Brewster's HamletHub Sat, 16 Feb 2019 00:05:45 -0500 SPACE on Ryder Farm Assumes Organic Farming Operations


Betsey Ryder Retires After 40 Years of Stewardship

Jason McCartney and Doug DeCandia Join SPACE as Inaugural Farmers

Community Supported Art + Agriculture Membership will provide produce and art for NYC and Westchester/Putnam County Families

SPACE on Ryder Farm, the acclaimed residency program for artists and activists, announced that it has begun managing the organic farming operations at Ryder Farm as of 2019, and launched its inaugural sliding scale CSA (community supported agriculture) membership. SPACE is succeeding Betsey Ryder of Ryder Farm Cottage Industries, who retired at the end of the 2018 growing season after 40 years of farming.

Located on Starr Ridge Road in Brewster, New York, Ryder Farm is one of the oldest family farms in the Northeast, first established by Eleazer Ryder in 1795. Ryder Farm was an early adopter in the organic movement, and one of the founding farms to participate in the Union Square Greenmarket. Betsey Ryder has been growing organic vegetables, herbs and flowers on Ryder Farm since 1978, following in the footsteps of her cousin Hall Gibson and five generations of Ryders before her. Betsey maintained Ryder Farm’s presence at the Greenmarket and local Brewster markets as well as a robust community-supported agriculture program, and worked diligently to keep the farm’s 127 acres from being sold for development.

Emily Simoness, a 7th generation Ryder, became involved with Ryder Farm upon recognizing that her own artistic community could both benefit from and reinvigorate the aging family farm. In 2011, she co-founded SPACE with the two-fold mission of providing time and space for artists and innovators to develop new work, while contributing to the sustainability and resourceful preservation of Ryder Farm.

SPACE welcomes nearly 150 residents to Ryder Farm each year for fully-subsidized residencies of one to five weeks, in programs supporting playwrights, filmmakers, activists and working artists-parents, among others. Over the past nine years, SPACE has facilitated the restoration and management of many of the farm’s historic buildings, including the 1795 farmhouse from which the organization operates. Produce grown on Ryder Farm is incorporated into the three farm-fresh, communal meals shared by residents each day, and SPACE hosts farm-to-table dinners and performance events throughout the season for the public.

“Since SPACE’s founding, art and agriculture have been in concert on Ryder Farm,” said Simoness, Executive Director of SPACE. “At a time when family farms are being lost across the country due to economic pressures and the lack of succession plans, SPACE is deeply committed to ensuring Ryder Farm is still farming in another 224 years. In taking on the agricultural operation, we see enormous opportunity for increased reciprocity among the creative processes of our artist and activist residents, the meal planning and preparation of our resident chefs and the sweat, ingenuity and skills of our farmers and their team.”

“Emily arrived to the farm and saw the inspiration inherent in this land and created a vehicle for others to engage in the nurturing and cultivation of their craft,” said Betsey Ryder. “I am lifted by the enthusiasm of SPACE for taking on our agricultural legacy. I am confident that SPACE will grow upon the agricultural base and carry Ryder Farm to new heights.”

SPACE honored Betsey Ryder at its annual Farm in the City Gala on November 12th, 2018, and released a video commemorating Ryder’s 40 years of stewardship of Ryder Farm, which can be viewed at

Farmers Jason McCartney and Doug DeCandia will lead the farm operations at SPACE. As Director of Farming, McCartney brings nearly a decade of experience from farms across the East Coast including Brookwood Community Farm in Massachusetts and Matunuck Farm in Rhode Island. Farm Manager DeCandia has worked extensively with the Food Bank for Westchester (now known as Feeding Westchester) as both a farmer and food access and food justice activist. He also previously worked at Ryder Farm in 2010, and is happy to be returning now to work with SPACE.  

In addition to stocking SPACE’s residency kitchen, produce from Ryder Farm will be available via a sliding scale CSA (community supported agriculture) memberships launching today, providing weekly installments of vegetables and herbs for pickup at Ryder Farm and in NYC from June to October. Taking advantage of SPACE’s network of over 1,300 resident alumni, CSA members can also expect to find samplings of the artistic projects cultivated at Ryder Farm among their weekly allotment of kale and tomatoes. Aligned with SPACE’s commitment to equity and inclusion, CSA shares are offered on a sliding scale. To sign up for a 2019 CSA membership, visit (en Español:

SPACE also plans to sell produce weekly at a to-be-announced NYC farmers’ market location and at Ryder Farm’s roadside stand on Starr Ridge Road in Brewster.

]]> (SPACE on Ryder Farm ) Places Fri, 15 Feb 2019 09:22:19 -0500
"Lost In Yonkers" highlights the new season at Brookfield Theatre

 “The best play Simon ever wrote,” cheered one critic of the Pulitzer-prize winning comedy drama, Lost in Yonkers, which inaugurates the 2019 season of The Brookfield Theatre for the Arts. Here, laughter and tears combine in Neil Simon’s deft observations of the human heart that touchingly portrays the plight of two young teenage boys after their father abandons them to the care of their stern grandmother and their flighty aunt.

Directed by Dana O’Neal, Lost in Yonkers premiers Friday, March 1st starring Rigby Wilkins as Bella, Pat Covino as Grandma, Nico Apicella as Jay, Dylan Fischetto  as Arty, Michael Reilly as Louie, David Cheris as Eddie, and Lynn  Nissenbaum as Gert.

Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings, March 1st through March 16th at 8 pm, with matinees on Sunday, March 3rd and 10th at 2pm.  A free preview for senior citizens is on Thursday evening; February 28th at 8 pm. Tickets are $25 general admission and $20 for students & seniors. They are available at the box office or online at

]]> (Brookfield Theatre) Neighbors Fri, 15 Feb 2019 08:51:37 -0500
Creatures of Candlewood: American Minks

A quiet and solitary hunter stalks the shores of Candlewood Lake – looking for fish, rodents, crustaceans, and even birds. The American Mink is one of the more esoteric creatures of Candlewood and is the second feature in the CLA’s monthly column describing some of the other critters that call Candlewood Lake “home.” Rarely seen, the American Mink is a small, ferret-like mammal that is one of the most adept swimmers to dive into Candlewood’s waters.

American Minks are normally nocturnal hunters, creeping along the shore waiting for an unsuspecting fish or muskrat to swim by. Their nocturnal nature is why they’re not often seen by residents of the lake, but keen eyes might catch a mink venturing out in the day time to stock up on food for their den. Once it spots its target, the American Mink will deftly dive into the water (up to 16 feet!) and will pull its meal back onto shore. Though only 2 or 3 pounds at most, these able hunters have no problem grabbing prey equal to or larger in size than themselves. Even a three-pound thrashing trout is no match for the mink’s submarine-like swimming ability and sharp teeth.

The American Mink is native to most of North America above Mexico but has largely stayed out of the Southeastern US. Many of these charismatic animals call Connecticut their year-round home. Their fur coat has historically earned them a considerable reputation. Thick, short, and luxuriously soft, the Mink’s waterproof fur provides them the perfect warmth against cold winters and freezing water, allowing them to hunt year-round. Unfortunately, this fur coat has also garnered the attention of the fashion industry, where mink coats have become a staple of affluence and class. In fact, American Minks have been domesticated and transported to farms around the world to raise for the express purpose of making fur clothing. Some of the minks have escaped in places like Scotland, Russia, and South America. These escapees have established populations in these areas, making American Minks an invasive species. Similar to invasive species we deal with here, American Minks in these areas can wreak havoc on ecosystems, hunting and killing huge populations of native organisms in those areas. This is a good example of how organisms that fit well into native ecosystems can cause major problems in areas that they invade.

