Campaign Fundraising Reception Planned For Ken Lenz

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Oct 062015

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.36.19 PMSelectman Mitch Goldblatt and his wife, Abby will host a Fundraising reception for Ken Lenz, Democratic Candidate for First Selectman, at their home on 291 Drummond Road, Orange, Sunday, Oct. 11 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Members of the Democratic Town Committee along with current and former Mayors, First Selectmen, Council Mmmbers and Democratic Leaders, including Ben Blake, Joseph Blake Paul Davis, Linda Fusco, Derry Gorski, Toni Harp, James Maroney, Gayle Slossberg, Richard Smith and James Tickey will join the Goldblatts in honoring Lenz and wishing him the best in the upcoming election.

Special guest is Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

Suggested contributions are $50-$100-$250. Contributions up to $1,000 will be accepted.

RSVP to Mitch Goldblatt at mitchgoldblatt@aol.com or Susan Bysiewicz at SusanBysiewicz@gmail.com.

Recycling is Important: Use the Recycling Bins for Recyclable Items at 4th Of July Festivities

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Jul 012014

thOrange has become quite the recycling town, more and more homeowners have made recycling a regular part of their daily routine and recyclable materials are being recycled instead of going into landfills.

Now, if only everyone would properly use the recycling containers in public places instead of tossing their trash into them.

Following is a message from Recycling Committee Chairman Mitch Goldblatt:

I had a meeting today with Rich Antonucci from City Carting and Chris Small from Parks and Recreation to discuss recycling for this Saturday’s concert and fireworks.

Last year, Parks and Rec put out 14 barrels which were overrun with garbage and recycling.

This year we will have the following:

20 trash barrels AND

20 large (96 gallon) recycling bins

Each bin will be next to each barrel, so we are hoping for excellent participation from the concert-goers to recycle.

I am especially thankful to Rich and Chris, as well as Dan Lynch for helping to set up today’s meeting.

City Carting will be picking up the recyclables on Monday, July 7 and leaving behind 6 of the 20 recycling bins. These will be used for upcoming events throughout the summer including the other concerts, the Lobsterfest, picnics at the pavilion, etc.

The Orange Firemen’s Carnival contracts disposal services separately and we will discuss the Country Fair when I get more details of their operation and after we see how this goes.

Looking forward to a great concert, great fireworks, and great recycling!


In A Nutshell: Here’s What Happened At Today’s Special Selectmen’s Meeting

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Feb 242014

Goldblatt and Carangelo (file photo)

Goldblatt and Carangelo (file photo)

I was hoping to walk away from today’s special meeting of the Board of Selectmen with a complete spreadsheet of tasks and costs to get Peck Place School back up and running, but it may have to wait until sometime after tonight’s Board of Finance meeting (7:30 p.m.)

Nearly $2 million  is being requested to do all the necessary work, including replacing floor and ceiling tiles, insulation, cabinetry, painting, lighting, plumbing etc. and it is not something the members of the Board of Selectmen (BOS), Board of Education (BOE) or later, the Board of Finance (BOF) take lightly.

The BOS has been dealing with this issue for more than a month and the BOE has been on it since Feb. 6, when a water pipe burst and caused damage – some major – to 12 rooms at the elementary school.

Everything moved quickly from that day forward, the children were immediately split up and placed in the two other elementary schools so their learning process would not be interrupted. Then they were moved to the YALE Campus off of Marsh Hill Road, and to their credit the teachers and children adjusted to their new situations flawlessly. Most of the kids even enjoyed the adventure.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli commended the BOS for doing their due diligence and bringing their thoughts and suggestions to the table.

In a nutshell, ALL of the numbers and specifics did not come out as many of Orange Live’s readers had hoped, but I can give you the answers to some questions that you’ve asked.

Insurance will cover just the Phase 1 where damage occurred

BOE Business Director Kevin McNabola said the amount is in the six figures, but it will not ALL be covered (This could mean $100,000 to $900,000) the exact amount of reimbursement is unknown.

Air Quality – there have been 153 air quality tests done and 34 of those were specifically  for mold.

Why so expensive – The cost to build a new school would be about $300 per square foot. The refurbishing of the existing Peck Place School averages $32 per square foot.

Why not put jobs out for bid – Selectman Mitch Goldblatt said in no uncertain terms that he did not feel it was fair that one general contractor who helped the school out when it was in peril, is getting the lions share of the work. He insisted that some of the work, such as painting, should be bid out to try to find a lower cost.

Zeoli said The BOE acknowledged there are things, like cabinetry, that can be bid out, but the process has to move forward in a continuous flow so it will be done in time.

After much discussion, Selectman John Carangelo said these are extenuating circumstances so he had to disagree with Goldblatt, and that if the BOE could bid out for some work, that would be good.

Selectman Ken Lenz said he didn’t want to delay school because they put jobs out to bid to save 5% on the cost (ballpark figure).

Timeline – Selectman Ralph Okenquist said he would like to see a specific timeline showing a schedule of all the work, including overlaps in certain projects, not to exceed the total recommended cost. He said there are only 4 months and 3 weeks left before the students would need to return to the school and if there is no schedule, they would be looking at problems.

