Westport's HamletHub https://news.hamlethub.com/westport Mon, 01 Mar 2021 17:22:15 -0500 HamletHub.com Fran Lebowitz is coming to The Ridgefield Playhouse! https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/47205-the-ridgefield-playhouse-161438197647205-the-ridgefield-playhouse-1614381976 https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/47205-the-ridgefield-playhouse-161438197647205-the-ridgefield-playhouse-1614381976

Special Guest Host Paul Shaffer (Late Show with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, This Is Spinal Tap) will be conducting a Live On-Stage Interview – followed by a Q&A with Fran!

Straight from her hit Netflix series Pretend It’s a City, directed by Martin Scorsese, get ready for a night of no holds barred conversation with the queen of “tell it like it is!” Fran Lebowitz will take the stage at The Ridgefield Playhouse on Sunday, November 7, 2021 at 7:30pm.   In a cultural landscape filled with endless pundits and talking heads, Fran Lebowitz stands out as one of our most insightful social commentators. Known for her sardonic social commentary on American life as filtered through her New York City sensibilities, Lebowitz shoots straight from the hip; she famously doesn’t own a computer, doesn’t have an email address and refuses to join social media.  Instead, the cultural satirist and purveyor of urban cool, offers her acerbic view through essays and interviews on everything from current events well as pet peeves including tourists, baggage claim areas, and taxi drivers.

Lebowitz’s lengthy film and television credits includes a 7-year run on Law & Order and a guest role in The Wolf of Wall Street. She can also be seen in various documentary films including the American Experience series on New York City, as well as Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, Regarding Susan Sontag, and Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol, among others. In 2010 Martin Scorsese directed a documentary about Lebowitz for HBO, titled Public Speaking. A raconteur if ever there was one, Lebowitz has long been a regular on various talk shows including those hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, and Bill Maher.  Lebowitz was once named one of the year’s most stylish women by Vanity Fair and today, remains a style icon. Lebowitz lives in New York City, as she does not believe that she would be allowed to live anywhere else.

Tickets on sale NOW at ridgefieldplayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 203.438.5795

lisa.barrett@ridgefieldplayhouse.org (The Ridgefield Playhouse) Events Fri, 26 Feb 2021 13:18:09 -0500
Who Makes the Best Sandwich in Westport? Eat and VOTE in March! https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/47204-who-makes-the-best-sandwich-in-westport-eat-and-vote-in-march47204-who-makes-the-best-sandwich-in-westport-eat-and-vote-in-march https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/47204-who-makes-the-best-sandwich-in-westport-eat-and-vote-in-march47204-who-makes-the-best-sandwich-in-westport-eat-and-vote-in-march

Who makes the Best Sandwich? The Westport/Weston Chamber of Commerce wants YOU to decide!

Eat Sandwiches and you get to choose who makes the Best Sandwich in Westport

10 Different Categories with 18 (and counting) participating Restaurants



(vote below)


Prior Contests   

PIZZA (2018)             BURGERS (2019)       Soup (2020 - Interrupted due to Covid lockdown)

Participating Restaurants

**** List so far and counting *****

  A & S Fine Foods, Calise’s, Capuli, Don Memo, Fortuna’s, Deli Grammie’s Donuts & Biscuits, Joe’s Pizza, JR's, Kawa Ni, Layla's, Falafel Manna Toast, Match Burger Lobster, Mystic Market, Organic Krush, Out Post Pizza, Rive Bistro,  Rizzuto's,  Stiles Market, The Granola Bar, The Whelk, Winfield Street Deli.

The Contest runs all month from March 1 - March 31

Simply go to a venue, try their Sandwich and vote here on-line

(all Sandwiches are for purchase)


Best Chicken Sandwich
(cutlet, parmesan...)

Best Steak Sandwich
(Philly Cheese, French Dip...)

Best Vegetarian Sandwich
(Grilled Eggplant, Falafel...)

Best Combo Sandwich
(Italian, American...)

Best Club Sandwich
(Turkey, Ham....)

Best NY Deli
(Corned Beef, Pastrami, Reuben...)

Best Pressed Sandwich
(Panini, Cubano, Grilled Cheese)

Best Breakfast Sandwich
(Eggs, Avocado Toast...)

Best Wrap Sandwich
(Turkey, Tuna, Veggie...)

Best Fish / Seafood
(Fish, Lobster Roll...)


When you vote you enter a lottery to win a sandwich from the winning location for that category

Winning restaurants will receive a plaque to display

No one restaurant can win in more than two categories

kerry@ducey.org (Westport/Weston Chamber) Events Fri, 26 Feb 2021 06:42:16 -0500
A Record-Breaking Fairfield County’s Giving Day Raises $2.25 Million for Nearly 400 Local Nonprofits https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/charities/47203-a-record-breaking-fairfield-county-s-giving-day-raises-2-25-million-for-nearly-400-local-nonprofits47203-a-record-breaking-fairfield-county-s-giving-day-raises-2-25-million-for-nearly-400-local-nonprofits https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/charities/47203-a-record-breaking-fairfield-county-s-giving-day-raises-2-25-million-for-nearly-400-local-nonprofits47203-a-record-breaking-fairfield-county-s-giving-day-raises-2-25-million-for-nearly-400-local-nonprofits

14,828 Individuals Generously Contribute to Region’s Biggest Day of Philanthropy, Powered by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

 Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (FCCF) today announced record-breaking results for its 8th annual Fairfield County’s Giving Day, which was held yesterday, Thursday, February 25, 2021. 

A total $2,250,154 was raised from 14,828 donors who made 21,187 total gifts — all Fairfield County’s Giving Day records — in support of 394 local nonprofits during the online 24-hour giving marathon.  The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified nonprofit needs and on Fairfield County’s Giving Day this year, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and businesses from across the region came together to give where they live and work.

“Everything about this year has been different -- everything but the generosity of Fairfield County donors and we thank every donor for their meaningful contributions.  We’re so grateful for the extraordinary, record-breaking response from our community for Fairfield County’s Giving Day 2021. While the pandemic made it impossible for nonprofits to raise funds in traditional in-person events, thousands responded to the call on Fairfield County’s Giving Day, contributing critical funds at a critical time for hundreds of local nonprofits.  The Community Foundation is honored to help make this truly momentous day of compassion, kindness, and goodwill possible for the communities we call home and all of our neighbors,” said Juanita James, President & CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

With the backing of Champion Sponsor, Bank of America, for an eighth year in a row, and other generous sponsors, this year’s record results exceeded prior high totals of $1,719,595 (+31% from 2019); 13,161 unique donors (+13% from 2015); and 17,236 total donations made (+23% from 2020). Since its inception by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation in 2014, a total of $11,557,543 has been raised from 118,252 total gifts for 1,945 local nonprofits on Fairfield County’s Giving Day.

“Yesterday’s phenomenal Giving Day results are a reflection of the hardworking nonprofit community that has motivated so many donors to give back in recognition of their dedication and resiliency,” said Bill Tommins, President, Bank of America, Southern Connecticut. “In our eighth year as Champion Sponsor, the impact that yesterday will have on nonprofits within our communities will be substantial and long lasting, and we are proud to rally behind those making a difference.”

The community building-aspect of Giving Day continues to be a critical aspect of the initiative. As the region’s biggest philanthropic event of the year, Giving Day encourages thousands of individuals to come together and make a difference in the lives of their neighbors across all 23 cities and towns of Fairfield County.  Participating nonprofits represent a wide array of causes including the arts, education, animal welfare, human services, housing, and more. In addition to raising funds, Giving Day helps the more than 400 participating nonprofit organizations in increasing awareness about the important work they do across the region, while also providing trainings and workshops to empower virtual fundraising, marketing, and other resources.

Generous sponsors provided a bonus pool of more than $140,000 in prize money for participating nonprofits this year, another record total, surpassing prior highs in prize money by 40%.  Winners of Fairfield County’s Giving Day 2021 bonus prizes included:

  • Nonprofit Grand Prize: Most Unique Donors ($15,000 prize):
  • LifeBridge Community Services
  • Nonprofit Grand Prize: Most Dollars Raised ($10,000 prize)
  • The Greater Fairfield County Foundation, Inc. (not affiliated with FCCF)
  • Rookie of the Year ($1,000 prize to the first-time Giving Day participant with the most unique donors):
  • Lucky Dog Refuge

For a full list of prize winners visit FCGives.org/prizes. To review the full list of nonprofit fundraisers, inclusive of prize money, view the final leaderboard at https://www.fcgives.org/leaderboards.

Separately, grant-prize winners of the 2021 Why I Give Video Submission Contest were announced on Giving Day, and included: Grand Prize: Fairfield Center Stage; Runners Up: New Canaan Mounted Troop, Kids Helping Kids, and Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue (ROAR).  To view these winning videos, visit: FCCFoundation.org/Give21

To view a recording of the Giving Day Virtual Launch Party that kicked off the day, visit FCGives.org

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation extends its gratitude to sponsors including Champion Sponsor, Bank of America; County Sponsor: Hearst Connecticut Media Group; Neighborhood Sponsor: Barbara Benton Davis Fund at FCCF, Back to You Fund at FCCF, Haddad & Partners, Altice; Power Hour Sponsor: The Jeniam Foundation, Fund for Women & Girls at FCCF, Immigrant Success Fund at FCCF, Herb B. West Award Fund at FCCF, Geller-Conarck Memorial Fund at FCCF, TargetOnstar, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Bridgewater Associates; Town Square Sponsors: Albourne Partners, Webster Private Bank, Greater Norwalk Chamber, Yale New Haven Health Bridgeport Hospital, Bridgeport Regional Business Council, Band Central; Magazine Partner: Moffly Media; Media Partners: 95.9 The Fox, Star 99.9, WICC 600, WEBE 108.

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation 

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation promotes philanthropy as a means to create change in Fairfield County, focusing on innovative and collaborative solutions to critical issues impacting the community. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Community Foundation is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards and has awarded over $337.5 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond since 1992. As a trusted nonprofit partner and thought leader, the organization brings together community organizers, business experts, and philanthropists to close the opportunity gap in Fairfield County with a focus on eliminating disparities in education, employment, housing, and health. Our goal is to create a vital and inclusive community, where every individual has the opportunity to thrive. Learn more at FCCFoundation.org and follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.  Listen to the Fairfield County Thrives podcast at FCCFoundation.org/podcasts.


kerry@ducey.org ( Patty McQueen) Charities Fri, 26 Feb 2021 05:52:13 -0500
Connecticut High School Students Lead the Nation on Advanced Placement Exam Performance https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/47201-connecticut-high-school-students-lead-the-nation-on-advanced-placement-exam-performance47201-connecticut-high-school-students-lead-the-nation-on-advanced-placement-exam-performance https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/47201-connecticut-high-school-students-lead-the-nation-on-advanced-placement-exam-performance47201-connecticut-high-school-students-lead-the-nation-on-advanced-placement-exam-performance

Governor Ned Lamont is applauding the announcement made by the College Board showing that Connecticut – for the first time ever – ranks best in the nation on student performance of advanced placement (AP) exams. According to a report released today by the College Board, 34.5 percent of 2020 high school graduates in Connecticut earned a score of 3 or more on an AP exam.

Compared to the national average, Connecticut saw noticeable increases in the class of 2020 with respect to exam participation and performance among students from low-income families, and Black and Hispanic students. The total number of the state’s graduating class who took an AP exam in high school increased by over five percent in the last five years.

The College Board report cited Connecticut’s efforts to frequently message about the importance of challenging themselves academically by taking rigorous coursework when in high school, whether it be AP, international baccalaureate, or dual-enrollment courses. Connecticut also continues to recognize student participation in these diverse approaches, along with career and technical education, in its Next Generation Accountability System.

To improve access and remove barriers for underrepresented student populations, the Connecticut State Department of Education as fully covered AP exam fees for students from low-income families for the last seven years and plans to continue this practice. The department also sends letters each year to tens of thousands of students in grade 10 and 11 who demonstrate potential for success in rigorous coursework in high school.

In 2019, the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education adopted a universal policy for AP credit and student placement under which the higher education institutions within the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system grant academic credits to any student earning a score of three and higher on any AP exam.

kerry@ducey.org (Gov. Ned Lamont) Neighbors Wed, 24 Feb 2021 11:20:14 -0500
Exciting Outdoor Work Opportunities Available in Connecticut, Diverse Applicants Strongly Encouraged to Apply https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/47202-exciting-outdoor-work-opportunities-available-in-connecticut-diverse-applicants-strongly-encouraged-to-apply47202-exciting-outdoor-work-opportunities-available-in-connecticut-diverse-applicants-strongly-encouraged-to-apply https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/47202-exciting-outdoor-work-opportunities-available-in-connecticut-diverse-applicants-strongly-encouraged-to-apply47202-exciting-outdoor-work-opportunities-available-in-connecticut-diverse-applicants-strongly-encouraged-to-apply

DEEP Launches 2021 Seasonal Recruitment Effort

Want to work a fun job in the outdoors this year? The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) invites you to apply to join our seasonal workforce!

DEEP is actively seeking to diversify its workforce agency-wide. Seasonal positions are a great introduction to working at DEEP and a potential career working in the outdoors – we strongly encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds to join our fun-loving and hardworking team.

Seasonal positions with DEEP are available at various locations throughout the State of Connecticut. The majority of these positions are located within the State Parks Division at various state parks and forests. Positions include lifeguards, seasonal park rangers, maintenance workers, interpretive guides, seasonal Environmental Conservation Officers and more! Some seasonal employees also assist DEEP professional staff in research projects for forestry, fisheries and wildlife management.

To assist with navigating the wide array of seasonal opportunities offered, DEEP has launched a new seasonal employment webpage. This user-friendly webpage divides opportunities up by area of interest (Fisheries, Wildlife, Boating, Parks & Forests, Lifeguarding, Environmental Conservation Patrol Officer, and others), as well as by location.

Seasonal staff play a crucial role in keeping our parks open and waterways stocked with fish, keeping the outdoors accessible for all people as a reprieve in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. To fill these positions with a diverse group of staff reflective of the diversity of our state, DEEP is engaging in a comprehensive outreach effort to raise awareness about the opportunities available, including media engagement, outreach to schools, and hosting a virtual career fair.

“Increasing the diversity of DEEP is a top priority at the agency, and this is one of the ways we can do that,” Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Conservation Mason Trumble said. “Seasonal opportunities are a great way to ignite interests that can lead to a career in the outdoors, or even discover a passion for something that you never knew you had. We hope you’ll consider joining us!”

