Nov 212014

(Photo by Terri Miles)

(Photo by Terri Miles)

Do you have small children? Do you love the magic of Christmas? For 20 years Santa Claus has teamed up with the Orange Volunteer Fire Department for its Santa’s Helper Fundraising event in which 100 percent of the proceeds are used towards the purchase of firefighting and rescue equipment. 

For two decades Santa’s Helper Teams of firefighters, special helpers, family and friends have been honored to deliver gifts, smiles, fun and visit with thousands of families throughout Orange. And now they are visiting the children of the children that they first saw back in 1994 pressing their little faces up against glass doors waiting for the fire trucks to come down their street with lights and sirens announcing Santa’s arrival.

If you would like to join in the fun and have one of the Santa teams arrive at your front door on Sunday, Dec. 14 between 2-8 p.m., it’s easy, Just follow the simple steps:


There is a fee of $15.00 per gift. Each gift must be INDIVIDUALLY wrapped in your favorite holiday paper with an over-wrap of plain brown paper. The name and address of the recipient must be clearly printed on the outside.
Please try not to make the gifts too large or heavy, Santa appreciates that.

We have a limited delivery number of 160 homes. This is an extremely popular event, and those spots fill up quickly. We strongly encourage you to have all of the gifts for your stop with you on Gift Drop-Off day. **For those families having a large party with many gifts on delivery day, please e-mail us at: [email protected] for special instructions.**


Gift Drop Off Day for the general public is at Fire Station #2, 355 Boston Post Road, (Across from TGI Fridays) on Saturday, Nov. 22 from noon to 2 p.m. PLEASE NOTE THE NEW TIME FRAME. This year, the organizers ask that the general public begin to arrive no earlier than 11:30 a.m. (30 minutes prior to the 12 p.m. start time.)  You will have a much shorter wait in line by following these new guidelines. Thank you!


Please park your car in the rear of the Fire Station. There will be firefighters there to assist you. The Drop-Off line will be located INSIDE the fire station. USE REAR DOOR MARKED ENTER. 


Delivery takes place on Sunday, Dec. 14 from 2-8 p.m. Santa on his fire truck with his Elf, and special firefighter helpers will arrive at your home to deliver the gifts back to your loved ones, and spend some time with your family for photos and smiles. 

If you have any questions, you can e-mail Elf Mama at: [email protected]
She will help you via e-mail. Please DO NOT call the Fire Stations as it’s a volunteer department and there will not be anyone there available to assist you with Santa’s Helper information.

**E-mailing Santa’s Helper does not guarantee you a spot on the delivery route. Sign-up on drop-off day is on a first come-first serve basis.


Originally Published on: Oct 8, 2014 @ 9:44

Second Publishing on: Oct 29, 2014 @ 17:00

Third publishing: Published on: Nov 19, 2014 @ 16:00

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 182014

Face stills 001


On Friday, Nov. 7, at around 10:30 a.m., an unknown male assaulted a 73 year old man at Target, 25 Boston Post Road.

According to police, the unprovoked assault occurred inside the store as the victim approached pharmacy counter where the assailant walked up from behind him and shoved him, causing the victim to fall forward to the floor and injure his knee.

A store employee attempted to follow the suspect after the assault, but lost sight of him outside in the parking lot.

The incident was captured on surveillance video.  Orange Police have so far been unable to identify the suspect and are seeking the public’s help in identifying him.

He is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 30 years old, of average height and a stocky build.  He was wearing a thin beard, gray baseball cap and workout attire.  A still photo shows the suspect leaving the store.

Anyone recognizing the suspect or who may have witnessed the assault is asked to contact Officer Rob Cafaro at 203-891-2130.

Nov 172014


Police Headquarters

Police Headquarters

The following information regarding police activity in October was revealed at this month’s police commission meeting.

Officers responded to 2,712 calls for service including: 

• 3 Burglaries (2 residential, 1 commercial), 125 Activated Burglar Alarms and 139 Medical Emergencies.

There were 32 Criminal Arrests; 17 Shoplifting/Larcenies; 21 Fights/Disturbances; 5 Arrests for DWI; 97 Traffic Accidents; and 220 Motor Vehicle Citations Issued

Nov 162014

Carnival Chairman Donny Foyer (forefront) and a screen shot of one of the 2014 raffle tickets.

Carnival Chairman Donny Foyer (forefront) and a screen shot of one of the 2014 raffle tickets.

In July, Orange Live was the first to tell Orange residents that the Orange Volunteer Fire Department was in trouble.

The tried and true decades old method of selling Carnival Raffle tickets was squashed by the US Postal Service and ticket sales were down.

By the time all the vendors were paid and the receipts were counted after this year’s carnival, the Volunteers were down by $30,000 from last year according to carnival chairman Donny Foyer.

The carnival is the department’s biggest fundraiser and year-after-year it’s been more than profitable, padding the bank account enough to enable the men and women to purchase the equipment they needs to serve the town of Orange, and to pay for training and turnout gear for every volunteer.

How Will They Sell Tickets?

Since they can no longer send tickets through the mail, the firefighters looked into other options that nearby departments use.

The tentative plan is to mail every resident a card asking if they would like to purchase raffle tickets and if so, how many. The residents would then return the card with the number of tickets marked, along with a check with their donation.

The firefighters will fill out the resident’s information on the tickets, then return the corresponding stubs by mail.

This would mean a significant amount of extra work for the volunteer firefighters, but earning the proceeds that they were accustomed to would be well worth the effort and the additional postage.

When the firefighters decide on a definitive plan, Orange Live will release the information (late in spring 2015 or early summer 2015) so you will know what to expect.

When you help the Orange Volunteer Fire Department’s fundraising efforts, you are contributing to the safety of your town.


Nov 122014

BEST-POLICE-Patch-EVER-275x300At this week’s Police Commission meeting, Chief Gagne recapped October’s incident reports, including the Oct. 24 burglary complaint on Highland Terrace during which an elderly woman woke to find a stocky man wearing a hood inside her bedroom.

Investigating officers found that the person had pride open a door and a jewelry box had been taken.

A K-9 track led to the road, so perhaps the suspect got into a car at that point, according to the report.

• Officers responded to a burglary complaint on Longmeadow Road on October 3 around 3:45 p.m.

According to the report tools were taken from an unlocked garage.

• Police were dispatched to the Racebrook Wine and Liquor Store at 3:49 a.m. on Oct. 18 for a burglar alarm.

Someone had forced entry into the building and took cash and cigarettes.

Investigation revealed that Milford had a similar burglary soon afterward on the same night. The two departments are working together on the investigation.

Nov 122014

zeoli boardThe regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen will take place at Town Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Following is the AGENDA:

Call to order

Fire Exits

Pledge of Allegiance



(2 minutes per speaker)



To consider and act on the approval of the minutes of the October 8, 2014 Regular Meeting of the Board of Selectmen (enclosure) 


To consider and act on the use of open space at Wright Farms (enclosure) – Sterling Adams

To consider and act on amending the Library Ordinance (enclosure)Vincent Marino, Town Counsel. 

To consider and act on the property tax abatements for United Illuminating (enclosure) – First Selectman Zeoli 

To consider and act on bid recommendation for boiler replacement at Orange Center Road Firehouse using LoCip Funds (enclosure)First Selectman Zeoli

To consider and act on the bid recommendation for a new 3.0 Cubic Yard Class Four Wheel Drive Loader (enclosure) – Robert Hiza, Town Engineer

To consider and act on the donation of land known as 1-5 Lots on Hemlock Drive (enclosure) – First Selectman Zeoli

To consider and act on the request to authorize the First Selectman on behalf of the Board of Selectmen to execute the FFY 2014 State Homeland Security Grant Program Region 2  Memorandum of Agreement (enclosure) – Tim Smith, Fire Marshal

To consider and act on disbanding committees (enclosure)

To consider and act on the request to approve the tax refunds totaling $12,491.47 (enclosure)


