Corned Beef and Kiwanis

A record number of people — nearly 175 — shared corned beef and cabbage while watching Irish dancers at St. Aloysius Church during the Kiwanis Club’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Organizers theorized the enthusiastic turnout was because the St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Sunday, and that is the day of the week they are able to reserve the dining hall at St. Aloysius School, 33 South Avenue.
This event has been running for 15 years, and “this was the best year ever,” BJ Flagg said as she helped in the kitchen.

“It just exploded,” said Eloise Killeffer, who took tickets and money at a table at the very busy door. She was happy with having such a large space to fit all the celebrants as they sat at long tables decorated with shamrocks.

“What made a big difference is having the event on the real day and we usually do not,” Fire Commissioner Beth Jones said after the function, tired from cooking all day, but pleased.
Also adding to the head count: the Wilton Kiwanis Club filled a couple of tables to support their neighbors, said organizers.

Corned beef, not Irish tradition
Many came for the corned beef cabbage, to enjoy a tradition many people assume came from Ireland. But, the custom may actually be helped along by Jewish delis. St. Patrick’s Day has been an official Christian feast day since the early 17th century, but the corned beef and cabbage came later.

Pork was actually the preferred meat in Ireland for festivities since it was cheap, according to the History Channel website. But in the United States, pork was too expensive for new immigrants, the site reads.

Members of the Irish working class in New York City ate regularly at Jewish delis, and that was probably where Irish-Americans first tasted corned beef, according to the History Channel.

Jones, Police Commission Chairman Sperry DeCew, Selectman Kit Devereaux ,who many said sold the most tickets, and several others worked in the kitchen to keep up with demand.

Irish music filled the air as accomplished Irish dancers performed from the Anam Cara Irish Dance School and the Pender-Keady Academy of Irish Dancing.

“I was impressed with the discipline and skill of the dancers,” said Ellen Taylor Sisson.

The Kiwanis Club raises money for scholarships and last year gave money to nine students who had written about their aspirations for college.

“This is our major fundraiser,” Killeffer said.

“What’s nice about this club is we are all good friends too and we all work together for scholarships,” said Kiwanis Club Chairman Jenny Esposito.

The placemat listed nearly two dozen sponsors, including: Hoyt Funeral Home, Karp Associates, New Canaan Eye Associates, Walter Stewart’s, Karl Chevrolet, Nurenu Brand Marketing, First County Bank, New Canaan Pediatric Denist, Sperry DeCew and many more.


Tap into Stamford Museum & Nature Center's 8th annual Maple Sugar Festival

The Stamford Museum & Nature Center is hosting its 8th annual Maple Sugar Festival at its new Maple Sugar House and Farmhouse on Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10.

This year’s event features favorite activities, from interactive demos of maple trees being tapped for sugar and transformed into syrup for tasting, to family fun activities including arts and craft-making, maple-inspired food sampling, live music, and as always, interaction with the site’s many live animals.

Stamford Museum & Nature Center said in a news release it is one of only two official maple sugar producers in Fairfield County, and it taps more than 200 mature maple trees on its property.

Highlights of the weekend include: Saturday: First County Bank Teen Chef Challenge: Sample an array of original maple sugar-inspired treats prepared by talented aspiring chefs in the Farmhouse — and vote for your favorite.

Sunday: Farmhouse Pancake Brunch takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for stacks of hot-off-the-griddle pancakes drizzled with warm “maple gold.” Advance ticket purchase recommended.

Stamford Museum & Nature Center, 39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford. Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $12, $6 members. Sunday brunch add $6. 203-322-1646.

Mini-Golf Raises Funds for the Ferguson

Staff Reports - Greenwich Time

STAMFORD — More than 500 participants turned out to the Harry Bennett Branch of the Ferguson Library over the weekend for a round of mini-golf.

Participants of all ages parred the course of 18 holes, weaving through racks of books and under tables throughout the library, for the ultimate goal of having fun for the day. Golfers were challenged with a 19th Hole-in-One feature, where they could win prizes to have their face painted, bid on raffles or just enjoy refreshments.

