June 25, 2017

Archives for October 2014

Republican Senator Art Linares and Democratic Challenger Emily Bjornberg in Hotly Contested 33rd District Race

AREAWIDE— Republican State Senator Art Linares’s bid for a second term is facing an aggressive challenge from Democrat Emily Bjornberg in of Lyme in a contest that also includes Green Party nominee Colin Bennett.

The race, which included three well-attended debates, has attracted statewide attention as Democrats make a determined effort to reclaim the seat that was held for two decades by former Democratic State Sen. Eileen Daily of Westbrook before Linares won it after a three candidate contest in 2012. This week U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman campaigned for Bjornberg at separate appearances in Portland and Clinton. The district includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and portions of Old Saybrook.

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

Linares, of Westbrook, was elected in 2012 on a 23,813 to 21,251 vote, over Democrat Jim Crawford, a one term state representative from Westbrook, in a race where Green Party nominee Melissa Schlag received over 4,000 votes. This year, Linares also has the Connecticut Independent Party ballot line while Bjornberg also holds the ballot line for the Working Families Party.

Linares, who turned 26 Friday, and Bjornberg, 33, have campaigned heavily since last spring, making thousands of door-to-door visits throughout the 12 district towns. Both major party nominees have received the $94,850 grant available for state senate candidates under the state’s Citizens Election Program, using the funds to pay for several voters mailings and television ads on the cable channels.

Green Party nominee Colin Bennett

Green Party nominee Colin Bennett

Bennett, 34, of Westbrook, is spending little money on his campaign, but has raised some signs and participated in each of the debates. Bennett, who currently works as a substitute teacher in Region 4 schools, was the Green Party nominee for the seat in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010, garnering as many as 1,682 votes in 2008.

Linares, who co-founded the Middletown-based Greenskies solar power company in 2008, said he has focused his campaign on economic issues. He contends tighter controls on government spending and easing of some business regulations would help add jobs and boost the economic recovery in Connecticut. While predicting a possible state budget deficit would approach $2 billion next year, Linares pledges to oppose any new or increased taxes and calls for reductions in taxes on gasoline, hospitals, and retirement income.

Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg

Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg

Bjornberg, a mother of two young children who works part-time with the youth and families ministry at Deep River Congregational Church, has also talked about helping small businesses and pledges to oppose any tax increases that would impact middle and working class families. But the first time candidate whose family owns the Reynolds Subaru dealership in Lyme has also sharply criticized the incumbent’s record over the past two years and questioned several aspects of his business, including purchasing solar panels from China rather than from companies in the United States.

Bjornberg has also brought social issues in to the fray, contending an endorsement from the Connecticut Family Institute shows Linares is an ultra-conservative who would seek to overturn state laws on same sex marriage and abortion rights. “People have a very clear choice in this election,” she said, promising to be a voice in the Democratic majority caucus for children, the environment, and small towns.

Linares said he “has no social agenda,” and is personally opposed to abortion while supporting same sex marriage rights. Linares said he would make no effort to change state law on the social issues, and suggests Bjornberg is highlighting these issues “just to scare people.” He said Bjornberg has “offered no solutions or new ideas,” while criticizing his two-year record and a business that he claims has created 300 jobs in the state.

Bennett has called for increased investments in clean energy, raising taxes on the state’s wealthiest citizens, and legalization or marijuana. While Bjornberg confirmed that she has asked Bennett to withdraw to avoid splitting progressive votes on Tuesday, Bennett said he is remaining in the race to provide another choice for “people who have lost faith in government.”

The candidates show both common ground and some differences on two issues that affect motorists, the option of restoring tolls on state highways and allowing use of red light cameras. Linares and Bennett expressed strong opposition to allowing red light cameras, while Bjornberg said she would want to see a specific proposal, including “where cameras would be placed and why and what safeguards would be in place for due process.”

On tolls, Bjornberg is opposed while Linares said he could be open to the option if it did not include new toll booths at multiple locations. “I would like to see the proposition in detail and what the new technologies are,” he said. Bennett acknowledged he is undecided on the issue of tolls.

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Sunrise over Long Island Sound (photo by Nigel Logan)

Sunrise over Long Island Sound (photo by Nigel Logan)

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http://valleynewsnow.com/2014/10/27136/

Deep River Awarded $4.2 Million State Grant for Expansion and Renovation of Kirtland Commons Elderly Housing Complex

DEEP RIVER— The town has been awarded a $4.2 million state Department of Housing grant for an 18-unit expansion and renovations at the Kirtland Commons elderly housing complex. The grant was announced last week under the department’s Competitive Housing Assistance for Multi-family Properties program.

Joanne Hourigan, executive director for Kirtland Commons, said the award comes after more than three years of efforts to obtain grant funding for improvements at the 21-year-old complex on the northern end of Main Street (Route 154). “We’re beyond happy about finally getting a grant,” she said.

The plans call for adding 18 units to the existing 26-unit complex that opened in the spring of 1993. The new units would be added to the north on each of the three floors of the building.  The grant will also pay for other needed improvements, including new windows, doors and locks, along with a new entrance area and upgrades to the building’s heating system.

Hourigan said the long effort to obtain funding has resulted in design plans for the project that are nearly ready to be put out to bid. Hourigan said the “project team” includes consultant Dale Kroop of Hamden and architect Chris Widmer of Guilford. She said construction for the renovations and expansion should begin in 2015.

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Letter: Response to Latest Mailings

To the Editor:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the 33rd District.

The political mailings, particularly the last two I have received on behalf of Democratic candidate Emily Bjornberg who is running for a senate seat in Connecticut representing our 33rd district,  have been, to say the least, the lowest, most nasty mailings that I have ever received prior to an election for a senatorial candidate who would represent me in Hartford.

Not only have these last two mailings been disgraceful and full of lies, but, having attended the last two debates among Emily Bjornberg, Art Linares and Colin Bennett, I have also been disgusted with the attack dog tactics and misinformation coming from Emily against Art Linares. Her behavior makes the definition given to a pit bull terrier pale in comparison to her progressive, socialistic demands and attitudes about what should or should not be rule of law for everyone.

Please, back off Emily. You have shown your true colors.  We have had good representation in the 33rd district with Senator Art Linares.  We need Art to return to his duties in Hartford and continue the work of trying to keep Connecticut from collapsing under the heavy weight of a democratic governor and a democratically controlled House and Senate.

Respectfully submitted

 

Melanie Phoenix
Essex

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Letter: Essex Democratic Town Committee Honored to Support Miller, Bjornberg

To The Editor:

The Essex Democratic Town Committee (EDTC) is honored to support Representative Phil Miller, State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg, and the other Democrats running for office this fall.

Since being elected in 2011, Representative Miller has become a trusted leader in House of Representatives on policy matters impacting the environment and public health, as well as behavioral health.   In addition to serving as a statewide policy leader, Rep. Miller works tirelessly for the residents of Essex, Deep River, Chester and Haddam.

If elected, Emily Bjornberg, candidate for the state senate would serve as a partner with Phil in the General Assembly.  Emily’s history of caring for those in need and her commitment to protecting and preserving the CT River will bring a much needed voice to the state senate on these matters. Emily’s plan to focus the state’s attention on the needs of small business, help unemployed veterans return to work, and fight for greater state education aid to lower property taxes would yield many benefits for our economy.

Essex residents and those of the surrounding towns deserve a state representative and state senator who are able to articulate the needs of the district and then work collaboratively to effectuate the changes needed to improve our communities.

The EDTC believes a legislative team of Representative Phil Miller and Emily Bjornberg will serve the town of Essex and surrounding towns well and we urge you to vote for them on November 4.
Sincerely,
Brian Cournoyer, Chairman
Essex Democratic Town Committee

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Letter: If You Want Change Get Out and Vote

To the Editor:

I’m not a Republican. But I’m voting for Bob Siegrist, the Republican candidate for State Representative.

It’s important not to raise taxes, but more important for me is being sure my tax money and the money I have to pay as a business owner is being spent properly.

I’m competing against three companies, one national, one based out of state and one Connecticut company. All three are operating in one or more ways illegally.

The out-of-state company has been caught for not registering to do business in Connecticut and failing to pay business entity taxes. To avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance, this company is also classifying people as subcontractors who should be paid as employees. But nobody at Department of Labor has bothered following up on it. This company underbid a good locally-operating business until it left the state. Connecticut lost all the tax revenue on that business and its’ employees. Since these workers were paid in the state, Connecticut also lost any money made by these people spending their paychecks here.

The Connecticut company has forced subcontractors to take pay cuts while denying them the right to renegotiate their contracts. It was bouncing paychecks for two years. No one at the state level has done anything about that either. Two subcontractors had the courage to approach someone in the Labor Department and were told there was nothing they could do about it because the two individuals were subcontractors.

By breaking the law, these companies can afford to underbid me on work in the state. The state should be sure everybody doing business here is registered and doing business legally and paying for that right. The state should be collecting all the money that it is owed.

It seems like it takes a whistleblower or a news story to alert state departments to problems like this. Otherwise, nothing seems to happen until somebody gets hurt. Why can’t the various departments within the state investigate on their own?

Our legislature should act as a proper board of directors or trustees for all the departments of the state. Bob Siegrist understands this.

Our voters are like shareholders and elect our representatives to set a proper vision for the future of Connecticut. It’s our representatives’ work to be sure our state runs efficiently and everyone working for the state is doing their job. Bob Siegrist has promised me he will work hard if he is elected.

Everybody should realize that if they are unhappy with the way our state and national governments are working, waiting for change means waiting forever. The easiest way to make change happen is to get out and vote.

Sincerely,

Mark Bruce Guthrie
Chester

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36th House District Contest Pits Two-Term Democratic Incumbent Against Republican Newcomer

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

AREAWIDE— The election contest in the four-town 36th House District pits a two-term Democratic incumbent with previous experience as a first selectman against a Republican newcomer whose most recent full-time job was as a bartender. The district includes the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller, 56, of Essex, is seeking a second full term in a seat he first won in a Feb. 2011 special election. After serving a nearly full term that included votes for the tax and budget plan presented by Democratic Governor Danel Malloy, Miller was re-elected in 2012, defeating Republican Vince Pacileo of Essex on a 7.105-5,352 vote. Miller previously served four terms as Essex first selectman, winning the top job in 2003 after unsuccessful runs in 1999 and 2001.

