Orange Democrats Pizza Under The Stars Fundraiser on Saturday

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Sep 252015

11891872_700062660128463_6785294468843861701_oThe Orange Democrats announced that Frank “the Pizza Man” Esposito will be hosting s campaign fundraiser for First Selectman Challenger Ken Lenz at his home on 29 Andrew Lane, Orange, Saturday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.

Frank is famous locally for his phenomenal pizza baked to perfection in an outdoor brick oven.

The evening includes pizza, beer, wine and soda.

Entertainment by crooner Bob Mel. Doc Wright and Marianne Miller promise to sing some favorite standards too!

Tickets are $30 per person with checks payable to “Friends of Lenz 2015.”

Call Marianne Miller at 203-795-3906 or sign up on the Facebook page “Pizza Under the Stars” Lenz 2015.

Space is limited so sign up with Marianne now.

Originally Published on: Sept. 17, 2015 @ 17:13

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.)

Try Frank Esposito’s Famous Pizza on Saturday Night — Lenz Fundraiser

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Oct 222013

Screen shot 2013-10-22 at 10.51.37 AMThe Orange Democrats invite you to come out to support Ken Lenz for First Selectman at a Pizza Party this Saturday night, Oct. 26.

Orange Resident Frank Esposito will open his home  at 29 Andrew Lane from 6-8 p.m. and make his now famous pizza in the pizza oven he built many years ago.

Cost is $25 per person, Children under 12, $10. Make checks out to “Lenz 2013.”

RSVP to Mitch Goldblatt at mitchgoldblatt@aol.com or call 203-553-9166 asap so he can give Frank an accurate headcount for pizza dough and drinks.

Reception for Democratic Candidates at Grassy Hill Lodge on Sunday

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Oct 052013

Democrat-Donkey_generic_pinback-button-300x297The Annual Reception for the Democratic Candidates will take place at Grassy Hill Lodge, 77 Sodom Lane, Derby, on Sunday, Oct. 6, 5 to 7 p.m.

Invited guests include US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman.

For more information contact: Trish Pearson  trishpearson281@gmail.com or 203-516-0780.

Democrats Host Fundraiser on Saturday Sept. 21

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Sep 192013

Screen shot 2013-09-19 at 10.58.30 AMOn Saturday, Sept. 21, there will be a fundraising event for Ken Lenz Democratic Candidate for First Selectman and the other Democratic candidates running for office in the November municipal election.

The event will take place at 625 South Greenbrier Drive at 7 p.m. and includes cocktails, appetizers and desserts.

Minimum contribution is $50. Make checks payable to “Lenz 2013.”

RSVP to Jennifer Alfaro at aaa333aaa333@aol.com or Kim Syrop at kim.syrop@optonline.net


Lenz opposes Banquet Facility on “The Preserve” Cries “Sour Grapes” on Orange Vineyard

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Aug 022013

An aerial view of 393 Derby Ave. aka "the Preserve"

An aerial view of 393 Derby Ave. aka “the Preserve”

This is a press release from the Orange Democrats.

Democratic First Selectman candidate Ken Lenz today said he would vigorously oppose any attempt by a developer to construct a commercial banquet facility on “The Preserve” on Route 34 in Orange. Lenz said he is concerned that many nearby homeowners are fearful about their property values, the traffic congestion and noise such a business would generate.

Lenz said “One of the advantages of having a Comprehensive Town Plan is that it lays out a vision for the community.  Nowhere in that vision was there supposed to be a banquet facility, or any other commercial endeavor on property that was a retreat facility once owned by the Legionnaires of Christ.”

Lenz is responding to concerns of neighbors  who informed him that Stellato Realty, LLC has conferred with town officials and unveiled plans for “The Windmill Vineyards” at 403 Derby Avenue. “It is bad enough that the owner has clear cut a tremendous amount of land on what they call “The Preserve,” but now they want to put a 15,000 square foot commercial facility on what was going to be a vineyard and three renovated single family homes”, Lenz said.

The developers are the owners of another large catering hall in Hamden and are proposing to create a similar facility on the property located on Rt. 34 between Orange Center and Racebrook Roads.

“The neighbors are concerned and rightfully so, that they will have to deal with noise, traffic and large crowds in their backyards.  This property abuts many homes on Racebrook Road, Green Hill Road, Walnut Hill Road and others. Is this the same developer who said a year ago that Orange will be very happy with the finished product? Well these neighbors and many of us in town are not happy!” retorted Lenz.

