Monthly Archives: December 2011

Danbury Celebrates New Year With First Night 2012

Danbury Celebrates New Year With First Night 2012

Photo Credit: First Night Danbury

Now in their 22nd year, First Night Danbury welcomes 2012 with a family friendly, alcohol free New Year’s Eve celebration with the theme, “Looking Up & Moving Forward.” Entrance to all events is $7.50 with a First Night button that can be purchased at City Center Danbury, 186 Main Street  Danbury until 8:00 p.m. this evening. For more information call  (203) 792-1711.

Below is a listing of entertainers and artists, courtesy of First Night Danbury.

Kerri LuBell (NY)
4:00 – 7:00 PM
Go creative. Kerri’s clever arts & crafts creations have always insured that a child of any age goes home with play-full memories…and a keepsake souvenir. (youngatartworkshop.com/teachers.htm)

Magic Marty

Marty the Magician (NY)
4:00 – 7:00 PM
Magic and comedy for children of all ages, Marty is joining First Night Danbury for his 7th season. He is a past president of the Danbury Top Hatters Society of American Magicians. Make ‘em laugh! (www.magicmarty.net)

Ice Skating
5:00 – 7:00 PM
Get on the ice tonight! Admission to the Public Skate is only $3 for everyone with a First Night button. If you don’t have your own skates, you can rent a pair for $4.

Danbury Library
A convenient gateway to the best sources of information, cultural enrichment and possibility, the Library is responsive to the varied needs of our city’s diverse population. 170 Main Street (http://danburylibrary.org)

Ice Matters (CT)
4:00 – 8:00 PM on Library Plaza
A First Night staple, this award winning ice carving company always captures First Night’s theme with artistry and good humor. A National Ice Carving Champion, owner Bill Covitz began his career as a graduating chef from the Culinary Institute of America. He now spends some of his time creating ice instruments on the mountaintops of Norway. (www.icematters.com)

Bill Covitz – Ice Matters

Mother Goose (CT) 
4:15 – 5:00 PM & 5:45 – 6:30 in the Farioly Room
Lenka Pichlikova, a native of Prague, brings spoken word, musical theatre, and mime to elementary schools and classical pantomime to secondary schools and universities. She has studied with Uta Hagen and Marcel Marceau. In 2006, she was named “Best Mime” in Fairfield County. “Mother Goose” is especially suited for children from K – 6 grades. (www.lenkashows.com)

Nancy Tucker  (CT)
5:00 – 5:45 PM & 6:00 – 6:45 PM on the Main Level
Can you imagine a hysterical jellyfish, cats and mice tangoing, or an unforgettable train ride powered by your face and arms? It all happens in Nancy’s musical romps. Nancy honors the playfulness of spirit in each of us that lets everyone win, and she captures each audience’s imagination and heart with gentle invitation and contagious lunacy.  (www.nancytucker.info)

Lenka Pichlikova – Mother Goose

Adam Auslander & Friends (NY)
6:00 – 8:PM on Library Plaza & in CityCenter streets
An actor, writer and producer, Adam spent a year learning and performing  the art of clowning with Ringley Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. He has provided stiltwalkers for the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade for many years. First Night Danbury is always “Looking Up!” (AdamAus@aol.com)

Arm of the Sea Theater (NY)
6:00 – 8:00 PM on Library Plaza & in CenterCenter streets
Founded in 1982 by Marlena Marallo and Patrick Wadden,  Arm-of-the-Sea creates large-scale, contemporary works of mask and puppet theatre, and visual storytelling—with a potent style of magical realism that addresses the links between communities and the planet. (www.ArmoftheSea.org/)

Salsa Caliente (CT)
6:45 – 7:45 PM in the Farioly Room
With a complete suite of salsa & tango classes, Jay Barbalai brings together a community of dance enthusiasts who enjoy classes, parties and music events, in a friendly, safe, local and inclusive environment.(salsaamigos.net)

What’s Left (CT) 
7:30 – 8:00 PM on Library Plaza
A rock, bluesy, alternative trio – guitar, bass, drums – with dreams of the Big Stage and the talent to make it there. (http://www.whatsleftofficial.com/)

