Milford's HamletHub Thu, 27 Jan 2022 17:39:34 -0500 Michelle Rochniak Named a Connecticut Collegiate Poet

Western Connecticut State University sophomore Michelle Rochniak was named one of four Connecticut Collegiate Poets by the Connecticut Poetry Circuit for 2021-22.

Rochniak, of Wallingford, was chosen by a panel of poets and educators in a statewide contest based on the strength and creativity of her original works. Only four to five student poets are selected each year to receive this honor; students were nominated by their professors. The collegiate poets will join other Connecticut Poetry Circuit members to hold poetry readings at colleges and community events throughout the state so that the public can enjoy original works by upcoming poets.

Chairman of the WCSU Department of Writing, Linguistics and Creative Process Dr. Brian Clements nominated Michelle “because her writing and enthusiasm for writing deserve recognition, and because she models the values of the WCSU Writing Department.”

“Michelle has a passion for writing, an ability to reach and communicate with audiences, and a commitment to compassion and community,” said Clements. “We hope that Michelle’s poems, her performative excellence and her presence on the Connecticut Poetry Circuit will make connections between WCSU, the Writing Department and the wider writing community across Connecticut and its colleges and universities.” He noted that the university will host the Connecticut Poetry Circuit poets on campus this spring. 

Rochniak is majoring in Professional Writing with a focus on Creative Writing and minoring in Women’s Studies. She is a member of the WCSU Kathwari Honors Program.

“A Connecticut Collegiate Poet is someone who writes strong, moving poetry, and I am proud to be recognized for this as it is the highest form of validation. I am honored and immensely grateful that Dr. Clements recognized my potential and submitted my work for consideration. I am also glad that every faculty member I’ve met at WCSU has been so supportive of me,” said Rochniak, who started writing poetry as a freshman in high school and did an independent study in poetry her senior year before taking poetry classes at Western Connecticut State University.

“At WCSU, I made many new friends, connected with professors and found my poetic voice. I’m so grateful that I feel at home in the Writing department, and I’m even more grateful that people here appreciate my work and encourage me on a regular basis to continue writing,” she noted. Rochniak’s plans include publishing a poetry chapbook by graduation and proceeding to the M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing program at WCSU.

Currently Rochniak has poems published in “Perspective,” the WCSU Honors literary and art magazine, and on the Heartland Society of Women Writers website. “In addition to poetry, I’m obsessed with Greek mythology, which I usually reference in my work as well as my interest in and identity within the LGBTQ community,” she said.

According to James M. Gentile, director of the Connecticut Poetry Circuit, the public events will be their first professional reading engagement for most of these student poets. “They will get to collaborate with peers from other colleges for a memorable experience. Many of the student poets go on to successful careers as writers, editors and in education,” he said.

The Connecticut Poetry Circuit was established in 1968 to continue the work of the New England Poetry Circuit, which was founded in 1964 by the Academy of American Poets and Holly Stevens, daughter of the acclaimed poet and Hartford insurance executive Wallace Stevens. The intention of the circuit is to bring established yet unpublished poets to colleges and universities, as well as oversee a competition among Connecticut students that allows them to travel the circuit as student poets.

For more information, go to or contact the Office of Public Relations at

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

]]> (Western Connecticut State University) Neighbors Thu, 27 Jan 2022 04:57:52 -0500
Milford Arts Council Artist Call "Figurative" is Next In-person Exhibit

The Milford Arts Council (The MAC) is excited to announce that 'Figurative' will be our next in-person exhibition at our Firehouse Gallery location.

This juried exhibit welcomes artists to create and present their interpretation in 2 or 3-dimensions, as representational or abstract form, in multimedia, traditional 2-dimensional materials, or sculpture. Entry information is located in the exhibit section of the MAC website. 

In between exhibits, the Firehouse Gallery is available to artists for rent as a private or small group exhibit or pop-up shop. Details are provided on the website under “Rent This Space”.

