December 15, 2017

Archives for December 2017

Old Lyme Town Band Gives ‘Holiday Pops Concert’ Tonight at ‘the Kate’

AREAWIDE — The Old Lyme Town Band will perform their ‘Holiday Pops Concert’ at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘The Kate,’ in Old Saybrook on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m.

‘The Kate’s’ program information states, “Nothing says the holidays like the Old Lyme Town Band playing some festive selections for the season.”

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children and available at this link.

Visit OldLymeTownBand.org or thekate.org for more details.

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Join a ‘Messiah’ Sing or Listen, Christmas Section, at the Kate on Sunday

AREAWIDE — A ‘Messiah’ Sing or Listen, Christmas Section, will be sponsored by Cappella Cantorum on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m. at The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, (The Kate), 300 Main St., Old Saybrook 06475. There will be a short rehearsal for singers at 3:30 p.m.

Soloists will be Soprano Danielle Munsell Howard, Mezzo-Soprano Rachel Abrams, Tenor David Finley and Baritone Christopher Grundy. The Sing is open to all, under the direction of Barry Asch and accompanied by Deborah Lyon.

Bring ‘Messiah’ scores if you have them or they will be provided. There is a $10 fee for singers and audience. Singers will sit in sections, the audience is invited to sit in the back, witness the short rehearsal, and then the Sing will begin at 4 p.m.

Tickets will be available online at www.thekate.org and through the Box Office, 877-503-1286, open Tues–Fri 10 a.m. –2 p.m., no reserved seats.

For information call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871. The Sing ends at 5:15 p.m.

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See ‘Scrooged..with a Twist’ at Chester Meeting House, Friday Through Sunday

Galen Donovan plays the title role in ‘Scrooged — with a Twist.’

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Scrooged..with a Twist’ at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street Chester.  Performances are Friday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.mSaturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m.

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

This production is a benefit for Old Lyme Animal Control.

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

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Madhatters Present ‘Scrooged … with a Twist,’ Friday Through Sunday

Galen Donovan of Old Lyme plays the title role in ‘Scrooged — with a Twist.’

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Scrooged …with a Twist’ at Chester Meeting House, 4 Liberty Street Chester.  Performances are Friday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.mSaturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m.

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

This production is a benefit for Old Lyme Animal Control.

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

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Inaugural Men’s Shopping Night to be Held Tonight in Chester

 CHESTER – The first annual men’s shopping night when all the downtown businesses will be open until 8 p.m. offering refreshments, unique presents to give, wish lists and gift wrapping will be Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Participating merchants will have wish lists of gifts the special people on shoppers’ lists have already filled out on previous visits making selection a snap.

At Perfect Pear, homemade mini pretzels and beer will be served and a free wood-handled knife given with every purchase of $50 or more.

At Lori Warner’s, bourbon and caramels will be served and at French Hen, there will be a scotch tasting by Chester Package Store and pigs in the blanket served.

Meatballs, beer and wine will be offered at Maple and Main Gallery while Lark will have a beer tasting by Chester Bottle Shop, homemade salsa and chip and wrapped chocolates for stocking gifts.

Caryn Davis will sign copies of her book, “A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style,’’ at Leif Nilsson’s Gallery.

The Pattaconk is offering $1 off your first beverage and half price appetizers for all shoppers Wednesday night.

Also participating with refreshments, wish lists and gift wrapping: Black Kat, Ruba Ruba and Dina Varano.

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Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International Hosts Holiday Dinner & Fundraiser Tonight

AREAWIDE —  The Connecticut Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International has announced that Jonna Gerken, President of the Society of Women Engineers, will be its guest speaker at the new chapter’s first Holiday Dinner and Fundraiser. The event, open to the public, will take place on Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. at Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant, 22 Chesterfield Rd, East Lyme. Buffet Dinner is $40 and for Students it is $30. There will be a Silent Auction.

For tickets or to donate an item, contact Deb Moshier-Dunn atDebM0727@sbcglobal.net or 860-444-9247

Gerken will address STEM (Science, Technology Engineering Math) and how young girls and women can achieve economic independence by pursuing careers in those fields. Jonna Gerken is a manager in manufacturing engineering for Pratt & Whitney. She oversees the program chief manufacturing engineers in their work to ensure all engine components meet manufacturing readiness levels appropriate to their life-cycle stage.

Gerken holds a B.S. in industrial and management engineering and an MBA in technology development, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a life member of SWE, a senior member of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, and an associate value specialist with SAVE International. She received the 2016 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award from the Connecticut Science Center, the 2014 STEP Award from the Manufacturing Institute, the 2011 Pratt & Whitney Diversity and Inclusion Award, the 2006 SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award, and was a 2004 New Faces of Engineering Finalist for IIE. The Society of Women Engineers has nearly 40,000 members worldwide.

The Connecticut Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International was chartered in February 2017. Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. CT Shoreline members join with almost 80,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls.

Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, such as the Live Your Dream award to support women who are supporting their families and the Dream It, Be It program to empower middle and high school girls. For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit www.soroptimist.org or www.liveyourdream.org.

The Dec. 13 event will feature a silent auction with gift certificates, baskets and artwork. Funds raised will support the club’s programs and scholarships. The chapter welcomes new members. To learn more, ‘like’ Soroptimist International Connecticut Shoreline on Facebook or visit www.soroptimistner.org.

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Tickets on Sale Now for a Fundraising ‘Ivoryton Playhouse Christmas Radio Hour’ with David Pittsinger & Friends, Dec. 21-22

David Pittsinger performs in ‘The Man of La Mancha.’ File photo.

