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Wait, What? A Popular Orange Police Sergeant Retired This Weekend

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Jun 292020
 

Chief Gagne presents Sgt. Aquino with his retirement badge.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve gotten to know a lot of our local police officers. Naturally, after all this time, I’ve seen so many of them retire and move on. Some, I’ve stayed in touch with, others are just gone with the wind. But I still remember each and every one of them.

Pre-pandemic I most likely would have gotten a heads-up and had an opportunity to say goodbye, but this weekend that didn’t happen and one of my absolute favorite members of the OPD left without even the slightest hint.

There was only one other time that I cried when one of my boys in blue left, and that was back in 2012, soon after opening Orange LIve when Asst Police Chief Ed Koether retired after 30 years on the job.

So, who is the second Orange cop that made me cry? Believe it or not, Sgt John Aquino, 53, one of the kindest, friendliest, most understanding, and professional officers I’ve ever had the pleasure to have known.

Over the past 25 years, I always looked forward to seeing his smiling face at the Orange Country Fair, Firemen’s Carnival, Senior Health and Safety Fair, parades, and numerous public events. When my granddaughter was little and I was clueless about the newer child safety seats, it was John who helped teach me how to install it properly.

If I locked myself out of my car, which happened a lot, I was never embarrassed if he was the responding officer.

John served in the Patrol Division from 1995 to 2007 and was the  Youth and D.A.R.E. Officer from 2007 until his promotion to Sergeant on July 5, 2013.

I remember how amazing it was the day Detective Aquino was sworn-in to the rank of Sergeant, before a standing-room-only crowd of family, friends, fellow officers, and the three Orange elementary school principals. See VIDEO HERE.

He was then assigned to the midnight shift as a Road Sergeant. 

Then, this past Saturday, June 27, Sgt. Aquino worked his last shift with the Orange Police Department after 25 years of dedicated service to the Town of Orange.

Without much fanfare, John retired with Chief Robert Gagne presenting him with a plaque and his retirement badge.

Community Minded Officer

John was a member of the ATV unit, many times he participated in the Special Olympics Torch Run, as the D.A.R.E. Officer, he drove the Easter Bunny to the Lions Easter Egg Hunt at the Orange Fairgrounds, and he participated in the DEA’s Drug Take-Back Day for several years. 

In November 2016 he was one of the Orange police who took on a scruffy look to raise money for the Jimmy Fund in Chloe Clemens’ name. It was the last time I can remember when the members of the department were allowed to go unshaven – but only for a month.

 

BIO

Sgt Aquino, 53, was a 25-year veteran of the Orange CT Police Department.

He graduated from the University of Bridgeport in 1989 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and an Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies.

He was appointed as a probationary officer in Orange on June 23, 1995.

He was assigned to the patrol division from June 1995 to February 2008.

The Aquino Family in 2013 (Sgt. Swearing-in)

In February 2008 the was assigned to the Investigative Services Unit, serving as the Youth and DARE Officer and in the capacity of School Resource Officer.

Sgt. Aquino went to school to become a child safety technician (installing child safety seats in vehicles).

He and wife, Francine have been married 25 years (on July 19) and they have two sons, John and Michael.

Congratulations John, thank you for your service and your friendship over the years. I wish you only happiness and success in your future endeavors. You are already missed.

Happy Anniversary to you and Francine.

 

 

Framework for Connecticut Schools During the 2020-21 Academic Year

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Jun 252020
 

Yes, your children WILL be going back to school this fall.

There are a lot of rules set up for the 2020-2021 school year, comprised in cooperation with students and parents. The one sticking point that many are not thrilled about is that kids will be required to wear masks all day, which may very well prove to be difficult, especially for those younger than 10.

This is what the state has provided:

Guiding Principles

As Connecticut schools plan to reopen, the guidance and considerations outlined in this framework are grounded in six guiding principles:

  1. Safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff;
  2. Allowing all students the opportunity to return into the classrooms full time starting in the fall;
  3. Monitoring the school populations and, when necessary, potentially canceling classes in the future to appropriately contain COVID-19 spread;
  4. Emphasizing equity, access, and support to the students and communities who are emerging from this historic disruption;
  5. Fostering strong two-way communication with partners such as families, educators and staff; and
  6. Factoring into decisions about reopening the challenges to the physical safety and social-emotional well-being of our students when they are not in school.

