March 23, 2017

Archives for December 2015

Quilt Display at Acton Library During February

OLD SAYBROOK – The Acton Public Library will be displaying Jane P.R. Nettleton’s original quilting designs in their atrium display case for the months of January and February.

The Acton Public Library is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. The library is open on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

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Marshview Gallery Exhibits Work of Carlos Rios During February

marshview photo
AREAWIDE –
During February the Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook features the art of Carlos Rios.

Born in Colombia, Rios began his training at the Academia Superior de Arte and Bellas Artes in Colombia.  He moved to the U.S. in 1965 to further his education at the Paier College of Art in Connecticut.  He has lived with his wife in Milford for over 30 years.

Rios works in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolors. His style and taste is eclectic, ranging from impressionistic to contemporary.  He is constantly experimenting and creating new works, as well as researching and developing new materials, media and ideas to use in the creation of new pieces.

His work is internationally known, and his original paintings and prints are in collections and exhibits throughout the world, including many foreign embassies. More information can be found at his website, www.carlosriospaintings.com.

A reception will be held Friday, Feb. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Marshview Gallery. All are welcome to meet the artist. Refreshments will be provided.

The Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc., 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. All ages are welcome to view the gallery.

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Romance Novels Featured in LVVS February Sale

AREAWIDE – Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) has announced that February’s monthly book promotion gives all aspiring cupids an opportunity to shine.

Romance novels are the special feature of the month.  Pay just $1 for five selected paperbacks or $1 for all hardcover romance novels.

The book sale is located in the LVVS offices in the lower level of the Westbrook Public Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m. to noon.

All book sale proceeds benefit the LVVS tutoring programs. For more information, email info@vsliteracy.org or call 860-399-0280.

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Essex Library Hosts Wnek’s ‘Soul of the Landscape’ Photo Exhibit During February

'Whispers of Past' by Peter Wnek illustrate's the photographer's captivating style.

‘Whispers of Past’ by Peter Wnek beautifully illustrate’s the photographer’s captivating style.

ESSEX – Award-winning photographer Peter Wnek explores the ‘Soul of the Landscape’ in his exhibition and sale of fine art photography at the Essex Library, which runs through February.

‘Soul of the Landscape’ celebrates the beauty and spirit of our woodlands and waterways, as seen in Whispers of the Past and its breathtaking view along the Connecticut River. Wnek’s work captures the light and details one might expect from a painting—which is no accident. He has long been inspired by the purity and innocence of the American landscape as portrayed by the 19th century Hudson River painters. “I strive for that same warm light, the luminous or stormy skies, to invoke a charm or a mood,” he explains.

Wnek’s photographs often reveal the story of the landscape—its whisper of bygone days, the intrinsic cycles of nature. With a focus on local scenes, this exhibit speaks to the beauty that surrounds us, the coastal vistas and woodland spaces that are unique to our state. In a familiar kaleidoscope of colors, see the rising and setting sun, the harmony of sky and land, the collusion of rock and sea.

As Wnek explains, “I am intrigued by the soothing compositions and repetitive patterns that collectively reveal the Divine at work.”

Featured in this exhibit is Silver Glade, an image of trees on a ridge near Meriden. It recently won the Salmagundi Club of NYC’s 2015 “Henry O’Connor Award” for excellence, portraying the gentler, quieter landscape of New England.

It is that voice of New England which Wnek most hopes to capture in his photographs, “those intimate moments of our own landscapes” waiting to be revealed.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during the Library’s regular hours. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex. Call (860) 767-1560 for more information.

 

For more information about photographer Peter Wnek, visit www.PeterWnekPhoto.com.

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Essex Garden Club Brings Holiday Spirit to Essex, Thanks Residents for Support

Xmas policeman 2015
In preparation for the holidays, the Essex Garden club members decorated merchant window boxes and tubs of the villages of Essex as well as the town park gazebo on Main Street. Using a variety of evergreen cuttings from members and other generous donors from the community, designers helped the town put on a festive face for the “Trees in the Rigging” held in November, and the Holiday stroll in December.

The “Silent Policeman” was decorated this year (from left) by Lumie Han, Gay Thorn, Eve Potts, Kirsten Wendell, Sandy French, Mylan Sarner and Liz Fowler. Thanks to both Liz Fowler and Suzanne Tweed for their efforts in coordinating the day of decorating.

Finally, The Essex Garden Club would like to thank the Essex community for its continued support, especially during their spring May Market and extends best wishes to all the resident of Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton for a Healthy and Happy New Year.

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Tickets Still Available for ‘Caravan of Thieves’ in Chester, Feb. 28

Caravan of Thieves. Photo by Shervin Lainez

Caravan of Thieves. Photo by Shervin Lainez

Question: How does a hot band get recruited to play in a concert series?
Answer: One way is when it sneaks up on and knocks out the series producer.

This is how the booking for Caravan of Thieves, the musical ensemble that has dazzled audiences throughout North America with their creativity and showmanship, came to be. The band will perform at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester in a concert open to the public.

David Zeleznik, the new director of the synagogue’s Music & More concert series, recalls that he had his first Caravan “experience” unexpectedly several years ago in Norwalk when it was the opening act for Hot Tuna.

“We had never heard of Caravan of Thieves before, but from the first song they immediately hooked us and were the subject of much animated discussion in the car ride home. Their songs are witty, completely original, and speak to the themes of love and life with a big helping of irreverence and fun. When I starting putting together this, my first season as producer of Music & More, I immediately thought of Caravan as my ‘producer’s choice’ selection for the series. My hope is that others catch the energy and get on board the Caravan Freaks bandwagon.”

Caravan of Thieves began as a duo consisting of Fuzz Sangiovanni (of Deep Banana Blackout fame) and his wife Carrie Sangiovanni. The two discovered their voices blended quite well with one another. Fuzz said, “It started as a romantic, bohemian vision of a couple making music, performing on the road, in parks, venues, traveling around and avoiding responsibility as much as possible …The first thing we discovered was we loved singing together, harmonizing our voices. Just seemed to click right away.”

The couple added a violinist and an upright bass player in 2008 and the band released their debut album Bouquet in 2009. Their second album, Mischief Night, was recorded at a sold-out show in Fairfield. Caravan of Thieves released a third album in 2012, and a fourth last year.

Fuzz said about the group’s third album: “We had a concept going in, both from a sound and production standpoint, lyrically and thematically. A lot of crazy stuff happens on the road, and we took our experiences from on and off the stage, and brought them into the studio with us.”

He continued, “Life is ridiculous, all our lives, like an amusement park ride. In this case, we picked a funhouse, since those are ridiculous too. And we wanted to expand the range of what we can do instrumentally but still keep it non electric, so we added a few more gritty and twangy stringed instruments that were fun to spank, like banjos, resonator guitars and ukuleles, as well as an orchestra of kitchen appliances for some additional percussive bang.”

Samples of Caravan of Thieves music can be found on YouTube.

Tickets ($25 general admission; no charge for children under 16) for this concert are on sale now and may be purchased online at cbsrz.org, or by calling the synagogue office at (860) 526-8920.  Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

 

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You’re Invited to a Sunflower Painting Party, Feb. 28

sunflowerCHESTER – Come to Maple and Main Gallery on Sunday, Feb. 28 from 4 to 6 p.m. and create your own painting of a vase full of summery sunflowers.

Gallery artist Cindy Stevens is hosting the Sunflower Painting Party and will bring all supplies as well as walk participants through the process step-by-step so they can go home with a painting. No prior art experience necessary.

The cost is $40, and wine and light refreshments will be served. You can sign up and prepay by check or cash at Maple and Main; send a check to Cindy Stevens Fine Art, 30 East Main St, Clinton, CT 06413; or call Cindy at 860-304-1666 and pay with a credit card over the phone. Checks should be made payable to Cindy Stevens Fine Art. Space is limited and prepayment is necessary to reserve your seat, easel and canvas.

Maple and Main Gallery is at One Maple Street in Chester. More information at mapleandmaingallery.com or by calling 860-526-6065.

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Kids Share Their Love of Knitting in Chester, Feb. 28

Anne Winslow, left, started the popular Kids Knit program at Chester Library.

Anne Winslow, left, started the popular Kids Knit program at Chester Library.

CHESTER – When Anne Winslow was age seven, her grandmother taught her how to knit. Now this Chester grandmother teaches children how to knit at the Chester Public Library on Saturday afternoons.

The group has been growing and the 100-year-old library can get crowded. So the Kids Knitting group decided to share the art and fun of knitting with their friends. They will hold a knitting event on Sunday, Feb. 28, from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Chester Museum at The Mill, during Chester’s “Always on Sunday” happenings.

The event is free and open to all. All children must have parental supervision. Assistance will be provided for new knitters. Beginner supplies will be available, or please bring your own.

This event also gives the Kids Knitting group a chance to spread the word about their Knitted Squares Blanket project. They are collecting their knitted squares to be sewn into a blanket, which they will donate to a charity.

For more information, call Chester Library at 860-526-0018 or visit Facebook.com/ChesterCTPublicLibrary.

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Essex Garden Club Donates to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

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ESSEX — Essex Garden Club members collected nonperishable food items for the Shoreline soup Kitchens and Pantries (SSKP) at the club’s annual festivities at Essex Meadows.

Individual members and the club donated $1,705 to the SSKP, which will be matched by the Gowrie Challenge. The total weight of the  food donation was 376 lbs.

Pictured packing the food for delivery are Barbara Campbell and Nina Thurston.

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Vista Embraces The Spirit of Giving

Vista Stuff a Bus - printFrom collecting food for local pantries to donating toys, the Vista community embraced the Spirit of Giving this holiday season by seeking out and creating opportunities to give back.

AREAWIDE — Eric Stuebner is among the many Vista members who were inspired to give back, donating several food items to the Westbook branch of Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Inc. – a nonprofit that operates several food pantries and meal sites scattered along the Connecticut shoreline.

“It’s the right thing to do to help people in need,” said Eric, a Westbrook resident.

For the Thanksgiving holiday, a group of Vista members organized a “Stuff-a-Bus” food drive for the Madison Food Pantry. Thanks to the contributions of students, members, staff and community members, a total of 272 pounds of food was donated.

Vista member Lauren Borges used her culinary skills as a way to give back to local first responders. To show her appreciation for their dedicated service, Lauren baked vegan dark chocolate chip cookies for the Clinton police and fire departments— which she hand delivered.

Perhaps the most popular way Vista members chose to give back was by donating toys. In hopes of making the holidays more cheerful for children in need, members Chris Bailey, Leslie Strasser, Linay Dibble, Julie Butler, Alex Drago and Matt Sarti donated toys to the Toys for Tots program.

Several more members opted to make a difference by donating articles of clothing. Member Sue Miller donated new gloves and winter hats to the “Mitten Tree” at Technique Printers in Clinton, which distributes donations to numerous local charities. Clinton housemates Matt Christiaanse, Laurie Seagull, Kirsten Hadad, Andrew Hart and Evan Brookman organized their own clothing drive to benefit Westbrook Youth & Family Services.

Vista students, members and staff are always proud to support the communities where they live and work, and the Spirit of Giving is especially important during the holidays.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501C3 nonprofit organization.  Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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Valley-Old Lyme Warrior Football Alumnus Fairfield-Sonn Named All-American

All American Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn stands with his proud parents, Lynn and Jim Fairfield-Sonn of Old Lyme.

D3Football.com All-American footballer Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn stands with his proud parents, Lynn and Jim Fairfield-Sonn of Old Lyme.

Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn, who graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School in 2012 and now attends Amherst College where he is a senior safety on the College’s football team, was named to the 2015 D3football.com All-America team, and earned recognition on the Third Team Defense. Fairfield-Sonn played a key role on the Valley-Old Lyme Co-op football team while attending high school in Old Lyme.

Fairfield-Sonn became the fifth member of the Amherst football team to garner All-America praise from D3football.com. In addition to his most recent accolade, Fairfield-Sonn was also named to the D3football.com All-East Region First Team Defense, the New England Writers Division II/III All-New England Team and the NESCAC All-Conference First Team Defense.

Fairfield-Sonn also picked up two yearly awards and was named the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, while also claiming the Joseph P. Zabilski award – which is announced by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston and recognizes New England’s top offensive and defensive players for Division II and III.

Congratulations, Jimmy!

Click here to read the full article on which this article is based. The original article was first published on the Athletics section of the Amherst College website.

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‘Creating & Maintaining Change: The Path to Healthy Living’ at Essex Library, Feb. 23

visitingnursesAREAWIDE – Are there areas of your life that you would like to improve? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and say “if only I could be thinner, stronger, happier…” or “I wish I could worry less, have more energy,” etc.?

Research shows us that even small changes in lifestyle can have a big impact on our improving our health. So why do we feel overwhelmed and powerless to change? This interactive workshop will help you explore what is important to YOU and get you started with an action plan for success. Strategies for making healthy lifestyle changes you can live with will be explored.

This free event will be presented by Deborah Ringen, MSN, RN-BC Faith Community Nurse of the Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Essex Library.

Call the Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Adams Hometown Markets Raise More Than $7,200 For Families in Need

deepriverShoppers contributed more than $7,200 at Adams Hometown Markets during the past two months in support of The Great American Milk Drive.

Customers at 12 Adams Hometown Market locations made $1, $3, or $5 donations, with the funds raised distributed in the form of over 1,400 milk vouchers to clients of the Connecticut Food Bank.

 A similar drive last year was very successful, says Tony Groszew, Adams Hometown Markets’ Director of Sales, who expressed appreciation to the hundreds of shoppers taking part in the campaign.

The drive was part of a national effort aimed at providing highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families who need it most. The local effort also involved Guida’s Dairy, the New England Dairy Promotion Board’s Must Be the Milk program, and the dairy farm families of Connecticut.

The donation drive included Adams Hometown Market locations in Deep River, Derby, Milford, Shelton, Terryville, Thomaston, Watertown, Canterbury, Lisbon, Plainfield, East Lyme, and Portland.

“This was another impressive effort by Adams Hometown Markets’ management and its shoppers,” says Jill Monti, Regional Marketing Manager for New England Dairy Promotion Board. “There are hundreds of Connecticut households struggling to put food on the table, and while milk is frequently requested by families in need, it is not always available because it has been difficult to donate. The generous help of Adams Hometown Markets’ staff and customers really makes a difference in the lives of local families in need.”

Connecticut Food Bank Interim CEO Paul O’Leary adds, “We are grateful to Adams Hometown Markets and our partners at the New England Dairy Promotion Board for recognizing the importance of getting nutritious food into the hands of people who struggle with hunger. Their outstanding support and the generosity of Adams customers made this drive a great success.”

For more information on the Great American Milk Drive, visit www.mustbethemilk.com/milkdrive/

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The Movie Man: “Spotlight” Explores How “Globe” Reporters Exposed Priest Sex Scandal

Spotlight_movieTonight, I look back to a scandal that has rocked the institution that preserved Western Civilization in the Dark Ages, transformed hospitals, and, believe it or not, science. Thirteen years ago, the Boston Globe revealed a series of stories to the public, and many in the world began to distrust her. What I speak of is the Catholic Church, and the priest sex scandal.

This is a New England film, as many big parts of New England life are displayed throughout it via product placement. Dunkin’ Donuts, W. B. Mason, and other familiar logos are seen throughout it. For those of us who know Boston well, many popular, yet not mainstream popular, or, rather “hipster” streets are seen and spoken about through dialogue.

We begin in 1976, in which a bishop visits a Boston Police station in regards to a priest who abused a young boy, and he assures the boy and his parents they will never hear from the priest again, and the bishop and the priest then drive off. Twenty-five years later, members of the Boston Globe have a goodbye party for one of their editors who is stepping down after the New York Times bought out the newspaper.

New editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) comes in from Miami and expresses interest in going deeper into a case involving a priest, who severely abused countless children, as he feels there is something that is being hidden from the public.

How could somebody take on a church? This is the basic theme that is dealt with as the journalists from the Globe’s Spotlight section begin to dig deeper and deeper into this horrible scandal. A member of a survivor group, SNAP, comes to them, having previously tried to contact the paper many years prior. While his organization is small, comprised of only 10 members, Spotlight eventually catches on and realizes there has to be a scandal in their midst.

While they are presented with the same facts that we are today when we discuss the scandal, that perhaps only a very small percentage of ordained priests have engaged in such awful activities, they realize they need to take action because there are numerous victims out there with stories to be heard.

Several scenes take place in which the journalists meet with the survivors (as one asserts they are survivors because some ended up taking their lives) and they tell their stories. It is a completely heart-wrenching ordeal to listen to, as they describe being initially excited that their parish priest took an interest in them, only to violate the in the most unimaginable way.

Cardinal Bernard Law, the Archbishop of Boston at the time, is our enemy, despite his cheerful and outgoing personality. The stories of Church corruption in the Middle Ages suddenly return to 21st century America. Cardinal Law is reaching out to officials, taking advantage of loopholes to keep legal documents confirming his corruption away from the public’s eyes.

And though he only appears in three or four scenes, he does not have the lasting effect of the antagonizing villain that we see in other films, such as Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs consisting of only 16 minutes of screen time, but earning the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and being ranked by the American Film Institute as the greatest villain in the history of film.

Many interesting points are made, as people bring up that these stories were brought to the newspapers on many occasions, but turned down. Michael Keaton’s character, Walter “Robby” Robinson, notes that he originally shot down the claims when he worked for a different section of the Globe 20 years prior, and another brings up that we all stumble around in the dark and only realize what has happened when the light enters. Boston is a tightly-knit community, one character says, pointing out that if it’s true it takes a village to raise a child, as he quips, it also takes a village to [destroy him].

I will not post a disclaimer to share that I am a lifelong Catholic, myself, and have been brought up in the Church in a very intimate manner. Baptism, CCD, First Communion and Reconciliation, Confirmation, Catholic high school, and even participated in campus ministry as a student at Quinnipiac. I do not intend to bash Catholicism, as journalists such as Christopher Hitchens might have done when reviewing a film like this, nor do I seek to engage in apologies, but rather to show the honest side of the faith.

This film has been received well by the Church, of all viewers, especially by Seán Cardinal O’Malley, Law’s replacement as Archbishop of Boston, who claimed the investigation by the Globe prompted the Church “to deal with what was shameful and what was hidden.” Vatican Radio also shared similar words, calling the film honest and compelling. Anyone who is involved with their local church can describe how there is now a zero-tolerance policy for things of this nature, and how Popes Benedict XVI and Francis have made these events a main focus during their papacies.

I will close with a reference to Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy, since I read all three volumes this summer … to my surprise. Plus, who doesn’t feel super smart when they close an article with a quote from a piece of classical literature?

(Dante addresses a pope who is confined to be buried face down into a furnace, who is guilty of simony [buying of sacred things])

And were it not that I am still constrained by the reverence I owe to the Great Keys [1] you held in life, I should not have refrained from using other words and sharper still; for this avarice of yours grieves all the world, tramples the virtuous, and exalts the evil.

Of such as you was the Evangelist’s vision when he saw She Who Sits upon the Waters locked with the Kings of the earth in fornication.[2] Gold and silver are the gods you adore! In what are you different from the idolator, Save that he worships one, and you a score?

Inferno, Canto XIX

[1] Papacy, the “Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven” given to St. Peter by Christ.

[2] The Whore of Babylon, from Revelation 17-18

Kevin Ganey

Kevin Ganey

About the Author: Kevin Ganey has lived in the Lyme/Old Lyme area since he was three-years-old, attended Xavier High School in Middletown and recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Media Studies. Prior to his involvement here at LymeLine.com, he worked for Hall Radio in Norwich, as well as interned under the Director of Communications at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. Kevin has a passion for movies, literature, baseball, and all things New England-based … especially chowder.

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Friends of Essex Library Holiday Book Sale Continues Through Wednesday

Holidaysalepicture
ESSEX — The Friends of Essex Library are preparing for their Holiday Book Sale, featuring books in pristine condition suitable for gift giving, stocking stuffers, and hostess gifts—all with very attractive pricing.  Also included in the sale will be adorable Teddy bears, Essex Library canvas tote bags, seasonal CD’s and DVD’s.

The sale will run from Monday, Nov. 23, through Wednesday, Dec. 23, at the Essex Library, 33 West Ave., Essex.  For more information, see the library’s website at www.youressexlibrary.org.

The proceeds from this sale will support the Friends ongoing projects, special programs, and activities making the library a better experience for all who enter the newly installed doors, which were a gift from the Friends of Essex Library.

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Vista Hosts Day Program Open House, Jan. 19

Day Program members Yan Qin Keller and Josh Buglione participate in a painting activity. Photo by Vanessa Pereira.

Day Program members Yan Qin Keller and Josh Buglione participate in a painting activity. Photo by Vanessa Pereira.

WESTBROOK & MADISON — Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, a nationally accredited community-based education program for individuals with disabilities, is hosting an Open House for its Day Program on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Vista’s Day Program is a structured experiential day program in a peer-based setting. Participants in the Day Program enjoy a fulfilling and active schedule that includes work experiences, arts programming, group instruction, fitness, social skills training, outings and more.

The Day Program Open House will include a guided tour of Vista’s Madison Campus as well as the opportunity to meet Vista leadership and hear from current Day Program members about their experiences. This free event is ideal for families, friends, school district representatives and Department of Developmental Services caseworkers, but is designed for anyone interested in learning more about the program.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, Vista has been assisting individuals with disabilities achieve personal success for over 25 years. Accredited by the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES), Vista provides an array of services to over 300 individuals and their families. Its population is comprised of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injuries, intellectual disabilities and ADHD.

To RSVP for the Day Program Open House, contact Vanessa Pereira at vpereira@vistavocational.org. Registration is also available online at www.vistavocational.org.

Vista’s Madison Campus is located at 107 Bradley Road, Madison

Editor’s Note: Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success. For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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Donna Scott’s Slim-down Challenge Begins at Essex Wellness Center, Jan. 9

Essex Wellness Center

Essex Wellness Center’s ‘Fitness on the Water’ facility.

Essex Wellness Center welcomes new challenge from new manager

The River Valley Slim-Down Challenge, now in its fifth year, begins Jan. 9, 2016. It combines exercise and nutrition with a sense of competition and a chance to win some big bucks – all with the goal of losing a few pounds as we head into 2016.

The River Valley Slim-down Challenge was created by Donna Scott, CPR, WLS, formerly of IFoundFitness in Deep River, who has recently been named as Manager of Essex Wellness Center’s Fitness on the Water facility on Novelty Lane in Essex Village.  Scott is certified as a Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She is also AFAA-Certified as a personal trainer, Zumba and Mad Dogg spin instructor.

“The River Valley Slim-down Challenge has enough elements to keep people motivated to shed those pounds they’ve been thinking about. Built-in incentives keep participants on track, and the camaraderie to improve personal health is fantastic,” said Scott. “The Challenge isn’t only about losing weight; it also helps to improve balance, flexibility and overall fitness.”

To join the challenge, participants pay an entry fee of $65 and then agree to take a minimum of two weekly Fitness on the Water group classes such as yoga, spin, barre, bootcamp workout, Zumba, or one weekly personal training session. The entry fee includes an initial wellness assessment and nutrition workshops throughout the 12-week period as well as fitness tips, advice and supervision from Donna Scott.

The entry fee goes towards a jackpot, which also gets a boost from small “penalty fees” incurred when a participant misses a weigh-in or gains instead of loses weight in a particular week.

The prize jackpot will be divided by the three top “losers” in terms of body weight percentage. In addition to the jackpot, top ranking winners receive prizes from local businesses including Essex Wellness Center massages, and more.

“Everyone who has entered in the past has lost weight and feels better about themselves, which is the greatest reward of all,” says Scott.

To join the 2016 River Valley Slim-Down Challenge, call 860-581-8225 or email donna@essexwellnessctr.com The Challenge runs Jan. 9 through April 2, 2016. Participants may enter individually or as a group with friends or colleagues. Sign-up before Jan. 9 and receive a three-class pass to Essex Wellness Center’s Fitness on the Water.

To learn more about Essex Wellness center, visit www.essexwellnessctr.com or facebook.com/essexwellnesscenter.

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Letter from Paris: COP 21, Part II — Reaching Consensus was a “Tour de Force,” But Much Work Still To Do

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

cop21-logoAt 7.26 p.m. precisely on Saturday, Dec. 12, Laurent Fabius, president of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 21 , choking with emotion, announced that an  universal accord had been reached.  The several thousand people in the audience rose in a standing ovation and started congratulating each other.

After two sleepless nights, the “facilitators” wrenched out an agreement by consensus from the 195 Convention’s members.  The suspense lasted until the absolute final minute when Nicaragua tried to interrupt. It was too late — the president had already snapped down his gavel.  The conference could very well have been a failure – it had to overcome a block from the oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia –  but on that last day, there were no grim faces, as had been seen in Copenhagen, only a general enthusiasm. 

Credit should be given to the involvement of the French organizers.  For two years they traveled several times around the world to meet every leader.  President François Hollande was talking to president Xi Jinping just one month before the start of the Convention.  All paid homage to the professionalism of Fabius who seemed on a mission throughout the process. “You did an amazing job,” commented John Kerry,  while  Al Gore added, “This is the finest diplomatic performance I have seen in two decades.”

In a nutshell, the agreement reads as follows: 

  • its main objective is to limit the increase in temperature to “well below” two degrees by the end of this century 
  • developed countries should reduce their emissions of greenhouse gas and the developing countries should “mitigate” them 
  • Article 9 stipulates that “developed country parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing countries” 
  • the agreement, which will be ratified in April 2016, requires an annual payment of 100 billion Euros, with a revision every five years

President Barrack Obama is expected to use an Executive Order to avoid the likely opposition of the Republican majority in the Congress; in the absence of coercion and sanctions —  a mechanism of control by satellite (France is financing the “MicroCarb” satellite) — provides an attempt at transparency and ongoing verification by a committee of experts thus making the agreement de facto binding.

Never before has there been such an awareness of the threat caused by global warming. The vagaries of the climate and the fact that 2015 is the warmest year in recorded history contributed to this sense of urgency.  Today any debate about climate skepticism has become obsolete.  

What makes the Paris conference different from all the ones before is a groundswell of positive intentions.  For the first time the main polluters of the planet – China, the US and India – are on board and are determined to make the agreement work.  Already 187 out of the 195 countries have announced their voluntary contributions.

Today the action of society as a whole is crucial.  It is important to note that, at the Bourget, the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), private associations and a number of organizations  were working just a few steps from the UN “Blue Zone” for government officials  (at the Lima, Peru, COP, they had been “exiled” 15 kilometers away).  Giant screens in the hallways made it possible for the general public to follow the proceedings, breaking away from the closed door policy of the past.

After the initial euphoria felt on Dec. 12,  a number of questions remains unanswered, some of the objectives are unclear – no date was set as to when to reach the greenhouse gas neutrality nor when to end the use of fossil energy, no price was put on carbon – and the unfairness of many decisions has become apparent – such as the financing  and the sharing of responsibilities between the “North” or rich countries and the developing countries — or to put it another way,  who pays whom and for what?  Until now Europe, and France in particular, have been paying a great deal.  A country such as Russia has not paid one cent so far.  Are China and India – the big polluters of the planet – still considered as part of the developing world and expected to be on the receiving end of hundreds of billions of Euros?

Nicolas Hulot, militant environmentalist and an icon in France, deemed  the agreement very positive even though it was not perfect.  “Such a movement of solidarity around the planet has never been seen before,” he stated, adding, “There is a momentum, which needs to be seized and followed by action.” 

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New Buses Arrive for Transit District

 9 Town Transit board members Leslie Strauss and John Forbis show off the agencies newest buses. Photo by Estuary Transit District.

9 Town Transit board members Leslie Strauss and John Forbis show off the agencies newest buses. Photo by Estuary Transit District.

AREAWIDE — 9 Town Transit welcomed four new buses into its fleet this December. The new buses feature the bright blue and green design and offer the latest in passenger comforts.  These buses will expand the district’s fleet to accommodate its tremendous growth in ridership over the past several years.  The total cost of $337,708 was paid for with Federal Transit Administration and Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Lorraine Lieberman Honored as LVVS 2015 “Unsung Hero”

LVVS's 2015 'Unsung Hero' Lorraine Lieberman

LVVS’s 2015 ‘Unsung Hero’ Lorraine Lieberman. Photo courtesy of Joanne Argersinger.

WESTBROOK — Lorraine Lieberman of Killingworth was awarded this year’s Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) “Unsung Hero” award at the annual LVVS Holiday Social on Dec. 8. Her many contributions throughout the years have helped both tutors and students to improving English language skills and the quality of life in our shoreline communities.

Lieberman is an active tutor, tutor interviewer and tutor contact person for the organization.  Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is most grateful for her dedication, service and ‘always going the extra mile’ in the cause of literacy.

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Acton Public Library Taking Applications for Honorary Position of Old Saybrook Poet Laureate

Acton Public Library is now taking applications for the honorary position of Old Saybrook Poet Laureate. Applications can be requested from the library or downloaded from the library’s webpage. The deadline for application submissions is January 31, 2016. All applications received will be reviewed by a selection committee, appointed by the library board.  The Old Saybrook Poet Laureate will be announced on March 18, 2016.  A formal recognition will take place in April, at the library’s annual poetry night celebration.

At their October meeting, the Acton Public Library voted to begin the search process for the first poet laureate for the Town of Old Saybrook, joining other communities throughout the state who have appointed residents to this position.

The mission of Old Saybrook’s Poet Laureate Program is to communicate the value of poetry and use poetry as a means to inspire, inform, and entertain the community at large. The Poet Laureate of the Town of Old Saybrook will serve as the ambassador of the community’s vibrant literary life, promoting its literary community and celebrating the written word.

To be considered for the position, a nominee must be a poet and resident of Old Saybrook, over 21 years old, and available and willing to collaborate with other Connecticut town poets to develop and present poetry-related activities that address the objectives of the laureate program. Interested poets can self-nominate or be nominated by others. Applications are available at the library, or may be downloaded from the library’s website. For more information, please contact the library at 860-395-3184, or our website: www.actonlibrary.org.

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Letter from Paris: COP 21 Tackles Climate Change in Challenging Times

Nicole Prevost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

All eyes are on the COP21 United Nations conference on climate change taking place in Paris from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12. The “Conference of Parties” or COP, have been held every year since COP 1 in Berlin, in 1995.

In the middle of nowhere, in an industrial and non-descript vacant lot – a preview of what our world will become if the conference does not bring concrete results – the Bourget site has been turned into an ephemeral city of tents, movable partitions and kilometers of carpets. The recyclable constructions will all disappear at the end of the conference. More than 3,000 journalists are covering the event.

The circumstances were exceptional, barely two weeks after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks. France is living under emergency rules and the danger is still present. More than 120,000 police, army and special forces are deployed throughout the country. Terrorism and global warming were on a collision course. It was a huge challenge for France to organize the conference. The highways and part of the beltway were closed to facilitate the arrival of the thousands of visitors. The Parisians had braced themselves for total chaos … but it turned out to be the most peaceful two days in a long time.

The inaugural day was quite a show of protocol. There was first the greetings of the 150 leaders, followed by photo-ops and smiles. Elham Aminzadeh, the vice-president of Iran, dressed in her long robes, walked past the French president and prime minister to shake hands only with Segolène Royal, French minister of the environment. Then everyone scrambled to find his or her place for the giant “family pnoto.” Leaders of Israel and Palestine or of Russia and Turkey had to stand apart to avoid a diplomatic incident.

This year the heads of States spoke at the outset of the COP. It was believed that their declarations of intent — powerful but brief (three minutes each) — would galvanize the public and give a boost to the working sessions to follow. One sensed a definite will to reach the objective of limiting the global warming to below two degrees by 2100. “Greenpeace could have signed Francois Hollande’s speech,” commented Jean Francois Julliard, the director of Greenpeace France. Indian Prime Minister Narandra Modi announced his country’s support of an ” International Solar Alliance.” China is becoming the world first producer of renewable energy. The liberal new prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, is changing his country’s attitude about the environment.

Early in the conference, 11 developed countries, including the US, France, England, Germany and Sweden, made the solemn commitment to contribute 250 million Euros for a transfer of renewable technology to the poorest countries.

In the 1970s, the advocates of ecology were not taken seriously and pretty much disregarded. Things have now come a long way from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which so few countries ratified or from the 2009 COP 15 of Copenhagen, which ended up with a weak and non-binding text.

At the midpoint of COP 21, its president, French minister of foreign affairs Laurent Fabius, exhorted the participants to seize the momentum. He urged delegates not to wait until global warming becomes irreversible.

The pollution of the atmosphere is measured in particles per million or “ppm.” To-day it is 400 as compared to 250 in the pre-industrial era. In Peiping, pollution is 25 times higher than that of Paris on it worst day.

In 1990, the developed countries (also labeled as the “North”) produced 14,000 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the emerging countries 7,500. In 2012, the North had slightly reduced its emissions to 13,000 and the “emerging countries “, called G77 + China , ( actually numbering 134 now), almost tripled their emissions to 20,000. It is ironic that the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) is still included among the “emerging” countries.

The main stumbling block at the COP 21 is whether the developed world will have to pay 100 billion Euros per year to the other countries even though they are profiting from the technology it created. Besides, if one has to wait for the “big emergents,” headed by China and India, in the name of “climate justice,” to catch up, the planet will be gone by then.

In the early evening of the inaugural day, I saw a convoy with blue strobe lights, going against traffic in a one-way street in front of my windows. Who could that be, I wondered? It turned out it was President Barrack Obama driving toward the very secluded three-star Ambroisie restaurant on Place des Vosges. In the elegant dining room, under crystal chandeliers, the president, John Kerry and their party seemed to have a great time with Francois Hollande and his cabinet ministers.

Nicole Prévost LoganAbout the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes 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 covers 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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OSW 8th Grade Football Players Compete in FBU Championship

Left to right:  Justin Badolato, Jeffery Miller, and Dominic Santullo

Left to right: Justin Badolato, Jeffery Miller, and Dominic Santullo

Three Old Saybrook-Westbrook (OSW) Youth Football players have been named to the Connecticut 8th Grade team for the Football University National Championship.  Defensive lineman Justin Badolato from John Winthrop Middle School, linebacker Jeffery Miller from Westbrook, and center Dominic Santullo of Old Saybrook were chosen after a series of tryouts and will compete in the second round of tournament games this Saturday against Southern Jersey in Lewisburg, West Virginia.  Round one was played in Rhode Island and New Hampshire.  Victory this coming weekend will mean they move on to compete against Indiana.

The FBU National Championship is described by the organization as the single biggest event in youth football.  Sixty-four teams from all over the United States and Canada representing their state or province battle in a single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion. 6th, 7th and 8th grade divisions compete throughout the month of December to be crowned national champion. Participants include 6,000 athletes representing thousands of youth leagues. This year the FBU “Championship Weekend” is in Naples, Florida to showcase the best teams in the nation. All American Games, parent company of FBU, is a sports management and marketing company based in Rockaway, N.J., that produces and manages many of the nation’s premiere high school and youth sporting events, including the U.S. Army All-American Bowl for the country’s best high school players.

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Talking Transportation: Saving Money on Metro North

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

With the holidays upon us, let’s review some money-saving tips for riding Metro-North into the city for commuters and day-trippers alike:

TRANSITCHEK: See if your employer subscribes to this great service, which allows workers to buy up to $130 per month in transit using pre-tax dollars. If you’re in the upper tax brackets, that’s a huge savings on commutation. A recent survey shows that 45 percent of all New York City companies offer TransitChek, which can be used on trains, subways and even ferries.

GO OFF-PEAK: If you can arrive at Grand Central weekdays after 10 a.m. and can avoid the 4 to 8 p.m. peak return hours, you can save 25 percent. Off-peak’s also in effect on weekends and holidays. These tickets are good for 60 days after purchase.

BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE: If you buy your ticket on the train you’ll pay the conductor a $5.75 – $6.50 “service charge”… a mistake you’ll make only once ! (Seniors: don’t worry, you’re exempt and can buy on-board anytime without penalty.) There are ticket machines at most stations, but the cheapest tickets are those bought online. And go for the ten-trip tickets (Peak or Off-Peak) to save an additional 15 percent. They can be shared among passengers and are good for six months.

KIDS, FAMILY & SENIOR FARES: Buy tickets for your kids (ages 5 – 11) in advance and save 50 percent over adult fares. Or pay $1 per kid on board (up to four kids traveling with an adult, but not in morning peak hours). Seniors, the disabled and those on Medicare get 50 percent off the one-way peak fare. But you must have proper ID and you can’t go in the morning rush hours.

FREE STATION PARKING: Even stations that require weekday parking permits usually offer free parking after 5 pm, on nights and weekends. Check with your local town.

METROCARDS: Forget about the old subway tokens. These nifty cards can be bought at most stations (even combined with your Metro-North ticket) and offer some good deals: put $5.50 on a card (bought with cash, credit or debit card) and you get a 5% bonus. Swipe your card to ride the subway and you’ll get a free transfer to a connecting bus, or vice versa. You can buy unlimited ride MetroCards for a week ($31) or a month ($116.50).

BUT IS IT CHEAPER TO DRIVE?: Despite being a mass transit advocate, I’m the first to admit that there may be times when it’s truly cheaper to drive to Manhattan than to take the train, especially with three or more passengers. You can avoid bridge tolls by taking the Major Deegan to the Willis / Third Ave. bridge, but I can’t help you with the traffic you’ll have to endure. Check out www.bestparking.com to find a great list of parking lots and their rates close to your destination. Or drive to Shea Stadium and take the # 7 subway from there.

The bottom line is that it isn’t cheap going into “the city”. But with a little planning and some insider tips, you can still save money. Happy Holidays!

Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, see www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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Celebrating a Year of ‘Pearls and Plaid’

The charming exterior of 'Pearls and Plaid' in Haddam.

The charming exterior of ‘Pearls and Plaid’ in Haddam, Conn.

Just a few weeks ago, on Nov. 12, local Haddam boutique “Pearls and Plaid” celebrated its first birthday. The store is located just a few shops down from the Goodspeed Opera House by the Haddam Bridge, making it a popular destination for tourists as well as regular townies.

A peek inside the store.

A peek inside the store..

The tiny store is packed with clothing draped on walls and mirrors, spread on top of and underneath chests and drawers, and hung on pipes. Kristin Lemley, who is both an employee and sister of owner Caroline Lemley, comments,“From the start she (Caroline) really didn’t want it to be a typical clothing store with racks and shelves. We wanted it to be interesting to look at and always changing.”

The store’s professed style is, “Where northern prep meets southern charm,” and its inventory certainly lives up to its logo. Rompers, dresses, jewelry, and various accessories are the most popular items in the store, and new items arrive just as quickly as the old ones sell out.

‘Pearls and Plaid’ is a great example of the local businesses that are the heart and soul of our small communities. These businesses bring the community together and provide a more intimate experience than larger scale corporations. Just as we rely on them to bring character to our local communities, they rely solely on our support to maintain their status.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

Let’s commit to keep the charm and personality in our small towns by supporting ‘Pearls and Plaid’ and all the other small businesses in our local area to ensure many more anniversaries are celebrated!

Editor’s Note: Pearls and Plaid is located at 4, Norwich Rd., East Haddam, CT. Its regular opening hours are Tue-Fri: 12 to 6 p.m., Sat: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 860.876.7328.

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LVVS Congratulates Class of Fall 2015 Tutors

WESTBROOK — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) is pleased to congratulate the 2015 Fall class of tutors. Tutors are trained through comprehensive nationally accredited workshop sessions held by Literacy Volunteers. On completion of workshop sessions, trainees receive certification as a tutor and are assigned a mentor for support and guidance.

Trained volunteer tutors are matched with students in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading. Tutors carry out our mission of providing one-on-one tutoring to anyone seeking to improve their English skills. Through the LVVS services, students become acclimated to American culture and the English language resulting in them becoming productive, happy members of the community. There is no cost to the student.

Congratulations to the 2015 Fall class of tutors: Deborah Huddy of Clinton, Susan Taylor of Clinton, Rosanne Vinci of Clinton, Paul Aresta of Deep River, Karol Gardner of Deep River, Joseph Katan of East Haddam, Tricia Carey of East Lyme, Margaret Azarian of Guilford, Sandra Maccarone of Madison, Anne Maxwell of Niantic and Jane Gonzalez of Old Saybrook.

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Country School Selected as Finalist in United Arab Emirates STEAM Initiative

Learning through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

Learning through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

The Country School is one of three finalists selected to advise the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Education as it seeks to implement a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum for all Kindergarten-3rd Grade students.

Following a global search, the UAE identified the independent Pre-School through 8th Grade school as one of its top three choices to assist with the planning and implementation of the nationwide STEAM initiative. If selected, The Country School will partner with SmartStart Education, an academic solutions company based in New Haven, to plan and oversee implementation.

“We couldn’t be more honored that our signature STEAM program may serve as a global model for 21st century learning,” said Head of School John Fixx. “For the past five years, Country School teachers have immersed themselves in this effort to inspire meaningful, deep, and lasting learning through integrated science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. We know it works on our campus, and we look forward to sharing what we have learned with others across the globe.”

Fixx said The Country School was also delighted to be partnering on this venture with SmartStart Education, a team of administrators, teachers, and academics committed to helping people reach their full potential. He commented, “Like The Country School, SmartStart is all about promoting excellence in teaching and learning.”

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students, ages 3-14, on its 23-acre campus in Madison. STEAM is one of several signature programs at The Country School; others include Elmore Leadership, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking. Through STEAM, students are invited to tackle real-world problems that require them to ask challenging questions and work together to come to a solution.

By integrating all elements of the curriculum, STEAM engages all learners, and the hands-on, creative nature of a STEAM exploration means the learning will last. Perhaps most importantly, STEAM gives students the skills they need for success in the future—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity—and the inspiration to be tomorrow’s innovators.

Since adopting the STEAM model five years ago, The Country School has shared its learning in a variety of ways: during a summer teacher institute, through periodic teacher workshops, and through a series of STEAM events for area students and families. In addition, Country School teachers have been invited to facilitate STEAM workshops at outside conferences.

The Country School also hosts regular forums on the topics of parenting and education through its Teacher Institute-Partnering with Parents program. The next Teacher Institute-Partnering with Parents event will have a STEAM focus when, at 6.15 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2016, The Country School hosts a screening of Most Likely to Succeed, the acclaimed new film that invites us to reimagine education. This has been brought forward from the previously announced 7 p.m. time to allow for a panel discussion and Q & A after the film.

Visit www.thecountryschool.org or contact communications@thecountryschool.org for more information.

For more about SmartStart Education, visit www.smartstarteducation.com.

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Artisans Harbor Announces New Artist Show, Addition of Custom Framing

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Artisans Harbor  is very pleased to announce the addition of -Ron’s Custom Framing Ron Staskelunas brings with him 10 years of custom framing experience. He apprenticed with the best in the business and honed his technique prior to launching his own framing business located at Artisans Harbor 188 Main Street Old Saybrook.

Ron’s expertise and creative eye will ensure each customer is more than pleased with a collaboratively selected frame, matting or shadow box for fine art paintings, photography, prints, mirrors, needlepoint, collages, posters, keepsakes, heirlooms, jerseys and pretty much any memorabilia.

Artisans Harbor is also announcing three new artists showing now through Jan. 15th. Pastel painter Steve Linde is a signature member of the Connecticut Pastel Society and also serves as its Vice President. He has won awards at the CPS Renaissance Shows. Mary Mellot has been painting in landscapes, still life, and portraits in oils for over 40 years and her paintings are in collections throughout the U.S. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her portraiture paintings.

Old Lyme artist Randie Kahrl’s painting style is varied and often unexpected. An artist who is still evolving, she has certainly mastered different aspects of art, and yet is anxious to always explore new areas and ideas, whether it is color, edges, impasto and texture or simply the tension created by dramatic lighting. Visit Artisans Harbor Wed.-Sat. 12-5pm.

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Follow the Stars Through Chester’s Holiday Festival, Tonight

Maple and Main Gallery, located across from the town Christmas tree, will be serving wine, appetizers and chocolates. Music will be provided by Sibling Thrivarly until 8 p.m. Enter the free drawing for an oil painting, “Star Gazing,” by Faye Mylen of Fairfield, her interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh's painting, “Starry Night.” The painting shown here of Chester’s own Starry Night is by Barbara Rossitto, a Galelry artist.

Maple and Main Gallery, located across from the town Christmas tree, will be serving wine, appetizers and chocolates. Music will be provided by Sibling Thrivarly until 8 p.m. Enter the free drawing for an oil painting, “Star Gazing,” by Faye Mylen of Fairfield, her interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, “Starry Night.” The painting shown here of Chester’s own Starry Night is by Barbara Rossitto, a Gallery artist.

Follow the stars through Chester’s Holiday Festival, tonight

“Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars,” Frank Sinatra sang. We can’t promise you the moon, but you can certainly play among the stars during Chester’s Starry Night Stroll on Friday, Dec. 4.

The annual Holiday Festival in Chester Center will be dazzling with starry specials and activities. The picturesque historic village will be beautifully decorated for the holidays and the streets will be lined with luminaries. Saint Lucia Girls will walk around offering cookie treats. Carolers will stroll through the village on their way to the town’s Christmas tree, which will be lighted at 6 p.m. while the community gathers for a sing-along.

All evening, the shops and galleries will offer light refreshments and beverages while you browse. At the Chester Gallery  the annual Postcard Show, where all art is 4×6 inches or smaller, will open with a champagne reception. Leif Nilsson will preview his new works of the Connecticut River Valley and his gardens beginning at 5 p.m. Bill Vollers is reopening Gallery 31 • 47, exhibiting new work in an expanded gallery space. Refreshments will be served.

Lori Warner Studio & Gallery will host a reception for Mandy Carroll-Leiva’s new small collection of champagne diamonds serving as the foundation and inspiration. Visit the Dina Varano Gallery to see the unveiling of Dina’s new collection created especially for this holiday season. On this special themed Starry Night, an original hand-painted, starry holiday card will be given away with every purchase.

The 4 Water Street businesses are offering prize drawings, sales, refreshments.

And that’s just a sampling of what’s happening on Starry Night in Chester!

Free parking is available in the Water Street and the Maple Street parking lots, both a short walk to the center.

 

 

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Sen. Linares, State Officials Honor Deep River Veteran

Left to right: Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Member PW Louthain, and Sen. Art Linares.

Left to right: Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Member PW Louthain, and Sen. Art Linares.

U.S. Navy veteran PW Louthain of Deep River was inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015 during a Nov. 30 ceremony at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The Hall of Fame was established in 2005 to recognize the continued contributions of Connecticut veterans to their cities and towns. This year, 11 veterans joined the 104 veterans who are currently in the Hall of Fame.

