Bridgeport's HamletHub Wed, 27 Oct 2021 02:54:43 -0400 Bridgeport resident, avid art collector passes, leaves extensive collection, exclusive viewing during Bridgeport Art Trail

During the Bridgeport Art Trail celebration weekend, on Fri 11/13/2021 an exclusive viewing of select works from the collection of Harry Laurie will be on exhibit at Paier College, including works by Bansky, Andy Warhol, Christo, Alice Neel, Robert Rauschenberg, Shepard Fairey.

Admission for the Bridgeport Art Trail fundraiser is $50, attendees will enjoy reception bites and drink and gypsy swing jazz by the Hot Club of Black Rock. "Since Harry lived in Black Rock, we thought a Black Rock based jazz ensemble was appropriate, and they are really a perfect fit for this event," says Suzanne Kachmar, the founder and director of the Bridgeport Art Trail.

"During the Covid shutdown, our City Lights/Bridgeport Art Trail nonprofit found ways to remain relevant, active, and advocate for artists who lost their income as gig-economy small business entrepreneurs. During that time of the Covid shutdown the nonprofit facilitated supplemental income for gig-economy creatives through work, sales, referrals and partnerships totaling $80,000. "So now we need to restore our discretionary and general operating funds so we can sustain the organization and maintain our ability to respond quickly to needs and opportunities., fulfilling out mission to serve the community through art," Kachmar explains.

To understand the size of the collection says artist friend JoAnn Moran, "There are 157 Shepard Fairey signed prints alone."Moran has been charged with the task to catalog and organize the collection. "We are still authenticating some of the works, including Bansky and Basquiat." She adds, “Much of what Harry bought was because he really appreciated the artists’ work. He was so intrigued by the Antoni Tapies’ work he traveled to Barcelona Spain to meet him.”

The life of Bridgeport native, Harry Laurie and his passion for collecting art is a jumble spanning from Woodstock to a truck driving Teamster amassing an impressive collection of art and collectibles.
In the spirit of Barnum himself, collectors and curiosity-seekers can catch a preview of select works from one of Bridgeport’s best-kept secrets of an extensive art collection that will be on view at this Bridgeport Art Trail fundraiser, Enjoy reception fare and live music by the Hot Club of Black Rock.

City Lights/Bridgeport Art Trail hosts this event with Paier College at the gallery in the Bernhard Center at 84 Iranistan Ave. It is the first public exhibit happening at the college since Paier relocated to the once University of Bridgeport campus. Community-based sponsors include lead sponsors of the Bridgeport Art Trail, Fairfield County's Community Foundation, the city of Bridgeport, along with event sponsors People's United Bank, Paier College, Coles, Baldwin Kaiser and Creager, LLC who are handling the estate. 

 To purchase tix and more info  

]]> (City Lights & Company) Neighbors Sat, 23 Oct 2021 14:27:10 -0400
Live Music at Black Rock Social House in Bridgeport: Out on Bail

Enjoy dinner and drinks at Black Rock Social House on Friday, November 19 from 9 to 11:30 pm. Stay for live music from Out on Bail!

]]> (Black Rock Social House) Events Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:28:09 -0400
Bridgeport's WICC radio expands reach to 107.3 FM signal

WICC radio, which has been on the AM dial since 1926, adds 107.3 FM as an additional frequency.  

Bridgeport’s first radio station has been a fixture at 600 AM since 1930, delivering news and information to the local community for decades. The radio station features local personalities Melissa Sheketoff in mornings, Lisa Wexler in middays and Paul Pacelli in afternoons.  

“With the addition of an FM frequency, we will really be able to get local news and information to more of the listeners of Bridgeport and beyond,” said Program Director Allan Lamberti. “This is a community that is underserved by local television news and really WICC is the only radio station that delivers it.” 

Connoisseur Media purchased WICC in 2019 with its mission to deliver more quality local news programming to the area.  

“WICC is one of the first radio stations in our state and it’s our honor to not only expand its reach but also to continue to keep it relevant and local for southern Connecticut,” said Senior Vice President / Market Manager Kristin Okesson.  

