Bethel's HamletHub Mon, 18 Mar 2019 12:17:16 -0400 Redding's Mark Twain Library Seeks Volunteers for Children’s Country Fair

A sure sign that spring is right around the corner is the Mark Twain Library’s Annual Frog Frolic – a children’s country fair featuring games and prizes, crafts for kids to make, giant inflatables, an extraordinary silent auction, a bubble garden for toddlers, entertainment, food and more.

The 24th annual Frog Frolic will be held on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Redding Community Center – rain or shine. All proceeds from the fair go to support the Mark Twain Library.

“Our library depends on the funds raised at these major events and this has become a town favorite!  I look forward to seeing members of the community work together to support the Frolic and the Mark Twain Library,” said Stephanie Oulton, Frog Frolic Committee chairperson.

Coordinating this year’s volunteer effort is Frog Frolic Committee member Ronna Brier. According to Ms. Brier, this 6-hour event needs at least 200 volunteers, spread out over four shifts. “We are so grateful to volunteers of the past, to those who continue to return year after year, and to those who are stepping in for the first time,” Ms. Brier said.

Adults and teenagers (6th grade and older) are invited to register.  Volunteers may to choose to help work the food tent, prizes, games, inflatables or crafts. 


]]> (Mark Twain Library) Events Mon, 18 Mar 2019 04:34:57 -0400
Singing the Blues in Bethel

Zip a Dee Doo Dah, Zip a Dee Dah.  My oh, my what a wonderful day…Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder. It’s the truth, it’s actual,  everything is satisfactual. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, wonderful feeling, wonderful day (Song of the South, 1946).

With patches of snow still covering the thawing ground, the Eastern Bluebird appears, waking all living creatures and breaking the cold spell of winter with his melodious songs. The bluebirds are not the only ones singing. This docile little animal has the natural ability to make people happy. In the words of renowned poet Henry David Thoreau, “The bluebird is like a speck of clear blue sky seen near the end of a storm, reminding us of an ethereal region and a haven which we had forgotten.”

A radiant color blue with a warm reddish breast, the male bluebird is as beautiful as he is charming. According to Tom Meyer, a trained bluebird rehabilitator referred to as “Mr. Bluebird” in his hometown of Bedford, NY the male arrives in the northeast in late February, ahead of his mate, and searches for a home worthy to present to her. Once he finds it, he beckons her with joyful chirps to come and approve one of the nest boxes he has selected to raise their family. “He will sit on top of the house fluttering and may show her 3 or 4 spots, just like a real estate agent,” chuckles Meyer. The female, who has lighter blue wings and tail, a brownish throat and breast and grey crown, gets busy creating a nest and promptly lays 4-5 eggs. She diligently incubates her eggs for two weeks. Once hatched, mom and dad share the responsibility of feeding the brood insects. “They kind of alternate, you’ll see the female go in and then the male and as the babies grow, the insects get bigger and bigger,” explains Meyer. It’s the glory and awe of nature at work-  a beautiful story of cohabitation, parenting and shared responsibility.

Believe it or not, if not for the effort and intervention of Eastern Bluebird loving humans, today, spring would arrive without the beauty and promise of the bluebird. There were several decades spanning the years from 1900-1970 when it was not easy for the kind spirited bluebird to find a natural nesting cavity.  Melodee Benoit, administrative assistant to the grounds department and bluebird monitor at the private GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford, is dedicated to the preservation of the Eastern Bluebird. She explains that urbanization caused the Eastern Bluebird to compete with other cavity nesters for a place to raise their young. The submissive bluebird lost out to more aggressive birds such as The House Sparrow and the European Starling.  

”Back in the 70’s, a huge part of increasing the bluebird population was making people aware of the bluebird and their plight and how they weren’t thriving. ‘Backyard blue birders’ started putting up bluebird boxes,” explains Benoit. “I’ve put up more than 2,000 bluebird boxes,” Meyer humbly adds.  On his list: Bedford friend and neighbor, actress Glen Close. “About 20 years ago, Glen called me to put up some boxes. I remember taking her daughter, Annie on my shoulders so she could see the bluebirds, she said, “Oh, they look like pencil erasers,” chuckles Mayer. In addition, after Christopher Reeve’s horseback riding accident which left him paralyzed from the neck down, Meyer received a call from Reeve’s wife. “Dana asked me to put up a box on their back lawn,” says Meyer.

