Goldblatt Elected President of ConnPELRA

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Jul 212017

Mitchell R. Goldblatt was recently elected President of the Connecticut Public Employer Labor Relations Association (ConnPELRA) Executive Committee for a two-year term beginning September 1, 2017.

Goldblatt has served the past four years as the ConnPELRA Vice-President and has been a member of the Executive Board since 2011. The former Town of Orange First Selectman and present member of the Orange Board of Selectmen, Goldblatt has worked as the Director of Human Resources for the Town of Guilford for the past nine years. In this position Goldblatt has been responsible for all aspects of personnel administration and labor relations including negotiating labor contracts, updating policies and procedures, administering all employee benefits and pension administration, leading wellness programs, and responsible for safety and risk management.

ConnPELRA is the only organization in Connecticut dedicated to educating and training governmental directors, managers, and supervisors in labor relations issues. The organization exchanges information and data pertaining to all areas of public sector labor relations including collective bargaining, as well as providing guidance and assistance to its entire membership in these areas.

Besides Goldblatt as President, also elected were Enfield Director of Human Resources Steven Bielenda as Vice-President, West Hartford Human Resources Specialist Nelson Petrone as Secretary, and Shipman and Goodwin Attorney Lisa Banatoski Mehta as Treasurer.

Goldblatt holds a BA from Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA) and an MBA from the University of New Haven (West Haven, CT). He also serves as an adjunct professor of Public Administration at the University of New Haven and lives in Orange with his wife Abby, and children Carl and Shayna.

Orange Town Clerk Urges Students To Register To Vote, Complete Absentee Ballot Applications

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Jul 212017

Orange Town Clerk Patrick O’ Sullivan is urging all students to register to vote prior to leaving for school or college and if needed complete an application for Absentee Ballot.

“One of the greatest ways we can demonstrate our commitment to our democracy is to exercise our right to a free and secret vote;’ O’Sullivan said;’ when you look at other countries you immediately recognize it is not something that we should ever take for granted.”

Any U.S. citizen, 17 years of age, may apply for admission as an elector by pre-registering and will become an elector on the day of their 18th birthday. You may complete the voter registration application at Town Hall weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

You also may download a voter registration application and or an application for absentee ballot by going to the Secretary of the State’s website: www.sots.ct.gov  Click on the elections area.

This year, Election Day is November 7, 2017. Voters will be exercising their Constitutional right to vote for: First Selectman Selectmen, Town Clerk, Tax Collector, Board of Finance, Board of Education, Town Plan & Zoning, Constable, Amity and Regional Board of Education.

October 6 is the first day absentee ballots may be issued by the Town Clerk. For those individuals voting by absentee ballot, they must first submit a completed application for absentee ballot, which can be done now. Upon receipt of the completed application, the Town Clerk will mail the actual absentee ballot to you; please be sure to have an accurate college address.

In order for your vote to be counted, please follow the instructions carefully; the completed absentee ballot must be received by the Town Clerk by Election Day. A new election law allows U.S. citizens to register and vote on Election Day. You must register and vote in the registrars’ office in the town hall. If you have any questions and for further information, call the Registrar of Voters Office at 203-891-471 5/47 16, or the Town Clerk’s Office.

In order for your vote to be counted, please follow the instructions carefully; the Town Clerk must receive the completed absentee ballot by Election Day. A new election law allows U.S. citizens to register and vote on Election Day. You must register and vote in the registrars’ office in the town hall.

If you have any questions and for further information, call the Registrar of Voters Office at 203-891-4715/4716, or the Town Clerk’s Office.

Orange Police: Two Face Illegal Credit Card Related Charges

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Jul 202017

On June 13, at 5:41 p.m.  Orange police responded to 125 Boston Post Road (Sprint) on a suspected fraud complaint. Officers spoke to the Sprint Manager who stated Raul O. Infante, 23, and Katie Cruz, 22, both of Bridgeport, did not have the authority to make purchases on the account they were using.

