2006 - A Look Back
2006 has been a year of ups-and-downs.
Woodbridge residents lost their Republican first selectwoman and another member of the Board of Selectmen.
In Bethany, residents lost their chosen tax collector and overwhelmingly supported the election of another person to fill the vacancy.
In Orange, residents will finally get an opportunity to decide on whether they want the Ewen Farm to become open space or mcmansions and town seniors will potentially have more choices for senior housing.
On the state level, all Amity candidates seeking another term in office held onto their seats. And Gov. M. Jodi Rell easily won election to her first term.
What follows are highlights, month by month of the past year for Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge residents.
In Orange Walter E. Clark IV, became the newly elected chairman of the town Plan and Zoning Commission. Clark said his job was to make sure all voices on the commission were heard.
"This isn't the Beau Clark show. We're all committed to making our town better," Clark said when he sat down to discuss his vision for one of the most influential branches of town government.
In Woodbridge the new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Guy Stella, hit the ground running as he assumed his role as leader of the Woodbridge School System. As of Jan. 3, Stella began steering the course of Beecher Road School. Stella said he was eager to tackle the challenges of the coming century.
FREE: 14 fine, old homes in New Haven County. The houses, were owned by the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority and were being given away.
There's a catch, of course. The houses, some of which feature historical significance from the past, could not stay where they were. Once purchased, the houses had to be moved from their present location.
Although a buyer might be getting a deal on the building, he would then have to incur the expense of moving the house and of acquiring land to accommodate it.
In Bethany a green light was finally given on building a new central firehouse on the former airport property.
Orange First Selectman Jim Zeoli said he had several plans for how to spend a portion of the funds that were returned by the Amity Board of Education.
The town received $708,000 back from the Amity Board of Education after school officials revealed the district had amassed a sizable budget surplus.
Town politics were thrown into an uproar after it was announced that Republican First Selectwoman Amey Marrella had accepted a job as a deputy commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection and will step down in April.
"I've considered it an honor and a privilege to serve Woodbridge," Marrella said. "I wasn't looking for a job, but when I was called about this, I considered it to be a unique opportunity."
In a 3 to 2 vote Democrat Ed Sheehy was elected to fill former Republican First Selectwoman Amey Marrella's seat until next November.
Marrella resigned from the position last month to accept a position as a deputy commissioner with the state's Department of Environmental Protection Agency.
Sheehy, who has served as a member of the Board of Selectmen for the past 27 years, said he had never entertained the idea of being first selectman.
Orange resident JoAnn Freda can't remember when she didn't care about animals. But she does much more than just care about them. She saves their lives and gives them a second chance at happiness.
Freda is a member of Small Paws Rescue, Inc whose logo reads "Saving one life at a time."
In Bethany residents overwhelmingly approved joining the Quinnipiack Valley Health District by a tally of 143 to 73. For $28,000 per year Bethany will get a health director, sanitarian to inspect septic systems and wells and restaurant inspections.
Residents also will get flu clinics, health screenings, health education, disease outbreak preparedness, disaster planning, mold, lead, radon and asbestos services and more.
State Rep. Themis Klarides, 114th District, was named a "Rising Star" by the state Republican party.
"Themis Klarides has distinguished herself as a leader in the General Assembly on a number of critical issues, having risen to the post of Assistant Minority Leader in the House," said party chairman George Gallo.
"Her unique efforts and tireless work have contributed to her selection as a Rising Star. We will all enjoy watching her political career as it unfolds," Gallo said.
The Public Hearing held by the Department of Public Utility Commission in Milford on June 8 was crowded.
The hearing was held to receive public comment about renewing Cablevision's franchise to provide service to Area 2 towns, which includes Orange, Woodbridge, Milford, Stratford, Bridgeport and Fairfield.
In reality, the hearing quickly became a forum for consumers and municipalities to express their desire to control their respective government access channels.
At issue is what programming is featured on the government access channel. The towns in Area 2 have expressed a desire for town-specific programming on their government channels.
This would allow each town to view television that relates to their specific towns. The DPUC subsequently voted to include programming from other municipalities.
In Orange Turkey Hill School was filled with excitement one Friday afternoon. Students filled the gymnasium to say goodbye in a special assembly for their principal Dr. Ken Geigle who was retiring.
In Bethany Robert Brinton Sr. who had resigned from the Representative Policy Board of the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, was honored with a special resolution by his fellow members.
Bethany voters went to the polls and elected a new tax collector. Tax collector Sarah Elmore had resigned from the position in March.
In January the Board of Selectmen agreed to make Dave Forman assistant tax collector to learn the job before Elmore left. In March Forman filled her position following the special election.
The Bulletin brought readers up-to-date on where to purchase local produce.
In Orange Town Hall was the location for what many called an historic occasion when Gov. M. Jodi Rell ceremonially signed Senate Bill 703, which created a two-year pilot program for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Once the age of 18 is reached adults with this disorder who do not have mental retardation lose services.
"This was a high priority in the Public Health Committee. Children have services but at 18 you go from having full services to nothing," state Sen. Gayle Slossberg said.
Orange Town Attorney Vin Marino participated in The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, a two-day 192- mile bicycle ride. He plans to make the event an annual ride.
In Woodbridge politics continued to boil with unexpected changes in town. Republican Board of Selectmen member Chris Sorensen resigned his elected position effective Sept. 1.
This followed the unanticipated resignation of the former Republican First Selectwoman, Amey Marrella, in April.
The Woodbridge Library Commission meeting of Sept. 11 was attended by a number of irate citizens. These residents had come to voice their outrage at the destruction of the library's unwanted books.
Last spring, the Director of the Woodbridge Library, Jan Day, sent 1,000 culled books to be disposed of. Day took this action despite ongoing efforts to have the books donated instead of destroyed.
The Amity Teen Center officially open its doors on Selden Street in Woodbridge. The ATC, which began in 1987, is a nonprofit organization which provide programs for area teens in grades nine to 12.
It was created by the towns of Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge after a tragic event involving teen use of alcohol at a private party in the area. The Town of Orange provided a small building on the Boston Post Road, which had rooms for band performances, TV, and games. Events were frequently filled to capacity, and the nights of "the battle of the bands" were legendary.
The ATC subsequently lost the building when a new firehouse was built on the property.
The town of Woodbridge bolstered its emergency preparedness by adding a CERT team or Community Emergency Response Team to the town's emergency resources.
Twenty-five community volunteers graduated as members of the CERT team. These individuals have undergone an 11-week course of concentrated specialized training to prepare them for participating in emergency management should the need arise.
The town of Woodbridge hosted an informational session about the Freedom of Information law. Public Education Officer of the FOI Tom Hennick, spoke about issues relating to the Connecticut law.
The audience was packed with public officials and town employees interested in learning about their obligations under the law. The Connecticut FOI law, which has been in effect for 30 years, is legislation that was enacted to guarantee access by the people to public records and public meetings. Hennick said, "It's all about access."
Bethany First Selectwoman Derrylyn Gorski and the Board of Selectmen in a unanimous vote have proposed a plan of tax incentives for area businesses. Gorski said the BOS approved the proposal at its Sept. 25 meeting.
While Gorski said most towns have some form of a tax-incentive program to encourage businesses to expand Bethany needs to offer comparative incentives to encourage business to look at Bethany as a business-oriented community. Gorski said the purpose is "to attract, retain and expand businesses in Bethany."
The plans for a new firehouse in Woodbridge were moving closer to finalization and will be addressed at a public hearing on the matter next month.
The building plans were examined initially by the Inland Wetland Commission on Oct. 18. The Commission had already approved that site for the construction, but modifications to the original plan mandated that the Commission review the impact of these changes on the wetlands areas on the Fitzgerald property.
The historic Woodbridge town firehouse was ravaged by a fire.
Although the full extent of the damage has not yet been determined, most of the second floor was affected. The cause of the fire is being fully investigated by the state fire marshal, along with local officials.
The Amity Regional School District had been chosen to receive the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's Award of Excellence for the schools' Indoor Air Quality Tools For Schools program.
The award, one of the most prestigious awards and only given to exceptional commitment, was presented Dec. 7 in Washington D. C. at the Seventh Annual Indoor Air Quality Tools For Schools National Symposium. Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Brady credits Director of Finance and Administration Jack Levine for being the impetus for revitalizing a program that was fraught with skepticism and disillusionment, according to the 21-page application.
In Bethany Laticrete International Inc. and town officials attended the groundbreaking for the company's $20 million expansion.
Gray skies suddenly gave way to brilliant sunshine. It glinted off the traditional shiny new shovels held by Chief Executive Officer David Rothberg, his brother and co-owner, Sr. Vice President Henry B Rothberg, and their father, Henry M. Rothberg.
In Orange the Water Pollution Control Authority's public hearing on a proposed seniorhousing complex was nearly evenly divided with very strong feelings on both sides.
At issue is Sunrise Hills Estates on nearly 50 acres at the southeast corner of Derby Avenue (Route 34) and Grassy Hill Road.
The developer, Douglas Anderson, of Branford, presented conceptual plans to build 125 mostly two-to-three bedroom cluster-type dwellings. A decision is expected in January.
In recognition of the spectacular performance by the Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Association in battling the Oct. 7 blaze at the firehouse, Liberty Mutual Group presented the firefighters with a special award, the Firemark Award. At a ceremony Dec. 12, Liberty Mutual bestowed the award on the entire department. Woodbridge Fire Chief Andrew Esposito received the award on behalf of the firefighters.
Residents in Orange will have the opportunity to approve or reject the purchase of a significant portion of the historic Ewen Farm in January.
At the December Board of Selectmen meeting the board voted unanimously to send the matter to a townwide referendum.
At that meeting, the board voted to recommend and refer to a town meeting to acquire approximately 24 acres and accept the donation of 18 acres for the purchase price of $4.3 million for open space.
A Woodbridge man was arrested on charges that he had illegal sexual contact with five victims, three of those under the age of 16.Mark Paluzzi, 41, of 29 Landin St., had been arrested previously on charges that he fondled an 11-year-old female victim on three separate occasions in 2001.
Police Sgt. Frank Cappiello said subsequent investigation revealed Paluzzi's other offenses.