Fairfield's HamletHub http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield Sat, 16 Dec 2017 21:28:04 -0500 HamletHub.com CT Audubon Fairfield Offers Winter Nature Nursery Program http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/places/46382-ct-audubon-fairfield-offers-winter-nature-nursery-program46382-ct-audubon-fairfield-offers-winter-nature-nursery-program http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/places/46382-ct-audubon-fairfield-offers-winter-nature-nursery-program46382-ct-audubon-fairfield-offers-winter-nature-nursery-program

Fairfield, CT - The Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Fairfield, 2325 Burr Street, will offer a Winter Nature Nursery program on Mondays, January 8 through February 26 (no class Jan. 15 and Feb. 19), from 10 to 10:45 a.m.

6-week series: CAS members $60; non-members $80

Single class: CAS members $12; non-members $16

Ages 2-3 accompanied by participating adult

Budding young naturalists will love coming to the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Center at Fairfield for our Nature Nursery program series for ages 2 to 3. This season’s classes focus on discovering the wonders of winter and learning where animals go during the cold weather. Each week will be chock full of nature fun as we explore life in the sanctuary, learn fascinating facts, create crafts, read stories and meet interesting animals.

The class meets at the Center at Fairfield, 2325 Burr Street, on Mondays from 10 to 10:45 a.m., beginning Jan. 8 through Feb. 26 (no class on Jan. 15 and Feb. 19).

The cost for the six-week series is: CAS members $60; non-members $80; for single classes: CAS members $12/class; non-members $16/class. Sign up for the series and receive one class free!

Advance registration is required. Sign up at: www.ctaudubon.center-at-fairfield, or call 203-259-6305, ext. 109.

bornies@optonline.net (Liza Hickey) Places Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:40:27 -0500
CT Food Bank Gets $75K Grant from Walmart Foundation http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/charities/46381-ct-food-bank-gets-75k-grant-from-walmart-foundation46381-ct-food-bank-gets-75k-grant-from-walmart-foundation http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/charities/46381-ct-food-bank-gets-75k-grant-from-walmart-foundation46381-ct-food-bank-gets-75k-grant-from-walmart-foundation

WALLINGFORD, CONN. – The Connecticut Food Bank announced a $75,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to fund the infrastructure that will ultimately help the food bank’s partner agencies secure and distribute more nutritious food to families in need. The grant will support investments in the equipment necessary to handle perishable products, such as refrigerated vehicles; coolers and freezers for transporting, storing and distributing food; thermometers and temperature calibration devices; among other items.

“One in eight people struggle with hunger in Connecticut, including more than 127,000 children,” said Connecticut Food Bank CEO Bernie Beaudreau. “We are thankful to the Walmart Foundation for helping to ensure that people who struggle with hunger have access to nutrient-rich food. This grant will go a long way in helping the Connecticut Food Bank and our partner agencies provide much-needed food to hungry neighbors in the six Connecticut Counties we serve.” Beaudreau noted that 57 programs located throughout the Connecticut Food Bank’s six-county service area received refrigeration equipment through the grant. “It’s a tremendous capacity builder for programs,” he said.

The Connecticut Food Bank secures fresh, perishable food from retailers in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties. Working with retailers and local growers to move this food into the network of local food assistance agencies creates a need among those agencies for refrigerated storage. The Walmart Foundation grant has helped the Connecticut Food Bank provide refrigeration equipment to seven local programs, increasing their capacity to store and distribute healthy, fresh food.  

The Walmart Foundation has been instrumental in helping food banks rescue and distribute more perishable food from retailers across the United States in a sustainable, cost-effective way. This grant is a part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s ongoing commitment to helping families who struggle with hunger by providing four billion meals to people in need in the U.S. by 2020. 

Since 2009, the Walmart Foundation has been a leading supporter of infrastructure grants to Feeding America food banks and their member agencies. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation provide donations of both food and funds to the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks. Locally, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have given nearly $1 million to the Connecticut Food Bank in support of its work.

With food insecurity remaining high throughout the country, the ability to distribute more food is critical for food banks. According to the USDA, more than 42 million people nationwide are food insecure, which means that they may not know where they will find their next meal. In the Connecticut Food Bank six-county service area, nearly 300,000 residents are food insecure. To learn more about what the Connecticut Food Bank is doing to fight hunger, visit www.ctfoodbank.org.

