Monday, September 17, 2018

Nick Bellantoni to share ‘Deeply Human’ archaeology stories

: Albert Afraid of Hawk, 1899, Heyn Photographer (Courtesy Library of Congress
NEW HAVEN — While Nick Bellantoniemeritus Connecticut State Archaeologist will share highlights from his book “The Long Journeys Home: The Repatriations of Henry ‘Opūkaha‘ia and Albert Afraid of Hawk,” in a free presentation at the New Haven Museum at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 11, according to a release.

Bellantoni "will tell of Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia (c.1792–1818), a Native Hawaiian, and Itankusun Wanbli (c.1879–1900), an Oglala Lakota. Though they lived almost a century apart, the circumstances that led them to leave their homelands and eventually die in Connecticut have striking similarities," the release said

"ʻŌpūkahaʻia was orphaned during the turmoil of Kamehameha’s wars—which was fueled by European interventions. He found passage on a ship to New England, where he was converted to Christianity, becoming the inspiration for later Christian missions in Hawai’i."

"Itankusun Wanbli, Christianized as Albert Afraid of Hawk, performed in Buffalo Bill’s 'Wild West' to sustain himself after his traditional means of sustenance were taken by American settlers."     

Further, both men were buried in Connecticut cemeteries, the release said. "In 1992 and 2008, descendants of both men had callings, independent of one another, telling them that their ancestors wanted to come home. Thus began the repatriation process detailed in Nick Bellantoni’s heartfelt work. Then acting as Connecticut State Archaeologist, Bellantoni oversaw the archaeological disinterment, forensic identifications, and return of their skeletal remains back to their families and communities."

The book  "chronicles these intergenerational stories as examples of the wide-reaching impact of colonization and European/American imperialism on the trajectory of Indigenous life in the new world," the release said. “These are deeply human stories,” Bellantoni said, also in the release. “They remind us of how our collective and individual heritages contribute to our sense of self-esteem and the quality of our lives.”

"Bellantoni’s role in the excavations, his interaction with the two families, and his participation in the repatriation process of both men have given him unique insights into the significance of repatriation and the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, which was enacted in 1990. His natural storytelling abilities make the book a vivid and memorable read and will undoubtedly captivate the New Haven Museum audience."        

The New Haven Museum at 114 Whitney Ave., "brings more than 375 years of New Haven history to life through its collections, exhibitions, programs and outreach." As a designated Blue Star Museum, the New Haven Museum offers the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, free admission from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the release said. For more information visit or or call 203-562-4183.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Wild about flowers!

According to a release from Shaun Roche, visitor services manager at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, "Each spring the woods and fields of New England fill up with colorful wildflowers."
These include wild geranium, jack in the pulpit, Canada mayflower and others. 

Further, folks can take "an easy one hour walk with (refuge) plant biologist Kris Vagos to discover native wildflowers along the trails of Salt Meadow," the release said.

Participants will receive a growing pot and native wildflower seeds to plant at home, the release said.

Registration is required – call Ranger Shaun Roche at 860-399-2513 or email him at

The event is Sunday May 20 at 10 a.m. at Stewart B. McKinney Natl. Wildlife Refuge – 733 Old Clinton Road, Westbrook

Monday, March 5, 2018

Works by Women by Haven String Quartet

The Haven String Quartet is scheduled to present a full concert program of works by women in celebration of International Women’s Day, according to a release.
The concert is at 7:30p.m. March 10 at The Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Trpke., Hamden, the release said. It will be followed by a reception with the musicians. Tickets are $25, and $10 for students and Unitarian Society of New Haven members.
"Works by men traditionally dominate concert programs in the classical music world," the release noted. "One study undertaken by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gathered data about the 2014-2015 season from 21 of the largest orchestras in the US and found that 9 out of 10 pieces programmed were written by men. Even when selecting just by works by living composers, more than 85 (percent) of works played were written by men."
“Pushing Boundaries: Women Who Compose” will "feature the Haven String Quartet along with Music Haven Resident Violinist Patrick Doane, and special guest artist, pianist Andruis Zlabys, playing works by Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel (1805-1847), Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969), and living composers, Jennifer Higdon (who hails from the southern US and currently lives in Philadelphia) and Aleksandra Vrebalov (from Serbia)," the release said.
"Their styles ranges from the height of the Romantic tradition (Mendelssohn-Hensel's Quartet) to the 20th century “aleatoric” style of Vrebalov's My Desert, My Rose, in which some elements of timing and tone are left to chance or the split-second decisions of the musicians."
 All ticket proceeds benefit Music Haven’s tuition-free afterschool lessons program, the release said. Purchase tickets in advance at

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

Sunday, February 25, 2018

We Banjo 3 coming to 'The Kate'

Speaking of Irish music and "The Kate" - We Banjo 3 is also set to appear there. (Who can ever get enough of it?)

