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Author Aims to 'Discover Norwalk'

Jackie Lightfield loves politics, but last summer she took a sabbatical to pursue another passion: promoting Norwalk. Lightfield, former chair of the city's Zoning Commission and a former staff member of The Daily Norwalk, cleared her head and wrote a guidebook about "the No. 1 cultural attraction in Fairfield County."

"I decided that I couldn't write about the positive stuff in Norwalk if I was constantly bombarded with negative stuff of Norwalk," she said. "I wanted to continue my work of trying to spur economic activity here." Since 2005, Lightfield has been providing audio travel guides about European destinations via her company Pocket Tour Guides . She turned those talents to the city she has been living in "on and off for 20 years" and created "Discover Norwalk."

Lightfield, chair of the arts commission, had been gathering ideas for a while. "Every time I heard, 'I didn't know this was here,' that got filed in the back of my mind," she said. Her aim is to provide "a fresh look at certain areas of Norwalk that I know that longtime residents have never seen."

That includes SoNo. "They don't know what new restaurants have opened, how many restaurants there are," she said. "They haven't seen Maritime Yards , so they don't know about the 400 units of housing that were opened up next to the Maritime Aquarium . They don't realize how big the Maritime Aquarium has become. The aerial photography that is part of the guide should be eye-opening to some people."

Lightfield said most books about Norwalk are about the past. "It's an important book to have out there because there isn't anything that talks about Norwalk in the here and now."

"Discover Norwalk" is available for $24.95 from the town clerk at City Hall, at the Norwalk Museum , Amazon.com and Lulu.com , where it is also available as a ebook for $6.99.

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