Obituary: Stephen Buda III, 56, Beloved Husband, Father, Firefighter

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Sep 112021

Stephen M. Buda III, 56, of New Haven, husband of Roxana Rohrhirsch Buda, suffered a tragic accident on Monday, September 6, 2021.

Born in Bridgeport on August 8, 1965, he was the eldest son of Stefan Buda and Lois Nelson Thompson. Stephen was a Pumper Engineer with the City of Bridgeport Fire Department where he truly loved his job and took great pride in assisting those in need for the past eight years.

Prior to that, he was a volunteer firefighter for the Town of Woodbridge for nine years. He was an instructor for the Valley Fire School for nine years and was currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Fire Science at the University of New Haven.

He was a talented craftsman who took pride in building and remodeling homes, boats, bikes, campers and more. But above all, he was a loving and dedicated husband, father, and friend who made time to help everyone.

In addition to his wife and soulmate Roxy, of 31 years, and his parents, survivors include his two daughters, Alexandra and Isabella, his brother, Paul and his wife Kimberly, his sister, Naomi, his mother-in-law, Berta, his father’s wife Trish, nieces and nephews Paul Jr, Ryan, Angelina, Sophia, Lucia, Natalia, Denise and Paula (las sobrinas) as well as his in-law family, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many dear friends. He was predeceased by his father-in-law Joseph Rohrhirsch.

Visitation will be on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at St Patrick’s Church, 851 North Ave, Bridgeport CT, followed by a Mass at 1:30 p.m. Interment will be private.

Stephen was a lifelong learner who enjoyed exploring new subjects, creating something from nothing, and sharing his knowledge with those around him. He was passionate about protecting the environment and found the jungle to be an important resource to preserve.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly asks for a donation to any of the following: MakeHaven, VineTrust, or the University of New Haven Annual Fund (makehaven.org, vinecharityusa.org, give.newhaven.edu). Please specify that your donation is in his honor. To leave an online condolence please visit www.abriola.com.

September 11, 2001: Twenty Years Ago — Seems Like Yesterday

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Sep 112021


It was 20 years ago today. The cloudless sky was so amazingly clear and blue that it’s hard to forget. Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was a deadline day for me. I had stayed up until about 3 or 4 a.m. to finish laying out my newspaper, the now defunct “Amity Observer,” and was prepared to wake up around 9:30 a.m. to make my way into the office to sign off on the pages.

My phone rang at around 8:48 a.m. It was Kathleen Schurman, a co-worker from Bethany who cried into the phone – “Did you see what’s happening in New York?”

“Huh? What? No. Why?” I answered

“Turn on the tv,” she said. I could hear the panic in her voice.

“What channel?” I asked.

“ANY channel, It doesn’t matter,” she answered desperately. “It’s the World Trade Center, a plane just hit it.”

Indeed, just moments before, at 8:46:26 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the north side of the North Tower (1 World Trade Center) of the WTC between the 94th and 98th floors. A later investigation revealed that  Flight 11 was flying at a speed of 490 miles per hour (MPH).

Now, I’d been to New York City plenty of times, but I’d never even been close to the World Trade Center or paid much attention. I’d seen the towers in the distance, but what they were used for, etc, really meant nothing to me.

But Kathleen, whose husband was a businessman who worked in the city, had dined inside the Towers and she knew all too well the tragedy and panic that must be going on inside the burning building.

We watched silently, both holding our breath. I could hear her quiet sobs as she mourned the thousands of people that she KNEW were inside. I was still a bit clueless as to the loss of humanity.

Her cable went out for a couple of seconds, and as she mentioned it, I said, “Oh my God, this was no accident, A plane just flew into the other building.”

At 9:02:54 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 crashed through the south side of the South Tower of the WTC between the 78th and 84th floors at a speed of more than 500 MPH. It was later reported that parts of the plane including an engine left the building from its north side, and were found on the ground up to six blocks away.

She screamed, “What?” as I told her, “This was on purpose, another plane just flew right into the other building.”

Knowing that our newsroom didn’t have televisions everywhere and that everyone was busy working — and not surfing the internet, I called one of the copy editors to let him know that something was up.

When I reached Peter on the phone,  I gave him blow-by-blow reports of what was happening in America. He did not believe me when I told him that the South Tower had collapsed.

I had a deep painful hurt in the middle of my stomach. Then I told him that the North Tower was gone. “They imploded, Peter.”

By then the bosses had begun watching the horror on the internet and every editor stopped whatever he or she was working on and was instructed to find a local angle from his or her town to include in a special 911 edition of the papers.

For me, Tuesday was deadline day, so I didn’t have enough time to find Orange, Bethany, or Woodbridge residents with a personal connection to the tragedy.

(source: https://bit.ly/2cBabrB)

(source: https://bit.ly/2cBabrB)

Instead, I wrote a column documenting my day from the time I was awakened by a phone call telling me to “turn on the tv”; to seeing the second plane hit the south tower; to the conversations with my co-worker and his reaction to what I was telling him; and finally the numbness I felt that day.

The Biggest Change

What I remember most from the 9-11 attacks is just how kind everyone was for nearly an entire week afterward. Drivers were more patient with that slowpoke in front of them and laying on the horn for some idiot move wasn’t even on the radar. Everyone just put their negativity aside and let others get in front of them at the grocery store and so much more.

My children and I answered the call when the donation of heavy work gloves, dust filter masks, bottled water, and socks (to help protect the search and rescue and cadaver dogs’ feet) came out.

In 2001, my kids were 14 and 15 years old. They knew what was going on, they witnessed it on TV at school and, I remember they didn’t need a lot of reassurance. They were upset but didn’t dwell on it.

I have not been back to that particular area of New York since that day and only visited New York twice for surgical procedures at New York Presbyterian Hospital in 2009 and for a work thing in 2010.

For all the kids and early 20-somethings who are now in High School and were too young to remember and for all the children who were born after 2001, here is a timeline of what happened that day 19 years ago: 

The North and South towers fo the World Trade Center were struck by passenger planes. Terrorists used the planes as weapons against the United States. (see specifics above)

Then the Pentagon in Washington, DC was hit by American Airlines Flight 77 at 9:37 a.m.

(source: https://bit.ly/2cBabrB)

(source: https://bit.ly/2cBabrB)

9:59:04 a.m.: The south tower of the World Trade Center suddenly collapses, plummeting into the streets below. A massive cloud of dust and debris quickly fills lower Manhattan. It is later explained (disinformation) that the collapse was not directly caused by the impact, but the intense heat caused by the fire fueled by the jet’s fuel weakening the steel support beams of the concrete floors. The WTC towers were built to withstand a 707 being flown into them. A 767 carries almost the same amount of fuel as a 707.

The Palisades seismic data recorded a 2.1 magnitude earthquake during the 10-second collapse of the South Tower at 9:59:04 and a 2.3 quake during the 9-second collapse of the North Tower at 10:28:31 a.m.

10:06.05 a.m.: According to seismic data, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, PA, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Hearing what was going on elsewhere in America, the passengers overtook the hijackers, sacrificing their own lives in order to save others, and the plane went down in a remote area before it could hit its target at Camp David or in Washington DC, perhaps the White House or other significant building.

NOTE: Delta Flight 1989 was in danger of being shot down by American Fighter jets after it could not be determined if it had been hijacked or not. A radio transmission from Flight 93 stating there’s a “bomb on board” was thought to have come from the Delta flight. Thankfully, the Delta plane was re-directed and landed safely in Cleveland with everyone on board safe and sound (although terrified).

Here is a breakdown of the victims:

Deaths by Area of Attack Deaths
World Trade Center 2,606
Airlines 246
Pentagon Building 125
Hijackers 19
Total number of people who died in the 9/11 attacks 2,996
Casualties in the World Trade Center and Surrounding Area Deaths
Residents of New York 1,762
Persons in North Tower (Tower 1) 1,402
Persons in South Tower (Tower 2) 614
Residents of New Jersey 674
Employees of Marsh Inc. 355
Firefighters 343
Employees of Aon Corporation 175
Port Authority police officers 37
Police officers 23
Paramedics 2
1 firefighter was killed by a man who jumped off the top floors

Talking To Your Kids About 9/11

My granddaughter is 9 (almost 10 years old) and I asked her last year if she knew what 9/11 was all about.

She said she’d heard about it, but “not really.”

I asked if she wanted to know more, and being an inquisitive child, she, of course, said “yes.”

I had found a documentary that I’d DVR’d a few years ago, that I thought would give her a sense of what happened without upsetting her or scaring her too much. It didn’t show the people jumping from the upper floors, or anyone on fire running through the lobby of Tower One. It didn’t dwell on the heartbroken family members pasting photos of their loved ones up on the bulletin boards near the site. Just the basics.

