Category Archives: Health & Wellness

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

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

City of Danbury to Conduct Emergency Response Drill & Flu Clinic on Oct. 5, 2019

From the City of Danbury Health Department

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DANBURY,CT—The Health Department in Danbury City Hall is conducting an emergency response exercise on Sat October 5th 9:30 a.m. – 1p.m. at Rogers Park Middle School.  This exercise will be open to the public and we are looking for volunteers to take part in this drill.  The purpose of this exercise is to assist our department in planning and preparing for future emergency events in our city.

Also at this event, we are offering a walk-in flu clinic which is at no cost to the patient.

Who & What is ‘CT Buzz News’ and How Can I Share My Business Information? Find Out Here!

wendy stars

RIDGEFIELD, CT — Hello CT Buzz News readers, followers, and new group members! We’ve seen a recent large spike in traffic on our website and many new members joining our 10 group Facebook pages so we wanted to explain who we are and how it works with sharing posts and information in our groups.

CT Buzz Media is a news and information website with a passion to help small businesses and nonprofits in our community. We encourage residents and readers to shop local and strive to do the same. The main towns we cover are Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, Newtown, New Fairfield, New Milford, Redding, Ridgefield, and Southbury but we also occasionally cover Monroe, Wilton, and surrounding towns.

Wendy grew up in Sandy Hook, attended Bethel High School and graduated from Newtown High School. She has also lived in Brookfield and New Milford and now lives in Ridgefield with her husband, 23-year-old son, 19-year-old daughter, and 5-year-old rescue dog, a black lab mix. Her oldest son lives in Brooklyn and is a SAG/AFTRA actor in NYC. Wendy is very connected to the community and serves on a number of boards and committees as a volunteer.

Now that you know about all CT Buzz and its Queen Bee, learn how to share your story and your news on our website and social media pages.

TO SHARE YOUR NEWS:
Anyone can share local news to the page it pertains to: Ex: An accident in Danbury would go on Danbury CT Buzz. We ask that you don’t “dump and run.” Take a few minutes to talk to others on the page, share your local tips, photos and local news and be active on the pages to boost engagement.
If you want to post about your business please follow the rules below. If you want to share a press release or are requesting coverage for your local fundraiser and/or event, please email CTBuzzNews@gmail.com.
We have *paid sponsors who support the website who we share info about on a daily, weekly or bi-weekly basis. You’ll know who they are because you will see #sponsored on the post.
For **unpaid sponsors, anyone is allowed to post if you follow these simple rules:
  1. LIKE the main CT Buzz Media page by clicking this link: https://m.facebook.com/ctbuzzmedia/?__nodl&_rdr
  2. Join the CT Buzz Media (Group Page) Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CTBuzzMedia/
  3. Only share ***ONCE a week, on “Follow Friday” and only post on the town where the event is located and the main CT Buzz Group Page. Ex: If your business is in Ridgefield, only post on Ridgefield CT Buzz & CT Buzz Media Group pages. The CT Buzz Group page is for any town in CT.
***IF you would like your announcement, coupon, event or business information shared to neighboring towns or more than once per week, please email Wendy to become a paid sponsor at CTBuzzNews@gmail.com. We offer very reasonable rates that give you maximum exposure across all of our platforms: Facebook, Facebook Groups, Twitter, Instagram, CT Buzz website, e-news blasts.
**A paid sponsor is a business who pays weekly or monthly to support the website.
***An unpaid sponsor is a business who pays weekly or monthly to support the website.
Follow Friday
WHO ARE “WE?”
“We” is mainly me, Wendy Mitchell. I’ve been a news editor, journalist and local reporter in the greater Danbury area and Fairfield/Litchfield counties for the last 12 years and have lived in Newtown/Bethel/Danbury/Ridgefield nearly my entire life, save for a brief stint one summer on Martha’s Vineyard and two years in Mesa, AZ. I sometimes have students, interns and bloggers share their stories on our site.
You may recognize my name from Patch.com, a national news website I worked for on and off for 7+ years. I have also been a “SEEN” photographer for the Danbury News-Times, worked for ORTV, Cumulous Broadcasting and other local newspapers. I have been very active in the community, volunteering with nonprofits and running my own.
I work as a professional marketing and social media consultant for a number of small and large local businesses helping them to gain an online presence through the creation of a strategic marketing plan personalized for their business, content creation, social media, digital advertising, event planning and much more.
I launched my CT Buzz Media website in 2011 and took a break in 2012-2013 to volunteer to open a nonprofit children’s arts organization in the wake of the tragic school shootings in my hometown of Sandy Hook. Read more here. After several years, I took another break to focus on raising my kids and also to battle the “Evil C Word,” breast cancer. You can read my story here.
I am now four years cancer free and I am redesigning and relaunching after a number of post-cancer health scares.
CT Buzz News Ad
My advertisers have been very happy with their ads and have seen an increase in their business and Facebook likes since signing on with CT Buzz Media. We do weekly shout-outs, giveaways,  “Tip of the Week” columns, events, and much more to help raise awareness for local businesses. 
We also write “advertorials” that include an interview with the business owner and a full photo gallery and/or video. Email CTBuzzNews@gmail.com for a rate sheet and more information.
Thanks for listening and help spread the BUZZ about CT Buzz!
wendy theater kids
Pictured: Wendy Ann Mitchell and her children’s theater students. In addition to running CT Buzz News, Wendy teaches ages 3-12 from the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center on Saturday mornings and donates the proceeds from the shows to local charities. For more information, click here.
More about Wendy:

Wendy is an award-winning marketing manager, regional editor, entrepreneur and communications professional with expertise in brand development, strategic communications, print design, project management, and marketing. As the founder of CT Buzz Media, Wendy creates positive and innovative aesthetically-focused storytelling for small and large business owners across industries ranging from nonprofits to attorneys and medical practitioners. She has been featured on national news sites and is an award-winning writer and marketing professional.

Wendy sits on the Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation’s Board of Directors, manages all publicity and marketing for the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Division #58, creates marketing campaigns. manages events from concept to completion for audiences of up to 3,000 and much more. The Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Wendy brings a diverse background to her role, with more than 15 years of experience in nonprofits including fundraising and events, over 15 years of marketing and communications experience, and 25 years of customer engagement including 10 years in retail and restaurant management.

Wendy has won numerous awards, attended dozens of leadership workshops and brings passion, energy, enthusiasm, and creativity to her work.

•Winner: Townvibe Reader’s Choice Awards 2017, Best Art/Music School, Arts & Nature School of Ridgefield.

•Awarded #7 of “Top 10 Most Fascinating People of 2013” in the Greater Danbury Area by Hearst Media Services for volunteer work at the Sandy Hook Arts Center for Kids, a nonprofit I founded in response to the tragic school shootings of 12/14.

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Wendy Ann Mitchell
Owner/Editor, CT Buzz Media
ctbuzznews@gmail.com
(203) 501-7424

Opioid Awareness & Prevention Forum to be Held at Danbury High School

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DANBURY, CT — The City of Danbury Department of Health and Human Services and Danbury Public Schools are hosting an Opioid Awareness & Prevention Forum at Danbury High School, Black Box Theater located at 43 Clapboard Ridge Road in Danbury, Conn. on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. The purpose of the forum is to educate residents about opioid drug prescriptions, opioid misuse, and opioid addiction treatment resources in an effort to prevent opioid-related deaths in our community.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 130 lives are lost daily to opioid-related drug overdoses. In 2017, The State of Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) reported that approximately 1,038 deaths were attributed to opioid overdose in Connecticut.

The misuse of, and addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and fentanyl, is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The CDC estimates that the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse in the United States is approximately $78.5 billion a year. This includes the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

To address the opioid epidemic in Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont, the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH), and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) recently announced efforts to address the rise of opioid addiction across the State of Connecticut.

The City of Danbury Department of Health and Human Services and Danbury Public Schools are collaborating with medical professionals, community groups and police authorities to provide guidance on how to address the opioid crisis as a community.

