Jan 302015

Chandler Howard, President and CEO of Liberty Bank/Liberty Bank Foundation, Jen Romanoff, Amity Teen Center Executive Director, Michael Helfgott, Chairman Liberty Bank Foundation and Jane Opper, Teen Center President.

Chandler Howard, President and CEO of Liberty Bank/Liberty Bank Foundation, Jen Romanoff, Amity Teen Center Executive Director, Michael Helfgott, Chairman Liberty Bank Foundation and Jane Opper, Teen Center President.

The Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded a $2,000 grant to the Amity Teen Center to support the Teens Making a Difference Program.

“The program encourages teens to participate in hands-on community service projects to gain an awareness of the needs in their community,” said Sue Murphy, executive director of Liberty Bank Foundation. “The teens involved learn the importance of community outreach, develop problem-solving and social skills, and encourage leadership and life-long participation in community service.”

“All of us at the Amity Teen Center appreciate the generosity of the Liberty Bank Foundation in rewarding us this grant,” said Jen Romanoff, the Teen Center’s Executive Director.

Since its inception in 1997, the Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded over $8.7 million in grants to nonprofit organizations within Liberty Bank’s market area.  The foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for people of low or moderate income by investing in three areas:  education to promote economic success for children and families; affordable housing; and nonprofit capacity building.  Along with its grantmaking, the foundation strives to foster the convening and collaboration of nonprofits, funders, business, and government to address community issues. 

The Amity Teen Center is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that was formed in 1987.  We provide after school, evening and weekend activities for area teens in grades 7 – 12 in our own 7,000 square foot building at 10 Selden Street in Woodbridge.  Anyone wishing to learn more about the Teen Center, please go to  www.amityteencenter.org

Jan 292015

Little League LogoA Message From Orange Little League:

It’s that time of year…baseball registration! Come join us for OLL’s first fundraiser of the season at the Orange Ale House, 517 Boston Post Road, Orange, on Thursday Jan. 29 from 6 – 9 p.m.

Admission is$20/person to benefit Orange Little League, and includes food (pasta, salad, chicken tenders, pizza), 2 cocktails of your choice, with silent auction, 50/50, and door prizes.

Come support OLL and complete the registration for your kids for the upcoming season.

Register at www.OrangeCTLittleLeague.com and come on down We can take payments for pre-registered players or help with any registration issues. Have questions? We will get you the answers!

Don’t forget early bird registration ends on January 31st. Come down and find out more about the upcoming season!

For more information email Pete – [email protected]

Jan 282015

ASD Fitness CenterMartha Leary, CCC-SLP will be the Keynote Speaker at a Wine & Craft Beer Tasting in support of the Bethany Leapley Autism Spectrum Disorder Scholarship Fund at St. Barbara’s Church Hall, 480 Racebrook Road, on Saturday, Feb. 28, beginning at 7 p.m.

Leary has learned from people with autism, their supporters and families for nearly 40 years. She has lectured extensively in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia and England.

The Guest Speaker is Dr. Ruth Eren. Ed. D., Professor of Special Education / Chairman of the Department of Special Education / Reading Director at the Center of Excellence on ASD Disorders at Southern Connecticut State University.

Tickets are $125 per person, $800 for a table of eight, $1,000 for a table of ten.

The event includes hors d’oeuvres and desserts, silent auction.

WTNH News Anchor Jim Watkins will DJ-Emcee the event.

Tickets may be purchased online via PayPal at [email protected] or by sending a check payable to the Bethany Leapley ASD Scholarship Fund to Bethany Luna, 17 Cannonball Road, North Haven, CT 06473.

If you are unable to attend, but would still like to donate, you may do so by check or PayPal to the above address.

Research has proven that exercise is beneficial to those with ASD, however not everyone affected has the ability to afford the expense of supervised training and is in need of financial assistance.

The ASD Fitness Center is located at 307 Racebrook Rd, Orange.

All funds collected will be used to award scholarships to those in need to attend the ASD Fitness Center — A facility specifically designed to provide a safe, comfortable and structured environment for empowering individuals with ASD to improve their level of physical fitness.

Like the Bethany Leapley ASD Scholarship Fund on Facebook.

