Brookfield's HamletHub Sat, 16 Feb 2019 00:08:15 -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) Places Fri, 15 Feb 2019 08:51:37 -0500
Brookfield Residents Brady Penn-Kast and Marina Bacino Named to the Dean's List at RIT

Congratulations to Brookfield residents Brady Penn-Kast and Marina Bacino who made the Dean's List at Rochester Institute of Technology for the 2018 Fall Semester: Brady Penn-Kast is in the electrical engineer technology program, and Marina Bacino is in the film and animation program.

Degree-seeking undergraduate students are eligible for Dean's List if their term GPA is greater than or equal to 3.400; they do not have any grades of "Incomplete", "D" or "F"; and they have registered for, and completed, at least 12 credit hours.

Rochester Institute of Technology is home to leading creators, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers. Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls about 19,000 students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, making it among the largest private universities in the U.S.

The university is internationally recognized and ranked for academic leadership in business, computing, engineering, imaging science, liberal arts, sustainability, and fine and applied arts. RIT also offers unparalleled support services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation. Global partnerships include campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo.

For news, photos and videos, go to

]]> (RIT) Neighbors Fri, 15 Feb 2019 07:39:50 -0500
Brookfield Residents Can Preserve Their Favorite Trail by Nominating it as an Official Connecticut Greenway

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Connecticut Greenways Council today announced they are now soliciting nominations for official state greenway designations. Residents of Brookfield can nominate their favorite greenway by downloading this form and emailing it to

A “Greenway” is a corridor of open space which meets the criteria defined here.

“Greenways are an integral part of any community, offering recreational opportunities, providing alternative transportation options, helping to preserve the environment, and supporting economic development. Greenways make a community a more attractive place to live by connecting living spaces with the environment, and they preserve history while cultivating town pride,” said DEEP Commissioner-designee Katie Dykes. “The Connecticut Greenways Council encourages municipalities to embrace the designation process to facilitate sustainable development, enhancement, and preservation of these special places.”

As an example, here are the CT Greenways within 20 miles of Brookfield:

4 Mile Brook, Oxford
8 Mile Brook, Oxford
Larkin State Park Trail
Middlebury Greenway
Milford Greenway System
Naugatuck River - Torrington Section
Naugatuck River, Litchfield/Harwinton Section
New Milford River Trail Greenway
Newtown Greenway System
Pomperaug River Greenway, Southbury
Shepaug Greenway
Steele Brook Greenway, Watertown
Still River Greenway
The Ives Trail, Danbury

For a map of all the greenways in CT, please click here. For more details about the above greenways, click here.

An official designation by the Greenways Council recognizes a greenway as an open space that not only meets the definition of a greenway, but also enhances the community and is supported by local government initiatives.  Designated greenways, both for recreation and resource protection, will be listed in a subsequent revision of the State Plan of Conservation and Development and may receive increased consideration for a variety of grants.  There are currently approximately 75 designated greenways in Connecticut.

The Greenways Council will evaluate all nominated greenways for consistency with designation criteria.  Those selected for designation will be announced by the Greenways Council in conjunction with their National Trails Day event in June.

The nomination form is available as a word document or a PDF.  The preferred method for submission of completed nomination forms is by e-mail to, and digital photos and maps are preferred (digital photos of hard copy maps are acceptable).  Nominations may also be submitted on CD or other electronic storage device and can be mailed to Laurie Giannotti, CT DEEP, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127. The deadline for submission of nominations is April 26, 2019.

For more information please visit

]]> (Tara Daly) Places Thu, 14 Feb 2019 02:21:06 -0500
Brookfield Drivers In Love With Lower Gas Prices this Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day and, according to AAA Connecticut, Brookfield drivers continue their love affair with declining gas prices in The Nutmeg State. “Today, a gallon of self-serve, regular in Connecticut averages $2.45, down 3 cents compared to this time last week and 30 cents lower compared to this time last year,” says AAA Connecticut.

Nationally, things are not synonymous with the lower local prices at the pump. There are several reasons sparking an increase in national prices, said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “Frigid temps enveloping much of the nation have prompted a decline in consumer demand,” she said. “Couple that drop with ongoing refinery maintenance and cheaper crude oil prices, and drivers are seeing slightly higher prices at the pump.” The good news, however, is Connecticut prices haven’t yet reversed its downward trend, she added.

AAA’s weekly survey of prices in Connecticut’s six regions are:

Greater Bridgeport - $2.56

Lower Fairfield County - $2.53

New Haven/Meriden - $2.46

Greater Hartford - $2.38  

New London/Norwich - $2.49

Windham/Middlesex - $2.43

Statewide Average:  $2.45

Today, Arkansas and Missouri both register the lowest average per-gallon prices in the nation at $1.96 and $1.97, respectively.  California and Hawaii continue to trade places each week with the highest prices at $3.27 and $3.25, respectively. Connecticut moved down to the 10th spot on the list of states with the highest prices in the nation.

Average gas prices may be obtained daily through

]]> (AAA Connecticut) Life Thu, 14 Feb 2019 02:13:23 -0500
Brookfield Residents Named to Dean's List at Tufts University

Local students recognized for academic excellence at Tufts University

Tufts University recently announced the Dean's List for the Fall 2018 semester. Congratulations to Brookfield residents Emily Lazorchak and Emily Mendelson who have earned a spot on the Dean's List. Tufts University requires a semester grade point average of 3.4 or greater.

Tufts University, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

]]> (Tufts University) Neighbors Mon, 11 Feb 2019 15:35:11 -0500
106 Area Nonprofits Receive Over $1.3 Million in Grants from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation has announced the details for its current grantmaking cycle. Competitive grants totaling $1,330,037were awarded to 106 nonprofit organizations who align with the Community Foundation’s result areas and its vision to close the opportunity gap in Fairfield County by eliminating disparities in income, education, employment, housing and health.

The Community Foundation’s new strategic plan focuses on fostering a vital and inclusive community where every individual has the opportunity to thrive while promoting philanthropy as a means to create lasting change in Fairfield County. “It gives us great satisfaction to award 106 grants this season. It is Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s privilege and our honor to provide grants that help advance the work of these critical nonprofit organizations throughout the region. These grantees are creating lasting change and are working collectively to close the opportunity gap in Fairfield County,” stated Juanita James, CEO & President, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation’s result areas drive where the organization focuses its grantmaking, community leadership work, and fundraising efforts. The types of grants include program support, capacity building support, general operating support and the Fund for Women & Girls small grants. The following is a breakdown of recent grants by result area:

Result Area: All Fairfield County residents have safe, stable, healthy and affordable housing in communities of opportunity

Total Grants Awarded: $304,207

In this result area, the Community Foundation awarded grants to organizations that represent the Community Foundation’s ongoing commitment to supporting and sustaining thriving communities and ensuring equitable access to safe, healthy and affordable housing for all Fairfield County residents.  Grantees include Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust, Inc ($30,000); Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County ($14,000); Connecticut Association for Human Services ($20,000); Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants ($20,000); Connecticut Legal Services ($40,000); Connecticut Radio Information Systems ($6,657);

Connecticut Veterans Legal Center ($10,000); DataHaven ($35,000); Food Rescue US ($15,000); Norwalk Housing Foundation ($20,000); Partnership for Strong Communities ($25,000); Positive Directions - The Center for Prevention & Counseling ($7,250); Renewal House ($30,000); RYASAP ($6,000); and Southwestern CT Area Agency on Aging, Inc. ($25,000). Connecticut Legal Services, for example, will be utilizing its grant to support two efforts over the next year, including organizational strategic planning and legal advocacy on behalf of low-income housing residents in Bridgeport. Partnership for Strong Communities will be concentrating on its Reaching Home Campaign: Ending Homelessness in CT and utilizing the grant in this regard.