“First, the owners applied to Plan and Zoning under one premise, and then did what they wanted by clear cutting the land. A project of this size would not even be feasible without the possibility of a sewer connection which was permitted when Fieldstone Village was started four years ago. This was approved over the strong objections of many residents who live along the Grassy Hill Road/Derby Avenue (Route 34) corridor, and now their worst fears are being realized.

“This is a bad plan and further opens a “Pandora’s Box” of potential congregate housing development along Route 34 by extending public sanitary sewers further into Orange.  The time to take action is now. Let this developer know that this residential zone will not be changed and make them stick to their original proposal for a vineyard and renovating the existing houses,” Lenz concluded.

Democratic Candidate Ken Lenz on Economic Development

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Jul 252013


THIS is a press release from the Orange Democrats

In Ken Lenz’s published remarks from his speech in April, 2012 accepting the Democratic Party nomination for first selectman he stated he would seek economic development and investment in the town’s industrial zone from regional, national and international sources so as to increase the town’s tax base and reduce homeowners’ tax burden.

In response, at the Orange Republicans’ Caucus earlier in July the incumbent First Selectman stated that while Kenneth Lenz, his Democratic opponent, was talking about “going overseas to search for economic development,”  he is “pursuing a number of realistic projects” with developers from Texas and New Jersey.   If the incumbent’s comment was meant to imply that seeking economic development outside of the United States is not realistic, he should be reminded that many of the largest businesses ever located in Orange are or were from overseas companies,  Bayer (Germany), Saab-Scania (Sweden), Stop & Shop Supermarkets—Ahold (Netherlands) and Pez (Austria), to name a few.

However, the fact is that more than $2.7 Trillion of foreign investments are made within the United States, more foreign investments in fact than in any other country in the world.  (Source: “CIA – The World Factbook” at Cia.gov. last updated July 10, 2013.)

Robust Economic Development is one of the main campaign platforms Lenz has announced for the Orange Democrats that will be discussed in public and debated with the incumbent.  It matters little whether that economic development comes from across the street or from foreign investors.   What does matter is that the town’s chief executive makes himself and the town open to such opportunities from potential developers by consistently being in his office in Town Hall, and following up on phone contacts by interested developers and businesses.

In order to spur economic development what is needed is not campaign rhetoric about contacts with potential developers; what is needed is a sustained, knowledgeable focus on economic development, and marshaling all available resources from local, state and federal economic programs to encourage it.

As the nation’s economy begins to gradually improve as the 2008 recession abates, it is the ideal time to seize the opportunity to encourage development of Orange’s industrial area.

Who Will Fill Out The Democrats Slate? Caucus July 22 At 8 p.m.

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Jul 222013

Ken Lenz

Ken Lenz

On April 23, Orange Live revealed that Democrat Ken Lenz would go up against Republican Jim Zeoli for the first selectman’s seat in the November municipal election.

Along with Lenz, Selectman Mitch Goldblatt, John Cifarelli (from the Board of Finance) and Jody Dietch (From the Orange Board of Education) will be running for Selectmen’s seats.

Tonight, July 22, the Democrats will hold their caucus in the Orange Senior Cafeteria at 8 p.m., at which time candidates for the remainder of the slate will be nominated, voted upon and announced.

Afterward, a reception/fundraiser will take place at the Orange Ale House, 517 Boston Post Road at 9:30 p.m.

Orange Live will post the complete slate when it is made available.



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

Word On The Street: Lenz Vs Zeoli in November — We’ll See

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Apr 192013

Ken LenzRumors are a jumping point for reporters, some take everything they hear as truth and run with it, others ask questions before posting a story.

Today at the grand opening of the Stony Creek Urgent Care Center, someone nudged me and asked… “Have your heard?”

The rumor was that Ken Lenz, an attorney, member of the Orange Lions Club and the Orange Players and a longtime friend of mine, is going to challenge First Selectman Jim Zeoli in the November Municipal Election.

Seeing that Ken was attending the ribbon cutting ceremony, I figured there’s no time like the present, and I asked him directly… “Are you?”

Ken would not confirm nor deny if the rumor was true, but did tell me that he’d been approached by the Democrats and he had spoken to the nominating committee. BUT he would not make any statement or announcement until the proper time — after the Democrats have completed their slate and officially release it to the public on Monday night.

I do like Ken as a person and as a valued friend, and I get along with Jim very well and I respect both of them, but let me make it clear that I stand by the statement I made on Orangectlive.com after I opened the site last year — I do have a political policy in place and I will not endorse any candidates for any office State or Municipal.

That said, let’s wait until Monday to see who is on the Democratic slate for 2013.

Originally Published on: Apr 18, 2013 @ 2:22 p.m.