Dec 172014

menorah catsToday is the first day of Hanukkah. I wish you joy and many happy memories with your family and friends on this important holiday.

I also want to remind you to keep your pets safe as you celebrate with all of your traditional foods and your Menorah.

Be sure to keep the sufganiyot away from your pets. If they eat them, it could lead to gastrointestinal difficulties and even pancreatitis.

Dogs and cats both can become ill or even die from eating latkes. The onions in them are toxic to animals and the fats and carbohydrates may upset your pet’s stomach.

Keep the chocolate gold coins away from your pets, too. Not only the chocolate, but the metallic foil wrappers can be dangerous if consumed.

Dreidels can be fun for children, but a curious pet, especially one that tends to eat just about anything, can suffer terribly if it consumes one of the toys and it gets stuck in the throat, behind the teeth or in its intestines.

It is traditional to let the candles of the Menorah burn out, so it would be wise to lock your pet out of the room where your Menorah is lit. To keep everyone safe, you may want to consider using battery operated candles in your Menorah.

Have a safe, happy Hanukkah.


Dec 172014

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 12.32.36 PMChrista Parady of Zoey Girl Pet Services is known as one of the kindest, most caring business owners in Orange.
Currently, the shop is collecting food, blankets  and toys for underprivileged pets in its Toys for Pups and Canine Cupboard pantry.
Please bring all donations to their facility at 185 Boston Post Road.
Also, if you know of any of our four legged friends that are in need of a bath or groom whose human companions cannot afford it, call Zoey Girl at 203-606-9220 and they will arrange for a complementary day at the spa.
Christa, Mae and the entire staff surely know about the true meaning of Christmas.
Zoey Girl Pet Services, 185 Boston Post Rd, Orange, CT 06477
(203) 606-9220
[email protected]

Dec 162014

800px-Connecticut_State_Capitol,_HartfordOn Dec. 15, new House Republican Leader Themis Klarides gave State Reps-Elect Pam Staneski (R-119) and Charles Ferraro (R-117) their first term legislative committee assignments .

Both Staneski and Ferraro were elected to their first term on Nov. 4 and in the days afterward they have prepared themselves for the start of the legislative session that opens on Jan. 7.

After Rep. Klarides announced to Pam and Charles their committee appointments she said, “The early work of the committee process is where our state laws are born, and it’s where legislators like Pam and Charles can provide the most positive influence for the people they serve and the state as a whole.”

Staneski was tapped to serve on the Education, Children’s and Veterans Affairs committees.

“I am looking forward to an exciting legislative session serving on both the Education and Children’s committees with a bi-partisan focus on putting forth legislation that will improve our young people’s education and protect and support our state’s most precious resource, our children,” said  Staneski.

“I fought hard to get on the Veterans Affairs committee. Connecticut needs to do everything possible to make sure our state’s veterans are properly cared for and have employment opportunities when they return back to civilian life,” she said.

When he takes office, Ferraro will serve on the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, which is tasked with writing the two-year state budget.

“Analysts say we’re facing a massive budget deficit, and just before the legislative session begins we’re hearing little beyond talk about tax increases to fill the multi-billion-dollar gap,” he said. “People can’t afford tax hikes, and the legislature should explore ways to reduce government spending before digging deeper into anybody’s pocket,” said Ferraro.

Ferraro has also been tapped by House Republican Leader Themis Klarides to serve on the Public Safety and Security committee which has cognizance over all matters relating to homeland security, the Department of Public Safety, including state police, state organized task force on crime, municipal police training, fire marshals, the fire safety code and the state building code, civil preparedness and legalized gambling.

Additionally, Ferraro is being appointed to the Human Services committee which oversees all matters relating to the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Children and Families, including institutions under their jurisdiction; the Office of Child Day Care; the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities; the Commission on the Deaf and the Hearing Impaired; and the Board of Education and Services for the Blind.

“Serving on the Human Services committee gives me an inside look at the Department of Social Services which is the largest line item in Connecticut’s state budget and serves so many state residents,” he said.

