Kendra Baker


Location icon United States of America

Millennial. Leo. Reporter for The Wilton Bulletin.

At 97, it's not time to hang up the dancing shoes yet

Dorothy Christison's 97th birthday was cause for a family reunion at her Old Driftway home on Saturday. Ms. Christison, who has lived in Wilton more than 50 years, welcomed family members from across the country on Jan. 11.

Wilton High School seniors go 'crazy'

A night of comedy with tongue-in-cheek humor and a Saturday Night Live feel is coming to Wilton High School. Approximately 100 members of the 2014 class have been rehearsing and preparing for this year's annual senior show production, Crazytown, with performances Jan. 30-31 and Feb. 1 at the Clune Center.

Helping parents deal with kids' gaming

From 10:30 until noon, Dr. Schleifer will be talking to parents about just that during the "Video Games: Creating a Family Plan" event at the Wilton Library on Wednesday, Feb. 5. "You typically see a real uptick in the amount kids playing video games between the ages of 7 and 15," said Dr. Schleifer.

State historian helps library and historical society revive the Industrial Revolution

Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society have partnered up to present the seventh series of scholarly lectures with "American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut." This year's scholarly series will examine Connecticut's role in the emerging growth of the nation during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Second City alumna teaches Wilton students how to improvise

With the help of Ms. DeLude, ninth through 11th graders will perform improvisational comedy - also known as improv - for the first time at Wilton High School's Little Theater on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7:30 p.m., with additional shows on Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, at 8.

Mr. Hemmerle goes to Kindergarten

The Wilton Education Foundation took part in the Educator for a Day event occurring in school districts throughout Connecticut from Jan. 27 to 31 and invited state Rep. Gail Lavielle, Sen. Toni Boucher and Board of Education members to participate. Board of Education member Glenn Hemmerle was among those who accepted the invitation, and on Wednesday, Jan.

Threat assessment coordinator designed to detect, prevent

"There are three steps in threat assessment: detection, assessment and management," said Dr. David Bernstein, forensic psychologist and threat assessment expert. "Detection is the first and most important step of that process." Dr. Bernstein held two threat assessment information sessions for parents in the Wilton High School Little Theater on Tuesday, Feb.

Scholarly series looks back at the Connecticut textile industry

The stone building in which Mr. Taylor operated his woolen mill was a short distance below Georgetown on the Norwalk River. He was not alone as mills cropped up throughout Connecticut, igniting a short, but vibrant, economic boom.

Exploring Connecticut's legacy as an industrial powerhouse

In 1818, Benjamin Gilbert started the industry of making curled-hair and haircloth sieves in the basement of his Wilton home. In 1828, Mr. Gilbert partnered with his son-in-law Sturges Bennett to create the Gilbert & Bennett curled-hair and sieve manufacturing business. Within about 10 years, Gilbert & Bennett's business grew from a local Connecticut industry into a national one.

Sixth graders celebrate ancient Egyptian history, achievements

For about 15 years, Middlebrook School has explored and celebrated the many achievements of ancient Egypt. Through the sixth grade green team's King Tutankhamun's Tomb Experience and sixth grade yellow team's Mysteries of Egypt projects, Middlebrook students learn about mummification, hieroglyphics, mythology and pyramids.

Barbara Taylor Bradford comes to Wilton Library

International best-selling novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford has published her 29th novel, Cavendon Hall, and will be visiting Wilton Library April 1, 7 to 8:30 p.m., to discuss it. "I created Cavendon Hall from an idea I outlined six years ago," Ms. Bradford told The Bulletin last week.

The 19th Century economic boom

According to Robert Russell's book Wilton, Connecticut, 50 Wilton residents claimed shirt-making as their occupations. By 1860, wrote Mr. Russell, two particular Wilton shirt-making businesses each grossed $40,000: The Olmstead shirt factory; William A. Sturges' shirt factory, located at what later became known as the Barringer Building.

Education budget raises concerns at public hearing

Members of the public voiced more concerns than praise at the Monday, March 24, education budget public hearing. After meeting and analyzing, the Board of Education submitted its budget of $79,151,125 to the Board of Finance. This represents an increase of $3,011,020, or 3.95%, over the previous year.

Board of Finance cuts $1 million

Recommending $1,098,500 in total cuts from the Board of Education and Board of Selectmen's budget proposals for 2014-15, the Board of Finance has decided to increase local property taxes by 2% next year. A 26.5179 tax rate was proposed at the Board of Finance's mill rate meeting on Tuesday night , April 1.

Late artist's life was one of 'beauty'

Earlier this year, the town of Wilton lost not only an artist; it lost a 65-year member of its community. Maria Jarreau Heller died Jan. 6 at the age of 89, after years of battling metastatic breast cancer.

