Police Blotter: Illegal Repairs Cause Vehicle Damage

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Sep 242020

On Sunday, Sept. 20, at 4:30 p.m., Orange police responded to Auto Zone at 150 Boston Post Road for a report of a motor vehicle repair scam.
Investigation revealed that Jonathan J. Merchon, 26, of Hamden, had caused damage to a vehicle after performing illegal repairs on that vehicle.
Subsequently, Merchon was taken into custody and charged with second-degree criminal mischief and illegal motor vehicle repair.
He was released on a promise to appear in court on Dec. 17.

PCH Scam Reported

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Sep 232020

In these uncertain times, so many people are finding themselves in desperate financial situations. So a phone call from the Publishers Clearing House telling you that you’ve won a prize couldn’t come at a better time.

But don’t be fooled, even though it may sound AMAZING, don’t be fooled, it is most definitely a scam.

Publishers Clearing House does not notify its winners by e-mail or phone, they come to your home with all of that over the top enthusiasm and surprise them, so they get a genuine reaction on camera.

This is from the PCH website:

“At PCH winners of our major prize awards are notified live and in person by our famous Prize Patrol. Since PCH awards a steady range of prizes throughout the year, at our option, we may notify winners of lesser prize amounts via an overnight express carrier such as UPS, FedEx, or USPS Express Mail and occasionally via email. Major prize awards and SuperPrize winners are not notified via email. Prizes are awarded within eight weeks of final winner selection.”

If you believe you are being scammed, here’s how to contact the real Publisher’s Clearing House:

http://pch.custhelp.com/app/home, or call us toll free at 1-800-566-4724 for Customer Service assistance

One Year Ago We Lost Someone Very Special

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Sep 232020

It’s hard to believe that one year ago today on Sept. 23, 2019, we lost Annie  “Elf Mama,” “Cookie Mama,” Davis.

Immediately after learning of this sad news, I (Terri Miles) began collecting money with which to purchase a memorial bench for Annie so no one ever forgets her or her contributions to the town of Orange.

Annie was the driving force behind the Santa’s Helper fundraising program that brought joy to hundreds of Orange residents each year and brought in badly needed funds to the Orange Volunteer Fire Department for the purchase of gear or whatever it needed at the time.

She spent several months each year organizing the event so it ran without a hitch, as long as everyone followed her directions to the letter. She’d call me at lunchtime from her work office and let me know that a press release was in the works and that I could edit it anyway I’d like, to make it “fun.”

She was known for her love of baking and the delicious cookies she made for the police, fire, CERT, and EMT members at big community events such as the Orange Country Fair, Firemen’s Carnival, and, of course in the break room during Santa’s Helper night.

She was a dedicated and founding member of the Orange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

As many of you know, all of the necessary funds finally came through, and with the assistance of CERT member, and Annie’s longtime friend, Ken Lyke, the bench was ordered and we are just waiting for its’ delivery.

With the first selectman’s approval, we found the perfect location for the bench and we will host a social distancing dedication ceremony for all of the wonderful people who donated money for the bench.


If you helped the cause by donating to the Annie Davis Memorial Bench Fund, please send me an e-mail at orangectlive01@gmail.com expressing your interest in joining us for the dedication. (Put in your two cents for Saturday or Sunday – 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.)

At this time I don’t know the exact date because we don’t have it yet, BUT it will take place on a weekend giving everyone a fair shake at having a vote on the most convenient day and time.

The dedication will be limited to ONLY those who made a donation. Without YOU this memorial would not be possible.

Police: Woman Charged With Violating A Protective Order

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Sep 232020

On Monday, Sept. 14, Orange police were dispatched to Wilson Road at 7:29 p.m. on a complaint of a violation of a protective order.
Investigation revealed that Deana A. Baldino, 46, of Hamden went to Wilson Road knowing that she had a court order stating not to return to that residence.
In addition, according to the report, Baldino had contacted a protected person multiple times via electronic devices which also was prohibited.
She was taken into custody and charged with violation of a protective order and released after posting a
$1,000 bond for a court appearance on Sept. 15.

