Did You Hear … ?

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Finance that the next phase of the natural gas installation project, bringing it to the downtown, will start in April. ***

First Presbyterian Nursery School aced its most recent unannounced inspection by the New Canaan Health Department. It was conducted Dec. 11 and officials found no code violations at the Oenoke Ridge Road facility. ***

Looking to do something special on Valentine’s Day?

‘She Is a Very Compassionate Person’: New Canaanites Rally Around Local Business Owner Recovering from Aneurysm, Stroke

New Canaanites are rallying around a longtime local business owner who last month suffered a near-fatal aneurysm and stroke. Beth McCarthy, who founded Aetheria Spa on Cherry Street 11 years ago, on July 17 complained of a headache and then collapsed on her floor at home in Bridgeport, according to her brother Robert Skoglund, who recently launched GoFundMe page for his sister and family. McCarthy narrowly survived the stroke— her husband, John, likely saved her life by performing CPR until EMTs arrived—then fell into a coma at Yale University Medical Center and was breathing with help from a ventilator before she began to recover slowly in recent days, Skoglund said. A visible young woman in town who participates and supports multiple community causes and has served on the Board of Directors for the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, McCarthy, 46, is medically insured though her bills are “starting to pile up,” her brother Robert Skoglund said. Costs associated with her recovery could go into the millions, he said, and though McCarthy is insured, the coverage is “far from 100 percent,” while her out-of-pocket expenses continue to mount.

New Canaan Small Business Owners: Mastermind Group Info Session To Be Held Tuesday

About one-quarter of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce’s member businesses are independent—small retailers, entrepreneurs and other sole proprietors—and the organization’s leadership continuously looks out for programs to ensure that those members succeed. Next week, that chamber is offering local independents a tool that’s already proven successful for longstanding New Canaan business owners. The 2-hour Mastermind Group session led by business coach Rich Gee will be held at 6 p.m. on March 31 at Halo Studios, 45 Grove St. Register here. “We understand that being an independent or sole proprietor can be a daunting experience and this session really gives people a forum in which to grow their business,” said the chamber’s Laura Budd.

SLIDESHOW, VIDEO: New Canaan Dog Days 2014

[acx_slideshow name=”New Canaan Dog Days 2014″] [To pause the “New Canaan Dog Days 2014” slideshow above and get some information about the dogs pictured there, just move over it with your mouse.]

Adam and Molly Fewster recently moved into an in-town home in New Canaan from Charlotte, N.C. with their human daughter and Charlie, a 7-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever. Out for a stroll on a picture-perfect Sunday afternoon, the family began seeing signs for the annual New Canaan Dog Days event and decided to check it out—they were glad they did, as it offered up a nice social space for the Lab to do what he likes best. “He likes laying around in the backyard, sunbathing and playing with his little sister here, that’s about it,” Adam Fewster said as dozens of dogs and people milled about a cordoned off section of Cherry Street for the popular gathering of area canines. “He likes to chill out, lay on the couch and go for walks downtown.”

Presented by Village Critter Outfitter, New Canaan’s independently owned pet shop, and co-chaired by Aetheria Relaxation Spa, New Canaan Dog Days saw Cherry cordoned off for three hours between Main and East Avenue while dog-people entered their four-legged family members in fun contests, collected giveaways such as tennis balls, received great information from local sponsors and participating businesses and all in the name of benefitting two area, animal-focused nonprofit organizations. “It’s going fantastic,” Village Critter Outfitter owner Shirleen Dubuque said during a brief break in the day.

Talking ‘New Canaan Dog Days’ with Village Critter Outfitter’s Shirleen Dubuque

The extremely popular New Canaan Dog Days will be held 12 to 3 p.m. Sunday on Cherry Street downtown, presented by locally owned business mainstays Village Critter Outfitter and Aetheria Relaxation Spa. Benefitting pet-focused nonprofits PAWS and STARelief, Dog Days is a grassroots effort that is supported largely by Village Critter Owner Shirleen Dubuque (also owner of some lovely rescue dogs and other pets). We had a chance to catch up with Dubuque and put some questions to her about her own business and its niche, how New Canaan Dog Days has evolved since its 2009 launch and what our four-legged pals can expect of the event. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: One of the things that’s special about New Canaan Dog Days is that it was created and continues to be driven by local, independent businesses such as yours, where the owner is on site and that special small-town, village center feel is alive.