Westport's HamletHub https://news.hamlethub.com/westport Sat, 04 Apr 2020 11:30:16 -0400 HamletHub.com Westport Playhouse Announces Livestream Event, April 17 https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/46583-westport-playhouse-announces-livestream-event-april-1746583-westport-playhouse-announces-livestream-event-april-17 https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/46583-westport-playhouse-announces-livestream-event-april-1746583-westport-playhouse-announces-livestream-event-april-17

Westport, CT - Tony Award®-winning Broadway star Kelli O’Hara, in partnership with Westport Country Playhouse’s education and community outreach department, will host “Getting to Know You: A Celebration of Young Artists,” on Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m., on the Playhouse YouTube channel and Facebook Live.

The virtual showcase will feature 10 randomly selected Fairfield County high school students. They will get the opportunity to share their experiences with O’Hara and perform a musical theater selection. 

“I am very proud to partner with Westport Country Playhouse as we celebrate the highly anticipated (but sadly unseen) performances of our community’s young performers this year,” said O’Hara. “We can still gather together as one community, virtually, in the spirit of true live performance, and give these kids a platform. I think it will be an uplifting way to support the magnificent arts programs we have in Fairfield County and ensure that all the passion and hard work doesn’t go to waste.”  

To register, Fairfield County high school students may visit westportplayhouse.org/livestream and upload a video of a musical theater song during a 72-hour period between Sunday, April 5, at 10 a.m. and Wednesday, April 8, at 10 a.m. 

The 10 students selected for the livestream event will be notified by Friday, April 10.  Additionally, 10 understudies will be chosen to submit a question for O’Hara to answer during the show. 

“I am also a firm believer in the healing magic of the arts, and I know we could all use some of that right now,” said O’Hara.

Kelli O’Hara’s portrayal of Anna Leonowens in the critically acclaimed revival of “The King and I” garnered her the 2015 Tony Award ® for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, along with Drama League and Outer Critics nominations. Her most recent role leading the Broadway revival of “Kiss Me, Kate” earned O’Hara glowing reviews and a 2019 Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. She has countless other Broadway, regional/Off-Broadway, film, and television credits, showcasing her versatility and unequivocal talent.

All videos submitted as a part of the entry process will be featured in a compilation video produced and released on Playhouse social media channels.

During the event, tax-deductible donations to the 501(c)(3) non-for-profit Playhouse will be accepted.  "If you are in a position to give a special gift to help the Playhouse continue developing programs like this, we would be so grateful,” said Gretchen Wright, Playhouse director of development. “We will get through this together."

Support for the event is from Bankwell, 2019-2020 Family Programming Sponsor.

For more information on the livestream showcase with Kelli O’Hara, contact Jenny Nelson, Playhouse director of education and community outreach, via email at education@westportplayhouse.org.

For Westport Country Playhouse information, visit westportplayhouse.org, leave a message on the box office voicemail at (203) 227-4177, or email atboxoffice@westportplayhouse.org. The Playhouse’s physical box office is closed during the pandemic, but staff is working from home, returning phone messages and answering emails. Please understand with the high volume of inquiries, it may take up to 72 hours to respond. Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), and on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse).

ABOUT WESTPORT COUNTRY PLAYHOUSE

The mission of Westport Country Playhouse is to enrich, enlighten, and engage the community through the power of professionally produced theater of the highest caliber and the welcoming experience of the Playhouse campus.  The not-for-profit Playhouse provides this experience in multiple ways by offering live theater experiences of the highest quality, under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos; educational and community engagement events to further explore the work on stage; the New Works Initiative, a program dedicated to the discovery, development, and production of new live theatrical works; special performances and programs for students and teachers with extensive curriculum support material; Script in Hand play readings to deepen relationships with audiences and artists; the renowned Woodward Internship Program during the summer months for aspiring theater professionals; Family Festivities presentations to delight young and old alike and to promote reading through live theater; youth performance training through Broadway Method Academy, Westport Country Playhouse’s resident conservatory program; and the beautiful and historic Playhouse campus open for enjoyment and community events year-round.  Charity Navigator has recently awarded its top 4-star charity rating to the Playhouse in recognition of its strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (Pat Blaufuss) Events Fri, 03 Apr 2020 14:26:36 -0400
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe Announces Westport's First COVID-19 Fatality https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46582-westport-first-selectman-jim-marpe-announces-westport-s-first-covid-19-fatality46582-westport-first-selectman-jim-marpe-announces-westport-s-first-covid-19-fatality https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46582-westport-first-selectman-jim-marpe-announces-westport-s-first-covid-19-fatality46582-westport-first-selectman-jim-marpe-announces-westport-s-first-covid-19-fatality

First Selectman Jim Marpe issued the following statement:

I regret to inform you that Westport has experienced its first fatality resulting from COVID-19.  Today, I was informed by the Westport Weston Health District that an 80-year old man from Westport has passed away.

On behalf of the entire Westport community, I want to express my deepest condolences to his family.

Please be assured that Westport worked, and continues to work, diligently and tirelessly to stop the spread of COVID-19, contain the contamination, and avoid infection by staying home and abiding by CDC guidelines. Unfortunately, and despite our best efforts at prevention, our community was not spared.  

