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April 2, 2020
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Person of the Week

Publications

North Haven Courier

Since joining the North Haven School System in 2012, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Melinda McKenna has helped form a strong team of educators as she works on developing the district’s ever-evolving curriculum. Photo courtesy of Melinda McKenna

Melinda McKenna: An Advantageous Resource

Published March 04, 2020 08:30 a.m.

With a focus on consistency and teamwork, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Melinda McKenna strives for student success in the North Haven School District.

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Harbor News

Longtime former first selectman Willie Fritz, Jr., has remained an active supporter of youth sports in town. Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Out of the Spotlight, Willie Fritz Stays Engaged

Published March 04, 2020 08:30 a.m.

“Grass will never grow under Willie’s feet, he’s always going”—that’s how one acquaintance described Clinton’s former longtime first selectman Willie Fritz, Jr., and his penchant for constant activity.

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The Source

A gastroenterologist at Connecticut Gastroenterology Consultants, Dr. Wayne Panullo campaigns against colorectal cancer and encourages the public to get screened for the disease. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

Dr. Wayne Panullo: A Fight Against Cancer

Published March 04, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Dr. Wayne Thomas Panullo has a challenge on his hands.

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North Haven Courier

Dancer Tyler Duboys is bringing his expertise and enthusiasm to the new North Haven Arts Alliance. Photo by Travis Magee

Tyler Duboys: Sharing a Passion for the Arts

Published Feb. 26, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Tyler Duboys is committed to sharing his love for the arts with North Haven.

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The Sound

Branford artist Jean Polka, shown her with her brown pelican painting that’s featured on her calling card, has helped the Blackstone Library by donating her art. Most recently, she helped to put together an homage to the town, its history, locales and lore, as a pivotal member of the Branford 375th Anniversary Commemorative Map Committee. 

Photo courtesy of Jean Polka

Jean Polka’s Artful Assist to Branford and the Blackstone Library

Published Feb. 26, 2020 08:30 a.m.

With seemingly boundless energy and a special talent as a watercolor and sketch artist, Jean Polka has been very generous in giving back to her hometown of Branford.

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Guilford Courier

Established clay artist Gloria Elliott has also mastered other art forms, including quilting, which she uses to tell her family’s story. In the foreground, a panel depicts her father, a Norwegian emigré who found a job delivering milk by horse. Photo by Aviva Luria/The Courier

Gloria Elliott: A Quiet, Creative Life

Published Feb. 26, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Perhaps those who first meet Gloria Elliott along with her husband, Tom, see her as a rather quiet, retiring person, happy to let Tom take center stage while interjecting a comment or two now and then.

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Valley Courier

While her career as a guidance counselor keeps Abby DeTour in a high school all day, she’s still game to help out at her daughters’ alma mater, Valley Regional High School, for the spring musical. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Abby DeTour: No Detours in Her Schedule

Published Feb. 26, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Abby DeTour graduated from high school some three decades ago, but she has not left, either professionally or personally.

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Harbor News

Coming off a four-year stint on the New England Patriots’ cheer squad, Clinton’s Alex Brandy challenges many people’s preconceptions of a professional cheerleader. Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

From NFL Sidelines to the Connecticut Shoreline

Published Feb. 26, 2020 08:30 a.m.

In 2014, during her first time skiing, Alex Brandy severely injured her ACL.

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East Haven Courier

As a benefactor, volunteer and board member of Shoreline Arts Alliance (SAA), Steve Kops will happily don the king’s crown and encourage all to join the krewe (Mardi Gras lingo for the organization that puts on a parade or ball during Carnival season) at this year’s SAA Mardi Gras Gala on Saturday, Feb. 29. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Courier

King-Sized Support for Shoreline Arts Alliance

Published Feb. 26, 2020 08:30 a.m.

To benefit and support the artistic talents of students from East Haven and 23 other shoreline towns from here to Lyme, Steve Kops will happily don the king’s crown and join his krewe and many revelers at this year’s Shoreline Arts Alliance (SAA) Mardi Gras Gala on Saturday, Feb. 29.

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The Source

Joan Walker serves Madison in dual roles: She chairs the Democratic Town Committee and heads the team of 200 volunteers who work to ensure the success of Nite in Hand, a traditional celebration held every year on graduation night to honor Daniel Hand High School seniors. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

Joan Walker Gives Graduating Seniors a Nite to Remember

Published Feb. 26, 2020 08:30 a.m.

The Iron Throne fashioned from a thousand swords sits in a dusky room lit only by the scant light from a few candles and the backdrop of a window with an iconic star.