"The band of brothers blends traditional Irish music with bluegrass and folk to come up with 'Celtgrass.'” The event is scheduled for March 1.

Until then, enjoy:

Thursday, February 22, 2018

RUNA to appear at the 'Kate'

RUNA - Contributed photo
OLD SAYBROOK - The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, “the Kate”, will feature a performance by RUNA, "one of Irish music’s new 'super groups''” at 8 p.m. March 2, according to a release.

"Founded by vocalist and step-dancer, Shannon Lambert-Ryan and her husband, Dublin-born guitarist, Fionán de Barra, RUNA has been enchanting audiences by pushing the boundaries of Irish folk music into the Americana and roots music formats since 2008. Interweaving the haunting melodies and exuberant tunes of Ireland and Scotland with the lush harmonies and intoxicating rhythms of jazz, bluegrass, flamenco and blues, they offer a thrilling and redefining take on traditional music," the release said.
For information and tickets for all shows at the Kate, visit or call 877-503-1286. 

Also in the release:
About the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Center has been renovated with public funds from the Town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center. It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley.

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

Monday, February 19, 2018

Learn about Frederick Douglass at the New Haven Museum

This is a release from the New Haven Museum, shared unedited here as a public service to all who might like to attend this event.
In 1888, Frederick Douglass gave a public address at New Haven’s Hyperion Theatre in support of presidential candidate Benjamin Harrison. The “New Haven Daily Palladium” reported that the crowd clapped and cheered for two minutes straight after Douglass had finished speaking. But, according to British scholar Hannah-Rose Murray, a visiting fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University, Douglass’ reception in America had not always been so hospitable. Particularly in the years before the Civil War, he was viciously attacked both in person and in the press. However, according to Murray, when Douglass visited Britain in 1845 he was met with almost universal admiration. Murray will discuss Douglass and other African-American abolitionists who traveled to Britain, during a free presentation, “Frederick Douglass: New Haven to Great Britain,” at the New Haven Museum on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at 5:30 p.m.  
In one of abolitionism’s most extraordinary chapters, scores of black activists like Douglass travelled to England, Ireland, Scotland and even parts of rural Wales to educate the British public on slavery. Black men and women lectured in large cities and tiny fishing villages, wrote and published narratives, stayed with influential reformers and ensured millions of words were written about them in the newsspapers. Victorian Britons followed the movements of black Americans from the 1830s until decades after the Civil War, often cramming into tiny churches or town halls to curb an insatiable appetite for details about American slavery. Newsspapers called Douglass a “Negro Hercules” and compared him to famous Classical orators. He spoke to hundreds of thousands of people between 1845-1847, and returned to America as the most famous African American in the transatlantic world.
Murray will also highlight how the American and British press responded to Douglass’ sensational British lecturing tour. He gave over 300 lectures in the British Isles but was particularly fond of retelling one story that involved “a Connecticut Yankee.” Hartford citizens were shocked to learn that during his journey to Liverpool via steamship, Douglass was nearly thrown overboard by a pro-slavery mob, led by a slaveholder born in Connecticut.
Douglass famously contrasted the warm reception he received throughout his travels in Ireland to those he often received in the United States in a letter to the editor of “The Charter Oak,” published on February 12, 1846, noting:
“…In thinking of America I sometimes find myself admiring her bright blue sky—her grand old woods—her fertile fields her beautiful rivers—her mighty lakes, and star-crowned mountains. But my rapture is soon checked, my joy is soon turned to mourning. When I remember that all is cursed with the infernal spirit of slaveholding, robbery and wrong—when I remember that with the waters of her noblest rivers, the tears of my brethren are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged sisters, I am filled, with unutterable loathing, and led to reproach myself that anything could fall from my lips in praise of such a land…”
Murray received a Ph.D. from the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham and is a visiting Fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University. Her research focuses on African American transatlantic visits to Britain between the 1830s and the 1890s. Murray posits that inspiring men and women like Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells made a huge impact on British society, and educated millions of people about the brutal nature of American slavery and lynching. They challenged British and American racism, and forever changed the course of transatlantic history. Murray has created a website dedicated to their experiences,,, which maps their speaking locations across Britain, and incorporates her own research and writing on black performance, celebrity and networking strategies in Britain, and the talks, plays and exhibitions she has organized on both sides of the Atlantic.
Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Free concert at Woolsey Hall

