Community snapshots

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Sixteen teams competed in the 11th Annual Woodland Classic 3-on-3 basketball tournament March 14 at the high school in Beacon Falls. The teams, consisting of students and faculty, combined to raise more than $300 for the WRHS Alumni Association. The winning team was the Fantastic Four (pictured from left: Chris McDonald, Taylor Tucciarone, Chris Slavin and Tanner Kingsley), which rallied to defeat the Hungry, Hungry Hippos (Kenny Koch, Shane Classey, Austyn Brown and James Giacomazzi) in the finals. Kingsley earned MVP honors. –KYLE BRENNAN

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Evan Lin, Isaiah Shea and Robert Enquist were promoted Feb. 27 to the rank of Apprentice Black Belt in Cheezic Tang Soo Do Karate. Each is a junior member of USA Martial Arts in Naugatuck and had to demonstrate skills in sparring, kicks, forms, board breaking, rolls and break falls.-CONTRIBUTED

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Rita Blair, of Naugatuck, has been chosen teacher of the year at Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts in Hartford. Blair is the ninth-grade social studies teacher at Kinsella and has taught in the Hartford School system for the past 17 years. Blair graduated from Naugatuck High School, earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph University, her master’s degree from Central Connecticut State University and is currently working towards her administrative degree from Southern Connecticut State University. Kinsella Principal Ken O’Brien said in an email announcement to the school’s staff, ‘Kinsella truly has the best teachers and Mrs. Blair represents all that is great about the school and faculty. She loves sharing her knowledge of social studies with her students.’ Blair will represent Kinsella at the district level for teacher of the year. -CONTRIBUTED

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Air Force Reserve Airman Austin Ferrari recently graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. Ferrari, a 2013 graduate of Naugatuck High school, completed an eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Ferrari is the son of Karen Wilson of Naugatuck. -CONTRIBUTED

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Ion Bank President and CEO Charles J. Boulier III, left, presented a $10,000 grant from the Ion Bank Foundation to Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation CEO Ronald Pugliese recently. The foundation has awarded grants totaling $123,000 to the NEDC, a public-private organization, over the past 11 years. The most recent grant will be used to help the NEDC achieve its primary goals of increasing Naugatuck’s tax base and grand list, and increasing the visibility and enhancing the image of the borough and its business community, ‘thus making Naugatuck a better place to do business and increasing the value of property,’ Pugliese said in a press release. -CONTRIBUTED

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Sokol’s Taekwondo in Naugatuck held a testing on Feb. 22. Craig Payton and Dhruv Nimmagadda earned the rank of first degree black belt. Dylan Trisko and Michael Jedrzejewski earned the rank of second degree black belt. -CONTRIBUTED

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Sokol’s Taekwondo in Naugatuck held a testing on Feb. 22. Craig Payton and Dhruv Nimmagadda earned the rank of first degree black belt. Dylan Trisko and Michael Jedrzejewski earned the rank of second degree black belt. -CONTRIBUTED

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Sokol’s Taekwondo in Naugatuck held a testing on Feb. 22. Craig Payton and Dhruv Nimmagadda earned the rank of first degree black belt. Dylan Trisko and Michael Jedrzejewski earned the rank of second degree black belt. -CONTRIBUTED

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Sokol’s Taekwondo in Naugatuck held a testing on Feb. 22. Craig Payton and Dhruv Nimmagadda earned the rank of first degree black belt. Dylan Trisko and Michael Jedrzejewski earned the rank of second degree black belt. -CONTRIBUTED

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David Rotatori, center, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls presented Van Allen Medals to YMCA Little Pal basketball coaches Rick Pelliccia, left, and John Pruchnicki Feb. 27 at Hillside Intermediate School. The medal, which is named after the founding members of the United Way Robert and Anna Lee Van Allen, was created in 2007 to honor the Van Allens and recognize people for extraordinary service to the community. This season was the last for Pelliccia and Pruchnicki with the Iittle Pal basketball program. Pelliccia started coaching when he was about 20 years old. In that time, he has coached baseball for 11 years, softball for 12 and basketball for 12 years. He was also heavily involved as an officer with local leagues. Pruchnicki is an owner and president and CEO of Coastal Carriers. Over the past 25 years, he has found the time to volunteer countless hours for several different organizations. He has served about 10 years on the Naugatuck Hall of Fame committee; is vice chairperson of the Naugatuck Education Foundation; coached T-ball for Peter J. Foley Little League and basketball for more than 10 years, both at the Friday night league and Little Pal. -CONTRIBUTED

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Belmira Valente fries up some fish for the Ladies Auxiliary of the Naugatuck Portuguese Club’s annual Lenten fish fry March 14. The fish fry is open every Friday through April 11 at the club, 110 Rubber Ave., starting at 11:30 a.m. -CONTRIBUTED

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Sixteen teams competed in the 11th Annual Woodland Classic 3-on-3 basketball tournament March 14 at the high school in Beacon Falls. The teams, consisting of students and faculty, combined to raise more than $300 for the WRHS Alumni Association. The winning team was the Fantastic Four (pictured from left: Chris McDonald, Taylor Tucciarone, Chris Slavin and Tanner Kingsley), which rallied to defeat the Hungry, Hungry Hippos (Kenny Koch, Shane Classey, Austyn Brown and James Giacomazzi) in the finals. Kingsley earned MVP honors. –KYLE BRENNANEvan Lin, Isaiah Shea and Robert Enquist were promoted Feb. 27 to the rank of Apprentice Black Belt in Cheezic Tang Soo Do Karate. Each is a junior member of USA Martial Arts in Naugatuck and had to demonstrate skills in sparring, kicks, forms, board breaking, rolls and break falls.-CONTRIBUTEDRita Blair, of Naugatuck, has been chosen teacher of the year at Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts in Hartford.  Blair is the ninth-grade social studies teacher at Kinsella and has taught in the Hartford School system for the past 17 years. 
Blair graduated from Naugatuck High School, earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph University, her master’s degree from Central Connecticut State University and is currently working towards her administrative degree from Southern Connecticut State University.  Kinsella Principal Ken O’Brien said in an email announcement to the school’s staff, ‘Kinsella truly has the best teachers and Mrs. Blair represents all that is great about the school and faculty. She loves sharing her knowledge of social studies with her students.’ Blair will represent Kinsella at the district level for teacher of the year. -CONTRIBUTEDAir Force Reserve Airman Austin Ferrari recently graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. Ferrari, a 2013 graduate of Naugatuck High school, completed an eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Ferrari is the son of Karen Wilson of Naugatuck. -CONTRIBUTEDIon Bank President and CEO Charles J. Boulier III, left, presented a $10,000 grant from the Ion Bank Foundation to Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation CEO Ronald Pugliese recently. The foundation has awarded grants totaling $123,000 to the NEDC, a public-private organization, over the past 11 years. The most recent grant will be used to help the NEDC achieve its primary goals of increasing Naugatuck’s tax base and grand list, and increasing the visibility and enhancing the image of the borough and its business community, ‘thus making Naugatuck a better place to do business and increasing the value of property,’ Pugliese said in a press release. -CONTRIBUTEDSokol’s Taekwondo in Naugatuck held a testing on Feb. 22. Craig Payton and Dhruv Nimmagadda earned the rank of first degree black belt. Dylan Trisko and Michael Jedrzejewski earned the rank of second degree black belt. -CONTRIBUTEDSokol’s Taekwondo in Naugatuck held a testing on Feb. 22. Craig Payton and Dhruv Nimmagadda earned the rank of first degree black belt. Dylan Trisko and Michael Jedrzejewski earned the rank of second degree black belt. -CONTRIBUTEDSokol’s Taekwondo in Naugatuck held a testing on Feb. 22. Craig Payton and Dhruv Nimmagadda earned the rank of first degree black belt. Dylan Trisko and Michael Jedrzejewski earned the rank of second degree black belt. -CONTRIBUTEDSokol’s Taekwondo in Naugatuck held a testing on Feb. 22. Craig Payton and Dhruv Nimmagadda earned the rank of first degree black belt. Dylan Trisko and Michael Jedrzejewski earned the rank of second degree black belt. -CONTRIBUTEDDavid Rotatori, center, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls presented Van Allen Medals to YMCA Little Pal basketball coaches Rick Pelliccia, left, and John Pruchnicki Feb. 27 at Hillside Intermediate School. The medal, which is named after the founding members of the United Way Robert and Anna Lee Van Allen, was created in 2007 to honor the Van Allens and recognize people for extraordinary service to the community. This season was the last for Pelliccia and Pruchnicki with the Iittle Pal basketball program. Pelliccia started coaching when he was about 20 years old. In that time, he has coached baseball for 11 years, softball for 12 and basketball for 12 years. He was also heavily involved as an officer with local leagues. 
Pruchnicki is an owner and president and CEO of Coastal Carriers. Over the past 25 years, he has found the time to volunteer countless hours for several different organizations. He has served about 10 years on the Naugatuck Hall of Fame committee; is vice chairperson of the Naugatuck Education Foundation; coached T-ball for Peter J. Foley Little League and basketball for more than 10 years, both at the Friday night league and Little Pal. -CONTRIBUTEDBelmira Valente fries up some fish for the Ladies Auxiliary of the Naugatuck Portuguese Club’s annual Lenten fish fry March 14. The fish fry is open every Friday through April 11 at the club, 110 Rubber Ave., starting at 11:30 a.m. -CONTRIBUTEDFEAT_COMM_VanAllenMEdals
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