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January 19, 2020
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Person of the Week

Publications

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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Guilford Courier

Tyler Jarvis is bringing his enthusiastic and welcoming spirit to Guilford’s Christ Episcopal Church, where he has been hired to serve as its new director for Children & Youth Ministries. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Courier

Tyler Jarvis Brings Youthful Enthusiasm to Christ Episcopal Church

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

He grew up enjoying—and leading—Texas-based Church of Christ youth ministry programs

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Valley Courier

Though it took two full years, Margo Valentine oversaw the story of her life move from her handwritten manuscript to finished product. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Margo Valentine: Looking Back

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

If Margo Valentine had not fallen down the stairs while going to a tailor’s shop in 2016, she would not have written a book. But Margo, then 85, did fall down. And she did write a book.

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North Haven Courier

For Patryce Murphy Cintron, skiing (and snowboarding) are more than sport—they’re family traditions she’s actively working to share with others.

Photo courtesy of Patryce Murphy Cintron

Patryce Murphy Cintron Continues Family Skiing Tradition

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

Patryce Murphy Cintron has been skiing since she was a young child—and she’s hoping to entice others into it, as vice president of the North Haven Ski Club.

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East Haven Courier

East Haven’s Art Andrea shares his lifetime of experience sailing the Sound with students through the America’s Boating Course. Photo courtesy of Art Andrea

Art Andrea: Charting His Course

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

Arthur “Art” Andrea will be back in the classroom this January teaching an ABC class.

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The Source

Peggy Lyons combines her knowledge in the financial and investment banking industry, her volunteer experience in various town services, and a global perspective to her position as first selectman for the Town of Madison. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

From Global to Local: Peggy Lyons Shifts Her Purpose

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

As newly elected first selectman serving as the chief executive and chief administrative officer of the Town of Madison, Peggy Lyons will be focused on details large and small of small-town government.

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Harbor News

Eddie Alberino is a longtime volunteer for several of the organizations that help make Clinton safe and welcoming. Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Eddie Alberino: Helping Drive the Direction of Clinton

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

It’s hard to find someone in Clinton who doesn’t know Eddie Alberino. From politics to helping people in emergencies, Eddie has had quite a journey in Clinton.

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The Source

Ralph Buonocore plays Bill Ray in Saybrook Stage Company’s upcoming theater rendition of On Golden Pond from Thursday, Jan. 16 through Sunday, Jan. 19 at The Kate, 300 Main Street, Old Saybrook. Ralph intends to pursue his passion in the performing arts as much as he possibly can. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

Ralph Buonocore Talks Movies, Plays, and Musicals

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

When Ralph Buonocore had two separate opportunities to work as an extra in Hollywood movies starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, he did what any aspiring actor would do.

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North Haven Courier

North Haven filmmaker Ashley Brandon is making her second trip to the Sundance Film Festival as an exhibitor later this month.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Brandon

Brandon Heads Back to Sundance

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

Since arriving in North Haven in 2017 after taking a position as assistant professor of film, television, and media arts at Quinnipiac University, Ashley Brandon quickly cast her filmmaker’s eye around her new environs and found a local music and culture program that inspired her to co-direct a short documentary, which was recently selected to make its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, which runs Thursday, Jan. 23 to Sunday, Feb. 2 in Utah.

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Guilford Courier

Growing up in Guilford, Robert Iovanna began formal vocal training as a child. He now shares his talent—and rare style of classical singing—in his work as a highly sought shoreline instructor and as a Branford police office who lends his voice to support charitable police causes. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Courier

A Man of Many Talents: Classical Tenor (and Cop) Robert Iovanna

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

When Guilford native Robert Iovanna joined the Branford police force about three years ago, he brought 17 years of big-city law enforcement experience and his reputation as “The Singing Hartford Cop.”

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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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Harbor News

After more than two decades of serving in Clinton as a police officer (among other roles) Jerry Dunn (shown here with Boston and Amigo) is retiring from the department to take a job with the state Department of Agriculture Animal Control Unit.

Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Jerry Dunn: Heading Out on a High Note

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

Sergeant Jeremiah Dunn had a problem. The massive trailer that the Clinton Police Department was using for the annual toy drive that Jerry oversees was only about a third full with two weeks until Christmas.

