PHOTOS: Memorial Day Ceremony 10:30 a.m.

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May 252014

Master of Ceremonies Robert Mirto

Master of Ceremonies Robert Mirto

The 2014 Memorial Day Ceremony went without a hitch. The weather was nice, and although a couple of people had to break rank because they didn’t feel well, there were no medical emergencies as in past years.

Bob Mirto served as master of ceremonies, and Diane Raikis, accompanied by the Amity Senior High School Band, sang the National Anthem.

Mirto kept everything moving along, introducing First Selectman Jim Zeoli; Grand Marshal Laurence Czajkowski; Chief of Staff Peter MacDonald; Honored Veteran Joswph Blake; and Keynote Speaker Philip Grande, Sr. and three specially selected student readers from each of the elementary schools: Tessa Graham (Peck Place); Brenner McKinley (Race Brook); and Conlan O’Rourke (Turkey Hill).

Lewis Merritt, Commander of the American Legion Post 127 presented the general orders for the parade.

Mirto read the names of Orange veterans who’d passed away since last Memorial Day.

Amity High student Eli Baum,  played Taps, and then everyone headed for the parade route.





After 34 Years of Service, Joe Blake Says Goodbye To The Board Of Selectmen

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Nov 142013

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 1.26.43 AMWho would have thought in 1979 when a young man named Joseph Blake was elected as a member of the Board of Selectmen that he would be leaving the position by choice 34 years later?

Town Clerk Patrick O’Sullivan brought up the following fun facts during Wednesday’s Selectmen’s meeting — Blake’s last one of his career.

During the time that Joe was on the Board there have been 6 presidents (Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama), 6 governors (Ella Grasso, William O’Neil, Lowell Weicker, John Rowland, Jodi Rell, and Dannel Malloy), and 6 Orange First Selectmen.

“And 1 wife,” Blake added.

Selectman Ralph Okenquist said he has served with Joe for 12 years. “You couldn’t ask for a better person. He’s been an advocate for the veterans and loves to support the country,” Okenquist said “At the end of each meeting Joe says, ‘God bless the troops.’”

Selectman Mitch Goldblatt said, “It’s bittersweet saying goodbye. You’re a legend. All the school kids know you.”

A young Joe Blake when he was seated on the Board of Selectmen in 1979.

A young Joe Blake when he was seated on the Board of Selectmen in 1979.

Goldblatt reminisced, “I remember when you were making your own campaign signs by hand. The art of politics is compromise — you always call for compromise.”

Blake took a moment to thank his fellow selectmen for their kind words and years of friendship. He left them with these words of wisdom, “Don’t listen to your politics, listen to your heart.”

Retirement Party

The public service career of Selectman Joe Blake will be celebrated at a retirement party on Friday, Jan. 31 at Grassy Hill Country Club, 441 Clark Lane, at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $60 per person. Dinner choices are baked stuffed chicken, baked scrod, and eggplant parmesan. Reservations may be made through the First Selectman’s Office at Town Hall, 617 Orange Center Road, Orange.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli said this is a non-political, non-partisan town event. Instead of buying a gold watch or other chachki, money will be donated to a charity of Joe Blake’s choice.

We will miss Joe Blake and his presence on the Board of Selectmen. Have a long and happy retirement.


It’s Official: Lenz To Take On Zeoli In November Election

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Apr 232013

"I have a vision..."

“I have a vision…”

Last Friday, Orange Live posted a story hinting that the Democrats had chosen a candidate to run for the top seat in the November election. It looks like we had the scoop.

Now it’s official, Orange attorney Ken Lenz has thrown his hat into the political ring and will indeed run against First Selectman Jim Zeoli in this year’s town election.

Lenz’s platform includes three points:

• Improving the tax base with new businesses

• Creating housing for seniors

• Modernizing Government

See VIDEO excerpts of his speech HERE

After Lenz finished his announcement, Don Jewell, Orange’s senior Democratic Town Committee member stood and said, “You’ve convinced me Ken, I think you should be our candidate for first selectman.”

He then made a motion to endorse Lenz right then and there, rather than wait for the July caucus.

The motion immediately received a “second” and then passed unanimously.

Chairman Trish Pearson said the nominating committee worked hard to fill the top of the ticket by May 1 and proceeded to introduce the three candidates for board of selectmen.

After 35 years in public service, selectman Joe Blake decided to retire from the board this year leaving a vacancy.

Pearson announced that Mitch Goldblatt will be seeking re-election, John Cifarelli (from the Board of Finance) and Jody Dietch (From the Orange Board of Education) also will be seeking your votes for a seat on the Board of Selectmen in the November municipal election.

Orange Live’s Political Policy