Sono's HamletHub Thu, 25 Apr 2019 20:43:38 -0400 Don’t Miss the Westport Farmers’ Market Eileen Fisher Pop-Up on May 4

Anyone familiar with the Eileen Fisher brand knows that a commitment to sustainability is key to the company’s mission. And in keeping with their mission, each year Eileen Fisher of Westport creates a store within a store in support of the Westport Farmers’ Market. On May 4, select vendors from the WFM will sell handcrafted food and fare in a pop up at the Eileen Fisher store at 160 Main Street in Westport. 10% of all proceeds from purchases in the store on that day will benefit the Westport Farmers’ Market.

According to Lori Cochran-Dougall, executive director of the WFM, this is a prime example of the WFM’s own commitment to partnerships within the community. “We are so grateful to the Eileen Fisher team for recognizing the importance of local food and farms to the health and well being of the Westport community and look forward to this WFM pop up every year.”

This year’s vendors include:

Dirt Road Farm

Staples High School Culinary with Chef Ganz

Nutty Bunny Vegan Ice Cream

Righteous Skin Care

K is for Cookies

The Hickories

“This is a great opportunity for those who haven’t been to our market on Thursdays – and for everyone who has – to shop at this iconic store while supporting the area’s best farmers’ market,” says Cochran-Dougall. “Bring your friends and make a day out of it!” 

]]> (Lori Cochran-Dougall) Events Thu, 25 Apr 2019 06:00:44 -0400
Maritime Aquarium Mourns the Passing of its Black Dragon

The staff of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is mourning the death of its Asian water monitor lizard, more commonly known as its black dragon.

The 7-foot lizard died overnight Monday.

“We’re always saddened by the death of any animal at the Aquarium, but the black dragon was appreciated as a very special creature by staff as well as by our guests,” said Barrett Christie, the Aquarium’s director of Animal Husbandry.

Cause of death is unknown. A necropsy will be performed at the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at UConn. Although the 6-year-old lizard had shown a loss of appetite over the last several days and was receiving veterinary care, Christie said, the death was unexpected.

This lizard was rare because it had a melanistic gene that made the animal nearly solid black. Normally, Asian water monitor lizards are brownish-dark gray with small yellow dots underneath.

The black dragon had been a featured animal at The Maritime Aquarium, first in the “Dragons: Real or Myth” exhibit that opened in February 2015 and then moving up into the “Just Add Water” exhibit that debuted last August.

The world’s second-heaviest lizard (after Komodo dragons), Asian water monitor lizards are native to Southeast Asia. They’re known to live to 10 to 15 years old in human care; less in the wild.

]]> (Dave Sigworth) Life Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:51:00 -0400
E.B. White’s Stuart Little comes to The Ridgefield Playhouse April 27

From the loving heart of E. B. White comes this merry musical about a noble mouse who jumps headlong into adventures big enough to match any imagination! Stuart Little, performed live by Virginia Rep on Tour, comes to The Ridgefield Playhouse on Saturday, April 27 at 1pm.

By turns funny, tender and exciting, Stuart Little mixes child-size puppets with live actors and catchy songs to work theatrical magic. This performance is part of Ridgefield Academy Family Series with support from Hamlet Hub, sponsored by Dr. Blaine Langberg, Orthodontist, and partially underwritten by Books on the Common, Noah’s Ark & South and Salem Animal Hospital. The Leir Foundation Arts for Everyone recipient for this show is Out and About Club. Additional sponsorship provided by Union Savings Bank. Visit Dimitri’s Diner (16 Prospect St • Ridgefield) before or after the show and enjoy 10% off your meal when you show your ticket! Media partners for this event are 98Q and Macaroni Kid.

The play brings to life the E.B. White fantasy classic in which Stuart, a mouse, is born into the Little family. Although he is quite different from other members of the family, Stuart is loved by all - except perhaps Snowbell, the family cat. Stuart’s adventures include getting caught in a window shade, sailing a boat, making friends, and embarking on the journey of a lifetime.

E.B. White was born in 1899 in Mount Vernon, New York. After college, he worked as a reporter, and in 1927 he became a writer for The New Yorker magazine; later he wrote a column for Harper’s magazine. Even though E.B. White was already a successful writer, he wanted to try something new. He decided to write stories for the children in his family. In 1945, he started publishing these stories as books. In addition to Stuart Little, he wrote Trumpet of the Swan and Charlotte’s Web. Today these three books are considered classics of American Children’s Literature. Parents are encouraged to have kids read the book then compare it to the stage play for lively discussion. Books are available at Books on the Common on Main Street in Ridgefield. Additionally, The Ridgefield Library will host a Stuart Little-themed storytime on Saturday, April 20 at 10:30am.

