Free Diabetes Screening in Orange on Sept. 27

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Sep 172019

The Orange Lons Club will be conducting free diabetes screenings at the High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road. Orange on Friday, September 27, 2019, from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

This event is in conjunction with the
Community Services Senior Health Fair.

Glucose Test: Fasting is recommended, but not necessary.

What You Should Know About The Jamie Hulley Arts Foundation

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Aug 222019

When I was working at the Amity Observer Newspaper back in 2002, I came across a very sad notice. A young woman from Orange had passed away and the more I learned about her, the more I felt I knew her.

Jamie Alaine Hulley, the daughter of Judy Primavera and Fred Hulley, was only 20 years old when she died, leaving behind a legacy of talent and creativity.

Shortly after her death, the Jamie A Hulley Arts Foundation was established to help other young people learn about and appreciate all of the things Jamie loved. In the past 17 years, it has helped thousands of children, teens and college students realize their potential for creativity and gave many underprivileged children opportunities they otherwise would never have been able to experience.

Who was Jamie A. Hulley?

(from the foundation website)

jamieJamie was a creative soul who had the gift of seeing the world as a thing of beauty. As a child, Jamie saw pictures in the clouds, danced rather than walked, filled reams of paper with her sketches and paintings, performed for any audience, sang to anyone who would listen, and turned anything and everything into a beautiful art project. Her dreams for the future always involved “creating” in one way or another.

As she grew into adulthood, she became a talented studio artist, writer, dancer, singer, songwriter, actor, and comedian. Jamie was a lover of people who had the talent of seeing the good in others and making all who knew her feel special. She was known for her warm smile, quick wit, and her loud infectious laughter.

Jamie was an avid seeker of new experiences. She embraced the unknown with a seemingly insatiable curiosity and definitely was a person who danced through life to the beat of a different drummer. Jamie’s dream of pursuing a career in the arts was cut short in 2002 just two weeks before her 21st birthday after a brief battle with an aggressive form of lymphoma.

To celebrate Jamie’s vivacious spirit and the beauty that she brought to the world, her family and friends established the Jamie A. Hulley Arts Foundation. The foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides educational and career development opportunities in the arts including Grants for Schools, Special Project Grants in the Community; Scholarships, and Jamie’s legacy programs that reflect the experiences, the places, and the people that she loved.

This is where the money goes:

From Sept. 2017 through now, this is how the foundation has distributed its funds


 Eight 4–year college scholarships in theater and studio arts to Amity HS students
 13 full scholarships to Missoula Children’s Theatre camp at Fairfield University (based on need) to youth in greater Bridgeport area
 3 talent development scholarships for youth (based on need) to take weekly lessons in musical theater at Broadway Method Academy — The program run by Orange native, Connor Deane
 Four $1,000 scholarships awarded at the Sondheim Awards – 2 to the best actor/actress and 2 to students nominated by their high school teachers and chosen by the JAH foundation recognizing talent in both performance and in promoting a positivity on stage and off.

School Educational Programs:
 More than 25 different educational programs were sponsored in schools in the Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford regions
• Orange schools: 5 programs including Dancing with the Racebrook stars for its 9th year; yoga program for 1st graders at Turkey Hill School for its 4th year; and sponsorship of the Peck Place Drama Club’s production
• Amity Middle School Orange: 3 programs including the film production program in its 4th-year and Sponsorship of the Spartan
Player’s production of The Music Man
• Amity Middle School – Bethany: 3 programs – including sponsorship of the Spartan Players production of Once on This Island, Jr.
• Amity High School: 13 programs including sponsorship of Amity Creative Theatre’s productions of The Laramie Project Ten Years
Later and The Addams Family, funding to have ACT students mentored by Laramie Project people and Broadway actor Erick Buckley who was a cast member in The Addams Family; sponsorship of The Duality School of Music’s after-school music industry workshop series; visiting artists in studio art, music, and English including sponsorship of the annual Storytelling SLAM; The Memory Project; NAHS annual museum trip, etc.