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Cruz had an active PRAWN warrant for her arrest for Failure to Respond.

Both suspects were taken into custody and charged.

Infante was charged with fourth-degree larceny, illegal use of a credit card, criminal conspiracy to commit illegal use a credit card, criminal conspiracy to commit sixth-degree larceny, and two counts of second-degree forgery.

Cruz criminal conspiracy to commit fourth-degree larceny, criminal conspiracy to commit sixth-degree larceny, interfering with an officer, two counts of conspiracy to commit illegal use of a credit card and failure to respond.

Both Infante and Cruz were held on a $10,000 surety bond to appear in court June 14.


Police Blotter: Man Found Asleep At The Wheel Charged With DUI

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Jul 202017

Orange Police responded to a complaint of a suspicious vehicle near the i-95 ramp on Marsh Hill Road on July 13 at 1:17 a.m.

According to the report, officers found Pasha Wilson, 27, of Bridgeport asleep inside his car in the intersection.

After securing the vehicle, police administered a roadside sobriety test and Wilson was taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

He was released after posting $100 bond for court July 27.


Local Businesses, Service Providers Sought For Health And Safety Fair

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Jul 202017

OVNA and Community Services represented

Message from Joan Cretella Director of Orange Community Services

Community Services is looking for local businesses and service providers for the 16th Annual Orange Senior Health and Safety Fair.

The event will take place at the High Plains Community Center Gym, 525 Orange Center Road, Friday, September 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Early bird registration by Monday, July 31 is $80, after that, the fee is $85 a table for businesses and free to non-profit providers with a 501(c)3 designation. 

The event is free to the public. 

All proceeds from this fair will go to the Community Assistance Fund. All of our programs, activities, events, and offerings are self-generated solely from fees and donations. For more information or to reserve a table please contact Joan Cretella, Dennis Marsh or Denise Stein at Community Services 203-891-4788

We ask your support to maintain these vital programs.

Farmers’ Market and Free Concert Today

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Jul 202017

Come on down to the Farmers’ Market at the Orange Fairgrounds Pavilion, 525 Orange Center Road, today, Thursday, July 20, from 3:30 – 7 p.m.
The band, “Satisfaction” will perform beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The following vendors will be attending:
Durante’s – pasta, sauce, oil
Fox Hollow Farm – Maple Syrup
Grassy Hill Farm – Vegetables
Guardians Farm – Soaps & Scrubs
Laurel Glen Farm – Vegetables, flowers
Mapleview Farm – Wool Products
Oronoque Farm – Pies, Donuts, Cookies
Seasonal Catering – Teas, Prepared Foods, Hummus
Shamrock Farm – Vegetables, Meat
Sweet Seidners – Cookies, Cookie Bars
Szabos Seafood – Prepared Foods 
Wayne & Son Growers – Fig and Citrus Trees
Whole German Bread – Breads & Bakery Items
Zuppardi’s Pizza – Pizza, Italian Ices

Here Are The 2017 Republican Candidates, Zeoli Accepts Nomination

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Jul 192017

The Orange Republicans held their caucus at High Plains Community Center on Wednesday, July 19.

Following is a list of the candidates for the November 2017 Municipal Election


BOARD OF SELECTMEN – John J. Carangelo, Ralph G. Okenquist,  Judith W. Williams

TOWN PLAN & ZONING COMMISSION – Kevin Cornell, Oscar Parente

TAX COLLECTOR – Sandra Pierson

TOWN CLERK – Uncontested

BOARD OF FINANCE – Joseph P. Nuzzo, Robert Bocek, Pat Romano

ORANGE BOARD OF EDUCATION – Jeffery Cap, Christian Young, Kimberley Browe

AMITY BOARD OF EDUCATION – 4 Year Term – Thomas Hurley, Steven DeMaio

AMITY BOARD OF EDUCATION – 2 Year Term – Shannan Carlson

CONSTABLES – Jeffrey Vargo, Michael Donadeo, Jody Daymon, Glenn Papelo



Margaret Novicki’s Nomination Speech

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Jul 192017

Candidate Margaret Novicki

During the Democratic Caucus at High Plains Community Center, on July 18, First Selectman Nominee Margaret Novicki made the following speech before an enthusiastic crowd.