WICC, beyond the over the air signals, can be heard via stream at and on its exclusive app and smart speaker skills. The 107.3 FM signal can be heard in the Bridgeport Metropolitan region. 

Connoisseur Media is headquartered in Westport, CT. Connoisseur Media owns or operates 14 radio stations in four markets: Metro Fairfield, CT; New Haven CT; Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), NY; and Frederick, MD. 


]]> (Kerry Anne Ducey) Life Tue, 19 Oct 2021 05:32:54 -0400
Staples High School Student Creates Learning Kits to Make Math Fun and to Benefit Horizons Greens Farms Academy

Eva Simonte, a junior at Staples High School in Westport, has created a unique and fun way for students to learn math. Eva has created kits that she calls “Fun Math Horizons” where children learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide through a board game and also through a bracelet-making activity she developed.

By using a hands-on approach, Eva is helping children to learn the basic math concepts in an interactive and fun way. Eva is selling her kits for $15 with all proceeds going to Horizons Greens Farms Academy (Horizons GFA) which has their offices in Westport. Horizons GFA serves students from low-income families attending Bridgeport Connecticut’s under-resourced public schools.

For Eva, learning math by making it a fun subject is personal for her. In elementary school, one of Eva’s teachers introduced math games and that sparked the idea of how math could be both enjoyable and apply to real life. As Eva says, “Through these games, I found myself learning to understand fundamental topics that I had previously struggled with, while actually enjoying math for the first time.” Eva has designed her kits for children in the 3rd-5th grade range, but the kits can be enjoyed by children of various ages.

Eva has led math workshops for children at the Yerwood Center in Stamford where she donated the supplies needed and began experimenting with different math activities to see which ones were the most effective and engaging. Eva says, “I have applied my observations to this project in order to create kits that children can both learn from and have fun doing so.”

Eva is now looking for local businesses in Westport to carry her Fun Math Horizons Kits to help support the mission of Horizons GFA. Eva feels that with the holiday season coming and with the learning loss that has occurred during the pandemic, these kits can help enrich a child’s learning of math in a fun way and make a great gift as well.

Horizons GFA is a non-profit that provides access and opportunity to underserved Bridgeport students from Pre-K through college by emphasizing academics and social-emotional learning while providing exposure to a wide variety of social, cultural and recreational enrichment experiences. 

As Eva says, “My goal is to share my experience in math with as many children as possible. By purchasing a kit, you will be helping both your child enhance their own learning and also elevate the education of other kids through your support for Horizons GFA.” Eva has created a website where information can be found about her kits: and she has also set up a GoFundMe campaign for supporters to benefit Horizons GFA: 

]]> (Kerry Anne Ducey) Neighbors Mon, 18 Oct 2021 06:55:50 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter in Bridgeport: Arc Angels Design

Why Small Businesses Matter

Shop small, do big things for your community

Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!

You're IT Arc Angels Design!

Four questions with Mike Trikonis, founder of Arc Angels Design.

Why did you start your business?

As a skilled Iron Worker, I spent years working for others and honing different skill sets. Yes, I am a welder, but I’ve also managed a store, worked as a cook, started a small successful photography studio, and have worked with many different types of people. With that experience, I was able to start a small local business doing something that I really enjoy doing, and have many different parts of my past work experience aid in making a small business a great business.

I produce products that people need and many that people would love to have. I make them artistically to fit my customer's lifestyle, I make them affordable but out of outstanding quality and best of all I get to communicate with my customers face to face to go over what they really want. In the day of Amazon and big-box stores, I am the company that stands in the gap and is able to provide exactly what my customers want and they know that they are getting something from a real person, living next door, providing the best he can.

All of my customers appreciate that and they keep coming back or telling a friend and all the labor is hard and the hours long, it is all worth it.

What is your best-selling product/service?

We build dozens of custom iron railings a year for customers that are looking for a great-looking railing that will increase the value of their home as well as look absolutely wonderful. Many of our customers look online on Pinterest or other popular sites and see something that they love and we create it for them with the additional details that they like.