Programs with Community Groups:
 Fellowship Place in New Haven – sponsorship of a year-round weekly dance class for clients living with mental illness
 Broadway Method Academy in Fairfield – support for development and production of Evita
 Square Foot Theatre in Wallingford – Headlining Sponsor for the 2017-2018 season
 Theatre Fairfield at Fairfield University – sponsorship of the student independent project
 Orange Community Women – sponsorship of Bubblemania Early Career Awards
 One award to Johnny Shea – he is now starring in the lead role in Peter Pan at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Legacy Awards:
 Art Award at Racebrook School
 Art Award at Amity Middle School Orange
 Dance Award at Lee Lund Studio of Dance in Milford CT
 Senior Thesis Stipend Award at Wesleyan University

What Can YOU Do?

That said, there are ways that you can help keep the foundation strong, so it can continue its good work throughout the next year.

Obviously, you may attend the 17th Annual Gala on Sept. 7. But, if you cannot attend the event, you may make a donation at any time.

Send a check/money order to:
Jamie A. Hulley Arts Foundation
P.O. Box 1208
Orange, CT 06477


Column: How My Life Changed 10 Years Ago On This Date

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Aug 182019

This is a column that I wrote in 2009 when I was the editor of the Amity Observer newspaper. For years, I had all of my copy written and the entire newspaper laid out the night before deadline day. But not this particular week. 

If it seems a bit scattered, (poorly composed) you will understand why 2/3 of the way through it at “Revelation”

I Had A What?

This has been a strange, scary and educational week. August 18, started out as a typical Tuesday, in which I normally would begin “laying out” the Amity Observer as I have for the past 10 years.

But something was different. I had what I thought was crippling depression. There was no reason for it, but I couldn’t get motivated to format e-mails, write stories, or prepare the paper for publication.

This has never happened before. I am known around the office for my dedication to the Observer. I wouldn’t ever do anything to compromise the quality of the newspaper or to be late turning in my stories, photographs or updating the web site, but that day I was unable to do anything.

I was fully aware of what day it was and knew I had to find my motivation to write inside briefs. But I couldn’t. I spoke to one of my co-workers around 11:30 that evening, as he and I collaborated on the final front page design for several years, and I hadn’t sent it to him yet.

On Wednesday morning, Aug. 19, I woke up late and remembered that I hadn’t written two of my front-page stories, nor had I laid out any inside pages.

I felt “out of it.”

I was numb in the head, unable to get anything done, although I wanted to, and realized how important it was that I step it up a bit.

Using notes I had previously compiled, I wrote the story about Russ Arpaia, the hot dog vendor, and Keith Johnstone, the injured firefighter from Bethany, and sent them to my managing editor 10 minutes before the newspaper was due to go to press. This was totally out of character. I would never do that if I was in my right mind.

I remember driving to work as my paper was supposed to be on the way to the printing plant. I knew I should be, but couldn’t bring myself to be concerned. As I walked down the long hallway to the office, it seemed like a tunnel. A long, fuzzy tunnel.

When our production “go-to guy” Mario told me that I was four hours late, I had to look at the clock. I couldn’t believe what he was saying, and I couldn’t do the math.

Strangely enough, still no sense of urgency. That wasn’t me. He asked, and everyone else was wondering “What’s wrong with you?” (add a curse word in there) I didn’t know. I thought maybe it was the “depression” that I felt the day before. My managing editor strongly suggested that I see a doctor. I called the doctor’s office to see what the waiting time would be and drove home.

Later that night I went to my friend’s house to pick something up. She, too, asked, “What’s wrong with you?” she mentioned that my eye looked funny. I had no idea what she was talking about. She said my speech was slow, and I was in a daze, taking forever to answer simple questions.

A Visit To The Doctor

On Thursday, I woke up early and made my way to the doctor’s office. The wait wasn’t long. My friend (and co-worker) Jill, showed up at the office, just out of the blue. Luckily for me, she answered questions about my insurance. My head was fuzzy and I didn’t know what they were talking about.

“Insurance Card? Why do you need an insurance card?” We have new insurance that just kicked in, I didn’t get a card yet, but I had a piece of paper that explained the insurance plan.

Jill called my managing editor and got some answers. The doctor’s staff was able to confirm that I had insurance that was active. Jill came into the exam room with me and told my doctor all about what she had observed about my behavior – information that I would not have been able to provide.

