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Nov 272014
 

Jeremy SaxeYou can make a difference this Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) in honor of Amity Grad Jeremy Saxe, who dedicated his life to giving to others.

The traditional Jeremy Saxe volleyball tournament will take place at the Connecticut Sports Center, 21 South Bradley Road, Woodbridge, Friday, Nov.28, 2-8 p.m.

In addition to the volleyball there will be an expanded marketplace with local artisans offering fine clothing, jewelry, art, home goods, plus handmade woolens and ornaments from artisans in Nepal.

Due to the tremendous turnout in past years, the tournament has been moved from Amity High School to CT Sports Center, which allows more playing time for teams and a refreshment area offering food, beer and wine to enjoy.

The Jeremy Saxe Volleyball Tournament, established in November 2008 by Amity volleyball players, honors Amity Alum Jeremy Saxe who tragically lost his life due to an undiagnosed heart condition.

The Late Jeremy Saxe

The Late Jeremy Saxe

All proceeds support Jiwanko Saathiharu: Jeremy Saxe Foundation for Education and Development, Inc., an independent social development organization with 501 (c)3 tax exempt status formed by Jeremy’s friends, colleagues and family members.  The Foundation funded Clara’s Childcare Center in the village of Pharping, Nepal.

The tournament

The tournament is a Sixes Coed. Please sign up as a team of at least 6 (at least two girls per team) or sign up as a single ($15/player) and get placed on a team. The first 100 players signed up will receive an event t-shirt!

Players should submit their names individually (to be added to teams) or their team rosters by email ([email protected]) or at the Facebook Event page (“Jeremy Saxe Volleyball Tournament with Holiday Artisan Marketplace”).

This is a community event and all are welcome and encouraged to attend.

 What the funding is for

The childcare center furthers the Foundation’s development objectives by improving outreach for the women’s literacy program and providing quality care, school readiness, and Montessori early education to the children. Clara’s Childcare Center empowers women of the Village of Pharping by providing care for their young children while they attend the Women’s Community Literacy School.

Clara’s Childcare Center has served as a model that has now been replicated in the surrounding villages, multiplying the impact of donors on the lives of these families, especially the children!

These children will then have a strong start when they attend the Foundation’s planned project: Jiwanko Saathiharu Sikshyalaya (“Friends of Life/Friends of Jeremy Place of Learning”). Jiwanko Saathiharu Sikshyalaya is planned as a community-based “School for Future Leaders.” The school will be open to all castes and ethnic groups providing American style education and emphasizing critical thinking and analysis with rigorous academics. The school will promote good global citizenship while fostering a love of Nepal that encourages students to build a better future for Nepal

You can view a video thank you from their Nepali partners, ASC and the children of the village of Pharping, Nepal at JiwankoSaathiharu’s Channel – YouTube

In the spring of his junior year he studied abroad in Nepal where he fell in love with the country and its people and committed his future to international development. While in Nepal, Jeremy was given the Nepali name, Jiwan, which means “life” and Jiwanko Saathiharu translates to “Friends of Jeremy/Friends of Life.”

It is the hope of the Foundation that the lives of its donors and volunteers will be touched as deeply as the lives of its recipients when they witness their investment coming to fruition, making our world a better place.

Local sponsors
The tournament committee thanks this year’s very generous sponsors: Amity Auto Repair, Anderson Automotive, Cigar and More, Dr. Robert Rauch the Gentle Dentist, Jamba Juice, Orange Fence & Supply Co., Racebrook Wine & Liquor, Saxe, Doernberger & Vita, P.C., Sponge Brothers, Ted’s Cleaners, Webster Bank and Winkle Bus.

To sign up, volunteer, or for more information, e-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]. Contributions can be mailed to Jeremy Saxe Foundation c/o SDV 1952 Whitney Avenue Hamden, CT 06517.

 

Originally Published on: Nov 23, 2014 @ 15:15

Nov 242014
 

woman-fastening-her-seat-belt-17051871The Orange Police Department is taking part in the annual Click It Or Ticket safety campaign during the Thanksgiving Holiday week.

