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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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Eagles Fall To Hornets 4-3

East Hartford jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings but East Catholic’s rally fell short in a 4-3 loss at home in Manchester Thursday afternoon.

Christian Caballero of East Hartford puts the tag on Josh Zbierski of East Catholic at the plate as he tried to score from second base during their baseball game Thursday afternoon. East Hartford held on for a 4-3 victory.

Christian Caballero of East Hartford puts the tag on Josh Zbierski of East Catholic at the plate as he tried to score from second base during their baseball game Thursday afternoon. East Hartford held on for a 4-3 victory.

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Chuckles VIII Predicts More Winter

Manchester Mayor Leo V. Diana listens closely to devine what groundhog Chuckles VIII predicts while Rachel Hadyka, manager of educational services at the Lutz Children's Museum and licensed wildlife rehabilitator wait in anticipation whether we will have 6 more weeks of winter. Chuckles VIII, a resident at the museum in Manchester, saw her shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter. Hundreds turned out early Sunday morning Groundhog Day to hear Chuckles' weather advisory.

Manchester Mayor Leo V. Diana listens closely to devine what groundhog Chuckles VIII predicts while Rachel Hadyka, manager of educational services at the Lutz Children’s Museum and licensed wildlife rehabilitator wait in anticipation whether we will have 6 more weeks of winter. Chuckles VIII, a resident at the museum in Manchester, saw her shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter. Hundreds turned out early Sunday morning Groundhog Day to hear Chuckles’ weather advisory.

 

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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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Super Bowl XLVIII

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will play for the NFL Championship at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, February, 2, 2014. The week leading up to big game turns into a media circus and for the football fan the NFL has created the largest “Fan Festival” by blocking off over a dozen city blocks in Times Square with a variety of events. I will try give a glimpse of the things I encounter along the way with a series of Instagram photos.

Hope you enjoy…

Gearing up for the "Big Game", I went out and purchased a new hat for Super Bowl XLVIII, MAD BOMBER meet @AngryJohnnie. It's supposed to be a cold night, but hey it is New England after all.

Gearing up for the “Big Game”, I went out and purchased a new hat for Super Bowl XLVIII, MAD BOMBER meet @AngryJohnnie. It’s supposed to be a cold night, but hey it is New England after all.

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Cold Weather Care

Melissa Greenbacker can’t take a day off because of arctic-like temperatures.  She has 20 calves to take care of at Greenbacker Farm in Durham.  At 7:00 a.m., as the sun is just peeking over the horizon, Greenbacker dresses in layers and heads out into frigid 5-degree weather to care for her young charges who live in hutches next to the farm’s dairy barn. After giving them  water, milk and grain, she cleans their hutches. To help keep them warm, she dresses them in jackets during the coldest months and gives them a double layer of hay. “I take better care of the calves than I do myself!” she said. “You can’t do anything about the weather, so I just keep thinking about the warmer months to come.” As for the cows, they prefer colder weather.  “Over 70 degrees, they start to feel heat stress,” she said.

Greenbacker is a 12th generation farmer at the dairy farm that dates back to the 1720s.  Originally located in Meriden and Wallingford, the Greenbackers moved to Durham in the 1980s to a 410-acre spread that straddles Rt. 68.  A Cornell graduate with a degree in animal science, she opted to return to the farm after graduation rather than becoming a veterinarian because she loves working on the farm even though the work is hard and unending.  But the weather? “It’s part of farming,” she said.

DURHAM 01/08/14 Melissa Greenbacker feeds Eve, a calf born on New Years Eve, with a nipple bucket at Greenbacker Farm in 5-degree weather Wednesday morning. Greenbacker spends each morning feeding and watering the 20 calves on the Durham dairy farm.  CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

DURHAM 01/08/14 Melissa Greenbacker feeds Eve, a calf born on New Years Eve, with a nipple bucket at Greenbacker Farm in 5-degree weather Wednesday morning. Greenbacker spends each morning feeding and watering the 20 calves on the Durham dairy farm. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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CCC Boy’s Soccer Semifinal

Berlin struck first after Michael Lathrop scored with 11:25 remaining in the first period against Farmington at Middletown high School Monday evening during their CCC soccer semifinal. Colin Cheesman scored the tying goal with 4:20 left and then struck the winning goal for Farmington with 34 seconds remaining in the second period for a 3-2 victory and Farmington will play RHAM on Wednesday night at Middletown High School for the championship.

Colin Cheesman (second from left) is mobbed by teammates Nicholas Mello (L), Kamil Kolacz, #11, Evan Peluso, #10, and Evan Hughes (R) after his goal with 34 seconds remaining in the second period gave Farmington a 3-2 victory against Berlin in the CCC soccer tournament semifinal at Middletown High School Monday evening. Cheesman also scored the tying goal with 4:20 left.

Colin Cheesman (second from left) is mobbed by teammates Nicholas Mello (L), Kamil Kolacz, #11, Evan Peluso, #10, and Evan Hughes (R) after his goal with 34 seconds remaining in the second period gave Farmington a 3-2 victory against Berlin in the CCC soccer tournament semifinal at Middletown High School Monday evening. Cheesman also scored the tying goal with 4:20 left.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Impending Storm

Canoeists paddle to shore to take cover before a storm at Haddam Meadows State Park Tuesday morning. The 13 campers from Incarnation camp in Ivoryton were taking part in a three day canoe trip down the Connecticut River from Middletown to Essex when the storm interrupted their journey.

