Aspiring & Established Writers Are Invited To Westport Online Writing Workshops

WESTPORT, CT— While vaccines are rolling out to more age groups in Connecticut, many still find themselves quarantined and working from home. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted the way we live but has also changed the way we learn. Students and adults alike have learned the ins and outs of Zoom which has been an important tool for students, employers, and other organizations.

The Westport Writers Workshop found the Zoom online platform to be invaluable in enabling them to continue their online learning workshops not only in Connecticut but across the nation.

Liz Matthews, Executive Director of Westport Writers Workshop said, “Now that our workshops are being offered remotely, we have writers joining us from all over the country. The writers benefit from a broader range of feedback, and we preserve the closeness of each group with a max of seven participants.”

Matthews, a writer, and editor began her professional career in publishing at a literary agency and as an Editorial Assistant at Random House before teaching middle and high school English at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. A mom of two school-aged children, Matthews learned to adapt to juggling responsibilities of working from home, homeschooling her children, and running a nonprofit agency since the COVID-19 shutdown back in Mach of 2020.

Last spring Matthews shared that their swift decision to move to online classes and workshops was due to being located in a town with one of the highest numbers of Coronavirus cases in the state. She added that “rolling with the changes” was something they had to do for the sake of everyone’s health and sanity.

“Writing, like many, provides a creative escape in the crazy times we’re living in,” she said.

Since last spring’s launch of an online-only learning environment, they have added even more classes and workshops to cater to the needs of their current and soon-to-be attendees. Students range from beginning and aspiring writers to published authors. All are welcomed in a supportive environment that offers valuable feedback and positive critiques that have enabled their student to land literary agents, book deals, prestigious awards, and more.

“The class gave me material for further exploration! Also, my classmates were wonderful. It’s as though we all became friends through the class and it felt as though we were all in a non-virtual class together, fully participating.” -M.S. a student.

Since its inception in 2003, the Westport Writers Workshop has developed into one of the most highly respected programs in the area for writers of fiction, memoir, romance, playwriting, children’s literature, and much more. Through leadership and training from a stellar team of published, award-winning authors, students gain a deep understanding of the elements of writing and many go on to be published authors as well.

Spring 2021 Westport Writers Zoom Workshops offerings are as follows:

Memories Real & Imagined with Rahla Xenopoulos

· This workshop is designed for experienced, published authors as well as for novices who have a hidden story to excavate and tell. It is designed for people who have a flickering feeling that they might have a book hidden within but need to discover what that book is about, for people who have been sitting on a book but haven’t managed to start and so too it is designed for people who enjoy the therapy of creative writing. But, above all it is designed for people who yearn for a place of kindness. Bring pen, paper and an open heart. All people who identify as women are welcome.

· 7 Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

· March 30, April 6, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18

Workshop in Poetry, All Levels – Manuscript Course with Charles Rafferty

· This class is for students interested in learning about the genre from Charles Rafferty, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. Each week, participants will share a poem, and the instructor will lead a discussion of the manuscript, highlighting what is working well and suggesting ways to improve it. As time allows, there may also be general discussions of craft and perhaps some in-class writing. The manuscript component of this course will be the following: each student may submit one poem in advance of each class to the instructor, for classroom discussion.

· 7 Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

· March 30, April 6, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18

Picture Book Writing 101 with Valerie Bolling

· Have you always wanted to write a picture book? Maybe you have a story idea but haven’t written it down yet. Perhaps you have a draft of a manuscript that you want to revise. No matter where you are in your writing journey, this course is specifically designed for you … if you want to WRITE A PICTURE BOOK! Plus… A special guest will visit one of our sessions! James McGowan, an agent at BookEnds Literary Agency, has generously offered to answer class participants’ questions about picture books and the publishing industry.

· 7 Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

· March 30, April 6, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18

Creative Writing for Kids with Christina Pakkala

· Join Christina Pakkala for an hour of writing fun! Yes, you heard right. Writing CAN be fun when the only rule is to let your imagination FLY. We’ll play some writing games, write some stories, poems, and whatever we feel like. For grades 3 through 5. Christine Pakkala is the author of six books for children, including a picture book, Chasing Ricky.