Seat belts provide the best defense against impaired, distracted and aggressive drivers.  In fact, wearing your seat belt is the single most effective crash protection available.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teens and young adults wear seat belts less than any other age demographic.  Sadly, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American youth — exceeding all crime and disease related causes.

That’s why the Orange Police Department will once again join hundreds of other law enforcement agencies across the country in renewing a pledge to save lives by intensifying efforts to enforce seat belt laws during the Thanksgiving Holiday “Click it or Ticket” seat belt campaign.  This national mobilization effort will help reduce motor vehicle fatalities by cracking down on low seat belt use — among all motorists and around the clock.

The two week enforcement wave will run from Tuesday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 30 and include traffic stops, checkpoints, and saturation patrols.

Orange Police Chief Robert Gagne stated that the Orange Police Department remains committed to the Click it or Ticket campaigns because these high visibility enforcement efforts work.

“Buckle up this holiday season and encourage friends and family to do the same,” Chief Gagne said. “You’ll not only save the cost of a ticket, you may even save a life.”

The Orange Police Department urges everyone to be safe both on and off the roads this Thanksgiving holiday.

Nov 242014
 

snowturkeyThere are conflicting forecasts for the upcoming snowstorm predicted for Wednesday and Thanksgiving.

On WXEdge, Gil Simmons said the storm will begin Wednesday morning as rain mixed with a little snow then changing to wet snow around 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. He said he expects snow during the afternoon and evening across most of the state with some mixing in southeastern CT.

Simmons said temperatures would be at freezing around 32-34 degrees with the wet snow.

He said the storm should be “done and moving out by 4-5 a.m. Thanksgiving morning” — well before the step off of the Rotary Club’s Thanksgiving Day 5K — Then everyone can expect cold and dry weather with increasing sunshine on Turkey Day.

The National Weather Service is predicting snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches, stating, like Simmons, that a mix of rain and snow Wednesday morning will change to all snow by late Wednesday. But, the NWS goes on to say that, “The snow will continue into early Thursday morning before tapering off to snow showers.”

But what will it really mean for the road race and the Amity Football game? Probably that everyone should dress appropriately for the worst case scenario and whatever you do, drive carefully.

Nov 242014
 

real_world_design_challengeAmity’s Real World Design Challenge team participated in a national competition in Washington DC last week.

The team was judged by teachers and industry professionals on its presentation which focused on precision agriculture using unmanned aerial vehicles to detect pest infestation.

Amity was recognized as the best new team at the competition.

Nov 242014
 

14460985_130130023000The Jamie Hulley Arts Foundation and the Amity High School YA Book Club will sponsor Matthew Dicks, CT teacher and author of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, in the AHS library; Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m.

This creative, quirky and heartwarming book is narrated by the (very real) imaginary friend of an eight-year-old boy on the autism spectrum.

Matthew will tell stories, do a Q&A, give away prizes and sign books.

Readers of all ages are welcome.

Nov 232014
 

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 8.54.42 PMThe Amity Creative Theater (ACT) at Amity High School is proud to announce that tickets sales have begun for their fall production of New York By David Rimmer.  The show dates are Dec. 5 and 6 at 8 p.m.  General admission seats for $10 can be purchased through their website at www.amitytheaterdepartment.com

The plays author David Rimmer, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his play Album that opened to great success off-Broadway starring film star Kevin Bacon. 

New York was originally written to raise funds for volunteer psychiatrists dedicated to helping the overwhelming number of patients psychologically affected by 9/11. Depicting the reactions of 15 individuals to the events of that day, the characters all speak to a central psychiatrist. The play has been performed at theaters throughout New York, the United States and internationally to great acclaim. 

The New York Resident called the play “brilliantly written… a thought-provoking event avoiding the sentimental and capturing realistic portraits of how we’re all dealing with it… a touching exploration of the effects of September 11 on the lives of average New Yorkers”. 

groun zero

Amity students and Judy Primavera visiting the 9/11 Memorial in New York.

