Category Archives: Town Buzz
WESTPORT, CT—Feeling tired, anxious, stressed, and/or overwhelmed all at the same time? You’re not alone. Many have been feeling the effects of the quarantine and the associated stressors. Recent studies have shown there’s a pill-free way to cope.
Several studies have shown a high prevalence of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic symptoms in health care workers, according to an article by Frontiers in Psychology, and that what research has shown that “expressive writing” can work as a form of therapy for people undergoing these feelings.
“Over the past 25 years, several researchers have examined the effects of writing about traumatic life events. Pennebaker’s Expressive Writing task involves writing about a traumatic experience for a controlled period of time, on consecutive days….. several studies have shown the benefits of writing across different sessions about personal experiences with stressful life events. This procedure has been associated with the reduction of physical and mental symptoms both in clinical and normal simples.” (Procaccia, 2021).
So where can you find some writing relief? At the Westport Writers Workshop! Since the shutdown, WWW has been offering interactive writing workshops, classes, and events online for experienced and aspiring writers alike in a supportive, welcoming environment. Taught by experienced, professional, published authors, these classes have served as an outlet for the community to craft and develop their work while offering a release of stress through a positive, therapeutic tool. Since last spring’s launch of an online-only learning environment, they have even more classes and workshops to cater to the needs of their attendees.
In addition to writing about personal experiences in several classes, writers can also try their hand at writing children’s picture books, poetry, memoir, and much more. For a full list of offerings, visit the Westport Writers Workshop‘s website.
Executive Director Liz Matthews was happy to announce that “we will bring back in-person workshops this fall, along with continuing to offer our remote workshops.”
Students of the classes shared how much they have helped them in their writing journey.
“I love everything about it. The instructor provides a safe and inspiring atmosphere and the level of positive feedback when we workshop our writing is unparalleled. I feel honored to be a part of this talented and courageous group of writers and to hear and share writing. I am left awestruck after each class,” Amy Egbert stated.
“I’m grateful that Westport Writers’ Workshop only allows students to listen during their critiques and not speak. It allows us to let go and be okay with what we’ve written as we grow. I’ve made tremendous writing progress, I’m getting positive feedback, and I’m preparing to solicit agents,” said R.J. Grand.
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.
Summer 2021 Westport Writers Workshop’s class offerings are as follows:
- Online via ZOOM
- 6 Mondays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- June 21, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27
- Online via ZOOM
- 6 Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 12 noon
- June 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27
- Online via ZOOM
- 6 Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- June 24, July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
- Online via ZOOM
- 6 Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- June 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27
- Online via ZOOM
- 10 a.m. to 12 noon
- Monday to Thursday
- July 6, 7, 8, 9
All of the Westport Writers Workshop 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Photo credit: Westport Writers Workshop
DANBURY, CT—– Price Rite Marketplace today announced its annual Check-Out Hunger fundraising campaign has raised nearly $75,000 for area food banks. From November through December 2020, Price Rite Marketplace stores in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island collected donations at checkout for local food banks to support the fight against hunger during a year where help was needed more than ever. Since the start of the Check-Out Hunger initiative in 2002, Price Rite Marketplace has raised nearly $2 million to fight hunger in the communities its stores serve.
Price Rite Marketplace of Warwick, located at 945 Bald Hill Rd, Warwick, RI 02886, was the top fundraising store, raising more than $8,000 during the campaign. In total, Rhode Island based Price Rite Marketplace stores raised more than $28,300 for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
“I want to thank our customers, team members and stores for once again stepping up in the fight against hunger,”
said Jim Dorey, president of Price Rite Marketplace. “We live in very uncertain times and our donations are making a difference in the lives of countless individuals and families who may be struggling to put food on the table.”
Food banks receiving funds from the campaign include: in Connecticut: Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare; in Maryland: Capital Area Food Bank and Maryland Food Bank; in Massachusetts: Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, The Greater Boston Food Bank and Worcester County Food Bank; in New Hampshire: New Hampshire Food Bank; in New Jersey: Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Food Bank of South Jersey; in New York: FeedMore WNY, Food Bank of Central New York, Foodlink and Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York; in Pennsylvania: Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Helping Harvest, Philabundance, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania and Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank; and in Rhode Island: Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
Price Rite Marketplace is a committed member of its local community, and fighting hunger is at the heart of Price Rite Marketplace’s charitable giving. The supermarket brand fights food insecurity through its support of local food banks, the annual Check-Out Hunger fundraising campaign and partnership with Feed The Children. Price Rite Marketplace contributes approximately $500,000 annually to local food banks and food pantries to benefit local families in need within the communities its stores serve.
