kasynak organized a fundraiser to benefit Yale’s Breast Cancer Awareness floor. Photo courtesy of Gianna Kasynak

Gianna Kasynak Hosts Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser

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

Over the past few years, Gianna Kasynak’s family has faced a number of health challenges.

Read More

Guilford Courier

Clinton Teacher of the Year and Presidential Excellence winner Stephanie Quarato of Guilford 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 Dec. 16, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Guilford resident 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.

Read More

The Source

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/The Source

Deborah Gilbert is Celebrating the Local Arts Scene

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

Deborah Gilbert developed a love of the performing arts at an early age growing up in Madison and North Branford.

Read More

East Haven Courier

Mayor Joe Carfora recently appointed Tom Murtagh to the East Haven Board of Education. Photo courtesy of Tom Murtagh

Tom Murtagh Looks Forward to Giving Back on BOE

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

When a seat recently opened on the East Haven Board of Education (BOE), Mayor Joe Carfora reflected on the mission of the BOE, the future of East Haven schools, and the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19 as he decided who would be appointed.

Read More

North Haven Courier

Lauren Grogan spearheaded an effort to create recess bags for all of North Haven Public Schools’ students in pre-K through 5th grade. Photo courtesy of Lauren Grogan

Lauren Grogan Brings Recess Bags to Every Elementary Student in North Haven

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

Thanks to the efforts of Lauren Grogan and donations from residents and local businesses, every student from preschool to 5th grade will receive a recess bag.

Read More

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.

Read More

Valley Courier

Retired banker Jack Frost is deeply invested in making the local community a better place, particularly for those with developmental challenges. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Jack Frost: Help is on the Way

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

When Jack Frost retired five years ago, he changed his business card. In his professional career, it read Banker. In retirement, he changed it to read Helper. When people ask him what that means, his answer is succinct: “I help.”

Read More

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.

Read More