Community Channel: Staples musicians perform in festival,

Twenty-six students from the Staples High School Music Department participated in the CMEA Western Regional Music Festival last month.

Staples students participating from the orchestra were James Gikas, Lauren Schmidt, Manny Vouse, Jessica Xu, Justin Berg, William DeRocco, Michael Fording, Leya Luo, Melanie Lust, Neha Navrange, Hunter Patterson, Nicholas Denton-Cheng, Anella Lefebvre, Sophia Thomas, Calvin Carson, Abe Rubin, Woongki Hong and Samantha Atlas.

Chorus member Brody Braunstein took part, as did Declan Harding and Joshua Sigal from the Jazz Band.

Also, Sophia Lauterbach, Elana Atlas, Cole Burnham, Andrew Badeski and Jacob Kitchner, from the Concert Band, participated.

The festival, hosted by Staples High School, involved 30 schools and approximately 400 students from the western part of the state. Students rehearsed the evening of the Jan. 12 and all day on Jan. 13, followed by concerts that day.

Carolyn Santalesa earned recognition on the fall dean’s list at Wittenberg University.

To earn a place on the dean’s list, the Westport native maintained a 3.5 or higher grade point average for the fall semester.

Greer Hardy, of Westport, was named to dean’s list at Muhlenberg College for the fall semester. Students with a term GPA of 3.50 or higher were recognized for this academic achievement.

Miami University students who are ranked in the top 20 percent of undergraduate students within each division for first semester 2017-18 have been named to the dean’s list recognizing academic excellence, including Westporters Elizabeth Colwell and Jamie Santarella.

Westport native Charlotte Steinberg, an Ithaca College student majoring in integrated marketing communications, was named to the dean’s list in the college’s Roy H. Park School of Communications for the fall semester.

James Madison University announced the following Westport natives made the dean’s list for the fall 2017 semester: Daniel Patrick Brill and Michael James Mathis.

Students who earn dean’s list honors must carry at least 12 graded credit hours and earn a GPA of between 3.5 and 3.899.

Westport residents and sisters Heather Garson and Raleigh Leahy joined the Board of Directors and Advisory Board, respectively, of Experience Camps, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Westport that provides free, one-week camps for children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver.

The sisters got involved with Experience Camps after dealing with their own loss and deciding to channel their grief into something meaningful and positive to help others.

Experience Camps help grieving children feel “normal” and supported through friendship, teamwork, camp activities, and the common bond of loss. They have the opportunity to meet and connect with kids who are going through similar challenges, while getting all of the benefits of the traditional summer camp experience.

In 2018, Experience Camps will have more than 500 campers at camps in Maine, California, Georgia, and New York.

The Westport Department of Human Services reminds seniors the department offers a list of middle and high school students willing to work small outdoor jobs such as raking leaves or shoveling walkways.

There is a suggested fee of $10 per hour.

Seniors needing assistance may contact the department at 203-341-1050.

Students interested in helping a senior and earning extra money can contact the department or email Students already registered for the program are requested to contact the department if they wish to remain on the list. Written permission from a parent or guardian is necessary.

PaintCare, a no-fee paint recycling program, is available to Westport residents at the Westport Transfer Station.

Residents may take advantage of this program by bringing latex paint, oil-based paint, primer, stain, sealer, varnish and shellac (no spray paint) to the Westport Transfer station, 300 Sherwood Island Connector, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon.

There is no charge for recycling paint at the Transfer Station site for Westport residents, nor are any local tax dollars expended. The program is funded by a PaintCare Fee of 75 cents per gallon, which is added to the purchase price of paint sold in Connecticut. This fee is used to fund all aspects of the PaintCare stewardship program. Collected fees pay for paint collection, transportation, recycling, public outreach and program administration.

The addition of this program to the town’s recycling efforts is expected to reduce annual hazardous waste processing by $3,000 to $4,000 annually.

The paint dropped off at the transfer station is packed into large, plastic-lined boxes and transported to PaintCare’s facility. If possible, the paint is recycled into new paint. If not, it may be turned into fuel or used to make another product.

PaintCare Inc. is a nonprofit organization established by paint manufacturers to plan and operate paint-recycling programs in states that have passed paint stewardship laws. Connecticut is one of only seven states in the country to pass the legislation.

Do you drive on the Merritt Parkway late at night or early in the morning between Fairfield and Westport? Then be prepared for some delays because of a $56.7 million project that won’t be finished until August 2019.

The project will focus on a five-mile stretch of the parkway between the Congress Street bridge in Fairfield to the Newtown Turnpike overpass in Westport.

The project will include new pavement in both the northbound lanes and work on 11 structures related to the historic bridges, built nearly 80 years ago.

There’s also upgrades planned for guiderails, drainage and restoration of the historic bridges. With all this work, lane closures are needed.

Northbound lane closures are planned from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. from Saturday to Wednesday and from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Thursday and Friday.

Southbound lane closures are from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday; from 8 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday and from 8 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday.