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December 14, 2019
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Person of the Week

Publications

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 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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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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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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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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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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The Sound

As an airman first class, Bob Russell provided key military intelligence during a classified mission of the Vietnam War. The past commander of Branford’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12106 will provide this year’s talk during Branford’s 2019 Veterans Day Ceremonies and Parade, beginning at 1 p.m. on the Town Green on Sunday, Nov. 10. Photo by Bill O’Brien

Russell Heads Up Branford’s Veterans Day Ceremony, Parade Nov. 10

Published Oct. 30, 2019 08:30 a.m.

On Sunday, Nov. 10, when former Branford VFW Post Commander Bob Russell heads up this year’s Branford Veterans Day Ceremony and Parade, the former U.S. airman, first class will be carrying more computer power in his smartphone than all of the technology he used to track movements of weapons and troops on the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War.

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The Sound

Joe Mooney has brought his wealth of financial oversight experience to assist Connecticut Hospice as its chief operating officer/chief financial officer.

Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Joe Mooney Lends His Financial Expertise to Connecticut Hospice

Published Oct. 23, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Joe Mooney had only recently retired as deputy commissioner for Connecticut’s Department of Revenue Services when he was snapped up for a new leadership position as Connecticut Hospice Inc.’s chief operating officer/chief financial officer (COO/CFO) this past spring.

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The Sound

For the past five years, North Branford Town Planner Carey Duques has covered a lot of ground among North Branford’s 26 square miles. But on Sunday, Nov. 3, she’ll cover 26.2 miles, running the famed New York City Marathon. Inspired by a friend’s seven-year-old son who lives with a rare disease, Carey is running with a team to raise funds for the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

North Branford Town Planner Carey Duques Covers Many Miles

Published Oct. 16, 2019 08:30 a.m.

As North Branford’s Town Planner, Carey Duques covers a lot of ground among North Branford’s 26 square miles.

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The Sound

Karen McMinn TenBroeck stands at Branford Early Learning Center’s (BELC) Wall of Fame, where photos include hundreds of children she’s taught in her 40 years as a BELC educator. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

McMinn TenBroeck Celebrates 40 Years, and Counting, at BELC

Published Oct. 09, 2019 08:30 a.m.

More than four decades of annual class photos fill the Wall of Fame at Branford Early Learning Center (BELC), and teacher Karen McMinn TenBroeck is in just about every one of them.

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The Sound

Samantha Smith has brought her Branford hometown Gather, a space located along the Branford Green where unique events, programs, and projects are popping up. She hopes Gather will also help build community connections and inspire others to stay curious and live what she terms a “passionate, intentional life.” Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

At Gather, Smith Offers a Place for Community and the Curiosity Factor

Published Oct. 02, 2019 08:30 a.m.

At Gather, you never know what will pop up. That’s the tag-line that summarizes this unique, community-driven, changeable event and gathering space conceived by Branford native Samantha Smith.

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The Sound

Melanie DeCaprio is helping North Branford’s Caruso/Bode family organize a fun, fundraising event—Loving Life: A Night of Kindness and Friendship, set for Friday, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. at Owenego Beach and Tennis Club in Branford. The celebration (will raise funds for the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA). Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Loving Life: DeCaprio Invites All to a Celebration Supporting FARA

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

Melanie DeCaprio was still studying nursing when she first offered to help out brother and sister Sam and Alex Bode and their mom, Mary Caruso.

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The Sound

Chris Lemieux, shown here on the set of Peter and the Starcatcher, has brought a sense of play—and a unique interpretation—to the production he’s directing for Shoreline Theatre Company (STC). Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

A Sense of Play: Lemieux Directs STC’s ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

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

As someone who embraces the spirit of Peter Pan, Chris Lemieux has brought a sense of play to directing Shoreline Theatre Company’s (STC) first play, Peter and the Starcatcher.

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The Sound

Branford Fire Police is a volunteer affiliate of the Branford Fire Department (BFD). As captain of Branford Fire Police, Buzz Johnson is putting out a call to the public: This small but very important group needs more volunteers. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Putting Out the Call for Branford Fire Police Volunteers

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

You’ve likely come across a member of Branford’s volunteer Fire Police on the scene of an emergency response—but you just didn’t know it.

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The Sound

At Read to Grow’s headquarters in Branford, Executive Director Kyn Tolson and a small staff, together with many volunteers, spread the non-profit’s mission of promoting early childhood literacy statewide. On Thursday, Oct. 3, Kyn invites the public to support Read to Grow by attending its 20th anniversary celebration honoring the vision and leadership of founder Roxanne J. Coady. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

20 Years, 2 Million Books: Tolson Invites All to Celebrate with Read to Grow

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

It all started in Branford in 1999. Now, 20 years and more than two million books later, Read to Grow has grown into a statewide non-profit supporting the importance of developing early childhood literacy.

