Sono's HamletHub Fri, 15 Feb 2019 19:04:49 -0500 I Could Not Call Her Mother: The Evil Stepmother in Early America

The Norwalk Historical Society has invited professor Leslie Lindenauer to present a most unique lecture for Women’s History Month.  “‘I Could Not Call Her Mother’: The Evil Stepmother in Early America” will be presented on Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at the Norwalk Historical Society Museum.

Why do stepmothers always get a bad rap?! This multi-media talk explores the role of the evil step mother in early American popular culture (with a glance into later pulp fiction and film noir!). With her origins in fairytales and folklore, the evil stepmother was often portrayed as jealous, grasping, and greedy. She was vain, selfish, and cold. Above all else, she hated children. What made this image so popular in early America that it infused a wide range of popular genres, from poetry and novels to news stories and prescriptive literature? The lecture will conclude with a Q & A session and refreshments.

Tickets are $8.00 and can be purchased at: 

Advanced purchase is encouraged as space is limited.

The Norwalk Historical Society Museum entrance and parking is available at Norwalk City Hall, 125 East Avenue. The museum is in the red brick house with blue double front doors, next to the Norwalk Health Dept. If there is inclement weather, the lecture will be rescheduled for Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.

]]> (Norwalk Historical Society) Events Thu, 14 Feb 2019 15:28:03 -0500
Sono Residents Can Preserve Their Favorite Trail by Nominating it as an Official Connecticut Greenway

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Connecticut Greenways Council today announced they are now soliciting nominations for official state greenway designations. Residents of Sono can nominate their favorite greenway by downloading this form and emailing it to

A “Greenway” is a corridor of open space which meets the criteria defined here.

“Greenways are an integral part of any community, offering recreational opportunities, providing alternative transportation options, helping to preserve the environment, and supporting economic development. Greenways make a community a more attractive place to live by connecting living spaces with the environment, and they preserve history while cultivating town pride,” said DEEP Commissioner-designee Katie Dykes. “The Connecticut Greenways Council encourages municipalities to embrace the designation process to facilitate sustainable development, enhancement, and preservation of these special places.”

As an example, here are the CT Greenways within 20 miles of Sono:

Housatonic Riverbelt Greenway
Mianus River Greenway (Greenwich/Stamford)
Mill River Greenway, Stamford
Norwalk Heritage Greenway
Norwalk River Valley Linear Trail
Pequonnock/Housatonic Railbed Greenway
The Ives Trail, Danbury

For a map of all the greenways in CT, please click here. For more details about the above greenways, click here.

An official designation by the Greenways Council recognizes a greenway as an open space that not only meets the definition of a greenway, but also enhances the community and is supported by local government initiatives.  Designated greenways, both for recreation and resource protection, will be listed in a subsequent revision of the State Plan of Conservation and Development and may receive increased consideration for a variety of grants.  There are currently approximately 75 designated greenways in Connecticut.

The Greenways Council will evaluate all nominated greenways for consistency with designation criteria.  Those selected for designation will be announced by the Greenways Council in conjunction with their National Trails Day event in June.

The nomination form is available as a word document or a PDF.  The preferred method for submission of completed nomination forms is by e-mail to, and digital photos and maps are preferred (digital photos of hard copy maps are acceptable).  Nominations may also be submitted on CD or other electronic storage device and can be mailed to Laurie Giannotti, CT DEEP, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127. The deadline for submission of nominations is April 26, 2019.

For more information please visit

]]> (Tara Daly) Places Thu, 14 Feb 2019 02:21:07 -0500
Sono Drivers In Love With Lower Gas Prices this Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day and, according to AAA Connecticut, Sono drivers continue their love affair with declining gas prices in The Nutmeg State. “Today, a gallon of self-serve, regular in Connecticut averages $2.45, down 3 cents compared to this time last week and 30 cents lower compared to this time last year,” says AAA Connecticut.

Nationally, things are not synonymous with the lower local prices at the pump. There are several reasons sparking an increase in national prices, said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “Frigid temps enveloping much of the nation have prompted a decline in consumer demand,” she said. “Couple that drop with ongoing refinery maintenance and cheaper crude oil prices, and drivers are seeing slightly higher prices at the pump.” The good news, however, is Connecticut prices haven’t yet reversed its downward trend, she added.