· 7 Wednesdays, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

· March 31, April 7, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19

Young Adult Fiction with Mike Belanger

· This workshop deals with the nuts-and-bolts of writing young adult fiction. Throughout the workshop, the focus will be on different aspects of craft, including voice, setting, plot, and dialogue. Examples from current popular YA novels will be provided along with exercises to help hone your work in progress or inspire your new novel. Students will share their writing and receive feedback from other students and the instructor. This class is for adults writing novels in any genre (i.e. realistic fiction, fantasy, historical fiction) for young adult readers, and is suitable for all levels of writers.

· 7 Thursdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

· April 1, 8, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20

Register for a class by clicking here. To check if a class is full, call (203) 227-3250 or email exec@westportwriters.org.

All of the Westport Writers Workshop spring workshops offered on Zoom are open to writers of all skill levels. Visit their Zoom tutorial pages to learn more about how to use the platform or contact Liz Matthews Executive Director, Westport Writers’ Workshop at exec@westportwriters.org or (203) 227-3250.

About Westport Writers Workshop:

Since 2003, the Westport Writers’ Workshop has been offering workshops for every level of writer, from novice to published! Our instructors offer friendly, supportive writing workshops designed to encourage, inspire, and spark your imagination.

With over 100 workshops a year to choose from, we welcome writers of all skill levels and genres. Our workshops are designed to suit your schedule, with options in the morning, afternoons, and evenings. We also host several Saturday-only workshops and one-week writing-intensive programs throughout the year. You can learn more about our workshops by visiting our WORKSHOP page. Let Westport Writers’ Workshop help you discover and develop your own unique writing talent and voice.

Our Philosophy: You can expect a supportive group led by an experienced instructor. You’ll write, read, and learn from each other. Focus is always on the quality of the writing – not on the subject matter. Writing begets writing. The more you commit to your writing, to showing up for your writing group, the more you will write. By joining a community of writers, you will become a stronger writer and influence others to refine their craft. Our philosophy and practices are inspired by Amherst Writers & Artists and Pat Schneider’s book, Writing Alone and With Others.

Our Mission: The Westport Writers’ Workshop is an independent literary arts center offering enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public. Our organization also provides free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities.

Our History: In 2003, Jessica Bram founded Westport Writers’ Workshop. In 2010, Jessica moved the workshops into the second floor of the historic building on 3 Sylvan Rd. South in Westport. In 2013, Valerie Leff bought WWW and became the Director. In 2014, Valerie created a Board of Directors and transformed the business into a nonprofit with a mission to offer enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public, and free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities. In 2018, Michelle Bradley came on board as the Executive Director, and in summer 2019 when Michelle’s family was transferred to Chicago, Liz Matthews took over as the Director. In March of 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, the workshops transitioned to the Zoom platform and were offered remotely. The organization grew to include writers and instructors outside of our immediate community.

westportwriters.org

Photo credit: Westport Writers Workshop

“EGG” Your Friends This Easter with a Custom Lawn Sign Package or a Unique Gift Basket from Salutations Custom Greetings!

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, CT—A local mom has created a new business that’s geared towards helping children and families celebrate the holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions while still remaining socially distant. What started as ‘Veggie-Grams” this past summer, Advent deliveries for local church kids this past Christmas, as well as sympathy, birthday, get well, and general pick-me-up baskets had one entrepreneur thinking that this surprise greeting is a welcome idea during difficult times.

Salutations Custom Greetings was born out of the owner, Wendy Mitchell’s idea to bring her vegetable surplus to family and friends during the early months of the quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. It then turned into customized cards and gift baskets for her family who she could not visit due to lockdown, and packages for her friends and neighbors. This past month, Wendy she created a highly successful “You’ve Been SHAMROCKED!” fundraiser at a nonprofit where she volunteers and soon after decided to launch her own business.

The business is a women-owned, mother-daughter venture in which Wendy’s 20-year-old apprentice, Ruby Mitchell, helps with buying, packing, delivering, and shipping packages. Ruby said, “I’ve worked with my mom for the last few years with her kids events and I’m a creative person so this is something that’s fun for me to do. Plus aI can go to school [at WestConn] and help out with this when I have my free time. I think it’s a great idea and people really seem to like the baskets. We have ones for pet owners too!”

