Faces of New Canaan: Ronnie Roganti

We’ve wanted to track down Ronnie Roganti for a while for an installment of “Faces of New Canaan.” A high school senior, Ronnie has been a fixture on the sidelines at every football game for the last two years—home and away, postseason included. He’s a gifted photographer with a knack for getting to the right spot for the big play (see photo at right, for example). What we didn’t know until we sat down to talk to Ronnie (interview transcribed in full below) was how big a part New Canaan Rams varsity football coach Lou Marinelli played in Ronnie’s foray into sports photography. We’ll let Ronnie tell that story in his own words, and just mention one more way that the New Canaan football program—and Ronnie is not a player—has helped shape his experience here in town. A native of Westchester whose family moved here when he was in the fourth grade, which he spent at West, Ronnie also volunteers with special needs kids through a program an assistant coach on the football team at the time put him onto.

Faces of New Canaan: Wendy Lowy Sloane

Even without a nationally syndicated radio show that in about two weeks will reach a five-year milestone, Wendy Lowy Sloane is a great candidate for a “Faces of New Canaan” profile. A resident of the town since 2002, Lowy Sloane is not only deeply involved in the community—she’s spent several years as parent coordinator at her kids’ schools and as team mom for youth sports, and whose own kids have been in the New Canaan YMCA program for years (her son made the freshman NCHS team)—she also carries a sincere and abiding love for New Canaan people. Those people include small business owners who help make the town go—she specifically mentions Barbara Cleary who 13 years ago prophetically “sold” Lowy Sloane on a vision of herself in the town, as well as Caren Forbes and Chef Luis Lopez, whom she calls “Cheffy”—as well as elected officials who wear multiple hats (Rob Mallozzi, Nick Williams, Tucker Murphy) and perhaps most of all, close friends discovered here who have become, she says, “my family.”

We learned all of this, as well as how Lowy Sloane got into the field of journalism, spanning a celebrity-filled TV career in Manhattan—during an interview (transcribed in full below) in the window at CT Sandwich Company on a recent morning. Many thanks to Wendy for her time and candor. One final note before our interview: Readers can find podcasts of the show, “What’s Up With Wendy,” here on the 1490 AM—WGCH website (the anniversary special airs Jan.

Faces of New Canaan: Grayson Cordes

Many locals will know Grayson Cordes, a 2011 New Canaan High School graduate, as the manager at Walgreens on Pine Street (he’s been there six years) who recently was honored by the New Canaan Police Department for his vigilance in the store, which helped authorities nab a fraud ring that had come into town. We at NewCanaanite.com first heard from Grayson—out of the blue—back in August, following the first report of a “reptile” sighting at Mill Pond that local police suspected was an alligator turtle (something like that would turn up about a month later on East Avenue). Grayson let us know that he’d seen the story of the reptile and that, soon after, a man came into Walgreens with what appeared to be a small alligator turtle and spoke to him for 20 minutes or so about the creature. More than that, Grayson had the man’s information and photos of the reptile. The NCPD issued its “Civilian Service Award” to him shortly after and Grayson reached out about the possibility of contributing to NewCanaanite.com—something we talk about in our conversation (transcribed in full below, for this our latest installment of Faces of New Canaan) and hope soon to showcase.

Fourth-Generation New Canaanite Bruce Pauley Marks Four Years as Tree Warden

Bruce Pauley never met his great uncle Charlie, who owned a tree care business in New Canaan in the 1930s and 1940s. Still, that snippet of family history may be the best explanation for just why being outdoors and working with trees—evaluating, pruning, removing, relocating, planting—has sustained Pauley for his entire professional career, really his entire life. By the time his father built the house up on Briscoe Road where the family would settle, Pauley recalled, “I happened to take an interest in trees.”

“I was intrigued by the idea of climbing trees from when I was a kid, I guess, everybody does,” he said, standing by a newly planted maple off of the main road through Waveny, one of 15 going in toward Lapham and also in the dog park. “And I just kept doing it when other people got smarter and decided to go make money instead. And I’ve just never thought of doing anything else as being compelling.”

This month marks four years in the role of tree warden for Pauley, a stewardship that has seen major changes in the way that New Canaan cares for its public trees, and by a man who arrived at his singular and abiding vocation as much by philosophy as practical consideration.

Faces of New Canaan: Emily Azzarito

The NewCanaanite.com Summer Internship Program is sponsored by Baskin-Robbins, Connecticut Sandwich Co., Joe’s Pizza and Mackenzie’s. On a recent, overcast evening Newcanaanite.com sat down with rising NCHS senior Emily Azzarito in front of Starbucks to talk about her life and musical career. See below for the entire transcription of our interview. NewCanaanite: When did you start playing music? Emily Azzarito: I started playing—well, my mom would want me to say I started music lessons when I was three or something because she thought it was a good idea to put me in this music program with other three-year-olds.