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The Sound

As treasurer of Feed Branford Kids (FBK), Renee Pantani hopes to help grow local support provided by the non-profit founded by her late mother-in-law, Johanne Pantani. She invites supporters to help by purchasing tickets to Onofrio Total Construction’s annual FBK benefit, a Murder Mystery Fundraiser, set for Friday, Sept. 20 at Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club. Photo courtesy Renee Pantani

Continuing a Family Legacy by Serving Feed Branford Kids

Published Aug. 28, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Back to school is a busy time for Feed Branford Kids (FBK), but this year, the Branford non-profit hopes to serve more kids than ever before, says Renee Pantani.

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The Sound

As a retired R.N. and praticing holistic nurse, Corrine Panagos instantly connected with non-profit Smile Anyway’s mission to assist young adults, and their families, battling addiction. As a volunteer board member of the Branford-based non-profit, she invites the community to come to out to the second annual Love is Louder music festival on Saturday, Aug. 31 on the Branford Green from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Love is Louder: Corrine Panagos Shares a Passion for Supporting Smile Anyway’s Mission

Published Aug. 21, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Corrine Panagos hadn’t set foot in Toad’s Place for more than 40 years, but if getting on the floor in a crowd of youthful reggae/folk/blues/rock fusion devotees would help the cause of Smile Anyway, this retired R.N.-turned-holistic nurse was all in.

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The Sound

Coming up on his first anniversary as Branford Public School’s director of dining/executive chef, John Turenne of Chartwells says the program’s success is due his talented and dedicated dining team staff and the support of community stakeholders. 

Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

John Turenne: Proud to be Part of the BPS Dining Service Team

Published Aug. 14, 2019 08:30 a.m.

When Chartwells’ John Turenne was hired last September as Branford Public Schools’ director of dining services/executive chef, he had to hit the ground running—and he’ll never forget the support he received from his team, the district, and the community to help him.

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The Sound

Entering college, Kari Collins was certain she would study acting. A course on directing quickly changed that, and she’s now helping North Branford and East Haven teens find their ideal spot on the stage. Photo by Nathan Hughart/The Sound

Kari Collins: Encouraging Teen Performers to Go Big

Published Aug. 07, 2019 08:00 a.m.

For six years, Kari Collins has been directing young North Branford and East Haven performers for the East Haven Arts Commission (EHAC).

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The Sound

In his daily work and through special projects and programs, Town of Branford Department of Inland Wetlands and Natural Resources staffer David McCarthy is working to provide more connections to the community to support an environmentally conscious Branford. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

McCarthy Hopes to Foster Community Stance on Environmental Stewardship

Published July 31, 2019 08:30 a.m.

David McCarthy has only been working at Town Hall for six months, but he’s already making strides toward connecting with the community to create a more environmentally conscious Branford.

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The Sound

Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter commissioner Stephanie Malkin hopes to see plenty of pet owners and others who care about showing compassion and kindness come out to enjoy the sixth annual Woofstock on the Branford Town Green on Saturday, Aug. 10 from noon to 6 p.m. The day of peace, music, and much more kicks off following the annual Woofwalk at 11 a.m. Both events benefit animals served by the no-kill Branford/North Branford municipal shelter. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Assisting Animals in Need: Shelter Commissioner & Woofstock Co-Chair Stephanie Malkin

Published July 24, 2019 08:30 a.m.

As a commissioner for the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter, Stephanie Malkin is grateful for the chance to make a difference by putting her passion for assisting animals into practice.

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The Sound

From learning to call it “POCO” like a local, to bringing her years of experience planning events for companies including Disney and ESPN, North Branford’s new Potato and Corn Festival (POCO) coordinator Gayle McMillan and her valued team of volunteers are ready to wow the crowds with new excitement and favorite staples at the 18th annual POCO Festival coming to Augur’s Field from Friday to Sunday, Aug. 2 to 4.

Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Planning for a Fun POCO Festival

Published July 17, 2019 08:30 a.m.

With upgrades including a new amusement company bringing in more midway thrills for ‘tweens, the first-ever addition of circus acts, a new pyrotechnics group sparking the Saturday night fireworks, and more community tent programming in the mix, Gayle McMillan is planning for a fun Potato and Corn (POCO) Festival from Friday, Aug. 2 to Sunday, Aug. 4 at Augur’s Field in North Branford.

