This week’s front page showcases stories about how the citizens of the Northwest Corner are making it a better place to live. Debra Aleksinas details efforts to protect environmentally and aesthetically sensitive land in the Salmon Kill River Valley. Natalia Zukerman profiles a crusader for social justice and women’s health.

In Compass, in the third part of a series about the healing power of theater, Lee Davies writes about how The Sharon Playhouse has been instrumental in bringing invigorating, in-person experiences to us.

These stories remind us how our friends and neighbors are making a difference.

More than 170 people raised $800,000 so that the Salisbury Association Land Trust could purchase 14 acres of farmland property in the Salmon Kill Valley. The valley and the creek itself have long been considered some of the most beautiful and ecologically valuable resources in Connecticut, Aleksinas writes. As Jeanette Weber, president of the Salisbury Association says, “We are very grateful to have received donations from so many people in the community.”

From many to one. Our community also needs to appreciate what one woman has done for many. Betsey Mauro, the departing executive director of Project SAGE, leaves behind a strong, community-based organization that supports, advocates for, guides and educates the victims of relationship violence through services and outreach programs in the Northwest Corner. When Mauro began in 2016, the organization was called Women’s Support Services. It has since changed its name to Project SAGE. Mauro expanded the organization and created a network that reaches far beyond Lakeville. “Whether I’m in a church or I’ve been in this role here, it’s all about how we lift up people and also challenge the systems that are unfair, that keep people from accessing their full selves,” Mauro says.

In Part III of Davies’ series on the role of theater in a community, Lee writes about how the Sharon Playhouse is partnering with local support groups, including Project Sage on the 2023 production of “Oliver!” Last fall, The Sharon Playhouse teamed up with The Salisbury Forum and this newspaper to co-sponsor a panel discussion about its production of “Lifespan of a Fact” on the hot issue of truth in journalism. It also worked with the Hotchkiss Library of Sharon to make its “Little Women” community read a success. During the 2023 season, Davies reports that The Sharon Playhouse provided jobs for 250 professional theater artists, actors, technicians, musicians and educators; welcomed 16,000 patrons; and offered over 95 live performances of 22 theater productions.

The hard work people put in matters. It makes the Northwest Corner a wonderful place to live. We are grateful for all their many efforts.

Latest News

Joy at The Playhouse

The Sharon Playhouse honors Bobbie Olsen at its annual Spotlight Gala.

Justin Boccitto

The Annual Sharon Playhouse Spotlight Gala cast their theater light upon a worthy honoree this year: Bobbie Olsen, Bobbie Olsen, former president of The Playhouse board and namesake of a well-known location, The Bobbie Olsen Theatre, where residents pack the seats each summer to see the mainstage production plays and musicals. Held on Saturday, June 1, the dinner, cocktail, and musical review at the Olsen Theatre was a celebration of all she has contributed to keeping live theater active and alive in Sharon, even in the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bobbie Olsen is an incredible supporter of not just this theater, but this community,” said Sharon Playhouse Artistic Director Carl Andress. “She supports the Sharon Playhouse in her leadership, and in the beauty of her person-hood. We’re just so grateful that she’s been in our lives and that she continues to be such a good friend to the theater, Sharon Playhouse, and the theater in general.”

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NWCT Arts Council: Arts Connected

Matica Circus duo from Harwinton, Connecticut performing at NWCT ARTS Connected event in May

Jennifer Almquist

The Northwest Connecticut Arts Council (NWCT Arts) recently held Arts Connected, their first fundraiser, at the Spring Hill Vineyard in Washington, Connecticut. The evening celebration, a combination of Fellini movie, carnival, and Renaissance Fair, featured an aerialist from Matica Circus in Harwinton, and a flame and flow performer out in the courtyard under the stars. Momix, based in Washington Connecticut, under the artistic direction of founders Moses Pendleton and Cynthia Quinn, also performed. Two dancers wore Jeff Koons-style inflated red dog suits, and Momix dancer Jared Bogart wafted through the space wearing an immense, two-stories tall silk fan. Persian calligraphic painter Alibaba Awrang created a community work of art, while Ameen Mokdad, a violinist from Iraq, made music with Hartford’s Cuatro Puntos Ensemble. A young musician, Adelaide Punkin, performed an original song from the balcony of the vast space, while a giant puppet from Sova Dance and Puppet waltzed through the festivities. DJ Arvolyn Hill from Kent spun the tunes, an African drum circle set the rhythm, and there was abundant food and drink for the gathered crowd.

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Research and development

The catch of the day for the Tangled column of the week.

Patrick L. Sullivan

Fishing trips are rarely straightforward propositions. Over 52 years of flicking the baited hook, I have learned not to make plans with rigid schedules, because something always goes awry.

Last week I traveled deep into the wilds of Greene County, N.Y., for some research and development with my fishing guru Gary.

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The 18th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival

Actor Freddie Gibbs in “Down With The King,” which was filmed in Berkshire County and screened at BIFF.

Film still by Visit Films

The 18th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival began on Thursday, May 30, and ended on Sunday, June 2. (BIFF) features films, events, and special guests annually in Great Barrington and Lenox, Massachusetts. The festival gathers industry professionals and fans for a four-day celebration.

This year’s lineup featured documentaries, narrative features, short films, and an animated shorts selection for kids with stories from all over the world and Berkshire-based stories. To handle increased growth, the festival expanded to the Lenox Town Hall.

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