Dec 162014

20141216_130116_resizedIf you are looking for a special gift for someone, consider a beautiful handcrafted Orange Ornament.

These wood ornaments are made with love locally and perfectly hand painted. They were sold at the Orange Country Fair and during the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot so the availability is getting low. They are being sold for $10 each

The artist will be selling the ornaments at Stop and Shop on Old Gate Lane in Milford on Thursday, Dec. 18, from 9 a.m. until evening while they last.

Ornaments can be purchased by e-mailing [email protected] or by calling 203-795-9640. They will be delivered to any Orange address up until the evening of Monday, Dec. 22.

photo (13)

Dec 152014

binky babyEleven years ago, when my daughter was two, my wife and I decided it was time to break her of the pacifier habit.
She called it her “binky”, and was as attached to a pacifier as any child her age would be.
She would frequently lose her binky in the middle of the night and cry until we could get up and find it for her.  (We would sometimes leave a few extra scattered in the crib so she would be sure to find one quickly and save us the trip.)
She had a nice collection of binkies.

We decided the best way to insure success of breaking the habit was to get her to buy into the plan.
So my wife came up with the idea to explain to her that she was a very lucky girl to have binkies because there were poor children around the world that had none.  We explained that a really nice thing for “big girls” to do when they are all done with their binkies is to give them to Santa Claus.  He would bring them to the North Pole and then he would deliver them to the needy boys and girls around the world.
She seemed hesitant but agreed.
On the night the fire truck arrived we were all ready.  We had her place the binkies in a little Ziploc bag and hold them for Santa.  With the lights flashing and music playing, we stood at the door watching the excitement and waiting for Santa and the elves and the firemen to come to the door.
When Santa got to the porch, she held out her bag of binkies and proudly told Santa she was a big girl now and that she wanted him to give them to the poor kids in the world.
Santa  was a champ.  Caught completely off-guard, he improvised beautifully and took the bag from her and thanked her for being such a big girl.  Then he turned and handed them to one of his elves, paused for a minute, and then came inside for the traditional visit.
She never needed a binky ever again.
The next year when I went to the firehouse to drop off the present with my check, Mama Elf recognized the address and was so happy to recount the story to me and her coworkers.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but Santa that year was none-other than the Fire Chief himself…. and she told me that my daughter’s generosity was so overwhelming that she had made him CRY!
I feel truly lucky to have had the opportunity to live here in Orange and participate in such a wonderful tradition.
We love telling this story every year.
Mike and Angel Pickett

Dec 152014

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 1.53.05 PMElaine B. (Leko) Mastroni, 70, of Stratford, beloved wife of Robert Mastroni, died peacefully on Friday evening surrounded by her loving family in the warm, comfortable home that she had created as the centerpiece of her family’s life.

Elaine was born in Bridgeport to the late James and Edith (Tagg) Leko. She retired from the Stratford Board of Education where she had been employed as a teacher’s aide for twenty years.

Elaine was a loving and devoted wife, mother and “Grammy”. Her family’s happiness was what mattered most to her. They were her pride and joy and her legacy and traditions will endure.

Survivors in addition to her husband include her four loving children and five cherished grandchildren. Rob Mastroni of Black Rock, Amie and David Link and their daughter, Ava, of Sandy Hook, Melanie and Thomas Saxa and their children, Macy and Thomas, of Orange and Meredith Mallon and her sons, Liam and Emmett, of Stratford; two brothers, James Leko and his wife, Stephanie of Stratford and John Leko and his wife, Judy, of Florida; and several nieces and nephews.

Friends may call on Wednesday from 4 to 8 pm at the Pistey Funeral Home, 2155 Main Street, Stratford.

Friends are invited to attend the funeral on Thursday, December 17, 2014 at 10 am DIRECTLY at Our Lady of Peace Church with a Mass of Christian Burial officiated by Reverend Nicholas Pavia. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Elaine Mastroni Scholarship Fund c/o People’s Bank, 2772 Main St., Stratford, CT 06615.

Please visit www.pisteyfuneralhome.com to share memories or to leave condolences online.

