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Westport Column

Bad news from A.C.A.P., my employers at the After School Program: the grant runs out this year, and so at this point it looks like there won’t be an After School Program at Westport Central next year. That means that 20 to 25 of our Kindergarten to sixth graders will have to find somewhere else to do their homework, make arts and crafts, read books, hang out, and enjoy free play and organized activities.

It also means that 20 to 25 families will have to adjust so that mom or dad can get time off from work to watch their child, or grandma will have to take up the slack, or…what? Many families, especially those with single parents, don’t have a lot of options. But there you go.

One way you can help is to email Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand and ask them to support after school programs during the budget process, which is happening right now. In particular, you could ask them to support the Boxer Amendment, which would fund the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative. This is the only federal grant system right now that funds after school, preschool, and summer learning programs. I have a bunch of young friends who would join me in thanking you. Not to mention their parents.

One of our parents is Wadhams resident Rose Chancler Feinbloom, a music educator whose teaching studio occupies the former Hamilton building here in town. As regular readers of this column will know, Rose also founded Piano By Nature, an organization dedicated to bringing exciting concerts to new audiences in the North Country. The concerts are held in Hand House in Elizabethtown, and I’ve told you about them before as they occur. Next up in the current series is a pair of eclectic recitals by Steinway pianist John Milbauer, which will take place Saturday, March 30 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 31 at 3 p.m.

John Milbauer is a well known performer and teacher who teaches piano at the University of Arizona. In fact, you may know one of his students, the very talented young pianist Dan Linder, who graduated from WCS a couple of years back.

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