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The Branford Buzz has moved

If you are looking for The Branford Buzz, we have changed addresses.
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Students warned of dangers of reckless driving

By Jackie Salg

Recently, Branford High School students heard about the dangers of reckless driving firsthand.

On Wednesday, April 23, North Branford resident Lynn Riordan talked to an auditorium full of juniors and seniors at Branford High School, where she shared her touching story about the death of her teenaged son, Matt. The event was organized in advance of the school’s prom, which will take place May 25 at the Aqua Turf in Southington.

On May 23, 2009 Lynn’s son, Matt Picciuto, died in a car crash on Totoket Road in North Branford. That day Matt, accompanied by his friends, decided to take this road, popular among young drivers for being a place to “catch some air.” The activity involves driving at excessive speeds up hills in an attempt to lift the car in the air. Matt had been driving at eighty miles an hour on this road in order “catch air,” his mom detailed. At one point all four of his tires had been lifted above the ground. When the car landed, it had missed the road only slightly, but enough to cause a rollover accident, she said.

Lynn Riordan speaks to BHS students in the Auditorium recently.

Students in the auditorium sat in silence as Lynn shared the story of Matt’s destructive driving decisions.

Before she left, she asked for anyone who had been affected by the account to please stand; there was not one person who did not stand.

Throughout the day, students discussed what was said at the assembly and it was evident that it was a story that they would carry their whole lives.

BHS Junior, Michelle Russo expressed how moving this story was to her stating, “The first time I heard about Matt was at driving school. It’s a very sad story even more so hearing it [for] the second time today. It just makes me rethink everything since I’m a driver. It makes me think about how safe I am out on the road.”

Lynn encourages all drivers to understand the importance of driving safe and slowing down by sharing this story at driving schools and local schools. She knew that one of the things Matt wanted to do in life was make a difference. She founded the Matt’s Mission Fund, a nonprofit organization that has assisted many people in need. Scholarships have been awarded in Matt’s name as well donations made to a few foundations. Lynn has also established an increasingly popular 5k road race Matt’s Mission, which will be held May 20 at North Branford High School. Head over to the website to register for the 5k road race.

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Kelly’s Korner: Advertising Claims Follow Up

by Kelly Du

With so many products out there being advertised in the world, it’s difficult to believe one claim over another. One way companies create an illusion of superiority is by using the words “better” and “best.” They may seem similar, but in terms of advertising claims, they’re quite different.  “Best” means “equal to.” Any product that is advertised as being the best just means that it’s “as good as the other superior products in its category.”

“Better” ends up being interpreted as a clear claim of superiority over other products in its category.  It can also be used to compare a product with something other than its competing brands, like claiming orange juice as “better than a vitamin pill” or “the better breakfast drink.” If a product is truly superior, then it will clearly say so along with supporting evidence. Most of the time though, this is not the case. If a product mentions its advantage over the competition, there’s a good chance that it’s not actually better, but just equal to it.

Next time you see an advertisement, be aware of when they use the words “better” and “best.” Those words are ways advertisers create an illusion of superiority.

“ADVERTISEMENTS.” The Official Home of Bing Crosby. BCE, Inc. Web. 29 Apr. 2012. <;.

Schrank, Jeffrey. “The Language of Advertising Claims.” HANDOUT: The Language Of Advertising Claims. Web. 22 Apr. 2012. <;.


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Kelly’s Korner: Advertising Claims

by Kelly Du

Everywhere we go, we are inundated with advertising. They appear in commercials, magazines and newspapers, along the sides of websites, billboards, etc. Any open space or place is good enough for advertisers. The most direct and easily noticeable thing used in advertising is the claims. Some are misleading lies while others are honest statements. But most fit into the category of “neither bold lies nor helpful consumer information.” By using carefully chosen words, advertisements balance between truth and falsehood. Here are just a few of the many claims that are commonly used.


Weasels are words that “appear substantial upon first look but disintegrate into hollow meaninglessness on analysis.” The words don’t support the entire claim.

 “Helps control dandruff symptoms with regular use.”

The weasels are “helps control” because it doesn’t say that it will stop the dandruff.

“Leaves dishes virtually spotless.”

“Virtually” isn’t the same as making dishes just spotless.


These claim that the product is better or has more of something, but doesn’t finish the comparison.

“Coffee-mate gives coffee more body, more flavor.”

“Scott makes it better for you.”

This first claim says “more,” but doesn’t compare it to anything. As for the second one, it doesn’t say how the product makes it “better.”


It sounds true, but it gives no advantage to the product.

 “Geritol has more than twice the iron of ordinary supplements.”

Is twice as much iron good for the body?

“Campbell’s gives you tasty pieces of chicken and not one but two chicken stocks.”

Does having an extra chicken stock improve the taste?

A lot of the claims used in ads try to persuade you into believing their products are superior and better than the rest, but upon further analysis, many of them are very weak at proving this point. Having “more” doesn’t always mean it’s a good thing, and weasels are commonly used everywhere. Don’t trust all the claims you read because even though they may appear positive, they may prove to be just false and empty.

Schrank, Jeffrey. “The Language of Advertising Claims.” HANDOUT: The Language Of Advertising Claims. Web. 22 Apr. 2012. <;.


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Kelly’s Korner: Statistics Follow Up

by Kelly Du

Statistics that we see and hear about in the news are influenced by how an experiment or survey is conducted. In one example, people’s egos distorted the results of a poll about television viewing. Two groups were given scales to choose how much television they watched a day. The first group had a scale that started at less than thirty minutes and ended at more than two and a half hours. The second group had a scale that ranged from a minimum of less than two and a half hours, and a maximum of more than four and a half hours a day. As for the results, only 16.2% of people in the first group admitted to watching the highest choice, two and a half hours. In the second group, more than double that number admitted to watching at least two and a half hours of television. On a poll such as this one, human emotions got in the way of finding honest results. People tend to not want to be on the high end of a scale. When finding statistics about certain things, be prudent about how researchers set up their experiment or observations to get the numbers that they did.

Crossen, Cynthia. “The Study Game.” Tainted Truth: The Manipulation of Fact in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Print.



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Have a Great April Break Everyone

The BhsBuzz will be on break for the next week from April 14th to April 22nd and no articles will be posted.  Thank you! HAVE A GREAT BREAK EVERYONE!

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Kelly’s Korner: Photojournalism Follow Up

Here’s a famous example of a well established news magazine, Time, using photo editing on its June 27, 1994 cover. As you can see, the magazine manipulated O.J. Simpson’s mug shot by darkening it to appear more ominous. His face appears “darker, blurrier, and unshaven.” Even the black glow around the cover makes it look haunted. In contrast, Newsweek used the same photo for its cover that week, but left it unaltered (or unaltered enough to not look noticeably distracting.) It appears as if Time Magazine’s goal was to make its cover sensational to sell copies, but Matt Mahurin, the illustrator at Time who manipulated the photo, “wanted to make it more artful, more compelling.” Either way, ethical issues were questioned when this magazine cover came out. Unfortunately, this manipulation ended up distorting the truth.


Murano, Gracie. “10 Most Famous Doctored Photos.” Oddee. Oddee, 01 Sept. 2009. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <;.


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