Community news: Ridgefield Library offers alternative Santa story, seasonal tales; and more

Third Annual Founders Hall-iday “Light Fight” is Officially ON!

Between 6 and 10 p.m. from Dec. 9-18, Founders Hall-iday Light Fight competitors will switch on the holiday magic!

The entire route will take a few hours to complete. You can visit them all in an evening, or you can split up your destinations at your convenience throughout the ten nights. Once you see all of the locations, you visit our website to vote for your favorites, with a minimum $25 donation to Founders Hall. You can vote as many times as you’d like with a minimum $25 donation each time.

The Light Fight fundraiser benefits Founders Hall’s diverse program of social, educational and physical fitness programs for today’s active seniors in a warm, fun and stimulating atmosphere.

Online voting opens Friday, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. and closes on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 11:59 p.m. The winner of the Light Fight is the location that raises the most in monetary donations for Founders Hall. 

The Light Fight is a safe and socially-distant way to enjoy the magic and wonder of the season, on your own or with loved ones.

NOTE: If you’re not able to view the light display in person or have an out-of-town loved one who would like to contribute to this important fundraiser for Founders Hall, visit our website for a photo of each location. If you prefer to send a check, please mail it to Founders Hall or stop by—but it must be received no later than Sunday, December 18 at 11:59 PM.

Thank you to our sponsors, Fairfield County Bank; Nancy and Larry Bossidy; The Couri Family; Liz & Steven Goldstone; Hamlet Hub; Hollandia Nurseries; Jenn & Ron Kubick; Montanari Fuel; Reese, Hirsch, Shoults & Harrison, LLC, and Regional Hospice.

Performer to offer alternative Santa story 

Christian Hege will perform his latest original story, "Alexander Klaus, the One Legged Shoemaker,” at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Ridgefield Library.  

Hege is a writer/performer who creates stories in metered rhyme, then recites from memory and acts them out. He was a headliner at the 2020 Reykjavik Fringe Festival with his piece about Gryla, a mythical Icelandic female monster.

Why would Santa Claus do what he does? The story springs from that question and, just maybe, answers it in a fictional way.  

In the story, Alexander "Sander" Klaus is older when we meet him.  An underage infantryman during the Civil War, he lost a leg at 16 at the Battle of Chancellorsville. He also lost his father at Gettysburg, and later his mother abandoned the family farm.  At 16, Sander Klaus did what a lot of bewildered kids do: He moved to New York City. With his monthly pension of $8, he took an apartment above a German saloon, and then a job with a shoemaker next door.  

A 16-year-old boy on the streets of Manhattan in 1863, with one leg and debilitating PTSD wouldn't even raise an eyebrow. But something magical happens during his immobilizing flashback headaches: When he comes back from an episode, toys have materialized, out of thin air. This promises to be an unusual and interesting dramatic event. 

To register, visit the calendar at www.ridgefieldlibrary.com or call 203-438-2282

'Cyber Security' workshop gives education, protection 

"Cyber Security: How to Protect Yourself on the Internet," a Ridgefield Continuing Education Zoom workshop, will teach you about specific precautions to take online.

The course will touch on how to better safeguard your identity, your personal information, your computer and your mobile devices.

Long-term instructor Lance Whitney is a freelance writer for TechRepublic, ZDNet, PCMag and other technology websites and publications. He has written books on Windows 8 and LinkedIn and was a system administrator and trainer with Ciba Specialty Chemicals.

The class will run from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 16. The cost is $40 per person; Ridgefield residents age 62 and over pay $34.

Continuing Education will also offer one-session tech courses with Lance Whitney on "Selling on eBay" (Jan. 11 at 1 p.m.); "Using Social Networks" (Jan. 12 at 1 p.m.); "iPad" (Jan. 13 at 10 a.m.); and "iPhone" (Jan. 20 at 10 a.m.). Advance registration is required.  

For more information, visit www.ridgefieldschools.org or call Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

Continuing ed offers online courses with ed2go 

Online Courses with ed2go are available through Ridgefield Continuing Education.

These instructor-facilitated online courses are informative, fun, convenient and highly interactive and also allow you to learn from any location at any time.  Classes are available in business, computer, writing, grant writing, languages (French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, ESL and American Sign Language), health and online test prep including C++, Network+, Accounting, QuickBooks, GED, GMAT, SAT, GRE, LSAT and many more certification prep classes.

All courses run for six weeks, and a new session of each course begins each month. The next session starts Dec. 14, or choose the “no instructor, start anytime, self-paced” option. Courses are project-oriented and include downloadable lessons, quizzes, hands-on assignments, discussion areas and supplementary links that you can do anytime.  