  • Good evening, dear friends! I’m very happy to say that over the last month or so, I have met many of you in this room and I can honestly call you my friends. I’m really looking forward to working with all of you as we move forward to November!
  • Most of you by now have heard or read about my background and qualifications to be your candidate for First Selectman of Orange and you just heard my wonderful son’s unbiased opinion!
  • You know that I and my family have deep roots in Orange.  I grew up here and moved back to Orange in 2013 when my mom, Martha, a great Orange lady, passed away. You know about my educational background and my career, and the fact that I retired from the United Nations after 22 years, 10 of which were served in Africa.
  • But now I’d like to tell you a few things you wouldn’t know about me from my bio, things that might tell you more about the kind of person I am and why I am seeking your support.
  • First of all, you might wonder why I retired from the UN –  believe it or not, it was not to seek elective office in Orange! The UN has a mandatory retirement age of 62.  So, when I turned 62 in May of this year, it was time to move on.  At that time I thought about what my next chapter would be and it brought me back home where the opportunity was literally at my doorstep. It was one I considered for a few weeks – much to Jody’s anxiety, because when I commit I am in 100%.
  • Deciding to seek elective office in Orange, against an incumbent 12 years in office, says something else about me—I love a good challenge and especially when I feel I have a contribution to make to the greater good. I have no fear or doubts whatsoever facing whatever hurdles may stand in the way of the Democrats moving back into Orange Town Hall.
  • To quote Nelson Mandela, whose birthday it is today, “It always seems impossible until it is done.” All my life I’ve met challenges head on and overcome them, starting with my dad telling me I didn’t need to go to a great university like Georgetown, that my heart was set on. He said I would only end up getting married and it would be a waste of money. My mom knew otherwise and helped me win him over.
  • Across my career and in my personal life, I have confronted my fair share of roadblocks, including gender discrimination, sexism and racism. I have fought every step of the way, even at great personal cost, to meet and surpass those challenges, with a clear vision of who I am, what I believe in and what I need to do to get where I want to be, however hard the road ahead may be.
  • I accepted UN positions in what are categorized in the UN lexicon as “hardship duty stations” – places not many Headquarters staff want to go, where I lived without simple things that we take for granted, like 24-hour electricity and running water, and where the population was traumatized by years of war. I sat down with parents and children whose limbs were amputated by crazed combatants and women who were violently raped. I lobbied for the release of child soldiers who were kidnapped, given drugs and a machine gun, and taught to kill at the tender age of 8, 10 or 12. I’ve flown on helicopters with our peacekeeping forces into rebel-held territory, where I came face to face with armed and dangerous warlords and their forces and talked to them about disarming. I know how to get my message across.
  • I am telling you these things so that you understand who I am. THIS is me, Margaret Novicki, and why I am seeking your support to become the next First Selectman of Orange.  I’m tough, tenacious, and I have never met a challenge I have not faced fearlessly and with great determination. And I will do so in running for office and serving Orange. Even the daunting task of knocking on a few thousand doors doesn’t scare me, nor do lively debates intimidate me.  Having stared down a few African warlords, I know I can hold my own.
  • Some have asked me how my experience relates to the duties of First Selectman. My life’s work has been about public service — making life better for people. People whose priorities are the same as ours in Orange: a better future for our children through education, being able to afford to live where we want, a safe and peaceful community where everyone’s needs are met — no matter how young, no matter how old – and a strong economy to generate the revenue for needed services.
  • This is what I have worked for on behalf of people around the world. And what I will work for on behalf of the people of Orange. But I can’t do it alone. We, the Democrats of Orange, need to face the challenge of moving our town forward TOGETHER. Our people have become complacent, even apathetic, about voting and about what to expect out of local government. We, you and me, each of us, need to shake our fellow Democrats out of that lethargy. The lessons of the last presidential election cannot be clearer.
  • First of all, we need to motivate our people – all of them – to vote. To do so, we need to remind them of their civic obligation, but even more so convince them that this town has huge, untapped potential that is lying dormant. All of us – Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated – should expect much more from our local government than we are getting.
  • Now is definitely time for a change in the status quo, for a new spirit, new ideas and new energy to get Orange moving again.  This is why I am running for First Selectman.
  • Our town will always attract people for our excellent school system and a lovely family-friendly way of life. But our community has changed over the past 12 years – we are more diverse, we have a growing senior population and the farming community for which Orange was once known is now a much smaller contributor to our tax base.
  • We need to inject our town with a similar vibrancy and attractiveness that has drawn strong investments in neighboring towns. A vibrant Orange attractive to investors and retail businesses will enable us to expand our tax base and provide the necessary services our evolving community requires – and deserves. We will look for new and innovative ways to create efficiencies and cost savings that can also be directed where resources are most needed.
  • We have a huge opportunity in front of us and we must seize it. To do so, I need each and every one of you to put your shoulders to the wheel and do your part. We have a great slate of candidates, who all have strong leadership skills and who will make a difference in how this town is governed, and we all need your support.
  • I am totally and utterly convinced that we can – and we must – set Orange on a new, dynamic path.  We need a brighter future for our beloved town and for all its citizens.  We are ready and raring to go.
  • I am asking you tonight to join us and help us win in November! Together we can meet this challenge and we will win!
  • Thank you!