Minks are territorial, with each male mink having its own solitary area of roughly 0.5 miles up to 3 miles of coastline, with female minks having smaller territories that often overlap with male territories. Male territories rarely, if ever, overlap with each other. Male and female minks mate this time of year, from January to April – so keep your eyes peeled and you might see males fighting for the right to breed, or a female mink preparing its den/burrow. The CLA has spotted a mink on Vaughn’s Neck, one of Candlewood’s most beautiful and important natural resources. Normally, a litter of baby minks (or “kits” as the babies are called) is around 4, but can contain even more, and each one is born blind for about a month.

These small, beautiful creatures will bound happily along the shore, reserving their grace for diving and swimming. If you see a family of minks, you might hear them chattering to each other, or if you’re lucky enough to catch a happy mink, you might even hear it purr before it

takes a bite of a recently caught meal. These lovely hunters provide an important service to Candlewood Lake, and all the lakes and rivers they frequent. By preying on other “Creatures of Candlewood” the Mink ensures that the food web controlling population sizes in and around the lake remains stable and healthy. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they’re particularly pleasant to watch when they’re hunting or playing on Candlewood’s rocky shores.

Though it was created by humans, Candlewood Lake now both serves and relies on the natural services provided by the organisms that live on and in its waters. It’s important for us as residents and users of the lake to recognize that we’re not the only ones who have come to depend on it. The solitary and adorable American Mink is just one of the many creatures of Candlewood we will continue to highlight in our “Creatures of Candlewood” column. To learn more about how to protect both the lake and the creatures who we call our neighbors, please visit our website at: . If you are ever lucky enough to spot a Mink, we hope you stop and appreciate the part it plays in keeping Candlewood healthy and enjoy observing another fascinating resident of our beautiful lake.

]]> (Neil Stalter, CLA Director of Ecology and Environmental Education) Life Fri, 15 Feb 2019 05:38:09 -0500
Seminar: The Natural History and Decline of the New England Cottontail

Seminar: The Natural History and Decline of the New England Cottontail
February 24 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Please join us for guest speaker, Dr. Amanda Cheeseman’s talk about the New England cottontail rabbit, “Living on Borrowed Time: The Life History and Decline of our Only Native Cottontail.” Found only within the densest thickets of New England and eastern New York, the New England cottontail had lost much of its habitat by the beginning of this century. Like many other early successional species, habitat loss, invasive plants, and increasing human development have caused substantial population declines and posed serious challenges toward the recovery of this little-known rabbit. Come hear how biologists are racing to understand the New England cottontail’s biology and relationships with its environment in order to reverse declines and recover the Northeast’s only native cottontail species.

Dr. Cheeseman is a Theodore Roosevelt Postdoctoral Scholar and Coordinator of the New York Mammal Survey at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where she also earned a Ph.D. in Conservation Biology in 2017 for her research on the New England cottontail.

February 24

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Great Hollow Nature Preserve
225 CT-37
New Fairfield, CT 06812 United States

(203) 546-7789


]]> (Great Hollow Nature Preserve) Places Fri, 15 Feb 2019 05:14:31 -0500
Mardi Gras Party Fundraiser March 1 in Patterson

Mardi Gras PPYT Fundraiser Party March 1 at 7-11PM

Bring your friends and come in costume to celebrate Mardi Gras while we raise funds for Pied Piper Youth Theater! All are welcome with a ticket (Adults only please)

Your $50 ticket includes Cajun Cookin', King Cake, Beer, Wine and a night to remember!

Dress code: fun flamboyant and festive!!

We will have Raffles, Silent Auction, Live Auction, Costume Prizes and even a Stella Yelling Contest!

Funds raised will go toward further building improvements and Spring semester programming

Get your tickets here -

Friday, March 1, 2019 at 7 PM – 11 PM

Schweiger Hall, Camp Herrlich

101 Deacon Smith Hill Rd
Patterson, NY 12563

]]> (Pied Piper Youth Theater) Events Thu, 14 Feb 2019 12:37:21 -0500
Recipe of the Week: 5 Minute Chocolate Mousse

Here is a perfect sweet Valentine's Day treat recipe from Dessert for Two.  5 minute and 5 ingredient easy chocolate mousse for two.


  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 ounces milk chocolate chips (heaping 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. First, separate the egg and have the egg yolk ready in a bowl nearby.
  2. Next, pour the heavy cream in a medium bowl, and place it in the fridge with the electric beaters. (We're pre-chilling to speed up whipping time).
  3. The rest of the recipe needs to be completely quickly.
  4. Next, melt the chocolate: In a medium glass bowl, add the chocolate chips and butter. Turn the microwave power down to 50%, and microwave for 20 seconds. Stop and stir. Repeat until about 2/3 of the chocolate chips are melted. For the remaining chips to melt, slowly and gently stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. The residual heat of the bowl will melt the rest. The mixture should be smooth. (If the mixture is pasty or grainy, you have burned the chocolate, and you must start over). Stir in the egg yolk.
  5. Once the chocolate is melted: work quickly! Whip the cream in the pre-chilled bowl using an electric mixer on high with the pre-chilled beaters. Once the cream has soft peaks, add the powdered sugar and add all of the melted chocolate. If the chocolate has started to firm up slightly, you're fine--just work fast.
  6. Beat the chocolate into the cream mixture until fully incorporated, about 15 seconds maximum.
  7. Divide the mousse between two serving dishes.
  8. Serve immediately, or chill it for up to 3 days but bring it to room temperature for an hour before serving (it will harden as it chills).
]]> (Dessert for Two) Life Thu, 14 Feb 2019 12:28:07 -0500
For a Good Time Call Old Ringers at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

In the words of George Michael, “Sex is natural, sex is good. Not everybody does it, but everybody should.” And some people find it lucrative to do it over an untraceable phone attached to a PayPal account in order to pay the electric bill.
Making its Connecticut debut, the Ridgefield Theater Barn’s first offering of its 53rd season, Old Ringers, by Joe Simonelli, finds women of (mostly) an advanced age in that very spot, to often absurd outcomes. 
When Diane (Frances McGarry) finds her Social Security check drastically diminished, a wrong number to a sex hotline opens the door to an adventurous financial opportunity. Joined by her friends--the frisky Verna (Linda Seay), the trepidatious Kathy Ann (Stefanie Rosenberg), and the sensible Rose (Laurel Lettieri)--and her carefree boyfriend Harry (Mark Rubino), Diane and the group must navigate worldly challenges and personal discoveries while maintaining their sense of humor and avoiding the judgmental gaze of Diane’s pious daughter Amanda (Sarah J. Ahearn) and a roving Detective Rumson (Joshua Adelson).
The playwright defines these characters through, at times, heavy handed dialogue and slapstick-driven motivations, but the actors bring humanity and genuineness to such two-dimensional archetypes with guidance and adjustments from director Carol Dorn, who freshens the material a bit for the present era of technology, sex positivity, and elder visibility.
Our protagonist is played to authentic perfection, down to the just-right Bronx accent and lilt of a seasoned day-drinker, by McGarry. Her throughline is natural no matter what wacky situations or daring costumes she is put into. McGarry is matched in energy and ease by Rubino as Harry (who has some fun costuming moments of his own). 
You could not ask for a better trio of friends than Diane’s to join her on this romp. Verna’s cliche “tramp” label was navigated well without unnecessary over-sexualization by Seay (who somehow did not come off as intoxicated despite double fisting a flask and a screwdriver. Impressive.). Lettieri’s Rose emanated grace and maturity (and a convincing bum hip), especially when espousing the customary “old lady wisdom,” despite the actress being no senior citizen.
Simonelli’s characters have some clunky and immediate transitions to make, and the cast worked diligently to make them seamless. Rosenberg’s Kathy Ann telegraphed her coming out moment from her first line, however, her distinct voice and pacing shifts were necessary for her bombastic reveal and she thrilled audiences in the process. Ahearn’s Amanda had to do some equally difficult personality gymnastics with the introduction of Tony Rumson, a detective played by newcomer to the craft Adelson. Ahearn jockeyed between over-wrought, teetotaling Christian and relaxed, inebriated flirt with speeds to induce whiplash. Adelson’s depiction of Rumson was a bit of a paradox as the actor’s earnestness clashed with the character’s reported bravado. For an acting debut, he rose to the occasion.
Indicated by the pre-show music, this world of women was raised on Diana Ross, Lesley Gore, and Sonny and Cher in the sexual revolution 60s, and came of age in the self-improvement 70s. That these ladies would be so hung up on the morality theories of others was a convenient if implausible plot device, and the use of the detective as the literal as well as figurative voice of the law fell flat. Someone needs to tell these folks to relax: as long as everyone’s over eighteen years old, phone sex hotlines are not illegal. Sorry Tony.
Setting the actual stage, kudos to set designer and builder Nick Kaye. The verisimilitude of the Bronx abode was not only impressive to behold, but grounded the farcical nature of the action in a world that could be realistically inhabited, and where the coffee was hot enough to see the steam from the last row. While the comedy benefits from the low-hanging fruit of scantily- (or comically)-clad seniors, costume designer Will Heese outfitted each character in garb that fit personalities and situations naturally and completely (although Kathy Ann could use a longer coat to support her character’s presented modesty, as her costume is still visible to the audience and cheats the reveal a little).
This is a show to take advantage of RTB’s cabaret style seating. Bring your favorite noshes, libations, and snacks to marvel at the riotous and resolute journeys these seven characters take. This brassy offering is anything but subtle as it raises laughter the to the rafters from sold out audiences. 
Old Ringers runs until February 23, 2019 at the Ridgefield Theater Barn, 37 Halpin Ln, Ridgefield, CT, 06877. Doors open one hour prior to curtain, which is 8PM evenings and 2PM matinees. Tickets are $35 for adults, and $28 for seniors, students and veterans, and available at or by calling the box office at 203- 431-9850. For more information, email