About the Connecticut Food Bank:

The Connecticut Food Bank is committed to alleviating hunger in Connecticut by providing food resources, raising awareness of the challenges of hunger and advocating for people who need help meeting basic needs. The Connecticut Food Bank partners with the food industry, food growers, donors and volunteers to distribute nutritious food to people in need, which last year provided 21 million meals. We distribute that food through a network of community based programs to six Connecticut counties - Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties – where more than 300,000 people struggle with hunger. Visit us on the web at www.ctfoodbank.org, like us on Facebook and follow @CTFoodBank on Twitter and Instagram.

bornies@optonline.net (Paul Shipman) Charities Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:36:00 -0500
Swim 'n Surf Receives $5K Grant http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/places/46380-swim-n-surf-receives-5k-grant46380-swim-n-surf-receives-5k-grant http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/places/46380-swim-n-surf-receives-5k-grant46380-swim-n-surf-receives-5k-grant

Fairfield, CT - The Fairfield Department of Community & Economic Development has announced its latest micro-enterprise assistance grant awarded to Swim n’ Surf of Fairfield.  The grant will enable Swim n’ Surf to expand and diversify its product offerings to include a new collection of activewear.

Swim n’ Surf has been a fixture in downtown Fairfield since 2006, providing swim-related apparel and accessories to competitive swim programs as well as the general public.  Childhood friends from Westchester County, NY, owners Kathryn Kirton and Kelly Kegan-McGee bring over 20 years of experience in the retail industry primarily in merchandising, advertising and sales, combined with their love of swimming and fashion.  The shop carries top-of-the-line swim products including brands such as Alo, Vimmia, Sundry, Trina Turk, Splendid, LSpace, Roxy, O'Neill, Billabong, Speedo and Nike.  Swim n’ Surf caters to swimmers of all ages, genders, and skill levels with its wide range of product offerings.

To meet the year-round needs of both the fitness-oriented and fashion-conscious consumer, the store recently launched its “SWEAT x Swim n’ Surf”, a new curated collection of activewear that will appeal to those looking to go straight from their favorite workout to the street in style.  Swim n’Surf is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10AM through 5PM.

“Kelly and I are extremely grateful for these funds, which will allow us to grow our business and better serve our expanding customer base,” explained Kathryn Kirton.  “We’re delighted to help, and always excited to see businesses continue to prosper and grow in Fairfield,” stated Mark Barnhart, Director of the Department of Community & Economic Development.  “Small businesses such as Swim n’ Surf have long been the backbone of our economy, and the Micro-Enterprise Program has been a very useful tool in our small business development strategy,” he added.

The Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  It is intended to provide entrepreneurs with training, technical assistance, and startup capital in order to create and sustain viable and productive small businesses in Fairfield. The program seeks to strengthen and enhance these small businesses, with the ultimate goal of increasing employment opportunities for low- and moderate-income persons. In order to be eligible, applicants must be a recognized form of commercial enterprise that employs five or fewer employees, has its primary operations in Fairfield, and be current on all tax obligations.   

For more information on the Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program, contact the Department of Community & Economic Development at (203) 256-3120.

PHOTO (left to right): Owners Kathryn Kirton and Kelly Kegan-McGee with Director of Community & Economic Development Mark Barnhart.

bornies@optonline.net (Andrea Flynn) Places Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:28:32 -0500
Drew Friedman Commty Arts Ctr. Gives $500K to Westport/Weston Art Programs http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/neighbors/46379-drew-friedman-commty-arts-ctr-gives-500k-to-westport-weston-art-programs46379-drew-friedman-commty-arts-ctr-gives-500k-to-westport-weston-art-programs http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/neighbors/46379-drew-friedman-commty-arts-ctr-gives-500k-to-westport-weston-art-programs46379-drew-friedman-commty-arts-ctr-gives-500k-to-westport-weston-art-programs

Westport, CT - The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center (DFCAC) has announced a $500,000 award to fund art programs and scholarships for underserved artists of all ages, to be awarded over the next 10 years, and a Gala on May 17th to celebrate their extraordinary accomplishments.

Drew Freidman, the founding member of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, led the way for what is now a vibrant downtown shopping area. He bought his first property in 1959 and several more in years to come. 

Drew’s passion for the arts was tied to his beloved wife, Bobbie, who was an accomplished artist. She worked in a variety of mediums creating magnificent works on canvas, clay and bronze. Drew built Bobbie an amazing state-of-the-art-studio that was to be the home of the DFCAC after her death in December 2011; but since the studio was built over an aquifer, the land use rules made this dream impossible.

After Drew’s death in February in 2016, Nick Visconti, his long-time friend and business partner picked up where Drew left off in fulfilling Drew’s vision with help from Westport’s favorite hometown artist, Miggs Burroughs, and Nick’s sister, Louise Fusco, as well. This center will honor Bobbie’s memory and be a place for free visual and performing arts classes for the underserved community of children from 7-18 years old.

Currently DFCAC is funding several art initiatives that includes the cost of all materials and instructors at CLASP Homes, Homes with Hope, The Westport Art Center and The Westport Historical Society. DFCAC also funds the Westport Woman’s Club with scholarships. Art scholarship applications in the amounts ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 per student can be downloaded from the Westport Collective’s website atwestportartistscollective.com.


1. Bobbie Friedman 

2. From left to right: Nick Visconti, Miggs Burroughs, Louise Fusco, board members of the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center Inc. – announcing the launch of Drew’s dream!

For more information email nickyv@optonline.net

bornies@optonline.net (Betsy Pollak) Neighbors Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:22:21 -0500
Holiday Magic at Pequot Library, Jan. 5 http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/events/46377-pequot-library-151319764646377-pequot-library-1513197646 http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/events/46377-pequot-library-151319764646377-pequot-library-1513197646

Southport, CT - Enjoy a hands-on, visual and auditory experience with rare books, music, and vintage items at Pequot Library, Friday, January 5, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. Special Collections consultant and curator Dr. Elizabeth Beaudin gives an abbreviated gallery tour of the exhibition “Holiday Magic: Selections from the Children's Historical Collection,” with a focus on the interactive, element-based music on display in the gallery. She will also show selected items not on exhibit, including “The Golden Christmas Book,“ by Gertrude Crampton, New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1947. There will be a slideshow of the scores and accompanying audio.

Please visit www.pequotlibrary.org to learn more about this vibrant library, educational, arts and cultural institution. All classes and programs are open to everyone. For information: (203) 259-0346 ext. 115. Follow Pequot Library on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Pequot Library Brings Culture to Life!

heitmann@pequotlibrary.org (Pequot Library) Events Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:48:56 -0500
Make a New Year’s Resolution to Prevent Diabetes http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/publicsafety/46378-make-a-new-year-s-resolution-to-prevent-diabetes46378-make-a-new-year-s-resolution-to-prevent-diabetes http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/publicsafety/46378-make-a-new-year-s-resolution-to-prevent-diabetes46378-make-a-new-year-s-resolution-to-prevent-diabetes

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut – It is estimated that about 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes and many don’t even know it. Individuals with pre-diabetes have blood glucose (sugar) levels higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. However, people with pre-diabetes are more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  

The Fairfield Health Department is offering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP). This program is absolutely FREE for individuals who have pre-diabetes or at high risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. The main goal of this program is to create lifestyle changes and improve your health to help reduce or delay Type 2 Diabetes. Participants meet in a group setting with trained Lifestyle Coaches and a Registered Dietitian to learn how to make modest lifestyle changes. 

This is a yearlong program meeting once a week for the first 18 weeks, every other week for 4 months and then once a week for 3 months. Program runs every Wednesday from 6:30-8pm starting January 10th at the Fairfield Regional Fire Training School located at 205 Richard White Way (formerly 205 One Rod Highway). 

Registration and eligibility are required for this program. If you would like more information or to register for this program please contact Santina Jaronko, Health Educator for the Fairfield Health Department at 203-256-3150 or sjaronko@fairfieldct.org

For more information on the NDPP please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/index.html.

bornies@optonline.net (Santina Jaronko) Public safety Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:45:00 -0500
MLK Day Celebration at Westport Playhouse Jan. 14 http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/events/46376-mlk-day-celebration-at-westport-playhouse-jan-1446376-mlk-day-celebration-at-westport-playhouse-jan-14 http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/events/46376-mlk-day-celebration-at-westport-playhouse-jan-1446376-mlk-day-celebration-at-westport-playhouse-jan-14

Westport, CT - The 12th Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction for “Stamped from the Beginning,” about the history of racist ideas in America, will be on Sunday, January 14, at 3 p.m., at Westport Country Playhouse. Kendi’s address is titled “How to be an Anti-Racist.” 

Musical performances will be by Chris Coogan and the Good News Gospel Choir, and Weston High School Jazz Ensemble. Students from the Regional Center for the Arts will present a dance piece.

Free-of-charge and open to the public, the celebration is co-sponsored by The Westport Library, Westport Country Playhouse, TEAM Westport, and the Westport/Weston Interfaith Council.  Seating is unreserved. Complimentary refreshments will be served in the Playhouse lobby after the presentation.

Keynote speaker Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is an assistant professor of African American History at American University, focusing on racist and anti-racist ideas and movements. He is a frequent public speaker about the findings of his New York Times bestseller, “Stamped from the Beginning,” and how they can fit into the national conversation surrounding movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and social justice. 

According to Kendi, he embarked on the research for his book under the assumption that the major producers of racist ideas were hateful and ignorant, and that borne from racist ideas were racist policies like slavery, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration. But as Kendi dug deeper, he said he soon discovered that political, economic, and cultural self-interest are behind the creation of racist policies and these policies in turn create the racist ideas that rationalize the deep inequities in everything from wealth to health.

“Stamped from the Beginning” was also named a finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and nominated for the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Nonfiction. The book was featured on many Best Books of 2016 lists.  Kendi is also the author of the award-winning book, “The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972.”

Kendi’s address will be followed by a moderated audience Q&A and an author signing. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

The Westport/Weston Family YMCA will provide childcare and activities in the Lucille Lortel White Barn, Sheffer Studio, adjacent to the theater. 

For more information, call the Westport Country Playhouse box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529. Westport Country Playhouse is located at 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. westportplayhouse.org.

bornies@optonline.net (Pat Blaufuss) Events Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:46:52 -0500
Pequot Library's Special Collections to be Featured in New Rooms http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/places/46375-pequot-library-s-special-collections-to-be-featured-in-new-rooms46375-pequot-library-s-special-collections-to-be-featured-in-new-rooms http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/places/46375-pequot-library-s-special-collections-to-be-featured-in-new-rooms46375-pequot-library-s-special-collections-to-be-featured-in-new-rooms

Southport, CT – Pequot Library and its Special Collections represent the inspired collecting history of its forward-thinking late 19th century founders and benefactors, who created a cultural legacy, comprised of approximately 30,000 rare books, manuscripts, and archives. On Monday, December 18, 2017 at 6:30 p.m., join Pequot’s Executive Director, Stephanie J. Coakley, for a presentation, Preservation & Renovation Updates, and learn more about the exciting projects that are underway to prepare for the proper storage and preservation of a selection of the Special Collections and see architectural plans for the new Dillon Reading Room. Also discussing this important interior redesign project will be Board of Trustees President Alison Barry and project architect Jack Franzen. 

These Special Collections form a vibrant portrait of the literary, religious, political, military, musical, and cultural life of America from the time of the Library’s founding in 1889 through the present. The collection also includes the oldest book in a Fairfield County public library, the Sancti Gregorii magni epistolae (the Letter of Pope Gregory I, c. 540-604); the four Shakespeare Folios—two intact plays from the First (1623), and complete Second (1632), Third (1666) and Fourth (1685); and a growing number of first printings, such as Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead (1943) and Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men (1960).

Pequot Library received a restricted grant from The Dillon Fund in December 2016 to reimagine existing spaces for rare books to be on view to the public every day of the year. Projects are proceeding throughout the 19th century building, from top to bottom and construction is expected to be completed this winter. The Library will remain open as usual, unless other announcements have been made. The Dillon Reading Room, a space for students and scholars to utilize Pequot’s collections, is being constructed in a portion of the Mezzanine and the historic glass tile floor is being repaired. On the lower level of the Library, a humidity- and temperature-controlled on-site storage room is being built for a selection of rare books, manuscripts, and archives retrieved from off-site storage. In addition to the building renovations, an online catalog of Pequot Library’s Special Collections is being developed for students, researchers, and scholars.

“As a result of this generous restricted grant award to care for the Special Collections, Pequot Library is able to make these important primary source materials accessible and visible to all. We are tremendously grateful to the longtime Library patrons who recognized the need to expand preservation efforts and worked so hard to make this pivotal moment in Pequot’s recent history a reality.” says Coakley.

Pequot Library, founded in 1889 and opened in 1894, is a unique public association library due in large part to its Special Collections—rare books, manuscripts, and archives—assembled initially by Virginia Marquand Monroe (1837-1926) and her family and local associates. It was Virginia’s husband, Elbert Monroe, on the advice of Reverend William Holman (1852-1936), who decided that the initial major collection efforts should focus on Early Americana. Mary Catherine Hull Wakeman (1813-1909) followed that collecting advisement and guidance as well. In addition to donating funds to build the ornate steel stacks currently displaying Pequot’s circulating collection and commissioning the Tiffany stained-glass triptych, Mrs. Wakeman made significant book purchases that continue to distinguish Pequot’s Special Collections today. The remarkable holdings only found at Pequot Library are growing each year with more donated fine books and materials. They are both regional in scope and internationally significant and offer patrons and scholars educational treasures for reading and research. While this capital project does not include relocating the nearly 2,000 items on long-term deposit at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, it does assure Pequot patrons continued access to the collection at Yale.

Please visit www.pequotlibrary.org to learn more about this vibrant library, educational, arts and cultural institution. For information: (203) 259-0346 ext. 115. Follow Pequot Library on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Pequot Library Brings Culture to Life! 

bornies@optonline.net (Pequot Library) Places Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:43:41 -0500
Emerging Artists Unleashed: LIFEWTR Series 3 Highlights http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/life/46369-emerging-artists-unleashed-highlights-of-lifewtr-series-3-highlights46369-emerging-artists-unleashed-highlights-of-lifewtr-series-3-highlights http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/life/46369-emerging-artists-unleashed-highlights-of-lifewtr-series-3-highlights46369-emerging-artists-unleashed-highlights-of-lifewtr-series-3-highlights

From vibrant outfits to artful sketches, LIFEWTR Series 3 showed how #FashionIsArt and put a spotlight on three emerging artists: Adam Dalton Blake, Tiffany Huang, and Ghazaleh Khalifeh.