Orange Police: Man Charged With Risk Of Injury To A Minor And More

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Sep 232020

Orange police responded to a disturbance complaint at Homewood Suites, 99 Marsh Hill Road, at 2:18. a.m. on Sept. 9.
Investigation revealed that Jose Lopez-Lopez, 27, of Medford, NY, was involved in a verbal argument that turned physical.
According to the report, his actions caused structural damage to another person’s vehicle and placed a child in harm’s way.
Lopez-Lopez was taken into custody and charged with risk of injury to a minor, first-degree criminal mischief, and second-degree breach of peace.
He was held on a $15,000 bond for court on Sept. 10.

Where Were You When Terrorists Hit Our Shores 19 Years Ago?

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Sep 112020

twin-towers-images2Where were you 19 years ago today? The memory of 911 is still etched in my brain. I recall the conversations I had with a co-worker as I gave him blow-by-blow reports of what was happening in America. The newsroom at the newspaper did not have televisions and when I first told him that the South Tower had collapsed he didn’t believe me.

Then I told him that the North Tower was “gone.” By then the bosses had begun watching the horror on the internet and every editor stopped whatever they were working on to find a local angle from his or her town to include in a 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.

What I remember most from the 911 attacks is just how kind everyone was for nearly an entire week afterward.

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).

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 area of New York since that day.

For all the kids 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:

8:46:26 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 impacts the north side of the North Tower (1 World Trade Center) of the WTC between the 94th and 98th floors. American Airlines Flight 11 was flying at a speed of 490 miles per hour (MPH).

9:02:54 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 impacts the south side of the South Tower of the WTC between the 78th and 84th floors at a speed of over 500 MPH. Parts of the plane including an engine leave the building from its north side, to be found on the ground up to six blocks away.

The Pentagon in Washington, DC gets 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 crashes near Shanksville, PA, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

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 8 (almost 9 years old) and I asked her last week 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.

Last night she said a prayer for the people who died and their family members who are missing them on this day.

Are You A Raffle Prize Winner? Find Out Now!

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Aug 022020

Carnival Chairman Donny Foyer welcomes everyone to the shortest carnival ever.

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department did not have it’s 95th Annual Carnival this year due to the Coronavirus, but the Raffle did go on as planned.

Carnival Chairman Donny Foyer said that this year people were very generous and the raffle tickets sold very well, which will help make up for some of the $120,000 that an actual carnival can bring in to the department for its needs.

Along with the raffle ticket sales, the Orange Finance Department also arranged for two additional fundraising events that would bring in money to its $50,000 Fire Truck Challenge that would assist in the purchase of a new fire truck.

Jim Hassenmayer, the owner of the Orange Ale House, 517 Boston Post Road, donated 200 $30 gift certificates to his establishment that the firefighters sold for $25 each at the restaurant on Friday, July 24th. The fire department kept the entire$25 for each one sold. Even though the restaurant has suffered since March with all of the restrictions from the COVID-19 crisis, Hassenmayer did not hesitate to give this gift to the OVFD, valued at $6,000.

A second $50K Challenge Fundraiser took place at Golf Lounge 18 with a closest to the pin contest the following Sunday.


The Raffle Ticket drawing took place at the Orange Fairgrounds on Sunday, Aug. 2 at 4:30 p.m.

Selectman Mitch Goldblatt, once again read off the winning numbers and recipients’ names.