Meg Carriero, Marketing Specialist for the MAC explains, “I find Figurative work to be beautiful. The human form is an exciting subject matter to see in art.  Having the ability to exhibit 3 dimensional work at The Firehouse Gallery allows for more forms of art to be showcased which I love and appreciate. Having these exhibits helps the local artists get their name out to more prospective patrons of their work which will hopefully allow these artists to continue to create.”

You can find more information at under exhibits. 


]]> (Meg Carriero) Neighbors Thu, 27 Jan 2022 04:52:37 -0500
Team Woofgang & Co. Introduces New Pupper Nutter Petites

BRIDGEPORT, CT -- Team Woofgang & Co., Inc. has expanded its dog treat product line with the introduction of Pupper Nutter Petites. This new product features the same successful recipe as their beloved Pupper Nutter Patties, but in a much smaller size perfect for petite pooches! This new size treat not only creates a great new product option for their loyal fan base, but it further supports their mission of providing vocational skills training to adults with a wide range of physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities by expanding the curriculum to include learning a completely different, fine motor skill to the team members.

Team Woogang & Co. began in 2017 with the mission to provide vocational training and job skills development to adults with disabilities, while educating the community about the need for increased job opportunities for these individuals. Since its beginning, Team Woofgang has stayed focused on empowering those with a broad range of disabilities through two curricula tailored to the unique abilities of each individual. The non-profit achieves its mission through the utilization of baking and selling dog treats and other novelty items. In April 2020 they opened their new production facility in Bridgeport, CT in an effort to expand their services to more individuals. The retail store remains on Post Road in the heart of Fairfield, CT.

“Team Woofgang & Co. is consistently focused on updating its curricula to meet the needs of our population of individuals with disabilities. With this dog treat product line expansion, we not only provide new skill development for our team members, but also meet the request of our customers with smaller dogs,” said Amiee Turner, Executive Director. “Now dogs of all sizes can enjoy our enormously popular treats - and our team members can challenge themselves with new tasks designed to grow their skill set.”

Pupper Nutter Petites, as well as the original Patties, are now available both in their retail store located at 1300 Post Road, Fairfield, CT and online at Team Woofgang & Co will sell the treats for $8.00 per eight ounce box with a special introductory deal of 3 boxes for $20.00.

For more information please visit

]]> (Deanna Bucher ) Places Tue, 25 Jan 2022 12:23:28 -0500
Pantochino Teen Theatre Brings "Bat Boy, The Musical" to Milford

Milford - Award-winning Pantochino Teen Theatre will present “Bat Boy, The Musical” for three performances beginning February 25th at the MAC, Milford Arts Council in downtown Milford.

Inspired by a supermarket tabloid story, this rock-infused contemporary musical comedy is written by Keith Farley and Brian Flemming, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe (“Legally Blonde”). The New York Times wrote, “The show is a jagged imaginative mix of skewering and self-puncturing humor…it sends up everyone it touches with energetic glee.”

The story follows a half boy/half bat creature discovered in a West Virginia cave and taught to act like a ‘normal’ boy. Bat Boy is happy with his new life, but when he naively tries to fit in with the narrow minded community, a struggle for acceptance ensues.

“This is a unique opportunity for our teen company members to learn a unique style of musical theatre,” said director Bert Bernardi. “It teaches tolerance, acceptance and compassion,” he added.

Sponsored by The Milford Bank, “Bat Boy, The Musical” features a cast of twenty seven young actors from Milford, Stratford, Orange, West Haven, East Haven, Trumbull, Shelton, Woodbridge, Ansonia, Branford, Seymour, Bethany, and Killingworth.

Pantochino Teen Theatre allows young actors the opportunity to work with professional directors and designers outside the academic setting, on a schedule matching that of professional summer theater. The show has been cast, learned and rehearsed in an immersive ten rehearsals. Bernardi directs the show with Justin Rugg as musical director and Becki Arena, choreographer. The show features set design by Von Del Mar,  costumes by Jimmy Johansmeyer, lighting by Megan O’Brien and sound by Tobias Peltier. Sherri Alfonso serves as stage manager.

“Bat Boy, The Musical” performances are Friday, February 25 at 7:30pm, Saturday February 26 at 5:30pm and Sunday February 27 at 2pm. The MAC, with reduced seating capacity, is located at 40 Railroad Avenue in Milford. Parking is free in train station lots at showtimes. For more information and tickets, visit Please note those attending must show proof of vaccination or negative COVID test (within 72 hours of performance) at the door, and must wear masks covering nose and mouth during the show. 


]]> (Pantochino News Desk) Events Tue, 25 Jan 2022 06:00:06 -0500
CT's Beardsley Zoo Announces Anteater Naming Contest Result

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is pleased to announce the results of its “Name the Baby Giant Anteater” contest, giving voters a choice of three names: Chili, Andarilho, and Corajosa.

Animal care staff chose the prospective names, all South American names or terms to honor and describe the new female giant anteater. Female giant anteater Pana and male E.O. are the proud parents of their third offspring, born June 15, 2021. 

The winning name is Chili, referring to a small, spicy pepper often used in South American and Mexican cuisine.  The contest engaged hundreds of voters online. 

Of the three names voted on, Chili won 50% of the vote, Corajosa won 34% and Andarilho won 16%. 

Mochilla, the pair’s first offspring, is now in residence at Alexandria Zoo in Louisiana. The second-born, Tupi, is now at the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee. 

Female anteaters give birth to one offspring and the baby rides on mom’s back for the first several months of life, occasionally venturing off not too far from mom to explore its surroundings. Pana and Chili will be outside only rarely for guests to view until spring, when the temperatures regularly rise above 50 degrees.

The Giant anteater's parents came to the Zoo from Palm Beach Zoo in Palm Beach, Florida. Both Pana and E.O. are twelve years old. They arrived in late May 2015 and are a highlight of the Pampas Plains habitat, which opened in August 2015. Featuring animals from the Pampas region of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, the exhibit represents the Zoo’s South American Adventure.  

About Giant Anteaters

Giant anteaters can live up to 26 years old in human care and are usually solitary animals. They can weigh up to 100 pounds and are five to seven feet long. Their home range is from southern Belize to northern Argentina, and they live in grasslands, humid forests, and woodland areas. Anteaters have one of the lowest body temperatures in the animal kingdom at 91 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit and can eat up to 30,000 ants per meal in the wild. The Latin name for anteater is Vermillingua, meaning "worm tongue," which can be as long as two feet. 

Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at we recommend that guests continue to wear masks while visiting the Zoo, but when guests are outside and are able to maintain social distance, masks may be removed. In any indoor area, or when social distancing cannot be maintained, masks must be worn. Everyone over the age of two, except for those with medical conditions that preclude wearing them, should have a mask available

]]> (Lisa Clair) Life Sun, 23 Jan 2022 09:08:20 -0500
Nickel Mines Opens at ACT of CT: You Will Be Moved to Dig Deep

Thank you to ACT of CT for using your stage to tell one of the most important stories of all time. 

“You will be moved to dig deep,” ACT of CT Artistic Director Dan Levine said. 

Levine was not exaggerating - theater can move you in a way unlike any other medium can, and ACT’s production of Nickel Mines will do just that.

On October 2, 2006, in a one-room school in the Amish community of Nickel Mines Pennsylvania, the unthinkable happened. Ten young girls were held hostage by a gunman, a member of their community. Five of those girls perished, the other five were seriously wounded. 

The new musical, Nickel Mines, is about what happens next. This living memorial honors the five young lives lost and lifts up the families left behind. 

The effects of this senseless act are so personal, each individual, from the family members of the victims to the wife of the shooter is thrust into an unfathomable situation and emotions are running wild. How do they cope? Anger? Revenge? Hate? Forgiveness? Love?

Dance movements and vocal performances are masterfully executed by the uber-talented cast of Lauren Celentano, Anna Cooper, Shea Coughlin, Morgan Hollingsworth, Kelsey Jenison, Milan Magana, Mark Bradley Miller, Alex Nee, Eric Michael Parker, Justine Veronica Rafael, Josephine Rose Roberts, Hannah Joy Snyder, Jayme Wappel, and Emma Lou DeLaney.

They touch the audience in a profoundly powerful way.

We witness the incredibly personal struggle of a grieving father, a loving boyfriend, and a lonely sister as they try to struggle to cope and ultimately find a way when they choose forgiveness.

Before the performance even began, the audience had a glimpse into its impact and meaning. Artistic Director Daniel C. Levine took the stage and was moved to tears as he spoke about Nickel Mines, a show that was in final days of rehearsal when COVID shut it down in 2020. 

Levine thanked Anita Donofrio who was instrumental in bringing Nickel Mines back. “She believes in this show as much as we do,” said Levine.

Those who were fortunate to see Nickel Mines this weekend were among the first to experience this incredibly powerful World premiere musical production, directed and choreographed by Andrew Palermo.

Once again, the entire ACT of Connecticut team, including Artistic Director Daniel C. Levine, Bryan Perri, Music Supervisor, Executive Director Katie Diamond, and Erin Craig, Producing Director deliver brilliance by way of Nickel Mines.

“Good theater can enter our hearts and change us,” said Levine. 

Nickel Mines does that.

Remaining Performances:

Sunday, January 23rd at 2pm* & 7pm

Thursday, January 27th at 7pm

Friday, January 28th at 8pm

Saturday, January 29th at 2pm & 8pm

Sunday, January 30th at 2pm

Sunday, January 23 at 2pm - Niro Feliciano (LCSW, Integrative Counseling and Wellness Group) and Alexis Koukos (Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement)

Purchase tickets here.

*Photos by Jeff Butchen Photography 

]]> (KA) Neighbors Sun, 23 Jan 2022 06:13:41 -0500
Adults and Teens Can Sign Up to volunteer with The Maritime Aquarium

Share your enthusiasm about marine animals and, in doing so, help to create more new stewards for Long Island Sound by signing up to serve as a volunteer at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

Sign-up deadlines are approaching soon for separate February trainings: to become Gallery Ambassadors (ages 18 and up) and for a new volunteer program for ages 14 to 18 called ECHO (Education Conservation Heritage and Outreach).

“Volunteering here is fun and personally rewarding,” said Ann Marie Lisi, the Aquarium’s associate director of education. “Weekday shifts are perfect for retirees and stay-at-home parents after they get their kids off to school. And the new ECHO program offers a great experience for high-school students thinking about a career in marine biology or the environmental sciences.”

The volunteer program is critical to The Maritime Aquarium’s ability to fulfill its mission of educating and inspiring guests about Long Island Sound and the world ocean. Last year, volunteers gave an invaluable 18,575 hours of service.

Gallery Ambassadors

By engaging with guests and interpreting exhibits – such as the new seal exhibit, Shark & Ray Touch Pool and “Jiggle A Jelly” – Gallery Ambassadors raise awareness and help to create new stewards of the Sound. Prior knowledge about the marine world isn't necessary. That's what will be taught in the upcoming training course.

Deadline to sign up is Thurs., Feb. 3, followed by virtual interviews with applicants on Feb. 8 and Feb. 10.

Selected candidates will be invited to evening training workshops on Tues., Feb. 15 and Thurs. Feb. 24 (both live online) and on Thurs., Feb. 17 and Tues., Feb. 22 (both at the Aquarium). Participation in all four sessions is required. Candidates also must complete an online course.

You must be at least 18 years old to sign up. Adult volunteers are especially needed for weekday time slots. The minimum time commitment required of Aquarium volunteers is 100 total hours, at four hours per week for weekday volunteers and four hours per month for weekend staff.

For Gallery Ambassadors, a $50 fee covers the costs of training materials and uniforms.

ECHO (teens)

ECHO is designed for high-school students who are passionate about the environment, conservation and The Maritime Aquarium. They’ll staff special interactive displays and lead Aquarium guests through mission-aligned activities, guide young guests in the new “Sea & Discover Zone” exhibit opening soon, and participate in hands-on community-science opportunities in the field focusing on marine debris.

In this new tiered program, teens also will have opportunities to rise through responsibility levels as they interact with guests, staff mission celebrations, and help mentor and supervise ECHO teens at lower levels.

