Bethany to host African Children’s Choir

In celebration of Black History Month, we are excited to have the African Children’s Choir at Bethany Assembly of God on Wednesday, March 7. The African Children’s Choir melts the hearts of audiences with their charming smiles, beautiful voices and lively African songs and dances. The program features well-loved children’s songs, traditional Spirituals and rhythmic Gospel favorites. Nearly every performance is concluded with a thunderous standing ovation! In spite of the tragedy that has marred their young lives, the children are radiant with hope, musically gifted and always wonderfully entertaining.Childrens concert Bethany



For the past 10 years, Hilltown Families has organized a community-wide Handmade Valentine Swap, a free event open to all families in Western MA. Last year, over 1500 handmade Valentines were swapped, and we’re looking forward to having more families join in the fun again this year!

What: 10th Annual Community Handmade Valentine Swap
: Deadline to sign up: Thursday, February 1, 2018
Where: Swapped through the mail
How: Sign up at
Cost: Free to sign up

A handmade valentine swap gives local families an opportunity to be creative together while connecting with other families in Western Massachusetts. Through the swap, participants mail out handmade Valentines to 10 assigned addresses, and in return, each participant receives handmade Valentines from 10 other participants.

“Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends,” says Hilltown Families Founder, Sienna Wildfield. “A regional handmade valentine swap takes that creativity and puts it to work to connect families across western MA.”

The swap is intergenerational and cards can be handmade by any combination of child and adult, so if kids kids aren’t completely up to the task, or if an adult would like to make their own design, there’s flexibility. Deadline to sign up is Thursday, February 1st. On Friday (02/02/18) participants will be emailed their assigned names/address of families to mail their handmade Valentines to. Everyone is kindly requested to mail their Valentines off by Feb. 7th. Signing up to participate in the swap is free and open to all families in Western MA. To sign up visit

For more information, visit or email info@hilltownfamilies.orgvALENTINES DAY CARD PIC.

STCC offers “Extra Hours” for Spring Registration

Springfield Technical Community College will be open until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday from Jan. 8 through Jan. 18 to serve prospective students planning to register for spring semester classes.

Classes begin Monday, Jan. 22. During this “Late Registration” period, prospective students may apply to a program, meet with an advisor, select and register for courses, pay their bill and receive their schedule in one easy visit.

Dean of Admissions Louisa Davis-Freeman said there is still plenty of time to enroll at STCC for the spring semester, and many programs are still accepting applicants.

“To be accepted into a program please bring your official high school transcript(s) or GED or HiSET certification with you. In order to be considered eligible for financial aid, you must be enrolled in a degree-granting or eligible certificate program,” Davis-Freeman said.

“New for spring semester is our Mechanical Engineering Technology Transfer program partnership with Northeastern University,” Davis-Freeman said. “Our partnership with Northeastern allows students to earn bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering technology and advanced manufacturing systems on-site at STCC. The agreement with STCC marks the first time Northeastern has partnered with a community college to offer bachelor’s degrees on-site.”

In addition, STCC’s new online degrees in Business and Business Transfer continue to be a popular option for prospective students looking to complete their associate degree completely online, Davis-Freeman said.

The College will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 15.

For more information about beginning spring semester classes on Jan. 22 call the Admissions Office at 413-755-3333, email or apply online at (2)


To spread joy to local families this season, Bronson Starsiak, a Junior at Simsbury High School, organized a holiday food drive that collected hundreds of pounds of non-perishable items during the month of November. Starsiak delivered the donation to the Simsbury Food Closet located at the Senior Center at the start of December.
“I wanted to do something to make sure everyone in Simsbury would have a happy holiday,” explained Starsiak. “I chose a food drive in order to help the most people.”

As a member of the varsity Lacrosse team, he first reached out to the Lacrosse Boosters and Youth Lacrosse Association that generously supported his efforts. He also received overwhelming contributions from his neighbors at The Wyngate Association.

Starsiak notes his success could not have been possible without the efforts of friends and classmates Jack Donofrio and Vincent Gugliardi.

“I am extremely grateful for the outpouring of encouragement and donations I received,” said Starsiak. “I plan on making it an annual event.”


Lauralton Hall to hold open house Sunday


Lauralton Hall will hold its annual Open House on Sunday, October 1 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., at 200 High Street, Milford.  In addition, Lauralton Hall will hold its Entrance Exam for 8th grade girls on Saturday, October 14 and Saturday, October 21 at 8:00 a.m., also at the Milford campus.

