Newfairfield's HamletHub Mon, 18 Mar 2019 12:10:05 -0400 New Fairfield Senior Center Trip to Wicket Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips 

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm * Gregg's Paint and VinoRhode Island

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Includes: Round Trip Motor-Coach, Step-by-Step Painting Instruction, Canvas, Paint, 2 Free Beverages, Lunch, Visit to Wicked Tulips, Flower Vase, 5 Tulips All Taxes and Gratuities (including driver)

Depart:7:15 am

Return: 9:15 pm

Cost: $130 pp

This is a red line trip. Take first 3 and the 4th is FREE 

see the flyers for this and other

Red Line Trips HERE

New Fairfield Senior Center
33 Route 37
New Fairfield, CT 06812
ph: 203 312-5665
fax: 203-312-5667


]]> (New Fairfield Senior Center) Events Sun, 17 Mar 2019 16:50:47 -0400
Cinderella Brunch at New Fairfield High School on March 24

Calling all Princes and Princesses to the New Fairfield High School Rebel Players Cinderella Brunch.

Saturday, March 23, 2019 (Snow day March 24)

10am -12pm

NFHS Cafeteria

Tickets $10 per person - MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE by March 19!

Photo and autograph opportunities with characters, crafts, a musical preview of the show, and of course, brunch.

Please return attached form to Barbara Strashun at Consolidated or Meeting House Hill School R.S.V.P and payment are due no later than Tuesday, March 19th.

]]> (New Fairfield High School Rebel Players) Events Sun, 17 Mar 2019 16:28:26 -0400
Dog of the Week: Teddy Available for Adoption

Teddy is a seven year old black and tan mix who came to us from a hoarding situation. He is still getting used to being on a leash and will need someone to work with him on that. He is a very sweet boy who loves to play with his toys and needs to go to an adult only household.
The NFSAW Team
223 State Route 37 | PO Box 8232
New Fairfield, CT 06812
]]> (NFSAW) Charities Sat, 16 Mar 2019 12:59:53 -0400
A Festival of Fun at the Ridgefield One Acts

