December 13, 2017

Archives for April 2017

See Essex Art Association’s 2017 Summer Exhibition, “A Walk in the…” Through July 31

ESSEX — The July show at the Essex Art Association is an Open Exhibition and welcomes all area artists to submit up to two pieces of artwork. This type of show offers the public a viewing experience with a wide spectrum of subjects, styles and mediums. The show is juried for awards only with the EAA distributing $1800 in nine categories. In addition one artist will be given a solo exhibit in the EAA Exit Gallery during the 2018 gallery season.

The exhibit’s opening reception is Friday, June 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. The show runs July 1-22. The EAA Gallery is located at 10 North Main Street, Essex, CT. Gallery hours: 1-5 pm daily, closed Tuesdays. For more information visit essexartassociation.com or call 860-767-8996.

The exhibit theme “A Walk in the…” invites artists to display works that suggest traveling a path through special memories in life… A walk in the park, a walk down memory lane, a walk in the woods, a walk on the wild side… in other words “keep on truckin…”

The exhibition juror, Moya Aiken is an Emmy award-winning graphic artist and abstract mixed-media artist. Raised in England, Moya graduated from Central Saint Martins, before moving to New York City. Moya has designed for Comedy Central, HBO, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren amongst others. She works for Queue Graphics, a design company specializing in motion graphics for television and film.

The Exit Gallery exhibit, “Into the North,” features the work of Mary Mellot.

In Mary’s words; It was not until I moved into the North, specifically the Connecticut Shoreline, that I reconnected to a childhood dream to paint and draw whatever I wanted!  Originally from Dallas, Texas, I acquired a short list of degrees related to the field of art.  As a career artist, I have had many fun, interesting, and challenging opportunities.  What teased me along this path were friends and family whispering in my ear “you should be painting.”  I am pleased and grateful to say that I am now fulfilling that inner as well as outer urging.  How lucky can a girl get?  To be given the opportunity to move into the North and paint and draw seems to be the answer!

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Old Saybrook Hosts 5th Annual Green-up Day Today

Green-up Day volunteers gather for a photo with some of their collected trash. File photo.

OLD SAYBROOK — In 2013, Old Saybrook resident and runner, Bill Casertano, noticed the mounting litter along the roadside. He decided to do something about it and started the annual event, Old Saybrook Green-up Day.

Join Casertano, friends and neighbors in this effort Saturday, April 29 for the 5th annual Green-up Day. The rain date is Sunday, April 30.

Trash is everywhere …

Volunteers may collect trash individually in their own neighborhoods, or meet up with others at the Green-up Meet-up on the Green, at 8 a.m. before heading out.

Busy weekend? Take a bag along on your rounds, fill it up, and throw it away at one of the event’s convenient locations. It’s a great example for kids to see everyone working together to keep their favorite places, and the roads to them, clean.

Free garbage bags are available at the Town Hall parking lot, Town Park on Schoolhouse Road and the Town Beach parking lot. Full bags may be returned to these locations as well.

Everyone can help in a small way, or a big way, to prevent roadside litter from becoming a town eyesore. Litter is also a threat to inland waterways and Long Island Sound.  Even doing something as simple as walking around one neighborhood, an individual can have a significant impact on the heath of the area’s beaches, rivers, and estuaries.

To volunteer, or for more information about how you can help, visit www.osgreenup.weebly.com, www.facebook.com/OldSaybrookGreenUpDay, or email bcasertano@comcast.net.

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Enjoy Family Pasta Night Tonight at Ivoryton Congregational Church

Ivoryton Congregational Church hosts pasta night tomorrow. Photo by Pawel Rekas courtesy of Unsplash.com.

IVORYTON — A Family Pasta Night will be held at The Ivoryton Congregational Church, 57 Main Street, Ivoryton on Saturday April 29, offering continuous servings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Admission prices are as follows: Adults: $10, Children 6-12: $5 and Under 5’s: Free

Reservations are recommended.

The menu is: ziti & meatballs, salad bar, garlic bread followed by dessert with coffee, tea, and water.

For reservations and further information, call Isobel @ 860-767-8167 or the Church Office @  860-767-1004

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From Italy, With Love: Dalia Lazar to Perform Beethoven Sonatas in Chester, Tomorrow

Internationally renowned pianist Dalia Lazar, who will give a concert at the Chester synagogue April 30.

CHESTER — Though the internationally renowned pianist Dalia Lazar now lives in Italy, she is always eager to perform thousands of miles away, in the town of Chester, Conn. “I love playing at the synagogue, as it so inspires me,” she says. And so she will play here for the third time in the nine-year history of Music & More at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

On Sunday, April 30, at 5 p.m., Lazar offers her interpretations of four Beethoven sonatas in preparation for a European tour that follows, and during which she will play all 32 of the composer’s works for piano. It is a rare chance for local audiences to see a performer who is described by one of many admiring critics, as that rare combination of charisma, personality and terrific pianistic facility.”

David Zeleznik, the director of the series, says, “She continues to come back every other year because she finds the warmth of our audience, and the wonderful acoustics of our space and our Mason & Hamlin piano to be the perfect match for her expressive playing.  And our audiences appreciate both her generous spirit and virtuosity. This will be a singular opportunity to preview Dalia’s European tour in an intimate setting that she adores. Our audiences respond not only her virtuosity but her enthusiasm and charm.”

Lazar does more than talk about Chester and nearby local towns – she invests in them. The last time she performed, her dress, her shoes, and her jewelry all came from local merchants. When she returns, this spring, she brings with her a long list of accomplishments.

She began studying piano at an early age in her native Zabreb, Croatia, when music “made everything come alive,” she says. “Paintings in my grandmother’s room, the trees outside the window, the courtyard’s balconies, suddenly displayed their own life and movement.   My mother, noticing the effect that music had on me, took me to concerts, where I insisted we sit in the first row from where I experienced feelings of wonder and happiness that have stayed with me since. Her first piano teacher recognized her uncommon talent and pianistic ability, and at the age of sixteen she was admitted to Moscow’s P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory.  During her studies in Moscow, Lazar performed throughout Soviet Union. Immediately after her graduation at the Moscow Conservatory, she decided to continue her career in New York and London where she studied with Karl Urlich Schnabel and Maria Curcio.

Lazar made her New York debut at Rubenstein Hall, followed by her Carnegie Recital Hall debut. Since then she has performed a broad repertoire as a soloist in concerts and recitals worldwide, including the United States, Russia, Venezuela, Israel, Switzerland, Croatia, Mexico and Romania.  Her chamber music repertoire includes the works for violin and piano duo and piano trio, which she performed extensively with her late husband, violinist Lucian Lazar.  Her recent CD includes works by Schumann and Chopin.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester, CT.  For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the cbsrz.org website.

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Letter From Paris: And Then There Were Two … Candidates Left for French President

Nicole Prévost Logan

Out of a chaotic and divisive campaign to elect the president of France came a surprisingly middle-of-the-road and constructive vote.  Emmanuel Macron, age 39, Europhile leader of the En Marche (EM) movement climbed to the first place with 24.01 percent of the votes.  Marine Le Pen (Front National or FN), received 21.3 percent, both therefore qualifying for the run-off election on May 7. For the FN it was an historical feat after a long struggle, started in 1972, to be acknowledged as an honorable political party.  The turn-out was high at 78 percent of the 47 million voters.

Until the last minute, the outcome was anyone’s guess.  The four candidates – two extremists, one conservator, and one center right – were running in a close pack.  “Fasten your seat belts” said a member of The City in London on the very morning of the elections, expressing the anxiety of the whole world.  At stake were a rejection of the Euro and abandoning the European Union (EU.)  “We were on the brink of world-wide financial tsunami” said one of the BFM radio economists.  Many around the globe greeted the result with a sigh of relief.

For the French voters what was happening had a deeper meaning than the one described in the international press.  This moment marks a painful turning point in French politics by ending the traditional pendulum swinging from Right to Left and wiping out the two main parties – the right wing Les Republicains (LR) and the Parti Socialiste (PS), which had been in existance for 30 years. The two winners were outsiders.  This a wrenching process for the French, who love to criticize, but hate change.

The whole campaign was overshadowed by the “Penelope-gate” and Fillon’s other affaires (troubles) [*See Letter from Paris” published on March 5, 2017.]  Bruno Retaillau, Fillon’s spokesman, commented with some bitterness, “This was not a campaign but a trial”.

On election night, as the numbers came up on the screens, political personalities made brief  comments then left to be replaced by others.  The right wing LR members announced they would transfer their votes to Emmanuel Macron.  Jean Pierre Raffarin, prime minister from 2002 to 2005 under president Jacques Chirac, forcefully endorsed  Macron.  Jean François Copé, former president of the UMP (predecessor of LR)  and minister,  agreed that they had to block Marine Le Pen.  He stressed that he would vote for En Marche but with a sinking heart. Alain Juppe, minister of Foreign Affairs under Nicolas Sarkozy and mayor of Bordeaux, also gave his vote to Macron saying “our country needs reforms.”  François Fillon’s words were the best of his campaign, “The defeat of the LR is mine, I take all responsibility. ”

Jean Luc Malenchon, leader of the leftist movement la France Insoumise (rebellious France), was obviously very upset to have lost.  Unlike the other candidates, he did not give instructions on how to vote in the run-off.  Since seven millions supporters voted for him, this question of transfer of votes will greatly tip the scale.

Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron will face off in the final round of the French election on May 7.

On election night, Emmanuel Macron shared his satisfaction with the cheering flag-waving crowd in the huge hall at the Porte de Versailles.  His first words were to thank the other candidates.  Such courteousness is usually seen on the Rolland Garros tennis courts between Federer and Nadal, but certainly not among French politicians!

The electoral campaign took a sharp turn after April 23.  All of a sudden, it became a confrontation between the two candidates, a ruthless fight to the finish.  Macron was blasted for celebrating at the Rotonde brasserie on the first night and then for being invisible during the following two days. In contrast, Marine showed her ability as a superb strategist as she pre-empted the field immediately from the Ringis wholesale food market to a fishing trawler in the Mediterranean.

On April 26,   Macron went to Amiens (90 miles north of Paris) , his home town, to meet with the Whirlpool plant workers due to be laid off in 2018.  After talking with the Union representatives, he plunged into the battlefield and was roughed up by the angry crowd for 45 minutes.

But he stayed.

He talked to the workers, listened to their complaints.  He even had a heated discussion with Jean François Raffin, who is a star in France and won a César (French version of Oscar) in 2017 for his documentary Merci Patron (Thank you, boss.)  It is a satire on the relations between the working class and the super rich employers such as Bernard Arnaud,  CEO of LVMH.  Raffin, like Macron, is a native of Amiens.

Marine Le Pen, decided to drop by the Whirlpool site the same day.  She appeared all smiles, selfie in hand, working the crowds, hugging and kissing, doing small talks.  On an amazing picture she is shown beaming as she embraces a diminutive worker woman, who is in tears.

What happened in Amiens was emblematic of the confrontation between the two candidates in a difficult situation.  The relocation of a profit-making factory to Poland, where salaries are five times lower than in France, is one of the core issues the European Union (EU) is facing.

Le Pen promised the world to the workers, such as keeping the factory in France and, if needed, having it nationalized.  In contrast, the EM leader promised only to assist with the transition to other jobs.  He had the courage to tell an overheated audience that there will be many more similar relocations and one has to adjust to the new economy.