I want to take a moment to reflect on all of our neighbors who have and who continue to suffer from COVID-19.  I know we are wrapping up another week that has been challenging and limiting.  I am very appreciative how many of you have responded to our requests, remained in your homes and minimized social interaction. 

As of yesterday, the State informs us that there have been 122 positive tests for COVID-19 in Westport.  Each day this number continues to increase.  Please continue practicing virus distancing, stay at home and avoid gatherings of any type.

On behalf of this resident, please think about your neighbors, your elderly community members and other vulnerable individuals when you practice isolation.  Together as a community, we will weather the storm of this terrible crisis.

For Town of Westport COVID-19 resources click here.

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (Town of Westport) Neighbors Fri, 03 Apr 2020 10:58:46 -0400
Meet RVNAhealth Men and Women on the Front Line https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46580-meet-the-rvnahealth-front-line46580-meet-the-rvnahealth-front-line https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46580-meet-the-rvnahealth-front-line46580-meet-the-rvnahealth-front-line

RVNAhealth has a team of amazing clinicians and caregivers on the front line battling COVID. They are heroes - though they don't view it that way. 

They are the clinicians and caregivers who step forward when others step back. They are also the leaders who don’t just coach from the sidelines but find their way into the field. The RVNAhealth Front Line is driven by commitment and conviction, and their unwavering belief that the difference they make in their patients’ lives is an important one. 

And never are they more correct than now.  RVNAhealth is proud to introduce you. 

Throughout the month, RVNAhealth be sharing glimpses of as many team members as possible. They will also be featuring our front line on a special web page.

Please visit the page often (we'll be updating it frequently), to meet the team. And -- if you can -- please help RVNAhealth keep them safe by Protecting a Caregiver.

Meet the RVNAhealth Front Line

Jessica Velasco, RN
Jessica has an interesting story.  In times of 'normalcy,' she is our Home Health Aide Supervisor and Chronic Care Manager.  But when COVID-19 began to take hold, Jessica elected to return to the field to help care for patients she had served in days gone by -- this time as a hospice nurse. Meet Jessica 

Joe Naber, OTR
It's funny, the course of one's life. In school, Joe studied Construction Management. But when post-graduate opportunities were limited, he took a detour to Rehabilitation. Joe is now an Occupational Therapist serving COVID-19 patients in their residences and facilities. Joe may not be managing construction, but he is building trust and hope wherever he goes. Meet Joe

Annecia Young, HHA
Annecia Young is young, but she's also wise, and a wonderful and compassionate caregiver. She learned at the hands of her mother -- a nurse -- and cares for her patients as she hopes to be cared for herself one day, with honesty and love.  The challenges of COVID-19 don't stop Annecia. Her energy runs strong. Meet Annecia

Marlene Alba, EHR Specialist
Behind every successful Front Line is a team of experts quietly keeping the wheels turning. Marlene Alba is part of that team. An Electronic Health Record expert and educator, Marlene is focused now on keeping our system in sync with the evolving COVID-19 needs so our Front Line team can focus on the patients they see. Meet Marlene


 

Throughout the month, RVNAhealth be sharing glimpses of as many team members as possible. They will also be featuring our front line on a special web page.

 

Please visit the page often (RVNAhealth be updating it frequently), to meet the team. And -- if you can -- please help RVNAhealth keep them safe by Protecting a Caregiver.

 

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (Nancy Rowe) Neighbors Fri, 03 Apr 2020 08:49:47 -0400
CT's Beardsley Zoo Lifts Spirits During Crisis https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46581-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-lifts-spirits-during-crisis46581-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-lifts-spirits-during-crisis https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46581-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-lifts-spirits-during-crisis46581-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-lifts-spirits-during-crisis

There are many inspirational stories of individuals and companies coping with the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus crisis, but Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has a few of its own. Although Zoo gates are closed to the public, staff members continue to care for the Zoo’s animals, carefully following CDC and State of Connecticut safety guidelines. The Zoo has more than 300 animals on grounds, many of them endangered species. The animal care staff must feed, clean, offer training and provide enrichment each day to a diverse group of animals, from tigers and alligators to monkeys and owls, along with dozens more. 

On Friday, April 3, the Zoo is launching a new interactive opportunity for children and families. “Do You Have a Zoo at Your House?” asks children to draw pictures and write letters for their favorite Zoo animals or take photos of how they’ve created a zoo of their own at home, using plush animals, blocks, Legos or costumes. The Zoo’s website (www.beardsleyzoo.org) will include a page where the children’s art, letters and photos will be posted for all to enjoy, as well as featured on the Zoo’s social media accounts. 

The Education staff has pivoted from on-grounds education programming to internet-based, Distance Learning initiatives for students of all ages. Zoo educators have filmed a variety of Next Generation Science Standards-compliant videos, making them available on the Zoo website, via social media, to broadcasting partners, and as resources for the state’s outreach to teachers. The Zoo offers Facebook Live sessions every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 2:00 p.m., with a different focus each day: Science-based learning from the Education staff, a Zookeeper Chat, or a visit with Zoo Director Gregg Dancho and an animal of his choice. 