IVORYTON — World-renowned artist David Pittsinger will be performing a holiday show on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. An old fashioned Christmas celebration of holiday standards and sacred songs featuring David with his wife, Patricia Schuman and Carly Callahan, Katie Weiser and Charlie Widmer.

Set in a 1940s radio station, the show will take you back to the days when the radio had pride of place in the living room and the family gathered round in the evening to listen to their favorite shows. Baby, it’s gonna be cold outside so come on down to the Ivoryton Playhouse to warm your heart with music we all know and love.

This concert is a benefit for the 106-year-old Playhouse to further its mission to provide theatre of the highest quality to the residents and visitors to our community.

Tickets for this special event are $50. Seating is limited; call the theatre box office at 860.767.7318 to reserve your seat for these two special events.  The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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CT River Museum Offers Range of Winter Wildlife Programs, Activities

Eagles on Ice: White-headed adult eagles can be seen in numbers along the lower Connecticut River. Photo by Mark Yuknat.

ESSEX — Winter along the Connecticut River brings many things – including cold winds and grey skies.  But the change in seasons also signals a shift in the ecology of New England’s Great River.  The osprey, the swallows and the egrets may be gone, but in their place now are mergansers, goldeneyes, and the highlight – bald eagles.  These once rare, majestic birds can be seen fishing along the unfrozen lower Connecticut River, a testament to one of the greatest environmental recoveries of the last half century.  To highlight these winter wonders, Connecticut River Museum (CRM) has planned a range of programs and activities.

Connecticut River Museum is happy to again partner with Connecticut River Expeditions to offer Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises in February and March.  These popular trips offer visitors a chance to get out on the River in winter to see eagles, as well as other winter species that visit the estuary such as harbor seals.

This seal is relaxing on the Connecticut River ice. Photo by Bill Yule.

Cruises aboard the environmentally friendly R/V RiverQuest provide passengers with a comfortable, heated cabin supplied with hot coffee and tea, as well as binoculars to aid in spotting and narration from a staff naturalist.  These cruises depart Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at various times in the morning and early afternoon, and are $42 per passenger.  Museum members get 10 percent off and group rates are available.

In addition, the Museum will offer its annual Eagles of Essex exhibit, which offers a wealth of information about bald eagles and their return to the lower Connecticut River.  Patrons can try their hand at building an eagle nest, and marvel at life size silhouettes of Eagles and other large raptors, a map showing good shore viewing locations, and other displays.  On the opening day of the season, Saturday, Feb. 3, the exhibit will host Family Activities related to the return of the Eagles from 1 to 4 p.m., free with Museum admission.

On Saturday, Feb. 17 and March 17, award-winning photographer Stanley Kolber returns to CRM to offer his annual Bird Photography Workshop.  Kolber has been photographing birds for years, and takes great pleasure in sharing his experience with aspiring photographers of all levels, through anecdotes, slides, and question and answer.  In addition to helping skills development, his greatest pleasure in giving workshops is the opportunity to kindle and encourage his audience’s interest in the natural world.  He hopes that young people as well as adults will attend the workshops, so that he can impart some of his own enthusiasm to the next generation.  These popular programs are also free with Museum admission.

Species other than Eagles visit our River during the winter months. Photo by Joan Meek.

A Live Birds of Prey Show will be offered on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m.  CRM will partner with Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation Organization for this annual show, which features a bald eagle and several other species of raptors.  Visitors will be able to get an up close look at the birds while learning more about the lifecycle and ecology of these magnificent animals.  This event will be held at the Centerbrook Meeting House and is free to the public.

For a full listing of event details, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open Tuesday – Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Connecticut River Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For more information, call CRM at 860.767.8269 or RiverQuest at 860.662.0577.

 

 

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS: 

Eagles on Ice-credit Mark Yuknat-“White headed adult eagles can be seen in numbers along the lower Connecticut River.”

Seal on Ice- credit Bill Yule:  “Seal lounging on the River ice”

Coyote on River Edge – credit Joan Meek: – “Species other than Eagles visit our River during the winter months”

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Ivoryton Playhouse’s Holiday Show ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Runs Through Sunday

From left to right, Moira O’Sullivan, Daniel Nischan and Sarah Kozlow rehearse their roles in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life!’ Photo by Jacqui Hubbard.

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse Holiday Show opens on Dec. 7, and runs until Dec. 17. It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry was inspired by the classic American film by Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life. This production is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. Five actors perform the dozens of characters in the radio play as well as produce the sound effects.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play premiered in 1996 at Stamford Center for the Arts in Stamford, Conn., and has since been produced around the country to great critical acclaim

The play works like a fable, sort of a “Christmas Carol” in reverse: Instead of a mean old man being shown scenes of happiness, we have a hero who plunges into despair. As fans of the movie know, George has grown up in Bedford Falls, an idyllic small town, determined to get out. He plans to see the world and build skyscrapers or something else huge when he grows up but circumstances keep him at home.

When the accidental loss of $8,000 leaves George on the verge of disaster, he contemplates killing himself and is saved by Clarence, George’s slightly bumbling 292-year-old guardian angel. By showing George what Bedford Falls and numerous loved ones would have been like if George had never been born, Clarence manages to turn him around. Lifted from a suicidal depression, George Bailey is a man with a reawakened appreciation of his life and the people he loves.

It all happens on Christmas Eve, and of course, an angel gets his wings.

Bursting with feel good holiday spirit, It’s a Wonderful Life is traditional, family friendly entertainment for all ages.  Directed by Sasha Bratt, this show is an antidote to cynicism and a love letter to good old fashioned Christmas fun. Musical Director is Frank Natter and the cast includes Playhouse Associate Artistic Director, Daniel Nischan, as George Bailey, Norm Rutty, David Cardone, Moira O’Sullivan, Rick Malone, Sara Kozlow, Michael Hinton, Addison Marchese, Antonia Marchese and Finnian Boyles. Set design by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, sound by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Elizabeth Cipollina.

