October 19, 2017

Archives for July 2016

Essex Library Hosts Local Author James Benn to Discuss his Latest Novel, ‘The Blue Madonna’, Sept. 29

bluemadonnaESSEX — The Essex Library is honored to welcome back James Benn in celebration of the release of his 11th Billy Boyle mystery that Lee Child declares “is a must-read series.”

Publishers Weekly says of Blue Madonna: “The suspenseful story line, set on the eve of the Normandy invasion in 1944, will keep readers turning the pages … Benn movingly depicts Nazi cruelties that Boyle and his comrades witness.”

On Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library, Benn will describe fascinating details from the actual events that he researched for the book’s plotlines and more about the upcoming books in the Billy Boyle series.

James Benn

James Benn

Benn, a resident of Hadlyme, CT, worked in the library and information technology field for more than thirty-five years before he started writing full-time. One lesson he says that’s helped him greatly as an author is a quote from Oscar Wilde: “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one’s pants to a chair.” Copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560.

The Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

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Enjoy Essex Historical Society’s “Walking Weekend,” Saturday & Sunday

Ivoryton Library. All photos courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Ivoryton Library. All photos courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Combining the outdoors and history, Essex Historical Society (EHS) expands its popular outdoor program, “Walking Weekend,” on July 29, 30 and 31.  The event features three different walking tours within the Town of Essex in which attendees enjoy an easy stroll along the Town’s historic streets learning about the major industries, structures and personalities that shaped the area.  EHS’s trained, knowledgeable guides will lead an hour+ long tour over fairly level, paved terrain, covering three centuries of history.   For the first time, this year’s Walking Weekend will feature a guided walking tour of Ivoryton Village, led by former Town Historian Chris Pagliuco.

On July 29 at 7 p.m., the first tour will meet at Ivoryton Library, 106 Main Street, Ivoryton, for an in-depth look at this historic village, from its beginnings as a company town surrounding the Comstock-Cheney Co., the stories of 19th century immigration, the striking examples of Victorian architecture and its unique cultural attractions that continue to this day. 

The Pratt Smithy.

The Pratt Smithy.

On July 30 at 1 p.m., the second tour will meet at the Pratt House, 19 West Avenue, Essex, for a trip down West Ave. and Prospect Street to explore the histories behind the structures of “Pound Hill” including several 19th century churches, Hills Academy, the Old Firehouse and more.  Attendees are also welcome to tour the historic 1732 Pratt House, the town’s only historic house museum. 

The Rose Store.

The Rose Store.

On July 31 at 7 p.m., the final tour will meet at the Foot of Main Street, Essex, for a trip down Main Street in Essex Village to capture the rich maritime history of 18th century “Potapaug,” its working waterfront and ship-building prominence in the early 19th century as well as its development as a beautiful visitor destination of today. 

Essex Historical Society is committed to fulfilling its mission of engaging and inspiring the community in the three villages of Centerbrook, Essex and Ivoryton.  Looking ahead, EHS hopes to expand its 2017 Walking Weekend to include a walking tour of Centerbrook.

Each tour is $5 per person and is open to the general public; free to members of EHS.  Admission helps support the educational and cultural programming of Essex Historical Society.  For more information, please visit www.essexhistory.org or call (860) 767-0681. 

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Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival Kicks Off With Concert by Braiden Sunshine Tonight, Multiple Events on Lyme Street Tomorrow

The crowd settles in to enjoy the Friday night concert at the Florence Griswold Museum.

The crowd settles in to enjoy the Friday night concert at the Florence Griswold Museum.

The 30th anniversary of the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival, a summertime favorite for thousands that has now become a signature event in the lower Connecticut River Valley, takes place Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30. The event opens with a Kickoff Concert Friday, July 29, and follows up with daytime festivities Saturday, July 30, on Lyme Street in the historic Old Lyme village center. The Festival promotes the arts, music, and culture, drawing on Old Lyme’s history as a home to a number of artists including those in the original Lyme Art Colony.

Art exhibitions, art demonstrations, and musical performances are just part of the celebration, with specialty shopping, children’s activities, and a wide variety of food vendors rounding out the offerings.

The Midsummer Festival was first held in 1986 as a way to celebrate the local arts during the height of the summer season. Jeff Andersen, Director of the Florence Griswold Museum, approached institutional neighbors including the Lyme Art Association, the Bee & Thistle Inn, the Old Lyme Inn, and the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, to provide a festival that included art shows, a “Stars and Stripes” concert, artist demonstrations and a “Turn of the Century Fair” complete with lawn games and a Victorian ice cream cart.

Now in its 30th year, the Midsummer Festival has 13 community partners, including the Town of Old Lyme. “Even as the festival has grown in visitation and offerings, it has stayed true to its mission of highlighting the cultural identity of Old Lyme,” notes Florence Griswold Museum Director Jeff Andersen. “There is always a great mix of new events with everyone’s favorites.”

Visitors to this year’s festival will find perennial festival favorites including art sales, hands-on activities for children, a dog show, and musical performances, while enjoying new offerings including a vendor market by the Chamber of Commerce, a fashion show in a sculpture garden and a guided tour of the Town Hall’s art collection.  A full schedule of events and list of vendors can be found at OldLymeMidsummerFestival.com

Friday, July 29 festivities

Old Lyme's own Braiden Sunshine will perform in the Festival's free Kick-off Concert at the Florence Griswold Museum on Friday, July 29.

Old Lyme’s own Braiden Sunshine will perform in the Festival’s free Kick-off Concert at the Florence Griswold Museum on Friday, July 29.

The traditional kickoff concert takes place Friday, July 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Florence Griswold Museum. This year’s concert features The Voice sensation 16-year old singer/song writer Braiden Sunshine and his band Silver Hammer. With a national following as a semi-finalist on Season 9 of NBC’s The Voice, Sunshine brings to the stage his version of much-loved rock classics as well as his own original compositions.

Visitors can find their spot on the lawn along the Lieutenant River and enjoy an evening of free music. Concert-goers are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner or purchase food from Rough House Food Truck and NoRA Cupcake Truck, both on-site for the evening. The concert is sponsored by All Pro Tire Automotive and the Graybill Family.

Prior to the concert, the Florence Griswold Museum is open for free from 5 to 7 p.m. Visitors can enjoy the summer exhibition, The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement and tour the historic Florence Griswold boardinghouse.

Saturday, July 30 festivities

There's always a vast array of flowers, fruit and vegetables at the 'En Plein Air' market on Saturday at the Florence Griswold Museum.

There’s always a vast array of flowers, fruit and vegetables at the ‘En Plein Air’ market on Saturday at the Florence Griswold Museum.

On Saturday, June 30, the festival spans 11 locations along Lyme Street, the heart of Old Lyme’s historic district – the Florence Griswold Museum, the Lyme Art Association, the Old Lyme Inn, the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven, Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds, the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce vendor fair at 77 Lyme Street, the Old Lyme Historical Society, Patricia Spratt for the Home, the “Plein Air Fence Painters” on Center School lawn, Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall, Inc., and the Old Lyme-PGN Library.

Festival Partner High Hopes Therapeutic Riding will be at the Museum’s site providing an educational, equine-themed arts and crafts children’s activity. Festival Partner Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau will be the host site for a morning 5K run.

Sponsors of the Festival include premium sponsors Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, Pasta Vita, Inc., and Yale New Haven Health/Yale New Haven Hospital. Media sponsors include The Day Publishing Company and Shoreline Web News, LLC, publisher of LymeLine.com and ValleyNewsNow.com.

Enjoy the artwork of the 'Plein Air' artists in front of Center School.

Enjoy the artwork of the ‘Plein Air’ artists in front of Center School.

Each location will offer a variety of events and activities. In addition to art exhibitions and art sales at six of the locations, food vendors and specialty food trucks will provide a wide-range of options at each location. Artisans will market their wares at locations including the OL-PGN Library, the Chamber of Commerce vendor market, and the traditional French-styled market and artisan fair at the Florence Griswold Museum. New partner Patricia Spratt for the Home will offer its popular warehouse sale of table linens and pillows.

Children’s activities are a popular way for families to stop and enjoy the festival offerings, and can be enjoyed at multiple locations. There will be musical performances at the Chamber’s music stage, Lyme Academy and at the Old Lyme Inn where Mass-Conn-Fusion will perform with refreshments for sale under the tent.

New events this year include a fashion show by Hygienic Art resident artist Susan Hickman and acclaimed designer Anna Lucas at Studio 80, tours of Town Hall’s art collection, weaving demonstrations at the Old Lyme Historical Society, a visit from Rey to meet future Jedi-in-training at the OL-PGN Library, and a display of snakes and turtles by Linda Krulikowski (known as Old Lyme’s “Snake Lady”) at the Lyme Art Association.

Meet the oxen from Cranberry Meadow Farm on the lawn of the Lyme Art Association.

Meet the oxen from Cranberry Meadow Farm on the lawn of the Lyme Art Association.

Art demonstrations including sculpture and painting will take place throughout the day at Lyme Academy. Details and times for special events including a dog talent show, and an impressive roster of musical performances throughout the day can be found at www.OldLymeMidsummerFestival.com.

Most activities begin at 9 a.m. and continue through 4 p.m. Parking is available at Old Lyme Marketplace (46 Halls Rd.), Florence Griswold Museum (special festival parking entrance at 5 Halls Rd.), and the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (69 Lyme St.) Two shuttle buses run between these locations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit  www.OldLymeMidsummerFestival.com.

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​Community Foundation of Middlesex County Honors Local Volunteers

'Local leaders' gather July 27 at Wadsworth Mansion. Front Row: Sarah Cody (Fox61), Rosario “Riz” Rizzo, Liz Shulman, Gail Morris, Cindy McNeil-Sola, Lynda Hunnicutt, Bernadette Jones, Laura Pedersen, Linda Bradshaw, Sharon Griffin, Deb Moore. Second Row: George “Sonny” Whelen, Dave Shulman, Bob Shulman, Andy Morris, David Director, Marc Levin, John Biddiscombe, John Bradshaw, Biff Shaw.

‘Local leaders’ gather July 27 at Wadsworth Mansion. Front Row: Sarah Cody (Fox61), Rosario “Riz” Rizzo, Liz Shulman, Gail Morris, Cindy McNeil-Sola, Lynda Hunnicutt, Bernadette Jones, Laura Pedersen, Linda Bradshaw, Sharon Griffin, Deb Moore. Second Row: George “Sonny” Whelen, Dave Shulman, Bob Shulman, Andy Morris, David Director, Marc Levin, John Biddiscombe, John Bradshaw, Biff Shaw.

They are everywhere – in the house next door, behind the counter at the business down the street, at the board of directors table of your favorite nonprofit – volunteers and leaders who give their time and talents to our community. The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is fortunate to be surrounded by “Good People Doing Great Things”.  Every day the Community Foundation is reminded that everyone in the region truly cares about their friends and neighbors and where they live, work and play.

Late last year the Community Foundation inaugurated its first Local Leaders, Local Legends recognition program, awarding the Sherry and Herb Clark Beacon of Philanthropy Award to two individuals, Arthur Director and the late Willard McRae. Both men have been exceptional legendary leaders in the community, supporting the county’s local nonprofits and CFMC itself in a myriad of ways to make Middlesex County a better place for all.

This spring the Community Foundation rolled out the full Local Leaders, Local Legends program:  to highlight individuals and organizations who make a difference every day. The Community Foundation enlisted the help of the community, putting a call out for nominations of those individuals, organizations, or businesses who should be recognized and thanked.  The Community Foundation asked members of the community to think about those they believe go above what would be expected – our community’s Local Leaders, Local Legends.