Open House is an opportunity for girls and their families to tour Lauralton’s campus  (including the new Innovation Lab, collaborative-style classrooms, athletic facilities, Center for Guidance and College Planning, historic Mansion and 100-year-old Chapel), meet President and Head of School Elizabeth Miller, talk with faculty about course offerings at the academic fair in the Athletic Center, ask current students about life at Lauralton, and more.

There is no need to register for Open House.  The event is designed for students in 7th and 8th grades (5th and 6th graders and their families also are welcome.)  Lauralton Hall invites transfer students as well.

Lauralton Hall was founded in 1905 by the Sisters of Mercy and is Connecticut’s first Catholic college prep school for girls.  Open House attendees will get an inside look at the ways Mercy values resonate today in Lauralton’s mission:  Inspired by the Mercy tradition, Lauralton Hall empowers young women to pursue their highest potential through lifelong learning, compassionate service, and responsible leadership in a global society.

“We ensure that each young woman thrives as she is immersed in a school where tradition and innovation intersect,” said Elizabeth Miller, President and Head of School, Lauralton Hall.  “I invite girls and their families to come see the ways our academic, spiritual, social, artistic, athletic, service-minded experience is like no other high school in this area.”

Registration is required for the Entrance Exam.  The fee for the Exam is $60.  Students need to register within the online application at www.lauraltonhall/admissions/apply.

For more information, please email or call 203.877.2786 ext. 125.   Learn more about Lauralton Hall at


Lauralton Hall pic 1


Hold tight to your flash light and brace your soul as you enter the evening realm of Haunted Hale. On Friday and Saturday, October 6th and 7th, and again on October 13th and 14th, spirits will amble the paths and roam the halls of the Nathan Hale Homestead.

An ensemble of eccentric and ghoulish characters from Dark Walk will attend the Homestead’s twilight festivities. Medium Steven Gibson will conduct a séance on the property in attempt to root out some of the restless spirits haunting the Nathan Hale Homestead.

Let your inner spook or ghoul shine through with Face Painting by Lyss, try your hand at a number of Halloween games and activities on the Hale Patio, and enjoy fall themed concessions.

Beyond the light of the barns, in the shadowy corn stalks, spooks wait in the dark for wandering souls. Test your bravery- and your flash light batteries- with this moderately scary walk through the annual Corn Maze brimming with the frightfully-fun theme Your Own Worst Nightmare.  

CT Landmarks Haunted Corn Maze Clown (2)Haunted Hale runs from 7 to 9 pm; last tour leaves at 9 pm. Not recommended for children under 8. $20 per person for Haunted Hale; $8 per person/ $30 per family for Corn Maze only. In case of inclement weather, a rain date of October 15th will be inundated with ghouls.

This hair rising, spine tingling event will either be a night to remember– or a nightmare you may wish to forget!

The Nathan Hale Homestead is located at 2299 South Street in Coventry, CT 06238 and is open for regular tours from May through October. For hours or more information, visit, email, or call (860) 742-6917.

About the Nathan Hale Homestead

Nathan Hale Homestead is the birthplace of Connecticut’s State Hero, Nathan Hale, who was hanged as a spy during the Revolutionary War. The house, built in 1776, belonged to Nathan’s parents and family, and is located on the only site he ever called home. Its furnishings include several Hale family possessions and other collections amassed by Connecticut lawyer and philanthropist George Dudley Seymour who purchased the Homestead in 1914 and began a program of restoration that is largely preserved today. The Hale Homestead is situated on 17 acres, adjoining the 1500-acre Nathan Hale State Forest, lending to the site’s substantial rural character.

About Connecticut Landmarks

Connecticut Landmarks’ mission is to inspire interest and encourage learning about the American past by preserving selected historic properties, collections and stories and presenting programs that meaningfully engage the public and our communities. For more information, please visit



Paul Davis Restoration and Remodeling of Hampden County, a leading national provider of water, fire and mold damage cleanup and restoration services for residential and commercial properties, supports the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14. Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record, established in 1922 following the Great Chicago Fire that killed hundreds and left hundreds of thousands homeless. This year’s fire safety campaign theme, Every Second Counts, Plan 2 Ways Out, focuses on reinforcing why everyone needs to have an escape plan.

According to the NFPA, here are campaign tips:

  • Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit. Visit the website for .pdf and map at
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
  • For more information, visit the NFPA website at,

Paul Davis suggests the following tips to help keep homeowners and families safe:

  • Smoke alarms should be installed throughout the home including the kitchen, basement, and every bedroom and outside sleeping area.
  • Never remove or disable smoke alarms.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once per month by pushing the test button.
  • Interconnect smoke alarms so if one sounds, they all do.
  • If smoke alarms don’t work, replace the correct size battery or the entire smoke alarm unit.
  • Don’t let children play with fire.
  • Don’t leave cooking items or clothing irons unattended.
  • Place a portable ladder in each second-floor room.
  • Have an updated, emergency first aid kit.
  • Develop a family plan and conduct a home “Fire Drill” at least twice a year.
  • Check fire extinguishers for expiration and replace as needed.
  • Handle gasoline or propane-powered equipment cautiously.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors.

