The Burning of the Shoe

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The fire everyone knows about, the one that’s the flaming hub of a spirited Thanksgiving Eve pep rally, will take place Wednesday night, just hours before the Greyhounds host rival Ansonia. The one that players and alumni know about, the one that’s the flickering center of a pensive gathering, will take place just a few hours before the other. It’s called The Burning of the Shoe, a tradition Naugatuck head coach Rob Plasky brought with him from Springfield College when he took the reigns of this already tradition-rich program in 2001. And it’s just what it sounds like: The Hounds gather around a burning cleat and just talk … and listen.

Kicking the record

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Hot Cat Jazz performs on the Naugatuck Town Green Tuesday night as part of the borough’s summer music festival. Concerts benefit the Naugatuck Food Bank and Ceasar Ruggeri Scholarship Fund. Attendees are asked to bring food donations. Concerts are held every Tuesday until August 23 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Town Green. For more information, visit www.naugatuckarts.org.

Hot Cat Jazz

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Beacon Falls mourns firefighter Swan

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BEACON FALLS — The procession curled off Exit 24, toward North Main Street, and paused as ladder trucks from Seymour, Prospect, Bethany, Roxbury and Middlebury joined firefighters marching on foot, the Connecticut Firefighters Pipes and Drums and the 1929 Seagrave bearing the reason for the assembly. Kevin Swan, 68, a 49-year veteran of Beacon Hose Company No. 1, suffered a heart attack shortly after responding to a 5 a.m. call last Wednesday. Swan signed on the radio but never arrived at the Susan Street fire; he was found in his pickup truck, still in the driveway of his 95 Skokorat Road home, and was pronounced dead at Griffin Hospital, around 9 a.m.
John DeBisschop holds up a missing scarf to Sparkles the Clown during a performance at Tender Years Preschool May 13. Gigi Ramos, grandmother of one of the other students in the class, hired Sparkles to entertain the kids.

Clowning around

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Study recommends grade realignment

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NAUGATUCK — Closing a school is not among the recommendations of an architectural firm that completed recently a study of the borough’s 11 public school buildings, but grade realignment and construction planning are on the list of suggestions. Greg Smalley of Hartford-based JCJ Architecture, which the school district paid $36,000 to perform the study, summarized the findings at last Thursday’s Board of Education meeting. His report was overshadowed by discussion of the system’s $1.55 million budget shortfall. The Board of Education commissioned the study in July to help it determine how to use most efficiently its facilities over the next decade. Given its current financial state and the fact that district enrollment has declined by 22 percent since 1995, the board indicated previously it would consider shutting down a school building to save money.

BOE meeting canceled; rally goes on

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NAUGATUCK — The meeting was canceled, but the rally went on. Hours before the Board of Education was scheduled to convene Monday, in an attempt to reconcile its more than $2 million budget shortfall, the school system’s governing body called off the gathering. But that didn’t stop the more than 100 people who planned a demonstration outside Tuttle House from picketing and chanting anyway. A new community group that calls itself Our Kids Come First organized the rally in protest of a last-resort cost-savings plan proposed last week by Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Tindall-Gibson. The sweeping measure, which would save an estimated $2.26 million, includes cuts to K-8 music, K-6 physical education, K-8 art and freshman sports. Both Tindall-Gibson and members of the board have said they aim to avoid these programming rollbacks.

Hawks rout Immaculate 5-2

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Irene deals flooding, tree damage to Beacon Falls (video report)

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BEACON FALLS — Hurricane Irene dealt strong—but not debilitating—blows to Beacon Falls Saturday night and Sunday as the storm flooded several areas, including a steep rise in the Naugatuck River, and caused numerous downed trees and power outages.

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