WATCH Series 3 highlights HERE.

LIFEWTR bottles are focused on a unique aspect of art. Stay tuned for LIFEWTR Series 4, launching soon!

Need #thirstinspiration this holiday season? LIFEWTR has announced a limited-edition holiday bottle design and gift set designed by Series 1 Design & Art duo, Craig & Karl. Each gift set includes a Holiday-themed bottle and embossed notebook designed by Craig & Karl, Le Pen™ drawing pens, and a keepsake booklet providing a behind the scenes look at LIFEWTR artists.

Purchase your holiday gift set here or here and support #local artists.

LIFEWTR #FashionIsArt Wrapup

Tarad@hamlethub.com (Tara Daly) Life Tue, 12 Dec 2017 02:50:00 -0500
Fairfield County Bank Creates Holiday-Themed Debit Cards to Help Local Non-Profit http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/charities/46374-fairfield-county-bank-creates-holiday-themed-debit-cards-to-help-local-non-profit46374-fairfield-county-bank-creates-holiday-themed-debit-cards-to-help-local-non-profit http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/charities/46374-fairfield-county-bank-creates-holiday-themed-debit-cards-to-help-local-non-profit46374-fairfield-county-bank-creates-holiday-themed-debit-cards-to-help-local-non-profit

Are you looking to spread some joy this holiday season? Fairfield County Bank has created a new holiday-themed debit card that can be used for your everyday purchases.  But that is not all!  By shopping with one of the holiday-themed Visa® Debit Cards, Customers help raise money for the WICC600 Holiday Fund for Children. 

Through 12/31/17, for every $100 Customers spend using a holiday card, Fairfield County Bank will donate $1.00 to the local charity, up to $5 per Customer.  Cards are instantly issued at the branch.  Therefore, Customers can simply stop in at a Fairfield County Bank branch and start using the new holiday-themed card to help families in Fairfield County have a better holiday season.

Created in 1978, the WICC600 Holiday Fund for Children helps make the holidays a little brighter for families living in Fairfield County. The holiday fund grants wishes such as utility bills, toys for children, rent and mortgage payments, food, clothing for the winter months, medical and dental assistance and much more.

“Our Customers know that when they put their money in Fairfield County Bank, it stays in Fairfield County.  Our Holiday Card program is yet another proof point that banking with us is banking on the community,”  says Stephen Wooters, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Digital Banking, & Payments.

For more information about the holiday program and to pick up your card, stop in at a Fairfield County Bank Branch or visit Fairfield County Bank’s website at https://www.fairfieldcountybank.com/personal-banking/holiday-debit-cards.html to learn more. 

To donate directly, visit WICC 600.

Tarad@hamlethub.com (Ryan Arconti) Charities Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:10:54 -0500
Book Signing & Photo Sale at Westport's LOFT, Dec. 14 http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/events/46373-book-signing-photo-sale-at-westport-s-loft-dec-1446373-book-signing-photo-sale-at-westport-s-loft-dec-14 http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/events/46373-book-signing-photo-sale-at-westport-s-loft-dec-1446373-book-signing-photo-sale-at-westport-s-loft-dec-14

Westport, CT -- The holiday season is in full swing at LOFT with a special “Ladies Night Out” on Thursday, December 14. The evening features a “Books and Photos” theme, celebrating local talent: Westporter Sally Allen PhD, author of Unlocking Worlds A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, and Ridgefield-based photographer, Jessica Collins. Allen and Collins will be part of the pop up book signing and photography sale from 6:00 - 7:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served and guests are welcome to enter the drawing for a door prize gift basket. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. LOFT is the popular women’s clothing store located at 17 Main Street, Westport; reservations are encouraged (e-mail wordsmithllc@optonline.net), but walk-ins and shoppers are welcome. 

An avid reader, writer, college instructor, book group moderator, and founder and editor of the book news website, Books, Ink at Hamlethub, Sally Allen loves books. Allen’s experiences as a reader, writer and teacher collectively led her to the creation and release of Unlocking Worlds, which contains carefully chosen lists, separating books by theme. What sets Unlocking Worlds apart is the author’s chapter by chapter personal reflections; Allen captures the essence of the reading experience. 

“Reading is both highly personal and deeply communal. My book is about both of these aspects. I enjoy sharing the reads that have enriched my life and to inspire readers to reflect on the books that have enriched theirs,” said Allen.

For more information on Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers or to book the author for an appearance, visit www.sallyallenbooks.com.

