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January 28, 2020
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Person of the Week

Publications

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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The Source

As director of Circle Nursery School in North Madison, Kathy Niejadlik enjoys the combination of administrative and early childhood development responsibilities that come with the job. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

Kathy Niejadlik: Teaching the Next Generation and Loving it

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

Kathy Niejadlik is proud of her children—all 50 of them.

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Harbor News

New Town Council Chair Chris Aniskovich is a decidedly small-town kind of guy.

Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Chris Aniskovich Blazes a Trail as Town Council Chair

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

Nov. 20, 2019 was a historic day in the town of Clinton. Officially gone was the centuries-old tradition of the Board of Selectmen meetings; in its place was the new town council form of government.

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Valley Courier

Remember this face: If past performance is any indicator of future success, theater-goers are going to be seeing a lot of Tess Santasiero. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Tess Santasiero: Live Onstage

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

Tess Santasiero thinks she grew two inches when she was measured at her last doctor’s appointment. That makes her, at the age of 11, four feet two inches tall. But she is already packing an impressive theater résumé into that small frame.

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East Haven Courier

Though she knew she wanted to be a teacher, an unexpected diversion into a East Haven High School special education classroom led Ursula Pendziwater to discover the focus that would define her career. Photo courtesy of Ursula Pendziwater

Seeing the Successes in Special Education

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

Ursula Pendziwater possesses key characteristics enabling success in many areas of her life, but her most significant contribution to the East Haven community is as someone who positively influences the lives of hundreds of students through a career in special education.

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Guilford Courier

Joe Landry-McWilliams, 17, is shown here during a recent Guilford Youth & Family Services Youth Board meeting, where members discussed plans for the 18th annual Teen Gift Drive, which takes place Sunday, Dec. 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside Guilford Walmart.

Photo by Pam Johnson/The Courier

Kids Helping Kids: Landry-McWilliams’ Years of Service Assists GY&FS Youth Board

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

What’s the best way to connect with youth? Give them a chance to get involved.

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Guilford Courier

Artist and therapist Sarah Guercia uses art as a universal language that can help people express feelings that are difficult to put into words. Photo courtesy of Sarah Guercia

Sarah Guercia Is All About Art and Therapy

Published Dec. 04, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Combining her love of art with a desire to make a positive change in the world, Sarah Guercia is helping other women tap into their creative abilities to free themselves from negative thoughts.

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North Haven Courier

Since age 14, Lisa Gilmore has been involved with staging the Kids for Kids, Dancing for Life, Inc., annual Makin’ It Special Christmas Show, which this year comes to the North Haven High School Auditorium on Saturday, Dec. 7. Photo courtesy of Lisa Gilmore

Lisa Gilmore: ‘Makin’ It Special’ for Kids

Published Dec. 04, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Each year, Kids for Kids, Dancing for Life, Inc., hosts the annual Makin’ It Special Christmas Show, collecting unwrapped toys for children in need in the area. Since the show started just a few years after the organization was founded in 1994, Lisa Gilmore has had a hand in making it special.

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Killingworth Library Children’s Librarian Gayle Byrne holds up her first book, Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas: Not Mommies and Daddies. She has written and released a second book, and a third one is with the publisher. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

Gayle Byrne: Beyond Book Smart

Published Dec. 04, 2019 08:30 a.m.

How can a full-time librarian be even more involved with books?

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Harbor News

A lifelong love of nature helps Richard Esty set priorities and find solutions as chair of the Old Saybrook Conservation Commission. Photo by Aviva Luria/Harbor News

Richard Esty: For the Love of Animals

Published Dec. 04, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Richard Esty, chair of Old Saybrook’s Conservation Commission, has been an animal rescuer pretty much all his life.

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Valley Courier

Teacher, sailor, and runner Kathryn Ryan will be there with bells on (literally) for the annual Jingle Bell Run to benefit Region 4 Education Foundation on Saturday, Dec. 14. 

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Kathryn Ryan: The Bells are Ringing

Published Dec. 04, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Rudolph wears jingling bells when he draws Santa’s sleigh. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen do, too, as well as the rest of Santa’s team.

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East Haven Courier

East Haven High School English teacher Emilia Caturano is leading the school’s newspaper The Comet into a new digital-only realm. Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier

Emilia Caturano’s Tech Savvy Brings EHHS Newspaper into the Digital Age

Published Dec. 04, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Graduating with a master’s degree in educational technology from Boise State University, Emilia Caturano has the skills and the drive to help East Haven High School journalism students deliver more news to their community.

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The Sound

Branford’s Jason Corrado helps train middle school students for the National History Bee. Photo by Eric O’Connell/The Sound

Jason Corrado Helps Bring the World to His Students

Published Dec. 04, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Jason Corrado remembers being a high school kid, unsure of what he wanted to do with his life.

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Valley Courier

For retired industrial logistics specialist Kerry Desmond, an opportunity to help coordinate the 450,000 Christmas lights that are part of Ivoryton Illuminations is right up his alley. This year’s celebration begins on Saturday, Dec. 7. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Kerry Desmond: Cue the Lights

Published Nov. 27, 2019 08:30 a.m.

How do you have 450,000 Christmas lights without an energy bill that breaks even Santa’s budget?

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Guilford Courier

In August, Dave Rettig co-chaired a golf tourney that raised seven times the goal—more than $380,000—to benefit non-profit Cure Rare Disease (CRD). Rettig got involved with the tourney as a manager with East River Energy of Guilford and as a lifelong friend of company owner Don Herzog and his wife, Nancy, who have a grandchild impacted by a rare disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Photo courtesy of Lynn DeJoseph

Part of the Team: Rettig Helps Raise $380K to Benefit Cure Rare Disease

Published Nov. 27, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Dave Rettig will tell you he’s just part of a team that’s supporting a very important effort, but his friends and co-workers say otherwise.

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North Haven Courier

You may know Justin Appi as Sir Knight Justin Appi, a 4th degree Knight of Columbus. Through the Knights’ Father James F. Donaher Council 3733 in North Haven, Justin works to give back to the community and country he loves. Photo courtesy of Justin Appi

Justin Appi: What It Means to Be a Knight

Published Nov. 27, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Justin Appi doesn’t take anything for granted.

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The Sound

In August, Branford resident Dave Rettig co-chaired a Branford golf tourney that raised more than $380,000 to benefit non-profit Cure Rare Disease (CRD). Boston-based CRD works to support the development of life-saving therapeutics for children impacted by rare disease. Photo courtesy of Lynn DeJoseph

Part of the Team: Rettig Helps Raise $380K to Benefit Cure Rare Disease

Published Nov. 27, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Dave Rettig will tell you he’s just part of a team that’s supporting a very important effort, but his friends and co-workers say otherwise.

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East Haven Courier

A musician and mosaic artist, among other talents, Jen Haddon looks for opportunities to reinforce personal connections in her art. Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier

Gardener, Artist, and Musician—Jen Haddon Makes a Difference

Published Nov. 27, 2019 08:30 a.m.

In the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, when the Alice would sit upon her grandfather’s knee, she would listen to his advice on how to find joy in life.

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The Source

In the aftermath of the 2008 economic downturn, Laurie Heflin founded the Neighbor to Neighbor program, a discretionary fund within the Madison Foundation that responds to the financial and material crises faced by Madison residents and serves as a safety net for Madison families when other resources are not available. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

Laurie Heflin: A Neighbor Who Helps Neighbors

Published Nov. 27, 2019 08:30 a.m.

It happens repeatedly, albeit with one variation or another: An elderly woman realizes she needs to keep the heat going but lacks the money to make sure her home stays warm throughout winter.

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Harbor News

Clinton Poet Laureate Pat Barone is also a visual artist was well as appreciator of the arts in general. She’s looking forward to the 2020 Clinton Art Gallery Sunday Series, which will run from April to November which she is already busy coordinating. 

Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Pat Barone Promotes Verse—and Other Arts—as Clinton’s Poet Laureate

Published Nov. 27, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Patricia Barone, or Pat for short, has always been intrigued by art.

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The Sound

After serving as Branford’s Republican Registrar of Voters for 37 years, Marion Burkard officially stepped down as of June 30, 2019. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Burkard Tallies Up Decades of Knowledge for Branford

Published Nov. 20, 2019 08:30 a.m.

As Branford residents were voting in the Nov. 5 municipal election, Branford registrars of voters Dan Hally (D) and Darren Lawler (R) were operating with an ace on their side—Marion Burkard.

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Guilford Courier

For 30 years, with Suncatchers before and after school and summer programs for K-8 kids, founder Kathy Scott has been giving kids a safe, nurturing space to play and learn some “lost art” life skills with fun projects (some projects in progress can be spotted behind her). Kathy says the key is letting them choose to do what they’d like among many enriching activities offered. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Courier

30 Years of Suncatchers: Scott Blends Fun with Life Skills for Kids

Published Nov. 20, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Having fun together and coming away with skills other generations took for granted—sewing, simple woodworking, baking, or even toy-making—are two take-aways Kathy Scott built into Suncatchers, from the very start.

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Valley Courier

Drawing from a lifetime of adventurous cooking, Ron Lavoie used time recovering from an injury to craft a cookbook with 100 recipes and the wisdom of an accomplished home chef. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Ron Lavoie: A Recipe for Dinner and for Life

Published Nov. 20, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Ron Lavoie has written a cookbook, Everyday Gourmet: A Lifetime of Cooking. But there is more than dinner in the story of how this volume came to be.

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The Source

Leigh Curtis Higgins has spent years helping the vulnerable, even volunteering to work in Niger for the Peace Corps; today she works at the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and volunteers her time as vice president of the board of directors for The Madison Foundation. Photo courtesy of of Leigh Curtis Higgins

Leigh Curtis Higgins: A Life of Helping the Vulnerable

Published Nov. 20, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Helping one person at a time, one day at a time, one endeavor at a time can make an impact that lasts a lifetime.

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