Recommended for mature audiences.

Photo Credit: Paulette Layton

]]> (Christine S. Bexley) Events Thu, 14 Feb 2019 09:37:37 -0500
Teens and Adults Create Bearded Earrings

Teens and Adults Create Beaded Earrings
Saturday, February 16, 1:30-4:30pm* *Can't make it at 1:30 pm? Join us anytime up until 4:00 pm! Come to the Somers Library to make your own beaded earrings and make additional pairs to donate. For example, for every pair of earrings you make for yourself, you will also make the same amount to be donated* to a local women's shelter. This free program is intended for adults, teens & tweens entering 5 grade & up. *Since this workshop benefits a women's shelter, it could be considered for community service hours. Please register on our online calendar at or call 914-232-5717. Our programs are funded by the Friends of the Somers Library through your donations. The Somers Library — 914-232-5717 —

]]> (Somers Library) Places Thu, 14 Feb 2019 05:38:41 -0500
Hop on down to Pegasus Farm for an Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is just a hop, skip and a jump away, and the whole herd is excited! Pegasus Therapeutic Riding, Inc. invite you to join us for an Easter Egg Hunt on the farm:

Sunday, April 7 

Pegasus Farm
310 Peach Lake Rd
Brewster, NY 10509

Includes egg hunt, bake sale, arts & crafts, photo ops and barn tours. This is a free event, and all ages are welcome! Be sure to bring a basket, grab some friends and come to Pegasus Farm for a fun-filled afternoon.

Rain Date: Sunday, April 14 ~ 12:00-2:00pm

Contact Candice Sciarrillo at (845) 669-8235 x110
or for further information.

]]> (Candice Sciarrillo) Events Thu, 14 Feb 2019 05:33:30 -0500
March support groups in Putnam and Dutchess for women with cancer

CANCER SUPPORT AVAILABLE: Support Connection, Inc., a not-for profit organization that provides free, confidential support services for people affected by breast and ovarian cancer, offers a wide range of free support groups women with breast and ovarian cancer. Groups focus on topics pertaining to living with cancer through all stages of diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment. They are offered in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess, and by toll-free teleconference. For a complete calendar of groups at all locations, visit Advance registration is required for all groups; call 914-962-6402 or 800-532-4290.

The following support groups are scheduled in Putnam and Dutchess in March:

AT EAST FISHKILL COMMUNITY LIBRARY IN HOPEWELL JUNCTION: Breast and Ovarian Cancer Support Group: Tues., Mar. 12, at 10:15 am.

AT PUTNAM HOSPITAL CENTER IN CARMEL: Breast & Ovarian Cancer Support Group: Wed., Mar. 20, at 7 pm

AT VASSAR BROTHERS MEDICAL CENTER IN POUGHKEEPSIE: Breast & Ovarian Cancer Support Group: Thurs., Mar. 28, at 7 pm

BY TELECONFERENCE: For those unable to attend groups in-person, there are monthly Telephone Support Groups via toll-free teleconference, enabling women to participate regardless of their location and from the comfort of their homes. Call a few days ahead to learn how to participate. The Advanced Stage or Metastatic Breast Cancer Telephone Group will take place on Mon., Mar. 4, at 8 pm EST. The Ovarian Cancer Telephone Group will take place on Wed., Mar. 13, at 8 pm EST.

]]> (Support Connection) Charities Thu, 14 Feb 2019 05:22:48 -0500
Loving You

Valentines Day is the holiday of love. Hearts, flowers, chocolates and greeting cards abound. I call it a [insert name of famous card company] holiday. Along with Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and Grandparents Day. Made up holidays for the purpose of selling cards and such.

Don’t get me wrong, holidays that celebrate love are not bad things, on their surface. We all enjoy feeling loved and appreciated. It’s the obligation part that bothers me. 

I am not a go-with-the-flow kind of person. I abhor doing things because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Routine is the murderess of creativity. Why must I express my love by buying a card with someone else’s words on it? Why do I have to give a card at all? Or triple-priced roses? What if I have a partner that doesn’t like chocolate? Or eating a faux romantic dinner in an overcrowded restaurant charging jacked-up pricing? Maybe baby ducks are a romantic gift to me! 

What if I don’t currently have a romantic relationship?? 

Ok, let’s take a breath. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, time to park the drama llama. Being the intelligent, compassionate, mindful beings that we are, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture. 

Valentines Day is about love, right? Right. What’s that expression- something about you can’t truly love anyone else unless you love yourself? Yes, that’s it. 

Do you? Honestly? Most of us say yes, then proceed to tick off a list of our flaws or shortcomings. Bah! Back to the drawing board. 

Ok, another breath. Good. Now- how many of you are there? One. Yes! First reason for loving you. You are a unique gift that can’t be replaced. What’s more special than that?!

Next, you are not your accomplishments or shortcomings. Those are life events that teach us, not define us. You are a beautiful soul connected to all of the other beautiful souls that have ever existed. Wow! A very deep reason for loving you.

Remember too that your very existence shapes the way history happens. Whaaat? Yes! You have a purpose in this world. You may not (and probably won’t ever) know what it is, but trust me, it’s true. It’s not silly or something to dismiss. This story illustrates it perfectly:
A man was driving to work. He was running a little late. He got stuck behind an elderly driver going annoyingly slow. Always happens when you’re late, he thought, growing angrier by the minute. He beeped the horn, rode the old lady’s bumper, wove back and forth, even thinking to maybe pass her despite the double yellow lines. She’s going 25 miles per hour, I usually do 50 on this road! After this next sharp turn in the road, I could go, he thought. Just then, the woman hit her brakes, forcing him to slam on his. Furious, he was prepared to scream at her when he looked up, past her car, into the blind turn. There was a moments-old three car accident blocking both sides of the road. He sat there in awe as he realized had he been going his usual speed he could not have stopped in time. Her annoyingly slow driving had inadvertently saved his life. 