AAA’s weekly survey of prices in Connecticut’s six regions are:

Greater Bridgeport - $2.56

Lower Fairfield County - $2.53

New Haven/Meriden - $2.46

Greater Hartford - $2.38  

New London/Norwich - $2.49

Windham/Middlesex - $2.43

Statewide Average:  $2.45

Today, Arkansas and Missouri both register the lowest average per-gallon prices in the nation at $1.96 and $1.97, respectively.  California and Hawaii continue to trade places each week with the highest prices at $3.27 and $3.25, respectively. Connecticut moved down to the 10th spot on the list of states with the highest prices in the nation.

Average gas prices may be obtained daily through

]]> (AAA Connecticut) Life Thu, 14 Feb 2019 02:13:24 -0500
Great Connecticut Resources at Your Fingertips, Celebrate 211 Day in Sono

United Way of Connecticut 2-1-1 stands ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

On Monday, 2/11, celebrate National 2-1-1 Day by reminding your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers to dial 2-1-1 or visit for the information, education and connection to services they need. Are you in a housing crisis? Are you or someone you care about in need of mental health services? Are you looking for an opportunity to volunteer in your community? In Connecticut, 2-1-1 Contact Specialists are ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.   

2-1-1 is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects more than 94 percent of our nation to essential health and human services either online or over the phone. 2-1-1 Connecticut is one of more than 200 2-1-1's located throughout the country.

Every day, highly-trained 2-1-1 Contact Specialists help callers access basic needs assistance, community resources and financial stability programs and resources such as free tax preparation assistance, job training and budget coaching. Contact Specialists also help callers in distress find relief when they are faced with food insecurity, homelessness, a mental health crisis or addiction. In 2018, 2-1-1 received more than 320,000 requests for service and more than 2 million web visits were made to

Have you created “My 2-1-1 Account”?

My 2-1-1 Account enables community providers, case workers and individuals to create custom resource lists and care plans that can be saved, shared, implemented and updated as needed.

Visit and click "sign up" in the upper right hand corner so that you can:

  • Create unlimited custom resource lists
  • Save resources to access at a later time
  • Create subject-specific resource lists
  • Email or text resource lists

In addition to providing information and referrals to programs and services, the 2-1-1 Connecticut contact center is certified in crisis intervention and accredited by the American Association of Suicidiology. Last year, Contact Specialists handled more than 114,000 crisis calls from individuals faced with situational, behavioral and emotional crises.

2-1-1 is proud to be the first place Connecticut residents turn to access help and find resources in their communities. 2-1-1 Connecticut is operated by United Way of Connecticut and receives support from the State of Connecticut and Connecticut United Ways.

]]> (United Way of CT) Charities Sun, 10 Feb 2019 08:56:05 -0500
Sono Is Invited To Stand With ALICE


Residents of Sono are invited to a legislative forum on Monday, February 25 to learn about the true scope of financial hardship in Connecticut and to participate in an in-depth discussion on strategies to help ALICE households achieve financial security.

Six years ago Connecticut United Ways committed to shining a light on households that, despite working hard, live paycheck to paycheck and are unable to afford life's most basic necessities such as housing, food, child care, transportation, technology, and healthcare. We call these households ALICE, an acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained Employed.

Sono residents can learn more about ALICE by visiting United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, or calling (203) 334-5106.

According to the 2018 Connecticut United Ways ALICE Report, Connecticut's 3rd ALICE Report, 40 percent of Connecticut households are unable to make ends meet. Of this 40 percent, 30 percent (404,035 households) have earnings above the federal poverty line but below a basic cost-of-living threshold known as the Household Survival Budget.

ALICE cares for our children and aging parents, fixes our cars and works in our local grocery stores, retail stores, and restaurants. ALICE is our friend, neighbor, coworker and family member. We lean on ALICE for support; yet, many ALICE households are one emergency away from a financial crisis impacting their ability to feed their family, heat their home, maintain their housing, and ensure their medical care.

On Monday, February 25, Connecticut United Ways, the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors and the Commission on Equity and Opportunity are sponsoring a legislative forum on financial hardship. The forum will focus on the immediate needs of ALICE families and strategies to help families achieve financial security. Click HERE to view the We Stand With ALICE Legislative Forum Agenda.

"The 2018 ALICE Report confirms that a significant number of Connecticut's working families live under real financial strain, sometimes only one unexpected event away from distress" said Steven Hernández, Executive Director, Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, and Commission on Equity and Opportunity. "On February 25, we will bring together policymakers, researchers, business leaders, community providers and ALICE families to discuss how we can better serve those who struggle to make ends meet."