Danbury Museum & Historical Society
The museum preserves the John and Mary Rider House, (c. 1785). the Dodd Hat Shoppe (c. 1790), the Marian Anderson Studio and the Charles Ives Birthplace, among artifacts that present Danbury’s past. (www.danburymuseum.org)

Arm of the Sea, by Roy Gumpel

Colonial Dinner & Dancing
Dancing 4:00 – 5:00 PM/ Dinner 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Celebrate the new year with dinner & dancing at your hometown museum! A full traditional dinner will be served in the historic John Rider House with colonial dancing in Huntington Hall. A fun, history-filled and memorable evening for the entire family. Discount with buttons. Call (203) 743 5200 for information.

Danbury Music Centre
DMC is housed in a beautifully restored 19th-century building, formerly the public library. In 1994, the upstairs rehearsal hall was dedicated to the late Marian Anderson, a world renowned contralto who was a resident of Danbury. DMC has hosted community music since 1935. (http://www.danbury.org/MusicCtr/)

Chinese Theatre Works (NY)
4:00 – 4:45 PM & 6:00 – 6:45 PM
CTW promotes the traditional Chinese performing arts of opera, shadow theatre, puppetry, dance and music with new works that bridge Eastern and Western aesthetics and forms. Founded in 2001 by Kuang-Yu Fong  and Stephen Kaplin, the company presents “Tiger Tales,” a fusion of shadow theatre techniques in which a wise old rabbit recounts stories from her eventful life, including how she came to be the Prime Minister to Tiger, the ever-hungry jungle king. Four linked tales provide useful lessons in survival in today’s modern jungle. (www.chinesetheatreworks.org)

Buffa!  (CT)
5:00 – 5:45 & 7:00 – 7:45 PM
“Buffa!” performs a wide variety of musical programs, theatrically mounted with costumes, scenery and props. They include a cappella, madrigals, and doo-wop, but for First Night, they bring us a little known comic opera by no less than Johann Sebastian Bach. Entitled the “Coffee Cantata,” the work in Buffa!’s hands becomes a  piece of audience participation and explosive laughing. Smell the coffee?(www.buffa.art.officelive.com)

ESCAPE to the Arts
A project of the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut,  ESCAPE (Encouraging Structured Creative Arts Programs and Education) is a philosophy that is practiced daily through the exciting programs at ESCAPE to the Arts. 293 Main Street (http://www.regionalymca.org/escape_about.html)

Making “Looking Up & Moving Forward” into an Art Form
4:00 – 6:00 PM
Have your face painted before you dig into paper and crayons to escape into your own world and into the First Night entertainments to follow. (ESCAPE will also be face painting at the Danbury Arena and installing a “Cascade from the Sky” at The Galleria.)

Heirloom Arts Theatre
The building that now houses the Heirloom Arts Theatre was built around 1850, originally opening as a vaudeville venue. The modern Heirloom Arts Theatre was built on the original vaudeville stage and serves as Danbury’s artistic and cultural alternative. 155 Main Street at the end of Palace Walk. (http://heirloomarts.org/)

Artie Tobia Band (CT)
4:45 – 5:30 & 6:00 – 6:45 PM
Whether it is the funky rock blues of “Still in the Way,” the country rock of “The Parade” or the roots rock Americana of their 3rd CD, “Chase the Sun,” the music of the four-time Gold Coast Award winners, Artie Tobia Band, is like slipping on your favorite pair of old blue jeans. Comfortable and warm… like coming home.  (www.artietobia.com)

Ives Manor Ballroom
Ives Manor houses low income apartments for the elderly and is subsidized by the federal government’s HUD (Housing and Urban Development division). 198 Main Street (http://www.publichousing.com/city/ct-danbury)

Richie Pace (MA)
4:00 – 4:45 & 5:30 – 6:15 PM
“A Robot Waiting For Air” is a solo project created by Richie. The acoustic rock sound is something Richie is more or less just having fun with.  His debut EP, “White & Gold” features songs he wrote in high school, as well as songs he wrote later that were sort of floating around without a home. Download the EP for free at www. arobotwaitingforair.bandcamp.com (By the way, he’s also a football star!)

