Fairfield County Review

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FairField County December/January 2013


december/January 2013 – FairField County reView – 3

FairField County Volume 7, number 71


deCember/January 2013

Review Contents

14 evolution of the Christmas Card 16 Maple row tree Farm – From their Family to Your Family – a tradition Shared Michael Hoffman 19 Fairfield County Holiday Family Fun 21 Hop a Santa train! Joanna Gilchrist

23 Homes for the Holidays Photo essay Michael Hoffman

26 the american Mural Project

Page 14

Joanne Greco rochman

Departments 4 Observation Point 6 Scene 8 Community News

10 Community Calendar 14 Historically Significant 32 Home Front 38 Living Green

39 Wellness 40 Community Pet 41 Books 43 arts 45 theater 47 travel 50 Wordsearch

COVERS: FrONt COver: Old St. Nick

INSIde FrONt COver: O tannenbaum

INSIde BaCk COver Sleigh Bell Wreath

Cover Photography by Michael Hoffman/Fairfield County Review ©2012/2013 Michael Hoffman.

Page 19

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! o b s e rVat i o n P o i n t

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Publisher/executive editor Michael e. Hoffman Home Front editor kathleen adams arts editor Joanne Greco rochman art director edith reimers Fairfield County Review is a publication of Sound Media Group P.O. Box 313, Fairfield, Ct 06824-0313 www. thereviewct. com. (203) 372-0800. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the publisher. @2012-2013 Sound Media Group all rights reserved

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Fairfield County Review on the Scene searching for the perfect Christmas Tree at Jones Family Farm Photos by Fairfield County Review



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Tragedy in Newtown by Michael Hoffman NeWtOWN—Gunfire shattered the locked front door of the Sandy Hook elementary School on Friday, december 16; and what started out as just another day at school soon became the most horrific day in the lives of parents, children, teachers and the residents of Newtown. By day’s end, the lives of 20 children in their classrooms had been taken by a lone gunman. another 6 members of the school’s staff also lost their lives, as did the mother of the shooter. Police responded to the school within minutes of the first 911 call. their quick response is credited with saving the lives of many other students and staff, and the suicide of the perpetrator. Since Friday, memorials have been created throughout this rockwellesque community. townsfolk have gathered to give support to the victims and their families; and attend vigils and memorial services. On Sunday, President Barak Obama attended and spoke before an overflow audience assembled at Newtown High School after meeting privately with the families of those who had died. televised to a national audience, the president took the opportunity to suggest he would take measures to address the tragedy in Newtown and other scenes of mass killings that have taken place in the United States in the recent past. “these tragedies must end,” he stated emphatically. “and to end them, we must change. are we really prepared to say we’re powerless in the face of such carnage?” the shooter has been positively identified as adam Lanza, age 20, who resided in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown with his mother, Nancy, who was his first victim. the investigation is ongoing, with state and local police and federal authorities searching for a motive. Upon obtaining a search warrant, authorities discovered two smashed hard drives. experts at the FBI are trying to piece the fragments together for a clue. to date, nothing has been retrieved. the victims being eulogized this week are : the children Charlotte Bacon daniel Barden Olivia engel Josephine Gay ana Marquez-Greene dylan Hockley Madeleine Hsu Catherine Hubbard Chase kowalski Jesse Lewis

James Mattioli Grace Mcdonnell emilie Parker Jack Pinto Noah Pozner Caroline Previdi Jessica rekos avielle richman Benjamin Wheeler allison Wyatt

the staff rachel davino dawn Hocksprung ann Marie Murphy Lauren rousseau Mary Sherlach victoria Soto Photos by Fairfield County Review



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Governor asks For moment of silence HartFOrd – Governor dannel P. Malloy has signed a proclamation declaring Friday, december 21, 2012 a “day of Mourning” in the State of Connecticut. He requested that residents statewide participate at 9:30 a.m.—the time the first shots were fired at Sandy Hook elementary School in Newtown. the Governor is also requesting that houses of worship and government buildings that have the capability, ring bells 26 times during that moment in honor of each life that was taken at the school. “Let us all come together collectively to mourn the loss of far too many promising lives at Sandy Hook elementary School,” Governor Malloy said. “though we will never know the full measure of sorrow experienced by these families, we can let them know that we stand with them during this difficult time.” Governor Malloy has also written a letter to every governor in the United States, asking each state to consider joining the State of

Connecticut on Friday during this time of reflection and mourning. “Mourning this tragedy has extended beyond Newtown, beyond the borders of Connecticut, and has spread across the nation and the world,” Governor Malloy said. “On behalf of the State of Connecticut, we appreciate the letters and calls of support that have been delivered to our state and to the family members during their hour of need.”

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10 – FairField County reView – december/January 2013 Home Organizing 101 at the trumbull Library,trumbull, Ct – On tuesday, January 15, 6:30 p.m., the trumbull Library’s Community room. Hard to stay organized in your home? No wonder. It’s never been taught! Your Fairfield Organizers Creating Ultimate Solutions

(FOCUS) will teach you how to stay organized in your home, in this fun, lively presentation. the panel provides ultimate solutions for managing the household mail and bills, food and supplies, clothes and donations, photos, schoolwork and more! the panelists are : Susan Lovallo of

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C o mmu n i ty C a l en dar Clutter Solutions, LLC; Jennifer Burke of JkB Organizing; Cara Brook of Strategize. Organize. Simplify., LLC, and Janet Barnes of Connecticut Closet and Shelf. Moderating and participating in the question and answer panel will be Matt Baier of Matt Baier Organizing, LLC. For more information and to reserve your please contact the trumbull Library at 203-4525197 or visit us on-line at www.trumbullct-library.org. Based on the 1986 Caldecott award-winning book by Chris van allsburg, “The Polar Express” follows a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus and gets taken on a magical Christmas eve trip to the North Pole. Maritime auarium, Norwalk. 203.852.0700.

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C o mmunity C a lenda r rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favorite disney stories when Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy comes to Bridgeport Connecticut! From wheels to waves, playtime to pixie dust, your family's favorite disney moments come to life – tinker Bell, the Little Mermaid, and toy Storyy 3. Webster Bank arena, 600 Main St., Bridgeport, 203.845.2300. Dickey Betts & Great Southern Fri, 01/11/2013 - 8:00pm With Special Guest Jamie McLean Band the Guinness Black Lager rock Series Sponsored by ridgefield Prime. the ridgefield Playhouse, 80 east ridge road, ridgefield, 203.438.5795. the Connecticut Chamber Choir, under the direction of Constance Chase, will present Shining in the Night, at Saint theresa roman Catholic Church, 5301 Main Street, trumbull, Connecticut on Sunday, January 13, at 4:00 pm. 203.459.1496 Mid Winter Book Sale Saturday, January 19, 2013 - Monday, January 21, 2013 all Sale proceeds benefit Pequot Library. admission is Free. HOUrS: Sat, Jan 19: 9 am to 5 pm Sun, Jan 20: 10 am to 5 pm Mon, Jan 21: 10 am to 3 pm 720 Pequot avenue, Southport. 203.259.0346 Celebrate the last week of our All Aboard LEGO® train exhibition. visit the masterful LeGO® trainscape, use our life-size recycled

december/January 2013– FairField County reView – 11 LeGO® (weather permitting), or hit the LeGO® room to make your own creations. explore our barns with one of our farmers and learn how our amazing Cheshire Barn was built over 200 years ago. Meet some of our animals and discover how they build and

adapt in their habitats. end your day with a chance to make an ice cream sundae Stamford Museum and Nature Center 203.322-1646, info@stamfordmuseum.org, or visit www.stamfordmuseum.org

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monroe loans sandy Hook a school MONrOe – Chalk Hill Middle School, sitting empty in the neighboring town of Monroe, is being readied for the students from Sandy Hook elementary School when they return to classes after the New Year. Governor dannel Malloy signed an executive order making way for

