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Zeoli: Town In Great Fiscal Shape

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Jun 212017
 

First Selectman Jim Zeoli is pleased to announce that the town of Orange is on a solid fiscal footing.

He stated this after a Standard and Poor’s Review reaffirmed an AAA bond rating prior to the upcoming municipal bond sale.

Orange Live will have more information on this when it becomes available.

(Photos) Orange Memorial Day Ceremony

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May 292017
 

The town of Orange honored the brave men and women who’ve fought for our freedoms and have passed away.

Sunday was the Orange Memorial Day Ceremony, Parade, and Service. Large crowds attended each of them.

First, at the Orange Fairgrounds, the Memorial Day Ceremony with each of the honored guest speakers making brief, yet meaningful comments.

Robert Mirto was the moderator.

Grand Marshal – Robert H. DeFeo –  U.S. Air Force Active 1956-1959 – Reserve from 1956 – 1965 – rank of Captain.

Chief of Staff – Peter Shery –  U.S. Army 1953-1955 – Korean War Veteran. Citations received – Korean Service Medal, The U.N. Service Medal, and The National Defense Medal.

Honored Veteran – Donald J. Jewell, posthumously –  U.S. Coast Guard 1942-1946; World War 11 Veteran.  Past Commander of the American Legion Orange Post #127 and a life member.  His favorite quote was “I don’t always have my way but I always have my say!”

Jewell was one of Orange’s favorite sons. He died on February 16 at the age of 93.

His daughter Cynthia Romanoff accepted a plaque in his honor and presented it to her mother, Mary.

Keynote Speaker – Paul M. Tarbox    A Veteran of 10 years with the Connecticut Army National Guard.  He volunteered for deployment to Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraqi 2004-2005 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom II with the 118th Area Support Medical Battalion. 

Tarbox’s speech was well thought out, contemporary and very well received.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli and US Senator Richard Blumenthal also spoke. Three Orange students gave special Memorial Day readings (one an original poem).

You may soon find the video of the ceremony on OGAT on DEMAND. (Click the link in the Left Column of Orange Live)

 

Pulled Pork Your Passion? This Is What It Takes To Prepare It For the Fair

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Sep 142016
 

Roasted pork butts for the fair.

Roasted pork butts for the fair.

The Orange Country Fair is known regionally as a very nice family event with tractor, oxen and horse pulls; animal exhibits; pig races; children’s activity area; and contests for baking, photography, children’s crafts, artwork, biggest pumpkin, tallest sunflower and so much more.

Some people look forward to something else entirely — the food! You can find all the traditional favorites in the main food tent under the pavilion including Hot Roast Beef au jus on a hard roll; Philly Cheese Steak Sub; LONGHINI Chicken Sausage & Pepper Sub; fried dough; Clam chowder and more. Then there’s the satellite tent on the lower fairgrounds where the aroma of roasted meat beckons you to stop by for a sandwich. This is where the first selectman can be found cooking up food for the majority of the two-day fair.

Preparing for the fair

While visiting the High Plains Community Center on Tuesday, I was drawn down the hall toward the Senior cafeteria by the amazing smell of “Sunday Dinner” coming from the kitchen. The ovens were filled with large covered roasting pans and I couldn’t help but stand there and take in the aroma — Ah, roast pork — It was unmistakable.

As I was leaving, First Selectman Jim Zeoli walked in through the back door and headed for the kitchen. What could I do, I had to follow him and find out what his role was in the process. (Click HERE for Video)

Many years ago, Zeoli and resident Ron Ruotolo came up with the idea of a satellite food tent to feed the fairgoers who were enjoying the activities on the lower fairgrounds. Here they’ve been serving hearty sub sandwiches and meals with roasted meats, and this location is famous for its pulled pork.

Every year, Zeoli prepares pork butts (Provided by *Napoli Meats out of New Haven), seasoning them with his special blend of shredded onions, brown sugar, hot pepper and several other spices.