Jessica Collins is a photographer whose work ranges from family sessions, events and celebrations, to photo series of things she finds interesting. She began studying photography more than a decade ago, and loves to use her camera to find beauty in the unexpected. Her work has appeared in exhibits at the Rockefeller Preserve, Wilton Library and in Scholastic Magazine, Ridgefield Magazine, and several newspapers. In her work, Collins likes to explore the balance between lightness and dark and beauty and decay; she is currently working on a photo series of forgotten places. Collins is pleased to share an eclectic mix of her photography at the December 14 “Books and Photos” holiday happening, where she’ll showcase many pieces -- which may double as holiday gifts. She is part of the administration of Fordham University and is a contributing editor at Books, Ink at Hamlethub, where she pens On the Children’s Shelf, the column which is three years strong. 

“I’m thrilled to team with Sally Allen at this exciting LOFT event to display some of my favorite shots. I love seeing the world through my camera and sharing my vision with others. It promises to be a fun night to help kick off the season,” said Collins.

Jessica Collins is available to photograph memorable moments and can be contacted via her e-mail, jessicacollinsphotography@gmail.com.


PHOTO CAPTION: (From left) Photographer, Jessica Collins, and author, Sally Allen, team up for a 12/14 “Books and Photos” Pop Up sale at Westport’s LOFT on 12/14 at 6:00-7:30 pm. Features refreshments, party favors, and a door prize drawing. Admission is free; all invited. For details or to RSVP, e-mail wordsmithllc@optonline.net. Walk-ins welcome. 


PHOTO CREDIT: Andrew Dominick

bornies@optonline.net (Aline Weiller) Events Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:46:39 -0500
GBS Holiday Interlude at The Klein, Dec. 16 http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/events/46372-gbs-holiday-interlude-at-the-klein-dec-1646372-gbs-holiday-interlude-at-the-klein-dec-16 http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/events/46372-gbs-holiday-interlude-at-the-klein-dec-1646372-gbs-holiday-interlude-at-the-klein-dec-16

Bridgeport, CT - The Greater Bridgeport Symphony, fast becoming the go-to attraction across Southwestern Connecticut, is excited to present “Holiday Interlude” December 16 at The Klein in Bridgeport, CT. Selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite, will be performed alongsideTchaikovsky’s Fifth SymphonyStrauss’ Tales of the Vienna Woods, and a Christmas/Hanukkah singalong.  Conductor Eric Jacobsen will lead GBS’ world-class musicians in “Holiday Interlude,” the third of five GBS concerts this season.

“The holiday season is such a special time in Bridgeport,” says Jacobsen. “The Klein will be filled to the rafters with joyful people and joyful music.” 

There will be a few surprises, too; world-renowned Concert Cellist Allison Eldredge will appear with two young protégés from Young Talent Chamber Music, a group Eldredge founded with her mother, Yoshie Akimoto.  Ten-year-old pianist Hudson Ragins from Yonkers, NY and 12-year-old violinist Zoe Lobsinger from Sandy Hook, CT – both international prizewinning musicians – will join Eldredge for part of The Nutcracker.  Eldredge herself got her professional start, debuting with GBS in 1986, the year she won the annual GBS youth competition.  “GBS really is one big family,” says Executive Director Mark Halstead.  “Allison is a big part of what GBS is and represents, and her mother, Yoshie, happens to be the teacher of one of our favorite soloists, pianist Alex Beyer.”  Beyer also won the GBS youth competition several years back, and has returned as a GBS soloist several times, most recently at this season’s premiere concert in September.  “We are always thrilled to encourage young talent, and this year, Hudson and Zoe will bring that GBS encouragement into another generation, following the marvelous examples of Allison Eldredge and Alex Beyer.”

The evening’s music will be familiar to a very broad audience; The Nutcracker is a staple of Christmas season music. The great Classics, the Fifth Symphony and Vienna Woods, evoke marvelous scenes of winter landscapes.  “There will be plenty of music to sing along with, as well,” says Jacobsen.  “We’re going to have a lot of fun!”

It will be a busy week for GBS.  Four days prior to Holiday Interlude, nearly 50 GBS musicians will perform “Believe” with Cirque Musica at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.  Click HERE for tickets.

Tickets prices are $15-$29-$39-$49-$59, and special deals for families and students are available by calling the GBS office at (203)576-0263.  The “Family Pack Deal” lets a family of five come to the concert for as little as $55.50 (ticketing charges additional).  Group discounts (ten or more) and decorative holiday gift packages are also available, as are 3-concert Silver Subscription packages; Silver Subscribers get a 15% discount.

Ample lighted parking is provided directly across the street from The Klein, located at 910 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport.

For tickets or more information, please visit www.GBS.org

bornies@optonline.net (Julie Lichtenstein) Events Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:20:55 -0500
Consider Celebrating the Holidays at Cask Republic or the Ginger Man http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/places/46371-consider-celebrating-the-holidays-at-cask-republic-or-the-ginger-man46371-consider-celebrating-the-holidays-at-cask-republic-or-the-ginger-man http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/places/46371-consider-celebrating-the-holidays-at-cask-republic-or-the-ginger-man46371-consider-celebrating-the-holidays-at-cask-republic-or-the-ginger-man

Greenwich, New Haven, SoNo & Stamford, CT - Planning to head out for Christmas and/or New Year's Eve this year? Here's what's happening for the holiday season at Cask Republic and The Ginger Man respectively. All menus can be found at caskrepublic.com and gingermanct.com
New Haven NYE 
- NYE Pre-Party Menu starting at 5pm
- Party begins at 10:30pm - No cover
- Late Night Party Buffet for $35 and two cocktails
- Champagne toast at midnight, party favors
South Norwalk, Xmas Eve
- 3 course prix fixe menu: $40pp
- Seatings begin at 5pm
South Norwalk, NYE
- 3 course pre-party prix fixe menu: $55pp
- Seatings begin at 7pm
- Party begins at 10:30pm - No cover
- DJ & Dancing, Champagne toast at midnight, party favors
- Late Night Party Buffet for $35 includes two cocktails
Stamford, Xmas Eve
- 3 course prix fixe menu:  $45pp
Stamford, NYE
- 3 course pre-party prixe fixe menu has two seatings
- First seating from 4pm-7pm:  $35pp
- Second seating from 7pm - 10pm:  $65pp
- Late Night Party begins at 10:30pm with no cover
- Late Night Party buffet for $35 includes two cocktails
- DJ & Dancing, Champagne Toast at midnight, party favors
- Xmas Eve special menu (no prix fixe)
Greenwich, NYE
- NYE holiday menu
- Party begins at 10:30pm with DJ, dancing, champagne toast and party favors at midnight
bornies@optonline.net (Ria Rueda) Places Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:01:22 -0500
CT BBB: Gift Cards Still Popular But Be Careful http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/publicsafety/46370-ct-bbb-gift-cards-still-popular-but-be-careful46370-ct-bbb-gift-cards-still-popular-but-be-careful http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/publicsafety/46370-ct-bbb-gift-cards-still-popular-but-be-careful46370-ct-bbb-gift-cards-still-popular-but-be-careful


Cromwell, CT - The demand for gift cards fluctuates from year to year, and Connecticut Better Business Bureau says this year's forecasts reveal a strong demand for them.

A survey last year from financial publisher Bankrate found more than half of us intend to buy at least one gift card as a present, but only 27 percent of people prefer to receive a gift card as opposed to a tangible item. "Gift cards have been one of the most popular holiday presents for decades and that has not changed," according to Connecticut BBB spokesman Howard Schwartz. "What HAS changed is the way consumers intend to spend money this holiday season, whether they buy a gift card for someone else or for themselves. That freedom is one of the reasons for cards' popularity."

The market research company NPD Group's 2017 Holiday Purchase Intentions Study reveals 39 percent of consumers plan to purchase so-called experiential gifts this holiday season.  Those are gifts such as wine tastings, concert tickets, and spa treatments, and gift cards are a convenient way to pay for those.Gift cards are also popular with retailers. Historically, three out of four people spend more money than the value of the card. 

If you receive a gift card as a present but don't want it, there are websites that allow you to buy or sell gift cards. Cards with the highest trade-in value are from gas stations, retail chains and grocery stores. They usually sell for 80 to 90 cents on the dollar, while less popular cards can go for half their face value or less. Check out gift card exchange websites at bbb.org to verify if they are legitimate and have any complaints.
BBB offers some tips to help you get the most out of your gift cards:
Buy them where an employee can see them - If the gift cards are on a rack out of view - a thief can tamper with them, transfer the value of the card and then return it to the rack. 
Use them or lose them - As much as 10 percent of gift cards are never redeemed because they get misplaced, forgotten or lost.  Another reason to use them as soon as possible is in case a business shuts down and the card cannot be used.
Treat your card like cash - If the card is lost or stolen, contact the issuer immediately. Some will re-issue a card for a fee but others will not. That is another reason to include the original receipt with the gift card before you give it.
Be very careful buying from an individual - If someone is selling gift cards online through a classified ad site for example, you risk buying a stolen, counterfeit or empty card without any opportunity to get your money back in the event of fraud.
Some cards have fees - This applies to cards issued by banks.  They can charge fees for inactivity if they are not used within 12 months.  In contrast, under Connecticut law, gift cards cannot have an expiration date or inactivity fees, even if the card is purchased from another state.
You will find additional holiday tips at bbb.org




bornies@optonline.net (Howard Schwartz) Public safety Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:53:32 -0500
The Kennedy Center Dedicates Its Trumbull HQ to Retiring CEO Martin Schwartz http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/places/46368-the-kennedy-center-dedicates-its-trumbull-hq-to-retiring-ceo-martin-schwartz46368-the-kennedy-center-dedicates-its-trumbull-hq-to-retiring-ceo-martin-schwartz http://news.hamlethub.com/fairfield/places/46368-the-kennedy-center-dedicates-its-trumbull-hq-to-retiring-ceo-martin-schwartz46368-the-kennedy-center-dedicates-its-trumbull-hq-to-retiring-ceo-martin-schwartz