And as she watched it, I shared some thoughts about what she was seeing. I told her that I knew a Paramedic and a Priest from Bethany who helped the people deal with the terrible things they’d seen and the guilt they felt about surviving on that day when so many others died.

She has an appreciation for the first responders who risked their lives to help save others, and the many who gave their lives during that effort.

She liked that her mommy and uncle were willing to help donate things that the rescuers needed in the days after the attacks. And she understands so much more than most kids her age without having night terrors about what she’d learned. Just the knowledge and appreciation for those who were willing to help.

You know your children better than anyone else, and you know how much information they can handle. September 11, is a historic event, and one of the most tragic events of our lifetimes. Nearly 3,000 people died on Sept. 11 and scores more have passed away since then as a result.

Knowledge is power. Don’t sweep it under the rug. If you think they can handle it, tell your kids at least something about September 11, because they will see it in history books or on the Internet before you know it.


Paper Shredding And Mattress Recycling Day Scheduled

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Sep 082021

The next paper shredding and mattress recycling event will take place   rain or shine at High Plains Community Center, (front parking area), 525 Orange Center Road, on Saturday, October 9 from 9 a.m. til noon (or until the shredding truck reaches capacity)

The secure, on-site paper shredding service will once again be handled by Affordable Solutions, owned and operated by Orange resident Joe Johnston. Residents may bring bags (preferably paper, not plastic) or boxes filled with documents for shredding. Residents who want their boxes or containers returned should tell a volunteer.

This time around, in order to give everyone a chance to recycle their papers, residents will be limited to six (6) copier paper sized boxes of materials. If you have more, you are encouraged to drive around and get back in line and come through again with the remainder of your items.

This service is generously funded by the Rotary Club of Orange. Residents may show their appreciation by donating to the Orange Rotary Scholarship Fund. Rotarians will be on hand to collect donations.

Dos and Don’ts

  •  BRING:  Tax papers, bills, receipts, statements, and documents that contain personal, financial and/or medical information. No need to remove staples or elastic bands, but clips should be removed for reuse.
  •  DO NOT BRING:  Paper that is already shredded, newspapers, notebooks, plastic folders, and other papers and mail that can go in the regular residential recycling bins.
  •  BRING:  Mattresses and box springs. See below if you need assistance.
  •  BRING:  All sorts of clothing and shoes, no matter the size or condition.

​Mattress Recycling

The Mattress Recycling Council’s “Bye Bye Mattress” team will collect used mattresses and box springs of any size.

  •  DO NOT BRING:  Some items will not be accepted: mattresses from futons/sofa beds or waterbeds; mattresses infested with bed bugs; wet, damaged or excessively soiled mattresses; and sleeping bags or mattress pads/toppers.

For residents needing assistance, members of the Orange Lions Club will pick up mattresses and box springs from residences, given items are outside and dry or in a garage for easy access, as volunteers will not enter individual homes.

Anyone interested in this pick-up service should contact Ken Lenz at 203-795-3906. The fee for pick-up is $10 per mattress or box spring. Payment is by cash or check made out to Orange Lions Charities, and all proceeds are considered a charitable donation.

​Clothing and Shoes

Residents may also bring old clothing and shoes to deposit in the Simple Recycling bin near the back of the community center. This bin is available 24/7, making it a great option for when the Orange Transfer Station & Recycling Center is closed. The town gets paid for items deposited in the Simple Recycling bins at High Plains and the Transfer Station and Recycling Center.

Valuable Resource

Orange Recycling Committee Chair Mitch Goldblatt said, “This community event helps residents properly dispose of confidential, sensitive documents, as well as mattresses and clothing. It’s one way our volunteers and residents work together for a cleaner and more sustainable planet.”

COVID Awareness

October 2021 will be the 12th time the Orange Recycling Committee facilitates this event to ensure the disposal of thousands of pounds of sensitive financial and medical papers in a secure, environmentally-responsible way. TBD if still needed: Due to COVID-19, residents are asked to put documents in their trunk, wait in line, and pop the trunk when it is their turn. To keep this event as “contactless” as possible, residents should stay in their vehicle. Wearing a mask is requested.

Former Woodbridge Volunteer Firefighter Dies Doing What He Loved

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Sep 082021

The late Stephen Buda

On Monday, Sept. 6, Labor Day, Stephen Buda was enjoying his favorite hobby, rock climbing, in the Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner, New York, when he lost his life in a fall.

