Photo: Contributed Photo
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Chris Herren, a former NBA star and recovered addict who spoke at Darien High School Nov. 30, poses with Youth Asset Team Presidents Olivia Taylor, left, Emma Dahlquist, Will Harman and Sydney Schrenker.
Photo: Jarret Liotta / For Hearst Connecticut Media
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Mia Laudicina, 5, of Darien, gets ready to run at the 5th annual New Canaan Santa Run, held at New Canaan High School on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, in New Canaan, Conn.
Photo: Jarret Liotta / For Hearst Connecticut Media
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Sarai Lopez of Darien helps her daughter, Brianna, 8, with her number, at the 5th annual New Canaan Santa Run, held at New Canaan High School on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, in New Canaan, Conn.
Photo: Contributed / Contributed Photo
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The Tree Conservancy of Darien Board of Directors welcomed two new members at its year-end meeting Dec. 5
Photo: Contributed / Contributed Photo
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The Tree Conservancy of Darien installed trees at the Darien Police Station
Photo: Contributed Photo
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Garden Club of Darien co-chairmen Betsy Becker and Tracy Drippe show off some of the holiday arrangements their group made for Meals on Wheels of Lower Fairfield County.

For over 15 years, the Garden Club of Darien has put their creative floral talents to work by creating holiday arrangements for the recipients of Catholic Charities’ Meals on Wheels of Lower Fairfield County (MoW) program.

As part of an annual project dubbed “The Holiday Greens Workshop,” more than 60 helpers got together in early December at the Darien Boy Scouts Cabin to put together the arrangements. The club assembled the greenery, tiny ornaments, shimmery wire ribbon and other festive “bling” to produce 300 table top designs for the elderly homebound.

The holiday gifts were delivered the next day by the drivers of MoW.

The Tree Conservancy of Darien recently celebrated the significant milestone of installing over 600 trees in town at its year-end board of directors meeting Dec. 5. In addition to reviewing agenda and budget items for the coming year, the local nonprofit also welcomed two new members to its board.

Since its inception in 2010, TCD has planted trees at Interstate 95 exits 11 and 13, the Darien train station, Ledge Road, Darien town beaches, Spring Grove and Veterans cemeteries and Town Hall. It has donated trees to all of Darien’s public schools, Post 53, the Darien Community Association, the Bird Sanctuary at the DCA, First Congregational Church, the Darien Nature Center, Selleck’s Woods, Olsen Woods, the Beautification Commission, Tilley Pond Park and the Center Street north and south parking lots.

Its most recent installments in the fall of 2017 include 138 trees and shrubs at Tilley Pond Park, Weed Beach, Veterans Cemetery, the Darien Police Station, the Center Street north parking lot and the Darien Community Association.

Additionally in the past year, TCD hosted two forest bathing walks, co-hosted an educational lecture at the Darien Library and sold over 90 trees in its annual tree sale. Its committee members have also walked various streets in town with Eversource officials, helping to reduce the number of trees slated for removal along power lines.

New board members Jimmy Ma and Sara Zagrodzky, both of Darien, were welcomed to the TCD board at the year-end celebration. They will join current members Sig Buchmayr, Diane Farrell, Joanne Gabriel, Karen Hughan, Eileen Montellese, Ginger Morgan, Gwynne Tibbetts, John Wilson, board president Sabina Harris and adviser emeritus Cindy Ryan in working toward the goals of the group: educating the community about the value of trees and their care, replacing trees lost to disease, construction and storms, maintaining the care of new and existing trees and building partnerships with town organizations.

Bankwell invites the community to help spread some extra holiday cheer this season through three collections in Bankwell’s Fairfield County branches.

For Person-to-Person’s “Keeping Warm” annual coat drive, Bankwell is collecting new and gently-used winter outerwear for all ages and sizes to benefit the those in need through Dec. 31.

Drop-off locations:

Bankwell in Norwalk: 370 Westport Ave.

Bankwell in New Canaan: 208 Elm St.

Bankwell in Wilton: 47 Old Ridgefield

Bankwell in Fairfield: One Sasco Hill Road and 2220 Black Rock Turnpike

Bankwell in Stamford: 612 Bedford St.

In December, blood donations decline but the needs of patients remain steady.

To encourage donations, all those who give blood or platelets through Jan. 7 will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Upcoming donation opportunities:


Dec. 30: 8 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., Trinity St. Michael’s Church, 554 Tunxis Hill Road


Dec. 30: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Tully Health Center, 32 Strawberry Hill Court

Make an appointment to give blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Jan Dilenschneider, a Darien landscape artist who has championed the cause of preserving the environment in exhibits worldwide, will display her paintings in a new show titled “Paint the Beautiful World” at Stamford’s Palace Theatre.

The show, which will runs through Dec. 31, is in the recently-refurbished Sackler Gallery and in Café Teatro at The Palace Theatre.

For her exhibit at The Palace, the expressionist painter has divided the paintings into themes based on the idea behind the works:

Decalcomania is a series where one surface is painted and then pressed onto or printed onto a second surface, either canvas or aluminum. This gives texture and a haunting mirror image that can be worked on.

Homage to Leaves is themed to help the viewer appreciate the beauty of the everyday leaf.

Reeds, Rivers and Reflections highlights her fascination with the landscape, its colors, variations and the reflections in water.

Dilenschneider, who with her husband, Robert, developed The Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider Scholar Rescue Award in the Arts, which rescues artists and arts scholars from repressive regimes around the world. The award is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), one of the largest international exchange organizations in the world, and has provided life-saving fellowships that have taken oppressed artists and their families out of danger and allowed them to create and flourish.

The Fairfield Museum invites professional, serious amateur, and student photographers from Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts to participate in the IMAGES 2018 Juried Photography Show.

Submissions will be accepted from Dec. 1 through Jan. 22. IMAGES 2018 provides an excellent opportunity for artists to connect with prominent collectors, gallery owners, fellow photographers, and the public.

A jury of artists, photographers, and curators selects approximately 40 submitted photographs for exhibition in the IMAGES 2018 show, which will be on display at the Fairfield Museum and History Center from March 1 to April 15, 2018.

For rules and details,