Thursday, February 26, 2015

“Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited” at Fairfield University

"Eden in the Mekong," Craig Barber
FAIRFIELD -  Fairfield University’s Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery will present “Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited,” on view from March 26  through June 6, according to a release.

The opening reception, free and open to the public, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. March 26, the release said.
 The exhibition is of 46 prints by photographer and ex-combat Marine Craig J. Barber, the release said.
It "was organized by George Eastman House International Museum
of Photography and Film. Barber spent 20 months in Vietnam as a teenager and returned three times to traverse many of his former military routes with an 8 x10 pinhole camera," the release said.
"His return to the land where he once fought resulted in a dreamlike and introspective study of place."

“Memory runs deep in my veins as I wind my way along narrow dirt paths and bamboo groves, past straw houses and barking dogs,” Barber has written of the experience, according to the release. “More than once, as I wander the small hamlets, I have felt on patrol, the weight of my pack reminiscent of those days and the tripod feeling like a weapon. But now I am searching for images instead of ‘Charlie.’”

Barber lives in the Hudson Valley and teaches photograph workshops throughout the United States and Europe, the release said..

"Accompanying the exhibition is a 60-page catalog of the same title, with an essay by Nordström (Umbrage Editions, 2006).
A talk by the artist, which is free and open to all, will take place in the Walsh Art Gallery on March 26, 2015, at 5 p.m., just prior to the exhibition opening reception."

The Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and one hour before, and during intermission of Quick Center for the Arts performances. Admission is always free., the release said.

For more information, call the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery at (203) 254-4062, or visit

The gallery is in the Quick Center for the Arts on the campus of Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Conn.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Celtic Celebration at Old Sturbridge Village

www.osv.orgOld Sturbridge Village will on  March 14 and 15, celebrate St. Patrick's Day weekend with daytime "Celtic Celebration" events, "complete with Irish music, food, step dancing, stories, and Scottish bagpipe music," according to a release.
"Irish musicians will demonstrate the difference between jigs and reels and tell the story of the Irish experience through song."
Also, the release said, a "Village historian portraying 19th-century Irish immigrant Mary Culligan will explain why so many Irish immigrants came to America, and what life was like for Irish families once they arrived.  She will also answer questions about popular Irish myths, like whether or not corn beef and cabbage was originally the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal."
Also in the release: Irish band Full Gael will perform a full concert of Celtic music at 7 p.m.  March 14 ($12 per person; $10 for Old Sturbridge Village members). Doors open at 6 p.m. and favorite Irish foods and beverages will be available for purchase, including Bangers & Mash, corned beef sandwiches, Guiness Stew, beer and wine.
 Lodging packages are available at the Village’s own Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges, located adjacent to the museum. For all times and details: 800-SEE-1830;         
"Most of the 30,000 Irish who came to Massachusetts between 1820 and 1830 were skilled workers, not destitute peasants. After building factories, canals, and railroads in England, many came to do the same work here. When those projects were finished, some swelled New England’s rapidly growing urban populations, while others sought farm work in the countryside. Many more Irish immigrants came to New England to escape the potato famines of the 1840s. "

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dunkin' Donuts fundraiser helps boy who needs a heart transplant

WEST HAVEN -  The community turned out in droves at two local Dunkin’ Donuts shops over Valentine’s Day weekend to help teenage resident Rajay Linton who is slated to undergo heart transplant surgery, organizers said in a release.

"Collectively, the community purchased 2,519 donuts from two D’Andrea Network Dunkin’ Donuts franchises at 305 Captain Thomas Blvd. and 985 Orange Ave. For every donut purchased, the family-owned business donated $1 to Linton’s Go Fund Me campaign," the release said.
The company has 13 Dunkin’ Donuts stores, located in Killingworth, Clinton, Guilford, West Haven, Orange and Milford.

"Blossom Linton-King, Linton’s aunt who has recently become his legal guardian, said many of her friends and those who know the teen from Bailey Middle School in West Haven came out on Friday, Feb. 13 and Sat. Feb. 14 to purchase donuts to support the teen," the release said.

Nicole Ball, franchisee of D’Andrea Network, said, also in the release, that her stores sold more than 100 percent more doughnuts this year over one of the traditionally busiest sale days of the year.

