Month: May 2018

Heritage Center News Programs for ALL Redding Adults

by Ruth Moran, Heritage Center Program Coordinator
  • Reminder: Heritage Center and town offices will be closed Mon. May 28th due to the Memorial Day Holiday.
  • Since there will be another vote on the town budget on Tues. June 5th, there will be no lunch served @ Heritage Center on that day.
  • A new session of Genealogy classes will be beginning June 11th.  This will be a short four week session (June 11 – July 2) meeting Monday afternoons @ 1:30 p.m. for advanced students and 3:30 p.m. for beginners.  Classes registrations are due June 4th.  Fee: $10/class.
  • Reflexology sessions are back!   Now that Deby, our reflexologist, has recovered from shoulder surgery, she’s taking appointments for half-hour or hour reflexology sessions on Thursdays between the hours of 11 and 3.  Please call our office to schedule an appointment.
  • Manicures by Amisha Dave will be happening again on Thurs. June 7th. Manicures are $12 and need to be scheduled in advance.  Please call our office by Wed. 6/6.  Manicure sessions are every 30 minutes beginning @ 12:30 and ending @ 4:00 p.m. She’s been getting favorable reviews for her work, so come pamper yourself for the start of summer.
  • Our Second Art Talk: Lauren Rachelson will return on Tues. June 12th to give a presentation on the artist Chuck Close.  Join us in the community room at 10:30 a.m. for coffee and snacks and learn how this nearly blind artist is still thriving.  Lauren has given many art talks in the area and has done much research on the lives of famous artists. Her previous talk (5/23) was on the life of Georgia O’Keefe, which has us prepared us for a visit to the NY Botanical Garden where some of O’Keefe’s work is on display.  If you are interested in joining an excursion to the Botanical Garden please contact our office.  We’re currently working on making trip arrangements.  More info to come. Please register your attendance for the Tues. 6/12program by submitting your $3.00 fee by Mon. June 12th.  Refreshments will be served.
  • Book Discussion Group.  This group meets the last Monday of every month @ 1:30 p.m.  For the June  25th meeting the group will be discussing the book, Dreams of Joy by Lisa See.  All are welcome.  You may contact Dona Able ( to get more information.
  • Our “Seniors’ Garden” located behind the Community Center is in need of a supervisor.  If you would like to check out the garden and consider investing an hour or two per week, please contact Ruth Moran @ Heritage Center.
  • There are only three Wed. morning drawing classes remaining (June 13, 20, and 27) before our beloved instructor, Laura McCormick, will be off for a summer break.  When she comes back in September we’ll be giving her class a new name… “Sketch, Paint, Create”, but the essence of the class will remain the same.
  • Over the summer we urge you all to keep your creativity flowing.  You can join our clay class with Ruth Moran on Mondays 2-4 p.m., our art class with Adele Moros on Tuesdays 1-3 p.m., or our quilters on Thursdays 10-3p.m.  Check with our office for more details.
  • Spanish classes are happening every Tues. in June. Beginners+ meet @ 9:45 a.m., Intermediate class meets @ 11:00 a.m.  Register now for your June classes ($20.00).
  • Keep exercising!  Although our instructor for “Yoga for the Rest of Us” (Jean Rexford) will be away for the summer (promises to return for Tuesday classes in Sept.) you can join our “Fitness to Fit You” class meeting Tuesdays @ 9a.m. and Fridays @ 9:30 a.m., or the Tai Chi classes meeting on Mon., Wed., and Fri. (see times on left column). Yoga is also available on Wed. mornings @ 9 a.m. All these classes are $5.00 /session. The yoga instructor is also willing to hold short “mini yoga” private sessions on Wednesdays from 10:15 – 10:45 a.m.  Contact our office for more details.
  • F.Y.I. Attorneys Tom and Michele Murphy will be presenting a program “Elder Law Strategies for Affording Long Term Care – Protect Your Life’s Savings and Lifestyle!” on June 13th at Bethel Health Care.  6:00 p.m. light fare, 6:30 p.m. program on using trusts, annuities and more to qualify for valuable benefits.  Find out how to reduce your out-of-pocket cost of care.  Learn how to leverage your financial resources with state and VA benefits.  To register contact Julie Brown of Bethel Health Care’s Community Outreach (203-830-4180 x365).

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Guest Commentary The Logic of Failure

Humans have evolved a variety of psychological strategies to help us cope with the aversive consequences of failure, some of which are more productive than others.  We generally don’t like failure—especially when we have invested significant emotional energy and/or effort into the hoped-for outcome—and try to make ourselves feel better when it occurs.  Much of the time, our preferred explanations are those that defend and/or boost our self-images.

The purpose of this comment is to set out a few of these psychological strategies and apply them to a recent event considered by some to have been a failure: the vote by Redding residents to reject the budget proposals from the Board of Finance and Region 9 School Board.  People (especially those who supported the budgets) were shocked and disappointed and, as would be expected, sought to understand the reasons for this surprising setback.

The explanations that I observed in individual discussions, at public meetings, in social media, and in emails sent to me include:

  • Denial: denying that the failure occurred by stating that the “cause” was right but people misunderstood it and mistakenly voted against it;
  • Deflection and blame: praising one’s own role while claiming the outcome was someone else’s’ fault;
  • Insulting others: engaging in ad hominem attacks (whether publicly or privately).

What I saw little evidence of was what should be the common reaction:  encouraging and participating in a careful assessment of the situation in hopes of identifying all of the possible causes and rationally responding to them.  This would entail self-reflection and assumption-checking.  For instance, how many proponents of the budget asked themselves what role they played in the defeat and what they could have done differently?

As with most complex social events, there are likely multiple underlying causes for the rejection of the budgets.  A few possibilities:

  • The budgets simply diverged too much from what the majority of voters thought was appropriate and/or wanted to pay, especially given the causallyunrelated but personally relevant property reassessments;
  • Some voters didn’t fully grasp the issues and the consequences either of voting “yes” or “no”;
  • One or more parties propagated misinformation that inflamed people on one or both sides of the debate;
  • The rhetorical strategies of the proponents may have led to a “boomerang” effect that increased opposition. For instance, casting the debate in terms of simple dichotomies (e.g., pro vs. anti education, parent vs. senior, good vs. evil, etc.) was not helpful. People can be very “pro” education even if they thought the proposed budgets were too high.A vote against a budget is not a vote against the schools but an objection to a specific dollar amount and/or plan.(As an analogy, one may support the re-introduction of tolls on CT highways and rebuilding of our infrastructure with the new revenues while being opposed to any particular implementation plan.) Similarly, overt politicization and demonization of the “other” side likely served to harden positions and energize the opposition.

Redding has excellent (though not perfect) schools, as publicly argued by our school administration and school board leaders.  Let’s do everything that we can afford to do to protect and strengthen them.  But please, let’s be civil and put the common good above individual feelings.  Let’s exhibit productive coping strategies that respect each other and focus on the problems and their solutions, and refrain from personal attacks.  Let’s be kind to our elected officials and respectful at our public meetings.

A personal note on the role of the political parties in the budget debate:  I personally do not believe that the Democratic Town Committee (DTC) should take a stand on the budget.  Democrats have been unwavering supporters of education at all levels, but have been and continue to be divided on the budget, and this is a reason the DTC has not voted on taking a public position on the budget in probably a dozen or more years.

Daniel W. Barrett

[Daniel W. Barrett is a Professor of Psychology at WestConn and Chair of the Redding Democratic Town Committee. The views expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of the DTC or of hello, NewsCT llc]