These guiding principles require all districts to develop their plans with a certain level of consistency, however, they retain wide discretion in implementing approaches to reopening given unique local considerations.

School districts must balance their planning with contingency plans to provide robust, blended learning or remote learning for all grades in the event that a school, district, or region has to cancel or limit in-person classes due to health precautions.

Main Operational Considerations

Cohorting

  • Districts should emphasize grouping students by the same class/group of students and teachers (into a cohort) so each team functions independently as much as possible. Consider this methodology by grade levels.
  • Placing students in cohorts is strongly encouraged for grades K-8, and encouraged where feasible for grades 9-12.

Social Distancing and Facilities

  • Review building space and reconfigure available classroom space, such as gymnasiums and auditoriums, to maximize social distancing, consistent with public health guidelines in place at that time.

Transportation

  • Districts should plan for buses to operate close to capacity with heightened health and safety protocols, including requiring all students and operators to wear face coverings.
  • Plans must be developed to activate increased social distancing protocols based upon community spread.

Face Coverings

  • All staff and students will be expected to wear a protective face covering or face mask that completely covers the nose and mouth when inside the school building, except for certain exceptions including when teachers are providing instruction.

Ensuring Equity and Access

  • Equitable access to education is a top priority that supports a full-time in-school model by mitigating any barriers to education or opportunity gaps that increased during the pandemic. Efforts to support equity, close the opportunity gap, and provide a wide range of support for students in the state are best achieved with in-person schooling opportunities for all ages.
  • Districts should identify gaps and develop action plans for reopening that specifically address inclusion, equity, and access for all learners with strategies and clearly defined action steps.

Connex Presents Giuliano With Scholarship Award

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Jun 242020
 

Lauryn Giuliano of Orange (pictured with her parents) was the recipient of the Nicolas G. Hackett Memorial Scholarship, an award named in honor of a longtime volunteer at Connex Credit Union.

Lauryn is currently majoring in Psychology at Southern Connecticut State University, where she maintains a 4.0 GPA while serving as a presidential student ambassador and mathematics peer mentor.

In high school, Lauryn also completed more than 415 hours of volunteer service working with organizations such as the West Haven Animal Shelter and Locket’s Meadow Horse Rescue Farm in Bethany.

For more information on the scholarship program or Connex Credit Union, visit connexcu.org.

Building Confidence through Proper Signage is Key to the Safe Re-opening

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Jun 242020
 

As the state moves through phase two and toward phase three of re-opening, businesses will begin looking for signs with which to guide their customers through their stores and restaurants.

The following is a message from Orange’s own Signarama, 553 Boston Post Road.

As Connecticut begins our phased re-opening, as a Business Owner or Human Resources leader, you will need to take utmost precautions to adapt your business into a safe environment for both workers and customers. Discover all the ways to allow your business to function– without compromising public health or confidence.

Our business, Signarama-Orange, is here to support you in workplace readiness with a wide variety of products and advice on what your business will need for a wide variety of required signage.

Signarama has been an integral part of many businesses in this community for over 20 years. We will continue to provide the professional support and products you need in this unprecedented time to get everyone back at work with the right reminders and modifications.

Call us today at 203-795-5450 for a free consultation, or email us at sales@signs-ct.com.

 

Fireworks Are Still Illegal and Dangerous: Read on, Orange

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Jun 242020
 

It’s that time of year again, people have already begun lighting up fireworks across the state, as the Fourth of July approaches, fireworks vendors are beginning to sell their wares.

Sparklers are dangerous, they can reach a temperature of 1,800 degrees and burn your hands and/or clothing.

We all look forward to the summer weather and celebrating the opportunity to be outdoors at picnics, barbecues, and other events.  At many of these smaller than usual gatherings, the use of fireworks, both legal and illegal, is on the rise. When used legally and safely by professionals, fireworks can be enjoyed.  Unfortunately, numerous incidents of injuries, fatalities, or accidental fires caused by the private use of fireworks are reported each year across the United States.

