Notes In A Nutshell: Park & Rec News

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Jan 082014

The Park & Rec Commission gathers before its July 25 meeting.

A file photo of the Park & Rec Commission 

A brief look at the Dec. 18 meeting:

The Park & Rec Commission is still anxious to receive a report on the Camp Programs it offers, which have seen a decline in enrollment.

Chairman Joe Lembo said this also reflects in the decreasing school enrollment in town.

OLD BUSINESS included the approval of Leslie Giovanelli’s new exercise program, and the use of Old Tavern Park Fields for Amity High School Use at the end of its season.

Updates on the Fred Wolfe Park Renovation project. Residents came out on Oct. 23 to ask any questions and air concerns about the proposal. It appears that architects from Fuss and O’Neill satisfactorily answered all the queries and the Park & Rec added the project to the meeting as an agenda item.

Lembo said the presented plan, with the Commission’s changes and recommendations should be approved. He added that DEEP Grant money would be very helpful and that they should apply for whatever is available for such a project.

He suggested that the project would be planned in phases as Old Tavern Park had been done.

The discussion was tabled until the January meeting.

In November, Steve Bespuda and Chris Small attended a Recycling Committee meeting in the hopes to iron out any concerns that group had regarding recycling efforts at Park & Rec sponsored events in town.

Small borrowed stands with clear plastic bags as recycling receptacles for the Rotary’s Turkey Trot Road Race and the Holiday Festival, according to Bespuda, but both were windy days, and they were not used a much as they could have been. “But it’s a start.”

Park & Rec Director Dan Lynch said his office hopes to be approved for a new lease for a new copy machine in June.

Director’s Report: The Parks Crew trimmed the tree on the Town Green for the Holiday Festival.

Editor’s Note: If you miss a town meeting on OGAT, you can catch up any time with the Video On Demand Link here on Orangectlive.com, found in the upper left corner under the Orange OGAT button.


Orange Live is posting this meeting now because the original story was lost when our work computer crashed.



Zeoli or Lenz: Whose Oval Will You Fill In On Tuesday?

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Nov 032013

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The following information was obtained from each of the candidates campaign websites:

Republican Incumbent First Selectman Jim Zeoli

Running on his record


Schools and Security

The events in Newtown have affected all of us. The education and safety of our children are of paramount importance. Our Board of Education has created an ad hoc school safety and security committee; and, our police chief, assistant police chief and fire marshal have been working with that committee to review and improve the infrastructure of our school buildings to ensure the safety of our students, teachers and administrators. This committee is developing a list of safety and security recommendations, which it will present to the Board of Finance on January 28th at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall in an effort to obtain funding for these projects.


Among the list are the installation of panic buttons; interior and exterior surveillance cameras; updated locks on all classroom doors; installation of Shatterguard on all windows and doors; and a secure and controlled entry way in all of our schools. I support these initiatives because there is nothing more important than our children and in an emergency, seconds and minutes matter.


Economic Development

We are bombarded with daily news reports on the economy, bankruptcies and closing stores. Orange is not immune from these economic problems but we have worked to attract new businesses to our town. Our town’s vacancy rate is the lowest it has been in years, with a total vacancy rate of 6.34%. Over the past year, Orange has welcomed many new businesses including Chef’s Equipment Emporium of Orange, Wild Acorns, Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers, Batteries Plus,  PetSmart, and Orange Music Studio, just to name a few. While we continue to attract new businesses to our Town, over the past six years, I have implemented smart growth policies and practices to grow our light industrial zone.


After a six-year effort and intense competition from surrounding communities, UI is now fully operational on Marsh Hill Road. Colony Hardware also recently opened in our light industrial zone. While we continue plans to extend Edison Road to open the remainder of our light industrial zone to development and continue to work to bring a train station to Orange, Yale continues its plans to expand its use of its West Campus.


Budget Development Sessions

The town, the Orange Board of Ed and the Amity Board of Ed will begin the process of putting the budgets together for the fiscal year 2013-2014. This process is open to the public to view, either in person or on OGAT, to participate in. Ultimately, this process will result in the presentation of a budget for the residents of Orange to vote on. Please make every effort to get involved in this process.