Another best seller is our custom Fire Pits for backyard living spaces. Made out of heavy gauge iron, and birdcage-style spark guards, our fire pits have been the center of the party all over Connecticut. We even have many customers that request cooking grates to cook their favorite meals over a nice fire pit. Both products are functional as well as artistic.

How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?

Locally we have a few small businesses that support us. Most of them tend to be Outdoor Design businesses. In fact, one of our main supporters is Outdoor Design and Living on Bronson Road in Fairfield.

Have you "reimagined" your small business?

When we first opened Arc Angels Design, it was to not just start a welding shop. It was to make a product that we knew our customers would love and enjoy for years to come. Big box stores sell products that seem to last a season or two. We want our customers to spend their hard-earned money on a product that they love and want to last for years to come.

Mike would like to nominate Shariff Mart - "Another small business for a man with a big heart, a great store and would appreciate it!"

Visit Arc Angels Design online here on their Facebook page or give them a call at 203-685-8083.

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

]]> (Dan) Places Thu, 14 Oct 2021 06:26:23 -0400
CT's Beardsley Zoo's Amur Tiger Reka to Transfer Out

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo will say goodbye next week to Reka, a female Amur tiger born at the Zoo, as she moves to a new permanent home.

Born on November 25, 2017, Reka and her sister Zeya were raised by the Zoo’s animal care staff when their mother, Changbai, displayed no interest in her cubs. Zoo guests and supporters have followed Reka and Zeya’s journey from newborns whose survival was uncertain to the healthy young adult tigers they are today. 

Managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), inter-regional transfers are arranged with careful attention to gene diversity in the hope that successful breeding will take place. Last year, Zeya was sent to Rosamond Gifford Zoo as an excellent genetic match to that Zoo’s resident male tiger. Reka’s new home zoo will announce her arrival once a standard quarantine period is complete later this fall.  Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo remains home to Reka and Zeya’s mother, Changbai. 

Amur tigers are very rare and are critically endangered in the wild. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) statistics, today Amur tigers are thought to occupy less than seven percent of their original range. Threatened by habitat loss and degradation, poaching, tiger-human conflict, and loss of prey, four of nine subspecies have disappeared from the wild just in the past hundred years. The future of the Amur tiger has been a major concern of the world’s zoos for many years as the species has been pushed toward extinction. 

There is an SSP program in place for many species of animals through oversight by a group called the Taxon Advisory Group (TAG). The SSP makes breeding recommendations based on genetics, age and health of animals, and need for more of the species to protect future populations. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s Deputy Director, Don Goff, is the Co-Chair of the National Felid TAG group. He leads a committee of AZA-accredited zoo members whose goal is to save declining species.

“As sad as we are to say goodbye to Reka, the planned transfer of animals to other member zoos ensures the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied AZA population,” explained Goff.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has had repeated success in breeding endangered species, a testament to the Zoo’s animal care specialists and the highest quality of animal care.  The Zoo has been the birthplace of multiple endangered species in recent years, including Amur tiger cubs, maned wolf pups, red wolf pups, three baby Giant anteaters, and two Amur leopard cubs.

]]> (Lisa Clair) Places Thu, 14 Oct 2021 05:58:47 -0400
Greater Bridgeport Symphony Bassick H.S. Session Supports 76th Season Launch

Bridgeport, CT - The Greater Bridgeport Symphony featuring Conductor Eric Jacobsen and an orchestra of 55 musicians will play Dvorak “From the New World” along with a discussion led by Jacobsen. For students and faculty only, at Bassick High School, 1181 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport, on October 14 from 1-1:40pm.

This is an annual cycle of High School full-scale concerts that GBS has been doing in Bridgeport since 2017, interrupted for two years by Covid.  Last year, GBS distributed concert videos which were used by the music teachers at Harding and Central high schools.  

This year, GBS will give free tickets to students and their families who want to see GBS’ 76th season opening show, titled The Spirit Of ’76, on Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Klein in Bridgeport. GBS wants to make sure that kids who want to be there can be there and share it with their families.