“ECHO teens will gain valuable, transferable skills that will aid them in preparation for life after high school,” Lisi said. “We’re excited by how the program will create confident community advocates who are well-versed in both local and global conservation issues and initiatives.”

Anyone ages 14 to 18 and currently enrolled in high school is welcome to apply to ECHO.

Sign up between Feb. 1 and March 1. Virtual interviews with applicants will be held on Wed., March 9 and Fri., March 11.

Selected candidates will be invited to evening training workshops on Wed., March 16 and Fri., March 18 (both virtual) and on Sat., March 19 (at the Aquarium). Participation in all three sessions is required. Candidates also must complete an online course.

During the school year, ECHO teens must volunteer during two shifts per month on weekends and holidays, plus additional hours for citizen science and professional-development opportunities. A minimum of 50 hours is required for each of the fall and spring trimesters. Time commitments change during the summer trimester.

The Maritime Aquarium is grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for awarding a grant to support the launch of the ECHO program. Thanks to the grant, the $50 registration fee is waived through August 2023.

All Maritime Aquarium volunteers receive discounts in the Gift Shop, Cascade Café, 4D Theater and on many programs.

The Maritime Aquarium is fully open with special COVID precautions for guests, volunteers and staff. Masks must be worn by everyone over age 2, no matter their vaccination status. And all staff and active volunteers must be fully vaccinated.

Learn more – and sign up – at

]]> (Dave Sigworth) Neighbors Thu, 20 Jan 2022 09:29:27 -0500
The MAC Members' Exhibit February 11 Through March 11

Come visit The MAC and see the works of our MAC members.

The exhibit has no theme and all works are 2D and recent (created since 2020). This event is free and open to the public. Works will be on sale. Please come in out of the cold and support local artists by coming by to enjoy the exhibition then grab a bite to eat at one of our fantastic spots downtown.

Proof of vaccination or negative covid test within 72 hours require please check for further details.

]]> (Meg Carriero) Places Thu, 20 Jan 2022 05:42:30 -0500
The MAC Members' Opening Reception

Come visit The MAC and see the works of our MAC members during the opening reception.

The exhibit has no theme and all works are 2D and recent (created in 2020). This event is free and open to the public.

Works will be on sale.

Proof of vaccination or negative covid test within 72 hours requires please check for further details.

]]> (Meg Carriero) Events Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:10:09 -0500
Connecticut Epilepsy Advocate is Hosting its 47th Blood Drive in Milford on March 4

The Connecticut Epilepsy Advocate is hosting its 47th Blood Drive on Friday, March 4, 2022 from 1 to 6pm at St. Agnes Church, 400 Merwin Avenue in Milford Connecticut.

We have 72 spots to fill, so now is the time to fill them by registering now, please. The sooner you register the better. You can call (800) RED CROSS or go online at

The Red Cross reports that they are experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade. 

Please download the Red Cross Blood Donor APP now at the APP store, just type in Blood Donor. 

Learn more about The Connecticut Epilepsy Advocate online here.


]]> (HH) Charities Wed, 19 Jan 2022 09:50:41 -0500
How to order your 4 free at-home test kits

Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 free at-home tests from

Here’s what you need to know about your order:

  • Limit of one order per residential address
  • One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
  • Orders will ship free starting in late January

To secure your test kit please fill out this form.

*Image courtesy USPS

]]> (USPS) Life Wed, 19 Jan 2022 08:25:11 -0500
Milford's Precious Blood Parish Hosts Bereavement Support Group

Milford's Precious Blood Parish Bereavement Support Group will begin meeting again on Thursday, March 10th.

This 10 week free program will meet on Thursdays from 1:00PM - 3:00PM in Fr. Cronin Hall at St. Mary Church (70 Gulf Street, Milford). Anyone coping with the loss of a loved one, whether recent or years ago, is welcome.

For more information or to register (required ahead of time) call Ellen S. at (203) 283-1934.