The State has indicated that it will again be cutting funding to towns. Additionally, Orange’s population in the Amity student population has grown, while Woodbridge’s and Bethany’s student population has decreased. These factors will place a greater burden on us as taxpayers to fund our local town and school budgets. I am working with the boards of education and our local departments to control as much as is possible without interfering with the services we depend on.


Screen shot 2013-11-03 at 10.57.49 PMMunicipal Improvement Bond

This spring, Orange voters will have the opportunity to approve a $14.5 Million municipal improvement bond. Historically low interest rates will allow us to borrow money to help repair our town’s infrastructure at a lesser burden to taxpayers. Capital improvements like school roofs, boilers, and town roads will be addressed through this bond. Once bond counsel has finalized the process, this issue will be presented to a Town Meeting and from there to a town referendum.


The Preserve at Turkey Hill

 In 2011, the voters of Orange overwhelmingly voted to purchase approximately 376 acres of open space from the Hubbell Corporation. The parking access across from Turkey Hill Road has been constructed and the public can enjoy this beautiful piece of property. The Board of Selectmen is in the process of considering partnering with the New England Mountain Bike Association to construct a series of shared

use riding trails at no expense to the taxpayers. The Selectmen are awaiting input from our Town’s Conservation Commission, which will be given at the February meeting of the Selectmen. The Selectmen will debate how best to proceed. If you would like to express an opinion on how the Town should utilize this property, please send me an e-mail at jzeoli@orange-ct.gov, deliver your comments to the First Selectmen’s office or come to the February Selectmen’s meeting, which will be held on February 13, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall.


CCM Prescription Discount Card Program

At the January Board of Selectmen’s meeting, the Board voted to participate in a new program that provide residents steeps discounts on prescription medicines. This program should be available to town residents beginning around March 1st, and does not cost the town, the taxpayers or the users any  money. Once the program begins, residents will be able to obtain a card electronically or from one of the flyers that will be mailed to residences. The discount cards are widely accepted at all national chain pharmacies and most local independent pharmacies. There are no limits on the use of the card and the average savings is 45%. Some pet prescriptions are covered for medications that also treat a human condition.


ProAct, Inc., an experienced discount card provider, who negotiates discount rates directly with participating pharmacies, administers the program. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the statewide association of towns and cities, endorses this program.


Democratic Candidate for First Selectman Ken Lenz

“Thirty-two years ago, as a young veteran and father of two preschool children I moved into Orange, and immediately became immersed in our community: the Orange Community Nursery School, Turkey Hill PTA, the Orange Players Association, serving twice as its president and many times as a show producer; the Orange Soccer Association where I also served as president and long-time coach then referee, the Town Long-Range Planning Committee, the Holy Infant Church choir, and when the Paugussetts brought land claims lawsuits against 100 Orange homeowners serving as the president of the Homeowners Held Hostage, and now in the Orange Chamber of Commerce, and in the Orange Lions Club, serving in every Club office.

You can tell it’s not enough for me just to join, I have to be involved. My professional training and 36 years experience as a lawyer — most of that time managing a law firm gives me a deep understanding of the role of law in government, and the proper and limited role of government in the lives of the people, but my love for this town has led me to run for First Selectman.”



What Ken Has Done…


  • Past President of Orange Players, Orange Soccer & Lions Club
  • Soccer Coach and Referee
  • Orange Long Range Planning Committee
  • Turkey Hill School PTA
  • Led Homeowners Held Hostage in defeating Paugussett tribe’s pursuit of land claims against 300 residents


  • U. S. Army Veteran
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet
  • Assistant Attorney General


  • President of Lenz Law Firm
  • Leader in State and County Bar Assocs.
  • Chamber of Commerce


What Ken Will Do…


  • Attract local, national and international businesses to increase Grand List
  • Create affordable senior housing, using public-private partnership
  • Support quality education


  • Improve communication between residents and town government
  • Be honest about your taxes


  • Utilize private sector efficiencies
  • Adopt modern personnel practices
  • Reinstate evening/weekend office hours
  • Improve recreational opportunities and access to Town open space

There have been two debates between Zeoli and Lenz. Both can be found on OGAT’s Video On Demand. Click the links below:

Or Shalom Debate      Chamber of Commerce Debate