Benoit credits Meyer for making it possible for GlenArbor Golf Club to launch a successful bluebird program. Working in tandem with Benoit, Meyer put up 22 boxes at GlenArbor. “We have an environmental program at the club and the bluebird program is part of that,” explains Benoit.  Once a week, Benoit and Meyer travel the course in a golf-cart checking on each bluebird box. The club recently won an award from the North American Bluebird society for environmental stewardship. “They claim that there are more bluebirds coming out of nest boxes that people put up than natural cavities,” says Meyer.

As a bluebird rehabilitator, Meyer is often called upon when a bluebird is in danger. Benoit recalls a time when bluebird babies were left alone in a nest. “Usually once a year we have to orphan a bluebird.  I can remember calling Tom for help. I put the baby birds in my hands and blew warm air on them. Tom got a heating pad and we put them into a box.” Benoit cared for them until she could add them to a nest box with other bluebirds about the same age. A fascinating trait of the Eastern Bluebird is their willingness to care for another bluebird’s young. “Those parents will then take over as adoptive parents,” explains Benoit.

While having a backyard nest-box is a fantastic way to assure the population of bluebirds continues to increase, Benoit says, ”It’s a commitment, if someone wants to have a bluebird box, they’ve got to monitor it, that’s part of the success. You need to know what’s going on inside the box. You need to check on the babies,” explains Benoit. The Eastern Bluebird can nest up to three times a season. “When they’re done nesting, you need to clean it out right away because they need to get back in there and do their thing again.”

The preservation and recovery of the Eastern Bluebird continues in backyards, parks and golf courses throughout the northeast. “It’s hard not to love this little bird,” says Benoit. “If I could use one word to describe the bluebird, I’d say magical,” adds Meyer. What’s more, the bluebird is the state bird of New York. That’s one more thing to sing about.

*This story appeared in Ridgefield Magazine

]]> (Kerry Ducey) Life Mon, 18 Mar 2019 04:00:00 -0400
BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report Reveals Employment Scams Were Riskiest Scams of 2018

Employment scams were the riskiest scams in 2018, according to the latest report from the Better Business Bureau, Tech-Savvy Scammers Work to Con More Victims: 2018 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report . Employment scams had more instances and higher losses than in previous years when it ranked the third riskiest. The report is based on data supplied by consumers to BBB Scam TrackerSM  and is based on the BBB Risk Index, a unique algorithm that calculates exposure, susceptibility, and monetary loss to offer a more accurate assessment of scam risk.

“This was a surprise,” said Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, which produced the report. “It’s the first time since we began this report three years ago that one scam dominated across so many demographic subgroups. It was the riskiest scam in three of the six age groups, and for both men and women. It was also the riskiest scam for military families and veterans, and students.”

Digging into the Risk Report shows one possible answer: Amazon was in the news a lot in 2018 with its high profile search for a second headquarters. It was also the 6th most impersonated organization mentioned in BBB Scam Tracker reports, after not even making the top 15 in previous years. In 2017, only 24 BBB Scam Tracker reports were employment scams that mentioned Amazon. In 2018, that jumped to 564. Amazon, a BBB Accredited Business, has only one authorized job application site: Any other link is a scam.

The Internal Revenue Service is the leading impersonated organization, and other government agencies together rank second. Other leading brands that scammers impersonate include Publishers Clearing House, Microsoft, Apple… and Better Business Bureau.

"Employment scams are particularly horrible because they prey on people who are already feeling financially strained and may be desperate for work,” said Luke Frey, associate director of communication for BBB Serving Connecticut. “If the scam gets far enough, scammers collect the same information that real employers do – address, birth date, Social Security number, bank account – everything needed for identity theft, and that's where the real trouble begins."

The ten riskiest scams of 2018 were: employment, online purchase, fake checks/money orders, home improvement, advance fee loans, romance, tech support, investment, travel/vacation, and government grant.


