Milford's HamletHub Wed, 04 Aug 2021 04:09:48 -0400 Spirits of Milford is righteningly great fun on Friday and Saturday!

Ghost walks this weekend; tarot readings on Wednesday night; 3 last sessions of Spirits of Milford Ghost Camp this week

Join us for a jam-packed week of frighteningly great fun!

Reserve your spots now! The weather looks great for both nights — dry and in the comfortable 60s!

Friday, August 6 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, August 7 at 8 p.m.


Space is available in last three sessions of Spirits of Milford Ghost Camp happening tonight, August 3, from 5-8 p.m.; this Thursday, August 5, from from 5-8 p.m.; and this Saturday, August 7, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Click here to register. It's truly spooktacular!!

From 4-9:30 p.m. tomorrow — Wednesday, August 4 — Cindy will be giving 20,- 30- and 60-minute tarot readings at Hair of The Dog on Bridgeport Avenue in Devon. This will be the ONLY AUGUST DATE!! Use this link here to register and discover what message the cards have for you: 

]]> (HH) Events Tue, 03 Aug 2021 06:47:12 -0400
Boys & Girls Club of Milford Job Fair on August 11!

Boys & Girls Club of Milford JOB FAIR on August 11 from 5 to 8pm 

Do you need a job or know anyone who does? Attend our job fair on August 11th from 5 PM - 8 PM for an interview on the spot. Please come prepared with an updated resume and a positive attitude!
Primarily responsible for assisting with the delivery of a broad range of programs within the Club.
Responsibilities include:
• Supervise members in the program area, while assisting with and maintaining club program goals and settings that insure the health and safety of members
• Ensure that members: actively participate in a variety of programs and activities; seek advice and guidance from staff in regard to problems; receive caring supervision, respect, and recognition for their efforts
• Organize and implement a range of program services and activities for enrolled members and visitors that are fun, instructional, and competitive, and that incorporate team building skills; initiate new programs with the approval of the Director of Operations
• Ensure safety, positive values and ethical behavior through quality in programs, and the appearance of the Club, at all times. Provide guidance to members; act as role model
• Assist in maintaining inventories of all program equipment and supplies; ensure all related supplies and equipment are maintained in good order (cleanliness and up keep of Program Areas after usage)
Knowledge & Skills Needed:
• Demonstrated creative, organizational, and project management abilities.
• Ability to deal effectively with members, including disciplinary issues.
• Demonstrated ability in relationship building and working with young people and parents.
Education/Experience Needed
• Experience in a Boys & Girls Club or similar organization working with youth preferred
Part time Monday- Friday 20 per week
Must be at least 16 years old
Pay Range: Minimum Wage
Boys & Girls Club of Milford is located at 59 Devonshire Road.
]]> (HH) Events Mon, 02 Aug 2021 14:45:11 -0400
Shop Connecticut Grown During National Farmers Market Week!

Governor Ned Lamont is urging Connecticut residents to support local farmers during National Farmers Market Week – which runs from August 1 to 7, 2021 – by purchasing locally grown products designated with the Connecticut Grown logo and visiting some of the more than 90 certified farmers markets statewide.

A list of every certified farmers' market in Connecticut can be found online at An interactive map of farmers' markets is also available at

Now in its 22nd year, National Farmers Market Week highlights the vital role that farmers' markets play in the nation’s food system. The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that local food systems with short supply chains are resilient, and farmers' markets keep communities connected while addressing food insecurity by offering programs for the most vulnerable residents to access fresh, nutritious, local foods.

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture administers the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), which assists seniors over the age of 60 and women, infants, and children who meet certain eligibility guidelines with assistance to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs, and honey. These individuals can redeem vouchers at certified farmers’ markets or farm stands throughout the state. Many farmers’ markets also participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, with some offering doubling benefits. Nationwide, SNAP benefits redeemed at farmers’ markets increased by 50% over 2019. It is estimated that for every dollar of nutrition incentives spent on farm direct purchases it results in a contribution of up to three dollars to the U.S. economy.

While farmers' markets fuel local economies, they also provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for new farmers and food entrepreneurs. There are 3.5 times as many U.S. farmers over the age of 65 as there are under 35. For young and beginning farmers, direct marketing through Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and farmers’ markets make up the majority of their income.