For more information, visit DEEP’s seasonal employment webpage here. Staff are available for interviews!

kerry@ducey.org (CT DEEP) Life Wed, 24 Feb 2021 10:31:46 -0500
Connecticut Senator Introduces Jennifer's Law in Honor of New Canaan Mother Jennifer Dulos https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/politics/47199-connecticut-senator-alex-kasser-d-greenwich-stamford-new-canaan-and-national-domestic-violence-dv-advocates-introduce-jennifer-s-law-for-the-2021-legislative-session47199-connecticut-senator-alex-kasser-d-greenwich-stamford-new-canaan-and-national-domestic-violence-dv-advocates-introduce-jennifer-s-law-for-the-2021-legislative-session https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/politics/47199-connecticut-senator-alex-kasser-d-greenwich-stamford-new-canaan-and-national-domestic-violence-dv-advocates-introduce-jennifer-s-law-for-the-2021-legislative-session47199-connecticut-senator-alex-kasser-d-greenwich-stamford-new-canaan-and-national-domestic-violence-dv-advocates-introduce-jennifer-s-law-for-the-2021-legislative-session

Connecticut Senator Alex Kasser (D) Greenwich, Stamford and New Canaan, has introduced “Jennifer’s Law,” for the 2021 Legislative session. The bill is named in honor of Jennifer Dulos, the New Canaan mother who was murdered by her husband while she was pleading for her and her children’s safety in family court and whose five children are now orphaned.
The focus of the bill is to update and modernize the definition of Domestic Violence (DV) in Connecticut state law to include Coercive Control - a pattern of abuse which is not necessarily physical that isolates, dominates and intimidates a victim into submission through a pattern of behavior. This can include assault, psychological abuse, financial abuse, revenge porn, stalking and other forms of domination and threat. The bill would also prioritize child safety in custody proceedings by making DV, including child abuse, the first factor assessed by the family court in a case involving custody.
The bill also requires Coercive Control training by professionals with direct experience working with survivors, as well as legal support for victims seeking a protective order from the Court. Kasser’s bill would require judges to recognize victims of DV and child abuse and give them the safety and protection they deserve. 
“When women are the victims of abuse, they seek safety for themselves and their children. Often that means staying with the abuser because the danger of leaving is too great. But when victims do summon the courage to leave, we have a responsibility to believe and protect them. Too many women have lost their lives just trying to get free. And too many children have become collateral damage in this struggle. It’s time for us to shine a light on DV in all its forms and protect those who need protecting.
Women feel shame and fear when they’re with their abuser and when they leave they are re-traumatized by a society that doesn’t believe them. DV is a public health crisis that’s been exacerbated by the pandemic. And oftentimes the signs are invisible. Many victims say that the invisible forms of DV - aka Coercive Control - are more terrifying than physical violence.
It’s time to update our systems and beliefs to reflect this reality. It’s time to remove the stigma, shame and fear. It’s time for real change,” said Senator Alex Kasser, lead sponsor of this legislation. 
“National experts agree that DV includes not only physical and sexual abuse. It includes additional actions used to dominate and control a spouse/partner, making her afraid, powerless and subjugated. These actions are collectively referred to as coercive control. Hawaii passed a coercive control bill in September, 2020. California has one too. Given the national attention on the Jennifer Dulos case, and the fact that DV affects women in every community, Connecticut should be a leader on this issue,” added Kasser.
For two years, Jennifer Farber Dulos and Fotis Dulos were engaged in divorce and child custody litigation in Connecticut Family Court. In court transcripts, she said her husband "expects to exhibit complete control over me and the children.”  The Dulos court transcripts also revealed the rising tension and frustration of the litigants with the escalating time in the courtroom, over 500 pleadings on their case docket, as well as the rising cost of the legal bills to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Police are examining the Dulos divorce as part of their investigation, which was racking up enormous costs including fees paid to at least three attorneys, family therapists, three psychologists and court approved monitors working on the case. 
According to Betsy Keller, the founder of Connecticut Protective Moms, a grassroots advocacy group for protective moms in family court proceedings, “The 10% of family court divorce and separation cases that eventually go before a family court judge are labeled “high conflict” by court professionals, but are very often abuse cases. These court professionals - judges, family lawyers, forensic psychology evaluators and family relations counselors - do not have the needed extensive training in DV and the complicated tactics of how Coercive Control plays out in a court of law.
Seasoned DV experts know that the “high conflict” label is a misnomer and these contentious custody and divorce cases can often be a red flag indicating an abuser’s coercive control tactics, including legal abuse to punish the victim for leaving them.”
In an Op-Ed written by Hon. Family Court Justice Michael Albis published in March, 2020, the Connecticut Judicial Branch publicly supported the key component of Kasser’s proposal - expanding the legal definition of DV to include Coercive Control. Current law only recognizes “continuous threat of present physical pain or physical injury” but not other types of threat or injury. The current definition “severely restricts” what the court can do to protect victims, Albis noted.
Judge Albis concluded that “by adopting language as suggested by Sen. Kasser, the legislature will allow judges to elevate all DV to the scrutiny it deserves, particularly in cases involving child custody.” 
According to research, DV only presents itself as verifiable physical violence in 10% of reported cases. However, many DV cases include an abuser’s escalating use of Coercive Control tactics - emotional, verbal, financial, legal abuse, stalking and isolation. “This bill could have better protected Jennifer Dulos and countless other Connecticut mothers and children who have been harmed over the years while seeking safety from an abusive partner in family court,” says Danielle Pollack of CHILD USA, a national think tank for child protection.
“As a way to punish an ex for leaving, abusers who previously had perpetrated violence against their adult partner will often redirect their abuse toward children and/or litigate for control of the children once their adult partner - no longer available to abuse directly - exits the relationship. Unfortunately, family courts often do not recognize this pattern, but Jennifer’s Law aims to improve the courts capacity to do so.”
According to Joan Meier, Law Professor at George Washington University Law School and Director of the National Family Violence Law Center, a leading DV and child custody expert who published a 2019 study of DV and family court harmful practices,
“My family court research is a groundbreaking empirical study of over 4000 cases powerfully affirming the reports from the field, that women who allege abuse – particularly child abuse – by a father are at significant risk (over 1 in 3) of losing custody to the alleged abuser in family court. Protective parents are often forced to share custody with an abuser while enduring years in contentious family court proceedings.”
Evan Stark, PhD, MSW, Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University, introduced the concept of coercive control in his book Coercive Control (Oxford U. Press, 2007). In his book, Dr. Stark shows that most abuse in relationships includes a combination of violent and nonviolent tactics (such as threats, stalking and psychological abuse), introduced over time, that often extend to use of the children to control the mother by threatening to harm them if  she leaves or disobeys him or by enlisting the children as allies in the mother's abuse. A number of countries, with England and Scotland as leaders, and several US States (most notably Hawaii and California) have adapted Coercive Control laws to reflect the scope of protection required to meet the needs identified.  
Interpersonal Femicide in Connecticut goes far beyond the Dulos case. Almost fourteen women are murdered each year as are many children whose protective parent tried to keep them safe from an abusive parent. A few examples of coercive control cases escalating to murder from the past few years:
  • In 2020, Christine Holloway was brutally murdered in her Ansonia home and her young daughter is still missing. Her boyfriend is the only suspect named by police.

  • In 2019, Perrie Mason of Meriden, the mother of two boys first went missing, then police discovered her remains at a Waterbury recycling facility where her boyfriend works.

  • In 2015, seven-month old baby Aaden Moreno was thrown from the Middletown Bridge by his father and died when he fell into the icy winter water. Just five days before, a Middletown Family Court Judge denied the mother’s request for a permanent restraining order based on his view that neither she nor her baby were in danger. 

  • In 2007, Magnano was shot and killed by her estranged husband on Aug. 23, 2007 at their Terryville home. He then turned the gun on himself. Four months earlier, Jennifer Magnano fled the home with her children only to learn that no shelter in Connecticut would take them and that it would take two weeks to get money approved for a hotel. In need of immediate help, they headed to a shelter in California. Magnano was killed when she returned to Connecticut for a court-ordered custody hearing. Michelle Cruz, JD, the State Victim Advocate at the time, released a 45-page report calling for drastic changes in the way state agencies help DV victims. The report detailed the numerous steps Jennifer Magnano took to get help in the months before she was murdered. It also details gaps in state services. "The report is lengthy and it describes the colossal systematic failure of the systems that were supposed to protect Jennifer and her family," Michelle Cruz said.