The event will run from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Room 2-E of the Legislative Office Building (LOB), at 300 Capital Avenue in Hartford. Coffee and light refreshments will be offered in the 2nd Floor Atrium prior to the event from 12:00-1:00 p.m.

The forum is free and open to the public, though anyone planning to attend is asked to register at:

"ALICE households are vital to our state's economic well-being, and we all know and depend on ALICE," said Richard Porth, President and CEO of United Way of Connecticut. "The ALICE legislative forum provides an opportunity for people who care about ALICE to think together about short-term and longer-term strategies that can lead to opportunity and financial stability for ALICE households."

We Stand With ALICE Legislative Forum Details:

When: Monday, February 25, 2019

Where: Legislative Office Building (LOB) Room 2-E, 300 Capital Avenue

Time: Coffee and Networking 12:00-1:00; Legislative Forum 1:00-3:00

Registration Link:

More information on ALICE and the We Stand With ALICE Legislative Forum:

About Connecticut United Way

Connecticut United Ways identify and build upon strengths and assets in their local communities, helping individuals and groups find ways to contribute their time and talents, support direct-service programs and community-change efforts, and advocate public policy changes toward advancing the common good. Connecticut United Ways advance the common good by creating opportunities for all, with a particular focus on education, income, health, and basic needs - the building blocks for a good quality of life. We engage people and organizations throughout our communities who bring passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done, and we invite everyone to be part of the change.

]]> (United Way of Connecticut) Charities Thu, 07 Feb 2019 11:47:28 -0500
Broadway Bound Returns to Emmanuel Church, Feb. 24

Since the 1980s, Weston High School’s theater club, “Company” has wowed audiences with both classic and contemporary shows, dramas and musicals. Emmanuel Church in Weston will host its fourth, annual “Broadway Bound: A Tribute to WHS Company.” This year’s edition will feature the cast from Company’s spring musical, The Addams Family, preceded by a short program by the Faculty of Weston Music Center. The event will take place on Sunday, February 24 in the Emmanuel Church parish hall, 285 Lyons Plain Rd., Weston, from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. It's a family-friendly outing with door prizes and a bake sale. Admission is free and the community at large is invited to attend. Donations are welcome.

The Faculty of Weston Music Center will kick off the afternoon with performances by Allen and Genevieve Brings, Adam Grabois, Margarita Nuller, Steve Lewis, and Wei Tan. Allen Brings, Professor Emeritus at Queens College, is both a composer and pianist, and the Vice President of Connecticut Composers, Inc. Genevieve Chinn Brings is also a pianist, who debuted at age 8 with Leopold Stokowski and the NBC Symphony; she has been cited as an Outstanding Connecticut Woman of the Year. Adam Grabois is the cellist of the New York Chamber Soloists and both teaches and performs at Kinhaven Music School. Margarita Nuller is a pianist and graduate of St. Petersburg Conservatory, Russia. She has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in the New York area and maintains a private studio in Fairfield, CT. Steve Lewis is a Carnegie Melon graduate who also studied piano and conducting at Conservatoire Americaine in France. He taught keyboard and electronic music at West Rocks Middle School in Norwalk for 37 years and has been Emmanuel’s Director of Music since 1978. Wei Tan began her violin studies at age three in Shanghai, and holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music from the Manhattan School of Music. She is an award-winner, co-founder, and Director of the New York International Artists Association.

The group’s selections for “Broadway Bound” include Five Waltzes by Brahms, Minstrel’s Song by Glazunov, songs by George Gershwin, and Cello Sonata in C major by Prokofiev.            

WHS Company will perform scenes from the musical comedy, The Addams Family. The play incorporates music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, based on the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The characters created by Charles Addams represent an American family with an affinity for all things dark.

WHS Company is a student-run theater organization founded in 1984, and is the high school’s largest club. Their spring show is directed by Liz Morris and co-produced by Beth Lubliner, Patricia Perez Goodrich, and Paul A. Levin. Company will give attendees a glimpse of their full length play, which takes place March 28-31 (all shows at 7:30 pm, except the 3:00 pm Sunday matinee). Tickets will go on sale shortly ($15 adults; $10 students/seniors) via or can be purchased at the door.

“WHS Company is both thrilled to be recognized by the community and grateful to Emmanuel Church for bringing back ‘Broadway Bound.’ We look forward to sharing a stage excerpt of The Addams Family, while promoting the arts at large,” said Liz Morris, Director.