Robert Siegrist

Republican candidate Robert Siegrist

Robert Siegrist, 31, of Haddam, is making his first run for political office from a spot on the Haddam Republican Town Committee. Siegrist emerged as a candidate in June after the nominee of the May party convention, Chester Harris of Haddam, withdrew to run for lieutenant governor on a conservative petition ticket. A 2001 graduate of Haddam-Killingworth High School, Siegrist received a degree in political science from Quinnipiac University and has worked as a bartender in recent years at two establishments in Chester. Siegrist said he gave up bartending in August to focus on the campaign, and currently works for a local landscaper.

Both candidates have received the $27,850 grant for House races through the state’s Citizen’s Election Program, and are waging active campaigns that have included door-to-door visits in the four towns. Siegrist, seeking to build some name recognition, has deployed more than a dozen large signs at various locations in the district.

An Oct. 8 debate at Valley Regional High School in Deep River showed Miller, known as a progressive with a focus on the environment, and Siegrist, who has a libertarian bent, agree on several social issues such as support for abortion rights, same sex marriage, and decriminalization of marijuana. But differences have emerged over state spending, taxes, and the possibility of returning tolls to two interstate highways in Connecticut.

Miller said this week he does not believe any possible budget shortfall in 2015 will be as large as predicted by some fiscal analysts. He discounts the possible need for new or higher taxes, and suggests any future tax increase should be limited to a hike in income tax for the state’s wealthiest citizens. Siegrist believes the deficit could be higher, and calls for a renewed effort to cut state spending. He also calls for reducing state taxes on gasoline and social security income, along with elimination of a business entity tax on companies with less than 50 employees.

The rivals differ sharply on the issue of restoring tolls, with Siegrist rejecting any consideration of tolls as a way to boost funding for road and bridge projects. Miller said he could support restoring tolls to certain locations on Interstate 95 and Interstate 84 as a way to build funding for transportation projects while also allowing for reductions in the gasoline tax that would put Connecticut prices more in line with prices in neighboring states.

The candidates may also differ on the possible authorization of red light cameras in Connecticut. Siegrist said he would oppose any legislation for red light cameras. Miller said he is undecided, but sees some possible benefits that could include greater safety for pedestrians and bicycle riders “It’s a tough issue and there needs to be a lot more discussion on it,” he said.

The candidates have avoided negative campaigning and personal attacks, Siegrist said he has been running a positive campaign that seeks to present himself as a new face in local politics. Miller said Siegrist’s lack of government experience could hamper his efforts for the district. “I respect that he is a working person but I don’t think Bob has the knowledge and skills to discern what is important.” Miller said.

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Giuliano Commends Funding to Preserve Open Space

State Rep. Marilyn Giuliano (R-23) along with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced state grants of: $351,000 to preserve 2.87 acres of open space in Lyme, $162,500 to preserve 40.76 acres of land on 106 Four Mile River Road in Old Lyme and $650,000 to preserve 186 acres of Horse Hill Woods – Phase II in Westbrook. The collective grants will help preserve over 405 acres of open space.

Open Space projects are a continuation of the supportive roles that these Towns and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) have had in preserving open space and protecting habitat.

Sheldon Creek River Access in Lyme will receive $351,000 to preserve 2.87 acres of land. Currently, the property is maintained as a meadow with 157 feet of waterfront access along Sheldon cove on the Connecticut River. This parcel is recognized as a “Wetlands of International Importance,” with public parking and recreation to the river are easily accessible.

The 106 Four Mile River Road property, in Old Lyme, boasts over 1,250 feet of frontage and public access which will seek to be added to a open space parcels totaling 147 acres. The $162,500 grant will protect the property, which is traversed by two wetland tributaries of the Three Mile River and is covered by diverse upland forest and stands of mountain laurel.

Additionally, the state also awarded a $650,000 grant to the town of Westbrook, aimed at protecting Horse Hill Woods – Phase II, which consists of two separately owned but abutting parcels of land: the Russo (143 acres) and Miele (43 acres) properties.

Rep. Giuliano persistently lobbied to secure the purchase of “The Preserve” – a 1,000 acre coastal-forest area that the state is seeking to purchase along with the Town of Old Saybrook and surrounding towns.  The $471,250 award to the Essex Land Trust supports that organization’s plans to purchase a 70.6-acre section of “The Preserve”.

“An investment in preserving open space in Connecticut is one which will surely pay off. These grants will help safeguard the natural beauty and habitats our district is known for. Through these grants, we will ensure that generations to come will continue to enjoy the abundant natural beauty,” said Rep. Giuliano.

Aiming to preserve 673, 210 acres of undeveloped Connecticut land by 2023, the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) developed the Open Space program. To date, the state has reached nearly 74 percent of its goal, preserving an impressive 496, 182 acres.

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Letter From Paris: Tragic Death of Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Total, Stuns France    

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

On the night of Monday, Oct. 20 , the visibility was poor at the Vnukovo  airport.  The control tower had given clearance to the Falcon private jet to take off.   A few seconds after leaving the ground, the pilot saw a snowplow on the runway but was unable to avoid it.  The landing gear caught the roof of the vehicle, flipped over and crashed a few yards away.  There was just one passenger on board – Christophe de Margerie, CEO of  the world’s fourth largest oil producer.

The late Christophe de Margerie.

The late Christophe de Margerie.

The news hit France like a bomb.   At Total’s headquarters in the district of La Defense employees were stunned.  The country reacted as if a chief of state had died.  Tributes poured in from everywhere.

Total has a capital ranking second in the CAC 40 (the ‘Cotation Assistée en Continu’ is a benchmark French stock market index) and employs more than 100,000 people in 130 countries.  It is hard to believe therefore why such a company – the jewel of  the French economy –  should have so many detractors in France.  The day after the accident, the conservative daily Le Figaro published an article entitled, “The man who wanted the French to make peace with Total”.   That man, Christophe de Margerie, was a charismatic  and jovial person, full of warmth, direct but tough .

De Margerie came from an aristocratic family that could be described as representative of, ‘vieille France.’  Family members occupied prominent positions in the world of high finance, diplomacy (his cousin was ambassador to the US) and the arts.  He was the grandson of Pierre Taittinger, the founder of a champagne empire.  Several of his relatives own and live in an elegant apartment building tucked away in a garden, behind massive walls and a monumental gate, right at the heart of the Faubourg St Germain.

He joined Total about 40 years ago and was named CEO in 2007.  In 1995, he became the head of Middle East Total, which explains his particular interest for that part of the world.  The Jubail giant refinery inaugurated in 2013  by Total and Saudi Arabia, is but one example.

The main criticisms against the company concern its huge benefits, which do not profit the French economy because the company pays practically no taxes in France.  The ‘marée noire’ (black tide) caused by the oil spill off the coast of Brittany in 1999 has not been forgotten.  In 2010,the decision to close the Dunkirk refinery and the associated firing of more than 1,000 workers outraged the opinion.  Finally, de Margerie’s policy of creating joint ventures with Russian companies Loukoi, Novatek or Gazprom and his rejection of the sanctions enforced by the West have isolated him.

De Margerie wanted to project a positive image and show his concern for the environment by encouraging renewable energy.  In recent years, signs of transformation of the company had been noticeable, particularly in the reduction and higher selectivity of investments.  The question now is whether de Margerie’s successors, Thierry Desmarets as chairman and Patrick Pouyanné as CEO, will bring changes to the company’s strategy or maintain the course.

Nicole Logan

Nicole Logan

About the author:  Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter.  She will write a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries.  She also will cover a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe.  Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents.  Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Letter: Linares’s Business Experience: What Is It Exactly?

To the Editor:

The suggestion that voters should support Art Linares for state senator due to his “business experience” deserves closer examination. So does Linares’s portrayal of himself as a champion of free enterprise.

Linares’s company, “Greenskies”, installs solar panels. It is undoubtedly among the most heavily subsidized companies in Connecticut.  In 2012, the Hartford Courant reported that “the biggest impact on Greenskies’ potential for growth by far is how successful it is in capturing state subsidies.” In a lobbying paper to the Connecticut legislature, Greenskies president called such support  “critical”.

How many Connecticut companies depend for growth “by far” mainly on state subsidies? Most companies, like the successful car dealership run by the family of Emily Bjornberg  (Linares’s opponent) must compete on their own merits.  Given the extensive state aid propping up Greenskies, how relevant is Linares’s experience to most businesses ?

Tea Party politicians like Linares usually revile such support as “corporate hand outs” and a bone-headed effort by government to “pick winners and losers”. We’re not hearing that here, however.

Meanwhile – and this is a key point — Linares wants to cut many other state programs supporting equally worthy causes and opposes increasing the minimum wage. For others, Linares believes the free market should set wages and prices – just not in the sector where he does business.

Greenskies use of Chinese solar panels takes this double standard to a new level. In 2012, the U.S. Government found that factories controlled by the Chinese government were selling the panels at prices below their cost of production.  This is an unfair trade practice under U.S. law, known as “dumping”.  Our government imposed tariffs on the panels.

Greenskies liked the artificially cheap panels dumped by the Chinese because they hurt its competitors, who, unlike Greenskies, make their panels in the U.S. Greenskies president bluntly told the press “When we go to toe to toe, we enjoy an advantage. We were perfectly happy with low-cost equipment from China.”

It did not seem to bother Greenskies or Linares that, according to our own government, this “advantage” resulted from Chinese market manipulation. The matter is now before the World Trade Organization.

So I am trying to understand this. It appears that Linares’s business experience is with a company that enjoys state subsidies on a huge scale not available to virtually anyone else, which enable it to distribute panels dumped by Chinese communists at artificially low prices, damaging American companies and destroying U.S. jobs.

That’s quite a business model for a champion of free enterprise.

Sincerely,


David Harfst

Essex

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Letter: Linares Ranked Low by League of Conservation Voters

To the Editor:
When my husband and I moved to Essex, one of the compelling reasons for doing so was the natural beauty of the Lower Connecticut River Valley.  We are fortunate that this area has been protected from major development.  In the upcoming election you have an opportunity to choose between two candidates for state senator who share very different views on conservation:  the incumbent Art Linares and his challenger Emily Bjornberg.

Mr. Linares received a lifetime score for his voting record by the independent group League of Conservation Voters that ranks the second lowest in the entire state senate.  Art may work at a solar energy company, but as an intern to Tea Party Senator Marco Rubio in 2010, he must have picked up some very bad ideas on the role of government in protecting the environment.  I cannot believe his voting record on these issues is representative of the people of his district.

Emily has not been ranked by the League as she is not a sitting legislator. However, she is a very committed environmentalist who has served as a member of the Lyme Land Trust for many years. She has been endorsed by State Rep. Phil Miller of Essex, a leading environmental legislator, as well as by Melissa Schlag, now the First Selectman of Haddam and a former Green Party Candidate for the State Senate.

If you appreciate the beauty of our state’s environment, please vote with me for Emily Bjornberg.
Sincerely,
Jane Piro
Essex 

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Letter: Judge Terrance Lomme Asks for Your Vote

To the Editor:

I am Terrance D. Lomme, your Judge of Probate and believe I am the best candidate for this office due to my compassion and experience. These two qualities are essential to being an effective Judge. I am very concerned about all of the people who appear before me. I fully understand that there are difficult circumstances that bring people to the Court. As a Veteran, I am sensitive to the Veteran’s issues that are presented to me.

Before being elected Judge, I practiced probate law for over 30 years in the towns that now constitute the 33rd District Court. This experience, combined with being the East Haddam Probate Judge for three years was invaluable to me when, shortly after my election in 2010, I was given the task of merging nine individual courts into the new Saybrook District Probate Court. This was the largest merger of individual Courts in the State.

I am aware my decisions have a major affect on people’s lives, whether it is a decision to conserve an elderly person, to award custody of a child to a grandparent or the loss of a loved one.

As a probate lawyer for 30 years, and seven years as a Judge presiding over three thousand five hundred hearings, I have assisted thousands of families through the probate process. The Court and my clerks have received exemplary ratings from Probate Administration in each of its three reviews. Additionally, the Court budget has not increased since my election.

Further, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Probate Assembly and a member of the National College of Probate Judges, I keep current on State and National trends that may affect the Court.

For the above reasons I ask you to vote for me on November 4th.

Sincerely,

 

Terrance D. Lomme,
Essex

 

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Letter: Bjornberg’s Criticism of Sen. Linares is Hypocritical

To the Editor:

As a lifelong Democrat, a former legislator and a former Selectman representing shoreline Towns, and a partner with State Senator Art Linares, Jr. at Greenskies Renewable Energy, I was shocked and quite frankly embarrassed for my party to receive the recent mailer from Emily Bjornberg on Senator Linares’ track record on the environment and the economy.  Her false and hypocritical statements regarding our business seems to be representative of her “win at all costs” mantra, and her criticism of one of Connecticut’s most dynamic and environmentally responsible startup companies clearly displays her basic lack of understanding about both the environment and the economy.

A puzzling and disturbing fact regarding Ms. Bjornberg’s criticisms regarding Senator Linares’s lack of concern for the environment centers around her family business, which has enjoyed millions of dollars of profits for generations selling automobiles, the single largest contributor to carbon monoxide pollution in the atmosphere.  Greenskies sole mission is to reduce carbon footprint throughout Eastern United States through the development of photo-voltaic solar systems.  Even more disturbing (and hypocritical) is the automobile that her family business sells are Subaru! These vehicles are entirely manufactured in Japan by Fuji Heavy Industries.  Yet the most outlandish statement in her mailer is that Senator Linares does not care about Connecticut jobs.  Without political fanfare, without beating his chest, but simply because it was the right thing to do, Senator Linares supported consummating a relationship with the electrical union, and today Greenskies currently employs over 300 IBEW electricians in four states, including Connecticut.  If she cared so much about Connecticut jobs, perhaps, Ms. Bjornberg should consider unionizing her automobile dealership.

In today’s world economy, we enjoy an international platform of business opportunity to benefit all.  Greenskies has purchased products from both U.S. manufacturers and from overseas, and we embrace and are extremely proud of our track record.  I personally appreciate the success of Ms. Bjornberg’s family business as well, which has proudly served the shoreline for generations.  But Ms. Bjornberg’s attempt to malign Senator Linares’ record on the environment and on the economy clearly indicates that she does not possess the balance or the intellectual maturity to represent our district.  She should focus on the issues that separate her and her opponent, and their respective parties, and let voters elect the right candidate for the right reasons.

Sincerely,

 

Robert A. Landino
Westbrook

 

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Letter: Bjornberg has the Intellectual Capacity

To the Editor:

After review of the candidates’ backgrounds I am choosing to vote for Emily Bjornberg as our next State Senator.    I need to know my elected representative has the brain power to think on her feet, the intellectual curiosity to dig deeply into issues, the personal skills to listen to and interact with a wide range of people, the leadership skills to influence legislation on issues relevant to our area, and the heart to care.

Emily has real-life experience volunteering and caring for others including aiding the sick in South Africa and working to engage local young people in community service and social justice.    She has real-life experience supporting veterans, including her own husband, who served with the Connecticut National Guard in Iraq.

Emily also has real-life experience as a mother who knows that quality education and protecting children from toxins are important issues if we care about future generations.   She has real-life experience working on behalf of our local environment.   And she has real-life experience with business deeply rooted in the community.  Her family’s business has helped people get where they need to go for generations, from wagon wheels to automobiles, and now Emily is dedicated to helping our constituents go where they want to go…whether they dream of education, a good job , a clean forest for hiking, or a comfortable retirement.

At one of the debates Emily’s opponent decided to attend, our sitting senator said “anyone who is running on social issues doesn’t have anything important to run on.”  He also refused to participate in local debates where he was not provided with questions in advance.

I served on local boards of education for 10 years and know first-hand that balancing budgets with the needs of all of our citizens is difficult.  No decision can be made without considering the impact on all constituents.  This requires analysis and showing up for community dialogues.  “Social issues” do not exist separately from financial issues.

Emily Bjornberg has the maturity, intellectual capacity, and diplomatic skills to make a difference for our region.    She will represent us well and will show up on behalf of all of us.  That’s why she is getting my vote.

Sincerely,

 

Lynne Pease
Chester

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Letter: Deep River First Selectman Endorses Bjornberg

To the Editor:

Emily Bjornberg is clearly the choice to represent the 12 towns that comprise Connecticut’s 33rdSenatorial District.  That conclusion is based on 25 years of first hand experience.  Early in my tenure as First Selectman I learned just how important it is to maintain close contact with our representatives in Hartford.  I have spent many hundreds of hours testifying before our Legislators, the men and women who play such an important part in the health of our communities.  The actions—or, unfortunately, inactions, of our representatives in Hartford are crucial to our future.

We have been largely fortunate in our legislative choices: Jamie Spallone, Phil Miller and, for 20 years, Eileen Daily, whose presence we have sorely missed during the two years since she stepped down.  But we have been afforded a golden opportunity, the chance to elect a Senator with the drive, the capacity and the promise to follow in that fine tradition.

Emily Bjornberg speaks passionately and compellingly; she states her beliefs frankly; she clearly enumerates her goals as our State Senator.  Emily has spent time with residents in all corners of the towns she seeks to represent.  She understands us.  Her honesty is immediately apparent.  She will devote herself to the service of her constituents.  Emily Bjornberg should be our next State Senator.
Sincerely,

Richard H. Smith
First Selectman, Deep River

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Letter: Greatly Respect Essex First Selectman

To the Editor:

I am responding to a letter by a man I greatly respect, who governs our town in a nonpartisan manner. He is a welcome relief from his predecessor, who had a policeman come to Board of Selectman meetings to save him from debate over his decisions.

Negotiations between a Democratic Governor, a Supermajority State House and a Supermajority State Senate is akin to a Chinese Student negotiating with a Tiananmen tank. They just don’t listen!

Sincerely,

Lynn Herlihy
Essex

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Court Orders Recovery of Legal Expenses in Region 4 Principal Lawsuit

REGION 4— A Middlesex Superior Court judge has authorized the regional school district to recover legal costs in the lawsuit involving former Valley Regional High School Principal Eric Rice that was resolved in the district’s favor in August after more than two years of legal proceedings.

After an Oct. 21 hearing at the Middletown court, Judge Julie Aurigemma ordered Rice to pay the district $54,149 in attorney fees and court costs for the lawsuit he filed in December 2011 against the three town school district, Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy and former assistant superintendent Ian Neviaser. The amount includes $52,327 in attorney fees and $1,832 in court costs.

Rice, who was a Chester resident, resigned as principal at the high school in October 2010 after only weeks in the job amid reports he had been given a resign or be fired ultimatum from Levy based on complaints and concerns raised by some staff at the high school. Under terms of the resign and release agreement, Rice received $62,000 in severance pay and medical coverage until he secured new employment. The agreement also called for both parties to refrain from public comment about Rice’s employment with the school district.

But Rice, represented by the Hamden firm Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Srignari, later claimed in the lawsuit that he was defamed in a June 2011 Hartford Courant article about the situation that included information from emails and other communications released by the district to the newspaper under a freedom of information request. In a summary judgment issued in August, Judge Aurigemma dismissed the lawsuit after determining the resign and release agreement signed by Rice was comprehensive, and that school officials responded properly to the newspaper FOI request.

In the Oct. 21 order on legal fees, Aurigemma also noted the resign and release agreement included a provision that could require Rice to pay “all costs including court costs and reasonable attorney fees,” if he later filed suit against the district. The judge noted she had reviewed an accounting of legal fees and court costs provided by attorney Peter Murphy with the Hartford firm Shipman and Goodwin, who worked on the case for the school district.

Rice is attempting to appeal the Middlesex judge’s decision to the Connecticut Appellate Court. Aurigemma rejected a motion from Rice’s attorneys to stay the order on legal fees, noting that issue could be part of any appeal to the higher court.