Margaret Novicki’s Son’s Speech Nominating Her For Orange First Selectman

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Jul 192017

Margaret Novicki and her son, Tom

Orange Democrats held their caucus at High Plains Community Center on Tuesday, July 18.

Following is Margaret Novicki’s son, Tom’s speech nominating her for first selectman:

Hi. My name is Tom Ndiaye. I’d like to briefly tell you all a little bit about Margaret Novicki, my mom. There’s a massive pool from which I could list off nothing but positive traits about her. However, I’ll choose three categories to highlight, in which she far excels: her devotion, her belief in democracy, and her caring.

Now, Margaret Novicki is devoted. As one might be able to gauge from talking to her, our family lifestyle has been, well, unorthodox to say the least. She worked for the United Nations for the past 22 years, and I was born only two years prior to the start of that. Resultantly I’ve been moving around from pretty much the get go. We left our Brooklyn home for adventures beyond the Atlantic when I was only five. She was in all different countries, fulfilling any and all roles required of her, dutifully. From heading the UN information centers in both Ghana and South Africa to peacekeeping in Sierra Leone and Liberia, Margaret has always gone above and beyond what was required of her, leaving massive ripples in her wake.

As one may well imagine, it wasn’t easy for a kid, having to uproot, settle, rinse, and repeat every few years. Just as we would start a new chapter in life, things would be over and we’d have to start from square one. To this day, I’ve never lived in the same place for more than five years at a time—I changed schools seven times before even attending university, trading old friends and familiar environments for new ones like baseball cards. There was nothing constant in my life, save for two things: the knowledge that I would have more unknowns coming my way, and the knowledge that my mother would be there to help me face them. The fearless leader of the family, Margaret took it upon herself to be personally responsible for us all, despite her ever-busy schedule. If there was a crisis, even if she was several countries away, the moment wind of it reached her ears, she would be on the next plane home to defuse the threat.

Margaret somehow found a way to fully dedicate herself to both her mission, and her family, miraculously serving no less than 100% to both, which baffles me. There were needs that needed to be met, and she took it as a personal responsibility to fulfill them. That which we needed, and I’m including the UN and the world as “we” here, we received, thanks to Margaret. This brings me to my next point.