The Amity production is directed by theater teacher Rob Kennedy.  Kennedy said he chose this production for his student actors because, “The oldest of the Amity Students were only four years old when the events of 9/11 occurred and the youngest ones were barely a year old.  I think it’s an important learning opportunity for our school to talk about that time in our countries history and how it changed all of us.”

The cast and crew recently visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum on a trip sponsored by the Jamie Hulley Arts Foundation to get some perspective.  The students had a special guided tour of the museum and spent time with New York’s playwright David Rimmer.  

After the trip, Amity senior Ethan Smith who is playing a fireman named Tom O’Neil said, “It was an incredible experience.  It really put a human face on the part I am playing.  And meeting the author of the play was great too.  We got to ask him questions about the play and the characters we are playing.”  The cast and crew have been working on the show since early September and have been busy rehearsing and creating the technical elements of the play.  

The play also will be shown during school hours to the entire Amity High School student body and the eighth grade classes from the two middle schools, as part of the Spartan Seminar program.  The students will view the play and then have discussions related to the topic afterward. 

Amity Principal Charles Britton said, “The fall play gives us the opportunity to showcase the talent of our students, build a little school spirit and camaraderie, and capitalize on the “teachable moment” offered by the themes of the production. Our students were very young in 2001; we owe it to our nation to keep the memory of 9/11 alive”.  

The Cast Includes Clara Gamsu, Addie Robbins, Ethan Smith, Kahari Blue, Yulia Faryna, Ryan Chizmadia, Alex Cavanagh, Kevin Durkee, Clara Stirling, George Grotheer, Emily Kilian, David Linet, Chris Cassella and Caroline Burkhart.  The crew is led by Stage managers Megan Foley, Sage Saffran and Jacob Okolo.  

For Information and tickets go to the ACT website at www.amitytheaterdepartment.com or call the box office at 203-392-2019.  The ACT production has been made possible by a grant from the Jamie Hulley Arts Foundation.  

Originally Published on: Nov 13, 2014 @ 21:34

Nov 212014
 

FB sky Ronnie nwThe Vece Family is getting together in honor of their angel Ronnie and to help raise money for the annual Ronnie Vece Scholarship Fund, at the Orange Ale House, 517 Boston Post Road, Saturday, Nov. 22 from 4-10 p.m.

The family will be raising college scholarship money for the best senior defensive lineman on the Amity High School football team.

“Ronnie was an amazing person and an awesome athlete who made such a huge impact on everyone he met,” said his mother, Claudia Wolf. “We will never forget him so let’s celebrate his memory with family and friends, food, live music, prizes, raffles and a good time.”

Everyone is welcome. $20 will be charged at the door and $10 for people under 18. There will be food and the first beer on the house for “legal aged” guests.

T-shirts will be available again if you didn’t get one last year.

About Ronnie

A former Amity Football player, 2006 Amity Grad, Ronnie Vece, 24, was killed in a motorcycle collision in West Haven on July 13, 2013.

He was a 2006 Amity High School graduate and a star football player; he attended Milford Academy Prep School of South Berlin, NY and Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts where he played football and his team was Division Champions for three years and he later attended SCSU.

Ronnie enjoyed playing his guitar, boating, hunting and fishing; he was truly an outdoor action figure, according to his family.

Originally Published on: Nov 17, 2014 @ 11:27

Ronnie poster 2014 sm

Nov 192014
 

A member of Amity's SADD plays the part of an accident victim.

A member of Amity’s SADD plays the part of an accident victim.

Seven Years ago, the Amity Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) hosted a mock car crash in the parking lot of Amity High School. The presentation was powerful and memorable and hit home with many of the students who watched from the sidelines.

Such demonstrations commonly take place before prom or graduation, but this year, the students and their advisors chose to do it during Homecoming week and before the holidays to show the entire student body, all 1,600 of them in real time what can happen when you drink and drive (or even text and drive)

A committee of more than 10 people came together to plan the event, including Gary Lindgren, Robert Kennedy, The SADD members, Woodbridge police and fire departments and the Medic 44 ambulance team, so it ran like clockwork.