Difference in the two Phases — 

   Phase 1 is the area affected by the water — asbestos abatement has been done.

Phase 2 is all the other rooms, store rooms, etc.

Lighting — There is an estimated $20,000 difference between getting new lights and revamping the rooms. The UI offers incentives and these could possibly save the town up to 50% on costs.

Penalties — Carangelo said there should be some sort of clause included in the contract paperwork finning the vendors if the work is not completed on time.

The BOS voted to recommend the projects to the BOF so work on Peck Place can commence with the exception of cabinetry and univentilators, which will go out to bid.

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the BOF meets at Town Hall.

The Board will review and decide if they will approve it.

If they do, the money would come out of general fund so the BOE can move forward with the work.

Then the BOF can decide the wisest way to fund the project (bonding, etc.)

First Week Of New Recycling Schedule…What Happened?

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Feb 072014

The metal bar should face the street and the wheels should face your yard.

The metal bar should face the street and the wheels should face your yard.

For the second consecutive week, residents are asking, “What happened to my recycling pick-up?”

According to Recycling Committee Chairman  Mitch Goldblatt, a number of streets were missed on Tuesday due to miscommunication between drivers and dispatch from the town’s contracted Recycling company, Citi Carting

“They intended to pick up today, but the snow shut things down,” Goldblatt told Orange Live on Wednesday night. “Anything missed on Tuesday and Wednesday should be picked up on Thursday along with that day’s scheduled pick-ups.”

Goldblatt spoke to Richie Antonnucci from Citi Carting about the situation and then said “Anyone whose recycling wasn’t picked up should leave it out and if it is not gone by Friday, it will be picked up on Saturday.”

Hey, What Happened To The Recycling This Week?

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Jan 312014

The metal bar should face the street and the wheels should face your yard.

The metal bar should face the street and the wheels should face your yard.

Next Tuesday, Feb. 4, is supposed to be the first day of the new recycling pickup schedule in Orange, but the events of this week have many residents confused and wondering if the new schedule already has begun.

It seems that the truck missed some homes on Wednesday and came by on Thursday, which, in some neighborhoods may actually be the NEW designated pick up day. I learned this from responses to a Facebook Post on Orange Live

Here’s What Happened:

According to Orange Recycling Committee Chairman Mitch Goldblatt, Citi Carting owns two trucks that efficiently do the job in Orange, but on Wednesday, while on its route, ONE of the trucks had completed part of its daily pick-ups when it was involved in an accident, rendering it inoperable. So Wednesday’s route was never completed.

The following day (Thursday) the Wednesday route was completed and part of Thursday’s route was done — but not finished.

Today (Friday), Thursday’s route was completed and As much of Friday’s route as possible, was completed. If there are still untouched recycling bins, leave them out, they will be done by tomorrow.

Next week, the New Pick Up Schedule WILL begin as planned.

Goldblatt Elected Vice-President of ConnPELRA

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Aug 262013

Mitch Goldblatt

Mitch Goldblatt

Mitchell R. Goldblatt was recently elected Vice-President of the Connecticut Public Employer Labor Relations Association (ConnPELRA) Executive Committee for a two- year term beginning September 1, 2013.

The former First Selectman and present member of the Orange Board of Selectmen, Goldblatt has worked as the Director of Human Resources for the Town of Guilford for the past five years. In this position Goldblatt has been responsible for all aspects of personnel administration and labor relations including negotiating union contracts, updating policies and procedures, administering all employee benefits and pension administration, leading wellness programs, and responsible for safety and risk management.

ConnPELRA is the only organization in Connecticut dedicated to educating and training governmental directors, managers and supervisors in labor relations issues. The organization exchanges information and data pertaining to all areas of public sector labor relations including collective bargaining, as well as providing guidance and assistance to its entire membership in these areas.

Goldblatt holds a BA from Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA) and an MBA from the University of New Haven (West Haven, CT). He also serves as an adjunct professor of Public Administration at the University of New Haven and lives in Orange with his wife Abby, and children Carl and Shayna.

Aug 222013

Earth's best friend

Earth’s best friend

Since the town of Orange switched over to the new single-stream recycling system, residents have been sending Orange Live questions, concerns and complaints — mostly through Facebook.

One resident said that she is concerned because people don’t know how to use the new bins.

“There is only one man on the truck now, not a crew. He pulls up and an arm comes down, picks up the bin and dumps it, but if residents place the bin too close to their mailbox or facing the wrong way, or over fill it, the driver has to get out and move it which is a waste of time,” she said. “We need clear answers on what we’re supposed to do so the process works the way it should.”

Others complain about their recyclables being left behind after falling out of the bin, asking “who’s going to clean it up?”

There are so many questions and concerns and if I , or the recycling committee answers each one individually,  as Mitch has been doing on his own, others with the same problem may not see it.

So, instead of trying to address each one on a personal basis, Orange Live and Recycling Committee Chairman Mitch Goldblatt are teaming up to get you the answers you need all in one place.

We are asking that you e-mail your questions or comments to Orange Live at orangectlive01@gmail.com and I will forward them to Mitch.

Then Mitch will address all of them here on Orangectlive.com (cross post on Orange Live on Facebook).

This will begin immediately and hopefully, in a very short time everyone will know exactly what they are to do when recycling in Orange.

Goldblatt Takes A Stand Against Boy Scout Ban On Gays

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Mar 132013

Selectman Mitch Goldblatt after making his statement.

Selectman Mitch Goldblatt after making his statement.

The Boy Scout National Jamboree will take place in West Virginia this year, so the Ct Yankee Council asked to use the Orange Fairgrounds on June 15-16 to host about 500 Connecticut scouts and leaders in preparation for the Jamboree.

At Wednesday night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting William Amidon from the Ct. Yankee Council presented the request.

As it went to the Board of Selectmen for discussion, Selectman Goldblatt asked to speak.

He said, “Tonight I must oppose the request of the Connecticut Yankee Council Inc. …”

Goldblatt said he voted in favor of similar requests in years’ past, but, “I feel that the time has come for the town of Orange to take a stand.”

Although he and his son had been scouts when they were younger, and he has attended many Eagle Scout ceremonies and even received the CT Yankee Council Good Scout Award in 2005, he has been troubled by the Boy Scouts continuing to exclude gay boys and gay and lesbian adults from serving as leaders.

In July, the BSA emphatically reaffirmed its exclusion policy, which reflected the “beliefs and perspectives of the organization.” and then decided to take no further action on its membership policy.

He added, “In January, my son and I stood on the Lawn of the United States Capitol and heard our President proclaim in his Inaugural Address, that “our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”

“I have decided that it is time to speak out against such bigotry and discrimination and ask that we take a stand as a board together,” he said. “I urge my fellow members of the OBOS to deny this request because the Boy Scouts of America’s values are not Orange values.”

He asked that the board deny the scouts’ request to use the farigrounds on June 15-16 unles the ban on gay scouts and gay and lesbian sout leaders is lifted prior to that date.

Board Members’ Reaction

Selectman Joe Blake said he wished he knew Mitch was going to present this statement before the meeting so he could have thought about it.

“I don’t know if we should penalize people who want to use the grounds now, but possibly consider denying it in the future,” Blake said.

Selectman Ralph Okenquist agreed that he would have liked to have had more information earlier but admired Goldblatt for his initiative.

Selectman Judy Williams agreed that the town should take a stand. We’re coming into a modern era where race color, creed and sexual orientation should not matter, however, she said she thought it was too late to deny it now.

She said, “We should bring it up next month and consider it.”

Goldblatt said he appreciated everyone’s comments, but as a community, we teach our kids about diversity. ” “I don’t have anything against you Bill,” he said addressing Amidon. “But I feel we should deny this unless the ban on gay and lesbian leaders is lifted by the June 15 date. Evidently the scouts are reconsidering it now, but some artists have pulled out of attending the Jamboree for the same reason.”

Blake said he thinks the approval should go forward but the policy should change.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli also said he wished the board had a heads up on the subject so they could have thought about it.

He, personally, was mixed on the subject. “This would send a message to the scouts chief administration but we’ll be penalizing the young kids who don’t know what’s going on.”

Goldblatt stood by his conviction that the board should take a stand.

Goldblatt made a motion to deny request the Ct Yankee Council’s request to hold a for preparation weekend for people going to National Jamboree unless the ban on gay scouts is lifted before the date (June 15).

Town Attorney Vin Marino said the First Amendment bans Government officials from discriminating against a group for their opinions. Of course, I came up with that after 7 minutes of smart phone research.

He also said he wished he knew about the statement earlier so he could have done research and had an educated opinion by this meeting.

“We can’t deny them because of their viewpoint, It would be violating their first amendment rights,” he said.

Goldblatt still stood by his motion.

Although Goldblatt had moral support, the board voted 5-1 to deny the motion.

Okenquist raised a motion to allow the scouts’ request.

This passed 5-1, with Goldblatt as the only dissenting vote.

Two Vastly Different Menorah Lightings In Four Days

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Dec 122012

On Saturday, Dec. 8, the first day of Hanukkah, Congregation Or Shalom had a quiet indoor menorah lighting after sunset.

Afterward, everyone went outside with Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus to light an outdoor menorah, sing and dance.

The celebration continued indoors with games, chocolate coins, singing and dancing.

Hebrew Academy

On Tuesday night, Dec. 11, hundreds gathered at the Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy with Rabbi Shaya Hecht for a special Menorah lighting on the fourth day of Hanukkah.

In the past, the Hebrew Academy has had some really unique Menorahs — Ice Carved, Chocolate, and Lego, all 8-feet tall or more. Then First Selectman Mitch Goldblatt had the honor of lighting each of them.

On Tuesday night Selectman Goldblatt was back to light this year’s candy Menorah. The tall Menorah was constructed of plastic tubes which the children filled with  dum dum lollipops, twizzlers and a variety of other candies.

The hall was decorated like a candyland board game with different game stations for added family fun.

An inflatable fun house kept younger children entertained in the middle of the room and Rabbi Hecht served up fresh buttered pop corn.