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Lunafest Film Festival Comes to Goodwin College


EAST HARTFORD — Lunafest, a short film festival that supports women, will be at Goodwin College on March 16.

The traveling festival features films by women with women leads and range from animation to fictional drama that cover issues such as women’s health, body image, relationships, cultural diversity and breaking barriers.

The event will begin at 2 p.m. at Goodwin at One Riverside Dr. in East Hartford.

Hailed as one of the most beautifully supported short film festival, the event is a way to empower women, organizers said.

The festival is hosted by Soroptimist International Central Connecticut Clubs and will benefit the organization’s Live Your Dream Awards.

Tickets are $15 and are available at lunafest.org.

Featured films are as follows:

  • “Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday,” an animated story of a woman finding her old diaries, by Jackie Files.
  • “Drummer Girl,” the story of a woman with a passion for music, by Sophie Hexter.
  • “Flip the Record,” a coming-of-age story about a Filipino-American girl, by Marie Jamora.
  • “War Paint,” the story of a woman facing racism and sexism, by Katrelle N. Kindred.
  • “Ur Dead to Me,” a story about a delivery woman learning about life, by Yonoko Li.
  • “The Final Show,” a story of a woman contemplating death, by Dana Nachman.
  • “Are We Good Parents?” a story about a girl who comes out to her family, by Bola Ogun.
  • “My Immigrant Story,” a documentary about director Yuriko Gamo Romer’s family.

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Gov. Lamont Appoints Hartford Resident to Lead DMV


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  A West-End resident in Hartford was appointed to lead Connecticut’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday appointed Sibongi Magubane as the Commission of DMV. She will begin on April 1, pending consent from the General Assembly.

Magubane is a business executive who has served within Fortune 100 companies, volunteered in civic organizations and earned a reputation for bringing a “fresh approach” to business and agencies, state officials said.

“She’s a sharp, solutions-oriented thinker with a strong business acumen who will bring to state government an innovative approach that works to cut red tape and brings to the DMV the solutions that so many residents of our state are demanding,” said Lamont in a press release.

Currently, Magubane serves as the human resource director with Specialty Transportation, a contractor of the Hartford Board of Education that provides transportation to students.

She previously worked for Aetna as head of information technology strategic planning, head of finance information systems and enterprise management systems. She also worked for Keane and Cigna.

A native of South Africa, she was named by The Network Journal in 2009 as one of the 25 most influential black women in business. She moved to the United States at the age of 9.

Additionally, she is the president of the West End Civic Association/Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, co-chairs Hartford 2000, Inc, a coalition of Hartford’s neighborhood revitalization zones, and serves as board member for Hartford Stage.

“It’s an honor to serve the people of Connecticut as commissioner,” Magubane said. “As a lifelong resident of Connecticut, I look forward to restoring confidence in the DMV. We will improve customer service and efficiency by listening to citizens, seeking new solutions and working closely with all state agencies.”

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Frontier Airlines Returns to Bradley International Airport


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Greater Hartford residents will now have access to more discount flights out of Bradley International Airport.

That’s because the discount airline Frontier will return to the region March 28.

Fares will be as low as $59.

Frontier will offer direct flights from Denver to Bradley. It will be one of three airlines offering flights from Denver to Bradley. Southwest and United airlines also offer service to Denver.

The news was announced on Tuesday at Bradley Airport by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon, Frontier’s Vice President of Network Josh Flyr and other airport officials.

Airline officials said the Denver flight will be the starting point to add more destinations from Bradley.

“An indication of a strong route network is the continuous diversification of routes and airlines,” Dillon said. “With the addition of this new service, we’re pleased to introduce a renowned low-cost carrier to Bradley and to continue solidifying the airport’s strong reputation in the industry and its pivotal role as New England’s second largest airport.”

“It’s another step forward for our transportation system and its another step forward for our ability to be connected to the rest of the world,” Malloy said.

Airport officials said they look forward to Frontier’s return to Bradley.  The Denver-based previously offered flights from Bradley to Denver from 2007 to 2008.