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East Haven Courier

Robert Iovanna, who lives and teaches classical singing in East Haven, is also a police officer who joined the Branford Police Department about three years ago with 17 years of experience as an officer in Hartford, where he was also known as “The Singing Hartford Cop.” Photo by Pam Johnson/The Courier

A Man of Many Talents: Classical Tenor (and Cop) Robert Iovanna

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

When Robert Iovanna joined the Branford Police Department about three years ago, he brought 17 years of big-city law enforcement experience and his reputation as “The Singing Hartford Cop.”

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Valley Courier

From an early age, Hilarie Clark Moore showed an aptitude for music that has become a career and a calling. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Hilarie Clark Moore: Making Music

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

A tag sale when she was five years old made all the difference to Hilarie Clark Moore’s life.

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The Sound

Classical tenor and Branford police officer Robert Iovanna joined the force about three years ago with 17 years of experience as an officer in Hartford, where he was also known as “The Singing Hartford Cop.” Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

A Man of Many Talents: Branford Cop and Classical Tenor Robert Iovanna

Published Dec. 25, 2019 08:30 a.m.

When Branford Police Officer Robert Iovanna joined the force about three years ago, he brought 17 years of big-city law enforcement experience and his reputation as “The Singing Hartford Cop.”

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North Haven Courier

Helping find pathways to success has been a passion for Ray Degnan, whether it be in the classroom or on the field. Photo courtesy of Ray Degnan

Ray Degnan: Building Community On and Off the Field

Published Dec. 25, 2019 08:30 a.m.

When Raymond “Ray” Degnan III enrolled at Boston College for his bachelor’s degree, “I was dead set on becoming an attorney,” he says.

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Harbor News

The ever-upbeat Debra Mal, a 2019 Shore Publishing Beacon Award winner, has brought dance—and joy—to generations of Old Saybrook residents. In her Beacon interview, she shared her mantra: “God is the DJ, life is the dance floor, love is the rhythm, and you are the music—and that’s why you should always have a disco ball. And leave a trail of glitter wherever you go!” Photo by Aviva Luria/Harbor News

Debra Mal: Dancing a Life of Exuberance

Published Dec. 25, 2019 08:30 a.m.

It’s no wonder that Debra Mal calls her children’s dance classes “Dance for Joy with Deb.” For Debra, known around town as Miss Glitter or simply Deb, dance is euphoric, an expression of happiness and vibrancy.

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Guilford Courier

North Guilford resident Geralyn Nelson’s 3rd-grade classroom in East Haven is so engaging, she was selected as Teacher of the Year for 2019. Photo courtesy of Geralyn Nelson

Guilford’s Geralyn Nelson is a Teacher of the Year

Published Dec. 25, 2019 08:30 a.m.

When Geralyn Nelson and her husband John were deciding on a place to live and raise their children, Guilford seemed an ideal spot.

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Valley Courier

After more than five decades of service with the Chester Hose Company and the Ambulance Association, Bill Beni has retired. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Bill Beni: Where There’s Smoke…

Published Dec. 25, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Bill Beni had a request of a reporter: Do the interview at the Chester Firehouse. It was the right place.

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East Haven Courier

Once a student inspired by her elementary school teachers in East Haven, Geralyn Nelson has come full circle, so inspiring her students and colleagues she was named East Haven Teacher of the Year for 2019. Photo courtesy of Geralyn Nelson

East Haven Teacher of the Year Geralyn Nelson Puts Students First Every Day

Published Dec. 25, 2019 08:30 a.m.

In her 3rd-grade classroom, Geralyn Nelson fosters a community of learning in which each student is valued for his or her abilities and contributions.

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The Source

Upon his retirement in 2013 from Liberty Bank where he worked for 16 years, Calvin Price immersed himself in volunteer work at several nonprofit organizations, including the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), the Boys and Girls Club, the North Madison Congregational Church, and the Partnership for Strong Communities. 

Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

The Invaluable Words of Calvin Price

Published Dec. 25, 2019 08:30 a.m.

“Own your own destiny. Own your own future.”

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The Sound

Sal Annunziato, founder of Branford-based Love Tribe Open Hearts Arts Life Center, opens the center to the public on Sunday, Dec. 22 to host Holiday Memories, an open mic event. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Healing Hearts: Annunziato Offers ‘Holiday Memories’ at Love Tribe Center

Published Dec. 18, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Sal Annunziato hopes those missing a loved one this holiday season will gather for Holiday Memories to help one another heal.