Cast members include: Ben Rose (Gomez Addams), Sophie Lang (Morticia Addams), Remy Young (Wednesday Addams Thurs., Sat.) and Momo Burns-Min (Fri., Sun.), Josh Ronai (Fester Addams), Will Berger (Lucas Beineke), Lucas Casellas (Pugsley Addams) Jane Burdett (Alice Beinek Thurs., Sat.) and Erin Dillon (Fri., Sun.), Garrett Landen (Mal Beineke), Julia Lawless (Grandma), Andrew Pappas (Lurch), Jonathan Eiler (Gomez Addams Understudy), Jennifer Purcell (Morticia Addams Understudy), Patrick Betsworth (Lurch Understudy; Conquistador Ancestor), Hannah Chayet (Bride Ancestor), Arcadia Kittlesen (Cavewoman Ancestor), Jennifer Purcell, Brooklyn Boehme, Lauren Lakra, Lianna Accettullo (Flapper Ancestors), Audrey Mbwa-Mboma, Erin Dillon (Thurs., Sat.), Jane Burdett (Fri., Sun.) (Flight Attendant Ancestors, Jonathan Eiler (Groom Ancestor), Evelyn Miano, Mackenzie Lehman, Chris Burns (Puritan Ancestors), Abby Glasberg, Maddy Kovel (Saloon Girl Ancestors), Marc Lubliner (Soldier Ancestor), Zaina Dove, Peri Ferdinand, Samantha Meir, Charlotte Relac, Momo Burns-Min (Thurs., Sat.), Remy Young (Fri., Sun.) Tejal Dhiman (Dancer Ancestors).

“We’re delighted to present a preview of WHS Company’s latest musical offering, The Addams Family. The audience will also enjoy the extraordinarily gifted Faculty of Weston Music Center in a short concert preceding the preview on February 24,” said John Boys, Emmanuel Church Senior Warden and Program Coordinator.

For details, visit or call the parish office at (203) 227-8565. Inquires for WHS Company may be directed to

]]> (Aline Weiller) Events Thu, 07 Feb 2019 04:39:18 -0500
Sono Students Can Enter Traffic Safety & Video Contest! AAA Announces $11,000 in Prizes!

Pencil April 5 on Your Calendar! It’s AAA’s Traffic Safety Poster, Video Deadline

Calling all creative Sono students! To compete for monetary prizes, students from Kindergarten through Grade 12 must create a traffic safety message in the form of a video or a poster featuring a theme focusing on such topics as seat belt, car seat, pedestrian, school bus, bicycle or teen driver safety, and distracted, drowsy, aggressive or impaired driving. A complete list of themes, rules and judging criteria are listed on

The contest’s goal is to help young people consider safe behaviors in traffic by creating posters with creative slogans or videos that the public can easily recall. “Educating through art and media is an ideal method to influence today’s student,” says Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “Traffic and automobile crashes are the leading causes of death for children ages 2 to 18 years of age. We feel one student’s message could possibly save a life!”

Since AAA Northeast territory covers Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut’s Fairfield, New Haven, and Litchfield Counties, and parts of New York, and New Jersey, poster entries will be judged on a state-by-state basis in each of three grade levels (elementary, middle and high school).

First, second and third place winners will be awarded $300, $200, and $100 respectively. All first-place entries will be eligible for an additional $1,000 grand prize. Video winners will also be chosen from throughout the five states. Winners will be announced on April 22. However, website visitors will be able to vote for the Grand Prize winner between April 22 – 30 by going to

The Grand Prize winner will be announced on May 10.

Entries should be mailed by April 5 to: AAA Northeast, 1415 Kellum Place, Garden City, NY 11530 Attention: Public Affairs. Video entries may be submitted via email to or mail by flash drive or disk to the New York address.

Please read the entry rules here before starting your project!

Download an entry form here.

]]> (Fran Mayko) Charities Wed, 06 Feb 2019 11:49:58 -0500
Sono Roads Have Taken A Beating, Report Potholes to Local and State Highway Departments

What a difference a week makes - from below zero temps and ice galore to spring-like weather (yes, it soared to 60 degrees in parts of Connecticut yesterday). We have experienced a true meltdown in Sono.

While this drastic fluctuation weather conditions offered Sono residents a welcome reprieve from old man winter, it comes with a price (and sometimes our vehicles pay it). You guessed - the structural failure of the very roads we travel on - POTHOLES.

According to AccuWeather, as temperatures rise following cold and snowy winter weather, potholes can become a costly and unwanted roadway headache for motorists. The potholes form after snow or rain seeps into the soil below the road surface. When moisture freezes as temperatures drop, the ground expands and pushes up the pavement.

