Sono's HamletHub https://news.hamlethub.com/sono Fri, 14 Aug 2020 04:51:56 -0400 HamletHub.com Connecticut Food Bank Extends Temporary Waiver of Fees Through End of Year for Member Agencies https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/charities/3326-connecticut-food-bank-extends-temporary-waiver-of-fees-through-end-of-year-for-member-agencies3326-connecticut-food-bank-extends-temporary-waiver-of-fees-through-end-of-year-for-member-agencies https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/charities/3326-connecticut-food-bank-extends-temporary-waiver-of-fees-through-end-of-year-for-member-agencies3326-connecticut-food-bank-extends-temporary-waiver-of-fees-through-end-of-year-for-member-agencies

Waiver Helps Agencies Manage Costs as Food Needs Remain High

Connecticut Food Bank has extended a waiver of shared maintenance and delivery fees to its network of more than 300 member agencies through the end of this year. The waiver has been in place since March of 2020, the beginning of the surge in need caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Connecticut Food Bank member agencies distribute more than 90% of the food sourced by the Food Bank, said Connecticut Food Bank Chief Operating Officer Daniel Gomez. “Member agencies are the backbone of our network. This extended waiver recognizes their vital role in our partnership and helps them to stretch resources at a time of unprecedented demand for food.”

Mr. Gomez said Connecticut Food Bank was able to extend the waiver because of a grant received to support increased network strength. “Food sourced from Connecticut Food Bank is far below the cost of any similar product our member agencies could purchase, and these fees are only a fraction of what the Food Bank pays to source the food,” Mr. Gomez said. Shared maintenance fees range from 5 to 14 cents per pound, depending on the product category. The grant from Feeding America, the nation’s network of 200 regional food banks, helps to address those costs and allows agencies to devote more of their resources to providing food in the communities they serve.

In a message to the network, Mr. Gomez wrote, “We appreciate the work that agencies have done to remain open and to meet the growing need in our communities. Connecticut Food Bank has worked to continue sourcing and distributing food throughout the pandemic and remain committed to our mission. We continued to see the rise of food insecurity across our six-county network and we must all remain vigilant to end hunger.”

Agencies greeted the news with enthusiasm. “It helps offset our costs,” said Fay Williams of Walk of Faith Church in New Haven, which operates a food pantry. Receiving the news, Patricia Monahan of Community Kitchens of Northeastern Connecticut wrote, “Thank you for securing this grant and for all your efforts through Connecticut Food Bank to support our agencies.”

“It’s clear to us that member agencies are doing great work on the community level to combat food insecurity,” Mr. Gomez said. “We are grateful to them for staying strong and staying open.” Mr. Gomez noted that Connecticut Food Bank has been able to increase quantity and variety of food available to its network through diligent purchasing work that has been ongoing since early in the pandemic.

The pandemic created a surge in demand for food aid at the same time it disrupted the model of food donation. Connecticut Food Bank previously received two-thirds of its food through industry donations. That number plunged by 60% as consumers increased grocery shopping while staying home. Those donations have not rebounded, and the food bank is purchasing food to meet the demand. “Food Banks are not accustomed to purchasing food in these quantities, but it is the new normal and we are doing everything we can to keep food moving through our network. In fact, we have purchased more food in the last 4 months than in the last 6 years combined,” Mr. Gomez said. “The tremendous response of financial donors has made this new strategy possible and is providing food to the people who need it most.”

The need for food is still high as the pandemic continues to affect the economy and the job market. Many people are unemployed and struggling with rising debt. The suspension of federal relief programs like Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and a moratorium on evictions creates more demands on families without means to pay for basic needs.

For more information about Connecticut Food Bank and how to help, visit www.ctfoodbank.org.

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andrewjd331@yahoo.com (Paul Shipman) Charities Tue, 11 Aug 2020 10:51:42 -0400
AGW SoNo Partners Launches Custom Take-out & Delivery Platform to Support Local Norwalk Restaurants—Restaurants Keep 100% of Sales! https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/life/3324-agw-sono-partners-launches-custom-take-out-delivery-platform-to-support-local-norwalk-restaurants-restaurants-keep-100-of-sales3324-agw-sono-partners-launches-custom-take-out-delivery-platform-to-support-local-norwalk-restaurants-restaurants-keep-100-of-sales https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/life/3324-agw-sono-partners-launches-custom-take-out-delivery-platform-to-support-local-norwalk-restaurants-restaurants-keep-100-of-sales3324-agw-sono-partners-launches-custom-take-out-delivery-platform-to-support-local-norwalk-restaurants-restaurants-keep-100-of-sales

Norwalk To-Go, a custom take-out and delivery platform designed to support Norwalk restaurants, began taking orders on Monday. Norwalk To-Go is another support component developed by local real estate collective AGW SoNo Partners, to assist their restaurant tenants with their newly developed/enhanced take-out and delivery portion of their businesses. The program is fully funded by AGW whose portfolio includes 25 properties on Washington Street Historic District and was created so their restaurant tenants no longer need to absorb the 30% fee that third party delivery companies gouge them with. Adding to the platform’s appeal, consumer delivery and service fees are practically cut in half and faster delivery is possible due to Norwalk To-Go’s private delivery company.

“Our portfolio in SoNo includes 8 restaurants. Paying 30% commission does not make sense in today’s environment, so we built something much more sustainable,” says Adam Greenbaum, Principal, AGW SoNo Partners, referring to the exorbitant fees charged by Uber Eats, Seamless, Grubhub, and DoorDash.

“Seeing a landlord invest in their tenants to this level is amazing. Communication and a partnership between tenant and landlord are foundational to mutual success,” says Mark Moeller of The Recipe of Success® and the Director of the New England Culinary Group.

The Norwalk To-Go support initiative is one of many marketing tools AGW has integrated into their real estate management practices. In June, the group introduce OnWashington, an internal support arm for AGW tenants, as well as an external marketing platform to promote the Washington Street Historic District as a premier destination to live, work, and play. OnWashington is a valuable resource for locals, visitors, and entrepreneurs looking for a unique space to house their dream businesses or to simply find a great place to dine, shop, or be pampered. Additional OnWashington events and promotions include the on-going Art OnWashington local artists exhibition which features massive art installations displayed in open storefronts, as well as Dine OnWashington and the SoNo Arts Festival OnWashington coming in September.

Norwalk To-Go www.norwalktogo.com

Be social @onwashingtonst. New Website launching this month www.onwashingtonst.com

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andrewjd331@yahoo.com (Linda Kavanagh) Life Fri, 07 Aug 2020 08:44:08 -0400
Maritime Aquarium to Add Spanish & English Closed Captioning to Virtual Education Programs Aug. 11-13 https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/events/3323-maritime-aquarium-to-add-spanish-english-closed-captioning-to-virtual-education-programs-aug-11-133323-maritime-aquarium-to-add-spanish-english-closed-captioning-to-virtual-education-programs-aug-11-13 https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/events/3323-maritime-aquarium-to-add-spanish-english-closed-captioning-to-virtual-education-programs-aug-11-133323-maritime-aquarium-to-add-spanish-english-closed-captioning-to-virtual-education-programs-aug-11-13

Three of the popular live-streaming educational animal programs offered by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will be available with closed captioning in Spanish and English Aug. 11, 12 and 13.

Closed captioning will be added to these live programs on Zoom: “All About Sea Turtles” on Tues., Aug. 11 at 2 p.m.; “All About Seals” on Wed., Aug. 12 at 11 a.m.; and “Shark Safari” on Thurs., Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. In addition, during each 45-minute session, a Spanish-speaking Aquarium educator will be on hand to translate comments and questions.

“We’re very pleased to be able to offer this limited-time service,” said Tom Naiman, the Aquarium’s director of Education. “The national – and international – reach of our virtual programs has far exceeded our best expectations, so we feel it’s important to be able to meet the needs of many participants whose first language is Spanish or who would benefit from captioning in English.”

The Maritime Aquarium has been offering a weekly stream of streamed presentations about marine animals and the aquatic environment for four months – beginning upon its COVID-19 closure in March and still now since reopening June 20. The programs, which vary week to week but include options for different age groups, have been viewed by more than 5,000 participants in 40 states, Puerto Rico and six foreign countries.

There’s no set charge, just a suggested donation for each. Capacity is limited. Advance registration is required so that participants can be emailed a Zoom link for the specific program.

To engage the closed captioning Aug. 11-13, upon logging in to a program, participants will receive directions from the Aquarium instructor, Naiman said.

Sign up – and learn more about the family attraction’s animals, exhibits, programs, cruises onto Long Island Sound this summer and more – at www.maritimeaquarium.org.

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andrewjd331@yahoo.com (Dave Sigworth) Events Wed, 05 Aug 2020 16:30:00 -0400
Westport Farmers’ Market Announces Get Growing to Go! Craft Kits for Kids Beginning August 13 https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/neighbors/3322-westport-farmers-market-announces-get-growing-to-go-craft-kits-for-kids-beginning-august-133322-westport-farmers-market-announces-get-growing-to-go-craft-kits-for-kids-beginning-august-13 https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/neighbors/3322-westport-farmers-market-announces-get-growing-to-go-craft-kits-for-kids-beginning-august-133322-westport-farmers-market-announces-get-growing-to-go-craft-kits-for-kids-beginning-august-13

Although the coronavirus pandemic has prevented live gatherings for the Get Growing kids’ program at Westport Farmers’ Market (WFM), the WFM is undeterred. Recently it launched Get Growing to Go!, a craft kit of fun activities that kids can do at home. The brainchild of Mae Farrell, Get Growing to Go! features a free package parents and caregivers pick up at the market and bring home to kids eager for stimulation! Each week Mae will announce the craft for the following week on Instagram and Facebook and will guide them through the week’s activity on their own schedule.

Get Growing is a program dear to my heart,” said Lori Cochran-Dougall, executive director of WFM. “Mae has taken it to a whole new level both in person and now virtually with the Get Growing to Go! craft kits. Families are a big part of our market and we are not going to let the pandemic prevent us from helping the next generation appreciate nature, farmers, and importance of a local food community.”

The program begins August 13 with a terrarium-making kit. Parents can pre-order craft kits for pick up at WFM between Sunday and Tuesday by emailing Mae at

getgrowing@westportfarmersmarket.com. The first pickup is Thursday the 13th and each week thereafter from 10:30 – 12:30, but hurry; there are only 30 craft kits available each week!

For an introduction and example of the program, have a listen to Mae on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3328495033874832 or Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CDOlPVxlLVy/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

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andrewjd331@yahoo.com (Lori Cochran-Dougall) Neighbors Mon, 03 Aug 2020 16:26:16 -0400
Connecticut Ranks #2 in WalletHub's Best School System in America https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/life/3321-connecticut-ranks-2-best-school-system-in-america3321-connecticut-ranks-2-best-school-system-in-america https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/life/3321-connecticut-ranks-2-best-school-system-in-america3321-connecticut-ranks-2-best-school-system-in-america

WalletHub, a website that offers free credit schools and reports, just released its 2020 ranking of America's school systems and places Connecticut in the #2 spot with a total score of 66.25. Massachusetts is on top with a total score of 71.73. 

What's more, Connecticut is #1 for Highest Median ACT Scores and #3 for Highest Reading Test Scores.

 

Here's the method behind the results:

WalletHub says, "We evaluated those dimensions using 33 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest quality of public K–12 education. Finally, we determined each state and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample."

WalletHub says they account for performance, funding, safety, class size, and instructor credentials when deciding on a school system's rank. To determine the top-performing school systems in America, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 33 key metrics. Click here to learn about their findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers, and a full description of their methodology.

1 Massachusetts 71.73 1 1
2 Connecticut 66.25 2 19
3 New Jersey 65.64 3 15
4 Virginia 63.75 4 3
5 Vermont 61.64 8 4
6 New Hampshire 61.27 7 6
7 Minnesota 59.89 6 22
8 Wisconsin 59.66 5 24
9 Delaware 59.65 15 2
10 Maryland 58.51 11 9

 

Meet WalletHub's team of experts here.

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kerry@ducey.org (HH) Life Tue, 28 Jul 2020 08:10:40 -0400
Norwalk Symphony wins Moffly Media's Best of the Gold Coast award! https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/life/3320-norwalk-symphony-wins-moffly-media-s-best-of-the-gold-coast-award3320-norwalk-symphony-wins-moffly-media-s-best-of-the-gold-coast-award https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/life/3320-norwalk-symphony-wins-moffly-media-s-best-of-the-gold-coast-award3320-norwalk-symphony-wins-moffly-media-s-best-of-the-gold-coast-award

The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra is proud to announce that it has been named Fairfield County’s BEST PERFORMING ARTS GROUP in Moffly Media’s annual “Best of the Gold Coast” awards.

From an initial nomination contest in early 2020, the Norwalk Symphony was named one of four finalists (along with Stamford Symphony, Norwalk Metropolitan Youth Ballet, and Connecticut Dance School) for the category. We are grateful to all who participated in this contest for their support in this designation.

The symphony is a significant cultural organization showcasing professional musicians from our communities and has enhanced the quality of life in Southwestern Connecticut for the past 81 years. Audiences have praised our artistic standards and musical excellence as “New York quality, local proximity.”

The Mission of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra is to share the beauty and power of orchestral music with audiences of all ages through live performances and music education programs. Our educational reach through the (Not) Just for Kids program, our Young Artists Festival and Concerto Competition, and a Master Class program with middle and high school students are all part of our commitment to musical outreach and education with the youth in our area. As we revisit our 2020/2021 concert season plans, it is hoped that live performances will be able to resume with a three-concert season in early 2021. In the meantime, we are developing new strategies to stay connected with our audiences and actively creating virtual contentwith our symphony musicians, conductor, and community partners.

Please visit our website www.norwalksymphony.org to see some of the videos that have been created over the last few months.   We have made some exciting changes and invite you to be part of this change with us. We look forward to the time when it is once again safe for us to come together to share live musical performances.

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kerry@ducey.org (Norwalk Symphony) Life Tue, 28 Jul 2020 07:43:30 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter in Norwalk (Reimagined): The Pursuit of Happiness Therapy https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/places/3314-why-small-businesses-matter-in-norwalk-reimagined-the-pursuit-of-happiness-therapy3314-why-small-businesses-matter-in-norwalk-reimagined-the-pursuit-of-happiness-therapy https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/places/3314-why-small-businesses-matter-in-norwalk-reimagined-the-pursuit-of-happiness-therapy3314-why-small-businesses-matter-in-norwalk-reimagined-the-pursuit-of-happiness-therapy

Why Small Businesses Matter Reimagined

Small businesses matter - now more than ever. They are answering the call with innovation and determination like never before.

We hope you join us in supporting them by sharing their story far and wide and shopping local! We are thankful to Fairfield County Bank for their continued support and making this series possible.

Step inside The Pursuit of Happiness Therapy!

Four questions with Tracie Pinnock, founder of The Pursuit of Happiness Therapy. 

_____________________________________________________________________________

What do you want the community to know? Are there ways for the community to help you and other local businesses to prosper?

The community can help my and other mental health practitioners prosper by booking therapy appointments if you feel in need. We offer valuable resources and assistance in helping people cope with life and resolve various concerns.

Are you offering any new products, or ways for customers to purchase your products or services that are popular during this crisis?

This is a high stress and anxiety time for many. I offer an online stress-management program called Crazed to Calm which can be purchased here. It's an affordable way to get some stress relief.

Are there certain individuals or organizations that supported you and your business through this trying time?

Yes, my fellow mental health or wellness friends and colleagues, Carolyn Kagan, LCSW of Alliance Therapy Practice in Stamford, Rachel Forbes, LCSW of Forbes Psychotherapy Practice in New Haven, Mattie Clark of The Lost Wildness and Ania Benoit, RD of Mindful Nutrition 365 in Middletown. They have provided me with unwavering moral support and various business resources.

Please share the ways your business is adapting to keep your customers and employees safe in addition to the standard guidelines

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Pursuit of Happiness Therapy is offering only telehealth sessions at this time so as to avoid any in-person contact.

The Pursuit of Happiness Therapy is located at 166 East Avenue Suite 205 in Norwalk. Visit The Pursuit of Happiness Therapy online here.

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

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kerry@ducey.org (Dan) Places Fri, 24 Jul 2020 09:54:52 -0400
Westport Farmers’ Market and the Artists Collective Announce 2020 Young Shoots at Home Photography Competition https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/neighbors/3319-westport-farmers-market-and-the-artists-collective-announce-2020-young-shoots-at-home-photography-competition3319-westport-farmers-market-and-the-artists-collective-announce-2020-young-shoots-at-home-photography-competition https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/neighbors/3319-westport-farmers-market-and-the-artists-collective-announce-2020-young-shoots-at-home-photography-competition3319-westport-farmers-market-and-the-artists-collective-announce-2020-young-shoots-at-home-photography-competition

Every year at about this time, as the bounty of summer food and flora explode with color, the Westport Farmers’ Market launches one of its most popular programs – Young Shoots. Young Shoots is a friendly photography contest for budding creatives sponsored by the WFM in conjunction with the Artists Collective. In past years, Kids ages 8 to 18 have taken to the market, digital camera in hand, to capture the abundance of local food as they see it. This year the program has a new twist, Young Shoots is being brought into the home.  Kids are challenged to show the WFM back at their homes, the produce, flowers, prepared food and more that they buy and the food that is prepared for their families.     

“Young Shoots is an opportunity for kids to demonstrate their creativity through digital photography while at the same time appreciating the beauty of real food,” said Lori Cochran-Dougall, executive director of WFM. “Kids in three age groups (8- to 10-years-old; 11- to 14-years-old; and 15- to 18-years-old) are invited to submit photographs to be judged by a panel of local artists. This year we are excited to see the market in their homes through their artwork.  It will bring a fresh variety of images to this program.”

Jurors for the competition this year include Kerry Gale, local visual artist; Emily Laux, local visual artist; Bill Taibe, local chef and President of the Westport Farmers’ Market Board of Directors; and Eileen Sawyer, local photographer and member of the Westport Farmers’ Market Board of Directors.

The jurors select the best photos in each age group. First place winners in each category will receive a $100 cash prize and second place winners will each receive a $50 cash prize.  The public will also have a chance to vote online for their favorite submissions. All photos will be on display in a gallery-like setting at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk.

The application to enter the contest is available at youngshootsathome.artcall.org. 2020 submissions are due by August 10th, and selected winners will be notified by August 31st. A reception for all the photographers will follow.

“This is one of my favorite programs of the market,” said Cochran-Dougall. “These kids are our future. We love to see the appreciation they have for real food in such a creative way.”

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andrewjd331@yahoo.com (Lori Cochran-Dougall) Neighbors Wed, 22 Jul 2020 16:37:12 -0400
Maritime Aquarium Offers New Birding Cruises On Long Island Sound https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/events/3318-maritime-aquarium-offers-new-birding-cruises-on-long-island-sound3318-maritime-aquarium-offers-new-birding-cruises-on-long-island-sound https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/events/3318-maritime-aquarium-offers-new-birding-cruises-on-long-island-sound3318-maritime-aquarium-offers-new-birding-cruises-on-long-island-sound

Birdwatchers can enjoy close access to a federally protected haven for native and migratory species through three special Birding Cruises offered this summer by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

The cruises aboard the Aquarium’s quiet hybrid-electric research vessel will bring birdwatchers close to the Norwalk islands – just outside the city harbor – to look for osprey, oystercatchers, terns, egrets, herons and more.

Dates and departure times are: Sat., July 18 at 9 a.m.; Wed., July 29 at 6:45 a.m.; and Sun., Aug. 16 at 8:30 a.m. Each cruise lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes.

A portion of the Norwalk islands chain is protected as part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, a collection of coastal areas in Connecticut that provide important resting, feeding and nesting habitat for many species of wading birds, waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds and terns. One of the islands, Chimon Island, is known to have supported as many as 1,200 breeding pairs of herons, egrets and ibises.

Participants are strongly encouraged to bring cameras and their own binoculars.

The Maritime Aquarium’s R/V Spirit of the Sound is a 64-foot catamaran that runs quietly as the country’s first hybrid-electric research vessel.

“By running silently and offering two deck levels for viewing, she’s a great platform for observing the natural sights out on Long Island Sound and along the Norwalk islands,” said Nicki Rosenfeld, manager of the Aquarium’s educational programs who also is one of the vessel’s captains. “The new Birding Cruises will be a bonanza for birdwatchers, giving them safe and proper access to an offshore resource during a program intentionally created for their interests.”

Cost of each Birding Cruise is $41.50 ($36.50 for Aquarium members).

COVID-19 precautions include masks must be worn at all times, as well as physical distancing through reduced capacity.

The Birding Cruises aren’t the only way to join The Maritime Aquarium on the water this summer. Although the Aquarium’s signature Marine Life Encounter Cruises currently are suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, a fun mix of regular daytime and evening cruises are available.

The regular public cruises are:

• Norwalk Islands Cruises – at 1:15 p.m. daily except Mondays

• Evening Cruises:

– Norwalk Islands Cruises at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays

– TGIF Cruises at 6:30 p.m. Fridays

– Saturday Sunset Cruises at 6:30 p.m. Saturdays

Each cruise of those four cruises is 90 minutes long and – although the names differ – offer a similar experience. Maritime Aquarium educators will point out waterfowl and sights, and offer information on Long Island Sound’s marine life and cultural history, but there’s no structured program. Tickets for these cruises are $31.50 ($26.50 for Aquarium members).

Rent the Boat

In addition, R/V Spirit of the Sound can be chartered, with the option of adding a focused presentation about marine life, lighthouses, bird-watching and more. Maximum capacity is 25. The Aquarium’s on-site caterer can provide a range of food and beverage options.

The Maritime Aquarium’s cruises are perfect for family fun. However, for all cruises, all passengers must be at least 42 inches tall. Participants under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Advance reservations are required for all Aquarium cruises. Reserve your tickets online – and see the full summer schedule for R/V Spirit of the Sound – at www.maritimeaquarium.org.

For details about renting the boat, call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

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andrewjd331@yahoo.com (Dave Sigworth) Events Tue, 21 Jul 2020 16:35:03 -0400
Christine O’Leary & Friends Headline “Virtually LIVE!” Comedy Show, July 22 https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/events/3317-christine-o-leary-friends-headline-virtually-live-comedy-show-july-223317-christine-o-leary-friends-headline-virtually-live-comedy-show-july-22 https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/events/3317-christine-o-leary-friends-headline-virtually-live-comedy-show-july-223317-christine-o-leary-friends-headline-virtually-live-comedy-show-july-22

Christine O’Leary has always been funny. But, it wasn’t until she won a stand up contest in Maine that she quit her day job to pursue a career in comedy. O’Leary is now an award-winning stand up comedian, professional host, corporate consultant, and coach to budding adult and teen comics and improv enthusiasts enrolled in her classes at The Ridgefield Playhouse. Her advanced stand up students will take center stage — via Zoom — at Christine O’Leary & Friends: Virtually LIVE! on Wednesday, July 22 at 7:30. O’Leary will host from the Ridgefield Playhouse, while her team delivers stellar sets from home, to allow for a large capacity online audience. Tickets are on sale now ($20 each) and can purchased via the phone (203) 438-5795 or online: https://ridgefieldplayhouse.org/event/christine-oleary-friends/. Ticket purchasers will be e-mailed a Zoom show link and given instructions the day of the show. At check out, attendees also have the opportunity to donate to The Leir Foundation Arts for Everyone program, which helps make performing arts shows at the Ridgefield Playhouse and elsewhere available to economically disadvantaged area residents.

O’Leary has taught over 50 sold-out comedy classes (182 graduates) at her post at the Playhouse, with many repeat students, who take an 8-week program to develop a tight, economized, 5-minute set -- the first increment of time given to new stand ups at comedy clubs. The students bring weekly material to “Rip and Read” in class to determine winning content, then video conference one-on-one with O’Leary to finalize their material and hone their set. After two months, they’re ready for an audience. This semester, Christine made what she calls a “pandemic pivot,” and continued classes for nearly 3 months past the original schedule. Knowing the Zoom sessions provided connection for her “tribe”during an uncertain time, Christine was determined to check in with students — not only about comedy — but also about their well-being, as they collectively quarantined. Following the new stand up model, she ’s adapted and created Virtually LIVE! to deliver her team’s signature entertainment to a more inclusive virtual audience; fans can universally enjoy comedy from their couches. A true win-win.

“Comedy is a way to tell the truth, solve a problem and sell the material with a feeling. I love and live to share with people the greatest ‘high’ and joy I know -- standing up and getting paid in laughs! Anyone can do this; there’s enough for everyone. For me, stand up is liberation and freedom. You can ‘up your game’ in life whether you’re a parent or a podiatrist,” said O’Leary, Founder, Team Green Light Comedy.

“You’ll never see anything like it...they’ll be born as comics before your eyes,” O’Leary added.

O’Leary’s stand up class has been a staple at The Ridgefield Playhouse since 2013. The July 22 lineup includes comedians: Eileen Fickes, Dimitri Giatrakis, Laura Isler, Laurie Newkirk, Judy Eckert, Frankie Fuhrman, Stefanie Rosenberg, Jerry Kuyper, Michael Mast, Micky Pasquarella, Bill Green, Laura Von Stein, Barbara Miller, Lee Scharfstein, and Aline Weiller. They include sales people, writers, designers, electrical engineers, creative marketers, insurance brokers, social workers, actors, teachers, activists, and non-profit mavens, among others. The exciting evening will feature surprise visits by celebrities and a door prize to complement the timely Zoom format.

Christine O’Leary has worked with headlining comedians to include Gilbert Gottfried, Joy Behar, Chevy Chase, Sinbad, Tracey Morgan, Robert Klein, Margaret Cho, and Janeane Garofalo. She takes her Team Green Light Comedy comrades to area shows and also hosts and performs at companies, colleges, and charitable, club and pride events nearby and nationally. Christine recently appeared on the Bravo Network pilot, Camp Getaway in April. She can be contacted via christine@christineoleary.com and on all social media platforms.

The Ridgefield Playhouse is a not for profit 501 (c) (3) whose mission is to present a variety of performing arts to the community and the surrounding area that they can enjoy and experience at a varied price point. The Playhouse presents national and local acts and is the cultural hub for the town of Ridgefield. For details regarding Christine O’Leary & Friends: Virtually LIVE! tickets and comedy classes, visit https://ridgefieldplayhouse.org/event/christine-oleary-friends/.

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andrewjd331@yahoo.com (Aline Weiller) Events Mon, 20 Jul 2020 04:32:34 -0400
City Provides Safety Tips in Advance of Excessive Heat Threat https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/publicsafety/3316-city-provides-safety-tips-in-advance-of-excessive-heat-threat3316-city-provides-safety-tips-in-advance-of-excessive-heat-threat https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/publicsafety/3316-city-provides-safety-tips-in-advance-of-excessive-heat-threat3316-city-provides-safety-tips-in-advance-of-excessive-heat-threat

There is an excessive heat threat for this weekend into early next week as a hot and humid air mass moves into the region. The excessive heat and humidity forecast is highest on Sunday and Monday, when much of the region has forecast max heat indices between 95 and 104 degrees. The heat index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with air temperature. Hot weather can be very dangerous, especially for the elderly, young children, and those who work outdoors. Remember to take frequent breaks if working outside and drink plenty of water to beat the heat.

The following tips can help you stay cool during the hot days ahead:

  • Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.
  • Drink water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat.
  • Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 and 7 a.m.
  • Stay indoors when possible. If air-conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. Remember that electric fans do not cool, they simply circulate the air.
  • Be a good neighbor. During heat waves, check in on elderly residents in your neighborhood and those who do not have air conditioning.
  • Never leave persons, especially children, and pets in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes cooling down much more difficult.
  • Cooling centers: If no air conditioning or fans are in your home, consider visiting with friends or family that have air-conditioning or shopping areas such as the mall.

For additional resources about summer and heat safety, visit www.norwalkct.org.

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andrewjd331@yahoo.com (Michele DeLuca) Public safety Fri, 17 Jul 2020 14:53:22 -0400
Seaport Association in Norwalk Offers Weekday and Weekend Charters https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/places/3315-why-not-take-a-seaport-sail-15947516793315-why-not-take-a-seaport-sail-1594751679 https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/places/3315-why-not-take-a-seaport-sail-15947516793315-why-not-take-a-seaport-sail-1594751679

Norwalk, CT - It is a perfect summer day and you're wondering what to do that is safe, different, and memorable, all at the same time. Have you ever watched a group of people on a large boat sipping wine and relaxing in the cooling breeze of Long Island Sound? If you have, you are not alone. Some of us might even daydream about owning a boat large enough to accommodate up to twenty-five friends, family, and business associates .
 
The good news is that the Seaport Association in Norwalk is now offering their comfortable vessel, the T.J. Toth, for charter at pricing that is much less expensive than you think. The charter is two hours long and is available any weekday or weekend, July – September, during the day or at sunset for $750, or just $30 a person for twenty-five of your best friends and family members. And, be assured that your guests will be comfortable. The vessel has so many amenities including comfortable seating in and out of the sun, a bar area that is the perfect place to set up the beverages and goodies you bring aboard, and a full bathroom. 
 
Your private excursion begins from the Seaport's dock at 10 North Water Street in Norwalk. A captain and mate are on board so you can sit back and relax - it doesn't get more exclusive or fun than that! The boat cruises through Norwalk Harbor under the expert guidance of the boat's Captain while the Mate introduces the passengers to the multifaceted history of the Harbor. Imagine cruising along the waves getting close up views of Norwalk's Islands, nesting ospreys, and, three lighthouses, including Sheffield Island Lighthouse, and two rare examples of sparkplug lighthouses. This private on the water experience is simply exhilarating; so don't forget to bring a camera. 
 
If you are planning a special occasion or if you and your friends are looking for something really uplifting to do this summer, nothing says “fun on the water” like this exclusive excursion offered by the Seaport Association. For additional information to charter the boat call the Seaport Office at 203-838-9444 or email jerry.toni@seaport.org.
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kerry@ducey.org (Janet Serra ) Places Tue, 14 Jul 2020 10:34:38 -0400
Chowdafest's Clambakes To-Go Back By Popular Demand, July 26 https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/events/3311-chowdafest-s-clambakes-to-go-back-by-popular-demand-july-263311-chowdafest-s-clambakes-to-go-back-by-popular-demand-july-26 https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/events/3311-chowdafest-s-clambakes-to-go-back-by-popular-demand-july-263311-chowdafest-s-clambakes-to-go-back-by-popular-demand-july-26

The New England Chowdafest is proud to announce they will be holding another “Clambake to Go” effort on Sunday July 26. “We are beyond surprised on how well our Taste of Summer effort went” said Jim Keenan from Chowdafest. “The amount of emails and texts surpassed even our wildest expectations and so many have asked for us to do it again. We really can't believe how happy everyone was about our “Clambake to Go” effort. It really gave them the taste of summer we've all been missing”.

Each clambake includes a meaty and banded 1.5 lb lobster, clams, mussels, sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob plus it comes all in one pot that the customer gets to keep. Cooking is easy and quick as you just add either water, beer or wine to each pot which takes between just 20 and 40 minutes to steam depending on how many clambakes you order.

“Clambakes To Go” can only be picked up in Westport CT at The Westport Hub on Sunday July 26 during available pick-up times chosen by the customer, same as last time.   Dinners are still just $42 each and only available online at www.ClambakeToGo.com up until the cut off date of Thursday July 23rd. “Given the unbelievable response to our last effort and how much people enjoyed the clambakes, we might sell out so the best thing to do is order early. It's such an easy and delicious way to experience summer especially given the pandemic”

Customers are recommended to bring a cooler if they have one, to help keep their clambakes cool until they cook them later in the day. They are also reminded to bring their ticket so they can be quickly scanned and their order brought to their car.

While, supplies last, this effort includes two Summer Ales with each meal, compliments of both Sam Adams and The Blind Rhino Restaurant in Black Rock. This way you can either cook with them or toast someone with them. The folks at Polar Beverages are anxious to provide everyone with a new slim can of one of their summertime flavored seltzers as well. Adding another sweet benefit to ordering early is Cabot's Creamery will again, provide their delicious butter for your lobster, clams, mussels, potatoes and corn of the cob that comes in your clambake. Of course, you'll still receive your lobster bibs, wet naps and “Shuckneer” lobster tool..

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andrewjd331@yahoo.com (Jim Keenan) Events Thu, 09 Jul 2020 16:19:50 -0400
Westport Farmers’ Market Announces New Day-Of Shopping https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/places/3312-westport-farmers-market-announces-new-day-of-shopping3312-westport-farmers-market-announces-new-day-of-shopping https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/places/3312-westport-farmers-market-announces-new-day-of-shopping3312-westport-farmers-market-announces-new-day-of-shopping

After careful consideration and due diligence through state and local officials, the Westport Farmers’ Market will open this Thursday, July 9 for day-of shopping.  During the hours of 10:00 – 2:00 in the 50 Imperial Avenue location, you can find your beloved farmers, bakers, cheese mongers and more.

WFM will take the following actions to ensure safe shopping for all:  require masks to be worn at all times, single direction traffic while shopping (one way in and one way out), hand sanitizer stations, social distancing and lots of fresh air.

During WFM’s day-of shopping, the air will fill with tunes from local musicians and the Friend of the Market bag plus WFM swag can be purchased throughout the day.

For those that feel safer in our pre-order touch-free selected time slot pick-up model, not to worry, we have kept this up and running.  “We realize that healthy food is one of the best ways to heal your body and keep your immune system strong. Our immune-compromised shoppers, need safe access to our product and we are committed to bringing it to them while allowing others to participate in the day-of model.” Says Lori Cochran, Executive Director. “Ultimately, we think with a little extra work, we can host both options – do it all, if you will.”  Each week, from 9:00 – 10:00, a select number of slots will be available for this model. Details can be found at www.westportfarmersmarket.com

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andrewjd331@yahoo.com (Lori Cochran-Dougall) Places Wed, 08 Jul 2020 06:00:27 -0400
City of Norwalk requests residents and businesses conserve water https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/life/3313-city-of-norwalk-requests-residents-and-businesses-conserve-water3313-city-of-norwalk-requests-residents-and-businesses-conserve-water https://news.hamlethub.com/sono/life/3313-city-of-norwalk-requests-residents-and-businesses-conserve-water3313-city-of-norwalk-requests-residents-and-businesses-conserve-water

Conserve Water!

With ongoing high temperatures and no significant rainfall in the forecast, The City of Norwalk in coordination with South Norwalk Electric and Water (SNEW) and First District Water Department is asking residents and businesses to reduce or eliminate non-essential water use.  As a result of hot and dry conditions coupled with unprecedented high water demands, parts of southern Fairfield County are hitting initial drought triggers. Since more people are working from home as a result of COVID, water usage is at an all-time high.

“Norwalk residents, business owners, and community leaders continue to work hard to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Rilling said. “Now, with the hot weather upon us, I know we can bring that same effort to another community challenge: conserving water. Some parts of Fairfield County are hitting initial drought triggers. We need to take steps now to conserve water, before we get to that point in Norwalk. Small steps can add up to make a big difference. Every drop counts.”

Residents and businesses are being asked to reduce their water usage now in order to limit the need for stricter restrictions later. It’s critical that everyone works together to ensure that there’s enough water for critical services and needs.

Below are some simple water conservation tips:

In the Bathroom

  • Turn off the running water while you brush your teeth (save 1 to 5 gallons of water per minute).
  • Turn off the water while shaving. Fill the sink with a little water and rinse your razor in that (save 1 to 5 gallons of water per minute).
  • Install low-flow shower heads and toilets (save 1 to 5 gallons of water per minute). Take shorter showers. You can save 2 to 10 gallons for every minute you cut back. Or take a shallow bath instead (short showers with a low-flow head uses less water than a bath).
  • Get running toilets fixed. A running toilet can use as much as 30 to 500 gallons of water per day. If the toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush position letting water run, replace it or get it fixed.
  • Check your toilets for leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the coloring begins to appear in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Even a small leak can waste thousands of gallons a month.

In the Kitchen

  • Don't use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food in the fridge or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
  • Rinse vegetables and fruits with a sink full of clean water rather than running the water the whole time.
  • Don't run the tap to get cold or hot water. Keep a bottle or pitcher of drinking water in the fridge instead of running the water to cool it. Heat water in the microwave.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't keep water running. Use sinks full of water to wash and then rinse.
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run over them while you scrape.
  • Reuse the water left over from cooking foods like pasta and vegetables to water house plants.
  • Run only full loads of dishes in your dish-washing machine (save up to 15 gallons of water per load).

In the Rest of the House

  • Run only full loads of clothes in your washing machine (save up to 23 gallons of water for every load you don't run).
  • Use high-efficiency appliances if possible.
  • Get leaky faucets and pipes fixed. A small drip can waste up to 2,700 gallons per year.

Outdoor Watering

  • Limit or eliminate lawn watering. If you must water do so after 10 p.m. or before 10 a.m. to avoid evaporation.
  • Keep sprinklers from watering pavement. Position them so that water lands on the lawn and shrubs.
  • Treat brown spots in the lawn with the hose instead of running the entire sprinkler system.
  • Wash your car at a commercial car wash that recycles its water (look for the automatic drive-through car washes, the manual ones often don't recycle water). Or use a bucket and/or hose with an automatic shut off nozzle at home.
  • Don't hose down your driveway. Sweep it instead.

For additional water conservation tips and resources, visit: https://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/

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kerry@ducey.org (City of Norwalk) Life Tue, 07 Jul 2020 06:24:36 -0400