Former Orem's waitress awarded $84,501 in sexual harassment suit

After a three-day trial, a jury in the United States District Court in Bridgeport has found Orem's Diner, at 167 Danbury Road, liable for hostile work environment discrimination based on gender. The plaintiff, Iryna Dymskaya, a Norwalk resident and former Orem's Diner waitress, was awarded $84,501 in federal court on Wednesday, April 9.

Details into the $84,501 lawsuit against Orem's Diner

After a three-day trial, a jury in the United States District Court in Bridgeport found Orem's Diner, at 167 Danbury Road, liable for hostile work environment discrimination based on gender. The plaintiff, Iryna Dymskaya, a Norwalk resident and former Orem's waitress, was awarded $84,501 in federal court on Wednesday, April 9.

Violinist Alexander Markov wows Wilton High School

Once the lights in the Wilton High School Little Theater dimmed into complete blackness, Alexander Markov whipped out an illuminated bow and played the National Anthem on his electric violin, causing the audience to burst into cheers and applause. Wilton High School students and faculty packed the Little Theater to attend the world-renowned violinist's performance on Friday, April 11.

'The Anonymous People' screening will shed new light on addiction

According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national survey, 23.5 million Americans needed treatment for drug or alcohol addiction in 2011. However, the survey showed that only 11.2% of those in need received it. In 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence founded Alcohol Awareness Month, which takes place every April.

Superintendent Richards tops earners in Wilton School District

Superintendent Gary Richards' salary for the 2013-14 year is $218,587, making him the top paid administrator in the Wilton School District as well as the top paid public employee. Assistant Superintendent Charles Smith is the second top paid administrator, with a salary of $165,000 this school year.

Wilton congregations honor loved ones at Service of Remembrance

Regardless of faith or belief, everyone experiences loss and grief. On Saturday, April 26, local clergy of different faiths will lead Wilton's first annual Service of Remembrance for Hope and Renewal at Wilton Congregational Church, 70 Ridgefield Road. The 4 p.m.

Tests show air quality at Miller-Driscoll is safe, but some parents remain skeptical

Based on indoor air quality (IAQ) testing results, "Miller-Driscoll is safe for student and staff occupancy," according to TRC industrial hygienists and microbial consultants, but Parents for Responsible Education, a group led by Marissa Lowthert, is not satisfied with the results. During the week of March 17, TRC conducted IAQ testing in 121 locations in Miller-Driscoll.

Middlebrook holds annual sixth grade walk for charity

The Grade 6 Walk-A-Thon began at 1:30 p.m. and approximately 360 sixth graders walked around the Middlebrook playing fields and tennis courts for an hour. Each sixth grade team selected a charity organization to raise money for.

Cider Mill celebrates 25 years of quilting at final ceremony

Volunteers, teachers, school administrators, and the entire fourth grade gathered in Cider Mill's gymnasium for the afternoon ceremony to honor and celebrate the school's quilt program. Becky Hudspeth has been co-chair of the program for all 25 years.

Three couples, three decades, one suite

Beginning May 2, the Wilton Playshop will present six evenings of laughter with Neil Simon's comedic play Plaza Suite. "Neil Simon is a crowd-pleaser, and I think my take on it will be fresh and fun," said Julie Bell Petrak, director of the production.

Gallup Poll: 76% of Connecticut residents dissatisfied with state taxes

According to a Gallup Poll, conducted between June and December of 2013: 76% of Connecticut residents say the amount they pay in state taxes is "too high." Connecticut residents are the third most displeased taxpayers in the nation, falling right behind New York and New Jersey, respectively, according to the poll.

Morning Warrior talk show helped senior find her passion

"We do school news and we usually pick a segment, whether it's on a teacher or an upcoming club to be featured, and we try to showcase what's going on at the school," said 18-year-old senior Kate Bell, producer of the morning talk show.

Wilton veterans make sure sacrifices are not forgotten

Since Oct. 1, 1920, James B. Whipple Post 86 has been not only an active organization in Wilton, but a reminder of those who have fought and died for their country. The American Legion post was named after Corporal James Bennett Whipple, the first Wiltonian killed in action during World War I, which began 100 years ago in 1914.

Wilton receives $33,500 Nutmeg Network grant

The Nutmeg Network is a go for the town of Wilton. On Thursday, May 22, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced his approval of grants - totaling $1,787,620 - to assist Connecticut municipalities with the infrastructure costs associated with connecting to the fiber-optic state network.

Wilton honors five departing teachers

More than 50 people gathered inside the WEPCO building on Monday, May 19, to honor and bid farewell to five retiring Wilton Public School teachers: David Delzell, high school math teacher. Sandra Soson, high school English teacher. Bonnie Dickinson, high school theater and public speaking teacher.

Two Wiltonians graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy

On Friday, May 23, 1,068 men and women walked into the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, Md., and walked out as United States Naval Academy graduates. Among the USNA graduates were two 22-year-old Wiltonians: Brendan O'Branski and Jenn Abbott.

Wiltonian's film makes Manhattan Film Festival debut

Since 2011, former Wilton resident Ila Duncan has directed two independent films: I Hate Tom Petty and Janie Charismanic. The 23-year-old creates the films with her father, Woodson Duncan, and together, they have created the Wilton-based independent film company Judith Studios.

Lisa See sheds light on history, friendship at Wilton Library

In the early 20th Century, vaudeville was a popular form of entertainment. Restaurants and nightclubs in San Francisco's "Chop Suey Circuit" featured Asian singers, dancers and other musical and theatrical performers. In her latest novel, China Dolls, best-selling author Lisa See sheds light on that time in American history and the lives of those who lived it.

Wilton students gain experience through high school internships

Each year, Wilton High School offers seniors a chance to participate in a three- to four-week internship program. From mid-May until the last day of class at Wilton High, seniors are given the opportunity to explore areas of interest outside their usual class schedules.

Wilton High student launches alternative social network site

About four or five years ago, Julianna Yee came up with the idea of creating ThePortalz, an efficient and privacy-oriented social networking website. "A decision to bring the concept to reality was reached two years ago," said Julianna, who is now a 16-year-old student at Wilton High School.

Wilton High presents an interactive yearbook

This year's Wilton High School yearbook is something the school district has never seen before. On June 12, seniors and yearbook editors Kate Bell and Andrew Lee presented Wilton High School's first technologically interactive yearbook to the Board of Education.

Former Wiltonian competes to be a 'Food Network Star'

Food blogger, restaurant owner, farmer, cook and former Wilton resident Emma Frisch is one of 12 finalists on the 10th season of the Food Network's Food Network Star. "I was raised with a passion for eating and cooking, which my mom taught me," said 30-year-old Ms. Frisch, who lives in Ithaca, N.Y.

Healthy food certification out of reach in Wilton

Each year, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) requires Connecticut school districts to sign the healthy food certification statement, certifying whether "all food items made available for sale to students will meet the Connecticut Nutrition Standards." "They poke around every year and encourage us [to participate], but there are no ...

Farm to Fork so far a success

The Schoolhouse at Cannondale will host this year's fourth Farm to Fork dinner at Millstone Farm on Thursday, July 17. "It is a four-course meal that we do under the stars, if the weather cooperates," said Francesca Kirwan, event coordinator.

Temple B'nai Chaim welcomes rabbi with 'warmth and caring'

On June 23, Temple B'nai Chaim welcomed Rabbi Rachel Bearman as its new spiritual leader. "I think the most challenging part of being a new rabbi at any synagogue is getting settled in a new community," said Rabbi Bearman, who hails from Memphis, Tenn.

School district appoints first-ever assistant superintendent of special services

Ann Paul, Wilton Public Schools' director of special services, will be the district's first-ever assistant superintendent of special services. The Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint Ms. Paul to the new position during its June 26 meeting. "I am extremely pleased to continue my work in Wilton wiht students, families and staff," Ms. Paul to The Bulletin via email.

Town clerk of 14 years retires

After more than 22 years of working for the town of Wilton and 14 years as town clerk, Bettye Ragognetti will retire on Friday, Aug. 1. "Years ago, I was appointed town clerk by Paul Hannah, who was the first selectman at that time," said Ms. Ragognetti. "He asked me and I accepted.

Vanderslice shares legal settlement research with finance board

Lynne Vanderslice, the Board of Finance's acting chair for matters pertaining to the investigation of Board of Education legal settlements, provided an update on what she had done since the finance board's June 17 meeting. Before diving into an information packet she created for the board's July 22 meeting, Ms. Vanderslice first walked fellow board members through the definition of "legal settlements."

Small town in a small state with a 'large agricultural presence'

Despite being the third-smallest state, Connecticut has "a large agricultural presence," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Unlike the nation trend, farming has been growing in Connecticut for the past two decades, according to the USDA.

Bella & Co. owner closes store to ponder next journey

After four years of business in Wilton's historic Cannondale district, Isabelle Bell announced that her jewelry, accessories and global gift store, Bella & Co., will close Aug. 31. Ms. Bell said she has decided to close Bella & Co.