Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Lally Jurcik

In walking her dog in the area of Frogtown Road and the Noroton River, Robin Bates-Mason has gotten a firsthand look at how quickly trash can build up along the roadside and in the waterway itself. People driving along Frogtown, a heavily used east-west connection between Ponus Ridge and Weed Street, often don’t realize how much garbage there is because they’re moving too fast. “And of course, when summer comes in and the vegetation comes in, you don’t see it as well, but when you’re a dog walker and you see it, Frogtown just awful, it’s really bad,” Bates-Mason said. “Unfortunately  it’s not the safest route to clean up.”

Even so, as she did a few years ago, Llewellyn Drive resident Lally Jurcik took the lead last week in organizing a neighborhood campaign to get families out and cleaning up, said Bates-Mason, one of several residents of the area who received an email with details. Armed with garbage bags and loaned “grabbers” supplied by New Canaan Inlands Wetlands Director Kathleen Holland—an advocate fo the town’s annual “Clean Your Mile” campaign, more below—Jurcik helped organize more than one dozen volunteers who picked up everything from coffee cups, plastic bottles and plastic bags to discarded dog poop bags and beer cans.

New Canaan ‘Swap Shop’ Coming As Early As Next Year

A longstanding plan, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to install a “swap shop” at the Transfer Station, could be completed as early as next year, town officials and local volunteers say. Modeled on Darien’s successful swap shop, the volunteer-staffed facility would include both covered and outdoor areas where permit-holders for the Transfer Station could leave or pick up select items for free, according to Planet New Canaan President Robin Bates-Mason. “It’s supposed to keep things out of the municipal waste stream, the garbage, and also to encourage residents to purchase a Transfer Station pass,” Bates-Mason told NewCanaanite.com. The items likely would include everything from books, toys, stuffed animals, electronics, prints, sports equipment, vases and dishes to bicycles, chairs and other small furniture, she said. New Canaan Public Works Director Tiger Mann said there are offices alongside the former incinerator building at the Transfer Station that could work as a starting point for the indoor portion of a future swap shop.

Podcast: New Canaan Sustainability Team Leader Robin Bates-Mason

This week on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to Robin Bates-Mason about two matching funds from Sustainability CT that will support separate eco-friendly efforts of the Friends of Bristow Bird Sanctuary and Planet New Canaan, and we also talk about a CT Green Bank loan program of which New Canaan organizations and businesses have yet to avail themselves. Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: JoAnn Shaughnessy

[Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a new “Quiet Heroes” series. We’re accepting nominations for it, see guidelines here.]

Robin Bates-Mason, who gives of her time for the town’s Volunteer Shopping Program, visited Walter Stewart’s Market as usual one day last week. 

Picking up groceries for “her” designated senior, New Canaan’s Margaret Cooper, Bates-Mason found herself in JoAnn Shaughnessy’s lane. A cashier at Stewart’s for about two years, Shaughnessy recognized Cooper’s name. “She said, ‘Oh, hold on a sec, I just want to write her a message’ and ran over to get a marker,” Bates-Mason recalled. 

Shaughnessy wrote: “Hi Margaret. Hope you’re well.

New Canaan League’s ‘Women Rock the Vote’ Celebration Scheduled for Feb. 29

A long-established New Canaan nonprofit organization is marking a major anniversary with a community event this month that’s designed to be inclusive and affordable. The League of Women Voters of New Canaan is celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification—the U.S. Constitution amendment that says state and federal governments cannot deny people the right to vote based on sex—with “Women Rock the Vote.”

To be held starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Carriage Barn in Waveny, it will include local New Canaan Bands—the house band from the New Canaan School of Rock, Rock Paper Soul and Bad Dog Buddy—and drinks will be provided as part of a $30 ticket for those 21 and older ($20 tickets for all others). 

“I think it’s going to be a great time,” Robin Bates-Mason, who is helping lead a League committee that’s organizing the event and also includes Kiowa Kosche, Krista Neilson, Alyssa MacKenzie, Eilish Main and Karen Ferguson. 

“We want people thinking it only has ben 100 years [since women got the right to vote] and this is a huge achievement and let’s celebrate this and get people to learn more about what the League of Women Voters does,” Bates-Mason said. The national League was formed in 1920, she said, while the New Canaan chapter formed about 20 years later. 

Plans for “Women Rock the Vote” started coming together last spring, Bates-Mason said. “We wanted something that will be fun, a celebration,” she said.