Community News (The Good) from the desk of Mr. Gaff.

TORRINGTON: Happy New Year everyone.

Here’s hoping for a happy and healthy trip around the sun for all of us.

So much of that, okay nearly all of that, is up to each of us.

We control our own individual destinies based on decisions we make and let’s hope we all try and make good ones.

A little bit of everything in this column today.

A little sports, a little community and as always, some optimistic thoughts.

Community: This past Monday, we had Greg Brisco, the CEO of the Torrington YMCA, on our WAPJ, LCS program to talk about the community efforts designed to tackle the homeless issues we are facing in both Torrington and in Litchfield County. Nearly 200 of our neighbors are in this situation, a stunning number.

Late last month, an emergency overflow shelter was opened at Trinity Church, next door to the studious at WAPJ.

We spoke with Brisco about how folks could help with the efforts at the church to take care of those who are currently experiencing homelessness with the emphasis on giving these folks a “hand-up” as opposed to a “handout”.

The Y and Trinity are working hard to change the perception of folks who are struggling at the moment. Most are people trying to get themselves into a better situation with great help available from these and other organizations in the city.

Currently, Trinity can take in 30 guests overnight but are seeing around 24 at the moment.

The Community Soup Kitchen, located on the side of the church, is currently undergoing renovations to their kitchen and could use some help with cooked meals.

They are, with the Y’s help, utilizing a food truck for dinner while upgrades are being done.

Volunteers are needed to help serve the meals as well as other duties needed to staff the shelter.

To find out how you can help, contact Willem Donahue at 860-489-3133 x 107 for more information.

Let’s help out folks.

THS Theater: I took in a performance of the student run Frog and Toad on Friday night inside the Little Theater.

What can I say but wow.

These productions, run by students, never disappoint, never.

I had visited the crew early in the rehearsal process and saw how they went from just starting to memorize their lines to a well-oiled machine by the time the curtain opened for keeps.

Co-directors Freyja Harrel and Elizabeth Campas Hathaway were firmly in control of this funny, thoughtful and energetic production.

Gio Quinones (Frog) and Reed Freiler (Toad) were tremendous, feeding off each other’s energy throughout.

Frog was upbeat and hopeful, Toad, not so much but came around with a little help from their friends.

Nate Pepler did a great job in the role of the Snail, purposed with delivering the first ever letter to Toad in a blisteringly slow performance.

His solo though, “I’m coming out of my shell” brought a thunderous applause from those in attendance, it was that good.

The Birds, Luke Le, Andrea Sikes and Sariah Rimkie did a great job of at first, needling Toad for his poor kite flying skill before becoming fans by the end of the show.

All in all, one terrific show.

Thank you for your dedication and skill.

What’s next?

Brigadoon. The first show to appear on the Little Theater stage will also be the last before the new high school Theater opens in early 2025.

Coming this spring.

Step back Will: In a recent road game at St Paul, Torrington junior Will Parkhouse gave his team a thrilling 70-67 win with a long three with four seconds to play.

The play was set up by a great defensive play by senior DJ Williams who forced a turnover with 12 seconds left with some tenacious half-court defense that caused the Falcons ball handler to lose control of the ball out of bounds.

When Parkhouse got the ball, he made a move towards the foul line, backing his defender up in the process before stepping back for a long three.

Tonight’s scheduled game against Ansonia has been moved to tomorrow night with bad weather in the forecast.

Optimism: Last but not least. It’s not really hard to find a good news story in our everyday lives.

They are there, we just have to be willing to block out the bad news noise that seems to be amplified anywhere you turn.

I say, turn it off.

Whether it be on television or on radio or in print, limit the amount of negative, headline grabbing, instant gratification nonsense that permeates our world at times.

I am always optimistic. I see the good in people all around me.

The vast majority of folks you run into are simply trying to do the right thing every day, one day at a time.

Don’t fall for the negative traps out there.

Let’s make 2024 a year to remember in a good way.

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