Dec 152014

10685527_897919656892360_4497852095753010525_nThe Amity Spartans Pee Wee Cheerleaders competed in the National Championships at ESPN Wide World of Sports and won third place in the nation.

Congratulations on a phenomenal job girls! All your hard work paid off.

Hats off the coaches for your fine leadership and to the parents for your unwavering support.

Dec 152014

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.18.29 PMOn Saturday, Dec. 13, Thomas McMahon, 65, of Golf Road, Orange, turned himself in on an arrest warrant at the Orange Police Department.

McMahon was charged with first-degree arson, a felony, and providing a false written statement.

It is alleged that on October 27, McMahon intentionally set fire to his home on 496 Golf Road, while it was occupied. No one was injured.

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department, Milford Fire Department, Orange Fire Marshals, Orange Police, and Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Unit arrived at the scene of the fire and brought it under control.

The fire appeared to have been set from inside the residence, causing an estimated $100,000 in damage.

McMahon was released after posting a $50,000 bond. He is due in Derby Superior Court on Jan. 5, 2015.

Orange Police Detective Mike Morrin investigated this incident and secured the warrant for McMahon’s arrest.


Dec 152014


This is a file photo from a similar event.

Best Santa’s Helper story!

As Christmas 2010 approached my two young daughters, Erin age 9 and Kelsey age 11, were looking forward to Christmas.  As we had done every year since we moved to Orange we had dropped off a gift for each with Mama Elf and were looking forward to Santa’s visit on December 19th.

Then came a shock.  My father had been battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia since late September and had been doing very well. It was a struggle but he had had some good test results just before Thanksgiving and we thought he was on the way to recovery.  But on Dec. 14th he took a very sudden turn for the worse and he passed away on Dec. 15th.  His wake was scheduled for December 19th and the funeral for December 20th.

My daughters had been very close with their grandfather and took his passing hard.  Our family would still find a way to get through the holidays for them but with the wake on Sunday we would not be around for Santa’s visit.

My husband Bob went down to the firehouse to explain to Mama Elf that he would like to retrieve the presents we had dropped off and tell Santa not to stop at our house.  To his surprise she wouldn’t hear of it.  She asked him to leave the presents and she would see if a few of the firemen would be willing to come another night. Arrangements were made for Tuesday or Wednesday the following week (honestly, I have no idea what day it was since my brain was in a fog).  We didn’t tell the girls because we wanted it to be a surprise.

Well, we were all surprised!  That evening 5 fire trucks came through our neighborhood  with lights flashing and sirens blaring!!!  There were a bunch of other vehicles parking on our street  too!  Firemen and elves were everywhere!  The firemen formed a double line from the street to our front door and Santa and his elves and helpers all came down the aisle and into our house!

Apparently when Mama Elf asked for a few volunteers to make the special visit to my family ALL the firemen and women, Santa and elves volunteered!  Every individual that came into our house offered their condolences and wished the girls a Merry Christmas.  They brought us candy canes and beautiful snowflake ornaments for our tree that we gladly hang every year.  It was a magical night for my girls.

I am so happy to have a chance to share with everyone the most wonderful and moving moment of our very difficult Christmas and to thank Mama Elf, Santa, the elves and all the fantastic volunteers at the Orange Fire Department.  Their compassion and thoughtfulness are true examples of the Christmas spirit!

Merry Christmas,

Krista McCormack

Dec 152014

IMG_7408I’ve been going out with the Santa’s Helper Crew for so many years that I’ve lost count.

It all began when I was with the Amity Observer newspaper. My son would accompany me as my photographer and I would “observe” and write a story.

I carried it through to some “hyperlocal” news site and finally now, I’ve covered it for two years on Orange Live.

Santa’s Helper is one of those timeless events that I enjoy being a part of. Seeing the children jumping with excitement at their front door brings me back to when I was young and believing was all you had to do to have a magical Christmas.

Remember, you have until Saturday, Dec. 20 to enter the Orange Live Santa’s Helper contest. Just send your “story” (and a photo if you have one.) to [email protected].