The Yale Concert Band  will perform “Ask the Sky and the Earth” to commemorate 50thanniversary of “sent-down youth” movement of China’s Cultural Revolution, according to a release.
The performance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 8 at Woolsey Hall, 500 College St., New Haven
Admission is free, the release said.
The event also will feature “Three Places in New Haven,” (Thomas C. Duffy music director), Sam Um, marimba, the release said. For more information:
The release also noted:
“Ask the Sky and the Earth: An Oratorio Cantata for the Sent-down Youth”
"In 1968 during China’s Cultural Revolution, while America’s youth was preparing to launch the “Summer of Love,” 15-year-old Chinese teenager Wei Su witnessed the arrests of his father and brother and repeated beatings of his grandmother and sisters and the vandalism of his home by the military police. Three months later, wanting to “escape” from misery, he joined 17 million of China’s middle- and high-school aged urban youth who streamed into the countryside to participate in the “up to the mountains and down to the villages” movement. In distant borderlands, on remote islands, in harsh wilderness, these young men and women passed the precious years of their youths, sacrificing formal educations to be schooled in hard agricultural labor. This was a unique course of life – full of idealism and hardship, drenched by tears and sweat, by turns tragic, romantic, dazed, and ecstatic."

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

White House releases president's statement on Florida shooting

The item shared here, unedited, was released by the White House Thursday. It is President Donald Trump's statement on the fatal shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida Wednesday.  For more coverage visit

THE PRESIDENT:  My fellow Americans, today I speak to a nation in grief.  Yesterday, a school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred, and evil. 
Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, police responded to reports of gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida -- a great and safe community.  There, a shooter, who is now in custody, opened fire on defenseless students and teachers.  He murdered 17 people and badly wounded at least 14 others.
Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families.  To every parent, teacher, and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you -- whatever you need, whatever we can do, to ease your pain.  We are all joined together as one American family, and your suffering is our burden also.
No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school.  No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.
Each person who was stolen from us yesterday had a full life ahead of them -- a life filled with wondrous beauty and unlimited potential and promise.  Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give, and talents to share with the world.  And each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world.
Today, we mourn for all of those who lost their lives.  We comfort the grieving and the wounded.  And we hurt for the entire community of Parkland, Florida that is now in shock, in pain, and searching for answers.
To law enforcement, first responders, and teachers who responded so bravely in the face of danger: We thank you for your courage.  Soon after the shooting, I spoke with Governor Scott to convey our deepest sympathies to the people of Florida and our determination to assist in any way that we can.  I also spoke with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
I'm making plans to visit Parkland to meet with families and local officials, and to continue coordinating the federal response.
In these moments of heartache and darkness, we hold on to God’s word in scripture: “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.  I will heal you.”
We trust in that promise, and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow.
I want to speak now directly to America’s children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared:  I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be.  You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you.  If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer, or a faith leader.  Answer hate with love; answer cruelty with kindness. 
We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections, and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors.
Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can.  We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. 
Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation’s governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority.  It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference.  We must actually make that difference.
In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community, and country.  These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil, and these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need. 
And so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close, let us pray for healing and for peace, and let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow.
Thank you.  And God Bless you all.  Thank you very much.
                                           END                11:28 A.M. EST

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Congrats to a Connecticut cabbage grower!

