Someone Deserves a Big Goodbye

Written by Spencer Dreher

I have a job in my town every Saturday during the winter where I score-keep for the youth basketball league.  As I drove in to the middle school where the league holds its games, I was behind a tan-like-colored minivan.  I did not think much of this vehicle at first but when I saw who got out of it, a smile developed on my face.

Out of the minivan stepped one of the players and his father, mayor of my town, Democrat Robert Mezzo.

So why did this make me so happy?

Well, before Mezzo was mayor, Mike Bronko, a neighbor of mine, ran the borough of Naugatuck.  A few weeks after Bronko took office, I no longer saw him come home in his normal everyday vehicle.  Rather, he came home in an FBI-type black vehicle, which was clearly provided to him by the town.

Am I trying to give off a negative vibe on the former Republican mayor?  Absolutely not.  If I were mayor, I would have asked for that car on the first day.

The difference is, however, that Mezzo didn’t.

This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but this tells a lot about Mezzo.  One of the things it tells us is that we all are upset after the announcement that the now three-term mayor made just a couple of weeks ago.

Mezzo said in his personal blog, “…I have decided that it is time for me to begin the next chapter of my life. I will not be seeking a fourth term during our municipal elections this November.”

The way things were going, it looked as if nobody was going to run against Mezzo in upcoming elections anytime soon, and there was a good reason behind that.

Everyone in this town, no matter what political allegiance they take, respects the heck out of Mayor Mezzo.  The man truly loved his town and was involved in many of the community’s events.  I mean, come on.  Even after a full week of hard work downtown, our mayor would come down on Friday nights during the fall and be the press announcer for the high school football home games.  How many mayors, if any, do that?

He never treated himself like a celebrity.  He made himself like a normal citizen and he never acted like he was superior to anyone.  One time, he came up to me to joke about my bold prediction in the newspaper that his Patriots were going to lose the Super Bowl to Seattle.  You don’t need to know him extremely well for him to strike a conversation with him.

This town has gone through ups and downs as of late.  There has been a struggle to sell the lot where the legendary Peter Paul candy factory once stood before moving south.  There has been a struggle to pass a town budget.  Also included is a new education budget that has made cuts towards teachers and even the home economics class in the middle school.  However, Mayor Mezzo has been more than proud to work in his town.

In his blog, Mezzo writes, “…it has always been an honor to serve the only hometown I have ever known.”

So if you ever see that tan colored minivan driving town, do not forget to give a friendly wave to the man driving it.  He deserves it.

And if you ever catch Mayor Mezzo around town, whether it is at a sporting event or at the town hall, make sure to thank him.  Mezzo never asked for much, but there is no doubt that he should go out in style and he deserves a big farewell.


Naugy Volleyball Falls To RHAM In Second Round

After defeating Guilford 3-1 in the first round of the Class L tournament, the Naugatuck girls volleyball team lost to undefeated RHAM High School 3-0 (12-25, 9-25, 20-25) last Thursday in Hebron.

While Naugy was unable to win a game against last year’s state champion, who will likely take the trophy again this year, Coach Kevin Wesche was very pleased with his young team’s performance throughout the game.

“I think we did very well considering what we were up against,” Wesche said.  Our girls showed a lot of class, a lot of grit, a lot of fight.  We made them burn two timeouts in the last game, which they are not accustomed to.  We ended up losing that game but we still gave them a good run for their money.”

A good run for their money, indeed, and that is what the Greyhounds have done all year long.  After a tough first loss of the season to Woodland, who is in the state semifinals, Naugy went on a five-game winning streak, including a win against Torrington, which co-captain Erika Andreoli says was the biggest win of the year for them.

“It was a big win especially because they beat us three times last year,” said Andreoli, a key server for Naugy in her past two seasons.

Wesche, after finishing last year as one of the premier teams in the NVL, saw his team, again, towards the top of the league, and was not surprised by his team’s success this season despite their inexperience at the Varsity level.

“I think they matured and developed throughout the season,” said Wesche, whose Greyhounds finished the regular season with yet another winning record of 14-6 and received the 15 seed out of 27 in the Class L tournament.  “We had a very inexperienced front row back in August but they became very experienced by the time the season finished up thanks to our senior leadership.”

That senior leadership is headed by Naugy’s three captains, Kara Klimaszewski, Lauren Burns, and Erika Andreoli.  Andreoli says that her co-captains and herself were responsible for keeping their team together throughout the season, through the highs and lows.

“We all had different personalities but the same role,” stated Andreoli.  “There were some points in the season when there was some tension because we were facing a hard opponent, so we called team meetings to talk things over.  We tried to keep the team up and together because in volleyball, that is very important.”

Also, Klimaszewski occasionally came in on Wesche’s front line to provide her leadership to a young group, which included Nicole Healy, Olivia Rotatori, and Alexa Blazas, while Teree Perkins and Ally Mezzo would also rotate in.  Burns was quite astounded by this young front line and says that they all stepped up this year because they did their job.
“They really stepped up for our offense,” said Burns.  “They hit, blocked, and were able to serve for us.”

Every one of these girls will be returning to Wesche’s squad next season, and that makes the coach very optimistic, despite the losses of the 2015 graduates.

“I think they will come back strong next year,” Wesche said.  “We will have strong and experienced front line.  That came with the leadership and example from the seniors that we had this year.”




Boys Soccer Championship Recognition Ceremony

     NAUGATUCK – Superintendent James A. Connelly, Naugatuck’s Mayor Robert Mezzo and Naugatuck High School Principal Jan Saam held a ceremony to recognize athletes for wining the 2014 NVL Boys’ Soccer Championship and having an undefeated season. The ceremony was held Dec. 19 in the main office of the high school.
“Naugatuck soccer has built its tradition from the ground up,” stated Mezzo. “Now it is a premier team in the state.”
The boys are the first team in the Naugatuck Valley League to go undefeated for a season in the past 10 years. “You don’t see the superintendents and mayors of too many towns who stop their work to recognize teams like this,” said Dean of Students Tom Pompei.
The superintendent of Naugatuck summed up the ceremony when he stated: “You made NHS proud and you made the town of Naugatuck very proud.”

The Naugatuck High School boy's soccer 2014 NVL Champions.

The Naugatuck High School Boy’s Soccer 2014 NVL Champions.

Danny Silva shaking hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, Superintendent of the Naugatuck district.

Danny Silva shakes hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, superintendent of the Naugatuck public schools.

Tyler Saad shaking hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, Superintendent of the Naugatuck district.

Tyler Saad shakes hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, superintendent.

David Deoliveria shaking hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, Superintendent of the Naugatuck district.

David DeOliveira shakes hands with James A. Connelly, superintendent.

Josh Corbo shaking hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, Superintendent of the Naugatuck district.

Josh Corbo shakes hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, superintendent.

Facundo Coitino shaking hands with Naugatuck's mayor, Robert Mezzo.

Facundo Coitino shakes hands with Naugatuck’s mayor, Robert Mezzo.

Naugatuck High School Boy's Varsity Coach, Art Nunes, addresses soccer team.

Naugatuck High School Boys Varsity Coach, Art Nunes, addresses the soccer team.

Soccer players listening intently to Coach Nunes.

Soccer players listen intently to Coach Nunes.

Soccer players listening intently to Coach Nunes.

Soccer players listen intently to Coach Nunes.