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Rowing on the River

In late August, Amanda Aronson, a supporter of the Aurora Women & Girls Foundation, took part in a Dragon Boat race to help raise awareness and funds for the organization. Inspired by that experience, she then recruited women to row as part of a beginner Women’s Rowing Group that has been meeting since September.

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Aurora’s mission is to be a catalyst for positive change for women and girls in Hartford county, and the creation of this rowing group is proof that a “ripple effect” can be experienced when women take part in empowering activities. Two women from the original Dragon Boat team are on the Thursday morning rowing group and the other women represent mothers with flexible work schedules from around Hartford County–many of whom have long-wanted to row but couldn’t due to traditional rowing times.

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3rd Annual Pooch Plunge

The Bristol Parks and Recreation Department held their 3rd Annual Pooch Plunge at Rockwell Park Monday evening. About 30 dogs, and their owners, came out to cool off and take the plunge as a good way to end the summer season.

 

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Bill Covitz – Ice Sculptor

Bill Covitz didn’t know where he would wind up after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1991 with the desire to be a chef but for the past 14 years he has mastered the art of carving ice.

Bill Covitz uses a hand grinder to clean and smooth the face of a "Martini Luge" for an upcoming engagement party. Two blocks with the initial of each person is engraved into the front, a plastic martini glass is fitted into the top by carving out the ice then a large dremel is used to carve a flowing groove for the tube that will carry the martini mixture through block to a waiting glass for the consumer of the drink.

Bill Covitz uses a hand grinder to clean and smooth the face of a “Martini Luge” for an upcoming engagement party. Two blocks with the initial of each person is engraved into the front, a plastic martini glass is fitted into the top by carving out the ice then a large dremel is used to carve a flowing groove for the tube that will carry the martini mixture through block to a waiting glass for the consumer of the drink.

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Indian Council Caves

Follow the Tunxis Trail in Barkhamsted two miles and discover the Indian Council Caves, a geological formation of giant boulders where legend has it that Native Americans held meetings there.

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Large slabs of granite form a courtyard with gaps between the bolders forming caves.

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The Grandeur of Autumn

Autumn
by: © Julie L. O’Connor
There’s a crispness in the air that greets the morning sun, a feeling of anticipation, a new day has begun.
Harvest days are ending, winter is drawing near, yet in between is surely the most special time of year.
They call it Indian Summer, and it seems to fit the bill, for it’s as if the Lord took a feathered brush and painted all the hills.
For the whole poem click here:
 The first hard frost of the season hit most of central Connecticut on Saturday morning as a maple leaf is outlined with the icy remnants as the sun turns it to dew.

The first hard frost of the season hit most of central Connecticut on Saturday morning as a maple leaf is outlined with the icy remnants as the sun turns it to dew.

I’m often asked this time of year what can I do to improve my foliage photos. I’m not really sure how to answer that since i do not take many “foliage” photos per se but what I try to do is incorporate them into my everyday photojournalism.

I also try to use the sun to my advantage and keep it at 90 degrees or more to my subject so that the color look more vibrant. Fortunately this time of year the sun never really gets high in the sky so almost anytime of day is good for photos. One of my favorite times to shoot foliage is after a light rain which seems to saturate the colors of the leaves and causes the shadow areas of the forest to go darker adding more contrast.

Two other useful tools that I would recommend are a polarizing filter and a graduated neutral density filter. I do not own or use either one but if you want better landscape photos I would highly recommend looking into them. The polarizer will cut down on the glare that can be caused by the sun reflecting off the leaves and will also add a richness to your sky. The neutral density will allow you to balance the overexposure of the sky similar to what a polarizing filter would accomplish.

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Greenpeace Captain Peter Willcox

More than a month after Norwalk native Peter Willcox was arrested by Russian authorities on a piracy charge during a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic, his wife, Maggy Willcox, talked to him on Monday for the first time since the ordeal began.

“He sounded strong and positive,” she said of her husband, the 60-year-old captain of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, which was towed to shore by the Russians. Dubbed the Arctic 30, 28 members of Greenpeace, plus a photographer and a videographer, have been in custody since two activists tried to hang a banner on an oil rig to protest drilling on Sept. 18. For the rest of Christine Dempsey’s story click here:

Maggy Willcox has a photocopy of her husband, Capt. Peter Willcox of Greenpeace, who is being held in Russia on piracy charges, taped to the back window of her car. Willcox, his crew and his ship - The Arctic Sunrise, were remanded in the Barents Sea and towed to shore by the Russian government. Willcox put the charges this way: "The whole charge of piracy is ludicrous."

Maggy Willcox has a photocopy of her husband, Capt. Peter Willcox of Greenpeace, who is being held in Russia on piracy charges, taped to the back window of her car. Willcox, his crew and his ship – The Arctic Sunrise, were remanded in the Barents Sea and towed to shore by the Russian government. Willcox put the charges this way: “The whole charge of piracy is ludicrous.”