More About GBS' Return:

The Greater Bridgeport Symphony (GBS) returns to The Klein in Bridgeport, CT for the first time since the pandemic began on Saturday, October 16 at 8:00pm for its appropriately themed Spirit of 76 honoring both the orchestra’s 76th season and the American-related music in its program.  

Conductor Eric Jacobsen is back for his eighth season. Pianist Andrew Armstrong, a favorite of local audiences, will perform Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 1", which debuted in its finished form in Philadelphia in 1917. The October program brings back two compositions cancelled in Spring 2020 because of the pandemic: Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9", “From the New World", which reflects the influence of American song and music on the Czech composer, and Gershwin’s rousing “An American in Paris.”  GBS will take this show on the road, performing Dvorak for students at Bridgeport’s Bassick High School on October 14.

Jacobsen will conduct three of the five concerts with the other two to be conducted by exciting up-and-comers: Brazilian-born Eduardo Leandro on November 13 and Israeli conductor Elinor Rufeizen on December 18. “We’ll have five incredible concerts this season, with Dvorak, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Bach, and we even have a dance troupe joining us for an onstage appearance in March,” said Jacobsen.  

Leandro will make his conducting debut with GBS on Saturday, November 13 at 8:00pm at The Klein and will showcase perhaps the most iconic of all symphonies – Beethoven’s 5th– as well as soloist (and GBS concertmaster) Deborah Wong, who will perform Prokofiev’s “Violin Concerto No. 1."  African American composer Jessie Montgomery’s “Starburst” will round out the program.  Rufeizen’s concert on Saturday December 18 at 8:00pm at The Klein will center around operatic arias that tell stories of bringing people together, with works by Puccini, Rossini, Mozart, Strauss, and Weber.  Mendelssohn’s “Italian Symphony” and, of course, favorites for the holidays – will top off this special evening.

“Something I have hoped to do for years,” is how Jacobsen describes GBS’ offerings in March. “Everything is different about this concert!” says Mark Halstead, GBS’ Executive Director. The orchestra will perform Holst’s “The Planets” with the famous Dance Heginbotham troupe. Groups of about 120 concertgoers will be invited on to the stage at the Mertens Theater at Paier College (formerly the University of Bridgeport) during six performances over three nights. Patrons can choose from either of two shows on Thursday March 10, Friday March 11, or Saturday March 12.  In this intimate setting, the audience will feel part of the music and dance around them. Shows will be at 7:00pm and 8:45pm on each of the three nights, with a reception (at extra cost) between shows. “Our season theme of ‘Coming Together’ is so well-represented here,” says Halstead. “Music and dance will merge right around the audience.”

Finally on Saturday, April 9 at 8:00pm at The Klein, GBS will be joined by the Connecticut Chamber Choir and the Fairfield County Children’s Choir to complete the season. On the eve of Palm Sunday, the ensembles will join for Bach’s “St. John Passion,” one of the most dramatic ecclesiastical works ever composed.  Grand in scale, it tells the tale of Christ’s crucifixion through dramatic chorale music.

GBS unofficially began its 76th season with a bang, performing for 2,500 people at Bridgeport’s newest attraction, the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater on Labor Day weekend. Their 75th season was anything but idle. Though there were no live indoor concerts in 2020-21, GBS presented a Covid-safe outdoor concert in September 2020 at Trumbull’s Indian Ledge Park. They followed this with a four-concert “eSubscription” season, with recorded full-orchestra concerts made available for in-home viewing all season long. It quickly became a fan favorite with viewers from all over the world, so the GBS is bringing it back again this year. These recorded concerts attracted such top-notch talent such as violinists Mira Wang and Simone Porter, as well as pianist Tiffany Poon. In addition to the eSubscription concert last December, Poon also hosted a livestream event from The Klein, and recorded an album with GBS, which is due out in the spring of 2022.

The videos created for the 2020-21 season were made available free-of-charge to the Bridgeport public schools and have already been used in music programs there. The videos will also allow residents of eldercare facilities, shut-in by the pandemic, to have great music come to them.  This new video capability, made necessary by the pandemic, will continue this season to bring music to young and old, who otherwise would not have access to it.