Staff members are rising to the need of their friends and co-workers. One of the Farmyard’s Animal Care Specialists sewed colorful masks to help protect her colleagues. The Zoo’s Education Curator, in addition to overseeing on-grounds STREAM videos, is filming backyard wildlife for schoolchildren. The Peacock Café’s chef has locked the doors to the restaurant but is serving staff free meals through a side window.  Photographer volunteers have turned photos taken earlier into coloring sheets for kids, available on the Zoo website.

As a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, the Zoo relies on ticket sales, school visits, memberships, education program fees, donations and meeting and rental revenue to operate. Being closed is resulting in a significant impact on the operating budget. Any size donation to our emergency operating fund will assist in the care of our animals and team members. Donations can be sent to: https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/emergency-fund.html

About Connecticut’s Beardsley ZooLet your curiosity run wild! Connecticut's only zoo, celebrating its 98th year, features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Guests won't want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, maned wolf family, Brazilian ocelot, Mexican and Red wolves, and Golden lion tamarins. Other highlights include our new Spider Monkey Habitat, Natt Family Red Panda Habitat, South American rainforest with free-flight aviary, the prairie dog exhibit with "pop-up" viewing areas, and the Pampas Plain with Giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful, indoor carousel. For more information, and updates on the Zoo’s closed status, visit beardsleyzoo.org.

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (Lisa Clair) Places Fri, 03 Apr 2020 06:25:06 -0400
Why Community Matters in Westport: Find Out How Kim Higgins Finds Inspiration and Connectivity https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46579-why-community-matters-in-westport-find-out-how-kim-higgins-finds-inspiration-and-connectivity46579-why-community-matters-in-westport-find-out-how-kim-higgins-finds-inspiration-and-connectivity https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46579-why-community-matters-in-westport-find-out-how-kim-higgins-finds-inspiration-and-connectivity46579-why-community-matters-in-westport-find-out-how-kim-higgins-finds-inspiration-and-connectivity

Why Community Matters

Local creativity is overflowing in communities as moms, dads, small business owners, nonprofit leaders and volunteers are finding new ways to communicate in this new world of social isolation. Their coping strategies and ingenuity is beyond inspiring! 

We are proud to introduce you to these innovators in “Why CommunityMatters”, a series made possible by LIFEWTR.

Meet Kim Higgins, owner of bridal beauty business in Westport, Eye for Beauty CT

With the new norm of practicing social distancing, how are you finding creative ways to connect with family and friends?

During this unusual time, it's imperative we check up on each other (through remote connections). Eye For Beauty CT has been using group messaging to connect with local businesses. We've been encouraging businesses to use verbiage like "reschedule" rather than "cancel" to clients. We've been sharing social media posts, buying gift cards, writing a review, ordering products, and doing what we can to support our friends who aren't going into work every day.

Can you tell us if you or any of your colleagues are doing creative things at home to find joy and inspiration?

It's all about perspective. When the Department of Public Health urged beauty professionals to cease services, Eye For Beauty CT definitely felt an increase of stress for a few days. However, focusing on something I can't change isn't productive and so I focused my energy on things that brought me joy. 

Continuing to lead a healthy lifestyle was incredibly important to me. I begin each day with an organic @dailyharvest smoothie, and “meal plan” for the week. Our small business meetup group has decided to exchange weekly recipes that even our kids will love. 

With gyms closing, I purchased freestanding kickboxing equipment and will be adding @fightcamp to my routine (it's like the Peloton of kickboxing). 

I've been able to focus on my business goals and am currently working on rolling out a new program to help other beauty professionals while continuing to write for a vegan bridal blog.

If you are a parent, have you found creative ways to engage kids at home?

Thanks to Pinterest, we have been doing science projects like the dish soap experiment, the crystal growing experiment, and making salt dough ornaments. If it were up to my daughter, our kitchen would have become a slime factory!

Learn more about Kim and Eye for Beauty CT here.

Community matters - now more than ever. We are thankful to LIFEWTR for helping us to connect and stay strong.

The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HamletHub or LIFEWTR. 

 

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (HH) Neighbors Thu, 02 Apr 2020 12:29:10 -0400
COVID-19 Connecticut Update: 3,824 laboratory-confirmed cases https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46578-covid-19-connecticut-update-3-824-laboratory-confirmed-cases46578-covid-19-connecticut-update-3-824-laboratory-confirmed-cases https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46578-covid-19-connecticut-update-3-824-laboratory-confirmed-cases46578-covid-19-connecticut-update-3-824-laboratory-confirmed-cases

As of April 2, 2020, a total of 3824 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among Connecticut residents. Eight hundred and twenty-seven patients are currently hospitalized. One hundred and twelve residents have died.

Fairfield County currently has 2132 COVID-19 cases. Sixty-five residents have passed away as a result of the virus.

Total Change Since Yesterday

Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases 3824 (+267)

Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19-Associated Deaths 112 (+27)

Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-19 827 (+6)

Patients tested for COVID-19 18300 (+1700)

View cases by county and town as well as updated data here.