About Price Rite Marketplace
Price Rite Marketplace is a registered trademark of Wakefern Food Corp., a retailer owned cooperative based in Keasbey, NJ and the largest supermarket cooperative in the United States. Price Rite Marketplace opened its first store in 1995 under the name Price Rite Supermarkets, and currently operates over 62 grocery stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Maryland. Committed to providing the best value for customers, Price Rite Marketplace delivers a simplified shopping experience with top name brand foods and products and expanded fresh produce and organic offerings at exceptional prices. Price Rite Marketplace is also dedicated to fighting hunger through its annual Check-Out Hunger fundraising campaign and partnerships with Feed The Children and local food banks. For more information, please visit www.priceritemarketplace.com.
Photo 1: (From left to right) Andrew Schiff, CEO, Rhode Island Community Food Bank, and Bill Devin, Vice President of Operations, Price Rite Marketplace.
Photo 2: Executives and team members from Price Rite Marketplace, on May 17, present a check for more than $28,300 to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank from the grocer’s annual Check Out Hunger campaign.
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BETHEL, CT—An M.I.T. and Bethel High School graduate now living in Ohio has created a revolutionary new product that solves a problem many have in their homes—bugs—while also saving the bees and other important insects.
Mark Ortiz, an MIT graduate and Bethel native is the engineer of the Keyachi Bug Remover™ (patent pending), an easy to use device that attaches to a vacuum to allow users to safely catch and release bugs from their homes. Inventor of more than 200+ patented products, Mark’s motto is, “Simplicity always wins.” And simplicity can clearly be seen I the Keyachi’s design.
The clear plastic vacuum hose shows how the Keyachi stops bugs from being sucked into your vacuum cannister and crawling back out later. The bugs stay trapped inside the chamber and allows the user to release pollinators and other beneficial insects back into their natural habitats to help our environment without using any harmful chemicals or sprays. Keyachi also enables users to safely trap bugs from a distance and release them without having to touch them.
Mark describes his creation as “a weapon for good in the perilous plight of pollinators.” His cousin, organic landscape designer Dennis Leahy, co-founder of Light Wing Labs stated:
“When I saw this device that my cousin Mark was working on, I immediately saw it as a way to save pollinators and beneficial bugs. A safe, easy, effective way to catch them live and return them outside. That’s why I got involved and encouraged Mark to let me help him bring this important product to market. As an owner of an organic landscaping company for nearly 20 years, I’ve seen the harmful results of people using chemicals on their lawns to control weeds and insects, chemicals on flowers to control bugs, chemical sprays in their homes.”
Dennis continued, “I’ve also seen good results when a client trusted me enough to convert their property to an organic haven: no chemicals, no non-native invasive plants, but an abundance of pollinator attracting plants. Healthier lawns. More vibrant flowers. Their children can roll around on the grass without fear. Their dogs that had skin issues often cleared up. One person using Keyachi to free pollinators will not save the world. But many of us, together, choosing to catch and release bugs rather than spray them, can improve our home and yard’s environment. We will use less toxic chemical sprays. We will return more pollinators and beneficial bugs outside.”
The duo is seeking backers on a Kickstarter campaign they’ve created to fund the project.
“We have Keyachi Bug Remover nearly ready for release,” Mark said. “We’ve designed and tested it extensively over the past two years. Now we need your help to get us up over this last hill: scaling and product release. Your backing will help us automate the manufacturing process and scale production by purchasing tooling, a commercial grade manufacturing equipment, and component molds.”
The product is made in the U.S. and all manufacturing and assembly will be done in the Cincinnati, Ohio metropolitan area.
To learn more and back their campaign, visit Keyachi’s Kickstarter campaign.
“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, 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
DANBURY, 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.
Photo by Jon Gorey of House and Hammer.com.
DANBURY, 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
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.
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.
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.