Pension BoardSelectman Goldblatt

Capital PlanningSelectman Okenquist

Bond Construction OversightSelectman Goldblatt

PersonnelSelectmen Zeoli, Okenquist, Lenz

Adjourn Regular Meeting and Convene into Execution Session


Discussion Regarding Tax Refund RequestVincent Marino, Town 


Adjourn Executive Session and Convene into Regular Meeting

Adjourn Regular Meeting


Approved Minutes of September 10, 2014 Board of Selectmen Meeting

Memo from OBOE Regarding American Education Week

2015 Board of Selectmen Meeting Schedule 


Revenue and Expenditure Reports

Lohman Letter to ZBA

Originally Published on: Nov 7, 2014 @ 14:20 

Nov 112014

veterans-day-2014The Orange Veteran’s Day Ceremony will take place at the Veteran’s Memorial Walk in front of High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 at 11 a.m.

Schools are open on this day, so the hope is that as many residents as possible attend to show their support and appreciation for those men and women who served our country and secured the freedoms we enjoy.

The weather is expected to be dry, yet cool (in the high 50s) so dress appropriately.

Originally Published on: Nov 9, 2014 @ 17:40 

Nov 092014


A young Robert Cole being sworn in. He is now a Lt.

A young Robert Cole being sworn in. He is now a Lt.

Twenty years ago, on Nov. 7, 1994, the Orange Police Department welcomed three new officers to the ranks.

Each of these officers has served the Police Department and the citizens of the Town of Orange well over the past two decades. We’ve grown accustomed to their faces, and watched them grow into fine, respected members of the department.

The photos accompanying this story show each of them being sworn in by Past Police Commissioner Joe Cuzzocreo.

Pictured here is current Lieutenant Robert Cole (top photo), current Sergeant Jose Taverner (below, left), and current Detective Michael Morrin (below, right)


Nov 092014

combat dogSince WWII the Dogs of War worked side-by-side with the troops, being on the front lines, acting as early warning systems for the men they grew to love, often taking a bullet as they were seen as a threat by the enemy.

I first became aware of Military Dogs when I was about 10. My Uncle Joey, a Marine Gunnery Sgt. came home from his final tour in Vietnam with an awesome German Shepherd named “Gunny,” who’d saved countless Marines during his service.

Gunny was one of the lucky ones, he was able to come home and live out his life with his best buddy. But every year, and every war since The War to End All Wars, thousands of these working dogs are left behind in the war zones. Considered by the US Government as “equipment.”

Back in 2008-2009, I helped my friend, the late WWII Army Veteran Peter Horbick do research on war dogs for a memorial that he wanted to dedicate in their honor.

I printed hundreds of pages of heartbreaking stories from veterans who’d served in different wars who were forced to leave their dogs behind.

The military actively began using dogs in 1942, when civilians would donate their dogs to be trained for service. Peter and his wife Ellen donated their dog, and after he served in WWII, Ellen got him back, but, like Gunny, not all dogs were as lucky.

The memories of seeing the dogs barking for their comrades as they left haunted Peter for decades and he engraved the War Dog Memorial stone that stands at Bethany’s Veteran’s Park with the Poem, “I Wait By The Gate,” by Connie Chronister.  I am proud to say that after some extensive research I located Connie and she attended the dedication ceremony in Bethany — that meant so much to Peter.


Peter would be happy to know that there is now hope for military dogs. in 2007, an Iraq War Veteran named Danny Scheurer was upset with the idea that dogs who’d worked so hard were being abandoned to avoid the costs of transporting them to and sheltering them in the States.

He began the Save-A-Vet program to rescue military & law enforcement working dogs & other service animals from being put down when their service to country & community is done, and to provide housing and relief for disabled veterans who help take care of them.

No Dog Left Behind

HERE is an article about US Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s push to help save military working dogs and to provide them with homes and veterinary care in retirement.

You Can Help

Pet Supplies Plus, 471 Boston Post Road, is donating a percentage from the purchase of certain Natural Balance products to the Save-A-Vet organization this week for Veteran’s Day, in recognition of the dog’s faithful service.