This was a "direct reflection of the community’s support for Linton," she said in the release.

"Maria Rivera, manager of the store on Captain Thomas Boulevard said customers were purchasing donuts by the dozen for Linton and leaving them on the tables in the dining area for other guests to eat for free," and one woman "pre-ordered 25 dozen the night before the promotion," the release said.

Also, according to Ball, Linton-King reports she and her family are now traveling to New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children Hospital’s about once a week in preparation for the 14-year-

old’s heart transplant, which can happen any day.

"Linton-King said the family has to be ready to bring him to the hospital within three hours of receiving a call that a heart has arrived for transplant," the release said.

Linton-King, an employee of Yale-New Haven Hospital, has health insurance for Linton but the funds raised by the D’Andrea Network stores and the Go Fund Me campaign will help offset the medical bills, her travel to New York and the expected three-to-four-month recovery period following surgery, the release said.

"Words can not express" her gratitude for the donations for Rajay, Linton King said in the release..

Linton, who was born with congenital heart disease in Jamaica, was raised by his father and grandparents after his mother left him in the hospital as a toddler, the release said. He came to live in West Haven in 2012 after tragically losing all three of his caregivers in Jamaica – Linton-King’s mother, father and brother all passed away in span of three years.
In photo by DíAndrea Network: l to r, top: Aiesha Padilla, Nicole Ball, Chesmaries Rodriguez, Jennifer , Juan Patino, Blossom Linton-King, Maria River and Ernie Cruz.
L to r, bottom: Rajay Linton, Ken Ellis and Cyril King, as Rajay Linton says thanks to the Andrea Network Dunkin' Donuts for their recent donation of $2,519 to support his upcoming heart transplant surgery.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Remarks by the president at signing of the Clay Hunt SAV act

The White House released this transcript of the remarks President Obama made at  the signing of the Clay Hunt SAV act (presented here unedited)

     THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  On behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House.  And thank you, Jake, for a moving tribute to your friend and your brother in arms.  I think it’s clear that Clay Hunt lives on in you -- in your devotion to his memory and your commitment to our country.  So, Jake, on behalf of all of us -- but especially, I think, on behalf of Clay’s family and all his friends and fellow veterans who loved him, too -- thanks for your extraordinary service. 


Today, we honor a young man who isn't here, but should be here.  Clay Hunt was a proud Texan.  As a boy, I understand, he collected turtles -- which was ironic for a kid who, by all accounts, never sat still.  (Laughter.)  He loved the outdoors, he knew every inch of his grandparents’ ranch, where he fished and hunted all year long.  A decorated Marine, he served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He suffered physical injuries that healed, and he suffered invisible wounds that stayed with him.  And, by all accounts, he was selfless and he was brave.  And when he died in 2011, it was a heartbreaking loss for his family, his fellow Marines, and our nation.  Because Clay had already done a great deal of good in the world -- and the truth is, he was just getting started. 


So we’re here today to pick up where Clay left off.  The best way to honor this young man who should be here is to make sure that more veterans like him are here for all the years to come and able to make extraordinary contributions, building on what they’ve already done for our safety and our security.


Clay was a passionate advocate for veterans.  And now, more than ever, that’s something we’re all called to be.  After 13 years, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over, and a new generation of veterans is coming home.  And like Clay, they are talented and they are ready to roll up their sleeves and begin the next chapter of their lives -- starting companies, going back to school, reentering the workforce, raising families, becoming leaders in every field.  And whether they found a new path or are just starting out on their new civilian life, one thing is certain:  Every single veteran in America has something extraordinary to give to this country -- every single one. 


And at the same time, too many of our troops and veterans are still struggling.  They’re recovering from injuries.  They’re mourning fallen comrades.  They’re trying to reconnect with family and friends who can never fully understand what they went through in war theater.  For many of them, the war goes on -- in the flashbacks that come rushing forward, in the nightmares that don’t go away. 