All food items are from U.S.A. Mom & Pop businesses whose quality and safety standards are second to none.

Salutations Custom Greetings, states on their social media pages that they are “Super EGG-cited” to bring their very FIRST lawn sign/gift basket offering to the local community….”You’ve Been EGGED!” is an Easter lawn sign package that brings the holiday spirit from your hearts to your loved ones’ homes.

Those who purchase the package(s) can surprise their kids, friends, teachers, a local hero, and/or loved ones with a colorful lawn decoration set that says, “You’ve Been EGGED!” The package includes a festive lawn sign with two egg smaller Easter signs, a dozen candy-filled eggs and a personalized poem. Additional offerings include a gourmet Easter candy basket with gourmet chocolate-peanut butter bunnies, chocolate-dipped Peeps, chocolate covered Oreos and more. Another option is a candy-free toys only basket that includes a mini sketch journal, colored pencils, bubbles, sidewalk chalk and a cute pink, purple, or blue stuffed bunny.

While Salutations Custom Greetings’ website is under construction, they’re asking you to HOP on over to their Eventbrite page to peruse their one-of-a-kind gifts and goodies. Order by clicking here before they’re all sold out!

QUESTIONS? Call, text, or email (203) 501-7424 SalutationsCustomGreetings@gmail.com.

Danbury Irish Cultural Center Plans Scaled-Down St. Patrick’s Day Plus 2 Fundraisers

DANBURY, CT—Almost a year since their last St. Patrick’s Day Parade and events were canceled due to COVID-19, the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center​ (GDICC) has opened at limited capacity and is ramping back up with a smaller-scale, safety-conscious St. Patrick’s Day. This year’s normally month-long “most wonderful time of the year” for the Hibernians, will be held online via Facebook live stream and in-person with a limited number in attandance.​

In partnership with the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation (GDICF), the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center (GDICC) Board has planned an in-person and a live-stream St. Patrick’s Day with curbside pick-up and live music with limited attendance due to Covid safety regulations.  ​

In addition to the 2020 and 2021 parade cancellations, last year’s Danbury Irish Festival cancellation, and the nixing of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Ball all due to COVID, the Foundation and Fundraising Committee has come up with two unique fundraising activities to bring the spirit of the Emerald Isle from their hearts to your homes. 

The first of these is the Irish Breakfast Basket​ fundraiser. For just $40, the Irish Breakfast Basket (bag) includes one pound each of fresh, top-quality bacon, sausage, pudding, brown bread, and a selection of yummy products from the fine folks at Kerrygold USA. Order online here.​ The order deadline is March 8, 2021.  Order pickup is curbside at the GDICC, 6 Lake Ave. Danbury​ on Saturday, March 13 between 12 – 5 p.m. 

The second fundraiser is “You’ve Been SHAMROCKED​!” which is a fun way to decorate your front lawn or surprise your friends. For only $20, you can deck your lawn or nominate a health care worker, teacher, school employee, a local hero, and shamrock them as your way to say “THANK YOU” for their selfless service during Covid!​

Each lawn decorating package includes 1 lawn sign, 7 lucky shamrocks, 3 balloons* (colors of the Irish flag), ribbon, a “pot” of GOLD in the form of gold-foil-wrapped chocolates, and a poem. Order now through 3/17 (or until they sell out). Order online here​ or complete an order form at the GDICC – ask the bartender for a form. Checks for $20 are payable to “GDICF. Order pickup is curbside at the GDICC, 6 Lake Ave. Danbury​, ​on Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6 between 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

Both fundraisers benefit the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. For more information, email DanburyIrish@gmail.com.

On St.Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17th, corned beef will be available for take-out and curbside pick-up. Plans are still being finalized for in-person St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at the club. For the most up-to-date information, check the GDICC’s Facebook page​.​​​

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee via Flickr Creative Commons

CLA Removes New Fairfield Dock That Played Host To Invasive Zebra Mussels

NEW FAIRFIELD, CT—The shoreline of Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield is one dock less after the Candlewood Lake Authority (CLA) removed it due to a harmful invader—zebra mussels.