Connecticut’s agriculture industry generates an impact of $4 billion on the state’s economy and fosters more than 21,000 jobs. There are more than 200 certified farmers or farm stands selling fruits, vegetables, and honey with nearly 750 farmers selling all types of Connecticut Grown farm products, including meat, dairy, shellfish, flowers, and fiber at markets in more than 50% of the state’s municipalities.


]]> (Gov. Ned Lamont) Life Mon, 02 Aug 2021 13:13:19 -0400
SHU Physical Therapy Alum Takes Skills to U.S. Air Force

Graduates of Sacred Heart University’s doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program can be found working in hospitals, clinics, colleges and rehabilitation facilities. Over the last 20 years, a number of them also have pursued careers in the United States Air Force, where they use their education and skills to serve their country.

Andrew Smietana, 30, didn’t realize the Air Force was a career option when he entered Sacred Heart’s DPT program in 2013. Now, after three years with the Air Force, Captain Smietana recently earned the Senior Company Grade Officer of the Year Award for the 60th Medical Group at David Grant Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, CA. He competed for the title against more than 400 other captains.

“It’s a great honor,” said Smietana, who received the award during the COVID-19 pandemic, when all hospital departments were working under challenging and changing circumstances.

Smietana knew since he was a teenager that he wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy. As an athlete who played baseball throughout high school and at the Division I collegiate level, the Bethel native frequently found himself around rehabilitation specialists and strength and conditioning coaches who were dedicated to helping their athletes reach peak performance. He also watched a physical therapist help his mother regain her mobility and independence after battling a difficult health situation for several years. “At a young age, I knew I wanted to help people and make as much an impact in other people’s lives as the PTs did in mine,” Smietana said.

He described SHU’s physical therapy program as “incredible” and said he’s thankful for his professors and the rigorous curriculum that prepared him for his career. “Learning PT is not easy,” Smietana said. “SHU’s program was challenging, but the professors definitely set us up to succeed when we entered the real world.”

Smietana believes SHU’s DPT program is among the best. Its problem-based learning model enables students to collaborate with classmates and work through issues instead of being “spoon-fed” information. Professors taught students clinical reasoning skills and how to think “on the fly.” They impressed on the students that all patient cases aren’t “textbook,” he said.

A fateful meeting

An earlier alumnus, Air Force Major Jeremiah Samson ’01, spoke to Smietana’s class years ago about his time as a physical therapist in the Air Force. Samson, 48, is a California native who retired from the Air Force in June after serving for 20 years.

“The Air Force wants us to succeed and provides the resources we need to do so,” Samson said. “The Air Force has an awesome team of physical therapists who want to make our profession better.”

Smietana found Samson’s presentation intriguing, but he wasn’t sure a career in the Air Force was right for him. “I thought it was interesting,” he said, “but I didn’t give it too much thought initially.” He was thinking of a career in the sports field. After Smietana graduated, he worked about two years at a small, outpatient clinic in the New Haven area that focused on sports-related injuries. He knew he was making a difference, but he felt capable of doing more.

Recalling Samson’s presentation, Smietana thought about joining the Air Force. He contacted a recruiter and began the steps necessary to commission as a physical therapist in the military.

“My job challenges me every day,” Smietana said. “I’m so grateful for it—I’m a better leader because of it. I’m so proud of what I’m doing and the people I work with every day.”

As physical therapy element chief at David Grant USAF Medical Center, with nearly 30 military and civilian personnel on his team, Smietana oversees all aspects of inpatient and outpatient PT. He recommends the Air Force for any graduating DPT students. “There is no greater feeling than serving your country,” he said. “I’ve been exposed to opportunities I never would have had on the civilian side.”

Samson echoed Smietana’s statements about SHU, saying its DPT program is exceptional. The problem-based learning technique is one he used throughout his career. “I took so many of the skills I learned from faculty with me,” he said. “They provided us with individual attention, encouraged us and were honest and up-front with students.”

Samson always wanted to serve his country, so joining the Air Force after he earned his degree was a logical step. Throughout his 20-year career, he worked as a clinician, was deployed to war zones overseas and served as an advisor to the Air Force surgeon general. Before retiring, Samson worked as the founding director of the orthopedic physical therapy residency program at Joint Base San Antonio, a military facility in Texas. He said he enjoyed teaching and leading while still seeing patients and providing care.

“It’s been a really rewarding experience,” Samson said. “I’ve made so many friends and created lifelong bonds.”