Potholes can cause accidents and damage to your vehicle. You can help local and state highway departments by letting them know where you have come in contact with the dreaded road hole. This way, they can send their crew to fix the pothole.

If you would like to report a pothole on a state road, click here to notify the Department of Transportation (DOT) using their electronic submittal form. State roads include the interstates, parkways, expressways, and other major roadways maintained by the agency.

Report potholes on Local roads to municipal representatives through your individual town or city website. Click here for additional information.

]]> (Tara Daly) Life Wed, 06 Feb 2019 11:23:10 -0500
Calling all Connecticut Authors - 2019 Connecticut Book Award Submissions Now Accepted


Connecticut Center for the Book at Connecticut Humanities is now accepting submissions for the 2019 Connecticut Book Awards. These awards recognize the best books of 2018 by authors and illustrators who reside in or who write about Connecticut. Award winners will receive exposure in Connecticut media outlets and personal appearances in Connecticut locations.

Connecticut has a long history of great literary talents and independent bookstores that represent a unique experience. You can support Connecticut Bookstores by visiting one of the bookstores within 20 miles of Sono listed below:

Elm Street Books
35 Elm St., New Canaan
(203) 966-4545
Books on the Common
404 Main St., Ridgefield
(203) 431-9100
Diane's Books of Greenwich
8A Grigg St., Greenwich
(203) 869-1515
Diane's Books of Greenwich has the largest selection of family books in the country. We specialize in family books for all ages and offer free gift wrapping.
Bloodroot Feminist Bookstore
85 Ferris St., Bridgeport
(203) 576-9168
We are a vegetarian restaurant and bookstore with a seasonal local and organic menu.
Barrett Bookstore
314 Height Rd., Darien
(203) 655-2712
Relay Bookhouse
102 Greenwood Ave., Bethel
(203) 791-9747
Relay Bookhouse is Bethel's oldest and largest independent bookstore specializing in new, used, rare and out-of-print titles. We house a large selection of contemporary and hard-to-find titles in all subjects. We carry gift items, fine bindings, and book-related clothing and accessories. Come in and browse, or submit a request on our website.
Linda's Story Time
447 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe
(203) 459-1579
A children's book & gift shop for babies through teens, with a selection of the best adult titles in every genre! I pride myself on providing excellent customer service, with 30 years experience to help you and your child choose the perfect books. From the best books available to many gift items, including puppets, craft kits, stuffed animals, games for the car, and so much more, we are your one-stop shop.
Byrd's Books
178 Greenwood Ave., Bethel
(203) 730-2973
Byrd's Books is your local independent bookstore. We carry only new titles with a specialty in Connecticut authors, illustrators, poets, and publishers. We host regular events, including author talks, writing workshops, and more.

Courtesy of A full list of bookstores can be found here

Below are important details regarding the contest

Categories include Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Young Readers. Entry fee starts at $40 for a 2,000 copy or less print run.

Deadline: Submissions must be made by 5:00 p.m. on April 19, 2019.

Finalists will be announced in September 2019. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in October 2019.

Eligibility Requirements for Book Awards that will be made in 2019:

  • Authors and illustrators must currently reside in Connecticut and must have lived in the state at least three consecutive years or have been born in the state. Alternatively, the work may be substantially set in Connecticut.
  • Titles must have been published for the first time between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 or have a copyright within 2018.
  • All submitted books must have a valid ISBN.
  • Anthologies are acceptable. Author(s) must currently reside in Connecticut and must have lived in the state at least three consecutive years or have been born in the state. Alternatively, the works must be substantially set in Connecticut.
  • Books by deceased authors will be accepted only if the author was still living at the beginning of the eligibility year (January 1, 2018).

The following are NOT eligible:

  • Reprints of books published in another year.
  • eBooks.
  • Books written by staff or families of Connecticut Center for the Book, Connecticut Humanities, or members or families of the CT Book Award review committee and/or its judges.

Click here for additional information and to download a submission form.

If you have any questions concerning eligibility, please email

About the Connecticut Book Awards

The mission of the Connecticut Center for the Book is to promote the written and spoken word throughout the state and the Connecticut Book Awards recognize and honor those authors and illustrators who have created the best books in or about our state. The Center is Connecticut’s affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

]]> (CT Center for the Book) Events Wed, 06 Feb 2019 06:56:22 -0500
Maritime Aquarium Seeks Volunteers; Interview Sessions This February

Pursue your interest in marine animals and share your knowledge and enthusiasm with others by becoming a member of the volunteer staff at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

Interviews for potential volunteers – with details provided about a training course in March – will be held on Wed., Feb. 13 and Thurs., Feb. 21, on both days at 5 p.m. You need attend only one.

