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From efforts like ensuring kids get vision screenings through the Lions Club to ensuring everyone can see clearly via LED light installations aided by the Clean Energy Task Force, Alan Sturtz is doing his part for North Haven. (Photo by Matthew DaCorte/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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While Alan Sturtz may be known throughout town for his time in politics, including challenging First Selectman Michael Freda in the elections last month, he’s also active in the community in other ways. One of his most notable civic roles is as president of the North Haven Lions Club, which has several initiatives in the works.
The club’s recent holiday turkey drive is high on the list of club accomplishments. North Haven Lions donated 100 turkeys to the North Haven Congregational Church and the North Haven Food Bank, where they’ll be used for Christmas baskets this month.
Another activity of which he’s proud is the scholarship award program for graduating high school seniors living in North Haven. He’s also drumming up interest in the club-sponsored blood drive at the Recreation Center at 7 Linsley Street, North Haven on Tuesday, Dec. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Alan encourages people to come out and give the gift of life.
“I’ve been donating blood since summer of 1969,” Alan says, “I have over 25 gallons that I’ve donated.”
To support these events, the club holds two major fundraisers. One is a wine tasting event coming in the spring, and the other is an upcoming comedy night on Saturday, Dec. 9.
Alan says the club has been coupling the comedy night with a Taste of North Haven Pizza, serving pizza from local pizza restaurants.
The comedy night is taking place at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3 Trumbull Place, North Haven, and all proceeds will benefit Lions charities and efforts. The event opens at 6 p.m. and comedian Dave Kane’s show time is 7 p.m.
The past two years, Alan and the club have become involved in a Lions International project called KidSight, where the club offers free vision screenings to children in the community. Last year, Alan spoke with school officials to do screenings for kindergarten through 2nd grade students.
This year, the club asked if it would be alright if the screenings were expanded to all elementary schools in town, and Alan says when the club is finished, they’ll have screened more than 1,300 children.
“This has become one of my passions, screening these kids, because we can find up to seven vision problems” through our tests, Alan says.
He says the club has screened preschoolers, children at private daycares, and even children at an Autism Resource Fair at the Oakdale in November. After the first of the year, Alan says that screenings will take place at the North Haven Library for home-schooled children after Jan. 1.
A report is given to parents after the screening takes place, and Alan says if a family can’t afford glasses or a more detailed eye exam, they can get a voucher and the club will cover the cost.
Alan got his start with the Lions when a colleague he was working with in 1993 asked him to come a club meeting; he’s been a member ever since.
Alan was originally involved in the New Haven club from 1993 to 2004—he says it was easy to attend meetings because he worked at Gateway Community College for most of the time. In 1999, he got another job and says making the meetings became a little more difficult, so he transferred to the North Haven club in 2004.
“Even if I couldn’t make the meetings, it would be events involved in my hometown,” Alan says.
He’s currently in his fourth consecutive term as president in North Haven. Alan says he moved through the ranks easily in New Haven, serving in several different roles there.
“Here, the club is very small so everybody does pretty much everything,” he says.
Aside from the Lions Club, Alan is also involved with two commissions in town: the Economic Development Commission and the Clean Energy Task Force. With the task force, he works on solar power and energy efficiency projects for the town.
Alan has always been environmentally conscious, saying he recycles almost everything he can, replaced all the lights he could in his house with LED bulbs, has a solar panel system on his house, and drives a hybrid car.
“My car has just turned 15. It’s got 346,000 miles on it [and] still gets upwards of 40 miles a gallon,” Alan says, “It’s a fun little car to drive.”
Of his role on the Economic Development Commission, Alan notes that not all areas that can be developed should be, and will push to use the town’s new Plan of Conservation and Development as much as possible. One of the things he mentioned is that there really isn’t much nightlife in town, and he would like to see an entertainment district open up.
“I’m going to stay involved with the town…and I’d like to be able to find a way to have some of the ideas from my platform at least be considered in the different venues,” Alan says.
Alan has lived in town for almost 30 years. He and his wife June recently celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary, and he has three children: Brian (from a previous marriage), Lauren, and Jonathan.
He has worked in higher education administration for more than 40 years, and even served the town as town clerk/tax collector from 2007 to 2009 and as third selectman from 2011 to 2013.
Regarding his time as town clerk/tax collector, Alan says, “I worked with some fantastic people those two years in Town Hall, and met a lot of really nice people in town. I really, really enjoyed it; didn’t know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised.”
The North Haven Lions Club meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at Mickey’s Restaurant & Bar, 2323 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. For more information on the club and its upcoming programs, visit e-clubhouse.org/sites/nhaven or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For reservations and information about the comedy night, email email@example.com or call Norm at 203-606-4151
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