“Çà n’est pas gagné” (we have not won yet) said Macron, getting into his car.  He is right, especially when two people are fighting on different levels — one arousing fear and hatred, the other using pedagogy to propose obtainable solutions.

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Letter to the Editor: Come Celebrate Our Local Vets on May 10th!

To the Editor:

Come celebrate our local Vets! An event at the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall in Centerbrook celebrates our Vets and all they do to support their fellow Veterans and our Community.

For many decades, the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall has provided a home to a distinguished group of Americans – those who share the experience of serving in our military. The Hall offers camaraderie to those among us who volunteered for duty and reminds us of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom and that of others worldwide.

The spirit of service runs deep for the members of the Essex Vets Hall. Their mission includes continued service to their fellow Veterans in many ways. They are “Vets Serving Vets”. They also serve our Community and remind us that our military is ever vigilant, continuing to protect and insulate us from conflict.

In recognition of our all our local Veterans who continue to serve their fellow Vets and our Community, the public is invited to an event in their honor. The Recognition Event will be on May 10th from 4-8pm at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Centerbrook.

The event features good old American fare: hotdogs and hamburgers. Tickets are $10 and include a hotdog or hamburger, chips, and a soda. As a special treat, a cash Raw Bar will be available along with a full bar and finger desserts. Enjoy a tea cup raffle and a 50/50 raffle
while you mingle with our Vets and learn of their service in the military and here at home.

Vets Serving Vets is sponsored by the Essex Republican Town Committee. For tickets, please call 860-395-7113.

Sincerely,

Susie Beckman,
Ivoryton, CT

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Find Foxtrots, Friendship, Florida Sunsets in ‘Biloxi Blues’ at Ivoryton Playhouse, on Stage Thru May 14

Cast members of Biloxi Blues in rehearsal: Zal Owen, Conor Hamill, Ethan Kirschbaum, George Mayer, Alec Silberblatt, Chandler Smith, and Mike Mihm.

ESSEX — The Ivoryton Playhouse is leaving behind the music of Ol’ Blue Eyes and heading south to the steamy bayou country of Biloxi, Miss., with the opening of Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues on April 26. This semi-autobiographical play details his experiences as a young man in boot camp before he was shipped off to serve in the Second World War.

Biloxi Blues is the second chapter in what is known as his Eugene trilogy, following Brighton Beach Memoirs and preceding Broadway Bound, and is the only one in which Eugene is not the central character. Biloxi Blues won the Tony Award when it opened on Broadway in 1985 and ran 524 performances.

Simon’s hit play follows the adventures of Eugene Morris Jerome and his fellow Army inductees as they struggle through basic training near Biloxi, Miss. in 1943. An aspiring writer who sees himself as an outsider observing the craziness around him, Eugene hopes to somehow remain “neutral … like Switzerland,” but finds himself having to make tough choices.

Biloxi Blues is a comedy with real depth about young men growing up, learning about life and how to live together and finally, going off to war. These men are universal soldiers – facing the same fears, anxieties, and loneliness that grip all young recruits about to encounter the ultimate test of combat. Simon brings his great sense of humor and humanity to every word of this play.

A film was also made of the play starring Matthew Broderick and directed by Mike Nichols with screenplay by Neil Simon.

Biloxi Blues is directed by Sasha Bratt and features Zal Owen* as Eugene, Alec Silberblatt* as Arnold and Mike Mihm* as Sergeant Toomey. Cast also includes Andee Buccheri, Conor M. Hamill*, Ethan Kirschbaum, George Mayer, Moira O’Sullivan and Chandler Smith. Set design is by Glenn Bassett, lighting design by Tate R. Burmeister and costume design by Lisa Bebey.

Biloxi Blues opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 26 and runs through May 14.  Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting 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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Acton Library Announces Annual Poetry Contest Winners

AREAWIDE — The Acton Public Library will hold Poetry Night Wednesday, April 26, at 7 p.m. concluding its 23rd Annual Poetry Competition.  Winning poets will read their compositions and receive their awards. The public is invited to attend.

The panel judges for this year’s competition were Barbara Batt of Old Saybrook, Mary Guitar of Lyme, Susan Murphy of Madison, Mary Volk of Old Saybrook, and Jane Ulrich of Guilford. Chief judges were Patricia O’Brien, Old Saybrook’s Poet Laureate, and Nancy Meneely of Essex.

The evening, celebrating National Poetry Month, and the poets’ prizes are sponsored by the Friends of Acton Library. All submitted poems will be on display in the library through May.

The library is open Monday through Thursday 10-8:00, Friday and Saturday 10-5.

Contest winners are:

ADULT PRIZES

1st PRIZE                  My Father by Mike Augusta of Deep River
2nd PRIZE                How She Left by Lorraine Riess of Higganum
3rd PRIZE                Tar by Mike Augusta of Deep River

GRADES 9-12 PRIZES

1st PRIZE                  Parental Boogie by Sophie Spaner of Deep River
2nd PRIZE                 Escape by Stefanie Guo of Madison
3rd PRIZE                 Turns Black When Wet by Julia Collins of Old Saybrook

GRADES 7-8 PRIZES

1st PRIZE                    Snowflakes by Mackenzie Kapp of Old Saybrook
2nd PRIZE                  An Alphabet of Self Reflection by Mia Katz of Branford
3rd PRIZE                   Seeds by Sophie Burdick of Deep River

GRADES 4-6 PRIZES

1st  PRIZE               Moon Haikus by Van Lampos of Old Lyme
2nd PRIZE               Rude Awakening by Sheila Northrup of Madison
3rd PRIZE TIE        Time by Margo Katz of Branford
Oak Tree by Philip Warren of Old Saybrook

GRADES 1-3 PRIZES

1st PRIZE                  Butterfly by Hannah Belknap of Old Saybrook
2nd PRIZE                Valentine’s Day by Toyba Barasz of Old Saybrook

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Haynes Materials of Deep River is Hiring!

DEEP RIVER — Haynes Materials of Deep River is actively looking for Inside Sales Associates and Yard Associates.  All the relevant information is on their website at www.GoHaynes.com.

Interested parties can apply directly through the website or by sending a resume to mroy@haynes-group.com.

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Carney, Siegrist Help Clean Up The Preserve

Reps. Robert Siegrist and Devin Carney (right) joined a group of volunteers to help clean up The Preserve on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, in Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK – State Representative Devin Carney, who represents the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook, and State Representative Robert Siegrist, who represents the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam, participated in a clean-up day at The Preserve on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22.

The group was led by Chris Cryder, who is the Special Projects Coordinator with Save The Sound, and other volunteers were from throughout the state. Both legislators joined the group of volunteers to de-commission redundant trails through sensitive areas.

The Preserve is a work in progress and is still in the early stages of trail design, but will have trails for hikers and mountain bikers in the near future.

For more information visit: https://preserve1000acres.com/about/

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Child & Family Agency’s Essex River Valley Auxiliary Hosts Annual Tag Sale’s ‘Intake Day,’ May 4

Everything but the dog! A well-stocked car of donations for Child & Family’s Annual Tag Sale.

ESSEX — For the uninitiated, Intake Day is a spring ritual, marking a time to find, dust off, clean, repair and donate those valued, but little-used clothing and items in your care, to benefit The Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.

On Thursday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Essex Town Hall on 29 West Avenue, members of the Essex Auxiliary of Child and Family Agency will be standing by to greet and assist with your donated items. Use the Grove Street parking lot entrance. Tax donation letters will be available on site, and specialty art or jewelry items will be appreciated and handled with care. 

If you need assistance with unusual or bulkier items, pick- ups may be able to be arranged in advance by contacting Pat Mackenzie-Thompson at 860-227-7551

The auxiliary will collect, sort, box and then transport your contributions to the New London Armory for a bonanza, three-day fundraiser, which has earned a reputation for being one of the “Largest Tag Sales in New England.” This year’s 62nd Annual Sale will be held May 5, 6, and 7 at a new, yet old  venue – the New London Armory at 249 Bayonet Street New London, CT  06320.

WANTED:  Art work, furniture, decorative items, sporting goods, clothing, jewelry, household items, linens, tools & toys, vintage and antique items, books, food magazines, records & DVDs.

The motto Bring the Best and Leave the Rest has made the town of Essex a standard bearer for “quality” donations which help to provide for an increasingly successful fund raiser. Proceeds go directly to support the many extraordinary services provided by Child & Family Agency, a non-profit organization which has served Connecticut families for over 200 years. 

Today, programs address children’s mental health, physical health care, child abuse prevention, the treatment of family violence, teen pregnancy, childcare, and parent education.  Child-care and out-of-school programs benefit from volunteers who read one-on- one with children, share a hobby, an athletic skill or a special talent with a classroom, are homework buddies or create sets and costumes for their exciting theatre productions.  To join the auxiliary or to volunteer today, please call 860-443-2896.

Your collective donations make a difference every year in the lives of the children and families served, but in times of economic turmoil your support is crucial, helping to stabilize some very fragile lives.  Last year over 18,000 children and their family members from 79 towns were helped by the agency’s staff of 195 dedicated professionals. For more information about the work of Child & Family, visit www.childandfamilyagency.org.

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Estuary Hosts Caregivers Support Group, First Wednesdays

OLD SAYBROOK — The Estuary Council of Seniors 220 Main St Old Saybrook has a Caregivers Support Group that meets the first Wednesday of every month at 1 p.m. and is open to the public. Are you caring for a relative, neighbor, or friend?  Well, who is taking care of you?

Everyone who gives a piece of themselves to care for someone knows the toll it can take on their life. Sometimes getting the information you need and knowing where to turn can make a big difference for both the patient and the caregiver.

This is an invitation to all the caregivers out to come meet Ann Dipierdomenico from Chesterfield Healthcare Center. She is the group facilitator and she would like to help you navigate through all the complicated stuff that comes with being someone’s caregiver.

For more information, call Deb at 860-388-1611, ext.204.      

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Essex Meadows Announces Lifelong Learning Affiliation with Wesleyan University, Courses Open to Public Start May 13

Courses Offer Opportunities for Continuing Education, Intellectual Growth and Socialization

ESSEX – Essex Meadows, in affiliation with Wesleyan University, announces a series of lifelong learning sessions hosted by the retirement community. With intellectually stimulating courses geared toward historians, art aficionados and more, these lifelong learning opportunities will promote cultural ties with the community.

Beginning Saturday, May 13, the classes and interactive learning sessions will focus on a host of topics, taught by Wesleyan faculty members. “Research has shown that adults who engage in intellectual and artistic endeavors feel more connected to their local community,” said Susan Carpenter, director of community life services at Essex Meadows.

She continued, “Whether your passion is history, art, or lifelong learning, in general, this affiliation allows us to offer some wonderful opportunities to broaden one’s knowledge base.”

Rick Friswell, associate director of the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning, says the topics will cover a variety of content. “Learning is limitless and we’re excited about the content we’ll be covering at Essex Meadows,” he said. “We’re exploring these important topics in a way that should spark curiosity and discussion, and we’re really excited about this affiliation.”

The first course will focus on World War I, and will include a 1957 film on the topic, as well as lecture and discussion.

These events are open to the public, with costs associated with some of the courses.

Schedule of Courses

  • Saturday, May 13:
    One Day University – The Great War to End All Wars $125
  • Thursday, June 8:
    Lecture – The Epic of Gilgamesh No Charge
  • Wednesday, July 12:
    Field Trip – Yale Center for British Art $45
  • Thursday, September 7:
    Mini Course – Three Places in New England: A Guided Tour Through 19th Century Art and Literature $100
  • Sunday, October 29:
    Melodrama – Dark and Stormy Nights: Gothic Fiction and Romantic Music No Charge

To register, contact Susan Carpenter, director of community life services, at carpenters@essexmeadows.com or 860-767-4578, ext. 5156. Checks should be made payable to Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning. Visit www.essexmeadows.com/events to learn more.

