Community news: Senior living community launches dementia-friendly initiative and more

Program on trusts, asset protection

In an Asset Protection Trusts and Revocable Living Trusts seminar in Ridgefield Public Schools’ Continuing Education program, Elder Law Attorneys Thomas E. Murphy and Michele F. Murphy will explain what these trusts do and how to protect your assets from long term care; avoid probate, taxes, and conservatorship; and preserve your quality of life. Trusts give you protection and control.

Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to: comparison of revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts, pros and cons of probate, Medicaid and VA aid and attendance payment of long term care, the mechanics of how trusts work, and new laws regarding powers of attorney. There will be time for a question and answer session.

This class meets from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 11 on Zoom. Advance registration required.  Cost is $29. Senior discount and caregiver/relative discount available. Visit https://ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

Drawing and painting classes

Drawing and Painting Studio Art classes start soon in Ridgefield Continuing Education. This is an in-person, open studio art class for both beginning and continuing students.

New students start on drawing basics, from contour through composition, using charcoal pencils. Continuing students work in the medium of their choice and receive individual instruction. Instructor Laura McCormick is a long-term teacher and artist specializing in charcoal and pastel portraiture.

This class meets from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, May 10, 17, 24, 31; June 7 and 14 ($147) or Thursdays, May 12, 19; June 2, 9 and 16 ($122) at the Annex (left of Yanity Gym). Knitting and Comic Creation are also available.

Discount for Ridgefield seniors, age 62 and older. Advanced registration required. Class size limited. The materials list is on the web site. Visit https://ridgefieldschools.org/drawpaint.html or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

Beginning Bridge class

Take Beginning Bridge in Ridgefield Continuing Education and learn the basics of bridge bidding and playing. This class is for beginners and those who are returning to the game after being away for decades, as well of those in need of refreshing their basic bridge skills.

The May classes are taught by Mary Watson-Stribula who has been teaching bridge in both New Canaan and Ridgefield for over six years. She is working toward her life master designation. She is an enthusiastic and patient bridge teacher.

June classes are taught by Glenna McNally, regional master, with over 50 years of experience playing bridge. She is an active member of the Newtown Bridge Club, where she not only plays, but is also a member of the Board of Directors.

This class meets from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays, May 9, 16, 23; June 6, 13 and 20 at the Annex (66 Prospect St., left of Yanity Gym). Cost is $147. Ridgefield Seniors age 62 and over pay $122. Class size limited. Advanced registration required. Please visit https://ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 to register.

Knitting classes

Studio knitting classes are available through Ridgefield Continuing Education to help you start or continue a popular, fun, productive, and relaxing hobby.

Beginning knitters are provided practice needles and practice yarn until the participant determines a project. This class is for all levels from beginning to experienced. Instructor Liz Doty has taught knitting to students of all ages for years and can bring your skills to the next level.

Knitting meets from 3:45 to 5:45 p.m. on Mondays, May 9 through June 20 (Annex; 6 sessions; $147) and from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, May 10 through June 7 (Veterans Park School; five sessions $122). Ridgefield Senior discount available. Advanced registration is required. Information at https://ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

Ridgefield Rotary Club announces 2022 Citizen of the Year

The Ridgefield Rotary Club has announced that Dean Miller has been named the 2022 Citizen of the Year.

As president of Meals on Wheels, his team doubled the number of clients served while dramatically increasing donations and community support. While president of the Ridgefield Library the new library was completed, a new director was hired and a new fundraising initiative was developed, increasing community support. As treasurer of Thrown Stone Theater, he is helping to bring more quality entertainment to town. And as a board member of RVNAhealth he helped to insure that the regional communities needs were met during the pandemic.

The club will celebrate him at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 8 at Silver Springs Country Club.

For tickets or sponsorships go to ridgefieldrotary.org.

Ridgefield Station launches Dementia friendly initiative

Ridgefield Station, a senior living community, recently hosted several introductory workshops to kick off their Dementia Friendly Communities initiative in an effort to make Ridgefield a dementia-friendly town.

The facility invited local municipal leaders and leaders from other local organizations around Ridgefield to learn more about the proposed initiative and join their efforts.

To frame the discussion at each of the workshops, participants were put through Ridgefield Station's unique immersive sensitivity training, the Dementia Experience, one of the initiative's multi-model learning opportunities. The Dementia Experience uses sensory modifications and role playing activities to thrust participants into a world that someone with dementia experiences on an average day, aiming to simulate the basic and sometimes dangerous challenges they face including preparing meals and managing medications.