Connecticut Protective Moms (CPM) is a 501 (c) (3) grassroots organization of Connecticut moms who are dedicated to improving the Connecticut Family Court process to validate all forms of Domestic Violence (DV) including physical, coercive control, emotional, verbal, financial and legal abuse.  By raising awareness and educating Connecticut Family Court stakeholders on this broader definition of DV, we will advocate to reform state legislation to protect mothers and their children from continued DV during Connecticut Family Court proceedings and to eliminate bias against a mother's DV allegations during child custody proceedings.
The lack of education and knowledge of DV abuser tactics among family court professionals - judges, lawyers, GALs, forensic evaluators -  during divorce and family court proceedings often put moms and children at further risk of abuse and danger. Our objective is to change the "default" position of laws, court orders, and social attitudes in general to see moms and children protected not only before, but during and after they step into a family court for divorce from an abusive individual. CPM will raise awareness of new and stronger legislative solutions to family court legislation and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of children.  


kerry@ducey.org (Jill Rosenfeld) Politics Tue, 23 Feb 2021 09:53:27 -0500
Black Rock Social House To Open in Bridgeport on March 15 https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/47200-black-rock-social-house-to-open-in-bridgeport-on-march-1547200-black-rock-social-house-to-open-in-bridgeport-on-march-15 https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/47200-black-rock-social-house-to-open-in-bridgeport-on-march-1547200-black-rock-social-house-to-open-in-bridgeport-on-march-15

Black Rock Social House prepares to introduce its own brand of hospitality to the flourishing Black Rock neighborhood of Bridgeport, CT. Located at 2895 Fairfield Avenue, a historic landmark building since 1924, Black Rock Social House provides a new spin on the traditional gastropub concept. On March 15th, Black Rock will add another exciting destination to its diverse community.

Black Rock Social House is spearheaded by Mark Turocy, a seasoned professional whose 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry is punctuated by such career highlights as creating The Comedy Store’s first food program in the company’s 40-year operating history in Hollywood, CA.

He went on to a General Manager position, closing the original concept of Henry’s Hat and launching Spoonful, a popular Hollywood location for shooting movie scenes. In 2014 Turocy headed to the east coast to serve as the General Manager of Rizzuto's Oyster Bar and Restaurant in Westport, CT, where under his leadership, the restaurant was named one of the "Top 100 Restaurants in the United States" from OpenTable. Upon heading back to the west coast for exciting opportunities to expand operations at Angel City Brewery and Au Fudge, this talented restaurateur settled back in Connecticut, managing New Haven’s Belgium-inspired Atelier Florian before ultimately finding 2895 Fairfield Avenue, the perfect location for Turocy’s first ownership endeavor.

"I am honored and excited to be a part of the diverse Black Rock community.  It has always been a dream of mine to create a space that encourages social interaction, provides 'feel good' comfort food from around the world, and offers unpretentious service to anyone who visits.  No matter who you are, where you are from, or what you believe in; you are family and always welcome here."

The Black Rock Social House menu is an international representation of hearty comfort food, bold flavors, and is 100% gluten-free. The culinary team is led by Executive Chef Jacob Raitt II, formerly of Washington DC and a culinary graduate of Baltimore International College. Chef Raitt opened his first restaurant in 2009, Fells In Point, in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, known for its exotic meats, modern techniques, and elevated twists on favorite comfort foods. Chef Raitts’ experience with Japanese, French, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Mexican, and South American cuisines has contributed to such local hot spot menus as The Chelsea in Fairfield, Cask Republic in Stamford, and Mezon Tapas Bar & Restaurant in Danbury. Now a local Black Rock resident, Chef Raitt has created a vibrant and original menu, adding a broad flavor palette to the neighborhood’s thriving restaurant scene.

Menu highlights include “Noshables” such as Frito Misto with lightly fried shrimp, calamari, and vegetables, served with puttanesca sauce; togarashi spiced rubbed Confit Chicken Wings; and an over-the-top Canoe Cut Beef Bone Marrow roasted with herb butter and breadcrumbs. The “Charcuterie” menu is comprised of the best domestic goat and cow’s milk cheese selections and house-made specialties including African merguez sausage, silky duck liver mousse, and house-cured gravlax.

“Soups and Salads” offer a variety of seasonal and creative combinations as seen with the restaurant’s soon-to-be signature Sweet Onion and Mushroom Soup topped with queso frier lardons, scallions, croutons, and truffle oil, and the constructed Watermelon and Prosciutto Salad with champagne cherries, bitter greens, and white balsamic vinaigrette. Black Rock Social House’s “Comfort Food” dishes include Mushroom Risotto prepared with forest mushrooms, truffle butter, and parm, finished with a mushroom consommé; Roasted 1/2 Chicken Paprikash with herb spätzle; and Shrimp Fettucine with house-made pasta, asparagus, confit tomatoes, and sundried tomato pesto. Desserts are inspired, sweet, and flavorful works of art on a plate as illustrated by the red wine poached pear and sweet mascarpone. And did we mention, the entire menu is gluten-free?

The beverage program is shaken up with hand-crafted cocktails, top shelf spirits, a curated global wine list, and an impressive craft beer selection. Black Rock Social House has partnered with Firefly Hollow Brewing Company and will feature exclusive draft offerings of their gluten-removed beer made with the highest quality European malts and barley, freshest hops, and bright fruits and spices.

True to the Black Rock Social House concept, an old-school gastropub with a fresh approach, the historic integrity of the building has been meticulously preserved. Gorgeous woodwork, iron fixtures, and large windowpanes wrap the restaurant’s multiple levels and dining areas that are filled with dark wood furnishings and vintage light fixtures.

Guests can look forward to Social Hour food and drink offerings to end the day with, live music with local talent, an LGBTQ fabulous gathering place, and a restaurant and bar for what people need today.

Learn more www.blackrocksocialhouse.com

kerry@ducey.org (LINDA KAVANAGH) Places Tue, 23 Feb 2021 08:56:14 -0500
Westport Resdients to Receive Yellow Pages Directory Starting Late February, Don't Want It? Here's How You Opt Out https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/47197-westport-resdients-to-receive-yellow-pages-directory-starting-late-february-don-t-want-it-here-s-how-you-opt-out47197-westport-resdients-to-receive-yellow-pages-directory-starting-late-february-don-t-want-it-here-s-how-you-opt-out https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/47197-westport-resdients-to-receive-yellow-pages-directory-starting-late-february-don-t-want-it-here-s-how-you-opt-out47197-westport-resdients-to-receive-yellow-pages-directory-starting-late-february-don-t-want-it-here-s-how-you-opt-out

The Westport Selectman’s Office has been notified that the Fairfield County Directory (Yellow Pages) will be distributed between February 25 and April 13, 2021.

Residents who have any questions or concerns regarding the distribution of these directories may e-mail RealYPResolutions@thryv.com

Additionally, residents have the choice about which directories they would like to receive or stop receiving in the future. Residents may request directories or opt-out of future phone book deliveries by visiting www.YellowPagesOptOut.com, which is the official site of the Yellow Pages, industry provided at no cost to users, cities and states.  

The “opt-out” link is also available on the Town of Westport website HERE.

It is a free, convenient and secure way to limit or stop home delivery of telephone directories. According to the YP notification letter, data submitted will never be used for marketing purposes and will never be given to third parties. 

kerry@ducey.org (Town of Westport) Neighbors Mon, 22 Feb 2021 10:35:40 -0500
Connecticut Will Continue Age-Based Approach To COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility; Educators and Childcare Providers To Have Dedicated Clinics in March https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/47196-connecticut-will-continue-age-based-approach-to-covid-19-vaccine-eligibility-educators-and-childcare-providers-to-have-dedicated-clinics-in-march47196-connecticut-will-continue-age-based-approach-to-covid-19-vaccine-eligibility-educators-and-childcare-providers-to-have-dedicated-clinics-in-march https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/47196-connecticut-will-continue-age-based-approach-to-covid-19-vaccine-eligibility-educators-and-childcare-providers-to-have-dedicated-clinics-in-march47196-connecticut-will-continue-age-based-approach-to-covid-19-vaccine-eligibility-educators-and-childcare-providers-to-have-dedicated-clinics-in-march

In an effort to ensure that Connecticut continues taking the most equitable and efficient approach to quickly administering the COVID-19 vaccine to as many people as possible, Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the state will continue with an age-based approach to expanding eligibility to the vaccine, explaining that other previously considered scenarios proved overly complex and confusing, would potentially exacerbate inequities in vaccine distribution, and slow down the process of providing it to Connecticut residents.

