Community news: Ballroom dance, German genealogy, buy & sell on eBay

German Genealogy workshop scheduled

An informative German Genealogy workshop, taught by Francoise Lampe, who has extensive experience doing genealogical research in the U.S. and abroad, is available through the Ridgefield Continuing Education program Feb. 25 (12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; $31) or Thursday, March 11 (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; $31) live, interactive, and online on Zoom.

This workshop focuses on U.S. and German online resources available to locate German ancestors and on how to overcome the challenges unique to German genealogy. The course includes a discussion of German history and geography, immigration and emigration of ethnic Germans, church and civil records, given and family names, gothic script and how to use maps and gazetteers to locate the German village of origin. Besides vital and census records, other sources of information such as passenger lists, city directories and newspapers are also discussed.

Genealogy for Beginners ( April 22 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon; $49) and French Genealogy (March 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; $31) are also offered. Ridgefield Senior discount available. Advance registration is required. Information is at or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

Ballroom dance, swing lessons underway

Ballroom Dance, Swing Beginner/Brush Up lessons began Feb. 3 in Ridgefield Continuing Education online via Zoom. The lessons have been created so you can learn and dance in a small space. Learn basic ballroom and rhythm patterns in Rumba, Cha-Cha, East Coast Swing and some club style dances. Great for beginners and for those who have taken lessons in the past. Class size limited. Wear leather or suede soled party shoes. Instructor Natalie Mazzola is a former amateur dance champion, and a teacher for many years in the area. Meant to be a fun stress-free class. Class meets (March 3, 10, 17 and 24) from 8:15 to 9 p.m. and costs $80 per couple. Ridgefield seniors, age 62 and over pay $64 per couple. Dance Toning starts March 8 and March 10 and Barre-lates starts March 23. Advanced registration required. Visit or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 for information or to register.

Successful Buying and Selling on eBay

Buying and Selling on eBay is a two-session workshop that provides hands-on experience using eBay and can help you: buy old or new items with confidence; convert household clutter to cash; start an eBay business; and sell items to downsize a collection. It helps to understand the buying process before you sell, so this is a great place to start. Instructor Eileen Burton has a small French collectibles business and has spent more than 15 years buying and selling on eBay. Class meets March 1 and March 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. and costs $79.

Ridgefield senior (age 62 and up) discount available. Advanced registration required. Other tech and computer classes are also available. Info at or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

Additional technology classes set

Social Media, eBay, iPhone, Windows, and Excel classes start soon through Ridgefield Continuing Education. These classes are small to allow for Q and A, and take place on Zoom. Tutorials are also available.

Word Enhancements (Feb. 26 and March 5; 10 a.m. to noon; $39).

Excel Intro (Feb. 24 and 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; $79).

Excel Intermediate (March 3 and March 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; $79).

Excel Advanced (March 10 and March 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; $79).

Selling on eBay (March 1 and March 8 from 1 to 3 p.m.; $79).

Get the Most Out of Your iPhone (March. 11; 1 to 3 p.m.; $39).

Google Docs (March 12; 10 a.m. to 12 noon; $39).

More sections, plus Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, iPad, Cyber Security, Wix Websites, Website Design, PowerPoint, Photoshop Elements, and software tutorials are available this winter. Ridgefield Senior (age 62 and older) discount available. Information at or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

‘True Justice’ documentary screening, discussion

The Ridgefield Library will present an online screening and discussion of the documentary “True Justice” Feb. 28 starting at 1 p.m.

“True Justice” profiles the work of renowned attorney, Bryan Stevenson, whose life work is dedicated to the struggle to create fairness in the criminal justice system. Following the screening will be a panel discussion with the producers of the film, Matt Henderson and Elyse Frenchman. The discussion will be moderated by Emily Keating, director of Development and Education for the Kunhardt Film Foundation.

Participants may view “True Justice” ahead of time or view it “together” starting at 1 p.m., right before the panel discussion, which starts at 2:45 p.m. This program is part of the library’s “Understanding Race: Community Conversation” series. To receive the Zoom link (and the link to watch the film if you would like to do that in advance of the program) register at or by calling 203-438-2282.

Ridgefield teen program reduces waste

In an inspired way to save the planet, Ryan Donovan, a Ridgefield’s teen, has created a program called “ReBound Books,” that not only reduces the waste created by discarded books, but also found a way to make it profitable. When Donovan, a junior at Ridgefield High School, became a volunteer in the Ridgefield Thrift Shop, he saw the large amount of donated books the shop received almost daily. These donations to the shop were greatly appreciated, but sadly many never found buyers. Donovan, and his mother, Mary Ellen, also a volunteer at the shop, explored ways to stop the inevitable journey of the unwanted books to the town’s transfer station. Together they decided to “help write their epilogues.”

Donovan takes the books destined for the trash and finds new uses. His game plan is four-fold, and is as follows:

Resell when possible through websites and storefronts.

Recirculate through targeted donations to libraries, schools, prisons, veteran’s associations, and organizations promoting literacy.

Repurpose damaged books to local crafters and school art programs.

Recycle the remaining books for reuse in paper products.

All money that is made through Donovan’s efforts, is donated to the shop. In four months, the program has sold over 600 books, donated over 900 and generated over $1300 for the shop. In turn, and as always, the shop, uses its proceeds to support dozens of local non profit organizations in the town.

Before anyone tosses any books, contact Donovan at:, or his mother at to find out more about how book donations can benefit the shop, the town and the planet.

Retirement, estate, legacy planning panel discussion happening

The Ridgefield Library will present an online panel discussion titled: “Retirement, Estate, and Legacy Planning,” Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. The panel will include three professionals with direct experience in the field as well as a recent retiree of the town. The four panelists will address different questions that Americans face as they approach the complicated process of planning retirement, and the disposition of their estates. Attendance at this panel is encouraged for participants of all ages, as it is never too soon to start planning. There will be plenty of time for questions from the audience.

Each panelist will speak about their area of expertise, and will also address different options as well as potential rewards, and risks relevant to the broader areas of retirement, estate and legacy planning.

The panel discussion is comprised of: Rob Ellis, managing director, of Ridgefield Capital, and the chair of the Library Development Committee, who will moderate the discussion; Bob Whitton, retired founder, and principal of the Arellton Group, LLC, who, with his wife Andrea, has created a planned giving approach for themselves, and their family; Ken Huitt, vice president, and legal counsel for Bar Harbor Bank and Trust; John Testa, vice president and investment officer at Bar Harbor Bank and Trust; and Marc Vigliotti, who leads planned giving at Save the Children U.S. and serves as an advisor for

Register to receive the Zoom link for this program at, or call 203-438-2282.

Library, Chamber of Comemrce presenting webinar

The Ridgefield Library and the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce will present a webinar titled “CT Paid Leave: What You Need to Know” Feb. 23 at 9 a.m. CT Paid Leave will impact businesses of all sizes — as well as their employees. In this webinar, Andrea Barton Reeves, inaugural chief executive officer, of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority, (PFMLIA), will provide information as to which employers must participate, who will be eligible for paid leave, and the resources available to support implementation as well as a walk-thru of the registration process. The webinar will also be recorded, and available on the library's YouTube channel the day after the program.

This program is part of the Fairfield County Bank’s “Skillsbox: Tools for Business Success series.”

Register to receive the Zoom link at, or call 203-438-2282.