There is a thrill that surrounds a one-act festival, particularly one so full of local talent: on the stage, behind the scenes, and on the page. Ridgefield Theater Barn’s 9th Annual Evening of One Act Plays presents eight short plays, directed and performed by both seasoned and fresh faces to the theatre, which carry themes of light, laughter, and levity. 
Staged with minimal set pieces and props, with specific lighting and at-times finicky but appropriate entr'acte songs, the Ridgefield one-acts showcased twenty-one actors and seven playwrights’ latest works featuring women’s exploration of love, connection, and personal discovery. Does this sound like nearly every play, ever? Even Brecht? Well, the One-Acts have more than a touch of the absurd too, rest assured. 
Among them is “Waiting for Hugot,” one of the more head-scratching offerings of the night, by C.J. Erlich, directed by Shawn Tyler Allen, featuring Lori Franzese (with an exquisitely realistic Missourian accent--no “you betcha” pulp there) and Timothy Huber, trying on the madcap, writer-type like a splendidly wacky wig. As the title suggests, this play is not afraid to parade existential themes in reality, and the audience can enjoy the actors letting loose while somehow keeping on solid ground. 
A equally bizarre offering at the onset is a show about a priest, a teenager, and morning emissions--not exactly a set up for immediate hilarity, but Pat Lennon’s “Bless Me Father” gives it a whirl. Brian DeToma directs this piece with secure footing in the funny, with Larry Greeley as Father David Coughlin Power delivering pastoral pointers with benign boffola, and Daschel Knuff approaching young Brendan with a 50s-era earnestness. Sorta.
Taking the fourth dimension for a spin was one of my favorites of the night:“How We Met” by Ellie Martino, although it was not without its frustrating elements. Directed by David Fritsch, the audience is treated to two pairs of actresses who are positively joyous in their craft. Valerie Huegel and Taffy Miller are engaging in the telling of their endearing story--an effective use of fourth wall narration--with enough humor and heart to carry the play with no other elements. Yet, their story is enacted center stage by their spirit projections (Maya Jennings Daley and Chhanda Som respectively). These two comedic dynamos are relegated to puppets in what plays as a well-crafted improv sketch which is really not necessary to convey the meaning of the piece. Yet, while the audience must keep pulling focus from one wonderful pair to the next, the contrived story device finds the actors delighting all in the telling. 
A play ready to bust beyond its one act was “Question Mark” by Bob Zaslow, directed with full commitment and attention by Alexis Vournazos. Here the fourth wall narration was more superfluous, as Mark (Stephen Ross) did a fine job in each scene identifying that the perspective of the action was his. A quick character study of his girlfriend Christine (Kristi McKeever) and their delightfully awful stereotyped pairs of Jewish and Irish parents (Elayne Gordon and Craig David Rosen), and of course the magical homeless guy/bartender (Eli Rose), gives us a vast field to watch the actors stretch their archetypal legs in the comedic grass.
Meandering throughout the plays is a woman, Eliza (Emily Volpintesta) navigating the search for love with an array of “nope” guys (Chris Cenatiempo) in eight exchanges entitled “Miss Match / Mismatch” by Paulette Layton, directed by Nancy Ponturo. Volpintesta had to maintain an open, earnest Eliza as Cenatiempo presented a plethora of stock characters with impact in a tiny amount of time. While Cenatiempo hit the sweet spot of some of his characters throughout the show, Volpintesta found her stride as Emily in the final emotional exchanges. This is an excellent “front of curtain” piece, and in its present form, works nicely as a scene study collection for new actors.
A few plays had that “scene work” feel, starting right at the top with “Kissing Will” by Ginny Reynolds and directed by David Fritsch. Kylie Wolff and C.J. Morsey worked through the piece hitting the beats as close to naturally as possible, given how the play does much more telling than showing. Here is a piece where the actors could choose any number of emotional paths to play these characters, and Wolff and Morsey have the chops to pull it off.
“Love at First Sight” by Ed Friedman and directed by Erik Tonner also gave an impression of a perfect scene to work for an acting class--perfect in that it sets up drama from nearly no impetus and pushes the actors to work through their discoveries in rapid, swirling immediacy. This play is written like a sociology thesis, exploring complex concepts of ethnicity, race, and dyschromatopsia (where did THAT word come from?) with scintillating insights and no observable risk of conflict. Rita (Christine Mitchell-Robinson) brings about once-sensitive issues with ease, and Joe (Matt Pagliaro) is well matched for the polite Discussion Tennis that ensues.
Also by Ed Friedman is “Secret Dreamers,” another piece where he takes on the challenge of writing beyond the surface and into the depths of women’s psyches, through the lens of laughter. This play is a also a bit of a “unicorn” as it features the rarity of three women over age 50 exploring vitality and viability in the modern world. Elayne Gordon and Cathy Molloy are sisters who embody comedy and drama respectively, and each commits. Sitting in the stillness is their third sister, played by Kristin Aug, whose monologue teased at awkward to land with such elegance and sincerity (fancy French accordion music and elegant lighting choices notwithstanding) that she elicited mid-play applause.
RTB’s One Acts are an annual tradition of celebrating the craft of theatre, and this year is no exception. Enjoy this rich night of laughter as tickets are quick to sell out. An Evening of One Act Plays runs until March 30, 2019 at the Ridgefield Theater Barn, 37 Halpin Ln, Ridgefield, CT, 06877. Doors open one hour prior to curtain for cabaret-style seating, which is 8PM evenings and 2PM matinees. Bring your favorite treats and libations to enjoy prior to this delightful night full of laughs. Tickets are $35 for adults, and $28 for seniors, students and veterans, and available at or by calling the box office at 203- 431-9850. For more information, email Recommended for mature audiences.

Get a daily snapshot of what is going on in town! Just type your email in the Subscribe field to the above right and click "Subscribe" for HamletHub’s daily newsletter.

]]> (Christine S. Bexley) Events Sat, 16 Mar 2019 09:31:37 -0400
BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report Reveals Employment Scams Were Riskiest Scams of 2018

Employment scams were the riskiest scams in 2018, according to the latest report from the Better Business Bureau, Tech-Savvy Scammers Work to Con More Victims: 2018 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report . Employment scams had more instances and higher losses than in previous years when it ranked the third riskiest. The report is based on data supplied by consumers to BBB Scam TrackerSM  and is based on the BBB Risk Index, a unique algorithm that calculates exposure, susceptibility, and monetary loss to offer a more accurate assessment of scam risk.

“This was a surprise,” said Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, which produced the report. “It’s the first time since we began this report three years ago that one scam dominated across so many demographic subgroups. It was the riskiest scam in three of the six age groups, and for both men and women. It was also the riskiest scam for military families and veterans, and students.”

Digging into the Risk Report shows one possible answer: Amazon was in the news a lot in 2018 with its high profile search for a second headquarters. It was also the 6th most impersonated organization mentioned in BBB Scam Tracker reports, after not even making the top 15 in previous years. In 2017, only 24 BBB Scam Tracker reports were employment scams that mentioned Amazon. In 2018, that jumped to 564. Amazon, a BBB Accredited Business, has only one authorized job application site: Any other link is a scam.

The Internal Revenue Service is the leading impersonated organization, and other government agencies together rank second. Other leading brands that scammers impersonate include Publishers Clearing House, Microsoft, Apple… and Better Business Bureau.

"Employment scams are particularly horrible because they prey on people who are already feeling financially strained and may be desperate for work,” said Luke Frey, associate director of communication for BBB Serving Connecticut. “If the scam gets far enough, scammers collect the same information that real employers do – address, birth date, Social Security number, bank account – everything needed for identity theft, and that's where the real trouble begins."

The ten riskiest scams of 2018 were: employment, online purchase, fake checks/money orders, home improvement, advance fee loans, romance, tech support, investment, travel/vacation, and government grant.


For more highlights from Tech-Savvy Scammers Work to Con More Victims: 2018 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, download the infographic at 


]]> (CT BBB) Public safety Sat, 16 Mar 2019 06:18:04 -0400
WCSU names Hospice CEO Cynthia Roy Macricostas Entrepreneur of the Year

Western Connecticut State University will recognize Cynthia Emiry Roy, president and CEO of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care in Danbury, with the 2019 Macricostas Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Roy has applied her entrepreneurial career exclusively to nonprofits, armed with the same drive and skills exhibited by successful business owners.

Her current project – directing construction of the Regional Hospice Center for Comfort Care and Healing, which opened in 2015, and running the highly successful operation – set a new standard for the way hospice care is offered not only in Connecticut, but across the country.

“Cynthia’s long resume of work with nonprofits and her drive to do something never before achieved in Connecticut, will convince anyone that the skills and drive expressed by business entrepreneurs are the same needed to make nonprofits successful,” said Dr. David Martin, dean of WCSU’s Ancell School of Business, which administers the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The award will be presented at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 26, at the Ethan Allen Hotel, 21 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The award is given annually to recognize local business leaders whose drive, intelligence and creativity lead to notable business success. The program’s benefactor is Constantine “Deno” Macricostas, the founder of Photronics Inc., in Brookfield, who is a longtime supporter of WCSU and its students.

Roy had been the executive director of another hospice in Connecticut for nine years when, in 2007, the board of directors at the Regional Hospice offered her the president and CEO job at Regional Hospice.

“I told the board, ‘I will come to work for you if you let me build a hospice inpatient center — one like you have never seen before!’” Roy recounted. She had learned that not all hospice care was suitable in hospitals or home. For some people at the end of life, a center that could assess and handle their special medical needs and help family members cope with emotional and spiritual needs all at the same time was the best solution. Connecticut had almost no options for patients and Roy knew from her travels around Connecticut and other states that no other facility met the best-practice standards she could build.

The Regional Hospice board of directors agreed and Roy set about her task. First, she had to change state hospice inpatient regulations, which didn’t represent best practice in end-of-life care. The original law from 1977 required a drinking fountain and a phone booth to be within a short distance of every hospice patient’s room and didn’t include any best-practice, evidence-based research within the regulations.

Roy had to find a location and raise money as well. “We didn’t have a $10 million donor,” she said. “Our average gifts were $400 each.” She identified a piece of land that was wooded and quiet, but is within half-a-mile of Exit 2 on Interstate-84 for easy access.

Operators of another hospice in the state lobbied against the change in regulations in order to blunt Roy’s attempt to construct a building. She spent several years engaging state and federal legislators before Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the reworked law in 2012.

Finally, Roy was able to hire an architect to design the building.

“I knew exactly what I wanted and I knew no one had done it before. We could do something really special,” Roy said. “I didn’t want it to look like a hospital. I wanted it to feel like home. It is the last home for most of the people who come here. We created an experience that is unforgettable.”

Roy has grown the organization from a small business to an $18 million corporation. The 36,000-square-foot building, which cost $14 million, offers 12 patient suites, each with space for family members to sleep, gourmet catering service from the kitchen, a library, chapel, a spa and a playground for children, as well as administrative offices. It is a fully licensed specialty care hospital and the only facility of its kind in Connecticut. It is getting state and national recognition from other health care providers. In addition to the center, Regional Hospice and Palliative Care also provides hospice care in four counties to people in homes, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.

Many people who work in hospice care have had a personal experience with loss that makes them passionate about the calling. As a teenager, Roy lost a best friend to leukemia. The experience of losing and caring for someone who was terminally ill changed her life. Sadly, she had a number of other significant losses that changed her view on dying with dignity.

The difficult experience gave Roy a personal understanding about end-of-life care and decisions the patient and family must consider. At the same time, Roy said, she approaches her position as a job that involves many of the same tasks as any corporate, for profit, business.

“Our business culture is very important because we are working with families and patients at very difficult times in their lives while juggling the expenses of health care,” Roy said. “If you make a mistake at the end of life, people never forget that memory. You don’t get another chance to do it right.”

Roy expects everyone who works at the hospice agency to have the same commitment to service and mission that she does.

]]> (WCSU) Life Fri, 15 Mar 2019 11:13:00 -0400
New Report lists Two Connecticut Cities in Top 3 Safest Cities in US, Connecticut 2nd Safest State Overall

Connecticut has a lot to boast about when it comes to safety - we are the second safest state in the country (New Jersey #1) with 14 of our cities among the top 100. Two of those cities, Ridgefield and Madison, are in the top 3! Read all about it in the SafeWise Report here.

Five Connecticut Cities reported no incidents of violent crime, Ridgefield, Madison, Granby Easton, and Groton Long Point.

In addition to Ridgefield and Madison, the SafeWise list included New Canaan (#14), Cheshire (#16), Avon (#18), and Darien (#25) in the top 25.  Additional Connecticut communities earned a place among the top 100: Simsbury (#30), Brookfield (#35), Westport (#36), Wilton (#48), Guilford (#53), Rocky Hill (#64), and Wolcott (#91).

View the 2019 Top 20 Safest Cities in Connecticut here. View the 2019 Safest Cities in America here.

Connecticut’s crime rates are better than the national averages, with 2.55 violent crime incidents per 1,000 people and 19.53 property crime incidents. Nationwide rates are 4.49 for violent crime and 27.11 for property crime according to SafeWise.

FBI had encouraging news about crime in the US overall:

  • In 2017, an estimated 1,247,321 violent crimes occurred nationwide, a decrease of 0.2 percent from the 2016 estimate.
  • There were an estimated 382.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017, a rate that fell 0.9 percent when compared with the 2016 estimated violent crime rate and dropped 16.5 percent from the 2008 estimate. (See Tables 1 and 1A.)

SafeWise gives high marks to Connecticut’s overall safety. “There were only two murders reported among all 20 cities that made the list. Overall, the Constitution State is well below national averages for both violent and property crime. Proving the point, 95% of the cities on our list saw fewer than one violent crime per 1,000 people, according to FBI data,” SafeWise said.

Learn how SafeWise identified the safest cities by visiting their methodology page.

]]> (Tara Daly) Public safety Fri, 15 Mar 2019 08:53:07 -0400
Connecticut State Police 200th K9 Training Troop

The Connecticut State Police K9 Unit is proud to announce the graduation of its 200th K9 Training Troop. The Troop consisted of seven K9 Teams from throughout the United States and specialized in Electronic Storage Device Detection. The graduation will take place this Friday, March 15, 2019 at 10:00 a.m., at the State Police Academy located at 285 Preston Avenue, Meriden, Connecticut.

The Connecticut State Police K9 Unit trained the world’s first electronic storage device detection K9 in 2012 utilizing a proprietary training methodology and curriculum. Since that time, demand for the specialized electronic storage detection or ESD K9’s has grown exponentially. The specialized ESD K9’s assist with counter terror, child pornography, organized crime, and other related investigations by sniffing out evidence stored on concealed electronic media storage devices such as thumb drives, SD cards, hard drives, cellular telephones, etc.

The K9’s were all selected by the Connecticut State Police K9 Training Unit Cadre and underwent 5 weeks of preliminary training with CSP K9 Instructors before being paired with their respective handlers for an additional 5 week training and certification course of instruction.

The graduating ESD K9 Teams of the Connecticut State Police 200th K9 Training Troop pictured from left to right are as follows:

Officer Dennis Hinkson and K9 Pauline Connecticut Department of Corrections

Trooper Tommy Bellue and K9 Maggie Louisiana State Police

Detective David Aresco and K9 Dora Connecticut State Police

Officer Anel Heredia and K9 Hugh
New York City Police Counter Terrorism

Investigator John Hyla and K9 Hannah Putnam County Sheriff’s Department NY

Investigator Cory Stoff and K9 Ike

]]> (Connecticut State Police) Public safety Fri, 15 Mar 2019 08:16:58 -0400
Learn About a New Free Community Resource to Share, Search, and Submit Information About Somers

Residents, Businesses, and Organizations are invited to Somers Community Connection Meetings on March 26 at 10am & 7pm.

Learn about a new free Somers Community Resource, Somers HamletHub. Residents, Businesses, and Organizations are invited to Somers Community Connection Meetings to share ideas, events, activities, stories, and more! There will be prizes and giveaways donated by local businesses. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 26, at Crystal Hall at Somers Community Center located at 34 Hillandale Road, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598. For your convenience, you may choose to attend the 10am or the 7pm session.

Topics include:

  •       Searching and submitting stories about Somers
  •       Publicizing free events at no cost
  •       Internship opportunities for high school students
  •       Daily e-newsletters
  •       Website and Social media connection

Refreshments will be provided by Froggy's Deli and the new Stop & Shop in Mahopac.

Please RSVP to confirm your attendance, so we can properly plan our seating and refreshments. This is a FREE event.

To find out more visit

]]> (Margaret Carey, HamletHub Editor/Master IT Media, LLC) Events Fri, 15 Mar 2019 07:06:19 -0400
St. Patrick's Day Train Service

On Saturday March 16 through Sunday, March 17, for travel to/from the St. Patrick's Day Parade, to maintain orderly travel for customers, Metro-North will not permit alcoholic beverages on trains, platforms or at stations. Any alcoholic beverages found by MTA Police will be confiscated. Customers could experience crowded conditions due to heavy travel.

For those headed to the St. Patrick's Day Parade, please see our March 16 special Hudson, Harlem and New Haven line service schedule at 

On the Hudson Line, tickets will be collected prior to boarding at Poughkeepsie, New Hamburg and Beacon Stations due to high parade ridership. Please purchase your tickets before heading to the platform. Customers should buy round-trip tickets in advance using MTA eTix, or arrive at the station early to buy tickets.

For  train times, see our schedules page, or download TrainTime to your smartphone for quick access to our schedule.

or passengers traveling to the St. Patrick's Day parade, the following additional service will be provided:


  • Hudson Line: Three additional inbound trains, departing Poughkeepsie at 7:37 AM, 8:37 AM and 9:15 AM, stopping at New Hamburg, Beacon, Peekskill, Croton-Harmon, Harlem-125th St., and arriving at Grand Central Terminal at 9:20 AM, 10:20 AM, and 11 AM.


  • Harlem Line: Two additional inbound trains, the first departing Southeast at 8:47 AM, making all stops though White Plains, then Harlem-125th St., and arriving at GCT at 10:20 AM; and the second departing North White Plains at 9:47 AM and making all stops to Mount Vernon West, then Harlem-125th St., arriving at GCT at 10:37 AM.


  • New Haven Line: Two additional inbound trains departing New Haven, the first at 8:40 AM and making all stops to Fairfield, then Westport, Harlem-125th St., and arriving at GCT at 10:31 AM; and the second departing Stamford at 9:50 AM, making all stops through Mount Vernon East, then Harlem-125th St., and arriving at GCT at 11:02 AM.

Additional PM Outbound Service on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines

  • Extra PM trains will operate as demand warrants for outbound travel.

Remember, no matter how you purchase your ticket, you can always take advantage of the Family Fare, where each child pays $1 up to 4 children traveling with a fare-paying adult on weekend and non-peak trains. For the fifth child, the off-peak child fare applies on the weekends. See our fares page for more details.

To see the schedule, go to our interactive schedule page, or download MTA TrainTime® to your phone for your schedule on the go!

]]> (MTA) Neighbors Fri, 15 Mar 2019 05:45:10 -0400
Squantz Engine Company Firehouse Chili Cook-Off

Firehouse Chili Cook-Off

Cash Prizes will be awarded to the best in each class and a runner up. Judging will be by popular vote.
This event is open to the public. There is a $5 fee for tasters.
Squantz Engine Company 255 State Route 39, New Fairfield, CT 06812

Entry forms must be received by 3/22/19 with payment enclosed Tasting/voting tickets cost $5 per person. Children under ten years of age are free!
1:00pm to 4:00pm Firehouse is located adjacent to Squantz Pond State Park

Entry Classes:Amateur: $25 Restaurant: $75 Firehouse: $50 

Sponsor Classes: Gold: $300 Silver: $150 Bronze: $50

Mail your sign up sheet and entry fee to: Squantz Engine Company, PO Box 8220, New Fairfield, CT 06812

For more information, please contact Squantz Engine Company Email any forms or questions you have to: or call Steve 203.297.4432 or TJ 203.770.1312

]]> (Squantz Engine Company) Events Thu, 14 Mar 2019 20:08:49 -0400
The Cost of Implementing Legalization of Marijuana

5th Annual Prevention Conference 

The Cost of Implementing Legalization of Marijuana: Health, Safety and Social Concerns

Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., President and CEO, Smart Approaches to Marijuana

Friday, April 5, 2019

Putnam Hospital Center, Wagner Cancer Pavilion, 670 Stoneleigh Avenue, Carmel, NY 10512

 Dr. Kevin Sabet will present the latest developments over the battle to legalize marijuana, and will review the latest science about the drug. An overview of current drug policy trends in the United States will be provided, and some of the most cited myths about marijuana use, such as, “marijuana is harmless and non-addictive”, and “legalization will solve the government’s budgetary problems”, will be debunked. Dr. Sabet makes the claim that our greatest concern should be the inevitable rise of a second “Big Tobacco” industry”, this time marketing marijuana to our children and youth. He will refer to the documented issues and arising problems in Colorado and Washington State as examples. His presentation concludes with an overview of our policy options, describing a smarter, science-based approach to marijuana policy that neither legalizes marijuana nor demonizes its users. You will hear more about marijuana, marijuana policy, the health effects of the drug, and the current political landscape in this presentation, than you likely ever have.


  • Participants will understand the state of the science with regards to marijuana. They will understand the differences between non-smoked components of marijuana for medicinal purposes, smoked marijuana for recreational use, different components (eg CBD, THC), and how medical marijuana has worked in various U.S. states until now.
  • Participants will be conversant in the differences between scheduling and policy with regards to marijuana. Participants will also be able to discuss pressing issues related to marijuana policy in the US. They will be able to examine and give an overview about the current debate about legalization.
  • Participants will also understand what data monitoring systems are in place both nationally and in individual states to track progress and consequences of the changing marijuana policy landscape. Finally, participants will understand what the various medical associations are saying about the evidence surrounding marijuana.

8:15 – 9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:10 – 12:10 The Cost of Implementing Legalization of Marijuana: Health, Safety and Social Concerns

Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., President and CEO, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)

12:10 – 12:15 Evaluations and Certificates

Registration fee is $25 (includes continental breakfast). To receive a certificate, participants must arrive on time and attend the entire conference. No certificates for partial attendance will be given. For more information, contact the Prevention Council of Putnam at (845) 225-4646. Seating is limited. Pre-registration and payment is required. 

]]> (Kristin McConnell, Executive Director The Prevention Council of Putnam) Politics Thu, 14 Mar 2019 17:58:14 -0400
Review: Lost in Yonkers; Found in Brookfield

When you think Neil Simon, you may not think “immersive art experience,” but the Brookfield Theatre for the Arts challenges that thought in their production of Simon’s Lost in Yonkers, their first offering of the 2019 season.
For BTA’s production of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize Drama Award winner, director Dana O’Neal has highlighted the atmosphere of World War II America to pull 2019 Brookfield, Connecticut into 1942 Yonkers, New York. A veteran of the armed services, O’Neal has cleverly developed a pre-show set on Veterans Appreciation Day, transforming the theater into the Odeon movie theater referenced in the play (and usher Johnny no longer needs to be imagined as he is embodied by a member of the pre-show ensemble). O’Neal invites the audience to join the spirit of ’42 in support for the troops at home and abroad with a cabaret modeled after a USO tour or the Stage Door Canteen, and ”casts” one of the veterans in the audience in a featured bit. As for the show, a sweet tap number to The Good Ship Lollipop anchors it in authenticity, and despite the strong singers having vocal styles too modern for this event, the actors remain present in the nostalgic celebration. The pre-show ensemble includes: Hector Diaz, Alyssa Grey, Will Mahan, Jeffrey Rossman, Isabelle Tiska, and Tarah Vega. While not vital to the enjoyment of the play, the pre-show is a nice “buffer” for audience members to make a relaxing transition into the world of theatre.
When producing an award-winning play with such brilliant dialogue as Simon’s, a company can be assured that actors will want to play in the material and audiences will respond emphatically to the comedic moments, laughing over lines all the way to the parking lot. This production is no exception, which is a blessing, for resting the internal direction of a war-era play on the shoulders of 21st century children can be a trepidatious feat.
Lost in Yonkers is a both a sincere drama and a delightful comedy, aimed primarily through the perspective of fifteen-and-a-half year old Jay Kurnitz (Nico Apicella), as he, his father Eddie (David Cheris), and younger brother Arty (Dylan Fischetto) reluctantly visit their daunting German Grandma (Pat Covino) and sweet, addled Aunt Bella (Rigby Wikins) one summer. The boys are crestfallen to learn that this visit will last almost a year as their dad leaves them to work off debt incurred following their mother’s death. Soon, they are joined by their convivial but corrupt Uncle Louie (Michael Reilly) and later, a briefly met, earnest Aunt Gert (Lynn Nissenbaum).
This production could strongly benefit from a consultation with an elderly Jew from New York, for while the show is uniformly well acted, and mostly conveys the dramatic conflicts and coming of age themes that Simon sets up, it takes itself far too seriously. Conversely, O’Neal lends comedic elements where they are not needed, such as Grandma’s entrance music. The song is inherently funny in those moments, but it is a cheap, anachronistic gag that undercuts Covino’s precise performance. Her grasp on the role, her appearance, her entrance timing, and the family’s anticipation of her are where the laughs are naturally built.
At the risk of diverting from the stereotypes lurking in the characterizations, this cast lacks that particular flavor of Jewish families in Yonkers in the 40s: a mix of anxiety and wit that is spread like deli mustard, and just as snappy. The cadence and accent of New Yorkers in the 40s is practically non-existent (save for Reilly and Nissenbaum--although Covino’s German accent is sour-pickle perfect), and some of the comedic sauce gets watered down because of it. 
The children (particularly Fischetto) have not quite shaken off the affectations of teens in the twenty-teens, as Fischetto frequently breaks character and connection to his fellow actors to look at the audience and mug. He has done a beautiful job with his monologue and blocking, and it is with hope that as he matures, he will learn to ground himself in the moment of the material. Apicella, as previously mentioned, has the brunt of perspective and carries off Jay with confidence and likeability, but with a pinch too many eye-rolls and air quotes that were not customary for kids in the 40s. (A note on air quotes in Neil Simon plays: stop. It is not period-appropriate. I’m talking to you too, Reilly.)
Oh Reilly. While we’re talking so frankly, thank you for taking Louie out for the stoll that his character demands. Louie, while not a dyed-in-the-pinstripes tough guy, sure does take some ambitious swings and the one playing him cannot be afraid to hit a screwball. Reilly gives the tense air of this production a nicely wacky (in-character) breather. 
Credit given to Nissenbaum’s Gert, for while we hardly get to know ye in the show, she takes the characterized vocal wheezes that could be fodder for hokey laughs, and performs them organically as a byproduct of a tramatic childhood with steely Grandma. Also of note is Cheris’s Eddie, for his grief and despair are palpable. I invite him to explore more notes of Eddie, as Simon’s characters are never one level, and the comedy in the lines gives the drama much more color, particularly in Eddie’s postcards home.
Most divergent from character breakdown is Wilkins’ Bella, a woman that is a swirling study in emotional variety. Wilkins also has a lot to do in conveying the family climate while remaining authentic to this endearing character. She hits the beats of Bella’s trauma-reactive mood swings, but misses her unbridled moments of joy. Perhaps costuming that supports the character’s escapist spirit may have helped with this. Bella’s dramatic moments are sincerely that, but give the impression that rather than coming to her moment of self-assurance in the play, she has always had it and is just waiting for the right time to declare it to her mother. 
The intentional downstage center blocking that O’Neal asks of his actors impedes their connection with their castmates, particularly for Bella, who is already an odd little isolated duck. While Lost in Yonkers is densely populated with memorable monologues, it is not always necessary to deliver them to the dramatic middle distance from spotlit dead center. This show is about family, conflict, and connection, and front-n-center blocking addressed skyward can be counterintuitive to affective scene work.
Costumes by Doreen Rafferty are period-precise, and if no one takes credit for hair, they should, because Wilkins’s rag rollers had their own moment of praise. Set Designer Andrew Okell, with lighting from Stephen Cihanek, creates a liveable home space with realistic dressing, and save for a window placement that makes the bathroom space improbable, the setting works. Cihanek has additional lighting touches that assist with some of the more chimerical moments of the show, such as memory monologues and the aforementioned postcard readings.
Lost in Yonkers is a play with much moxie and chutzpah, taking the audience through a family’s life in an uncertain time with humor and heartache, and BTA works immensely hard to bring it to life. Settle in to this show, warm up your laughing face, and enjoy Simon’s masterpiece as performed by this engaging cast and crew.
Performances of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers run now through March 16th. Tickets are available at the box office by calling 203-775-0023 or online at The Brookfield Theatre for the Arts is located at 184 Whisconier Rd, Brookfield, CT 06804. 
]]> (Christine S. Bexley) Neighbors Thu, 14 Mar 2019 14:34:29 -0400
St. Patrick's Day Trivia at Moonlight Cafe Friday March 15

St. Patrick's Day Trivia

Friday, March 15th In #TheBrewRoom

Come see if you have the LUCK of the IRISH! Great prizes and a family fun FREE night! Starting at 7:30

Get Your Irish on with a Classic Corned Beef Dinner for $9.99 (we also have non-meat specials for Lent)
Promos and giveaways throughout the night!

On Tap

  • LIC Cannons
  • Allagash White
  • Dogfish Head American Beauty
  • Moonlight Cafe House Lager

850 RT 22, Brewster, NY


]]> (Moonlight Cafe) Events Thu, 14 Mar 2019 14:10:35 -0400
Quinnipiac Student Follows Historic Journey of The Legendary Leatherman for Charity

AQuinnipiac grad student who hails from England and now lives in New Haven, Lee-Stuart Evans, is presently embarking on a historical journey by retracing the tracks of The Leatherman.

Known as a vagabond who donned a leather suit, The Leatherman walked a 365-mile loop between the Connecticut and Hudson rivers in just 34 days, sleeping in cave shelters. According to historical accounts, The Leatherman died after suffering from lip cancer.

Evans is running a 365 mile loop through Connecticut and New York in under 7 days. According to a GoFundMe Page established by Shona Cooper in support of the journey, Evans is staying on the trail throughout the run and living homeless for a week. “The loop follows the route taken by the Old Leatherman of Connecticut and will follow his footsteps as closely as possible and aims to finish after 7 days at the site of his grave in Ossining, NY on the 130th Anniversary of his death - 20th March 1889,” she says.

Given The Leatherman's lifestyle and struggle with cancer, Evans is not running in vain but for local charitable causes.  

You can follow Evans on his trek via a live tracker here.

Click here for Evan’s research on The Leatherman.

View the GoFundMe Page and make a donation here.

]]> (Tara Daly) Charities Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:00:35 -0400