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33rd Senate Candidates Face Off at Final Debate in Clinton

CLINTON— The three candidates for the 33rd Senate District seat faced off in a final campaign debate at Morgan High School in Clinton Thursday, with the sharpest exchanges coming during the final minutes of the one hour session.

About 100 voters turned out for the debate that was organized by students in the school’s current issues class, with students posing questions and moderating the session. It is expected to be the final public debate between one-term incumbent Republican Sen. Art Linares of Westbrook, Democratic challenger Emily Bjornberg of Lyme, and Green Party nominee Colin Bennett of Westbrook.

The candidates stuck to familiar themes through most of the debate. Linares pledged to work to reduce state taxes on gasoline and phase out taxes on retirement benefits while touting his endorsement by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. Bjornberg said Linares has “voted against the most vulnerable among us,” over the past two years while noting her endorsements from the Connecticut Working Families Party, unions representing teachers and college professors and various women’s and environmental groups.

Bennett, declaring he “will not pander,” occasionally used his time to raise issues that were not part of the initial question, including racial justices, police shootings of minority citizens, and the expense of incarceration for non-violent crimes. He called for a “maximum wage” rather than just increasing the minimum wage and higher tax rates for the wealthy.

Most of the exchanges were cordial in a formant that did not discourage applause and cheers from the audience. But the gloves came off in the final minutes after Bjornberg noted that Linares is “the only person on this stage who has proposed a tax increase,” as she pointed to Republican budget proposals backed by Linares that would eliminate the state’s earned income tax credit that provides limited cash rebates to low income workers. Bjornberg also criticized Linares votes on issues related to the environment and women’s rights.

Linares said the earned income tax credit is ” a tax credit for people who don’t pay taxes.” In his closing statement, Linares said Bjornberg “desperate and void of solutions, has begun a smear campaign against me in regards to women and the environment.”, before pointing to his support for funding for the Preserve land purchase and labeling of genetically modified foods.

Bennett used his closing statement to claim that some Bjornberg supporters have contacted him and urged him to withdraw from the race to avoid pulling liberal-leaning votes from Bjornberg. While confirming that he would “rather see Emily elected than Art,” Bennett said such efforts are “100 percent antithetical to democracy” and vowed to continue his campaign to the Nov. 4 vote

The 33rd District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and portions of Old Saybrook.

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Three Dogs Quarantined After Attack on Smaller Dog in Ivoryton

ESSEX— Three dogs are being held at the town dog pound after an morning incident on Oct. 14 where the dogs attacked and killed a smaller dog on Chord Lane in the Ivoryton section. The fatal attack was witnessed by neighborhood children waiting for school bus pick up.

Phil Beckman, of 16 Chord Lane, raised the issue at the Oct. 15 meeting of the board of selectmen. First Selectman Norman Needleman said the three dogs were brought to the town shelter by Animal Control Officer Jae Wolf, with the incident under investigation by town police.

The dogs, described as mixed Labradors, are owned by Pauline Budney of 23 Chord Lane. The dog that was killed, a Papillon, was owned by Robert and Mary Lizotte of 6 Chord Lane. The three dogs are expected to be held at the town shelter for 14 days, though Wolf could not be reached Friday for comment on the status of the dogs.

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Letter: Road Tolls Not Simple Solution to Gas Tax Replacement

To the Editor:

I attended the debate between Representative Phil Miller and Challenger Bob Siegrist at the Valley High School. I enjoyed the policy debate over issues that face Connecticut. There was one comment that did catch my attention by Representative Miller when he said he wanted to get rid of the gas tax and replace it with tolls. I love a good research project and looked into this campaign idea.

When you combine both the gasoline taxes (gas tax and the gross receipts tax) it totals approx. $900M. One would say great, get rid of burdensome taxes. However, to replace that revenue one would have to litter CT with tolls. And remember that tolls cost money. For comparison, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority incurred approx. $470,000 in costs last year to run them. By the way, there is currently a Federal prohibition of tolls on all interstate highways in CT as they are currently configured (with few exceptions).

While CT is discussing tolls in Southwestern CT along 95, it is part of a pilot program to strategically place tolls in a limited basis in the hopes of reducing traffic congestion, not to raise revenue. In fact, one of those exceptions to place tolls in CT includes all non-interstate highways. Rt. 9 is a non-interstate highway. Get ready for more traffic on Rt. 9 if tolls go up. Do we really need I95 traffic in our backyard?

I would only suggest that before you make any campaign suggestions as massive as this one that you do the research first. What we don’t need are more ways to raise revenue and more spending in a bloated budget. Let’s vote for a candidate who won’t raid the transportation fund and wants to fix our roads and highways, not create more traffic on them. I’m voting for Bob Siegrist on November 4th.

Sincerely,

Ashley Amaio
Chester

 

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Letter: Linares has the Business Experience

To the Editor:
I just received the latest campaign mailer from Emily Bjornberg in which she repeats claims that she has made during her debates with Senator Linares regarding his use of “cheap Chinese products over American jobs” in his business.  This attack on Senator Linares is odd in that Emily also claims a great deal of experience working in her family’s small business, Reynolds Subaru, a company that has not sold an American brand car since the Studebaker in 1964.

The hypocrisy is not the real issue. The lack of understanding of the needs of small business and their need to compete in a real world based upon cost of goods sold and satisfying customers’ need is the real issue.

Obviously Emily’s family recognized the changing environment in the 1960’s for automobile purchasers and adapted to the new market realities by importing cars that meet consumer demands.  What she fails to understand, and why she is a bad candidate for representing small business, is that Senator Linares has had to deliver to his clients the product they want at a price that is competitive.

By the way, how many of us have products, for example televisions, or for that matter automobiles, that are entirely made from parts that are only made in the USA?  I suggest that not many can make that claim.

I will vote for Art Linares, a realist, with real business experience.  He knows how to deliver a product that his customers want, knows how to create jobs, and knows how to stimulate business.  Emily apparently does not have that real world knowledge.

Sincerely,

 

John Ackermann
Essex

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Essex Corinthian Flo Wins the Tri Club Series

Toby Doyle and the crew of Flo race to honors in the2014 Tri Club River Race Series

Toby Doyle and the crew of Flo race to honors in the2014 Tri Club River Race Series

The yacht Flo skippered by Toby Doyle from the Essex Corinthian and Pettipaug Yacht Clubs, took overall honors in the 2014 Tri Club River Race Series.  The Tri Club series consists of three Connecticut River races sponsored each October by the Essex, Essex Corinthian, and Pettipaug Yacht Clubs.

Joined by crew members Bill Robinson, John Peterson, and Cindy Gibbs; Toby guided Flo to first place in the Thomas Willets Memorial Race, sponsored by the Essex Yacht Club on October 4th; and the Tom Clark Memorial Race sponsored by the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club on October 11th.

L to R:  Bill Robinson, Deb Sands, Toby Doyle, and Cindy Gibbs.  Not pictured:  John Peterson.

L to R: Bill Robinson, Deb Sands, Toby Doyle, and Cindy Gibbs. Not pictured: John Peterson.

Last year’s defender, Celebration, skipped by Jeff Going and Ed Birch, won the Charles Birch Memorial Race sponsored by the Pettipaug Yacht Club on October 18th.  Jeff and Ed are past commodores of both the Essex Corinthian and Pettipaug Yacht Clubs.

While each race presented unique challenges around wind, weather, current, and river navigation; every race provided crews fun sailing and camaraderie during and after racing.

The series traditionally ends at the Decommissioning Party of the Pettipaug Yacht Club where the Tri Club River Race trophy was presented to the winning crew.

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Letter: Linares Debate Response Misunderstood

To the Editor:

I attended the debate between State Senator Art Linares, Emily Bjornberg, and Colin Bennett on October 8th at Valley Regional High School. With regard to the letter from Sue Huybensz, who also attended the debate, I am certain that she misunderstood the discussion. In particular, she completely misinterpreted the response by Senator Linares regarding his stand on the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision.

In no way did Senator Linares say that he is opposed to a woman’s right to choose. He pointed out that this issue is not germane to candidates running for the State Senate. If he were running for the United States Senate or were in line for consideration for a position on the Supreme Court, the issue of what methods of birth control must be paid for by a private enterprise would be a worthwhile topic for debate. At a debate for election to State Senator, the issue is a red herring.

When Art shared that he was raised Catholic, he was pointing out that nobody’s personal and religious beliefs supersede the laws of our country. The aim of Senator Linares on the evening of October 8th was to bring the debate’s discussion back to issues that are germane to CT residents, issues that a state senator is empowered to do something about: returning prosperity and top-notch educational and  professional opportunity to the residents of our state.  As a CT woman, I plan to cast my vote for Senator Art Linares.

Sincerely,
Alice van Deursen
Essex

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Fall day in Essex 2

Sunset pond by Jerome Wilson

Sunset pond by Jerome Wilson

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Friends of the Essex Library Donate $10,000 to the Library for New Front Doors

Friends Essex Library October 2014

Linda Levene, President of the Friends of the Essex Library presented Richard Conroy, Director of the Essex Library with a check for $10,000 at the Annual Meeting of the Library on Wednesday evening October 15.  The donation will be used to install new, easy to operate front doors on the Library’s Grove Street entrance.  Richard Conroy thanked the Friends for their gift, saying it would be “…appreciated by everyone each time they visit the Library.”

The Friends donation is the result of two very successful fundraising events this Fall:  “Our Library Rocks” in September and the annual Fall Book Sale in October.

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New Guests on the Lawns of Essex, Deep River and Chester – Lawn Signs

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It started with the posting of just a few lawns signs on the lawns of Essex, Deep River and Chester. Among the first signs in view were those of Bob Siegrist, Republican candidate for State Representative, who is running against incumbent State Representative Phil Miller. Notably, the signs that Siegrist put up in Deep River were “extra large,” so that they could not be missed. Then, shortly thereafter, Siegrist’s lawn signs were then even exceeded in size by those of his Republican running mate, State Senator Art Linares, who is running for re-election.

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Where were the Democratic lawn signs one began to wonder?   They first appeared modestly along North Main Street in Essex.  Then individual lawn signs began poking into view, including the normal size signs of Emily Bjornberg, Democratic candidate for State Senate, who is running against Senator Linares, and signs for State Representative Phil Miller, who Siegrist is challenging.