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The Sound

As a benefactor, volunteer and board member of Shoreline Arts Alliance (SAA), Steve Kops will happily don the king’s crown and encourage all to join the krewe (Mardi Gras lingo for the organization that puts on a parade or ball during Carnival season) at this year’s SAA Mardi Gras Gala on Saturday, Feb. 29. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

King-Sized Support for Shoreline Arts Alliance

Published Feb. 19, 2020 08:30 a.m.

To benefit and support the artistic talents of students from Branford, North Branford, and 22 other shoreline towns between East Haven and Lyme, Steve Kops will happily don the king’s crown and join his krewe and many revelers at this year’s Shoreline Arts Alliance (SAA) Mardi Gras Gala on Saturday, Feb. 29.

Read More

Guilford Courier

As a benefactor, volunteer, and board member of Shoreline Arts Alliance (SAA), Steve Kops will happily don the king’s crown and encourage all to join the krewe (Mardi Gras lingo for the organization that puts on a parade or ball during Carnival season) at this year’s SAA Mardi Gras Gala on Saturday, Feb. 29. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Courier

King-Sized Support for Shoreline Arts Alliance

Published Feb. 19, 2020 08:30 a.m.

To benefit and support the artistic talents of students from Guilford and 23 other shoreline towns between East Haven and Lyme, Steve Kops will happily don the king’s crown and join his krewe and many revelers at this year’s Shoreline Arts Alliance (SAA) Mardi Gras Gala on Saturday, Feb. 29.

Read More

East Haven Courier

A 12-year veteran in the department, Pat Tracy was appointed to deputy chief of the East Haven Police Department in September 2019. Photo courtesy of Pat Tracy

Pat Tracy Focuses on the Community as Newly Appointed Deputy Chief

Published Feb. 19, 2020 08:30 a.m.

For as long as he could remember, Pat Tracy has wanted to be a police officer. Growing up, he watched his family...

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Valley Courier

When it comes time to throw a party for the Essex Elementary School community, Carrie Comerford will be at the forefront, dressed in pajamas with her fellow organizers for Essex Elementary School Family Night on Friday, Feb. 28. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Carrie Comerford: Bingo, It’s Her!

Published Feb. 19, 2020 08:30 a.m.

A bit rusty on your masked crusaders? Feminine superheroes not your specialty? Then meet Elastigirl, or alternatively Carrie Comerford of Ivoryton.

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North Haven Courier

After a career as a research scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, Marlene Thorp has combined her results-oriented expertise and her creative skills to keep her elders engaged through her role as program coordinator at the North Haven Senior Center. 

Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier

Marlene Thorp: A Creative Flair and Seamless Planning for Seniors

Published Feb. 19, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Scientific theorists once believed that humans were either “right-brained” or “left-brained,...

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Harbor News

Established clay artist Gloria Elliott has also mastered other art forms, including quilting, which she uses to tell her family’s story. In the foreground, a panel depicts her father, a Norwegian emigré who found a job delivering milk by horse. Photo by Aviva Luria/Harbor News

Gloria Elliott: A Quiet, Creative Life

Published Feb. 19, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Perhaps those who first meet Gloria Elliott along with her husband, Tom, see her as a rather quiet, retiring person, ...

Read More

The Source

Kate Blais's dedication to the elderly and those with mental-health challenges is unmistakable: as a registered nurse and director of the Strong House, she treats them with compassion and honors them with a Person of the Month feature in the facility's newsletter. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

Kate Blais: Dignity and Grace at the Strong House

Published Feb. 19, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Kate Blais welcomes visitors to her office on the second floor, a large room that looks more like a bedroom with high ceilings, spotless carpeting, large windows, and a brick fireplace.

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The Sound

Now employed by Shoreline Prime Meats & Deli in Branford, Sky Bussey got his start with vocational training offered by Community Dining Room (shown here). Now, he’s hoping his story will inspire other organizations and businesses to connect with school district programs such as the one he experienced through Branford Public Schools’ ‘Access Transition’ program. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Sky Bussey Hopes More Will Offer ‘Access’ to Success

Published Feb. 12, 2020 08:30 a.m.

By offering him a variety of vocational training, some local groups and businesses have made a huge difference in Sky Bussey’s ability to nail down a great job.

Read More

Guilford Courier

Dr. Richard Alter DVM checks the shoulders of an adult female bald eagle, looking for any signs of breaks or dislocation following its collision with the windshield of an oncoming tractor trailer on I-95 in January. At his Guilford practice, Pet’s Friend Animal Hospital, Richard has been offering pro-bono services for three decades to assist animals in the care of local wildlife rehabilitation groups. Photo by Angela Sheaffer

Assisting Eagles, Helping Hawks: Dr. Richard Alter, DVM, Gives Back

Published Feb. 12, 2020 08:30 a.m.

After an adult bald eagle collided with the windshield of an oncoming 18-wheeler on Jan. 22, police rushed the stunned bird to Killingworth’s non-profit raptor rehabilitation and rescue, A Place Called Hope.