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (CT.Gov) Neighbors Thu, 02 Apr 2020 12:06:18 -0400
Ethan Allen Prep School Tees Up for Fall, Applications Now Accepted https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46577-ethan-allen-prep-school-tees-up-for-fall-applications-now-accepted46577-ethan-allen-prep-school-tees-up-for-fall-applications-now-accepted https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46577-ethan-allen-prep-school-tees-up-for-fall-applications-now-accepted46577-ethan-allen-prep-school-tees-up-for-fall-applications-now-accepted

Ethan Allen Prep: Achieve Your Greatness On the Golf Course, In the Classroom and In Life

The Golf Performance Center’s (GPC) Ethan Allen Preparatory School is teeing up for fall and offering an innovative and unique educational experience for scholar-athletes.

Visit Ethan Allen Prep online HERE for additional information and to fill out an application.


Ethan Allen Prepartorpatory School, a brand new residential campus for scholar-athletes and summer campers, offers a state of the art residence hall, classrooms, a dining hall, lounge and beautiful walking paths.

The Achieve Program at Ethan Allen Prep promotes curiosity and empowers the scholar-athletes to embrace their individual areas of interest. Ethan Allen Prep designs individualized curriculums for each and every student, removing barriers that keep them from reaching their true potential.

The Achieve Program offers an expansive list of 150+ courses delivered by K12 International Academy, providing students the ability to delve into areas of interest and take charge of their own education.

A private alternative to traditional high school, Ethan Allen Prep is open to a select few high-achieving student-athletes and integrates state of the art training facilities and expert coaching to help athletes reach their goals. 

Learn more about Ethan Allen Prep fall program HERE.

Ethan Allen Prep: Achieve Your Greatness On the Go...

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (HH) Places Thu, 02 Apr 2020 09:04:04 -0400
Westport Playhouse Reschedules Playreadings https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46576-westport-playhouse-reschedules-playreadings46576-westport-playhouse-reschedules-playreadings https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46576-westport-playhouse-reschedules-playreadings46576-westport-playhouse-reschedules-playreadings

Westport, CT - Westport Country Playhouse announces scheduling changes in its 2020 Script in Hand Playreading Series, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The series of four remaining playreadings is now scheduled to resume in late June and run through mid-December.

For current Script in Hand ticket holders, the Playhouse box office will reissue and mail new tickets prior to the adjusted performance date(s).  Others may purchase tickets, at $20 each, online at westportplayhouse.org, by leaving a message on the box office voicemail at (203) 227-4177, or by email atboxoffice@westportplayhouse.org. The Playhouse’s physical box office is closed during the pandemic, but staff is working from home, returning phone messages and answering emails. Please understand with the high volume of inquiries, it may take up to 72 hours to respond.

Co-curators and co-directors of the Playhouse’s Script in Hand Series are Anne Keefe, Playhouse associate artist, and Mark Shanahan, director, actor, and playwright.

Keefe said, “Mark and I want to thank you all for your patience as we do our best to navigate these strange waters. Having a healthy audience is our primary aim. The best part of isolation has been the chance to actually look at scripts and get a jump on the entire year of choices. We’re pretty excited about the upcoming readings and cannot wait to have you all back at the theater!”

Shanahan added, “During our most recent Script in Hand event, Annie and I stood in back of the theater, thrilled to hear you, the audience, filling the Playhouse with laughter. On nights like that, there’s nowhere I’d rather be. We look forward to meeting with you all again as soon as we are able. And please know we have some truly great nights planned for you to look forward to as we wait out this difficult time. Consider that a promise! In the meantime, we wish you and yours health, comfort, and safety.”

Rescheduled for Monday, June 22, at 7 p.m., from its original March date, is “Mrs. Mannerly” by Jeffrey Hatcher, a comedy about a young boy and his manners teacher. A heartwarming, nostalgic, and hilarious tale about an unlikely friendship, Hatcher’s autobiographical play recounts his adventures as a 10-year-old student attending a manners class in Steubenville, Ohio, in the fall of 1967. Under the tutelage of his demanding teacher, Mrs. Mannerly, Jeffrey learns important life lessons beyond which fork to use at dinner, reminding us all that good manners never go out of style.

“Rounding Third” by Richard Dresser, the funny, touching, and tumultuous journey of two Little League coaches, will play on Monday, July 27, at 7 p.m.  From their first tentative meeting to the climactic championship game, coaches Michael and Don, despite their differences, form an uneasy alliance for the benefit of the team. Don is the tough, blue-collar, win-at-all-costs veteran coach whose son is the star pitcher. Michael, a newcomer both to the town and to baseball, is a corporate executive who agrees to be Don’s assistant because he wants a special activity with his son, who’s never played baseball before. Over the course of exhilarating victories, heartbreaking defeats, and interminable rain-outs, the two men battle over how to lead the team. Out of their conflicting philosophies, the real issues of the play emerge: how should we raise our children.

