Terri Miles

My name is Terri Miles, I've been covering the Town of Orange for about 15 years, first with the Amity Observer and then for an online news site. I was moved to start my own site because of a strong desire to give Orange residents what they want and deserve, a 24/7 news site without fillers, regional stories or blogs. Just news and events from YOUR town and your children's High School. Why? Because I know you and I care. A relative financed the domain name and other little details for me so I wouldn't go stir crazy after departing from my last job.

Sep 302014

Amity HIgh SchoolU.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today recognized 337 schools (including only 48 high schools) as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2014 based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. These schools demonstrate that all students can achieve to high levels. 

Secretary Duncan made this announcement live via the Department’s USTREAM channel http://www.ustream.tv/channel/education-department at 1:30 pm and was viewed by recognized principals, teachers, and students assembled across the country. 

The Department will honor 287 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 10-11 in Washington, D.C. In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on just under 7,900 of America’s schools. 

“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education—that all students, no matter their name or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments,” Secretary Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.” 

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. 

Amity Regional High School is one of only two public high schools in the State of Connecticut to be recognized this year by the Federal Department of Education as a “Blue Ribbon School.” Amity has also been recognized by the State Department of Education as a “School of Distinction for Highest Overall Achievement.” Schools that have earned the distinction of being identified as Exemplary High Performing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates are also at the highest levels. Specifically, for the 2013-2014 award year, the Department strengthened the focus of both categories’ performance criteria around subgroups within a school and improving graduation rates for all students. 

“We are extremely proud of the Amity students and staff. The Blue Ribbon Award is recognition of the great teaching and learning that takes place in this school and throughout the district,” noted ARHS Principal Charles Britton. Charles Dumais, Superintendent of Schools, added “It is a testament to the support that Amity receives from its three member towns – Bethany, Orange, & Woodbridge- as well as the tremendous work of the students, teachers, staff, and administration.” 

The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The U.S. Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School. 

Sep 302014

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 9.35.35 AMWho can ever forget Michael Corleone’s quote from The Godfather Part III: “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

That may have run through former Amity cheerleading MVP (1982) Peggy Witheril Choiniere’s mind when her husband’s cell phone rang and they found Amity’s new Athletic Director Ernie Goodwin on the other end of the line.

Longtime announcer Stan Gedansky retired and Goodwin was looking for a permanent announcer for the Amity football games, and since Ed Choiniere filled in for the ailing Gedsnsky last season, he seemed like the obvious choice.

A Lifetime At Amity

The Choinieres have been involved in Amity sports for a long, long time.

Back in the day, Choiniere was an Amity Spartans linebacker/offensive guard, who was named the 1982 Football MVP.

30 years ago, he married the cheerleading captain and the two had four sons and have supported their athletic and educational endeavors for decades.

Eddie coached and announced for the Shoreline Football League. He Coached Baseball for the Bethany-Woodbridge League. Eddie and his band volunteered to play at fundraisers for the boys’ teams, and if you are familiar with them, you know the couple attends every one of their sons’ games.

At Amity, Billy was Captain of the Football and Lacrosse Teams; Michael was Captain of the Lacrosse Team; and most recently, in 2013-14, Joey was Captain of the Lacrosse and Football teams — and Amity’s Male Athlete of the Year.

All three boys went on to play Lacrosse in College, Billy at Towson; Michael at Albertus Magnus and Joey at Sacred Heart.

For the past 3 years, they divided their time between Joey’s games at Amity, Billy’s games out of state at Towson and Michael’s games in New Haven. So after Joey graduated in June, Peggy breathed a sigh of relief, “We’re finally done.”

The Final Decision

So, with Peggy in the car next to him to offer her input, how did that conversation go between Ernie Goodwin and Ed Choiniere?

Goodwin said it wasn’t a slam dunk and it took a little convincing.

Choiniere said they talked for about 20 minutes, and Goodwin was really pushing for it. “He’s such a nice guy. And he was an announcer once, too.”

That said, why would this newly established empty-nester commit to going back to high school?

“The fans won’t let me go,” Choiniere said with a laugh.  “I got a bunch of calls and luckily the schedule this fall works out for me.”

Choiniere wants the fans to come out and show support for the Spartans because a lot of noise from the stands really helps morale on the field.

“We have some tough games ahead of us, Xavier (Oct. 10), Notre Dame (Oct. 17) and Prep (Oct. 31) are all home games, and we need the fans to rally,” he said.

Choiniere takes the mike this Thursday at 7 p.m. for the game between Amity and Lyman Hall. Come on out and root for the Spartans.







Sep 302014

 BasketballThe Amity girls basketball team will host clinics for girls in second grade to eighth grade in October.  The Amity coaching staff and team will provide drills, shooting sessions, and more. 

The clinics will take place at the High School gym (entrance is at the back of the building), from 6-8 p.m. on the following dates: Tuesday, Oct. 7; Thursday, Oct. 16; Tuesday, Oct. 21, Wednesday, Oct. 29, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12.

Pre-registration fee is $90 for six sessions; or $102 at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Amity Girls Basketball team.

For more information, e-mail [email protected].

Sep 292014

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 11.45.36 PMBravo! the manufacturer of raw pet food is recalling select lots of Bravo! Turkey and Chicken pet foods for dogs and cats due to potential Salmonella contamination.

The following Bravo! pet food products are included in the recall:

Raw Food Diet Bravo! Turkey Blend for Dogs and Cats
Product Number: 31-102
Size: 2 lb. (32 oz.) plastic tubes
Best used by date: 11-05-15
UPC: 829546311025

Bravo! Blends All Natural Chicken Blend Diet for Dogs and Cats
Product Number: 21-102
Size: 2 lb. (32 oz.) plastic tubes
ChubsBasicFormulasBest used by date: 08-11-16
UPC: 829546211028

Premium Turkey Formula Bravo! Balance Raw Diet
Product Number: 31-405
Size: 5 lb. (80 oz.) 2.3KG plastic tubes
Best used by date: 11-05-15
UPC: 829546314057

Bravo! Blends All Natural Chicken Blend Diet for Dogs and Cats
Product Number: 21-105
Size: 5 lb. (80 oz.) 2.3KG plastic tubes
Best used by date: 08-11-16
UPC: 829546211059

Bravo has also voluntarily recalling all sizes (2 lb., 5 lb. and 10 lb.) of Bravo Chicken Blend(s), Bravo Turkey Blend(s), Bravo Balance Chicken Balance and Bravo Balance Premium Turkey Formula frozen raw diet products with “best used by” dates between June 20, 2016 and Sept. 18, 2016.

The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with these products to date.

The recall was initiated after routine testing by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of Salmonella in two lots of product. This batch tested negative by a third party independent laboratory prior to release for distribution to consumers. The recalled product was distributed nationwide beginning on November 14, 2013 to distributors, retail stores, internet retailers and directly to consumers. The product can be identified by the “best used by date” printed on the side of the plastic tube.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

No additional products affected by this recall. The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with these products to date.

Customers who have purchased the recalled pet food can return to the store where purchased and submit the Product Recall Claim Form available on the Bravo website www.bravopetfoods.com for a full refund or store credit.

For more information on the Bravo! recall, you can visit www.bravopetfoods.com or call toll free 1-866-922-9222 Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (EST).

If you determine your food is part of the recalled lot, take precaution when handling and disposing of the food. Use these precautions:

  • Wear gloves
  • Throw the food into a secure, closed container where other animals can’t get to it.
  • Sanitize any area the food may have touched with mild bleach solution, especially refrigerators.
  • Monitor yourself and your pets for symptoms for 70 days. It can take this long for symptoms to appear.
  • If you or your pet have any of these symptoms, go to the doctor or take your pet to the vet immediately for treatment.

Sep 292014

IMG_2584The Lady Spartans met a worthy opponent tonight in Woodbridge as they took on the Lady Titans. 

Amity continued its 8 game winning streak against the hard hitting girls from Sheehan.

The second game was a marathon battle that went on for several minutes until Amity eventually won 32-20, the first game score was 25-22 and the final 25-19.

Highlights from the Amity players include: 
Caroline DelVecchio 10 kills
Haley Pierson 27 assists, 1 ace
Nina Luciani 8 kills
Jenna Pisano 18 digs, 1 ace

Amity’s record: 8-1

Coach Seth Davis said the girls are playing well, but they have to work on their serving.

The Lady Spartans face a formidable opponent — undefeated Cheshire — on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Come on out and cheer on these incredible athletes.

Sep 292014

Plasma-ELECTION-2014-2The Orange Republicans announce the opening of its headquarters at 400 Boston Post Road (Next to Kinkos) in Orange.

Join them for the Grand Opening on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. Be sure to bring a few friends with you.

Candidates attending will be Themis Klarides (114th), Charles Ferraro (117th), Matt Gaynor (14th),  Tom Miller, (Judge of Probate) and Pam Staneski, (119th).

Signs for many of the GOP Candidates will be available.

Light refreshments will be served.

Sep 292014

(photo by Reena Rose Sibayan of the Jersey Journal) for graphic purposes

(photo by Reena Rose Sibayan of the Jersey Journal) for graphic purposes

By Brian Mosher

Schools around the nation are all ranked based on standardized test scores. These scores may determine how much money the school receives each year. Fortunately, Orange provides kids with a great education.

According to News 12 Connecticut, Amity Regional 5 High School ranked 112 in the nation on September 17th, 2014. Not only that, but Orange CT Live stated Amity ranked first overall in the state. Since Amity High has such great numbers it receives lots of attention. However, for years Amity and the rest of Connecticut High Schools were rated based on a standardized test called the CAPT or the Connecticut Academic Performance Test. Students needed to pass this test in order to graduate.

I remember hearing about kids who didn’t care about this test so they would do just enough to pass or even fill in random answers. This caused me to dislike the way schools are evaluated. Each school has students that will never show their full potential. Because of this data will always be skewed. Nevertheless, I always thought that learning should be the most important thing about school. Now it seems like achieving high numbers on standardized tests is the focus.

