Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Haven Oratorio Choir holding auditions

The New Haven Oratorio Choir will hold an open rehearsal on Jan. 7, and auditions on Jan. 10 and by appointment, according to a release.
"This spring we will be singing a variety of works by women composers," organizers said in the release.

Also in the release:

"Auditions for all voice parts will be held on Saturday January 10 in the afternoon, or can be scheduled individually with our membership coordinator. 

Additionally, our first rehearsal of the semester will be open to any singers who are interested in auditioning for the group. The open rehearsal is Wednesday night, January 7, 8-10pm. If you enjoy the rehearsal, you may then schedule an audition (possibly immediately after the rehearsal, if the director is available).
Auditions, rehearsals and performances take place at Church of the Redeemer, Whitney Avenue at Cold Spring Street in New Haven."
Those interested in auditioning and/or attending the open rehearsal should contact membership manager Gretchen Pritchard at 203-624-2520 or, the release said.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stratford Library to hold a 'Fairy Magic' Party for kids

The Stratford Library will hold a Fairy Magic Party on Saturday, January 17 at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 17 for children ages 4 to 12, according to a release.
Fairy Magic is a popular book series by author Daisy Meadows, the release said. Children are encouraged to dress up as one of the book fairies. To register or for more information, call the Library at 203-385-4165.

First Day Hikes in Connecticut parks

In a release, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said it would offer the following guided First Day Hikes:
("Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection  joins America's State Parks and all 50 state park systems for free, guided First Day Hike Programs on New Year’s Day 2015," the release said)
Hammonasset Beach State Park, 1288 Boston Post Rd., Madison, 1 PM, easy, one hour hike, meet at Meigs Point Nature Center. Sponsored by Friends of the Office of State Archaeology and Friends of Hammonasset.  Contact:  Don Rankin, (203) 245-9192
James L. Goodwin Conservation Center, 23 Potter Rd., Hampton, 12 PM, moderate, two hour hike, 3-4 miles, meet at the Center. Sponsored by Friends of Goodwin Forest. Contact:
Southford Falls State Park, 175 Quaker Farms Rd (Rt. 188) Southbury, 1 PM, moderate, 1.6 mile, one hour, meet by the parking lot. Sponsored by CT DEEP State Parks. Contact: 
Mansfield Hollow State Park, Bassett’s Bridge Rd., Mansfield, CT, 11 AM (arrive by 10:45 AM), moderate, 2 hikes - 4.5 mile & 2.2 mile, meet in the Mansfield Hollow Recreation Area parking lot. Sponsored by Friends of Mansfield Hollow.  Contact:
Scantic River State Park, Melrose Road, East Windsor, 1 PM, moderate, 2.5 mile hike, 2 hours, meet in parking lot at end of Melrose Road off Broad Brook Road. Sponsored by East Windsor American Heritage River Commission.  Contact:
Sleeping Giant State Park, 200 Mt. Carmel Ave., Hamden, 1:30 PM (arrive by 1:15 PM), strenuous, 1 ½ hr. & 2 ½ hr. hikes, meet at the bulletin board by the kiosk. Sponsored by Sleeping Giant Park Association.  Contact:
State park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on the state park.  Tips regarding proper clothing and details on hikes in all 50 states can be found on the America’s State Parks website,
“With seasonably cold and dry weather predicted for New Year’s Day --- taking a hike with your family and friends is a great way to begin the New Year,” said Robert Klee, DEEP Commissioner.  “Whether you join DEEP for a guided hike or venture out on your own, you will not be disappointed in the variety of hiking trails that Connecticut has to offer.  Our state has hundreds of miles of trails ready for you as you celebrate the first day of 2015.”
“Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit.” Lewis Ledford, NASPD’s executive director, said, also in the release.   “We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual’s or family’s regular exercise routine.”
Also in the release:
America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2015 at a state park.  First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.
 “Last year, we hosted 28,000 people who hiked 66,811 miles in our state parks across the country when we launched America’s State Parks First Day Hikes,” said Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors. “Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle, for the whole family. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day.”

First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts.  The program was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year round recreation at state parks.  Last year marked the first time all 50 state park systems have joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes.
CT DEEP joins America's State Parks in their commitment to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children.  Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Orange Historical Society holding sale of Christmas items

ORANGE >> The Orange Historical Society will hold a sale of Christmas items with a 10 percent discount from Saturday to Jan. 31, according to a release.

Organizers encourage shoppers to take advantage of "the already reasonable prices" to plan for next year’s holiday occasions, the release said.

The antique shop is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and this winter’s feature is 19th century oil lamps and furniture. The society also encourages the curious to "come see the unusual carved chair fit for a ‘king.’" For more information call 203 795-3106.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Audubon: Snowy Owl back in Connecticut

Audubon Connecticut says in a release that its "Winter Bird Forecast suggests that once again, the Snowy Owl is returning to Connecticut and several states along the Atlantic Flyway."
The Snowy Owl is "one of the most spectacular and charismatic birds of the northern hemisphere," and "are seen most often in wide open spaces such as fields, farmland and coastal areas. In some years, after summer nesting in the Arctic, they come south in winter to find more abundant food sources," the release said. 

"Last winter, dozens of Snowy Owls were sighted in Connecticut. The numbers this year are slightly behind last winter but they are still higher than a typical year." 

“If you see a Snowy Owl, consider yourself fortunate,” Patrick Comins, director of bird conservation for Audubon Connecticut said, also in the release. Take a long look, but give it space. They are used to living in the Arctic region and they generally have little contact with humans. Identifying them is pretty straightforward. Adult males are almost entirely white. Immature and female Snowy Owls can have dark bars alternating with white on their breast and back with a face that is entirely white. They can weigh four to six pounds and have a wing span of up to six feet.”
Photographs and short video files of the Snowy Owl can be found at the Audubon Connecticut web site:, the release said.
Also in the release:
"The return of the Snowy Owl coincides with Audubon Connecticut’s winter bird count http:// - known since 1900 as the Christmas Bird Count - which runs through January 5th. The count began 115 years ago as an alternative to Christmas Day bird hunts that were threatening bird populations. Other popular bird species seen in Connecticut at this time of year include: Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Shrike, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Snow Bunting, Bufflehead, Long-tailed Ducks and additional species of waterfowl." 

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

Monday, December 15, 2014

'ZDough—Made in New Haven and Now Sold There, Too'

NEW HAVEN - ZDough—"made in the Elm City" is "now sold there too—in the gift shop at the New Haven Museum,114 Whitney Ave.," according to a release
The sale is "in conjunction with the current exhibition, 'From Clocks to Lollipops: Made in New Haven.," the release said.
"According to New Haven resident and ZDough creator Kira Rama—who originally developed the dough for her own daughter, Zadie—the silky play dough provides tactile fun for all ages. Scented with essential oils, it also happens to smell wonderful," the release said.
The New Haven Museum gift shop is open during regular museum hours: Tuesday through Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, 12 to 5 p.m., and the first Sunday of each month, 1 to 4 p.m
ZDough made its New Haven Museum debut in October, during “Friends and Family Day,” at the Pardee-Morris House, the release said.
"Rama notes that, predictably, young children flocked to the ZDough sampling table she had set up for the day," the release said.
“But I was amazed to see 10- to 12-year-olds as engaged as the toddlers, making complex objects for a half-hour at a time,” she said.
"But what charmed her most was a man in his 80s, who noted the ZDough he’d just purchased was for the hand exercises ordered by his doctor, as therapy for arthritis."
Also in the release:
"As an elementary and special-education teacher—on hiatus while launching her product and spending time with her family—Rama likes the idea of the colorful material being used as a tool for young children to play, build fine motor skills, and explore their creativity, and also as an option for teachers, occupational therapists, and art therapists. She notes that adults are drawn to it too, and its texture and scents (including lavender) make it a natural stress reliever.
At the New Haven Museum Gift Shop, ZDough is available in colorful 2.5-ounce tins and Fun Packs of six, in scents such as peppermint, rose, eucalyptus, strawberry, lemon, caramel apple, and more.  Specially colored and scented tins for Christmas and Hanukah are also in stock. "
For more information visit  or or call 203-562-4183.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Haven Black and Hispanic Caucus's Annual Kwanzaa Celebration set

The Alder's Black and Hispanic Caucus's 10th Annual  Kwanzaa Celebration is set for 5 p.m. Dec. 26 at City Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

See more:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Read the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA here

The Senate Intelligence Committee issued an (executive summary) report on the CIA

You can read the report here, including downloading it or printing it. (It is a little more than 500 pages long)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SOHU of New Haven donates 'Stockings for Soldiers' to VA hospital

NEW HAVEN  - The SOHU, or  South of Humphrey Street Association in the East Rock neighborhood, delivered 204 stockings this week to the West Haven Veterans Affairs medical center, said Lisa Siedlarz  block captain.

The effort is in its seventh year. The 204 stockings "is the most we every had," Siedlarz  said.

"A huge thank you to all who contributed!"Siedlarz  said, noting help from several area groups and individuals.

Donations for the  2014 Stockings for Soldiers Drive were collected through Dec. 8.

Siedlarz started sending stockings to those in the military six years ago. 

Items organizers collected included: white socks, knit caps, scarves, candy (sugar-free or diabetic approved), deodorant, baby powder, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, hand lotion, lip balm, hot cocoa mix, small boxes of tea, pens, puzzle books, CDs, snack-size crackers, cookies and pretzels, soaps, body wash, razors, shaving cream, decks of cards, paperback books, magazines and books on CD for the visually impaired.

Organizers had said that they hoped area residents who consider giving will keep in mind that veterans “gave up a part of their lives to serve this country and defend our freedom.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Haven's State Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney announces committee assignments

State Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, in a release announced the Senate Democrats’ legislative committee assignments for the 2015-16 legislative session that begins Jan. 7.
“Our Senate Democratic committee chairs will play a critical role in formulating an agenda that is focused on supporting working families, fighting for seniors, promoting small businesses and continuing to improve our education system to maintain Connecticut’s competitive position in a demanding economy,” Looney said in a release.  “The skills, knowledge, experience and fresh ideas of each chair and vice-chair are tremendous assets as Connecticut pursues creative approaches to future challenges.”

Read them here:

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Haven Symphony Orchestra to present 4 performances of Handel’s 'Messiah'

NEW HAVEN - The New Haven Symphony Orchestra will present four performances of Handel’s "Messiah" in a statewide tour Dec. 18-21, according to a release.
Starting in Woolsey Hall in New Haven on Dec.18, the tour will continue Dec. 19 at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Dec. 20 at First Congregational Church of Madison, and Dec. 21 at the Performing Arts Center at Middletown High School, the release said..

"One of the best known choral works of all time, 'Messiah' is a collection of biblical texts compiled into the story of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection; it is traditionally performed for both Christmas and Easter celebrations," the release said.
"'Messiah' features such well known songs for solo vocalists with the orchestra as 'Every Valley Shall Be Exalted' and 'He Shall Feed His Flock,'' as well as monumental choruses like 'For Unto Us a Child is Born' and, of course, the 'Hallelujah Chorus,'" the release said.

The NHSO will donate proceeds from the Dec. 18 performance at Woolsey Hall to the Community Soup Kitchen. "The NHSO has supported the Community Soup Kitchen for several seasons and was the recipient of the soup kitchen’s “Silver Ladel” award in 2013. For more information about the Community Soup Kitchen, visit"


For these performances, the NHSO will be joined by four solo vocalists: soprano Nicole Percifield, countertenor Daniel Moody, tenor Jorge Prego and baritone Brian Vu. The first three performances will feature the Christ Church Oratorio Society of New Haven and the final performance will feature the Greater Middletown Chorale, the release said..



School Vacation Week Programs at Dinosaur State Park

Photo for illustration only!
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced in a release that the Friends of Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill will sponsor “The Wild Inside,” a series of indoor programs for families during December’s school vacation week.
The series includes (according to the release):

Daily from December 26-28  and 30-31  and January 2-4:
Naturalist programs 11 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Park staff will present a “Track Talk” or an Animal Demonstration
Crafts 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Visitors will be able to make a craft to take home (free with admission)
Films  10, 10:30, noon, 1:30, 2, 3 and 3:30 (film schedule will be adjusted on the 30th to accommodate special live animal program).

Friday, December 26
Free poster Friday – the first 100 visitors will receive a FREE dinosaur poster with admission.
Tuesday, December 30
Live Bird Show presented by “A Place Called Hope.”  Join us to meet the living descendants of the mighty dinosaurs. The show will feature a number of live hawks and owls.  Space is limited to 100 visitors.  Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis at 9 a.m. on the day of the show. This 45-minute show is recommended for ages 5 and older.
These special programs are made possible through the sponsorship of the Friends of Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum. 
Also in the release:
Background on Dinosaur State Park
Dinosaur State Park is open all year, has over 500 early Jurassic dinosaur footprints on display along with a series of related exhibits, a 100-seat theater, a Discovery room, a bookstore that features many unique titles, toys and jewelry and 2 ½ miles of hiking trails. 
The Discovery Room underwent a complete renovation last March and now includes a Connecticut Rock and Mineral display, an interactive geologic map, dozens of pull & learn drawers with hundreds of fossil, rock and mineral specimens, a skull display, a bird sound station and more.
The park is located 1 mile east of I-91, off Exit 23.  The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00 a.m. -- 4:30 p.m. The 2 ½ mile trail system and bookstore close at 4:00 p.m.  The museum is closed Mondays and the park will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.  There is a $6 admission fee for ages 13 and up, $2 for youth 6-12 and children 5 and under are free. 
For more information call Meg Enkler at (860) 529-5816.

Read the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling

Read the U.S. Supreme Court case: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission . Masterpiece Cakeshop Court Decision by H...