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December 6, 2019
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Person of the Week

Publications

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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North Haven Courier

Scott Martus has been North Haven’s deputy fire chief of operations since 2017.

Photo by Elizbeth Reinhart/The Courier

Scott Martus’ Passion for Firefighting and Excellence in Training Burns Bright

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

As Deputy Fire Chief of Operations, Scott Martus ensures that North Haven firefighters have the skills they need to offer aid to the public

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East Haven Courier

On Thanksgiving Day about 230 people in East Haven will receive a full-course turkey dinner. Rotarian Beth Capotorto is one of the volunteers helping ensure a holiday meal is available for all in need. Photo courtesy of Beth Capotorto

Thanksgiving Made Easy with the Help of Beth Capotorto

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

On Thanksgiving Day, about 230 people in need of assistance will have a full-course turkey dinner provided to them, available for pick-up at the East Haven Senior Center or delivered to their home.

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Harbor News

Jason Corrado, a teacher at Jared Eliot Middle School in Clinton, helps train students for the National History Bee. Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Jason Corrado Helps Bring the World to His Jared Eliot Middle School Students

Published Nov. 20, 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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The Sound

On Saturday, Dec. 14, which is Wreaths Across America Day, Mark Hally will head up an effort to place wreaths on graves of Branford’s veterans. The 15-year-old Branford resident is organizing the mammoth effort as his Eagle Scout project. Photo by Bill O’Brien

Hally Hopes to Honor Branford Veterans’ Graves with Wreaths Across America

Published Nov. 13, 2019 08:30 a.m.

When a segment of the impressive Wreaths Across American (WAA) convoy stopped for a local ceremony honoring deceased veterans at Branford Fire House last December, part of the inspiring message shared that day was not lost on Mark Hally.

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Guilford Courier

Noah Ehlert was an at-risk kid when a bike was given to him, and changed his life. The Guilford resident now plans to ride from California to Florida between Feb. 1 — April 1, 2020, on his ‘Discover Your Path Tour.’ Along the way, he plans to stop at more than 30 group homes, where he’ll give motivational talks to at-risk youth. Photo by Tiny Human Photography

Hope Arrives by Bike: Ehlert’s Mission to Help At-Risk Youth ‘Discover Your Path’

Published Nov. 13, 2019 08:30 a.m.

When Noah Ehlert was a troubled kid, someone gave him a bike – and it changed his life. Now, he’s planning to ride his bike across the country – and give hope and motivation to hundreds of at-risk youth he’ll be talking to along the way.

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Harbor News

Westbrook’s new youth program coordinator, David Fernandes, isn’t new to town—he’s a native who made a name for himself on the Westbrook High School soccer pitch. Now working with the Parks & Recreation Department, he’s dedicated to giving residents of all ages a chance to be active and engaged. Photo by Aviva Luria/Harbor News

David Fernandes: Back Home and Loving It

Published Nov. 13, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Just over a month ago, Westbrook Parks & Recreation hired a new youth program coordinator, Westbrook native son David Fernandes.

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North Haven Courier

Janelle Chiasera hit the ground running as new dean of the School of Health Sciences at Quinnipiac University last month. Photo by Lisa Consorte

New Dean at Quinnipiac, Janelle Chiasera, Is Committed to Excellence

Published Nov. 13, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Though a newcomer to North Haven, Janelle Chiasera is already making a difference.

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East Haven Courier

Elizabeth “Betty” Hauser has a century of memories to share about the East Haven community. Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier

Born in 1917, Betty Hotchkiss Offers Tips on Longevity

Published Nov. 13, 2019 08:30 a.m.

The United States had just entered World War I in 1917, the year that Elizabeth “Betty” Hauser was born.

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Valley Courier

Sarah Whitney keeps the legacy of her father, Paul Marden, alive in Essex through her efforts with the Readers Aloud program at Essex Elementary—plus quite a bit more.

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Sarah Whitney: Father Knows Best

Published Nov. 13, 2019 08:30 a.m.

There have been a number of families where family members have been Person of the Week at different times.

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The Source

A founding member and former chair of the Madison Conservation Commission, Heather Crawford also volunteers her time at the North Madison Congregational Church to help with events such as the recent Harvest Dinner and the upcoming 25th annual Holiday Crafts Fair and Cookie Sale. Photo by Maria Caulfield

Heather Crawford: A Powerhouse for the Environment and the Community

Published Nov. 13, 2019 08:30 a.m.

What do tadpoles, crabs, rocks, plants, and glaciers have in common?

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The Sound

Tikso families may recognize Sarah Nelson due to her work as a full-time pre-K paraprofessional, but she’s also the creative force behind the costumes that will transform Tabor Arts Branford’s youthful players into the iconic cast of that forever kid-friendly musical, Annie Jr., during four performances Friday to Sunday, Nov. 15 to 17. Photo courtesy of Sarah Nelson

Nelson Gets Creative to Assist Tabor Arts Branford’s ‘Annie Jr.’

Published Nov. 06, 2019 08:30 a.m.

If there’s anyone in town who knows that “...you’re never fully dressed without a smile,” it’s got to be Sarah Nelson, the creative costumer transforming Tabor Arts Branford’s youthful players into the iconic cast of Annie Jr., coming Friday to Sunday, Nov. 15 to 17 to the Tabor stage.

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Guilford Courier

Guilford psychotherapist Lianne Escher, MSW celebrates her new book, A Mythic Sisterhood: The Goddess Way to Courage, Clarity and Grace. Photo courtesy of Lianne Escher

Escher Encourages Women to Embrace Their Inner Goddesses

Published Nov. 06, 2019 08:30 a.m.

For psychotherapist, artist, and author Lianne Escher, women coping with significant—and often troublesome—life transitions need to consider embracing their inner goddesses. Seven of them, to be exact.

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