Margaret is democratic—let me elaborate on this a bit further. Amidst the political firestorm that rages fiercely through American politics today, the word democrat is thrown around a lot. Sometimes it’s from the pejorative, sneering mouths of our more conservative acquaintances. At other times it’s a stamp—a badge of honor, verbally displayed to vehemently distance one’s self from that other side of the schism.

And it really is a schism more so than a spectrum at this point. Politics being what they are now, we commonly find ourselves in screaming matches, raising our voices louder and louder just to let our voices be heard, let alone understood or empathized with. We all resort to shouting at the end of the day, because we feel that there is no alternative. And the reality is, when everybody is screaming, there are no voices. It’s just noise.

Now, Merriam-Webster defines democratic as “relating to, appealing to, or available to the broad masses of people—favoring social equality.” These traits utterly define Margaret’s approach. Having been exposed to the entire spectrum of human life through her travels, she knows there are people whose voices aren’t heard—they either can’t be heard, or won’t be heard. To the very best of her ability, as far back as I can muster thoughts, she has always spoken out on behalf of those who need it, taking into account every last value and opinion put past her in any given situation. She truly lives up to the word democratic.

It is because Margaret is so caring, however, that she so effortlessly embodies the aforementioned traits. It is this caring that gives her the drive to achieve her ends—a continual compulsion, a love to help those who need it, a love for people, for humanity.

Some years ago, I recall Margaret going on a disarmament mission in a war-ravaged Liberia. Naturally, unfazed by danger, she charged right into the rebellion’s base of operations, a town running close to empty on provisions. A woman came up to Margaret, holding a small baby, no more than three days old, and placed him in her arms. His mother had passed away in childbirth, she’d said, and there was no food in the village to sustain him – no milk, no clean water. He hadn’t eaten since he’d been born, and surely, he would not live much longer. She pleaded for Margaret and her team to take him back to the capital city of Monrovia, his only chance at survival.

Margaret contacted UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund, frantically asking for advice. She was told that it was against their protocols to take the baby from its family. UNICEF could not be immediately responsible for the wellbeing of a random child. Margaret, crushed, could not bear the thought. She whisked the child away in the UN helicopter anyway, hydrating the child along the flight with water from the cap of a bottle, drop by drop. Calling ahead, Margaret found people in her mission who wanted to help, and who took the baby for medical care as soon as the helicopter touched down. The baby came to be known as the miracle baby of the UN Liberia mission, placed in a foster home where he grew into a healthy child. He was named Blessing by one of the women of the foster house that took him in. He must now be fourteen years old. Fourteen years, no doubt, given to him by the selflessness and caring Margaret showed when it was most needed.

She’s stubborn, oh yes; she’s a fighter. But she fights for what’s right, and she won’t be pushed around. My reckoning is, if she can jump head first into two ongoing wars and come out unscathed, odds are she’ll do just fine in Orange. One could ask for no finer an exemplar of a leader, a friend, a confidant, and just as luck would have it for me, a mother.

And that is why I nominate Margaret Novicki to be the Democratic candidate for First Selectman of Orange.

Wireless Zone, Orange Helps Children In Need

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Jul 192017

The National Retail Federation predicted the average person with children in grades K-12 would spend $97.74 on school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, and backpacks.

With more than 16 million children in the U.S. living in poverty, Orange Wireless Zone, 330 Boston Post Road, is working to alleviate the rising costs of school supplies through the fifth annual School Rocks Backpack Giveaway in partnership with The Cellular Connection (TCC) and Culture of Good.

On Sunday, July 23 between 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., the local Wireless Zone and TCC stores will be inviting Orange families and their children to pick up a backpack filled with school supplies, and this is expected to be the biggest year yet with more than 230,000 backpacks full of books expected to be delivered in 2017.