Ticket pricing remains the same as in recent years but now, the ticketing fees are now included in the list prices, which range in five levels from $85 to $255 for the full season, and from $18 to $65 for single tickets, available at  Patrons subscribing for a full season may request a complimentary eSubscription – all five concerts available for home viewing – with issue dates three weeks after the concerts.  Halstead explains, “We want to respond to those who may be uncomfortable with large public settings. The eSubscription gives patrons the flexibility to enjoy our music in their homes, while allowing our musicians an outlet for their tremendous talents and spreading our music as far as we can.”

]]> (Julie Lichtenstein) Neighbors Wed, 13 Oct 2021 15:15:41 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter in Bridgeport: Reservoir Community Farm

Why Small Businesses Matter

Shop small, do big things for your community

Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!

You're IT Reservoir Community Farm!

Four questions with Briana Wahl, Director of Operations at Reservoir Community Farm.

Why did you start your business?

Green Village Initiative (GVI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to grow food, knowledge, leadership, and community through urban gardening and farming to create a more just food system in Bridgeport. Currently, there are four main programs at GVI: Youth Leadership Program, School Gardens Program, Community Gardens Program, and Reservoir Community Farm.

GVI was founded in 2011 by a group of volunteers based in Westport.

Over the course of approximately one year, these volunteers built twenty-three school gardens throughout Bridgeport. In 2015 Green Village Initiative converted a vacant lot that was once a thriving community of small businesses, all originally on Paugussett Land, into an educational urban farm, Reservoir Community Farm. Reservoir Community Farm is now home to over forty community gardens plots, employs up to seventeen employees, including a paid Youth Summer program.

Tell me about Reservoir Community Farm 

We have grown significantly. We were able to completely rebuild school gardens based in Bridgeport at no cost to the schools. Through a partnership with Housatonic Community College, we are able to provide up to seven college credits for high school-aged youth who participates in our summer programs.

Through a partnership with UCONN called the Urban Farmer Training Program, we've supported the launch of Black Owned Urban Farms and small, local businesses. At Reservoir Community Farm we are able to officially provide a Farmer's Market in the Reservoir Neighborhood as we partner with local businesses including Blissful Awakenings and Park City Harvest to provide fresh produce at below-market prices.

The Bridgeport Farmers Market Collaborative also provides "Bridgeport Bucks" which is a form of currency that provides $5 to spend at Farmer's Markets throughout Bridgeport.

How many local businesses do you use to support Reservoir Community Farm (products and services) and can you name them?

We rely on and partner with several small businesses throughout Bridgeport for providing meals for youth and programs, hosting free workshops, or providing produce for local food businesses. Those businesses are:

- Park City Harvest
- Blissful Awakenings
- Leisha's Bakeria
- Dave's Angry Sauce
- The Wiggle Room
- Ganim's Garden Center
- A Pinch of Salt
- Nourish Bridgeport
- The Mary and Eliza Freeman Community Center
- Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe

Have you "reimagined" Reservoir Community Farm?

GVI in 2020 for the first time hired 4 full-time program managers and a full-time Director of Operations, this was the first time in our history when we've had this many full-time employees with benefits which allows us to accomplish more while ensuring we are an equitable place to work.

At Reservoir Community Farm we are the only educational urban farm in Bridgeport where our goal is not to sell the most productive but to be an outdoor community resource for learning and growing food in Bridgeport.

Reservoir Community Farm is located at 1469 Reservoir Avenue in Bridgeport. Visit Reservoir Community Farm online here, and make sure to check out their Facebook and Instagram pages as well!

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

]]> (Dan) Places Mon, 11 Oct 2021 10:05:32 -0400
SHU Community Theatre Establishes Choir for Seniors

The Sacred Heart University Community Theatre has established Youthful Hearts, a new community choir for singers age 70 and older that will rehearse and perform at the theatre in downtown Fairfield.