Virginia Repertory Theatre, Virginia’s largest nonprofit, professional touring theatre for young audiences, produces exciting, award-winning, national caliber plays and musicals that support teaching to the whole child while supporting the core curriculum.

For tickets ($15) call or visit the box office, 203-438-5795 or go online at ridgefieldplayhouse.orgThe Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.

]]> (Ridgefield Playhouse) Events Wed, 24 Apr 2019 06:28:00 -0400
Fairfield County Bank Hosts First Time Homebuyer Seminar in Norwalk this Wednesday

Learn the homebuying process – from application to closing

Fairfield County Bank hosts First-Time Homebuyer Seminar on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Norwalk Public Library, 1 Belden Avenue in Norwalk.

You will learn:

• Down payment program options

• How much can you afford

• What your monthly payment may be

• What you need to do to be prepared for the future

You will receive a $200 closing cost credit* when you attend one of the first-time homebuyer seminars to use when you obtain a mortgage with Fairfield County Bank.

To receive a personalized home buying action plan click here.

RSVP to Kevin McMahon via phone 203.854.7617 or email

]]> (Fairfield County Bank) Events Mon, 22 Apr 2019 09:44:43 -0400
Congratulations to the National Corporate Merit Scholarship Winners Near Sono

Today, National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) released the names of the first group of winners in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

More than 1,000 distinguished high school seniors have won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards financed by about 160 corporations, company foundations, and other business organizations.

Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for Finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage.

Congratulations to these students close to Sono! Included is the name of the winner, their school, scholarship name, probable career field, home town, and a description of the scholarship.

Ashley J. Xu
Industrial Engineering
Aon Corporation is an international, strategically-diverse company headquartered in Chicago, meeting the insurance and financial services needs of individuals and corporate clients with a broad range of innovative and specialized insurance products marketed through a wide variety of distribution channels. Its brokerage and consulting services are directed toward helping companies, institutions and associations manage risk in a complex and challenging commercial world.
Angela Xulei Ji
S&P Global provides these scholarships for children of its employees.

Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited

U.S. college or university of their choice.

Funding for these National Merit Scholarships is provided by corporate organizations that represent nearly all sectors of American industry. Sponsors from the business community have underwritten awards offered in all 64 competitions, expending or committing more than $804 million to support the intellectual development of the nation’s scholastically talented youth.

2019 National Merit Scholarship Competition

Over 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2018, some 16,000 Semifinalists were designated on a state-

representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists had to fulfill requirements to advance to Finalist standing. Each Semifinalist was asked to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® scores that confirmed their qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, some 15,000 met Finalist requirements.

By the conclusion of the 2019 competition, about 7,600 Finalists will have been selected to receive National Merit Scholarships totaling over $31 million. Winners are the Finalist candidates judged to have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of National Merit Scholarships offered each year are underwritten by some 400 independent corporate and college sponsors that support NMSC’s efforts to honor the nation’s scholastically talented youth and encourage academic excellence at all levels of education.

]]> (National Merit) Neighbors Wed, 17 Apr 2019 03:00:00 -0400
Volunteers Needed for Shoreline Project, April 28 at Stratford Point, Co-Sponsored by The Maritime Aquarium

On April 28 – the Sunday after Earth Day – join The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk and other organizations at Stratford Point Park to help clean and restore its shoreline environments.

The special project is part of this year’s national “Party for the Planet: Spring into Action” initiative organized by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The Stratford Point effort is a partnership between The Maritime Aquarium, Audubon Connecticut, and Sacred Heart University’s Coastal and Marine Science Program.

Volunteers are invited to join in between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Stratford Point is at the end of Prospect Drive in Stratford’s Lordship area. The event is rain or shine.

Kids can help but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Crews are needed to help plant marsh grass, remove invasive species, install deer fencing and clean the beach. It won’t be all work. Expect special family fun, including giveaways, music, remote broadcasts by STAR 99.9 FM and more.

“ ‘Party for the Planet’ offers ways for everyone to spring into action for the environment,” said Aquarium spokesman Dave Sigworth. “Young families can get put on some gloves and help with the beach cleanup. Teen-agers interested in marine ecology can help pull invasives and plant native grasses. And we’d love some muscle to help with the deer fencing.”