The Friends of the Ferguson Library, First County Bank and other local businesses helped sponsor the two-day event.

It was the first time the Ferguson Library hosted a mini-gold fundraiser, getting the idea from other Connecticut libraries who had successfully held similar events. All proceeds go to support Ferguson Library programs.

Stamford Museum & Nature Center in midst of first major construction projects in 50 years

By Kevin Zimmerman

“We developed a pretty sophisticated master plan in 2008 and 2009,” said Melissa Mulrooney, executive director and CEO of the SM&NC, which opened in 1936. “It was a two-year process to look globally at our property and determine what we, and the community we serve, really wanted us to be over the next 25 years.”

That plan led to a two-phase capital raising project, The Campaign for Future Generations, with a goal of $15 million. The first phase wrapped in November with the opening of its Knobloch Family Farmhouse — the SM&NC’s first major addition on campus in more than 50 years.

The Stamford Museum & Nature Center (SM&NC) may still be plugging along as one of the region’s leading cultural and educational resources, but its need for a facelift had become obvious.

Built over 13 months, on time and on budget at $5 million, the 4,000-square-foot Farmhouse includes an indoor gathering space for nature and agricultural experiential learning, an overlook terrace with views of the SM&NC’s existing landscape and pastures of Heckscher Farm, a large multipurpose room and mobile teaching kitchen. Enrichment programs will be held year-round for school groups, campers and families.

The Farmhouse will also provide a teaching environment for the SM&NC’s Aligned-With-Our-Schools-Program, which over the past few years has increased by 300 percent, serving 33,350 school-age children.

Mulrooney said construction of the Farmhouse, first presented to the city in 2010, was delayed in the face of the recession of that time, “when we decided that we wouldn’t do a major capital campaign until we were past such a challenging time.”

Nevertheless, she said, the museum’s educational programming “continued growing every year — we really had outgrown the space we had.”

Mulrooney said the community at large had been “incredibly supportive” of the new addition, singling out the state, the city of Stamford and First County Bank as those that “helped make it possible for us to pull the trigger on getting the Farmhouse built.”

The First County Bank Foundation, a longtime supporter of the SM&NC, has donated $100,000 to support the ongoing educational programs that will take place at the new Farmhouse, to be paid in $20,000 installments over a five-year period.

“The Museum & Nature Center is one of the best-kept secrets in Fairfield County for quite a long time,” said Reyno A. Giallongo Jr., First County chairman and CEO and president of the First County Bank Foundation, who described the facility as “a regional gem.”

Giallongo noted that First County is a sponsor of the facility’s annual Maple Sugar Festival Weekend, a family-friendly event that draws some 5,000 visitors each year and revolves around the production of maple syrup from some 200 mature maple trees found among its 188 acres. The nonprofit is one of only two official maple sugar producers in Fairfield County, and annually produces 40 to 90 gallons of maple syrup each year.

The new Farmhouse “will really change the face of the SM&NC and bring it up to the 21st century,” Giallongo said. “Kids have enjoyed it for years, but it really needed a facelift.”

The second phase of The Campaign for Future Generations involves raising $10 million for an 8,000-square-foot Astronomy & Physical Science Center, which is designed to bring together existing SM&NC programs under one roof for the first time. The Center’s three levels will include a planetarium, two major classroom spaces, a public outdoor viewing deck with steps leading into a 40-foot aluminum dome that will house the SM&NC’s 22-inch Maksutov research telescope. An 84 percent growth in multi-generational science, astronomy and planetarium programs is projected.

Mulrooney said fund-raising for that project is ongoing, with roughly $3.5 million collected so far.

Both the Farmhouse and Astronomy Center are projected to generate more than $23 million in economic activity and create 116 jobs over about a five-year period, she added.

First County Bank gift supports education at Stamford Nature Center

By New Canaan Advertiser

New Canaan, CT-- The First County Bank Foundation has committed $100,000 to help support ongoing educational programs attached to the Knobloch Family Environmental Education Farmhouse, he Stamford Museum & Nature Center.