Most of the courses cost between $99 and $140.  

Visit www.ridgefieldschools.org and click "ed2go online courses" or call Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 for more information.

ACT of Connecticut receives technology grant 

Now IT Works has named ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) of Connecticut as the first recipient of its Community Impact IT Partner Grant.

Located in Ridgefield, ACT of CT is a growing nonprofit theater organization that brings high-quality arts programming to the community with a focus on diversity and inclusivity. The organization contributes to the local economy and provides employment to actors and crews. 

The selection committee was impressed by the impact that ACT of CT has on its community and the arts, said Chris Meacham, founder and president of Now IT Works.  He cited ACT of CT’s New Works program that provides creative opportunities for promising actors and writers, as well as educational programs — including school workshops, master classes and private lessons — that train the next generation of performers and artists."

For 15 months, the grant will assist ACT of CT in undertaking an information technology update. Now IT Works will provide, free of charge, strategic assistance and support. NIW estimates the monetary value of the award at $30,000. 

For more information about ACT of CT, visit www.actofct.org/.

Lewis Fund seeks Ridgefield applicants 

The Lewis Fund is seeking applicants for grants it awards to nonprofit organizations for activities “which are conducted in whole or in part for the benefit or use of residents of Ridgefield and its vicinity.”

The Lewis Fund was started under the terms of the will of Wadsworth R. Lewis, the son of a prominent Ridgefield family who died in 1942. It has awarded grants totaling more than $4.15 million.  

The fund began distributing grants in 1950 after the death of Mary Russell Lewis, the mother of Wadsworth Lewis.  

Last year, the Lewis Fund awarded grants totaling over $130,000 to over 50 organizations.  The Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club, RVNAHealth, Ridgefield Library, Founders Hall and Meals on Wheels were among the recipients.

Marcie Coffin, chairman of the advisory committee of the Lewis Fund and executive vice president of Fairfield County Bank, is one of three Ridgefield residents who oversees the distribution of Lewis Fund grants.

The deadline for grant requests is Jan. 20. Requests must include an IRS determination letter; the organization’s most recent financial statement; the proposed budget for the current year; and a proposal requesting funds for a specific project or general support that describes the organization’s activities that benefit Ridgefield residents.  

Requests can be sent to Marcie Coffin, Executive vice president, Fairfield County Bank, 94 Danbury Road, Ridgefield, CT 06877.  The committee will review requests and funds will be distributed in February.

Lousbury House welcomes four new board members 

Lounsbury House, Ridgefield’s historic community center, announced the appointment of four new members of its Board of Director as well as the full slate of officers and members for 2023.

Dennis Bishop, Corrinne DiVestea, Karen Savir, and Marisa Schafer joined the board.

“All four of our newest board members embody the spirit of community and bring talent, expertise and energy to the table. We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we work to preserve Ridgefield’s historic community center for the use and benefit of all,” Executive Director Suzanne Brennan said.

A lifelong resident of Ridgefield, Bishop serves on the Board of Directors for the Ridgefield Playhouse and the Rotary Club of Ridgefield and as a board member for Jesse Lee Church in Ridgefield. He previously served as president of the Rotary Club of Ridgefield and of the Board of Directors for Ridgefield Amateur Hockey Association. Professionally, Bishop is a senior corporate/commercial contracts lawyer at MetLife in Manhattan. He has two children, both in the Ridgefield public school system.

DiVestea is executive director of the Putnam Community Foundation, a charitable organization that manages affordable senior housing. She has over 25 years of experience in public relations, event planning and fundraising. She is on the Putnam Hospital Center Foundation board and has served on committees for Friends of Karen, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Her love of historical homes attracted her family to move to Ridgefield two years ago.

Savir lives and works in Ridgefield after careers in sales, finance, education and event planning in Boston, Manhattan and Westchester County, N.Y. A Realtor at Coldwell Banker of Ridgefield and Katonah, N.Y., she is involved with fundraising efforts for Ridgefield Academy, advocates for girls’ empowerment at Ms. President US and is a feature writer for 068 Magazine. 

Schafer moved to Ridgefield in 2016 and fell in love with the town. Schafer was admitted to practice law in New York and Connecticut in 2005 and admitted to the federal bar in 2007. In 2011, she and her husband formed Schafer Law. She has two young children in the Branchville District, sits on the ritual committee at Congregation Shir Shalom in Ridgefield, is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, and performs with Troupers Light Opera.

The full slate of board members and officers for 2023 includes Jill Rae of Jill Rae Design, president; Robert J. Creamer, an attorney, vice president; Antonia Riordan of Berkshire Hathaway Realty, treasurer; Patricia Ross, secretary; Wendy Beurket; Amanda Gabbard of AG Beauty; Caroline Kellen; David McInnis of Willard Powell Inc.; Catherine Savoca, of Executive Search; Chris Tiberio of Insurance & Risk Management; Christine Wohl of Coldwell Banker; and Stephen Wooters of Fairfield County Bank.

Mind Body Botanicals owner earns entrepreneur grant

The National Down Syndrome Society and Voya Cares provide financial support to entrepreneurs with Down syndrome who want to start their own business or grow an existing one.

The recipient of this year’s $10,000 grant is Ridgefield entrepreneur Kevin Davis, owner of Mind Body Botanicals.

It was awarded during National Entrepreneur Month in November to raise awareness of entrepreneurs with Down syndrome, while supporting U.S. small businesses.

Davis started his business out of a need to find an easier way to moisturize. He launched ultra-moisturizing towelettes that can be used on wet or dry skin. The product is all-natural, organic, sustainable, biodegradable and compostable. He said if he gets a lot of business, he aims to employ people with different abilities. The grant will be used to strategically invest in marketing and supplies for a larger inventory.

Davis was chosen from a pool of applicants based on the creativity of the business plan, goals for the business's future and his impact on his community.

The company’s overall goal is to help people with limited mobility to moisturize their skin. His towelettes have been donated to nursing homes and helped senior citizens independently moisturize their skin.

To learn more about the grant and Voya’s collaboration with NDSS, visit www.ndss.org/engage/ndss-scholarships/ndss-voya-entrepreneur-grants.

Ridgefield Station hosts Alzheimer's support group 

The Ridgefield Station's Alzheimer's support group will meet in person in the theater room of Ridgefield Station Senior Living at 55 Old Quarry Road on Dec. 14 at 4 p.m.

Dealing with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia isn't easy, so it is helpful to share your concerns and personal experiences with others who understand what you're going through. Also, learn about proven strategies to help you better care for your family member.

Call 203-403-0990 or email director of compass programming Hugh Salazar at hsalazar@ridgefieldslr.com for more information and to RSVP.

Voice actor reads Christmas stories at Ridgefield Library

Voice actor Alan Sklar will read two seasonal holiday stories at 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Ridgefield Library.   

He will treat the audience to O.Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" and Dylan Thomas's "A Child's Christmas in Wales." Tea and cookies will be served.

Sklar has been a freelance voice actor for over 25 years, voicing radio and TV commercials, audiobooks, documentaries and thousands of corporate and medical video projects.

This program is suitable for children and adults.

To register, visit the calendar at www.ridgefieldlibrary.com or call 203-438-2282. 

Parks and Recreation holds tennis classes, decorates tree 

Community members are invited to take their holiday photos with the Christmas tree decorated by The Ridgefield Women's Club in the Recreation Center. 

Also, Parks and Recreation is offering indoor tennis classes for adults and kids.

Adult Cardio Tennis is available on Mondays and Fridays from 12:45 to 2:15 p,m, in the Yanity Gymnasium, starting on Jan. 9. Participants may sign up for one or two days a week.

For children, youth classes start on Jan. 17 and are held in the Scotland Elementary School’s gymnasium. Participants may sign up for one or two days a week.

Children, ages 3 to 6 , meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Children, ages 7 to 11, meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

All classes are led by Jonathan Chase. For more information, visit ridgefieldparksandrec.org or call 203-431-2755.

St. Stephen's presents Carols by Candlelight 

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is presenting its 11th annual Carols by Candlelight concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 in the church’s sanctuary, 353 Main St. The concert is a celebration of Advent and Christmas presented by the St. Stephen’s Festival Choir, soloists, and a 10-piece chamber orchestra featuring wind and string instruments. Derrick Goff, St. Stephen’s Minister of Music, will conduct the ensemble.   

The candlelight concert includes traditional and less familiar works that represent various cultures and times, such as the Spanish lullaby “Alegria” (Joy), the old French carol “What Is This Lovely Fragrance,” and “Softly”, by contemporary British composer Will Todd.  “My Dancing Day,” by contemporary Swiss composer Carl Rutti, is a lively new take on the classic “Tomorrow Shall by My Dancing Day,” which tells the story of Jesus through the metaphor of dance. Among the highlights of the concert will be “And the glory of the Lord”; from Handel’s “Messiah, it tells of the coming of the promised Messiah.  

The audience will be invited to join in singing traditional Christmas carols. The doors open at 7 p.m., and admission is by a suggested donation of $20; more generous donations are always welcome.