Mercurial Gallery
A new exhibition space and online publisher that has encouraged a growth in emerging visual arts in Danbury. The gallery is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00am to 12:00pm and by appointment. 11 Library Place (http://www.themercurial.com/)

Exhibition Opening
4:00 – 8:00 PM with dance performances at 6:00 & 6:30 PM 
The Mercurial Gallery is excited to present an evening of tropical beauty on First Night with the opening reception of “Selva Fantasma – Images from the Undeforestation Project”  by photographers Marissa Macias and Summer Moore, and two dance performances by the traditional Ecuadorian dance troupe, Juventud Latina.Dance performances: 6pm and 6:30pm.

Palace Danbury Theatre
The Palace Danbury Theatre has a rich and vibrant history. Built in 1928 as a 1999-seat venue, Jimmy Durante performed here, as did Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong and many others. 165 Main Street. (http://thepalacedanbury.com/)

Airborne Jugglers

The Susan King Duo (NY)
4:00 – 6:15 PM in the Lobby
Susan King (vocals) and Steven Wright (vocals, keyboard, and sax) perform music from the 1920s (to honor The Palace) and move forward through the decades. Enjoy an evening of jazz standards, Broadway and cabaret tunes in a light, fun and swinging style. (www.susankingentertainment.com)

Airborne Jugglers (CT)
Vaudevilles: 4:30 – 5:15 PM, 5:30 – 6:15 PM & 6:30 – 7:15 PM
Astounding team juggling has been the signature of Joe Murray and Susan Kirby for almost 20 years. Their high energy show has been delighting audiences for almost 20 years. You’ll erupt into riotous laughter as audience members are plucked from the crowd and become the stars of the show, and synchronized juggling creates a festive atmosphere. (www.AirborneJugglers.com)

Peter Gross (MA)
Vaudevilles: 4:30 – 5:15 PM, 5:30 – 6:15 PM & 6:30 – 7:15 PM
Peter has been making people laugh ever since he graduated with a degree in Philosophy. Since then, he has performed at the Kennedy Center, The White House, Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival, and won two silver medals at the International Variety Performers Competition. He has performed in Germany, Scotland, Japan, Austria, Hong Kong and won two silver medals at the Orangeboom International Variety Performer’s Competition in Rotterdam.     (www.funnymagic.com)

Natalia Paruz

Natalia Paruz (NY)
Vaudevilles: 4:30 – 5:15 PM, 5:30 – 6:15 PM & 6:30 – 7:15 PM
Natalia ‘Saw Lady’ Paruz has played the musical saw with many orchestras and at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and Lincoln Center. Natalia was chosen by Time Out New YorkVillage VoiceNew York Press and New York Resident for their “Best of New York” lists. (www.SawLady.com)

Saint James’ Church & Carillon
The church was organized and incorporated in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1762. Its 25 bell Ella S. Bulkley Memorial Carillon is the oldest carillon in Connecticut and is also the first carillon made in America. It was dedicated on Easter Sunday 1928. 25 West Street. (http://www.saintjamesdanbury.org/)

Mad Hatters Barbershop Chorus (CT)
4:00 – 4:45 PM
A nonprofit, fraternal organization affiliated with the worldwide, 30,000 member strong Barbershop Harmony Society, Danbury’s popular a cappella troupe has been singing since 1966. Promoting in song one of the city’s historic industries, they offer a rich repertoire of traditional barbershop, European hymnody and 19th-century vaudeville.

New Hope Mass Choir (CT)
5:00 – 5:45 pm
Under the musical direction of Brother Jonathan Hill, this Danbury institution has a long history of serving its community with powerful song, good will, confidence, and “Amazing Grace.” The Choir embodies this year’s First Night theme, “Looking Up & Moving Forward” with faith and positivity.

Linda Parker (CT)
6:00 – 6:45 PM
A soprano soloist at St. James’ Church for many years and with the Danbury Chorus, Linda will perform selections from musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Linda is currently a member of the Waterbury Chorale, performing at the Palace Theater there.