Was this her universal purpose? Possibly. We may never know. That’s the wonder of life. One tiny action on your part can change the course of someone’s life. A profound reason for loving you. Now imagine how impactful the kind things you do on purpose are. 

So on this and every Valentines Day, remember it’s about loving you. Jack Kornfield reminds us “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” When you are unashamedly and compassionately in love with yourself for the unique, amazing, irreplaceable being that you are, then you can completely love someone else. Your way, on your terms, not the way some made up holiday dictates. No cards, chocolates or fancy dinner necessary. The best gift you can give is loving you, no purchase or conformity required.

Kat Symington Muendell, RYT200, AFAA-CGFI, Certified 3X3Fit Instructor and card-carrying Tibetan Buddhist is the owner of Balance Wellness Studio in Mohegan Lake, NY. Email her at or visit the Balance website at 

HamletHub Health & Wellness Series: Get Healthy in 2019 

For the first months of the year, you will be treated to a series of articles from local experts in the health and wellness field.

Topics will include physical health, mental wellness, fitness, nutrition, financial well-being, and more.

Search #GetHealthyin2019 for other articles  on this HamletHub edition

SUBSCRIBE today to receive HamletHub's Nightly Newsletter

Type your email in the Subscribe field to the above right and click "Subscribe" 

]]> (Kat Symington Muendell ) Life Thu, 14 Feb 2019 04:27:48 -0500
New Report Shows How Romance Scams Often Lead to Further Fraud for Victims

Fall in Love...Go to Jail

With Valentine’s Day comes increased activity on dating websites where singles look for love. Unfortunately, these sites are rife with fraudsters who use affection to manipulate their victims. A new Better Business Bureau (BBB) report finds that online romance scams often escalate as scammers turn their victims into unwitting accomplices known as “money mules.”

As detailed in the February 2018 BBB study, romance scammers typically contact their victims through dating websites, apps or social media, often using fake profiles and even stolen credit card information. Using these false identities, scammers may spend months grooming their victims, building what is believed to be a loving relationship, before asking for money to handle an emergency or travel expenses.

The financial damage inflicted by these scams, which is often accompanied by far greater emotional harm, is often just the tip of the iceberg. According to the new BBB report, 20 to 30 percent of romance scam victims were used as “money mules” in 2018 alone, with these victims numbering in the thousands.

Money mules act as financial middlemen in a variety of scams. Victims unknowingly launder money from other victims by receiving stolen money or goods and sending them on to fraudsters who are often out of the country. This occurs when the romance scam victim has no money or has already given all of their money to the scammer. The victim may be a willing accomplice or may have a variety of other motives such as love, fear, or financial compensation. By providing this type of aid to the fraudster the victim implicates themselves to a variety of other frauds, making it harder for law enforcement to identify the real perpetrator.

As law enforcement cracks down on romance scams and other frauds, money mules have also been prosecuted, sometimes facing jail time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution payments. In most cases, however, there is no desire to take criminal action against unwitting participants who had no financial gain and who stop transferring money for crooks as soon as they realize the role they have been playing.

According to the new BBB report, cybersecurity experts have traced the bulk of online romance scams to Nigerians who operate these frauds in several countries around the world, including the U.S. The same groups involved in romance scams frequently operate other frauds on a worldwide scale. Five people have reported a romance scam in Connecticut last year according to BBB Scam Tracker. One expert reports that at any given time, there may be more than 25,000 scammers online with victims.

What to do if you are the victim of a romance scam:

Report the fraud to 
Report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call 877-FTC-Help
Report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3
Report it to the Senate Aging Committee Fraud Hotline or call 1-855-303-9470
Victims who have sent money through Western Union should contact them directly at 1-800-448-1492.
Victims who have sent money through MoneyGram should notify them directly at 1-800-926-9400.