The doctor told me to take a week off, and I told her that I didn’t know how to do that. She then ordered a magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI). My head was still “fuzzy” and I had a headache. Why an MRI?

The appointment was set for Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m. Hearing this, my doctor said “no” and insisted that I get there sooner. “You don’t fool around with the brain,” she said. Her staff made another appointment for the following day, Friday, Aug. 21.

When I got to the newspaper office on Thursday to pick up the 200 copies of the Observer that I deliver every week, my publisher and managing editor met me and told me that I had vacation time coming this week. They told me that I couldn’t write any stories for this week’s edition, but I insisted on doing the Open Farm story since it was the last part of a six-part series. I wanted to keep the formula uniform with the other five parts – that was important. They finally agreed.

They’d made arrangements for my police blotter and other stories to get written by other reporters for this week’s edition.

I drove myself to Stratford for the MRI on Friday, still speaking slowly when I answered questions but I was fully aware of what was going on.

I wasn’t feeling like myself and went through red lights and stopped at green lights along the way. I knew what I was supposed to do but couldn’t seem to do it.


Within a few minutes of leaving the MRI testing place, my doctor called my cell phone and said, “You had a stroke.” “Oh, OK, that explains it,” I thought, then I asked, “Was it a TIA mini-stroke or a stroke, stroke?”

“It was a stroke,” she said. “You need to pick up your films from the MRI office, and you have to get a ride to Yale-New Haven Hospital emergency room right away.”

I called Jill and asked if she could give me a ride. Within minutes she was ready and waiting for me and off we went.

I had my CD film of my MRI with me and that little piece of paper with insurance information to give at Yale.

The staff took me in immediately, as my doctor had called in advance.

Everyone told me how lucky I was to still be able to function after the loss of blood flow to the frontal lobe, which controls one’s ability to plan and the temporal lobe, which controls speech.

To my surprise, I was admitted and sent to a room on the eighth floor. And I remained in the hospital from Friday through Wednesday. Writing that final installment of the open farms’ story (and this column) from the hospital bed.

On my walks and stretcher rides in the hospital hallways, I heard other people talk about he loved ones they were visiting who had strokes and were going for MRIs. These people were profoundly affected by their strokes. Some couldn’t talk, others couldn’t walk, or lost the use of their extremities.

It’s then that I realized just how lucky I was, considering that I didn’t recognize the severity of the initial symptoms. Assuming that I had the stroke on Tuesday when I was “Depressed,” and didn’t get to the doctor’s office until three days later, I am extremely fortunate.

I actually had several TIA (mini-strokes) weeks earlier leading up to this one.

I would go to the gym and while I was on the treadmill, I noticed that my right leg would drag behind. When I was walking my Golden, Baron, I also experienced the leg dragging issue, but didn’t do anything about it. I also stuttered occasionally. 

I hope this will serve as a warning for everyone out there. Pay attention to “strange” changes in your body. Call 911 immediately if you have concerns. if not for my managing editor, my friend Jill, and my awesome doctor, this could have ended much differently. 

This is the first installment of a three-part series that I will publish in real-time as they ran 10 years ago.


Meet the Candidates Picnic Planned

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Jun 082019

The Orange Democratic Party will host its annual Meet The Candidates Picnic at the High Plains Pavilion on the Orange Fairgrounds, Orange Center Road, on Wednesday, Aug. 28 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Tickets are $25 each and available by calling Jody at 203-314-9975 or Polly at 203-494-5976.

For more information visit the Facebook page or the Democrats website.

Strawberry Festival At The Fairgrounds June 8

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Jun 062019

The Orange Congregational Church will host its annual Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 8 at the Orange Fairgrounds, 525 Orange Center Road, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Spend the day with family and friends and enjoy food, games, a fabulous vendor fair, pancakes, strawberries, jam, pies, shortcake, entertainment, and the annual Red Car Show!
  • 8:30 AM – Pancake Breakfast
  • 10 AM – 3 PM – Red Car Show
  • 10:30 AM – 11:30AM – Dimples the Clown
  • 11AM – 12:00 Noon – Hay Rides
  • 12 Noon  – 12:45 PM – Al DeCant – Children’s Entertainment
  • 1 PM – 5 PM – Furious George – classic rock
  • 2 PM – 3:00 PM – Magician – Bryan Lizotte
  • 4 PM – Pie Eating Contest

Volunteers Make A Difference On Orange Trail

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Jun 052019

The Orange Conservation Commission hosted a hike at The Ewen Preserve on Saturday, June 1.