The pork is so popular that in 2016, he decided to roast 606 pounds (70 pounds more than in 2015) of boneless pork butts, which he began cooking on Tuesday morning. Each tray holds two pork butts, and each oven holds 6 trays. The meat roasts at a moderate heat for 7 hours, then Zeoli returns in late afternoon to remove them from the oven, drain the pans and allow them to cool before a group of women come in at night to rake (pull) the pork. This process continues every day until the fair opens on Saturday.

The Satellite Tent also serves roast pork (if you don’t care for the pulled version); a sausage that has broccoli rabe and garlic inside the casing served on a sub and topped with roasted garlic and broccoli rabe; rib eye steak; lollipop lamb chops; a sauteed vegetable sub; and fried pickles and jalepeno chips served with a chipotle sauce. All of these specialties are cooked with love by dedicated fair volunteers.

“We try to provide fair supporters with the highest quality, most delicious food and we’re very proud of what we do,” Zeoli said.

The Orange Country Fair runs this weekend at the Orange Fairgrounds, 525 Orange Center Road, Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

*An Orange resident owns Napoli Meat and Sausage Company.

Photos: 2016 Memorial Day Ceremony At the Gazebo

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May 292016
 

It was a sunny, breezy hot day on the Orange Fairgrounds for the 2016 Orange Memorial Day Ceremony.

IMG_0945Robert Mirto, Esq., was the Master of Ceremonies, and he and all of the honored guests kept their addresses short, so there were no medical emergencies and the parade stepped off earlier than in some past years.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, and First Selectman Jim Zeoli made brief comments, and two students from Orange Elementary Schools read short poems.

One woman who was honored at the ceremony was Magdalen Cronin, 100, who has crafted a wreath for the Memorial Day service at the cemetery for many years, and hopes to continue doing so as long as she can. “I enjoy making the wreath,” she said.

The Parade Committee did a fine job choosing the following parade recipients and keynote speaker.

Grand Marshal Arnold J. Casola is a U.S. Army, World War II Veteran – T5 Corporal – who served from 1944 to 1946. He was awarded the European African Middle Eastern, Good Conduct and Victory Medal. He is a member of theAmerican Legion Post 127 and a past Sergeant-at- Arms.

Honorary Chief of Staff James T. Dallas is a U.S. Army Korean War Veteran – Corporal – who served from 1950 to 1952. He served in the National Guard from 1948 – 1950 and at the Camp Pickett, Army Hospital for 2 years. He was a member of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department for 26 years now retired. He has been a member of the American Legion Post 127 for 55 years and worked for the Town of Orange Highway Department for 27 years now retired.

Keynote speaker Emily Dewey Trudeau, is the Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney, Judicial District of Fairfield and a Bronze Star decorated Veteran. From 2005-2006, she was a Special Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office District of Utah; from 2006-2012, she was an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, United States Navy; and she is currently Chair of the Military and Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Connecticut Bar Association.

 

Orange’s Loss is Shelton’s Gain: Saying Goodbye to Paul Grimmer

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Mar 242016
 

IMG_1441The town of Orange will suffer a great loss on April 29: Paul Grimmer, the Executive Director of the Economic Development Corporation is leaving to take a job in Shelton.

Former First Selectman Mitch Goldblatt, Selectman Peach Reid and Frank Pifko from the United Illuminating Company interviewed Grimmer for the job of building several aspects of economic development in Orange.

“That was 14.5 years ago. They saw something in me and I got the job,” Grimmer said. “For this I am grateful.”

Grimmer became the town’s first full time executive director in September 2001.

The job, he said is building the town through business recruitment and retention. “I’m fortunate to have been able to do things beyond that, including introducing the first Orange Business Expo 14 years ago and the Orange Life Magazine, now in its sixth year.”

The Orange Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) is a not for profit organization to support the town’s economic development efforts.

Many other communities have their own economic development office and need to pay staff, maintain the office and provide healthcare. Orange is fortunate to have the EDC acting as the support to the town. The town provides the OEDC with $60,000 of it’s (approximate $200,000) yearly operating budget, then it’s up to the OEDC to get the additional resources by fundraising. A significant portion of income is obtained through ad sales for the Orange Life Magazine and the business expo generates a good income, according to Grimmer. The magazine and expo also promote town businesses and highlight the good work of people of Orange.