Additional support is being provided by the Stratford Rotary Club and the Town of Stratford.

To make planning the event easier, advance registration is requested. Sign up at

]]> (Dave Sigworth) Charities Tue, 16 Apr 2019 16:24:23 -0400
Connecticut State Police Accepting Applications at Locations Near Sono for State Police Troopers until May 31

Today is the DAY! The Connecticut State Police is accepting applications for the position of State Police Trooper Trainee. Applications will be accepted until May 31, 2019.

The State of Connecticut, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of State Police is currently accepting applications to establish a pool of qualified applicants to fill future vacant State Police Trooper Trainee positions across the State.    

The Connecticut State Police offers numerous Career Opportunities across our beautiful State, with opportunities for promotional advancement and geographic transfers.   Adding to the attractive locations and upward mobility are excellent Compensation and Benefits including a full Health Benefitspackage, along with additional Supplemental Benefits and a 25 year Hazardous Duty retirement.  

The CT Troop  locations nearest to Sono are:

Troop Street City Phone
TROOP G – Bridgeport 149 Prospect Street Bridgeport (800) 575-6330

There is a six stage process for hiring:

  1. Application Period:How to Apply for the SPTT Job Opening
  2. Physical Fitness Assessment: Candidates must take and pass a Physical Fitness Assessment that measures muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility.  Valid CHIP cards will be accepted prior to the CT State Police Physical Ability Test, tentatively scheduled for August.  To register, please follow the instructions on the CHIP Test Schedule.     

   Instructional Video Links:

  1. Polygraph Examination: Inquiries concerning employment history; driving history; medical history; financial history; gambling history; illegal possession, use and sale of drugs/narcotics; criminal activity; military history; illegal sexual activity; use of alcohol; general personal data; prior conduct in police/security/corrections fields; subversive, revolutionary or gang activity; basic honesty and integrity.
  2. Background Investigation:  Comprehensive review of employment, education, training, criminal, motor vehicle and credit history.
  3. Psychological Evaluation: Combination of written tests and interviews to assess suitability for employment in law enforcement.
  4. Medical Evaluation: Comprehensive physical examination, including drug screening.

Operational needs of the agency will weigh heavily on the initial assignment of hired Troopers.  However, we work with our staff to identify locations that are geographically compatible to their desired location.  The agency seeks trustworthy, motivated, driven individuals who are able to work well on their own as well as in a team environment.   We strive to provide superior Public Safety Services for Connecticut and achieve them through our Mission.

DESPP is committed to protecting and improving the quality of life for all by providing a broad range of public safety services, training, regulatory guidance and scientific services utilizing enforcement, prevention, education and state of the art science and technology.

In striving to accomplish this mission, State Police embody core values with great PRIDE:

  • Professionalism through an elite and diverse team of trained men and women.
  • Respect for ourselves and others through our words and actions.
  • Integrity through adherence to standards and values that merit public trust.
  • Dedication to our colleagues, our values, and to the service of others.
  • Equality through fair and unprejudiced application of the law.

To learn more about what it takes to become a Connecticut State Police Troopers, please view the video below and visit    

]]> (CT State Trooper) Public safety Mon, 15 Apr 2019 14:04:39 -0400
Fairfield Cheese Company Celebrates its 10-Year Anniversary

Laura Downey and Chris Palumbo, co-owners of the popular Fairfield and Greenwich Cheese Company shops, reflect upon their 10-year journey in the cheese biz, their accomplishments, and how far consumers have come in their appreciation for delectable fromage.

In May of 2009, armed with a passion for cheese, a retail and a catering background, and a desire to fill a void in the local food landscape, Laura and Chris introduced Fairfield Cheese Company at 2090 Post Road in Fairfield, serendipitously adjacent to Harry’s Wine & Liquor Market. Their mission was clear; to offer the area’s best selection of cut-to-order, artisanal and farmstead cheese from both here and abroad, in addition to an array of small batch handmade charcuterie and specialty food accompaniments. The formula proved successful, and thus, Greenwich Cheese Company opened in December of 2014.

“In the beginning, the goal was to bring the best artisan cheese and specialty foods to the Fairfield community. The second part of that mission was to teach people about them, “says Laura of the company’s popular Cheese School they have built over the last 10 years, “We realized that people were intimidated by cheese and cheese shops [likened to wine shops]. Knowledge boosts confidence and education has been at the core of everything we do and will continue to do.”