#1 –  $10,000 Visa Gift Card                     075872. Duran Villaverde, West Haven

#2 –  $5,000  Visa Gift Card                     085833. Laura Tafuto, Hamden

#3 –  $3,000  Visa Gift Card.                    024682. Ann Friend, Orange

#4 –  $2,500 Gift Cert Anytime Fitness   026117   Linda Geane, Orange

#5 –  $1,200 Gift Cert Diamond Designs 036566 John Coppola, Orange

#6.-  Apple I-Pad from Best Buy.              045461  Dan May, Orange

#7. –  $400 Gift Card Shop Rite.               087455. Victoria Wilde, Orange

#8 –   $300 Gift Card Trader Joes.           030566 Kathleen Chapman, Orange

#9.-   $250 Gift Certificate Knight’s Inc.  043391 Kathleen Taylor, Orange

#10 – $200 Gift Card Kohl’s                       101814. James Kohl, Orange

#11 – $200 Gift Card to Outback               102770. John Kuchar, Orange


Congratulations to all of the winners! And We Hope to see everyone at the Carnival in 2021.

NOTE: The Finance Department has decided to continue the $50,000 Challenge until the end of September so there’s still time to contribute AND you still have an opportunity to purchase any of the remaining $30 Ale House Gift Certificates for a $25 donation to the OVFD. 

Please Don’t Take Your Dog With You

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Aug 012020

Every year across the country children and pets die in hot cars.

Today I came across a troubling sight outside of my favorite coffee shop. When I drove up, I parked next to a car where a dog was sitting in the back seat with her head out of the fully open window – All of the windows were all the way down – it was 78-degrees.

After buying my coffee, I passed by again and she was laying down on the seat, which was in the full sun, and she was panting, not uncontrollably or drooling, or foaming at the mouth. The temperature had gone up to 80-degrees. I called over to her, but she didn’t get up.

I drove home, around the corner, to take care of my own dogs, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the dog in the car. I don’t know if they understood, but, I stopped to tell my dogs that if the other dog belonged to an employee who was working a shift I was going to offer to bring her home so she’d be safe and cool. So get ready to meet a new friend, and I headed back down there. (Just a short walk away.)

I must admit I was aggravated when I saw the car still there in the hot sun when I returned. She came over to me and I petted her to see how hot she was, and then I went inside to find the owner.

An older couple was sitting at a table and when I asked if she was theirs the woman pointed to the man and told me she was his dog.

“May I please give her some water?” I asked. The man agreed that it was a good idea, and thanked me.

One of the staff got me a 16 oz cup of water and I brought it outside. “Hi sweetheart, do you want some water?” I tilted the cup and let her drink it slowly, and she finished just about every drop. Since she’d been in the car for about 30 minutes, I asked If I could take her out of the car and sit with her in the shade, but they assured me they were leaving soon.

After cooling down with the drink the dog was happy to see her “dad” come back to the car. And he told me they were going for a walk at the beach.

This dog was obviously loved, but I would just never bring my girls anywhere if I knew I’d be leaving them in the car even for a minute. These are crazy times, and the owner was lucky that I was the dog lover who took a shine to his pup. Someone else may have called the police or grabbed her and taken her away out of concern.

If you LOVE your dog or your kids, please do not take them out in the car on a hot day, especially if you are going to stop somewhere “for just a minute.”

See the chart for how fast the inside of a car can heat up to a dangerous level for your loved ones. If you don’t believe it, then sit in your car with the doors and windows closed, or treat yourself to a slightly opened window and see for yourself how comfortable you are after 5-10-15 minutes or a half hour. You won’t leave your dog (or kids) in a locked car alone again.

Be Aware Of This Road Improvement Project On Route 1

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Jul 282020

A road construction update from the Orange Police Department Facebook page:

The State DOT project to replace the culvert over Silver Brook, which flows under Rt1 near Chips Restaurant, and to add a fifth lane on Rt1 between Racebrook Road and Lambert Road will finally begin this Wednesday, July 29.

The first stage of the construction will encompass replacing the culvert under the 2 eastbound lanes on Rt1 and doing other drainage work along the road. This stage of work is expected to run through the spring of 2021.

The second stage of construction will encompass replacing the culvert under the 2 westbound lanes on Rt1 and finishing up the road work. The whole project is expected to be completed by December 2021.

During construction, there will only be one lane of traffic on Rt1 in each direction between Racebrook Road and Lambert Road with a third “suicide” lane in the center to help keep traffic flowing.

Please be patient and expect delays as motorists get used to the new traffic pattern. Alternate routes are always an option to circumvent the area.

Grilling Outdoors? How to Stay Safe

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Jul 272020

(submitted by author)

One of the perks of summer is the opportunity to grill outside. Technically, you can use your outdoor grill any time of the year. However, summertime grilling goes hand in hand with outdoor entertaining or just relaxing in the backyard with your family. Plus, it has the advantage of keeping the kitchen cool, allowing you to reduce electricity use.

However, a grill-related fire can turn your perfect event into your worst nightmare. And yes, it does happen.

Grilling fire statistics

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 10,200 home fires are started by grills each year, sending 19,000 people to the emergency room.

The three months of the year with the most grill fires are, in order:

  • July
  • June
  • August

Half of the injuries that send people to the ER are thermal burns; however, approximately 2,000 children suffer contact burns as a result of touching, falling or bumping into some part of the grill or coals.

How to stay safe when grilling

The placement of your grill is vital to avoiding fires. Never place it close to any part of your home – which includes your garage, porch, or deck railings. The NFPA also warns that your grill shouldn’t be under eaves or overhanging branches.

And just as you keep a fire extinguisher nearby when cooking in the kitchen, you should also make sure to keep one handy when you’re grilling outside. It doesn’t take long for a fire to quickly get out of control. This is also why you should never leave the grill unattended, and you shouldn’t let children or pets get close to it.

Never put too much food on the grill, warns Shirley Langridge, cleaning expert at Maggie’s Oven Services, which cleans BBQ grills, kitchen ovens, and other appliances. “If too much fat falls into flames at once, it can cause a fire,” she says.

Another tip is to make sure the cover is open before turning on the grill. “If the cover is closed when you turn on the gas, it may build up inside and blow up when opened, causing injuries,” Langridge explains.

Also, dress appropriately. “Avoid hanging shirts, scarves, and other types of clothes which can easily catch on fire.”

But the heat and flames aren’t the only potential dangers. “Pay attention not to inhale the smoke from your barbecue, as it contains carbon monoxide and other dangerous fumes,” Langridge explains. That’s also why you should always grill outside.

Cleaning and prep tips

You need to clean the grill on a regular basis; however, opinions vary on when. Some experts recommend cleaning the grill right after cooking, but not everyone agrees. “I recommend leaving the grill grates dirty until the next use and cleaning them before cooking,” Landridge says. In fact, she says grease makes the iron resistant to rust.

“It’s a good idea to heat up the grill for 15 minutes once a week to burn off some debris.”

She also recommends scrubbing the deflector plates and flavorizer bars at least once a month. “They are designed to prevent fires, but some build-up grease may cause one.”

And when you’re not using your grill, Landridge says you should keep it covered. “This protects rust or even animals from getting inside your grill.”

Propane grills

If you have a gas grill, Landridge recommends routinely checking for gas leaks. “Once a month pour some soapy water on the gas line,” she says. “If you see bubbles, there is a leak and you need to tighten it.” However, if tightening doesn’t produce the desired result, don’t use the grill again until you get it checked out by a professional.

Charcoal grills

When you’re finished using a charcoal grill, don’t forget that the coals can still pose a danger until they’re completely cool. It could take up to 48 hours for the coals to cool, so you should close the lid and vents, and wait 2 days before taking out the coals and ashes. To be on the safe side, use long-handled tongs to scoop the coals out and then put them in aluminum foil or a metallic container.

A final part of grilling safely is making sure your meat is cooked to the proper temperature. Even though it might look done on the outside, always use a meat thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked to the proper temperature.

Terri Williams is a freelance journalist with bylines at The Economist, USA Today, Yahoo, the Houston Chronicle, and U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.