The goal of organizers is to prevent opioid overdose-related deaths in the community by raising awareness. Residents in Danbury and surrounding areas are invited to join in the community-wide effort to prevent opioid overdoses.

This press release was submitted by The City of Danbury Department of Health and Human Services Department. To submit a press release email CTBuzzNews@gmail.com.

Photo by Robert Greene via Flickr Creative Commons

Foodie Alert! Long-Standing Bethel Farm Gets New Owners

 

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 12.39.18 PMPhoto: Holbrook Farm, credit: Wendy Mitchell

BETHEL, CT — Foodies take note! Redding and Bethel business owners have joined forces to take over running Holbrook Farm from the Holbrook family, according to MSN. Local foodies will recognize the names of the new owners— Jeff Taibe and  Stephanie Sweeney, owners of Taproot Restaurant in Bethel and Sean and Erin Reilly, owners of the Redding Roadhouse in Redding — have partnered to revamp the business.

For decades John and Lynn Holbrook, owners of Holbrook Farm, have offered fresh, locally grown produce, hosted Farm to Table dinners and provided the community with healthy, natural food choices. The Holbrooks retired in 2012 the lessee at the time, Jessica Wong, took over running the farm from 2012-2018.

John and Lynn Holbrook purchased 12 acres of land in Bethel, with only two acres in production. While the farm is not certified organic, they do use compost and natural leaf mulch to aid in fertilization and weed suppression. They do not use pesticides.

“Holbrook Farm has been clean of pesticides and herbicides for at least the last 40 years that we have owned the land. We don’t spray with pesticides, we try to use beneficial insects and companion plants and we don’t use herbicides. Weeds have a place in the ecological mix as long as they are controlled,” John Holbrook said.

Holbrook Farm is located at 45 Turkey Plain Rd. in Bethel, Connecticut. For more information, visit their website.

Is Stress Killing You? Free Group Meditation Session at Peterson Chiropractic & Acupuncture in Ridgefield

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Naturopathic Physician Dr. Layli Harandi

RIDGEFIELD, CT — Is stress killing you? According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. More than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

Causes of work stress include:

  • Being unhappy in your job
  • The death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Loss of a job
  • Increase in financial obligations
  • Getting married
  • Moving to a new home
  • Chronic illness or injury
  • Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem)

How can you tell if you’re stressed? Symptoms include:

  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Moodiness, irritability, or anger
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Other mental or emotional health problems

Now that you’ve learned the causes, signs, and symptoms of stress, what can you do about it? Peterson Chiropractic & Acupuncture is offering customers and future customers a free 60-minute group meditation session led by Naturopathic Physician Dr. Layli Harandi at their office which is located at 31 Bailey Ave. in Ridgefield.

Peterson Chiropractic & Acupuncture is a family owned business that has been in Ridgefield for more than 40 years, run by Dr. Nickalos L. Peterson and his son, Dr. Nicholas A. Peterson. Dr. Nickalos L. Peterson and his wife Dawn, the office manager, moved to Ridgefield in 1977.
Their practice includes chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, cupping, kinesiology, sports medicine, wellness and nutrition.

Dr. Nicholas Peterson and Dr. Nickalos L. Peterson are licensed doctors of Chiropractic and acupuncturists. Dr. Nickalos L. Peterson practices medical acupuncture and Dr. Nicholas A. Peterson practices dry needle acupuncture. Peterson Chiropractic offers a wide variety of physical therapy modalities including electrical stim, mechanical traction, spinal decompression, power plate, ultrasound and more.

Hands-on modalities include acupuncture, therapeutic activities, trigger point therapy, massage, exercises, and PNF (Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). Roberta Russell, L.M.T., provides massage therapy to complement their practice by helping patients relieve pain.

Peterson Chiropractic & Acupuncture is located at 31 Bailey Ave. in downtown Ridgefield. Visit their website to learn more. Join Naturopathic Physician Dr. Layli Harandi on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. for a relaxing session of meditation at Peterson Chiropractic & Acupuncture, 31 Bailey Ave., Ridgefield. Call (203)438-9609 to register.

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