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Cross Country Championship at Wickham Park

Wickham Park in Manchester was the setting for the CCC Cross Country championships Wednesday afternoon. Hall’s Ari Klau helped the boy’s team to the title and Tolland took home the girls. “We came here to have fun today and not worry too much about winning,” said Tolland coach Judi Lafontaine. “My girls are fighters and they don’t know how to do anything else but win right now.”

With the Hartford skyline and the fall foliage as a backdrop the varsity girls make their way across a field near the start of the race. — John Woike / Hartford Courant, Oct. 16, 2013

With the Hartford skyline and the fall foliage as a backdrop the varsity girls make their way across a field near the start of the race. — John Woike / Hartford Courant, Oct. 16, 2013

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Adventurous Hike Along Beseck Mountain

I retreated when I saw the dragon. Earlier I had visited the nearby Guida’s Restaurant for a coffee and ask directions to the Mattabesett Trail head, the waitress warned me of the bears and hunters, but not a dragon.

Peter Marteka, who wrote about the section of the Mattabesstt trail that crosses Beseck Mountain in this story, had told me he took that trail all the way to the old Powder Ridge/Powder Hill Ski area and back to his car in about three hours. So that was my goal.

I found that Peter walks much quicker than I.

After an hour of hiking, I had only just gotten to the main trail, which began its ascent up Beseck Mountain. Wandering off the trail twice didn’t help, and taking photo’s takes some time as well. While climbing up the hill, I turned back to make a picture of the path I had taken, and that’s when I saw the dragon pictured below.

With a little imagination, a split and fallen tree takes the shape of a dragons head.

With a little imagination, a split and fallen tree takes the shape of a dragons head.

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Slackline 101

Slacklining is a practice in balance that typically uses nylon or polyester webbing tensioned between two anchor points. Many people suggest slacklining is distinct from tightrope walking in that the line is not held rigidly taut (although it is still under some tension); it is instead dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline. The line’s tension can be adjusted to suit the user and different types of webbing can be used to achieve a variety of feats. The line itself is usually flat, due to the nature of webbing, thus keeping one’s footing from rolling as would be the case with an ordinary rope. The dynamic nature of the line allows for tricks and stunts. Slacklining has quickly become popular due to its simplicity and versatility and its ability to be practiced in a variety of environments. Those who participate in slacklining are often called “slackers”.[1] -Credit Wikipedia

Caroline Smith, of Lexington, Ky, practices her slacklining between two trees in the Davenport College courtyard at Yale as a sliver of the moon rises Tuesday evening. Smith is a senior majoring in psychology and finds this form of exercise is very relaxing, similar to yoga requiring balance and calmness.

Caroline Smith, of Lexington, Ky, practices her slacklining between two trees in the Davenport College courtyard at Yale as a sliver of the moon rises Tuesday evening. Smith is a senior majoring in psychology and finds this form of exercise is very relaxing, similar to yoga requiring balance and calmness.

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Going To The Dog Show German Style

Beardsley Park in Bridgeport was the site for the 2013 North American Sieger Show where more than 200 World Class German Shepherds from all over the U.S. and foreign countries competed in a European-Style Ring Show. The three day event was held rain or shine.

Thomas Schoder walks Nando Av Locathelli around the ring during the 18-24 month male dog class during the North American WUSV Sieger Show Sunday afternoon. Nando took third place for the class.

Thomas Schoder walks Nando Av Locathelli around the ring during the 18-24 month male dog class during the North American WUSV Sieger Show Sunday afternoon. Nando took third place for the class. Schoder, originally from Germany, now lives in Indiana and is a national training director for the GSDCA, German Shepherd Dog Club of America.

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Fresh Beer Is Fragile!

Connecticut craft breweries have been popping up all over the state, to the delight of local beer lovers. Beermakers are exhibiting their brews at facilities around the Nutmeg State, offering tastings and tours and filling growlers for eager drinkers, Two Roads Brewery in Stratford is just one of them.

James Proulx is not just a tour guide/bartender at Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, he's also a quality control analysts so he can deliver a comprehensive explanation to anyone that takes the one hour tour. Proulx is holding up a glass of finished beer in his left had and a glass of unfiltered beer straight out of the vat to show the brew in its different stages.

James Proulx is not just a tour guide/bartender at Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, he’s also a quality control analysts so he can deliver a comprehensive explanation to anyone that takes the one hour tour. Proulx is holding up a glass of finished beer in his left had and a glass of unfiltered beer straight out of the vat to show the brew in its different stages.