Make the Playhouse part of your family holiday tradition this year.  Come and visit the village of Ivoryton, decorated with over 500,000 Christmas lights – have dinner and take in a great show at the Playhouse.

Performance times are Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and evening performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at  7:30 p.m.There is also a Wednesday matinee on Dec. 13and a Saturday matinee on Dec. 16.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $32 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting 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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Child & Family Hosts Essex Holiday House Tour Today

File photo of a beautifully decorated home from the 2015 tour.

ESSEX — Saturday, Dec. 9, will highlight a memorable stroll through Essex, one of New England’s most picturesque towns, for its 14th biennial holiday house tour.  Created and organized by the Essex Auxiliary of the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT, the tour consists of seven distinctive private homes beautifully decorated for the holidays, the Essex Historical Society properties, and the Connecticut River Museum with Steve Cryan’s special holiday train show.  The Essex Art Association will also offer free chili.

Home base for the tour will be the Essex Town Hall at 29 West Avenue, where tickets may be purchased or picked up, and where there will be a large Boutique with vendors offering clothing, jewelry, gifts, home décor items, holiday arrangements and other alluring items.  Several drawings for donations by the vendors will be held here at the end of the day, and, during the day, Santa’s Café will offer snacks and refreshments.  The Boutique will be open from 9:30 to 5:00, and admission is free.

Tickets for the tour are $30 in advance, $35 the day of the tour.  Checks payable to Child & Family Agency may be sent to:  Essex Holiday House Tour, 168 River Road, Essex, CT 06426.

Tickets are also available in advance at www.childandfamilyagency.org; at the Griswold Inn Store, One North Main, and Walker Loden in Essex; Centerbrook Cheese Shop in Centerbrook; Saybrook Country Barn in Old Saybrook; Lark in Chester; Celebrations in Deep River; Bowerbird in Old Lyme; Walker Loden in Madison and New Haven; and the Child & Family Agency in New London, (806)443-2896, ext. 1403.

All proceeds from the tour go to funding Child & Family Agency’s programs addressing the mental health, educational, and healthcare needs of children and their families to promote the well-being and development of all children.

Services are offered from birth through high school in southeastern Connecticut and include child guidance, early childhood development, and after-school academic, recreational, and artistic activities.  Adult services include parenting education as well as prevention training for scholars and professional practitioners.  Healthcare services address both physical and mental health issues facing children.  Office-based, community-based, and home-based mental health services are available from New Haven to Stonington, and 14 school-based health centers provide healthcare options to children in Waterford, New London, Groton, Norwich, and Stonington. Child Guidance centers are based in Essex, New London, and Groton.

Last year, with a professional staff of more than 190, Child & Family provided services to over 18,000 children and their families in 79 towns in New Haven, Middlesex, and New London Counties.

In other words, your enjoyment of the Essex Holiday House Tour will benefit thousands of children in our neighborhoods, so come and help us celebrate the holidays by exploring lovely historic homes, including a mansion, in a picture-book setting!

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Hike This Morning in Doanes’ Woods, James Glen Preserves

Hike in Doane’s Woods Preserve, Dec. 9.

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust invites all to visit its newest property, Doanes’ Woods on Saturday, Dec. 9, meeting at 9 a.m. It is a large flat wooded area that drops steeply to the east and adjoins the James Glen Preserve. The two properties combined represent 21 acres and include trails that connect with each other.

Doane’s Woods was acquired in 2016 and includes a wooded ravine with creek, rock outcroppings and spectacular tulip trees as well as other deciduous trees. A great winter hike to explore some local geological features with our stewards.

Access is at the James Glen Preserve at the end of Hudson Lane off of River Road.

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Deep River Historical Society Offers Trees, Traditions and Legends Today, 4-9pm

DEEP RIVER — Deep River Historical Society will be holding their 4th annual holiday event and welcome all to come and partake in the festivities. Both the Carriage House and Stone House, 245 Main Street, Deep River will feature decorated trees and holiday decorations. The houses will be open for viewing on Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9, from 4-9 p.m.

The event is free to all that wish to foster some Holiday Spirit.

This event has been popular in the past years and the theme this year will be the Legends of Deep River and feature interactive activities for the family. The trees are decorated by various civic organizations.

Categories include Best Theme, Traditional and Most Creative Use of Materials. Voting for your favorite trees will only be Friday night, so that the winners are announced and featured for the Saturday viewing.

As part of the Legends theme, we will feature our latest publication Deep River Stories. Books will be available for sale for all of the history buffs on your Christmas list. A scavenger hunt on finding the Legends in the Stone House will be a highlight.

This activity coincides with the Holiday Stroll that is sponsored by the Deep River Park and Recreation and includes town wide activities.  Include a visit to see us while taking part in their planned fun adventures and support our local merchants in our small town community.

Come join the fun and bring the whole family.

For more information contact: Rhonda Forristall, Curator at 860-526-5086

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‘Con Brio’ Presents its Christmas Concert in Old Lyme This Evening, Tomorrow

Danielle Munsell Howard is the soprano at the Con Brio Christmas Concerts this weekend.

Con Brio presents two performances of its acclaimed Christmas Concert this weekend on Saturday evening, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m., both at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Imagine sitting in the center of the bright, high-ceilinged space of Christ the King Church in Old Lyme. The music begins. First from behind you. Then to your left, your right, up in front. It is surround-sound live – provided by the voices of the Con Brio Choral Society arrayed around the great space.