Result Area: All Fairfield County older youth and young adults have training and credentials that lead to meaningful career opportunities

Total Grants Awarded: $223,728

Young people in Fairfield County often graduate without the skills or preparation needed to secure a living-wage entry job. By aligning youth with educational tools and job opportunities, Thrive by 25 aims to empower every young adult to achieve self-sufficiency by age 25 – strengthening the future of our whole community. Within its comprehensive approach to empower every young adult to achieve self-sufficiency by age 25, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Thrive by 25 initiative stresses the importance of providing paid internships for youth and young adults in the region. Several organizations advancing that goal by providing critical paid internships were selected for grants, including: Inroads ($17,500); Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program in Stamford ($25,000); and Mill River Park Collaborative ($14,500). Additionally, a wide range of exemplary learning programs offered by local nonprofits were funded through this area of opportunity received grants. They include Beardsley Zoo ($25,000); Boys & Girls Village ($20,000); Housatonic Valley Association, Inc ($15,000); Justice Education Center ($10,000); Norwalk Community College Foundation ($44,178); SoundWaters ($5,000); Sterling House ($15,000); United We Dream, Inc ($17,500) and Urban League of Southern Connecticut ($15,000).

Result Area: All Fairfield County students graduate with a high school degree and are prepared for post-secondary education and employment.

Total Grants Awarded: $574,000

In this result area, the Community Foundation awarded grants to organizations that represent an ongoing commitment to education support to close the opportunity gap. The grants were awarded to Boys & Girls Club of Stamford ($5,000);City Lights and Company ($15,000);Educators for Excellence ($25,000);Connecticut Voices for Children ($20,000);Horizons at New Canaan Country School ($25,000);Horizons at Greens Farms Academy ($20,000);LifeBridge Community Services ($20,000);Project Morry ($25,000);SoundWaters ($20,000);Stamford Public Education Foundation, Inc. ($15,000);Green Village Initiative ($25,000);Norwalk Community College Foundation ($20,000);Center for Popular Democracy ($25,000);Center for Children's Advocacy, Inc ($30,000);Building One Community ($15,000); Carver Foundation ($25,000);Greenwich Alliance for Education ($20,000);Danbury Family Learning Center ($24,000);  Danbury Youth Services ($15,000);Horizons at NCC ($10,000);Bridgeport Caribe Youth League ($25,000);Best Buddies Connecticut ($15,000);McGivney Community Center ($15,000);ACCESS Education Service, Inc. ($15,000);Stamford Family YMCA ($15,000);Horizons at Sacred Heart University ($20,000);South End Community Center, Inc. ($15,000);Horizons at Brunswick School ($10,000); and Horizons National ($20,000).

Result Area: All Fairfield County women and girls are economically secure, healthy and safe

Total Grants Awarded: $$166,002.01

Through the Fund for Women & Girls, philanthropists come together to invest in sustainable solutions that support the safety, health and economic security of women and girls across Fairfield County. Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls (FWG) awarded five grants through its Renewable Grants Program to the following organizations: Center for Family Justice, Inc ($20,000); Center for Sexual Assault Crisis and Education ($20,000); Triangle Community Center ($20,000); Women's Center of Greater Danbury ($20,000); and YWCA of Greenwich ($20,000) for its Sexual Violence Prevention Program. An additional $30,002 was granted through FWG’s Small Grants Program to organizations that actively promote leadership development and improve the education and employment prospects for women and girls.  They include: Women's Campaign School at Yale University ($3,500); Connecticut Women's Education & Legal Fund (2,797); Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame ($2,500); Franklin Street Works($1,500); Girls Lead ($4,000); LiveGirl  ($355); Mount Aery Baptist Church ($2,250); Ms President US ($3,500); Norwalk Community College Foundation ($2,100); Norwalk Housing Foundation ($2,500); and Saturday Academy ($5,000). A grant was also provided to DataHaven for a research report.

Result Area: Community Advocacy

Total Grants Awarded: $62,100

Nonprofit organizations received a total of $62,100 as part of the Community Foundation’s Community Advocacy initiatives, including its GET OUT THE VOTE 2018 campaign which had 18 grantees. Those organizations receiving grants include: All Our Kin, Inc; Bridgeport Generation Now; Burroughs Community Center; Center for Children's Advocacy, Inc; Center for Popular Democracy; CF Leads; Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness; Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance; Council on Foundations; DataHaven; Domus Kids, Inc; FaithActs for Education; Greater Bridgeport Latino Network, Inc.; Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County; Housatonic Community College Foundation; League of Women Voters – Stamford; League of Women Voters of Bridgeport; League of Women Voters of Northern Fairfield County; League of Women Voters of Norwalk; LifeBridge Community Services; NACCP- Norwalk Chapter; National Coalition of 100 Black Women - New Haven Metropolitan Chapter; New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Norwalk Community College Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; University of Connecticut Foundation; YWCA of Darien – Norwalk; and YWCA of Greenwich.

As a valuable best practice, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence educates and informs nonprofits on Results Based Accountability as a framework for articulating and measuring the changes they are working toward. A complete list of grantees and information about applying for a grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is available at

]]> (Helen Koven) Charities Mon, 11 Feb 2019 09:38:57 -0500
Sarah Bohling Achieves Perfect Scores on Math SAT and Total ACT

Less than 15% of U.S. college-bound high school seniors achieve perfect SAT scores.  This year, six Immaculate High School seniors achieved perfect scores on their SAT math section, with two of those students achieving a perfect score on the Level II SAT math test and one achieving a perfect ACT composite score.

Sarah Bohling of Brookfield, Yuxuan Brittany Hu of Ridgefield, Wenqi Angela Lai of Brewster, Qianer Kris Lu of Ridgefield, Zhiwei Catherine Wang of Ridgefield and Mozhu Cindy Zhao of Bethel had a perfect score of 800 on the math portion of their SAT.

Yuxuan Brittany Hu and Wenqi Angela Lai also earned perfect scores (800) on the Math Level II SAT Subject Test, an advanced version of the regular SAT math portion. To succeed in the test, a student needs four years of math which must include precalculus and trigonometry. 

Sarah Bohling also earned a perfect composite score on her ACTs, achieving the full 36 points one can average of the four subject area scores—English, Reading, Math and Science.

Immaculate High School, ranked by Niche as a top ten best private college-prep high school in Fairfield County, has the highest student SAT scores of the Diocese of Bridgeport schools. Based on a four-year study of student college recognitions, Immaculate High School reports a return on tuition investment that yields three times the investment when attending Immaculate High School. Most recently, 90% of the Class of 2018 were awarded college scholarships and grants totaling $20 million and 100% of the students are attending highly respected colleges and universities, with 95% of them being accepted to their first or second choice colleges and universities. The top 10% of students achieved an average 1309 SAT score and nearly 75% of the class earned a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

In addition to a college-preparatory academic program that offers over 33 Advanced Placement classes and a STEAM curriculum featuring advanced technology, a CISCO certification program, renovated science labs and engineering classes, Immaculate High School has an award-winning Fine Arts program, a student career internship program, athletic teams that have won SWC and State Championships, 44 clubs and a Campus Ministry program that instills faith, compassion and reverence for others. Community service is also stressed; in 2018 students performed 27,794 hours of community service.  In the 2019-20 school year, Immaculate will be offering additional business courses as well as a Certified Nursing Associate program.

In the photo, left to right: Qianer Kris Lu, Zhiwei Catherine Wang, Sara Bohling, Yuxuan Brittany Hu, Wenqi Angela Lai and Mozhu Cindy Zhao

]]> (Immaculate High School) Neighbors Mon, 11 Feb 2019 09:16:20 -0500
Great Connecticut Resources at Your Fingertips, Celebrate 211 Day in Brookfield

United Way of Connecticut 2-1-1 stands ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

On Monday, 2/11, celebrate National 2-1-1 Day by reminding your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers to dial 2-1-1 or visit for the information, education and connection to services they need. Are you in a housing crisis? Are you or someone you care about in need of mental health services? Are you looking for an opportunity to volunteer in your community? In Connecticut, 2-1-1 Contact Specialists are ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.   

2-1-1 is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects more than 94 percent of our nation to essential health and human services either online or over the phone. 2-1-1 Connecticut is one of more than 200 2-1-1's located throughout the country.

Every day, highly-trained 2-1-1 Contact Specialists help callers access basic needs assistance, community resources and financial stability programs and resources such as free tax preparation assistance, job training and budget coaching. Contact Specialists also help callers in distress find relief when they are faced with food insecurity, homelessness, a mental health crisis or addiction. In 2018, 2-1-1 received more than 320,000 requests for service and more than 2 million web visits were made to

Have you created “My 2-1-1 Account”?

My 2-1-1 Account enables community providers, case workers and individuals to create custom resource lists and care plans that can be saved, shared, implemented and updated as needed.

Visit and click "sign up" in the upper right hand corner so that you can:

  • Create unlimited custom resource lists
  • Save resources to access at a later time
  • Create subject-specific resource lists
  • Email or text resource lists

In addition to providing information and referrals to programs and services, the 2-1-1 Connecticut contact center is certified in crisis intervention and accredited by the American Association of Suicidiology. Last year, Contact Specialists handled more than 114,000 crisis calls from individuals faced with situational, behavioral and emotional crises.

2-1-1 is proud to be the first place Connecticut residents turn to access help and find resources in their communities. 2-1-1 Connecticut is operated by United Way of Connecticut and receives support from the State of Connecticut and Connecticut United Ways.

]]> (United Way of CT) Charities Sun, 10 Feb 2019 08:56:05 -0500
Some Things Fishy Catering Receives Distinction in the 11th Annual WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards®

Some Things Fishy Catering was announced a winner of the renowned WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® in Bethel

WeddingWire, Inc., a leading global online wedding marketplace, annually celebrates the top wedding professionals on WeddingWire across more than 20 service categories, from venues and caterers to florists and photographers. These distinguished vendors exhibit superior professionalism, responsiveness, service, and quality when interacting with the five million monthly consumers who turn to WeddingWire to help ease their wedding planning process.

Some Things Fishy Catering received this esteemed award based on their outstanding experience working with real newlyweds. WeddingWire features more than three million reviews, and these notable vendors all received prompt, reliable, and quality feedback. "We are celebrating our 11th annual Couples’ Choice Awards, where we honor our vendors who help make millions of couples’ big day one to remember," said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. "Not only are these hardworking and distinguished wedding professionals, such as Some Things Fishy Catering, a fundamental part of the wedding planning process for engaged couples, but they help make WeddingWire a trusted source for
wedding planning. We congratulate everyone on this well-deserved achievement."

Some Things Fishy Catering is honored to be one of the top wedding businesses in Bethel on

For more information about Some Things Fishy Catering, please visit us on WeddingWire.

To learn more about he WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards®, please visit

]]> (Food Lover) Places Sun, 10 Feb 2019 07:50:12 -0500
Brookfield Residents Named to Hofstra University Dean's List

Hofstra University Congratulates Fall 2018 Dean's List Students

Hofstra University congratulates Brookfield residents Madeline Oldham and Zoel Weber who were named to the Fall 2018 Dean's List for their outstanding academic achievement.

Students must earn a grade point average of at least 3.5 during the semester to make the Dean's List.

Hofstra University is a nationally ranked and recognized private university in Hempstead, N.Y. that is the only school to ever host three consecutive presidential debates (2008, 2012 and 2016). 

]]> (Hofstra University) Neighbors Sat, 09 Feb 2019 08:45:33 -0500
Brookfield Is Invited To Stand With ALICE


Residents of Brookfield are invited to a legislative forum on Monday, February 25 to learn about the true scope of financial hardship in Connecticut and to participate in an in-depth discussion on strategies to help ALICE households achieve financial security.

Six years ago Connecticut United Ways committed to shining a light on households that, despite working hard, live paycheck to paycheck and are unable to afford life's most basic necessities such as housing, food, child care, transportation, technology, and healthcare. We call these households ALICE, an acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained Employed.

Brookfield residents can learn more about ALICE by visiting United Way of Western Connecticut, or calling (203) 792-5330.

According to the 2018 Connecticut United Ways ALICE Report, Connecticut's 3rd ALICE Report, 40 percent of Connecticut households are unable to make ends meet. Of this 40 percent, 30 percent (404,035 households) have earnings above the federal poverty line but below a basic cost-of-living threshold known as the Household Survival Budget.

ALICE cares for our children and aging parents, fixes our cars and works in our local grocery stores, retail stores, and restaurants. ALICE is our friend, neighbor, coworker and family member. We lean on ALICE for support; yet, many ALICE households are one emergency away from a financial crisis impacting their ability to feed their family, heat their home, maintain their housing, and ensure their medical care.

On Monday, February 25, Connecticut United Ways, the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors and the Commission on Equity and Opportunity are sponsoring a legislative forum on financial hardship. The forum will focus on the immediate needs of ALICE families and strategies to help families achieve financial security. Click HERE to view the We Stand With ALICE Legislative Forum Agenda.

"The 2018 ALICE Report confirms that a significant number of Connecticut's working families live under real financial strain, sometimes only one unexpected event away from distress" said Steven Hernández, Executive Director, Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, and Commission on Equity and Opportunity. "On February 25, we will bring together policymakers, researchers, business leaders, community providers and ALICE families to discuss how we can better serve those who struggle to make ends meet."

The event will run from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Room 2-E of the Legislative Office Building (LOB), at 300 Capital Avenue in Hartford. Coffee and light refreshments will be offered in the 2nd Floor Atrium prior to the event from 12:00-1:00 p.m.

The forum is free and open to the public, though anyone planning to attend is asked to register at:

"ALICE households are vital to our state's economic well-being, and we all know and depend on ALICE," said Richard Porth, President and CEO of United Way of Connecticut. "The ALICE legislative forum provides an opportunity for people who care about ALICE to think together about short-term and longer-term strategies that can lead to opportunity and financial stability for ALICE households."

We Stand With ALICE Legislative Forum Details:

When: Monday, February 25, 2019

Where: Legislative Office Building (LOB) Room 2-E, 300 Capital Avenue

Time: Coffee and Networking 12:00-1:00; Legislative Forum 1:00-3:00

Registration Link:

More information on ALICE and the We Stand With ALICE Legislative Forum:

About Connecticut United Way

Connecticut United Ways identify and build upon strengths and assets in their local communities, helping individuals and groups find ways to contribute their time and talents, support direct-service programs and community-change efforts, and advocate public policy changes toward advancing the common good. Connecticut United Ways advance the common good by creating opportunities for all, with a particular focus on education, income, health, and basic needs - the building blocks for a good quality of life. We engage people and organizations throughout our communities who bring passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done, and we invite everyone to be part of the change.

]]> (United Way of Connecticut) Charities Thu, 07 Feb 2019 11:47:28 -0500
Gua Sha A Natural Solution for Cold & Flu Season

Cold and flu season is upon us. Everywhere you look there are over-the-counter cold and flu products being advertised to keep you safe from the lurking ailments that may afflict you. Flu vaccinations are being offered left and right. When you head out for errands, it may seem like everyone has a runny nose or is coughing. Perhaps you yourself have come down with something.

Viruses and bacteria are nothing new, and neither is our genetic makeup and immune system’s ability to combat them. Before over-the-counter products were sold in local pharmacies and flu shots were created, how did ancient eastern civilizations support the immune system? How did they ward off the flu? Have you heard of Gua Sha?

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is a technique where the skin surface is scraped with the edge of a ceramic tool using a pressing motion. Gua Sha stimulates microcirculation as it expands blood vessels to increase blood flow. It increases immune cell activity. It was found in a PubMed study conducted on the immune response, that Gua Sha increases pro-inflammatory cytokines and decreased immunosuppressive cytokines (Chen T, et al, 2016).

Cytokines are substances secreted by cells that have an effect on the immune system’s function. In other words, this chemical found in your cells jumpstarts your immune system’s ability to fight back against viruses and bacteria.

The skin is the largest physical immunological barrier against our external environment, and in Chinese medicine the skin relates to the Lung. The cold and flu usually affect the respiratory system and the immune system causes an inflammatory response to battle it, hence congestion and phlegm production.