These pesky creatures may look cool, but they can damage ecosystems by harming native species, according to Professor Pierce of the University of Wisconsin who stated, “In order for a zebra mussel to live, it must attach itself to a hard object. Not only do zebra mussels attach themselves to things like rocks, logs, and the hulls of ships, they also attach themselves to native species. Many native mollusk species are at risk of becoming extinct or endangered because of zebra mussels.” In addition, they can lower water quality and clarity.

The dock that was removed on Thursday, November 12 by the CLA, had about 6-12 live zebra mussels attached to it and were solitary mussels that were not yet forming colonies.

“This is the first time in over 8 years that this dock has been removed from the lake so we are unsure how long these mussels have been in the water, and when they attached to the dock,” a representative from the CLA said.

No other zebra mussels were found on neighboring docks and the CLA will continue to monitor the situation by combing the shoreline during the deep drawdown this winter.

The CLA is asking the public to clean, drain and dry their boats, kayaks and other nautical equipment before dropping them into the lake to help stop any potential invaders.

If you see any mussels that look similar to the one pictured, report the finding with a photo to science@candlewoodlakeauthority.org. Fore more information, visit the Candlewood Lake Authority online at candlewoodlakeauthority.org/invasivespecies.

Photo credit: Candlewood Lake Authority

JJ Stacks is Building Taste in Brookfield One Double-Decker at a Time

BROOKFIELD, CT—If you need an excuse to eat a hearty and delicious double-decker burger or sandwich today, JJ Stack’s got you covered! The newly opened Brookfield eatery boasts mouthwatering burgers, hot dogs, hand cut fries and much more. Owners Joe Attonito and Joe Acocella opened the unique eatery in late August and have been going full steam ahead ever since.

Attonito was the owner/operator of the former Tiger’s Den Sports Bar in Ridgefield, and has over 28 years of experience in the industry, started our as a bus boy and working his way up through the ranks.

“Currently I work in sales, selling food to restaurants, but was itching to get back in. This to me is like sort of some unfinished business when my previous restaurant closed abruptly after years of struggle,” Attonito said.

Acocella, on the other hand, is a restaurant newbie, but is dedicated to learning the business and becoming a bigger part of the day-to-day operations he said.

The dynamic duo said they were originally going to open a food truck but then came across this opportunity and they couldn’t refuse the chance to make something uniquely theirs and thus JJ Stacks was born. The restaurant got its name when Joe Acocella combined their first initials and the restaurant concept of their triple decker sandwiches.

Attonito said he chose to open in Broofield becasuse he loves the feel of a charming small town.

“I grew up working in restaurants with heavy “local” and “regular” business and that’s how I want to grow,” Attonito said. “We are a very community-oriented team as far as supporting local business and teaming up for fun and often charitable events, and Brookfield seems like a town that would greatly appreciate that.:

At his previous restaurant, Attonito was well-known in the Ridgefield community and helped dozens of non-profits, educational organizations, sports teams and more. He has already begun doing the same in Brookfield by hosting a few charitable events.

While opening during a global pandemic has been a challenge, Attonito said that the large patio and outdoor section offers plenty of room for safe social distancing and a great view of the mini golf course which is perfect for outdoor family fun.

“The fact that the whole feel of the place is that of an old take-out burger and ice cream joint which made us feel more comfortable considering COVID precautions. We love the idea of a unique way to spend time outdoors and something fun for kids and families to do together after being cooped up inside for so long. Obviously, we have our share of challenges, but we’re hoping the community takes to us quickly and we’re able to overcome what is sure to be a very tricky winter,” Attonito said.

Speaking of which, the restaurant offers take-out and curbside to go in addition to catering for corporate and community functions. The restaurant will be open all year round offering their full menu as well as homemade soup and donut specials for curbside and take-out, as well as limited dine-in options. JJ Stacks also participates with @deliverydotcom @ubereats @doordash and @grubhub.

The roadside restaurant is conveniently located at 537 Federal Road in Brookfield. For more information, visit JJ Stacks on Facebook, Instagram @JJStacks203 or online at JJStacks.com.

Photos: Joe Attonito, JJ Stacks

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Are you interested in marketing your small business on CT Buzz News? Email ctbuzznews@gmail.com or call or text (203) 501-7424.

5 Tips To Get Your Home ‘Buyer Ready’ From Connecticut Plumbing, LLC

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 7.23.20 PMDANBURY, CT —With thousands of New Yorkers heading for the hills of Connecticut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one local plumber says now is the time to think about putting your home on the market. But is your humble abode ready for the potential buyer? Check out these tips from New Fairfield resident and business owner David LaCava, owner of Connecticut Plumbing, LLC.

“I’m seeing a lot of my customers thinking about getting their house ready to sell and there are a lot of quick and easy tips to make your home buyer ready,” said LaCava. Here are five ways you can get your home ready for this seller’s market.

1.     Pay Attention to Details: Sellers will obviously make sure the bathrooms and kitchen is clean before showings but make sure to pay extra attention to the little details. Do your kitchen or bathroom faucets or showerheads have caked up grime or lime? Now is the time to clean, make sure the toilet bowl is sparkling white, and clean out the inside of the dishwasher.

2.    Check Your Water Pressure: If you’ve been experiencing low water pressure, now is the time to fix it. Consider replacing the showerheads, cleaning out the faucet aerators, and checking pipes for leaks.

3.    Make Your Bathroom Feel New: Simple fixes like changing the toilet seat to a self-closing lid, upgrading faucets in the sink, changing the showerheads, adding storage/shelving, and/or installing a dimmer switch can make a world of difference and set you apart from another seller’s house.

4.    Check Exterior Plumbing Issues: Home inspectors look at the plumbing inside your house as well as the plumbing in your garden and on the outside your property. This includes pipes that transport city water into your house, as well as grey or black water removal pipes. A professional home inspector will also check your water meter to see if it is functioning properly. If you have city water, you may not have known you overspending on your water bill.

5.     Hire a Professional: If you have plumbing has issues, hire a pro. For a few hundred or a few thousand-dollar investment now can save you tens of thousands when you sell at or above your asking price on your move-in ready home.

LaCava said that many will try to go the DIY route but he advises them to hire a professional to avoid costly home repair projects gone wrong.

“Remember that maintenance is much easier and cheaper than a repair,” LaCava stated.

“Instead of panicking about a home inspection when you decide to sell, contact a licensed professional to schedule a plumbing check-up today.”

If a homeowner is nervous about letting someone into their home during the pandemic, LaCava assures them, “I use safety gloves, masks and goggles and use disinfecting products to make sure that I am keeping my customers and their families safe.”

LaCava, who operates out of his New Fairfield, CT shop, has been in the industry for more than 30 years, is fully licensed in CT and NY, and has a AAA rating with the Better Business Bureau.

For questions or more information, visit his Facebook page, email CTPlumbing7473@gmail.com, or call (203) 312-0182.

Photo by Jon Gorey of House and Hammer.com.

13th Annual #NewFairfieldCT Relay for Life Goes Virtual on Saturday, June 6th

Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 10.12.13 PMNEW FAIRFIELD, CT—For the first time ever in its thirteen-year history, the New Fairfield Relay for Life will be held online due to social distancing guidelines set by the State of Connecticut in response to the coronavirus. Teams from New Fairfield, New Milford, Sherman, Danbury, Bethel, and surrounding towns will participate in the annual fundraiser to help find a cure for cancer.

The organizers of this year’s New Fairfield Relay For Life of New Fairfield are hoping that this year will be their “Lucky 13″ and that they will raise more money than ever to help cancer patients. Co-Chair Amber St. Hilaire has been participating in the New Fairfield Relay for Life for 10 years with her team “The Heavenly Hippies” which was born out of the New Fairfield Congregational Church.

“Normally, we walk for 15 hours at the New Fairfield High School Track from 3 p.m. on Saturday until 5 a.m. on Sunday morning,” St. Hilaire said, continuing, “Unfortunately, Covid-19 has changed a lot of things for us but we are determined to do our best to fight despite it!”

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life event is held in over 20 countries worldwide. The event gives people a chance to fight back against cancer and honor those who are fighting or have lost their lives to the disease through a moving silent Luminaria ceremony.