This gift, part of the Campaign for Future Generations at the Stamford Nature Center, will be paid in $20,000 installments over a five-year period.

“Giving back is part of who we are as an organization and, as education is a key focus of our Foundation activities, we are proud to support nonprofits such as the Stamford Museum & Nature Center, an organization that is a vital cultural and educational resource to us all,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., First County chairman and ceo, and president of the First County Bank Foundation.

The new farmhouse includes an indoor gathering space for nature and agricultural experiential learning, an overlook terrace with views of the Center’s existing landscape and pastures of Heckscher Farm, as well as a large multi-purpose room and mobile teaching kitchen. Enrichment programs will be held year-round for school groups, campers and families.

“What this Farmhouse allows us to do is really transformational both in terms of our campus and the services we can provide,” said Melissa H. Mulrooney, executive director and CEO of the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. “We are extremely grateful to all our friends at the First County Bank Foundation for taking the opportunity to support this exciting new facility and all of the educational activities that will take place in and around it for years to come.”

“It has been exciting to have been involved in the Farmhouse project and to now see it come to life,” said Karen M. Kelly, First County Bank’s chief digital banking officer, and the foundation’s vice president.

Kelly also serves on the Stamford Museum & Nature Center Board of Directors. “To have our institution associated with an organization at this level, especially one that is so beloved by the community, is very special and to be able to support the educational activities that the Farmhouse will provide is rewarding to us all.”

Photo: New Canaan: The First County Bank’s gift supports education at the Stamford Nature Center. First County Bank in New Canaan has gifted $100,000 through its First County Bank Foundation to the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. Standing at the Nature Center are, from left, Karen M. Kelly, First County Bank’s chief digital banking officer and vice president of First County Bank Foundation; Robert J. Granata, First County Bank president and COO and vice president of First County Bank Foundation; Harry Day, president, Board of Directors, Stamford Museum & Nature Center; Melissa H. Mulrooney, executive director and CEO, Stamford Museum & Nature Center; and Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., First County Bank chairman and CEO and president of First County Bank Foundation.

Ice Skate Outdoors In Stamford's Mill River Park

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Skating Center will be open into March.

STAMFORD, CT — When the temperatures drop in New England thoughts often turn to outdoor skating. And in Stamford, a new, temporary outdoor skating rink has opened downtown so you don't have to wait for the ponds to freeze to lace up the skates.

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Skating Center, which officially debuted this week in Mill River Park, will be open seven days a week through March 15, according to organizers. The ribbon cutting with organizers, Mayor David Martin and sponsors, including First County Bank, was held on Dec. 3.

The rink features an ice surface of more than 9,000 square feet dedicated to recreational skating, which reportedly is larger than the ice surface at Rockefeller Center in New York.

Costs are $10 for adults and $8 for children under 12, active duty members of the military and seniors, with skate rentals costing $4. See the hours below.

The site serves two purposes, an ice rink in the winter and a splash-pad type public fountain in the summer months.

Hours for the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Skating Center in Mill River Park:
Monday - Thursday 4pm- 9pm
Friday 4pm - 10pm
Saturday 11am - 10pm
Sunday 11am - 9pm

Ice Skating Admission At the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Skating Center in Mill River Park:
Adults: $10
Children: $8
Skate Rental: $4

First County Bank Chairman/CEO to be honored by Business Council of Fairfield County

First County Bank Chairman and CEO Reyno Giallongo will receive a leadership award from The Business Council of Fairfield County on Nov. 29. The Walter H. Wheeler Jr. Leadership Award, named after the late Pitney Bowes leader, recognizes corporate leadership in the community.

“When you look at the leaders in committing time and resources to strengthen our community’s assets, you will find Rey Giallongo and his colleagues at First County Bank among the names at the top of the list,” Business Council President and CEO Chris Bruhl said. “Making home ownership a reality for those underserved in our market, strengthening civic assets, particularly those serving youth and promoting literacy, and encouraging community leadership within First County Bank and by peers in other firms made him a most deserving choice as this year’s Wheeler Business Leadership honoree.”