For more highlights from Tech-Savvy Scammers Work to Con More Victims: 2018 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, download the infographic at 


]]> (CT BBB) Public safety Sat, 16 Mar 2019 06:18:04 -0400
Bethel’s Byrd’s Books Hosts Audubon Center on March 26

"A healthy yard is not really a 'yard' at all. It’s a habitat, a sanctuary for wildlife and for you and your family."
The Audubon Center at Bent of the River
Have you ever wondered what to plant to keep birds coming back to your garden? Or considered what is their favorite food to plant? Or pondered what are the best plantings for each season? The Audubon Center at Bent of the River’s Kate Pratt will visit Byrd’s Books on Tuesday, March 26 from 7 - 8:30 p.m. to share the secrets of her favorite bird plantings and more. And just in time for Spring. 
The event is free and open to all. To register, please click here.
The Audubon Center at Bent of the River is a 700-acre nature sanctuary and education center located in Southbury, Conn. It welcomes visitors to enjoy trails, nature programs, and conservation-themed events throughout the year. For more information, click here.   
Byrd's Books is located at 178 Greenwood Avenue in Bethel, Conn.
]]> (Ted Killmer ) Events Fri, 15 Mar 2019 08:48:00 -0400
Two Connecticut Cities in Top 3 Safest Cities in US According to SafeWise. Bethel Ranked Number 30 Among Connecticut Towns

Connecticut has a lot to boast about when it comes to safety - we are the second safest state in the country with 14 our cities among the top 100. What’s more, two of those cities, Ridgefield and Madison are in the top 3! Read all about it in the SafeWise Report here.

The report utilizes the FBI’s 2017 Uniform Crime Report (UCR). Bethel reported 9 violent crimes which ranks it number 30 of all the cities in Connecticut that report statistics according to the UCR. Bethel also reported 171 property crimes, including 20 burglaries, 147 larcenies, 4 motor vehicle thefts, and 2 incidents of arson.

Five Connecticut Cities reported no incidents of violent crime, Ridgefield, Madison, Granby Easton, and Groton Long Point.

In addition to Ridgefield and Madison, the SafeWise list included New Canaan (#14), Cheshire (#16), Avon (#18), and Darien (#25) in the top 25.  Additional Connecticut communities earned a place among the top 100: Simsbury (#30), Brookfield (#35), Westport (#36), Wilton (#48), Guilford (#53), Rocky Hill (#64), and Wolcott (#91).

View the 2019 Top 20 Safest Cities in Connecticut here. View the 2019 Safest Cities in America here.

FBI had encouraging news about crime in the US overall:

  • In 2017, an estimated 1,247,321 violent crimes occurred nationwide, a decrease of 0.2 percent from the 2016 estimate.
  • There were an estimated 382.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017, a rate that fell 0.9 percent when compared with the 2016 estimated violent crime rate and dropped 16.5 percent from the 2008 estimate. (See Tables 1 and 1A.)

SafeWise gives high marks to Connecticut’s overall safety. “There were only two murders reported among all 20 cities that made the list. Overall, the Constitution State is well below national averages for both violent and property crime. Proving the point, 95% of the cities on our list saw fewer than one violent crime per 1,000 people, according to FBI data,” SafeWise said.

Learn how SafeWise identified the safest cities by visiting their methodology page.

]]> (Tara Daly) Public safety Fri, 15 Mar 2019 06:58:09 -0400
Quinnipiac Student Follows Historic Journey of The Legendary Leatherman for Charity

AQuinnipiac grad student who hails from England and now lives in New Haven, Lee-Stuart Evans, is presently embarking on a historical journey by retracing the tracks of The Leatherman.

Known as a vagabond who donned a leather suit, The Leatherman walked a 365-mile loop between the Connecticut and Hudson rivers in just 34 days, sleeping in cave shelters. According to historical accounts, The Leatherman died after suffering from lip cancer.

Evans is running a 365 mile loop through Connecticut and New York in under 7 days. According to a GoFundMe Page established by Shona Cooper in support of the journey, Evans is staying on the trail throughout the run and living homeless for a week. “The loop follows the route taken by the Old Leatherman of Connecticut and will follow his footsteps as closely as possible and aims to finish after 7 days at the site of his grave in Ossining, NY on the 130th Anniversary of his death - 20th March 1889,” she says.

Given The Leatherman's lifestyle and struggle with cancer, Evans is not running in vain but for local charitable causes.  

You can follow Evans on his trek via a live tracker here.