147 MT Pleasant Rd,Newto New w n Exit9 offI-84 toRoute 6 West 203-426-9666

school districts to ready the facility for the Newtown students. Workers are trying to recreate the ‘feel’ of Sandy Hook elementary. the colors and pattern of the paint in the halls and classrooms, the arrangement of the desks, posters and art hanging on the walls will be identical to Sandy Hook’s. the school will also be repainted in the Photos by Fairfield County Review familiar school colors of green and the cross-town school exchange. It expedited the process that allows both white. State-of-the-art security and communication systems are also being installed. the work being done is in collaboration with the Monroe Police department in order to ensure the protection of all in the building. Chalk Hill Middle School has not seen students in its classrooms since 2011, when fourth and fifth graders sat at the desks. It was closed due to a declining student population and classes were consolidated with another town school. Since its closing, it has been occupied by various town departments

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brewers Gourmet shoppe – a Connoisseur’s delight displaying an array of cheeses

from around the world, including hand-selected varieties by ken Skovron, owner of “darien Cheese Shop,” Brewers Gourmet Shoppe has become the place to discover cheeses that are aged to perfection. Over 12 countries are represented and 40 different varieties are in stock at all times. Gift baskets and party platters are available in almost every price range. But Brewers is more than just cheese. It also offers the county’s cigar and coffee aficionados a selection second to none. tony Bisesi manages Brewers and personally selects the cigars. a smoker of fine cigars himself, he ensures that the shoppe sells the freshest cigars in Fairfield county. His knowledge of the tobacco and his attention to detail will enhance the customer’s selection and ultimate enjoyment. Finally, the coffee sold at Brewers has no rivals. It is kept stored for optimum freshness and weighed by the pound as it is purchased. the coffee beans will be ground at the request of the customer. Needless to say, Brewers Gourmet Shoppe is a connoisseur’s delight and a boutique that caters to those with the highest of expectations. Brewers Gourmet Shoppe Rt. 111, Monroe (next to GlenRo Spirit Shoppe)


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The Evolution of the Christmas Card

1879, Merry Christmas, Thomas Nast

First Christmas Card designed by Sir Henry Cole and John Horsley

the world’s first known Christmas card appeared in London in 1843, when Sir Henry Cole hired painter and illustrator John Calcott Horsley to design a holiday card to send to his friends and acquaintances. the price of the first card was 1 shilling each. Christmas Cards appeared in the United States in the late 1840s, but were very expensive and most people couldn't afford them. Lithographer Louis Prang, a Prussian immigrant who had started a small printing business near Boston in the late 1850s, is generally acknowledged as the father of the american Christmas Card. Prang, who had worked on early cards in england, published his first Christmas card, a simple flower design with the words “Merry Christmas,” and saw immediate success. He discovered that if he were to mass produce the cards, his costs would be lower and more people could afford to purchase them. the popularity of Prang’s Christmas cards with their fine color lithography was almost immediate. By 1881, he was reportedly printing five million cards a year. Many renowned artists and illusrators contributed their skills to the design of the holiday cards. the following represent a sampling of their work.

1888, Santa Claus Captured, Otto Walter Beck

1876, Choosing Holiday Gifts, Sketches from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper

1881, Christmas Morning, Looking for Santa Claus; Frank Miller

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1869 – Christmas Belles, Winslow Homer 1881, Caught, Thomas Nast

1858 – Christmas Gathering Evergreens, Winslow Homer

1885, A Christmas Box, Thomas Nash

1878, Here We Go Again, Thomas Nash

1871, Christmas Eve, Anonymous

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Maple Row TRee FaRM –

From their Family to your Family A Tradition Shared

text and Photographs by Michael Hoffman


t all began with Sherwood edward’s 4-H project. – the Christmas tree farm, that is –. the only son of dairy farmer and past first selectman erwin edwards and his wife Minnie, young Sherwood was given some ‘marginal’ land to grow spruce trees for the local club. Little did he realize then that some eighty-seven years later, Maple row Farm would be recognized as one of the largest Christmas tee farm in all of New england the edwards family settled in easton in the 1700's and have always worked the land. after selling the dairy herd in the 1960's, Sherwood’s son Jim decided to develop the tree farm into a thriving business. In addition to the grove of spruce planted by his father, he planted a

variety of evergreen trees which included the douglas fir, the Colorado blue spruce and eastern white pine. Now he had to wait for them to grow. the Christmas tree business is a year-round business. the season begins in March, when the land begins to warm. that is when Jim’s sons Scott and dave start replanting. For every tree that has been cut down, two young trees are planted to replace it. the edwards’ maintain their own nursery on their farm, and have between 40,000 to 60,000 seedlings growing. today they have expanded to a total of nine varieties of evergreen trees grown at Maple row. the seedlings remain in the nursery for three years,

december/January 2013 – FairField County reView – 17 the usual time it takes for the tree to reach a height of one foot. It is then taken to the appropriate field for planting. that first year outside is critical to the tree’s life cycle. Once the trees are in the ground they are susceptible to a myriad of hazards which include rabbits and mice eating the trees’ roots, disease and drought. Precautions must be taken by spraying and watering the trees to give them a chance to survive. after the second year, the trees have enough strength to ‘fend for themselves.’ No, it’s not yet time to wait for the Christmas rush...there’s still a lot of work to be done. Now, it’s time to mow the grass that has grown between the trees. throughout the growing season, a fivefoot wide swath is cut between every tree – all 250 acres

Baby trees (left) will mature and grow to look like this beautiful specimen (right).

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Christmas trees cut by visitors to the farm are picked up in the fields and brought to the baling area.

of them. the grass is mowed four to six times each year, “depending upon how much rain we get,” adds Scott. and when the mowing is finished, there is still more work to do before the first of the seasonal visitors arrive at the farm. ten of the 60 farm hands will go into the fields ever July and august and sheer every tree. Using an eight foot sicl called a saje, the trees are trimmed to that familiar conical form. “You’d be surprised how many different shaped trees we have after they’re sheared,” Scott laughed, driving through the fields of Fraser fir. “It goes to show that everyone has a different idea of what a Christmas tree looks like.” Scott, dave and the crew finished the mowing two weeks before Maple row tree Farm opened their gate to visitors, the day after thanksgiving. they hail from all over the region, but most come from Fairfield and Westchester counties. Many of the guests to the farm have been there before, while others are beginning a tradition that will last a

lifetime. By the time Christmas eve rolls around, tens of thousands of kids, parents and grandparents will have climbed the hills of the farm on North Park to lay claim to their perfect Christmas trees. It takes a lot of hard work to make them that ‘perfect;’ but to the edwards’ of Maple row Farm, the tradition that they’ve come to share with all these millions of people over the years, makes it all worth it.

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Fairfield County Holiday Family Fun The holiday season is upon us, and there is much to do and see in Fairfield County. No matter what your age, from children to grandparents, fun is to be had at every turn.

We begin our tour at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. visitors will find not one, but two holiday displays. vISIONS OF GINGerBread: tHe SWeeteSt arCHIteCtS Iv is a sweet holiday tradition now in its 4th annual exhibition. See some creative confections, completely consisting of edible materials, from the area's finest chefs and caterers. returning favorites, along with new competitors, will show off their gingerbread skills. a sweet holiday treat for both young and old!

the museum’s second offering is aLL aBOard WItH BILL PrOBert & FrIeNdS III Bill Probert has established himself as a master of the LeGO® "trainscape." a favorite of Museum visitors, this master of LeGO® brick construction, history, and lore invents and re-invents landscapes and scenarios, with every single element in his creations made from LeGO® products. Mr. Probert will be making an encore performance just in time for the holidays with his LeGO® train exhibition. Skilled and imaginative, he creates visual puns, pastoral scenes with unexpected surprises, and urban scenes where railroad tracks, weeds, carefully-tended gardens, and busy streets blend seamlessly into one another. Supported once again by members of I LUG (LeGO® ).