Several years ago, the State of Connecticut made it legal for any person sixteen (16) years of age or older to possess, sell, or use any sparkling device.  The use of any type of sparkling device by a person under the age of 16 is illegal.

NO OTHER TYPES OF FIREWORKS ARE LEGAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC ACT 00-198!  This includes, but is not limited to, devices known as “M-80’s,” “Cherry Bombs,” “Bottle Rockets,” and any device that is explosive or aerial such as ground displays or roman candles.  While the use of sparkling devices is legal in Connecticut, they can be dangerous if not used properly.

The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office asks that you remember the following safety guidelines.

•   When handling a sparkling device, wear protective goggles and gloves.  Sparklers can reach temperatures of up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit once they are lit and many burns and eye injuries have been reported as a result of improper use.

•    Do not use ANY open flame devices when dry ground conditions are present. The Fire Danger Level is available at their website, www.orangefiremarshal.com or by calling the Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-891-4711.

•   Be aware of your surroundings.  Be sure others are a safe distance away before igniting any sparkling device.

•    DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO HANDLE ANY TYPE OF SPARKLING DEVICE.

•    Always have a source of extinguishment.  A garden hose or fire extinguisher can quickly put out a small fire before it gets out of control, only if it is close by.  Anytime there is a fire or other emergency, do not hesitate to call 911.  A delay in a call can make a tragic difference in the outcome.

The local and state fire officials want everyone to enjoy the summer season.  Please keep these tips in mind to ensure that it is a safe one.  If you would like more information, call the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office  Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at 203-891-4711.

Goddard School Gives Preschoolers A Proper Send-Off

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Jun 232020
 

While not being able to host a traditional graduation ceremony in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an Orange area preschool came up with a way to give their graduates a proper send-off, while remaining socially responsible.

Earlier this month, teachers and staff from The Orange, CT Goddard School traveled from Milford to Guilford spreading cheer by providing each graduate with a mini-parade celebration. The students saw their favorite teachers and administrators, received their diploma and a gift bag of goodies, along with a graduation sign and tee-shirt.

Kimberly Kick, the on-site owner of The Goddard School in Orange, said that graduation is not only a celebration for the children and parents but for the faculty as well. “It’s been a journey filled with excitement and friendships, learning, and laughter. Many of the children have been with us since they were infants,” she said. “While we’ll miss seeing them on a daily basis, we’re confident that they are well prepared for the road ahead.”

“Many of the children and families come back to visit us and share their accomplishments with us long after their Goddard School graduation. It’s a wonderful feeling,” Kimberly said.

For more information on The Goddard School, visit www.goddardschool.com. 

 

Obituary: Elfo “Al” Pol, 94, Beloved Father, Grandfather, Town Treasure, Veteran

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Jun 232020
 

Elfo “Al” Sante Pol, 94, of Orange, husband of the late Anita De Mio Pol, passed away June 18, 2020, at his home surrounded by his loving family.

Loving father of Raymond Pol of Orange, Kenneth (Linda) Pol of Meriden, Andrew Pol of Milford, Michael (Laura) Pol of Onset, MA, Daniel (Laura Schumann) Pol of Washington, DC and the late Lawrence Pol. Brother of William F. Pol of Canoga Park, CA.

He also is survived by 7 cherished grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. Al was born in New Haven on January 2, 1926, a son of the late Pietro and Adele Fullin Pol.

After attending Boardman Trade School in New Haven, Al proudly served in the U.S. Army, 65th Infantry Division during WWII as a heavy machine gunner, cook, and divisional instructor in electricity and electronics and participated in the Rhineland and Central European campaigns.

He worked as an electrician for the New York-New Haven-Hartford, Penn Central, and Conrail Railroads for 40 years while also establishing an electrical contracting business. After retiring in 1985, he became the Town of Orange electrical inspector for 32 years, until retiring in 2018 at age 92. Al and his late wife Anita had never-ending civic pride for the Town of Orange, the place they called home for over 60 years.

He was an elected constable, rose early to work the election polls, and volunteered at the Orange Country Fair and Firemen’s Carnival. Even into his 90s, you could find Al marching in the Memorial Day Parades, typically as a Parade Marshal.