Laura and Chris take their craft seriously and are both (ACS CCP), a certification that only a few hundred people have nationwide.  They, along with their staff, who are also CCPs, continue to grow their knowledge of the craft, travel extensively abroad and throughout the country, meeting with cheesemongers and industry elite. They find joy in learning more about the craft, tasting cheese, and bringing back the best cheeses for their customers.

It’s been an exciting first decade. Fairfield Cheese Company has been touted in Food & Wine magazine as one of “Laura Werlin’s Top 5 Cheese Shops in the U.S.”, named as a “Top 5 Places to Buy Cheese in the US,” by Food & Wine Magazine, included in the Nov/Dec 2016 edition of Eating Well Magazine as one of the “8 Must Visit Cheese Shops”, bestowed The Snail of Approval from the CT Chapter of Slow Food USA in 2014, recognized as a “2016 Best Attraction in Connecticut” from Yankee Magazine for their Cheese School, and continues to  garner numerous “Best Of” awards and accolades from regional news outlets and readers’ polls. 

The shop also earned a listing in the recently published Oxford Companion to Cheese. “This book is the definitive guide to cheese and was co-authored by industry experts, scientists, cheesemakers, mongers, and writers,” beams Chris, “We were among the 50 shops listed worldwide. A true honor.”

 Let’s celebrate, learn, and enjoy.


Friday, May 3, 6-9PM

The Loss of Deliciousness: An Evening with Mateo Kehler of Jasper Hill Farm

What will the next ten years look like for cheese lovers? Mateo Kehler of Jasper Hill Farm to talk about the importance of eating raw milk cheese cheese how these cheeses are a direct reflection of the people, the animals, and the landscape in which they are produced and if we don't consciously choose to eat them, the food and the community that created it will cease to exist.

This class will be followed by a Jasper Hill Farm cheese reception and open bar. All profit from the class will be donated to The Oldways Cheese Coalition.

Two Roads Brewing Company, Area Two, 1700 Stratford Avenue, Stratford, CT



Saturday, May 4, 12-3PM

Anniversary Cheese Fest

Meet the producers, enjoy a spectacular cheese tasting and wine from our neighbors at Harry’s.

10% of our cheese sales will be donated to The American Cheese Education Foundation

Raffle, t-shirts, giveaways, and more!


Fairfield Cheese Company

2090 Post Road Fairfield, CT 06824

(203) 292-8194


Greenwich Cheese Company

154 East Putnam Ave Cos Cob, CT 06807

(203) 340-9222

]]> (Linda Kavanagh) Places Mon, 15 Apr 2019 05:27:02 -0400
Maritime Aquarium Offers Daily Spring Camp Programs, April 15-19

Kids ages 6 to 8 can learn from a marine biologist and scuba diver, thrill to encounters with live animals, and lots more in a series of fun programs during the upcoming school-vacation week April 15-19 at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

The Maritime Aquarium’s Spring Vacation Camp invites students to explore a different topic involving our natural world each day. But act fast: programs are filling and a sign-up deadline of Mon., April 8 is approaching quickly.

Sign up for one, some or all five days. All programs meet from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each will be full of age-appropriate animal encounters, hands-on activities and experiments that make learning fun. Many include an IMAX movie.

The daily schedule and topics are:

Mon., April 15 – “Secret Worlds”

Meet some of the animals in the Aquarium’s newest exhibit, “Just Add Water,” see the IMAX movie “Backyard Wilderness” and more.

Tues., April 16 – “Ocean Explorers”

Go on an Aquarium scavenger hunt, make a compostable citizen-scientist craft, see the IMAX movie “Oceans: Our Blue Planet” and more.

Wed., April 17 – “Junior Aquarist

Participants learn from one of the Aquarium’s marine biologists, make an “enrichment” for one of the Aquarium’s animals, and even help to feed the rays, crabs and terrapins.

Thurs., April 18 – “Shark Safari”

Activities include a thrilling behind-the-scenes view as the Aquarium’s large sharks are fed, meeting the divers who dive among the sharks, and making a shark-tooth necklace.

Fri., April 19 – “Party for the Planet”

Activities and crafts focus on environmental issues and the simple ways we each can do our part to improve the health of our planet.

Cost is $100 per day ($90 per day for Maritime Aquarium members).

To accommodate parents’ busy schedules, the Aquarium offers pre-care from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. ($20 per day/$15 for members) and post-care from 4 to 5:30 p.m. ($35 per day/$30 for members).

Children should bring a snack, a bag lunch and an appetite for adventure.

As a Connecticut state-certified camp, the Aquarium requires health-exam forms for every child enrolled.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. Refunds will not be given for cancellations after April 5.

For reservations or more details about the spring-vacation programs, call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206, or go online to

Of course, you can give your child a memorable day during his or her spring break just by visiting The Maritime Aquarium! All exhibits in the popular Connecticut family attraction will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a choice of three excellent IMAX movies to pick from: the new “Superpower Dogs,” as well as “Backyard Wilderness” and “Oceans: Our Blue Planet.” (One IMAX movie is included with admission.) Get details about a visit at

]]> (Dave Sigworth) Events Tue, 09 Apr 2019 16:14:16 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter in Norwalk: Saffron Indian Cuisine

Why Small Businesses Matter

Shop small, do big things for your community

Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story.

You're IT Saffron Indian Cuisine!

Three questions with Anterpreet Kaur, owner of Saffron Indian Cuisine.

Why did we open this business?

I started my business due to the lack of authentic Indian restaurants in the area. We are a family owned restaurant and our food is 100% authentic and homestyle.

Best selling product?

Chicken Tikka Masala is our best selling item!

Do you use any local businesses to support your business?

We use many local businesses to support our restaurant. One of them is Carlyn Hardware and Paint Store, located at 331 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT.

Saffron Indian Cuisine is located at 333 Westport Ave in Norwalk. Visit them online here. Stay up to date on restaurant happenings by visiting Saffron Indian Cuisine on Facebook here.

Saffron Indian Cuisine tags Carlyn Hardware and Paint Store.

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

]]> (HH) Places Tue, 09 Apr 2019 08:23:22 -0400
State of Connecticut Partners With Dalio Philanthropies to Strengthen Public Education and Promote Greater Economic Opportunity

Dalio Philanthropies Pledges $100 Million to Connecticut; Collaboration Aims to Raise $300 Million to Benefit Youth and Under-Resourced Communities Throughout the State

(HARTFORD, CT) – Ray and Barbara Dalio of Dalio Philanthropies today joined Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, First Lady Annie Lamont, leaders in the General Assembly, students and other stakeholders to announce the launch of a partnership strengthening public education and promoting greater economic opportunity in Connecticut. Through Connecticut’s leadership and the support of Dalio Philanthropies, the partnership seeks to raise $300 million over five years: $100 million from the State of Connecticut that will be matched by $100 million from Dalio Philanthropies and another $100 million from other philanthropists and business leaders.

A video of the announcement is available here.

The $100 million from Dalio Philanthropies is the largest known philanthropic donation to benefit the state in Connecticut’s history. The partnership will benefit residents of Connecticut’s under-resourced communities, with a specific focus on communities where there is both a high poverty rate and a high concentration of youth (14-24) who are showing signs of disengagement or disconnection from high school.

Dalio Philanthropies and the State of Connecticut formed the partnership in response to the state’s current challenges:

  • More than one out of every five high school students in Connecticut are either disengaged or disconnected from school;
  • The annual fiscal impact of high school dropouts on the state budget is more than $900 million;
  • Connecticut ranks among the highest states in terms of income inequality; and
  • Employers across the state are looking to hire skilled workers in historic and emerging industries.

The partnership will:

  • Work with local stakeholders to ensure that community voice and input shape programming design and help advance positive outcomes as quickly and sustainably as possible;
  • Serve disengaged and disconnected youth or entrepreneurs working in under-resourced communities;
  • Utilize practices with demonstrated positive impact in Connecticut or other states and communities;
  • Monitor, measure, and report progress against specific agreed upon impact objectives; and
  • Likely form an independent organization to leverage community expertise and administer resources with representation from Dalio Philanthropies, and the legislative and executive branches.

Given this unprecedented opportunity to leverage a 2-to-1 match, the governor is proposing to appropriate the first contribution from the projected surplus this year. The state match for future years of the five-year commitment will be discussed with the legislature before developing final budgets.

To promote greater economic opportunity, the partnership will support and encourage microfinance and community entrepreneurship initiatives. For example, the partnership might explore funding entrepreneurs with small loans and early stage equity capital and providing non-financial supports such as mentorship and access to networks to help individuals start their own businesses in under-resourced communities so that they can create opportunities for their families and fellow citizens.

