March 23, 2017

Archives for December 2016

Season’s Greetings to All Our Readers


Merry Christmas to all our readers! We hope you enjoy a wonderful day with friends and family.

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Facility Rentals Available Year Round at High Hopes

High Hopes logoOLD LYME — High Hopes Therapeutic Riding center located in Old Lyme CT opens its doors and grounds for facility rentals throughout the year.

High Hopes is available for your special event from equestrian functions, corporate events, business meetings / retreats, weddings, receptions other celebrations. Their bucolic 120-acre grounds, indoor/outdoor arenas, heated reception area and classrooms are available.

Flexible rentals are available by the hour, day or weekend.

For more information, contact Holly Sundmacker at hsundmacker@highhopestr.org or call  (860) 434-1974, ext. 127 for an appointment or visit www.highhopestr.org/about

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Scrabble Done Differently, Feb. 23

Like to play Scrabble? Like to, um, bend the rules? “An Evening of Words with Friends — Minus the Electronics” hosted by Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore might be right up your alley!

Come to the First Congregational Church of Madison Meetinghouse at 27 Meetinghouse Lane, Madison, CT. starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb.23, to enjoy the most unique format you have ever seen and some fun, refreshments and prizes!

A donation of $25 per player is requested. Call Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore at 860-399-0280 or visit vsliteracy.org for information.

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Deep River Public Library Hosts Calligraphy Class, Feb. 22

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Public Library will be hosting a calligraphy class on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m.

Calligraphy is the art of writing beautifully. Come learn how to draw letters and transform your writing into a work of art. Calligraphy is a great way to add flair to cards, personal correspondence and special notes.  The way you hold your pen and touch it to paper makes each alphabet uniquely your own.

In this fun class you will learn the technique for one of the calligraphic alphabets and become familiar with the instruments of calligraphy including felt-tip calligraphy pens, template sheets and calligraphy paper.  You will leave knowing the fundamentals of calligraphy and you will have a beautiful interpretation of your name by your own hand.

Ned Farrell will be instructing the course.  He is the co-owner of the Bee Company of Clinton, Conn. and has been doing calligraphy for years.  There is a $5 fee for supplies, including a pen, template and calligraphy paper, which will be yours to keep.

To register, call the library at 860-526-6039 or visit the library’s Sign Up Genius at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/409044fabaf29a6fa7-learn1.

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SECoast, CT Trust for Historic Preservation Request 60-Day Extension to NRA Waiting Period

We have just received the text of a letter sent by SECoast and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation to the Federal Railroad Administration requesting an extension of the 30-day waiting period to 60 days. It reads as follows::

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and SECoast, our regional partner on high-speed rail planning issues, are writing to ask for your assistance to extend the current 30-day waiting period for the NEC Future Final Environmental Impact Statement by 60 days. Given the enormous size of the planning document, its release just one week before end-of-year holidays and the extreme concern for the preferred alternative route now expressed in communities throughout Connecticut (and additionally Rhode Island) we believe there is a strong argument that such an extension is in the public interest.

The current deadline of January 31, 2016 marks the end of the Tier 1 planning process for the Northeast Corridor (NEC), an early but critical step in the overall implementation of a master plan for the corridor. Finalization of this document will commit the plan to a single corridor through Connecticut rather than from the three corridors under study in the DEIS. Finalization of this document will replace the corridor’s current master plan, dating to 1978,  for rail travel and investment along the Northeast Corridor with a new Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (P-EIS) with a 25-year horizon of 2040.

To be clear, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get this right. Both the public and the NEC Future plan deserve the benefit of a thorough final public review and opportunity to comment. We believe an extended comment period would also offer the best opportunity to avoid unnecessary legal action by providing the Federal Railroad Administration an opportunity to correct evident errors in the planning process and resulting NEC Future plan.

Such an extension is both a commonsense and commonplace. Indeed, a similar extension was granted to review much less extensive plans for the “All Aboard Florida” high speed rail planning initiative in Florida. The Federal Railroad Administration has enjoyed flexible deadlines throughout the planning process, most recently missing an intended late summer/early fall release date of the Preferred Alternative and FEIS documentation. Surely, the people of Connecticut deserve an equivalent opportunity to provide informed and meaningful comment before this critical document is finalized.

We appreciate, in advance, your continuing efforts to advocate for communities in the state of Connecticut and for our joint efforts to develop rail-travel along the Northeast Corridor in a way that recognizes and respects the unique historical, cultural and environmental attributes of Connecticut communities.

More to come.

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9 Town Transit Announces Bus Fare Increase From Jan. 2 

AREAWIDE — 9 Town Transit will increase its fares on all services beginning January 2, 2017.  The increase will up the regular cash fare to $1.75 on bus routes and $3.50 on the Dial-A-Ride services and off-route trips.

9 Town Transit officials say the increase is necessary to help offset a decrease in funding from the Connecticut Department of Transportation.  The fares were last increased in 2012.

The increase will be offset by the introduction of a senior and disabled fare.  It will allow seniors 65 or over and people with disabilities to ride any bus route for $.85, or $31 for unlimited trips with a monthly pass.  To qualify, a Medicare card or a Connecticut reduced fare I.D. must be shown on boarding.  I.D.’s can be obtained by visiting www.9towntransit.com.  Seniors 60 and over residing in the region will still be able to obtain and utilize 9 Town Transit Senior Fare Cards.

For a full listing of the new fare schedule or to purchase passes and tickets, visit www.9towntransit.com.

For more information, call 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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FRA Endorses High Speed Rail Route Through Old Lyme, But With a Tunnel; Courtney, Malloy, Blumenthal, Murphy Express Strong Opposition to Plan

AREAWIDE — The Federal Rail Authority (FRA) today released the Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (Tier 1 Final EIS) for NEC FUTURE and it is now available for download at www.necfuture.com.

The preferred route includes the controversial Old Saybrook to Kenyon, R.I., by-pass which runs through Old Lyme, and a tunnel in the same area.

Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released the following statement after the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released their Tier 1 final environmental impact statement for the Northeast Corridors FUTURE plan:

“The FRA’s report released today continues to ignore strong and consistent concerns expressed by the State of Connecticut and local citizens about the eastern shoreline realignment plans. We specifically asked FRA to limit the NEC Future Tier 1 EIS to identify a service and investment strategy to achieve state-of- good repair and maximize the capacity, frequency and speed of existing rail lines.

By continuing to include plans to bypass the current route, the FRA has enflamed impacted communities stretching from Fairfield County to Stonington where the proposed alignment will eviscerate neighborhoods, historic landmarks, and real estate values.

As the FRA itself has confirmed, this new proposed alignment cannot ultimately receive the permits, rights of way and other critical elements without the support and approval of the State of Connecticut.

To this end, we will continue to do all we can to remove this bypass from the final FRA plan in order to provide our communities with the certainty they deserve. Should the FRA continue in its pursuit of its proposed alignment, we will work to ensure that Connecticut exercises every tool at its disposal at the state and federal levels to stop any effort to move forward with this misguided plan.”

A press conference will be held at 2 p.m. this afternoon at which Rep. Joe Courtney, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, and Old Lyme First Seletwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder will discuss the announcement by the FRA.

Greg Stroud, Executive Director of SECoast.org, has released the following statement:

“We have been working full-time on this issue since January, and we have yet to find a single resident, local, state or federal representative, or group, actively supporting the idea of a tunnel under the Connecticut river and Old Lyme.

Why? Even if a tunnel could better preserve the immediate historic downtown of Old Lyme,  it would no doubt be much worse for the environment, and would simply shift the historic and economic impacts onto the communities to the east, whether East Lyme, New London, Mystic, Stonington or Westerly. We find that unacceptable.

A tunnel does nothing to remedy the impacts to the broader region. And as was obvious at the August 31 meeting in Old Lyme, the entire region really is adamantly opposed to the Kenyon to Old Saybrook bypass. Every single town official from Old Saybrook to Westerly, Rhode Island is on record opposing the plan. That doesn’t happen very often.

At some point, you would hope that the federal government would realize this isn’t NIMBY, this is roughly 1/4 of a state, for good reason, refusing to bear the burdens of plan, without the benefits (if there are any to speak of). In the case of Old Lyme, this is a question of survival, and I believe that Mayor Passero in New London, feels almost as strongly.

On an environmental level, a tunnel would very likely require extensive “dewatering” given the routing, the extensive marshes, the lack of bedrock, and a local geology characterized by glacial drift.  In a community of wells, surrounded by marshes, at the mouth of the Connecticut river — one of the only major rivers in the hemisphere lacking an industrialized mouth and port — we believe a tunnel is a nonstarter.

And frankly, given past history, and private discussions with transportation officials, I’d go further and question the seriousness of the offer. When pressed in public and by the press, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has repeatedly refused to rule out a return to a much-less-expensive bridge option through Old Lyme.

If you recall, the FRA was forced to issue three or so clarifications and retractions when questioned by the press on this issue just after the meeting on August 31 —
ctmirror.org/2016/08/31/federal-rail-official-no-elevated-track-in-old-lyme-spokesman-backpedals/

The FRA still hasn’t responded to straightforward Freedom of Information requests filed on April 4, 2016. The FRA claims that these requests are filled on a “first come first served” basis, and refuses to explain the delay. That’s no way to win support in the region for a tunnel, or any other plan.”

Don Stacom of The Hartford Courant published a piece titled, “Railroad Officials Full Speed Ahead on Controversial New Amtrak Northeast Corridor Bypass“a short time ago, in which he states, “Old Lyme is the center of opposition: Critics fear hulking, industrial-looking elevated tracks ruining the New England charm of their village. Museums, schools, environmentalists and historic preservationists all denounced the idea this summer.”

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‘Advent in Essex’ Continues Sunday with ‘Blue Christmas Community Service’ at Congregational Church

Advent in Essex celebrations take place at the churches in the Essex Villages, including The First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC.

Advent in Essex celebrations take place at the churches in the Essex Villages, including The First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC.

ESSEX — The churches of the Essex Villages have jointly coordinated some special celebrations  throughout the Advent season  (Nov. 27 – Dec. 18) at their respective houses of worship.

Every Tuesday in Advent, a Potluck Dinner and Compline (Night Prayers) will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Centerbrook at 6:15 p.m. Bring a dish and come for a time of conversation, followed by a prayer service at 7 p.m.

On Dec. 18, at 3:30 p.m., The First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC hosts a “Blue Christmas Community Service” of grieving, praying and healing for all who are missing loved ones during the holiday season.

All programs are free, with the exception of the Christmas Soiree.

For more information, visit www.adventinessex.org.

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Haynes Materials is Site for State Police Annual Toy Drive, Collection Runs Through Dec. 22

toy-drive-imageDEEP RIVER — Haynes Materials, located at 24 Woodbury Rd., Deep River (in cooperation with the Deep River Resident State Troopers) is collecting new and unwrapped toys as part of the Connecticut State Police Annual Toy Drive benefiting local children in need.

During this holiday season, donations of new and unwrapped toys, stuffed animals, games and books for children of all ages may be dropped off at Haynes Materials Deep River Quarry.

Donations for teens are especially needed and items such as Word search, crossword or Sudoku puzzle books are suggested as well as Head phones or ear buds, journals, and craft kits are highly recommended as well as Gift Cards in small denominations ($5 to $10).

“We are very excited to participate as a collection center for this worthy cause” said Patrick Haynes, VP of Haynes Materials, Collection boxes are conveniently set up and we are here to help.”

In addition, for every toy donated, Haynes Group will be donating $2 to the local food bank to ensure they have added funds during this holiday season.  “We are fortunate to be able to give back to the community that has supported us all these years” said Tom Haynes, President.  “The local food bank provides such a wonderful service and we want to support them in their efforts.”

The toy drive will run daily right up until Dec. 22 to ensure plenty of time for items to be distributed before the holiday weekend.  For your convenience Haynes Materials is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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A la Carte: Pot Roast is Perfect Between the Holidays

A delicious pot roast simmers gently on the stove.

A delicious pot roast simmers gently on the stove.

It has been a busy holiday season, beginning at Thanksgiving. I will light my candles on my menorah beginning Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, the first time I can remember Hanukkah beginning on Christmas Eve. (In the Jewish calendar, which sometimes has an extra month, Hanukkah can arrive from November through most of December and is an eight-day holiday. I do not remember my parents giving me eight presents, one on each day, but I am not complaining in any way I was deprived. Just sayin’.)

I am not also saying that I married a Protestant just so I could have Hanukkah and Christmas, but it is fun to do both. For Christmas this year, I will spend the day with my daughter-in-law’s family in Somers, Conn. And in no way did I convince my stepson to marry a Greek girl so I could also have Easter dinner and Greek Easter dinner, too, but that is sort of fun, too.

The holidays made for a lot of leftovers, but at some point you want something that masks the kitchen smell like simple comfort. I love the idea of making a  pot roast between  Christmas and New Year’s Day. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that pot roast is terrific the day you make it and maybe even better a day or two days later. This is a really good recipe given to me from a friend some years ago.

Pot Roast

Adapted from Ralph Turri

4 to 5 pound beef roast, most fat removed (chuck roast has little fat)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 packet of Knorr reduced beef stock

3 to 4 cups water

5 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

1 medium onion, peeled and cut into large slices

2 stalks of celery, cut into big chunks (optional)

fresh herbs wrapped in cheesecloth (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

For the gravy:

4 tablespoons flour mixed into 1 to 2 cups of water

1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet (optional)

one-half cup milk

8 ounces of sliced mushrooms

salt and pepper to taste

Dry roast with paper towels. Into the large, heavy-bottomed pot with a cover, heat oil and butter. On medium-to-high heat, sear the roast on all sides. Add packet of stock and water and bring to a boil. Add vegetables and bring back to a boil again. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, for about 3 hours. Remove roast to a platter and keep warm..

Strain all vegetables from the pot and herbs (I dump the veggies). Place the pot with the broth on the cooktop on medium-high until it reduces by two-thirds. Whisk the flour-water mixture into the broth stir constantly until the broth becomes gravy. Add Kitchen Bouquet (if using), milk and mushrooms and cook on simmer for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper taste. Slice the roast onto the platter, add some gravy to the slices and serve gravy in a gravy bowl.

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She’s Back! Nicole Logan is Here Again With Another ‘Letter From Paris’

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

We are absolutely delighted to welcome back Nicole Prévost Logan and her Letter From Paris column!  Nicole stayed longer than usual in Essex this year in order to see the outcome of the election and celebrate Thanksgiving.  She has now returned to Paris and here is her first column of the 2016-17 series.  We know this will please the many readers who have been asking about Nicole’s welfare and (perhaps even more intensely) the future of her column — it also pleases us greatly. Welcome back, Nicole!

In the Wake of Election Surprises Everywhere, Where is France’s 2016-17 ‘Saison’ Headed?

Debates, elections, referendums, reshuffling of governments- the political landscape of the European Union (EU) is shifting.  It would be a mistake however to place the events under the simplistic label of “populism,” a trend following the startling votes supporting both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.  It is more accurate to describe the ongoing turbulence in the EU as a stand taken by its members toward the future of Europe.

Au revoir, Francois

Au revoir, Francois Hollande

On Dec. 1, the decision of president Francois Hollande not to run again in next May elections, caught everyone in France by surprise.  After many months of tergiversation, Hollande, with the abysmal 7.5 percent score in the polls, made the logical — but still wrenching — announcement during an unprepared TV news hour.

It was an unprecedented move in the fifth Republic, creating , a “lame duck” a la française situation for the next five months.  What a contrast with May 2012, when, on Bastille Square, I had watched the euphoria of the population when Hollande was elected!  The new president made a point of arriving by train instead of flying, like an ordinary citizen.  A delirious crowd was celebrating the end of eight years of Nicolas Sarkozy’s rule.

What went wrong with this “ordinary” president?

Specialists pondered over the assessment of his policies.  Many of his reforms, particularly to boost the economy like  the CICE (Credit d’Impot de Croissance et d’Emploi) or the Macron law, will survive him.   His mandate was highlighted by the signing of the Paris accords on climate change, the armed forces deployment against Islamist radicals on  the African continent, and the firm measures taken to protect the country from terrorist attacks.

But Hollande’s  political management was a disaster, commented Thierry Pech, director of the Terra Nova foundation.  Although intelligent and highly educated, the president lacked a visionary plan and the ability to give a direction to his programs.  He wanted to carry out reforms but never explained them in advance.

The battle to pass the el Khomry labor law was emblematic of his shortcomings.  His objectives were sound:- facilitate the laying off of workers, reject the rigid 35 hours per week Socialist taboo, and relax the rules concerning work on evenings and Sundays.  Unfortunately he presented the law proposal as a done deal and resorted to “49-3” or executive orders, which irritated the deputies in the National Assembly.  He frequently kowtowed to the anger of the street.  When the el Khomry law was finally voted on, it had been gutted of much of its content.  The scourge of high unemployment remained throughout  his mandate.

The campaign toward the May elections started with the primaries of the right and center parties.  Francois Fillon was catapulted into the lead of Les Republicains (LR) with 66 percent of the votes versus 23 percent for Alain Juppe who had been expected to win.  Nicolas Sarkozy , coming in third position, was eliminated.

Bienvenue, Francois Fillon

Bienvenue, Francois Fillon

Fillon, several times a minister and prime minister under Sarkozy, conducted a discreet but intensive campaign for three years, using social networks rather that the traditional media.  His program is quite conservative: reduce the number of civil servants by 500,000, decrease unemployment allowances, complement the social security benefits by increasing the share of private health insurance.  He advocates a free market economy.  In foreign policy, he has a pragmatic attitude to relations with Putin, wants a strong Europe and to control the flow of migrants.  By preempting part of the program of Marine Le Pen of the far right Front National , he may be in a good position to beat her.

Fillon’s victory represented only 40 percent of the total electorate, so there is still plenty of ground to cover. Next will come the Socialist primaries.

Emmanuel Macron, former minister of the economy in the cabinet of Manuel Valls, is running as an independent.  Only 38, he is a brilliant  young man who had had a versatile career, including one year with the Rothschild investment bank.  On Dec. 9, the boisterous gathering of 16,000 supporters marked the start of the movement he is calling, “En marche,” under which he promises to modernize the labor market in order to create jobs and eliminate the old divide between right and left.

The battle has just began.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

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

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All Welcome at Christmas Eve Service at Ivoryton Congregational Church

IVORYTON — All are invited to join with the Ivoryton Congregational Church at 57 Main St., Ivoryton,
in its celebration of Christmas Eve Candlelight and Carols on Saturday, Dec. 24, at 5 p.m.

Pastor John Van Epps will lead the celebration.

The Meditation will be “Poetry of Christmas” and the organist will be Donna Stamm.

Special Music will be provided by Cooper Kendall, tenor soloist, who will sing “O Holy Night”

The service will conclude with the candle lighting service and “Silent Night”

All are welcome

The church is handicapped accessible.

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‘Con Brio’ Turns 20, Gives Christmas Concerts This Afternoon

Terence Fay

Terence Fay

OLD LYME — On Sunday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m., Con Brio Choral Society will produce two Christmas concerts with full orchestra in Old Lyme at Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy Lane.

Con Brio, the shoreline’s renowned all-auditioned chorus, is celebrating its 20th birthday!  This year Con Brio remembers its past with much loved pieces and looks forward with new ones to the years to come. 

The opening chorus of the Christmas Concert’s featured work, J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, includes the words: Cease to be fearful, forget lamentation, Haste with thanksgiving to greet this glad morn!  And indeed Con Brio will … 

Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce, the Con Brio Choral Society, Con Brio Festival Orchestra, soloists: Terrence Fay, tenor and Christopher Grundy, bass, promise a memorable concert. In the beautiful sanctuary of Christ the King Church in Old Lyme on Friday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m., Con Brio’s chorus, orchestra and soloists will fill the church with Christmas music. 

Christopher Grundy

Christopher Grundy

Con Brio opens this year’s concert with one of the most celebrated Christmas pieces, performing portions of J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, first performed over the six weeks of the Christmas season in 1734. Con Brio will present several of the well-known choruses; several chorales, (prototype of the Lutheran hymn); as well as the famous aria, Mighty Lord.

Among the variety of familiar and new pieces celebrating the season is Mark Reise’s arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen followed by its companion piece, I Saw Three Ships. Con Brio’s by now traditional practice of singing “in the round” will this year feature the Gloria from Rheinberger’s Mass in E-flat, the Kyrie of which moved audiences several years ago.

Two of the Sechs Sprüche of Mendelssohn will be followed by three new arrangements of familiar melodies: Forrest’s He is Born, Halley’s What Child is This? and Wilberg’s Masters in This Hall. Z. Randall Stroope’s powerfully moving Winter, first introduced to audiences a few years ago, is followed by Courtney’s highly entertaining and witty Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas.

As always there will be familiar Christmas carols for the audience to sing: We Three Kings and Joy to the World.

In addition to Con Brio’s two Christmas performances, the Spring Concert offers the opportunity to hear the magnificent Beethoven Mass in C and Patricia Schuman sing, once again, perhaps Con Brio’s most popular piece: The Easter Hymn.

Con Brio thanks its loyal audience members, sponsors and advertisers, for faithful support over 20 years.

The 70-member audition-only Con Brio Choral Society draws its members from Connecticut shoreline towns extending from Mystic to Guilford and north along the Connecticut River including Essex, Deep River and Chester, East Haddam and Moodus.  The group rehearses in Old Saybrook Tuesday evenings at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and performs at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.
Of the regional group’s 70 members, 11 come from Essex, 5 from Deep River, 4 from Chester; 7 from Old Saybrook, 4 from Westbrook, 2 from Clinton; 7 from Madison  and 8 from Guilford. From across the Connecticut River, members are drawn from Old Lyme (1), Niantic (1), Mystic (3), East Haddam (2), Groton (2), and Moodus (1).
For more information about Con Brio’s concerts visit www.conbrio.org  or email dramy2000@yahoo.com.
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Madhatters Present Final Performance of ‘Nutcracker, the Musical Comedy’ at Chester Meeting House This Evening

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Nutcracker, the Musical Comedy’ at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street, Chester.

Performances are Friday, Dec. 9, at 6pm, Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20, adults and $15, children 12 and under.  To purchase tickets, call (860) 395-1861 or email: madhattersctc@aol.com    www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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Nilsson Hosts a “Concert in the Garden” Today Featuring ‘The Kenn Morr Band’

kenn_morr_band
CHESTER —
 Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden’, Sunday, Dec. 11, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring The Kenn Morr Band: World Class Music From a Town You Haven’t Heard Of at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

The Kenn Morr Band is on a roll in 2016, pleased to be touring in support of its latest release, the double-disc set “Afterimage.” Recorded live at Sandy Brook Studios in Colebrook, CT, it’s a project that was in the works for some time, featuring fresh interpretations of material from eight previous releases. Kenn and his band revisited the songs to capture the group as it sounds live, with crisp studio sound and minimal overdubs.

The result is an organic collection of lush three-part vocal harmonies and sparkling acoustic instruments—real musicians playing soulful music in real time. (It’s the kind of recording you may have thought nobody makes any more.)

Growing up on Long Island, Kenn was inspired by such lyric and melody-minded acts as Gordon Lightfoot, Simon and Garfunkel, Graham Nash, and Jackson Browne. Rex Fowler of Aztec Two-Step became his friend and supporter. When a college baseball scholarship didn’t work out, he turned—appropriately—to Communications, a field for which he is well-suited. He’s got a radio announcer’s rich baritone and the kind of humor and charisma that enthralls audiences of all sizes, from intimate coffeehouses to the stages of venues as demanding as the famed Bitter End in New York City and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas on the New Haven Green.

Kenn trusts the universe to bring him what he needs: parking spots, dry weather, you name it. He left Long Island and found in Connecticut a home, new friends, and—eventually–the band that brings his music to life. He calls it his best band ever. First up was master percussionist Dr. Bob Gaspar, known for making one drum sound like four. Then the universe sent violin virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist Tom Hagymasi. (Kenn calls him “an animal.”) The final piece in the puzzle was melodic bassist “Magic” Pat Ryan, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music.

Known for its close three-part vocal harmonies and fiery instrumental interplay, the group has been together for several years, becoming fast favorites on the outdoor festival scene. They’ve paid dues of every kind and played gigs of every stripe, along the way sharing the stage with artists like John Sebastian, Al Kooper, Eric Burdon, and John Wesley Harding.

With airplay across the country and in Europe (where KMB music gets played in England, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands, among other countries), “Afterimage” is set to bring the Kenn Morr sound to many new listeners.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come, first seated. BYOB and picnic – indoor Bistro- style seating offered in the Gallery.

Sorry, no pets allowed.

A $20 donation is appreciated.  The event is BYOB – buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street, which is open until 8 p.m.

For more information, call 860-526-2077 or log on www.nilssonstudio.com

 

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Steven Cryan is Estuary’s February Artist of the Month

Steve Cryan stands in front of a tug-boat.

Steven Cryan graduated from Paier College of Art in the early 1970s. Since that time he has been painting maritime and railroad subjects. His luminous, realistic watercolors have won numerous awards and hang in private and corporate collections throughout the world, including The Quinnipiac Club in New Haven, CT and The Connecticut River Museum. One of his paintings was added to the art collection on board the Queen Mary II.

Cryan has illustrated many covers and center spreads for magazines including Keystone, Steamboat Bill, Shoreliner, Trains Magazine, Nautical World and Moran Corporation’s Towline Magazine. His illustrations can be seen in the books, Where Rails Meet the Sea and Tugboats.

His artwork has also been featured on the cover of Lionel Trains’ catalog.

Cryan has been the guest curator of the CT River Museum’s holiday exhibit Trains, Tracks and Trimmings, for which he designs and builds large operating HO train layouts. His modeling skills can also be seen at the Pizzaworks restaurant in Old Saybrook.

Cryan  is a leading authority on trains, tugs and maritime history. His photography collection on the subject is one of the largest in the U.S.A. He gives slide shows and lectures throughout the country.

When not painting or building models, Cryan  can be found pursuing his love of music as he plays harmonica and trombone with three different bands at a variety of local venues.

View his work online at www.stevencryan.com

Meet Cryan  at our Marshview Gallery Artist Reception on Friday, Feb. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Estuary Council of Seniors, 220 Main St, Old Saybrook. All are welcome. Light refreshments are served.

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Reynolds Subaru Presents NADA ‘Ambassadors Grant’ to Estuary’s MOW Program in Memory of Gary Reynolds

Kathryn Wayland, Owner Reynolds Subaru, is pictured presenting Paul Doyle, Estuary Council Executive Director, with a check for $1,000. Standing to the left is G. Hayden Reynolds, Owner Reynolds Subaru.

Kathryn Wayland, Reynolds Subaru owner, is pictured presenting Paul Doyle, Estuary Council Executive Director, with a check for $1,000. Standing to the left is G. Hayden Reynolds, Reynolds Subaru owner.

AREAWIDE — The Estuary Council of Seniors recently received, through Reynolds Subaru, the Ambassadors Grant from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) in memory of Gary Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Garage & Marine Inc. in Lyme, CT.  Gary Reynolds was well known for his distinguished career in the automotive retail industry and his generosity in our local communities.  He served on the board of directors of the NADA, representing franchised new car and truck dealers in Connecticut until his passing in 2013.

The Reynolds family designated the Estuary Council of Seniors to be the recipient of the Ambassadors Grant in memory of Gary and in addition to the award of $500, the Reynolds family matched the grant with an additional $500.

The Estuary is pleased to accept this wonderful grant from the NADA and gift from the Reynolds family in memory of Gary Reynolds in continuing support of the Estuary’s Meals on Wheels program.  This past fiscal year the Estuary delivered over 70,000 meals to Meals on Wheels recipients in the nine town Estuary region including Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook & Westbrook.

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Deep River’s Barb Erni Honored as Literacy Volunteers “Unsung Hero”

Barb Erni

Barb Erni

DEEP RIVER — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore has announced that Barb Erni of Deep River has been awarded this year’s “Unsung Hero” award at the LVVS annual Holiday Social on Dec. 13.  Her many contributions throughout the years have helped both tutors and students to improving English language skills and the quality of life in our shoreline communities.

Erni is an active board member, chairman of the membership committee and coordinates a number of fundraising and program events for the organization.

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore wishes to express its sincere gratitude for her dedication and service and for always going the extra mile in the cause of literacy.

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Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series Continues Tonight

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This image shows a painting by Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s wife’s (Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh) titled, ‘The May Queen’, which was used in one of the tearooms Charles designed in Glasgow, Scotland.

Although until the end of the twentieth century there were relatively few women architects, women have long played an important role in the shaping of the built environment.  This lecture, on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects, will focus upon four women who were committed to innovative design, which they championed in civic and commercial as well as domestic settings.  

  • Candace Wheeler contributed to the decoration of the Mark Twain House in Hartford and was responsible for the interior of the Women’s Building at the world’s fair held in Chicago in 1893.  
  • Catherine Cranston, the most successful Scottish businesswoman of her day, hired Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald to assist in the design of her chain of tearooms.  
  • The second woman to graduate with an architecture degree from MIT, and the first licensed to practice in Illinois, Marion Mahony Griffin made crucial contributions to the career of her first employer, Frank Lloyd Wright, and to the design of the Australian capital of Canberra.  
  • The Irish designer Eileen Gray designed and furnished E1027, a house in the south of France that is now widely acknowledged as one of the most important European dwellings of the interwar years.  

These women stretched the boundaries of convention to create some of the most modern places of their time in ways that continue to inspire today.

Kathleen James-Chakraborty is the Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History at the Yale School of Architecture and Professor of Art History at University College Dublin.  She was educated at Yale and at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her books include India in Art in Ireland (Routledge, 2016), Architecture since 1400 (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), Bauhaus Culture from Weimar to the Cold War (University of Minnesota Press, 2006), and German Architecture for a Mass Audience (Routledge, 2000).

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register. The program will be held in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. in Centerbrook.

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Canfield Woods Hike Tomorrow

EEssex Land Trust members and friends enjoy a recent hike.

Essex Land Trust members and friends enjoy a recent hike.

ESSEX — Hike the Land Trust’s largest preserve and explore its trails on Saturday, Dec. 10. Meet at 9 a.m. at Book Hill Woods Rd. entrance, off Book Hill Rd., Essex.

Shared by Deep River and Essex, Canfield/Meadow Woods Nature Preserve is made up of more than 300 acres of hilly, forested land with a wide variety of terrain. Moderate hike of up to 1 1/2 hours. All welcome. Bad weather cancels.

Seventeen trails wind through mixed old and new growth forest, and the preserve’s many rocky outcroppings are a highlight. Much of the property is former farmland and the old fields are still delineated by a network of stonewalls and roads. The remains of an old stone quarry can be found in the Deep River section. Most of the original land was acquired through donation from Mr. and Mrs. Earl Canfield.

The preserve abounds with white-tailed deer and grey and red fox as well as flocks of wild turkeys. A population of small rodents attracts hawks and owls, too.

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Dogs on the Docks Proceeds Benefit Local Rescue, Homeward Bound CT

Pictured in the photo are, left to right: Joan Meek, CRM business manager and her dog Lyddie, Sue Hotkowski of Homeward Bound CT, Connie Connors, Essex Board of Trade, Jennifer White-Dobbs, CRM Education Director, Chris Dobbs, CRM Executive Director and Toby.  Both dogs are Homeward Bound CT rescues.

Pictured in the photo are, left to right: Joan Meek, CRM business manager and her dog Lyddie, Sue Hotkowski of Homeward Bound CT, Connie Connors, Essex Board of Trade, Jennifer White-Dobbs, CRM Education Director, Chris Dobbs, CRM Executive Director and Toby.  Both dogs are Homeward Bound CT rescues.

ESSEX — The Connecticut River Museum and Essex Board of Trade are pleased to award Homeward Bound CT $100. The money was raised from the proceeds of the 2016 Dogs on the Dock event.  Each year the proceeds from the event are donated to a local shelter or rescue organization.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 860.767.8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

For more information about Homeward Bound CT,

visit www.homewardboundct.org. The Essex Board of Trade supports area businesses and events at http://essexct.com.

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Essex, Old Lyme Churches State Clearly That All Parishioners are Welcome

sign

 ESSEX and OLD LYME — A new sign (see above) in front of the First Congregational Church of Essex, a member church of the United Church of Christ, includes the usual notation for the church with its name, year of formation — in this case — 1852, and then these words, “An Open and Affirming Church.”

The final words on the church’s new sign indicate that the church welcomes all parishioners, regardless of their age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Meanwhile, the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme goes a little further in its signage, as can be seen in the photo below right.affirming_sign

Our unscientific poll suggests there have been a few objections in both churches to the signs, but most parishioners seem comfortable with them.

It is interesting that both churches have chosen to present their respective new signs at a similar time.

We can only speculate on the catalyst for the timing since we have not investigated it.

Whether or not these “open and affirming” statements made by two Congregational churches in relatively close proximity with one another will now be adopted by other Congregational churches across the country remains to seen.

Dear readers, as always, we welcome your thoughts …

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Essex Garden Club Decorates the Town for the Holidays

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ESSEX — In preparation for the holidays, the Essex Garden club members decorated merchant window boxes, the “silent Policeman” and  tubs of the villages of Essex .  Using a variety of evergreen cuttings from members and other generous donors from the community, the Garden Club helped the town put on a festive face for the “Trees in the Rigging” held Nov. 27,  and the Holiday Stroll, Dec. 9 and  10.

Thanks to both Liz Fowler and Suzanne Tweed for their efforts in coordinating the day of decorating.

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

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Tri-Town Offers Parent-Toddler Play & Support Groups Through April

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High Street, Deep River will host weekly support groups for parents of young children.  Parents have opportunity to socialize and talk about family challenges while toddlers play.  The Parent Resource Coordinator will present a new parenting theme each week and invite parents to browse the extensive Parent Resource Library.  Toddlers will enjoy free play and art exploration.  Each session will include a seasonal circle with songs, yoga and finger-plays, followed by a shared snack.

“Outstanding Ones” for children under two, will meet Tuesdays from Feb. 7 to April 4.  The group gathers from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and the program costs $45 for Tri-Town residents. 

“Terrific Twos” for children 24-36 months, will meet Wednesdays from Feb. 8 to April 5 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and costs $60 for Tri-Town residents. 

Call 860-526-3600 to reserve your spot or register and pay securely online at www.tritownys.org.

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex.  They coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.  Discover more programs and information for families at www.tritownys.org.

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See ‘The Bells of Dublin Part III’ at Ivoryton Through Dec. 18

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Michael Hotkowski and Maggie McGlone Jennings in “The Bells of Dublin Part III” Photo by Anne Hudson.

If you have loved following the escapades and adventures of Paddy Bell and his family in The Bells of Dublin at the Ivoryton Playhouse, then you won’t want to miss the third play in the trilogy. And even if you are new to the story, you will enjoy their exploits as Paddy brings the whole family to New York for Christmas. Carols and Irish songs and even a little vaudeville to warm your heart and get you in the spirit of the season.

It’s Christmas Eve in O’Lunney’s Pub in New York. Maggie, the bag lady who roams the neighborhood around 50th and Broadway, settles into O’Lunney’s doorway to weave a story with a cast of characters from here and across the ocean. The Bells of Dublin has become an Ivoryton tradition and has garnered rave reviews from our patrons. Here is one of the many comments received –

“The Bells of Dublin – Part II is truly one of Ivoryton’s most entertaining, fun, and meaningful Christmas play we’ve seen in a long time!  It had every facet and emotions of Life and Family!  Laughter galore, yet moving and truthful. I can’t wait for Part III!”

The Bells of Dublin, Parts I, II & III  were conceived and directed by Playhouse Executive/Artistic Director, Jacqueline Hubbard. “For 345 days a year, we work around the clock here – maintaining this beautiful building and producing 7 amazing professional shows. The holiday show is our chance to have some fun! I wanted to put together a show with some great music – traditional Irish and American – a little bit of magic and a lot of laughs. So – here ‘tis!”

This funny and fantastic tale is filled with songs you know and songs you wish you did – with a wonderful band of local musicians beautifully directed by Melanie Guerin, who also arranged much of the music. Cast includes many Playhouse favorites – R. Bruce Connelly*, Michael McDermott*, Maggie McGlone Jennings, Vanessa Vradenburgh, Ted Philips and Norm Rutty from the local band Save the Train, Jenna Berloni, Nancy and David Cardone, Emma Hunt, Olivia Harry, Alec Bandzes, Vickie Blake, Larry Lewis, Michael Hotkowski, Dylan Vallier and Celeste Cumming. The set for this production is designed by Dan Nischan, costumes by Elizabeth Cipollina and lights by Marcus Abbott.

Come and experience the true magic of the season Ivoryton style with this original Christmas musical – for two weeks only.

The Bells of Dublin Part III: A New York Fairytale runs through Dec. 18, for two weeks. Performance times are Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. There is also a Wednesday matinee on Dec. 14.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $32 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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Essex Library Hosts ‘Huck Finn’ Five-Week Seminar Series, Concludes Feb. 7

ESSEX — The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is the quintessentially American novel. It has also become one of the most controversial works in the American literary canon. Indeed, many, many schools do not assign it any longer.

In this seminar with Professor Chuck Timlin, we will do a close reading of the novel over five meetings on Tuesdays beginning Jan. 10, at 6:30 p.m. Its many themes will be discussed along with its humor and biting social criticism; the group will also face head on the problems many Americans have with reading it today.

University of New Haven, SCSU faculty member and former English teacher at Choate Rosemary Hall, Chuck Timlin, has already brought his excellent teaching skills to the Essex Library community on topics such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, American poets and short story writers. Now, back by popular demand, he turns his talents to an examination of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This seminar will be conducted on five consecutive Tuesday evenings (Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31 and Feb. 7) from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register in advance.  The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Valley/Old Lyme Warriors Take on St. Joe’s Tonight in Class M Championship Semi-final

Warrior football action from the team's victory over H-K. File photo by Laura Matesky.

Warrior football action from the team’s victory over H-K. File photo by Laura Matesky.

Tonight at 6:30 p.m. on their home field at Deep River, the top-seeded Valley/Old Lyme Warriors face Saint Joseph’s in the semi-finals of the CIAC Class M football championship.

Go Warriors!

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Montessori School Offers Infant-Parent Classes, Mondays

OLD SAYBROOK — Monday morning infant-parent classes are offered from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. by The Children’s Tree Montessori School at 96 Essex Rd. in Old Saybrook.

In the class, caregivers learn how to observe their baby’s development and choose activities that optimally support development of language and movement. This class is directed by a certified Montessori teacher.

The cost is $100 for a 10-week session.

For more information, visit www.childrenstree.org or call 860-388-3536.

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An Evening for Women: Discussion Tonight on Living with Uncertainty in Times of Change, Division

CHESTER — Has the election left you with uncomfortable emotions and questions about the future? Feel that you are on unsteady ground?

Such stress can affect our daily lives and our health. Come together in a safe space to express your feelings, and begin to process them in a supportive environment.

Chester resident Pamela Lape MS,LP, LMHC, of Integrated Perspectives Psychotherapy, will facilitate an evening of support, Monday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Chester Library.

Lape has been leading women’s groups for 35 years and feels that women can benefit greatly by reaching out to one another in these trying times. There is no charge to attend.

Email pamelalape@aol.com to attend

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Join a ‘Raptors Field Trip’ With Essex Land Trust, Feb. 4

Eyeing the sky for eagles, hawks and owls on last year’s Essex Land Trust birding trip.

ESSEX — Eagles, hawks and owls: Essex Land Trust is offering an outing to search for birds of prey that winter in our region on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 1 to 5:30 p.m.  The trip will be led by Jim Denham of the Essex Land Trust and Andrew Griswold of the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Meet at the Essex Town Hall Parking Lot. Bring a snack and beverage, binoculars and warm clothes.

Two vans are available to seat the first 15 people who sign up. To reserve, please contact Judy Saunders at: judith.saunders@comcast.net by Jan. 31. Inclement weather cancels.

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Ivoryton Hosts Sixth Annual Illuminations Extravaganza Tonight

Tree4IVORYTON — Looking for a different way to celebrate Christmas? Then head down to Ivoryton for the Seventh Annual Ivoryton Illuminations on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The entire village of Ivoryton will be participating in this Holiday Extravaganza with carol singing, Santa’s Grotto, Holiday Bazaar, and culminating with the arrival of Santa and the lighting of the states’ largest living Christmas Tree at 6 p.m.  Ivoryton will be lighting up the holiday with over 300,000 lights throughout the village.

Family activities from 5 p.m. include writing letters to Santa and cards to our soldiers which is taking place at the Ivoryton Library; Christmas Craft making and visits with Santa in the Playhouse (bring your camera if you want a picture!); a Holiday Bazaar featuring community and local church groups in the Fire House; an Elf Scavenger Hunt, open auditions at iCRV Radio, a Petting Zoo provided by Circle K Farm, fine art for gift giving at Six Summit Gallery as well as special events at The Ivoryton Tavern and Cafe, Blue Hound Cookery and Taproom, The Copper Beech Inn, Elephant Crossing, The Ivoryton Inn and Porky Pete’s BBQ & Brew.

Music will be provided by local musicians playing at various locations throughout the village.  There will also be Stuff a Cruiser to support Shoreline Soup Kitchens and bring a new, unwrapped toy to Ivoryton Library to benefit the Child and Family Agency of SECT.

Free parking will be available at the First Congregational Church and The Copper Beech Inn with a shuttle bus service to the village. The Illuminations will shine brightly through Jan. 5, and visitors can tune their car radios to 101.5FM and watch as the lights dance to the music.

This event is supported entirely by volunteers and sponsors including Essex Lions, Essex Savings Bank, Valley Courier, Riggio & Sons General Contractors, Wilcox Tree Service and Essex Rotary Club.

If you would like to experience some real Christmas cheer, then come and join the party in Ivoryton, the brightest village in Connecticut!

For more information, visit www.ivorytonalliance.org

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Deep River Congregational Church Hosts 50th Annual Ye Olde English Christmas Faire This Weekend

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DEEP RIVER — Help Deep River Congregational Church, 1 Church Street, Deep River, celebrate its 50th Annual Ye Olde English Christmas Faire!
Festivities begin this evening, Friday, Dec. 2, with Dessert by Candlelight – enjoy homemade desserts and beverage in a delightful atmosphere for only $5.00 a plate!  Two seatings are available at 5:30 and 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the church office.
Tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 3 is the Big Event!  Ye Olde English Christmas Faire is open from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., where you can shop for unique gift baskets, homemade pies and sweets, live wreaths, home décor, handcrafted ornaments, knitted and crocheted items, as well as, specialty & gently used treasures.  Don’t forget to take home some homemade soup or chili and homemade bread!  Santa will be paying a visit, plus we have crafts for kids and a restaurant service breakfast and lunch.
The festivities continue on Sunday, Dec. 4, with a wonderful Christmas Concert at 3 p.m., featuring Bil Groth – tickets for the concert are; adults $10, children (6-12) $5 and children under 5 – free.  Tickets can be purchased in the church office.  If you have questions, visit www.deeprivercc.org or call the church office at (860) 526-5045.
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Enjoy Trees, Trains & Traditions at Deep River Historical Society Today

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-1-41-33-pm
screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-1-41-57-pmDEEP RIVER — The Deep River Historical Society (DRHS) at 245 Main Street presents the 4th Annual Festival of Trees Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-3, from 5 to 8 p.m. daily.

Enjoy some holiday fun for the whole family!  This event is free to the public — the DRHS considers it their gift to the community.

Lights will be glowing in the beautiful rooms of the Stone House and Carriage House as it is decorated for the Festival of Trees, Trains & Traditions. A special train layout is being designed by Trustee member Frank Santoro for viewing along with many trees that are decorated with specific themes from different civic organizations in Deep River.  Participants will be able to vote for their favorite themed categories.

Donations of non-perishable food for the Deep River Pantry are much appreciated.
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Christmas Fair to be Held at Ivoryton Congregational Church Today

A Christmas Fair with luncheon will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Ivoryton Congregational Church, 57 Main Street, Ivoryton.

Come for lunch or shop before the Ivoryton Illuminations.  Enjoy soup, sandwiches and dessert for lunch.

This event features an assortment of handcrafted gifts, the church’s famous bean soup, and published cookbook, teacup raffle and silent auction,
A donation to the Mitten Tree is most welcome — mittens, gloves, hats, scarves for children and adults are donated to the Essex Elementary School and Lower Valley Visiting Nurses.
Call Isobel @ 860-767-8167 or the church office @ 860-767-1004 for more information.
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Essex Church Hosts ‘Christmas on the Hill Craft Fair’ Today

ESSEX — The annual Christmas on the Hill Christmas Craft Fair at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 14 Prospect Street, Essex, CT., will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In the parish hall.

There will be a silent auction, raffle baskets, baked goods, hand made Christmas ornaments and knitted items, a Christmas boutique, greenery, and a cafe lunch.

Come to our old-fashioned church fair, catch the spirit of this beautiful season, and enjoy Christmas shopping without the stress.

For more information, call Pat Rivers 860-767-2671

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United Church of Chester Holds Christmas Fair Today

The United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT holds its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come enjoy shopping for hand-crafted items and delicacies, decorations, greens, knitted goods and mouth-watering morsels for holiday giving.

There will also be a silent auction, tea-cup auction and Grandma’s attic to prowl through for Christmas treasurers and charitable gift-giving possibilities.

Lunch will be served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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Mrs. Claus to Visit Deep River Library Today

DEEP RIVER — Hang on to your icicles!
Mrs. Claus visits the Deep River Public Library on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 1:30 p.m. Join the Children’s Library staff for stories and carols and learn about life at the North Pole!
There is no registration for this event. There will be fruit-flavored candy canes or holiday lollipops to hand out to the kids.
This event is intended for children under 9.
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Kick off the Holidays in Chester at Tonight’s Holiday Festival

Chester's holiday tree will be decorated this year with hearts made by Chester children.

Chester’s holiday tree will be decorated this year with hearts made by Chester children.

The annual Starry Night Holiday Festival in Chester Center on Friday, Dec. 2, is a time for celebration, caroling, shopping, eating, and meeting up with friends and neighbors.

The picturesque historic village will be beautifully decorated for the holidays and the streets will be lined with luminaries made by the Boy Scouts. Saint Lucia Girls will walk around offering cookie treats. Carolers will stroll through the village on their way to the town’s Christmas tree, which will be lighted at 6 p.m. while the community gathers for a sing-along. This year’s tree comes from Camp Hazen YMCA property and will be decorated with school children’s ornaments expressing for what they’re grateful.

Selden's Wild Creek garden is one of Leif Nilsson's new paintings which will be on display tonight.

Selden’s Wild Creek garden is one of Leif Nilsson’s new paintings, which will be on display tonight, during an Opening reception at his gallery.

All evening, the shops and galleries will offer light refreshments and beverages while you shop and browse. Arrowhead String Band will be playing at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Gallery, providing holiday entertainment as you enjoy Leif’s recent paintings. The Matt Austin Studio welcomes Hilary Robertson, author of many internationally acclaimed style books such as “The Stuff of Life.” Bring her one interior design question to solve during her visit at the studio, between 6:30 and 9 p.m.

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The long-popular Postcard Show, where all art is 4×6 inches or smaller, will open at the Chester Gallery. Stop in for champagne while perusing the postcard-sized creations by local artists.

The Maple and Main Gallery will be serving wine and cookies during the evening while visitors view the new Holiday Exhibit of over 200 paintings and sculptures by 53 Connecticut artists as well as a solo show in the Stone Gallery of Janine Robertson’s oil paintings.

With all the shops open for the evening, this is an ideal time to shop for gifts for everyone on your list, from your pets at Strut Your Mutt to your aspiring chefs at The Perfect Pear. Sterling silver necklaces for all the women on your holiday list – and you, too! – will be featured at Dina Varano Gallery, while Jan Cummings and Peter Good introduce their 2017 Calendar at C&G while giving away their holiday wrapping paper and “Change Chance” notecards.

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Mandy Carroll-Leiva will introduce Leiva Jewelry’s Holiday Collection at the Lori Warner Studio & Gallery.

This one evening of the year, Nourish Organic Skincare opens its office doors (at the old Chester Bank, 6 Main Street) so you can purchase gift sets of their products, enter a prize drawing and pick up a few samples.  And then, of course, there’s apparel, and accessories, and more jewelry, and stocking stuffers of all types, and so much more available throughout the shops and galleries of Chester. Come and celebrate the holiday with us!

And don’t forget about the Holiday Shopping Extravaganza at the Chester Meeting House from 5 to 9 p.m. How can it get any better than this!

Free parking is available in the Water Street and the Maple Street parking lots, both a short walk to the center. More information about all the Starry Night happenings can be found at  Facebook.com/visitchesterct.

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Hear Cappella Cantorum Sing Handel’s ‘Messiah’ This Weekend

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Come and celebrate the beginning of the Holiday Season with the Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus performing Handel’s Messiah (Christmas Section), Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m. at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, 170 Rope Ferry Rd., Waterford CT 06385. The concert will be repeated Sunday, Dec. 4, 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Road, Deep River 06417. 

The chorus will be joined by members of the choir of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme and will be accompanied by a professional orchestra. Simon Holt will conduct at the Waterford concert, and Barry Asch will direct at the Deep River performance.

Messiah is one of the most popular choral works and is a joyous start to the season. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at the door or at www.CappellaCantorum.org

Cappella Cantorum is the lower Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline’s premiere non-auditioned community choral organization whose primary purpose is to learn, perform and enjoy great choral music while striving for excellence and the enrichment of its singers and audience.

For more information, call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871.

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Essex Rotary Club Donates $5,000 to Meals on Wheels

From left to right, Essex Rotary President, Jordan Welles, presents a check to Estuary Council Executive Director, Paul Doyle.

Essex Rotary President, Jordan Welles (left), presents a check to Estuary Council Executive Director, Paul Doyle.

The Essex Rotary Club generously donated $5,000 to the Estuary Council of Seniors Meals on Wheels program at their Oct. 4 Rotary dinner meeting in Essex. The $5,000 donation will help to ensure that Meals on Wheels will continue without any interruption of service to those in need along the shoreline. The Estuary Council, like many providers in the country, has had cuts to their funding.

While other providers have created waiting lists for seniors requesting meals, the Estuary has remained committed to getting meals to anyone from their service area who calls. The Estuary Council of Seniors serves both Meals on Wheels and congregate meals in the nine-town Estuary Region. During the fiscal year October 2015 – September 2016, the Estuary will have served approximately 80,000 home delivered and congregate meals to area seniors in the nine towns that they serve, including Essex.

The Estuary Council expresses their sincerest thanks to the Essex Rotary for their support.

For more information about the many services provided by the Estuary Council of Seniors, please call 860-388-1611.

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Musical Masterworks Concerts Feature ‘Brooklyn Rider’ This Weekend

Brooklyn Rider will perform at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme in the next Musical Masterworks concert on Dec. 3.

Brooklyn Rider will perform at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme in the next Musical Masterworks concerts on Dec. 3 and 4

OLD LYME — In December, Musical Masterworks welcomes back the popular ensemble Brooklyn Rider, performing works by Boccherini, and pairing Beethoven’s pivotal “Serioso” String Quartet with a new work by their own violinist/composer Colin Jacobsen. The musicians will also perform a set of folk-inspired works by four exceptional composers of our time.

The December performances are Saturday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, an acoustically rich and beautiful venue for chamber music.

Musical Masterworks’ season runs from October 2016 through May 2017.  To purchase a series subscription ($150 each) or individual tickets ($35 individual; $5 student), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

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Literacy Volunteers Announce Graduation of Fall Training Class of Tutuors

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

Trained volunteer tutors are matched with students in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading. Tutors carry out our mission of providing one-on-one tutoring to anyone seeking to improve their English skills.

Through our services, students become acclimated to our culture and language resulting in becoming productive, happy, members of our community. There is no cost to the student.

The 2016 Fall class of tutors consisted of Joseph Hines of Branford, Sara Davis and Peg Reyer of Chester, Muriel Moore and Dr. Susan Seider of Clinton, Chip Lowery, Michele Millham and Ron Repetti of Guilford, Susan Hosack of Essex, Sheila Meyers of Ivoryton, Jeanette Kehoe Allen, Beth Baird, Paul Diwik, Dan Mulvey and Susan Graves of Madison, Kathy Lee of Old Saybrook and Brian Clampet of Westbrook.

Tutor training is underwritten by grants from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and the Westbrook Foundation.

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Literacy Volunteers Offer Original, Affordable Holiday Gift Idea

bag-of_booksAREAWIDE — In the spirit of affordable giving, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS), CT, Inc. is having a “Bring a Bag and Fill it for $5” December book promotion on specially selected books. The LVVS bookstore has a large variety of hardcover, paperback, and children’s books that include selections by well-known authors and topics such as gardening, crafts, as well as popular fiction.

Buy a bag full and fill a basket or stocking for a special reader or favorite teacher in your life.  Also, this month, all children and young adults can select a book for free! Encourage your youngster to read with this free book promotion only at Literacy Volunteers.

LVVS is located on the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive. Book sale hours are Monday-Thursday, 9-2:00 and the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 10 am-noon.

Visit www.vsliteracy.org or call at 860-399-0280.  All book sales, promotion or otherwise, benefit the LVVS tutoring programs in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading.

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