Learn more:

]]> (Precious Blood Parish Milford) Neighbors Tue, 18 Jan 2022 12:45:46 -0500
St. Mary School Milford Virtual Open House on February 1

Whether you are looking for a change this year or thinking about next school year, you're invited to join St. Mary School's Virtual Open House on Tuesday, February 1st at 7:00pm. Login and learn about the school without leaving your home!  Registration is required here

St. Mary is accepting applications for all grades (PreK - grade 8) for 2022-2023, as well as rolling enrollment for the current school year. St. Mary's is located at 72 Gulf Street in Milford. 

]]> (St. Mary School Milford) Events Tue, 18 Jan 2022 12:44:50 -0500
NEW Presents How to Grow Your Business with Email Marketing

The Network of Executive Women Presents Email Marketing Expert Jocelyn Murray - How to Grow Your Business with Email Marketing

Are you wondering how email marketing can work for your business? Perhaps you are interested in practices that could increase your marketing effectiveness? On Tuesday, February 1st at noon, on zoom, Jocelyn Murray owner of Marketing and Event Resources, LLC will show you how to increase recognition of your brand and make deeper customer connections using email marketing.

You will learn:
• Why email marketing must be a part of your marketing strategy
• The 5 key elements of a successful email
• How to create valuable email content

• How to grow your email list

Jocelyn Murray’s experience spans 25 years in marketing as a consultant and the owner of Marketing & Event Resources, a boutique marketing agency that helps businesses and nonprofit organizations increase their visibility, generate leads and grow. 

You must register by 12pm on Sunday January 30th to attend this meeting.

To register for all meetings, and to discover more about NEW click here

Currently, NEW luncheons are held on zoom on the first Tuesday of each month at noon. Virtual meetings fees are $5 for members and $10 for guests. NEW welcomes professional women to attend two events as guests before applying for membership.

]]> (Network of Executive Women) Events Tue, 18 Jan 2022 12:43:28 -0500
Milford Arts Council Presents Lewis Black's One Slight Hitch February 11-20

The MAC is blessed to be entering its Gala year with our very own Eastbound Theatre’s production of comedian Lewis Black’s One Slight Hitch. The production is directed by Kevin Pelkey and features cast members Jeremy Ajdukiewicz, Sarah Brookes, Brodey Ott, Liz Graham, Jacquelyn Schultz, Aimee Zaleski, and Benjamin Zaretsky. This production is sponsored by Stephanie Ellison of Ellison Homes Real Estate.

Meg Carriero, Marketing Specialist for the MAC explains, “We couldn’t be happier to be entering our gala year with one of our own! Eastbound Theatre has been an integral part of The MAC’s existence and we’re excited to finally welcome them back home. This will be their first show indoors since the pre-pandemic days, and the cast and production crew have been working diligently and safely to bring you a really great production."

Performances will run February 11th through February 20th, 2022 at the Milford Arts Council Friday and Saturday performances are at 8pm, Sunday matinees are at 2pm.

Set in the early 80’s, this farcical comedy will take you back to the days before Covid, and into the lives of one Midwestern family.

One Slight Hitch is the story of the Coleman household preparing for daughter Courtney's wedding. Her mother, Delia, is determined that everything will be “perfect”. The groom is perfect, the dress is perfect, and the decorations (assuming they arrive) will be perfect. But when the doorbell rings on the wedding morning, everything goes perfectly awry.

The Milford Arts Council aims to provide a safe environment for all our patrons. We require everyone who comes to the MAC to be fully vaccinated or show a negative covid test within 72 hours of entry, and to wear a mask when not seated. All of our volunteers and staff are vaccinated and will be masked throughout the event.

Also, we’ve brought back concessions, so no outside food or beverages are allowed. Milford’s own Strega Restaurant provides charcuterie boxes that you can pre-order with your table reservation, and Good Morning Cupcake, another small business in Milford, provides sugar cookies which can be purchased in the theatre at our concession stand, along with other sweet and savory options.

One Slight Hitch is hosted by The Milford Arts Council and generously sponsored by Stephanie Ellison of Ellison Homes Real Estate will run at The MAC on weekends from February 11th-February 20th. Tickets are on sale now. For more information or to purchase a single ticket or table please visit

]]> (MAC) Events Tue, 18 Jan 2022 04:06:31 -0500