Other DPT alumni who are serving or served in the Air Force include: Muhammad Ali ’15, ’17, Brian Dilorio ’14, ’16, Chris Ficke ’99, Ben Hando ’01, Jeff Notestine ’11, ’15, Kara Patton ’10, ’13, Eric Stephan ’00 and Rachel (Ebmeier) Thompson ’15.

For more information on Sacred Heart’s DPT program, visit the program’s webpage.

]]> (Kimberly Swartz) Neighbors Mon, 02 Aug 2021 12:37:02 -0400
Lamont Announces Deployment of More Than $16 Million To Support Local Special Education COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Acting Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker today visited Regional School District 17 in Higganum to highlight the more than $16 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II (ESSER II) funds that are being made available to assist 170 school districts across Connecticut with delivering special education services to more than 80,000 students during the 2021-22 school year.

“These funds are an important way to provide needed resources to special education programs throughout Connecticut and ensure that all of our students have equal access to the education they deserve,” Governor Lamont said.


ESSER funding is critical to re-engaging all students and supporting learning acceleration with the different and unique needs of students in mind, such as students with disabilities. The Connecticut State Department of Education is using its ESSER II state set-aside to supplement local special education COVID-19 recovery efforts through several initiatives piloted last school year by several districts, including Regional School District 17. The district is also innovating and expanding capacity by engaging stakeholders to address the needs of students with disabilities using their local ESSER II funds. During the 2021-22 school year, four main initiatives will be coordinated by the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Bureau of Special Education (BSE) to assist in providing services to students with disabilities and their families. These include:

  1. Addressing Delayed, Interrupted, Suspended or Inaccessible Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Supports and Services: Up to $13 million in funds will assist districts with addressing delayed, interrupted, suspended, or inaccessible IEP supports and services for students with IEPs in each school district.
  2. Special Education Evaluations: Up to $1 million in funds will increase the capacity of state’s six Regional Educational Service Centers (RESC) to assist school districts in conducting special education evaluations, which will benefit approximately 240 students, as well as planning and placement teams.
  3. Supplementary Tutoring and Reading Instruction: Up to $2 million in funds will assist 170 districts with supporting supplementary tutoring and reading instruction to address the needs of 3,092 students with an IEP and a primary disability category of SLD/dyslexia in alignment with the reading goals in the student’s current IEP.
  4. Individualized In-Home Support for High Needs Students: Up to $272,000 in funds will provide for 8,000 hours of individualized in-home support through partnership with the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services to provide 1:1 in-home assistance and support for up to 200 students with high needs.

Governor Lamont and Acting Commissioner Russell-Tucker also visited the site of Haddam-Killingworth Recreation Department’s summer camp, located on the campus of Regional School District 17’s high school. The Haddam-Killingworth Recreation Department is one of 235 programs statewide that are receiving grants through the Connecticut State Department of Education’s set-aside of COVID-19 recovery funds to deliver affordable high-quality educational and recreational opportunities this summer.

In total, the grants have already expanded access to enrichment experiences for more than 50,000 students in Connecticut, with an emphasis on children and communities most impacted by the pandemic. Many summer programs continue to have open enrollment, and families still have time to find many financially accessible options on their area.

]]> (Kerry Anne Ducey) Politics Mon, 02 Aug 2021 10:51:18 -0400
Milford Photo sponsors Beardsley Zoo's photography contest

Beardsley Zoo photography contest now OPEN for submissions!

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is proud to announce its third annual photography contest is open for submissions, an opportunity for the Zoo’s many dedicated amateur and professional photographers to submit their best work for public viewing. The contest, sponsored by Milford Photo, will be a hybrid event this year, combining digital submissions with an in-person exhibition. 

Photos are to be submitted digitally for a first round, with the top 100 selected for exhibition and judging. Photographers selected for the in-person exhibit will be asked to print and mat their photo (size 8 x 10).  Judging will take place mid-September, with an in-person show held on Thursday, October 7 in the Zoo’s Hanson Building. 

Exhibit Rules

  • Each photographer can submit three photos, with a $10 fee per photo. 
  • Photos must have been taken on Zoo grounds. Plants and grounds photos are allowed. They may be older photos from a previous year as well as current photos.
  • Milford Photo will provide First, Second, and Third prizes in the form of gift certificates to the store. First prize is $200, second prize is $100, and third prize is $50.
  •  In addition to the judged photos, a People’s Choice will be selected. The public can vote on their favorite by making a one-dollar donation for each vote. Voting will take place online.
  • Digital, first round photos are due to be submitted by September 12 at 11:59 p.m. 
  • Photographers are invited to upload their submissions at
  • If you have questions, email Jessica Taylor at
  • For the best quality for viewing the photos online, the recommended image size is 1088 x 816 pixels with a maximum file size of 1MB. 