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East Haven Courier

Alex Blank and his partners—his wife Bridget Blank and company founder Brian Ewing—are giving new brewers a chance to reach wider markets through the Twelve Percent Beer Project. Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier

Alex Blank: Making Complex Beers Look Simple

Published Feb. 12, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Alex Blank is one of the masterminds behind a unique business model—Twelve Percent Beer Project—with a brewery and tap room that opened in North Haven on July 1 of last year.

Read More

Valley Courier

In her hometown of Ivoryton, Pat Muggleston is helping to ensure the 150-year history if the Ivoryton Library continues for another 150 years. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Pat Muggleston: Look for Her at the Library

Published Feb. 12, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Pat Muggleston has heard a lot about Harry Potter. That is because her last name incorporates what wizards like Harry called people who did not possess magical powers: Muggles.

Read More

Harbor News

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/Harbor News

Margo Valentine: Looking Back

Published Feb. 12, 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.

Read More

The Source

Andrea Aron taught art for 44 years and garnered awards for her enameling and jewelry making. Today, she advocates for the arts through the Future Choices program at the Shoreline Arts Alliance. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

Andrea Aron Makes Art Her Life's Work

Published Feb. 12, 2020 08:30 a.m.

As a young girl in the Bronx, Andrea Aron had her first foray in art when she would open up her easel and paint with her father.

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Guilford Courier

Art Beyond the Wall intern Tyler Eveland of Guilford (right) will puppeteer a 15-foot tall puppet like this one, which he helped to raise head and shoulders above the U.S.-Mexico border wall in May 2019, together with Art Beyond the Wall Executive Artistic Director and co-founder Jess Kaufman (left), at a free information sharing evening with Art Beyond the Wall at the Guilford Art Center on Friday, Feb. 7. Photo courtesy of Tyler Eveland

Eveland Helps Raise Awareness About Young Borderlanders with ‘Art Beyond the Wall’

Published Feb. 05, 2020 08:30 a.m.

At age 16, Tyler Eveland likely has had more exposure than most of his Guilford neighbors to the experiences of “borderlanders”—young people living in areas divided by the wall at the U.S. and Mexico border.

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East Haven Courier

Stories from his World War II-veteran grandfather started Dan Garitta’s interest in preserving military history. Now he’s a co-founder of an ongoing military discussion group at the Hagaman Memorial Library and co-author of the book A Hometown Doughboy.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Garitta

Dan Garitta: Unearthing the Common Soldier’s Story

Published Feb. 05, 2020 08:30 a.m.

As a co-founder of the military discussion group at the Hagaman Memorial Library in East Haven, Daniel “Dan” Garitta has met numerous veterans and individuals interested in and passionate about military history.

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Valley Courier

Chester’s David Rau will deliver a talk on the Florence Griswold Museum at the Essex library on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Photo by Jenny Parsons

David Rau: Stay Healthy—Visit a Museum

Published Feb. 05, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Now here’s a prescription that you can’t fill at the drug store. For reducing stress, encouraging mindfulness and maintaining good health, visit a museum.

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Harbor News

Now once again enjoying semi-retirement, Peter Neff once again stepped up to serve Clinton when the Town Council needed an interim town manager. Photo courtesy of Peter Neff

Peter Neff: Trusted with the Town’s Transition

Published Feb. 05, 2020 08:30 a.m.

At its first ever meeting on Nov. 20, 2019 the Clinton Town Council had a big decision to make. The group was still in the process of interviewing candidates for the fulltime town manager position, but needed an interim manager.

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North Haven Courier

For the past five years, Donna Meador has volunteered at The Animal Haven walking dogs and training volunteers. Photo courtesy of Donna Meador

Donna Meadors Pays It Forward at The Animal Haven

Published Feb. 05, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Donna Meadors and her golden retriever, Shane, spent years taking a daily two-mile walk.

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The Source

At the Madison VFW Post 2096, Larry Brundrett serves veterans and their families as commander, the highest officer in a local post. “It's given me a sense of service to my fellow veterans,” he says about helping his military comrades. 

Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source

Larry Brundrett: In Service of Country and Comrades

Published Feb. 05, 2020 08:30 a.m.

We hear the lyrics every time the United States anthem is sung: the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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The Sound

Daniel Hand High School Assistant Principal Melanie Whitcher previously worked as a math coordinator for the school and as a math teacher and coach in Branford. The North Branford resident has a master's degree in teaching and a sixth-year degree in educational leadership. Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Sound

Melanie Whitcher: Math Smarts + People Skills = Career in Education

Published Feb. 05, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Melanie Whitcher's career path to become Daniel Hand High School's new assistant principal began in a rather unusual place—in college as a business major with a focus on accounting.

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