Litchfield political parties to caucus on Tuesday

Tuesday is the day in Litchfield when the Democratic Party and the Republican Party will endorse their slates for the municipal election in November.
Each party will hold a nominating caucus at 7 p.m., the Democrats at La Cupola Restaurant in Bantam and the Republicans at the Litchfield Inn.
Registered Democrats and Republicans are eligible to participate in their respective caucuses.
Village Restaurant owner and Planning and Zoning Commission member Denise Raap is expected to secure the Democratic nomination to run for first selectman. Her running mates for the caucus are incumbent selectmen Anne C. Dranginis and Jeffrey Zullo.
On the Republican side, Selectman Jonathan Torrant is expected to gain the nomination to run for first selectman. His running mates for the caucus are Republican Town Committee Chairman Bill Burgess and former Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Thomas Waterhouse.
Both parties will also nominate candidates for planning and zoning, the boards of education and finance, and other boards.


Valentine secures GOP nomination in Goshen

Goshen First Selectman Robert P. Valentine checks in with the registrars during the Republican Party caucus at Goshen Center School on Thursday. BZ photos

Republicans in Goshen nominated seven-term First Selectman Robert P. Valentine to be their first selectman candidate in the November election during a contested GOP caucus at Goshen Center School on Thursday.

Valentine weathered a challenge from Gerald Glass in winning the party nomination to seek an eighth term. The first selectman received 186 votes to Glass’s 134 in what was the most heavily attended caucus in Goshen in years.

Valentine’s running mate for selectman, Mark Harris, was also a winner at the caucus as he bested Glass’s running mate, Lynette Miller, 120-72.

In remarks after the vote totals were announced, Valentine thanked the crowd for turning out and participating and later said he was pleased with the result and humbled to be given an opportunity to pursue an eighth term.

Glass, if he chooses, could force a primary against Valentine in September.

The rest of the GOP’s nominated slate is Barbara Breor for town clerk, James Bernard for town treasurer, Scott Tillman and James Korner for the Board of Finance, Alan Booth for an alternate seat on the Board of Finance, Robert Harmon for the Board of Assessment Appeals, Diana Bernard for the Library Board of Directors, Laura Lemieux, Donald Wilkes and Patrick Lucas for the Planning and Zoning Commission, and Nell Glass for an alternate seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Also, Donald Sage and Antonio Damiani for the Board of Fire Commissioners, Melissa Foster for an alternate seat on the Board of Fire Commissioners, and Alfred Shull, Russell Hurley, Lorraine Lucas and Anders Nygren for constables.

Challenger Gerald Glass prepares to vote.

Selectman candidate Mark Harris nominates his running mate, First Selectman Robert P. Valentine.

A portion of the large crowd that attended the caucus.

Fireworks show a celebration of town’s anniversary

Litchfield’s 300th birthday will be celebrated with a bang on Saturday night when the town’s anniversary committee holds a fireworks display at 9:15 from the baseball field at Litchfield High School.
The show can be viewed from Constitution Way and Whites Woods Road. Plumb Hill Road will be blocked off during the show for safety purposes.
Spectators can view the fireworks from Plumb Hill Playing Fields and the parking lots at Litchfield Intermediate School. Access to the viewing areas will be from the rear entrance to Plumb Hill Playing Fields on Whites Woods Road. Temporary lighting will placed along the walkway from the entrance to the field to the viewing areas.
The show will be the latest in a series of events being held to mark the anniversary of the town’s incorporation on May 19, 1719.


Brady duo cards lowest scores in Stonybrook tourney

Stonybrook Men’s Club members counted every stroke for a two-day total in a recent medal play match, and it was the Bradys who shot the lowest scores. Sean Brady had a 78 on Saturday and a 75 on Sunday to take first place.  His father Kyle was right behind having shot an 81 and a 78. The award for low net went to Dan Brinkoff, whose net total was 136 for the two-day tournament.
In other Stonybrook news, Jim Simocelli Jr. of Litchfield aced the ninth hole. He used a 7-iron for the 15-yard uphill shot as family members, Joe Simoncelli, JP Simoncelli, and Lori Simoncelli, witnessed the feat.


LTC runners qualify for national championships

Based on their top-five finishes at the Region 1 Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships last weekend, Alex Brites and Annabelle Shanks of the Litchfield Track Club qualified for the National Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., next week.

The Region 1 meet was held in Port Jefferson, Long Island, and included age-group competitors from 8 to 18 from all of New England, Long Island, and upstate New York.

Brites, of Waterbury, qualified in the boys’ 17-18 3000-meter race on Friday under sweltering conditions. Shanks, of Litchfield, the Berkshire League champion this spring in the 100 meters, qualified in that event on Saturday and then in the 200 meters on Sunday in the girls’ 17-18 division.

Also competing during the weekend were Robin and Pink Wright of Goshen. Both runners placed in the top 10 in their events in the boys’ 15-16 age group.

Goshen Republican nominations up for grabs

Goshen’s Republican Party will chose its candidates for the November election at a caucus Thursday at 8 p.m. at Town Hall.

First Selectman Robert. P. Valentine is bidding for the nomination to see an eighth term, but is being challenged by Gerald Glass, a rerired financial consulant. Valentine’s running mate for selectman is Mark Harris, a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Glass is running with Lynette Miller, vice chairman of the Republican Town Committee.

