Newtown's HamletHub Mon, 21 Sep 2020 05:34:14 -0400 21 Year Old Newtown Resident Tess Michaelsen Needs Our Help!

Newtown Resident Tess Michaelsen is 21 years old and fighting for her life. 

If you have ever dined at Bartolo in Ridgefield, you might recognize Tess as the happy hostess who welcomed you to the restaurant owned by her parent’s Art and Julia. She worked there during the heat of the pandemic - as an essential worker. Tess is a 2017 graduate of Immaculate High School in Danbury and currently resides in Newtown with her family.

It was a nagging pain in her elbow that prompted Tess to seek medical attention this summer. Never did this young, energetic college student, bound for her senior year at Xavier University, think she would hear the doctor utter the words cancer. Exterior-Axial Chordoma is an extremely rare form of cancer that, in Tess’s case, has spread to her lungs and lymph nodes. 

Tess is a true cancer warrior. She won her first fight at the tender age of five after being diagnosed with Leukemia. This illness inspired her passion to work at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a nonprofit that provides summer camps and programs free of charge to children with serious illnesses. Tess attended the camp when she was a child.

Tess is currently being treated at Sloan Kettering and hope lies in a clinical trial. It is this experimental treatment that doctors believe can shrink her tumor so that Tess can have surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. 

Here’s where you can help. A good part of Tess’s treatment is not covered by insurance, including the clinical trial. 

Two of Tess’s close friends at Xavier, Grace Rieger and Kayla O'Keefe started a GoFundMe for Tess and are hoping to raise $20,000 (or more) to support her treatment. 

They write:

Tess is a fighter, and a strong one at that! She is no stranger to cancer, as she was diagnosed with Leukemia as a child, which she won her battle with many years ago! She’s an amazing friend and person, never seen without her bubbly personality or bright smile, she truly lights up a room when she is around. She is a strong young woman who is ready to kick cancer’s butt once more.

This courageous young lady is battling hard and determined to complete her senior year at Xavier University! So, in the midst of treatment, and dealing with insurmountable pain due to a tumor in her shoulder, she is taking 18 credits and working on her capstone project so she can graduate in May with a degree in psychology! 

Let’s help Tess!

Please consider supporting Tess and the Michaelsen family by clicking HERE. All contributions will go directly to Tess and her family to help cover the costs of her treatment and hospital visits, allowing them the opportunity to fully focus on Tess’s treatment and recovery. No amount is too small!

Visit the GoFundMe page HERE.

]]> (HH) Neighbors Sun, 20 Sep 2020 07:40:47 -0400
FREE Fall Concert in Newtown on October 4 Features Goldrush!

FREE Fall Concert in Newtown on October 4 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at Dickinson Park Band Shell. 

Bring your picnic baskets, blankets and your dancing shoes and enjoy the music of GOLDRUSH!

Learn more here.


]]> (Newtown Parks & Rec) Events Fri, 18 Sep 2020 07:41:22 -0400
Upcoming Public Flu Clinics in Redding, Bethel, Newtown, Brookfield, and New Fairfield

Bethel VNA Upcoming Public Flu Clinics

*Fill out the consent form here.




Preservative-free Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine for ages 6 months and older and Preservative-Free High-Dose Flu Vaccine for ages 65 years and older will be available as supplies allow.

Please note: dates and times are subject to change. Please click here for additional information.

Please bring your current primary medical insurance card. Participating carriers for the 2020-2021 flu season are: 

Aetna, Anthem/BCBS, ConnectiCare, Harvard Pilgrim, Medicare Part B & Medicare Advantage Plans with Aetna, Anthem/BCBS and ConnectiCare

No charge for Vaccines for ALL Children, 18yrs and younger, regardless of insurance carrier

For non- participating insurance plans, payment accepted by Cash, Check, HSA, Debit or Credit Card.