Attendees walked away with a greater sense of the challenges faced by someone with dementia including isolation, poor nutrition, and medication error.

The Dementia Friendly Communities initiative is a public education campaign intended to combat the social stigma and misconceptions that accompany dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and related cognitive impairments. The ultimate goal is to build a community culture that befriends and helps those with dementia and engages them in community life, empowers them and recognizes their contribution. The program was developed by Senior Living Residences, the management company for Ridgefield Station, which launched the program in 2014 in Westfield, Mass., making the city the first Dementia Friendly City on the east coast of the U.S.

Ridgefield Station is hoping to bring its Dementia Experience sensitivity training to eldercare organizations in the area, along with local merchants, banks, supermarkets and other businesses.

‘Whose Barn Is It Anyway?’ show returns

The Role in the Hay Players will bring their unique brand of improv stylings back to the Theater Barn stage with their first 2022 installment of “Whose Barn Is It Anyway?” at 8 p.m. Friday, May 13.

Featuring Matt Austin, Jody Bayer, David Fritsch, Rick Hodder, Pamme Jones, Melissa Power, and Lisa Tancredi, this spontaneous evening of skits and games, based on suggestions from the audience, has no script and no plot. Performers are thrust into situations where they must use their imagination and comedic instincts, and what evolves is a combination of stand-up comedy and game show — with hilarious results.

Due to the spontaneous nature of improvisation, performances may contain adult language and themes that may not be suitable for children. Parental discretion is advised.

The Ridgefield Theater Barn is located at 37 Halpin Lane. Seating is limited and masks are optional for vaccinated patrons. Seating is cabaret-style and the audience is invited to bring food and drinks. Concessions are also available in the lobby. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are $20/person and reservations can be made at https://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/.

WCSU to honor resident

George Mulvaney, founder of Mulvaney Mechanical, was honored with the WestConn Society Breakfast for Student Success hosted by the WCSU Foundation in a ceremony on Tuesday.

Mulvaney founded this high technology mechanical contracting company that has done millions of dollars’ worth of work over its 41 years of operation. The company has been recognized with a Connecticut Subcontractor of the Year award from the General Contractors Association of America.

Mulvaney has made community volunteer work an equal part of his life, having served as director and chair of several important boards in Danbury, and Ridgefield, where he lives.

Mulvaney has been recognized previously with several awards, including the 2019 Cecil J. Previdi Award from the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, the Good Scout Award from the Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Robert S. Young Humanitarian Award from Ability Beyond, the Spirit of Humanity Award from Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, the Community Leadership Award from Regional Hospice & Palliative Care, the Extraordinary Friendship and Support Award from the Association of Religious Communities, and the Good Samaritan Award from AMOS House.

To order tickets for the award breakfast, go to www.wcsu.edu/giving/events/ or call (203) 837-9820.

Parent Circles program series returning to library

The Ridgefield Library is hosting a Parent Circles program series for parents this month.

The series will be titled: “Getting Back on Track After the Pandemic: Parenting a Child That's Happy, Confident, Resilient and High-functioning.”

The series will also have facilitated discussion groups that will be co-sponsored by the Ridgefield Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse, RCCASA, the Ridgefield Library, and the Ridgefield Council of Parent Teacher Associations, PTAs.

For parents of students in grades five and six, circle topics typically include:

- Understanding and parenting your changing adolescent

- Establishing and maintaining effective limits, while simultaneously maintaining a trusting parent-child relationship

· Navigating vaping, alcohol & drugs, technology and social media, anxiety, and dating

Date and time options parents of students in fifth and sixth grade are:

Circle 5/6-2: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays, May 4, 11, 18, in the Kellen Room

Circle 5/6-3: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, May 5, 12, 19, in the Randolph Board Room

For eighth and ninth grade parents each circle has two sessions. Topics may include:

· Maintaining connection and influence during the high school years

· Anticipating risky situations and behaviors

· Providing the support your child needs to survive

Date and time options for these parents are:

Circle 8-1: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays, May 16, 23, in the Kellen Room

Circle 8-2: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, May 17, 24, in the Randolph Board Room

Circle 8-3: 1 to 2:30 pm Fridays, May 20, 27, in the Kellen Room. For registration and more information, contact Doug Barile, LMFT: dougbarile@gmail.com.

Authors to speak at library

The Ridgefield Library and the Books on the Common bookstore, are going to host three authors for events in-person this month in the main program room of the library.

The first of the events will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, with author Bill Roorbach, who will present his latest novel, “Lucky Turtle.”

Roorbach is the author of five previous books of fiction. His memoir in nature, “Temple Stream,” won the Maine Literary Award in nonfiction. His craft book, “Writing Life Stories,” has been in print for 25 years. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, Ploughshares, Granta, Ecotone, New York magazine, and other publications.

The second of the events will be at 7 p.m. May 19 with author Rich Cohen, who will talk about his book, “The Adventures of Herbie Cohen: World’s Greatest Negotiator.” Herbie Cohen, Rich Cohen’s father, is a deal maker, a chance taker, Brooklyn-born Jewish Buddha, adviser to presidents and corporations, arms and hostage negotiator, lesson giver and justice seeker, author of the how-to classic “You Can Negotiate Anything”

The third of the events will be at 6:30 p.m. May 24, with co-authors Marc Lamont Hill and Todd Brewster, who will both discuss their new book, “Seen and Unseen: Technology, Social Media, and the Fight for Racial Justice.” Hill will join the event via Zoom, while Brewster will be in-person.

Hill and Brewster, a New York Times bestselling author, weave some of the most pivotal recent moments in the country’s racial divide—the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and the harassment of Christian Cooper, into their historical context.

In the vein of The New Jim Crow and Caste, “Seen and Unseen” explores what connects this moment to the history of race in America but also what makes today different from the civil rights movements of the past and what it will ultimately take to push social justice forward.

Registration is available by visiting ridgefieldlibrary.org, or by calling the library’s main phone number at 203-438-2282.

Tickets available for Thrown Stone’s shows

Thrown Stone’s fifth season features two new plays about friendship, competition, and coming of age in today’s world: “Athena” by Gracie Gardner, and “Hysterical!” by Elenna Stauffer.

“Athena,” a 2018 New York Times Critic’s Pick, was originally commissioned and performed by the Hearth Theatre. “Hysterical!” by Elenna Stauffer had its premiere at FringeNYC 2016.

Both plays candidly and poignantly explore the absurdity, the agony, and the swagger of adolescence and athletics — from a girl’s point of view.

The theater found “Athena” first, enlisting Ridgefield High School interns Evelyn Carr and Liam Huff to read a new play every day. Carr found “Hysterical” while searching for plays centered on young women.

Both plays will be directed by Tracy Brigden.

The show “Athena” centers on Mary Wallace and Athena, who are described as brave 17-year-old fencers training for the Junior Olympics. They practice together, they compete against each other, they spend their lives together. They wish they were friends.

The show was a 2018 New York Times Critic’s Pick . It opens at 8 p.m. July 15 and closes Aug. 6. There will be a press preview at 8 p.m. July 14.

The show “Hysterical!” focuses on the Bandits, a cheerleading squad that succumbs to a mysterious illness. As the traditional pecking order is upended, the girls’ relationships are tested. With a deceptively comedic first act, “Hysterical!” addresses serious subject matter, examining the vulnerabilities of teenage girls and the poignancy of life on the cusp of adulthood.

The show was a semifinalist for the Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival, the Hidden River Playwriting Award, and the Dennis and Victoria Ross Foundation Playwrights program.

It opens 8 p.m. July 22 and closes Aug. 7. There will be a press preview 8 p.m. July 21.

Tickets went on sale May 1.

Both plays will perform at Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, 440 Main Street, Ridgefield CT 06877. Preview Performances: $30. Opening Night Performances (including food, wine, and festivities): $79. Fridays, Saturday nights, and Sunday matinees: $59, Thursday evenings and Saturday matinees: $49. Save $10 when you order before July 1. Purchase tickets and view the full repertory schedule at thrownstone.org/events .

Creative Team:

Gracie Gardner, playwright, Athena

Elenna Stauffer, playwright, Hysterical!

Tracy Brigden, director

Emmie Finckel, scenic design

Adam Lobelson, lighting design

Brenda Phelps, costume design

Kevin Mambo and Jason Peck, sound design

Roger Connor Jr., production manager

Richard Harrison, technical director

Jordan E. More, stage manager

Mark Silence, fight director

Mike Martin, fencing coach

Bianca Paolello, cheer coach

Jason Peck and Jonathan Winn, producing artistic directors

The show is being performed with underwriting support from the Burry Fredrik Foundation.