All registered Republicans living in Goshen are eligible to participate in the cause. The rest of the Republican slate will be determined at the caucus.


Goshen Housing Trust eyes Village Marketplace deal

Two of the buildings in the Village Marketplace in Goshen, which the Goshen Housing Trust has an option to purchase. BZ photo
The Goshen Housing Trust has signed an option to purchase the Village Marketplace at 59 Torrington Road from its owner, Mark Greenberg, for an undisclosed price and create affordable housing units there.
The property includes existing residential rental units plus commercial rental spaces in five buildings, but excludes the Shell gas station and convenience store, which Mr. Greenberg will retain.
Greenberg offered the property to the housing trust while studies of a potential site of affordable housing on Beach Street were being conducted. The idea for Beach Street has been abandoned due in part to heavy public opposition.
An inspection of and research into Greenberg’s property confirmed the housing trust’s interest in the site and an agreement was reached after a period of negotiations.
Goshen First Selectman Robert P. Valentine worked to bring the housing trust and Greenberg to together for the negotiations that would end up producing the purchase option agreement.
The housing trust expects to close on the purchase of the property within the next 12 to 18 months and assume responsibility for managing the property at that time. Greenberg will continue to operate the complex during the period, while the housing trust develops plans for the buildings and funding is arranged for the affordable housing project.
The residential apartment units in the complex would be updated as part of the project. The housing trust also plans to invest in improvements to the commercial units and the general appearance of the property 
Regarding the Beach Street site, the housing trust was interested in it because of the ability to connect to the Woodridge Lake development sewer lines. Issues with connection, however, were raised and would have delayed development of the property, according to the housing trust.
“In time, we expect to adapt the plans developed for the Beach Street apartments to the Village Marketplace, adding new affordable units that will include senior-suitable units,” housing trust President Christopher Sanders said in a statement. “The Village Marketplace has the potential to become the ‘town center’ of Goshen. We have an opportunity to create a community in which people can live affordably, shop, and even work.”


Litchfield Aid tour and preview party honors the past


Members of the organizing committee for the Litchfield Aid of the Connecticut Junior Republic Open House and Garden Tour preview party on Friday night were, from left, Hedy Barton, Patricia Hearn, Marla Patterson, Pamela McCann and Diane Castelli. BZ photos

What an amazing two days it was for the Litchfield Aid of the Connecticut Junior Republic, which celebrated Litchfield’s 300th anniversary by bringing back its Open House Tour and Preview Party.

The party on Friday at the Ozias Seymour House on South Street drew a huge crowd for an evening of comaraderie, fine food and drink, live music, and a performance by the dancers from Nutmeg Balley in Torrington. 

On Saturday, nine homes and their gardens in the center of town were open for the tour. The two days of events were a fundraiser for the Connecticut Junior Republic. Early estimates have the proceeds being a record haul for the CJR cause.

Frank Vanoni of Litchfield with Deborah Murphy, left, of Litchfield, and Philippa Durrant of Cornwall Bridge.

Selectman Anne C. Dranginis, left, and Joan Gill, both of Litchfield.

The Nutmeg Ballet dancers from Torrington performed during the party.

Media celebrity Bill O’Shaughnessy of Litchfield was the emcee of the preview party.

A look at the preview party tent at the Ozias Seymour House. Peter Tavino photo

Humphry Rolleston of Litchfield in costume as George Washington on North Street.

Dancers from the Nutmeg Ballet in Torrington were at the Tapping Reeve House on South Street.

Cookies and refreshments were available in the carriage house of the George C. Woodruff House on South Street.

Deborah and Declan Murphy, left, whose home on South Street was on the tour, chat with Bill Burgess of Litchfield.

Susan Vontell, left, a tour volunteer, with Deborah and Declan Murphy.

On South Street, Terry Coates in costume as Oliver Wolcott Sr., with Victoria Mazzarelli, director of the Nutmeg Ballet.

Imogen Hotchkiss, left, and Pip Sansing served cold drinks on South Street during the tour.



Public turns out to help fire company mark one year

Morris Fire Company Chief Robert Ebner, right, and Morris resident Jim Vanamburg during an open house celebration at the firehouse on Friday. BZ photos

The celebration was on Friday evening at the Morris firehouse as the Morris Fire Company celebrated its one-year anniversary with an open house.

A couple hundred residents joined the fire company for complimentary hot dogs, corn and ice cream, along with the music of a Beatles tribute band. Food was donated by the Barn Restaurant and Bar in East Morris and ice cream was provided by Kristen Worden, owner of Popey’s Ice Cream Shoppe.

The open house was the fire company’s way of thanking the public for its support the past year.

One year after it went into business following the dissolution of the Morris Volunteer Fire Department, the Morris Fire Company is strong and healthy under the leadership of its chief, Robert Ebner, and president, Michael Lauretano Jr. Membership in the company stands at 60, of which 39 are certified to fight fires. Another seven members are closing in on certification as emergency medical technicians.

What could be better than an ice cream cone from Popey’s on a summer night?

Popey’s owner Kristen Worden serves a cone to Clif Wheeler of Morris.

Corn and hot dogs made up the buffet line.