In addition to directing and controlling the Stamford-based bank’s daily operations, Giallongo is the president of the First County Bank Foundation, vice chairman and a member of the board of commissioners of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District, and board member and secretary of the Housing Development Fund. The event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stamford includes a reception at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m., followed by the award presentation.

First County Bank Foundation Grants $20,500 to Fairfield Nonprofits

By First County Bank Foundation

STAMFORD, CT - First County Bank Foundation is pleased to announce it recently awarded Fairfield-based nonprofit groups a total of $20,500 in grants to support these organizations with their mission to provide needed services in our local communities. First County Bank Foundation has awarded individual grants worth over $8.5 million since its inception in 2001.

“First County Bank Foundation is proud to support community-based nonprofit groups which supply essential services such as food, shelter and educational programs to those in the communities they serve,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., president of First County Bank Foundation. “It’s exciting to be part of an organization which works to help these local nonprofits ensure basic needs are met.”

The following Fairfield-based nonprofit organizations received First County Bank Foundation grants in 2018: The Fairfield Museum and History Center for professional development courses for teachers; Friends of the Fairfield Public Library for The Work Place JOBS series; Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc. to support those transitioning from homelessness to affordable housing; Pilot House Special Needs for day training programs for those with special needs; Fairfield Theatre Company to provide low or no cost music and theater classes and for their vocational and financial literacy training programs.

To be eligible for First County Bank Foundation grants, organizations must have nonprofit tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; be located in Stamford, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Westport or Fairfield; have community support; address community needs; have measurable outcomes; and demonstrate fiscal and administrative responsibility. Special consideration is given to those agencies or programs benefiting low to moderate income populations.

SilverSource Expands Medical Transportation Options

STAMFORD — On Thursday, October 11, Stamford-based SilverSource commemorated the expansion of their ‘Ride To Wellness’ medical transportation program to now include those requiring wheelchair transport.

A celebration attended by SilverSource Board and staff members, supporters and legislators was held at their headquarters and included a special ribbon-cutting and unveiling ceremony to present the new wheelchair transport vehicle. The distinctive orange-colored wheelchair accessible minivan, which can hold up to four passengers, was made possible by generous donations from First County Bank, Purdue Pharma L.P., Rotary Club of Stamford and Thomas Van Riper. The van is the second vehicle in the organization’s medical transportation fleet.

Kathleen Bordelon, as well as Purdue Pharma L.P.’s Vice President Diana Lenkowsky, Allan Lang of the Rotary Club of Stamford, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First County Bank Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., and Thomas Van Riper in cutting a festive orange ribbon.

“The launch of this wheelchair accessible van as a new member of the SilverSource family will help people to keep up with their health care,” said Bordelon. “It provides an alternate means of transport for those that are wheelchair-bound, and reduces the barrier to maintaining good health and managing chronic conditions.”

The SilverSource Ride To Wellness medical transportation program ensures that Stamford’s seniors have access to safe, reliable, affordable and convenient transportation to medical and dental appointments. The round-trip service is provided within Stamford for residents aged 60 and over, and with the addition of this new vehicle, can now include those needing wheelchair transport.

“First County Bank and the First County Bank Foundation is delighted to assist Stamford seniors with getting the services they need, especially seniors that have mobility issues,” said Giallongo, whose organization has been providing operational support for the program for over 10 years.

To learn more about the SilverSource Ride To Wellness medical transportation program, visit or call 203-324-6584.

First County's Giallongo to Retire Next Year

First County Bank of Stamford recently announced chairman and CEO Reyno A. Giallongo will retire in August 2019. Giallongo has been chairman and CEO for seven years.

Robert Granata will take Giallongo’s place as chairman and CEO. Granata is currently president and COO at First County Bank since 2014 and has over 31 years of experience in the industry.

Willard M. Miley was recently promoted to executive vice president this past August and will be promoted to president and COO next August.

First County Bank said in a statement that this succession plan will be executed over the next year, using that time to make internal and external transitions as seamless as possible.

First County Bank Chief Giallongo Stepping Down Next Year

First County Bank Chairman and CEO Reyno (Rey) Giallongo Jr. has announced he will retire in August 2019, with President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Granata taking over.