As each of 19 – yes, nineteen! –  parts begin to sing, the sound moves from place to place, the voices echoing one another, harmonizing and weaving a musical fabric that envelopes you.

It’s not like any other Christmas concert you have ever attended … unless you have been to one of Con Brio’s Christmas Concerts before. Attend one of this year’s concerts and experience a musical treat to calm your mind and move you into the Christmas spirit.

Under the baton of Dr. Stephen D. Bruce, Con Brio will perform with the professional 31-piece Con Brio Festival Orchestra, and soprano soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, acclaimed by Opera News Online for her “bright, pretty timbre and remarkable facility.”

Con Brio has sung many Magnificats over the years but Rutter’s setting manages to maintain the traditional approach to the well-known text while infusing it with lush contemporary harmonies and textures. Soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, has a voice well-suited to expressing the wonderment of Mary. The choral movements range from the delicacy of Esurientes (The poor) through the power of Fecit potentiam (He has shown strength) to the thrill of the Gloria Patri.

Stunning is the word often used to describe Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on This Shining Night. Its glistening harmonies and melodies so clearly express poet James Agee’s text and the magic of a December night. In 2007, two years after this piece was composed, President George W. Bush awarded Dr. Lauridsen the National Medal of the Arts, the highest artistic award in the United States.

Two pieces will be sung in the round—now a Con Brio tradition. The chorus loves to take advantage of the spacious and acoustically exceptional sanctuary of Christ the King Church. First will be the a cappella, eight-part, antiphonal motet, In Dulci Jubilo, by 15th century composer Michael Praetorious. That will be followed by the 19-voice Buccinate (Blow the trumpet), by Giovanni Gabrieli.

Other pieces include Fum Fum Fum in a playful arrangement by Mack Wilberg; Pietro Yon’s familiar Gesu Bambino which will feature the soprano soloist; Still, Still, Still in a special arrangement for chorus and harp; perennial favorite Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose); Hodie Christus natus est (Today Christ is born) is one of the greatest renaissance motets; and Claude Debussy’s spritely and expressive Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain (Winter, you are nothing but a villain).

Also, Con Brio will perform a rousing arrangement of the famous spiritual, Go Where I Send Thee. The concert will close with Stephen Mager’s wonderful arrangement of Ding Dong Merrily on High, which starts with a simple rendition of the familiar melody, accompanied by winds, and slowly transforms it into a thrilling finale featuring the full orchestra.

As always, each Christmas concert will include carols for audience participation.

Con Brio, over 70 voices strong, is the Shoreline’s auditioned chorus, known for the variety of its repertoire, and the strength of its programming and musical skills. Since it was founded in 1997, Con Brio has performed regularly to a growing and loyal local audience. Singers hail from more than 15 towns: from East Haven to Mystic and from Old Saybrook to Moodus. The choir has made six overseas concert tours, with the most recent to Portugal and Spain in 2016. The seventh will be to Slovenia and Croatia in May/June 2018.

Follow Con Brio on Facebook @conbriochoral or visit www.conbrio.org

Tickets are $30 each, $15 for students. Purchase them in advance online; major credit cards are accepted.

For more information, call 860-526-5399.

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Old Saybrook BOE Receives Distinction Award at Major Education Convention

Gathered together to celebrate after receiving the CABE Level Two Leadership Award of Distinction are from left to right, Kelly Kennedy, Old Saybrook Board of Education Chair), Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook Superintendent of Schools), and board member Eileen Baker. Photo by Lifetouch National School Studios

OLD SAYBROOK — The Old Saybrook Board of Education was presented with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) Level Two Leadership Award during the annual CABE / CAPSS (Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents) Convention held at the Mystic Marriott on Friday, November 17 – Saturday, November 18.

CABE believes that Boards of Education and Superintendents which exhibit the most effective leadership are characterized by their ability to work together as “teams.” The CABE Board Recognition Awards are designed to recognize Boards which work effectively in this manner. In order to appropriately recognize those Boards which are truly exemplary, CABE has now established a second level of awards, the Board of Distinction Award. Only Boards which have achieved Level One distinction at least twice in the prior four years are eligible to receive the Board of Distinction Award. Boards must achieve at least two Level Two items in each Level Two category to receive this award.

The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) serves local and regional school districts in Connecticut and is dedicated to improving the quality of education throughout the state and the nation. CABE’s membership includes 154 school districts. CABE is a leading advocate for public education at the State Capitol and in Washington D. C., and offers many types of support services to local boards of education including the Board Member Academy, a continuing education program for local board of education members.

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Letter From Paris: A Six-Month Performance Review for Emmanuel Macron

Nicole Prévost Logan

Six months into his mandate, French President Emmanuel Macron has been working at a dizzying pace to fulfill his campaign promises.

Hubert Vedrine, former minister of foreign affairs and expert in international and strategic affairs, made the following comment : “Emmanuel Macron immediately embodied the stature of a chief of State. ”

“The French people are impossible to reform”, said Macron during his campaign.  This is why he set out not to reform but to transform France from top to bottom.  First he brought “parity” men/women into the government. 

The “moralization” of the two legislative chambers was his second objective, which meant bringing an end to the opaque system of financial privileges long enjoyed by the deputies.  Like a breath of fresh air, the professional politicians who, since the beginning of the fifth Republic, had been playing musical chairs, faded away .They were replaced by influential members of the civil society, without any political experience.

Emmanuel Macron

As a rule, the French do not really like to work during the summer.  Breaking with that tradition, Macron spent four months talking with the trade unions.  He invited – separately – the leaders of the different groups (CGT, FO, CFDT)  in order to hear their demands and make his own proposals.

The result was amazing.

The loud manifs (street demonstrations), which traditionally are the main tool of the trade unions, rapidly run out of steam.   On the basis of the summer negotiations, changes in the labor code were formulated into executive orders before becoming law.

Macron used the same strategy – divide and conquer – to defuse the revolt of the mayors. 

There are 36,000 municipalities in France.  Some of the communes are tiny with as few as 200 inhabitants, and feel unfairly treated as compared to the large and wealthy urban centers like Paris, Lyons or Marseille. When Macron announced he would drastically slash down the dotations (subsidies) made by the State, the local officials went up in arms. 

What did Macron do? 

He invited 1,500 mayors to the Elysée Palace and developed his plan to help the small communes .

Thanks to his work experience in the financial and business world, he focused on a crucial economic problem: the cost of French labor is not competitive enough. The main reason?  The cost of labor is bloated by the inclusion of “social charges.” Macron plans to have the entire population share the burden by paying a general tax.  The other pillar of his financial program is to stop demonizing capital income by reducing the tax to a flat rate of 30 percent  – a win-win system to encourage the French population to invest.

Emmanuel Macron has been described as having a velvet smile contrasting with the steely expression of his blue eyes. From the youthful, exuberant attitude he projected during the electoral campaign, he has evolved into the image of an authoritarian leader. He delegates the day-to-day running of the country to his prime minister Edouard Philippe, who is doing his job efficiently and with discretion.  This leaves Macron time to address the big picture, particularly regarding the new place of France on the world stage.

On Sept. 26, in a major speech at the Sorbonne, Macron showed his unwavering ‘Europhile’ vision. He proposes a ‘re-invention’ of Europe with action led by countries willing to make changes. To ensure the future of the Eurozone, he proposes a single budget, a ‘Super Minister’ of economy and the creation of a European IMF. He wants a “protective Europe” in relation to workers and consumers. He believes strongly in giving a central role to culture in defining the European identity.

During his visit to Abu Dhabi for the inauguration of the new Louvre museum on Nov. 8, Macron met with “MBS” (Saudi Arabia prince Mohammed Ben Salmane ) and with “MBZ” (Abu Dhabi crown prince, Mohammed Bin Zayed)  A feverish round of diplomacy took place in which the president succeeded to  “exfiltrate” the Sunni Lebanese minister Saad Hariri from Saudi Arabia and acted as a mediator in the growing fracture of the Persian Gulf.

On Nov. 28,  after a two-hour speech to 800 students of the Ouagadougou University, in Burkina Faso, the Q and A session turned into an hilarious exchange. “Can you help us fix the frequent power outages on the campus?” asked a student. “But this is not my responsibility,” Macron answered, “Ask your president to deal with this problem.” The reaction of his audience – was at first a roar of laughter then deafening applause. A symbolic detail of the Macron’s visit to Africa was that he was accompanied on his trip by leaders of recent  start-ups instead of the CEOs of large companies such as Areva or Total.

The three-day visit to Africa in late November was an opportunity for the French president to break, not only with the colonial era, but also with the neo-colonial era of Françafrique launched by General de Gaulle in 1960.  At a summit meeting held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where the discussions at the summit meeting dealt mostly with the immigration crisis, Macron initiated a partnership whereby Europeans and Africans should share responsibilities.  Macron did not mince words when he told his audience : “The passeurs (smugglers) are not European, my friends , they are African.”

At a time when Angela Merkel is vacillating and Brexit is looming, the role of Emmanuel Macron in Europe is crucial. 

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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Community Music School Hosts Holiday Concert at VRHS, Sunday

The CMS String Ensemble will perform at the 2017 Holiday Concert.

AREAWIDE – ‘Tis the season of celebration and the Community Music School’s (CMS) Holiday Concert scheduled to take place on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. at Valley Regional High School’s auditorium.  Free and open to the public, this community-wide annual event brings together faculty and students to perform vocal and instrumental holiday favorites.

This family-friendly concert will include performances by the Community Music School New Horizons Band, Suzuki Violin Group, Americana String Band, and full String Orchestra, in addition to some beautiful solo piano holiday music performed by CMS’s top students.  Music Director Tom Briggs has arranged a special Holiday Jazz Ensemble to play some contemporary holiday favorites including “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Christmas Time is Here,” and more.

Bring your family and enjoy some of the best music of the season!

For additional information, visit www.community-music-school.org/holiday or call CMS at 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 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 www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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Leif Nilsson Hosts Ramblin’ Dan Stevens & a Fiery Band in Sunday’s ‘Concert in the Garden’

Dan Stevens will play the next ‘Concert in the Garden’ at the Spring Street Studio.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts a Sunday evening ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Dec. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m.,  featuring bluesman Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and a Fiery Band at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center.

Stevens performs an eclectic mix of traditional fingerstyle blues and originals and has entertained audiences throughout the US, Germany, UK, Canada and Virgin Islands. Of special interest is his unique style of “bottleneck” slide playing popularized by early Mississippi delta bluesmen including his use of a homemade, three stringed “Cigar Box Guitar” and one stringed “Diddly Bow”, both primitive blues instruments.

Stevens has been lauded for the authenticity of his approach gained by many years on the road as a traveling blues musician. He has appeared with such artists as Arlo Guthire, Richie Havens, Charlie Daniels, James Cotton, Gatemouth Brown and many others.

For more information on Dan Stevens, visit www.danstevens.net.

This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come first seated. Seating is Bistro Style in the amphitheater. The concert will be moved indoors in the event of inclement weather.

A $20 donation is appreciated. The event is BYOB – pack a picnic and bring your own wine or beer or buy it across the street at the Chester Package Store.

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Death of Barbara (Seim) Hill Announced

Barbara (Seim) Hill, Sept. 7, 1925 – Dec. 1, 2017

Barbara (Siem) Hill

Barbara (Seim) Hill, 92, passed away peacefully at home, Bay Village, Sarasota, Florida on December 1, 2017. She was born in Bridgeport, CT September 7, 1925, daughter of Harry E. and Vera (Bertilson) Seim. She obtained her nursing degree from Simmons College. Her beloved husband of 64 years, Nicholas S. Hill IV, predeceased her in 2012.  She retired from a nursing career which culminated in 16 years as Supervisor of the Visiting Nurses Association in Old Saybrook. She resided in Old Lyme for 34 years, where she raised her six children, then Old Saybrook for 31 years, before moving to Sarasota, Florida.

Barbara will be remembered for her sweet kindness, her brightness of spirit and her determination to make the world around her a better place, which she passed on to her children and everyone she met. She saw the positive in every situation. “She was the best mother and grandmother in the world” and she will be dearly missed.

She is survived by her children: Pamela Vernon of Quechee, Vermont; Nicholas S. Hill V (Sophia) of Sherborn, MA; Penny Hill (Larry Wild) of Sarasota, FL; Wendolyn Hill (Richard Sutton) of Lyme, CT; Melinda Hill (Mark Yuknat) of Haddam, CT; and Jeffrey Hill (Sherry) of Old Saybrook, CT.  She is also survived by 9 grandchildren: Kayt and Colin Vernon, Kyra and Alyssa Hill, Hester and Isabel Sutton, Alex Yuknat, Bethany Benak and Samantha Hill; and four great-grandchildren; and her best friend, Ann Daum.

There will be a private service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Visiting Nurses Southeastern CT: VNASC, 403 N Frontage Road, Waterford, CT 06385or Planned Parenthood of Southwest Florida, 736 Central Avenue, Sarasota, Fl 34236.

Online Guest book located at www.wiegandbrothers.com

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Chester Ornaments From Prior Years for Sale at Maple & Main

These wonderful Chester ornaments from prior years are for sale at maple & Main Gallery.

CHESTER — Each year for a number of years, a Chester artist designed a pewter ornament and a limited number were made and sold at this time of year to support local, non-profit organizations.

The last one was done in 2015, and there are no plans to continue the tradition, making the remaining ones definite collector items. Each one has the singular Chester seal, designed by Cummings and Good, on one side; the art on the other.

There are about 70 of these terrific treasures left from the various years, and they’re for sale at $10 each at Maple and Main Gallery while they last. They make excellent stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, additions to your Christmas tree and even classy pulls for window shades.

All the proceeds go to the Chester Merchants to help with their efforts on behalf of the town.

Maple and Main is open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Partnership Co-Op Now Open Weekends in Main St. Store in Old Saybrook

Gifts hand-crafted by the Lakota Indians will be on sale at the Partnership Cooperative.

The Partnership Co-Op hosts its Annual Holiday Sale from Thursday, Dec. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 17.  The Partnership Co-op features Native American crafts, Haitian art and Palestinian goods from respectively Tribal Crafts, Inc. with Lakota art and crafts, the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education and the Tree of Life Educational Fund.

Join the organizers for the Grand Opening Reception on Thursday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wine, snacks and a raffle will be offered at the Co-op’s store in the former Southern Exposure building located between Cartier Optical and Nail Spa at 264 Main Street in Old Saybrook.

Assorted Lakota crafts and jewelry

Storefront hours are as follows:
Opening Reception Thursday, Dec. 7: 6 to 8 p.m.
Fridays, Dec.8 & 15: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturdays, Dec. 9 & 16: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sundays, Dec. 10 & 17: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Partnership Co-operative is a collection of several non-profit organizations based out of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. All proceeds are returned to the artisans of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, participating Haitian artists and the Tree of Life Educational Fund.

To learn more about this collective of non-profits, visit these websites:

Tribal Crafts, Inc. featuring Lakota art and crafts: www.tribalcrafts.org
The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education: www.crosbyfund.org
Tree of Life Educational Fund: www.tolef.org

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Community Renewal Team Accepting Submissions for 2018 National Arts Program

AREAWIDE — For 27 years, Community Renewal Team (CRT) has served as the sole host in the state of Connecticut for the annual National Arts Program® (NAP), providing an opportunity for local artists to showcase their art within the community.

Professional artists, along with youth, teens, amateurs and intermediate artists from Middlesex and Hartford counties are invited to submit their work now for the 2018 art show, which will be on display at Capital Community College (950 Main Street in Hartford, CT) from Jan. 19 – Feb. 7, 2018.

All forms of visual arts are accepted for this show; from paintings and photographs to sculptures, crafts and textiles.

Applications are being accepted until January 11, 2018, and it is free to submit work for the show.

The NAP provides materials and funding for this visual art exhibit, including cash awards totaling $3,450.

More information about how to get involved in the 2018 National Arts Program is available on the CRT website at http://www.crtct.org/en/events/national-arts

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Looking Ahead to 2020, CBSRZ Leaders Network This Week With Thousands of Peers at URJ Biennial in Boston

CHESTER –  Leaders from Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will join 5,000 Jewish leaders for the 2017 Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial, being held in Boston, Massachusetts, from Dec. 6-10.

The URJ Biennial is the largest Jewish religious gathering in North America. Clergy, professionals, lay leaders, educators, youth leaders, and high school and college students will come together to learn, pray, share ideas, network, celebrate, make Reform Movement policy, and create engagement opportunities for the 2 million people – representing nearly 900 Reform Jewish congregations in the U.S. and Canada – who comprise the Reform Jewish community.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is one of 138 Reform Jewish congregations from across North America who will send a group delegation to the conference. Participants from 480+ congregations in 57 states/provinces will attend intensive leadership training and learning sessions about congregational life, designed to enrich personal skills and knowledge, and deliver tangible take-aways to bring back to their congregations.

Attendees may choose from more than 200 learning sessions from 400 expert presenters. Programming is organized within five intensive tracks that reflect the top priorities of the URJ’s bold 2020 Vision action plan: Strengthening Congregations, Audacious Hospitality, Tikkun Olam (social justice), Youth Engagement, and Transforming Texts (presented in partnership with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion). View the detailed schedule.

“For clergy, synagogue professionals, and lay leaders, the URJ Biennial offers new and creative solutions about every aspect of congregational life,” said Chair of the URJ Biennial 2017 Luise Mann Burger. “Biennial is simply the best way for local leaders to learn from, share ideas, and network with peers and leading experts.”

“URJ Biennial is like a big family reunion – you get to learn, pray, share best principles, network, and catch up with 5000 of your closest Reform Jewish friends and colleagues,” shares Rabbi Marci Bellows, spiritual leader at CBSRZ. “I always return from Biennial feeling refreshed, as well as reinvigorated with new, creative programs, music, and other ideas for our wonderful congregants back at home.”

Biennial attendees will hear from a variety of speakers and expert practitioners, including:

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
  • Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, social justice leader of Moral Mondays, Repairers of the Breach
  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative: her study exposed elevated lead blood levels in Flint children
  • David Grossman, Israeli author and activist, just named the winner of Man-Booker International Prize for Literature
  • Krista Tippett, host of On Being public radio show and podcast
  • Jodi Nussbaum, VP, Sesame Workshop
  • Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ President
  • Daryl Messinger, Chair of URJ North American Board of Trustees

Visit www.urj.org/biennial for event info. Use hashtag #URJBiennial. Follow the URJ on Facebook & Twitter.

 

For more information about URJ, visit www.URJ.org

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Climb Aboard Essex Steam Train’s ‘Santa Special!’

Such fun aboard the Santa Special!

ESSEX — All aboard the Santa Special for a one-of-a-kind, daytime holiday experience. Make sure you’re camera-ready for that special moment when Santa and Mrs. Claus visit each child! Enjoy the spirit of the season as you relax with family and friends aboard festive railway cars adorned with vintage decorations.

•       Tickets are $24/coach, $40/first class (individual armchair seats with cash beverage service). Reindeer Breakfast upgrade is available on Santa Special days from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for $15 adults / $5 children (age 1-6).
•       Dates: November 24-26December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23
•       Departure times: 9:30 a.m.10:00 a.m.11:00 a.m.11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. & 1 p.m.
•       Rudolph and Pablo the Penguin will be on board to spread holiday cheer.
•       Each child receives a small holiday gift from Santa’s Elves!
•       Special Christmas performance by Sunny Train on Nov. 24, 25, 26 and Dec. 2,3,9,10,16,17, and 23. Shows are at 9:30, 10 & 11:30 am12:15 and 1 pm.
•       Write and Mail your “Letter to Santa” at Santa’s Post Office.
•       Take your family pictures in Santa’s sleigh.
•       Visit “Create a Card!” Station
•       Enjoy fresh baked cookies & other goodies in the Klaus Kitchen.

Visit essexsteamtrain.com/seasonal-excursions/santa-special for tickets and more information!

Tickets:
https://essex-steam-train-riverboat.myshopify.com/collections/select_santaspecial-11-2017
Location: Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, 1 Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT, 06426
Contact: Pam Amodio
Phone: 860.767.0103
Email: pamodio@essexsteamtrain.com
Price range: $24-$55. $24/coach, $40/first class. Reindeer Breakfast upgrade available for $15/adult, $5/child (age 1-6)

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CT Valley Camera Club Hosts Award-Winning Travel Photographer at Tomorrow’s Meeting

‘Native Girls in Ethiopia’ by Bobbi Lane.

AREAWIDE: The guest speaker at the Monday, Dec. 4, meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the award-winning travel photographer Bobbi Lane, who will give a presentation titled “Travel Portraits: Capturing Light and Life.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lyme’s Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome.

Photographing people anywhere, home or abroad, presents many challenges to the traveling photographer. The technical concerns about light, camera angle and lenses, backgrounds, selective focus, and composition can sometimes overshadow the importance of making a connection with another human being. Honoring, respecting and communicating with your subject are the first steps to making a meaningful and storytelling photograph. Language barriers can be overcome with a smile, a great attitude and tone of voice, allowing you to communicate without words.

It’s imperative to use good lighting techniques, both natural and with flash, to create the mood and description of the scene and capture the essence. Patience and observation help the photographer choose the right time and place to capture the subject appropriately.

Lane will share her many tips and multiple experiences in both the common place and exotic locations. This presentation will help photographers connect with people, develop a deeper understand of what all humans have in common, and assist them in making photographs that emotionally affect and enlighten the viewer.

Lane is an award-winning commercial photographer specializing in creative portraits in studio and on location for editorial, corporate, and advertising accounts. Lane’s multi-faceted approach to photography incorporates over 40 years of technical experience with innovative artistic interpretation. Lane’s honest and fun connection with her clients allows them to feel relaxed and authentic.

Come on this journey, laugh and cry with Bobbi and her travels to Ethiopia, Myanmar, Venice for Carnival, Turkey, Hong Kong, Dubai and Oman and discover the keys to making great portraits.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers.  The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills.  Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.  The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com. CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/

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Deep River Congregational Church Hosts Festival of Christmas Music This Afternoon

DEEP RIVER — The month of December is an especially busy time for the congregation of Deep River Congregational Church and offers many opportunities for members of the community to join them as they celebrate the Christmas season.
Begin the month by attending the 51st Annual “Ye Olde English Christmas Faire” Week-end.  To order tickets for the Dessert by Candlelight or Festival of Music Concert, call (526-5045) or stop in at the church office, which is open Monday – Friday9:00 – 2:00.
  • Friday, Dec. 1   ~  Dessert by Candlelight ~ Two Seatings:  6:00  & 7:30 p.m.                                
       Enjoy gourmet desserts & Coffee/Tea ~ $5.00
  • Saturday, Dec. 2  ~Ye Olde English Christmas Faire, 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.                          
    Stroll among decorated booths with unique gifts and baskets filled with surprises;  home baked pies, cakes and sweets; knitted and crocheted items; toys & games for the children; and of course photos with Santa.  Stop by the Country Kitchen and take home seafood bisque, chili or a fresh-made loaf of bread.  Be sure to visit Reindeer Restaurant for a light lunch or snack.
  • Sunday, Dec.3 ~ Festival of Christmas Music, 3:00 p.m. featuring Pianist, Bil Groth followed by a reception hosted by Adult Fellowship.  Tickets: $10.00, Children under 6:  Free
 Check the church website, www.deeprivercc.org  for more information about the church.  You may also contact the church office at 860-526-5045 or email: office.drcc@snet.net.
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Essex Library Hosts ‘Best of Enemies,’ Discussion Follows with Tanenhaus, Pressman, Wednesday

ESSEX — The Emmy Award-winning documentary, Best of Enemies, recounts the legendary debates between conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. and liberal Gore Vidal held in 1968 by ABC Television as part of their coverage of the national Democratic and Republican conventions. The film captures the dramatic context of American politics and culture that year and shows how the rancorous sparring in the debates inaugurated a revolution in television programming that not only survives but thrives today.

The film will be screened at the Essex Library on Dec. 6, at 6:30 p.m. Following the screening, Sam Tanenhaus, who appears as a commentator in the film, and Michael Pressman will discuss the Buckley-Vidal debates in the context of the ’68 election and the political issues of the day, how it was covered by the media, how the tenor of the debates and ratings for ABC affected future television coverage and gave rise to a Point/Counterpoint-style of television programming, and how the debate degenerated into the infamous name-calling.

Sam Tanenhaus, the author of bestsellers “The Death of Conservatism” and “Whittaker Chambers,” is working on a biography of William F. Buckley Jr. He was editor of the New York Times Book Review from 2004 to 2013.

Michael Pressman spent more than 30 years as a national broadcast journalist for both ABC News and NBC News, on programs that included: ABC News 20/20, Dateline NBC, the Brokaw Report, and the Today show. Mostly working in “long-form”—news magazines and documentaries—as a producer, director, and writer, he is the recipient of the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award, Emmy, and Cine Golden Eagle awards.

Admission is free and open to the public for this special event. Advance registration is suggested. Please call the Essex Library to register or for more information at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Musical Masterworks Presents Second Concert This Afternoon

Violinists James Ehnes and Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Richard O’Neill, and Musical Masterworks’ own Artistic Director, cellist Edward Arron perform in this weekend’s concerts.

OLD LYME — This December, Musical Masterworks debuts internationally acclaimed violinist James Ehnes and the Ehnes Quartet on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Hailed as “an important new force in the chamber music arena” with a “dream-team line-up” (Strings), the Ehnes Quartet is comprised of four internationally-renowned string musicians: violinists James Ehnes and Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Richard O’Neill, and Musical Masterworks’ own Artistic Director, cellist Edward Arron.

Formally established in 2010, the members of the Ehnes Quartet have played chamber music together in various formations for more than 20 years. The quartet’s highly refined, sensitive and expressive performances have delighted audiences and critics across North America, Europe, and Asia, and have made them one of the most sought-after chamber groups performing today.

Pre-Concert Talks 

Musical Masterworks continues its popular pre-concert talks before both concerts.  Concertgoers are invited to join Edward Arron one hour before each of the December concerts for an in-depth discussion about the composers and music featured that weekend:  Haydn, Bartók and Beethoven.

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Deep River Re-Names Town Hall After Beloved First Selectman Dick ‘Smitty’ Smith

The plaque that dedicates the Deep River Town Hall to Richard H. Smith, known to all as ‘Smitty.’ The popular Deep River First Selectman, who had served in that role for 27 years, passed away unexpectedly in 2016.

DEEP RIVER — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) and State Representative Robert Siegrist (R-36th) attended the Deep River Town Hall renaming ceremony that took place on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Deep River’s Town Hall is now named the Richard H. Smith Town Hall after Richard H. Smith, also known as ‘Smitty,’ who dedicated 27 years of service to the people of Deep River as First Selectman. Over 100 individuals attended the renaming ceremony and the Secretary of State Denise Merrill spoke about Smith’s service to the town of Deep River and State of Connecticut.

“Words cannot express how great of a man Mr. Smith was. He left a lasting mark on the town of Deep River that will live on for years to come,” said State Representative Robert Siegrist. “It was great to see so many people in attendance to support such an amazing guy. Elected officials, community activists and residents from all over came to honor Mr. Smith – and rightfully so. He left Deep River a better place, his ‘second home’ was the Town Hall and it’s only right to dedicate it to him.”

Sen. Linares (center) talks to Jim Olson (right) and another ceremony attendee.

“Dick Smith gave so much of himself to Deep River and its residents,” Sen. Linares said. “Naming the town hall after him is a perfect way to memorialize the impact he has had on the community.”

Richard H. Smith Town Hall, Democratic First Selectman of Deep River for 27 years passed away unexpectedly in 2016.

Sen. