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Manners Honored For Town Service

The selectman was recognized for her years of dedication to the town at its 14th annual Martin Luther King Day ceremony.

Barbara Manners said that she was "overwhelmed" at being this year's recipient of the town's "Spirit of Dr. King" community service award.

Indeed, the large conference room in Town Hall was standing room only, and Manners was described by event organizer Mark Robinson as "an integral part of what makes people happy in Ridgefield."

But Manners, a 17-year resident of town, has been a vocal member of the Board of Selectmen, the founder of Concert Happenings in Ridgefield's Parks, the producer of Acoustic Celebration and founder of the group that spearheaded the creation of Ridgefield Playhouse, all of which required a deep time commitment through the years.

Holding a giant bouquet presented by First Selectman Rudy Marconi, Manners thanked her husband and her mother for making her volunteering possible.

"If it weren't for their supportiveness, our family would've needed a second income, and they made it possible for me to stay home with my son and get involved in the community," Manners said.

Her award, the town's eighth, was part of a longer ceremony that included talks on the legacy and lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the national holiday honoring his memory.

Robinson, Rev. Mark Delcuze of St. Stephen's and Temple Shearith Israel Rabbi Emeritus Jon Haddon gave reflections, and ABC House resident supervisor Natasha McNeal, along with residents Jasmin Harrison and Cindy Reid, read passages from Maya Angelou and Frederick Douglass.

The hour-long event ended with Westport resident Kimberly Wilson's soulful rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee."

John Symon January 20, 2010 at 11:16 PM
This is meant as no disrespect to Barbara Manners. I think she has contributed much to the cultural life of Ridgefield. As a Republican ever been given the local MLK award? I can think of several prominent Republicans who could be worthy of a 'community service award". I can't help but think that this isn't just an extension of the Democrat Party. Last year, Rudy Marconi got the award. The event 'organizer' is Mark Robinson, Marconi's governor campaign committee chairman and a member of the democratic town committee. How are the recipients chosen? Were Republicans even extended an invitation to the event? I'm thinking Rep. Frey or Sen. Boacher? Seems rather suspect. Again. Barbara Manners deserves any award given her. But this 'ceremony' as a whole raises questions in my mind.

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