Click here for Evan’s research on The Leatherman.

View the GoFundMe Page and make a donation here.

]]> (Tara Daly) Charities Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:00:35 -0400
The Best High Schools for Math Near Bethel in Celebration of Pi Day

We celebrate Pi day to bring awareness to the importance of a STEM Education. The National Science Board report shows the need to bring attention to STEM:

 - Average mathematics scores for fourth, eighth, and twelfth graders declined slightly for the first time in 2015.

 - The average NAEP mathematics score in 2015 declined for fourth, eighth and twelfth grades.

 - NAEP science assessment results show that average scores increased slightly in 2015 for fourth and eighth graders but stayed similar for twelfth graders.

The Connecticut State Department of Education measures Math Performance of all the schools in CT.  The average performance for the high schools in the state 83.6%. The scores of the high schools closest to Bethel are:

School Score GraduationRate PostSecondary
Ridgefield High School 96.14% 100.00% 100.00
Joel Barlow High School 91.81% 100.00% 100.00
Newtown High School 86.91% 100.00% 100.00
Brookfield High School 84.48% 100.00% 100.00
New Fairfield High School 83.87% 100.00% 100.00
Bethel High School 78.39% 100.00% 96.41
Danbury High School 65.60% 86.55% 87.47
Henry Abbott Technical High School 62.78% 100.00% 64.20

The top five high schools for Connecticut are Staples High School, Darien High School, New Canaan High School, Weston High School, and Avon High School.

Some other interesting facts about STEM education in the United States:

  • Approximately one-quarter of students stopped with algebra 2 as their highest mathematics course, another quarter stopped with trigonometry or other advanced mathematics, 22% advanced to pre-calculus, and 19% finished with calculus or higher.
  • In addition to taking biology, 76% of ninth graders who began high school in 2009 took chemistry and 42% took physics by the time they completed high school in 2013.
  • Calculus AB is the most common mathematics AP exam. The number of students who took an AP exam in calculus AB increased from 197,000 in 2006 to more than 308,000 in 2016.
  • Biology is the most common science AP exam. The number of students who took an AP exam in biology increased from nearly 132,000 in 2006 to 238,000 in 2016.
  • Computer science A is the fastest-growing AP exam, with the number of students taking the exam growing nearly four-fold from just under 15,000 in 2006 to nearly 58,000 in 2016.
  • Passing rates for the mathematics and science AP exams in 2016 ranged from lows of 40% for physics 1 and 46% for environmental science to highs of 77% for physics C: mechanics and 81% for Calculus BC.
]]> (Scott Schmidt) Life Thu, 14 Mar 2019 12:33:45 -0400
WCSU names Hospice CEO Cynthia Roy Macricostas Entrepreneur of the Year

Western Connecticut State University will recognize Cynthia Emiry Roy, president and CEO of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care in Danbury, with the 2019 Macricostas Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Roy has applied her entrepreneurial career exclusively to nonprofits, armed with the same drive and skills exhibited by successful business owners.

Her current project – directing construction of the Regional Hospice Center for Comfort Care and Healing, which opened in 2015, and running the highly successful operation – set a new standard for the way hospice care is offered not only in Connecticut, but across the country.

“Cynthia’s long resume of work with nonprofits and her drive to do something never before achieved in Connecticut, will convince anyone that the skills and drive expressed by business entrepreneurs are the same needed to make nonprofits successful,” said Dr. David Martin, dean of WCSU’s Ancell School of Business, which administers the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The award will be presented at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 26, at the Ethan Allen Hotel, 21 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The award is given annually to recognize local business leaders whose drive, intelligence and creativity lead to notable business success. The program’s benefactor is Constantine “Deno” Macricostas, the founder of Photronics Inc., in Brookfield, who is a longtime supporter of WCSU and its students.

Roy had been the executive director of another hospice in Connecticut for nine years when, in 2007, the board of directors at the Regional Hospice offered her the president and CEO job at Regional Hospice.

“I told the board, ‘I will come to work for you if you let me build a hospice inpatient center — one like you have never seen before!’” Roy recounted. She had learned that not all hospice care was suitable in hospitals or home. For some people at the end of life, a center that could assess and handle their special medical needs and help family members cope with emotional and spiritual needs all at the same time was the best solution. Connecticut had almost no options for patients and Roy knew from her travels around Connecticut and other states that no other facility met the best-practice standards she could build.

