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Photo of Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr..


Ted Kennedy, Jr.

Listening to You

Congratulations to Kelly Tiernan for Winning Buoy Renaming Essay Contest

Branford High School Student Kelly Tiernan was selected as the winner of the Branford student essay contest to suggest a new name for "Negro Heads" buoy and rocks, a reef located off Branford's shoreline. Samantha Esposito and Viktoria Sinani, two runners up, were also recognized for their essays. All three students received scholarships donated by the Branford Community Foundation and Dr. Robert Lowlicht of Branford.

Essay Contest

Kelly Tiernan's winning essay suggested that the name be changed to Sowheag Rocks "because of the historical influence that Sowheag, a Native American chieftain, had on our town and region." This name will be submitted to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names is the organization capable of officially changing the offensive buoy name on all government maps.

The winning essays were chosen by a committee consisting of Branford Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez, Town Historian Jane Bouley, Blackstone Library Director Karen Jensen, Branford High School Principal Lee Panagoulias, Branford Community Foundation President Stephanie Farber, and Branford Fire Chief Tom Mahoney. Margaret Thomas, Connecticut's State Geologist and Chair of the State Geographic Names Authority, provided guidance on U.S. Geographic Names policy to the committee. I want to thank them all for their hard work and dedication to this project.

Stopping the "Surprise Cutting" of Connecticut's Trees

Many citizens are alarmed and upset by the widespread removal of over 600,000 trees across Connecticut in recent years, especially when excessive tree cutting occurs along scenic roads and historic districts. In many circumstances, tree removal along state highways and in municipal neighborhoods happens by 'surprise,' with no public notification or opportunity to object. The perceived risks to traffic safety or power do not seem to justify the large extent of removal.


I led bipartisan committee passage of two bills that will increase public notification and participation in Connecticut's state and municipal tree removal process. HB 6123 requires that the Connecticut Department of Transportation provide the Environment Committee with their future tree removal plans along state highways, including their cost and potential environmental impacts. HB 6356 would prohibit cities, towns and utility companies from cutting down trees located on municipal property without prior public notice. Utility companies would also be required to make a formal written request to the city or town for permission to cut down a tree, even if the tree is located in a "utility protection zone" located on municipal property.

Congratulations to Guilford's Sandy Ruoff

I am happy to announce that Sandy Ruoff, Director of the Guilford Free Library since 1987, has been named to the prestigious State Library Board by Senate President Martin Looney. Sandy Ruoff is one of the most passionate, dedicated and hard-working members of our community. She has impacted and enriched the lives of thousands of local residents by her leadership of the Guilford Free Library and will now bring her unique knowledge to the libraries of our entire state.