Under the baton of Michael Whitney Brown, esteemed director of Sacred Heart University’s Gospel Choir, vocal placement auditions will take place Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the theatre from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and the choir will begin regular rehearsals soon after. For more information call or email the theatre at 203-371-7956 or

“The SHU Community Theatre is thrilled to announce this wonderful program for community members to come together through the magic of song,” said Sacred Heart University President John J. Petillo. “Youthful Hearts is just one of many ways the theatre is becoming a cornerstone of cultural enrichment through live performances, film events, lectures and educational opportunities for Fairfield and the entire region.”

Brown hopes to bring the choir together with a wide-ranging repertoire of new and classic popular music. The singers will surprise and delight audiences with their programs, he said.

“We will present a range of choir music, from beloved standards to new works with a twist,” said Brown. “There will truly be something for everyone.”

The Youthful Hearts concept sprang from Young@Heart, a similar choir that started in Northampton, MA, in 1982. Profiled in The New York Times and on The Daily Show and Ellen, the singers―ranging in age from 75 to 92―have performed in Europe, New Zealand and Japan and were the subject of a documentary, Young@Heart. Their eclectic repertoire includes hits from The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Radiohead, The Beatles, U2, The Clash, Pearl Jam and OutKast.

“I think that the Youthful Hearts choir that Sacred Heart is putting together is such a wonderful idea,” said Brenda Kupchick, first selectwoman of Fairfield. “I love that it is a fun way to get our seniors involved and active in our community. As they begin, I wish the choir all the best and look forward to attending what I know will be a beautiful and heartwarming performance in the future.”

The SHU Community Theatre officially opened Labor Day Weekend, ushering in a new era of entertainment and enrichment at the bustling corner of Post and Unquowa roads. The century-old theatre has been fully reimagined and is now home to an array of exciting live concerts, film events and performances, including Broadway and jazz series, a singer-songwriter showcase and live comedy.

For tickets, visit the theatre’s website. For more information about the theatre, call 203-371-7956. 

]]> (Kim Swartz) Places Mon, 11 Oct 2021 10:02:52 -0400
CT's Beardsley Zoo Announces Zoo Photo Contest Winners

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is proud to announce the winners from its third non-juried photography exhibition, “Photography Goes Wild.”  This year, more than 100 photos were submitted from the Zoo’s many dedicated amateur and professional photographers, and hundreds of votes were received online for a People’s Choice winner.  

Photographers were invited to submit up to three photos of animals from Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, from current or previous years. Judges were Jesse Thompson, co-owner of Milford Photo; Roger Salls, owner of Roger Salls Photography; and Jack Bradley, Zoo volunteer and instructor of Zoo classes on animal photography. 

Photography Exhibition sponsor Milford Photo provided the first, second, and third prizes in the form of gift certificates to the store. In addition, a People’s Choice Award was selected, based on $1 votes from the audience. There was also a Zoo Director’s Pick, with Gregg Dancho selecting his favorite photo. 


First Place: “Sunny Snooze” by Jill Coulter of North Haven (Red panda)

Second Place: “I Know I’m Gorgeous” by Susan Schellhas of Stratford (Amur leopard)

Third Place: “Portrait of an Amur Tiger” by Robyn E Abrams

Honorable Mentions:

“Freya” by Elaine Dyer

“My Heart Belongs to You” by Bernadine Kane

“Red Panda Staredown” by Katie Slawitschek

People’s Choice:

“Courageous Balance” by Kendelle Pitts

Zoo Director’s Pick:

“Sloth” by Lillian Staron

“Art is a natural way for people to express their love of animals and appreciation of nature,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “The Photography Goes Wild Exhibit helps to showcase the stunning diversity of species at the zoo, and we hope, encourages people to focus on preserving wild habitats and animal conservation in new ways.”

Milford Photo Co-Owner Jesse Thompson said, “It’s been great partnering with the Zoo by providing area photographers with a fun venue to shoot and display their work. Milford Photo looks forward to more events at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo.”  

]]> (Lisa Clair) Neighbors Sat, 09 Oct 2021 10:55:25 -0400
Live Music: Tracy Jo and the Toads at Black Rock Social House

Visit Black Rock Social House for dinner and drinks and stay for live music from Tracy Jo and the Toads on Friday, October 15 from 9 to 11pm.


