Local Koreans react to historic Trump-Kim summit

The Connecticut Post

Longtime adversaries have now become friends, President Donald Trump declared Tuesday, following a historic meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The summit marked the first meeting between the two nations that have been bitter rivals since the Korean War ravaged and divided the Korean Peninsula nearly seven decades ago.

Both leaders signed an agreement that reaffirmed North Korea’s commitment to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for halted U.S. military exercises in South Korea.

Sean Ahn, head pastor of the Connecticut Korean Mission Church in Norwalk, was in disbelief as he watched the news unfold on the TV screen inside his Stamford home.

The 52-year-old South Korean native never imagined he’d witness such a meeting between the U.S. and North Korea in his lifetime — let alone two months after North Korea and South Korea held its own historic summit to move toward the reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

“I think Kim Jong Un has made the decision to change his country,” Ahn said Tuesday, sitting outside his office at church.

“We always pray for that, but this was unexpected,” he added.

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Autistic teen says peers at Norwalk High unfairly label him a threat

The Norwalk Hour

Owen Lynch went to school early Tuesday, thinking it would be a typical day at Norwalk High.

The 17-year-old junior mostly kept to himself, something he’s learned to embrace as he navigates life with autism and a lack of social skills.

But by third period, the school was under a shelter alert, as the administration had received a report from a student who thought he heard a gun sling back in the boys bathroom earlier in the morning.

Since Lynch was at the bathroom around that time, he was pulled out of class during third period and questioned by Norwalk police and a school security officer, he said.

They took his phone and searched him, and later searched his locker, too. They found nothing, so they sent him back to class.

Lynch thinks that’s when the rumors started — and when an old photo of him began circulating on social media with captions that read, “@schoolshooter” and “He’s the one who brought the gun.”

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Stolen symbol: A Wilton mother’s quest to reclaim the ‘swastika’

The Wilton Villager

Growing up in India, Shefali Patel remembers her grandma painting a holy swastik on the corners of her doorsteps every morning.

Her grandma would make red paste and paint the symbol’s four arms equal in length and extend the ends at right angles, adding a dot in each compartment.

Patel was taught the symbol was an emblem of Lord Ganesh, the Hindu deity of good fortune, and that it represented the existence of goodness — as its Sanskrit origins denote. The word “swastik” in Sanskrit means “well-being,” and this is where the word “swastika” comes from.

“And the message was: Do not desecrate this by bringing in anything evil into this environment,” Patel said. “Now that the swastik stands guard, no evil can enter.”

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Wilton Quakers celebrate 75 years

The Norwalk Hour

In Quakerism, listening to the voice of God is more than sitting in silence. It’s centering your body, clearing your mind of thoughts and, sometimes, repeating a phrase to yourself as you wait for a divine message.

At times, people feel overcome with the sense to stand up and share that message or revelation with everyone else in that worship meeting.

This has happened several times to Renda McCaughan, a ninth-generation Quaker.

“One of the basic tenets of Quakerism is that we don’t believe that we need a minister to tell us what God is all about. We believe that God can speak to us directly,” she said.

“I’ve been a Quaker all my life, so I’ve had a lot of experiences in this waiting business.”

Read the rest of the story. (Won a first-place Excellence in Journalism Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists)

A Stronger Bond 

The News-Gazette

Darrell Price was especially tired one night after a long day at work, and his wife, Peggy, noticed. She knew it was hard for him to juggle two jobs, one as a DeWitt County assistant state’s attorney and the other caring for her. Many a husband would leave his wife, she remembers thinking that night, because of that burden.

“Do you hate me because this happened?” she recalls asking him.

“No,” he quickly responded.

“How? Isn’t this a tortuous life for you? I mean, wouldn’t you rather just leave?”

“Well, if I didn’t love you, I probably would.”

Read the rest of the story. (Placed sixth out of a record 159 feature writing entries in the 2015 Hearst Journalism Awards)