“Art is a natural way for people to express their love of animals and appreciation of nature,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “Our third Photography Goes Wild contest 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.”

“We thank Milford Photo for their continuing partnership in this event,” he added. “Their assistance in judging submissions and providing prizes is much appreciated.”

Photo: First Place Photo from the 2020 Photography Goes Wild Contest, by Eileen Curnin

]]> (Lis Clair) Life Mon, 02 Aug 2021 07:41:52 -0400
Phillip Phillips returns to The Ridgefield Playhouse with two outdoor shows on August 7!

Phillip Phillips, the winner of the 11th season of American Idol in 2012 and singer of widely-acclaimed songs including “Home”, “Gone, Gone, Gone", and “Magnetic", is performing outdoors under the Tent at  The Ridgefield Playhouse on August 7th at 4:00 and 7:30 PM. Tickets for the 4:00 PM show are on sale by phone [203-438-5797] and reservations for the 7:30 PM concert are purchased by phone and online here.

Playing some of his hit songs, hidden gems, and newest tracks alongside him are guitarist Errol Cooney and cello player Dave Eggar. “We have such a blast playing with one another, it's just really free and easy,” Phillip told me on a Zoom interview last week. “We just have fun. It’s live music!” 

Born on September 20th, 1990 in Albany, Georgia, Phillip Phillips fell in love with writing and playing music early at the age of 14. “I would just constantly play guitar. I took my guitar to school almost every day on the bus and I would play,” he explained. “Musically, Angus Young from AC/DC was my hero,” he said, citing Dave Matthews and Damien Rice as idols as well.

In 2009, it was evident that Phillip’s interest in music was taking a turn into becoming a blooming career when he appeared in local Georgian venues and contests, eventually winning a singing competition called “Albany Star” in 2010. 

As Phillip Phillips walked in front of American Idol judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler for his initial audition on the show in 2012, Steven Tyler whispered to Jennifer Lopez, “I got a funny feeling about this.” It turns out that he was right with Phillip wowing the judges with songs “Superstition” and “Thriller,” catapulting him forward in the competition. Many spectacular performances later, Phillip found himself in the Top 3. Singing “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger, Phillip Phillips sealed himself as the indisputable winner of the show. “It was crazy and it changed my life completely. I didn’t know what to expect, I just loved playing music,” he reminisced. “I am just very blessed and a very lucky person.” 

When I asked him how other people can accomplish their goals like he did, he told me, “You really have to work hard and you can’t get lazy.” He says, “It’s all about learning.” Before finishing his answer, he delighted me by adding, “You have to stay humble as well.”

Two albums and many songs later, Phillip Phillips is still very much enthusiastic about living his dream of being a musician. “What inspires me to write music is just real life, you know, good, bad, sad, and happy,” Phillip voiced to me in our discussion. “These new songs that I have been writing have become some of my favorites. “The song called  Rescue You I really love… I think it’s a step forward in my career.” Now a dad, Phillip laughed and said, “[My son] likes them so I am taking that as a win.” 

If you are near Ridgefield, Connecticut, available, and looking for a great time on Saturday, August 7th, get your tickets to Phillip Phillips’ shows at the Ridgefield Playhouse at 4:00 and 7:30 PM. 

“The show is going to be great, everybody come on down,” Phillip says.

 I will be in attendance that day and I as well hope to see you all there for what will become two fantastic shows.


Phillip Phillips - Magnetic

]]> (Max Porter) Events Sun, 01 Aug 2021 11:55:48 -0400
José Feliciano Headlines Concert Celebrating Connecticut's New, Tougher Human Trafficking Law at Ridgefield Playhouse on Aug. 14

Celebratory Concert Headlining José Feliciano on August 14 at The Ridgefield Playhouse

To mark the passage of the new state law that better protects victims of human trafficking in Connecticut, as well as highlight continued efforts by organizations around the state to focus greater attention to this pervasive problem, Traffick Jam Live, a Connecticut-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is hosting a special concert featuring Grammy Award-winning singer/guitarist José Feliciano of Weston and special guest Vaneese Thomas at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Saturday, Aug. 14.

The concert will work to raise money -- and awareness -- about human trafficking, which affects communities large and small, including many here in Connecticut. Since 2008, more than 1,000 children have been referred to the Department of Children and Families in Connecticut as possible victims of child trafficking.

Between the two performances several Connecticut based anti-human trafficking nonprofits (PEHT, LOVE 146 and TJL) will share some vital information about human sex trafficking right here in our own communities. The presentation takeaways include: tips on “Red Flags” to look for to spot early indications of “grooming” techniques of traffickers; a protective look at how social media can provide traffickers access to our young daughters.

State Sen. Will Haskell will join them on stage and comment about the importance of the recently signed anti-human trafficking law.

Traffick Jam Live is a Connecticut-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit aimed at collaboratively disrupting human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking of girls under the age of 18, in the United States. It was launched by Ridgefield resident Bo Beatty in 2016.

Traffick Jam Live shines a spotlight on the shadows of human trafficking through concert and event productions that inform audiences on vital human trafficking awareness information.  For starters, if you see something, say something by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733. Traffick Jam Live is also collaboratively developing a tactical hand signal for girls to alert “trained eyes” when they are with their trafficker on an airplane, a hotel lobby or any public facility with monitored security cameras. 

"Sadly, most Americans have no idea how prevalent sex trafficking is right here in our own communities," states Beatty.

The new law, which passed earlier this summer, has been hailed by advocates working to end human trafficking. Traffickers charged in Connecticut will find it harder to avoid prosecution and victims of trafficking will now have an easier time getting their convictions vacated if the crimes they committed were done while being trafficked.

Advocates say these measures, and others included in the law, reflect a greater understanding and awareness of the problem, as well as the long-term consequences trafficking has on its victims. On a recent online zoom presentation hosted by Greenwich-based Partnership to End Human Trafficking (PEHT), the group praised the new law and the significant efforts of advocates over several years to get it passed and signed. 

“This new Connecticut State law is a major accomplishment,” said Erin Williamson, vice president of Global Programs and Strategy at New Haven-based LOVE146.

One of Williamson's and LOVE146's concerns are the predatory traffickers' enhanced social media access to vulnerable young girls anywhere in Connecticut.

The average age of entry into human sex trafficking is 12 to 14 years old, according to many anti-trafficking agencies. And the U.S. Department of State, in its "2021 Trafficking In Persons Report,” indicates that 28 percent of sex trafficking victims in the United States (more than 1 in 4) are girls under the age of 18.

Concert organizers are hoping the community comes out to enjoy some great music and do their part in disrupting human trafficking. The concert opens at 7 p.m. with a performance by Thomas and her ensemble.

"I'm honored to be a part of it. It's such an important issue," said Thomas, who has sung with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Celine Dion, to name a few.  "I don't think people really know ... they know the large picture, the big picture of what human trafficking is about. But they don't see it in a personal sense. That it could be right next door to them. That it could be right in their neighborhood. I'd like to draw attention to that aspect and have people be aware of what is going on around them."

She will be followed by the presentation and then the headliner -- Jose Feliciano -- will take the stage. Feliciano, a longtime Weston resident, headlined the Grand Opening of the Ridgefield Playhouse in 2000 and is returning once again to lend his talents to a worthy cause. 

In a joint statement, both José and wife Susan Feliciano stated, “Unless we, as a people, are really aware of this perversion —  a thing as diabolical as Human Trafficking — it will continue to permeate the underbelly of our society. I must admit, not until I was invited to perform this concert in support of Traffick Jam Live,  did we, Susan and I, grasp the scope of the dilemma. We need to become more fully aware and dedicated to do whatever we can, whatever it takes, to rid this scourge in order to protect the most vulnerable among us. Together, let’s work towards eradicating Human Trafficking in all its forms.”  The venues Gold Circle tickets also include post event VIP “meet and greet” with Feliciano after the concert.

To help provide complimentary concert tickets to Connecticut human trafficking survivors and employees and volunteers of CT’s anti-trafficking nonprofits, visit “donate” page, make a donation, and enter “Comp Tix” in the comments field.  Join in and let’s JAM human trafficking together.

Tickets are available at and here

-- For more information about Traffick Jam Live, please visit

Vaneese Thomas opens the Traffick Jam Live Aug 14 ...

]]> (Bo Beatty) Charities Fri, 30 Jul 2021 07:07:30 -0400
Made in Connecticut Expo features over 300 local businesses and entrepreneurs August 15 & 16 in Naugatuck

6th Annual Made in Connecticut Expo August 15 & 16 in Naugatuck

We're bringing over 300 amazing booths all from right here in Connecticut in every category imaginable. Food companies, drink companies, handcrafted products, manufacturers, apparel and fashion designers, artists and artisans, farm producers, local authors doing book signings, health and beauty product companies, pet companies, top local gourmet food trucks, furniture makers, upcyclers and so much more!!!

Please come and support local businesses and new entrepreneurs large and small producing goods, creating jobs and supporting the local economy right here at home. 

Beer and wine selections will be available from local Connecticut breweries and wineries.

Become a vendor and learn more here.

6 Rubber Drive, Naugatuck, CT


]]> (HH) Events Fri, 30 Jul 2021 04:57:29 -0400
Elm Shakespeare Company’s Youth Festival in Edgerton Park

A New Kind of Festival! Elm Shakespeare Company’s Youth programs come together for a weekend of theatre in the park!

Elm Shakespeare Company is doing things a bit different this year. For one weekend the Teen Camp, Teen Troupe, In Residence, and Player’s Camp programs will be joining forces for the first Youth Festival in Edgerton Park. 

From August 13th through the 15th, Elm Shakespeare will celebrate students from widely different backgrounds and communities as they come together to share their passion and creativity. In a world steeped in competition the Youth Festival provides students from schools across New Haven the opportunity to join together to appreciate and support each other.

The festival includes a production of Romeo & Juliet by the anti-violence group Ice the Beef in the culmination of their collaboration with our Elm In Residence program; Pericles performed by Elm’s Teen Camp; As You Like It from the Teen Troupe, and a double feature of Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry V  from the Players Camp. Performances on Friday begin at 2pm, Saturday starts at 1pm, and Sunday starts at 4pm. The final play on all three days will begin at 8pm.

All festival performances are free to the public. Due to Covid-19 contact tracing requirements, registration will be required for each performance attended. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and celebrate our young performers.

For a full schedule and registration for the Youth Festival, click here

For more information on Elm Shakespeare Company, click here

]]> (Audrey Lenhard) Events Wed, 28 Jul 2021 11:30:06 -0400
CT's Beardsley Zoo Breaks Ground on Andean Bear Habitat

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is pleased to announce the official groundbreaking of a spacious new habitat for Andean bears (Tremarctos ornatus), welcoming back a species that last was part of the Zoo’s animal collection in 2011. The bears will join the Zoo when construction on the habitat is complete, slated for spring 2022. 

Andean bears are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program, which focuses the collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums on endangered species recovery. Native to the Andes and outlying mountain ranges, the bears’ conservation status is listed as vulnerable, with a decreasing population in the wild. 

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo board members, Zoo staff, representatives from Diversity Construction Group (DCG) and dignitaries will gather for a groundbreaking event for the Zoo’s newest habitat on Thursday, July 29 at 11 a.m.

“Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo continues to grow, allowing us to expand on our mission of animal conservation and education. We’re pleased to welcome Andean bears back to the Zoo as another chapter in the story of diversity and richness of life in South America,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director. 

“Our heartfelt thanks to the state of Connecticut for helping to fund our newest habitat,” Dancho added. Thank you also to our dedicated staff, Board of Directors, and volunteers.”

The new Andean bear habitat will be substantially larger than the bear habitat from a decade ago. The bears required a larger enclosure, and the Zoo chose then to relocate them to a more appropriate facility. The new Andean bear habitat will feature a landscaped outdoor yard with multiple opportunities for climbing and engaging in social behaviors. The work is being done by Diversity Construction Group LLC.  

Naming opportunities for major donors are still available. Interested parties can contact Jessica Summers at or call 203-394-6573.

About Andean bears

Also called Spectacled bears for the whitish or cream “spectacles” that circle these bears eyes, each individual has a unique set of markings.  Every spectacled bear has its own “fingerprint” of distinct cream or whitish markings on its head, throat, and chest.  The markings also give the bear its scientific name: Tremarctos ornatus, or decorated bear.  The bears grow to 5-6 feet long and stand 2-3 feet high at the shoulder. Males can weight up to 340 pounds. Females grow to about 180 pounds. The Spectacled Bear is one of the most endangered bear species in the world, the most endangered being the Giant Panda Bear, which is their closest living relative today. Females are called ‘Cows’, males are called ‘Boars’ and the young are called ‘Cubs’.

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 99th year, features 350 animals representing primarily North and South American and Northern Asian species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, maned wolves, Mexican gray wolves, and red wolves. Other highlights include the Spider Monkey Habitat, the Rainforest Building, the prairie dog exhibit, and the Pampas Plain with Giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can ride on the carousel, grab a bite from the Peacock Café and eat in the Picnic Grove. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a non-profit organization approaching its 100th year at a time when the mission of helping fragile wildlife populations and eco-systems is more important than ever. 

Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at; guests taking advantage of the free program for Connecticut children must also make reservations online. In accordance with the state of Connecticut COVID-19 guidelines: we recommend that guests continue to wear masks while visiting the Zoo, but when guests are outside and can maintain social distance, masks may be removed. In any indoor area, or when social distancing cannot be maintained, masks are required. Everyone over the age of two, except for those with medical conditions that precludes wearing them, should have a mask available. 

]]> (Lisa Clair ) Places Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:37:30 -0400
Meet City of Milford Employees of the Month!

Congratulations to Robert (Bob) Trapp and Keith Doyle Signs & Lines Crew in the Highway/Parks Division within the Department of Public Works for being selected as Employees of the Month for July 2021.

As the recipients of the award for the Mayor’s Employee of the Month Program, please join us in extending warm congratulations to this team in receiving this recognition.  After a review of all of the nominations the Selection Committee chose this team from the Highway/Parks Division as the winners for their teamwork, strong work ethic and unwavering sense of duty and loyalty to each other as well as those they work with.     

Bob began his employment with the City of Milford on November 29, 1993 when he was hired as a Truck Driver-Drainage.  He was promoted on July 22, 1998, to Striper/Truck Driver, and, on March 30, 2001, he was once again promoted to his current position of Working Leader-Street Marking.  Keith began working for the city on March 10, 1997, in the position of Building Custodian.  On May 4, 1998, he was promoted to Maintainer; promoted on November 14, 2005, to Truck Driver/Laborer; promoted on January 4, 2010, to Truck Driver; and then on February 1, 2010, to his current position as Street Striper.

Bob and Keith are essential to keeping the community safe.  Working closely with the Police Department, they are responsible for the placement of all fire lanes, no parking zones, parking time limitations, stop signs and speed control signage.  Because there is no room for error in their workday, each task Bob and Keith perform is done with conscientious accuracy to ensure all guidelines and standards are met.  They are always available for a quick last-minute job and are unflappable when there is a change in a job they are completing.

Bob and Keith work together like a well-oiled machine.  Their production line is always meticulous, their shop is clean and organized.  Their affable natures are evident in their interactions with each other and all with whom they come in contact. Bob and Keith are well deserving of being recognized for the efforts they put forth each and every day.  Their positive attitude, excellent team spirit and commitment to serving the public are unparalleled.  These are just a few of the many reasons the Mayor extends his sincere congratulations and appreciation to Bob and Keith for the outstanding attributes they exhibits as Employees of the Month.

Again, congratulations to them!

]]> (Linda Michel) Neighbors Tue, 27 Jul 2021 04:56:38 -0400
Milford Public Library 2021 August Program Calendar

August News at the Library!

The Library has embraced this year's "Tails & Tales" summer reading theme! Our adult users are making dragonfly pins, the teens are having a panda paint night, and our youngest users get to join live animals with special Zoom-time lunches.  What fun! 

Click HERE to print a copy of the Library calendar

A huge thank you to our Friends of the Milford Library for funding and supporting these programs.  Be sure to visit them on the Green at this year's Oyster Fest!  Learn how you can become involved with our wonderful Friends! 

While programs and services are almost back to normal, a reminder that masks and social distancing are required in ALL city buildings, including the library, regardless of vaccination status.  We appreciate your adherence and look forward to the day we can see your wonderful faces!

Our current operating hours are:

Monday: 10:00 - 5:00
Tuesdays: 10:00 - 8:30

Wednesdays: 10:00 - 8:30

Thursdays:  10:00 - 8:30

Fridays: 1:00-5:00

Saturdays: 10:00 - 5:00 

Curbside pick up service is available on Wednesdays. Please call 203-783-3304 for a pickup appointment.  

Staff are still available to assist you via phone or email, as well as in person.  If you have a question on services, or need assistance, please contact us before your visit.