]]> (Black Rock Social House) Events Fri, 08 Oct 2021 12:32:27 -0400
Fairfield County Bank Donates $250,000 to Norwalk Hospital Expansion

Nuvance Health has announced a major expansion to Norwalk Hospital, expected to be completed in winter 2025-2026. The seven-floor, 180,000 square foot expansion project stands to be the largest in Norwalk Hospital’s history and will provide modern inpatient care and a comfortable soothing environment.

The Patient Pavilion project includes renovations and updates to existing spaces, including a new labor and delivery unit and a new intensive care unit. In addition, there will be significant improvements made in the infrastructure of the existing building and updates to the technology used in the hospital.

Norwalk Hospital President Peter Cordeau says of the project, “We are deepening the partnership with our community that is the bedrock of our Hospital—not just by building a contemporary structure and renovating essential services, but by revitalizing all the programs that are central to our mission.”

Fairfield County Bank has donated $250,000 to the project, becoming the first business to support the Patient Pavilion project.

Fairfield County Bank is proud to support this reinvestment into the community of Norwalk. “We are excited to be able to support such an important expansion to one of the pillars of the Norwalk community,” says Ralph DePanfilis, Chairman of the Board at Fairfield County Bank and Norwalk resident.  “This project will enhance the life-changing healthcare Norwalk Hospital offers and make it more accessible to the community it serves.”

For more information about the Pavilion project, please contact the Norwalk Hospital Foundation at or by calling 203-852-2216.

]]> (Jillian Fernandez) Charities Thu, 07 Oct 2021 12:54:33 -0400
FCBuzz Weekend: Art Festival, Starry Night, Live Music and MORE!


HamletHub is proud to partner with the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County and FCBuzz to Elevate Arts and Culture in Fairfield County! Each Friday, look a listing of weekend events and activities!

The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County celebrates the vibrancy and diversity of the arts and culture across the 15 towns in our region of coastal Fairfield County and each Wednesday issues our free E-Buzz newsletter with a selection of the hundreds of events posted to our website by our members. 

This weekend features quite a few October treats. First, take in the crisp October air by heading over to The Stamford Museum and Nature Center on Friday at 6pm for Outdoor Adventures: Things with Wings Night Hike View the last of the daytime birds as they get ready for the evening, see what fall insects are out and about, and try your hand at calling for local owls. 

If you prefer a musical adventure, then dig out your lawn chair, pick up some delicious food and drinks, and enjoy an outdoor concert with Marielle Kraft at MOCA Westport onFriday, 7pm. This Nashville-based indie pop singer/songwriter displays craftsmanship beyond her years, evident through her use of salient detail, raw emotion, and poignant word choice to describe moments “exactly as they feel.” Come early and check out the new exhibition, Between the Ground and the Sky. A double treat!

Also on Friday evening, an American icon is coming to Westport’s Levitt Pavilion For The Performing Arts for a special gala event on Friday at 8pm. Sheryl Crow has had more No. 1 singles in the Triple A listings than any other female artist. Her studio albums have sold 35 million copies worldwide. In addition to such No. 1 hits as “All I Wanna Do,” “Soak Up the Sun” and “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” Crow has lofted 40 singles into the Billboard Hot 100.

Another big star will be heading to CT this weekend on her “How Dare You” tour. Los Angeles-based comedian, actor, writer, producer and director Whitney Cummings makes her journey to The Ridgefield Playhouse on Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Best known for creating and starring in the NBC series “Whitney” and co-creating the Emmy-nominated comedy series “2 Broke Girls,”  Whitney packs her show with her signature incisive commentary on gender dynamics and other award-winning comedy.

Then on Saturday, the 40th Annual Outdoor Arts Festival opens at 10am at the Bruce Museum. Recognized nationally as one of the top 25 fine arts festivals, this celebration boasts 40 new and returning artists showcasing their work. Featuring fine contemporary art in oils/acrylics, watercolors, mixed media, drawings and prints, photography and sculpture, along with family art activities and delicious food. The festival runs all day, 10am-5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

If you’re thinking you’d like more of an indoor experience, then come to the opening reception for Chuck Webster’s exhibition Pantheons at One River School of Art + Design on Saturday, October 9th, 12pm-3pm. Stop by to meet the artist and view his amazing exhibit that crosses the mediums of painting, drawing, collage, and printmaking.