“Volunteering here is fun and personally rewarding, and it’s also vital to fulfilling The Maritime Aquarium’s mission of educating and inspiring guests about Long Island Sound,” said Lisa Slinsky, assistant director of Volunteers and Community Service. “If you’re retired, the Aquarium offers a great way to stay active and connected. A weekday-morning shift could be perfect for stay-at-home parents after they get their kids off to school. And serving as a weekend volunteer is a great experience for high-school students thinking about a career in marine biology.”

Prior knowledge about marine animals isn't necessary to be a Maritime Aquarium volunteer. That's what will be taught in a four-week training course, which will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from March 5 to March 28.

You must be at least 15 years old to sign up.

After completing the course, volunteers serve as gallery ambassadors, helping Aquarium guests to learn more about the represented animals of Long Island Sound, from crabs and jellies to seals and sharks. Adults are especially needed for weekday time slots.

The minimum time commitment required from volunteers is 100 hours, at four hours per week for weekday volunteers and four hours per month for weekend staff. Letters of recommendation and other service-award forms will be signed by Aquarium staff at the completion of 100 hours of service.

A $40 fee helps to defray the costs of training materials and uniforms. Volunteers receive discounts in the Gift Shop, Cascade Café and on many programs.

Advance registration is required for the interview sessions and volunteer training course.

To get more details and learn how to sign up, go to or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2225.

]]> (Dave Sigworth) Neighbors Tue, 05 Feb 2019 16:42:53 -0500
Fairfield County’s Giving Day 2019 Launches New WHY I GIVE Video Contest!

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation announced the launch of the new Fairfield County’s Giving Day WHY I GIVEvideo contest to give nonprofits participating in Giving Day the opportunity to truly sizzle, spread their message and create awareness for their missions.  In case raising over $1.4 million in 24 hours wasn’t exciting enough, the Community Foundation is determined to increase the momentum and excitement of this event even further. They have created an opportunity for nonprofits to shine even brighter and for you to help. 

What’s your passion when it comes to giving back to the community? You are invited to share which Fairfield County nonprofit matters most to you by uploading a short video to your Facebook page and join the WHY I GIVE contest. The eligible video entry which receives the most “likes” on Facebook will receive a special $2,500 grant, courtesy of Bank of America, champion sponsor of Fairfield County’s Giving Day. The video contest will begin accepting entries this week as Fairfield County’s Community Foundation celebrates the sixth year of the region’s biggest day of philanthropy.

“Every video posted in the WHY I GIVE! contest will help raise awareness for our vibrant and vital community of local nonprofits participating in Fairfield County’s Giving Day as we work together to give everyone in our region the opportunity to thrive. We can’t wait to actually see some of the donors who participate each year in Giving Day and hear them tell us why they give to their favorite local nonprofit. This is going to be fun…,” said Juanita T. James, President and CEO, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation is excited to amplify local voices through the new ‘WHY I GIVE’ video contest, building heightened awareness and support for hundreds of vital local nonprofits that serve as the cornerstones of our communities.

Entering is easy. Here’s how WHY I GIVE works:

1.     Using your smartphone or other video recorder, create a short video of 60 seconds or less sharing your heartfelt message about WHY YOU GIVE to your favorite local nonprofit participating in Fairfield County’s Giving Day 2019. Be sure to mention only ONE nonprofit per video. For a list of participating nonprofits,

2.     Upload the video to your Facebook page and in the body of your post be sure to include the following tags and hashtag:
• Use the hashtag #WhyIGive19
• Tag the nonprofit you mention in your video if they are on Facebook
• Tag Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (@fccfoundation)

.     Spread the word! Get your Facebook fans and followers to “Like” your video. The video with the most likes will win!

Contest video submissions can be made from Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 12:00am ET through Friday, February 22, 2019 at 11:59 pm ET. The winner will be announced on Fairfield County’s Giving Day! Learn more and review the Official Rules at Fairfield County’s Giving Day starts at the stroke of midnight on February 28, 2019.

Fairfield County’s Giving Day was first initiated in 2014 by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation to empower the nonprofit community and provide anyone the ability to participate in local philanthropy. Since its inception, nearly $6 million has been raised for 746 nonprofits. In just 24-hours last year, Fairfield County’s Giving Day 2018 raised $1.4 million for 416 nonprofits with 16,593 total gifts from 13,137 individual donors. It has also become an opportunity for many other nonprofits to join in the momentum established over the past five years and challenge their donors, new and old, to give as little as $10 to make a difference in the Fairfield County community.  