]]> (HH) Neighbors Thu, 17 Sep 2020 13:10:09 -0400
CIAC Announces Full Contact Football Canceled for 2020-2021 School Year

CIAC Football Board of Control Update

At its September 16, 2020, meeting, the CIAC Board of Control reaffirmed its September 3 decision to cancel full-contact football for the 2020-2021 school year. This decision was made in alignment with the Connecticut Department of Health’s recommendation that football is a high-risk sport and should not be played this fall. The board did, however, agree it would consider allowing competition at a later time for a sport that cannot hold its regularly scheduled season, such as football, provided it does not negatively impact spring sports.

DPH continues to recommend substituting “higher risk” athletic activities with “moderate risk” or “lower risk” options and /or postponing those activities to a later time. In alignment with those recommendations, by the end of this week, through its football committee, the CIAC will recommend low and moderate-risk football activities in which schools may continue to engage their football athletes.

“CIAC made every effort to weigh all factors in this decision, including the passionate voices of students, parents, and school personnel, and ultimately made the determination to align its decision with the recommendations of the Governor’s office and DPH to not hold high-risk sports at this time,” CAS-CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini stated. “In conversation with other state associations across the country, it was clear that a key factor in playing interscholastic football was alignment with the opinion of their state’s governor and state health agency.”

After consulting with DPH and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), it was apparent that CIAC’s football plan, though endorsed by the CSMS Sports Medicine Committee, will not sufficiently mitigate the risk to lower the categorization of the sport from “high risk” to “moderate risk.” DPH encouraged CIAC to seek affirmation from the NFHS that its proposed mitigating strategies would meet the standards required to recategorize football from its classification as high risk. CIAC immediately consulted with the NFHS which responded by stating that, “As each state association has its own SMAC and state department of health/health agency, the NFHS SMAC will not exercise approval or disapproval of individual state guidelines.” Furthermore, in discussions with the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), it was made clear to the CIAC that its members are not public health experts and, as such, on the matter of playing football, CAPSS would defer to the appropriate state and local public health authorities.

The CIAC is concerned that DPH’s recommendation to postpone higher risk sports to a later time is reserved for CIAC sanctioned interscholastic athletics. In fact, as the CIAC is not sanctioning a football season at this time, schools, with approval from their local DPH, may opt to play full contact football as a “club” sport, similar to girls ice hockey, without adherence to CIAC COVID mitigating plans. The CIAC has previously tried to make DPH and the governor’s office aware of the inconsistency that permits our same student population to engage in non-interscholastic high risk sports with less oversight and fewer COVID mitigating strategies. Furthermore, the CIAC has expressed its concern that this inconsistency promotes an inequity in sport opportunities.

In consideration of playing football at a later time, the board seeks to better understand factors such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • How many sports are impacted to the extent where it cannot compete during its regularly scheduled season?

  • What other public health strategies have become available and are supported with better research?

  • How will facility scheduling be impacted?

  • The impact to field maintenance and playability.

  • The viability of synthetic surface fields passing the G-max test during winter months.

  • How has the COVID climate in Connecticut improved to support interscholastic high-risk athletics at a later time?

]]> (CIAC Sports) Life Wed, 16 Sep 2020 14:38:26 -0400
Newtown Parks & Rec Announces Fall Dog Classes!

Fall 2020 Dog Classes in Newtown

Check out these programs for your pup! Sign here

]]> (HH) Life Tue, 15 Sep 2020 08:06:14 -0400
The Ridgefield Playhouse Celebrates 20 Years!

Although they had to close their doors to inside shows on March 13th, move/cancel more than 120 shows so far (equaling a loss of more than $3 million in ticket income), and cancel their Summer Gala, the other big fundraiser that they depend on, The Ridgefield Playhouse, a nonprofit theater in Ridgefield CT,  is not going to let the hard times of COVID-19 get in the way of celebrating a giant milestone. 

For 20 years, The Ridgefield Playhouse has been the heart and soul of the community, culture and economy in Ridgefield, CT. “We were hoping to have a BIG Gala celebration for our 20th Anniversary Season,” says Executive Director Allison Stockel. “But I think we have turned lemons into lemonade and have come up with a great way to have a really fun 20th Anniversary Gala!” 

On Saturday, October 3rd, the Playhouse will indeed mark its 20th Anniversary season by having performers from the past 20 years make special virtual guest appearances- everyone from Graham Nash, Stephen Schwartz, Todd Rundgren and more- as well as a full LIVE performance on the stage inside the Playhouse with Bruce Hornsby

“We are really excited to have someone perform on our stage again!” Says Stockel.  The Playhouse is offering a variety of ways to participate depending on your comfort level.  There will be a limited number of Sponsor tickets inside the theater, as well as outdoor tented seating for Gala ticket holders (both include open bar and a sit-down dinner with food from Bernard’s and Gallo), and virtual streaming tickets for those who want to stay at home.   

“We want everyone to be able to be able to celebrate with us,” says Stockel.  “For those who feel comfortable coming out, the evening kicks off at 6:30pm - with a red-carpet arrival hosted by Christine O’Leary in the tent on the field next to The Playhouse.  There will be restaurant-style seating, where you only sit with your party and will get served dinner with food from Bernard’s and Gallo at your table.  Gala ticket holders will watch the performance in the tent via a live feed from the Playhouse stage, and Sponsor ticket holders will have a socially distanced seat inside the theater.”

 The Playhouse is also selling streaming tickets for those who want to watch from the comfort of their own home. If you buy a Gala ticket or Sponsor ticket and would like to pick up your dinner and watch via streaming from home- that is also an option.

“I think when the Playhouse opened its doors 20 years ago no one ever thought that we would have gotten to the point where we would be presenting more than 200 shows annually,” says Stockel. “And in addition to that, doing 33 Arts in Education performances, giving away more than $90,000 in free tickets to Title 1 schools and people from low-income areas, and have some of the most iconic performers from all genres like Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Blondie, Stephen Sondheim, Jay Leno and so many more.”  

Those numbers are of course pre-Covid.  There is no doubt that The Ridgefield Playhouse has grown in size and scope over the past 20 years.  Just ask any restaurant owner and they will tell you that when the Playhouse has a show, their restaurant is full. “In addition to being such an important part of this town’s culture, The Playhouse has been a huge economic generator for the town,” says First Selectman Rudy Marconi, “We know times are tough right now and look forward to getting The Playhouse and the Town of Ridgefield back to where it was.”

And times have been tough indeed.  “The entire Arts and Culture sector is hurting right now,” says Stockel. “So, we really need to do this Gala. We do not yet know what we will be able to do inside the Theater this winter, we are hoping to know soon. Right now, we can do a few outdoor shows, which is good, but not what we would normally do.” In fact, The Ridgefield Playhouse did only four outdoor shows in the month of August, when they originally had 18 shows booked.

  This September they were planning to do 20 live performances and will only be able to do five outdoor shows.  “At least it’s something,” Stockel says, “but it’s not enough to keep us going if we aren’t able to, at some point, start doing regular indoor shows again soon.” Even so, Stockel and her team are proud of what they have accomplished and feel positive about where the Playhouse is going.  “We have wonderful and loyal sponsors, members and donors. 

This Gala is as much for them as it is for us,” says Stockel. “And even though we’re doing it a little differently during these unprecedented times, we’re here and we’re not going anywhere.  We have been through a lot over the past 20 years, and we’ve stood the test of time.  I know we will be okay and come out on the other end, it’ll just be a bit of a journey to get there.” 

The Ridgefield Playhouse Gala is sponsored by  PLATINUM SPONSORS: Berisford, Rabinowitz, Ross & Stockel Families, Missy & Andy Williams; GOLD SPONSORS: Eric Diefenbach & JK Brown; SILVER SPONSORS:  Deb and Howard Bubb; BRONZE SPONSORS: Caroline & Rommin Adl, Amy & Eric Freidenrich, Kathleen & Dave Lyons, Jill & Larry Mango, Dr. Margaret A. Reed & Patricia Fernandes, The Sawtelle Family, Linsey Tully & Joe Racioppo, Mercedes-Benz of Danbury.

For more information about The Playhouse Gala go online to or, you can visit or call the box office (203) 438-5795.

The Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT and is committed to keeping the arts alive and available to all.


]]> (The Ridgefield Playhouse) Events Mon, 14 Sep 2020 11:00:58 -0400
Fall Sports in Full Swing: OrthoConnecticut Doc Talks Preventing and Treating Injuries in Young Athletes

It’s “Back to School” season, and in Hearst Connecticut Media’s recent feature, writer Andrea Valluzzo put a spotlight on fall sports and an orthopedic practice that is at the heart of diagnosing and treating injuries - OrthoConnecticut.

 “Whether or not students return to school this fall, odds are many of them will be participating in some type of athletic activity. When kids are involved in sports — no matter what the scenario — athletic-related injuries are always a possibility,” says Valluzzo. 

 OrthoConnecticut’s very own sports medicine specialist, Dr. Emund Ganal, mentions he can relate to the situation both personally and professionally, “Unfortunately, most kids, mine included, play sports all year round. Overspecialization, I think, is a problem when kids do one specific sport 12 months a year. They develop certain habits that stress only certain parts of the body and when those get overworked too much, they start developing chronic problems like tendon degeneration and a lot of overuse injuries,” he says. 

 Dr. Ganal, a resident of Ridgefield, sees many cases of overuse injuries in the office and also warns that now is the time to take things slow, " After months of being fairly sedentary, athletes need to be smart about their training. While the forced rest over the past few months can be a good thing, we also want to be sure athletes properly get back into shape to avoid injuries." It's important to listen to your body, your coaches and your doctor. 

OrthoConnecticut is a multispecialty practice staffed by leaders in orthopedic care with offices in Danbury, Litchfield, New Milford, Ridgefield, Sharon and Southbury. The practice’s urgent care service, OrthoCare Express, is open 7 days a week for emergencies and is available in the Danbury office.  


]]> (HH) Neighbors Mon, 14 Sep 2020 08:24:24 -0400
Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™ Awarded $5,000 from Bongiovanni, Sloan & Paradiso Insurance

Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance are pleased to announce that Bongiovanni, Sloan & Paradiso Insurance has earned a 2020 Make More Happen Award, which recognizes its volunteer work with Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement and demonstrating its commitment to improving the local community.

The award includes a $5,000 donation with a chance to double the amount to $10,000 that will go directly to the nonprofit’s Choose Love Enrichment Program™ that is dedicated to providing a free Pre-K through 12th grade social and emotional learning program that teaches educators and their students how to choose love in any circumstance and helps them become connected, resilient and empowered individuals.

In addition to agency principal Ty Bongiovanni’s board involvement since 2018, all of the agency’s employees participate in the Choose Love Movement annual fundraiser which includes event planning, securing sponsors, donating funds, coordinating the caterer, distributing marketing materials and more. The $10,000 Make More Happen Award will be used by the Choose Love Movement to bring its no cost programs and resources into more schools, homes and communities, reaching 12,500 additional children. It will also help expand extension programs and update the organization’s website.

“Choose Love Movement’s message resonates with us all on a personal level and we feel fulfilled being able to help implement this program in schools all over the world,” said Leah Broadwell, a Liberty Mutual and Safeco independent agent for Bongiovanni, Sloan & Paradiso Insurance. “We are truly grateful to Liberty Mutual and Safeco for the Make More Happen Award because it is an incredible opportunity for us to provide much needed funds to support Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement’s important work.”

Beginning on September 9th, the story of Bongiovanni, Sloan & Paradiso Insurance and the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement will be featured on the official Make More Happen microsite giving the nonprofit a chance to earn the additional $5,000. If the story receives at least 500 shares to Facebook the donation will be doubled to $10,000.

“Our agents truly carry the ball when it comes to stepping up and volunteering for important causes in their local communities. We are so pleased to support their game-changing dedication to the nonprofit organizations they support,” said James Waldron, Safeco Insurance Northeast Region Territory Manager. “The Make More Happen program gives our agents an opportunity to make an even greater impact in areas like Meriden and we hope it inspires local residents to get out and support local charities.”

Throughout 2020, Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance will select a total of 34 independent agents nationwide for a Make More Happen Award donating up to $340,000 to the nonprofits they support. Agencies became eligible for the award by submitting an application demonstrating their commitment to a specific nonprofit, along with photos of a project they worked on.

]]> (JR) Charities Thu, 10 Sep 2020 07:40:11 -0400
Newtown High School Students Named Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit® Scholarship Program

Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit® Scholarship Program

Today officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring.

Congratulations to Newtown High School students named Semifinalists:

Colden Bobowick

Sophia Child

Julia Dolan

Collin Hoffman

Zachary Majeski

Lauren Nalajala

Joseph Tartaglia

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. Over 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and more than half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2021 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 353,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school offi cial, and write an essay. From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation.

All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. National Merit Scholarships Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2021.

Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. 

]]> (National Merit Scholarship Corporation) Neighbors Thu, 10 Sep 2020 02:41:00 -0400
Ridgefield, Bethel and New Milford Visiting Nurse Associations (VNAs) Announce Plan to Join Forces

Ridgefield, Bethel and New Milford Visiting Nurse Associations (VNAs) Announce Plan to Join Forces and Expand Home Health and Hospice Services in Western Connecticut

Driven by a common commitment to deliver the highest quality health care to their patients and communities, Bethel Visiting Nurse Association, New Milford Visiting Nurse & Hospice, and RVNAhealth, announced plans today to merge their three organizations. The tri-union will result in a single not-for-profit, mission-driven organization, best able to meet the needs of the 36 communities they collectively serve in Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven counties, and highly sustainable for the long term. The agencies anticipate a close date by the end of 2020 and the unified organization will operate as RVNAhealth as approved by their respective Boards of Directors. This merger will make RVNAhealth one of the two largest home health and hospice organizations in Fairfield County and the seventh-largest in the state of Connecticut.  

The collective organization will be headquartered at the RVNAhealth building in Ridgefield, CT. The New Milford Visiting Nurse & Hospice location will serve as a fully operational branch office. Theresa Santoro, MSN, RN, CHCA, current President & Chief Executive Officer of RVNAhealth, will assume the role of President & CEO of the new organization.  

The announcement reflects the mutual acceptance of a “Definitive Agreement,” the final step in a process which included extensive research, analysis, and review by the Boards of Directors of the three VNAs. “Our driving force is the health and well-being of our patients and communities — today, tomorrow, and 50 years from now,” says Santoro. “As we worked through the details of the union, and as the COVID-19 pandemic made abundantly clear, pooling our collective talent and resources will allow us to invest deeply in the technologies and services that our communities need to thrive, and that we as agencies need to effectively respond to future health challenges.”

The unified agency will offer:

  • Improved access to exceptional home-based and community-based care for individuals and communities across western Connecticut, to address the increasing needs of the state’s rapidly growing aging population as well as the needs of younger families for access to quality preventative care.
  • Expanded offerings of preventative and wellness care and educational programs across populations and communities.
  • An enhanced continuum of care to address all ages, stages, and levels of health, including: community wellness services, home health, rehabilitation, palliative and hospice care; personal caregiving and nursing; and a range of educational and preventative programs — nutrition services; immunizations; annual flu and pneumonia vaccines; health fairs. 
  • Organizational and operational benefits — including a comprehensive and coordinated service model; a significant depth of clinical leadership and talent; ability to support the needs of all healthcare partners; flexibility to compete among payors; and long-term viability in the communities served.
  • Organizational and operational benefits — including a comprehensive and coordinated service model; a significant depth of clinical leadership and talent; ability to support the needs of all healthcare partners; flexibility to compete among payors; and long-term viability in the communities served.


Kerri Ann Brinckerhoff, MSN, RN, Chief Executive Officer, New Milford Visiting Nurse and Hospice, agrees, “Partnerships are essential to navigate the changing regulatory environment and competitive forces in home and community-based care. We have a unique opportunity to strengthen our investments to better meet the needs of referral sources — hospitals, physician practices and families. Our focus is clinical quality and long-term financial health.”


Another key aspect of the plan is supporting the organizations’ collective commitment to providing access to care in communities across western Connecticut. “The healthcare landscape is evolving to meet the needs of our aging population, and home care will remain an essential component of high-quality care,” says Margaret Burke, MS, Executive Director, Bethel Visiting Nurse Association. “The longstanding relationships we’ve developed in our communities will be upheld through this merger — sustained by bringing greater efficiency and financial strength to our collective operations. The union will help preserve our ability to serve our current communities—and embrace new ones — for the long term.”

About the Merging Entities

For over a hundred years, the three agencies have been neighbors and collaborators — each founded on, and serving, a parallel mission in their respective communities. Over the decades, each grew — expanding their range of services, extending their territorial reach, and deepening their impact and loyalty to the patients and families they serve.

Founded in 1927, Bethel Visiting Nurse Association provides home health, rehabilitation, personal support, specialty services, and community health programs, presently serving eight towns in Fairfield and New Haven counties.  New Milford Visiting Nurse and Hospice opened as the New Milford Visiting Nurse Association in 1918, during the Spanish Influenza pandemic, and now serves 18 towns in Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven counties. Services include home health, rehabilitation, palliative care, hospice, and community wellness programs.  Founded in 1914 as the District Nursing Association and later becoming Ridgefield VNA, the organization evolved to RVNAhealth in 2019 to convey the breadth and depth of its home health, rehabilitation, hospice, and extensive community health and wellness programs focused on lifelong care. RVNAhealth currently serves 28 communities in Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven counties. When united, the new RVNAhealth will serve 36 towns across Connecticut, offering a full integrated spectrum of care and wellness services to serve individuals and communities across a lifetime.

In joining forces, the three organizations are confident they can be stronger and more valuable to all those they serve – without surrendering their personal approaches or altering the deep-rooted foundations they have built-in their present communities. 


]]> (RVNAhealth) Neighbors Wed, 09 Sep 2020 07:00:00 -0400
Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia Added to Regional Travel Advisory, Two States Removed

Weekly update to the regional travel advisory: Four states added, two areas removed

The regional travel advisory between Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York that directs incoming travelers from states with a significant community spread of COVID-19 to self-quarantine for a 14-day period was updated today and now includes Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia on the list of impacted locations. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been removed from the list.

The quarantine applies to any person traveling into Connecticut from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10 percent test positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

The list of impacted locations is updated once per week every Tuesday. As of today, the full list of impacted locations falling under the travel advisory includes:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arkansas
  4. California
  5. Delaware
  6. Florida
  7. Georgia
  8. Guam
  9. Hawaii
  10. Idaho
  11. Iowa
  12. Illinois
  13. Indiana
  14. Kansas
  15. Kentucky
  16. Louisiana
  17. Maryland
  18. Minnesota
  19. Missouri
  20. Mississippi
  21. Montana
  22. North Carolina
  23. North Dakota
  24. Nebraska
  25. Nevada
  26. Ohio
  27. Oklahoma
  28. South Carolina
  29. South Dakota
  30. Tennessee
  31. Texas
  32. Utah
  33. Virginia
  34. West Virginia
  35. Wisconsin

Anyone seeking the most up-to-date information on the regional travel advisory, including an extensive list of frequently asked questions, is encouraged to visit the state’s coronavirus website at

]]> (Gov. Ned Lamont) Places Tue, 08 Sep 2020 13:45:47 -0400
ACT of Connecticut Reopens this Fall with "The Last Five Years"

ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) of Connecticut is thrilled to reopen this fall with The Last Five Years, a spellbinding, emotionally powerful and intimate musical. After being granted special permission to livestream this production, ACT patrons will have the option to either attend this production in person or from the comfort of their own home.

Purchase tickets HERE.

Like most other not-for-profit regional theatres, ACT closed its doors in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ACT’s leadership has worked closely and tirelessly with all agencies responsible for reopening in order to implement a comprehensive safety, health and return plan. We can’t wait to invite our patrons safely back to ACT after seven months of an “extended intermission”!

The Last Five Years is a modern 90-minute musical that has enraptured audiences around the world with its spellbinding and emotional score. This musical ingeniously chronicles the five-year relationship between two New Yorkers: Cathy, a struggling actress, played by Katie Diamond (Jersey Boys, The Pirate Queen), and Jamie, a budding novelist, played by Daniel C. Levine (Les Miz, The Rocky Horror Show, Jesus Christ Superstar). The Last Five Years is told through an unconventional structure in which Cathy tells her story in reverse-chronological order (beginning the show at the end of their marriage), while Jamie's is told in chronological order (starting just after the couple has met for the first time).

With book, music and lyrics by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County, Honeymoon in Vegas, 13), the musical was adapted into a film in 2014, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. The Last Five Yearswill be music directed and conducted by ACT’s Resident Music Supervisor, Bryan Perri (Jagged Little Pill, Wicked and the upcoming Almost Famous). TIME Magazine named The Last Five Years one of the ten best shows of 2001.

“We could not be more excited to reopen ACT with this gem of a musical”, says Artistic Director, Daniel C. Levine. “The Last Five Years is a show that I have loved since it’s premiere Off-Broadway in the early 2000’s. This is the perfect two-character musical for us to produce at this moment in time. The Last Five Years has one of the most poignant and exciting scores written in this century, and I cannot wait to share this show with our audiences.”

Katie Diamond, Executive Director adds, “We are so excited to welcome our patrons back to ACT this fall. We understand that some of our audience members may prefer to watch this production from their living room, and so we are thrilled to be able to offer this unique livestream opportunity. As we enter our 3rd season, we are so grateful to all who have supported us and look forward to welcoming new audiences to Ridgefield.”

The Last Five Years will be performed at ACT of Connecticut from October 28th through November 15th, with both limited in-person seating and livestream tickets available. Click HERE to purchase.

Performance dates and times: Wednesdays at 7pm, Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm and 7pm. All ticketing for The Last Five Years will be handled by the ACT box office. Please call or email the box office: 475-215-5497 /

ACT’s comprehensive re-opening protocols include (but are not limited to) daily sanitization and cleaning of the building, virtual purchasing and e-ticketing procedures, limited seating capacity in the theatre and e-commerce concession ordering with in-seat delivery. For the safety of our guests, employees and community, ACT will provide hand sanitizer stations throughout and require that face masks be worn by all staff and audience members. Please visit our website for more information (

About ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) of Connecticut

ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) of Connecticut is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) professional theatre located in Ridgefield, CT. Founded in 2018, and led by Katie Diamond, Daniel C. Levine, and Bryan Perri, ACT of CT presents limited engagement runs of well-known musicals, as well as world-premiere productions by the next generation of writers and composers in the newly renovated Diamond Properties Performing Arts Center and Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium. In addition to fully produced mainstage productions, ACT of CT hosts an annual new works series, a “Broadway Unplugged” series, and an extensive education program including individual training, masterclasses, summer camp, professional workshops, and a year round conservatory program for high school students. ACT of Connecticut is dedicated to inspiring, creating and nurturing a diverse and equitable environment for its staff, creative teams, cast, musicians, crew members and audiences. For more information about ACT of CT to purchase tickets and to learn more about ACT’s programs, please visit

]]> (ACT of Connecticut) Events Tue, 08 Sep 2020 10:37:01 -0400
Newtown Rooster Run Virtual Road Race Supports Newtown Scholarship Association

47th Rooster Run Newtown Rooster Run Virtual Road Race

Run your race from Sunday, September 27th to Saturday, October 3rd at midnight! Race can be run by ages 5 and up and features a 5K, 10K, Little Chicks, and ½ Mile.

Please register here.

If you cannot run, think about sponsoring or donate here.

All contributions are tax-deductible. $100 or more and we will promote your business on our social media and all promotional items.

Please make checks out and mail to:

Newtown Parks and Recreation

8 Simpson Street

Newtown, CT  06470

A virtual race is a race that can be run (or walked) from any location you choose. Participants can complete the race wherever they like, even a treadmill.

Participants get to run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself.

The first 200 registered will receive a dry fit mask with logo.  Masks and medals can be picked up at 8 Simpson Street, after September 28th.

Please register here.

Then submit your results to  by using the following link:


Make it a family event! Support the Newtown Scholarship Association, investing in Newtown’s Youth. Learn more here.



]]> (HH) Events Tue, 08 Sep 2020 09:55:12 -0400
Red Cross Blood Drive in Newtown Wednesday, September 16

Red Cross Blood Drive on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020, 8:30 am - 6:30 pm at Newtown Congregational Church

Blood still desperately needed! If it's been at least 56 days since your last donation, now is your time to help save lives! Call 800-733-2767 or go to to schedule an appointment!  

The URGENT NEED continues for blood donations from eligible healthy individuals of all blood types! All drives will comply with COVID-19 precautions. Each donor must wear a mask or get one from the Red Cross.

Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West St, Newtown 

]]> (HH) Charities Tue, 08 Sep 2020 08:11:30 -0400
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton: Game ON John Oliver! You Can Have Your Namesake Sewer Plant IF ...

In a video created in response to HBO comedian John Oliver’s offer to donate $55,000 to local charities if the City of Danbury’s sewer plant was named after him, Mayor Mark Boughton’s much-anticipated response came today, just before the clock hit the one-week deadline. 

Boughton said he would indeed name Danbury’s sewer plant the “John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant” … with one condition.  

Shown walking out of a porta-potty that is in front of the sewer plant, Boughton begins by pointing out some positive attributes of the City - it’s one of the safest in Connecticut, a great place to do business, and exudes diversity. “ It also is home to this beautiful, wonderful $110MM sewer plant,” said Boughton.

“John Oliver, we’ve thought about it, we are going to take you up on your offer, $55,000 if we name this plant after you. however, we do have one very specific condition,” he said.

And then, he gives it to Oliver in Boughton-style. Pointing at the camera he said, “You must come here (he points at the ground) and be physically present when we cut the ribbon.”

“And I gotta tell ya, $55,000, it’s a little light for somebody in the 1% but, a deal is a deal,” says Boughton, who adds, “Now look, don’t Oliver this up!”

And what happens if he does Oliver-it-up?

Should Oliver choose not to take Boughton up on this offer, Boughton said he’s already talking to some other folks about the deal. 

Oh, and BAM John Oliver, the City has already gifted you your own personal porta-potty - it’s called the “John Oliver [exlictive] House”. “So, Mr. Oliver,” said Boughton, “Come up to Danbury and sit on your throne!”

Oliver’s specified in his offer that the $55,000 would be donated to Connecticut Food Bank, DonorsChoose Danbury Teachers, and the ALS Association Connecticut Chapter IF he gets his namesake sewer plant. 

Watch Boughton’s response video on his Facebook page here.


]]> (HH) Neighbors Sun, 06 Sep 2020 09:34:26 -0400