To strengthen public education, the partnership will engage non-profit organizations, high schools, higher education, and employers to connect young people to upwardly-mobile jobs. Public education and workforce development programs will include an integrated focus on youth development and wraparound programming to give youth the holistic supports they need to succeed. This could include collaborative endeavors to support educators and schools in individualizing interventions for each student, particularly at moments of transition, as well as programming to reach disconnected youth by providing the supports they need to get back in school and/or connect to the workforce.

“The Dalios, especially Barbara, have made improving public education a priority and thousands of young people will have a better chance to succeed because of their commitment,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “There are many individuals who care deeply about Connecticut and its future generations. We’ve come together today for a historic investment to support, encourage, and mentor our young people so they can achieve their greatest potential. I’m grateful to the Dalios, to all our community leaders and educators, and to all of our young people who are working every day to make our state the best it can be.”

“Our educators and community programs provide extraordinary support to our young people in Connecticut,” Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) said. “However, our state needs more investment and initiatives in under-resourced communities. This partnership between Dalio Philanthropies, the General Assembly, Governor Lamont, and other philanthropists and business leaders is an important investment in our young people. The entire state appreciates the generosity and commitment of the Dalio family. I also want to thank Governor Lamont for his work in leading this effort that has the potential to be transformative.”

“This is not just about two people being proud of their state and wanting to give back, but also an understanding of the special challenges our youth in certain communities face and investing in their future,” Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin, Southington) said. “Reaching our young people in need with mentoring and opportunity along with encouraging local entrepreneurship is exactly the formula we need, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.”

“We appreciate Governor Lamont’s out of the box creative thinking in moving the state forward in pursuit of alternative methods of funding, such as a public-private partnership,” the legislature’s Republican leaders, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, said in a joint statement. “We share the goal of creating more opportunity for Connecticut’s youth. This is an idea that is certainly worth exploring, but also that needs to be vetted in great detail. The wellbeing of Connecticut and all who live here is of the utmost importance to all of us and we look forward to many more in-depth conversations to ensure that all people in Connecticut have the best opportunity to succeed.”

“Giving students the education that leads to career and job opportunities is one of the most important responsibilities that we have as a society,” Barbara Dalio, co-founder and director of Dalio Philanthropies, said. “When students are given the career and job training opportunities and they can see a path that excites them, they will thrive. Ray and I are thrilled to partner with Governor Lamont and communities to make this vision possible.”

“Equal access to education and job opportunities are required for any system to be fair and productive,” Ray Dalio, co-founder and president of Dalio Philanthropies, said. “Unfortunately, these are now lacking in Connecticut, particularly in poor areas of the state where poverty impedes children’s ability to get a quality education and for adults to get jobs. I believe that all members of our Connecticut community should pull together to rectify these intolerable circumstances. Barbara has for many years been tirelessly working alongside our state’s educational and community leaders to help provide our public school system with the support it needs to close the educational opportunity gaps. Building on her work and Governor Lamont’s call to work together, we are excited to help initiate this partnership to improve public education and provide jobs and microfinancing opportunities to those in the most depressed areas of our state. We hope to make these changes sustainable over the long run by raising incomes, lowering social costs, and making Connecticut a more hospitable environment for those who will contribute to its well-being.”

About Dalio Philanthropies

Dalio Philanthropies furthers the Dalio family’s diverse philanthropic passions, which include strengthening public education in Connecticut, financial inclusion and social entrepreneurship. Dalio Philanthropies has invested more than $50 million in the state’s public school districts, nonprofit organizations, and communities over the past four years alone. Dalio Philanthropies’ support for financial inclusion efforts total over $72 million to date. To learn more, visit

]]> (CT State) Charities Tue, 09 Apr 2019 03:57:48 -0400
Final Seal Spotting and Birding Cruises Offered April 13-14 by The Maritime Aquarium

The weekend of April 13 and 14 offer the final chances to join The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in seeking out some of the seals and birds that spend the colder months just off Connecticut’s shores.

The Maritime Aquarium’s 2018-19 season of “Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises” concludes with outings on Sat., April 13 (at noon) and Sun., April 14 (at 1 p.m.).

These invigorating 2½-hour cruises seek out some of the harbor seals and gray seals that annually migrate down into Long Island Sound from northern waters. Aquarium educators will point out these federally protected marine mammals and talk about their natural histories.

“There have been several news stories recently of folks approaching seals at rest on Fairfield County beaches,” said Aquarium spokesman Dave Sigworth. “ ‘Hauling out’ of the water to rest is a natural seal behavior; they’re not stranding. However, it is illegal to approach the seals. So if it’s seals you would like to see, we encourage you to come out with The Maritime Aquarium and do it safely and properly.”

These cruises also give birders unique “on-the-water” access to photograph visiting winter waterfowl, such as buffleheads, mergansers, Brant geese and long-tailed ducks.

“Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises” take place aboard The Maritime Aquarium’s R/V Spirit of the Sound, the country’s first research vessel with quiet hybrid-electric propulsion. She has a climate-controlled cabin but, because the best viewing is outside on the deck, participants should dress for the weather. Binoculars will be provided, but you can bring your own.

Tickets for a “Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruise” are $29.95, or $24.95 for Aquarium members. Please note that all passengers must be at least 42 inches tall.

Capacity is limited so advance reservations are strongly recommended. Walk-up tickets will be sold, space permitting. Reserve your spot by calling (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206, or by going online to

As the seal-spotting season ends, a new season soon will begin on the Sound for the Aquarium’s cruises. The 2019 Marine Life Encounter Cruises will begin with weekend outings in May and June. These memorable encounters give participants hands-on introductions to a variety of fish, crabs, mollusks and other creatures brought up right out of the water right before your eyes.

]]> (Dave Sigworth) Events Thu, 04 Apr 2019 05:12:05 -0400
Westport Farmers' Market Awarded Newman's Own Grant

Westport Farmers’ Market Awarded $10,000 Grant from Newman’s Own Foundation

Grant Award Supports Work with Homeless Female Veterans

 Lori Cochran-Dougall, Director of the Westport Farmers’ Market (WFM), announced today that the organization is the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the esteemed Newman’s Own Foundation. The grant funding, which the WFM also received last year, supports its commitment to Homes for the Brave’s Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes program, located in Bridgeport. 

The Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes Program is Connecticut’s first and only community-based transitional home exclusively for homeless female Veterans and their young children. Through this generous grant funding, homeless female veterans will continue to work with this local farmers’ market who facilitates and funds chefs and ingredients from the WFM community. Together they prepare, cook, and serve a meal. Several of the participants have secured employment directly from working with local chefs and the WFM.

“This program establishes community built around shared experiences and partaking in a meal -- from preparing the ingredients to cooking the meal to sitting around a table,” Elizabeth Gorenburg, Director of Communications and Outreach for of Homes for the Brave, said. “We are grateful to Newman’s Own Foundation for this grant, which allows us to continue this important partnership with Westport Farmers’ Market.”

Participating chefs include: Jes Bengston of Terrain, Jennifer Balin of Sugar & Olives, Dan Sabia of Fire Food Wood, Jay Leblanc of Knot Norm's, Anthony Rinaldi of Kawa Ni, Phoebe Cole Smith of Dirt Road Farm, Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me and Ian Hock of Jesup Hall.

Grants from Newman’s Own Foundation are awarded to not-for-profit organizations that support its mission of giving back to the community. Of its four areas of focus, WFM applied for a grant that allows it to “implement model solutions to address fresh food access and nutrition education in underserved communities.”

According to Lori Cochran-Dougall, the grant is especially poignant as Paul Newman, [JB1] , was one of the market’s founders in 2006.

“Paul Newman brought life to the market we know and love today,” she said. “I am proud that we are able to carry on his vision and help the WFM market, its farmers, and beneficiaries including Homes for the Brave, to thrive. This award is close to my heart as it allows us to be able to continue to serve those who have served our country, and that, in of itself, is a privilege.”  

]]> (Lori Cochran-Dougall) Charities Wed, 03 Apr 2019 15:17:40 -0400
Schools Near Sono Awarded by CT Department of Education as Schools of Distinction

The CSDE is recognizing 160 schools across the state as Schools of Distinction for high overall performance, high academic growth, and/or improvement in overall performance. It is commendable that 43 of the 160 Schools of Distinction are located in Alliance Districts.

“The 2017-18 accountability results show progress is being made on several performance and growth indicators and it is especially encouraging to see increases in performance and growth for our most vulnerable student groups,” said Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell. “This is a sign we are moving in the right direction and delivering on our promise of equity and excellence for all Connecticut students.

The Schools in the Sono area recognized as Schools of Distinction are as follows:

School Index-Score ELA Math Phys Fitness Distinction
Bryant School 69.64% 73.47% 64.33% 50.00% High Growth (High Needs Students) - ELA
Royle Elementary School 91.26% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% High Performance
North Mianus School 90.20% 100.00% 100.00% 49.67% High Performance and High Growth (All Students) - ELA & Math and High Growth (High Needs Students) - ELA & Math
Green's Farms School 89.56% 100.00% 100.00% 51.76% High Performance and High Growth (All Students) - ELA & Math
North Street School 89.51% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% High Performance
Riverside School 89.24% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% High Performance
Sherman School 88.74% 100.00% 100.00% 94.38% High Performance and High Growth (All Students) - ELA & Math and High Growth (High Needs Students) - ELA & Math
Ox Ridge Elementary School 88.58% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% High Performance and High Growth (All Students) - Math and High Growth (High Needs Students) - Math
Tracey School 87.70% 92.07% 83.41% 100.00% High Performance and High Growth (All Students) - ELA & Math and High Growth (High Needs Students) - ELA & Math
Old Greenwich School 87.68% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% High Performance
Jennings School 87.47% 100.00% 99.71% 95.91% High Performance
King's Highway Elementary School 87.46% 100.00% 100.00% 68.33% High Performance and High Growth (All Students) - ELA
International School At Dundee 87.10% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% High Performance and High Growth (High Needs Students) - Math
Farmingville Elementary School 86.06% 100.00% 100.00% 80.00% High Performance
Long Lots School 85.96% 100.00% 100.00% 55.35% Di

Academic growth is a cornerstone of the Next Generation Accountability System. Unlike achievement which is a status measure, academic growth values the improvement in academic achievement of matched students in Grades 4 through 8. It is the best available broad measure of curriculum and instructional effectiveness. Connecticut’s academic growth results in 2017-18 were higher than in 2016-17. There is still room for improvement statewide toward the ultimate target of 100%. The CSDE is also pleased to release a document entitled Voices from the Field: Factors Influencing Academic Growth which is a compilation of the local policies, educator practices, strategies, and/or systems implemented by high growth schools that others may replicate.

]]> (Scott Schmidt) Life Tue, 02 Apr 2019 04:00:00 -0400
Board of Regents Sets 2019-20 Average Tuition Rates to CT Colleges to Over $24k For Residents

The system-wide average tuition and fees for the CSUs will be $11,417 for in-state commuter students and $24,716 for resident students for the 2019-20 academic year.

Under the adopted structure, tuition for CSU students will increase by 5 percent while mandatory university fees will be held flat and room fee increases will be capped at 2.5 percent

The Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) today voted unanimously to set tuition and fees for the four Connecticut State Universities (CSUs) and Charter Oak State College (COSC). Under the adopted structure, tuition for CSU students will increase by 5 percent while mandatory university fees will be held flat and room fee increases will be capped at 2.5 percent. All told, CSU average tuition and fees will increase by $479 or 4.4 percent for an in-state undergraduate commuter student and by $860 or 3.6 percent for in-state residential students. Tuition for COSC students will increase by 2.9 percent, while fees will increase by 4.2 percent.

“Tuition increases are always a last resort, and the board did not take this decision lightly,” Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Mark Ojakian said. “We have always maintained that we would not balance budgets on the backs of students, and this step is no exception. Even despite the increase, we anticipate drawing down on up to $20 million in university reserves. Our state colleges and universities are and will continue to be the most affordable and accessible option for Connecticut students to receive quality and affordable higher education.”

Governor Ned Lamont’s budget proposal calls for flat funding plus partial coverage of SEBAC raises. Without additional state funding, this tuition increase is expected to leave universities with a budget gap of approximately $20 million. The ultimate shortfall will be closed with use of reserves, campus spending reductions, or a combination.



Out of State




University Fee




University General


Up to 5%

Up to 5%


Room Fee



Food Service Fee






Out of State









*  Held flat except out of state may be reduced by up to 5% to address competition

** May exceed 5% to rectify inconsistencies in tuition and fee schedules

*** Based on contractual costs

**** Mandatory fees

 The average COSC student will pay $319 per credit in the 2019-20 academic year. Tuition for community colleges has not yet been set and is expected to be decided at the April BOR meeting.

]]> (CT Board of Regents) Places Mon, 01 Apr 2019 04:00:00 -0400