And that tension between then and now -- that struggle to make the transition from war to home -- is one that Clay Hunt knew all too well.  In Iraq and Afghanistan, he lost good friends.  After one buddy died, Clay slept in his empty bunk for a while, to stay close just a little longer.  A few weeks later, another friend was fatally shot right in front of him.  There was nothing Clay could do to save him, but he was still wracked with grief and guilt.  And when he got home, he found it hard to sleep and hard to go football games, or anywhere that was loud or crowded. 


Now, part of what made him remarkable was he was able to name the problem; he understood it.  Like many of our troops and veterans, Clay had post-traumatic stress.  And as a country, we’ve been doing more to help our troops and veterans deal with injuries like post-traumatic stress.  We’re been doing more awareness and more outreach, and more counselors have been put in place to improve access to care.  We’ve been doing more research into prevention and treatment.  And we’ve been saying loud and clear to anyone out there who’s hurting -- it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help, it’s a sign of strength.


And Clay Hunt was strong that way.  He asked for help.  In fact, he did everything that we urge people with post-traumatic stress to do.  He reached out to his family, they embraced him with love.  He opened up to other veterans, and they were there for him, too.  He sought treatment -- not once, but repeatedly.  And he channeled his stress into service.  As part of Team Rubicon, as Jake described, he went to Haiti after the earthquake to help families rebuild.  He refurbished bikes for injured veterans so they could join wounded warrior rides.  He even appeared in a public service announcement, encouraging veterans having a tough time to reach out for help -- because he knew that even though you can’t see it, post-traumatic stress is an injury just like any other, and the stigma has to end.


And Clay received care through the VA, but he struggled to get the right medication and the right disability rating.  And by the time the severity of his condition was recognized, it was too late, and Clay had taken his life just weeks before.  And he was 28 years old.  


Amid unimaginable grief, Clay’s family, Jake and his fellow veterans made it their mission to spare any more families the pain they endured.  So they shared Clay’s story far and wide.  And they reached out to members of Congress, and they lobbied and they testified, and made personal appeals.


And thanks to their tireless efforts -- and we are particularly grateful to Clay’s family being able to transform grief into action -- today I will sign the Clay Hunt SAV Act into law.  And SAV stands for Suicide Prevention for American Veterans.  It helps fill critical gaps in serving veterans with post-traumatic stress and other illnesses.  It increases peer support and outreach to servicemembers transitioning to civilian life.  It recruits talented psychiatry students to work at the VA after graduation.  It makes it easier for veterans to find the care they need when they need it.  And it includes strict accountability measures so we can track and continually improve these efforts as we learn more.


Now, this law is not a complete solution.  We’ve still got a lot more work to do.  Our Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Bob McDonald, is here and is doing a terrific job pushing reforms to get our veterans the care that they deserve.  But one of the messages I want to make sure to deliver today -- and I know that the First Lady and Jill Biden and others have been delivering this continually through their Joining Forces effort -- this is not just a job for government.  Every community, every American, can reach out and do more with and for our veterans.  This has to be a national mission.  As a nation, we should not be satisfied -- will not be satisfied -- until every man and woman in uniform, every veteran, gets the help that they need to stay strong and healthy.


And this law will not bring Clay back, as much as we wish it would.  But the reforms that it puts in place would have helped.  And they’ll help others who are going through the same challenging process that he went through.  So this is a good day, and we pay tribute to everyone who helped to make it possible. 


We want to thank Clay’s family, especially his mom and stepfather, Susan and Richard Selke; his father and stepmother, Stacy and Dianne Hunt.  You guys never stopped fighting for Clay -- and for all the families who have lost sons and daughters, as well.  And as a Commander-in-Chief and as a father, I can’t think of a more beautiful and special way to honor your son.  So we thank you so much.  (Applause.)  


We want to thank Jake and all those who served with Clay, who protected him and loved him like a brother, and all the veterans service organizations that fought for this law and who advocated so passionately for those who have served.  We thank all the military families who have lost a loved one, families here today who channeled their grief into helping others.  They believe, as we all do, that we have to end this tragedy of suicide among our troops and veterans.


I want to thank the members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, who worked to get this done.  I want to give a special acknowledgement to somebody who knows a little bit about service, Senator John McCain.  (Applause.)  Dick Blumenthal, we’re grateful for your efforts.  Representative Jeff Miller.  My home girl from the Chicago area -- (laughter) -- Tammy Duckworth.  Couldn’t be prouder of her.  (Applause.)  And, Tim Walz, thank you so much for the great work.  (Applause.)