Paul Davis and fire industry professionals will help spread the word in their communities about the importance of fire safety. Contact a licensed professional or restoration and emergency services company if damage to your home or business is significant. All technicians are certified from The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

For more than 50 years, Paul Davis has restored residential and commercial properties damaged by fire, water, mold, storms and disasters. The experts at Paul Davis understand the complex process of recovering from property damage and provide complete services; there is no need for the expense and confusion of hiring multiple contractors. Paul Davis is a one-stop shop for disaster damage and restoration. Paul Davis has more than 375 independently owned franchises in the USA and Canada. The professionals at Paul Davis are certified in emergency restoration, reconstruction and remodeling. Visit the local office website at


This SaturdaHappy-Womens-Equality-Dayy, August 26th , is National Women’s Equality Day—a  holiday that commemorates the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.

Equality has been hard to come by in the workforce and though society overall has seen an improvement, the finance industry still has alarming gaps between men and women.

This is a holiday that needs to be recognized. Equality is more important than ever and we need to recognize women who have broken through and what it means to succeed in a male-dominated industry.


At North Brookfield Savings Bank, we believe that no matter what age your children are, it is never a better time than right now to start teaching your kids important financial lessons that they will use for the rest of their lives.

“It’s never too early to begin teaching children the basics of finance,” said Patricia Ostrout, Senior Vice President of Retail Banking. “We know parents are busy so we encourage them to incorporate financial lessons into everyday life experiences. For example, when they visit the Bank, work on their budget, balance their checkbook and pay bills. We always welcome children to visit any of our North Brookfield Savings Bank branches and be a part of their very own account opening. It helps them to better understand the process and how and why they are saving. Plus, they will get a lollipop!”

North Brookfield Savings Bank offers examples of teachable moments to help you get started:

At the bank. When you go to the bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work. Any of the North Brookfield Savings Bank managers can explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest and how an ATM works.

On payday. Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food and clothing, and how a portion is saved for future expenses such as college tuition and retirement.

At the grocery store. Explain the benefits of comparison shopping and using coupons. After the shopping trip, let them watch while you update your checkbook to include the transaction.

Paying bills. Explain the many ways that bills can be paid: over the phone, paper or by check, electronic check or online check draft. Discuss how each method of bill pay takes money out of your account. Be sure to cover late penalties, emphasizing the importance of paying bills on time.

Using credit cards. Explain that credit cards are a loan and need to be repaid. Share how each month a credit card statement comes in the mail with a bill. Go over the features of different types of cards, such as ATM, debit and credit cards.

teach-your-children-family-banking-2North Brookfield Savings Bank proudly participates in local community reading days, school parents’ nights and teaches financial literacy classes at middle and high schools.

Jaclyn Stevenson Named Director of Public Relations At Columbia-Greene Community College

Jackkie Stevenson
Columbia-Greene Community College announced this week the appointment of Jaclyn Stevenson to the position of Director of Public Relations.

In her new role, Stevenson will be responsible for promoting the college and its diverse set of credit- and noncredit programs for students of all ages.

I’m very happy to have found myself in a place where collaborative learning is not just prized, but seen as essential to the college’s future,” said Stevenson, noting that moving forward, she hopes to leverage several opportunities that blend digital marketing with traditional public relations.

Stevenson has worked in communications fields including journalism, public relations, and social media for more than 15 years, most recently as Director of Communications with the creative agency Winstanley Partners, based in Lenox, Mass.

Co-founder of the annual social media event PodCamp Western Mass. – the longest running event of its kind in the Northeast – Stevenson’s work has been recognized by the New England Press Association (NEPA) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). She was also named one of Business West magazine’s 40 Under 40, and is a HootSuite Certified Social Media Practitioner.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Bridgewater State University and a master’s degree in Organization Development from American International College. For more information, contact the college’s Office of Public Relations at (518) 828-4181, ext. 3326.

About C-GCC Columbia-Greene Community College, a campus of the State University of New York, is a comprehensive two year college offering a variety of transfer and career programs leading to the degrees of Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science, and Associate in Occupational Studies as well as one-year certificate programs and specialized courses geared toward community interest. The College is sponsored locally by the counties of Greene and Columbia through the Greene County Legislature and the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.