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In the deluge of lawn signs that was ultimately upon us, the Republicans devoted front row positioning, in cluster after cluster, to the election of Anselmo Delia, the party’s candidate for Judge of Probate. The incumbent Judge of Probate, Terrance Lomme, then not only responded in kind with a splattering of lawns signs, he even went so far as to pay for a commercial billboard located  on Main Street coming into Deep River.

Judge of Probate candidate Anselmo Delia

Judge of Probate candidate Anselmo Delia

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Election Day is November 4 this year. Shortly thereafter the lawn signs will disappear, and our area’s laws will return to their normal condition.

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University Professors Endorse Emily Bjornberg for State Senate

Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg

Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg

On Tuesday Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg announced the endorsement of her campaign by the Connecticut State University American Association of University Professors (CSU-AAUP) and the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges (4C’s). The two organizations are only the latest of a number of groups representing educators who have endorsed Bjornberg and her vision for education in Connecticut.

“In these times, some kind of post-secondary education has become a practical necessity for middle class life. The cost of college is constantly increasing, whether you are aiming for a two-year or a four-year degree. Options for technical education in high-demand fields seem to be shrinking, rather than growing. We must widen the doors of opportunity for young people, and for others looking to boost their careers,” said Bjornberg.

In a letter of endorsement, Mary Ann Mahoy, Chair of the CSU-AAUP wrote that, “This endorsement is a result of careful consideration of your positions and our perception that you recognize the needs of public higher education in Connecticut. Your efforts to maintain and improve public higher education in the State of Connecticut will be most appreciated.”

The CSU-AAUP represents faculty at four state universities across Connecticut, including Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.

The Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges (4C’s) represents full-time and part-time faculty and other professional employees at Connecticut’s 12 community colleges, including Middlesex Community College.

Emily Bjornberg has also been endorsed by Connecticut’s public school teachers. Both the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and the Connecticut affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have voted to endorse Bjornberg for the November 4th General Election. The organizations collectively represent all of Connecticut’s public school teachers.

“Education is the tried and true path to a brighter future. As mother with two children in the Lyme public schools, I will work tirelessly to ensure that in our community, your opportunities in life are limited only by your work ethic and determination,” said Emily Bjornberg.

Bjornberg added, “At present our small towns are not getting their fair share of education aid from the state, which puts upward pressure on all of our property taxes. We need a stronger advocate in Hartford who can deliver results for our communities.”

More than 2,100 CEA and AFT Connecticut members live in the towns of the 33rd State Senate District, which includes the communities of: Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

 

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Letter: An Open Letter to Republican Women

To the Editor:

I am a fellow Republican woman who always wanted to be married, but I wanted a career instead of children. Thankfully, when I headed off to college in 1974, I had access to birth control and thanks to Roe v. Wade I also had access to what could be a very excruciating choice. [Thankfully I never had to make that choice.] So it was time travel for me to hear Art Linares’ answer to this question at the debate held on October 8 at the Valley Regional High School: “Where do you stand on the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision?” Linares only stated that “he was raised Catholic and isn’t up for appointment as a Supreme Court Justice.” In other words, he is against a woman’s right to choose even birth control!

Haven’t we already dealt with this issue 40 years ago? This extremely right-wing view could have totally changed my life and taken my choice to have a career away from me. Also, I would note that extremist views such as Linares’ are not a fit with his own district’s constituency.

Birthing a child sometimes can be life-threatening. Linares doesn’t care: “No exceptions.” I have had a colleague who died from a brain hemorrhage while she was trying to have a child.

I may have wanted to hear more on Linares’ stances, but it seems he doesn’t like to show up to debates.

Please, if you value your choices as a woman, do not vote for Art Linares.

Sincerely,

Sue Huybensz,
Deep River

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Gun Rights Supporters Voice Opposition to Requested Chester Shooting Ordinance

CHESTER— Gun enthusiasts packed the Chester Meeting House Tuesday to express opposition to a requested municipal ordinance that would prohibit target shooting and discharge of a firearm in residential neighborhoods.

But a smaller group of residents expressed support for an ordinance, or some other restrictions, that would regulate the shooting that is frequently occurring on a nine-acre Wig Hill Road parcel that is owned by a Deep River resident. More than 150 residents, including some non-residents, turned out for a public information meeting that was called by the board of selectmen in response to a petition submitted in August by more than a dozen residents living near the Wig Hill Road property. The board of selectmen has taken no position on the requested ordinance.

The undeveloped parcel, owned by Deep River resident Warren Elliot, contains a fixed trap target shoot area that neighbors contend is a heavily used rifle range. John Ratchford, whose 85 Wig Hill Road property abuts the Elliot parcel, said an ordinance would enhance public safety by clarifying what type of shooting is allowed in a residential neighborhood. His wife, Sally, said the frequent sound of gunfire from large rifles has driven her indoors on sunny days.  Marzena Adams said she is concerned for the safety of visitors and children in the neighborhood, noting “it only takes one bullet.” Cynthia Monahan said she is “all for guns but I’m not for shooting in may back yard.”

Other residents, including many gun owners and some who shoot on the Elliott property, said any town ordinance would be unnecessary and could not be tailored to the topographical conditions of Chester. Some said target shooting should be expected in a rural town like Chester, and one resident compared the request for a shooting ordinance to a  controversial 2012 request from one resident for a zoning regulation to prohibit hens and roosters in residential areas.

Jason LaMark, of 62-1 Wig Hill Road, said a small hill separates the shooting area from any nearby homes that he contends are nearly 500 feet away. LaMark said existing state laws already prohibit reckless discharge of a firearms, and noted conditions on the Eilliot property have been monitored by police. He added that no rural towns in Connecticut have a local shooting ordinance.

First Selectman Edmund Meehan, who has also inspected the Elliot property, said  he believes the shooting “is being conducted in a safe way,”  based on differences in elevation and distance to nearby homes. Meehan said the board would discuss the shooting issue further at a future meeting, while also noting that any possible ordinance would require approval from voters at a town meeting.

Based on the volume of applause for speakers on both side of the issue at Tuesday’s meeting, a shooting ordinance would be unlikely to win voter approval at a town meeting. But resident Joe Cohen, speaking at a selectmen’s meeting that followed the public information meeting, said the shooting activity on Wig Hill Road is a land use issue. Cohen said selectmen should have investigated regulating the activity through that avenue before calling an information meeting on an ordinance.

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“Letter From Paris” is Back! Amidst Economic Depression, Two Nobel Prizes for France Lift the Communal Spirit

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

We are delighted to welcome back Nicole Logan, who has returned to Paris for the winter from her summer home in Essex.  She writes our weekly, “Letter from Paris,” which gives a unique insight into France and the French.  Today she writes about the depressing state of the French economy and contrasts it to the tremendous excitement that winning two Nobel Prizes has brought to the country.

It is the time of year when financial laws are voted on and budgets submitted.  The 2015 budget represents a triple hurdle for France since the country is under scrutiny from the European Union (EU) Commission in Brussels headed now by Jean Claude Yuncker from Luxemburg; the Eurogroup (made up of the ministers of finances from the 18 members of the euro zone) and led by Jeroen Dijsselbloem from the Netherlands; and finally by the European Council, presided over by Herman Van Rompuy from Belgium.

Will France meet the criteria set in the 1992 Maestrich Treaty, namely an annual deficit of less than 3 percent and a public debt no more than 60 percent of that GDP?   It is most unlikely, since the latest figures stand at a 4.3 percent deficit.  François Hollande is criticized for not having used the two years respite, granted in 2013, to undertake structural reforms.  Instead, he has limited his action to carry out an austerity program by steadily increasing taxes on the most vulnerable individuals like retirees, wage earners or small entrepreneurs.

So to-day the French government is scrambling for ways to reduce its expenses by 21 billion Euros.  Three sudden measures have shocked public opinion:  closing of the Val de Grace hospital, an historical institution in Paris, the military base of Chalon, and the oldest air base of France in Dijon.  More savings are on the table but promise to provoke violent confrontation since they are all considered as untouchable taboos.

Given the fact France’s economy is the second of Europe, the widespread opinion is that it cannot be allowed to fail.  Imposing sanctions of 0.02 percent would make it even more impossible for the country to pull out of a recession with dire consequences for the rest of the continent.  Behind the scenes, the new French Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron and his German counterpart are at work on the elaboration of a common investment policy.

Two Nobel prizes have just been awarded to French nationals. This unexpected news has definitely lifted the spirits here.

Patrick Modiano

Patrick Modiano

Patrick Modiano received the prize for Literature, following in the footsteps of Camus, Sartre and Gide.  Several of his many novels take place during the German Occupation of France. One of them inspired Louis Malle for his outstanding 1974 film Lacombe Lucien.

The Nobel prize for Economics is particularly interesting because it rewards  not only an individual, but also an institution.  Jean Tirone, born in 1953 and a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, holds a PhD from MIT.  In 2007, he founded  the Toulouse School of Economics (note that this name is in English), inspired  from an American model.  It is today one of the world’s 10 most important centers for economic research.

Tirone belongs to the school of economists using a rigorous scientific and mathematical approach.  His research is centered on the regulation of free market economy.  Tirone’s nomination follows the phenomenal success of Thomas Piketty ‘s ” Capital in the Twenty First Century” published in 2013.

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About the author:  Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter.  She will write a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries.  She also will cover a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe.  Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents.  Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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An Autumn Gallery

An autumn walk

An autumn walk

 

The yellow above

The yellow above

 

and purple

and purple

 

Sunset pond

Sunset pond

 

Falls River in Essex

Falls River in Essex

 

Old Glory in the fall

Old Glory in the fall

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Pagliugos Win Ivoryton Library’s 5K Road/Trail Race

Meghan Pagliuco

Meghan Pagliuco

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Christopher Pagliuco

Christopher Pagliuco and Meghan Pagliuco were the overall winners in the Ivoryton Library’s Run Local Read Local 5K Road Trail on Saturday, October 18. Beating 150 other competitors, Christopher was the first to cross the finish line at 19:17 minutes and Meghan finished first in the women’s group at 21:43 minutes.