And just to be clear about the bipartisanship here, this is one of those areas where we can’t have an argument.  Clay’s parents are Texas Republicans.  (Laughter.)  I mean, that’s not just run-of-the-mill Republican.  (Laughter.)  And they worked with this entire spectrum -- conservatives, liberals.  And that’s just a reminder of what we can accomplish when we take a break from the partisan bickering that so often dominates this town, and focus on what really matters to the American people.   


I wish I had gotten a chance to know Clay.  But, in a way, I feel that I do, because there are a lot of incredible men and women all across this country who, like Clay, just love their country and want to serve.  Michelle and I have had a chance to meet so many of them, and it’s such an incredible privilege. 


I think of the soldiers I sat down with at Fort Bliss a few years ago, and they told me they were proud to serve but struggled with challenges like post-traumatic stress.  They told me about the challenges they had in getting support and treatment, and managing their medications, staying strong for their families and their fellow soldiers -- and, most of all, the challenge of asking for help, which is hard to do for folks who are used to helping others.  


I think of Staff Sergeant Ty Carter, whom I awarded the Medal of Honor.  He survived an unimaginable battle in Afghanistan and carried a badly wounded comrade to safety.  As tough as they come.  But he, too, acknowledged before the ceremony, and talked about it publicly, his struggles with post-traumatic stress.  At first, he resisted even seeking help, but eventually he reached out for the care that he needed.  Today, he’s transitioning to civilian life.  He started his own business, and he travels across the country as an advocate, helping veterans and other Americans turn their struggles into a source of strength. 


I think of the college student who recently wrote me a letter on Christmas Day.  This is as tough a letter as I’ve received since I’ve been President.  She talked about her father, who’s a retired Marine, and told me about how her dad used to love to hunt and fish, and spend time with her and her little brother.  But gripped with post-traumatic stress, he became less and less like himself, and withdrew from the family.  And yet, despite these struggles, she wrote, “I knew that my dad was still in there somewhere…He is still my father.  And I am still his little girl.”  And she was writing, she said, to ask for help -- help her father find his way back -- “not for my family, Mr. President,” she said.  “I’m asking you to help the others” -- other families like hers.  And she said, “Don’t forget about them.” 


And that’s really what today is about:  Don’t forget.  So today we say again -- to every person in uniform, to every veteran who has ever served -- we thank you for your service.  We honor your sacrifice.  But sometimes talk is cheap.  And sometimes, particularly at a time when we’ve got an all-volunteer force and so often we can celebrate them at a ball game, but too many are insulated from the impacts, we got to also act.  We can’t just talk. 


So we’re ready to help you begin the next chapter of your lives.  And if you are hurting, know this:  You are not forgotten.  You are not alone.  You are never alone.  We are here for you.  America is here for you -- all of us.  And we will not stop doing everything in our power to get you the care and support you need to stay strong and keep serving this country we love.  We need you.  We need you.  You make our country better.


So I thank all of you.  God bless our troops, our veterans, our military families.  God bless the United States of America.


And with that, I want Michelle and Clay’s family and our other guests to join us on stage so I can sign the Clay Hunt SAV Act into law.  (Applause.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

'Benedict Arnold Examined at New Haven Museum'

"Benedict Arnold's Shop Sign,
New Haven, c. 1760.,
New Haven Museum. 
 Benedict Arnold sold a variety of goods from his shop on George Street in New Haven.
"Sibi Totique" on this original shop sign, loosely translated, means "something for everyone"

NEW HAVEN - The New Haven Museum reports that on Sept. 6, 1781, Connecticut native Benedict Arnold "and a force of 1,600 British soldiers and loyalists took Fort Griswold and burnt New London to the ground."

"The brutality of the invasion galvanized the new nation," the release said.

 Now, at 6 p.m., Feb. 19,  author Eric D. Lehman will shed light on events leading up to the attack, the release said, "and highlight Arnold’s transformationthe point where he went from betraying his comrades to massacring his neighbors."