Grimmer said through his position, he’s been able to work with amazing companies like UI and participate in bringing some great companies to town.

One of his best memories of his tenure is seeing the completion of the Edison Road extension, which was on the books in the Orange Industrial Plan since 1963.  Grimmer spent a good part of an 8 year period piling up both state and federal grants and slowly but surely the extended road created business opportunities.

“Before Aurora Products moved here, they wanted to know if the road would actually be extended,” Grimmer said. “I assured them it would, and now the company is on its third expansion since coming to town.”

Grimmer said the town has benefited from the teamwork of the OEDC. “I have some awesome leaders: First Selectman Jim Zeoli; Alan Fischer, always steady at the wheel; and Armand Cantafio who I can always bounce ideas off of.” he said. “The critical element to my success here is the tremendous leaders I’ve had behind me.”

The Farmer’s Market is not an OEDC activity, but in this case, Zeoli expressed interest in having one in Orange and Grimmer said, “I’ll do it.” He confessed that he always stepped up because it was important to participate in community and business activities.

The key to his longevity at the OEDC was that the Board of Directors gave him the rope to go out and participate in community organizations and activities like the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Orange.

“It made my job more enjoyable because of the personal contacts I’ve made over the years,” he said.

Zeoli said losing Grimmer is happy and sad. “We became good friends and he does an outstanding job for the town. It’s unfortunate that he’s leaving after 15 years, but I fully understand. This is an advancement for him and a step up. He’s going back to where he started. I wish him good luck.”

“It’s going to be hard to replace him,” Zeoli said. “People don’t realize how much he does: The Artisan Festival, Rotary Lobsterfest  and Rose Sale,The Business Expo and the Chamber of Commerce. He’s the driving force behind the Farmers Market and he excels in reaching out to property owners.”

Zeoli said Grimmer has town information embedded in his brain. “When you ask him something, he knows the answer in minutes.” — Orange Live can attest to this. When we asked how long Edison Road was in the works, he seamlessly turned to a crowded bookshelf and took out a small folder from 60 years ago. 

Zeoli said it will be a huge challenge to replace him after 15 years of experience on the job. “He’s leaving a huge void, but for his personal career, it’s a step up and in these tough economic times every step up makes life easier.”

As far as leaving Orange, Grimmer said he feels good that he did his best here and noted that he is leaving a lot of friends behind.

A New Opportunity

Grimmer’s last day with the OEDC is April 29. Until then it’s business as usual with him working feverishly on getting the May issue of Orange Life ready and preparing for the Orange Expo.

On May 2 he is starting his new career as the Shelton Economic Development Commission President and COO of the organization.

[NOTE: On May 2 he will become the vice president of the Shelton Economic Development Commission, then, on Aug. 3 will replace the retiring James Ryan as President.]

The job description is different from what he did in Orange — there will not be a “Shelton Life” Magazine. His focus will be on grants administration, revitalization and Brownfield Remediation along the river front.

Grimmer, 50, is a Shelton resident and began working in the Shelton Community Development office as an intern in 1987 while attending Penn State University — so he really is “going home.”

The town of Orange has some huge shoes to fill in finding a replacement for Grimmer, but the search will go on and a notice will be posted in the near future.

Orange Live wishes Paul the best of luck and a lot of happiness in his new venture. Orange’s loss is Shelton’s gain. Let’s hope his replacement can continue putting out a quality Orange Life Magazine — the BEST hard copy news resource in the town of Orange.

The Swearing In Ceremony of Orange Elected Officials (with Video)

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Nov 142015
 

12235131_10208117297195012_71258649443185035_nOn Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, the newly elected Orange town officials were sworn in at the High Plains Community Center. A rather large crowd filled the gymnasium.

Republican Town Committee Member Craig Stahl presided over the proceedings.

Senator Leonard Fasano administered the Oath of Office to everyone from the Town Clerk and Tax Collector to groups of constables, Board members and finally First Selectman Jim Zeoli (VIDEO).