Age is one of the strongest factors contributing to COVID-19 deaths, with 96 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Connecticut occurring in people over the age of 55.

To provide clarity and predictability, the governor today announced a schedule for age-based eligibility for the next several months. By laying out a clear timeline for eligibility for the vaccine, the strategy allows everyone in the state, including essential workers and those with chronic conditions, to know when they will be able to schedule an appointment. The planned schedule is as follows:

  • March 1, 2021: Expands to age group 55 to 64
  • March 22, 2021: Expands to age group 45 to 54
  • April 12, 2021: Expands to age group 35 to 44
  • May 3, 2021: Expands to age group 16 to 34

To further ensure equitable allocation of the vaccine, Governor Lamont also announced that he is directing the Connecticut Department of Public Health to set numerical targets and work with vaccine providers to ensure that vaccines are administered to people living in the highest-risk communities in proportion to their population. These targets and the associated strategies will be announced in the coming days.

In addition to the age-based eligibility, preK-12 school staff and teachers, and professional childcare providers will be eligible to receive the vaccine in March at dedicated clinics that will be set up specifically for those sectors. Educators and childcare professionals will soon receive information from their school administrators and employers on when their dedicated clinics will be provided.

Connecticut has been using a phased approach to its COVID-19 vaccine program because of the very limited supply of the vaccine that it has been receiving from the federal government. The program initially began in December with healthcare providers and medical first responders, and then expanded in January to include all individuals over the age of 75 and certain congregate settings, followed by those over the age of 65 in mid-February. All previously eligible individuals and settings will continue to be eligible after March 1.

“In a perfect world, we would have enough doses of the vaccine to get it to all 3.6 million people in Connecticut right now, however each state is being given a very limited supply, which is why we must take this phased approach,” Governor Lamont said. “Connecticut’s healthcare providers have been doing an amazing job getting the vaccine to people as quickly as they can, and using age as the only qualifying factor is one of the reasons why they’ve had success so far. The last thing we want to do is complicate the process for them and cause delays that slow things down and exacerbate issues regarding equitable access. A vaccination program of this magnitude is unprecedented in recent times, and I appreciate everyone’s understanding of the fluid nature of this situation. My goal is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, and I believe this is the best path to meeting that challenge.”

“We have been in the COVID-19 marathon for approaching a year and now our race becomes a sprint to beat the variants of COVID-19 that are now circulating in the state and elsewhere and to return to a sense of normalcy for ourselves, our families and our communities,” Connecticut Acting Public Health Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford, who also serves as co-chair of the Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, said. “The Department of Public Health is committed to an equitable vaccination program. Sticking with an age-based vaccine rollout allows our vaccine providers to get as many shots as possible as quickly and equitably as possible into the arms of Connecticut residents, and vaccinating our education and childcare workforce will get our children back in the classroom this school year.”

“Ensuring communities of color have access to vaccines is one of the most important and impactful ways we will get this pandemic behind us,” Dr. Reginald Eadie, president & CEO of Trinity Health New England and co-chair of the Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, said. “Using age as an eligibility criterion makes it clear to all of our residents, especially those who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, that the vaccine is here, it’s available, and provides for an easier registration process to actually receive the vaccine. Education is important when it comes to addressing vaccine hesitancy, but we must also have a simple process to make sure those who need the vaccine receive the vaccine. This new timeline not only informs residents of when they can anticipate they will be eligible to be vaccinated, but it also provides vaccinators direction on when and where to target their own outreach and education efforts.”

“Equitable access to vaccine for our communities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 has always been the priority of the allocation subcommittee,” Nichelle Mullins, president and CEO of Charter Oak Health Center, and Zita Lazzarini, associate professor of public health sciences at UConn Health, both of whom serve as the co-chairs of the allocation subcommittee of the Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, said in a joint statement. “We agree with the governor’s approach and, while not ideal, we understand that a continuation of the age-based system simplifies the requirements for vaccination. We also applaud the state’s commitment to set tangible benchmarks for providers to vaccinate residents living in Connecticut’s cities and municipalities with large underserved and high-risk populations. These benchmarks are intended as affirmative steps to increase equity in access to vaccines and to remediate inequities that have accrued so far.”

Connecticut Business and Industry Association president and CEO Chris DiPentima said that while essential employers had spent time and resources preparing for the vaccine rollout based on the initial guidance, he understood the need to pivot. “We cannot rebuild our economy and recover from the pandemic without first addressing the public health crisis,” he said. “This new approach allows for more workers across Connecticut to get vaccinated in a short period of time, and it eliminates potentially complicated rules, making it easier and more equitable for everyone to receive their vaccination. It is critical that we vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible.”

All eligible individuals in Connecticut are required to make an appointment in advance of receiving the vaccine. Residents aged 55 to 64 should not attempt to make an appointment now – they will not be able to schedule one until the program expands to their age group on March 1.

To locate vaccination clinics, individuals should visit ct.gov/covidvaccine and enter their zip code. From there, users will be shown the nearest available clinics and provided with specific directions on how to make an appointment at each one, including over the internet and over the telephone.

Those who do not have access to the internet can call Connecticut’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 877-918-2224. The line is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

kerry@ducey.org (Gov. Ned Lamont) Life Mon, 22 Feb 2021 09:40:43 -0500
Connecticut Housing Partners is planning to expand its affordable housing presence into Monroe, CT https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/47195-connecticut-housing-partners-is-planning-to-expand-its-affordable-housing-presence-into-monroe-ct-g-iong-partenrs47195-connecticut-housing-partners-is-planning-to-expand-its-affordable-housing-presence-into-monroe-ct-g-iong-partenrs https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/47195-connecticut-housing-partners-is-planning-to-expand-its-affordable-housing-presence-into-monroe-ct-g-iong-partenrs47195-connecticut-housing-partners-is-planning-to-expand-its-affordable-housing-presence-into-monroe-ct-g-iong-partenrs

Trumbull, CT - Connecticut Housing Partners has proposed to construct 49-units of affordable housing for Seniors on Main Street in Monroe. The plan was well-received during a Planning and Zoning Commission at the end of January. the plan is to build a three-story New England style building for residents age 62 and older on Main Street in Monroe as an attractive and well-designed project on a site naturally buffered from neighborhood impacts. 

Connecticut Housing Partner's attorney said, "This project would benefit Monroe especially its Senior Citizens!  It's something that everybody could be proud of."  One of the Commissioners in attendance said, "I think this is a beautiful plan that fills a great need in our town for our aging population and our ability to keep them here." 

The housing would be built on just over two acres at 195, 201, and 211 Main Street, close to where Skate Time Roller Rink used to be. Among Connecticut Housing Partners' Senior Housing is Huntington Place, 1235 Huntington Turnpike in Trumbull, Wilton Commons, 21 Station Road in Wilton and Greenfield Commons, 580 Villa Avenue in Fairfield. David Goslin, an architect from Crosskey Architects in Hartford, showed a rendering of the 50,000 square foot facility. "It is a very traditional looking building in keeping with the architecture of Monroe," he said. The independent living facility's front facade has bay windows and gables, according to the design. The facility will include a community room that would serve as a gathering place for tenants to have social events. 

Stay tuned as Connecticut Housing Partners continues with the process of bringing this much-needed development to life!

Connecticut Housing Partners is a 501 (c) 3 organization and its mission is to create and sustain innovative housing, revitalize neighborhoods, and enhance the quality of low and moderate income residents of Connecticut. We are also fighting to end homelessness.

To learn more about Connecticut Housing Partners, please visit www.cthousingpartners.org 



kerry@ducey.org (Robin Jerrild) Life Mon, 22 Feb 2021 08:51:50 -0500
Summer Training Programs at The Golf Performance Center Now Open for Registration https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/47188-summer-training-programs-at-the-golf-performance-center-now-open-for-registration47188-summer-training-programs-at-the-golf-performance-center-now-open-for-registration https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/47188-summer-training-programs-at-the-golf-performance-center-now-open-for-registration47188-summer-training-programs-at-the-golf-performance-center-now-open-for-registration

Room and Board Available for Sessions June 28 – July 23 and July 26 – August 20

The Golf Performance Center (GPC) – a leader in junior golf innovations, integrating player development, premium technology and facilities with industry thought leaders – has opened registration to its 2021 Summer Program, designed for golfers who aspire to play college golf. The GPC offers two sessions, held June 28 – July 23 and July 26 – August 20, with room and board available at the academy’s main campus in Ridgefield, CT.

Four- or eight-week programs are offered to golfers ages 10 or older. To apply or learn more information, contact Tom Bopp at tom@thegolfperformancecenter.com or 203-439-6758. Applications are due March 1 for Session 1 and March 15 for Session 2.

Each attendee will receive The GPC’s 5 Element of Success Evaluation. Following the Evaluation, an individualized holistic plan to achieve peak performance is created for each student-athlete. The team will then guide golfers through their personalized program of overall performance improvement, developing skills that enable them to compete at progressively higher levels.

The 2021 Summer Program also includes:

  • Daily physical performance coaching
  • Extended practice time
  • Playing privileges at Salem Golf Club
  • Tournament planning and guidance
  • Premium JuniorGolfHub.com Membership
  • Custom club fitting
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
  • Field trips

“The GPC Summer Program is truly unique because it provides our student athletes with the tools to grow athletically, culturally and as lifelong learners,” says The GPC’s Founder, Roger Knick. “The core of our summer program is golf, but the curriculum also includes courses with Learning Coaches from Ethan Allen Prep and exploration of New England and the New York City region. Our program combines the best practices for development, golf and physical coaching, tournament preparation, tournament play and high-level academic experience.”

For more than 20 years, The GPC has successfully guided nearly 100 competitors as they prepare for golf at the highest levels. Alumni include multiple NCAA All-Americans, current and former student-athletes at 80 different colleges and universities and professionals who have won on the Korn Ferry Tour, Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada and European Tour.

To learn more about The Golf Performance Center, visit www.thegolfperformancecenter.com/summer.

The Golf Performance Center integrates state of the art training facilities and expert coaching to help athletes reach their goals. Beginning with the unique “5 Elements of Success” evaluation, The GPC delivers customized golf coaching designed to provide aspiring athletes with improvement strategies built for long-term success. The GPC’s goal is to provide valued instruction, guidance and the necessary facilities to develop junior athletes, both physically and mentally, to successfully navigate challenges on the journey to competitive golf. Junior Golf Hub is an online community that was founded to help players and parents navigate the journey to college golf while helping coaches find top talent. Ethan Allen Prep at The Golf Performance Center is committed to an individualized, passion driven learning environment in which student-athletes in grades 6-12 are challenged to maximize their learning through exhibiting proficiency in academic skills, high moral character, and a deep understanding of the academic content and topics in which they engage.

kerry@ducey.org (Golf Performance Center) Places Mon, 22 Feb 2021 07:53:00 -0500
CT's Beardsley Zoo Invites Public to Join Citizen Scientist FrogWatch USA https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/47194-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-invites-public-to-join-citizen-scientist-frogwatch-usa47194-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-invites-public-to-join-citizen-scientist-frogwatch-usa https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/47194-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-invites-public-to-join-citizen-scientist-frogwatch-usa47194-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-invites-public-to-join-citizen-scientist-frogwatch-usa

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo invites residents to become Citizen-Scientist volunteers and participate in a “FrogWatch” census in area wetlands. In a collaboration between the Zoo, The Maritime Aquarium, and Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, volunteers will make regular visits to wetlands in their neighborhoods and keep a frog log to record the frog and toad calls they hear. Working with experts, volunteers will learn about local frog species, then visit wetlands once or twice a week for about 15 minutes each night this spring and summer. 

The watch begins a half hour after sunset, making the watch ideal for families with older children. Observations are reported to a national online database to contribute to amphibian conservation efforts. FrogWatch coordinators at each facility keep up to date on data results for participants. 

This year, training sessions will be presented live online. During this entirely virtual training, participants will learn about Citizen Science, the important role amphibians play in the ecosystem, and how to identify ten species of frogs heard in Connecticut. After the training, participants will be sent a virtual assessment they need to complete in order to become a certified FrogWatch Volunteer. 

“FrogWatch USA is a wonderful way for us to engage a new generation of people interested in preserving animal habitats and conservation,” explained Jim Knox, education curator at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. “This program demonstrates how we can all play a part in protecting wildlife.”

Volunteers do not need any prior experience or knowledge about frogs. Only one training session is required, each from 7 to 9 p.m. Choose from:

  •       Weds, Feb 24 at 7 p.m.
  •       Tues, March 2 at 7 p.m.
  •       Thurs, March 25 at 7 p.m. 

For more information and to register: https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/frogwatch.html

Why Frogs? Frogs and toads play a vital role, serving as both prey and predator, in wetland ecosystems and are considered indicators of environmental health. Many previously abundant frog and toad populations have experienced dramatic population declines both in the United States and around the world. It’s essential that scientists understand the scope, geographic scale, and cause of these declines. The data collected by FrogWatch USA volunteers is used to help inform conservation and management efforts.

Covid-19 safety rules remain in effect. Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at beardsleyzoo.org. Face masks are required for everyone over the age of two, with the exception of those with medical conditions that preclude wearing them. Social distancing is mandated throughout the Zoo. 

kerry@ducey.org (Lisa Clair) Places Mon, 22 Feb 2021 05:46:00 -0500
Westport First Selectman Issues Update on COVID-19 Vaccinations https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/47191-westport-first-selectman-issues-update-on-covid-19-vaccinations-161376968947191-westport-first-selectman-issues-update-on-covid-19-vaccinations-1613769689 https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/47191-westport-first-selectman-issues-update-on-covid-19-vaccinations-161376968947191-westport-first-selectman-issues-update-on-covid-19-vaccinations-1613769689

Important Information from the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD)

The COVID-19 vaccination clinic originally scheduled for yesterday, February 18, has been rescheduled to Monday, February 22 due to yesterday’s inclement weather. Only the clinic date has changed. The appointment time and location for Monday’s clinic remain the same – Westport Senior Center (21 Imperial Ave, Westport, CT 06880). All those affected have been directly contacted by WWHD staff. 

First Selectman Jim Marpe today issued the following update on the COVID Vaccine:

This week, Governor Ned Lamont announced that over 500,000 Connecticut residents received their first vaccination and over 240,000 have received the second vaccination for a total of 747,000 vaccinations.  Connecticut ranks third in the nation for vaccine administration.  Since Connecticut vaccinated its nursing homes, resident cases have decreased from a high of 483 in the first week of January to 30 this week, proving the effectiveness of the vaccine. 

While this trend is encouraging, it does not mean that anyone, even those who have been vaccinated, should discontinue adherence to CDC guidelines regarding use of adequate face coverings, social distancing, and proper handwashing.  Due to the virility of new COVID variants, it is recommended that two masks be worn – a disposal/surgical mask worn UNDER a cloth mask to insure increased protection.