For more information, contact the group at [email protected] or visit www.bethanyleapleyasdfund.com

Jan 252015

K9 Loki

K9 Loki

Orange Police Officer Chris Brown has had a busy year. He is the father of a 7 month old daughter, and recently completed his second training course at the Ct State Police K9 Training Academy: first with K9 Major, who was killed in the line of duty on Route 34 and in December with new K9 partner Loki.

Major’s death was a tragic accident early in his career. He was distracted by a flock of sheep while Chris was helping a stranded motorist and ran to the opposite side of the highway. He was struck by a truck when responding to his partner’s command to return. There is a memorial in front of the Police Department in his honor.

Police Chief Robert Gagne encouraged Chris to “grab the leash” again and get another dog.

Asst. Chief Anthony Cuozzo said Chris is good at his job and he and Gagne have the utmost confidence in his ability as a K9 handler. “The Orange PD is lucky to have a lot of community support for our K9s.”

Chris went to a kennel in upstate New York to look at the dogs bred to do police work.

Loki, a sable German Shepherd was the first dog he looked at.

At 14-months old, the dog showed he had a strong work ethic and would do anything for the ball (if you remember Officer Mike Kosh’s dog Max, you know about that passion) which is his reward for a job well done.

“His drive was high and he went the extra mile to get (the ball),” Chris said. “I chose him without hesitation, I know he’ll have the longevity to do the work for 6-7 years.”

As Cuozzo tells it, Chris called Chief Gagne and said, “I found a dog, I need $7,500.” The Chief agreed and asked when he was going to pick him up — Chris said, “He’s with me now, I’ve got him.”

Chris said the training academy was easy for Loki: he did well in everything from obedience to tracking, and he’s very aggressive.  “He’s got a very strong bite.”

“I think he would have been the Top Dog in his class if I hadn’t already gone through the training once last year,” Chris said.

Gagne said Loki was put to the test with farm animals that you would find in Orange, to make sure they wouldn’t be a distraction — he passed with flying colors, focusing on his goal and ignoring everything else in his surroundings.

Every dog has a different personality and is special in their own way. Unlike Max and Major, Loki (now 18 months old) doesn’t bark incessantly when in the patrol car, something Chris appreciates.

The team took to the streets on January 12 and so far, they are the perfect fit.

Loki’s connection to Chris was clear as we sat down together on Jan. 15 at the Orange Police Department.

Both the dog and handler were facing me while we talked and I couldn’t help but notice that when Chris, tilted his head, turned a certain way or looked left or right, Loki — who had his back to his partner — mirrored every move.

Loki and Chris work the night shift and currently, Loki is trained for tracking.

Chris, a member of the regional SWAT and since it does not yet have a K9 member, he believes Loki would be a valuable asset to the team.

Chris is planning to bring Loki to the schools where former K9 handler Mike Kosh is the resource officer and introduce his partner to the children.

Family Dog

Loki belongs to the Town Of Orange, but he will live his entire life as a member of the Brown family.

Chris and his wife knocked a few names around but they quickly settled on Loki, “The God of Mischief” from the Avengers.

The Brown family also has a Maltese/Yorkie Mix that Loki gets along with well. Even though she rules the roost, the friendship was immediate and Loki is gentle with her.

Being a K9 handler means constant training throughout the dog’s career. Chris already has plans to work with other dog handlers from nearby cities and towns to keep Loki’s skills fresh. They will meet on weekends and put their dogs through their paces to keep them fresh. It also helps to socialize them with other dogs.

AKC Reunite Funding

As noted earlier, a good police dog costs about $7,500 and some police departments can’t afford to purchase them.

Chris Sweetwood is from the Trap Falls Kennel Club, one of 5,000 kennel clubs from across the country. One day, while talking to Newtown Police Officer Matt Hayes, with whom he spent time in Iraq, he learned about the town’s need for a K9 and his club donated money to fund the purchase.

After the Newtown school tragedy, the K9 passed on and the town could not afford to buy a replacement. After talking to several other clubs, money was donated to the AKC Reunite, which provides microchips and helps recover lost dogs, for a grant program spearheaded by Sweetwood that provides search and rescue dogs and police dogs where needed. Newtown got a new dog through this grant money and soon after Orange also received a grant for matching funds with which it was able to pay for K9 Major.

