YardApes Inc. in New Milford has honored Ramiro Parra as the landscape firm's Ape of the Year.

Awarded to the employee who consistently demonstrates initiative, and who exceeds performance standards, the Ape of the Year recipient is determined by both customer and co-worker votes.

Mr. Parra, who's been with YardApes Inc. for six years, is the firm's head mason.

The winner was formally announced at the end-of-the-year banquet at Adrienne Fine American Dining in New Milford.

The Citgo at 61 Danbury Road (Route 7 South) in New Milford is raising funds through March 23 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Patrons can purchase a green or gold paper shamrock for $1 and $5, respectively.

Funds raised will help send children with MD to a special summer camp.

The local business has set goals to motivate employees throughout the fundraising campaign. In particular, if the store were to reach $4,000 in sales, the members of management --the general manager, the assistant manager and three shift managers --will jump into Candlewood Lake April 6.

In addition, the business sets up a "Gold Rush Day" to encourage the sale of gold shamrocks.

On March 14, customers who purchase $5 shamrocks will have an opportunity to pie manager Maggie Belous in the face.

The New Milford ThriftMart has in stock a selection of gowns for prom, formals, bridemaids and mothers-of-the-bride. No gown is more than $15.

The store, at 149 Danbury Road (Route 7 South), is in the building behind the professional building between Monro Muffler and Ring's End Lumber.

It is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Longtime New Milford residents Mert Larmore III and his wife, Dawn, will soon open Litchfield County Pickers LLC.

The store at 35 Park Lane Road (Route 202) in New Milford is scheduled to open March 22.

Mr. Larmore has been a lifelong picker, and has for the past three years conducted estate sales, flea markets, tag sales and buyouts.

Litchfield County Pickers will buy, sell, trade and consign goods, as well as provide buyouts, conduct cleanouts, estate sales and online sales.

For more information, call 203-417-3661 or 860-488-7786, or email litchfieldcountypickers@gmail.com.

Tasty Waves Frozen Yogurt Cafe on Main Street in New Milford now offers children's birthday parties for princesses and race car drivers.

Parties are one-and-a-half hours and recommended for ages 4 to 8, with a maximum of 12 children. Parties include activities, crafts, frozen yogurt and more.

For more information, call 860-799-6363.

The Audubon Center at Bent of the River in Southbury is seeking business and family/individual sponsorships of its 2013 special events, as well as ongoing environmental stewardship and educational programs.

Sponsorship levels range from $250 to $1,500 for the full year, and are tax-deductible.

For more information, call 203-264-5098 or visit www.bentoftheriver.audobon.org.

The Business Buzz is a Spectrum feature for local businesses to announce openings, anniversaries, personnel changes and other news. Information should be mailed or dropped off at The Greater New Milford Spectrum, 45B Main St., New Milford, CT 06776; faxed to 860-350-6794; or emailed to drose@newstimes.com.