The Regional Hospice board of directors agreed and Roy set about her task. First, she had to change state hospice inpatient regulations, which didn’t represent best practice in end-of-life care. The original law from 1977 required a drinking fountain and a phone booth to be within a short distance of every hospice patient’s room and didn’t include any best-practice, evidence-based research within the regulations.

Roy had to find a location and raise money as well. “We didn’t have a $10 million donor,” she said. “Our average gifts were $400 each.” She identified a piece of land that was wooded and quiet, but is within half-a-mile of Exit 2 on Interstate-84 for easy access.

Operators of another hospice in the state lobbied against the change in regulations in order to blunt Roy’s attempt to construct a building. She spent several years engaging state and federal legislators before Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the reworked law in 2012.

Finally, Roy was able to hire an architect to design the building.

“I knew exactly what I wanted and I knew no one had done it before. We could do something really special,” Roy said. “I didn’t want it to look like a hospital. I wanted it to feel like home. It is the last home for most of the people who come here. We created an experience that is unforgettable.”

Roy has grown the organization from a small business to an $18 million corporation. The 36,000-square-foot building, which cost $14 million, offers 12 patient suites, each with space for family members to sleep, gourmet catering service from the kitchen, a library, chapel, a spa and a playground for children, as well as administrative offices. It is a fully licensed specialty care hospital and the only facility of its kind in Connecticut. It is getting state and national recognition from other health care providers. In addition to the center, Regional Hospice and Palliative Care also provides hospice care in four counties to people in homes, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.

Many people who work in hospice care have had a personal experience with loss that makes them passionate about the calling. As a teenager, Roy lost a best friend to leukemia. The experience of losing and caring for someone who was terminally ill changed her life. Sadly, she had a number of other significant losses that changed her view on dying with dignity.

The difficult experience gave Roy a personal understanding about end-of-life care and decisions the patient and family must consider. At the same time, Roy said, she approaches her position as a job that involves many of the same tasks as any corporate, for profit, business.

“Our business culture is very important because we are working with families and patients at very difficult times in their lives while juggling the expenses of health care,” Roy said. “If you make a mistake at the end of life, people never forget that memory. You don’t get another chance to do it right.”

Roy expects everyone who works at the hospice agency to have the same commitment to service and mission that she does.

]]> (WCSU) Neighbors Thu, 14 Mar 2019 11:13:17 -0400
Accessible Art Now Showing in Danbury and Bethel

The annual Accessible Art public exhibits sponsored by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut have kicked off with showings at five venues in Danbury and Bethel.

The first shows of the year-long series run through April 19 at Danbury City Hall, CityCenter Danbury, Hodge Insurance, Hancock Hall and Bethel Library. Accessible Art exhibits will be shown throughout the region all year, with five different sets of artists. Artists in the first round are:

William Frucht of Danbury, Mindell Seidlin of New York, Terrence Tougas of New Milford, Ceal Swift of New Canaan, and the Candlewood Camera Club of Danbury are all displaying work.

William Frucht

Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Ave.

(203) 797-4511

“I want to show things that we pass by every day and don’t see because they’re too mundane to notice. I’m fascinated by photographs of streets from forty, fifty or more years ago showing scenes that were completely ordinary at the time but are now interesting because we never see things like that anymore.”

Mindell Seidlin

CityCenter Danbury, 268 Main St.

(203) 792-1711

“Collage and assemblage are ideal for reflecting the many layers of my personal and professional experience. My experiences as a physician, scientist, mother and member of a participatory Jewish community are the sources of the materials and imagery that I use and are also the scrim through which I view the world. That scrim sometimes illuminates and sometimes obscures the source materials.”

Terrence Tougas

Hodge Insurance

283 Main St., Danbury

(203) 792-2323

“I’ve always been interested in exploring the physical world around me. I credit this quality with leading me to a career in science and now a second ‘career’ in the arts. I have long held the view that creativity, inquisitiveness and analysis are equally important to the scientist and the artist.”

Ceal Swift

Filosa Convalescent/Hancock Hall – Opens December 17th

13 Hakim St., Danbury

(203) 794-9466

“My paintings are inspired by many years of travel to some very special places. I hope to take the viewer in to my painting and feel the same peacefulness I felt while painting.”

Candlewood Camera Club

Bethel Public Library

189 Greenwood Ave.

(203) 794-8756

Accessible Art exhibits will be shown throughout the region all year, with five different sets of artists.

The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut is the heart of the region’s creativity to help communities connect and thrive. We are a 501C-3 and regional service organization serving 10-towns in the Greater Danbury area. Our aspiration is to improve access and growth of arts and culture to improve quality of life and the economy. The Connecticut Office of the Arts provides major support.

]]> (Kerry Anne Ducey) Life Thu, 14 Mar 2019 09:27:58 -0400
Today is Pi Day! How many people in Bethel are working in the Math field?

March 14 was officially designated as Pi day In 2009, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed “H.Res.224 - Supporting the designation of Pi Day, and for other purposes.

“Whereas Pi can be approximated as 3.14, and thus March 14, 2009, is an appropriate day for ’National Pi Day’: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) supports the designation of a ’Pi Day’ and its celebration around the world;

(2) recognizes the continuing importance of National Science Foundation’s math and science education programs; and

(3) encourages schools and educators to observe the day with appropriate activities that teach students about Pi and engage them about the study of mathematics.”

According to, Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. The date—which also happens to be Einstein's birthday—inspires a variety of events every year

Pi day is important because it helps us to bring awareness to the important role of math and science to Connecticut, the US, and the world!

In Bethel, there are 5661 people employed who are 16 years of age and older according to the American Community Survey.  Of that total, 383 are employed in “Computer, engineering, and science occupations”, or 6.77% of the employed population. Of those occupied in this industry, 255 are males and 128 are Females.

The average Connecticut town had 6% of their workforce occupied by the Computer, Engineering and Science industry. The average town had 73% of them as male, and 27% as female.

Gales Ferry, Connecticut has the highest percentage of their workforce in Computer, Engineering and Science, Coventry, CT has the highest percentage of Female workers of any town over 1,000 workers in CT.  Coventry’s percent of male workers in Computer, Engineering and Science is 24.4%, and females have 75.6%.

Here are some fun ways to celebrate Pi day:

Celebrate Pi Day with NASA  

EDUTOPIA, 5-Minute Film Festival: Celebrate Pi Day!  

Exploratorium, Pi Day March 14, 2019  

NIST Taking Measure Blog, A Slice of Math Functions for Pi Day  

Smithsonian Magazine, A history of notable moments in the irrational number’s past  

]]> (Tara Daly) Neighbors Thu, 14 Mar 2019 04:00:00 -0400
Longtime Bethel Resident Linda Marie Pace, 72, has Died

Linda Marie Pace

Linda Marie Pace (nee Doran), 72, of Bethel, passed away on Monday, March 11, 2019. She is survived by her husband of 50 years, Tom, and their children, Andrea and Tommy, as well as a brother, Richard Doran. 
Born in Port Chester, NY on January 17, 1947 to the late Thomas and Immaculata (DiLeo) Doran, the tales of her childhood were well known and oft-repeated thanks to the sweet nostalgia that she imbued into stories of everyday adventures. Although Linda worked in numerous industries throughout the years, her nurturing personality always made her a favorite fixture of every workplace.  Participating as an educator and volunteer for numerous schools, Linda loved learning, teaching, and working with children. 
Linda lived in Bethel for the past 46 years, where she was an outgoing and active member of the community. In recent years, Linda focused more on her writing, expressing herself through poetry, short stories, and memoirs. Her vast network of family, friends, and acquaintances will miss her hospitality and ubiquitous fresh-baked cookies.
Friends will be received on Friday, March 15, 2019 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home; 9 Granville Avenue, Danbury. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 10:00 AM at St. Mary Church; 26 Dodgingtown Road, Bethel. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the writing program at the Bethel Senior Center, the National Audubon Society, or a charity that embodies your relationship with Linda


]]> (Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home) Neighbors Wed, 13 Mar 2019 16:37:58 -0400
2019 Triennial Review of the Connecticut Water Quality Standards by DEEP, Kickoff Meeting Tonight

DEEP Kicks-Off a Comprehensive Review of Connecticut’s Water Quality Standards

CTDEEP is seeking comments identifying any aspects of the CT Water Quality Standards which should be considered for revision. Please submit your comments in writing to on or before April 5, 2019.

The public meeting is in Hartford, on March 13, 2019, between 1:30 PM and 3:00 PM, at CTDEEP Office, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT (Gina McCarthy Auditorium).

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is conducting its triennial review of Connecticut’s Water Quality Standards to determine if revisions are necessary. Connecticut Water Quality Standards effect every town, including Bethel.  A very informative description can be found here.

DEEP is requesting the public’s input regarding the current standards, and recommendations on what to focus on, as part of the 2019 review. The agency will use public feedback to help identify future changes to the standards.

"The Connecticut Water Quality Standards form the foundation of Connecticut's water management programs," said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. "It is critical that we update the standards to remain consistent with state and federal law in order to reflect the best available science."

The topics under consideration for change within the WQS are identified below. Additional topics may be identified during this Triennial Review process and included in subsequent proposed changes to the WQS. The regulatory process to revise the WQS also includes a formal public review and comment process.

Topics under Consideration for Revision within the WQS Regulations

Updates to Numeric Water Quality Criteria

Since the WQS were last revised, EPA has updated recommendations for water quality criteria. The Department is currently reviewing the water quality recommendations from EPA and will either propose adoption of the federally recommended criteria or provide a reason for not doing so in accordance with section 304(a) of the federal Clean Water Act. These include updates to federal water quality criteria recommendations for toxics, bacteria and ammonia. Information about the current federal recommendations for water quality criteria can be found on the EPA web site at:

Revise the Low Flow Statistic Applicable to Fresh Waters

The 7Q10 flow is currently identified as the low flow condition in freshwater rivers and streams. The Department intends to recommend changing the low flow statistic for fresh waters from the 7Q10 flow to the Q99 flow. The Q99 flow represents the daily low flow rate that is expected to occur approximately 1% of the time. For daily stream flows, the Q99 flow is roughly equivalent to the 7Q10. The benefit of using the Q99 flow is that information on Q99 flows for waterbodies in Connecticut is easily accessible through the USGS StreamStats web site for all locations, not just those served by gaging stations. The USGS StreamStats web site for Connecticut is available at:

Extended Disinfection Period

The current Water Quality Standards contain requirements for disinfection of treated sewage discharge to surface waters at section 22a-426-4(a)(9)(E) of the regulations. This section requires continuous disinfection for all sewage treatment plants located south of Interstate Highway I-95. Disinfection is currently required for all sewage treatment plants north of Interstate Highway I-95 from May 1 to October 1, unless an alternative schedule, including continuous disinfection, is approved to protect those using the waterbody. Based on public comments which identified contact recreational activities within Connecticut that occur outside the current disinfection period, the Department intends to propose an extension of the disinfection period for all sewage treatment plants located north of Highway I-95 to include the period from April 1 through November 1, unless an alternative schedule, including continuous disinfection, is approved to protect those using the waterbody.

Define Highest Attainable Use

Recent revisions to federal regulations pertaining to Water Quality Standards (40 CFR 131.3(m) and 131.10(g)) have included a new term, Highest Attainable Use. The Highest Attainable Use is evaluated during a study of how a waterbody is used and pertains to identifying the highest use level for a waterbody should environmental conditions permanently preclude certain uses of that resource. The Department is reviewing the recently revised federal regulations and anticipates proposing language to ensure consistency with these federal requirements.

Downstream Protection

Water quality in a particular section of a waterbody may be affected by activities in the upstream watershed which contribute pollutants to the waterbody that are then transported downstream, affecting water quality in that downstream portion of the waterbody. The Clean Water Act requires consideration of these impacts on downstream waters when addressing water quality concerns. The Department believes that this concept is currently included within the WQS but is reviewing federal recommendations and may propose changes to the regulations for clarification, as needed.

Water Quality Classification Maps

The Department is evaluating the need to make changes in order to reconcile the water quality classification designation with shellfishing classification for specific water quality segments, as needed. Additionally, the Department expects to update ground water classification designations for consistency with Aquifer Protection Areas.