“The Bat,” a comedy/thriller by Mary Roberts Rinehart, known by fans as “The American Agatha Christie,” and Avery Hopwood, is set for Monday, November 16, at 7 p.m., postponed from an April date.  On a dark and stormy night, a masked criminal, known only as "The Bat," is on the loose, preying upon the wealthy members of Long Island’s East End. But the master thief may have met his match in society matron Cordelia Van Gorder. Gathered in her rented summer home on the very night The Bat will strike again, Cordelia and her guests are in for an evening of murder, mayhem, and madness in a race to unmask The Bat and solve “whodunnit!”

 

“A Sherlock Carol” by Mark Shanahan will be performed for the holiday season on Monday, December 14, at 7 p.m. When a grown up Tiny Tim asks Sherlock Holmes to investigate the death of Ebenezer Scrooge, the Great Detective must use his gifts to solve a Dickens of a Christmas mystery! Six actors take on the beloved characters of Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens in this heartwarming and highly theatrical holiday treat for all ages.

The Script in Hand Playreading Series is sponsored by Marc and Michele Flaster with support from the White Barn Program of the Lucille Lortel Foundation.

 

All dates, titles, and artists subject to change. 

Tickets may be purchased online at westportplayhouse.org, by leaving a message on the box office voicemail at (203) 227-4177, or by email atboxoffice@westportplayhouse.org. The Playhouse’s physical box office is closed during the pandemic, but staff is working from home, returning phone messages and answering emails. Please understand with the high volume of inquiries, it may take up to 72 hours to respond. Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), and on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse).

ABOUT WESTPORT COUNTRY PLAYHOUSE
The mission of Westport Country Playhouse is to enrich, enlighten, and engage the community through the power of professionally produced theater of the highest caliber and the welcoming experience of the Playhouse campus.  The not-for-profit Playhouse provides this experience in multiple ways by offering live theater experiences of the highest quality, under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos; educational and community engagement events to further explore the work on stage; the New Works Initiative, a program dedicated to the discovery, development, and production of new live theatrical works; special performances and programs for students and teachers with extensive curriculum support material; Script in Hand play readings to deepen relationships with audiences and artists; the renowned Woodward Internship Program during the summer months for aspiring theater professionals; Family Festivities presentations to delight young and old alike and to promote reading through live theater; youth performance training through Broadway Method Academy, Westport Country Playhouse’s resident conservatory program; and the beautiful and historic Playhouse campus open for enjoyment and community events year-round.  Charity Navigator has recently awarded its top 4-star charity rating to the Playhouse in recognition of its strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (Pat Blaufuss) Places Wed, 01 Apr 2020 15:58:07 -0400
Fairfield County Bank Commits $100,000 to Help Feed the Community https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/charities/46575-fairfield-county-bank-commits-100-000-to-help-feed-the-community46575-fairfield-county-bank-commits-100-000-to-help-feed-the-community https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/charities/46575-fairfield-county-bank-commits-100-000-to-help-feed-the-community46575-fairfield-county-bank-commits-100-000-to-help-feed-the-community

In response to the COVID-19 national health crisis, Fairfield County Bank announced today its new program, Feeding Fairfield County, and a $100,000 commitment to help feed the community.

“As a result of the outbreak, many of our community members are struggling to feed their families.  As we tirelessly work to help our impacted business and consumer clients overcome their financial challenges, it is also important for us to take a leadership position to help community members with the urgent need of putting food on the table,” says Dan Berta, President of Fairfield County Bank.

Feeding Fairfield County, Fairfield County Bank’s COVID-19 food security response program, is a multi-faceted program designed to improve access to food for community members suddenly impacted by the national health crisis.  The program includes direct contributions to local food banks as well as purchasing gift cards from local restaurants that will be donated to help feed at-risk communities and our heroic healthcare workers and first responders.

“We want to contribute not only money but also create a program to bring together our local businesses, clients, and the overall community to further feed people in need.  We encourage everyone who can to join us in supporting the community through this program,” adds David Schneider, Fairfield County Bank CEO.

Dan Berta goes on to say, “The Bank’s restaurant clients are some of our most notable community leaders.  This is an opportunity for us to also help them during this crisis by purchasing gift cards that we then donate to people in need and using them to bring food to our front-line healthcare workers and first responders.”

Additionally, Fairfield County Bank will be directing some of its on-going community-focused efforts towards food-related causes, including the Bank’s Charity of the Month program, the Bank’s Coins for a Cause program, employee gift matching program, and volunteer efforts.

In the coming days, Fairfield County Bank will be providing details on how community members can join the effort.  For more information, please follow Fairfield County Bank on Facebook and check for routine updates on our dedicated Feeding Fairfield County webpage.  Charities or businesses interested in participating in the Feeding Fairfield County program can email Stephen Wooters at Stephen.Wooters@FairfieldCountyBank.com.

Stephen Wooters, Executive Vice President, further emphasizes, “We are a community bank, and we are here for our community.  It’s not just a tagline when we say ‘We Are Fairfield County.’”