Fast becoming a holiday classic the Polar express, playing in the Norwalk Maritime aquarium IMaX theater through January 1, will give all members of the family an experience of a life-time. Based on the 1986 Caldecott award-winning book by Chris van allsburg, “the Polar express” follows a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus and gets taken on a magical Christmas eve trip to the North Pole. In this film, which was digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMaX format, tom Hanks plays five roles, including the train's officious conductor, a ghostly hobo and Santa Claus.

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Next stop is the discovery Museum in Bridgeport for Laser Jam. this is a multi-media experience featuring the music of top artists from throughout the years, accompanied by 4 state-of-the-art full color animation laser systems. Capable of full animation and computerized video projection, this exhibit is an unsurpassed 360 degree fun-filled experience for all.

If model railroads bring back the fond memories of childhood, a visit to the Great trains exhibit at the Wilton Historical Society will have ‘retired’ engineers dusting off their old Lionel’s again. the exhibit includes layouts of the ‘O’ gauge (popular when the baby-boomer were kids), the HO, the most popular sized model trains and the Z gauge, the smallest and most popular at the present time. detailed scenery accents the landscape, complete with villages set beneath trees and mountains. the exhibit is on display until January 21.

the Grand Holiday at the Mansion: From victorian to Modern is currently in exhibition at the Lockwood Mathews Mansion in Norwalk. victorian holiday exhibits are displayed throughout the first floor and period rooms are decorated to show changing traditions from the 1850s through the 1890s with many different Christmas trees, a holiday table setting, and victorian children’s toys. a special treat this year will be a display of holiday traditions from the early 1930s drawing inspiration from a letter written by Florence Mathews, the last resident of the Mansion, in 1933. exhibit runs until January 6.

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Hop a Train with

Santa! by Joanna Gilchrist

Sometimes, you can make the most fun-filled discoveries close to home. recently, I wanted to check out the various train stations that offered trips to Christmas villages, and other holiday themed park. there are quite a few in Connecticut. For instance, I had heard about the North Pole express in essex. Children climbed aboard a locomotive-powered sleigh and journeyed to a fanciful and imaginative rendering of the North Pole. every coach offered a musical performance of “the Night Before Christmas” and children enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies and even got to meet Santa.

the Connecticut trolley Museum offers trolley rides through a tunnel of lights in east Windsor, which never fails to light up the holiday. there’s also the Santa express at the railroad Museum of New england located in thomaston. kids can Santa and Mrs. Claus climb aboard and join Mr. and Mrs. Claus and some friendly elves as they ride the rails for an hour and twenty minutes. they’ll chuck along the Naugatuck river and spend some quality time with Santa and family, too. the Shore Line trolley Museum, located in east Haven has its own spin on the holiday express. Guests ride in a cozy, heated trolley to visit Santa. refreshments, a model train layout and a special gift from Santa are all included in this ride. You also might want to spring for the Holiday Spirit! this is an illuminated night trolley. after looking at all the wonderful opportunities families and children had for a Christmas train ride, I discovered that right in danbury there was a wonderful railroad Museum. the danbury railway Museum features Santa’s rail Yard and a vintage train to Santa’s toyland. every Saturday and

(left) Gifts around Santa’s Tree. (above) The Danbury Railroad Museum station.

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(left) Santa has a word with the passengers. (above) The Santa Land Model Rairoad.

Sunday, the trains depart every half hour from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. admission is $9 for age 2 and over. Children under 2 ride free. the trip includes a train ride in the rail yard that lasts about 20 minutes. there’s

a free gift such as a coloring book for the children, and there’s a visit with Santa in toyland. there are also exhibits in a restored 1903 station and rail yard, operating layouts, and displays.

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there’s a coloring station, temporary tattoos and much more. One of the highlights of the trip and new this year is visiting Santa’s Workshop where children can watch the elves make toys. I spoke with Patty Osmer, the treasurer and gift shop manager of the danbury-based rail yard museum. She told me that there’s a real engineer at the helm of the train and he always uses the train’s steam whistle. “We have a special railroad coach with Santa and a railroad car decorated like toyland,” she explained. “Hundreds of children come every year and it’s quite a special event. Frosty the Snowman greets the kids as they enter Santa’s workshop.” all the people involved with the museum are volunteers, so this event is a labor of love. reservations are recommended and I’m told that if you want to avoid the crowds that 2:30 p.m. is the best time to arrive. Santa’s rail Yard is located across from the Patriot Garage, where parking is available. to reserve tickets, call: (203) 778-8337.

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Homes for the Holidays Photo Essay by Michael Hoffman

Dressed with all the trimmings of the season Are the homes in Fairfield County.

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Wreaths adorned with bows of red or gold Accent the seasonal charm.

Trees glow with lights of many colors; Garlands drape porches

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And wrap columns in holly or pine;

All the while nutcrackers stand attentively At the front door -Welcoming guests to your home For the Holidays.

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The American Mural Project by Joanne Greco rochman

A study for the Mural. Below is a 3-dimension scale of the mural..


hen Jo ann Bruno of Monroe first spoke about the american Mural Project (aMP), it was as if anyone interested in art was well aware of this amazing project. an active member of the Newtown Woman’s Club, GFWC Inc., she was absolutely correct. anyone interested in the arts should be familiar with this nation-wide art project. Just take a trip to Winsted to see how important this all-american mural is progressing. the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) supports this project whole-heartedly. It is one of many national organizations along with many individuals to lend its support to this work in progress by artist ellen Griesedieck of Sharon, Connecticut. the american Mural Project is a nonprofit organization focused on creating the largest piece of collaborative art to be exhibited indoors worldwide. described by the artist as “a celebration of american ingenuity, productivity, and commitment to work,” the finished threedimensional mural will span 120 feet in length, stand five stories high, and up to ten feet in depth. this amazing mural is so large and so high that a special building was created for it. Located in Winsted, Connecticut, aMP

Contributed Photo

found the perfect exhibition space in a former mill site that was vacant. Winsted, known for its history of mills and mill workers shares the essence of the artwork. aMP purchased two of the mill buildings so that one would house the mural and the other would serve as a space for artistic workshops. Plans for renovating the exhibition site included razing the roof of the building. Once this mammoth painting is completed it will become a tourist destination for people all over the country, if not the world.

december/January 2013 – FairField County reView – 27

The sculpture in resin is a collage of watches.

Contributed Photo

the artist whom everyone calls “ellen” is dedicated to this project. an artist with impressive credentials, including shows in New York, Paris, and Connecticut, she was intrigued by americans working. “I was fascinated with the job diversity that americans identify with,” she said. “I started painting workers at their jobs individually and that led me to think about combining all of my images into a single painting.” One thing is for certain. this artist not only thinks big, she paints big. While it is one thing to look at her mural in this story, it is quite another when you are standing next to a bigger than life 20 foot tall image of a construction worker! Considering that ellen sees the american worker as bigger than life, this is not surprising. Inspired by a Boeing 747 fabrication plant, the artist has expressed the scale of that plant and planes in an enormous section of the work. However, there are so many sections with each one as breathtaking as the next. this artist has captured more than the spirit of the american worker, she has captured the past, present, and future american. What is so special about this project is that it involves communi-

Above, the work of the 5th graders from McKinley School in Fairfield. finger paint grid. At right, an artist with a quilt to be incorporated in three dimensional mural project.

ties all across america. the artist enjoys integrating community projects into the mural. She especially enjoys getting young school children involved. as a matter of fact, fifth graders from the Mckinley School in Fairfield have participated in this project. Students have worked with everything from ceramics to clay sculpture. ellen described the enthusiasm children had while dancing in paint for part of the project. I’ve enjoyed traveling across the country and seeing first hand how americans work at their jobs,” she said pointing out that she has already visited many of the states in the country. “I started the project to honor the ingenuity and industry of so many people I admire for the work they do everyday,” she describes in her membership brochure. “Many times the enthusiasm and dedication for this project from students, teachers, and families has strengthened my belief in this project.” Because the american Mural Project is GFWC International’s Partnership Program for arts in the Community, a portion of the mural will be dedicated to the Women’s organization, which will depict all the time the GFWC’s members have volunteered to help others. the section will include watches donated by members from all over america and that section will be set in resin.

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A guy stands at about 20 feet tall in front of a huge tractor trailer.

though the artist works from her Sharon, Connecticut studio, the work is assembled in the Winsted mill. She welcomes visitors and tours, but call ahead for exhibition hours. the location of the mural is 100 Whiting Street, Winsted, Connecticut. Phone: 860-379-3006

A close up of a section of the mural.

Another worker depicted in the mural showing a hard hat swinging.

december/January 2013– FairField County reView – 29

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30 – FairField County reView – december/January 2013

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A parent is faced with many challenges when raising a child, but none is more important than giving a sick child his/her medication. Some children are unable to swallow pills, just as others can’t tolerate the taste of the liquid medicine – and it comes up as quickly as it went down. Others are allergic to one or more of the ingredients in the drug’s formula, and the list goes on... What’s a parent to do? The answer is one not familiar to many people. “A parent should ask their doctor to contact a compounding pharmacist,” said Michael Roberge, R.Ph., owner of Compounded Solutions in Pharmacy www.compoundedsolutions.com), the only compounding pharmacy in Fairfield County with a ‘clean room’– where injectable prescription drugs are created.

Most people aren’t familiar with compounded pharmaceuticals; however, many have friends and relatives who must find alternatives to traditional prescriptions because of their unique

Beware of Meds for Kids (They may not be getting the proper dosage)e medical needs. By ‘customizing’ medications, doctors have the flexibility to change a medication’s strength or combine ingredients to maximize benefits to a patient. And if the patient can’t take the medication in pill form, it can be made into a liquids, transdermal gels, eye drops, suppositories or dosage forms like lollipops, lozenges and lip balms – in a variety of flavors. All are drug specific and a compounding pharmacy knows what is the best application based on the medication’s preparation and the child’s needs. So parents, whether your child has a unique medical condition, suffers from allergies, can’t swallow pills or if you notice that a drug does not have a dose for a child, know that a compounding pharmacy is an alternative where you can find solutions. By creating a drug for your child’s specific need, it will increase your child’s quality of life. For more information, contact

Michael Roberge, Pharmacist 203.268-4964. 179 Main Street, Monroe Also visit us on the web at www.compoundedsolutions.com

32 – FairField County reView – december/January 2013

Creamy Cheesecakes

K at H i ’ s C o u n t ry H e a rt H

by kathleen adams

Creamy Classic Cheesecake Crust: 1½ cups finely chopped vanilla wafers ½ cup finely chopped pecans 4+/- tablespoons melted butter Mix the chopped pecans and chopped vanilla wafers. add melted butter until the mixture holds together. Press the mixture into a 9-inch buttered springform pan, molding it 1½ - 2” up the sides of the pan. Set aside. Filling: 16 oz. cream cheese, softened 1¼ cup sugar 5 eggs ¼ cup flour 1 tsp. vanilla extract Zest of one lemon 16 oz. sour cream Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, adding sugar slowly while beating. add eggs one at a time, beating after each egg. add the flour, vanilla extract and the zest. Blend well. add the sour cream and blend again. Baking: Pour the filling into the springform pan. Place in the center of the top oven rack. Bake at 325°F for 1¼ hours. turn off oven heat. Open the oven door slightly and leave the cheesecake in the oven for about an hour. remove to a wire rack and

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cool. refrigerate the cheesecake for at lease 24 hours before serving (to allow cheesecake to settle and enhance flavor).

2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tbsp. cocoa 16 oz. sour cream

(1) Put chocolate chips in top of double boiler. Bring water in base to a boil. reduce the heat and allow all the chocolate chips to melt. (2) Beat Creamy Chocolate Cheesecake the cream cheese until light and fluffy, adding sugar slowly while beatCrust: ing. add eggs one at a time, beating 1½ cups finely chopped chocolate after each egg. add the cocoa, wafer cookies melted chocolate and vanilla extract. ½ cup finely chopped pecans Blend well. add the sour cream and 4+/- tablespoons melted butter blend again. Garnish with whipped cream and/or fruit, if desired.

Mix the chopped pecans and chopped chocolate wafers. add melted butter until the mixture holds together. Press the mixture into a 9-inch buttered springform pan, molding it 1½ - 2” up the sides of the pan. Set aside. Filling: 24 oz. cream cheese, softened 1¼ cup sugar 3 eggs 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Baking: Pour the filling into the springform pan. Place in the center of the center oven rack. Bake at 300°F for 1½ hours (or until filling looks set). remove to a wire rack and cool. refrigerate the cheesecake for at lease 24 hours before serving (to allow the cheesecake to settle and enhance the flavor). Garnish with whipped cream and/or fruit, if desired. Continued on page 39


december/January 2013– FairField County reView – 33

Minimalist vs. Comfortable by kathleen adams rooms come in many sizes and shapes just begging for decoration. Many people like to keep the furniture and decoration in a room to a minimum. thus, a minimalist preference. In certain rooms, however, comfort in both decoration and furnishings is the better choice and the more appropriate alterative. a comfortable room does not mean that it should be filled with clutter, overly furnished or overly decorated. a very essential component of room decorating, and what will ultimately dictate the type of furnishings and decorative items you choose, is the type of feeling you are trying to elicit when someone walks into a room. What kind of reaction are you looking for? do you want to convey a feeling of warmth and relaxation when someone enters a room? do you want there to be a sense of comfortable elegance emanating from the room as one enters? do you want to make someone feel like they are in a museum or a manor house – a ‘look but don’t touch’ appearance? Or do you want to create a WOW factor by combining all of these styles to some degree, thereby generating a feeling of sincere, complimentary awe? Let’s take a look at each of these styles. If you want someone to feel a sense of warmth and relaxation when they enter a room in your home, the furniture must look and feel comfortable and inviting. Sofas and chairs should look like they are just

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begging to be sit upon. Pillows in solid colors or in attractive patterns can be tossed on a sofa and/or chair, or an afghan can be put over the back of a sofa or chair. tables should have a few everyday items on them, such as books, keys or magazines, to give the impression that it is fine to put items on them. Coasters placed on tables in front of seating areas let people know it is alright to place a beverage there. the room should be neat but not stark in appearance. rugs, window treatments and room accessories should have an informal, everyday look to them. Walls should be soft colors or earthtones, which are very comforting and contribute to that feeling of warmth and relax-

ation. to give a sense of comfortable elegance to a room, furniture should be sleek and simple in design (in contrast to overstuffed chairs and sofas). Smaller pillows that match the colors in the furniture and accessories can be sparingly placed on a sofa and/or chair. a stylish area rug in front of a sofa, color coordinated with the walls and room accessories, adds a touch of elegance without overdoing it. tables should be relatively clear of any unnecessary items, with perhaps only one book or magazine neatly placed. Coasters can be on a table, but for this type of room they should be stacked in a container rather than placed individually in

34 – FairField County reView – december/January 2013

front of seating areas. Window treatments should be minimal and sleek to match the style of the more formal furnishings in the room. room accessories should have a more formal, slightly elegant look to them. Pictures should be nicely framed, there should be matching artwork on the walls and the lamps should match the décor and be of fine quality. Walls should be color-coordinated close in tone to the furningings of the room. Finally, a simple crown moulding always adds a touch of comfortable eleagance to a room, giving it a slightly more formal appearance. Sometimes the style of the home itself dictates that a room be extremely formal, with that ‘look but don’t touch’ appearance. If the home is large and very formal in appearance from the outside, chances are there will be one or more rooms inside that the homeowner will want to furnish in a way that conveys this impression. the furniture in a room like this can be very sleek in design or can be very ornate, depending on the style of the home and the particular taste of the homeowner. Whichever style, it should be of obvious high quality in material and design; designed more for style than for comfort. Fine quality area rugs can be placed in front of a seating area or can be large enough to have most of the furniture centered on it. a large, high-quality oriental or Persian rug would complement this type of room nicely. tables should be free of books, magazines and other incidental items. there should be only a piece or two of fine artwork or sculpture, or a fine vase with beautiful, fresh flowers on a table or two in the room – and definitely no coasters anywhere. an elegant mantle clock or grandfather clock is common in a room of this type. Window treat-

ments should be very formal in design and of very fine material. Wall color can range from neutral to quite bold, dependant mostly on the style and color of furniture and accessories in the room. Crown moulding should be very stylish, adding to the overall impression of elegance to the room. a room like this is more often for show and less often for entertaining. Perhaps one of the best overall designs for a room is a combination of all of the above: a design that will WOW someone when they walk into the room and generate a feeling of sincere, complimentary awe, as well as display comfortable elegance with just a touch of formality. to accomplish this, you simply have to borrow one or two of the best features of each design. Furniture can be stylish and of good quality and still look and feel comfortable. very often, good quality upholstery or a custom slipcover can accomplish this. Pillows can still be placed on chairs and sofas, but should match the coloring of the furniture and room accessories very well. they should be neatly placed on the chair or sofa, rather than tossed. tables can have nice lamps and decorative accessories on them, along with coasters (in or out of a container), as long as they are neatly placed and they do not cover the entire table. this room should be very neat and not have any clutter at all. One or two ‘coffee table books’ add a nice touch, but other books and magazines should be neatly placed in magazine racks or baskets next to a chair or sofa. a few pieces of fine artwork or sculpture can be placed on tables or on a mantle for added elegance and formality. Window treatments should not be too informal – wood blinds or simply-styled window-length drapery made of fine fabric complementary

deCor in color to everything else in the room is a good way to achieve a dramatic and elegant look. area rugs can be less formal, but should be very stylish and very complementary to the colors in the room. they can be placed in front of the seating area or can be large enough to have most of the furniture centered on it. Both styles work well in this room. Wall color can be more interesting in a WOW room. You can work with colors or with neutrals, depending on your preference and what looks best with your furniture and accessories. a chair rail looks very nice in this room, with colors of paint above and below the chair rail that will contrast as well as complement the opposing color. You can also put color-coordinated and style-coordinated wallpaper above or below the chair rail. Or, the room can have paint and wallpaper on opposing walls. all of these styles work well in this type of room. Crown moulding is a must, and should present a happy medium in style – not too fancy, not too plain. When you combine the best features of each design successfully, you will undoubtedly get that WOW factor you are looking for. Your room will have a warm, relaxed atmosphere to it and will be comfortably elegant with just the right touch of formality. So, which is the best style – minimalist or comfortable? depending on the style of the house itself, the size and shape of the room and your personal preference, it can be either or it can be both. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your design. the ideal plan is to work toward a happy medium and then try to stick to it in your design. this may be easier said than done, but it is a wonderful place to start. ©2013 KH Adams, Trumbull, CT


december/January 2013– FairField County reView – 35

An Indoor Herb Garden for the Winter Months by kathleen adams Many of us get the blues in winter because we feel we cannot continue our gardening outdoors. One way to eliminate this let-down is to bring a bit of your garden indoors. You may have already brought in your geraniums, begonias and other plants to care for indoors during the winter months. another wonderful way to keep your gardening season alive is to start a small indoor herb garden in a suitable area of your home. Some of the most common herbs grown indoors include basil, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme (I feel a song coming on…), dill, chives, peppermint and marjoram. Most often an herb garden will be set up on kitchen counters or on kitchen windowsills for easy access while cooking, but any sunny spot will do if extra room is an issue. Once you decide which herbs you would like to grow, choose a spot that will get at least four hours of direct sunlight each day. If you set up the garden in the kitchen, be sure the spot is not too close to the stove. Cooking fumes and fluctuating heat can affect their growth. In older homes, a standing radiator cover may seem like the ideal place to place your herbs. this, however, will also cause

too much fluctuation in temperature and will dry the soil quickly and unevenly, very often causing the plants to wither. Small herb plants (or even full grown) can be purchased at a nursery or, if you wish, you can grow them from seed. Containers should be at least 4” deep and 4” across for each plant. If you do purchase your herbs from a nursery in smaller containers, it is best to transplant them to the larger container. Seeds can be started right in the 4” containers. Be sure to follow the planting directions on the seed packets. If you decide to use larger pots or window boxes for multiple plants, allow about 3” between plants so that their roots do not become tangled (and possibly stran-

Contributed Photo

gled), which will certainly inhibit their growth. even plants need their own space. Good potting soil is crucial for your herbs. Some nurseries carry potting soils with fertilizers especially suited for herbs mixed right in with the soil. If you are growing from seeds, be sure to mist the soil daily. Soil for growing seeds should be

36 – FairField County reView – december/January 2013

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lightly damp to the touch. Once your seeds start to sprout, or for plants that are already growing, be careful not to over-water. too much water will cause root rot. Soil should be lightly moist, never saturated. Good drainage can be achieved by setting the containers on a tray filled with gravel. the tray will catch any runoff and the gravel will prevent build-up of water at the base of the containers. When your garden is growing nicely, don’t be afraid to start using the herbs. Clip the outer leaves as you need them, being careful to leave enough growth to allow the plant to continue flourishing, thus allowing it to replenish what was removed. as long as you do not overdo it, the more you clip your plants, the more they will grow. When the outdoor planting season returns, you can transplant the herbs into your outdoor garden, or you can continue to tend to them and enjoy them indoors. So to feed your desire to continue gardening through the winter months, a small indoor herb garden may be the ideal alternative to outdoor gardening. Caring for your herbs and other plants that you nurture during the winter months will get you through the “dry” season until you are ready to return to outdoor gardening in the spring. ©2013, KH Adams, Trumbull, CT

december/January 2013– FairField County reView – 37

liVinG Green

38 – FairField County reView – december/January 2013

Tips on Recycling Christmas Trees

portant to follow instructions detailed by your neighborhood’s program to ensure that your tree is not accidentally mistaken for and picked up as waste by your regular according to earth 911, just bethe directory offers thousands of events trash collection service. cause your tree gets picked up curbside, across the country. By simply entering drop-off programs offer a one stop it doesn't guarantee that it will be recyyour zip code, you can find all of your solution for your treecycling needs. cled. local collection and drop off options in these collection events allow people to depending on where you live and one place! By doing a quick search, you drop their trees off at a collection site which method you use, the process of recy- can find a recycling program as well as for recycling. Many are free, however cling your Christmas tree after the holidays important details such as hours of opersome require a small fee for the service may not seem so cut and dry. By taking the ation, special instructions and any fees as it is additional to the normal recyguess work out of treecycling, you can be that may apply cling coverage offered in that area. confident that your tree will be repurposed the three most common treecycling In the case of either method, there rather than end up in a landfill. methods available are curbside pick-up, drop- are a few extra points to keep in mind: the first thing you need to do is es- off programs and do-it-yourself projects. timeliness. Most treecycling picktablish your best treecycling option. Curbside pick-up is the most conup and drop-off programs only run for earth 911 has compiled the largest, venient, but isn’t available in all neighthe first few weeks of January. Facilities most comprehensive treecycling databorhoods. to those that have the option, are often using extra trucks or special base in the U.S. making it easier than it usually only requires the tree to be left hours in order to offer the extra service, ever to find your treecycling solution. curbside for pick up. However, it is imso they can only do it for a limited time. decorations. Your tree needs to be free of any of its festive decorations prior to being collected. Be sure to remove any stands, nails, orReg. $ 999.99 naments, tinsel and garland before you turn it in. .99 99 Flocked trees. Christmas Reg. $ 1599. • Up to 1800 lbs./min. trees flocked with decorative ar.99 • 26” width tificial snow are not eligible for recycling in most programs. If Same as 726 • 6 Forward you have a flocked tree, double except with 2 Reverse speeds check with your recycling pro265cc Toro • Anti-Clogging System gram beforehand to see if it can Premium be collected, and make an effort • 205cc Briggs & OHV 4-cycle to avoid that extra feature next Stratton OHV 4-cycle @ 1900 year. lbs/min. • Electric Start apart from pick-up and ® drop-off options, Christmas • Quick Stick trees can also be recycled in a dIY fashion. Christmas trees can be put to use for home projects and crafts. trees can even be used as natural water habitats if they are placed in a pond or body of water, but this should 268-8400 • 122 Main Street • Monroe only be done in cases where you are the property owner. While Supplies Last a little ambition and creCelebrating Our 52nd Year! ativity can help you repurpose Open Mon - Sat • 8am - 5 pm your tree all on your own.

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december/January 2013– FairField County reView – 39

er busy during the Holidays Many of Santa’s helpers find their sleighs diverted to hospital emergency rooms during the holiday season. Most visits are the result of being in too big of a hurry and not paying attention to the task at hand.. Falling off a ladder is one of the most common injuries over the holidays that can result in an unexpected visit to the er. Whether reaching to place the star at the very top of the Christmas tree or stringing the holiday lights around the house, falls account for approximately 6000 visits to the hospital during this festive season.. Most are bumps to the old noggin,’ but there are also sprains and occasional broken bones. Injury to the eye, occurring when

placing or reaching for gifts under the tree and having the eye scratched by a low-hanging Christmas tree branch, can also be a reason for a visit to the emergency room. another common injury to the eye is caused by the cork of a champagne bottle. this small projectile is under a lot of pressure, and when released can cause serious injury (or loss) to any eye within its trajectory. er docs also report that burns account for one in ten of the patients treated during the holidays. Most serious burns result from trying to lift a large roast or turkey out of the oven single-handedly. But there is also that occasional burn caused when trying to stop a log in the fireplace,

Creamy Cheesecakes

2 tablespoons flour 2 teaspoons vanilla extract For Blueberry Swirl: 1½ cups fresh blueberries 2 teaspoons cornstarch ¼ cup sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon cold water

Continued from page 32 Creamy Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake Crust: 1½ cups finely chopped vanilla wafers ½ cup finely chopped pecans 4+/- tablespoons melted butter Mix the chopped pecans and chopped vanilla wafers. add melted butter until the mixture holds together. Press the mixture into a 9-inch buttered springform pan, molding it 1½ - 2” up the sides of the pan. Set aside. Filling: 24 oz. cream cheese, softened 8 oz. sour cream 1cup sugar 4 eggs

with a bare hand, .from rolling into the room. Common sense prevails when trying to avoid being injured. assess the situation before committing to the project and the er will have one less holiday casualty to treat.

whisk or electric mixer until creamy. Fold in the sour cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Mix in the eggs in one at a time and then stir in the flour.

For Blueberry Swirl: heat the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat until the blueberries soften. Place the cornstarch in a cup and add the cold water; stir until smooth; add to the blueberry mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and stir continuously for a few minutes until you can feel it thicken a little. Blend the mixture with a whisk until smooth.

Baking: Pour the filling into the springform pan. drizzle the blueberry mixture over the batter and then swirl it through the batter with a knife (like you would swirl for a marble cake). Place in the center of the top oven rack. Bake at 325°F for 1¼ hours. turn off oven heat. Open the oven door slightly and leave the cheesecake in the oven for about 15 minutes. remove to a wire rack and cool. refrigerate the cheesecake for at lease 24 hours before serving (to allow cheesecake to settle and enhance flavor).

For the filling: in a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with a

Garnish with whipped cream and/or fruit, if desired. ©2013, KH Adams, Trumbull, CT

40 – FairField County reView – december/January 2013

Community Pet

all they want for Christmas is a loving Home

to arrange a visit. Rusty Meet rusty! does this guy remind you of someone? He certainly resembles Sandy from Little Orphan annie. While not a recent visitor, this is not the first time at the shelter for rusty. He is a medium-sized, terrier mix. He is housetrained and walks very well on a leash. He has been spayed and is up-to-date with all of his routine shots. visit him at 324 Church Hill rd or call 203452-5088 for more information. visit rusty at the shelter on 324 Church Hill rd in trumbull or call 203-452-5088. the Shelter is open Monday through Friday from 10-3:30 and Saturday from 10-5. they are also open Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from 79PM. Phone: (203) 452-5088. Or, call Barbara at 203-378-7454

Cato Spud is a sweet and spunky. Corgi/Jack russell mix who is around 10 years old. He enjoys going on walks and for rides in the car,and he LOveS to play fetch…and fetch…and fetch some more. afterwards, he is happy cuddle up in your lap, or next to you on the couch, relax and get some ear scratches and belly rubs. He is fine with cats, and likes all of the other dogs he has met so far. Spud is neutered, vaccinated and microchipped, ready for his new home. Contact PaWS, Pets for adoption, 504 Main avenue, Norwalk, www.pawsct.org. or (203)750.9572. Chanel Minnie is a 6 year old spayed female. She is current on all her vac-

cinations, micro-chipped and has tested negative for FIv and FeLv. Minnie is an independent, quiet, indoor only girl. She is sweet likes when people talk to her. She loves being pet and prefers having her head and back pet, but once she's had enough, she'll let you know. She does like to give head bonks. She doesn't particularly like to be picked up and her previous owners said she's not a lap cat. Minnie has never lived with another cat. She has lived with a dog, who she did not get along with. She has also lived with children and is fine with them. Minnie will scratch carpet and furniture, but she is used to having her nails trimmed. For more information, please go to: http://www.pawsct.org Check out PAWS TV Fridays at 9:30 pm and Saturdays at 5:00 pm on Cablevision Channel 88.

december/January 2013– FairField County reView – 41


Startling and Stunning Books by Joanne Greco rochman Having covered art for many years, it’s not easy to take my breath away. However, as I turned page after page of Painted Alive, I was continually startled, surprised, excited at the level of talent and creativity used by artist Craig tracy. Using the human body as his canvas, he transforms what is real and alive and transports his work into other dimensions. Painted Alive, subtitled “the Fine art Bodypainting of Craig tracy” will astonish and provoke readers, artists, and art collectors, who can’t get enough of the photos of his images. While body painting has been around for centuries and used for everything from celebrations to war, Mr. tracy’s use of the body makes the human figure art in itself even as it is transformed. the reader of this beautiful book will marvel at the artist’s use of form, color, and shapes. each page is an adventure into an entirely new experience. It is an experience that you don’t flip through quickly. It takes time for the mind to understand what the eye is seeing here. Writing that each work painted on a body needs to be completed within one waking day and averages about an eight hour day, Mr. tracy describes the vivid paints that he uses

as completely safe for using on the human body and washes off after one “thorough” shower. Born and raised in

‘Speed’ body painted by Tracey Craig.

