Community Channel: New commissioners, holiday cheer and more
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe announced Jan. 4 his appointments for the newly-established Commission on People with Disabilities. James Ross, the former chair for the Citizen’s Transit Committee, has been appointed chair of the commission. In addition to Ross, six other Westport residents, including persons with disabilities, advocates, caregivers and professionals, have been appointed to serve on the commission.
Those residents are:
The Human Services Department will provide staff support for the commission.
In July, the Representative Town Meeting passed the ordinance establishing the Commission on People with Disabilities. The commission’s mission is to ensure that Westport is a town where people with disabilities have the opportunity and support to enjoy full and equal access to lives of independence, productivity, inclusion and self-determination.
The first meeting will be held Jan. 19 at 8:30 a.m. in Town Hall, room 201. Thereafter, the commission will hold its regularly-scheduled meetings on the third Thursday of each month at 8:30 a.m. All meetings are open to the public and interested citizens are encouraged to attend.
Garden Club spreads cheer
The Greens Farms Garden Club helped provide a festive touch to area organizations and local train stations with its fresh, hand-decorated holiday wreaths.
Gathering to decorate and then donating the wreaths is an annual tradition for the 87-year-old club.
Recipients of wreaths this year include Grasmere Eldercare Center in Fairfield, The Bigelow Center for Senior Activities in Fairfield, Connecticut Audubon Society in Fairfield, Clasp Homes of Westport, Star Inc. Lighting the Way in Norwalk and the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport, as well as the Fairfield Center, Fairfield Metro, Southport and Greens Farms train stations.
High school honor
Christopher Kral of Fairfield was named to the honor’s list at Pomfret School, an independent college preparatory school for boarding and day students in grades 9 through 12. To achieve this level of distinction, LaShelle, a member of the class of 2019, earned a grade-point average of at least 3.330 and received no grade lower than a B minus.
Blood donations needed now
The American Red Cross has a severe winter blood shortage and is issuing an emergency call for blood donors to make a donation appointment now and help save patient lives.
Hectic holiday schedules for many regular blood donors contributed to about 37,000 fewer donations in November and December than what was needed. Snowstorms and severe weather have also impacted donations. About 90 blood drives were forced to cancel in December, resulting in more than 3,000 blood donations going uncollected.
Currently, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in.
Find a blood donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross is extending hours at many donation sites for more donors to give blood or platelets.
Overall, the Red Cross has added nearly 200 hours to blood donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help speed up the donation process.
Nearby scheduled blood drives include:
Wilton — 1/9: 1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., YMCA, 404 Danbury Road
Shelton — 1/13: 8 a.m. - 1:45 p.m., R.D. Scinto Towers, 2 Corporate Drive
Fairfield — 1/20: 1 p.m. - 6:45 p.m., Grace United Methodist Church, 1089 Fairfield Woods Road
Stamford — 1/21: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Tully Health Center, 32 Strawberry Hill Court
Hold off on donations to P2P
Person-to-Person is in the process of conducting a comprehensive inventory in the Darien Clothing Center. During that time — due to the generosity of so many in the community — the center will be unable to accept any new donations of clothing, household items, toys, etc.
P2P, a nonprofit that provides low-income individuals and families living in lower Fairfield County with basic emergency services, will begin accepting donations again starting Jan. 23.
With offices in Darien and Norwalk, the Person-to-Person service area includes Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton. More information may be found at www.p2pHelps.org.
Help govern Toquet Hall
Toquet Hall, Westport’s teen center, is accepting applications for its middle school and high school governing boards.
Established in 1998 by the Westport Youth Commission as a safe, substance-free place “for teens by teens,” the Toquet Hall governing boards play an integral role in helping to shape the programs and style of the teen center. Through this opportunity, Toquet Hall provides a forum for youth to serve as community assets, develop leadership skills, planning and decision making skills, and interact with people of different interests and backgrounds.
The governing boards meet bimonthly to discuss upcoming programs, review press kits, assist with fundraising initiatives and create promotion strategies. Students will gain valuable volunteer experience in a fun and unique setting.
Applications are available at toquethall.org and any student who lives in Westport is eligible to join regardless of where they attend school.
Please contact Kevin Godburn or Kiernan Castro at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-341-1155 with any questions. Also watch for upcoming programs by visiting the website or following Toquet Hall on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
At the Center for Senior Activities
The Westport Center for Senior Activities is located at 21 Imperial Ave. For further information or to register for activities, please call 203-341-5099 or visit westportct.gov/seniorcenter.
Award-winning miniseries: “Eleanor & Franklin,” which won a combined 18 Emmy awards in 1976, will be shown at the senior center. The second part, “The White House Years,” will be shown on Jan. 19 at 3:15 p.m.
The event is free.
Pet safety talk: Veterinarian Melissa Shapiro will discuss pet safety (household toxins, car safety, fencing, etc.) for dogs, cats, and other pets on Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. She will also spend time discussing the importance of choosing reliable, safe pet care (dog walkers, pet sitters, kennels).
Shapiro, a graduate of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, will bring two of her rescued shelter dogs who will entertain and visit with the audience. There will be time for an informal Q&A and discussion following the talk.
The event is free and open to all ages.
Get your flu shot
The Westport Weston Health District still has flu vaccine and would like to remind students returning home for the holidays that it is a good time to get vaccinated as the flu season will peak around February.
This is a good time for older adults to also get vaccinated. Recent studies endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that the standard flu vaccine tended to wear off more quickly in older adults. Therefore, waiting to the end of the calendar year to be vaccinated helps ensure the vaccine lasts through flu season, which runs from October to May.
This year, the types of flu vaccines offered will include injectable vaccine for people three years and older, and high dose vaccine for persons 65 years and older.
The CDC does not recommend using the nasal flu spray this year due to low efficacy rates for the past two flu seasons.
The injectable flu vaccine for those under 65 years of age is quadrivalent, which means it contains four influenza strains; two influenza A and two influenza B strains. The high-dose flu vaccine for those over 65 years of age is a trivalent vaccine and contains two influenza A strains and one influenza B strain.
High dose vaccine has been shown to improve the production of antibodies, thus providing a stronger immune response against the flu. The most important issue is to get vaccinated.
To schedule an appointment call 203-227-9571, ext. 231.
Call for photos
The Fairfield Museum and History Center will hold its ninth annual IMAGES Juried Photography Show to celebrate the exceptional work of talented photographers in our region.
Entries will be accepted through Feb. 5.
Professional, serious amateur, and student photographers from Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are invited to participate.
The show will be on display from March 9 to April 30. In addition, the photography of Joe Standart will be on display.
Visit fairfieldhistory.org/exhibitions-2/images for more information or to enter.