AKC Reunite is now working on getting donations to help Monroe and Westport with funding for police K9s as well.

“The AKC community recognizes the significant role of K9 officers, as well as the challenges that many police departments face when attempting to finance new dogs. We were deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of Major, but are thrilled that Loki was able to step into his role so quickly,” said Tom Sharp, CEO, AKC Reunite. “It is our hope that more police departments across the country will utilize the AKC community as a resource for their K9 programs in the future.”

The town of Orange had insurance on Major, so, fortunately it was able to obtain Loki without having to look for money.

In October, Mike Rhodes of the UConn Police, who met Chris Brown during K9 training (with Major) donated $1,000 from the K9 Olympics to help Orange’s K9 program.

Jan 242015

IMG_2356On Friday night into Saturday, the Youth of the Orange Congregational Church participated in the “Freeze Out,” fundraising event to benefit Youth United/Habitat for Humanity.

The purpose of this event is to raise money for Habitat for Humanity in Bridgeport. The Orange Congregational group hopes to raise at least $2,000 from this event to put toward its $10,000 State Farm Matching Grant.

Each teen who participates is required to get friends and family members to sponsor them to stay out in the cold and raise a minimum of $35 each.

Some residents drove by and handed the kids donations for the cause.

A shanty town of cardboard boxes in front of the church provided them a little shelter from the elements. Tarps kept the snow and rain from soaking and weakening the structure.

The event began at 6 p.m. with a pizza dinner for the participants and ended around 8 a.m. on Saturday.

After dinner the youths and adult chaperones rotated every hour to experience living outside on a cold January night. Those who were inside the church hall participated in activities and listened to guest speakers.

This year, Orange police officer Mary Bernegger’s drug-sniffing K9, laborador “Trent” impressed his audience with his amazing ability to find even trace amounts of drugs that his partner hid inside the church building prior to the demonstration.

At 6 a.m., before breakfast, two chaperones, Karen and Stuart were shoveling snow and already had built a snowman.

Jan 232015

unnamedIt’s been done in the snow, in sub-freezing temperatures, mild drizzle and above average temperatures.

 No matter what the weather, the youth of the Orange Congregational Church have participated in the “Freeze Out,” an important fundraising event to benefit Youth United/Habitat for Humanity for the past several years.

You will notice a shanty town of cardboard boxes out in front of the church this weekend. Each year the structure takes on a more elaborate style as those who construct it learn from the previous year’s design.

The 2015 Freeze Out begins at 6 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 23 with a pizza dinner for the participants and ends around 8 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 24. Snow is expected to fall right after midnight, so, bundle up kids!

After dinner the youths and adult chaperones will rotate every hour to experience living outside on a cold January night. Those who are inside the church hall will participate in activities and listen to guest speakers — often an Orange Police Officer and/or a Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 11.02.43 PMrepresentative from Habitat for Humanity.

The purpose of this event is to raise money for Habitat for Humanity in Bridgeport. The Orange Congregational group hopes to raise at least $2,000 from this event to put toward its $10,000 State Farm Matching Grant.

Each teen who participates is required to get friends and family members to sponsor them to stay out in the cold and raise a minimum of $35 each.

Residents are welcome and encouraged to drive by anytime during the Freeze Out, see the shanty town and make a donation if you’d like.

The sponsor sheets will be available by contacting Beth Rafferty at 203-430-2145 or [email protected]

Jan 192015

selma-movieHere is a wonderful opportunity for students.

Several movie theaters across the country are offering free admission to the new movie Selma to 7th, 8th and 9th grade students who show their student ID or report card at the box office.

In an unprecedented effort led by a team of African-American business leaders in New York, organizations across the U.S. coordinated a massive national campaign to find African-American business leaders to underwrite free admission to the film “SELMA” for students around the country.

The CINEMARK CONNECTICUT POST 14 at the Post Mall in Milford is one of the participating theaters.

This offer is valid only while supplies last. So don’t procrastinate. Get out and see Selma.

Showtimes in Milford are 12:10 p.m., 3:35 p.m., 6:55 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

The movie is rated PG-13 and lasts 2 hr 8 min.