New Orleans, it’s not surprising that bright colors should dominate his pallet. Of all the images that are presented in this book, and there are more than 60 gorgeous images, “Speed” and

‘Promise’ body painted by Tracey Craig.

“Promise” are works that one keeps turning back to over and over again. “Speed” features a leopard racing perhaps to his prey. this image is spread out on a woman’s body in recline. It is in direct contrast to the female body that it is painted on. While the model is lying down, stretched out so that the viewer sees her on her side from head to thigh, the leopard’s tail is painted on her long slender arm, its body spans the length of her torso until its head reaches the model’s hip. the leopard is brilliant orange on the model’s white body. It is quite stunning. One has to

wonder if the quiet sleeping beauty has a more fierce power within. Hmmm… also using a female body as canvas is the work titled, “Promise.” this work described as having “seven different connection points.” again the model is lying on her side. the long limbs of a tree stretch from toes to her outstretched arm. vivid red leaves accent the brown branches. the ruby red lips and


42 – FairField County reView – december/January 2013 painted toenails make for a strange yet powerful disconnect. You must see this beautiful work to believe it. Painted Alive By Craig tracy Schiffer Publishing, 2012 $34.99 Hard cover, full color, 128 pgs

There’s Nothing Ordinary in What’s Wrong with Ordinary? It’s a very rare book of poetry that comes across my desk that stops me in my tracks. So it was with donna Marie Merritt’s book What’s Wrong with Ordinary? Poems to Celebrate Life. the third book in her series called “Poetry for tough times.” the first volume dealts

with the trials and tribulations that come along with unemployment and is titled Job Loss, a Journey in Poetry while the second volume deals with dealing with a loved one who is seriously ill. It is titled Cancer, a Caregiver's view. While all of Ms. Merritt’s works are intensely personal, they are also universal and defy any reader to remain disconnected from her work. a resident of Watertown, Connecticut, this poet goes right to core of the human experience and plays on every nerve fiber as if plucking the strings on a Stradivarius, except that a Stradivarius’ song is too exotic, while the words of this poet are familiar and comfortable – downright intimate. What works here so splendidly is that she surprises us with her honesty and by revealing quite simply exactly what we feel. this book includes poems about marriage, raising children, facing midlife, and getting back to "normal" after stressful experiences. It is an appreciation for what we describe loosely as “normal” or “ordinary.” If anything, her poems show how extraordinary life is and so she has the perfect subtitle for her book: “Poems to Celebrate Life.” Whether she is doing it all as a mother of a teen; as a wife and caretaker of a cancer stricken husband; as a woman who just wants ten minutes of quiet in a beauty salon; some sympathy for a popped blood vessel; or

a cup of tea and some poetry, Ms. Merritt never fails to capture the real emotion without flowery verses or rhymed pentameter. this delightful book was officially launched at the Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington depot with a reading and signing. the poet is also the author of 15 educational books for children, 38 teachers' guides, dozens of articles on parenting and education, and more. the poems in this collection are so beautifully woven together that it is difficult to pull any one away from the completed text. this is a poem about life and flows as such, especially her poems about her husband’s cancer and her own desire for peace and quiet. Nonetheless, I have pried away one poem that will surprise you in its seemingly simple presentation, but the captured image will linger long in your thoughts.

oh! i see a fat gull bright blood on its beak greedily feasting on a fish on the beach nature’s way cycle of life and all that still, it disturbs me

What’s Wrong with Ordinary? Poems to Celebrate Life By donna Marie Merritt avalon Press Ltd.2012 Paperback $13.95


december/January 2013– FairField County reView – 43

Newtown Friends of Music Celebrate 35th Anniversary by Joanne Greco rochman

You don’t have to travel an hour and a half through New York’s heavy traffic to get to a classical concert. You only need to travel to the edmond town Hall, where its auditorium is well-known for its acoustic excellence and where the Newtown Friends of Music have been presenting live classical music on the stage since 1978. With a mission statement that aims to “enlighten, entertain, and enchant,” this long time organization has had a history of fulfilling its mission repeatedly and splendidly. Capturing both the spirit of the arts as well as the community, the “Friends” board of directors is a volunteer group. Its officers are: President ellen k. Parrella; vice President robert L. Shohet; Secretary William C. timmel and treasurer dorothea S. LaBelle. to say they are dedicated is an understatement. President Parrella has served as president of this organization for 25 years. Mr. Parrella not only confirmed that only the most highly skilled and well-regarded musicians are invited to perform for the Friends, but that in order for the organization to maintain bringing in this level of talent as well as maintain its integrity it must be very careful not to invite third rate talent. “It’s so easy to ruin a

Ariel String Quartet with Guest Paul Katz, cello

reputation that we have spent years in establishing,” she said. First rate performers want to associate with other first rate performers. Unlike some organizations that schedule their programs by listening to Cds of artists and ensembles, the Newtown Friends of Music program committee actually attends performances of musicians before inviting them to appear. “We go into New York City, Caramoor, and concert halls to determine whether we want a particular group to perform here,” said the enthusiastic president. Some of the most memorable performances include katia Skanavi, richard Goode, and the american String Quartet. “When katia was

supposed to perform, we had a terrible snowstorm. We had to postpone the Sunday concert. However, katia had to return home and her airline ticket was all set for Monday night. We couldn’t pay her if she didn’t perform, so we quickly managed to set up a Monday afternoon concert at noon. It worked like a charm,” said the indefatigable Mr. Parrella.

44 – FairField County reView – december/January 2013

Many renowned world class artists have performed in Newtown including: ann Schein, ayako Yoshida, Ilya Grubert and far too many more to list here. Without its outstanding reputation, the Newtown Friends of Music wouldn’t be able to bring such celebrated artists to Newtown. this is the 35th season for this dedicated group. Celebrating the milestone, this season is laced with lush performances.

The Amelia Piano Trio.

Symphony Orchestra, and the aalborg Symphony Orchestra.

the avery Fisher Prize since it was established in 1974.

In November the season continued when the The Amelia Piano Trio delighted audiences with althea kreston’s violin and Jason duckles’ cello. recognized as one of the top chamber ensembles performing today, the ensemble was asked to be the Young-ensemble-inresidence by the National Public radio.

March 10: The Vienna Boys Choir arrives in Newtown in March to help celebrate the Friends’ of Music anniversary. the boys are all between 10 to 14 years old with the most glorious voices in the world.

February 10: Certainly not afraid of the cold, the St. Petersburg the season began in October String Quartet arrives in Newtown with the return of a favorite pianist with guest clarinetist david Shifrin. Jens Elvekjaer, known for his phras- One of the most esteemed chamber ing and vitality. a leading Scandiensembles, it has performed at Linnavian pianist, he made his U.S. coln Center and many other prestirecital début in 2009 on Washinggious concert halls throughout the ton d.C.’s distinguished dumbarton world. Originally known as the Oaks series, and returned to d.C. to Leningrad String Quarter, when the play a solo recital at the National city resumed its historic name, the Gallery later that year. He has perquarter changed its name to the St. formed as soloist with the danish Petersburg String Quartet. david National Symphony and the Leipzig Shifrin has the distinction of being Chamber Orchestras, the aarhus only one of two wind players awarded Jens Elvekjaer.

april 14: thirty years ago, the Friends discovered the Shanghai String Quartet. they are celebrating their 30th anniversary, so everyone will celebrate this special season. Seventy percent of the Friends’ budget is allocated exclusively for artists’ fees. as a not-for-profit 501[c][3] corporation, all donations to Newtown Friends of Music are tax deductible to the donor. all performances are held on Sunday afternoons - 3:00 p.m. at the edmond town Hall, 45 Main Street, Newtown, Connecticut.