This hike was part of Connecticut Trails Day where hosted hikes were held throughout Connecticut on the same day.

Pictured are the intrepid hikers who came out on a beautiful Saturday morning for a hike led by Travis Ewen who grew up on this land.

Highlights included a new walkway over wet sections and work done to restore fish movement on the Indian River, which flows through the Ewen Preserve.

Orange Business and Community Expo Scheduled

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Jun 052019

The Orange Economic Development Corporation will host the 17th Annual Orange Business and Community Expo on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

This year the Expo will take place at the University of New Haven, 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven.  The move will allow for a larger audience and more vendors.  OEDC Executive Director Annemarie Sliby said, “We are excited with the change. The move will allow all vendors to be in one area, with a separate space for workshops and activities. There will be plenty of parking, as students have completed their semester.”

As always, the Expo is free and open to the public. Business owners, their employees, and local residents can look forward to product demonstrations, activities, raffles, and food; while networking with more than 60 business vendors.

Activities and events are still being organized. Some activities currently scheduled are: the Annual Spring Brochure Swap presented by Visit New Haven; Morning Jolt provided by the Orange Chamber of Commerce; Professional headshots provided by Lyon Photography, and returning this year is One-on-One Speed Networking with Rob Thomas.  One-on-One Speed Networking is a fun, effective way to make connections.  Rob Thomas, of Rob Thomas CT, professional networking coach, will be the moderator.  Seating is limited and registration is required.  Cost is $15 per person and includes a goodie bag, refreshments and raffle entry. All activities are free with the exception of the One-on-One Speed Networking. Check the OEDC website for updates and descriptions.   

Forty vendors have registered to date and space is still available but will sell out quickly.  Exhibitors can showcase their business, products or service, sell products on site, and network with business vendors and attendees.  Exhibitor space is reasonably priced at $300 for an 8-foot booth, which includes pipe and drape, linen topped-skirted table and 2 chairs.  In addition, all vendors receive their business information listed in the Event Program, business marketing materials included in Event Welcome Bags, company name listed in OrangeLife Magazine, an entry into the Vendor/Sponsor appreciation raffle, and exhibitor lanyards. Booths with electricity are limited but may be provided for an additional $100.  Registration for a booth is available online at the OEDC website, OrangeEDC.com/events_activities.

Any business that is unable to participate as a vendor can still have a presence.  For just $75,  company marketing materials will be included in the Event Welcome Bags.  Another option is to place an ad in the Event Program; sizes and prices vary.  All visitors and attendees will receive Event Bags and Programs.

The event is sponsored by All American Waste; Connex Credit Union; Eagle Leasing Company; Hurwitz, Sagarin, Slossberg and Knuff; NORTHEAST Electronics Corporation; Orange Economic Development Commission; StateFarm Insurance; Taylor Rental Party Plus; UIL Holdings Corporation, and the University of New Haven.  For more information, call the Orange Economic Development Corporation at 203-891-1045 or visit the website at OrangeEDC.com/events_activities.

Series: Unconditional Love And Pet Adoption (#1 Franco)

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Jun 022019

Orange resident Denise Mirto and her faithful companion Franco.

Pet owners have known for a long time that a dog, cat, bird, fish, livestock, or reptile can teach a family valuable lessons on responsibility and caring.  

Those of us with pets also know about the unconditional love we share with them and the joy that they bring into our lives.

Ten years ago, in the summer of 2009, Bob and Denise Mirto decided it was time to adopt a shelter dog.

Their son and Bob’s secretary at his law office went to the West Haven animal shelter and brought home a small, 26-pound, longhaired adult male dog.

The Mirto’s instantly fell in love with him and named him Franco — after the Pittsburg Steelers’ running back, Franco Harris.