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Guilford Courier

In addition to placing and tending public menorahs on town greens in Guilford, Branford, and East Haven, Rabbi Yossi Yaffe of Chabad of the Shoreline and his wife, Rochel Baila Yaffe, will host family-friendly Menorah Lighting celebrations in Branford on Sunday, Dec. 22 and Guilford on Sunday, Dec. 29 to help share the message of this Jewish holiday. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Courier

Sharing and Celebrating the Message of Chanukah

Published Dec. 18, 2019 08:30 a.m.

To celebrate and share the message of Chanukah, Rabbi Yossi Yaffe of Chabad of the Shoreline will successively light the candles of public menorahs on town greens in Guilford, Branford and East Haven over the eight nights of the Jewish holiday this year, from Sunday to Sunday, Dec. 22 to 29.

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Harbor News

Of all that Phil Sengle will be remembered for in Clinton, it’s possible his efforts on helping bring about the town manager form of government—and helping select that town manager—will be top the list. Photo courtesy of Phil Sengle

Phil Sengle: From Start to Finish

Published Dec. 18, 2019 08:30 a.m.

On Dec. 11, when Clinton’s Town Council unanimously voted to offer Karl Kilduff the opportunity to become Clinton’s first ever town manager, sitting in the audience in town hall observing the announcement with a big smile was Phil Sengle, one of those most instrumental in helping the town through its recent change in government.

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East Haven Courier

Gail Nettleton, the celebrated chef at the East Haven United Community Kitchen, says that her main ingredient in all of her cooking is the love she received from her parents, Mary and Ralph Gambardella. She hopes to pass this love on through her cooking at the United Community Kitchen. Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier

Gail Nettleton–Serving Gourmet Food on a Budget at the United Community Kitchen

Published Dec. 18, 2019 08:30 a.m.

When Gail Nettleton first started volunteering at the East Haven United Community Kitchen, “they never knew I could cook,” she says.

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Valley Courier

Serial restaurateur and jack-of-all-trades Christopher Owens is the man behind the Chester Historical Society’s Light Up the Night fundraiser. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Christopher Owens: The Star of the Show

Published Dec. 18, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Seeing stars? It’s not because of dizziness or feeling faint. Not at all.

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The Source

Alisha McNamara sees the future in the faces of her children, spurring her to work for the Playground Committee at the Killingworth Elementary School and for Dylan’s Wings of Change and Sandy Hook Promise, which were both founded in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

Alisha McNamara: Focused on the Future of Children

Published Dec. 18, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Alisha McNamara is a woman with a mission.

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North Haven Courier

Robert Snurkowski is happily settling into his role as community services senior clerk for the Town of North Haven, coordinating stock at the food pantry (shown here) as well as helping neighbors in need address heating needs for the winter season.

Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier

North Haven’s Food Bank Program in Good Hands

Published Dec. 18, 2019 08:30 a.m.

In the short time that he has held the position of community services senior clerk, Robert Snurkowski’s professional and up-beat personality has already made a difference in the lives of hundreds of residents in North Haven.

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North Haven Courier

Longtime North Haven resident and dance studio owner Michelle Bonavena is invested in bringing arts lto life in her hometown. Her latest project is choreographing The New Year Nutcracker, a new twist on the classic that will run Saturday, Jan. 4 at the High Lane Club.

Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier

Michelle Bonavena Brings ‘The New Year Nutcracker’ to North Haven

Published Dec. 11, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Michelle Bonavena’s passion for the arts has enabled a host of talented individuals and groups to come together to perform a new rendition of a beloved Christmas classic, titled The New Year Nutcracker, which will run Saturday, Jan. 4 at the High Lane Club, 40 High Lane, North Haven at 5 p.m.

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The Sound

When Bill O’Brien isn’t busy giving back to Branford and beyond, he cherishes the time he can spend following (and photographing) the sports play progress of local teams including those of his three grandchildren (left to right) Mikella, Jamison, and Ethan O’Brien.

Photo courtesy of Bill O’Brien

Bill O’Brien: Everybody Knows His Name

Published Dec. 11, 2019 08:30 a.m.

There’s a certain song about a place “where everybody knows your name.” If your name is Bill O’Brien, that place is Branford.

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