Shout Out – Learning from the Past, A Rock for All Reasons, Setting Records at Age 4, Art Around Town, Junior Engineer & Wilton Library Director Retires
Learning from the Past – Battle of Ridgefield undergo further investigation
The Ridgefield Historical Society is completing work on the first phase of a research project that it hopes will lead to future study to expand knowledge and awareness of the Battle of Ridgefield. The Battle, which took place on April 27, 1777, was Connecticut’s only inland battle during the American Revolution and involved some prominent figures, including Benedict Arnold, who was then a hero for the Patriot side.
Inspired by the 2019 discovery of four skeletons, possibly buried hastily in the aftermath of the Battle, the Historical Society, working with Connecticut’s State Historic Preservation Office, applied in early 2020 for a National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program grant. Heritage Consultants LLC of Newington was selected to assemble and assess information and document materials related to the Battle. This first phase of research has created a database of information and mapping that will provide the basis for later field research.
In the coming year there will be a series of charrettes to engage Ridgefielders’ interest in future study of properties that may have been scenes of fighting. Heritage Consultants’ preliminary findings suggest that skirmishing was widespread in town, from when the British entered through Ridgebury to their overnight encampment just south of the village. The consultants are also looking at how the landscape played a role in the conflict. The site of main engagement, near where the skeletons were found, was a natural choke point that the Patriots took advantage of by throwing up a barricade. Throughout the grant’s duration, researchers are posting their findings each month at ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.org. Historical Society volunteers are inviting property owners to fill out permissions for on-site research (copies are available on the website). Detectorists working with the consultants discussed how the work would be done at the Historical Society’s 20th anniversary Scott House Celebration in early October.
A Rock for All Reasons
When the Westmoreland home where Suni Pedersen Harford grew up was sold, there was an odd contingency—the large white rock at the edge of the driveway would be moved to Suni’s own driveway on Peaceable Hill Road in Ridgefield so she could continue the 50-year-old tradition her dad started; painting it with seasonal themes. Today, it has become a rock for all reasons with Suni’s creative and clever interpretations of each life event. Whether it’s for Final Four enthusiasm, Valentine’s day wishes, 9/11 commemoration, or acknowledging the COVID cloud, Suni, with paint brush in hand, snuggles beside the family rock in all sorts of weather delighting passersby with her creations.
Setting Records at Age 4
Ridgefield resident Brigitte Xie has received international attention for her skills as piano playing prodigy, and was recently invited to become the youngest performer ever at Carnegie Hall, after winning the Elite International Music Competitions first place prize at the age of 3. Her mother and father, Nicole Sun and Tao Xi were astonished when she began learning the piano only six months before winning this prize. “We tried to keep her entertained [and] she started playing a little bit while she was stuck at home during the pandemic. I was surprised at how quickly she got good… It was amazing.”
Unfortunately, because she is too young to get vaccinated, she was unable to perform. An article by Rosie Pentreath with ClassicFM put it well; “She was too young to make history for being young.” However, her parents and teacher are not deterred and continue to work with her. She is certainly someone to keep an eye on!
Art Around Town
Local artist Patrizia Sandolo (Trish) has been appearing in several establishments in the area, and her work can be easily recognized in places like Tusk’n Cup in Wilton, Penny Ha’Penny, Heibeck’s Stand, The Angel Cooperative and Terra Sole in Ridgefield. “I like to incorporate a touch of whimsy by using colors that are playful and fun,” she says. “In my experimentation with acrylic color combinations and textures, I strive to create something unique and out of the ordinary. Inspiration comes to me from the beauty of nature and my surroundings and I try to translate that into my work. Bringing out the beauty in my subjects when I paint custom portraits of people and pets from photographs is my goal. Positive happy reactions from my clients is the ultimate reward.
Intuition guides my art and when I get stuck I ask my Angels for guidance. My hope is to inspire and bring a smile to the viewer, and to bring a touch of Whimsy to the world.”
See more work at whimsychickdesigns.com
Talk about an early over achiever—at the tender age of 11, Owen Lentner can already add the role of “chief executive” to his resume. Lentner, a Middlebrook sixth-grader, is the founder and president of the Wilton-based, not-for-profit organization Lentner Junior Engineers, an innovative program dedicated to refurbishing and repurposing donated computers that might otherwise gather dust in the basement or end up in landfill. Once computers are wiped clean of all data and updated with current operating systems, they’re provided free of charge to local organizations and individuals in need. Owen also donates his time teaching computer skills to seniors in the Wilton community, with a focus on cybersecurity. His mother, Katherine Schwartz, says, “Owen is also an intern at FinTron Invest, a start-up in Westport led by two 20-something entrepreneurs. It’s a broker-dealer similar to Robinhood, with a focus on educating the Gen Z and Millenial groups by way of a simulated application that allows students to actively trade—with real and live data—to get comfortable with developing investment skills.” Owen, we can’t wait to see what you do next.
Wilton Library Director Retires in January 2022
Elaine Tai-Lauria will retire as Executive Director of Wilton Library Association (WLA) as of January 31, 2022. “I have been planning to retire for some time, but decided that I needed to stay on to steer the library through the pandemic,” Tai-Lauria explained. “Now that we have reopened the library and things are getting back to normal, I feel that I am able to step down.” One of Tai-Lauria’s main missions was to invest in digital access and services. As a result, the library was well-positioned to continue providing a wide range of services to patrons when the building itself was closed due to COVID-19. “Elaine’s contribution to the library has been profound,” said WLA President Rob Sanders. “We owe her an enormous debt of gratitude. We have initiated a search process and are confident of the outcome. Wilton Library is a very attractive place to work in large measure thanks to Elaine.”
Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in the heart of Wilton Center. For more information, visit www.wiltonlibrary.org or call 203-762-3950.