Just two weeks later, Denise learned that “The View” was doing a feature on rescue dogs. She sent in his photo and he was chosen to appear on the show. 

Franco and his new family were treated like celebrities. They were put up in a luxury hotel in New York City and Franco slept in the window and kept watch over the city that never sleeps from the 50th floor.

“The people at the studio told us that Franco was their favorite,” Bob said.

Sometime later, the family learned that Franco had an underactive thyroid, and started him on medication that mellowed him out.

“In the ten years that we had him, Franco only barked once, — at the cat,” Bob said. 

Franco became a fixture in the Mirto’s lives, they took him everywhere. Bob brought him to his West Haven Law Office, where he had a bed, greeted clients, and came to closings. West Haven High Students would come by at lunchtime and take him for a walk. He was very well behaved, and he loved visiting homes and the Orange Town Hall

Bob also was coaching the Orange Legion Baseball Team and Franco became the mascot, spending his time in the dugout during the games.

“He liked the attention that he got at the field, the boys loved him and high school girls would let him sit in their laps during the games,” Bob said.  “He was well traveled, he’s gone to Muzzy Field in Bristol, Palmer Field in Middletown for tournament games, and the last trip he took was the Bark at the Park at Yale.”

He loved to ride in the car and even had his own car seat.

If you know the Mirto family or attended a Legion Game in Orange in the past 10 years, then you knew Franco.

Sadly, this love story ended recently when Franco was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Before anything could be done, he died peacefully at home on Thursday, May 23. He was 14 years old.

As the news spread, the Mirtos were showered with messages of sympathy — 150 e-mails, phone calls, and cards.

“He touched so many lives,” Bob said. “We thank everyone so much for all the support we received in this very difficult time.”

He added, ” This just proves that you can take a skittish 4-year-old dog, show it love and have a remarkable relationship for 10 years.” 

This is the first in a series about pet adoption. Next Up Mi Sun, truly a rare find. 

If you would like to be featured in the series, send a photo and your information, including phone number to Orangectlive01@gmail.com

Three Residents Evaluated For Smoke Inhalation In Orange

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Jun 022019

A fire in an unattended self-cleaning oven Saturday night caused damage to an Orange home and led to three people being evaluated for smoke inhalation.

Orange volunteer firefighters were called to 832 Quarter Mile Road in Orange shortly before 9:30 p.m. Saturday for a report of an oven fire. Firefighters discovered that the family had set the self-cleaning oven to clean and then left the house. When they returned, they found the house full of smoke and items in the storage drawer under the stove burning.

According to the fire chief, “The family called 9-1-1 and they were able to put out the fire and remove the storage drawer from the home. In doing so, however, they inhaled a lot of smoke, causing some health concerns.”

While some firefighters cleared smoke from the home, others performed an initial medical evaluation of the people who were in the home. The residents were further evaluated by American Medical Response personnel but declined to go to the hospital.

“Operating between 800 and 1,000 degrees, self-cleaning ovens are a great convenience, but should not be left unattended,” the chief said. “While some ranges have storage drawers underneath the ovens, homeowners should be certain that the drawer is indeed a storage drawer rather than a warmer or broiler. It can be confusing. And, like any other appliance, ranges need to be maintained and used following instructions.”

He said the fire resulted in damage to the oven and smoke damage to the kitchen. The Fire Department does not issue damage estimates and because Orange firefighters were involved in the medical treatment of the homeowners, their names were protected under federal patient privacy rules. The Orange Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the incident.

Tour An Orange Treasure On Trails Day This Saturday

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May 302019

The Orange Conservation Commission will be participating in Connecticut Trails Day on Saturday, June 1 at 10 a.m.  (rain date: Sunday, June 2) by hosting a guided walk at the Ewen Preserve at 10 am (GPS Address: 648 St John’s Drive, Orange, CT).

This educational walk will be lead by Travis Ewen. We will walk along the new walkway and see the new Audubon Fish Restoration project and learn the history of this treasured Farmland.

There will be similar trail events being held throughout Connecticut on June 1. So shake off the winter chills and get outside to participate and mark your calendar to enjoy this activity set up by the OCC.