An Uncertain $112.4M Town-School Budget Emerges

by marcia chambers | Mar 22, 2017 11:09 am

Marcia Chambers Photo A whopping $112.4 million budget, based on as yet-unresolved state education funding and a gubernatorial proposal to have towns and cities pay their share of teacher pension costs, was unveiled before the town’s Board of Finance (BOF) Monday. 

If the state legislature approves the governor’s pension plan, Branford’s budget will increase by at least 6.2 percent, possibly even 1 percent more. If the state legislature rejects the plan, the town budget will increase by about 3.2 percent, Joseph Mooney, the chair of the Board of Finance said at the hearing.

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Building Commission Welcomes New Reps; Hears Walsh Update

by Sally E. Bahner | Mar 20, 2017 8:22 am

Sally E. Bahner Photo Last week the Public Building Commission welcomed Dagmar Ridgway, Senior Center director, and Alex Palluzzi,Jr., Recreation director, as temporary members for the Community Center/Senior Center renovation project, a project that has now returned to the Building Commission after a long absence. They also welcomed two more members, one a permanent appointee to the building commission and another as a temporary member for the Walsh Intermediate School project. 

Robert Barnett, an architect who has served as project manager for several nationally acclaimed projects and has a child in the Branford School System, was appointed by the Board of Selectmen earlier this month as a permanent member of the Public Building Commission. He had been a temporary member on the Walsh project. Vincent Giordano III, project manager for Giordano Construction Company, his family’s business, took Barnett’s seat at a temporary member on the Walsh (Barnett had been serving on a temporary basis after commission member Paul Cianci moved.)

Overall, the focus of the evening was on the Walsh project. The commissioners met at Fire Headquarters.

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Cosgrove Testifies as Town, Legislators Grapple With Proposed Education Cuts

by Sally E. Bahner | Mar 3, 2017 9:00 am

First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove (pictured) testified before the state legislature’s Education Committee in Hartford Wednesday, making the case for a $30 million state grant for the renovation and expansion of the Walsh Intermediate School.

He was among a number of town officials from across the state who came before the Education Committee seeking funding for renovating or building new schools. 

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Election Reflection: White House Calls Out Malloy: Branford Responds

by Sally E. Bahner & Diana Stricker | Feb 27, 2017 9:33 am

Diana Stricker Photo Immigration took stage center in Branford and New Haven this past week after White House press secretary Sean Spicer criticized Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, saying Connecticut’s governor “chooses not to follow the duly-passed laws of this nation.”

The governor had issued a statement last week encouraging school and police officials throughout the state to have a plan in place in case the feds want their cooperation with deportation of illegal immigrants.  It turns out each chief had one in place before Malloy’s directive arrived.

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Hornets Qualify for SCC, CIAC With Win Over Easties

by Bill O'Brien | Feb 21, 2017 8:43 am

Bill O'Brien Photo Over the last few weeks it looked bleak for the Branford boys’ basketball team in its goal to qualify for both the upcoming SCC conference tournament and the CIAC state tournament.

Bill O'Brien Photo The Hornets lost four games in a row to Cheshire, West Haven, Amity, and Career and needed two wins in their last four games to make the end of season playoffs. The East Haven game always brings out a big crowd.

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Branford Swimmers Say, “Bring It On”

by Bill O'Brien | Feb 18, 2017 9:36 am

What the Branford/Guilford boys swim coach Ray Beaulac says about his team would fit the old Mark Twain saying, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

After the Branford/Guilford co-op team lost its most recent swim meet last Friday to perennial power Cheshire, coach Beaulac said, “We pride ourselves on never backing down from a race, no matter the opponent, even though we often are competing against teams twice our size.”

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Public Has Its Say at First Walsh Outreach Meeting

by Sally E. Bahner | Feb 14, 2017 9:30 am

With Permission The public had its say last week regarding plans for the Walsh Intermediate School renovation, which is expected to begin during summer 2018.

Its concerns? Parking, the noise level, possible disruption to students, and the use of solar panels and energy-saving construction methods.

At around $88 million, it’s the largest project approved in the town’s history. The meeting took place at Walsh, attended by approximately 40 people, including town officials and Walsh neighbors who live on or near Damascus Road. 

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Hornets Stand at 6-6

by Bill O'Brien | Feb 6, 2017 9:20 am

Bill O'Brien Photo When you are a hockey team midway through the season playing at or below .500, every game is important to win in order to reach your goal to qualify for the state tournament. The Hornets are trying to attain their goal.

Last Wednesday, the Hornets defeated Hand 4-2. “That was a big win for us,” said Branford Coach Jim Dinapoli. “Hopefully it will give us momentum for our next game on Saturday [Feb. 4] with Cheshire.” Not quite. It was close but the Hornets lost 4-3 to Cheshire at the Wesleyan Rink.

The Hornets are now 6-6 including the Hand and Cheshire games. Their next game is at New Fairfield/Immaculate (Danbury) is on Wednesday Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. and their next home game is against Watertown-Pomperaug on Friday Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

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School Budget Comes In at $55.3M

by marcia chambers | Feb 3, 2017 9:36 am | Comments (1)

Marcia Chambers Photo Schools Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez (pictured) has proposed a $55.3 million school budget for FY2018, a 1.96 percent increase over last year’s budget, even though enrollment across the school district is declining. Funding the town’s schools is the largest portion of the overall town budget.

“This is the tightest budget I have ever submitted in my seven years here,” Hernandez told the board when he ended his 30-minute presentation Wednesday night.. He spoke before educators, elected officials and parents, about 30 in all at Branford High School. Jim Finch, the town’s finance director, attended the meeting along with Don Neel, the Chief Operating Officer for the Branford public schools. BCTV, Branford’s public television station, filmed it.

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Branford Takes Hand, Winning 54-44

by Bill O'Brien | Jan 31, 2017 9:00 am

Bill O'Brien Photo The Branford boys’ basketball team moved a set closer to qualifying for the state tournament with a hard-fought 54-44 win over the Hand Tigers on Monday at the James L. MacVeigh Alumni Athletic Complex. The Hornets succeeded with stamina and grit by delivering a strong 4th quarter. 

Bill O'Brien Photo Cheerleader Elena Gruendel sang the National Anthem before the game got underway.

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