december/January 2013– FairField County reView – 45

“Next to Normal” Abnormally Popular by Joanne Greco rochman

The full cast of N2N (L-R) Rob Girardin (Doctor Fine/Doctor Madden), Dawn Brown (Diana), Thomas Doelger (Gabe), Tom Denihan (Dan), Theresa Elizabeth (Natalie) and Alec Varcas (Henry)

What is so surprising about “Next to Normal,” a beautiful and touching musical, is that it didn’t get all the hype of “Jersey Boys,” “Mama Mia,” and even “Phantom.” the musical written by Brian Yorkey with splendid music and lyrics by tom kitt won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama! It also won three tony awards and is so superior a work that it really does make all other musicals seen – well – “normal.” It also makes one wonder why people didn’t line up at the box office for miles around Broadway. the only reasons this reviewer can come up with are that it is far more intimate than most musicals and it’s not likely that anyone can walk out of a theater after seeing

this show wearing a smile. However, this 2012 – 2013 theater season will feature this production at three different area theaters. Finally, since people didn’t go in droves to see this masterful work, the work will now be available to the people. the experience can only be described as a trip to the edge of hell. the main character, diana, is a mother and wife who suffers from manic depression. Yes, the subject matter is dark, but this musical is special. It is sensational by the very definition of the word. Using contrast that moves from wildly electrifying to tenderly moving, everything about this well written, beautiful musical is manic. By the way, it has

been reported that five per cent of the population suffer manic symptoms. What the musical points out is that diana is not the only member of the family suffering. Her husband who is absolutely devoted to her also hurts, as does her daughter who feels completely neglected. In one song, husband dan asks whether all families are like his family. In some ways every family experiences some type of problem. even though this family is all affected by diana’s mental illness, it could be any illness or problem that influences entire families. there’s a universality about this musical that cannot be denied. When a show’s rights become

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available, theaters outside of New York quickly try to claim them. this season three different area theaters grabbed hold of them. the first to present this musical was the Warner theater in torrington. Its community theater production was featured in its Nancy Marine Studio theatre, a black box, state of the art, theater. known for its exceptionally fine community productions, this theater seats 300. the production of “Next

to Normal” opened its season last month; but never fear, there are two more theaters that will be raising their curtains on this production soon. Closer to home and what will be a completely different theater experience is Musical theatre of Connecticut, known as MtC and located in Westport. this production will be different from the Warner’s because MtC is a truly intimate black box

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tHeater theater that seats about 40. theatergoers are so close to the performers that they can literally reach out and touch them. Music theatre of Connecticut is an equity theater, so the actors will be equity professionals, members of the actors Union. In this intimate setting, theatergoers will have to call in reservations as soon as possible because this show is bound to be a sell out. You can make your reservations by calling the box office: 203454-3883 . Last but certainly not least to present this outstanding and memorable musical is Seven angels theatre in Waterbury. “Next to Normal” takes to the Seven angles main stage from May 9 – June 9. 2013. Seven angels Stage I is also an equity professional theater. It too has a small enough venue to keep the intimacy so necessary for this production, but it is much larger than the Westport venue. the Seven angels theatre will present this power house musical as its last show of its 2012 -2013 season. Box office: 203-757-4676 . Because this play is so special, once you see it, you’ll want to see it again and again. You don’t have to be a theater critic to enjoy the differences that each production presents. as a matter of fact, considering how affordable these area theaters are, I strongly recommend that you see the show at different theaters and enjoy every splendid second of this great musical. “Next to Normal” is simply extraordinary. It is a must see musical.

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Escape to Saybrook Point and Pamper Yourself in Luxury by Joanne Greco rochman

The lobby at The Saybrook Point Inn.

Sometimes, it’s just good to get away for a few days. It doesn’t have to be out of the county or out of the state to find a beautiful get-away that will transport you to a place where you are pampered and waited on in the most luxurious accommodations. the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa located where the Connecticut river meets Long Island Sound is one of Connecticut’s most beautiful inns. a family owned historic facility, the Saybrook Point Inn is where romance and reality merge into a picture-perfect respite. If you

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manage to step from your gorgeous appointed room with warmly lit fireplace, comfy chairs, and whirlpools to your balcony, you’ll find yourself overlooking a marina dotted with exquisite tall sails and yachts. It’s so beautiful; it looks like a page out of a fairy tale. though the Saybrook Point Inn has every modern amenity, it still boasts of its long history and well-deserved reputation for hospitality. Since 1870, when William H.

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Luxurious rooms.

Pease built the facility as a country hotel, hospitality has been the defining characteristic of this gracious inn. First known as the Pease House, the five star “the terra Mar Grille” is decorated with historic photos that document its rich past. the Pease House was razed in the late 1950s and became a “Great Gstsby-like resort hotel.” It was then renamed the terra Mar for its land and sea dual personality. the current restaurant gets its name from the resort’s his-

tory. during its illustrious past, the film “Parrish” starring troy donahue, Connie Stevens, Claudette Colbert, and karl Malden was filmed on site. as with any exclusive facility, its history includes the good, the bad, and the beautiful as it drew prominent figures to it like a celebrity magnet. Frank Sinatra, tom Jones, Jayne Mansfield, as well as big name gangsters enjoyed this seaside resort. a police raid was the beginning of


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the end of the terra Mar, but it rose again like a phoenix when the tagliatela family purchased it in 1980. Because regulations were much more lenient when the tara Mar was first built, the Saybrook Point Inn got exemptions from water control regulations as long as it retained a section of the terra Mar, which now houses the restaurant with bar. the rest of it was demolished and completely rebuilt and stands as the current 80 room luxury inn with a conference center, fitness club, full service spa, and banquet halls for weddings and other special events and occasions. the Saybrook Point Inn still draws famous guests such as robert deNiro and Billy Joel, but you don’t have to be famous to be a guest at this exquisite resort. Only about an hour from Fairfield County, once you spend a few nights here, you’ll want to return to spend more time here. It’s a difficult place to leave because there’s so much to do and see here. entertainment on the patio includes dining and dancing and there’s a wonderful walk along the water’s edge that draws guests as well as locals for an early morning or evening stroll. the inn also has a few

t r aV e l bikes available for those who want to bike along the nearby beaches. Golfers pack your clubs. there’s plenty of golf near the Saybrook Inn. One of the most charming is the 9-hole Fenwick course. For years, I called this the katherine Hepburn golf course because the late actress’ home skirts the course. It’s a unique golf experience because you need to walk it. It’s pretty flat with a lot of natural area integrated into the course. You also get to see a lot of the neighborhood which looks like the homes of the rich and famous. actually, the course looks as though it winds its way through the neighborhood instead of the other way around. You also get to see some beautiful waterfront views as you walk your way along the course that features a par of 35. While the course has a 33.6 rating and is three star at best, the real challenge is keeping your eye on the ball as you “ohh” and “ahh” about the sights along the way. More challenging courses are only a few long putts and a chip away. the accommodating staff at the Saybrook Point Inn will give you directions to just about anywhere that’s worth seeing and doing in the area. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the spa here is cutting edge. Offering 50-minute facials and just about every type of massage, you step into this spa as if you were

december/January 2013– FairField County reView – 49

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stepping into a transformation chamber. You step in tense and tired and step out relaxed and rejuvenated. the staff is friendly and accommodating. this is definitely not a couple’s only resort. Singles also enjoy the elegance of this all season resort. Beautiful in the bloom of Spring, refreshing in the summer sun, fabulous in fall’s color frenzy and warm

enough to erase the chill of winter without ruining the splendor of the view, this Inn even boasts of an annual symposium for women. titled “Be Bold” this symposium embraces women from the inside out. Located at two Bridge Street, Old Saybrook, you can make reservations and/or seek more information at 860339-1373.

See answers on page 29

50 – FairField County reView – december/January 2013

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