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is proud to partner with champion sponsor, Bank of America, for the sixth year in a row. Its dedication and the dedication of all of the Giving Day partners and sponsors to the greater community of nonprofits in Fairfield County helps to power the success of Giving Day. Additional sponsors include Giving Day’s Media Partner – Hearst Connecticut Media Group;  Media Sponsors including Moffly Media; Star 99.9 and 95.9 the Fox; Hamlet Hub; Barrett Outdoor and News12 Connecticut; Neighborhood sponsors including NEWMAN’s OWN Foundation and Stop & Shop; Power Hour sponsor, The Jeniam Foundation and Town Square sponsors including Neuberger Berman; Webster Private Bank; Day Pitney; First County Bank and Insperity and Event sponsor, The Klein Memorial Auditorium.

Fairfield County’s Giving Day is made possible through generous contributions from local businesses and individuals. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Mike Rosen, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Chief Revenue and Business Development Officer at 203.750.3242.

Why I Give Video Contest

]]> (Helen Koven) Charities Tue, 05 Feb 2019 07:48:29 -0500
Flipflops or Shovels? Punxsutawney Phil Makes his 2019 Prediction

Will spring come early this year? According to folklore, the answer depends on a burrow-loving rodent named Phil and the weather conditions on February 2, "Groundhog Day".

Early spring? Phil spoke to the man in the black top hat (and all of us) early this morning and he says "YES!" Groundhog Phil did NOT see his shadow in the small and legendary town of Punxsutawney, Pa.

Perhaps we can dig out our flipflops sooner than expected - or, maybe not. According to reports, in the past decade, Phil has predicted a longer winter seven times and an early spring three times. He was only right about 40% of the time, this information comes courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (not a great track record for Phil).

Click here for more Groundhog Day history.

]]> (Peter Schmidt) Events Sat, 02 Feb 2019 08:38:45 -0500
Take the Plunge Sono and Support Special Olympics Connecticut

Each year, thousands of Connecticut residents take the plunge into frigid water to support Special Olympics Connecticut. These folks are Freezin' for a (very good) Reason!

Penguin Plunge is the largest grassroots fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics Connecticut. (SOCT) participants raise funds to plunge into the chilly waters of Connecticut.

According to SOCT, the Plunges take place in four locations throughout Connecticut at lakes and beaches across the state. The events take place throughout the winter season, from February through mid-March. "Your participation provides funding to support over 12,000 athletes who participate in Special Olympics Connecticut's year-round training and competition in 26 sports," SOCT explains.

Have fun while you’re freezin! "Costumes are encouraged - we even give an award for the best costumes! Many Penguins form teams to band together and share in this one-of-a-kind experience," says SOCT.

To join in on the fun, Penguins need to raise a minimum of $100. In addition to the awards for top fundraisers and best costumes, Penguins receive incentive prizes for their fundraising efforts.

Still have questions? Call SOCT at (203) 230-1201, ext. 264.

Take the plunge and support Special Olympics Connecticut! Penguin Plunge events include:

Farmington Penguin Plunge – Winding Trails - Sunday, February 10, 2019

Middletown Penguin Plunge–Pavilion at Crystal Lake - Saturday, March 2, 2019

Winsted Penguin Plunge - Highland Lake - Saturday, March 2, 2019

Shoreline Penguin Plunge - Ocean Beach Park, New London - Sunday, March 3, 2019

Other Penguin Plunge Events to Benefit Special Olympics Connecticut

1st Annual Loony Dook presented by the Guilford Police Department - Saturday, December 1, 2018

Plunge at the Lake presented by CT State Police - Troop C & ECSU Police Department - Patriot's Park, Coventry - Saturday, March 30, 2019

Super Plunge presented by the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Connecticut - Westbrook Elks Lodge - Saturday, March 30 - Sunday, March 31, 2019

Plunge at the Park presented by the Monroe Police Department - Wolfe Park - Saturday, April 6, 2019

Fairfield Plunge (formerly the Westport Penguin Plunge) presented by Fairfield Police Department & Fairfield University DPS – Jennings Beach - Saturday, April 6, 2019

]]> (Tara Daly) Charities Fri, 01 Feb 2019 12:46:01 -0500
Connecticut’s Barred Owl Boom of 2019

We all know that owls are secretive and stealthy and, most of all, active in the dark, when you might hear them but rarely see them. But this winter seems different. Barred Owls have been making brazen, daylight appearances throughout Connecticut over the last few weeks. Bird experts have been watching in amazement – but not only bird experts. Connecticut residents who don't normally think about the difference between a chickadee and a nuthatch have been gaping and gawking, snapping photos and taking videos and posting them to social media.

Any one of these sightings might be dismissed as random. A Barred Owl roosted on a bird feeder one morning last week in Middletown, for example. A Barred Owl sat stop a tractor alongside a busy road one afternoon in Windsor. Several weeks ago, a Barred Owl snatched a rodent and ate it in a Farmington backyard as a family watched.

Two appeared on different roadsides in Pomfret. A Barred Owl perched for 20 minutes on a garden gate one morning near the Connecticut-New York border. Ornithologist Chris Elphick, a professor at the University of Connecticut who is heading the Connecticut Bird Atlas Project, has seen six during the daytime over the past month, when he wasn't even looking for them.

The maps on Cornell University's, on which observers can pin the location of birds they see, sported 69 Barred Owl pins in Connecticut for the first three weeks of January. Compare that to 39 for all of January 2018, 40 for January 2017, and 32 for January 2016.

Known as birds of the inland woods that rarely show themselves along the coast of Long Island Sound, Barred Owls have turned up this month near the shore in Greenwich, Fairfield, Stratford, Milford, New Haven, Branford, Madison, Old Lyme, Groton, and Stonington.

If you see an owl, revel in your good luck. But also please don't approach it too closely. Click here for some common sense rules of owl-watching etiquette.

Barred Owls are big and distinctive-looking – about 21 inches tall, with rounded heads and with breast feathers that form a pattern that looks somewhat like bars. Hence the name. They range throughout forested regions of North America and in general their population is increasing over the long term; the IUCN considers Barred Owls to be of least concern.

Their surprising visibility this winter most likely means an even bigger, short-term increase, although it's impossible to say how big the increase is or how many live in Connecticut.

Report your sightings

UConn Prof. Elphick, who oversees the ongoing Connecticut Bird Atlas project, of which the Connecticut Audubon Society is a prime sponsor, urged people who see Barred Owls this winter to visit the Atlas website – – for information on how to record their sightings.

While the owl boom has led to exciting opportunities to view these beautiful birds, it has also resulted in what seems to be an unusual number of Barred Owls being hit by cars as the birds swoop low across highways – for example in the Norwich area, along the Merritt and Wilbur Cross Parkways, and near Storrs, where people have been offering to submit owl carcasses to UConn for its collection.

Wildlife rehabilitators have seen an increase. The Wildlife in Crisis center in Weston told us that 45 Barred Owls have brought in for treatment this winter. Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Ashford told us their number was 25, including six being treated last weekend. Almost all of those are juveniles and almost all have been cared for and released back into the wild.

If you have Barred Owl anecdotes or photos to share, take a look at The Connecticut Audubon Society's Facebook page.

*Image courtesy The Connecticut Audubon Society's Facebook page

]]> (Connecticut Audubon Societ) Charities Fri, 01 Feb 2019 12:16:24 -0500
Connecticut’s Art Trail Beckons Sono Residents To Visit 21 World Class Museums

Last week, we published a story about Connecticut’s Chocolate Trail. Did you know that Connecticut is also home to an Art Trail?

Discover Connecticut’s artistic treasures along the award-winning CT Art Trail, 21 world-class museums and historic sites, ranging from bucolic farms, art studios and former artists’ boarding houses to grand and modern downtown art museum,” says CT Visit.

The Nutmeg state’s 21 museums on the Trail boast over 500,000 works of art within permanent collections and blanket 250 scenic miles.

Fill 2019 with artistic innovation and local history by taking a journey through our award-winning Art Trail. $25 Art Passport gets you admission into 21 museums and historic sites on the Trail once each within one year (a $90+ value).

Buy your passport online or at any member museum.

According to CT Visit, the Trail was launched in 1995 as the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail, celebrating Connecticut's ten museums and historic sites that highlighted American Impressionism. In 2005, the member museums voted to expand its membership beyond Impressionism to include even more quality museums and historic sites, including European masterpieces, American Impressionism, ancient art and contemporary culture. This strategic initiative was accomplished in order to reach a broader audience and showcase the diversity of collections within the state.

]]> (Tara Daly) Charities Fri, 01 Feb 2019 12:08:12 -0500