Further, Superintendent of Schools Tom Scarice reminded the community last week of Governor Lamont's Executive Order 9S regarding travel. (click here). That EO states that students and staff returning from travel to anywhere other than New Jersey, New York or Rhode Island, where they have stayed longer than 24 hours, are required by law to follow strict protocols upon return.

Also, it is important to remember that smaller social gatherings with family and friends have an equal, if not greater potential, for transmission of COVID-19 if mask wearing and other critical mitigation measures are not followed.

Important Vaccine Information:

Connecticut remains in the second part of Phase 1b of the vaccine administration, which means that residents over the age of 65 are eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Vaccinations for individuals over the age of 75 and those within Phase 1a continue.

To manage the increased volumes, the State has enhanced phone line capacity and the ability to assist with vaccine scheduling. Vaccination appointments are being made within five minutes or less and appointments for both the first and second vaccine can now be made simultaneously.

 Eligible residents are encouraged to make vaccine appointments at any available clinic, and not wait for availability specifically in Westport. Those 75+ may have ambulatory or technological barriers to booking out of town, so it is strongly suggested that those eligible 65+ in the next phase consider booking appointments wherever available.   

 To view a statewide list and map of COVID-19 vaccine clinics, go to www.211ct.org/vaccineclinics, enter your zip code or town in the location box on the right and press the yellow search icon. 

 The State of Connecticut is managing the vaccine rollout and its prioritization. Connecticut is currently in Phase 1b of the vaccine distribution.  

Individuals included in Phase 1a:

  • Healthcare Personnel
  • Long Term Care Facility Residents
  • Medical First Responders

 Individuals included in Phase 1b:

  • Scheduling now:  Individuals 75 and older
  • Scheduling now:  Individuals between the ages of 65 and 74
  • Scheduling information coming soon: Frontline essential workers and individuals with underlying medical conditions with increased risk for severe illness

 There are several ways to register and schedule an appointment for the vaccine. 

Online using the Vaccination Administration Management System (VAMS).  This is an online scheduling portal that allows individuals with an email address to create an account, log-in, and search for a vaccine clinic near them. An email address is required to schedule an appointment. By using VAMS you will be able to search for appointments at several locations throughout Connecticut after entering your zip code.   

 Visit VAMS online: here.

 Some of the larger third party VAMS clinics include:

  •  UConn Health: https://health.uconn.edu/coronavirus/covid-vaccine/ Appointments available online or phone (860) 679-5589
  •  Griffin Health Care Center (Shelton & Derby)  Book appointment at VAMS site or call (203) 433-3394 or (203)204-1053 or (203) 732-7101 M-F from 7:00 am - 4:00 pm or click here.
  •  Drive-Thru Clinic in Fairfield County through VAMS scheduling: Community Health Center, at Lord & Taylor parking lot at 110 High Ridge Road in Stamford. To register, those eligible can call 211, or 877-918-2224. Or use the VAMS online portal operated by the state Department of Health to make an appointment online.
  •  Southwest Community Health Center through VAMS scheduling: 1020 Fairfield Ave. in Bridgeport, taking appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

  •  Some providers are offering direct scheduling on their websites or over the phone*:

 Stamford Hospital: https://www.stamfordhealth.org/covid-19-update/covid-19-vaccination-information/  (203) 276-7300

 Yale New Haven Health:   https://www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/covid-19/vaccine/get-your-covid-vaccine.aspx  (833) 275-9644

Hartford HealthCare: https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/covid-vaccine (860) 827-7690

 VAMS clinics by phone: Connecticut’s COVID Vaccine Appointment Assistance Line is (877) 918-2224 or 2-1-1 and is available every day from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Additional trained contact specialists are answering calls and have expanded capability of booking vaccine appointments through the VAMS portal. If delays occur, a call-back option may be offered when contact specialists are busy assisting other callers. Please note, this state phone line is experiencing very heavy call volume.

 The following drive-thru options are available through VAMS:

  •  The Community Health Center, at Lord & Taylor parking lot 110 High Ridge Road, Stamford.
  •  Pratt & Whitney Drive-through, Runway Road, East Hartford. 

 For tips or a video tutorial on how to use VAMS, use the following links:

  1. https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Vaccinations---VAMS-Support
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=AJy6mA6Nmm0&feature=youtu.be

 For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on the vaccine roll out, residents are encouraged to visit https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Vaccinations. As nearby pharmacies, travel clinics or other sites begin to participate in vaccine administration, that information will be available at www.WWHD.org

Westport residents who require additional assistance after trying the state hotline, can call 203-341-5037 to speak with a Human Services staff member for help. For more tips and information on local vaccinations, please go to www.westportct.gov/vaccine.

kerry@ducey.org (Town of Westport) Neighbors Fri, 19 Feb 2021 11:21:29 -0500
ACT of CT collaborates with Stephen Schwartz to produce an unforgettable love story - stream Snapshots NOW! https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/47192-act-of-connecticut-s-snapshots-the-gift-of-looking-at-life-through-a-different-prism47192-act-of-connecticut-s-snapshots-the-gift-of-looking-at-life-through-a-different-prism https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/47192-act-of-connecticut-s-snapshots-the-gift-of-looking-at-life-through-a-different-prism47192-act-of-connecticut-s-snapshots-the-gift-of-looking-at-life-through-a-different-prism

Snapshots, A Musical Scrapbook, is a beautiful, relatable and real love story created by ACT of CT’s Artistic Director, Daniel C. Levine and Music Supervisor, Bryan Perri, in collaboration with Stephen Schwartz.

You probably have photos, snapshots of day’s past that are tucked away in boxes and albums in your home.  In this original musical, streaming through February 28, a struggling couple is forced to reflect on their lives through a different prism. After twenty years of marriage, their present view of life is full of daily, somewhat monotonous routines. 

A second chance at love and life comes serendipitously when the couple, Sue and Dan, are forced to reflect on the many decisions, adventures and ultimate choices that led them to this place and time. 

Would you change any behaviors if you knew what the future would look like? 

The clarity of knowing now what you didn’t know then allows Sue and Dan to issue the final verdict.

Incorporating dozens of Stephen Schwartz’s Broadway masterpieces, the story takes place in an attic, chock full of memories packed into dusty boxes and left on cluttered shelves. 

After twenty years of marriage and her child away at college, Sue is ready to call it quits. Her bag is packed. She’s been carefully planning her departure for weeks. She’s rethinking life and her meaning in it. 

When Snapshots opens, we see Sue in the attic of her home, writing a goodbye letter to her husband, Dan. She doesn’t get to finish writing. Dan surprises her by arriving home from work earlier than expected. Shanken by his sudden appearance, Sue hides the note and accidently knocks over a box of photographs that scatter on the attic floor. 

Those “snapshots” unearth buried feelings and cherished memories that beautifully unfold as we step back in time and watch the courtship and relationship of two younger versions of Dan and Sue.  

The awesomely talented cast is comprised of Ryan Bailer (ACT of CT’s Evita), John Cardoza (Jagged Little Pill), Olivia Hernandez (ACT of CT’s Austen’s Pride), Monica Ramirez (ACT of CT’s Working, Godspell), Michael McCorry Rose (Anastasia, Wicked) and Mariand Torres (Wicked, Prince of Broadway).

Snapshots is available for streaming on-demand now through February 28, 2021. Visit actofct.org to learn more and purchase tickets. All ticket holders will have 48 hours to watch this exciting new production as many times as they like. Tickets are available starting at $20.