As the sun sets and the stars appear on Saturday at 6pm, the back lawn of Connecticut Audubon Society’s Center At Fairfield will come alive with music, food and spirits during Starry Night at Farm Pond. Celebrate the outdoors with your favorite food truck fare and the band Barnstorm! Come at twilight and stay till the bonfire goes out.

On Sunday at 4pm, celebrate the opening of the 50th Anniversary Season of The Chamber Players of the Greenwich Symphony at Round Hill Community Church Greenwich! The "Romantic Allusions"  concert features guest artists Heather Braun, violin, and Zohar Schondorf, horn. There will also be a performance on Monday, Oct 11, 7:30pm at the Greenwich Arts Council.

Finally, on Sunday from 6-8pm, at Kelsey Farm in Greenwich, enjoy wine, drinks, and delicious bites in a jazz club setting for an evening with some of the finest jazz artists on the scene today at the BackCountry Jazz Benefit Concertwith Music Director Bennie Wallace on tenor sax, Terell Stafford on trumpet, Godwin Louis on alto sax, Donald Vega on piano, Peter Washington on bass, and Herlin Riley on drums. 

See these and discover hundreds more events on our FC Buzz-Events page at

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Halloween Block Party at Black Rock Social House

Celebrate Halloween at Black Rock Social House during their Halloween Block Party featuring rooftop music from The Swamp Hogs to & Residual Groove, featuring members of KRIS. Plus, a visit from the Sanderson Sisters!

Wear your Halloween costumes (and dress for the weather) to participate in our costume contest with restaurant gift certificates as prizes.

**Book your VIP tent for $150, which includes seating for 6 and 2 rounds of drinks for 2 hours (6-8pm and 8-10pm seatings). Or you can book for the entire evening for $275, which includes 4 rounds of drinks.

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IRS: ABLE accounts: A valuable financial solution for people with disabilities

Achieving a Better Life Experience, also called ABLE accounts, are tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families. These accounts help disabled people pay qualified disability-related expenses without affecting their eligibility for government assistance programs.

Here are some key things people should know about these accounts.

Annual contribution limit

  • The 2021 limit is $15,000.
  • Certain employed ABLE account beneficiaries may make an additional contribution up to the lesser of these amounts:
  • The designated beneficiary's compensation for the tax year.
  • The poverty line for a one-person household. For 2021, this amount is $12,880 in the continental U.S., $16,090 in Alaska and $14,820 in Hawaii. 

Saver's credit

  • ABLE account designated beneficiaries may be eligible to claim the saver's credit for a percentage of their contributions. 
  • The beneficiary claims the credit on Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions. The saver's credit is a non-refundable credit available to individuals who meet these three requirements:
  • Are at least 18 years old at the close of the taxable year
  • Are not a dependent or a full-time student
  • Meet the income requirements

Rollovers and transfers from section 529 plans

  • Families may roll over funds from a 529 plan to another family member's ABLE account. 
  • The ABLE account must be for the same beneficiary as the 529 account or for a member of the same family as the 529 account holder. Rollovers from a section 529 plan count toward the annual contribution limit. For example, the $15,000 annual contribution limit would be met by parents contributing $10,000 to their child's ABLE account and rolling over $5,000 from a 529 plan to the same ABLE account.

Qualified disability expenses

  • States can offer ABLE accounts to help people who become disabled before age 26 or their families pay for disability-related expenses. These expenses include housing, education, transportation, health, prevention and wellness, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services.
  • Though contributions aren't deductible for federal tax purposes, distributions, including earnings, are tax-free to the beneficiary, if they are used to pay qualified disability expenses. 

More Information

ABLE Accounts - Tax Benefit for People with Disabilities
Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities
Form 1099-QA, Distributions from ABLE Accounts 
Form 5498-QA, ABLE Account Contribution Information 
Instructions for Forms 1099-QA and 5498-QA

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