Originally Published on: Jan 16, 2015 @ 12:52

Jan 172015

IMG_9350On Saturday night, the Orange Lions Club hosted its “Get Uncorked Wine Tasting” fundraiser at St. Barbara Church Hall.

About 150 guests (20 more than last year) sipped wine, beer and hard cider and enjoyed a variety of flavors of pizza and desserts.

As promised the Lions had 25 beautiful assorted gift baskets in a “Chinese Auction” and several wonderful prizes in a silent auction along with a grand prize and several door prizes.

Folks mingled with old friends, met new friends and simply had a lovely time.

Well done, Orange Lions.







Jan 162015

unnamedFor 72 years, Boys & Girls Village has been a statewide leader in providing comprehensive care to at-risk Connecticut children and adolescents through its array of behavioral health, educational and family programs. During the holiday season, the agency also tries to make it a special time for the children and families they serve.

Boys & Girls Village (BGV) is pleased to thank the many local partners that stepped up and supported its 2014 Holiday Toy Drive. Collectively, these partners donated nearly $22,000 to the agency, which included monetary, gift and toy donations.

Hundreds of donations were collected by Colonial Toyota of Milford and Trumbull Marriott on behalf of BGV. Instrumental to the toy drive were Colonial Toyota of Milford’s Marketing Director Gloria Powers and Owner Robert E. Crabtree, Jr., and Trumbull Marriott’s Sales Executive Eva Jurewicz and General Manger Rich Pacino. Throughout the holiday season, both businesses hosted wooden donation boxes hand painted by some of the children at Boys & GirlsVillage. The combined efforts raised more than $2,200 in toys for the children and families served by BGV.

Other local businesses like Crown Properties of Milford, Somerset Capital of Milford, Shoreline Dental of Milford, and Brooks Brothers of Enfield were among the many holiday donors. Organizations like Milford Women’s Club, Unity Center of Norwalk, Halle’s Hope of Milford, and a host of area schools and churches boasted it was better to give than to receive.

“Without the generosity of others, especially around the holidays, Boys & Girls Village would not be able to meet the needs of the clients we serve,” said Coreen DeMayo, Development Coordinator at Boys & Girls Village. “These gifts of kindness offer a little more hope, a little more sparkle and a lot more smiles to so many Connecticut youth and families. To each and every one of you that found it in your means to share the holiday spirit and donate to BGV, please know that we send our sincerest thanks.”


BGV also launched its own effort to contribute to the local community this past holiday season. BGV’s Extended Day Treatment (EDT) program in Bridgeport provides therapy to children with emotional and behavior needs. BGV worked with Bridgeport Rescue Mission to incorporate charitable giving into its overall curriculum and teach children about the true meaning of giving. Through BGV’s behavioral reward system, EDT children earn points for good behavior, which went towards purchasing nonperishable food items from BGV’s Point Store. These items were then donated to Bridgeport Rescue Mission, which serves 500,000 meals annually toBridgeport’s working poor and homeless.


“It was heartwarming to see our children taking the initiative to help others in their community,” said DeMayo. “They filled the donation box to the brim and were able to help those in need this holiday season.”


BGV also supported Grandparents on the Move (GOTM), a non-profit organization run by the New Haven Public Schools that serves grandparents and great-grandparents that are raising their grandchildren on fixed incomes. Dorothy Agnew, a volunteer for GOTM, helped organize their holiday drive. BGV donated approximately $1,500 worth of toys to Grandparents on the Move.

Jan 162015

Shown are Teen Center Treasurer Linda Cohen, Executive Director Jen Romanoff, Terri Guidone and Jason Pinkus representing Connecticare and Jane Opper, Teen Center President

Shown are Teen Center Treasurer Linda Cohen, Executive Director Jen Romanoff, Terri Guidone and Jason Pinkus representing Connecticare and Jane Opper, Teen Center President

On Thursday, Jan. 15,  Connecticare presented the Amity Teen Center a $14,093.97 check through the Neighborhood Assistance Act.

The Amity Teen Center is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization formed in 1987 that provides after-school and weekend activities for area teenagers in its own building at 10 Selden Street in Woodbridge.

This donation can be used solely for energy conservation. Connecticare will receive a 100% tax deduction.

For more information about the Amity Teen Center activities visit the website at www.amityteencenter.org