The free lecture will be held at the New Haven Museum, and followed by a reception and signing of Lehman’s newest work: “Homegrown Terror: Benedict Arnold and the Burning of New London," the release said.'

Arnold lived in New Haven at one point in history.

The snow date is February 20.

"Lehman will examine how the New London incident forever marked Arnold as a symbol of evil, turning an antiheroic story about weakness of character and missed opportunity into one about the nature of treachery itself. Lehman draws upon a variety of perspectives, from the traitor himself to former comrades like Jonathan Trumbull and Silas Deane, to the murdered Colonel Ledyard. Rethinking Benedict Arnold through the lens of this terrible episode, Lehman sheds light on the ethics of the dawning nation, and the way colonial America responded to betrayal and terror," the release said.

Also in the release: "Lehman is a professor of creative writing at the University of Bridgeport. His fiction, travel stories, essays, and nonfiction have appeared in dozens of online and print journals and magazines. He is the author of several books, including 'The Insider’s Guide to Connecticut” and “Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P.T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity.'"


About the New Haven Museum

The New Haven Museum, founded in 1862 as the New Haven Colony Historical Society, is located in downtown New Haven at 114 Whitney Avenue. The Museum is currently celebrating 150 years of collecting, preserving and interpreting the history and heritage of Greater New Haven. Through its collections, exhibitions, programs and outreach, the Museum brings 375 years of New Haven history to life. For more information visit or


'Statement by the President on the Death of Kayla Jean Mueller'

The White House sent this release today. It us shared unedited here:

I"t is with profound sadness that we have learned of the death of Kayla Jean Mueller.  On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I convey our deepest condolences to Kayla’s family – her parents, Marsha and Carl, and her brother Eric and his family – and all of those who loved Kayla dearly.  At this time of unimaginable suffering, the country shares in their grief.

Kayla dedicated her life to helping others in need at home and around the world.  In Prescott, Arizona, she volunteered at a women’s shelter and worked at an HIV/AIDS clinic.  She worked with humanitarian organizations in India, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, compelled by her desire to serve others.  Eventually, her path took her to Turkey, where she helped provide comfort and support to Syrian refugees forced to flee their homes during the war.  Kayla’s compassion and dedication to assisting those in need shows us that even amongst unconscionable evil, the essential decency of humanity can live on.

Kayla represents what is best about America, and expressed her deep pride in the freedoms that we Americans enjoy, and that so many others strive for around the world.  She said:  “Here we are.  Free to speak out without fear of being killed, blessed to be protected by the same law we are subjected to, free to see our families as we please, free to cross borders and free to disagree.  We have many people to thank for these freedoms and I see it as an injustice not to use them to their fullest.”

Kayla Mueller used these freedoms she so cherished to improve the lives of others.  In how she lived her life, she epitomized all that is good in our world.  She has been taken from us, but her legacy endures, inspiring all those who fight, each in their own way, for what is just and what is decent.  No matter how long it takes, the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death.

ISIL is a hateful and abhorrent terrorist group whose actions stand in stark contrast to the spirit of people like Kayla.  On this day, we take comfort in the fact that the future belongs not to those who destroy, but rather to the irrepressible force of human goodness that Kayla Mueller shall forever represent."


Monday, February 9, 2015

Coffee House at Temple Emanuel


Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven invites you to "Come in from the cold, chase away the winter blues and enjoy an eclectic mix of live music, art and food at the Coffee House from 7:30 to 10"30 p.m. Fe. 21,  at 150 Derby Ave., according to a release.

" Local musicians will perform in solo acts and bands; jewelry and crafts will be available for sale, all from local artisans," the release said..


"Some snacks and beverages are included in the ticket price.  A more extensive menu of desserts will be available for sale. BYOB and BYOM (bring your own mug) for a greener event," the release said.


Tickets are $15 per person and can be ordered in advance on the TE website or purchased at the door.


Temple Emanuel is located at 150 Derby Ave. (Rt. 34) in Orange. For more information about this and other events and services at Temple Emanuel, go to, or call the TE office at 203-397-3000.

Wild about flowers!

According to a release from Shaun Roche, visitor services manager at the  Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, "Each spr...