Snapshots, A Musical Scrapbook has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by David Stern, was conceived by Michael Scheman and David Stern, with additional music and lyrics by David Crane, Seth Friedman, Marta Kauffman, Alan Menken and Charles Strouse, and arrangements and orchestrations by Steve Orich. Directed by Daniel C. Levine, Music Supervision by Bryan Perri, Choreography by Sara Brians, Cinematography by Barton Cortright.


kerry@ducey.org (KA) Events Fri, 19 Feb 2021 01:09:00 -0500
Local Author Announces Audiobook Release of Memoir, My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/47190-local-author-announces-audiobook-release-of-memoir-my-beautiful-detour-an-unthinkable-journey-from-gutless-to-grateful47190-local-author-announces-audiobook-release-of-memoir-my-beautiful-detour-an-unthinkable-journey-from-gutless-to-grateful https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/47190-local-author-announces-audiobook-release-of-memoir-my-beautiful-detour-an-unthinkable-journey-from-gutless-to-grateful47190-local-author-announces-audiobook-release-of-memoir-my-beautiful-detour-an-unthinkable-journey-from-gutless-to-grateful

Following a run at the famed Feinstein's/54 Below, The Triad Theatre, United Solo Festival, Barrington Stage Company (Tony-Award winning William Finn’s Cabaret Series) and a nationwide tour from Washington D.C. to Hawaii of her multi-award winning musical, “Gutless & Grateful,” performer, playwright and four-time TEDx speaker Amy Oestreicher was not supposed to be alive.

At nearly 18, she was headed for her prom, college, then hopefully, Broadway, until a blood clot caused her stomach to explode, setting her off course. Amy slipped into a coma for months, only to emerge to be told she may never eat or drink again, while coming to terms with a long kept secret — that she was sexually abused by a trusted mentor. Enter her poignant, true-to-life adventure, My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful, now a CT-Press Club Award winning memoir, and as of January 2021, a self-narrated audiobook, where the resilient 33-year old records over 40 characters in her “unthinkable journey” - plus a few surprise “cameo appearances.”

What Oestreicher is most thrilled about for this new edition is an afterword written and narrated by Tony Award winning composer and lyricist William Finn. “I was first introduced to his work at 15. I wrote him a huge fan letter, he ended up calling me, and then after my coma, became a true mentor and friend, to this very day. It means the world to me that he’s written such a beautiful afterward for my book.” Their relationship came full circle when Oestreicher performed her original one-woman musical as part of Mr. Finn’s Cabaret Series at Barrington Stage Company. “That was certainly an unexpected flower on my detour, but theatre has been what’s guided me from the time I was a kid, it’s been there for me ever since, and will keep being the light that drives me forward.”

At nearly 18, after the trauma of being sexually abused by a trusted mentor, Amy's stomach ruptured. What followed was 28 surgeries, seven years without food or drink, and transforming adversity into adventure. At 33, Amy is much wiser than her years — having rallied from a life-threatening illness to find success in writing, art, theater, puppetry, public speaking, dance, and PTSD work with teens, among other endeavors. She's used creativity to not only power through setbacks, but also to find personal growth along the way. Having experienced multiple "detours,' the author encourages others to rebound and "show up, speak your truth, and don't be attached to the outcome."

Her memoir also speaks about resilience-building by employing four strategies: Creativity, Storytelling, Hope, and Gratitude — a winning-combination — and staples that have guided her through tough challenges, propelling her to gain perspective and thrive. She also shares how to utilize these key principles to change attitudes, tap into talents, and find positivity no matter the obstacle. Amy believes Creativity is a mindset, Hope must be created, Storytelling makes sense of your path, and Gratitude can be harnessed and is healing.

"This 4-ingredient recipe for resilience is more than you'd find on greeting card or inspirational poster. By implementing these habits daily, people can absolutely enrich their lives. These concepts are calls to actions to make 'heroic changes,' and I'm thrilled to share my personal experience and the positive changes we’re all capable of making right now." said Amy.

In addition, she's pleased to announce the February publication of Creativity and Gratitude: Exercises and Inspiration for a Year of Art, Hope and Healing (Apollo Books) — a hands-on workbook and companion to her memoir.

Growing up, theatre was Amy's entire universe. She trained and performed professionally as a child and a teenager, but in April of her senior year of high school, everything changed. Amy abruptly developed a blood clot, her stomach exploded in the operating room of the hospital, and after both her lungs collapsed, she nearly died. After waking up from a coma several months later covered in tubes, bags, and drains, she was told she had no stomach anymore and couldn't eat or drink and nobody could tell her if she ever would be able to again. After 28 surgeries and six of the past ten years unable to drink a drop of fluid, Amy's digestive system was miraculously reconstructed and she could begin putting her life back together.

Even with bags leaking, machines beeping, and her planned life on hold, Amy never wanted to feel like a "patient" or a "victim" - rather than mourn her hunger, she started a chocolate business, a food blog, learned karate, starred in musicals, put up three art shows, and taught nursery school. She learned not to take anything for granted - like the first time she could sip water in years.

Amy is now 33 and has done much since that fateful hospital stay, which wouldn’t be her last. In fact, she’s endured 28 surgeries and survived seven years without food or drink, while her digestive system was repaired and her inner self, healed from devastating trauma. The good news, is, Amy has made it to the spotlight and has beyond thrived: She’s not only a memoirist, but an Audie Award-nominated author, PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, award-winning actress, and playwright. Amy is also a mental health advocate, workshop leader, clothing designer and all-around dynamo, despite her continued challenges.

“I’m excited to share my story: how I navigated a seemingly impossible situation to find the real gifts that anyone can discover from facing obstacles of their own. I wrote My Beautiful Detour to convey my unwavering love of life and to set a template for those who follow. I’m grateful for all who have played unmatched roles along my journey and am proud to celebrate with an audiobook that is definitely unlike any other!” This audiobook features exclusive clips of her performances, and original songs that helped her along her journey which she premiered in her famed one women musicals “Gutless & Grateful” and “Passageways: Songs of Connection, Abnormal & Sublime.” Oestreicher has self-narrated her entire memoir, after being nominated for an Audie-Award for her work on the women’s empowerment anthology, “Nevertheless She Persisted,” and used this time of COVID quarantine to record all 513 pages. “I’m especially excited because I also feature some great cameos from the doctors who saved my life, family, and others who have really influenced my journey.” Oestreicher was last seen at Feinstein’s/54 Below with her hit one-woman musical, Gutless & Grateful (Barrington Stage Company, Tony Award®-winning William Finn’s Cabaret Series, Sheen Center, Metropolitan Room, and others.) She’s shared the power of theatre and music in her four TEDx Talks, and her story has been featured on NBC’s “Today,” CBS, Huffington Post, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, ABC, and more. With music and lyrics inspired by the “beautiful detours” that came after nearly 30 surgeries and assault, the multi-award winning songstress shares her journey as a woman with a wild passion for life and self-discovery through the power of music and art. After rave reviews at HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place, and the Triad, Amy’s story and songs show that you never know what you’re capable of until you’re tested, and that the gifts of a “detour” can be beautifully rewarding.

Nearly 15 years later, Amy Oestreicher is grateful for that “explosion”—her first of six difficult but wonderful life-changing “detours.” In her CT-Press Club Award winning memoir, MY BEAUTIFUL DETOUR: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful (Singing Tree Publishing; November 19, 2019; ISBN-13: 978-17333138819) author Amy Oestreicher shares her incredible story of trauma and transformation. She also shares the beliefs and practices that took her from barely surviving to thriving—and blazing her own trails as a “Detourist.” And now, the multi-award winning actress is thrilled to release “My Beautiful Detour” as an audiobook. This audiobook is available on multiple sites where audiobooks are sold, which can be found at https://www.amyoes.com/audiobook, and features exclusive musical clips from her original music, Her message — about reframing unfortunate circumstances to find the good — is both inspiring and timely.

kerry@ducey.org (Aline Weiller) Neighbors Wed, 17 Feb 2021 11:48:04 -0500