Freshmen and sophomore year I had classes dedicated to learning the material on the CAPT Test. It wasn’t like it was something being taught was the purpose of students’ growth and development, but it was training to see how the test looked and what the questions were on the test. Rather than learning information and being able to apply it, it felt like we were studying the test itself so when the time came everyone would do well. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying tests aren’t important. I think it is very important to show you can apply what you’ve learned in a test-taking environment.

I don’t believe schools should be drilling their students to learn the tests. Schools should be emphasizing the importance and fun of learning. Learning should be a fun processes; it is always exciting learning new things. Everyone has had that teacher that you can tell truly cares about his or her students. He or she gets very involved with each lesson. For most students a teacher like that can easily make that class enjoyable.

The teachers I had that really cared about the well being of his or her students were always my favorite classes to go to. I believe rather than teaching students to pass standardized tests, it should be covered in the classes each student takes. Looking back at high school now that I am a college student, standardized test seemed to be something you worry about because you know you need it to get into good colleges. On the other hand I believe the things I’ve learned in the classrooms have better prepared me for college.

No matter what standardized tests are not going away. Colleges like to see the SATs and the ACTs. Some colleges may even look at state standardized tests such as the CAPT. Colleges take into consideration how “good” a school is based on it’s numbers. In fact, Connecticut no longer does the CAPT Test as of 2013 Connecticut put in place the Sbac. Hopefully this model will represent each school better than the previous tests.

Overall, I think schools should be holding teachers to a higher level. It is their jobs to make learning interesting and fun. It is a shame when a student is turned off to learning because of a teacher. Standardized tests are not going to go away, but maybe it won’t be schools primary concentration. Hopefully in the future the Board of Education will have discussions about this in order to improve the function of school systems.

Brian Mosher is a 2014 Amity Graduate and Orange resident. He currently attends the University of New Haven. 


Sep 292014

orange police duiOfficers were dispatched to a motor vehicle crash along Route 34 near Dogwood Road on Sept. 20 at 1:29 a.m.

Investigation of the single-car accident led to the administration of standardized roadside sobriety tests on the driver, Nopphadon Mungkhampha, 42, of 59 Prospect St, Ansonia

He was subsequently taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) and failure to drive in a proper lane.

Mungkhampha was released after posting $100 bond for court Oct. 3.

Sep 292014

Comedy And Tragedy Masks (10)The Orange Players Anniversary Gala will take place on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at The American Legion Hall,  630 Grassy Hill Road, Orange.  The Gala is a celebration of 40 years of performances, and rumored to be the second oldest continually performing community theater in the state of CT.

The evening will feature hors d’oeuvres and dinner by Chefs a l’Orange. Ice and glasses will be provided; the event will be BYOB. Raffles, door prizes and a musical revue highlighting past Orange Players shows will be part of the celebration.

Tickets are $40 and checks should be sent to Joan Stenner, 205 Wilson Road, Orange, CT or Margaret Meisenhelder, 77B East Broadway, Milford, 06460 

Founded in 1974, the first production mounted by the Orange Players was “Pajama Game,” presented at Mary L. Tracy School Auditorium. Other shows followed, including “Guys and Dolls”, “Diary of Anne Frank”,“The Music Man”, “The Man Who Came to Dinner’, “The King and I”, “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Whose Life Is It, Anyway”, “Plaza Suite”, “Brighton Beach Memoirs, “The Odd Couple”, Rumors”, “I Love You, You’re Perfect—Now Change!”, “Carousel,”  “Harvey” and “The Sound of Music,” among  many others.

The group has shown its community involvement by  performing many cabarets for community groups and also community fundraisers, including ones for the Library, The Garden Club’s sprinkler system on the Green, the now–departed Tot Lot by the library, Orange Board of Ed’s Schools for the 21st Century, a Chernobyl victim, a local family after a devastating fire.

The Players presented an original musical for children, “Oh, My Stars!” for the Orange Seisquicentennial Celebration. To help support young people interested in pursuing the study of theater arts, the Jerome Honig Scholarship is presented annually to a graduating  Amity High School student.

Performances have been given in several venues, including Mary L. Tracy School, Amity High School, Dodd’s Hall at UNH, the Paugussett Club, the JCC, the Case Memorial Library and churches and synagogues throughout our area.

Workshops that are open to the public as well as members have been held in various areas such as acting, vocal performance, dance, audition preparation, improvisation, set construction, scene painting, stage lighting, and stage make-up, etc

The Orange Players always welcomes new members. All levels of experience ( or even no level of experience) are appropriate. On-stage or off-stage, wherever you want to be—it’s up to you! Check out their web-site at orangeplayers.net

Everyone is invited to join the Players for the 40th Anniversary Gala, celebrating with friends, memories, fun, laughter and music.

Sep 282014

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 8.36.54 PMJoin the Iassogna family and members of Team Possible at the Orange Ale House, 517 Boston Post Road, for the Light the Night Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser on Thursday, Oct. 9, from 5-8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door (includes buffet).

The event will feature a silent auction and raffle.

The Orange Ale House is donating all the food. Raffle prizes are donated by local residents and businesses.

100% of the proceeds go to Team Possible Light the Night and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

For more information or to purchase tickets call Karen or Mike Iassogna at 203-799-6633.