The following is a guest post courtesy of Green Earth Media Group
The National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program’s Connecticut State Winner is Elena DeWire. 
Kids Grow Green: Cashing in Cabbage:  Kids across America are growing, and some are earning, a lot of “green” participating in the National Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program. 
This year, more than 1 million third graders in the 48 contiguous states have gotten hands-on gardening experience, growing colossal cabbages with high hopes to win “best in state” and receive a $1,000 scholarship towards education from Bonnie Plants.
Each year Bonnie Plants, the largest producer of vegetable and herb plants in North America, with 80 greenhouse facilities across the country, trucks free O.S. Cross, or "oversized," cabbage plants to third grade classrooms whose teachers have signed up for the program online at  If nurtured and cared for, kids can cultivate, nurture and grow giant cabbages, some much bigger than a basketball, tipping the scales, often over 40 pounds!
In 1996 Bonnie Plants initiated the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program in and around headquarters in Union Springs, Alabama, with a mission to inspire a love of vegetable gardening in young people and continue to “grow” our next generation of gardeners.
By 2002 the Cabbage Program became a national endeavor. The program awards a $1,000 scholarship to one student in each participating state. At the end of the season, teachers from each third grade class select the student who has grown the “best” cabbage, based on size and appearance. A digital image of the cabbage and student is submitted online at That student's name is then entered in a statewide drawing. State winners are randomly selected by the office of  the Commission of Agriculture, in each of 48 participating states.
“The Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program is a wonderful way to engage children’s interest in agriculture, while teaching them not only the basics of gardening, but the importance of our food systems and growing our own”, said Stan Cope, President of Bonnie Plants. This unique, innovative program exposes children to agriculture and demonstrates, through hands-on experience, where food comes from. The program also affords our youth with some valuable life lessons in nurture, nature, responsibility, self-confidence and accomplishment”.
“Over the course of the past 15 years, the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program has proved to be an exciting, successful and worth-while experience that children, teachers, parents and grandparents across the country have embraced. We're certainly extremely proud of our Connecticut State Winner: Elena DeWire!  We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide our youth with this enjoyable and enriching opportunity and engage their interest in the art and joy of gardening”, said Cope.
Getting It Growing: (see this adorable video on how to grow:
Growing a colossal cabbage may seem like a giant undertaking for young kids, but it’s easier than you think. All you need to do is:
·                 Let the Sunshine In: Cabbages need at least six hours of full sunlight, more if possible.
·                 Survey Your Space: Bonnie O.S. Cross cabbages need at least three feet on each side to spread out. If you don’t have that much space, use a large container.
·                 Supplement Soil: Work some compost into the soil – cabbages love nutrient-rich soil.
·                 Feed Your Food Plant: Start your cabbage off right with an all-purpose vegetable fertilizer, then fertilize it according to label directions to keep it growing strong.
·                 Water Wisely: Your cabbage needs at least one inch of rainfall each week. If it doesn’t rain, use a watering can or garden hose to gently water your plant at soil level.
·                 Tend To Trouble:  Keep weeds out of the cabbage patch – they compete for the food and water your cabbage needs. Be on the lookout for brown or white moths – these come from worms that love to munch on cabbage. If you see any, get rid of them right away. Cold weather can damage your cabbage. If the weather gets below 32° F, cover your cabbage with a bucket or cloth covering.
·                 Hefty Harvest: In just 10 to 12 weeks, you should have a huge head of cabbage you can be proud of.
Green thumbs and perseverance can pay off, providing participating children with as great sense of pride and accomplishment, a humongous cabbage, and for the lucky state winner…. the beginning of an educational fund for college.
A great way to get kids started in the garden is the National Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program, it’s free to any third-grade classroom in the 48 contiguous states and teachers can register NOW at for the 2018 program. Bonnie Plants will truck 2” cabbage plants to every registered third grade classroom in the country, delivery will be scheduled based on geographic region.
To see the 2017 winners as they come in and learn more about the 2018 contest, please visit:
Why a cabbage?  Coincidentally, cabbages were the first profitable plant sold by Bonnie Plants in 1918, and are known to be a hearty vegetable. The cabbages provided to the 3rd grade program are “O.S. Cross” cabbages; this variety is known for producing giant, oversized heads, making the process even more exciting for kids.

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

Nick Bellantoni to share ‘Deeply Human’ archaeology stories

  : Albert Afraid of Hawk, 1899, Heyn Photographer (Courtesy Library of Congress NEW HAVEN — While Nick Bellantoni ,  emeritus   Co...