Founded in 1871, Fairfield County Bank is a $1.5 billion community bank with locations throughout Fairfield County. In 2019 alone, Fairfield County Bank donated over $1 million to 415 local non-profit organizations with over 5,000 hours of volunteerism from their employees – a true testament to strengthening our communities. Visit www.fairfieldcountybank.com to find out more about the Bank. #WeAreFairfieldCounty              

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (Ryan Arconti) Charities Wed, 01 Apr 2020 14:42:13 -0400
Community is not Canceled: Westport Rainbows Bring Hope and Joy https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/46574-community-is-not-canceled-westport-rainbows-bring-hope-and-joy46574-community-is-not-canceled-westport-rainbows-bring-hope-and-joy https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/46574-community-is-not-canceled-westport-rainbows-bring-hope-and-joy46574-community-is-not-canceled-westport-rainbows-bring-hope-and-joy

Community is not Canceled 

Neighbors helping neighbors, community members reaching out to our local senior citizens, residents supporting our heroic first responders -the inspiring stories and acts of kindness brought forth by our current crisis are extraordinary. What's more, small businesses, local nonprofits, and civic organizations are innovating to stay connected and serve the community. 

Community is not Canceled, a series made possible by LIFEWTR will showcase Connecticut's awesome response to this unprecedented situation. We are in this together. Stay strong. 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow in Westport

A Westport resident took it upon herself to kickstart a creative initiative to unite the community and lift spirits during this uncertain time. “Rainbows Across America” is brightening Westport neighborhoods, one colorful rainbow at a time. 

Westporters responded with enthusiasm and got busy with their kid's drawing, painting, and making rainbow chains out of paper. Residents are encouraged to go on “Rainbow Hunts”, (counting rainbows, not thunderstorms) in their neighborhood and community. 

Westport joins communities across the globe turning to art and creativity to bring locals closer together one rainbow at a time. 


Community is not Canceled! We are thankful to LIFEWTR for helping us to connect and stay strong.

The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HamletHub or LIFEWTR. 

 

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (HH) Life Wed, 01 Apr 2020 14:09:34 -0400
Connecticut COVID-19 Update: 3,557 Cases, First Pediatric Death https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46573-connecticut-covid-19-update-3-557-cases-first-pediatic-death-in-connecticut46573-connecticut-covid-19-update-3-557-cases-first-pediatic-death-in-connecticut https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46573-connecticut-covid-19-update-3-557-cases-first-pediatic-death-in-connecticut46573-connecticut-covid-19-update-3-557-cases-first-pediatic-death-in-connecticut

As of April 1, 2020, a total of 3557 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among Connecticut residents. Seven hundred and sixty-six patients are currently hospitalized. Eighty-five residents have died. 

Fairfield County currently has the most cases in Connecticut with 1986 positive COVID-19 cases. There have been 49 deaths in Fairfield County.

Earlier today, Governor Ned Lamont reported the first pediatric fatality in Connecticut linked to COVID-19. "A 6-week old newborn from the Hartford area was brought unresponsive to a hospital last week and could not be revived," he said.

View cases by Town and County here.

National COVID-19 statistics and information about preventing spread of COVID-19 are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A weekly report on seasonal influenza activity can be found on the DPH website.

The map you see here shows the number of patients currently hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 by county based on data collected by the Connecticut Hospital Association. The distribution is by location of hospital, not patient residence. The labels indicate the number of patients currently hospitalized with the change since yesterday in parentheses.

Additional details can be found here.

 

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (State of CT) Neighbors Wed, 01 Apr 2020 13:54:57 -0400
Community is not Canceled: Maritime Aquarium Free Virtual Programs https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46572-community-is-not-canceled-maritime-aquarium-free-virtual-programs46572-community-is-not-canceled-maritime-aquarium-free-virtual-programs https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46572-community-is-not-canceled-maritime-aquarium-free-virtual-programs46572-community-is-not-canceled-maritime-aquarium-free-virtual-programs

 

Community is not Canceled 

 

Neighbors helping neighbors, community members reaching out to our local senior citizens, residents supporting our heroic first responders -the inspiring stories and acts of kindness brought forth by our current crisis are extraordinary. What's more, small businesses, local nonprofits, and civic organizations are innovating to stay connected and serve the community. 

 

Community is not Canceled, a series made possible by LIFEWTR will showcase Connecticut's awesome response to this unprecedented situation. We are in this together. Stay strong. 

Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk Offers 2 FREE Virtual Sessions Weekly

In response to the COVID-19 closures, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will be streaming two of its popular educational programs for free each week, while also making a selection of paid marine-science classes available to Norwalk schools.

Students, families and individuals can take part in a virtual “citizen science” class on Wednesdays at 4 p.m., while a story-time program for younger children will go online at 10 a.m. each Friday. Both of the 40-minute live-streaming programs are free but do require advance reservations to receive a needed link.

Additionally, The Maritime Aquarium has adapted its educational programming for schools into live streamable sessions available to any online Norwalk classroom beginning next week. There are options for students ranging from early childhood through high school.

Learn more about these virtual educational programs here.


 

Community is not Canceled! We are thankful to LIFEWTR for helping us to connect and stay strong.

 

The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HamletHub or LIFEWTR. 

