Faces of New Canaan: Elizabeth Oei

Upon first look, Elizabeth Oei might seem to have her hands full. A longtime New Canaan resident, she serves as member of the New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps (NCVAC) and the Pop-Up Park Committee in addition to a full-time nurse consultant job. She also may be most recognized around town for her two beloved dogs, Cosmo and Bean, gentle animals that she describes as her children. After speaking with Oei (full interview transcribed below), however, it became clear that her involvement is a pleasure and it is all these things that flesh out her full personality. We sat down with this very involved woman to discuss her time in New Canaan, her various roles and responsibilities, and of course her dogs.

The Den at Mill Pond: History of the Lions Club in New Canaan

Helen Belluschi recalls skating on Mill Pond as a young girl. And growing up on Marshall Ridge Road, she could down and skate every day at Mead Park that the activity was available. “There was the rink in Norwalk, but for the most part you did not go to the private rinks. Where you skated was Mill or Mead or way out on Ponus… You skated every day it was available,” Belluschi recalled on a recent afternoon. “Snow plows would even get on the ice and plow it, because the ice was that thick.”

The 72 year-old treasurer for the New Canaan Lions Club stands atop the footbridge overlooking the pond on a sunny summer day.

Kids and Teens Bring the Heat at NFL Punt, Pass & Kick Competition



Connecticut girls and boys from ages 6 to 15 kicked off the 2015 NFL Punt, Pass & Kick Competition on Saturday, August 15. The competition was held at Water Tower Field in New Canaan, headed up by Chairperson for NFL Local in New Canaan Craig Hunt. “This is called a local competition that we are doing now,” Hunt said. “These go from June until the end of September. The sectionals start in October…in Cheshire Connecticut; and from there they go to the nationals.”

College-bound 2015 NCHS grad Clark Newlove, who was on hand to help out, said the experience can be amazing for participants.

Three New Canaan Organizations Collaborate on Art Therapy

Silver Hill Hospital has launched an integrated art therapy experience this summer for patients from its Adolescent Transitional Living Program at the Silvermine Arts Center, thanks to a $5,000 grant by the New Canaan Community Foundation. The program, a collaboration between Silver Hill Hospital and the Silvermine Arts Center, enables patients to leave the Silver Hill campus once a week in order to learn new visual artistic skills, as well as enhance preexisting skills, according to those involved in it. “We started prior to the grant working with Silvermine Arts Center, because they are the preeminent arts guild in Fairfield County and they are right up the street from us, and I was struck by the fortuitous colocation of our two facilities,” said Dr. Aaron Krasner, chief of the Adolescent Transitional Living Program. “I was also developing our internal art therapy program at the time, and I thought it was match made in heaven.”

Krasner found the arts to be an important part in his patients’ recoveries, a conclusion grounded in scientific basis and study. Thanks to the NCCF grant, Sunday sessions will see participants work in various media, including hand-built ceramics, printmaking, sculpture and multimedia painting. “Creative expression and what I like to call adjunctive therapeutic activities are very important for adolescents who are engaged in serious psychotherapy and other psychosocial interventions,” Krasner said.

Spotlight: The Story Behind Summer Theatre of New Canaan

The sound of jump ropes cracking in succession echoes across the meadow where New Canaan High School meets Waveny. But this is no school fitness program—it’s group of seasoned actors from Connecticut and New York, practicing the choreography for the musical number “Whipped Into Shape” from the upcoming Summer Theatre of New Canaan performance of “Legally Blonde—the Musical.”

“It’s all really coming together,” Ed Libonati, executive director of STONC, said with a smile as he stands near the makeshift tent and stage that for 12 summers has transformed this bit of wilderness into a highly touted entertainment venue. Established by Ed and Melody Libonati, a New Canaan husband and wife who moved from New York 27 years ago and sought to bring a thriving performing arts scene to both the town and county, STONC is a nonprofit organization with a highly personal history for the family, and it’s become as integral a part of the summer scene as the water towers that loom over this landscape. Libonati, who holds many TV and theater directing credits, does not just work in theater but lives it—something his home life reflects. Melody herself has a number of Broadway credits to her name, including playing Sandra in the original company production of “Grease.” Their daughter, Allegra, is resident director of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., and son Christian, runs a theater company in Chicago.