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Bike-Shop Rides

Nearly every day of the week, cyclists meet at bike shops around the state for a quick, or sometimes long, jaunt onto Connecticut’s well-worn paths and roadways.

Most are simple loops that stick to good biking roads. They have hills, though not too many, and some quirks: When biking in a group and approaching a new town, for example, it’s fair game to race to the town line.

“It’s all for bragging rights, and who has to buy the beer later,” said Matt Lawley, who manages Pedal Power in Vernon, which holds a evening ride on Mondays. “Everyone rides — that’s a big requirement for working here. And every chance we get to ride and share that with customers, it’s awesome.” For the rest of Brian’s story go here:

Matt Lawley, manager at Pedal Power in Vernon, led a group of about 20 riders on a 20 mile trip through rural and suburban areas then finished back at the shop for a little cookout as a reward on the last ride of the season. Rides like these leave almost every night from shops around the state.

Matt Lawley, manager at Pedal Power in Vernon, led a group of about 20 riders on a 20 mile trip through rural and suburban areas then finished back at the shop for a little cookout as a reward on the last ride of the season. Rides like these leave almost every night from shops around the state.

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Emerald Ash Borer In CT

Thursday morning Harris “Bud” Neal led a group of State environmental officials, arborculturists, tree wardens, foresters and other tree service personnel through an area in Naugatuck that is infested with the emerald ash borer, an imported pest that has caused the state to quarantine at least three counties against movement of wood products.

Claire Rutledge, with the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station in New Haven, extricates part of an emerald ash borer insect (the tiny spec in her hand) as State environmental officials, arborists, tree wardens, foresters and other tree service personnel look on in an area of Naugatuck that is infested with the insect.

Claire Rutledge, with the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station in New Haven, extricates part of an emerald ash borer insect (the tiny spec in her hand) as State environmental officials, arborists, tree wardens, foresters and other tree service personnel look on in an area of Naugatuck that is infested with the imported pest.

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High School Soccer Starts

A few things signal the changing of the seasons for me.

Crisp nights and brisk morning walks with the dog.

Sunsets and the start of the fall high school sports season.

Tuesday evening Conard and Berlin battled under the lights at Sage Park in Berlin where Matheus Souza led Conard with two goals in a 4-2 victory.

Matheus Souza of Conard battles with Kris Langevin of Berlin for a loose ball during the first half of their season opener at Sage Park in Berlin Tuesday evening. Berlin had a tough time keeping Souza in check as he scored 2 of Conard's goals as they defeated Berlin 4-2.

Matheus Souza of Conard battles with Kris Langevin of Berlin for a loose ball during the first half of their season opener at Sage Park in Berlin Tuesday evening. Berlin had a tough time keeping Souza in check as he scored 2 of Conard’s goals as they defeated Berlin 4-2.

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Fall Fishing

The CT DEEP’s upcoming Hunting & Fishing Appreciation Day reminds me of a fishing event I covered back in April, at the beginning of the 2013 fishing season, where Hartford children helped members of the DEEP stock the Keney Park Pond with fish.  Here is a picture from that event, with more photos on the “VIEW MORE,” link below.

The upcoming event, to be held on September 28, 2013, is sponsored by the DEEP and Friends of Sessions Woods, and will be held at the Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington. For more information on that, click here.

 

Tailyn Zene, 4, center, looks at a fish held by her father, Quron Zene, before he threw it into the pond. With Tailyn are, from left, Gaige Ellis, 3, Kamel Henry, 4, and William Blake, 4, all of Hartford.

Tailyn Zene, 4, center, looks at a fish held by her father, Quron Zene, before he threw it into the pond. With Tailyn are, from left, Gaige Ellis, 3, Kamel Henry, 4, and William Blake, 4, all of Hartford.

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African White Lion

It not surprising to see an African White lion in Middletown. Not if you know where to look.

A visit to Northeast Taxidermy Studios, in Middletown, is always an adventure. Owner, Joe Pitruzzello, has built a national reputation on preserving the majestic beauty of a hunters catch. Be it fish, big game, or small mammals, Pitruzzello has mounted them all. His custom style is to render the animals in the life like scenes they inhabit in the wild.

Pitruzzello worked on mounting this lion over a three week timeframe for a private collector out of Boston.

This African White lion was recently completed by  Northeast Taxidermy Studios, in Middletown. Owner, Joe Pitruzzello, has built a national reputation on preserving the majestic beauty of a hunters catch.

This African White lion was recently completed by Northeast Taxidermy Studios, in Middletown. Owner, Joe Pitruzzello, has built a national reputation on preserving the majestic beauty of a hunters catch.

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Refugee Community Takes Root in Hartford

They fled their rural Burmese homeland and have since created an improbable urban oasis here in Hartford. The diversity of herbs, fruits and vegetables cultivated by the Karen People is impressive: papaya, bok choy, waterleaf, lemongrass, sorrel… An ethnic, persecuted minority also known as the Karen Tribe, this refugee community has taken root in Hartford.