Trumbull, CT - Martin D. Schwartz, the first President and CEO of The Kennedy Center, will be retiring in January 2018. As a tribute to his nearly 39 years of outstanding leadership, The Kennedy Center’s headquarters in Trumbull will be dedicated and named in his honor on Monday, December 18. 

The ribbon cutting will take place at 2440 Reservoir Avenue from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., following by a light breakfast of coffee and bagels. Area legislators, staff, volunteers, clients and supporters will be in attendance.

The Kennedy Center’s Board of Directors initially made this major announcement during the Center’s 53rd Annual Four Seasons Ball at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, where Marty was recently honored before a sold-out crowd of over 300 guests. 

Michele Macauda of Monroe, Chair of the Kennedy Center Board noted, “All our board members felt it was fitting to commemorate Marty’s many achievements and dedicate the Reservoir Avenue headquarters in his honor. He has certainly been one of the biggest advocates in the state of Connecticut for people with disabilities.  Marty’s leadership and foresight is recognized both in Connecticut and throughout the country.”

When Marty Schwartz became the first President and CEO of The Kennedy Center in 1978, this small community-based rehabilitation organization was a grassroots non-profit founded in 1951 by its namesake Evelyn Kennedy and 12 parents.  At the time, the agency served less than 200 adults with intellectual disabilities, employed 48 staff, and operated with an annual budget of $776,000.  Now, The Kennedy Center serves over 2,000 individuals annually from birth through their senior years with a variety of disabilities, employs over 750 staff, and operates with an annual $32 million budget. Today, the agency is one of the largest employers in the region and one of the largest rehabilitation organizations in the State of Connecticut.

The Kennedy Center offers a broad range of programs and services for children, adults, and the elderly with diverse disabilities through its Rehabilitation Services, Residential Services and Kennedy Industries Divisions. Presently,  Some of the noteworthy programs include: birth to three services; after school supports; the establishment of 31 community experience programs and 16 group homes; an industries program composed of six businesses providing competitive services in cleaning, scanning/shredding, catering, lawncare and framing; acquired brain injury support services; mental health services and the Maggie Daly Arts Cooperative (MDAC) in downtown Bridgeport offering unique opportunities for artists with and without disabilities for creation and expression in a supportive environment.

During his tenure at The Kennedy Center, new needs evolved in the community where program services were limited or non-existent. Marty listened to the parents; worked with his highly trained staff; and along with the Board of Directors, found the funding for these new initiatives and created one groundbreaking program after another. In doing so, The Kennedy Center established itself as a noted and nationally recognized rehabilitation organization delivering quality innovative program services. Some examples include Travel Training, Caring for the Caregiver and The Norma F. Pfriem Alzheimer’s Center at Faust Hall, all of which were firsts in Connecticut to address these needs. In addition to the development of many new programs, Marty also oversaw two major million dollar capital campaigns that led to the expansion of The Kennedy Center.  

Beyond The Kennedy Center, he has extended his leadership ability to numerous community and philanthropic organizations throughout the state.  He has served as President of the Trumbull Chamber of Commerce, President of the Probus Club of Greater Bridgeport, and President of the Connecticut Community Providers Association, the statewide advocacy organization for organizations serving individuals with disabilities.  In 2000, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Bridgeport. Other honors have included  the  Regional Leadership Award from the Bridgeport Regional Business Council; Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award from the Bridgeport Dental Association; Probian of the Year from the Probus Club of Bridgeport;  Lifetime Achievement Award from the Connecticut Community Providers Association; and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission Humanitarian Award.

On the national level, Marty has been an accreditation surveyor from 1984 to the present for CARF, the international accreditation body for rehabilitation organizations.  His commitment to excellence is unparalleled. Since 1981, The Kennedy Center has sought and consistently achieved the highest accreditation from CARF. Most recently, the organization has received three perfect accreditations, an outstanding accomplishment achieved by less than 1% of those seeking accreditation internationally. 

 Visit www.thekennedycenterinc.org for more information.

bornies@optonline.net (Cara Mocarski) Places Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:48:49 -0500