“An indication of a strong route network is the continuous diversification of routes and airlines,” Dillon said. “With the addition of this new service, we’re pleased to introduce a renowned low-cost carrier to Bradley and to continue solidifying the airport’s strong reputation in the industry and its pivotal role as New England’s second largest airport.”

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Real Arts Way Presents Photo Exhibit


HARTFORD — Real Art Ways will present an exhibition of large-scale photographs by Andrew Buck this February through May.

The opening event is scheduled for  Feb. 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during Creative Cocktail Hour. The exhibition will be on view through May 27. Gallery hours are 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Andrew Buck’s sense of the term “landscape” is inspired by the writings of John Brinkerhoff Jackson. “He went back to the source word, the German landschaften, which referred to that which results when ‘man’ reconfigures and uses the land, in essence creating his own landscape on the natural landscape.”

Real Art Ways Executive Director Will K. Wilkins says, “Andrew Buck’s work is abstract, specific, tactile and spirited. There is a lot going on in what seems like straight-forward landscape.”

Buck is interested in the documentary aspects of his work, but he also cites abstract expressionism as an inspiration.

“The sheer size of the space of most quarries is awe-inspiring in a strange manner,” he says. “That is, that these spaces are man-made, not natural. Many of them are otherworldly in both appearance and in actual experience. The overwhelming silence enhances the experience.”

Buck lives and works in Farmington, Connecticut. His work is included in many public and private collections, include the Yale University Art Gallery and the New Britain Museum of American Art.

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Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart to Perform at Sun and Wine Food Festival


UNCASVILLE, CT —  Snoop Dogg, the entertainer with hits like “Gin and Juice,” will drop in with Martha Stewart at the Sun Wine and Food Festival at the Mohegan Sun on Jan. 28.

In 2016, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dog collaborated for their hit televison  show Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, which is now in its second season on VH1.

During each episode, Martha and Snoop make a meal tackling a new food theme and mix up drinks for a dinner party with surprise celebrity guests.

The duo will entertain guests from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Uncas Ballroom. Tickets are $90.

Snoop will perform on Jan. 27 at the Avalon before he does brunch with Martha.

For more information about the Sun Wine and Food Festival events, go to www.mohegansun.com

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“Wine, Jazz, & Song” Returns to Farmington


HARTFORD  — The Sir William Trio and vocalists from Connecticut Choral Artists will offer interpretations of jazz standards, selections from the American songbook and much more this January in Farmington.

CONCORA’s Friends of Bach hosts the 16th edition of Wine, Jazz, & Song on Jan. 20, 2018 from 6-9 p.m. in Porter Memorial Hall, 75 Main St. in Farmington. CONCORA is the region’s first professional choir and is now in its 44th season.

Led by bassist William Stillinger, the Sir William Trio includes James Argiro on piano and Liviu Pop on drums. The Hartford Courant has praised Argiro as “…a strong soloist and a savvy accompanist … regarded by his peers as a craftsman of the first order,” while the Middletown Press lauds Liviu Pop as a “dynamic entertainer, using blues, soul, R&B, and a touch of rock and roll to deliver powerful soul stirring performances.”

The featured vocalists include Salli-Jo Borden, Kenneth Downes, and Jermaine Woodard, Jr. Local audiences who are familiar with these singers as classical vocal soloists will be surprised and delighted to hear their compelling “crossover” performances of jazz standards, blues, and Broadway classics.

Attendees will also enjoy fine wines, plentiful, delectable hors d’oeuvres, a silent wine auction, write-your-own song dedications, and perhaps even a spin around the dance floor, all in a casually elegant atmosphere.

Tickets for this special event are $50 per person, and may be reserved at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wine-jazz-song-tickets-36912091058 or by contacting the CONCORA office at 860-293-0567 or contact@concora.org. The snow date is Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, 6-9 pm.

About CONCORA

, the ensemble, under the leadership up Artistic Director Chris Shepard, enjoys an extraordinary reputation for artistic excellence throughout New England. CONCORA’s mission statement – “to perpetuate and perform with excellence choral music of the highest quality for the broadest possible audience” – represents a commitment to the Connecticut community, to artistic excellence, masterful performances, and educational enrichment. More information about CONCORA is available at www.concora.org.

About CONCORA’s Friends of Bach

The Friends of Bach Committee is a volunteer organization whose mission is to enhance and support CONCORA’s highly-regarded annual performances of the music of J.S. Bach. Through a series of events and the donations of individual Bach lovers, the Friends of Bach raise funds to make CONCORA’s Bach performances possible. More information at http://www.concora.org/join-the-friends-of-bach.html.

EVENT DETAILS

WHAT: Wine, Jazz, & Song — An evening of smooth instrumental and vocal jazz, with plentiful food and wine.
WHEN: Saturday, January 20, 2018, 6:00 PM; snow date: Sunday, January 21, 2018, 6:00 PM
WHERE: Porter Memorial, 75 Main Street, Farmington, CT 06032. Plenty of free, off-street parking is available.
WHO: Sir William Trio and CONCORA vocalists

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Vermont Resort Offers Affordable Skiing Packages


Bolton Valley, Vermont — It’s not too early to think ski lifts,  snow and Santa.

This winter, a simple crimson hat won’t suffice. So just go all out and wear the full Santa Claus outfit for this fall and winter travel destination.

Skiers and riders who arrive at Bolton Valley dressed head-to-toe as Santa Claus can enjoy the annual Santa Sunday event.

bolton-valley-at-vermont-thBolton Valley enjoys some of its best early season conditions in recent memory, ski resort officials said.

Bolton Valley is Vermont’s most convenient and affordable big mountain skiing. Less than 10 minutes from I-89 and less than 30 minutes from Burlington, the family-friendly mountain offers skiers and riders of all abilities three mountain peaks with 71 trails and 6 lifts, plus 3 terrain parks.

Bolton Valley was the first in Vermont and the second in the U.S. to implement wind power as an energy source and is the recipient of the National Ski Areas Association’s 2010 Silver Eagle Award for environmental initiatives. A

All-inclusive, true ski-to-your-door lodging packages are from $59 person night.

For more information visit www.boltonvalley.com or call 877-9BOLTON.

December Ski & Stay Special
  • Price: From $85 per person per night
  • Availability: December 1 – 15, 2016 Any Day
  • Night Skiing: Not Available
  • Includes:
    • Lodging
    • Lift Ticket
    • Breakfast*

Photos Courtesy of  Bolton Valley Ski Resort—Fran Wilson

 

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Obama Administration Approves Cuba Flights


By Ann-Marie Adams | @annmarieadams

WASHINGTON —  The U.S. Department of Transportation  has approved six domestic airlines to begin scheduled flights from the US to Cuba.

The flights will originate from  Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul and Cuba as early as this fall, federal officials said today. The carriers are American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines.

The latest move is a part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.

“Last year, President Barack Obama announced that it was time to ‘begin a new journey’ with the Cuban people,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “Today, we are delivering on his promise by re-launching scheduled air service to Cuba after more than half a century.”

On February 16, 2016, Secretary Foxx and Department of State Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin signed a non-legally-binding arrangement to re-establish scheduled air service between the two countries.

At the time of the signing, the administration announced that scheduled service would begin later in 2016.

The five U.S. cities that will receive new scheduled service to Cuba are Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Philadelphia.  The nine Cuban cities are Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba.

 

Under the new arrangement, each country has the opportunity to operate up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and each of Cuba’s nine international airports, other than Havana, for a total of 90 daily roundtrips.

 

Interested parties may view the DOT’s decision, track the progress of the case, and view the publicly available documents online at regulations.gov, Docket DOT-OST-2016-0021.

 

 

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The Crane Hotel: The Jewel of Caribbean Luxury Hotels


By Ann-Marie Adams I The Hartford Guardian

St. Philip, BARBADOS — Perched on the seaside bluff on the southeast coast of Barbados is The Crane, one of the many jewels of the Caribbean.
Crane  ResortThis luxury hotel is the centerpiece of a 40-acre villa complex with historic buildings and landscape gardens overlooking the Atlantic Sea.

This ocean touches the marine-blue sea of the Crane Beach that is accessible by a glass-front elevator. Arguably, it is the island’s oldest hotel in operation and the number one resort hotel in the Caribbean.
From this simple but elegant setting, you can be quite content while taking in the view from the comfort of a private plunged pool below over-sized terraces or elegant gardens.
Some bedrooms boasts four-poster mahogany, king sized beds, bathrooms with multi-jet showers and a two-person Jacuzzis emoting English charm and luxury.

Through the wooden louvre doors that open inward is an over-sized terrace above the private plunged pool, which offers a different ambiance than the garden-view rooms with old Caribbean-styled resort living suites.

The hotel, built in 1887, boasts several restaurants, including the Italian Restaurant, Donofrio’s. It offers casual dining that with a wide variety of cuisine from Old World Italy.

The seafood restaurant, L’Azure, serves up fresh seafood with a gorgeous view of the blue and marine ocean with the trade winds swirling above the cliff.

The Zen Restaurant, surrounded by glass walls above the pink-hued Crane Beach, serves up authentic Asian inspired cuisines and offer patrons.

This is understated elegance and sophistication tucked away in the lesser Antilles. And it’s only a four-hour trip from the United States.
With an understated elegance and sophistication, this storied hotel on a dramatic Cliffside location is what some call a resolutely British resort on a resolutely British island.

The Crane
St. Philip, Barbados
246-423-6220
www.thecrane.com

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New Hampshire Unveils Pumpkin Festival Line Up


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

NEW HAMPSHIRE — New Hampshire is gearing up for its 25th  this fall.

As pumpkin plants around the northeast are just beginning to bloom, the organizers —  Let it Shine, Inc., and Sterling Design & Communications — will collaborate  with the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce to provide  programming for Pumpkin Festival 2015. The 2015 Pumpkin Festival runs from 10am-8:30pm on Saturday, Oct. 24 in the heart of NH, downtown Laconia.

Presented by ZIPPO, this is the first year it will take place in downtown Laconia. Following are the schedule for what officials say is a program that may vie for  Guinness World Record for the most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place–record recaptured from Boston by Keene in 2013. A total of 30,581 jack-o-lanterns were reported.

The Runaway Pumpkin 10k & 5k Run/Walk 9 a.m.
Location: Laconia Athletic & Swim Club, 827 North Main Street, Laconia
Before the festival, first thing in the morning, a choice of distances, welcoming walkers as well as serious runners to this scenic course which includes the WOW Trail WOW is an acronym for the three lakes along the rail trail, Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam and Opechee.

Pumpkin-festival-2015-thehartfordguardianPronounced “Pumpkin Alley,” it’s Pump-Canal(y) Street for Kids
If renowned area artist Larry Frates achieves his vision, Laconia’s Canal Street will be orange from one end to the other with activities for kids and creative types of all ages. Shops on the street have their own special pumpkin plans, so do not miss this street in your explorations of Pumpkin Festival 2015.

Haunted Attractions for that Special Thrill
The Belknap Mill, the oldest, unaltered brick textile mill in the United States, has plenty of history to draw from for its planned haunted mill attraction. Stay tuned for details! And across town, the UCC/Congregational Church plans to send chills up many a visitor’s spine too.

ZIPPO, Official Lighter of Pumpkin Festival
In addition to hosting the Welcome Center near the Railroad Station, ZIPPO will be offering their official candle lighters for sale at their booth and at the Pumpkin Shop/s where festival logo souvenir t-shirts and other experience extenders can also be purchased.

The Pump(kin) Dump Derby 8:30pm
A race to clean up Pumpkin Festival involving competing teams, lottery-assigned territories and a grand prize $1000 to the team’s charity of choice. All teams who complete their territory win $100 for the charity of their choice. Sponsored by Shipyard Brewing.

Spectacular Pumpkin Tower Plus Thousands of Jack-o’-Lanterns on Street-level Displays
10am-8:30pm

The signature tower is the centerpiece of Pumpkin Festival 2015. Streets will be lined with pumpkins and pumpkin spectators, for smooth strolling and the best viewing, unfettered by vendor booths and queues. Families and seniors will feel very welcome and handicap parking in excellent locations makes access easy. Live musical entertainment will add to the atmosphere on the bandstand and at other selected locations but the sights will carry the day!

More information will be posted as available online at pumpkinfestival.org

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