On Wednesday, July 27, the Community Foundation joined friends and honorees at the Wadsworth Mansion to honor some very special neighbors. Special guest Sarah Cody of Fox61 hosted the evening’s event. The Community Foundation is proud to announce the following honorees:

The Unsung Heroes award recognizes individuals whose role has been “behind the scenes” and not the face of the organization, but their contribution has made the local nonprofits or CFMC stronger by their support. This award was given to the following individuals:

Linda and John Bradshaw, Moodus

Sharon Griffin, Durham

Bernadette Jones, Westbrook

Gail and Andy Morris, Old Saybrook

Ralph “Biff” Shaw, Essex

George “Sonny” Whelen, IV, Lyme                                                                     

The Outstanding Volunteer award recognizes excellence in volunteer service, leading to significant improvements in the quality of life in our community. This award given to the following individuals:

Lynda Hunnicutt, Westbrook

Cindy McNeil-Sola, Higganum

Deborah Moore, Killingworth

The Leadership award recognizes exceptional leadership in recruiting, motivating and coordinating volunteers, and providing clear direction by example. Two individuals were recognized with this award.

John Biddiscombe, Durham

David Director, Cromwell

The Corporate Supporter award recognizes outstanding, sustained commitment to building a culture of civic and charitable engagement through financial and in-kind support, as well as creating a corporate culture that encourages employees to take leadership roles in philanthropy and community service. This award was presented to the Council of Business Partners and its members.

Council of Business Partners:        A & A Office Systems, A.R. Mazzotta Employment Specialists, Brown & Brown of CT, Inc.,  Belltown Motors,  BEST Cleaners, Connecticut Lighting Centers, Direct Energy, Essex Printing/Events Magazines, Interfaith Golf Open Tournament, LiveKind, M & J Bus Company, Mahoney Sabol & Co., Malloves Jewelers,  Paulson Training Programs, Nancy Raczka, Attorney,  Elizabeth Schulman, LMFT,  Suburban Stationers,  The Black Seal, The Rossi Group

Community Foundation of Middlesex County congratulates the Local Leaders, Local Legend Honorees and extends a heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone who submitted a nomination for their special Local Leader, Local Legend. Middlesex County is fortunate to have so many great people working together to make our community the best place to live, work and play.

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Sketch Along This Sunday at Maple & Main

'Three Hens' by Claudia Van Nes.

‘Three Hens’ by Claudia Van Nes.

CHESTER  — Bring a drawing pen and paper and some watercolors or colored pencils and join Maple and Main Gallery artist Claudia Van Nes Sunday, July 31, from noon to 2 p.m. to discover anyone can sketch.

Van Nes is Maple and Main’s Focus Artist of the Week and will sketch and paint a teacup and teapot with whoever shows up. Bring along your own tea items if you’d like or just stop by to watch.

There’s a special display of Van Nes’s pen and ink and watercolor paintings at the gallery through Sunday.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6p.m.;  Friday and Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mapleandmaingallery.com. Visit on Facebook and Instagram. 860-526-6065.

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The Blue Oar: Enjoy a Tropical Feel at River Eatery in Haddam

Looking across the vibrant patio of 'The Blue Oar' towards the Connecticut River.

Looking across the vibrant patio of ‘The Blue Oar’ towards the Connecticut River.

The soft sunlight of a warm summer evening glistens off the gently flowing river as you sip wine at a pastel-colored picnic table while awaiting your Cajun catfish dinner. No, you’re not in Louisiana; you’re alongside the Connecticut River at the Blue Oar Restaurant in Haddam.

Now enjoying its 20th summer, the Blue Oar resembles more of a summer camp than a restaurant. Built on stilts to protect the kitchen from river floods, the yellow and white wooden structure resembles a children’s treetop playhouse. A trademark of the expansive dining grounds is the colored chairs and tables – pastels of lime green, melon, sky blue, tangerine and creamy yellow.  “It reminds people of the Caribbean or Florida,” says co-owner Jody Reilly. “There’s a relaxed vibe.” 

You can bring your own wine or beer, have a cheeseburger or hot dog with kraut, but your options go far beyond that.  The most popular sandwich is “the chicken, roasted pepper and cheddar,” says Reilly. “They seem to fly out of here. And also the ribs, chowder, and lobster rolls.”

A staple of fixed offerings is supplemented by a number of daily specials. Dinner entrees range from grilled salmon to Jamaican jerk BBQ pork loin. A recent Saturday night featured grilled Cajun catfish with black bean salsa and strips of grilled summer squash. The large fillet was just spicy enough and sat on a generous bed of cool black bean salsa that blended perfectly on the palate. A chilled Italian pinot grigio was the perfect accompaniment.

Appetizers are plentiful and varied. Sautéed mussels, seared scallops and fresh guacamole with house-made tortilla chips are just a few examples. If you’re looking for fried seafood, this isn’t your spot.

A view of 'The Blue Oar' from the Connecticut River.

A view of ‘The Blue Oar’ from the Connecticut River.

With docks along the river, arriving by boat is an option. “We’re a destination,” says Reilly. “A lot of people on boat trips for the day pull in from Sag Harbor or Greenport.”

On a bright, sunny evening, the Blue Oar has a distinct tropical feel. A good weather weekend can bring in up to 600 diners a day, says Reilly. There may be a line, but it moves along and provides conversation and entertainment. As waiters exit the tight kitchen, it resembles a bumper car arcade as they bob and weave through the order line that meanders out the door.

The Blue Oar is open seven days a week from Mother’s Day weekend through September, serving lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Water and soda is available but all alcohol is BYOB.

Note: it is cash only. Credit and debit cards are not accepted. The Blue Oar is located off Rte. 154 about a mile-and-a-half north of exit 7 off Rte. 9. Look for the turn sign.

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River Valley Dance Project Creates Dance Movie in One Day, Sept. 24

On Sept.24, the River Valley Dance Project will be at Comstock Park in Ivoryton, Conn., starting at 1 p.m. and going into the evening. Project members plan to create, rehearse and film a dance in one day.

The theme of this piece is diversity. The hope is that many people join the event to learn some very simple movements. Choreographer and Director, Linalynn Schmelzer will support and shape everyone to perform movements with which they are comfortable. The word ‘dance’ in this vision means choreographed movement not ballet.

The organizers seek diversity so all races, ages, genders are very welcome to participate. Bring your family and friends.

RSVP to linalynn2@gmail.com. It is important for the organizers to know how many people will be participating.

‘Like’ the River Valley Dance Project on Facebook to stay connected.

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Enjoy Opera Favorites at Free ‘Opera in the Park’ in Saybrook, Sunday Evening

Opera_at_the_Park

OLD SAYBROOK – Salt Marsh Opera’s free concert, “Opera in the Park,” will take place on Sunday, July 24 (rain date July 25) at 6:30 p.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green adjacent to the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main St.

World famous singers – tenor Brian Cheney and soprano Sarah Callinan – with accompanist Elena Zamolodchikova will sing opera favorites.

Grab your friends and family, picnic blankets and lawn chairs and get ready for a mesmerizing evening under a canopy of stars.  Arrive early for best seating. The concert will conclude at 8 p.m.

Opera in the Park is sponsored by State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development and anonymous friends of Salt Marsh Opera residing in the Lower Connecticut River Valley.
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Join the Mad Hatter’s (Fundraising) Garden Party at Deep River Library, Sunday

MadHatterDEEP RIVER – The Deep River Public Library’s 2nd Annual Mad Hatter’s Garden Party will be held on Sunday, July 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. on the library lawn. There will be hors d’oeuvres, light refreshments, live music, good conversation and a teacup auction. A prize will be awarded for the best hat.

Tickets to this event are $25. All funding benefits the library garden and grounds.

For more information, call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours.
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Newly Designed Marine Room Opens at Stone House Museum in Deep River

Curator Rhonda Forristall (left) and Kathy Schultz (right) stand in the Deep River Historical Society's Marine Room. All photos by Sue Wisner.

Curator Rhonda Forristall (left) and Kathy Schultz (right) stand in the Deep River Historical Society’s new Marine Room. All photos by Sue Wisner.

DEEP RIVER — It is always a challenge for the curators and trustees to come up with new exhibits to attract return and first time visitors to the Stone House Museum in Deep River and the Deep River Historical Society (DRHS).

There are tours, either a self-guided tour or with a greeter if available, of the house itself and all the history that goes with it and the many exhibits already designed.

View_of_Marine_Room

This summer the DRHS Museum is excited about their newly designed Marine Room, which demonstrates the importance of ship building and the masters of their boats pertaining specifically to Deep River’s rich history in both of these topics during the mid 1800’s.

This exhibit is a culmination of three years of preparation and planning as many items had to be cataloged and stored away. Then the actually physical restoration of the room with painting, carpentry work, artifacts displayed, paintings framed and all items labeled, completed the project for the recent Open House.

Along_DR_Waterfront

The Stone House Museum also highlights collections of the town’s industries and products. Included in this is an extensive collection of Niland cut glass, ivory products of Pratt & Read Co., WWII glider models, WWI exhibit, auger bits from Jennings Co., a display on the Lace Factory Manufacturing in Deep River and much more.

Stone_House_Museum

William A. Vail schooner

The William A. Vail schooner, which was one of the last ships to be built at the Deep River shipyard.

The Stone House, pictured above, was built of local granite in 1840 and the property and house was left to the Society by Ada Southworth Munson in 1946. The rooms reflect the period of time that the family presided there including the Parlor, Living Room, and bedrooms. As one walks through the house, it is a venture back into another era and the furniture and collections are carefully preserved.

Visits to the Stone House are encouraged to view the new exhibit and also the many other interesting items on display.  The photo to the right is of the schooner William A. Vail and symbolizes the shipbuilding heritage in Deep River. The schooner was built right at the shipyards on the Connecticut River near the landing and was probably one of the last ships built before steam ships took over. Exhibits at the Stone House have several photos of the Denison shipyard with boats in various stages of production. The William A. Vail is, in fact, the model for the ship depicted in the official seal of Deep River.

Summer weekend hours are Saturday and Sunday in July, August and into mid-September from 2-4 p.m.

The Stone House Museum is located at 245 Main Street, Deep River.

Check out the Museum on Facebook, Deep River Diaries, or the DRHS website that is presently under new construction at: http://www.deepriverhistoricalsociety.org

For further information, call 860-526-1449.

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Talking Transportation: America’s Mass Transit Mecca

Portland, Oregon, with Mount Rainier providing a stunning backdrop.

Jim Cameron names Portland, Ore, (with Mount Rainier providing a stunning backdrop) the most mass-transit intensive city in the US.

What’s the most mass-transit intensive city in the US?  By the numbers, New York City.  But for a glimpse of the real future of mass-transit,  the winner is clearly Portland, Oregon!

Portland has only 632,000 residents but 2.3 million in its metro area.  Yet it has, per capita, what I think is the largest, most extensive and best integrated systems of light rail, streetcars and bike lanes in the nation.

LIGHT RAIL: It was 1986 when Portland opened its first light-rail line.  Today the system covers 60 miles (including the airport, 12 miles from downtown).  In 2001 a downtown streetcar system was added.  It proved so successful that Portland now manufactures streetcars for other American cities.

Like the city’s extensive bike-rack equipped bus network, all of Portland’s mass transit operates on the honor system:  you buy tickets before boarding and only show them if a inspector boards, looking for proof of payment.

To encourage ridership, fares are ridiculously cheap.  For $2.50 you can roam the system for 2 ½ hours.  An unlimited day pass is $5 or $26 a month (about the cost of a round-trip to NYC on Metro-North).  “Honored Citizens” (seniors, Medicare or disabled) get a monthly pass for $7.50!

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT DRIVING: To further encourage use of the ubiquitous mass transit, driving in downtown is difficult and expensive.  The main transit corridors have one lane for streetcars, one lane for bikes and just one lane for cars.  Parking is really expensive, both by meter on the streets and in lots.  And yes, the freeways crawl just like in LA.

TECHNOLOGY: The bus and rail system offers free apps for trip-planning which use GPS to tell you exactly how long you’ll wait for the next trolley, directions by line to your destination and expected travel time.  And yes, you can buy and show your ticket using your smartphone.

BIKES ARE KING:     The city’s unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird”, and the residents work hard to do so.  Outside of Europe or Asia I have never seen so many people on two-wheels traversing a community.

There are so many dedicated bike lanes that when a new bridge was built crossing the Willamette River, the bridge was built for everything except cars and trucks:  a mass transit-only bridge!

When a new Medical Center was planned on a downtown hill, designers realized it would be foolish to waste land on parking, so they built an aerial tram from unused industrial land on the waterfront.  Hospital employees and patients alike take light rail or bike to the base station (where a free 400-space bike-lot is usually full) and are skyward in minutes.

So if you are ever disillusioned by the sorry state of mass-transit in our area, take heart.  The future is now in Portland!

JIM CAMERON has been a Darien resident for 25 years.  He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group and also serves on the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

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Volunteer to Help Those Who Cannot Read

If you have some time to volunteer to build a stronger community and help a local non-profit in tutoring area residents to read, write and speak English, you can start helping almost immediately! Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is looking for Board Members, a Treasurer for the organization, Tutor Trainees and volunteers at our offices at 61 Goodspeed Drive, Westbrook.

Please contact us at info@vsliteracy.org or call 860-399-0280 for more details and thank you in advance for helping.

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The ‘Brick Bunch’ Meets at Deep River Public Library, Sept. 22

DEEP RIVER — Brick Bunch, a construction club for Lego builders meets on Sept. 22, from 3:45 to 4:45 pm in the Community Room of the Deep River Public Library. Build projects and friendships. The library provides the bricks — you bring your imagination!

Duplo blocks are now available for younger children.

This program is free and open to all, no registration required.

For more information, visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on the monthly calendar, email the Children’s Department at drplchildrensdept@gmail.com or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

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Letter to the Editor: Writer Names Miller ‘Newspeak’ Prize Winner for ‘Capitol Update 2016’

To the Editor:

One of my favorite books of all time is ‘1984’, by George Orwell. The protagonist of the novel works for the Ministry of Truth. It is responsible for historical revisionism, using ‘Newspeak’. The historical record always supports the party line.

I award Representative Phil Miller, the Winner of the Newspeak Prize for ‘Capitol Update 2016’. A mailing to 36th District households (Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam) authored by him. His mailing among other Newspeak items, ” no withdrawals from the Rainy Day Fund” which was emptied by a withdrawal of approximately $315 million to close the fiscal year 2015-2016 deficit, earned consideration. However, what catapulted him to First Prize was his Newspeak, that the budget fully funds past Pension Liabilities. While I grant him that these liabilities are always estimates, due to interest of bond earnings and the liabilities have been estimated worse than this in the past five years. He must be content with 2015 estimates. The total underfunding of the State’s pension liabilities is estimated to be at least $26 Billion. Given that the total State of Connecticut Budget is $20 billion, it is impossible to proclaim these past pension liabilities as fully funded. Wow, what a fine example of historical revisionism. I truly hope this matter comes up at the one debate between he and the candidate who is running against him, Bob Siegrist. But, alas, that can only happen if a question concerning this is selected.

I know Bob Siegrist very well, having worked for him during the last election to represent the 36th District. I have also attended a few meetings to discuss the State Budget with him and a few other State Representatives from the area. The Pension Liabilities were discussed before the mailing, and that is why the fully funding caught my eye. Bob Siegrist will never win the Newspeak Prize. He simply can’t speak Newspeak. He examines the Budget, researches the issues his constituents ask about and unfailingly speaks the facts, as much as is humanly possible. I will vote for Bob Siegrist in November because I appreciate knowing the facts and not Newspeak.

Sincerely,

Lynn Herlihy,
Essex.

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State Senate Candidate Needleman is First to Reach Fundraising Goal

Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, Norman Needleman

Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, Norman Needleman.

AREAWIDE — Democratic State Senate candidate Norm Needleman, who is running in the 33rd District, announced today that his campaign has reached the fundraising requirements needed to qualify for public financing in compliance with the Citizens’ Election Program. Needleman is the first to qualify for such financing in the 33rd District race.

“Since I began this campaign I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support,” said Norm Needleman. “Every day I meet more and more residents of the 33rd District who are ready to fix Hartford and bring a non-partisan, business approach to our state government. I am proud to have their support.”

Norm For Senate raised over $16,390 from 364 individual contributors, with 319 of those contributors coming from one of the 12 towns in the 33rd State Senate District (Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook). The campaign far outraised the required totals of $15,000 from 300 donors residing in the District.

Making good on fulfilling his promise to run a clean campaign without the influence of special interests, Needleman refused to accept donations from lobbyists. None of the 300-plus donors to the campaign are lobbyists.

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, an Essex-based manufacturing business that employs over 200 people, most of whom are local to the District. He also serves as First Selectman of Essex.

“Norm’s solution-focused, business-empowering message is really resonating throughout the twelve towns of the 33rd district,” said Campaign Manager Kevin Coughlin. “There’s a real groundswell around his candidacy from citizens across the spectrum.”

The Citizens’ Election Program is a voluntary system of public campaign financing that is designed to encourage citizen participation and limit the role of private money in politics.  The program was created under former Republican Governor Jodi Rell, after her predecessor, John Rowland, resigned amid corruption allegations. To qualify, candidates must raise small qualifying contributions and agree to adhere to spending limits and disclosure requirements.

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Legal News You Can Use: Workers’ Compensation: How it Works

hph-workers-compensation-insurance-compressed
Sponsored Post:
The day begins like almost any other. You arrive at the workplace, spend a few moments interacting with your co-workers and begin the daily task. Maybe it’s a job that you’ve done a thousand times, or perhaps the demands of that day result in your performing an assignment for the first time. And then “it” happens ~ you feel a twinge in your back or shoulder; there is an ache in your hands that doesn’t subside; or there is an exposure to a substance that is foreign to you. What do you do then?

The origin of Workers’ Compensation
 in Connecticut dates over a century, the original Act becoming part of the Law in 1913. As the result of a “Contract of Employment” (whether written or implicit) with the employer, he/she/the business will cover medical benefits and lost wages for an employee who suffers an injury out of and in the course and scope of their employment. There are, essentially, three different types of injuries covered in Workers’ Compensation. They are:

(1) Accidental injuries. These are injuries that can be located in time and space; e.g., the lifting of heavy equipment, which results in an Employee screaming in pain.

(2) Repetitive trauma injuries. These are claims that arise not from one injurious situation, but are cumulative over time. Examples would include repetitive computer work with one’s hands, or kneeling on steel every day for years.

(3) Occupational disease/exposure. These injuries are those where there is a clear link between the workplace and substances to which the individual is exposed; e.g., asbestos in a shipyard; a dental hygienist contracting Hepatitis.

When an employee has sustained, or has reason to believe they have sustained, an injury related to their employment, what are the next steps?

(1) Report the injury. In accidental injuries and repetitive trauma claims, there is a one year Statute of Limitations for reporting of the injury. In Occupational Disease claims, the general rule is that the injury needs to 
be reported within three years of when the employee knew, or should have known, of the connection between the occupational exposures and the medical condition alleged.

The better approach is to report the injury to your employer at the first opportunity, or when you have reason to believe there is a connection between work activities and your injury. Employers and insurance carriers become increasingly skeptical about the validity of an injury claim when there is a delay in reporting an injury.

(2) Obtain medical treatment. Any significant injury requires treatment from a medical provider. Even if you have to use your own insurance at an initial appointment, treatment and opinions on causal connection should be obtained. Insurance companies can sort out the issues at a later date. Again, employers and insurance carriers are more likely to be skeptical about an injury if there is a significant delay in obtaining medical treatment.

(3) File notice of the injury. In Connecticut, the Form 30-C is the vehicle to place employers and their carriers on notice that an individual has suffered an injury or illness related to their employment. The Form 30-C should be sent via Certified Mail and is the ultimate protection for an injured worker. Also, note that Connecticut General Statutes Section 31-290a protects the injured worker from retaliatory actions or discrimination by an employer for asserting their rights to Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Now that the claim has been properly filed, what benefits are obtainable for the injured worker? Clearly, medical treatment is paid for by the employer or insurance carrier with no deductible for the injured worker. Other “indemnity” benefits may also be appropriate, including:

(1) Temporary total disability benefits. If an injury results in lost time from work, a weekly (or bi-weekly) monetary payment, based upon earnings in the preceding 52 weeks, is payable to the injured worker until they are able to return to their job, or some other work within their restrictions.

(2) Permanent partial disability benefits.  
If an injury results in permanent impairment to a body part; e.g., following a surgery, the injured worker is entitled to obtain a “rating” for their loss of use from their Attending Physician. Additional benefits
 are payable pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 31-308b. In certain, specified situations, an injured worker may also be entitled to a disfigurement award, depending on the site of the injury.

(3) Wage loss benefits. If, as the result of
 a work-related injury, the injured worker is capable of work, but cannot perform the same job and there is a resulting loss of income, the injured worker is eligible for a period of wage loss. This, too, is controlled by the Connecticut General Statutes, and appears at Connecticut General Statutes Section 31-308a.

(4) Death benefits. Where an injury results in the death of the injured worker, benefits are payable to the surviving spouse and/or other dependents of the decedent.

Being pro-active in reporting an injury and obtaining medical care will be beneficial to any injured worker.

This article represents an overview of the Workers’ Compensation System. While the System was designed to be user-friendly, complexities often arise which may dictate hiring a Lawyer.

Attorney James P. Berryman

Attorney James P. Berryman

About the author: Jay Berryman is a Director at Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law in New London, CT, the largest law firm in eastern Connecticut. He concentrates in Workers’ Compensation Law and Social Security Disability claims. Attorney Berryman was named by “Bench- mark Plaintiff” magazine as a Local Litigation Star, and his department at Suisman Shapiro was selected by the 2013-15 editions of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” among all law firms in Connecticut for Workers’ Compensation – Claimants.

For more information, visit www.suismanshapiro.com or call (860) 442-4416. Suisman Shapiro is located at 2 Union Plaza, P.O. Box 1591, New London, CT 06320.

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America’s Roots and Diversity Shine at Deep River Muster

Pipers_in_step

What more striking example of the American melting pot and immigrants longing for liberty than to watch African-Americans, Asian-Americans, descendants of India, along with Americans of many generations, marching in uniforms and playing music that inspired the country during its struggle for independence in 1776?

This was the scene for two hours on Saturday as a parade of fife and drum corps stepped smartly down Main Street in a blazing mid-day sun in Deep River.

Drummer_from_LAThe roots of this tradition go back 137 years, to 1879. Officially known as the Deep River Ancient Muster, it features fife and drum corps from throughout our local region and some much farther afield. This year, one came from sea to shining sea.

The whole town, it seems, grinds to a halt for the muster. It actually began the night before with a camp-out and warm-ups at Devitt Field. Hundreds lined the streets on Saturday morning, bringing folding chairs, canopies and coolers to sustain two-plus hours in the sun. Many had a birds-eye vantage point from property or apartments high above street level.

Some were picnicking while revolutionary-era re-enacters, many in full wool uniforms, entertained them. The contrast could not have been more striking. But their resounding applause, given to every passing unit, showed appreciation and understanding.

Three_drummers_big_drums

Others walked alongside or behind the real participants, but the true stars of the show provided perhaps the finest example of America and who we truly are.  People of all generations, genders, ethnicities and sizes, marching together and clearly dedicated to ensuring the root values of America, as exemplified in these musical rituals, are carried forward.

Drummers

With more than 50 marching units participating, it’s clear that many people feel inspired to join groups whose purpose is to honor and celebrate our forebearers. Marching in 90-degree heat in full dress uniforms is one small reminder of the sacrifices required of the colonists who rebelled against their domineering mother country.

Pipers

If that isn’t moving enough, imagine the determination of a young man rolling along in his wheelchair while playing the fife. It was clear that his was not a temporary injury. What an inspiring sight he was!

There is something about the rolls and rhythms of drums and the pitch of fifes that touches a chord in the soul. Perhaps that’s the seat of man’s yearning for liberty, a most basic desire to be left alone to pursue one’s hopes and dreams in any way, so long as they do not infringe upon the rights and property of others.

Young_pipers&drummers

If the Deep River Ancient Muster is any indication, our youngest generation is full of people who will ensure that all the struggles and sacrifices of our American forefathers will continue to be honored. May their efforts strike the chords in the souls of generations yet to come and instill appreciation of those struggles.

Editor’s Note: Many participants and onlookers wore pink at the parade in honor of the late long-time First Selectman of Deep River, Dick Smith.

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Free Tickets Remain for Abraham & Mary Lincoln Dramatic Performances, Thursday

Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, will be portrayed at Chester Village West in two dramatic performances.

Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, will be portrayed at Chester Village West on July 21.

CHESTER — President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary will come to life with compelling stories of their days in the Oval Office on Thursday, July 21, at Chester Village West independent seniors community, 317 West Main Street, Chester, in two open-to-the-public performances at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

During this theatrical portrayal by the acting and writing team of husband and wife William and Sue Wills, participants will gain new insights about our 16th president, his rise from humble beginnings and the challenges he faced during our country’s Civil War.

After 20 years of operating their own theatrical company in Ocean City, Md., William and Sue Wills now bring to life the stories of 34 different presidential couples through their “Presidents and Their First Ladies, dramatically speaking” performances. The Willses have appeared together on stage more than 8,700 times.

Mr. and Mrs. Wills have performed in 35 of 50 states and given more than 30 performances at the nation’s presidential sites. They are a true working team: William researches and creates the scripts; Sue edits his work and creates the costumes, many of her own design. They are not impersonators, but hope that their costumes, dialects, and demeanors will help recreate these historical characters.

In 2013, the couple created an IRS-recognized non-profit organization, Presidents Project Inc., to raise money for organizations that help wounded soldiers and their families.  With their “Presidents and First Ladies” program, the William and Sue Wills hope that by presenting the personal side of our first couples, they will become more than just names read about in history books.

Refreshments will be served. Seating for the performances is limited and reservations are required. Call Chester Village West at 860-333-8992 to RSVP by Friday, July 15. More information at chestervillagewestlcs.com or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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Nibbles: Savor This Sweet Summer Surprise — Coconut Pineapple Poke Cake

pina-colada-poke-cake_350Oh my goodness, I am usually good about varying my columns to you, but today I am sending you another dessert recipe.

In May (and I think I may have told you), when I was in Rochester to watch one of my granddaughters graduate from the University of Rochester, we had breakfast in East Bloomfield, NY, where my sister-in-law lives. On the first day, I noted a “cake” for breakfast. The second day I ordered the poke cake, which eight of us shared.

When I got home, I Googled “poke cake.” There were many recipes and the name comes from the holes you poke into a cooled cake. Two weeks ago, as I waited for my groceries to be toted up by the cashier at Stop & Shop, I saw a small pamphlet called “Poke Cakes and More” where all the tabloids are. Of course, I bought a copy ($4.99). The next day I bought the ingredient to make the Coconut Pineapple Poke Cake.

Most of the recipes (in addition to poke cakes there are mug cakes, cute cupcakes, snack cakes and dump cakes) call for a cake mix. However, you can make a scratch cake and play around with ingredients. I had all the other ingredients except for the mix. I did play with the ingredients; for the liquid, it called for the juice of crushed pineapple in addition to maraschino cherries. I added the cherry juice to the pineapple juice and used half a cup of liquid instead of one-quarter cup. It is really pretty and delicious. See if the pamphlet is still available at S&S.

Coconut Pineapple Poke Cake

From Pil Publishing International, Ltd.

Yield: 10 to 15 servings

I package (about 15 ounces) white cake, plus ingredients to prepare mix

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, (squished and one-quarter juice reserved)

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

2 packages (7 ounces each) shredded coconut, divided, and toasted

1 cup chopped maraschino cherries, drained

Method:

  1. Prepare and bake cake mix according to package direction for 13- by 9-inch pan. Cool completely.
  2. Combine pineapple, sweetened condensed milk and package of coconut in a small bowl; mix well.
  3. Poke holes in cake at one-inch intervals using fork. Pour reserved pineapple juice over cake and into holes. Spread pineapple mixture over cake. Sprinkle remaining package coconut and cherries onto cake. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until firm.
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Essex Art Association’s Late Summer 2016 on View Through Sept. 17

Painting by Pamela Ives Paterno, whose work will be on display at the Essex Art Association.

Painting by Pamela Ives Paterno, whose work will be on display at the Essex Art Association.

The fifth and final exhibition of the Essex Art Association (EAA) 2016 season is an open (judged only for awards) show whose theme is “Lost & Found.” The exhibition juror, Nathaniel Foote, a graduate of The Cooper Union, has lived and worked in New England, the Northwest, Europe, and New York City where he won two Emmy awards for art direction/production design and graphic design. $2000 will be awarded to exhibiting artists for their work in various media.

Each season five EAA artists are selected by a juror to exhibit their work in our small “Exit Gallery.” The Exit Gallery artist during this exhibition is Pamela Ives Paterno. Paterno began oil painting when she was in seventh grade but switched to watercolor when she was a young mother. She felt the lighter media called for a light subject matter and birds in flight became a fascinating challenge.

Paterno has studied drawing and painting at The Art Institute in Chicago, Drake University, and Central Connecticut State University. She has won awards in both oil and watercolor and has work in the artists’ collection in the Wethersfield Town Hall. She has illustrated five children’s books and continues to enjoy painting birds and children being caught in action.

The “Lost & Found” exhibition opening reception will be held Friday, August 26, from 6 to 8 pm. Both exhibits are open at no charge to the public Aug. 27 – Sept. 17 at the Essex Art Association Gallery located in the sunny yellow building in the center of Essex at 10 North Main Street, Essex, Conn. Gallery hours are 1 to 5 pm daily, closed Tuesdays. For more information, call 860-767-8996.

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Cappella Cantorum Presents Annual Men’s Chorus Concert This Afternoon

cappella-cantorum-for-webCENTERBROOK —  Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus presents its annual concert at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Centerbrook on Sunday, July 17, at 4 p.m.

The music will include “For the Beauty of the Earth,” “Rutter,”  “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Men of Harlech,” “Ride the Chariot,” “Va Pensiero” and “When the Saints Go Marching In,” as well as barbershop favorites.

Tickets for the Centerbrook concert are $20 (age 18 and under are free) and can be purchased at the door or through CappellaCantorum.org.

Contact Barry Asch at 860-388-2871 for more information.

 

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See a Monotype Demonstration at Maple & Main Today

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CHESTER — Try your hand at making a monotype print with Maple and Main Gallery artist Cathy DeMeo on Sunday, July 17, from noon to 2 p.m.

DeMeo, Maple and Main’s Focus Artist of the Week, explains, “Monotypes are a painterly form of printmaking made by applying ink or paint to a smooth plate, then transferring the image to paper using some form of applied pressure.” She will demonstrate monotype printing techniques and will show visitors how to make a simple print themselves.

A special selection of DeMeo’s work is on display at the gallery through Sunday.

Why on Sunday? Because Chester hosts “Always on Sundays” and each Sunday, galleries, shops, restaurants present special offerings to visitors. In warm-weather months, these offerings are companion pieces to the town’s widely popular Sunday Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

More information on Maple and Main Gallery is at www.MapleandMainGallery.com or by calling 860-526-6065.

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Three Wood-fired Pizza Pop-Up Dinner Events at Stonewell Farm, Sept. 16-18

KILLINGWORTH — Chef Paul Barron and Weekend Kitchen team up with Stonewell Farm to host three evenings of farm-to-table dining on Friday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m., plus Saturday, Sept. 17, and Sunday, Sept. 18, both at 5:30 p.m.

Gather some friends and enjoy a glass of wine, great food featuring artisanal pizzas prepared in Stonewell Farm’s wood-fired oven, and live acoustic guitar in an outdoor setting. To cap it off, the evening will conclude with a bonfire in the stone firepit. (Guests are encouraged to BYOB).

Hosts, Andrew Pighills and Michelle Becker, are award-winning garden designers and prior to the meal, will provide tours of the extensive gardens including perennial borders, an espaliered orchard, and the organic kitchen and herb gardens from which much of your meal will be sourced.

The prix-fixe menu includes appetizers, organic salad from Stonewell Farm, unlimited artisanal wood-fired pizzas highlighting locally sourced ingredients with a glass of wine accompaniment, and a dessert made with local, seasonal fruits. Tickets are $75 per person.

For more information and/or to make a reservation, visit this link.

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In US Senate, Blumenthal Presses Amtrak VP to Ditch Any Plans to Build High Speed Train Route Through SE CT, Mentioning Specifically Old Lyme

Senator Richard Blumenthal (File photo)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (File photo)

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) pressed Amtrak Vice President Stephen Gardner to ditch any plans to build a route through Southeastern Connecticut, such as Old Lyme, at a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee hearing yesterday afternoon.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has started a massive, multi-million dollar undertaking called “NEC FUTURE” to develop a vision that will meet the passenger rail needs of the Northeast in 2040. Some of the ideas included in the plan include rerouting Amtrak straight through Old Lyme.

“Unfortunately, some of the ideas the FRA has proposed are frankly half-baked, hare-brained notions that will never come to fruition – including rerouting Amtrak straight through the community of Old Lyme, Connecticut and other shoreline communities where there is strong, understandable, and well merited opposition, ” Blumenthal said.

He continued, “The FRA’s time and money in my view would be better spent improving rail rather than on plans that have no realistic notion. I hope you will agree with me that the tracks of Amtrak would never go through Old Lyme, Connecticut.”

The proposed rail line realignment outlined in Alternative 1 of the NEC FUTURE Plan would shift the main rail line northward ahead of the Old Saybrook Station and run through several Connecticut and Rhode Island shoreline communities before reconnecting to the existing segment in Kenyon, RI. Blumenthal has been a vocal advocate against this idea.

He sent a letter with Senator Murphy and Representative Courtney in February calling on the FRA to meet with Connecticut citizens along the shoreline to hear local concerns about how this proposal would impact their communities.

A clip of the Senator’s remarks are available here, and broadcast-quality video of his remarks can be downloaded here.

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Greg Shook, of Essex Savings Bank, Becomes New Chairman of Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce

 Greg Shook 2016Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank, has been elected chairman of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.

Shook will serve a one-year term, which began on June 7. He takes over for Vincent Capece, President and CEO of Middlesex Hospital. Shook was selected to serve as chairman by the nominating committee of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.

“Greg has been President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank for a number of years and has done a remarkable job with this successful and innovative community bank. He is a great man and corporate leader, and he is ready to lead the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce for the next year. We are really excited about him leading the chamber as chairman,” said Larry McHugh, President of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to being elected to this position, Shook served as the chamber’s vice chairman for the past year and was active member of the chamber’s board of directors and executive committee as well as the chamber’s Essex division.

 “I am honored and excited to serve as the new chairman for the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, an organization with over 2,175 members representing a diverse membership from small businesses to large companies. The chamber is committed to the success of its members. I look forward to working with the executive committee, the board and the chamber’s staff to add value for our members and strengthen the business community in our tremendous region,” Shook said.

Shook began his 40-plus-year career as an Assistant Manager with the Signal Finance and Mortgage Corporation in Fairfax, Va. Since that time he has worked in all facets of the banking industry including lending, investor relations, human resources, marketing, retail and, insurance.

In 1997 he joined Essex Savings Bank as Vice President of Administration and was promoted in July 1999 by the bank’s Board of Directors as the new president and chief executive officer. After only 18 months on the job, this vote of confidence served to underscore Greg’s ongoing, dedicated commitment to the bank, his community and his family.

As President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank, Shook advocates relationship building while leading the $364 million bank that has been in existence as a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. Serving the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices, two in Essex, and one in Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook, each providing a full complement of personal and business banking.

Shook has also led the bank forward with its full-service Trust Department, from zero to $300 million in assets, and is responsible for the bank’s interaction and involvement in its wholly-owned subsidiary Essex Financial Services, LLC, a full-service broker-dealer. This business has grown since 1999 from $700 million in managed assets to over $3.5 billion today.

He has served his industry across Connecticut and the entire New England Region in both a professional and altruistic manner. In 2014, Greg was elected to serve on the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston as a member of their Board of Directors. Previously he served on the first Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Other professional associations include the Connecticut Bankers Association, where he served on the Executive Committee and serves on the Legislative Committee; the American Bankers Association Mutual Banks Advisory Council; HOPE Partnership; the Community Music School in Essex; and the Middlesex Health Care System. He served as a Director to both Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services’ boards. Additionally he has been a sought after public speaker.

Shook also leads the bank in its service to the community at large. He has been the number one proponent in the continuance of the bank’s Community Investment Program through which the bank has annually donated up to 10 percent of its net profits to over 200 non-profit groups in the bank’s market area. Since the inception of the program in 1996, the bank has donated over $4 million dollars to community non-profit organizations. He maintains a grass-roots approach of sharing directly from the bank’s bottom line, which is uncommon in the industry. He shares the importance of corporate commitment to the community with the bank’s nearly 80 employees to emphasize the value of giving back especially during times of economic hardship.

For his contributions of both time and money, Shook has been recognized by many organizations throughout Connecticut including the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce with their Distinguished Citizen Award.

Shook has been married to his wife, Nancy, for 40 years and is the proud father of four children: Rachel, Ryan, Julia, Kyle, and one grandchild, Cyrus.

 

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Talking Transportation: America’s Amazing Interstate Highways

Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways, from Federal Highway Administration

Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways, from Federal Highway Administration

The 47,000 miles of highways that comprise America’s interstate highway system are nothing short of an engineering marvel, surpassed only by what China has built in the last few years.

We take them for granted, but when they were designed almost 60 years ago these super-highways presented both great opportunity and vast challenges.  The U.S. wasn’t the first with super-highways. Those bragging rights go to the Germans, whose Reichsautobahn saw cars zooming along at 100+ mph in the 1930s.

Most credit President Eisenhower, whose troops rode the Autobahn in WWII, for seeing the military value of an American equivalent, though engineering such a complex across the U.S. was far more difficult.

Of course by 1940 the U.S. already had the Pennsylvania Turnpike and by 1954 the NY State Thruway, but private toll roads were just the beginning.

To build a road expected to last, in 1955 the federal government, AAA and automakers first built a $27 million seven-mile test road near Ottawa, Illinois.  Half was concrete, the other half asphalt.  The 836 separate sections of highway had various subsurfaces and 16 bridges.  For two years Army trucks drove night and day, seeing which road designs would hold up.

Weather and traffic dictated different designs:  in desert areas the highways need be only a foot thick, while in Maine the tough winter and freeze-thaw cycles required that I-95 would be five feet thick.

Construction of the highways required moving 42 billion cubic feet of soil.  To expedite construction of I-40 in California, there was even a plan to use nuclear bombs to vaporize part of the Bristol Mountain range.

As author Dan McNichol writes in his excellent book, “The Roads that Built America,” “VIP seating was even planned for the event.  The (nuclear) bombing was to produce a cloud 12,000 feet high and a radioactive blast 133 times that of Hiroshima.”  Needless to say, the mountains were moved using more conventional explosives.

Outside of Greenbelt, MD, another site tested the design of road signs – white lettering on a black background, white on blue (already adopted by the NY Thruway) or, what proved to be the winning model, white on green.

Just 5,200 of the original 41,000 miles of interstates were to be built in urban areas, but those few miles accounted for almost half of the $425 billion total cost.  By 1992 the system was deemed “completed.”  Bragging rights for the longest of the interstates goes to I-90 running 3,020 miles from Boston to Seattle and our own beloved I-95, which runs 1,920 miles from the Canadian border to Miami.

As anyone who drives on I-95 in Connecticut knows, the interstates have far surpassed their expected traffic load and are in need of billions of repairs.  Little did we know 60 years ago what our automotive future might bring.

Jim Cameron

Editor’s Note: 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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Eversource Offers Service to Identify Where Cooled Air May Leak From Your Home

air-leak-in-house-wasted-energyAREAWIDE — With summer underway, many of us are trying to wrap up home improvement projects so that we can kick back and relax when we have time off. However, as you are finishing up these projects, don’t forget about making sure that the cool air you’ll be paying for this summer stays in your home.

We all know that air can escape under a door and through leaky windows. But did you know that it can also leak through less obvious places like ductwork, outlets, attic entrances, recessed lights and moldings?

Beyond driving up energy costs, air leaks can affect your home’s durability, comfort and overall indoor environment. According to the Department of Energy, air movement is the reason most water vapor problems appear within a home or building. From mold growth and poor air quality to structural damage, we all probably have or know someone who has experienced the negative effects of moisture in a home.

One of the most effective ways residents of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook can check this off their to-do list is to sign up for Home Energy Solutions℠ (HES) and address those areas where conditioned air is leaking out of your home head-on. For $99.00, an Eversource-authorized contractor will come to your home or apartment, identify the areas that need caulk and foam and make the repairs on the spot.  While every home has different needs, the professional air sealing alone is worth an average of about $600.

The expert will also evaluate your home’s overall efficiency performance and fix additional problems, like inefficient lighting, hot water pipe insulation and water flow from faucets and showerheads. Then they will provide you with a customized plan with other efficiency recommendations, valuable rebates and financing options to help you save energy, money and keep your home comfortable.

HES is an easy process that will not only help you save energy and money long-term, but will help your community be greener and also stay warmer this winter.

Between 2012 and 2015, all four towns took the pledge and have been active participants in Clean Energy Communities (CEC), the nationally-recognized Energize Connecticut program that help cities and towns save energy and increase the installation of renewable energy. Eversource is currently working with each one to reach CEC program goals and reduce municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent by 2018.

In each town, homeowners and renters that participate in HES can help earn a grant, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. These “Bright Idea Grants” can be used on a community-selected energy saving project, like the installation of an electric car charging station at town hall or new LED lighting for a school.

To sign up for HES, visit EnergizeCT.com or call 877-WISE-USE (877-947-3873).

Editor’s Note: This column was submitted by Eversource and written by Eversource’s energy efficiency expert, Enoch Lenge.

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It’s “Plane” and Simple: Deep River HS Hosts Talk on Winthrop’s Early Manufacturing, Sept. 14

Thomas Elliott will give a talk on

Thomas Elliott will give a talk on “The Planes of Winthrop” at the Deep River Historical Society, Sept. 14.

DEEP RIVER: Thomas Elliott, well-respected local architect from Westbrook, will be presenting an interesting program and exhibition on the wood making “Planes of Winthrop -The Men and Their Stories.” This event will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Carriage House on the grounds of the Deep River Historical Society at 145 Main Street, Deep River. The event is free and sponsored by the Deep River Historical Society Museum.

Thomas’s exhibit will stay up through Sunday, September 17 from 10-2 as part of the Deep River’s town wide Family Day. Tom was born in Chicago and attended the University of Illinois. He has a fascinating family history in the local area with generations of ancestors that trace back to the 1700’s. Tom’s Half House Farm in Westbrook was originally built in 1735 and has gone through many restorations.

The manufacturing of wood planes was a huge part of establishing Winthrop along with its other factories and small village center that is located in the Northwest section of Deep River.

Also, as a continuation of this talk and the Deep River Family Day events there will be walking tours offered at the historic Winthrop Cemetery on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. These tours, with maps, will provide stories of the men of Sayville, now Winthrop, who built the woodworking planes used to shape precision moldings for early homes and furniture.  Maps will be distributed and gravesites flagged with biographical sketches of these businesses, along with genealogical information of the Denison men: William, John, Lester and Gilbert W. and the families of the Bulkleys and Gladwins.

The Winthrop Cemetery is located on Rte. 80 just a short distance from the light intersection in Winthrop.

Wade’s Country Store (497 Winthrop Road, known as Rte. 80) is located on one of the actual mills sites and will offer daily specials named after these early Winthrop businessmen and founders of this small settlement.

For questions, contact:  Rhonda Forristall, Curator at (860) 526-5086, Kathy Schultz at (860) 526-2161 or Sue Wisner at (860)-526-9103.

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Chester Garden Club Hosts Presentation on Attracting Butterflies, Birds, Sept. 13

butterflyOn Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m, the Chester Garden Club will be hosting a presentation by Dustyn Nelson from The Garden Barn Nursery & Landscape located in Vernon, Conn., on “Attracting Butterflies and Birds in the Garden” at the United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT. Nelson will offer some great suggestions and ideas on what annuals, perennials and shrubs/trees are best for attracting our winged and feathered friends.

Members of the Chester Garden Club and the public are invited to attend.  The cost for guests will be $5.

For additional information, contact Chester Garden Club Co-President Brenda Johnson at (860) 526-2998

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Chester Village West’s Fall Lifelong Learning Program Opens With “History of Hollywood,” Part 2 on Sept. 13

Jason Day, Ph.D

Jared Day, Ph.D

CHESTER — Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, will offer six lectures and informative presentations by biographers, historians and medical experts in September, October and November. The talks, which are being presented in partnership with the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning and Middlesex Hospital, are free and open to the public. Registration is required. Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, CT 06412.

The series kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 4:30 to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 13, from 4 to 5 p.m. with “History of Hollywood: “Icons of the 1950s.” Presented by historian Dr. Jared Day, this two-part lecture will examine the gradual decline of the studio system in the 1950s. Special focus will be given to mega-stars such as Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor.

A Q&A and reception with light refreshments will be held after the program.

Pre-registration is required. Registration will be limited to 40 registrants per lecture or presentation. Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register for one or more programs, call 860.322.6455, email ChesterVillageWest@LCSnet.com or visithttp://www.chestervillagewestlcs.com/events-and-resources/lifelong-learning-program/. Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, CT 06412.

Located in historic Chester, Conn., Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since the independent seniors community was founded more than 25 years ago, Chester Village West residents have directed and embraced active learning.

Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being.

Find out more at chestervillagewestlcs.com; visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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See ‘Noises Off!’ Performed by Saybrook Stage at ‘The Kate’ Through Sunday

Saybrook Stage Company cast of "Noises Off!"

The Saybrook Stage Company cast of “Noises Off!” gathers for a photo.

It has been said that “once is not enough” to catch all of the jokes and sight gags in Frayn’s hilarious farce Noises Off!

The play opens with a bewildered road company flailing through the dress rehearsal of a flop called “Nothing On” – a silly romantic comedy scheduled to open the next night in a small suburban town. The second act of the play ingeniously presents a backstage view of the same show a month into the run showcasing all the funny drama taking place with the actors – love, lust, jealousy, suspicions and heartbreak. In the final act, the backstage confusion erupts and spills onto the live staged play creating some of the funniest and most outrageous moments of the night.

Noises Off! has often been billed as the funniest farce ever written.

LogoLargeThe Saybrook Stage Company returns to The Kate with their production of Noises Off! by Michael Frayn from Thursday, July 14, through Sunday, July 17.
Noises Off! originally opened on Broadway in 1983 to rave reviews and ran for over 550 performances, earning several awards including Best Outstanding Ensemble. It was revived on Broadway in 2001 and again this past year and has won numerous awards. The play is a unique glimpse into the backstage mechanics of rehearsing for a play – made even more real by having the physical set turned around after the first act so the audience can see and experience what happens backstage during a live performance.

The Saybrook Stage Company returns once again to The Kate in this hilarious comedy directed by Martin Scott Marchitto. This will be their 12th production at The Kate — more recent previous plays are Rumors, The Wayside Motor Inn, Moon Over Buffalo and this past January to a sold-out audience, Deathtrap.

Performances will be from July 14 through July 16 at 8 p.m. and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 17, with a newly added matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 16.

Visit www.thekate.org or call 877-503-1286 and reserve your tickets now.

The Saybrook Stage Company was founded as a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing quality local theater on the Connecticut Shoreline at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Saybrook Stage welcomes actors of all levels and abilities – and anyone who genuinely loves the arts – to come together and share in the experience that only live theater can provide. The actors that have been part of the Saybrook Stage Company to date have varied backgrounds and “day jobs” from teachers, artists and homemakers to lawyers, business people and judges.

The Company looks forward to producing many more quality productions at the beautiful venue of The Kate and continuing to thrive in this wonderful, artistic region of Connecticut.

Visit www.SaybrookStage.org for more information about Saybrook Stage Company.

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Marshview Gallery Features Diane Aldi DePaola in July

AOM 07 2016 DePaolo

Oil by Diane Aldi DePaola

OLD SAYBROOK – The July artist of the month at Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors will be Diane Aldi DePaola.

Diane retired from a career as a psychiatric nurse.  She joined the board of the Tracy Art Center, an art center in Old Saybrook, which encouraged her to begin drawing and painting. She has studied with Nancy Tracy, Bernie McTigue, Noel Belton and Leif Nilsson.

Diane enjoys painting with oil best… its smell, its thick texture, the way it covers the canvas like frosting on a cake.  To get that “certain effect,” she has been known to use Q-tips, rags and even kitchen utensils. Painting has taught her to see differently than before…. color, light, nature. Painting challenges her assumptions about the color of things in life: the grass is not always green, the sky is often not blue.

Diane hopes her paintings will bring the same joy and fun to those who see them. View or purchase her paintings on-line at dianedepaola.com or contact her at 860-388-6353.

The Estuary Council is at 220 Main St., Old Saybrook. More information at 860-388-1611.

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Closed-Door Meeting on High Speed Rail Proposal Held July 7 in Old Lyme; Update From SECoast

The following was posted July 10 on the SECoast (the non-profit fighting the high-speed rail proposal that impacts Old Lyme) Facebook page:

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker (Photo from ConnDOT)

“Thursday, July 7th, from 1:30 to 4:00 pm, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker held a closed-door meeting at the Old Lyme Town Hall. The invitation list included: First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, State Rep. Devin Carney, State Sen. Paul Formica, Rod Haramut for RiverCOG, Gregory Stroud for SECoast, James Redeker, Pam Sucato, Legislative Director at the Connecticut DOT; Tom Allen, for Sen. Blumenthal’s office; Emily Boushee for Senator Murphy; John Forbis and BJ Bernblum. Despite requests by SECoast, statewide partner Daniel Mackay of Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation was not invited to attend. Officials from the Federal Railroad Administration, and project consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff did not attend.

Prior to the meeting, Stroud circulated a series of questions for Commissioner Redeker and a request for a public meeting to be held in Old Lyme. These questions are included below.

In over two hours of talks, Commissioner Redeker claimed little knowledge of current FRA planning. Redeker declined to explain mid-February internal emails between Redeker and aides, uncovered through Freedom of Information laws, indicating knowledge of such plans in mid-February. Redeker also declined to host or request a public meeting in New London County, and referred such requests to the FRA.

Asked by SECoast if he would agree to provide responses or follow-up answers to the submitted questions, Redeker replied, “Nope.” Asked whether this refusal was a matter of willingness or a matter of ability, Redeker suggested both. Asked whether he could answer any of the questions, Redeker responded yes to only Question 9.

During discussion, Redeker did indicate a slightly more accelerated decision-making process at FRA. He suggested a mid-August announcement of FRA plans, and a Record of Decision that would formalize plans by the end of 2016. Redeker also emphasized the importance of FRA plans, including the coastal bypass, to insure funding and to maximize future flexibility for state and federal officials. Redeker held out the possibility of significantly expanded commuter rail service, but when given the opportunity, made no assurances that an aerial structure through the historic district in Old Lyme was off the table.

Tom Allen, representing Senator Blumenthal’s office, gave a formal statement. Allen explained that the evidence uncovered in mid-February email came as “a surprise,” and promised to “push” for a public meeting by the end of the month, and if not, by the end of the year.

Earlier in the day, Redeker attended a large gathering of state and local officials in New London in recognition of the newly-created Connecticut Port Authority. This gathering carried over into the smaller closed-door meeting in Old Lyme, referenced above.

Questions:

1. In response to the release of internal Conn DOT emails, Spokesman Judd Everhart stated that “the DOT still is awaiting a decision from the FRA on a ‘preferred alternative’ for an upgrade of the corridor.” Should we conclude from this statement that the SECoast press release is incorrect? To your knowledge, has Parsons Brinckerhoff or the FRA either formally or informally “selected a vision, or even potential routes, for the Northeast Corridor”? And if so, when?

2. What is the current time frame for selecting a preferred alternative, preparing the Tier 1 Final EIS, the formal announcement and securing a ROD? And where are we, as of 7/7, on this time line?

3. If a Kenyon to Saybrook bypass is selected as part of the preferred alternative, and subsequent study concludes that a tunnel is infeasible, will the FRA and Conn DOT rule out any possible reversion to a bridge or aerial structure at or near Old Lyme?

4. Given that the Kenyon to Old Saybrook bypass is usually understood as the defining feature of Alternative 1, what is the significance of placing this bypass instead into an Alternative 2 framework? To your knowledge, has Parsons Brinckerhoff or the FRA, either formally or informally, selected Alternative 2 with modifications as the preferred alternative?

5. To your knowledge, does Parsons Brinckerhoff, the FRA or Conn DOT have more detailed maps of the proposed Kenyon to Saybrook bypass? And are you willing to provide them to us?

6. In your discussion of “4 track capacity to Boston,” should we understand this to mean a 2 track bypass in addition to the 2 lines existing along the shoreline?

7. Given that the Kenyon to Saybrook bypass was a relatively late addition to the NEC Planning process, do you feel comfortable that the bypass has received sufficient public and professional scrutiny to be included as part of a preferred alternative? Can you explain the genesis and inclusion of the bypass after the original 98 plans had been pared down to 3 action alternatives?

8. Conn DOT email released as part of a FOI request suggests a lack of formal and informal outreach to Old Lyme and RiverCog prior to the close of the initial comment deadline, when compared to formal and informal outreach statewide to nonprofits, mayors and Cogs. Please clarify the timing and extent of outreach to the region impacted by the proposed bypass, and to Old Lyme in particular.

9. What can we do to help you in the ongoing NEC Future process in southeastern Connecticut and to prevent these sorts of difficulties from cropping up in the future?”

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Connecticut Valley Camera Club Hosts Exhibit in Madison Through Sept. 29

The signature photo for the Connecticut Camera Club's exhibition at Scranton Public Library during September.

“Plowing the Field” taken in Rockport, Maine, by Ed McCaffrey is one of the signature photos for the Connecticut Valley Camera Club’s exhibition at Scranton Public Library during September.

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut Valley Camera Club will host a photography exhibit at the Scranton Memorial Library, 801 Boston Post Rd., Madison with an opening reception on Thursday, Sept. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m.  All are welcome to the reception. Viewers will be able to see a variety of photos (open subjects) from 17 local artists from several southeastern Connecticut towns:

Alex Dupuy – Middletown, Ellen Falbowski – Haddam, Dean Rupp – Killingworth, Dama DeManche – Chester, Diane Lindsay – Chester, Elin Dolle – Deep River, Ed McCaffrey – Essex, Richard Spearrin – Essex, Carin Roaldset – Saybrook, Sally Perreten – Saybrook, Stein Roaldset – Old Saybrook, Laura Reynolds – Clinton, Peter Chow – Clinton, Dianne Roberts – Madison, Jim Fennema – Hadlyme, Linda Waters – Salem and Victor Filepp – Gales Ferry.

The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 29.

Meetings are held the first Monday of the month at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, CT (except for the September meeting which will be on Sept. 19.)  The topic for the September meeting will be an educational program on how to have your images printed and framed for exhibits.  New members are always welcome.

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Walk with Essex Land Trust on Johnson Farm This Morning

Explore Johnson Farm, the Essex Land Trust's newest acquisition, on July 9.

Explore Johnson Farm, an Essex Land Trust recent acquisition, on July 9.

ESSEX – Come explore one of the latest Essex Land Trust land acquisitions, a 49-acre jewel of fields and forest in Ivoryton on Saturday, July 9 at 9 a.m.  

The farm belonged to Murwin and Polly Johnson and was acquired by the Essex Land Trust last year. Trails have been created across the fields and through the wooded areas. There are beautiful open sky vistas from various locations. The fields were once home to Border Leicester sheep known for their superior wool. Steward Dana Hill will lead this exploration of the largest open farmland left in Essex.  

The walk will take 1 1/2 hours. It is easy to moderate walking for all ages. Refreshments will be provided. Rain/thunderstorms cancel.

Park in the ELT parking lot on Read Hill Street, off of Comstock Road in Ivoryton. Overflow parking will be available at the Ivoryton Congregational Church, Main Street, Ivoryton. It is a short walk to the Read Hill Street entrance.

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“Mahogany Memories” Boat Show Comes to Essex Today

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The heritage of wooden boats comes to life on the docks of the Connecticut River Museum. Photo by Jody Dole

ESSEX – The Southern New England Chapter (SNEC) of the Antique and Classic Boat Society will present the 32nd annual “Mahogany Memories” boat show on the grounds and docks of the Connecticut River Museum on Saturday, July 9, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Admission is free.

The show will feature numerous examples of the finest classic wooden and fiberglass boats commonly seen in this area in the last century.  Boats built by Chris Craft, Century, Lyman, Gar Wood, Elco and many more will be showcased.  Boat owners will be on hand to talk about their boats, exchange ideas and share the joys of using and preserving these beautiful “woodies” and other memorable classics.

SNEC president David McFarlin said, “The SNEC members are always excited to participate in this show at the Connecticut River Museum.  They all work hard at restoring and maintaining these wonderful boats and enjoy showing them to the public.”

According to Christopher Dobbs, executive director of the Connecticut River Museum, “We are pleased to host this incredible regional show that celebrates the heritage of fun on the water.  It is a wonderful event for all ages that builds interest and appreciation for the wooden boat tradition.”

The Connecticut River Museum’s Boatbuilding Workshop will be on view throughout the weekend.  The workshop, geared towards first-time boat builders, allows participants to work with experienced volunteers and go home at the end of the weekend with a 15-foot kayak.  The museum’s team of boat building volunteers, led by Paul Kessinger a local wooden boat builder from Guilford, have been running the workshops for three years now.  Kessinger said, “This is a perfect activity for adults or families. Best yet, they will get years of enjoyment out of their kayaks.”

For the second year in a row, classic cars from the mahogany boat era will be on display.  Many of them with mahogany dashboards, chrome hardware and elegant brightwork complement the boats. In addition, marine supplies, artwork, clothing and boat merchandise will be available for purchase and a raffle will be held at the end of the show.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street on the historic Essex waterfront.  For more information on the Mahogany Memories Antique and Classic Boat Show and other Connecticut River Museum programs and events, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.
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Final Day of OL Church’s White Elephant Sale Today, Opens at 8am: Most Items Half Price

Patiently waiting for the bell to chime.

Patiently waiting for the bell to chime.

This is a very special year for the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme because the Ladies Benevolent Society is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the perennially popular White Elephant Sale (WES). The sale will be held on Friday, July 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday, July 9, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Always a big draw are the huge number of bikes for sale at bargain prices.

Always a big draw are the huge number of bikes for sale at bargain prices.

The first rummage sale was held in one room of the church in 1920 and raised $200, which was a surprisingly large amount of money at the time.  In 1936, the name White Elephant Sale was given to the annual event and has been used ever since thus creating this 80th anniversary.  During the 1950s, the sale briefly expanded to include a country fair, horse show, and square dance, but, in recent decades, the sale adopted its current format and has become the two-day tradition we know today.

For those new to the town or folk who have never participated, this is one of the main events on both the town and church calendars.  It all starts with the intake period when unwanted items from your house or yard – perhaps your basement, attic or closets — can be dropped off at the church.  For a full list of items that can be accepted and also, those that cannot, visit the church’s website at www.fccol.org and click on White Elephant Sale and then Intake List.

Intake begins this year on Thursday, June 23, and runs daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Friday, July 1.  There will also be three evening intake sessions from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, Tuesday, June 28, and Thursday, June 30.

And they're off! The annual White Elephant Sale starts each year on the first strike of 9 a.m. on the designated Friday.

And they’re off! The annual White Elephant Sale starts each year on the first strike of 9 a.m. on the designated Friday.

Garage, tag and rummage sales may be every day affairs, but few – if any — can match the size and color of this one.  The sale items are organized into some 24 departments with everything from sporting goods to boutique items, books to furniture, art to electronics, dishes to shoes, clothes and toys to antiques and tools – all spread out in separate departments in tents and inside the church.

The WES has grown so large that it has become a true “community event” since many of the donations are from non-church members and a significant number of the volunteers are also from outside the church. Large crowds line up to wait for the church’s bell to strike at 9 a.m. on the Friday when the sale begins. The second day starts earlier at 8 a.m. but still draws a substantial crowd since most departments offer their remaining items at half-price on the Saturday.

The sale raises an extraordinary amount of money — almost $80,000 in 2015 — for missions and good works both locally and throughout the world.  Some of the beneficiaries include food pantries, health organizations, family support centers, children’s programs, literacy volunteers, affordable housing, and disaster relief worldwide.

For more information about the sale, to arrange pick-up of large items  or if you would like to volunteer to help in any capacity — whether with intake, the sale itself, or clean-up — call the church office at 860.434.8686.

See you at The Sale!

For more information about the church or ladies’ benevolent Society, contact 860.434.8686 or fccol@fccol.org or visit orwww.fccol.org

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Author Talk at Essex Library with Betsy Lerner, Author of “The Bridge Ladies,” Sept. 8

betsylerner

Betsy Lerner

bridgeladiesESSEX –– Betsy Lerner’s mother Roz has played bridge with the same four women for more than 50 years. Betsy grew up with these women without knowing their stories, including her mother’s.

Betsy Lerner’s book, “The Bridge Ladies,” is a humorous, poignant recounting of learning about her mother by learning to play bridge. “What began as a project of friendly curiosity soon became a cherished ritual.” The memoir has garnered universal praise including a starred review from “Publishers Weekly.”

Lerner is also the author of “The Forest for the Trees” and “Food and Loathing.” She received an MFA from Columbia University in Poetry and was the recipient of a Thomas Wolfe Poetry Prize and an Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize, and she was one of PEN’s Emerging Writers.

Betsy Lerner will be at the Essex Library on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. Books for purchase and signing will be available from R.J. Julia at the event.

Admission is free and open to all. Call the library at 860-767-1560 to register or for more information. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

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House Approves Courtney-Sponsored Amendment Restricting Sale of Plum Island

Representative Joe Courtney

Representative Joe Courtney

Local Congressional Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced yesterday, Thursday, July 7, that a bipartisan amendment he had led, along with Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Peter King (R-NY), to prohibit the sale of Plum Island was passed by the House of Representatives.

The amendment, which will prohibit the General Services Administration (GSA) from using any of its operational funding to process or complete a sale of Plum Island, was made to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2017..

In a joint statement, the Representatives said, “Our amendment passed today is a big step toward permanently protecting Plum Island as a natural area. Plum Island is a scenic and biological treasure located right in the middle of Long Island Sound. It is home to a rich assortment of rare plant and animal species that need to be walled off from human interference.”

The statement continued, “Nearly everyone involved in this issue agrees that it should be preserved as a natural sanctuary – not sold off to the highest bidder for development.”  Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump had shown interest in the property at one time.

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In 2008, the federal government announced plans to close the research facility on Plum Island and relocate to Manhattan, Kansas. Current law states that Plum Island must be sold publicly to help finance the new research facility.

Aerial view of Plum Island.

Aerial view of Plum Island.

The lawmakers  joint statement explained, “The amendment will prevent the federal agency in charge of the island from moving forward with a sale by prohibiting it from using any of its operational funding provided by Congress for that purpose,” concluding, ” This will not be the end of the fight to preserve Plum Island, but this will provide us with more time to find a permanent solution for protecting the Island for generations to come.”

For several years, members from both sides of Long Island Sound have been working in a bipartisan manner to delay and, ultimately, repeal the mandated sale of this ecological treasure. Earlier this year, the representatives, along with the whole Connecticut delegation, cosponsored legislation that passed the House unanimously to delay the sale of Plum Island.

 

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Experience ‘The Magic of Danny Diamond’ at Ivoryton Playhouse This Morning

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IVORYTON — “Danny Diamond is one of Connecticut’s most in-demand kids and family magicians working today!”

The Ivoryton Playhouse is opening its summer – full of fun and educational programs all geared towards children! On Friday, July 8, at 11 a.m.,  head over to the Ivoryton Playhouse to see Danny Diamond, a family-friendly comedy magician and balloon-twister who’s been bringing his unique brand of humor and magical entertainment to kids and families all across Connecticut and New York for over 12 years.

Combining magic, comedy, balloons, music, juggling, and even puppets – Danny’s performances are original, diverse, and a ton of fun! This is not your typical, cookie-cutter “kiddie” magic show.

The Playhouse is proud to present new and exciting live performances featuring some of Connecticut’s most popular, professional artists.  Performances are for children of all ages.  Help your child discover the magic of theater this summer at The Ivoryton Playhouse.

All performances take place on Fridays at 11 a.m.  All tickets $14. For tickets, call 860-767-7318 or purchase them online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.
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‘Plywood Cowboy’ Plays a ‘Concert in the Garden’ Tonight

Photo courtesy of Steve Dedman

Photo courtesy of Steve Dedman

CHESTER – Plywood Cowboy will present a Special Friday Night Concert at the Leif Nilsson Studio on Friday, July 8, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Formed in 2015 in the Connecticut River Valley, Plywood Cowboy is poised to rewrite the American Songbook. “With great harmonies, clever songs & tasty guitar pickin’, Plywood Cowboy is one of the best new bands on the Americana scene,” said Chris Bergson, NY Blues Hall of Fame Inductee. Bottle-fed on roots music, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Steve Dedman and his band strike deep at the soul of American music with songs about hound dogs, heart strings, and the vice of the bottle.

Plywood Cowboy is reaching new audiences through their expanding live performance schedule, and is currently writing and recording new material that is on track for a debut album release in 2016. Their music reflects decades of playing and performing experience by Steve and his band mates. Combining Austin Gray’s ever-present harmonies and palpable telecaster work, Shane Tanner’s warm Fender bass lines and Henry Yorzinski’s exacting drumwork, Plywood Cowboy’s music sits comfortably on the ears of its listeners.

The band has appeared numerous times on iCRV Radio and has been a featured band on WESU 88.1FM ‘Voice of the City’. They’ve also found the spotlight on stages throughout Connecticut including Infinity Hall and The Kate, and destination venues from Monadnock Pumpkin Festival (NH) to Puckett’s (TN). In addition to the core lineup, guest musicians are often featured at live performances, including Emily Marcello on violin, and others on pedal steel, tenor saxophone, and banjo.

Cowboys of the airwaves, no one in the band owns any cows. Not as of yet, at least. Steve learned to play guitar from his father, David, and family friend John Hanus, who would pick guitars and sing their favorite country songs over their CB radios, and take the time on Sundays to teach Steve how to pick in country-western style. From Kris Kristopherson to Lefty Frizzell, John and David taught a young Steve true American music. Few knew John by his real name, but many knew him by his CB handle, “Plywood Cowboy,” a reference to his day job hauling lumber around the Northeast. Though both CB’ers have left the airwaves, it is through the band’s music that their influences will forever be heard.

Follow the herd with Plywood Cowboy on the path to release their debut album and enjoy the sounds of “incredible, toe-tapping, quality Ameriana music” (Ibby Carothers, iCRV Radio). More at http://www.plywoodcowboy.com/

A $20 donation at the door is requested. Feel free to BYOB and picnic and enjoy the outdoor bistro style seating in the amphitheater (inside the gallery if inclement weather).Gates open a half hour before the show. First come first seated. Sorry, no pets allowed.  For more information, call (860) 526-2077 or visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com. The studio is at 1 Spring Street, in the heart of Chester Center.

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Buy Tickets Now for Essex Community Fund’s Evening at Ivoryton Playhouse, Sept. 8

Essex Community Fund event in 2015.

Essex Community Fund event in 2015.

ESSEX – Tickets are selling quickly for the Essex Community Fund’s Evening at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Thursday, Sept. 8. Featuring one of the world’s most popular musicals, The Man of La Mancha,  ECF’s Evening at the Playhouse stars Connecticut’s own David Pittsinger.

Inspired by Cervantes’ Don Quixote, considered by many to be “the best literary work ever written,” The Man of La Mancha features the antics of Don Quixote and his faithful sidekick Sancho Panza. Come hear songs like “The Impossible Dream” and “I, Don Quixote” and many others.

Pre-show reception and festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. under the tent with a post-show “Meet the Cast” dessert and coffee. All proceeds go to support ECF’s ongoing mission to enhance the quality of life for the residents of our three villages. For tickets ($75) or to make a donation, contact a board member or visit www.essexcommunityfund.org.

The Essex Community Fund began over 65 years ago with the same goal – helping local non-profits provide much needed services for the residents of our three villages. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life of residents in Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton. This is accomplished by identifying community needs, providing financial support, and forging partnerships with local non-profit organizations.

Some recent initiatives include Compassion Counts: Exploring Mental Wellness, Teen Hunger Initiative, and The Bridge Fund, as well as continuing involvement with the Fuel Assistance Program, The Shoreline Soup Kitchen, Essex Park and Recreation, and the Essex Board of Trade programs and events. For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.essexcommunityfund.org.

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Auditions for Chester Meeting House Players Comedy, Sept. 7 and 8

meeting house players tinyCHESTER – The Meeting House Players are pleased to announce open auditions for John Cariani’s witty, romantic comedy “Almost Maine.”   Auditions will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 7 and Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Meeting House located at 4 Liberty Street in Chester.

“Almost Maine” is a series of nine romantic vignettes, set on a cold, clear midwinter night in the mythical town of Almost, Maine.  As the northern lights drape across the night sky, the residents of Almost find themselves falling in and out of love in unanticipated and often hilarious ways. The play’s flexible casting of roles for men and woman ages mid-20s to late 30s/40 may provide actors with an opportunity to create multiple roles.

Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script.  Directed by Debbie Alldredge, the production will run for five performances opening at the Meeting House in Chester on Friday, Oct. 28, continuing on Oct. 29 and Nov. 4 and 5.  In addition to the four 8 p.m. evening performances, there will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 5.   For additional information please contact Deb Alldredge at TheMeetingHousePlayers@gmail.com or at 860-526-3684.

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38th Annual Chester Road Race Attracts 800+ Runners

And they're off! (Al Malpa photo)

And they’re off! (Al Malpa photo)

On a glorious Fourth of July morning, 800-plus runners (and a few walkers) participated in the 38th Fourth on the Fourth Chester Road Race. Four miles, up and down Chester’s many hills, the race is a major fundraiser for the Chester Rotary Club and attracts many of the same runners year after year.
Chris Rosenberg of Old Saybrook, the store manager of Sound Runner, was the first place winner with a time of 21:13. Chris won the race in 2015 as well. (Al Malpa photo)

Chris Rosenberg of Old Saybrook, the store manager of Sound Runner, was the first place winner with a time of 21:13. Chris won the race in 2015 as well. (Al Malpa photo)

Nick Fresenko, of Louisville, Ohio, was second overall. His time was 21:38. (Al Malpa photo)

Nick Fresenko, of Louisville, Ohio, was second overall. His time was 21:38. (Al Malpa photo)

Coming in third place overall, Lee Cattanach, with a time of 21:54. (Al Malpa photo)

Coming in third place overall, Lee Cattanach of New London, with a time of 21:54. (Al Malpa photo)

 

The list of winners in each category can be seen here: 2016 road race results

 

Cheryl Anderson was the first woman to win, with a time of 23:11. (Al Malpa photo)

Cheryl Anderson was the first woman to win, with a time of 23:11. (Al Malpa photo)

 

The POW/MIA veterans group comes every year to run in the Chester Road Race. (Al Malpa photo)

The POW/MIA veterans group comes every year to run in the Chester Road Race. (Al Malpa photo)

 

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Literacy Volunteers Recognizes 23 Students at Awards Ceremony

Student Awards 2016

AREAWIDE – Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore celebrated its 24th Annual Students Awards program at St. Mary’s of the Visitation Church in Clinton on May 26. Roughly 50 tutors, students and guests enjoyed an evening of conversation and international potluck cuisine.

Each year the students of the Basic Reading and English as a Second Language program are recognized for their Annual Essay Contest accomplishments and for other achievements they have attained.   (Each year an essay contest for Basic Reading and English as a Second Language students and achievements attained by them are recognized at this event.)

Essay Contest award winners included: in High Advanced ESL (English as a Second Language), Gloria Robison of Westbrook; IN Low Advanced ESL, Abigail Cruz of Deep River; in High Intermediate ESL, Gloria Saldarriaga of Clinton; in Low Intermediate ESL, Teresa Orellana of Westbrook; in High Beginning ESL, Emerson Ferreira of Clinton; in Beginning ESL, Ahmad Khallouf of Clinton; and in Basic Reading, Mary Rubino of Middletown.

Second place winners were: in Beginning ESL, Umelia Cardenas of Westbrook; in Low Intermediate ESL, Keith Dutra of Clinton; in High Intermediate ESL, Diego Valverde of New Haven; and in High Advanced ESL, Jenny Idrovo of Deep River.

Four students were recognized for perseverance in obtaining citizenship. They were: Abigail Cruz and Justa Maignan of Deep River, Katherine Wu of Killingworth and Meiying Wu of Clinton. Ten students received recognition for making significant progress or reaching a milestone they established with their tutors with citations for Outstanding Student Participation.

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Chester Library Says Goodbye to Linda Fox, Hello to Stephanie Romano

A reception for outgoing Library Director Linda Fox and incoming Director Stephanie Romano will be held at Chester Library on July 7. (Skip Hubbard photo)

A reception for outgoing Library Director Linda Fox and incoming Director Stephanie Romano will be held at Chester Library on July 7. (Skip Hubbard photo)

CHESTER – After 13-plus years of being the Director of Chester Public Library, Linda Fox retires from her position on Thursday, July 7, and Stephanie Romano stepped into Linda’s position full-time on July 6.

Linda wrote the Library Board of Trustees in February, to tell them of her plan to leave the library this summer. She said, “Being a Public Library Director is a job that I never expected to love, but love it I have for more than a decade.  It has been challenging, rewarding and a great pleasure to work for and with you, the library staff, the Friends, and the people of Chester.  We’ve accomplished good things together, haven’t we?  The library is more technologically current, staff and service hours have been expanded, and the community is more engaged with the library, not to mention that we are closer than ever to creating an accessible, 21st-century library building for the community.  The thought of not being around for the opening of those doors brings with it a true sense of disappointment.”

Longtime Library Friends member Sally Murray said, “Linda has consistently given her all, and then some, for the people of Chester; her tireless efforts have brightened our town in ways most people will never recognize but which benefit all of us.”

Longtime Library Board of Trustees Chairman Terry Schreiber, who hired Linda in 2002 and Stephanie this spring, added, “We feel Stephanie will be a perfect match for our library. She is enthusiastic and willing to reach out to people to continue to make Chester Library a warm, friendly, welcoming place.  We will miss Linda very very much – she was the face of the library for so many years – but we wish her well and know she looks forward to new  adventures.”

Stephanie Romano comes to Chester from the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, where she worked since May 2007, most recently as Access Services Manager (see separate article on LymeLine.com here). Describing herself, Stephanie wrote, “My path to being a librarian has not been a direct one! I worked at Research Books (a book distributor for corporate libraries) in Madison for about eight years before deciding to go back to school. The work I was involved in with Research Books involved interaction with librarians on all different levels and was the reason I chose to pursue a degree in Library Science.  I loved the fact that every librarian I spoke with, no matter which field they were in, loved their job.  I knew that I also wanted a job that I was going to love after 25 years.”

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A la Carte Presents a Summer Special: Pineapple-Coconut Cream Pie

Woman's Day Pineapple-Coconut Cream Pie

Woman’s Day Pineapple-Coconut Cream Pie

This past weekend began with dinner in Mystic at Pink Basil, the third-base hit for the couple who own Thai Sawasdee in Groton, Spice Club in Niantic and, now, Pink Basil (see my Nibbles on the appetizer I adored). The next day was a 50th anniversary on Federal Hill  in Providence for friends I have known for years.

After that, I drove to Griswold for an incredible food extravaganza on a lake. Much of the food came from their smoker while desserts included two pies, a cream cake and cannoli I had bought in Providence.

Sunday was a lovely party in Lyme for which I’d made guacamole with ten avocados. Host John’s sister made her amazing ratatouille, this time topped with Gruyere.

My favorite, though, was a lemon meringue pie that, like the sirens in the Odyssey, beckoned me to slice just one more piece. I realized when I got home that I don’t have a recipe for lemon meringue pie. How is that possible? Please, please send me your favorite recipe. In the meantime, here is a great pie I wrote about 11 years ago.

Pineapple-Coconut Cream Pie
From Woman’s Day, May 31, 2005

Yield: Serves 8

Crust
20 crisp oatmeal cookies, like Nabisco Honey Maid (I use Quaker 100% Natural Cereal)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, melted

Filling
Three-quarters cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, in its own juice, well drained, juice reserved
1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
yolks from 5 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, cut small
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick spray.

Crust: Process cookies or cereal in the bowl of a food processor. Add melted butter and whir. Press over bottom and up sides of pie plate. Bake 12 minutes until toasted around edge. Cool on wire rack.

Filling: Mix sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Add enough pineapple juice to coconut milk to make 2 ½ cups. Stir in sugar mixture, then bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally (not briskly). Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cool for a few minutes. Whisk yolks in medium bowl, then gradually whisk in about half the hot mixture; return yolk mixture to saucepan. Stir over low heat 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter until melted. Stir in crushed pineapple and coconut. Pour into crust. Cover surface with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Up to 2 hours before serving, beat cream and sugar with mixer until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie. Garnish with flaked coconut, small pineapple chunks and/or mint sprigs.

Nibbles: Pink Basil

I have a friend who is a longtime resident of our part of the Connecticut shoreline. But she has never had Thai food. That sadness will end soon, when I take her to Pink Basil in Mystic.

Owned by the same couple who run Thai Sawasdee in Groton and Spice Club in Niantic, their new place is my favorite. I had (and shared) a lettuce wrap app — a bowl of fresh iceberg lettuce with minced chicken, ginger, carrot, onions, cashews, shiitake mushrooms in a dark soy sauce and topped with crispy noodles. Along with another app and three entrees, we couldn’t finish all of them. The next morning I folded the lettuce wrap (less the lettuce) into an omelet. It was incredibly delicious.

Pink Basil
27 Coogan Boulevard (Building 3B in Mystic Village)
Mystic
860-245-4470

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 

 

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Happy Fourth! Celebrate at Essex Harbor 4th of July Boat Parade

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAESSEX – The Annual Essex Harbor 4th of July Boat Parade will be held on Monday, July 4.  All boats are welcome to join the parade.

Boats are encouraged to “Dress Ship” and assemble around Day Marker 25 at 12:45 p.m.  The parade will start at 1 p.m. and proceed clockwise around the harbor twice.

Skippers should monitor VHF Channel 69 for parade instructions.

The parade will be led by the Commodore of the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, Steve Rodstrom, in his 27-foot Bertram “Osprey.” If you have any questions, contact Steve at commodore@essexcorinthian.org or 207-841-2333.
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Maple and Main Gallery’s Summer Exhibit on View through Sept. 4

"Daffodils and Oak," by Claudia Van Nes, at Maple and Main Gallery

“Daffodils and Oak,” by Claudia Van Nes, at Maple and Main Gallery

CHESTER – Over 230 new paintings and sculptures by 46 artists will be featured in the annual Summer Exhibit at Maple and Main Gallery, which is on view through Sept. 4.

This exhibit showcases a wide selection of art from traditional seascapes and landscapes to vibrant abstracts, from collage and encaustic to oil, pastel and watercolor.

The gallery is highlighting an artist each week who will show additional work and give a demonstration or talk.

On display in the Stone Gallery during July is “Quiet Places,” an exhibit of work by artists Kim Petersen and Elvira Omaechea.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, Chester, is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  For more information, visit mapleandmaingallery.com or call 860-767-6065.

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Celebrate September First Friday in Chester Center, Sept. 2

CHESTER – Start off your Labor Day weekend with First Friday in Chester Center. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find between 5 and 8 p.m.

At the newly expanded Lark at 4 Water Street, Heather Wright of Crunchy Diva Designs will help you design a one-of-a-kind bracelet from her array of adornments.  Join in the “bracelet bar party.” Make your own or find your favorite from those created by the Crunchy Diva.

"Sailing on the Sound" by Gary Lavarack

“Sailing on the Sound” by Gary Lavarack

Maple and Main Gallery will mark First Friday with a free drawing for “Sailing on the Sound,” a wonderful summer painting by former Connecticut artist Gary Lavarak. Stop by the gallery for a glass of wine and enter the drawing; the winner’s name will be drawn during the opening of the fall exhibit Saturday, Sept. 17.

See the new fall line of Ruba Ruba in the fashion show in front of ELLE Design. (Ruba Ruba photo)

See the new fall line of Ruba Ruba in the fashion show in front of ELLE Design. (Ruba Ruba photo)

Start gathering at 6:45 p.m. in front of ELLE Design at 1 Main Street for the Pop Up Fashion Show of RUBA RUBA Designs, a clothing line designed and handmade by Georgia Caroline Milton, an Essex, CT, native. The fashion show of the new fall line of RUBA RUBA (kimono jackets, cowl scarves, sheet scarves, ponchos & more) will run from 7 to about 7:15, and then you can enjoy the designer meet and greet as well as purchase items from the ready-to-wear line. Georgia graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012 majoring in fibers and experimental fashion. She began RUBA RUBA after graduating and has been cultivating it ever since through her hard work and passion for quality, handmade style.

Also on First Friday is Teen Open Mic Night at Homage Fine Art and Coffee Lounge. Sing, play music, read poetry, do stand-up comedy or perform an improve act! It all begins at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Keep an eye on Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT to learn what else will happen that evening.

 

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