We’re on vacation this week, but we’re looking back at 2017. Enjoy!
We didn’t exactly “pivot to video“ in 2017, but we certainly used videos to tell stories more than ever before in the lower Naugatuck Valley.
Here are the videos you watched the most from ValleyIndy.org in 2017.
11. Hundreds gather to mourn in Derby
In April, 20-year-old Shyheim Samuel was killed in a car crash in Seymour.
Family, friends and the community held a vigil to support Samuel’s family shortly after the crash.
The video showed the crowd making its way to Samuel’s family’s home on Fifth Street.
Samuel’s mother and father and other family members watched while Pastor Dennis Marroquin led the crowd in prayer. The family’s loss is Derby’s loss, Marroquin said at the time.
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10. Ansonia Politics Gets Pushy
In Ansonia, during an particularly cantankerous mayoral race, a political gadfly asked a private business owner why a campaign sign was removed from her business.
He apologized for the incident after The Valley Indy started asking questions about it.
Click here for a story on the subject from September.
9. Ansonia Saves A Life
In May a woman climbed a railing at the Maple Street Bridge in Ansonia and threatened to jump off.
Luckily emergency responders, citizens and people who know the woman were able to talk to her long enough so that EMS and police could grab her and pull her off.
It’s the type of heroism you hear about, but rarely often see happen in front of you.
The Valley Indy received backlash for covering the incident, which happened in the middle of the day.
Perhaps that’s because local media has been crippled with layoffs and money problems for 20 years. That means a generation is growing up without the type of daily coverage seen in newspapers such as The Evening Sentinel, the Valley’s old newspaper.
People are now surprised when local news actually covers local news.
Most importantly, the woman was taken to a hospital where she could be helped.
8. THE DERBY LURKER
When you’re sleeping, just assume there’s a chance someone will try to see if your car is unlocked.
If it is, you’re going to get some stuff stolen.
Car burglaries seem like a constant problem not just in the lower Valley, but everywhere. The proliferation of inexpensive personal security cams has led to these videos being shared on social media on a daily basis.
This video was sent to us by a reader it Derby. The person said it shows a person looking into parked cars on Derby Avenue about 2 a.m. Aug. 29.
FYI, car burglaries happen so often there’s a movement afoot to raise awareness about the problem.
Remember the old 10 p.m. local TV news thing, “It’s 10 o’clock, do you know where your children are?”
Well, now they’re saying before losing your kids, take the time at 9 p.m. to make sure your car and house is locked.
Don’t make it easy for the creeps!
7. A Paugies Thanksgiving
Volunteer firefighters at Paugassett Hook & Ladder on Derby Avenue once again prepared and distributed Thanksgiving meals for the needy in Derby.
This year The Valley Indy provided some live coverage of the firefighters as they prepped the dinners.
Check out our live interview above.
6. Marshall Lane Dorm Public Hearing
A proposal to convert a former nursing home into a dormitory for international high school students triggered angry comments from people attending a public hearing on the matter.
The Derby Planning and Zoning Commission gave a green light to the proposal at a meeting Dec. 19. Click here to read that story.
5. Rich Dziekan Press Conference
In October then-candidate for Derby mayor Rich Dziekan held a press conference on Elizabeth Street in front of City Hall.
His campaign had already been saying Derby’s finances were in bad shape, but at this press conference he brought proof — a report from S&P Ratings Direct showing Derby’s financial outlook had “negative implications” because of the state budget crisis and the city’s low fund balance.
City Hall emphasized the state budget mess was mostly to blame.
Dziekan was elected mayor and S&P Ratings Direct eventually downgraded Derby’s bond rating from AA to AA-.
4. Derby Cheerleading Caravan
With two reporters, there’s only so much news The Valley Indy can cover. We stopped covering sports in about 2011 or so.
We’ve done an especially poor job covering cheerleading in the Valley.
It’s just not in our wheelhouse.
But, we were happy to share in Derby’s celebration of three national championship winning squads during a chilly caravan Dec. 16.
Valley Indy reporter Eugene Driscoll, his wife and two children waved and gave thumbs up to the caravan of police, fire trucks, parents and cheerleaders as they made their way down Hawthorne Avenue.
The iPhone video immediately became one of our most watched videos.
3. THE CASSETTI-RASLAN DEBATE
Kudos to Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti and Democratic challenger Tarek Raslan for agreeing to debate each other at The Valley Indy’s office Oct. 9.
The debate was recorded as an audio podcast, and it was streamed live with an iPhone on The Valley Indy’s Facebook page.
The Valley Indy staff is extremely proud of the fact that we’ve been able to bring political debates back to the Valley.
Since launching in 2009 The Valley Indy has organized three mayoral debates in Ansonia, three in Derby, and one in Seymour.
Conventional wisdom says “no one cares” about debates, and that local elections are won by knocking on doors and not engaging with your opponent.
But the fact that 5,000 people watched a debate recorded on an old iPhone shows that old-fashioned citizen involvement is alive and well locally.
2. Fire On Cliff Street In Shelton
Luckily, no was hurt after fire started in the second-floor bedroom of a house on Cliff Street.
Click here to read our story from July.
The video is below.
The same structure had a kitchen fire two years prior.
. . . . . . . . . .AND THE MOST-WATCHED VIDEO OF 2017 . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . .
1. MAYOR CASSETTI DECLARES VICTORY IN ANSONIA
Local elections matter, and this year The Valley Indy dropped a bunch of money to hire freelance writers to make sure we covered our municipal campaigns in Ansonia, Derby and Seymour.
In Ansonia, incumbent Mayor David Cassetti was elected to a third term by a very large margin.
The two-person, nonprofit Valley Independent Sentinel carried live video from Republican headquarters so that people at home could watch the news as it happened.
Watch the video. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, and everything else.