Essex Meadows is located at 30 Bokum Road, Essex, CT 06426.

Since 1988, Essex Meadows has provided a lifestyle of dignity, freedom, independence and security to older adults from Connecticut and beyond. A community offering full lifecare, Essex Meadows, located conveniently on the Connecticut River near the mouth of Long Island Sound, prides itself on a financially responsible and caring atmosphere.

Essex Meadows is managed by Life Care Services®™, a leading provider in life care, retirement living. For more information on Essex Meadows, visit the community’s website or call 860-767-7201.

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One Weekend, Three New Eagle Scouts for Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 celebrates three new Eagles Scouts. From left to right, James Rutty, Samuel Rutty, Zane Bouregy. Photo by Michael Rutty.

CHESTER/DEEP RIVER — Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America would like to congratulate two Chester brothers and one Centerbrook resident on earning the rank of Eagle Scout. These Eagle Scouts completed projects in the towns of Chester and Haddam Neck.    All the work completed benefits residents and visitors to both towns.

To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must earned 21 merit badges and advance through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to his Troop and service to his community.  One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the Scout’s community, school, or religious institution; all of this work must be completed prior to the young man’s 18th birthday.

James H. Rutty’s  Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to construct a prayer garden patio with benches and peace pole at the United Church of Chester, allowing residents and visitors a place for quiet reflection and prayer. James was awarded the rank at a joint Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony with his brother Samuel on March 18, 2017 at the United Church of Chester.  Since joining Troop 13, James has earned 85 Merit Badges.  James is a junior at Saint Bernard School in Uncasville, CT.

Samuel M. Rutty’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to raise funds and construct twenty eight foot wood and concrete memorial benches at the Haddam Neck Fairgrounds, providing attendees a place to rest and enjoy the fair.  Sam was awarded the rank at a joint Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony with his brother James on March 18, 2017 at the United Church of Chester.  Since joining Troop 13, Sam has earned 70 Merit Badges.  Samuel is a freshman at Saint Bernard School in Uncasville, CT.

Zane F. Bouregey’s  Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to replace the flagpole, restore the veterans memorial at Cedar Lake and hold a rededication ceremony on December 28, 2016.  Zane was awarded the rank at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor held March 19, 2017 at the Deep River Town Hall.  Since joining Troop 13, Zane has earned 46 Merit Badges.  Zane is a senior at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, CT.

We offer our congratulations to these fine, young men!

Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves the boys ages 11-18 of Chester and Deep River. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun. There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead. The Boy Scout methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun.

To learn more information about joining Troop 13, contact Scoutmaster Steven Merola at 860-526-9262

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Guilford Savings Bank Supports Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries with ‘Green for Greens’

From left to right, front row, Guilford Saving Bank Branch Manager, Dave Carswell, SSKP Board Member Rick Westbrook, SSKP Executive Director, Patty Dowling, and Guilford Saving Bank Community Development Officer, Lisa La Monte. (back row) Guilford Saving Bank Assistant Branch Manager, Sandra Miller, and Guilford Saving Bank tellers Ryan Donovan and Brandy Reilly.

AREAWIDE — Guilford Savings Bank has awarded a $4,000 grant to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) to purchase fresh produce for needy residents of the shoreline. The grant, called “Green for Greens”, helps assure that local families who come to SSKP’s food pantries will be provided with fresh fruit and vegetables, in addition to non-perishable foods.

Lisa LeMonte, Marketing and Community Development Officer at Guilford Savings Bank, shared, “I know I speak for everyone at GSB when I say how proud we are to provide “Green for Greens” that allows The Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries to supplement their budget with funds to purchase additional fresh produce.”

“The support of Guilford Savings Bank and their generous “Green for Greens” is truly a gift to those we serve at our 5 food pantries.  We all know the feeling of eating a fresh crisp apple, or finding a banana in our lunch bag when we are hungry midday.  Because of GSB, those in need will share in that feeling, and on behalf of those we serve, I sincerely thank Guilford Savings Bank for their commitment to providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director.

Founded 28 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River.

Guilford Savings Bank has been serving the financial needs of the Connecticut shoreline for over 140 years.  Recently named the #1 Community Bank in Connecticut, it is the premier relationship bank, providing banking, lending, wealth management and life insurance solutions for personal, small business and commercial customers. For more information visit www.gsbyourbank.com

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Deep River Rotary Offers Tai Chai Classes as Gift to Community, Tuesdays & Thursdays


DEEP RIVER —
Summer Tai Chi on the River will begin on Tuesday, June 20, at 7 a.m. at the Deep River Landing.   The class will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 10 weeks throughout the summer.    There is no charge to be a part of the class.  

It will be taught again this year by David Shaver, of Peaceful Wolf T’ai Chi Ch’uan in East Haddam.   He has studied the arts of Tai Chi and Qigong for 29 years and taught them for 22 and is a wonderful teacher for beginners as well as experienced people.

The Deep River Rotary Club has sponsored this class each summer for many years, and residents from throughout the area gather at this beautiful location early in the morning for exercise, peace of mind, and well-being.   These gentle exercises are accessible to anyone.   This summer program is Rotary’s gift to the community.

The class will include a warm-up to gather and healing movements to promote flow of energy in the body.   Basic principles of T’ai Chi and Qigong will also be practiced and discussed.  Come and open your body and spirit to these ancient techniques as morning breaks over the river, the herons fly by, and life awakens.

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Free Lecture on Global Warming Scheduled at Chester Village West Tonight

CHESTER — Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, launches its Spring Lifelong Learning Program with two free and open-to-the-public talks in April on topics ripped from today’s headlines. Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, Conn. 06412.

On Monday, April 3, at 4 p.m., Wesleyan University Professor of Government and author John E. Finn, Ph.D. discussed Our Rights of Expression and Religion: Understanding the First Amendment.

Dr. Henry Auer

On Thursday, April 20, at 4 p.m., scientist and Global Warming Blog author Henry E. Auer, Ph.D. will present The Science of Global Warming: Facts and Some Fallacies. Most climate scientists believe that our planet has been warming throughout the industrial period. ​Yet, some others dispute this notion. Dr. Auer will discuss the science of greenhouse warming and assess the extent to which humanity is responsible for it. He will also examine some counter arguments.

Refreshments will be served. Registration is required; seating is limited to 40 people per lecture on a first-come, first-served basis. To register for one or more programs, call 860.322.6455, email ChesterVillageWest@LCSnet.com or visit http://www.chestervillagewestlcs.com/lifestyle/calendar-of-events/.

Upcoming Lifelong Learning lectures at Chester Village West in May and June will include:

Tuesday May 9, 4 p.m.: Ella Grasso, Connecticut’s Pioneering Governor, by Jon Purmont, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus Southern Connecticut State University

Tuesday May 16, 4 p.m.: Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P.T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity by Eric D. Lehman, Ph.D., Professor, University of Bridgeport

Wednesday June 7, 4 p.m.: Nearly everything you need to know about Middlesex Hospital’s Shoreline Medical Center and Shoreline Cancer Center by Middlesex Hospital Marketing VP Laura Martino and Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center Director Justin Drew

Thursday June 22, 4 p.m.: Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker by Author and Journalist Susan Campbell

Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since the 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 atchestervillagewestlcs.com; visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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Emily Bjornberg to Speak on Financial Durability at Shoreline League of Democratic Women Meeting Tonight

Emily Bjornberg (center) discusses issues with seniors.

Guest Speaker is Emily Bjornberg, Sr. Exec Assistant for Financial Literacy, Office of the Treasurer, State of Connecticut

AREAWIDE — The Shoreline League of Democratic Women (SLDW) has announced the second guest speaker in their Women@Risk Series covering pressing issues for women and their families. Emily Bjornberg, Senior Executive Assistant for Financial Literacy, Office of the Treasurer, State of Connecticut, will discuss how women can build assets for financial durability. She will also cover Connecticut programs such as CHET (Connecticut Higher Education Trust), CRSA (Connecticut Retirement Security Authority) and ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) trust.

The presentation will be held on Thursday evening, April 20, at 7 p.m., Westbrook Public Library, Community Room on the bottom floor, 61 Goodspeed Drive, Westbrook, CT  06498. An SLDW membership meeting will immediately follow the speaker session. This event is free and open to the Public.

The SLDW (http://www.SLDW.org) is a chapter of the Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women (CFDW), which is a chapter of the National Federation of Democratic Women. The Shoreline League of Democratic Women continues to seek membership from women who live in Clinton, Madison, Guilford, Branford, Killingworth, Old Saybrook, Essex, Westbrook, Chester, Deep River, Old Lyme, and Lyme. SLDW Meetings are held monthly from September through May.

The SLDW is dedicated to educating its members about political and social issues important to women of all ages in the Valley-Shore area. Women in the local district are encouraged to join the SLDW and participate in the organization’s valuable work in the community. Members can be involved in any capacity, whether it is 30 minutes a month, or 30 minutes a year.

As a part of the SLDW educational charter, members will be notified of important pending state and national legislation. For more information, send email to sldworg@gmail.com or contact Belinda Jones at 860-399-1147. Visit their web site at http://www.SLDW.org.

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Letter From Paris: Erdogan Wins Presidential Superpower in Turkey’s Rigged(?) Referendum

Nicole Prévost Logan

The good news about the victory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the April 16 referedum, increasing his constitutional powers to govern, is that  his accession to the European Union (EU) has become more unlikely.  If he wins another referendum on whether to restore the death penalty, that will be “crossing the red line,” French president François Holland said and it will remove permanently his demand for membership from the negotiating table.

The electoral campaign for the referendum took place in a country traumatized by several bomb attacks.  It left little room for the opposition to express its opinions.  Acts of intimidation were observed in many voting booths.

In the Netherlands the campaign to gather votes of Turkish expatriates, was particularly  unwelcome at a time when the country was having its own elections. Unhappy with the decision of the Dutch authorities not to allow the Turkish diplomats off the plane, the Turkish government called The Hague the “Nazi capital of Europe” and their action, “barbarian.”

It pretended to be shocked by Angela Merkel’s violation of freedom of expression because political rallies by the Turks were cancelled in Germany.  The Turkish expats in Europe voted overwhelmingly in favor of the referendum.

On April 13, violent riots took place at a soccer match in Lyon for the Europa League quarter final.  Thirty five hundred Turkish supporters of the Besiktas club had bought tickets. But it turned out that 20,000 more, coming from other European countries, had somehow got into the stadium without disclosing their identity.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the referendum with a 51.3 percent majority.  In the 18 articles of the new constitution, the principle of separation of powers – executive, judiciary and legislative – has disappeared. The president governs by executive orders whenever he wants.  There is no longer a prime minister. The president  designates ministers and high officials, chooses most of the judges. Parliament will be dissolved and all the new deputies will belong to AKP, the islamo-conservator party of “justice and development.” The president could potentially be in power until 2019.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Erdogan lost the support of the middle classes of the three main cities – Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.  A sort of a slap in the face for a man who grew up in Istanbul, was its mayor and considers it as his stronghold, “commented Bernard Guetta, a journalist specializing in geopolitics.  The  European Commission urged Turkey to seek the “broadest possible consensus.”

Anyone who has traveled in Turkey knows that it is made of two different worlds.  The president finds his supporters in the first group:  firstly, poor farmers living in remote areas of the Anatolian plateau without much in common with the population on the coastal regions who have always had contacts  with the West, through trade in the Aegean Sea or the Mediterranean. And secondly, the working class living in the outskirts of the cities.  Their shabby houses are the first ones to collapse during recurrent earthquakes.  The polluted air in industrial areas can reach unbearable levels.

At the other end of the spectrum one finds Roberts College, the oldest American School abroad still in its original location.  It was founded in 1863.  Among its alumni are many of the international elites who have shaped this region of the world .

In the 1950s, Turkey was one of the countries benefiting from the Marshall Plan.  In 1952 it became a valued member of NATO thanks to its strategic geographic location.  This was an invaluable role to play.  But even the relationship of Turkey with NATO is tense to-day.

Dorothee Schmid, head of the Contemporary Turkey program at the Institut Français pour la Recherche Internationale (IFRI), comments: “Turkey advances in the fog.  It is not compatible with international organizations  and its statute at NATO is under question.”

Erdogan  considers himself the heir of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, which  spread as a crescent from central Europe, the Middle East to the Mediterranean shores of North Africa from 1299 to 1922.

The Turkish president may have also be looking  further back in history to the Hittite empire.  In the second milennium BC it was one of the two great powers in the Middle East, competing with Egypt until the decisive battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC against Ramses II.  The cyclopean walls and massive gate flanked by two sitting lions still standing to-day in Hattusas, or modern village of Bogäzköy,  give an idea of the mighty Hittite empire.

The Turkish president  seems to be driven by his thirst for power:  every two years or so there are either general elections or referendums.  The pull toward autocracy provokes an escalade of tension between the ruler and the people.  During the 2011 revolution, the protest on Tahir Square lasted for 18 days and was followed by a tough repression.  Since  the putsch attempt of July 2016, 1,500 military have been put on trial and tens of thousands arrested or lost their jobs.

Megalomania is another trait of the Turkish president.  He lives in a palace 30 times the size of the White House; he is planning to build the longest bridge in the world over the Dardanelles and a mosque so big that it will be seen from any point in Istanbul.

The priority for Erdogan today is to prevent the unification of the Kurds living both in Turkey and Syria.  The ongoing conflict has caused heavy losses in the two camps and much hatred.  The violence has had an impact on the economy.  Tourism has plummeted  down by 30 percent since last year.  “Turkey feels threatened,” says Ahmet Insel, Turkish economist and specialist on that country.

The agreement between Turkey and the EU *regarding the flux of refugees across the Aegean Sea seems to be working out: in 2015, 10,000 migrants crossed the sea as compared to only 43 to-day.  Insel says, “It is in no one’s interest to put an end to this agreement.”  The 3.5 million refugees now living in Turkey seem to be adjusting after going through difficult times.  The Turkish government is even thinking of offering them citizenship.

Marc Pierini, former French ambassador to Turkey comments, “Turkey remains a major actor in the area.”  Nevertheless it is frightening to see the leverage power Erdogan holds over the EU and by way of an almost tangible demonstration of that power, the question discussed by specialists on the France-Culture radio channel on April 8, 2017, was, “How the exacerbated nationalism of Erdogan will impact the geopolitical imbroglio?”

* see “Letter from Paris,” March 19, 2016

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Vista to Host Spring Open House in Westbrook, Saturday

WESTBROOK — Vista Life Innovations, a nationally accredited post-secondary program for individuals with disabilities, is hosting an Open House on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at its Westbrook campus.

Ideal for prospective students and families, school district officials and educational consultants, Vista open houses have successfully aided many families in beginning the admissions process. This free event will include guided tours of the Dormitory and Residence Hall, information about programs and services provided at Vista, and an opportunity to hear from current Vista students and members about their experiences in the program.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet Vista leadership and staff. Light refreshments will be served.

To RSVP for Vista’s Open House, register online at www.vistalifeinnovations.org/openhouse or contact the Admissions Office at (860) 399-8080 ext. 106.

Vista’s Westbrook campus is located at 1356 Old Clinton Road, Westbrook.

Vista Life Innovations is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success. For more information about Vista, please visit www.vistalifeinnovations.org.

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Swing! Community Music School Hosts a Swingin’ Spring Benefit, Saturday

Community Music School Gala supporters gather for this photo.

DEEP RIVER – Community Music School (CMS)’s largest annual fundraiser is the CMS Gala and this year will transport guests back to the 30’s and 40’s with Swing! A swingin’ spring benefit for CMS. The greatest hits of the swing era will be performed by faculty and students.

The event takes place on Saturday, April 22, in Deep River at The Lace Factory and includes a lively cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres and silent auction. The party continues with gourmet food stations prepared by Cloud Nine Catering, and fabulous musical entertainment provided by CMS faculty and students.

The eight-piece big band will spark up the dance floor with the great hits from the 30’s and 40’s swing era featuring the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and many more. The music program will feature the jazz expertise of the CMS faculty, along with student and faculty vocalists.

Featured vocal student performers include Courtney Parrish of Westbrook and Barbara Malinsky of Madison. Faculty performers include Joni Gage (vocals), Patricia Hurley (trumpet), Andy Sherwood (clarinet/tenor saxophone), Music Director Tom Briggs (piano), Kevin O’Neil (guitar), Andrew Janes (trombone) and Matthew McCauley (bass), with special guests Jake Epstein (alto saxophone) and Gary Ribchinsky (percussion and vocals).

Support of the Community Music School gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with a financial need, as well as weekly music education and music therapy services for students with special needs, and arts education through in-school presentations and community concerts.

Swing! A swingin’ spring benefit for CMS sponsors include Bogaert Construction, Great Hill Development, Guilford Savings Bank, Kitchings & Potter LLC, Maple Lane Farms, Tower Laboratories LTD, World Trading Leather, Angelini Wine LTD, The Clark Group, Ring’s End, Shore Publishing, Whelen Engineering, Thomas H. Alexa – Comprehensive Wealth Management, Brewer Pilots Point Marina, Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, Jackson Lewis, Madison Veterinary Hospital, Periodontics P.C., Reynolds Garage & Marine, The Safety Zone Tidal Counseling LLC.

Tickets for the evening are $125 per person ($65 is tax deductible). Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org/gala, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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Essex Premiere of Six-Time Emmy-Winning Filmmaker’s ‘Life and Gardens of Beatrix Farrand, Sunday’

Portrait of Beatrix Farrand

The Essex Library will welcome documentary filmmaker and six-time Emmy Award winner, Karyl Evans, who will screen her latest film and discuss Beatrix Farrand’s work with Landscape Architect Shavaun Towers, who also appears in the film. Thescreening will take place on Sunday, April 23, at 3 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects’ office.

This compelling film is the first ever to chronicle the life of Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959), the niece of Edith Wharton and the most successful female landscape architect in early 20th century America. Farrand grew up in the privileged world of the East Coast elite and fought through the challenges of working in a male-dominated profession to design over 200 landscape commissions during her remarkable 50-year career.

The documentary includes never-before-seen archival materials and recent photographs of over 60 Beatrix Farrand related sites, taking viewers on an inspiring journey across the country to explore her personal story and many of her most spectacular gardens.

These sites include Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.; the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden; Garland Farm in Bar Harbor, Maine; the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Bar Harbor, Maine; and her California gardens. The narrated film also includes interviews with Beatrix Farrand scholars.

Photo of garden designed by Farrand at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC.

Karyl Evans’ undergraduate degree is in Horticulture / Landscape Architecture. She earned her Master’s Degree in Filmmaking from San Diego State University. Ms. Evans was a full-time Professor at Southern Connecticut State University for two years, teaching film production and theory. Karyl is a Fellow at Yale University and is one of the organizers of the New Haven Documentary Film Festival at Yale.

Landscape Architect Shavaun Towers PLA, FASLA, graduated from Smith College with a BA in Architecture and received a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a founding Partner of Towers | Golde Landscape Architects in New Haven and has taught at Yale University Schools of Architecture and Forestry as well as the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 

This event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is requested. Please call the Essex Library for more information or to register at (860) 767-1560. The event will be held in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects’ office at 67 Main St. in Centerbrook. Heartfelt thanks to our event co-sponsors: the Essex Garden Club and Centerbrook Architects.

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Con Brio’s Gala 20th Anniversary Spring Concert to be Held in Old Lyme, Sunday

Con Brio Celebrates 20 years!

The acclaimed shoreline chorus, directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce, will be joined by soloists Patricia Schuman, soprano, Clea Huston, mezzo-soprano, Steven Humes, tenor, Matthew Cossack, bass and Associate Music Director Susan Saltus, organ, with the recently augmented Con Brio Festival Orchestra. Con Brio will offer the “best of the best,” — the most beloved pieces from its twenty-year repertoire.  Don’t miss this one!

Beethoven’s Mass in C, sung by Con Brio at Carnegie Hall during its very first year, opens the program.  Composed in 1807, Beethoven was already suffering hearing problems.  And yet he produced a masterpiece, fresh, innovative. Robert Schumann wrote that this Mass, “…still exercises its power over all ages, just as those great phenomena of nature that, no matter how often they occur, fill us with awe and wonder.  This will go on centuries hence, as long as the world, and the world’s music, endures.”

Patricia Schuman, soprano.

Opening the second part of the program is a piece that will stun with its majesty:  the Coronation Anthem of Handel, Zadok the Priest. Then, in a more reflective style, Con Brio presents Brahms’ Trõste mich wieder —one of the most beloved a cappella pieces of all time, showcasing Brahms’ mastery of choral writing.

Mendelssohn’s Heilig and Lotti’s Crucifixus, other well-known motets, will be performed in the round, as has become Con Brio’s custom in the wonderful sanctuary of Christ the King Church. Et in Saecula Saeculorum, from Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus, is an exemplary fugue, even more amazing for having been discovered only in 2005.

Mascagni’s Easter Hymn, the renowned chorus from the Cavalleria Rusticana, is a world-wide, as well as a Con Brio, favorite; internationally acclaimed soprano Patricia Schuman will perform in the magnificent role of Santuzza.

In a lighter vein, Con Brio offers the Ward Swingle arrangement of Bach’s G minor organ fugue, as well as Arlen’s version of Over the Rainbow —an audience favorite since 1939, and When I Fall in Love, by Victor Young, made famous by Doris Day and Natalie Cole recordings.

Matthew Cossack, bass.

Bernstein’s Make Our Garden Grow, the radiant finale from the operetta Candide, is one of his great ensemble numbers, scored for soprano (Cunegonde) and tenor (Candide) soloists, chorus and orchestra.  Celebrating imperfect people who try to do the best they know, the piece has been sung by performers such as June Anderson, Renée Fleming, Jerry Hadley, Barbra Streisand and Judy Collins.

Over two decades, virtually every Con Brio concert has featured audience participation.  Maintaining this tradition, Dr. Bruce will ask the audience to join with Con Brio, in Hairston’s arrangement of the great African-American spiritual, In Dat Great Gittin’ Up Mornin’. Dr. Bruce has taught this to audiences all over Europe; with Con Brio featuring this ever-popular piece in all its six concert tours to Europe — and doubtless again, in its 2018 concert tour to Croatia and Slovenia.

Tickets, $30 adult, $15 student:  online at www.conbrio.org, from any Con Brio member, or by calling 860 526-5399. Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy Road, Old Lyme, CT. 4 pm April 23, 2017

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Suzanne Levine Reads from New Poetry Collection at ‘Books & Bagels,’ Sunday Morning

CHESTER — Things are almost never what they seem. Hence, the title of Suzanne Levine’s second book of poetry, “Grand Canyon Older Than Thought,” in which she examines the difference between appearances and reality in her own life, in the lives of others, and in our environment.

The best-selling novelist Amy Bloom says, “Suzanne Levine’s new collection is wry. Moving. Surprising. A little autumnal (in a Parisian way). Like Szymborska, Levine is a poet of consciousness, loving the world while seeing every dark and light inch of it. You can peer in Grand Canyon for a long time and be glad of it.”

The public will have a chance to do this as the poet reads from her book in a free Books & Bagels program on Sunday, April 23, at 9:30 a.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek. (No tickets or reservations required.)

Levine’s first book, “Haberdasher’s Daughter,” also published by Antrim House, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award and she has contributed to many literary publications since earning her MFA at Vermont College.

For many years, the poet lived in Chester, and now resides in New Haven, where she answered questions about poetry and her work.

How did you get interested in poetry?

Middle School was the eye opener for me after we read Homer’s “Odyssey” and the next year Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in Middle English. Those were the days when memorization of passages was required and I loved to recite Chaucer’s tongue twisting Prologue, 

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour. 

Still I did not realize these works as poetry per se but I felt the words and recognized their lyrical value. Words began to matter to me and I felt a definite kinship with them and with their power when used purposefully. 

Who are your mentors, heroes?

Because I am now writing in a form of only 100 words to tell an entire “story” my mentors are Emily Dickinson and Lydia Davis and Anne Carson but I always return to Robert Pinsky, James Wright, W.C. Williams, Billy Collins, Wislawa Szymborska, Sylvia Plath for their awesome ability to ignite emotion even in the hearts of those who are afraid of poetry.

Was the rigor and expense of the MFA worth it all?

For me yes, definitely, those two years studying the craft and reading over one hundred books of poetry and poetics and then presenting a dissertation as well as teaching a class on Yeats gave me a firm foundation on which to stand in the world of writing. I know that I am qualified to offer my opinion in workshops and other situations because of the excellent education I received regarding the craft of writing.

What does poetry offer that prose doesn’t?

Nowadays nothing as they are often indistinguishable from one another

What surprises you most when you read in public?

What surprises me probably surprises most presenters, that people actually show up! Every time I read aloud and actually hear my words versus reading them on the page I see them anew and also see where I could have chosen a better word or changed a line ending and I make note to revisit the work. 

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information, visit cbsrz.org or call 860-526-8920.

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Essex Historical Society Hosts Open House for Volunteers at Pratt House, Sunday

Visit the beautiful grounds of the 1732 Pratt House, a landmark property of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Enjoy history?  Historic interiors?  Meeting new people?  Essex Historical Society cordially invites you to an Open House for Volunteers at the historic 1732 Pratt House on Sunday, April 23, from 2 to 4 p.m.  The event will be held at the Pratt House, 19 West Avenue, Essex.  A short presentation will occur at 2:30 p.m.

Pratt House’s volunteer tour guides or ‘docents’ lead engaging tours for visitors.

The Society would love to introduce you to their volunteer tour guide program or ‘docents’ that will lead to a rewarding experience for you and our history-loving audience.  Come meet their genial, well-informed guides for a private tour of this historic structure.  No experience is necessary and all training is provided.

The Pratt House has served as Essex’s only historic house museum for more than 6o years and serves as the flagship of Essex Historical Society.  The house tells the story of life in an early CT River seaport town through nine generations of one family, many of whom were blacksmiths.

Tours of the house are offered to the public from June – September, Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 1 to 4 p.m.; and by appointment.  Beautiful grounds, newly restored kitchen gardens, a community garden, reproduction barn and museum shop make for a memorable visit to this historic landmark.

The Open House for Volunteers is open to the public.  Refreshments will be served

For more info, contact Mary Ann Pleva at 860-767-8560 or visit www.essexhistory.org

 

Captions for Photos:

 

Visit the beautiful grounds of the 1732 Pratt House, a landmark property of Essex Historical Society.

 

Pratt House’s volunteer tour guides or ‘docents’ lead engaging tours for visitors.

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‘Discover Oswegatchie Hills’ in Old Saybrook Library Presentation Tonight

Greg Decker, Friends of OHNP chief steward, points the way through Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme. Decker will be giving the virtual tour of OHNP, terrain, wildlife and plants.

OLD SAYBROOK — Potapaug Audubon presents “Discover Oswegatchie Hills” on Tuesday, April 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Acton Public Library, Old Saybrook with guest speakers Greg Decker and Old Lyme resident Suzanne Thompson, who are both Friends of Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve.

Suzanne Thompson of Old Lyme hiking Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme.

This free program comprises a photo overview of the 457-acre Nature Preserve, which was opened in 2007 by the Town of East Lyme.

For more information, call 860-710-5811.

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Celebrate Earth Day with Tri-Town and Bushy Hill, Sunday

ESSEX — In honor of Earth Day, Tri-Town Youth Services and Bushy Hill Nature Center invite families to get outside and explore nature together on Sunday, April 23, from 1 to 3 p.m. The Nature Center will be open, and Bushy Hill’s expert staff will be on hand to tell you about this very special place in Ivoryton.

The schedule for the event is as follows:

Guided Hike at 1:30 p.m.
Bow Drill Demonstration at 2 p.m.

Bushy Hill Nature Center is located at 253 Bushy Hill Road, Ivoryton

Suggested donation:  $5 toward the Camp Scholarship Fund

Call 860-526-3600 to register.

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Letter From Paris: Paris, Berlin Need to Work Together as the EU Determines its Future

Nicole Prévost Logan

For the French, Germany can be a source of admiration or of irritation . The Franco-German “couple” has been the pillar of the European Union (EU.)   The couple worked beautifully until the departure respectively of Francois Mitterand in 1995 and Helmut Kohl in 1998.  Today more than ever, the two countries need to spearhead initiatives to bring about a new Europe.

Marcel Fratzscher , president of the German Institute of Economic Research, writes on April 6, “Without a strong France, Europe cannot pull out of the crisis. We need France to play the role of a leader with a vision of the European project.”  Without agreeing on everything, the two countries have a lot to learn from each other.

Angela Merkel

Chancellor Angela Merkel, head of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), will run for a fourth mandate next September.  Hans Stark, professor of Germany civilization at the Sorbonne, believes  the Germans have not had enough yet of Merkel and will elect her again, possibly for the last time.  Her hold on the people is still strong as showed in the CDU winning 40 percent of the votes in the recent Saarland elections. The Social Democrats (SPD) tried to form a coalition with the Left (die Linke) and the Greens, but failed.

Merkel is pragmatic in her policies.  For instance she moved from the center to the left (stepping on Social Democrats’ turf) by adopting ideas attractive to the left such as the acceptance of same-sex marriage or opposition to nuclear arms.  In a nutshell, she remains in the center but maintains a slight tilt toward the left. 

Her longevity is explained by her ability to create consensus.  She has to be an acrobat to lead a country made up of 19 States  (Länder), six of them having come from East Germany and 13 from West Germany. 

It was the intention of the Allied forces occupying Germany to create a multitude of “checks and balances” in order to decentralize power by adding to the number of Länder already existing before the war.  Sailing on the Danube one can see the splendid architecture left by the powerful Prince-Bishops ruling Wurzburg or Bamberg länder.  The voting system by proportional ballot creates the need for coalitions and hence a fragmentation of power. 

Martin Schulz

The main opponent of Merkel in next September’s election will be Martin Schultz, who has just been elected as the president of  Social Democrats (SPD) with 100 percent of the votes. The SPD plummeted after the unpopular reforms made by Gerard Schroder  but has now bounced back. Today the CDU and SPD are running neck and neck, each with about 33 percent of the electorate.

The right wing populist party “Alternative for Deutschland ” (AfD)  represents  9 percent of the vote.  It was not founded until 2013.  Since the  end of the war, Germany has had to live with certain taboos and one of them, was the aversion  to any political system reminiscent of fascism or communism.  Today the former East Germany is more populist than West Germany.  By way of example, in the last elections in Saxony-Anhalt, AfD received 25 percent of the vote. 

Germany is an economic success story, but at what price?  The system, called Hartz I-IV, implemented by Gerard Schroder in 2003, consisted of tough labor reforms and imposing sacrifices on the work force at a time when Germany was called the “sick man of Europe.”

But the results were indeed striking:  unemployment went down by half and is now only 5.9 percent,  exports have risen by 6 percent creating a trade surplus of 250 billion, and growth is at 1.9 percent.  Alexandra Spitz, a German professor of economics, published an article in the Harvard Business Review on March 13, 2017, titled, “The Real Reasons why the German Labor Market is Booming.”  In summary, she explains these reasons are that wages have not increased as much as  productivity; collective bargaining between employers and employees is decentralized, and workers have accepted lower salaries and flexible labor conditions.

Some of the French, who have a generous (perhaps, too generous?) “social model,” believe Germans have very low unemployment, but also millions of “poor workers” with many part-time, low-paid and short-duration jobs.  Other French people do not agree and are impressed by the German performance and willing to borrow some of their ideas.

Thierry Pech, head of the Terra Nova Think Tank, notes, “There has been an internal devaluation of the cost of labor because of the “poor workers.”  This policy can be called “mercantilism.”  It was used to boost the competitiveness of both industry and exports.  This caused  a problem for the European neighbors.  Germany is preoccupied with its own national interests and has displayed a lack of cooperation with others.  “Professor Hans Stark argues, “In 2004, the Eastern European countries, which joined the EU had low wage-economies.  This time it was Eastern Europe’s turn to practice mercantile policies toward Germany.” 

“Qualified workers have access to professional training at any time,” Professor Stark remarks. “Those persons, less qualified but having completed their “cursus,” can benefit from apprenticeships.  Those, without any qualification, fall to the bottom of the pile.  German industry is always looking for qualified workers.  In the sectors where labor is not qualified – construction, services, agribusiness – the salaries remain low.  This may constitute a problem for French farmers for instance.”  A minimum wage was introduced in 2015.

Sigmar Gabriel

Sigmar Gabriel, former president of SPD and now German minister of foreign affairs, says, “Let us stop thinking we are the cash cow in relation to the European budget.  We have also profited from Europe, particularly when the 1999 introduction of the Euro presented a devaluation from the Deutsch Mark.”

Germany has been cautious not to increase its military power (another taboo.)  The Parliament (Bundestag) has blocked the increase of the army (Bundeswehr.)  The government  abstained from taking part in the  Libyan campaign.  Now the defense of territory is becoming a priority again.  Four brigades have been deployed to defend the Baltic states from Russia.

President François Holland invited the leaders of Germany, Italy and Spain, to a mini-summit in Versailles on March 6 to discuss European defense.  Soon after, during an informal meeting in Malta attended by several EU leaders, Merkel declared, “There will be a European Union at different speeds.”

Clearly, this seems to preview what Europe may become – a number of core countries of the EU, working together on specific projects.

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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Madhatters Announce Summer Camps in Chester

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company is now accepting registrations for their summer productions at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street in Chester, Conn.  Camps run Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a performance on Friday.

Junior production ‘Madagascar’ open to ages 6-12 years July 24 through 28.

Senior production ‘Legally Blonde’ open to ages 12-18 years July 31 through Aug. 4.