This year’s event is entirely virtual and their theme is “Small Town, Big Heart” which she said represents her community and their fight. St. Hilaire said participants will be relaying (walking) from home from 1:00 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 6th, and then they will “light the night” at 9 p.m. with a Luminaria/porch light-up event in honor of their loved ones who are fighting or who have passed away. Details can be found on their Facebook page:  Relay for Life New Fairfield, Twitter @relayforlifenf, and Instagram @relay4lifenf . They are also on Youtube as “ACS Lower Hudson Valley.”

The opening ceremony begins with a video of guest speaker Wendy Mitchell, a survivor of a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer called Triple Negative Metaplastic Carcinoma, who shares her survivor story. Mitchell began an advocacy campaign for breast cancer awareness from day one of her diagnosis in 2015 under the hashtag #MyLeftBoob for early detection. Her blog, Wendipoprock’s Wild Ride, serves as a guide to help newly diagnosed cancer patients. Her story/video can be viewed here.

The Knights of Columbus 12968 will be leading their virtual survivor lap to kick off the opening ceremony. There will be online games, a telethon, a music jam hour, stories of hope, opportunities to donate and win prizes, a touching luminaria ceremony, a senior spotlight, Zumba with Tim, and a touching closing ceremony.

“We tried to be as close to our true Relay event as we could by encouraging walking, socially distanced, of course, scavenger hunts, Zumba, and more,” St. Hilaire said.

While she admits this year is a challenge by being completely online, St. Hilaire said “nothing can stop Relay For Life because our volunteers’ hearts are just too darn big and stubborn! “

She shared her motivation for why she relays on her fundraising website:

“Every year I walk for two specific people; a survivor and one who has passed. This year those two are my dearest cousin Michelle Gonzalez who is suffering for the second time in a year with cancer and for Sarah, a young woman who passed away last year from brain cancer. These women are prime examples of the reasons I am so passionate about fundraising. This year, for every donation I receive, I will walk one lap in honor of a loved one. Your donations matter and I want each and every person to be remembered and brought up at the event.”

For more information about New Fairfield Relay for Life 2020, or to donate, click the link below:

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/seeacure

Photo credit: New Fairfield Relay for Life

Severe Weather Alert Issued for #DanburyCT #RidgefieldCT & Surrounding Towns: #CTWeather

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 8.36.49 PMDANBURY, CT—The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the Greater Danbury area.

Severe Weather Statement National Weather Service New York NY 817 PM EDT Wed Jun 3 2020 Fairfield CT-New Haven CT-Bergen NJ-Westchester NY-Orange NY- Putnam NY-Rockland NY- 817 PM EDT Wed Jun 3 2020

…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 845 PM EDT FOR CENTRAL FAIRFIELD…WEST CENTRAL NEW HAVEN…NORTHEASTERN BERGEN…WESTCHESTER…SOUTHEASTERN ORANGE…PUTNAM AND ROCKLAND COUNTIES…

At 817 PM EDT, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from Brewster to New City, moving east at 70 mph. HAZARD…60 mph wind gusts. SOURCE…Radar indicated.

IMPACT…Expect damage to trees and power lines. These severe storms will be near… Danbury and Bethel around 825 PM EDT. Newtown and Redding around 830 PM EDT. Bedford around 835 PM EDT. Greenwich around 840 PM EDT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

Photo credit: steffen l via Flickr Creative Commons

#DanburyCT #JusticeforGeorge Peaceful Protest Ends in Group Split, Shutdown of Highway: #CTTraffic

All information in this article was due to the incredible live coverage from Al Robinson, owner/editor of My Left Nutmeg. To watch his entire live stream, please click here.

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 3.14.42 PM

DANBURY, CT—Danbury’s peaceful protest began with a crowd gathered in front of the Danbury Police Department (DPD) shouting the names of victims of police brutality and soon turned into chants of “F**k the police.” After about five minutes of chanting, one of the leaders invited the crowd to take a knee out of respect for the death of George Floyd.

“Let me speak, I’ve earned that. I don’t need to prove [inaudible], I wear it every day,” one of the speakers said. “Let the Chief speak.”

Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour addressed the crowd by saying he has been doing everything he can to address racial tensions because “it’s not right,” and “maybe this time will be different.”

While speaking, someone in the crowd interrupted the Police Chief yelling, “I am the victim of police brutality.” Another asked the question about what sort of diversity training the police does which was answered as “eight hours, every couple of years.”

Chief Ridenhour acknowledged that the diversity training protocols that are in place are not enough and they need to be changed.

As tensions grew, the shouts from the crowd made it difficult to hear the police chief. Mayor Mark Boughton also attempted to address the crowd, however, someone grabbed his microphone, according to Al Robinson of My Left Nutmeg, and the crowd and viewers were unable to hear what he had to say.

After about 20 minutes, the protesters split into two groups—one walking to the Danbury Public Library, and the other going to the highway.

The protesters who shouted, “Black Lives Matter” and “No justice, no peace” assembled on the highway, causing it to be temporarily shut down on I-84 at Exit 5.  Police from Newtown, Danbury, and State Police kept control of the crowd and no one was hurt.

Reporter Al Robinson of My Left Nutmeg said he had “mad respect” for the police who “did a good job keeping everyone safe.

 

Danbury Police Sgt. John Krupinsky said, “Working together can always get things done.”

Robinson said for the most part people were peacefully demonstrating and expressing their frustration on the lives lost due to past incidents of police brutality.  He ended his live stream by saying:

“We shouldn’t be here are looking for anything to pop off or anything violent. We should be here honoring why people are here in the first place—because a black man was murdered in broad daylight by the police again and enough is enough. Enough has been enough for a long time.”

The protest was organized by Solomon James and the Western CT Democratic Socialists.

Photo credit: Screenshot from Al Robinson’s Live video posted on My Left Nutmeg

To watch his entire live stream, please click here.

Fairfield County, CT Residents Can Stay Safe From COVID-19 By Using VanGo Grocery Delivery Service

assorted-vegetable-lot-2733918 (2)FAIRFIELD COUNTY, CT—While many businesses are closed and millions are unable to go to work or school due to the coronavirus pandemic, one local company is helping residents stay safe at home by providing grocery shopping and delivery. VanGo, a ride service for pre-teens and teens, is offering the shopping service now that they’re temporarily no longer booking rides to school and activities due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

Jamrozik created the company in 2018 specifically to support working moms to get help from trusted members of their community by providing children’s transportation to and from school, sports, and other activities. Now that the kids are no longer in school, Jamrozik, is adapting to the change.

“Since schools have shut down, we have been looking for other ways to continue supporting families within our community, and provide work for our drivers. One big pain point we noticed was getting access to groceries, especially with delivery dates and times booked up with current providers. We saw a path forward that would help both families and drivers within our community,” Jamrozik said.

While other grocery service providers have a week wait or longer, VanGo Grocery provides consistent next-day delivery as long as customers place their order by 3PM EST. In addition, many families can have the same 3-4 shoppers working with them on a regular basis so there’s a level of familiarity as well.

Customers can log onto VanGo Grocery and navigate the user-friendly website to place their order. Shoppers text families when and if an item is out of stock to ensure families are getting the right type of substitutions. Deliveries are contact-free and drivers wear masks and gloves when shopping for and dropping off the grocery order to customers.

Rates are similar to other grocery delivery services. VanGo Grocery is making sure shoppers are being paid fairly for time spent picking, packing, and delivering to consumers.

“Ultimately, our goal as a company was always to support families in a variety of ways. We started off with transportation, with the long-term aim to expand to other services. That time has come sooner than expected! When schools reopen in the future, we plan to continue offering grocery delivery, ride-sharing, and other family services in the future,” Jamrozik said.

Jamrozik said that while the change to her new business has been challenging, what helps to keep her and the VanGo team going during this crisis is the support they’ve received from the community.

“We are a small team, and this societal change has challenged us to think creatively. We’ve been working hard to launch grocery delivery in Fairfield County, and are really grateful for the support we’ve received from the community to date. That’s what keeps us going.”

VanGo Grocery is available in Ridgefield, as well as all of Fairfield County. For more information or to download the app, visit VanGo: ridevango.com/grocery.

Photo: VanGo Grocery

Photo Credit: Marta Jamrozik, Owner, VanGo​

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