Brian Dolzani (CT)
7:00 – 7:45 PM
Brian Dolzani’s music is heart-on-sleeve, engaging, expressive. With just him, his guitar, and resonant, expressive voice, he’ll sing songs that paint pictures, describe hurts and longings, and deeply move your heart and mind. His song craft is critically lauded, and his melodies linger and stay with you after just one listen. (http://www.briandolzani.com/)

Union Savings Bank at The Galleria
Union Savings Bank is a $2.5 billion mutual bank headquartered in Danbury that was established in 1866.The Civil War had recently ended and the name, no doubt, was suggested by the preservation of the union of the United States. 225 Main Street. (http://www.unionsavings.com/)

Portuguese Traditional Games (CT)
4:00 – 7:30 PM
Our group demonstrates the key components of games: goals, rules, challenges, and interaction. For the past fifteen years under mentor Antonio Heitor, this group of young people find that the best feeling of all is when the older crowd expresses their memories of playing the same games. (heitor@sbcglobal.net)

HannaH’s Field (CT)
4:15 – 5:00 & 5:30 – 6:15 PM 
HannaH’s Field brings African Rhythms and organic fresh flavor to people with their gypsy reggae music. Nominated best female vocalist in the Hartford Advocate for many years, HannaH has a new release, Music Magic Medicine, weaving 15 musical tracks with a vegetarian/wheat-free cookbook. Come shake along! (http://www.hannahsfield.com)

Jossi Montoya (CT)
6:30 – 8:00 PM 
Born in 1995 from Colombian descendents,  Jossi took an interest in music by the age of ten. In 2008, he worked the La X Estereo, an online Salsa radio station which led to Techno, house musics and his own experimental sounds. This year, this popular area DJ released his first Production Vibe.
(http://www.wix.com/joscooldo1/jossi_montoya)

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State Senator Michael McLachlan Warns of Storm Scammers

Senator Michael McLachlan Warns of Storm Scammers

From the office of State Senator Michael McLachlan–

Connecticut Light & Power is warning that there are scammers going door-to-door asking homeowners for information to sign them up for storm credits following October’s snowstorm.

If someone comes to your door claiming to be from CL&P ask to see their company ID card before giving them any information.

If you have questions about the authenticity of a worker or visit you can call the CL&P customer service line at 860-947-2000 or toll-free 800-286-2000.

Please forward this information to your friends and neighbors, and please feel free to contact me with any comments at Michael.McLachlan@cga.ct.gov or 1-800-842-1421.

Top 3 New Year’s Resolutions

Top 3 New Year’s Resolutions

Photo contributed.

Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it’s twice as onerous a duty.”  ~John Selden

Three of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are:

  • Get Fit/Lose Weight
  • Save Money
  • Get Organized

Whether you choose to commit to making, and keeping, a resolution, here are some tips that can help you stay on track.

Get Fit/Lose Weight

Here are some tips from Daniel Gaita, owner of Private Studio Fitness–

Tip 1: Fitness is a journey, not a destination –

Fitness is the result of regular physical activity, not a six-week diet or a $19.99 “as seen on TV” product purchase.  If you are not ready to make healthy living a part of your daily life, you are setting yourself up for long-term failure, disease, and premature death.

Tip 2: Understand the “equation” for achieving your desired results –

Bottom line for fitness and achieving your goals is simple, ready? You must exercise your heart between 55%-85% of your Maximum Target Heart Rate at least 45-60 minutes “most” days of the week to achieve real and lasting benefits.

Tip 3:  Make fitness part of your daily routine –

Those who succeed make fitness a daily appointment. That is, it is part of their daily schedule of events. Not something done a few days a week when we get a chance, but rather a scheduled event with a solid allocated block of time (just like a doctor’s appointment

Tip 4: “NO” is simply not an option –

Success in fitness means removing the option of failure. Take away the internal rationalizations like “I’ll start back up tomorrow” or “I need to take a day of rest” No you don’t, what you need to do is get your ass up off the couch, or out from behind the computer or out of your car seat and get it moving.  Each workout period is one more step in the right direction. Equally, each missed opportunity is a step backward.

Tip 5: Invest in your fitness journey –

Your car breaks down, you hire a mechanic; you get sick, you see a doctor; you want to make your money grow, you see a financial planner; and if you want to improve your health and fitness, you should see a Certified Personal Trainer. After all, this ain’t your car, it’s your body, your life.

Save Money

With the economy in the state it is in, many families are looking for ways to save. Clipping coupons has become an increasingly popular trend, as seen on reality T.V. shows like “Extreme Couponing.” Fortunately our area provides plenty of coupons in the Pennysaver, local papers and direct mail marketing. Shop the sales flyers each week and plan out what to  buy.  Most grocery stores double coupons under 99 cents. Try “stacking” coupons for extra savings by using the store-specific  double and triple manufacturer coupons in addition to the others for extra savings. Many stores also offer extra savings for bring a reusable bag. Ask the cashier for details.

For deals on clothing try one of Bethel’s many local consignment shops. You will find many deals and quality name-brand clothing at 

Marisol’s Consignment, Sequel and Olive’s Armoire.

Get Organized

Getting organized doesn’t have to mean transforming yourself into an uptight, compulsive neat-freak. It simply means being able to best utilize time and space. According to organization experts, the average person spends 45-60 minutes per day looking for lost items.  Here are some tips to help you take back that precious time.

Go Green

How many minutes per day do you spend sifting through pounds of bills, bank statements, and account summaries? Most credit card companies and banks offer the option for paperless statements which not only save the environment but save you a lot of time sifting through. Check your bank or creditor’s website for options and save a tree while you’re at it.

Opt Out

According to newdream.org the average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year.  Not only is this bad for the environment, it takes time to sort through and adds to the piles of clutter some people are drowning in.  Opt out by clicking here.

Do Not Call

Time wasted on telemarketing calls can also suck our time (and patience). To get on the government “Do Not Call” list click here.

Cash for Trash

Go through your closets at least twice a year.  If you haven’t worn it, touched it, or used it in over a year, get rid of it. Decide which items to donate, what to hand down to neighbors or friends, and consider which to sell. Many local consignment shops will play you for items you no longer need.

Belardinelli Tire Co. New Year’s Safety Tips

Belardinelli Tire Co. New Year’s Safety Tips

Editor’s Note: Belardinelli Tire Company is one of our local sponsors who will be sharing weekly tips and articles on Bethel Buzz. Look for an informative article each week this winter!

CORRECTION: Tipsy Tow is NOT available in our area. Earlier reports on social media stated AAA has a program that is available nationwide, however, AAA New England posted a notice on their website today, Friday, Dec. 30, that this is NOT the case.

As people get ready to celebrate New Year’s Eve this weekend, Belardinelli Tire Company wants to remind partygoers not to drink and drive. According the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the highest number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities occurs on New Year’s Day.

AAA reminds drivers to avoid the “Three Deadly D’s of Driving”:

  1. Distracted Driving: Distracted driving includes texting while driving, talking on a cell phone, changing the radio station or anything else that takes the driver’s eyes off of the road. Assign a passenger to be your co-pilot and be the designated texter, talker and overall navigator, or if traveling alone pull over.
  2. Drunken or Drugged Driving: Assign a designated driver who should not drink any alcohol whatsoever alcohol-free. Do not mix medications with alcohol.  if you must drink and do not have a designated driver, plan on staying overnight where you are, or call a cab.
  3. Drowsy Driving: Avoid drowsy driving by getting enough sleep before driving. When traveling long distances, take a break every couple of hours, and do not drive during hours when you usually sleep.

In addition to avoiding drinking and driving, Belardinelli Tire Company encourages travelers to the following car care tasks to avoid unnecessary breakdowns.

Tip # 1: Check Your Tire Pressure

Tip #2: Check Your Tread

Tip #3: Check Your Battery

Tip #4: Check Your Fluids

Tip #5 Check Your Thermostat & Defroster

Tip #6  Emergency Road Kit: Make sure you are prepared in case of emergency by carrying an emergency road kit. It should include the following items: Ice scraper, snow brush, sand or salt, shovel, jumper cables, flares, flashlight and extra batteries, warm clothes, blankets, water bottles, protein bars and a first aid kit.

Belardinelli Tire is a full service auto center that has all of your auto needs in stock at reasonable prices. They are located at 7 Beach Street in Bethel, CT.   Call (203) 748-0889 for more information or click here to check out their website.

“Like” Belardinelli Tire on Facebook by clicking here.

Recycle Your Christmas Tree With The BHS ROTC

Recycle Your Christmas Tree With The BHS ROTC

The Bethel High School Navy JROTC members are hosting their annual Christmas tree recycling program for Bethel residents on Saturday, January 7th and are now accepting reservations for pickups. The program is their annual fundraiser and a $10 donation is requested which will be used to finance educational programs for the cadets.

All trees collected will be mulched and taken to a local farm.  Trucks will pick up trees between 9:00 a.m- 12:00 p.m.  on Sat., Jan. 7. The snow date is Sunday, Jan. 8 from 12:00-3:00p.m.

If you would like your Christmas tree picked up please email bethelnjrotcboosters@gmail.com call 203-794-8600, ext. 101, and leave a message with your name, address & phone #. Please make checks out to “Bethel NJROTC Boosters” and leave in an envelope taped inside your storm door or other accessible area.

Bethel Bids Adieu To 2011

Bethel Bids Adieu To 2011

Photo contributed.

Looking back at 2011 the year began with a bang, literally, with a roof collapse at one of Bethel’s commercial buildings at Francis J. Clarke Industrial Park that forced businesses to relocate.

In February Bethel schools canceled the winter break due to having too many snow days.  The Friends of the Bethel Public Library donated $25,000 to the library’s Capital Campaign. Most of the money was raised through the Friends’ book sales.

March came in like a lion with major flooding disrupting train service when the tracks were left dangling after the rain washed away the ground below. The train track’s support system along Route 53 caved in after heavy rains and commuters were forced to use bus service for the week while the tracks were repaired.

Police were kept busy with a rash of car break-ins along Tremont Avenue, Grassy Plain Street and Melillo Avenue. Volunteer firefighters were also busy, extinguishing a fire at 255 Greenwood Ave., which was “most likely cause by a discarded cigarette,” according to Fire Marshal Thomas Galliford.

April had many Bethelites in an uproar over the Board of Finance’s decision to cut nearly $93,000 out of the original Board of Finance approved budget, including Meals on Wheels. Residents began their own collection and fought to have the program reinstated.

May brought news of a new downtown Farmers Market on the Municipal Center lawn. First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker said in his May 2011 newsletter: “Establishing a regular shopping pattern will boost visits to our historic village area, and I believe will help bring new retail businesses to our town.

The month of May closed with the popular Memorial Day Parade. School bands, veterans, businesses, scout troops and many more marched from The Sycamore restaurant, up to P.T. Barnum Square and ended up on the lawn of the Municipal Center. For video of the parade from Bethel Buzz please click here. Visit http://www.YouTube.com and search “BethelBuzzAroundTown” for more videos of the parade and many more Bethel events.

A very rainy Relay For Life in June brought hundreds in attendance “Hope” as they rallied round the Municipal Center lawn to raise thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society. Teams sold unique and fun prizes, high school students performed, survivors shared their stories and the Mizz Relay contest had cross-dressers out in full force.

July and August had downtown hopping with the new farmer’s market on Thursdays, and also a brand new 6-week free children’s concert series started by Ultra Violet Productions, with the support of local business owners. Each Wednesday, children enjoyed free puppet shows, kid’s karaoke, and fun with the bubble machine and free crafts. Sponsors set up their booths on the lawn of the Municipal Center and families enjoyed this free privately sponsored event.

At the end of August Bethel had two serious bouts with Mother Nature. The glass doors of the veterans’ display cases in the hallway of the Bethel Municipal Center rattled and the whole building shook, town employees said, after they felt the effects of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia. Round two’s Mother Nature/Bethel brawl hit a little bit harder, with Hurricane Irene wreaking havoc on our tiny town, knocking out power to 54% of Bethel and disrupting the start of school.

September began on a somber note with a remembrance of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. An all-clergy ceremony was held on the Municipal Center lawn with prayers, songs and speeches from local heroes and veterans. Click here to see video of the 9/11 service at Mr. Howard Lasher’s home in Newtown, just over the Bethel line.

An unwelcome visitor came to Bethel and surrounding towns in October, you know him, you can’t stand him. His name was Alfred—Storm Alfred. Knocking out power to thousands of Bethel residents, Alfred left thousands without electricity, running water, cable and phone service, some without power for 10 days. The Town of Bethel sprung into action, setting up an emergency shelter at the Municipal Center with showers, charging stations and even free pizza. C.E.R.T. teams, volunteers and town employees ran the shelter for the week while Bethel residents waited anxiously for power to be restored. The town also held an indoor trick-or-treat event at the Municipal Center for children who were unable to get out during the storm.

In November First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker was re-elected to a second term, defeating challengers Kevin Cleary, Republican candidate, and Robert Burke, CT Tea Party candidate.

In December the Stony Hill Four Corners Association held a food drive at their annual tree lighting at the Stony Hill Four Corners, collecting over 150 boxes of food that stocked Brotherhood In Action’s shelves for their Christmas deliveries. The downtown Christmas tree lighting provided shoppers opportunities to take a horse-drawn carriage rides and participate in various activities downtown.

Community spirit was in full force this year, even in a tough economy, as Bethel residents banded together to help a family on Midway Drive who lost their home in a fire, just 2 weeks before Christmas. Collection boxes were set up at Famous Pizza and local news sites got the word out with the location to drop off items.

Brotherhood in Action thanked Bethel Buzz and other local news sites for helping get the word out about collections and said: “I don’t recall any other time in 15+ years of doing this that we actually had to turn volunteers away on delivery day because so many people came down! You have definitely raised awareness of the need in our town and helped us help more people. Thanks!”

In 2010 businesses came, businesses went and some played a “musical chairs” of sorts, relocating to a better, or less expensive location. Tea House Treasures moved into the Flower Corner Studio storefront, across from Caraluzzi’s. Homefront moved to the corner of P.T. Barnum Square. Private Studio Fitness moved from Francis J. Clarke Industrial Park to the former Bethel Cycle, which moved into the old, recently remodeled train station.

Karate America and Kid’s Cuts moved into the new plaza across from Bethel Cinema.  A Country Touch moved from Greenwood Ave. down to Grassy Plain Street, joining forces with Alice’s Flower Shop. Molten Java is in the process of moving from 102 Greenwood Ave. into a large Victorian house at 213 Greenwood Ave.

Bethel said goodbye to The Purple Zebra, whose owner said closed due to the high cost of rent. Right next door the art gallery is in the process of closing. Bethel also said goodbye to Whaley’s Flower Bowl, Maddington’s Candy Shop, Video Exchange and Monkey Head Comics.

New to Greenwood Ave. is Gilleoghan Irish Dance, a studio whose students have already won numerous national and world champion awards. A couple of doors down, Aurora Photography moved into her first storefront and has proven to be a welcome addition to the downtown area, hosting many children and family events in her shop.

Just down the road, English Apothecary opened in the former location of English Drug to the delight of many Bethel residents who prefer the non-corporate, independently owned drugstore.  Around the corner in P.T. Barnum Square, Beyond the Flea held a Grand Opening celebration for their new store, All About Pets. Cupcakes & Milkshakes renovated the storefront next to Famous Pizza and opened last spring.

Bethel welcomed with open arms (and mouths) Peachwave self-serve frozen yogurt, opened in Dolan Plaza by the Clifford family who own True Value Hardware. Also new to Dolan Plaza is Sal’z Pizza and Stella Restaurant.

Byrd’s Books opened this month in the upper level of the Victorian house where Molten Java will be, once they are completed with their renovations and approvals. Bee U Learning Center opened in the former location of Bright Horizons, in the Berkshire Corporate Park.

In addition to the many new businesses who came to town, Bethel teens were happy to have a new home. Pro Access Teen Center is located in the lower level of the Municipal Center temporarily while they await funding and approval to build a new center in the upper level, near the gym.

Bethel Buzz welcomes our newest businesses to town and wishes all of our local businesses health, happiness and prosperity in the coming New Year!