The Stamford-based bank further announced that Executive Vice President Willard Miley will replace Granata as president and COO.

“We want to ensure our customers and employees that we are taking a strategic approach to our executive leadership plan and have the best in mind for the bank, now and in the future,” Giallongo said. “Bob Granata and I have been working closely together to assure a smooth transition of the executive and board leadership of the bank.”

Giallongo has been chairman and CEO of First County since 2011, having previously served as its president, executive vice president and COO. Granata, who joined the bank in 2014, was previously its chief credit and risk officer.

Operation Hope Thanks Community for Supporting Annual Tag Sale

We at Operation Hope of Fairfield express our thanks to the community for its support of our 29th Annual Tag Sale, which took place August 18-19. Your generosity helps us provide food, clinical support, affordable housing and hope for the future for so many.

Thanks to First Church Congregational for loaning the space to hold our largest annual community-wide event. From the nearly 300 donors who contributed merchandise to nearly 1,800 shoppers and over 350 volunteers of all ages, thank you! We are honored to work with you to support our neighbors in need.

Deep appreciation for our Tag Sale Committee, tirelessly chaired by Rob Greenbaum, Dawn Hiltz, Mike Logan and Volunteer Program Manager Donna Schmidt. And thank you to our Department Chairs: Lisa Bond, Joyce Bultman, Ken Camarro, Tom Camarro, Kate Carroll, Celeste Davis, Joyce and Tom Flynn, Shirley Furniss, Linda Goldstein, Phil Herr, Mary Goodman, Eleanor Gonzalez, Judi Heath, Cara Hunter, Mary Kulcsar, Sharon Rehme, Beth and Hogan Love, Joleen Marren, Sheryl Shaughnessey, Jeri Sulik, Pat Thomann and Gail McQuarrie. Thanks to our special helpers: Alice and Jerry Krenke, Irene Kubik, Fran Glucroft, Judy Arel, Carin Anderson, Brenda Kupchick, Trudi and Stacey Durrell, Maureen Reynolds, Lara Linsenmeyer, Cathy Kochi, Andrew McKinnis, Sam Bove, Bob May, Colleen Barker, Gabi Camarro, Olivia and Sofia Cholewczynski, Ursula Deluca, Alexandra Gordon, Andrew Hiltz, Lori Martin, Christian Martin, Margaret O'Brien, Rob Bon, Sharon Risley, Kim Ryan, Jennifer O'Neill, Tanya Reis, Debbie Thunberg, Barbara Simpson and Mike Zembruski. And thanks to all our wonderful and dedicated Operation Hope volunteers, staff and Board members!

Thank you to the following businesses, community partners and individuals: Al's Warehouse Liquor Store, All American Waste, Black Rock Galleries, Boy Scout Troops 82, 88 & 90, Chip's Fairfield, Club Pilates Fairfield, Deacon Dan Ianniello, Doughnut Inn, Equinox Southport, F45 Training Fairfield, Fairfield Police Department & Special Traffic team, Fairfield Rotary Club, Fairfield DPW, First County Bank, Gaelic American Bag Pipers, Gold Coast Liquidators, Harry's Wine & Liquor Market, Henry C. Reid & Son Jewelers, Mo's Wine & Spirits, NCL Fairfield & Ridgefield, People's Bank, Pivot Ministry, SASO Boys & Girls (Fairfield), Sound Runner, Sport Hill Farm, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Sturges Ridge of Fairfield, Super Duper Weenie, The Pantry, UHAUL, Village Bagels, Warde High School Football Team, Webster Bank, Westy Self Storage.

We apologize for any unintentional omissions or errors. We are grateful to all who helped!

Thanks to you, Operation Hope has been able to end chronic homelessness and help people build sustainable lives. We are still feeding and housing hundreds of people each year. As our shelter evolves into a homeless response center focused on outreach and crisis resolution, there is still a lot of work to do. Now, more than ever, we rely on and are grateful for your support.

Carla Miklos
Executive Director

Operation Hope of Fairfield