At SOPHIA Natural Health Center, Gua Sha is prescribed when patients sense they are at the beginning stages of developing respiratory symptoms, or are experiencing a full blown cold or flu. Gua Sha is applied to the back of the neck, upper shoulders and mid back. The lymphatic system runs along these areas, therefore Gua Sha drains the lymphatics which assists in decongestion. Gua Sha has been shown to break fevers and decrease pain associated with the cold and flu. Gua Sha supports the immune system function to speed up your recovery time from colds and flus.

Dr. Sian James, DACM, L.Ac.
Resident Acupuncturist, SOPHIA Natural Health Center

At SOPHIA Natural Health Center, we treat patients with colds and other common health problems. Please call (203) 740-9300 for a free consultation and health screening.


Chen T, et al. (2016). Gua Sha, a press-stroke treatment of the skin, boosts the immune response to intradermal vaccination.


]]> (Dr. Sian James, DACM, L.Ac.) Life Thu, 07 Feb 2019 11:46:53 -0500
Brookfield Students Can Enter Traffic Safety & Video Contest! AAA Announces $11,000 in Prizes!

Pencil April 5 on Your Calendar! It’s AAA’s Traffic Safety Poster, Video Deadline

Calling all creative Brookfield students! To compete for monetary prizes, students from Kindergarten through Grade 12 must create a traffic safety message in the form of a video or a poster featuring a theme focusing on such topics as seat belt, car seat, pedestrian, school bus, bicycle or teen driver safety, and distracted, drowsy, aggressive or impaired driving. A complete list of themes, rules and judging criteria are listed on

The contest’s goal is to help young people consider safe behaviors in traffic by creating posters with creative slogans or videos that the public can easily recall. “Educating through art and media is an ideal method to influence today’s student,” says Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “Traffic and automobile crashes are the leading causes of death for children ages 2 to 18 years of age. We feel one student’s message could possibly save a life!”

Since AAA Northeast territory covers Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut’s Fairfield, New Haven, and Litchfield Counties, and parts of New York, and New Jersey, poster entries will be judged on a state-by-state basis in each of three grade levels (elementary, middle and high school).

First, second and third place winners will be awarded $300, $200, and $100 respectively. All first-place entries will be eligible for an additional $1,000 grand prize. Video winners will also be chosen from throughout the five states. Winners will be announced on April 22. However, website visitors will be able to vote for the Grand Prize winner between April 22 – 30 by going to

The Grand Prize winner will be announced on May 10.

Entries should be mailed by April 5 to: AAA Northeast, 1415 Kellum Place, Garden City, NY 11530 Attention: Public Affairs. Video entries may be submitted via email to or mail by flash drive or disk to the New York address.

Please read the entry rules here before starting your project!

Download an entry form here.

]]> (Fran Mayko) Charities Wed, 06 Feb 2019 11:49:58 -0500
Brookfield Roads Have Taken A Beating, Report Potholes to Local and State Highway Departments

What a difference a week makes - from below zero temps and ice galore to spring-like weather (yes, it soared to 60 degrees in parts of Connecticut yesterday). We have experienced a true meltdown in Brookfield.

While this drastic fluctuation weather conditions offered Brookfield residents a welcome reprieve from old man winter, it comes with a price (and sometimes our vehicles pay it). You guessed - the structural failure of the very roads we travel on - POTHOLES.

According to AccuWeather, as temperatures rise following cold and snowy winter weather, potholes can become a costly and unwanted roadway headache for motorists. The potholes form after snow or rain seeps into the soil below the road surface. When moisture freezes as temperatures drop, the ground expands and pushes up the pavement.

Potholes can cause accidents and damage to your vehicle. You can help local and state highway departments by letting them know where you have come in contact with the dreaded road hole. This way, they can send their crew to fix the pothole.

If you would like to report a pothole on a state road, click here to notify the Department of Transportation (DOT) using their electronic submittal form. State roads include the interstates, parkways, expressways, and other major roadways maintained by the agency.

Report potholes on Local roads to municipal representatives through your individual town or city website. Click here for additional information.

]]> (Tara Daly) Life Wed, 06 Feb 2019 11:23:09 -0500
Hearts Full of Hope for Victims of Domestic Abuse, Women's Center Holds 11th Annual Breakfast

John Royce, the owner of the Fox Hill Inn, is the reason hundreds of community members, including local government officials, have gathered at Brookfield’s premiere mansion-style banquet and catering venue for eleven consecutive years. Without Royce’s vision and generosity, today’s Hearts of Hope breakfast benefitting the Women’s Center, would not have happened.

“He is the founder of this very breakfast. Eleven years ago, he came to us making an offer we absolutely couldn’t refuse...If we created the program, he would provide the venue, the staff and the food, all at no cost,” said Felicia Paduano, Women’s Center Direct Service Volunteer, and 2019 Hearts of Hope Breakfast Chair.

Even the Fox Hill Inn waitstaff works without pay, year after year, allowing all funds raised to directly benefit the Women’s Center, a safe haven for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Fairfield & Litchfield Counties.

Royce, who has served as a member of the Advisory Council and helped to launch the Men Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Group, was honored today as the 2019 recipient of the Women’s Center’s “Service Above Self” award.

The morning’s speaker, introduced by Women’s Center President and CEO Pat Zachman, was Ridgefield resident Lisa Whelan. “Hope is a bird that flies higher than others,” said Whelan, who told her personal story of domestic violence, using a metaphor about a bird without wings to describe her journey from a place of fear and despair, to a place of hope. “Only hope can light the way”, she said.

Whalen, who has been an educator in the Ridgefield Public School system since 1986, is the mom of two grown children. She spoke of her love of family, running, and commitment to the mission of the Women’s Center. “One thing you don’t know from looking at me is that I’m a survivor of domestic violence. I don’t fit your typical vision of domestic violence,” she said.

Then, Whalen told her harrowing story of violence, at hands of her then-husband of twenty-five plus years. “Four years ago, on a warm August night, I was beaten and almost killed by my ex-husband. The man I had been married to for over twenty five years,” Whalen said.

The horrific events unfolded after Whalen listened to a voice message on her husband’s phone, heard her friend utter the words, “I love you”, and confronted her husband in their bedroom on the second floor of their home.

“A look of rage crossed his face that made me turn and run,” Whalen explained. Her enraged husband ran after her, down the stairs. He grabbed her and began to beat her.  “He smashed my ears so I lost my hearing, he smashed my head into the frame of the couch - I layed on the floor motionless,” she recalls.

Finally, when Whalen could muster up the strength to pick herself up, she ran outside and hid in the bushes. She heard her husband start their Jeep and leave the driveway and knew this was her chance to survive. Whalen ran back into her home and made a phone call. “I called my family, my hope,” she said. As she was on the phone, she spotted the headlights coming up the driveway, and shining into their home. She was able to escape her home without her husband seeing and continued to hide in a neighbor's yard until she heard a car on the road. “It was like a scene from a 007 Movie,” she says as she describes seeing her getaway car and her niece opening up the door. She was safe. After heading to the police station to document the events, Whalen was taken to the hospital via ambulance to be treated for her injuries.

Thanks to the support of her family and friends, and the programs, services, and resources provided by the Women’s Center, Lisa Whalen was able to find hope. As a leader of the Speaker Bureau for Safe Horizon, one of the nation’s leading victim assistance organizations, Whalen is now helping others find their “hope”. She believes that “Post Traumatic Growth” is achievable for everyone.

Thank you to Felicia Paduano, the Breakfast Chair, the Fox Hill Inn for donating your beautiful venue, and to all of Inn’s wait staff who served with a smile and donated all of their time. Much gratitude to Benefactors Praxair as well as Breakfast Advocates, Lori Berisford, Elaine Cox, and William and Wendy Beurket.

Thanks to Hearts of Hope Breakfast “Friends” including Felicia Paduano, Union Savings Bank, and Glori & Adam Norwitt.

Save the date for the Women’s Center Gala, “An Evening Together” on April 5. Learn more here.

Founded in 1975, this year marks 42 years that the Women’s Center has been a safe haven for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Fairfield & Litchfield Counties.

To learn more about the Women’s Center or to have the Center visit your school, click here.

To become a volunteer, click here.


]]> (Kerry Anne Ducey) Charities Wed, 06 Feb 2019 10:48:12 -0500