(Still photos by Amy Williams and Vin Marino, published on Faceboook)

You will find the full video on OGAT Video on Demand.

 

 

 

 

Town of Orange Celebrates Veteran’s Day — Indoors This Year

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Nov 122015
 

IMG_8042

The annual Orange Veteran’s Day ceremony took place at High Plains Community Center on Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.

Many of the town’s veterans attended the event, emceed by Vicky Grande, which was highlighted by the presence of the Orange Police Department Honor Guard and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem performed by three fine young choir singers from West Haven High School.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli read the names of every veteran in attendance.

Legion Auxiliary president AnnaMay Geipel-Pieger laid a wreath crafted by Margie Cronin, 89. Cronin, a long-time auxiliary member has been making the wreath for this occasion for more than a decade, and she is not showing any signs of slowing down.

The ceremony was brief (and dry) inside the Community Center. And moments after it’s conclusion, the sun broke through the clouds and illuminated the Veteran’s Walkway outside. The Auxiliary wreath was brought outside and placed at the flagpole where it belongs.

Ron Davis video taped the entire ceremony for OGAT.  You will be able to find it on the “on demand” site soon.

(Orange Live will provide its own clips as soon as they are edited)

Looks Like Orange Will Have A Supermarket Again

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Aug 172015
 

grocery-cartOn Nov. 14, 2013, Orange Live broke the news that Stop & Shop would be closing its doors in Orange. Then on Dec 3, 2013, the company sent out an official announcement stating that it was indeed moving out.

The building has been vacant for quite some time, and for nearly two years First Selectman Jim Zeoli has been working behind the scenes trying to get a desirable grocery store to take its place.

An environmental study has been done on the site and reportedly came up clean, so this opens the door for the plans to move forward.

The negotiations are confidential, so we won’t reveal which store is expected to come in until it is official, but rest assured, Orange, if everything goes according to plans, you will soon have a grocery store in town again.

Sad News: Frank Zeoli, First Selectman Jim Zeoli’s Father Passed Away Today

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Feb 212015
 

OrangeCTHPIt is with heartfelt sympathy that I inform you that Frank Zeoli, husband of Pat Zeoli, and father of our First Selectman Jim, his sister Melissa and brother Micheal Zeoli passed today.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family.

Further information concerning arrangements will be forth coming.

Thea Torrenti Honored at Orange Ceremony on Monday

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Oct 212014
 

Thea Torrenti and her family.

Thea Torrenti and her family.

For more than a decade, the town of Orange has been observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month with what I call the Pink Ribbon Wreath Ceremony. 

Click link for a VIDEO of this event

Town resident, Anita Pol crafted a straw wreath festooned with little pink ribbons on which safety pins are attached so they can be removed and worn by anyone who would like to show their support for survivors and victims of breast cancer. 

Each year, even as she grows older, Anita still replenishes the ribbons so the wreath that adorns the front door at Town Hall is full and beautiful and ready to share with the public. 

The Pink Ribbon Wreath Ceremony grew over the years to include cancer survivors from Orange as the honorees, usually one person who shared her story (Angela Booth and Debbie Davis are among the past honorees), but a few years ago several honorees, including a man, were chosen to share what they’d endured from discovery to treatment and some, being declared cancer free. 

The 2014 honoree is Thea Torrenti, who, in 2007 was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer after her sister insisted she go for her first mammogram. 

Thea said early detection is key, a positive attitude and a good support team are what got her through. Last year she again was diagnosed with cancer, but instead of letting it get her down, she said, “I forged ahead, knowing I would get through this.”

First Selectman Jim Zeoli read a proclamation, then Thea and Karen Goldberg hung the wreath on the front door. 

This year’s ceremony was well attended, with Thea’s family support group, her fellow survivors from the “Boob Crew,” State Rep. Paul Davis, Town Hall employees, and several residents.

The First Selectman’s office and Town Clerk’s Office are accepting donations and selling items to benefit the Susan G Komen Cancer Organization.