NOTE: As a reporter, I have been on-scene at many accidents and stay away from taking the “money” shots of victims, grieving loved ones, etc, but since this was not real I took a little more liberty and broke my own accident scene rules, even going as far as shooting a photo of the arrestee in custody inside the police cruiser. Remember, all of the photos are of a set up scenario. The victims, suspects, etc are just actors, even though in the script, the actors’ real names were used. 

IMG_6860The presentation took place at Amity on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 9:45 a.m. The students came out to the parking lot where two cars were covered in tarps.

Orange Assistant Police Chief Tony Cuozzo was the moderator, who read the carefully crafted script and added his own touches to it.

Following is the Mock Car Crash as presented to the Amity Student Body:

These two cars have just been involved in a high speed collision on Amity Road. A witness to the crash has called 911 and emergency personnel have been dispatched to the scene.

The driver of the, blue car , Cristian, is a 17-year old male. He and his passenger Bailey had been drinking at a party at a private home in Orange and were on their way home. Due to his impairment, he ran a red light and impacted another vehicle in the intersection. Cristian was the only one wearing a seat belt. Although Cristian is conscious, he has been screaming to his friend who isn’t responding.

"Bailey" was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown through the windshield.

“Bailey” was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown through the windshield.

His friend, Bailey, the front passenger, is a 17-year old female. Upon impact, her body was thrown forward through the front windshield because she was not wearing her seat belt. She hasn’t answered to her friend’s screams and it appears that she may be dead.

Cristian starts crying and continues to scream to Bailey who is not moving

After the house party in Orange, the girls in the silver car drove into New Haven and went for a burger at the 24 hour diner. The driver of this car, Lauren, a 17 year-old female is conscious at first and appears dizzy and confused. Lauren was the only person in the silver car that was wearing her seatbelt. Unfortunately, Abagail, the unrestrained front seat passenger, was thrown with such force she is pinned under the dash board with severely crushed legs and head trauma. Although Abagail has obvious trauma to her face and head , she is conscious and cannot free herself. She is in a tremendous amount of pain.

Abagail is SCREAMING!

Then Lauren gets out of the car crying and trying to free Abagail from the passenger seat. Cristian continues to scream

"Cristian" checks on the passengers of the car he just plowed into.

“Cristian” checks on the passengers of the car he just plowed into.

and runs to the other vehicle. Cristian realizes the severity of the collision and discovers that the passengers in the other vehicle are friends from their own school.

Keep in mind that, in some cases, emergency personnel must drive several miles and the first person to the scene may not arrive for 10-15 minutes. During the response, they may be slowed by motorists who fail to yield to them and then have to deal with onlookers blocking the roadway around the crash scene. That can be a long time if … you are the victim.

A siren is heard and two Woodbridge officers arrive on the scene 

To the victims’ advantage, an officer happens to be in the proximity of the crash. He is the first to arrive on the scene and will emergently try to evaluate the condition of the victims. In Orange and Woodbridge Police are first responders and have emergency medical training.

Officer surveys the scene and condition of the victims

A first responder assesses the scene.

A first responder assesses the scene.

The officer is running between vehicles, assessing the situation, determining who is in immediate need of assistance, and frantically calling for back up on his radio
.
Officer “I need back up, quick; this is a severe crash involving multiple victims, the injuries are severe, please send me EMS as soon as possible. Hurry, this may be a fatal of one or more victims.”

Ambulance arrives on scene with siren

Bailey, the 17-year old passenger in the blue car appears to be dead. Her injuries were too severe; therefore, there will be no immediate effort to remove her body from the wreck. All effort will be made toward saving lives. EMS personnel will begin administering medical attention to the severely injured, who is Abagail.

While rendering attention to Abagail, they determine that she is trapped inside the vehicle. The IMG_6885paramedics are in need of the EMS Rescue Unit; as the door must be cut open to safely remove Abagail from the vehicle. She remains conscious and in a great amount of pain. She is screaming and her injuries are severe; Abagail needs to be removed quickly by the Rescue Unit in order to receive further medical care. EMS provides as much medical assistance to Abagail as they can, then turn their attention to Cristian and Lauren.

