newsandviewsjb

NEWS&VIEWS by Jacqueline Bennett

Posts from the “NEWS” Category

Unions Struggle To Save America’s Middle Class

Posted on April 14, 2019

Commentary by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com   As America’s middle class continues to shrink, union workers are struggling to save it.   “Whether one is concerned about middle-class wages, incomes, mobility in relationship to the rich and the poor, one policy solution can help strengthen the middle class: strengthen unions.” David Madland and Alex Rowell wrote in a piece titled ‘Unions Help the Middle Class, No Matter the Measure.’   Unions, they said, increase workers’ wages and benefits, boost economic mobility for future generations, reduce runaway increases at the top, raise the share of national income going to the middle class, reduce inequality, decrease poverty and improve worker’s well-being. Nonetheless in the past few decades union membership has dwindled. The decline, they add, has been…

At the Capitol With Connecticut State Representative Jane Garibay

Posted on March 30, 2019

  Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com   It was an interesting day spent March 28 with State Representative Jane Garibay at the Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut. Garibay represents the 60th District, covering Windsor and Windsor Locks.   A freshman legislator, Garibay won election in November 2018, defeating a Republican incumbent. In her first year on the hill, she has already co-sponsored a bill.   “I am honored to serve the people of the 60th district and to share this incredible journey,” she said, “I am proud to serve with so many dedicated legislators working for the good of the people in their districts and state.”   Part of the journey is learning the ropes at the state Capitol. With a desire to…

Lilacs Welcome Spring

Posted on March 24, 2019

Write-up & Photo by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com   With the arrival of spring I eagerly await the blossoming of the lilac bush not far from my front steps. It is gorgeous and fragrant. At the risk of sounding cliche, the soft purple tone of these flowers makes me wonder at the beauty created by nature.     Although lilac-colored lilacs are considered to be the most common (syringa vulgaris), as Martha Stewart pointed out in a wonderful blog piece she wrote, lilacs are a “diverse genus.” They grow in white, violet, blue, lavender, pink, magenta and purple ~ and in varying shades of those hues.   Each color has it own symbolism: white ~ purity & innocence: violet ~ spirituality: blue ~ happiness &…

Talented Women Enriching Lives Around Them ~ Focus on Melane Larned, Laurie Czarzasty

Posted on March 13, 2019

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com   With greater attention being paid to the value of women in American society and the world as a whole, let us pause to appreciate women we know who balance careers, household management and nurturing their families, yet still find time to share their talents to enhance the lives of those they love.   It has been a whirlwind two years for Melane Larned and Laurie Czarzasty. Yet, a blessed two years for the women whose lives intersected because Melane’s youngest daughter and Laurie’s son fell in love. Add to that the joy of Melane’s oldest daughter expecting her first child, as well as, Laurie’s daughter getting married then expecting her first child, and there have been…

The Beauty of Dried Flowers

Posted on March 5, 2019

By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com   The beauty of dried flowers is not only intrinsic in their visual appeal but exists through their longevity and versatility. The photo I snapped, seen to the right, is one of my favorite dried flower arrangements. Perhaps because it spotlights a vintage jug which belonged to my mother. I adore the unexpected simplicity of the arrangement and the natural colors. I am quite certain I will keep this arrangement with me forever.   A discernible secret revealed  ~ in some cases dried flowers can last “forever.” At least they can last for many, many years. Keep them so long as they are still “seen” and enjoyed, suggest online sources.   To some degree beautiful floral/dried flower design is the…

Fresh Snowfall Belies Chuckles’ Early Spring Prediction

Posted on February 21, 2019

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My Potter’s Bench awaiting the early arrival of spring – ha! Photo by Jacqueline Bennett

 

By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewjb.com

 

A fresh late February snowfall is not unusual in New England, however, on Ground Hog Day 2019 both Punxsutawney Phil, and Chuckles at the Lutz Chidren’s Museum here in Connecticut promised us an early spring. So what pray tell is this new white stuff all about?

 

Despite the century-old tradition of turning to a groundhog for a long-term weather report, these a.k.a. woodchucks that are of the marmot species – basically, large squirrels., have been accurate only 40 percent of the time, according to a CNN report. Nonetheless, thousands of spectators continue to turn out annually to witness the sleepy animal’s forecast in Punxsutawney, PA. In Manchester, CT, home to the Lutz and the state’s official groundhog, the mayor and other local dignitaries were present for the prediction.

 

How did it come to pass that a big ole squirrel is thought to hold the answer which certified meteorlogists are paid to know? The phenomenon is said to date back to ancient Christian times when people brought candles to services for winter blessings and somehow it evolved to include animals., says CNN.

 

No shadows were seen by Punxsutawney Phil or Chuckles meaning bye, bye winter. Only in theory this year, as across the country bitter cold and heavy snowstorms have been the trend. Another four to six inches of snow fell this morning for us with an icy mix. Warmer temperatures are expected by tomorrow, into the low 50s, likely to result in melting. Still, I wouldn’t pack away the wool sweaters and mittens yet ~ it appears the earliest spring will arrive in the Northern Hemisphere is, as the calendar states, March 20th.

Mindfulness, Stretch, Walk For Your Health

Posted on February 10, 2019

Be Mindful - Brew A Cup of Tea.

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett Dog Lane Cafe Storrs, Ct ~ Brew a cup of tea for mindfulness

 

By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com

 

Mindfulness is the new trend but what does it mean? Essentially it is about staying in the moment. Focus on simple tasks and send out positive energy to calm the mind rather than letting your thoughts race in a zillion different directions ~ which can be mentally and emotionally taxing.

 

Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as brewing a cup of tea says healthline.com. Focus on each step of the process along the way ~ thus allowing the mind to take a mental break.

 

A couple more simple suggestions offered for practicing mindfulness, wish someone happiness and pause to look up at the stars. Wishing someone happiness is a philosophy said to have been promoted by Chade Meng Tan  ~ “Throughout the day, randomly wish for someone to be happy.” This might be someone you love, someone you are worried about, someone from the past, anyone.

 

Looking upward is another way to practice mindfulness. Headed for work ~ pause and look up, at the computer ~ pause and look up, taking out the trash ~ pause and look up, walking the dog ~ paws (ha!) and look up at the sky or the stars.

 

Bringing a moment of peace to your life on a daily basis may well have a cumulative effect. Certainly it cannot hurt to give mindfulness a try.

 

Stretching notes healthline.com can have multiple benefits. Done on a regular basis, stretching can increase flexibility and range of motion which can enhance your ability to do other physical activities. (Easy stretching is my preference.)

 

Stretching can also help to heal and prevent pain by increasing blood flow to the muscles thus reducing muscle soreness and making recovery easier. It can help improve posture by encouraging proper muscular skeletal alignment. Tight muscles it was pointed out as well, can result in strain, even headaches. To be beneficial stretching needs to be done in proper form, information which is available online.

 

Of course, walking remains one of the best activities for the health conscious. What better time to add some steps to your day than in February, the American Heart Association’s Heart Health Month. As I have stated in previous posts ~ walk until your heart is content!

 

Why not stretch a bit before and after walking & bring mindfulness to your movements? A happy  health ‘hattrick’.

 

**Always check with a physician before starting any new exercise.