Ma Hla Ohn, 41, a Karen People refugee who lives with her family on South Marshall Street in Hartford, waters an assortment of traditional Burmese noh te hoh greens in the demonstration garden at KNOX, Inc. The garden plots are within a few blocks of her home.

Ma Hla Ohn, 41, a Karen People refugee who lives with her family on South Marshall Street in Hartford, waters an assortment of traditional Burmese noh te hoh greens in the demonstration garden at KNOX, Inc. The garden plots are within a few blocks of her home.

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A-Mazing Sunflowers

The Lyman Orchards Sunflower Maze in Middlefield opened for the season on Saturday. The maze, cut in the shape of a roller coaster, meanders through three acres of about 350,000 spectacular red and yellow sunflowers and is open daily until August 25. $1 of each admission is donated to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Rachel Harrington, 11, of Cheshire, feels the petals of a sunflower while visiting the Sunflower Maze at Lyman Orchards.

Rachel Harrington, 11, of Cheshire, feels the petals of a sunflower while visiting the Sunflower Maze at Lyman Orchards.

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Day 3: The Search Continues For Evidence In Hernandez Case At Bristol Pond

For the third straight day members of the Connecticut State Police dive team have come up empty as they search the murky waters of Pine Lake in Bristol ofr evidence in the Aaron Hernandez murder case.

Investigators received information that they might find the weapon, which prosecutors say is a .45 caliber Glock pistol, used in the June 17 killing of Odin Lloyd in the pond, according to an official familiar with the investigation.

Nicole Tallarico and Frankie Colon of New Britain watch as members of the State Police dive team emerge after searching a perimeter area at Pine Lake in Bristol Wednesday afternoon as authorities continue their search for a weapon that could be linked to the Hernandez murder case. After three days of searching they have come up with no weapon or other evidence. Tallaricon and Colon are football fans but not Patriots fans and said that curiosity brought them out to the scene for a look.

Nicole Tallarico and Frankie Colon of New Britain watch as members of the State Police dive team emerge after searching a perimeter area at Pine Lake in Bristol Wednesday afternoon as authorities continue their search for a weapon that could be linked to the Hernandez murder case. After three days of searching they have come up with no weapon or other evidence. Tallaricon and Colon are football fans but not Patriots fans and said that curiosity brought them out to the scene for a look.

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Smith Tree Farm Trails in Canton

The Smith Tree Farm Trails, in Canton, is a 64 acre preserve, located in the northwestern corner of Canton, and southern Barkhampsted. The trail winds around a steam and up a steep hill leading to a clearing with a wonderful vista. Click here for a trail map. This will be the next story in the Peter Marteka’s Connecticut Hikes. Click here for the link to Peter’s Connecticut Hikes page.

A moss covered fallen tree creates a bridge over the stream that lines the early path of the trail.

A moss covered fallen tree creates a bridge over the stream that lines the early path of the trail.

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Bark in the Park

For the 3rd consecutive year Rock Cats fans were able to bring their dog along to watch a game.

Bark in the Park

Kelli Wallace of Farmington came home from work and saw on her Facebook page that the “Bark in the Park” event at New Britain Stadium was on for Monday night she quickly decided that she and her beagle Dunkyn would have to attend. For the third consecutive year the Rock Cats have offered a chance for fans to bring their dogs out to a ballgame. The event was originally scheduled for June 28th but due to torrential rain the event was postponed until Monday evening.

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Momma Bear and three cubs

A family a bears wondering Arch Road in Avon, created an impromptu open-air zoo, but not of the petting variety. Most of the contents of an overturned trash bin had been picked over by the time I arrived on the scene, and the mother bear seemed to realize the commotion they were creating once the meal was done. With a glance to the line of cars, she led her young family back behind the home.

A mother bear and her three cubs wondered the yards of homes along Arch Road in Avon, Tuesday, looking through garbage for a quick meal. The bears head back to the back of the yard after rummaging through a garbage can left on the curb for pick up.

A mother bear and her three cubs wondered the yards of homes along Arch Road in Avon, Tuesday, looking through garbage for a quick meal. The bears head back to the back of the yard after rummaging through a garbage can left on the curb for pick up.

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Devastating Floods in China

Rainstorms, that are said to be the worst in decades, have devastated areas of southwest China. Floodwaters have wiped away villages, caused landslides, and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. There have been at least 50 deaths and many people are still missing.

Severe flooding in much of China has devastated villages and has forced much of the population to evacuate. AFP PHOTO/AFP/Getty Images

Severe flooding in much of China has devastated villages and has forced much of the population to evacuate. AFP PHOTO/AFP/Getty Images

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