Second place overall winners in the men’s and women’s groups were Paul Mezick and Nikki Bauman. Third place overall winners were Nick Klomp and Anna Iacovella.

The winners of all age groups as well as the times for all participants can be found on the website of RAT RACE Timing: www.aratrace.com.

The morning’s competition began with the Pumpkin Run for children 8 and under. Directed by the Library’s “Queen of Hearts”, the children’s librarian, Elizabeth Bartlett, the race ended with pumpkin decorating and storytelling for the 20 children participating.

Of the several costume awards, the best group costume prize went to Jerry and Louisa Ketron for their Ocktoberfest costumes.

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This was the Library’s 5th annual race and was sponsored in kind by the Essex Land Trust, Essex Park and Recreation, Essex Police Department, Essex Fire Department, the Ivoryton Congregational Church,  The Order of Ancient Weeders, Riverside Press, Olsen Sanitation, CL &P, Carl Echtman, Essex Boy Scouts (Troop 12), the Village of Ivoryton and the Town of Essex.  Scott’s Essex Farm Market provided the pumpkins for the children.

The fabulous food donations were generously provided by the Blue Hound Cookery, The Ivoryton Tavern, Panera Bread of Waterford, Adams Market, Colonial Market, Stop and Shop of Old Saybrook, Big Y, and Dunkin’ Donuts of Deep River.

The Library is grateful to the many volunteers who worked tirelessly for months up to and including Saturday morning to make this fun, family-friendly event the success that it was.

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Deep River Republican Town Committee Endorses Linares, Siegrist

The Deep River Republican Town Committee takes great pride in endorsing Art Linares for a second term as State Senator of the 33rd District and Bob Siegrist for his first term as State Representative of the 36th District, along with the other well qualified Republican candidates running this year.  Art and Bob representing us in Hartford will help attract more business, resulting in lower taxes.

Art Linares, seated State Senator for the 33rd Senate District, encompasses the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.  Senator Linares is a second generation American and resides in Westbrook.  Sen. Linares attended Westbrook public schools and graduated from the Sykes College of Business at the University of Tampa in Florida, where he majored in entrepreneurship, developing his own company as he earned a college degree. Senator Linares co-founded Greenskies, a successful, Middletown-based, commercial solar energy company.

Sen. Linares is Ranking Member of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Banks Committee and Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Children. Linares also serves on the Commerce and Education Committees. Senator Linares has a solid voting record – from protecting people’s rights as stated in the state constitution to understanding that jobs and business growth is the way to balance budgets, not tax increases. He has stood up for children and families, while also protecting the rights of seniors and the environment.    Senator Linares has been endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Connecticut REALTORS, who fully evaluate candidates in determining who may best ensure there is a positive environment for living in or transferring property in Connecticut.  Real estate is essential to economic recovery and stability in the state and the nation and helps to build communities.

Bob Siegrist is the challenger for the 36th Representative District. His main focus as State Representative is all about the economy. A combination of lower taxes with more and better paying jobs is what Connecticut needs to improve our economy and with Bob as State Representative, he will vote against any budget that includes another tax hike for Connecticut’s residents.

Art Linares and Bob Siegrist will form a powerful team in Hartford to reverse ever-increasing State spending, hold the line on any new taxes, and encourage new business growth.   Be sure to vote on Tuesday November 4th and we encourage you to vote for Art, Bob and the Republican team.

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Test Results Place Country School Math Students at the Top – Worldwide

TIMSS FINALIn an international math assessment, Madison Country School 4th Graders placed in the highest band possible—alongside students in Singapore and Chinese Taipei.

Last year, when they were in 4th Grade, members of The Country School’s Class of 2018 participated in a math assessment known as the Connecticut Independent School Test of Mathematics. Given through the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, the test is a replica assessment drawn from previous administrations of the international math test, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). By participating in the test, Connecticut independent schools are given a benchmark, allowing them to compare Connecticut students to relative students in 26 countries in the TIMSS sample.

The results, announced recently by the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, include some great news for The Country School: The score of the average Country School math student falls in the highest band possible. In fact, the score of the average TCS student “places the school at or above the achievement level of the countries in the top decile of performance (Singapore and Chinese Taipei),” according to an announcement from Doug Lyons, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. “You and the faculty at The Country School should be proud of this result,” Dr. Lyons said. “Bravo!”

John Fixx, Head of School at The Country School, said the school is immensely proud of the results—and of students and teachers. “For almost 60 years, The Country School has reviewed and adopted best practices in education,” he said. “I am so proud of our faculty for wholly embracing curricular advances and for their deep commitment to our students. Likewise, I am proud of our students for being such eager and enthusiastic learners.”

Mr. Fixx also thanked the community for its commitment to teacher professional development. “To prepare our graduates for the finest secondary schools and high schools in the United States requires a perpetual commitment to the professional development of our faculty,” he said. “It is both exciting and rewarding to see The Country School community come together to support our students, who show they are among the best in the world.”

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool through Grade 8. At The Country School, a rigorous academic program is accompanied by a commitment to hands-on learning, a dynamic STEAM curriculum (integrated science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), and a focus on the whole child. The Country School prepares students to meet the future with confidence, encouraging them to reach their highest, both in school and in life. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Oct. 21 Information Meeting on Shooting Ordinance to be Held at Chester Meeting House

CHESTER— The Oct. 21 public information meeting on a possible municipal ordinance regulating target shooting in residential neighborhoods will be held at the Chester Meeting House on Liberty Street. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. The location of the meeting is a change because most town meetings over the 18 months have been held in a second floor meeting room that was constructed after interior renovations to the town hall on Route 154.

The board of selectmen scheduled the session in response to a petition submitted in August signed by about 30 residents requesting consideration of a town ordinance that would limit and regulate target shooting and discharge of a firearm in Chester. Most of the petitioners were from the Wig Hill Road-Baker Road neighborhood, with many objecting to shooting that is occurring at one residential property in the area. First Selectman Edmund Meehan will present information at the meeting on shooting ordinances that are in place at other cities and towns in Connecticut.

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Letter: Old Saybrook Causeway Litter is Eyesore and Safety Issue

To the Editor:

Walking the causeway in Old Saybrook is more of an obstacle course than relaxing.  The condition of the causeway is an absolute disgrace.  There are mothers with baby strollers walking in the roadway to avoid the mess and stench on the sidewalk left by fishermen.

The blood stains, fish parts, plastic bags, fishing hooks, fishing line, broken nets, beer and liquor bottles are trashing one of Old Saybrook’s most scenic areas.  This litter is not just an eyesore and safety issue, but also has a major impact on our wildlife.

Others who walk the causeway see the same mess and they have gone to express their concerns to the First Selectman’s Office who in turn told them he has written letters to the DEEP, and all to no avail was his response.

Fishing is permitted year round here.  Unsafe habits of the fishermen will continue to destroy our beautiful Sound and endanger our wildlife.  Just as the town beach is regulated, the causeway needs to be too.  Perhaps charges need to be set per fishing pole/net to offset cleanup costs and deter such behavior.  Maybe your readers will have other thoughts how this abuse can be stopped.

Sincerely,

Christina LaVaughn,
Local resident

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Essex Selectmen Schedule Nov. 5 Public Information Meeting on Ivoryton Main Street Project

ESSEX— The board of selectmen has scheduled a Nov. 5 public information meeting on a grant-funded improvement project for a section of Main Street in the Ivoryton village. The session will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at town hall.
The project, which includes four new raised crosswalks, new curbing and sidewalks and some new lighting, is to be funded by a $435,000 grant awarded last year from the state’s Main Streets Investment Fund program. The town has hiredAnchor Engineering Services of Glastonbury to prepare design plans for the improvements.

Selectwoman Stacia Libby, who been coordinating the project said at Wednesday’s board meeting that project engineers would be at the Nov. 5 meeting to review the plans with residents and answer questions. Libby said the plans have been reviewed by the parks and recreation and planning commissions, and had received a favorable response at a recent meeting with members of the Ivoryton Alliance, a group comprised of business and property owners in Ivoryton Village. The preliminary design plans will also be on display at the Ivoryton Library before the Nov. 5 meeting

The plans also include removal of a paved island at the intersection of Main and Summit streets that was constructed in the early 1970s. The removal would create a wider T-shaped intersection that would be safer and more convenient for winter snow plows and fire trucks from the Ivoryton Firehouse on Summit Street. Selectmen are hoping to put the project out to bid by May 2015 for construction next year.

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Linares, Bjornberg to Meet in Final 33rd District Debate

AREAWIDE— Republican State Senator Art Linares has committed to participating in a final 33rd Senate District debate on Oct. 23 at Morgan High School in Clinton after skipping a session held Tuesday at Haddam-Killingworth High School amid disagreements with the sponsor and moderator for the session.

Linares announced his willingness to participate in the Oct. 23 debate, set for 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the Clinton school, after declining to participate in the session Tuesday that was sponsored by the Haddam Bulletin, a monthly newspaper for Haddam. The Oct. 23 debate will be run by students in the Morgan High School current issues class, which had sponsored 33rd Senate debates in previous years.

Democratic challenger Emily Bjornberg and Green Party nominee Colin Bennett faced off Tuesday before about 30 voters in the Haddam-Killingworth High School auditorium, with an empty chair on the stage for the absent Linares. Moderator Edward Schwing, editor of the Haddam Bulletin said Ryan Linares, the senator’s brother and campaign manager, had imposed several conditions on participation in the session that included a demand to review questions in advance. Schwing said such a condition would be “contrary to the spirit and intent of the debate.”

Ryan Linares said Wednesday it was Schwing’s role as moderator that prompted the demand to review questions in advance. He noted that Schwing had helped run the 2012 state senate campaign of Green Party nominee Melissa Schlag in the three candidate contest where Art Linares was elected for his first term. Schlag was elected in 2013 as the Democratic first selectwoman of Haddam, and has endorsed Bjornberg for the Nov. 4 vote. “The senator is not interested in that kind of debate,” he said.

Bennett, who has run as the Green Party nominee in previous 33rd Senate contests, used the session in Haddam to contend the current Democratic majority in the Legislature has failed to address several issues and priorities that Bjornberg has stressed in her campaign. Bennett said he is “100 percent committed to this campaign” despite raising and spending no money on the race. Bjornberg said if elected she would be a voice for the district towns in the majority party caucus.

The three candidates had faced off previously at debates on Sept. 16 at the Lyme-in Old Lyme High School, Sept. 23 at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, and an Oct. 6 session with House candidates that was sponsored by the Westbrook Council of Beaches. But Bjornberg has pushed for a debate in one of the northern towns of the sprawling 12 town district, and suggested the session Tuesday at Haddam-Killingworth could have been the missing northern town debate. The 33rd District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and parts of Old Saybrook.

Bjornberg said Wednesday she will participate in the Oct. 23 session in Clinton, but contended Linares is “locking out” the northern towns of the district from a public debate. “The district’s two most populous towns in particular, Colchester and East Hampton, deserve to have their residents’ questions asked and their issues addressed” she said.

Bjornberg said she is still working to have the Norwich Bulletin sponsor a debate at the high school in Colchester, but Ryan Linares said Wednesday no one from the newspaper has contacted the campaign about a debate in Colchester.

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Essex Garden Club Installs “Francesca”

Franchescagardenclub

Essex Garden Club has created “Francesca” to compete in this year’s Scarecrow Competition sponsored by the Essex Board of Trade. Pictured left to right are Eve Potts, Mylan Sarner and Sandy French.  “Francesca” sits at the entrance to Town Park on Main Street where the Garden Club members recently completed their fall cleanup.

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Essex Savings Bank Earns Sustained Superiority Award

ESSEX — Essex Savings Bank has earned the prestigious Sustained Superiority Award from BauerFinancial, Inc. of Coral Gables, Florida, the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm, for continuing at their highest 5-Star rating for strength and stability.  Bauer Financial has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks since 1983.  No institution can pay BauerFinancial to rate it, nor can an institution choose to be excluded.  Essex Savings Bank has proven its commitment to superiority by earning this top rating for at least the latest 57 consecutive quarters.  Fewer than 10% of the nation’s banks can claim this distinction.  In order to do so, the Bank has excelled in areas of capital adequacy, delinquent loan levels and profitability to name just a few.  Consistently earning BauerFinancial’s highest rating assures customers and the community that Essex Savings Bank is a strong financial institution that will be able to fulfill their banking needs for years to come and is the gold standard of choices in a complex financial industry. Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO, noted, “ We are proud to receive this award and hope that individuals, families and businesses will appreciate the opportunity to build long term relationships with us.”

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.   Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

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Letter: Essex First Selectman Endorses Bjornberg

To The Editor:

As a business owner and the First Selectman of Essex, I am keenly aware of the difficulties companies and municipalities face here in Connecticut. Small towns like are taking on an unfair share of the burden and are feeling the weight of an increasing number of unfunded mandates from the state.

We need a stronger voice in Hartford, and that’s why I am endorsing Emily Bjornberg for State Senate in the 33rd District. She has the life experience, tenacity and drive to effect real change in Hartford.

Representing our region in Hartford needs to be more than casting a partisan protest vote against the state budget and then blaming the state’s problem on others. What our region needs is someone who will be at the table as important decisions are being made to represent the needs of our towns.

She understands the needs of small business, having grown up working with her family who owns Reynolds Subaru in Lyme. It’s through that family, made up of prominent local Republicans and Democrats, who have instilled in her the ability to find the common ground necessary to bring about constructive and positive change.

I ask that you join me in voting for Emily on November 4.

Sincerely,

Norman Needleman
First Selectman, Essex.

 

 

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CT Firefighters & Policemen Endorse Emily Bjornberg for State Senate

On Friday Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg announced that the police officers and firefighters of the Connecticut Police and Fire Union (CPFU), as well as the Uniformed Professional Firefighters Association of Connecticut (UPFFA), have officially endorsed her candidacy in the November 4thelections to represent the 33rd State Senate District.

“Our state’s police officers and firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities and look out for the safety and well being of our families. They have earned all our gratitude for their hard work, and deserve our ongoing support as they continue to perform their duties. I am honored to receive their endorsement in this election,” said Bjornberg.

“Emily Bjornberg is an exciting candidate and a passionate advocate for her community. She is committed to promoting and preserving public safety, and can be counted on to ensure our firefighters and policemen have the support they need to carry out their duties and get the job done,” said Glenn Terlecki, President of the Connecticut Police and Fire Union.

Emily Bjornberg’s husband, Jason Bjornberg, served as a Military Police Officer in the Connecticut National Guard from 1998 to 2004. He was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in January of 2003, and returned home in April of 2004.

Jason now volunteers as a firefighter with the Lyme Fire Company, an all-volunteer non-profit fire and rescue service. As an employee of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, Jason also serves as a member of the Connecticut Interstate Wildfire Crew, whose members travel all across the continental United States to combat wildfires and protect the people, property and essential ecosystems threatened by the flames.

This past August, Jason was deployed with the Interstate Wildfire Crew to fight the Eiler fire in Northern California, a blaze which burned 32,416 acres of land that month before it was contained, destroying 7 residences, 2 commercial facilities and 12 outbuildings.

“I could not be more proud of my husband’s service as a firefighter, whether as a volunteer at home in Lyme or across the country with the Interstate Wildfire Crew. I know firsthand that first responders’ service also asks a lot of their families, but as Jason and I tell our children, a service done for others benefits us all,” said Bjornberg.

The Connecticut Police and Fire Union (CPFU), IUPA Local-74/IAFF Local S-15, is comprised of over 900 public safety professionals employed across the State of Connecticut.

The 33rd District includes the communities of: Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

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Local Student Awarded Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Music Award

The Carolyn Greenleaf Committee is happy to announce the winner of this semester’s Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Music Award.  She is Elizabeth (Libby) Ryan, an oboe student of Johanna Lamb at the Community Music School and a student at Nathan Hale Ray High School in East Haddam.

The award was established in honor of Carolyn Greenleaf, who was passionate about music education. To ensure Carolyn’s legacy, the Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Award Committee partnered with the Community Foundation of Middlesex County in 2007 to establish the Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Fund.

This merit-based award, open to students in Middlesex County and the Lymes, provides a semester of private instruction at the Community Music School.

In addition to her study at the Community Music School, Libby has participated in several master classes at the school and plays principal oboe and English horn in the Thames Valley Youth Symphony, as well as in her high school band.  In addition, she has participated in CMEA All-state Orchestra as principal oboe and the UCONN and UMASS High School Honors Bands.   This past summer she participated in the Ithaca College Summer Music Academy.  Her future plans include majoring in music in college.

The Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Music Award Committee accepts applications twice a year.  The deadline for the Spring 2015 semester will be Friday, January 9th at 4 PM. Applications may be downloaded from the websites of the Community Music School (www.community-music-school. org) and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (www.middlesexcountycf.org) in June and January each year.

Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County.  Its two-fold mission is: (1) to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds; and (2) to support local nonprofit organizations through effective grant making and multiple programs to address community needs. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has provided over 1,100 grants totaling more than $3.6 million to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements, and for health and human services. For more information, contact CFMC at 860.347.0025 or info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org

 

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Region 4 School Boards Approve Three Year Contract for District Para-Educators

REGION 4 — District school boards have approved a three-year contract for the 82 para-educators working at the five district schools. The agreement was approved at an Oct. 2 joint meeting of the four district school boards.

The contract with Municipal Employees Union Independent SEIU Local 506, which is retroactive to July 1, extends through June 30 2017. It provides annual salary and step increases in exchange for high premium cost sharing in the health insurance plans for the employees.

A restructuring of the salary and step schedule will bring an overall cost increase for the 82 employees services of 4.62 percent in the first year, 2014-2015. In 2015-2016, the pare-educators will receive a 0.54 percent wage increase and a step increase for a total cost increase of 1.42 percent. In 2016-2017, there will be a 0.54 percent wage increase and a step increase for a total cost increase of 1.46 percent.

Employee premium cost sharing will rise each year for the two health insurance plans offered to the employees. Under the Century Preferred Plan, where premium cost sharing is currently set at 14 percent, the employee share will increase to 15.5 percent in the current tear, 16 percent in 2015-2016, and 16.5 percent in 2016-2017. Under the HSA plan, where employee cost sharing is currently set at 12 percent, the employee share will increase to 12.5 percent in 2015-2016 and 13 percent in 2016-2017. Garth Sawyer, district finance director, said this week most of the para-educators work a 32 hour week for 129 work days per year, with an average salary of about $20,000.

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Re-Run of Race for Judge of Probate in Old Saybrook District

Voters of nine towns, including Lyme, in central Connecticut will decide on Nov. 4 whether to re-elect Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme of Essex for a second, four-year term or to replace him with Attorney Anselmo Delia of Clinton. The two ran against each other four years ago in 2010 when Lomme won by 419 votes. In the 2010 race, Lomme carried the town of Lyme, along with Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme and Old Saybrook while Delia carried Clinton, Haddam, Killingworth and Westbrook.

When Lomme ran against Delia in 2010, he committed that, if elected, he would become a full time Judge of Probate. However, after his election Lomme changed his position and in a recent interview he explained, “I thought the job would require a full time judge. However, once we merged the courts, I realized that it was not necessary to be on the job every minute, when the court is open.” The merger to which Lomme is referring was when the probate courts in nine towns were merged into a single court in Old Saybrook.

In the 2014 campaign, Lomme has been nominated unanimously for re-election for a second term by the Democratic Nominating Convention. The convention cited Lomme’s “invaluable experience” in urging his re-election. The convention also noted Judge Lomme’s pivotal role, “for implementing, successfully, the merger of the nine former town probate courts into a single Saybrook Court District.”

Lomme’s Record as a Judge

Discussing his work over the past four years as a Judge of Probate, Lomme said in a recent interview that he had held over 3,500 hearings since becoming a judge. He also observed  that most Judges of Probate in the State of Connecticut maintain private law practices. As for his current campaign for re-election, Lomme charged that his Republican opponent did not have the necessary experience to do the job. Lomme said that Attorney Delia has had only four cases before the probate court over the past four years.

Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme

Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme

In addition to serving as a Judge of Probate, Lomme in his capacity as a private attorney has represented a major New York City developer before regulatory bodies of the Town of Essex, including five public hearings before the Essex Planning Commission and another before the Essex Zoning Commission.

The Republican Challenger

Delia, Lomme’s Republican challenger, notes that he has been an attorney for 34 years and has represented legal clients in every federal and state court in Connecticut. Delia cites that he has chaired many important public bodies in his hometown of Clinton, including the planning and zoning commission, the board of education and the Youth and Family Service Bureau.

Republican candidate for Judge of Probate attorney Anselmo Delia

Republican candidate for Judge of Probate attorney Anselmo Delia

With regard to being a Judge of Probate, Delia comments, “Four years ago … I promised, as I do now, that if elected I would terminate my private practice and serve as a full time Judge of Probate. My opponent has opted to continue his private practice during his term in office. I believed then, as I believe now, that the office warrants the level of attention and avoidance of conflict of interest afforded by a full commitment.” Delia said, “I am ready to do the job from day one,” adding though, “It may take as much as six months to wind up matters with present clients.”

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Letter: Siegrist a Fresh Face

To the Editor:

I endorse Bob Siegrist for State Representative in the 36th District, representing Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

Bob is a Quinnipiac University graduate, majoring in Political Science and History. He serves as Secretary of the Haddam Republican Town Committee and is a Justice of the Peace. He stepped forward to run for office when the endorsed candidate withdrew to run for Lieutenant Governor.

I am pleased to see a new generation of  Republicans willing to serve their community.

I have been impressed by Bob’s sincerity and concern for the issues facing our district and the state. He is committed to fiscal responsibility and stresses the need for consensus and the need to work together.  Bob Siegrist is keenly aware that state spending is out of control and will oppose tax increases.

Between CT income tax, property tax, sales tax and gas tax the young and the old are fleeing CT. Representative Miller wants to add yet another tax, tolls on Routes 95 and 84. As Mr. Siegrist said about government spending, in the recent debate “Enough is Enough.”

We need a fresh face in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

Sincerely,

Gary van Deursen
Essex

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36th House District Candidates Face Off in Cordial Debate

AREAWIDE— The two candidates for the 36th House District seat, incumbent Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller of Essex and Republican challenger Robert Siegrist of Haddam,  faced off Tuesday in a cordial campaign debate held at Valley Regional High School in Deep river.

About 70 voters turned out for the 90-minute session in the school auditorium that was moderated by Essex Library Director Richard Conroy, who posed questions that had been submitted in  advance by district voters. The 36th District includes the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

Miller, a former four-term first selectman of Essex who was elected in a February 2011 special election, said he is a “right to now advocate,” who has worked to help the four district towns on various local issues, including remediation and reuse of vacant “brownfield” industrial properties. Siegrist, a former bartender and member of the Haddam Republican Town Committee, said he is a “new face” who would be “beholden to no one,” at the state Capital. Siegrist stepped forward as a candidate in June after the candidate nominated by district  Republicans at the May convention, Chester Harris of Haddam, withdrew to run for lieutenant governor on a conservative petition ticket.

The two candidates found agreement on several issues, including support for decriminalization of marijuana and medical marijuana,  gay marriage rights, and the state’s  Citizens Election Program public financing of campaigns for state office. They also agreed to oppose unfunded mandates ion public schools and higher electric rates.

Miller said he was proud to support the increase in the state’s minimum wage that was approved by the Legislature this year. Siegrist said he does not object to the hike in the minimum wage, but believes it could become a burden on small businesses. There were also nuanced differences on the 2013 gun law, with Miller defending his vote in support of the law and maintaining it is not a burden on law abiding gun owners. Siegrist said the law has “some parts that are good,” but also represented an overreach that violates the rights of gun owners.

The candidates differed sharply on state spending, with Siefgrist contending government spending is “out of control” and pledging to oppose any tax increases to address a possible budget deficit for 2015. Miller, who supported the Malloy Administration tax increases of 2011, said the state was facing a “deficit that was too big to cut our way out of,” adding that he “hopes to avoid” tax increases during the next two-year term.

The rivals differed on a Nov. 4 ballot question that would allow the Legislature to consider changes in election laws to allow early voting. Miller said he would vote yes on the ballot question and support allowing the early voting that occurs in several other states. Siegrist said he would be voting no, declaring “the system we have in Connecticut works very well.”

One key difference emerged in the final minutes of the debate on a question about state transportation policy After Siegrist objected to past “raids” on the state’s dedicated transportation improvements fund, Miller said he would support restoring tolls to locations on Interstates 95 and 84. After the debate, Siegrist said he does not believe tolls are needed to maintain the dedicated transportation improvements fund.

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Old Saybrook Land Trust Contributes $30,000 Toward Preserve Purchase

 (l-r) Old Saybrook Land Trust President Joe Nochera and Treasurer Mike Urban present Alicia Sullivan and Lori Fernand (l-r) of The Trust for Public Land with a check for $30,000 toward The Preserve purchase. Photo by Bob Lorenz, taken at The Preserve trailhead on Ingham Hill Rd., Old Saybrook.

(l-r) Old Saybrook Land Trust President Joe Nochera and Treasurer Mike Urban present Alicia Sullivan and Lori Fernand (l-r) of The Trust for Public Land with a check for $30,000 toward The Preserve purchase. Photo by Bob Lorenz, taken at The Preserve trailhead on Ingham Hill Rd., Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK – Old Saybrook Land Trust (OSLT) President Joe Nochera, and Treasurer Mike Urban recently presented Alicia Sullivan and Lori Fernand of the Trust for Public Land (TPL) with a $30,000 donation toward the purchase and preservation of the 1,000 acre Preserve.

For more than a year The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and their partners including the OSLT, have worked to secure state, town and private funds toward the purchase of this large tract of coastal forest.

Public financial commitments have added up to significant funds toward the $10 million goal. The state committed to $3.3 million, Old Saybrook voters approved $3 million, Essex is working to raise funds for the 70 acres in Essex through a town fund and a state grant sought by the Essex Land Trust. TPL has also received large private donations.

Despite this success, State Director for the TPL Sullivan says $1.13 million is still needed by the December 2014 closing date.

According to Urban, “In addition to those from of our regular members and donors, we received funds from a number of people who indicated the funds should be used toward The Preserve purchase. We matched those funds with $15,000 that we have received over time through our Annual Fund and Membership drives. The purchase speaks to our cause, it’s the biggest land acquisition that will come up in our lifetime.”

“We’re working to purchase the property, and working to make sure we can fulfill the dream people have had to make it publically accessible. That includes things such as trailheads, parking, restroom facilities and trail work,” Fernand, TPL’s Associate Director of Philanthropy, said.

If you would like to donate online visit oslt.org, or http://www.razoo.com/story/Preserve-The-1-000-Acre-Forest-1. Mail checks to The Trust for Public Land, 101 Whitney Avenue, 2nd Floor, New Haven, CT 06510. Call 203-777-7367, ext. 6, for more information. Donations are tax deductible.

“This is our opportunity to preserve, for all and forever, the huge coastal forest in our very midst. This chance may never come again.  Let this be our legacy to generations yet unborn.” Bill Childress, Campaign Committee Chair.

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November Town Meeting Expected for Funding Votes on Chester Main Street Project

CHESTER— The board of selectmen is expected to schedule a November town meeting for votes on funding components for the Main Street East Project, including votes on accepting state grants for the project and authorizing the use of set aside town capital funds for the project that includes reconstruction of an 1,800-foot section of Main Street east of the downtown village.

First Selectman Edmund Meehan told the board of selectmen Tuesday that project engineers with Kent & Frost Associates of Mystic are expected to have nearly complete design plans for the project ready later this month. The project is scheduled for an advisory review by the planning and zoning commission at aNov. 13 meeting.

The estimated $1 million project calls for reconstructing an 1,800-foot section of Main Street from the intersection with Route 154 west to the vicinity of the Laurel Hill Cemetery. The project drew some opposition at an April public information meeting held by the Main Street Project committee, which is coordinating the project along with plans for additional reconstruction and improvements to Main Street in the coming years. Some residents, including one property owner, had objected to plans for a continuous sidewalk on the north side of the street that would require removal of some mature trees.

Meehan said project engineers are working with all property owners on the street to reach agreement on final design plans. Officials hope to put the project out to bid during the winter for a start of construction in spring 2015.

Meehan said town meeting approval is required to formally accept two state Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grants awarded for the project, including a $450,000 grant awarded last April and a $333,000 grant that was redirected from funds left over from a previous grant that paid for construction of a new public water main on a northerly section of Route 154. He said a second vote is required to authorize release and use of $375,000 in town capital improvements funding that had been set aside for the project over several fiscal years.

The board Tuesday deferred setting a specific date for the town meeting, preferring to wait until after the board of finance considers the various funding components at an Oct. 16 meeting. Meehan said he wants to hold the town meeting after the Nov. 13 planning and zoning session, but before the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Letter: Thank you from Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore

To The Editor:

The 4th Annual Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore Wine Tasting & Auction held on October 2nd at the Saybrook Point Pavilion helped raise funds to address the urgent need for reaching out to students in need of improving their English or learning English as a Second Language in the Valley Shore towns and the tutoring program that serves them.

Fundraising events like this one are only successful due to the people and organizations who come together for a worthy cause. Literacy Volunteers is especially fortunate to have had an extraordinary combination of those two elements making this year’s event a rousing success. Special thanks to our title sponsors The Clark Group and Bailey, Murphy & Scarano LLC who always seem to answer our call and to SeaSide Wine & Spirits, this year’s title sponsor. We appreciate sponsors A R Mazzotta, Bogaert Construction, Essex Savings Bank, Ivory Wealth Management, Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets and Tower Laboratories for their participation and support. Special thanks are due to Elizabeth Steffen, Barb Erni, Arcangela Claffey, Paula Chabot, Judy Souza and Paula Ferrara as well as staff members Joanne Argersinger and Donna Whelen without whom this event would not have been successful.

Finally, thank you to all those who attended and enjoyed the wine, friendly atmosphere and bid on the many donated items to support L.V.V.S. and the cause of literacy.   We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Sincerely,

John J. Ferrara
Executive Director
Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc.

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