For more information visit: Water Quality Standards and Classifications and 2019 Water Quality Standards Triennial Review

]]> (CT DEEP) Places Wed, 13 Mar 2019 04:00:00 -0400
United Way Launches ALICE® Saves Program, Kick Off Event Shows How Struggling Households Can Keep More of What They Earn

United Way of Western Connecticut is sponsoring a Kick-Off Event for its ALICE Saves program on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Danbury Police Station Community Room, 357 Main St., Danbury, CT. It joins the United Ways across the State of Connecticut in launching this program.

Danbury nonprofit agency staff, social workers, banking personnel, and other community members will want to attend this event to learn how ALICE Saves can help their clients and customers save more money and better manage their personal finances.                                    

At the informational session, attendees will see demonstrations of SaverLife and Trusted Advisor, learn how to enroll participants, and get access to free marketing materials. By joining SaverLife, participants receive financial rewards for consistent savings. Savers earn $10 for every month that they save at least $20 and have the potential to earn $60 in rewards at the end of the six-month period.

For the first time anywhere, SaverLife, a proven savings product from the California-­‐based nonprofit EARN, and Trusted Advisor, a successful financial counseling program operated by the New York-­‐based Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, will be available to help families build emergency savings and begin a journey to financial security.

In addition to potentially earning up to $60 in rewards, savers who securely link their savings account to SaverLife will have access to other supports. They will be offered an opportunity to take an additional step towards financial security by enrolling in Trusted Advisor, a technology-­‐enabled financial counseling program. A Trusted Advisor counselor, available through Skype or by telephone, will help Savers develop a financial action plan with concrete steps to meet financial goals.

For more information, or to RSVP, please contact Casey Levene at 203-297-6246 or

]]> (UWWCT) Neighbors Tue, 12 Mar 2019 09:19:33 -0400
Celebrate National Agriculture Week in Bethel!

The week of March 10th, 2019 is National Agriculture Week to recognize the role of American agriculture in our daily lives and the efforts of those who shape the American food system. The average American farmer feeds approximately 144 people worldwide, and with agriculture being our number one export, agriculture is critically important to sustaining the U.S. economy.

In Bethel there are a total of 6 Ag workers, including 6 Males, and 0 Females, which ranks Bethel number 37. Connecticut has 1,804 residents that are occupied by the Ag industry.

“Although USDA’s Economic Research Service reported the lowest figures on record for food insecurity among children in 2015, nearly 16 million U.S. households — which is more than the total number of households in either California or Texas — were food insecure at some point during that year.”

The top ten towns in Connecticut listed by the number of Ag workers are:









New Haven












West Haven




East Hartford




















*all numbers represent residents over 16 years old currently occupied as a  non-management working in the Farming, Fishing, or Forestry industry according to the American Community Survey.

]]> (Tara Daly) Neighbors Tue, 12 Mar 2019 04:00:00 -0400
Sen. Blumenthal Pushes for Bill to Prevent Animal Cruelty

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal recently visited West Hartford Animal Control in Connecticut to push for Prevent Animal Torture and Cruelty, or PACT, Act, a bill to prevent animal cruelty.

According to the Harford Courant, Blumenthal said he and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania, want to outlaw a form of animal abuse known as “crushing,” where people maim and torture animals.
"Crushing defenseless animals is barbaric, disgusting, and wrong. There is no place for it in our society," said Senator Toomey. "I call on my colleagues to join me in ending this horrific practice once and for all. Let's get it passed in both chambers and send it to the president for his signature."

For Bethel, you may use the following link for information about their Animal Control Partner:

Click here for a full list of animal control partners.

Connecticut has a number of animal cruelty laws based around five crimes: cruelty to animals, malicious or intentional cruelty to animals, animals engaged in exhibition of fighting, and intentionally injuring or killing police animals or dogs in volunteer canine service and rescue teams, a good summary can be found here.

The Humane Society of the United States, National Sheriffs’ Association, Fraternal Order of Police and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys support the bill, according to Blumenthal’s office. The PACT Act is endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States, National Sheriffs' Association, Fraternal Order of Police, and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

This will ensure that pets in jeopardy receive prompt and often lifesaving care.

Not sure if what you’ve observed is animal cruelty or neglect? Learn the signs.

]]> (Scott Schmidt) Politics Mon, 11 Mar 2019 18:00:00 -0400