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Journal Le Haut-Saint-François
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Art et Culture
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Dates de parution
Mercredi, 14 janvier 2015


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It's dark and cold, January is. The ho-ho-ho's of December are past. Christmas trees lie forlornly alongside the road, chopped trunks bared, branches bereft of decorations. The winter solstice is past, they say, and daylight hours are growing longer. But it doesn't feel that way. It seems darker than December. This is a dispiriting time.

So what better time to transform your winter blahs into ha-ha-has? And now help is at hand, offered by Claudia Ross, aka Clowndia. Yes, she's a bona fide clown, and an adept of Laughing Yoga.

Laughing Yoga comes to us from India, where it was discovered that laughter is good for the health. It has everything to do with getting the knots out of your spirit, and nothing to do with twisting one's limbs into knots. Clowndia says laughter is the best anti-stress medication, a natural pain-killer, and a lifter of moods. And I add, it might even give us longer days, or at least make it feel that way.

Who better than Clowndia to bring us this ray of sunshine? She's got a warm smile, a lively laugh and lots of ideas for jump-starting laughter in those around her. She lives in Notre-Dame-des-Bois, just down the road from Island Brook. And that's where her activities are offered, at the Newport Municipal Hall in Island Brook, 1452 Route 212.

Her plan is to offer a series of fun workshops - one for parents and small children, and the other for all ages. They begin Saturday, January 31, and continue until June on the last Saturday of every month. And they are free of charge (free-will donations welcome).

For parents and children up to age 6, Clowndia offers a motor-skills workshop from 11 to noon. Think fun and funny, too. Think easy and interesting activities - or "rigolos bricos." Think ants in your pants - or "bougeotte." Think games, think round dances, think gymnastics, laughter and mime. Think just plain fun.

Then for all ages, from 1 to 2 a Laughter Club. Clowndia lets loose a multitude of laughs. This is a chance to try out Laughing Yoga as a group, and test out the theory about its health and humour benefits.

Clowndia's activities are offered in collaboration with Newport's Loisirs 4 Horizons committee. I hear tell that her visit to the group led to a good round of belly laughs. That's promising! Info: or 819-200-3277 (please leave a message).


Forgetful, Not Forgotten: Alzheimer's & Caring. That's the title of a videoconference with Chris Wynn, who speaks from the heart about his journey as a caregiver for his late father, who suffered from Alzheimer's. Wynn regularly speaks about his experience as a male caregiver. A trailer for his film, "Forgetful, Not Forgotten," can be found on YouTube.

This presentation takes place in the midst of Alzheimer's Awareness Month in Canada. It's Wednesday, January 21, 10 a.m. to 12 noon, at the Eaton Valley Community Learning Centre, at the far end of the Pope Memorial School, 523 Stokes, Bury. Info: Kim Fessenden, 819-872-3771 (mornings) or


Bilingual, free and easy exercise groups for seniors are Wednesdays at 10 a.m. in Bury, Cookshire and Sawyerville. All are welcome to attend regularly, or drop in as convenient. In Bury, the sessions are at the Armoury Community Centre, 563 Main Street. In Cookshire, they are at the Manoir de l'eau vive, 210 Principale East. And in Sawyerville, they are at the Sawyerville Community Centre, 6 Church Street. Info: 819-560-8540 (option 9 for English - Marie-Josée) or


At 2015 arrives, the Eaton Corner Museum reminds us that this is membership renewal season. Membership gives you free entry to the museum exhibits and grounds. While the museum is closed for the winter, research assistance and guided tours are available by appointment. Next May, when the Museum re-opens, look for the launch of new exhibits in the refurbished Foss House, including a display and sale of original artwork by Denis Palmer.

As well, the Museum's second annual Heritage Golf Tournament is planned for May 23 in Coaticook. Details are on And of course, you just won't believe Beyond Belief, the play planned for this February.

Membership is $15 for a family, $10 for an individual, or $75 for an individual life membership. Check out for details.

United: Sunday services are in Cookshire at 9:30 a.m., and Sawyerville at 11 a.m. During the winter months, the Cookshire services are on the basement level of the church, accessed through the side door. Info: 819-889-2838 (listen to message or leave one).

Anglican: In Bury, Sunday services with Sunday school are at 9:30 a.m,. and in Cookshire, services are at 11:15 a.m. (or sometimes a bit earlier) at the Trinity United Church, 190 Principale West (Info: 819-239-6902).

Baptist: In Sawyerville, the worship service is at 9 a.m. in French, and 11 a.m. in English. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. in English and French. (819-239-8818).

Do you have news to share? Call 819-300-2374 or email by January 19 for publication January 28 and by February 2 for February 11.

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