State officials, including State Sen. Art Linares, were on hand to congratulate Louthain and thank him for his service to his country and to his community.

Louthain served in the Navy for 20 years as a Senior Chief Machinist Mate and then worked for Electric Boat in Groton. While at EB, Louthain and a group of other U.S. submarine service veterans decided to sponsor and organize a Groton Sea Scout ship. A Sea Scout “ship” is the functional equivalent of a boy or girl scout troop.  As a member of the Westbrook Elks Lodge 1784, Louthain has served as liaison to the Westbrook-based Sea Scout Ship Stars and Stripes 1784.  The co-educational youth organization helps youth in the region to gain confidence and become good citizens.

“The inductees into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame have not only answered the call of their nation, they have answered the call of their communities,” Sen. Linares said. “It is what they have done beyond their military service that truly sets them apart as individuals worthy of this special honor. The example PW Louthain has set and his public service is most worthy of the respect and admiration of all Connecticut citizens. His volunteerism has inspired young future leaders in our region.  I was honored to join him and congratulate him on this memorable day.”

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‘Deck The Walls’ on Show at Lyme Art Association

‘Village Morning' by Barbara Lussier is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

‘Village Morning’ by Barbara Lussier is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association’s (LAA) festive art exhibition and sale, Deck the Walls, opened Nov. 27 and is on show through Jan. 8, 2016. An opening reception featuring live music will be held next Friday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is free and all painting purchases from 5 p.m. on Dec. 4 through 5 p.m. Dec. 5 will be tax-free.

More than 200 original works of art by member artists will be on display and priced to sell as holiday gifts. Artwork by newly inducted LAA Elected Artists will be featured in their own exhibition in the Goodman Gallery.

'Curious' by Kim Muller-Thym is featured in 'Deck the Walls.'

‘Curious’ by Kim Muller-Thym is featured in ‘Deck the Walls.’

“For Deck the Walls, the Lyme Art Association features a wide variety of appealing subjects at affordable prices that are great for holiday shopping. We hope to help solve those gift giving dilemmas – a beautiful piece of artwork is always appreciated!” says Jocelyn Zallinger, Gallery Manager.

The LAA is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 12 to 5 p.m., and by appointment. The building is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Road.

Call (860) 434-7802 for more information, or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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Old Lyme Town Band Gives Holiday Concert in Deep River Tonight

OL Town Band 01

Old Lyme Town Band

The Old Lyme Town Band will be performing a holiday concert in the Deep River Town Hall this evening at 7 p.m.  All are welcome and admission is free.

Other holiday concerts by the band in the local area through Dec. 16 are as follows:

OLTB

Visit OldLymeTownBand.org for more details.

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Letter from Paris: ‘Francofonia’ Explores German Attitude to Louvre Art During Occupation, but with Broader Message

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

Like irritating mosquitoes on a hot summer afternoon, three fighter planes of the German Luftwaffe fly over a majestic and impregnable Louvre museum.  This is the opening image of Francofonia, a documentary reflecting on art and the courage of men fighting to protect it against forces of destruction.  A most appropriate and needed interlude at this particularly tense time for the humanity.

Although labeled a documentary, Francofonia – a Russian-German-French production – is part newsreels, part fiction, part poetic images. The film, directed by the well-known Alexander Sokurov, won an award at the September 2015 Venice Film Festival.

Count Wolff Metternich, a German officer of Prussian origin, walks down a vaulted hallway. He is there to meet  Jacques Jaujard, the French director of the Louvre.  The two men are stiff and on their respective guards.  Metternich asks Jaujard, “Do you speak German?” “No,” responds Jaujard, “The answer is, I am very French.”

A scene from 'Francophonia.' Image courtesy of Films Boutique.

A scene from ‘Francophonia.’ Image courtesy of Films Boutique.

Ironically both men are on an identical mission.  In 1939, most of the Louvre’s art work, including the “Victory of Samothrace” – the museum’s most illustrious treasure – was removed by the staff and hidden in the cellars of French castles.  Metternich had done precisely the same thing with the collections of the Cologne cathedral before the start of the war.

With an element of pathos, Sokurov imagines the visit of German military to  the Louvre.  Did they realize it was an empty place except for Assyrian winged bulls and other monumental sculptures, which might have been left on purpose to act as the watchdogs of an idea?

Two iconic guides take us through the deserted Grande Gallery.  A fat-bellied Napoleon, behaving like the host, points at the David’s painting of his coronation.  “This is me,” he says proudly. But  it is with irony that Sukurov shows “Napoleon crossing the Alps” by Delaroche as an undignified and tired man riding a mule  rather than the dashing rider imagined by David.  Our other guide, Marianne, wearing the distinctive Phrygian bonnet, repeats over and over  “Liberté,  égalité, fraternité.”

Sukorov accompanies us through an empty museum filled with the memory of treasures now gone.  A hand touches the diaphanous finger tips of a statue;  Clouet’s delicate portraits come alive;  and so do Millet’s peasants, sitting  by the fire, their deeply-lined faces showing their exhaustion.  The greyish, almost sepia, quality  of the photographs adds to the eerie feeling.

The camera moves in and out of the Louvre and depicts difficult scenes, which demand pause for thought.  A tanker is struggling in the fury of the Baltic. Will the works of art it carries in its containers survive or be crushed by the waves?  The frozen body of a well-dressed little girl lying on a street during the siege of Leningrad evokes the human suffering caused by war.

Francofonia is a complex film, which can be read on several levels.  It came on the Paris screens not long after the blasting of Palmyra and other archaeological sites by Daesh (ISIS).  The message is crystal clear — art, which is the legacy of our civilization, is too precious to die.

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost 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 writes 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 covers 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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A Successful Year for the Essex Tree Committee

Red cedar

One of 33 Eastern Red Cedars planted at the West Avenue gateway

In 2015 the Essex Tree Committee received donations of 40 trees from both individuals and community organizations.  Thirty three of these trees were Eastern Red Cedars planted at the West Avenue gateway (see photo).  These were donated by the Essex Foundation and the Essex Fire Department.  Other trees included a Swamp White Oak tree located at the Methodist Hill donated by the Essex Police Union.  Two Princeton Elm trees, donated privately were planted at West Avenue and South Main Street.  A Sunset Red Maple donated by the Essex Rotary Club was planted also at South Main Street.  The Essex Garden Club donated a London Plane, planted at 15 Dennison Road. The Essex Tree Committee donated a Saucer Magnolia to the Essex Elementary School.  And Bartlett Tree Experts planted a Red Sunset Maple at 147 Dennison Road.

Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, thanks all who donated trees to the town of Essex in 2015.  These trees will enhance the beauty of the streets of Essex for many years to come.

To make a donation to the Essex Tree Committee, please contact Augie Pampel at augiepampel@att.net.

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