Canoeists paddle to shore to take cover before a storm at Haddam Meadows State Park Tuesday morning. The 13 campers from Incarnation camp in Ivoryton were taking part in a three day canoe trip down the Connecticut River from Middletown to Essex when the storm interrupted their journey.

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Celebrating the Nation’s Birthday

Forth of July fireworks erupted in cities across the country as the US celebrated it’s 237th birthday.

Fireworks light up the sky over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Capitol building on July 4, 2013. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Fireworks light up the sky over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Capitol building on July 4, 2013. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Eye Contact: 28th Annual Boom Box Parade

The annual WILI Boom Box Parade began in 1986 when no marching band could be found for Windham’s Memorial Day Parade. Five weeks later, the “Boom Box Parade” concept was born as WILI plays the marching band music on the air, while thousands march and watch, loudly playing their radios or boom boxes.

Wayne Norman, the color analyst for the Uconn Huskies, and WILI morning show host, leads the procession of the 28th annual WILI Boom Box Parade Thursday morning to celebrate the 4th of  July in Willimantic.

Wayne Norman, the color analyst for the UConn Huskies, and WILI morning show host, leads the procession of the 28th annual WILI Boom Box Parade Thursday morning to celebrate the 4th of July in Willimantic.

I’ve known Wayne Norman for quite a long time, especially from my time covering the UConn men’s basketball and football teams, but I find Wayne to be in his element when he is the official or unofficial “Grand Marshall” of the Boom Box Parade. He is always leading the way and usually in some ridiculous costume but this year his butterfly outfit had a very simple and meaningful design on the back… Read More »

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Fireworks Photography

Many people have asked me “How do I take good fireworks photographs”. I usually tell them “You get lucky”.

Ken Sasso of Meriden has been photographing fireworks for over 40 years, and he does it "Old School" by using a 4x5 view camera, with real film.

Ken Sasso of Meriden has been photographing fireworks for over 40 years, and he does it “Old School” by using a 4×5 view camera, with real film.

Ken Sasso of Meriden is framed by exploding fireworks while capturing the image on his 4×5 view camera at the Middletown Fireworks Festival. To find out more on how to succeed in taking photos of fireworks… Read More »

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Hot, Hot, HOT!

 With temperatures in the mid-90's and the air thick with humidity, Ron Ragion of Enfield, a Ct. Natural Gas Chief distribution fitter, wipes away the sweat as he finishes up installing a new plastic main line tie-in along Porter St. in Manchester Tuesday afternoon. "This heat tears me up, " he said as he climbed out of the trench where he was working. STEPHEN DUNN|sdunn@courant.com

With temperatures in the mid-90’s and the air thick with humidity, Ron Ragion of Enfield, a Ct. Natural Gas Chief distribution fitter, wipes away the sweat as he finishes up installing a new plastic main line tie-in along Porter St. in Manchester Tuesday afternoon. “This heat tears me up, ” he said as he climbed out of the trench where he was working. STEPHEN DUNN|sdunn@courant.com

2-HOT-HOT-WKRYou think you’re hot? Try working in a pit surrounded by tar and steel plates. These CNG workers had to call it a day mid-afternoon when the temperature in the trench approached 100 degrees.

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First Round of the Travelers Tournament

Ideal golf weather was on hand for the opening round of the 2013 Travelers Tournament at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.

Charlie Hoffman sits atop the Travelers Championship leader board with a 9 under 61 during the opening round of the 2013 Travelers Championship at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell Thursday. Hoffman looks out over the 17th green waiting for his turn to putt.

Charlie Hoffman sits atop the Travelers Championship leader board with a 9 under 61 during the opening round of the 2013 Travelers Championship at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell Thursday. Hoffman looks out over the 17th green and may have been reflecting on last years finish when he held a 2 stroke lead on the same hole but wound up with a double bogie and then a bogie on 18 to give the championship to Marc Leishman.

 

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And Yet More Rain

EAST HARTFORD- 6/13/13- Jason Robacznski of East Hartford decided to check ou tthe flooding at Great River Park on the banks of th eConn. River Thursday with is dog, Sid. There is a flood watch in effect for the entire region until early Saturday. The heavy rains have led to flood warnings is in Hartford, Middlesex, Fairfield and New Haven counties.

EAST HARTFORD- 6/13/13- Jason Robacznski of East Hartford decided to check ou tthe flooding at Great River Park on the banks of th eConn. River Thursday with is dog, Sid. There is a flood watch in effect for the entire region until early Saturday. The heavy rains have led to flood warnings is in Hartford, Middlesex, Fairfield and New Haven counties.

Remember the drought of May? The rains of June have washed away that memory. The heavy downpours throughout the region have created flooding along the state rivers. Raincoats, sweaters and boots are the order of the day today but this weekend is expected to be gorgeous. Fingers crossed.

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SWOLLEN BROOK

MIDDLETOWN 6/11/13- The rain-swollen Laurel Grove Brook roars along near the old brownstone bridge that is part of the Wadsworth estate. The bridge is along the old carriage road that Col. Wadsworth took through the former 500-acre estate. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during Great Depression and made of local brownstone.

MIDDLETOWN 6/11/13- The rain-swollen Laurel Grove Brook roars along near the old brownstone bridge that is part of the Wadsworth estate. The bridge is along the old carriage road that Col. Wadsworth took through the former 500-acre estate. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during Great Depression and made of local brownstone.

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