According to a report by the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department, police and EMS personnel were called to the Trapps Bridge area of the preserve at 5:30 p.m., Monday for a fallen rock climber and they found that Stephen M. Buda III, 56, of New Haven, Connecticut had scaled about 150-175 feet of a popular 200 ft climb when he fell.

Authorities said Buda was not wearing any climbing or safety equipment at the time of the incident.

Police said they suspect no foul play in the incident but it remains under investigation.

Steve, the firefighter

Steve, was a member of the Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department for 5 or 6 years before he was hired as a firefighter for the city of Bridgeport in August of 2013 and served the city for eight years.

The Bridgeport Fire Department announced Buda’s passing on Tuesday afternoon.

The fire department posted on its Facebook Page that Pump Engineer Stephen Buda passed away while enjoying his favorite hobby of rock climbing.

Buda leaves behind his wife and two daughters

Locally, those firefighters and residents who knew Steve remember him as a good guy.

I remember him for his ever-present smile and love of the job.


Sad News: Pat Zeoli, First Selectman Jim Zeoli’s Mother Passed Away Today

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Sep 082021

It is with heartfelt sympathy that I inform you that Patricia (Pat) Zeoli, mother of our First Selectman Jim, his sister Melissa and brother Michael Zeoli passed today.He

Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family.

During this evening’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Jim choked up and thanked everyone for their outpouring of love for his mom, who remained in her home and died in her sleep at the age of 91.

He said, “She lived a long, full life.”

Regarding services, Zeoli said his mom didn’t want a fuss and the family would have private services.

Orange Police: Shoplifter Fled, Apprehended, Arrested

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Sep 062021

At 1:20 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1, Orange police responded to Home Depot at 440 Boston Post Road regarding a shoplifting that just occurred with fleeing suspects. 

Officers made a motor vehicle stop of suspects matching the description and spoke to Nathaniel D. Moses, 41, of New Haven.

Investigation revealed that Moses was the man who dropped the stolen merchandise and fled the scene when apprehended by the Home Depot Loss Prevention Associate. 

Subsequently, he was taken into custody and charged with sixth-degree larceny.

Moses was released on a promise to appear in court on Sept. 13.



Amity Varsity Sports Schedules Sept. 6-11

 Amity High School, Around Town, Home, Latest News, School News, Sports, Today's Events  Comments Off on Amity Varsity Sports Schedules Sept. 6-11
Sep 062021

file photo

Each year, since Orange Live was established in 2012, we’ve presented the game schedules for Amity High School’s varsity sports teams.

Here’s the list of activities for this week, Sept. 6 – Sept. 11.

Monday, Sept. 6

Field Hockey vs Pomperaug, Danbury (Scrimmage) AWAY at Pomperaug HS Stadium at 9 a.m.

Girls Soccer vs Trumbull (Scrimmage) HOME at Amity William Johnson Stadium Field at 11 a.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 8

Girls Soccer vs Foran (Scrimmage) HOME at Amity William Johnson Stadium Field at 4 p.m

Thursday, Sept. 9

Boys Cross Country vs Guilford, Notre Dame-West Haven and Wilbur Cross AWAY at Guilford High School East River Preserve at 4 p.m.

Boys Soccer vs Shelton AWAY at Shelton High School Finn Stadium at 7 p.m.

Girls Cross Country vs Guilford, Sacred Heart Academy and Wilbur Cross. AWAY at Guilford High School East River Preserve at 4 p.m.

Girls Volleyball vs Lyman Hall HOME at Amity High School Mengold Gymnasium at 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 10

Football vs Branford AWAY at Branford High School Athletic Turf Field at 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 11

Girls Volleyball CIAC Early Season Tournament AWAY Connecticut Sports Center at 8:00 a.m.

Girls Soccer vs Lauralton Hall AWAY at Lauralton Hall Soccer Field at 11 a.m.


Orange Conservation Commission Asking For Photos

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Sep 042021

The Orange Conservation Commission invites all who enjoy our Open Spaces to share a picture of someone being a proper steward of our town trails.

Take a picture of yourself, your family, your friends, or your pets hiking our trails. Show how you help to keep the trails welcoming for all who visit them.

We will display the pictures at our booth in the Civic Tent at the 2021 Orange Country Fair – showcasing our favorites for all to see. Send pictures to orangeconscomm@gmail.com by Tuesday, September 14, then come by to see us at the Fair, Sept 18-19.

