New Canaan Promotes ‘Tech-Free Family Time’ through ’30 Days of Family’

Town and local nonprofit officials are urging New Canaan families this month to unplug their mobile devices and spend more time communicating directly with each other. The Department of Human Services-led “30 Days of Family” initiative this year has taken up “tech-free family time” as its motto. Unplugging forces family members to talk to each other “with their voices and spend quality time making eye contact and practicing listening skills,” according to Jacqueline D’Louhy, the department’s coordinator of youth and family services. “Think about how much teens ‘talk’ to each other electronically,” D’Louhy said. “Sometimes they’ll be sitting in the same room but never utter a word to one another.

Local Nonprofits Receive Grant Allocations from Kiwanis Club of New Canaan

Thanks to the Kiwanis Club of New Canaan, 24 local organizations on Friday received a boost to their funding. The international nonprofit, whose mission is “Serving the children of the world,” handed out checks to local organizations that address youth during its annual allocations breakfast. This year, the Kiwanis Club allocated a total of $9,620 which comes almost entirely from fundraising events—mainly the Zerbini Family Circus, which also benefits the New Canaan YMCA and will be held Saturday, June 18. Beth Jones, head of the Kiwanis Allocations Committee, said nonprofits seeking support undergo a multi-step process. “We start by looking at how much money we have to give away,” Jones said during the breakfast, held at the Y. “Once we get all the applications in, we sit down, they usually come to my house for lunch, and we go through all of the applications and eliminate the ones that do not fit our mission of helping children of the world.”

Once the Allocations Committee prioritizes which groups they want to allocate funds to, Jones and the rest of the committee, “presents it to the entire Kiwanis Club, we vote on it, and then we give the final list to the treasurer.”

“It is usually very amicable process,” Jones said.

Q&A: Talking To ‘The Ram Council’ President About ‘The Power of Prevention”

The Ram Council Foundation, an organization built around a group of NCHS students who lead substance-free lives, is scheduled on the night of Thursday, March 31 to hold a panel discussion, “The Power of Prevention: Success Stories and Strategies for Healthy Teen Years.” The question-and-answer session will feature panelists such as New Canaan First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and St. Luke’s School Headmaster Mark Davis. recently caught up with Ram Council President Joyce Sixsmith to talk about the group and this event specifically. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: Talk to us about the genesis of the Ram Council.

Police K-9 Unit Sweeps New Canaan High School for Heroin, Other Drugs in Training Exercise

New Canaan Police K 9 Apollo at NCHS
The New Canaan Police Department’s newly deployed K-9 unit swept through New Canaan High School’s hallways Wednesday morning, sniffing lockers during a demonstration and training exercise that could yield a more regular effort to use the drug-sniffing dog to combat substance abuse among local youth. Apollo, a German shepherd dog that since completing training in July has worked throughout town with NCPD Officer David Rivera—making his public debut at the Family Fourth at Waveny and already helping police with drug arrests in town—spent more than one hour sniffing lockers up and down NCHS hallways. The keenly sensitive, drug-sniffing dog successfully detected marijuana and heroin planted by NCPD officers during a tightly controlled test, and is able additionally to detect crack-cocaine and cocaine, among other drugs, Rivera said. “Once he tells me he is entirely sure, that’s when I am good with it,” Rivera said during the session, as a leashed Apollo in sweeping the lockers throughout the hallways stopped and lay down in front of those where School Resource Officer Jason Kim had planted the drugs as a test. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi, Police Chief Leon Krolikowski and NCHS Principal Bill Egan followed Rivera and Kim through the school.