While EMS offers assistance to the victims (moderately injured receive assistance as well).

Because EMT’s are unable to remove Abagail from the vehicle, they are awaiting the arrival of the EMS Rescue Unit for further assistance. The first 60 minutes following a severe injury crash is the most critical time period. Abagail is alive and screaming in pain. EMT’s stabilize Abagail and the others. Lauren has mild bruising and is shaken, but her injuries are not as severe as Abagail’s, who will be transported via ambulance.

A police officer tends to driver 'Cristian" as EMTs evaluate the wounded.

A police officer tends to driver ‘Cristian” as EMTs evaluate the wounded.

Paramedics determine that Bailey is dead.  Baileys body will remain in place for hours until the police conclude their accident investigation. 

Woodbridge PD radios that there has been a fatality in the accident.   

Cristian screams when he hears that Bailey has been killed.  All others react as well. 

 EMT’s decide on rescue of other victims

While EMS is rendering care, the police officers primary objective is to protect the crash scene. He must first consider the safety of the victims, rescue workers and bystanders. He will also gather evidence to be used in court if necessary. He will try to determine what caused the crash and who is responsible. He will also determine what charges if any will be filed against the wrongful driver.

Officers survey the accident scene 

Cristian, the driver of blue car has only minor injuries, mainly because he was wearing his seatbelt. As the

"Cristian" stumbles through the roadside sobriety test.

“Cristian” stumbles through the roadside sobriety test.

officer talks with him, he can smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage on Cristian’s breath. Upon inspection of Cristian’s car he finds empty beer cans etc.  The officer then performs a field sobriety test on Cristian.

* Officer’s microphone is on. Officer does a SFST over mic and places Cristian under arrest (all audible) Conduct a shorter version of SFST

While Cristian is handcuffed, read Miranda rights and placed in officer’s unit

*EMS Rescue arrives on the scene.

The extrication of Abagail will take additional time, but which is necessary and critical to her survival. The tool the rescue personnel are using is a Hurst Rescue Tool, also called the “Jaws of Life.” The spreaders can exhibit up to 44,000 pounds of force and the cutters can exhibit 152,000 pounds of force. This presents a certain amount of danger to the victims and the rescuers, which is why rescuers will place cervical collars on the victims’ necks to keep the vertebrae in line. This will prevent paralyzing damage to the spinal cord if their necks are fractured or broken. The victims will also be covered to protect them from flying glass and debris as the Hurst Tool is used to cut away parts of the vehicle. When the “Jaws of Life” arrive, Abagail will be placed on a backboard to keep her back straight, and her head immobilized as she is removed from the vehicle.

EMS Rescue talks to extricated participant – while he is working, he is explaining to Abagail that she is trapped and he will have to use the equipment to take the doors off of the vehicle, calm down for me, etc…….

Firefighters use the Jaws of Life to free a severely injured passenger.

Firefighters use the Jaws of Life to free a severely injured passenger.

The “Jaws of Life” are used and Abagail is extracted and loaded into the ambulance.

The Ambulance leaves scene with Abagail & Lauren.

After Abagail is extracted:  Bailey’s mother Maggie arrives on scene in her car.   Maggie explains to the officers that a passerby saw the accident, recognized the kids in the car and called her.  Maggie will approach an officer and ask for her daughter Bailey.  The officer will try to figure out who Bailey is and then explain to Maggie that her daughter has been killed in the accident.  Maggie will act out loudly and emotionally.  She yells at Cristian and the other kids in the car.  The officers will have to try and calm Maggie who is obviously devastated over the news of losing her daughter. 

Abagail is loaded into Ambulance to go to the Hospital

Due to the severity of the impact, Abagail’s legs were crushed under the dashboard. Her pulses are weak and there are obvious deformities – indicating multiple broken bones. As her legs begin to be severely discolored and swollen, the doctors soon realize that she must undergo immediate surgery to save her legs. She is at high risk of having both legs amputated. In addition to losing her legs, her mental status has

"Maggie" the grieving mother tries to get to her daughter's body.

“Maggie” the grieving mother tries to get to her daughter’s body.

become diminished. Abagail is diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury. She will need the blood evacuated from her head to lessen the impact of the head injury. Lauren’s injuries aren’t as severe and her vital signs are stable. A staff member dresses her wounds and notifies her parents.

Abagail’s parents have been notified that their child has been involved in a motor vehicle crash. Directions are given to the Yale New Haven Trauma Center, however for safety reasons, the severity of her condition is not discussed until the parents arrive. Abagail will require months of rehabilitation. She will need to re-learn fine motor skills including feeding herself, writing, and brushing her teeth. She may have to get prosthetic legs fitted for her body. She will require years of physical therapy to re-build her muscles and rehabilitate the nerves that were damaged in her brain.

Bailey’s mother runs past officers and pounds on the windows of the police cruiser where Cristian is sitting in handcuffs. Police pull her away and walk her back away from the scene. 

As you look at the following photo spread notice how many of the 1,600 kids in the audience are texting their friends, laughing, fooling around, etc. — can’t find any? That’s right, you don’t see even one. There were a few kids using their phones to film the presentation, but from what I saw, everyone was paying attention.

Students listen to the presentation at Amity.

Students listen to the presentation at Amity.

Some of the kids cried as the scenario occurred in real-time with the arrival of first responders and Asst. Chief Cuozzo’s narration adding to the emotion, especially when he told them that their deceased classmate’s lifeless body would remain on top of the car until the investigation was completed. That really hit home.

Do these Mock Car Crash programs work? All of the actors were “miked” so everyone could hear the officer giving Cristian his sobriety test instructions, and reading him his Miranda Rights before slapping on the steel handcuffs. They could hear Abagail crying and moaning in pain inside the car. They could hear the Medic talking to her softly as he prepared her for extraction. The sound of her panicked heavy breathing before the firefighters cut the roof off the car.

One boy in a wheelchair told a teacher, “This is all so surreal for me.”

Nov 142014
 

 

blue ribbon school plaque

blue ribbon school plaque

This past Tuesday afternoon, Amity Regional High School was recognized by the State Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School.

Amity High School Principal, Charles Britton and mathematics teacher, Scott DeMeo were present at the ceremony in Washington DC to accept the award on behalf of Amity.

Congratulations Amity for all the hard work and commitment that went into achieving this prestigious national recognition. 

Nov 142014
 

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 2.57.22 PM

The Friends of the Eldredge Family is planning a Pasta Dinner to benefit the family of Amity grad Andrew Eldredge, a young man with a bright future who has been unconscious and hospitalized since an accident in late August.

The fundraiser will take place at the Woodbridge Club, 10 Milhaven Road, Woodbridge, on Sunday, Nov. 16 from 5-8 p.m. The event includes live music and silent auction.

Tickets are $25 per person. For tickets or more information contact Sherrie Bitterman at 203-598-5414.

About Andrew

Andrew Eldredge was struck by a motorcycle while walking in New York City on August 29, just days before he was to begin studies at Harvard Law School.

Since he was injured, Andrew has been unconscious. His progress has been steady and encouraging, but it will be a long road to recovery, both in the hospital and in extended rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury. His parents, Stacey and David, and his sisters, Lindsay and Madeline, have kept a constant vigil by his bedside since the accident.

Andrew grew up in Woodbridge and graduated from Amity High School in 2007. He graduated magna cum laude from Colgate University (’11), worked at Orion Consultants in NYC for two years, and completed a year at Boston University School of Law before transferring to Harvard.

The Eldredge family will need financial support for Andrew’s journey to recovery. Please help The Friends of the Eldredge Family with this effort.

Cash or checks only. Make checks payable to The Andrew Eldredge Family Fund.

Contributions can be made directly to: http://www.youcaring.com/andreweldredge

*donations are not tax deductible 

Originally Published on: Oct 21, 2014 @ 16:55 

Second Publishing on: Nov 6, 2014 @ 10:55