]]> (Milford Public Librar) Events Mon, 26 Jul 2021 11:35:08 -0400
The Changing Face of the Family Workplace

 The Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce welcomes its newest member, Nate’s Plates. Located in downtown Milford, Nate’s offers a menu that explicitly supports families by providing meals for working adults, parents on the move, or a thoughtful gift for a friend in need. Their healthy meals for all ages can be called in for pick-up, or you can grab them from the fridge if you’re on the run.

Named after co-founder Caitlin’s now four-year-old son Nathan, Nate’s Plates is specifically designed so that they can work with their children nearby. 

Rachel says, “We are two moms who ran into the same problem at the same time, namely ‘What on Earth can I put in my kid’s lunch that they’ll eat?!’ and we leaned on each other to solve the problem.  We knew that if we had this problem, other parents and caregivers must.  We hope they’ll lean on us the way we were able to lean on each other.”

Chamber President Christine Matthews Paine says, “I am so impressed by these mothers that they made a deliberate choice to somehow include their little children in their daily work-life.  As a working mother, I know how difficult this is, and I applaud them. They are an inspiration and a great example to many young parents.”

From left to right - State Representative Charles Ferraro, Catlin Rissman, Matt Mcguinness, Mayor Ben Blake, Rachel Lysak, Andrés Werthein, Senator James Maroney, Chamber President Christine Matthews Paine.

Photo Credit Gregory Gregeiger


]]> (Christine Matthews Paine) Life Mon, 26 Jul 2021 11:32:00 -0400
Hearst & Pritchard Foundations Help Low-Income Mothers/Scholars

Bridgeport, CT - The Hearst Foundations and the Pritchard Foundation recently awarded grants in the amounts of $100,000 and $50,000 respectively to support Housatonic Community College (HCC) students in need. The grants will aid students participating in HCC’s Family Economic Security Program (FESP) and will be distributed to students through the Housatonic Community College Foundation.

The FESP program, which was launched in partnership with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls, empowers students to better manage real-life challenges while pursuing a degree or certificate. Through one-on-one coaching, individualized career services, financial literacy learning, and peer, income and scholarship support, FESP students receive the necessary resources and tools they need to advance their education, career, and family economic security.

The grants from the Hearst Foundations and the Pritchard Foundation will support the program’s next iteration, FESP 2.0, which will begin in HCC’s Fall 2021 semester. FESP 2.0 will target low-income, female students who are mothers. The program’s financial literacy learning opportunities and wrap-around supports will help these women with dependents to juggle their multiple priorities, including holding one or more jobs, while pursuing their education at HCC.

“We believe this grant, along with others, will provide single women with dependents the opportunity to achieve a satisfying and economically secure future,” said George B. Irish, Eastern Director of the Hearst Foundations.

The FESP program was adapted from a national model developed by The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Since it began at HCC in 2015, the program has helped 413 students to dramatically improve their overall performance. Through FESP, students build stronger grade point averages, complete courses at a higher rate and graduate at a higher frequency. FESP 2.0 focuses on research findings that low-income mothers’ real-life challenges are significant barriers to achieving success in higher education. 

“The Pritchard Foundation supports innovative and transformative educational development opportunities. We are happy to support the next iteration of the Family Economic Security Program to help students at Housatonic Community College,” said Joanne Ziesing, Executive Director of the Pritchard Foundation.

In addition to financial literacy learning opportunities and wrap-around supports, students in FESP 2.0 will participate in workshops on nutrition, health and wellness, budgeting and more. Their children will have opportunities to participate in summer camperships and cultural activities on campus, normalizing college for them and helping to break the cycle of poverty and underachievement.

“The Family Economic Security Program at Housatonic has shown me a different side of what I’m capable of and what I can achieve. My goal is to become an OB-GYN,” said Deniese, a mother of four children who graduated from HCC last year.

“We are grateful to the Hearst Foundations and the Pritchard Foundation for their generous support. This funding will help to build our students’ growth and life-school balance, encouraging them and their families to become more financially secure, achieve their educational goals and improve their abilities to land rewarding and well-paying careers,” said Kristy Jelenik, Executive Director of the Housatonic Community College Foundation.

Through private donations, Housatonic Community College Foundation scholarships provide access to a quality education for students who do not have the financial resources to pay for college, and contributes to the region’s economy by developing a better-trained workforce. During the 2020-21 fiscal year, the foundation awarded over $600,000 in scholarships and students assistance to more than 1,000 students. To learn more about the foundation and how you can support financially struggling scholars, visit or call 203-332-5078.

]]> (Laura Roberts) Places Mon, 26 Jul 2021 05:21:13 -0400