 

 

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (HH) Places Wed, 01 Apr 2020 13:09:50 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter in Westport: Newbrook Kitchen and Artisan Market https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46474-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-newbrook-kitchen-and-artisan-market46474-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-newbrook-kitchen-and-artisan-market https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46474-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-newbrook-kitchen-and-artisan-market46474-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-newbrook-kitchen-and-artisan-market

Why Small Businesses Matter

Shop small, do big things for your community

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

You're IT Newbrook Kitchen and Artisan Market!

Three questions with Cindy & Danielle Hartog, Chefs/Owners of Newbrook Kitchen and Artisan Market.

Why did you start your business?

We are a mother/daughter team who opened our business almost 3 years ago in order to provide flavorful AND healthy food in a chic and warm atmosphere. We both became paleo 6 years ago after BOTH being diagnosed with different autoimmune conditions and finding it difficult to find food establishments to fit our dietary choices. Newbrook was a labor of love that developed to fill our own needs.

Finish this sentence in regard to your business. "I wish I could…"

We wish we could convince non-paleo people to come to try our food and see how good it tastes.

What is your best selling product/service?

We sell paleo goods, crafted by other companies, as well as our own food, but the items we make in the house are definitely what brings people in. We sell our own house-made Bone Broth, Turkey & Veggie Burgers, house-made gluten-free breads and desserts, and Cauliflower Crust Pizza. We even make a Paleo Lasagna!

We nominate Nutty Bunny Vegan Ice Cream.

Newbrook Kitchen and Artisan Market is located at 37 Saugatuck Avenue in Westport. Visit Newbrook Kitchen and Artisan Market online here.

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

]]>
daliborboldis@gmail.com (Dan) Places Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:31:58 -0400
Connecticut COVID Update: 3,128 Confirmed Cases, 69 Deaths https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46571-connecticut-covid-update-3-128-confirmed-cases-69-deaths46571-connecticut-covid-update-3-128-confirmed-cases-69-deaths https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46571-connecticut-covid-update-3-128-confirmed-cases-69-deaths46571-connecticut-covid-update-3-128-confirmed-cases-69-deaths

As of March 31, 2020, a total of 3128 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among Connecticut residents. Six hundred and eight patients are currently hospitalized. Sixty-nine residents have died. In addition to the deaths related to COVID-19 that have been reported to the Department of Public Health (DPH), this update contains information on the number of deaths that have been reported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).

Today, the OCME provided information on 14 additional COVID-19 related deaths that occurred during March 17-29. There were 16 COVID-19 related deaths on March 30, and 3 on March 31. Moving forward, deaths reported to either the OCME or DPH will be included in the daily COVID-19 update.

Fairfield County currently has the most cases in the state with 1870 COVID-19 confirmed positives 1870. View the data per county and town here.

Summary

Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases 3128 (+557)

COVID-19 Associated Deaths 69 (+33)

Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-19 608 (+91)

Patients tested for COVID-19 15600 (+1000)

The Dr. Katherine A. Kelley State Public Health Laboratory has tested a total of 2008 patients for COVID19; 359 (18%) patients tested positive. The graph (image #2) shows the number of patients tested by date specimens were received. Hospital and commercial laboratories also are offering testing for COVID19 in Connecticut; in total, more than 15600 tests have been reported to date.

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (State of CT) Neighbors Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:34:13 -0400
Governor Lamont Announces Mortgage Payment Relief During COVID-19 Crisis https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/politics/46570-governor-lamont-announces-mortgage-payment-relief-during-covid-19-crisis46570-governor-lamont-announces-mortgage-payment-relief-during-covid-19-crisis https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/politics/46570-governor-lamont-announces-mortgage-payment-relief-during-covid-19-crisis46570-governor-lamont-announces-mortgage-payment-relief-during-covid-19-crisis

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration has reached an agreement with over 50 credit unions and banks in Connecticut to offer mortgage relief to the state’s residents and businesses who continue to face hardship caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Under the agreement, the following relief policies are being offered by participating financial institutions:

  • 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments: Participating financial institutions are now offering mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which will allow homeowners to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments. In addition, the institutions will:
  • Provide a streamlined process for requesting forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;
  • Confirm approval and terms of forbearance program; and
  • Provide the opportunity to extend forbearance agreements if faced with continued hardship resulting from COVID-19.
  • Relief from fees and charges for 90 days: For at least 90 days, participating financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related late fees and other fees including early CD withdrawals.
  • No new foreclosures for 60 days: Financial institutions will not start any foreclosure sales or evictions.
  • No credit score changes for accessing relief: For those taking advantage of this COVID-19-related relief, late or missed payments will not be shared with credit reporting agencies.

The agreement, which was negotiated on behalf of the Lamont administration by Commissioner Jorge Perez at the Connecticut Department of Banking, builds upon similar initiatives that have been enacted in recent days in California and New Jersey, and has been endorsed by the Connecticut Bankers Association and the Credit Union League of Connecticut. More than 50 credit unions and banks statewide are participating, including Webster Bank, American Eagle Financial Credit Union, Liberty Bank, Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union, and Peoples United Bank. Additional financial institutions are expected to join the initiative in the coming days. The Department of Banking will maintain updated list of participating institutions on its website.