Al was a member of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department for 55 years, retiring at age 90 – after serving as a Captain, and more than 30 years as treasurer. A member of the American Legion Orange Post 127 for 56 years, serving many years as their treasurer and receiving the Legionnaire of the Year award in 2019.

Al played card games weekly throughout his life with family and friends. At the Orange Senior Center, he taught his favorite card game, bridge. Along with his passion for cards, he would enjoy a good book, a great movie, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku.

An avid sports fan, he enjoyed attending NY Yankee games and watching NY Yankees and NY Giants games with his sons.

Friends may call at the PORTO FUNERAL HOME, 830 Jones Hill Rd., West Haven, on Thursday, June 25, from 5-8 p.m., and are invited to go directly to Holy Infant Church Friday morning for a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Interment with military honors will follow in St. Lawrence Cemetery, 280 Derby Ave, West Haven.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Legion Post 127, 630 Grassy Hill Rd., Orange CT 06477. Sign Al’s guest book online at www.portofuneralhomes.net

Wake And Funeral Service Information For Al Pol

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Jun 232020
 

The wake for Al Pol will take place on Thursday, June 25, from 5 – 8 p.m. at Porto Funeral Home, 830 Jones Hill Road, West Haven.

The funeral service will be on Friday at Holy Infant Church, 450 Racebrook Road, Orange, at 11 am.

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department’s Engine 1 will be used as the caisson.

Burial will be at the St. Lawrence Cemetery, 280 Derby Ave, West Haven, immediately following the mass.

Obituary: Mary Ehrler, Beloved Mother, Grandmother, An Exciting Life, Full of Love

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Jun 222020
 

Mary Elisabeth (Coutts) (Mallinson) Ehrler passed away gracefully surrounded by love on Friday, June 19, 2020. She was married to the love of her life, the late George W. Ehrler, Deputy Chief, New Haven Fire Department.
She was educated in the New Haven school system and then earned an associate degree in Police Science & Administration and then a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of New Haven. She was employed by the New Haven Police Department as one of the first Traffic Safety Assistants in 1968.
She became the first female Police Officer hired for patrol on July 1, 1974, in the town of Woodbridge. She retired after 25 years of service on September 4, 1999. Upon retirement, she went to work for the Amity Regional School District #5 as a Security Officer, or as she liked to say, she was Mom to 1600 students.
She was a member of many organizations during her life, New Haven Police Assoc. of CT, Ct Assoc. of Woman Police, Bethany Wanders, Bethany CERT, Bethany Cemetery Committee, St. Andrew’s Society of CT, MADD, and Woodbridge District Animal Control. Hers was a life of service.
She was the loving mother of Donna (Donald) Shea, Keith (Sheila) Mallinson of Bethany, Brian (Kelly) Mallinson of Rutland, VT. Beloved Gramma to Lisa (Bugsy) Lockwood, Donald Shea, Robert (Annice) Mallinson, Jonathan (Holly Mathews) Shea, Ryan (Alissa Grey) Shea, Jacqui, and Dominique (Thomas Grimshaw) Luca. Cherished Great-Gramma to seven whom she loved with all her heart. She is also survived by her sister, Ellen Coutts Waff (William) of NC, and several nieces and nephews.
Her family would like to extend a note of thanks to her doctor, Uyen To, whose care for their Mom was second to none.
Donations in her memory can be made to the St. Andrew’s Society of CT or to Bethany Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Friends and family are invited to pay their respects at the Celentano Funeral Home, 424 Elm St., New Haven on Monday, June 22 from 4-7 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m., also at the Celentano Funeral Home, followed by interment at Eastside Cemetery in Woodbridge. Masks and Social Distancing are required.

ASD Fitness Center Plans To Re-Open On July 1

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Jun 222020
 

The ASD Fitness Center, 307 Racebrook Road, Orange, will be re-opening on Wednesday, July 1.

The Fitness Center is dedicated to working with youth and adults with autism and other special needs. Their services will be limited to one-on-one personal training.

As they progress through reopening the center will eventually offer its usual schedule of group classes that include karate, yoga cardio dance, sports, and team building.

All state recommended safety and sanitation measures will be strictly followed to protect staff and customers.

Call 203-553-9508 or e-mail www.asdfitnesscenter.com  to schedule your free assessment and get started on the road to health and fitness today.