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The Sound

Bill Ludwig is helping share his appreciation for the meditative practice of labyyrinth walking through a newly completed 72-foot diameter path along the Shoreline Greenway Trail in Branford. Photo courtesy of Bill Ludwig

Bill Ludwig: Taking the Path Less Traveled

Published July 10, 2019 08:30 a.m.

A publisher by trade, Branford resident Bill Ludwig was searching for an image for the cover of a book about spiritual meditation, and that’s when it happened.

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The Sound

Branford Community Foundation (BCF) board member and Community Investment Committee chair Rita Berkson invites the Branford community to come out to the beautiful grounds of the Owenego Beach and Tennis Club on Friday, July 19 at 6 p.m. to enjoy “Hometown Harmonies & Branford’s Official 375th Birthday Party,” hosted by BCF. To help BCF plan for a crowd, advance reservations (pay-what-you-can) are requested.

Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

BCF’s Berkson Helps Hometown Harmonies Celebrate Branford’s 375th

Published July 03, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Did you hear? With Hometown Harmonies, Branford Community Foundation (BCF) is throwing Branford’s official 375th birthday bash, and everyone is invited.

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The Sound

Grammy-nominated jazz drummer and composer Dan Pugach brings the Dan Pugach Nonet featuring Nicole Zuraitis to open the free Branford Summer Jazz Series on Thursday, June 27 at 6:30 p.m. on the Branford town green.

Photo courtesy of www.danpugach.com

Back in Branford: Dan Pugach Nonet Opens Branford Jazz Series June 27

Published June 26, 2019 08:30 a.m.

When Dan Pugach Nonet featuring Nicole Zuraitis opens the free Branford Summer Jazz Series on Thursday, June 27, fans will be arriving from across Connecticut to hear the sound put together by the band of Dan Pugach, the Grammy-nominated jazz drummer/composer who’s career has blown up since the last time he played the Branford green, back in 2012.

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The Sound

North Branford High School (NBHS) Class of 2019 president Allie Augur capped an incredible career at NBHS by being named 2019 valedictorian and bringing national attention to town as a twice-named All American soccer goalie. Next fall, she’ll attend Boston College (BC), where she’ll play soccer. She committed to BC in the summer of her freshman year at NBHS. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Hometown Support Behind Augur’s Successful Years at NBHS

Published June 19, 2019 08:30 a.m.

She may be following in her sibling’s footsteps—both her brother and sister were also class presidents—but it’s a pretty safe bet that North Branford High School (NBHS) may not see another spectacular student like Allie Augur for some years to come. She says her success is due to the support of her hometown.

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The Sound

The Animal Haven manager Michelle DeRosa says both Tank and Mario are looking for new homes, just like more than a hundred other animals currently staying in the shelter. Photo by Nathan Hughart/The Sound

Michelle DeRosa: Advocating for Animals

Published June 12, 2019 08:30 a.m.

As manager of The Animal Haven shelter, Michelle DeRosa is working hard to make it the best shelter it can be.

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The Sound

2019 Branford Festival chair Melissa Nicholson is excited and honored to lead a dedicated group of volunteers who will bring the 35th annual Branford Festival to the Branford Town Green Friday to Sunday, June 14 to 16. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

The Best of Branford: Nicholson Chairs 2019 Branford Festival

Published June 05, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Between Friday and Sunday, June 14 and 16, the 2019 Branford Festival will celebrate its 35th anniversary while also recognizing Branford’s 375th birthday and the 40th run of the Branford Road Race.

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The Sound

Branford’s own Alyssa Sachs, 21, is the current Miss Shoreline and could win the title of Miss Connecticut on Friday, June 7. She says her time as Miss Shoreline has already given her a great opportunity to share her ‘Kids are Kids’ platform with others. 

Photo courtesy of Alyssa Sachs

For Kids: Branford’s Alyssa Sachs Competes for Miss CT Crown June 7

Published May 29, 2019 08:30 a.m.

As Miss Shoreline 2019, Branford’s own Alyssa Sachs could win the title of Miss Connecticut on Friday, June 7—and her ticket to be in the running to become Miss America.

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The Sound

Don Gentile keeps honey bees, like this healthy bunch, in his Branford backyard apiary. Recently, one of his colonies experienced the deaths of thousands of bees, likely due to exposure to toxins in a mosquito control solution applied to a nearby property. Now, in his friendly way, he’s working to get the word out about pollinator-friendly options to help keep bees, and other pollinators, safe. Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound

Keeping Bees Safe: Gentile Shares Pollinator-Friendly Tips

Published May 22, 2019 08:30 a.m.

A few weeks back, Don Gentile found thousands of his honey bees piled up, dead, at his Averill Place apiary in Branford.

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