]]> (CT BBB) Public safety Thu, 14 Feb 2019 03:23:37 -0500
Alli Byrne of Brewster Performs in Wooster School's “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

Wooster School Theater Presents “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

Follow the adventures of six young, highly competitive word lovers, along with four pre-selected audience members who will agree to try their hands at the bee. No two shows will be the same, but you are guaranteed laughs no matter who is spelling.

Wooster School theater department proudly presents “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” with music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman, with additional material by Jay Reiss.

Performances in the Black Box Theatre are: Friday, February 22 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, February 23 at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm, Friday, March 1 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 2 at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm.

Note: due to anticipated heavy demand for tickets, we have also added a show on Thursday, February 28 at 6:00 pm.

All tickets are $15 each. Ticket purchases can be made at:

Seating is extremely limited, so we ask that you please honor your reservation.

About Wooster School

Wooster School is an independent, co-educational college preparatory day school, serving students from Fairfield and Westchester Counties. Located in Danbury, Connecticut, the School serves students from grade 3 through grade 12. A leader in classroom innovation and teaching, Wooster School is a place where thinking and learning are personal, meaningful, and visible; and where faculty work closely with students in small classes and cohorts to think and communicate critically and creatively. At Wooster, every student participates, every student contributes, and every student learns and develops the necessary skills to be a life-long learner and leader in college and beyond.

To learn more, visit or contact Wooster School Admissions at (203) 830-3916.

Photo: Front Row (Left to Right) Alli Byrne '22 (Brewster, NY), Charlie Snow '19 (Ridgefield, CT), Meghan Bourgeault '20 (Ridgefield, CT); Back Row (Left to Right) Ross Spellman '19 (Norwalk, CT), Dayo Garritano '20 (Wilton, CT), Alex Ancona '22, (Redding, CT)

]]> (Wooster School) Life Wed, 13 Feb 2019 16:37:19 -0500
Get Wildly Romantic For Valentine's Day!

Love is rare. So are wolves.

Sponsor a critically endangered mating pair for a wildly romantic gift!

There's still time to share your love for wolves this Valentine's Day! Show someone you really love them by sponsoring a critically endangered red wolf or Mexican gray wolf mating pair.

After all, wolves mate for life!

Looking for a unique way to say "I love you" to that special person? Hoping to find a gift that represents how they bring out your animalistic side? Sponsor one of our critically endangered mating pairs for a wildly romantic present!

The Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) participates in Species Survival Plans (SSPs) designed to recover critically endangered red wolves and Mexican gray wolves, both of which were at one point extinct in the wild. As part of these plans, the WCC pairs red wolves and Mexican gray wolves for breeding season each year in the hopes that they will contribute to the growth of their endangered populations with pups. This year, the WCC is home to FIVE potential breeding pairs!

Wolves, in a manner very similar to (most) humans, are monogamous, meaning they mate for life. They form bonds that are resilient and romantic, spending weeks cultivating a relationship that is not only crucial to their survival, but the survival of their species. 

Recipients will receive an online certificate of their sponsorship. Certificates will be emailed to the email address provided upon completion of the sponsorship process. View sample sponsorship certificate.

Please contact the WCC (914-763-2373) with any questions or concerns about the sponsorship process.

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Save the Date: March 21 for Patterson Relay for Life Kickoff!

2019 Patterson Relay For Life will have a Disney theme!

We are looking to increase the number of teams at the Patterson Relay For Life and hope that you might be willing to lead your own team in the fight against cancer. Teams can be made up of family, friends, clubs, places of worship, sports teams or co-workers. We will help you get started and support you as you put your team together.

If you, or someone you love has been touched by cancer forming a team is a rewarding and powerful way to fight back. Participating in Relay For Life is a great way for students to earn community service.

Our 2019 Kickoff Party will be held on March 21st 6PM-8PM at Centennial Golf Club in Carmel. Join us to find out what is new and exciting for 2019. Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact Tracey Walsh:

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