Ten Amity Alumni To Be Honored In October

 Amity High School, Around Town, Home, Latest News, School News, Sports  Comments Off on Ten Amity Alumni To Be Honored In October
Sep 022021

The 2021-22 Amity Academic Hall of Honor and Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee lists have been announced.

Those being inducted into the Academic Hall of Honor are:

Robert Leonard (’87) Business/Finance He is the Owner of New England Brewing Co. in Woodbridge.

Scott Klein (’88) Education/Journalist. Klein is a Journalist and the Deputy Managing Editor at ProPublica.

Mark A. Levine (’88) Engineer/Charity. Levine is an Engineer and an Advocate to others with Cystic Fibrosis.

Michael Slomsky (“91) Business/Finance/Charity

The Athletic Hall of Fame inductees are:

Sal Coppola (’87) Amity Varsity Baseball Coach, who has won seven SCC and six Class LL state championships and last season celebrated his 500th game with the Spartans

Gilbert Jennings (’91), who thrilled Amity sports fans in football, wrestling and outdoor track and field.

Erin (McLauglin) Guise (’05) an exceptional Amity swimmer.

Janice Ehorn (’08) Amity Volleyball standout.

Allison Barwise (’09) this Amity Tri-athlete indoor and outdoor track and field and soccer player was named the New Haven Register Female Athlete of the Year in 2009;

The late Joseph “Joey” Ciancola (10) who excelled in hockey and baseball at Amity.

The Hall of Honor/Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place at Grassy Hill Country Club, 441 Clark Lane, Orange, on Thursday, Oct. 21 with social hour beginning at 5 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m.

Dinner tickets are $55.00 in advance with a purchase deadline of October 1, 2021.  There will be no tickets for purchase at the door.

Athletic Hall of Fame Tickets

Make checks payable to Amity Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame and mail to:

Amity High School Athletic Department

Att. Lori Bonney

25 Newton Rd

Woodbridge, CT  06525

Academic Hall of Honor tickets

Make checks payable to the Amity Academic Hall of Honor and mail to:

Amity District Office

Att. Dr. E.Marie McPadden

25 Newton Rd

Woodbridge, CT 06525

Orange Country Fair Schedule: Plan Your Days Now

 Around Town, Home, Latest News  Comments Off on Orange Country Fair Schedule: Plan Your Days Now
Sep 022021

Following is the official Orange Country Fair Schedule for 2021.

The Orange Country Fair File Photo

The Fair will take place on the Orange Fairgrounds, 525 Orange Center Road, on Saturday, Sept. 18 and Sunday, Sept. 19.

You may notice that a few fan favorites like the Frying Pan Toss, Hay Bale Toss and Pig Races are missing this year, but with a bit of luck, if everyone behaves themselves and the United States gets COVID under control It may be back to normal next year.

In the meantime, get your contest entries together and prepare to have a good time at this year’s annual event. The Fair Committee worked so hard to put the event together for everyone’s enjoyment.

8:00-11:00 AM = Chip’s famous Pancake Breakfast – Main Food Pavilion
8:30 AM = Garden Tractor Pull – Pulling Area
10:00 AM = Opening Ceremonies – Gazebo
11:00 AM = Homing Pigeon Release – Lower Field
11:00 AM = Oxen Draw
1:00 PM = Homing Pigeon Release – Lower Field
3:00 PM = Doodlebug Contest – Pulling Area
3:00 PM = Homing Pigeon Release – Lower Field
7:00 PM = Fair Closes

8:00-11:00 AM = Chip’s famous Pancake Breakfast – Main Food Pavilion
8:00 AM = Mini Horse Pull – Lower Field
9:00 AM = Antique Tractor Pull – Pulling Area
10:00 AM = Antique Car Show – Front Fairgrounds
11:00 AM = Horse Draw – Lower Field
11:00 AM = Homing Pigeon Release – Lower Field
11:30 AM = Childrens Pedal Tractor Pull – Upper Field
1:00 PM = Homing Pigeon Release – Lower Field
3:00 PM = Homing Pigeon Release – Lower Field
6:00 PM = Fair Closes

•• Chip’s Famous Pancake Breakfast
•• Toddler Driving Contest
•• Garden Club Demonstration

Official Fair T-Shirts, Hats and Commemorative Items
Available at the Souvenir Tent.