“This agreement with our financial institutions will allow Connecticut residents to obtain some relief as this public health emergency has had an impact on thousands of people in our state,” Governor Lamont said. “I thank each of these financial institutions that will provide this relief and applaud their participation in this agreement. The way we are going to get through this crisis is by working together, and this is an example of how we are going to get that done.”

The Department of Banking, along with the state’s banks and credit unions, is reminding residents that their money remains safe during the COVID-19 crisis and protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). No deposits have ever been lost under the protection of the FDIC and NCUA.

“This is a time when we need our entire financial services industry to come together to work tirelessly for the people of Connecticut, which is why I have asked the banks and credit unions to join forces and present one united approach which tells all of Connecticut, ‘We are in this together,’” Commissioner Perez said. “I am pleased to see that these efforts are well underway and that they are helping Connecticut residents work through this challenge.”

Leadership at Connecticut’s credit unions and banks said that they are flexibly meeting member and customer needs everyday on a case-by-case basis in a number of ways that may include fee waivers, access to short-term loans, loan deferrals and uninterrupted access to digital services, even though some credit unions and banks have temporarily limited physical access to their lobbies.

Bruce Adams, president and CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut, said, “We view ourselves as the financial first responders in this crisis, and I applaud Governor Lamont and Commissioner Perez for their leadership in partnering with us to provide even more financial solutions for the people of Connecticut.”

Tom Mongellow, president and CEO of the Connecticut Bankers Association, said, “Connecticut banks and credit unions are open for business, and statewide we have quickly and voluntarily responded to Governor Lamont’s and Commissioner Perez’s directives. Our financial institutions continue to ensure the financial well-being of the people and businesses they serve across the state, while protecting the health of their team members and customers.”

Adams and Mongellow are stressing that customers with loans should stay in close contact with their financial institution to identify their particular needs and work on customized solutions. They are also reminding customers that measures to protect people's health and safety continue to be available:

  • Drive-through services are available at numerous branches;
  • Individual appointments for in-person meetings are available at many financial institutions;
  • Call centers employees stand ready to assist customers and members;
  • Technology platforms give ready access to online services like bill pay, transfers, remote depositing of checks and ATMs for cash needs; and
  • People can use mobile payment channels and debit cards or credit cards to make purchases.


Questions and Answers on Connecticut’s COVID-19 Mortgage Relief Agreement

How do I get mortgage relief and/or forbearance?

You should contact and work directly with your mortgage servicer to learn about and apply for available relief. Please note that financial institutions and their servicers are experiencing high volumes of inquiries.

How long will the forbearance last?

 Participating financial institutions are now offering mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which will allow homeowners to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments.

What effect will this have on my credit report?

Financial institutions will not report derogatory information (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies but may report a forbearance, which typically does not alone negatively affect a credit score.

How long will these programs last?

It is still unclear how severe or how long the COVID-19 impacts will be. Financial institutions have committed to necessary relief and will be assessing the ongoing conditions and necessity of continuing relief.

What if my financial institution isn’t offering this relief?

At this time, Webster Bank, American Eagle Financial Credit Union, Liberty Bank, Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union, and Peoples United Bank, in addition to over 50 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers are supporting these commitments. The state will welcome any other institution that would like to meet the moment and provide much-needed financial relief to Connecticut residents. The Department of Banking will publish a list of participating financial institutions on its website in the coming days.

What if I already made a payment or was hit with a fee because of COVID-19?

These measures go into effect as of March 31, 2020.

Is the mortgage relief available to businesses?

The relief is currently only available for residential mortgages.

What if my mortgage servicer is not communicative or cooperative?

You can file a complaint with the Department of Banking through the complaint form on the department website or by contacting the department at 860-240-8299 or 1-800-831-7225 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST Monday through Friday).

What impact does the CARES Act have?

The CARES Act has important protections for renters and homeowners. In particular, homeowners with mortgage loans that are backed by the federal government through the FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, or other agencies can receive significant forbearance.

How about commercial loans and commercial mortgages?

Commercial loan or commercial mortgage customers should know that all financial institutions are working proactively with each commercial borrower experiencing challenges. Any bank or credit union commercial customer having financial difficulty, whether for-profit or nonprofit, should call their financial institution as soon as possible. Several important governmental actions have and will provide relief to businesses.

The Lamont administration’s quick actions resulted in Connecticut being one of the first states where businesses can access the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) economic injury disaster loan program for up to $2 million dollars. In addition, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development quickly created the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan program, which will provide up to $50 million of loans to small businesses and nonprofits

Importantly, last week Congress passed the important CARES Act, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and will provide loans and grants of up to $10 million, for companies of up to 500 employees. A wide variety of businesses will be eligible for the PPP as soon as next week and they include but are not limited to: private and public businesses, self-employed and independent contractors, nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, and tribal business concerns. Additional information on the PPP should be available from the SBA early next week.

In addition to the PPP, banks and credit unions continue to work with their commercial customers on a case by case basis to address the financial needs of their impacted business. We encourage any impacted commercial customers to contact their financial institution.

]]>
kerry@ducey.org (Gov. Ned Lamont) Politics Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:18:35 -0400