Area residents take on many initiatives in 2013

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Thu., Dec. 19, 2013
(L to r) Glen, Dylan, Brian and Isaias shower Larry, from Greyhound Friends, with affection. File photos by D. Coffey.
(L to r) Glen, Dylan, Brian and Isaias shower Larry, from Greyhound Friends, with affection. File photos by D. Coffey.

Positive Parenting Program, a parenting initiative sponsored by the Department of Social Services and The Children’s Trust Fund, was the topic of discussion at a regional meeting in January. Paxis Institute CEO Dennis Embry, Ph.D., and Triple P Specialist Sara van Driel, Ph.D., spoke at length about research on behavioral, emotional, mental and related illnesses in children and how the Triple P program can be effective in dealing with them. Embry said the program was a way to create a culture of positive parenting.

Volunteers from northeastern Connecticut were recognized at the Northeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce’s 67th annual dinner and awards gala in January. John Rice was awarded the Civic Achievement Award for his work with the Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group. Roger Franklin received the George J. Racine, Sr. Humanitarian Award for his work with Hospice of Northeastern Connecticut. Jeffrey Rawson of Putnam received the Business Leader of the Year Award.

Director Paul Neuhardt watched as cast members finished rehearsing a scene in February for the Bradley Theater production, “No Sex, Please... We're British.” The fast-paced farce was just one of the many offerings scheduled for the 2013 season.

NPR host Ray Suarez spoke at Pomfret School as the 2013 Schwartz Visiting Fellow in January. He was able to distill 30 years of a stellar reporting career into an hour-long talk on the state of politics in America. Pomfret School and the Schwartz Fellows it brings in yearly are a great gift to the community. 

Master naturalist Fran Baranski and citizen science coordinator Paula Coughlin led one of the wildlife workshops they’re famous for at the Connecticut Audubon property in Pomfret in late January. Baranski, who has spent much of his adult life working in the woods, has seen the tracks of every animal known to live on the sanctuary. One of the busiest spots is where the Air Line Trail and Wrights Crossing Road come together.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy toured Day Kimball Hospital in February. Murphy was appointed to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. DKH leadership wanted to share their concerns about the impact the Affordable Care Act would have on hospital practices and procedures with the senator. Murphy acknowledged that the transition could be painful.

The Putnam fire station was overrun with children in February for an open house on fire safety. Firefighters reached out to the general public after a horrific fire claimed the lives of two little girls. Kids climbed escape ladders, sat in the driver’s seat of a fire truck and put on fire helmets. Smoke detectors were given out to more than 200 people who attended.

Day Kimball launched the program “Body in Balance.” Diabetes educator Pam Howell, R.N. is credited with creating it. The course is part of an overall diabetes management service provided by Day Kimball Healthcare. It emphasizes patient control. It targets specific behavior, such as grocery shopping, cooking, eating mindfully and dealing with stress. Howell's goal is to take people step-by-step through the diabetes landscape, teaching them what causes it and how to gain control over it.

Finance directors, tax collectors and assessors across the state expressed concern over a proposed motor vehicle tax exemption for vehicles assessed at less than $20,000, saying those exemptions would translate into significant losses in the year 2014.

The seventh annual Empty Bowl Project was held at the Putnam Congregational Church in March. Two-hundred community members came together to share a simple meal, courtesy of area restaurants. While proceeds went to the Daily Bread Food Pantry, organizer Terri Pearsall said it was gratifying to see the support and generosity of all involved.

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