To register, e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com

For further information, visit www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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Copper Beech Inn, Ivoryton Village Alliance Host Whiskey Tasting Tonight to Benefit Ivoryton Illuminations Fund

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Village Alliance, in partnership with The Copper Beech Inn, is hosting a whisky tasting on Saturday, April 15at 6:30 p.m.

The evening will consist of Scottish whiskies paired with food specially prepared by Chef Carlos Cassar. Nigel Manley, a renowned expert in the art of whisky making, will be give an informative and entertaining presentation on the history and craft of “Uisge Beatha” – the water of life.

Nigel Manley

The evening will feature four Scottish whiskies: Auchentoshan – 12-year-old; Macallan – 12- year-old; Lagavulin – 16-year-old, and Sheep Dip.

Seating is extremely limited and reservations are required. The cost is $80 per person – all profits will benefit the Ivoryton Illuminations Holiday Lights Fund.

The Copper Beeech Inn is at 46 Main Street in Ivoryton and is also offering a Whiskey Alliance Dinner Package.  This package is priced at $350 and includes: Overnight stay in a Super Deluxe Room; Admission for two to the Whiskey Dinner; Gourmet a la carte breakfast for two Sunday Morning.

For reservations or further information, visit www.copperbeechinn.com or call 860 767 0330

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Ivoryton Congregational Church Hosts Easter Sunrise, 10am Services; All Welcome

IVORYTON — All are invited to join the Ivoryton Congregational Church at 57 Main Street, Ivoryton, for their Easter Day services as follows:

Easter Sunday, April 16
7 a.m.
A brief Easter sunrise service at the pond behind the church.  This will be followed by an Easter Breakfast to which all are invited.

10 a.m.
Easter Celebration in the sanctuary of the church The story of Easter.  The scripture will be the Easter story in Matthew 28:1-10. The sermon will be “At Dawn.” All are welcome.

Call the church office at 860-767-1004 for more information.

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First Congregational Church of Deep River Hosts Community Sunrise Service, Two Morning Services for Easter

Photo from Unsplash.com by Aaron Burden.

The First Congregational Church of Deep River at 1 Church Street, Deep River is holding the following services on Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday, April 16
Community Sunrise Service at Mt. St. John’s Academy, 135  Kirtland Street, Deep River, at 6 a.m.
Easter Sunday, April 16
Two Services:  9 and 10:30 a.m.
Special Family Fellowship Hour: 10 a.m.                 

Visitors are welcome to attend any and all of the services.

For further information, contact the church office at 860-526-5045 or office.drcc@snet.net
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Legendary Adriaen Block Vessel To Land this Summer at Connecticut River Museum

Onrust under sail. Photo courtesy of the Onrust Project.

ESSEX — The Connecticut River Museum has announced that the Onrust, a replica of the first European vessel to explore and chart the Connecticut River, will rediscover the River this summer.

Following Henry Hudson’s 1609 expedition, Dutch captain Adriaen Block was hired to explore the northeastern coastline of America with the intent of establishing trade with Native Americans and claiming parts of the territory for the Dutch Republic.  On his fourth and final voyage (1613-1614), Block’s ship the Tiger was destroyed by fire while in New York Bay.  Block and his crew went to work near Manhattan building a new vessel – the Onrust (launched in New York Bay in April 1614).

The Onrust investigated coastal New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. In the course of his travels, Block became the first known European to travel up the Connecticut River to just north of Hartford (a distance of approximately 60 miles from Long Island Sound).  He recorded the conditions, the places that he saw, and the native people he encountered. 

The impacts of Block’s travels were many.  Upon his return to Amsterdam in July 1614, Block’s explorations, along with the collective knowledge from other expeditions, were documented in the “Figurative Map of Capt. Adriaen Block” — an incredibly accurate map of the northeast region given the navigation and survey instruments of the day. 

Connecticut River Museum Executive Director, Christopher Dobbs stated “We cannot be more thrilled to host this remarkable vessel that has such historic relevance to our region.”  In fact, as Dobbs notes, Block’s discoveries ushered in dramatic changes.  Most notably, the cultural interchanges (often leading to calamitous consequences) between Native Americans and Europeans, colonization, the founding of New Netherland, and the ecological impacts due to global trade.  It was “at least in part thanks to Block’s work that a Dutch trading post was established in 1624 in Old Saybrook and that Hartford [House of Hope] became New Netherland’s eastern-most trading post and fort.”

The re-creation of the vessel was spearheaded by New York based nonprofit The Onrust Project. Following extensive research, the rediscovery of traditional Dutch shipbuilding techniques, and the efforts of over 250 volunteers, the vessel was launched in 2009 at the Mabee Farm Historic Site, Rotterdam, NY.  Board Chair and Executive Director of The Onrust Project, Greta Wagle said “The Onrust is an extraordinary, floating museum.  We are very pleased to collaborate with the Connecticut River Museum and share her important stories with River Valley residents and tourists.”

The Connecticut River Museum will host the Onrust from June 1 through early October.  During this time they will offer cruises and dockside tours.  To find out more details about the Onrust’s summer cruises, charters, and upcoming programs please visit the Connecticut River Museum’s website at ctrivermuseum.org.  You can also discover the Onrust yourself by going to The Onrust Project’s website at theonrust.com.

Interested in becoming a volunteer guide this summer aboard the ship?  Contact the Museum’s Education Department at jwhitedobbs@ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  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.  The Museum currently has a special exhibition, Connecticut’s Founding Fish, exploring the story of the Shad.

For more information on exhibits and related programs please contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 or visit the website, ctrivermuseum.org.

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Register Now to be Listed on the Chester Town Wide Tag Sale Map; Sale is May 27

CHESTER — All Chester Residents who wish to sell what they no longer need can join their neighbors in participating in the annual tradition of the Chester Town-Wide Tag Sale on Saturday, May 27 (Memorial Day weekend), from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.  For the fifth year in a row, the Chester Republican Town Committee is organizing this 25-year event, which brings thousands of people to Chester for a day of tag sale buying, eating and shopping.

It is easy to do—get on the map that directs the traffic to your doorstep.   To be listed on the map, you must be a Chester resident; if you are a business, your sale address must be in Chester.

Listing forms are available through Kris at kris.seifert@gmail.com and at LARK! In the Town Center.  The listing fee is $10 for residences or businesses or $25 for businesses that wish to include a small 1-1/2” by 1-1/2” advertisement.  Deadline for inclusion in the map is May 25 to enable the printing of the map.   But don’t wait, space fills up quickly.   

To everyone who wants to have a fun and adventurous day in Chester, mark May 27 on your calendar and come to the town-wide tag sale—rain or shine.  As you enter town, you will see friendly volunteers selling maps  (at $1) that will give the locations of everyone who wants to see you.  Spend more time with them and less time trying to find them by randomly driving around– although, that is fun,  too.

Make a day of it and enjoy all that the Town of Chester has to offer.

When you are ready to take a break, restaurants will welcome you with coffee, fresh baked treats, and great food any time of day. The downtown merchants – some of them new like Black Leather, The French Hen, Strut the Mutt and The Perfect Pear – will welcome you with open arms, with shelves stocked with specials, and galleries filled with unique objects of desire.  Don’t forget to pick up a loaf or two of Simon’s well-known bread.

The downtown area is revitalized – check out the new bridge (or bridgework) and sidewalks.  If you want to learn about the town, walk into the Chester Historical Society’s Museum at the Mill in the center of town where you can learn about the Life and Industry along the Pattaconk.  Walk up to the Chester Meeting House or simply stroll about and enjoy the day.

Proceeds from listing fees, map sales, and advertising on the map are used to promote the event throughout Connecticut.  Net proceeds from this event benefit the Chester Republican Town Committee’s general fund.

If you have questions or require more information, email kris.seifert@gmail.com or phone 860-526-8440 / 714-878-9658.

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The Rockfall Foundation Announces 12 Grants for Environmental Projects

AREAWIDE — The Board of Directors and Grants Committee of the Rockfall Foundation are pleased to announce that twelve environmental programs throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley received grants in the latest funding cycle. More than $28,000 was awarded to support environmental education and conservation efforts that will have a combined benefit for nearly 2,000 students and many more adults and families in the region.

“These grants, awarded through a competitive process, support the wonderful work being done in the area of environmental education and conservation throughout our region,” said Marilyn Ozols, President of the Foundation. “We are grateful that the generosity of our donors makes it possible for us to support so many worthwhile programs.”

Environmental education is a priority area for the Foundation and programs that serve and engage children and youth represent the several of those receiving grants. Public schools and non-profit organizations will provide hands-on environmental education programs in Middletown, Durham, Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Additionally, several conservation projects and public events will present residents throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley with information on urban farming, removal of invasives, and tree identification, as well as provide volunteer opportunities.

Grantees include:

Indian Hill Cemetery Association – “A Celebration of the Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery” will encourage visitors to utilize Indian Hill Cemetery as a place where they can learn about trees, be inspired by trees, enjoy the view and walk quietly. Tree identification activities, school programs, and the addition of signs will support this effort. $1,000

Van Buren Moody Elementary School – “Moody School Courtyard Nature Enrichment Programs” will train teachers to use the school’s courtyard gardens for education enrichment, thereby increasing the amount of time students spend outside learning about the environment. The program will also involve students and families in maintaining and managing the gardens to create a sense of ownership and connection to the courtyards and the natural world. $1,030

Regional School District 13 Elementary Schools – “Taking the Next Generation Science Standards Outside” will encourage elementary students to engage in the Science and Engineering Practices emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, while exploring the nature trails near their schools and noting problems that could be investigated and addressed. $1,100

Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District – “Urban Farm-Based Education Programs at Forest City Farms: A Farm Days Pilot Project” will promote an ongoing urban agriculture initiative in Middletown focused on improving urban farming conservation practices, building community interest and engagement in farming, developing farming/gardening knowledge and skills, and helping address food insecurity. Hands-on activities will take place at Forest City Farms. $1,500

Middlesex Land Trust and Everyone Outside – “Middlesex Land Trust Preserves: Great Places to Spend Time Outside” will revive and foster an interest in nature by connecting children and families with their local environment through field trips and public trail walks, helping them gain an understanding and appreciation of nature in order to become future stewards of the environment. $1,500

Snow Elementary School – “Outdoor Explorations at Snow Elementary School” will provide students and teachers with hands-on science and nature programs, including teacher training, mentoring and curriculum development leading to greater interest in science and stewardship of the natural world. $1,900

Lyme Land Conservation Trust – “The Diana and Parker Lord Nature and Science Center” to support the planning and development of educationally-focused content that is directed to all ages and will engage school-age children, and to support a unique and interactive interpretive trail within the Banningwood Preserve. $2,000

Valley Shore YMCA – “Farm to Table Specialty Camp,” an innovative new program that will teach children the important life skills of gardening, harvesting produce for themselves and others, and environmental sustainability. $2,225

Macdonough Elementary School – “Macdonough School Takes the Classroom Outside” will provide hands-on science education for K through 5th grade students, including an understanding of the natural world and the local ecosystem, to enhance students’ connection with nature. $2,570

Connecticut River Watershed Council – “European Water Chestnut Strategy for the Connecticut River Watershed” will directly educate more than 250 individuals on how to identify, manage and report European Water Chestnuts; educate thousands of residents about the plant and its threat to our waterways; and involve volunteers in hand removal of documented infestations. $3,500

Connecticut Forest and Park – “Highlawn Forest Invasive Removal and Education Program,” part of a strategic Forest Management Plan, to use the property as a recreation and education asset through careful timbering and an invasive removal process. The program will be a model for environmental planning and will offer a unique opportunity for hands-on environmental education for landowners and municipalities. $4,000

SoundWaters – “Coastal Explorers: A Bridge for Sustainability for Watershed Exploration for Middle School Students” will provide students from Middlesex County with hands-on science education focused on their local estuarine habitats and watershed to encourage a deeper understanding of the natural world via a combination of study and stewardship activities. $6,000

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is named for the large waterfall in Wadsworth Falls State Park. In addition to its grants, the Foundation sponsors educational programs and owns and maintains the deKoven House Community Center. The Rockfall Foundation awards grants annually through a competitive process that is open to non-profit organizations and municipalities located in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. For additional information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit www.rockfallfoundation.org  or call 860-347-0340.

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The Very Latest … and Most Important … News to Date on the Proposed High Speed Train Route

Amtrak’s ‘Acela’ passes through Rocky Neck State Park on a recent morning.

AREAWIDE — In a major news story published yesterday in the CT Mirror, veteran journalist Ana Radelat summarizes the significant impact that opposition in Connecticut to the proposed high-speed rail route has already had — and is continuing to have.  Radelat quotes Old Lyme’s Greg Stroud, founder of SECoast and now director of special projects for the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, who has been at the forefront of this opposition, as saying, “Opposition is growing along the entire shoreline.”

Read Radelat’s story titled, CT rebellion against federal rail plan grows — and may have impact, at this link.

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Vista Partners with Yale Spizzwinks(?) for Concert at ‘The Kate’ Tonight

OLD SAYBROOK — Vista Life Innovations is teaming up with the Yale Spizzwinks(?), America’s oldest underclassman a cappella singing group, to bring their world-renowned sound to The Kate in Old Saybrook on Friday, April 14.

Established in 1914, the Spizzwinks(?) tour three times a year, entertaining audiences across the country and the globe. Past concert highlights include performances at Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, the Connecticut Open tennis tournament, and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. The group has also performed for former Secretary of State John Kerry and pop icon Lady Gaga.

The Spizzwinks(?) maintain a broad repertoire ranging from Top 40 hits and classic rock to jazz standards and spirituals. Beyond exceptional a cappella tunes, the Spizzwinks(?) are known for incorporating a generous dose of choreography and their unique brand of humor into every performance.

Vista, a post-secondary program supporting the personal success of individuals with disabilities, believes in community integration through the arts and is proud to offer this captivating show to the community-at-large.

Tickets for the April 14 concert are available online at www.vistalifeinnovations.org/spizzwinks. The concert will begin at 1:30 p.m. at The Kate, 300 Main Street, Old Saybrook.

For questions, contact Kristin Juaire at 860-399-8080 ext. 236 or at kjuaire@vistalifeinnovations.org.

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Letter to the Editor: Solnit Children’s Center Expresses Thanks to Numerous Individuals, Organizations

To the Editor:

The Albert J. Solnit Children’s Center-South Campus, located in Middletown, CT, would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the following people and organizations that so generously gave of their time and resources:

  • Juliette Linares, Ambassador Scout of Deep River, who donated items for our youth welcome baskets. 
  • Daisy Troops from Higganum and Killingworth for their donation of multiple welcome baskets for our youth residents.
  • North Guilford Congregational Church for their donation of 10 completed fleece blankets.
  • St. Pius Youth Group and Higganum/Haddam Congregational Church who have completed a total of 51 Fleece blankets kits.

Donation for youth welcome baskets from Juliette Linares, Ambassador Scout of Deep River.

Upon admission, each youth that comes to reside at Solnit Children’s Center is given a welcome basket with items such as: shampoo, hand cream, deodorant lip balm, books, a stuffed animal and a homemade fleece blanket. “It’s something we started a few years ago to help personalize their stay,” said Elaine Jackson and Rebecca Brown-Johnsky, Co-Coordinators. “Many of the youth we serve are DCF committed or just away from home for a few months and this is one way to provide them a few comforts.” “Their faces just light up when they see that something was made especially for them,” says Rebecca Brown Johnsky, Speech & Language Pathologist. We are truly in awe of the generosity of the surrounding community.

The Solnit Children’s Center is the only publicly operated psychiatric facility for youth in the state managed by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, and we have served 443 youth in Connecticut. This 74 bed facility with seven living units treats youth ranging from 13 to 17 years of age, and provides mental health treatment services and care for youth who are experiencing extreme emotional and behavioral difficulties. 

If you are interested in becoming involved with our welcome basket program, please contact Elaine Jackson or Rebecca Brown-Johnsky at 860-704-4000.

Sincerely,

Elaine Jackson,

Middletown, CT

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Essex Library Presents ‘Hiking the Appalachian Trail’ with Sam Ducharme, June 13

A free, illustrated talk on thru hiking the Appalachian Trail will be presented by Sam Ducharme at 6:30 p.m. June 13, at the Essex Library

ESSEX — Treat yourself to a modern-day adventure and learn what it’s like to set out on a 2180 mile, 14 state backpacking trip from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin Maine. During his six-month journey, Sam Ducharme documented the rugged beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, the wildlife, the hardships encountered on the trail, as well as the people, culture and humanity at its finest.

Join him at the Essex Library on Tuesday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. as he takes you through the trail towns, over the mountaintops and through the backcountry. The images and stories will leave you with a renewed awe of the beauty of our country and its people.

Ducharme is a retired K9 Officer and is a lifelong resident of Connecticut. As an avid outdoorsman, and finding the empty-nest, he decided to buy a backpack and a plane ticket to Georgia. From there, he started walking north. With no prior backpacking experience, he learned on the trail.

Gear, trail nutrition, enduring the elements, and the logistics involved in a long-distance backpacking trip were hard lessons. After 20 years working within Connecticut’s prisons, the search for a positive recharge resulted in a life-changing journey.

See Ducharme’s gear, how he cooked, and hear what it is like sleeping in a hammock for six months through three seasons. You will also hear how he returned to the trail the following year, connecting with aspiring Thru Hikers, paying it forward, and his return to the summit of Katahdin one year later.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library to register or for more information at (860) 767-1560. The Essex library is located at 3 West Ave. in Essex.

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Country School Hosts Tee Off for Scholarship Golf Classic, June 12

A successful foursome at last year’s Golf Classic.

AREAWIDE On Monday, June 12, The Country School will host its Tee Off for Scholarship Golf Classic at the Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club. Proceeds will go to the Founders’ Promise Fund for Scholarship at the school. This event is open to the public.

Since 2012 The Country School Golf Classic has raised over $100,000 for the Founders’ Promise Fund (FPF) for Scholarship. This investment in a child’s future awards need-based scholarships to a wide range of students. Established in 2006 by Allee and Jeff ‘61 Burt P ‘00, ‘03 and their family to honor The Country School’s founders and their desire to help all children reach their full potential, the FPF for Scholarship has helped 173 unique students in the past decade, awarding more than $4.6 million dollars during this time.

This year’s event offers the chance to win a Mercedes with a hole-in-one. Don’t have the best drive? Don’t worry, there will also be a live and silent auction as well as on-the-course prizes so you too can go home a winner or simply join us for dinner at the club.

Join us! thecountryschool.org/giving/tcsgolfclassic #countryclubs

Questions? Contact joanne.arrandale@thecountryschool.org

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Cappella Cantorum, Con Brio Hosts ‘Summer Sing’ of Mozart’s Requiem, June 12

AREAWIDE — Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio host their first Summer Sing of the season with Mozart’s “Requiem” on Monday, June 12, 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Rd., Old Saybrook. This session will be conducted by Rachael Allen of Westbrook High School.

All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through of a great choral work. Professional soloists often participate.

The event is co-sponsored by Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio. A $10 fee covers the costs of the event. Scores will be available, and the church is air-conditioned. The next Summer Sing on Monday, June 19, will be conducted by Barry Asch of Cappella Cantorum directing the Lord Nelson Mass, by Haydn.

For more information call (860) 767-9409 or (203)530-0002   or visit www.cappellacantorum.org or www.conbrio.org

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First 2017 Environmental Forum at CT River Museum Reviews Waterway Manipulations, April 13

This aerial photograph by Tom Walsh shows the manipulation of the River’s natural flow in Turner’s Falls, Mass.

ESSEX — Join the Connecticut River Museum for “Waterway Manipulations”, our first 2017 Environmental Forum on Thursday, April 13, at 5:30 p.m.  Speakers will present issues and include time for discussions about water legislation, the necessity of floodplains and the preservation of the American Beaver. 

Alicia Charamut, Connecticut River Steward at the Connecticut River Watershed Council, will present Water Diversions: An overview of the state’s water planning process, what citizens can expect from the process and how individuals can become involved in water management in finding balance of water-use. 

Chris Campany, Executive Director of the Windham Regional Commission based in Brattleboro, Vermont will present  “Do Unto Those Downstream As You’d Have Those Upstream Do Unto You”:  Preserving and restoring floodwater access to floodplains is essential not only from a scientific and biological perspective, but from a moral perspective as well. 

The final presenter, local Naturalist at The Incarnation Center, Phil Miller will discuss American Beaver: Celebrating a keystone species and the habitat they build for wildlife. The program is sponsored by the Rockfall Foundation.

The Connecticut River Museum is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 a.m.  to 5 p.m.  The Museum currently has a special exhibition, Connecticut’s Founding Fish, exploring the story of the Shad. For more information on exhibits and related programs please contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 or visit the website, ctrivermuseum.org. 

Photo Caption: This aerial photograph by Tom Walsh shows the manipulation of the River’s natural flow in Turner’s Falls, Massachusetts.

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Cappella Cantorum Non-Auditioned Men’s Chorus Hosts Late Registration/Rehearsal Tonight

Music Director/Conductor and co-founder of Cappella Cantorum, Barry B. Asch

AREAWIDE — Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus non-auditioned Late Registration/Rehearsal will be held Monday, April 10, 7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 109 Main St. Centerbrook. Rehearsals are on Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School.

Music includes: Wade in the Water, Psalm 84, Brothers Sing On. Hallelujah-Cohen, Spiritual and Broadway. $40.00 Registration, including Music at rehearsal.

The first concert is Sunday, June 11, 3 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church. 56 Great Hammock Rd. Old Saybrook, CT.

Contact Barry Asch at (860) 388-2871 for information.

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Fire House Food Drive Benefits Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries Today

Shoreline Fire Departments hold a food drive Saturday, April 8, to benefit SSKP.

AREAWIDE — For the sixth consecutive year, Connecticut shoreline fire departments will host a one-day food drive on Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to collect non-perishable food for shoreline residents in need.

All donations will go to local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP.)

The SSKP hopes to include all fire departments in the 11 shoreline towns they serve. Fire departments already committed to the event include: Old Saybrook FD, 310 Main Street; (and once again this year, drop-offs will also be accepted by the OSFD at the Stop and Shop in Old Saybrook and Big Y in Old Saybrook); Westbrook FD, 15 South Main Street; Essex FD, 11 Saybrook Road; Clinton FD, 35 East Main Street; North Madison FD, 864 Opening Hill Road; and Chester FD, 6 High Street. All area fire departments are encouraged to participate.

At a time of year when food donations are low, this food drive will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our local communities will have a place at the table. The Soup Kitchens’ five pantries distributed over 1 million pounds of food last year to needy residents. Only 40 percent of this food comes from the CT Food Bank; the remainder must be either purchased or donated, so every item is appreciated.

Last year’s drive brought in close to 4,000 pounds of food, and this year’s goal is 6,000 pounds.

Join the effort by donating food, or by holding a food drive in your neighborhood, workplace, or club, and then bringing it to a participating firehouse on Saturday, April 8. Participating fire departments ask those donating food only to drop off food on Saturday, April 8.

Please do not drop off food before that date.

For more information call (860) 388-1988 or email Claire Bellerjeau at cbellerjeau@shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provide food and fellowship to people in need and educate the community about hunger and poverty, serving 11 shoreline towns. Founded 28 years ago, they accomplish their mission with the help of over 900 dedicated volunteers. Last year SSKP provided food for over one million meals to 8,000 local residents in need.

For more information on volunteering, visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org and get updates on Facebook. The SSKP thanks you for supporting their mission to provide food and fellowship to people in need and educate the community about hunger and poverty.

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Town of Old Saybrook Conducts Coastal Resilience Study, Public Meeting June 7

OLD SAYBROOK — The Town of Old Saybrook is conducting a Coastal Community Resilience Study and Infrastructure Evaluation to improve and facilitate the social, economic and ecological resilience of the Town to the impacts of sea level rise, coastal flooding, and erosion.

Public participation is essential to the process and two public meetings will be held this year. An important goal of each public meeting is to gather public input from community members including local residents, beach associations, local and state officials, and businesses located in flood-vulnerable areas.

The first Public Meeting will be held on June 7, at 6 p.m. at the Old Saybrook Pavilion and the public, business owners and community leaders are all encouraged to attend. This meeting will present the Coastal Resilience Study findings, including the future impacts of sea level rise and flooding relative to community assets:

  • Infrastructure;
  • Essential Facilities;
  • Lifeline Systems/Facilities (e.g., Wastewater Treatment Systems);
  • Natural and Recreational Resources, including Beaches, Coves, Salt Marsh, Shellfish Beds and Open Space; and
  • Social Resources: Neighborhoods, Community Centers and Shelters, Religious Centers, and Schools

Flooding issues related to sea level rise and increasing coastal storm surge will be discussed. The results of high resolution hydrodynamic flood models performed for the project will be presented.

Feedback gathered from the public will be integrated into the Coastal Resilience Study.

The Town of Old Saybrook hired the consulting team GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. GZA’s project subconsultants include Alex Felson Landscape Architects and Stantec.

For further information about the Coastal Resilience Study, contact Christine Nelson, Director of Old Saybrook  Land Use Department at 860-395-3131 or cnelson@oldsaybrookct.gov.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ Tonight in Chester with $525 Give-Away, New Martini, New Art, New Jewelry & More

CHESTER — It’s First Friday again in Chester on April 7.  Most village shops and galleries will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. for this festive evening.

Visitors who come to Chester’s downtown between Friday, March 3 and Friday, April 7 have a chance at winning a March Madness shopping spree worth more than $500. This special promotion kicked off on First Friday in March and ends First Friday in April: shoppers, diners and gallery-goers can pick up a special “Chester” card at any business and each time they buy something, their card will be validated.

Once they’ve made purchases at seven different locations, their card is eligible for the drawing April 7 when the winner will receive $25 gift certificates from each of the eight restaurants and 13 merchants participating.

Every store, gallery and restaurant in town is on board, and the cards are available at each of them.

Suzie Woodward of ‘Lark’ prepares for ‘First Friday’ in Chester.

Completed cards should be turned in to The Perfect Pear at 51 Main Street no later than 5 p.m. April 7 for the grand-prize drawing at 6 p.m. Players can complete more than one card for entry. The winner need not be present to win.

These customers of “Strut Your Mutt” are ready for ‘First Friday.’

The participating restaurants are: The Good Elephant, Otto, Pattaconk 1850 Bar and Grille, River Tavern, Simon’s Marketplace, Thai Riverside, The Villager and The Wheatmarket.

The eligible retail shops and galleries are Black Kat Leather, Dina Varano, Elle Design Studio, The French Hen, Lark, Lori Warner Gallery and Swoon and Maple & Main Gallery, Also: The Perfect Pear, R.J Vickers Herbery, the Chester Bottle Shop, Strut Your Mutt, Matt Austin Studio and Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery.

Tonight, Leif Nilsson will be hosting an Opening Reception for his Watch Hill Paintings at his Spring Street Studio and Gallery, where his band Arrowhead will also be playing.

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Siegrist Meets with Taxpayers, Discusses Issues over Coffee

State Rep. Bob Siegrist discusses current issues with constituents.

TRI-TOWN – Throughout the months of March and April, State Rep. Robert Siegrist (R-36th) met with taxpayers in all four towns that he represents and gave an update on the latest news from the State Capitol, including the state budget.

Siegrist hosted early morning coffee hour events across the 36th district, giving residents in Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam the opportunity to meet with their legislator and speak with him about their concerns. Siegrist stressed the importance of lowering tax burdens on families and businesses and restoring municipal funding cuts proposed in the governor’s budget.

Siegrist held his coffee hour events at the following locations: Simon’s Market Place in Chester, Hally Jo’s Corner in Deep River, Jack’s Country Restaurant in Higganum and the Town Hall in Essex.

“I believe it is absolutely necessary to have an open and honest discussion with the residents I represent,” said Siegrist. “I can only do my job effectively if I am in tune with the concerns held by the residents and business owners in my District. I am eager to continue being your voice and represent our community in Hartford.”

“While communicating with residents in district, I vowed to always be available and more importantly, to always listen to the interests and concerns of my constituents. I’m grateful to all those who attended and especially for providing their feedback regarding state and local issues,” added Siegrist.

Attendees at the legislative coffee hour events also discussed a variety of issues, including state taxes, invasive species, marijuana, education and funding for transportation infrastructure.

Any resident who missed the events but would like to contact Siegrist may do so at 800-842-1423 or email Robert.Siegrist@housegop.ct.gov.

Editor’s Note: Siegrist represents the 36th District communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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Letter From Paris: Thoughts on the First Few Days of Brexit

Nicole Prévost Logan

This was a very good editorial,  civilized and  compassionate.  It avoided throwing oil on the fire, playing the blame game or making doomsday predictions.

On March 30, in le Monde, an editorial appeared under the following title: “An Appeal to London and the 27.”  Actually it was a collective message published simultaneously by The Guardian, Le Monde, La Vanguardia and Gazeta Wyborcza.

One cannot undo 44 years of social, economic and human ties with just a strike of a pen — that was  the four newspapers’ message.   The collateral damage will be felt on both sides of the English Channel.  Three million Europeans live in the UK and more than two million British expats live on the continent. The fate of those five million people is at stake.  

The authors of the editorial suggested the Brexit process should be started on a positive note and tend to the status of the expatriate nationals right away, before starting the negotiation process.

But the day after Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, parted emotionally with the Euroskeptic David Davis British envoy,  the head-on confrontational negotiations started in earnest.

Like a chess player, Theresa May decided that attack was the best strategy and she put the central demands of the UK on the table: first, treat simultaneously the details of the “divorce” and the future of commercial relations between the UK and the European Union (EU); second, organize the future of security cooperation. 

Europe shot back in no uncertain terms.  Angela Merkel said Germany wanted to tackle other matters first and so did Francois Holland,  Donald Tusk and Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator for Europe.  The basic position of the Europeans is that no negotiations on free trade should start until the UK has left the EU totally and become a third-party country. 

The European Union (EU) wants discussions to proceed “per phases,” starting with “reciprocal and non discriminatory” guarantees as to the status of the Europeans living the UK and the 60 billion Euros already obligated by the UK to the budget of Europe. An extremely sensitive point will be for the UK to abide by the decisions taken by the European Court of Justice located in Luxembourg.

As far as the negotiations concerning the future relations between the two parties, some topics promise to be particularly stormy, particularly the “social, fiscal and environmental dumping” or whether to preserve the “financial passport” allowing the City of London to sell financial products on the continent.  The Europeans oppose discussions per economic sector, as wanted by Theresa May, and bi-lateral agreements to be signed between the UK and any of the EU members. 

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.

On March 31, Donald Tusk, gave a crucial six-page document to the 27 members of the EU laying down the essential principles of the negotiations to come. The text should be formally accepted by them on April 29 at a summit meeting in Brussels.

Obviously the presidential elections in France will have an impact on the negotiations.   Marine Le Pen applauds an event which will make Europe more fragile.  At the opposite end of the political spectrum, Emmanuel Macron (En Marche party) feels the access to the Common Market  has a price and should be balanced by contributions to the European budget.  François Fillon  (Les Republicains or LR ) supports a firm attitude toward the British demands. He thinks that the Le Touquet agreement needs to be modified and the borders moved from Calais to Dover.

The ideal scenario would be to have the parties agree on these first phases so that discussion on the future should be tackled by the beginning of 2018.

The tone of the difficult negotiations has been set.  It will be a roller-coaster ride for months to come.

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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Trump & North Korea: War or Peace in Asia? Gordon Chang Presents at SECWAC Meeting, June 6

Tickets $20 for General Public, Free for Students

Gordon G. Chang. (Photo from gordonchang.com)

AREAWIDE – The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) has announced that author and political commentator Gordon G. Chang will present an address entitled “Trump and North Korea: War or Peace in Asia?” at the upcoming SECWAC meeting at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School on Tuesday, June 6, at 6 p.m. 

His speech will address the current situation in volatile North Asia where four nuclear powers – North Korea; its traditional friends, China and Russia; and the United States – are confronting one another. 

For decades, there has been an uneasy peace on the Korean peninsula, yet the reasons for this stability are disappearing.  The regime in Pyongyang is increasingly shaky and prone to taking risky actions; Washington no longer believes it has the time to tolerate North Korea’s weaponization program; and it appears that, in a few years, the North will be able to mate a nuclear warhead to a ballistic missile that will be able to strike the lower 48 states. 

Chang is the author of “Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World.” He contributes regularly to the “Daily Beast,” Forbes.com and the World Affairs Council blog.  His writings on China and North Korea have appeared in the “New York Times,” “Wall Street Journal,” “Far Eastern Economic Review” and many other news publications. He has appeared in interviews on CNN, MSNBC, BBC and PBS – among numerous other media outlets.  He has also been called upon to brief the CIA, the State Department, the Pentagon and other government agencies and committees.

SECWAC meetings are free to members. Tickets are $20 for the general public, free for area students, and can be obtained at info@secwac.org. (Ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership.)  Chang’s speech at 6 p.m.will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. reception at at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

The presentation is a part of the SECWAC Speaker Series.  SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America.  Its mission is to foster an understanding of issues related to foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate and educational programming. 

Through its annual Speaker Series, SECWAC arranges up to 10 presentations a year that provide a public forum for dialogue between its members and experts on foreign relations.  Membership information is available at www.secwac.org

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Celebrate Beavers on International Beaver Day, Saturday

ESSEX — The Essex Conservation Commission is celebrating International Beaver Day on Saturday, April 8.  Rain date is April 9.

The Commission will be hosting tours of Quarry Pond at 6 a.m. (prior to sunrise) and 7 p.m. (prior to sunset).  Beavers are nocturnal animals that tend to sleep during the day.  The ability to see them is best at these times.

Quarry Pond in located in the Viney Hill Brook Park in Essex, CT.  Meet at the parking lot on the end of Cedar Grove Terrace prior to the start time of each tour.

Beavers are known as a Keystone species. A keystone species is a plant or animal that plays a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. All species in an ecosystem, or habitat, rely on each other.

Come and visit to learn more about Beavers. Sign up by contacting EssexCelebratesBeavers@gmail.com.

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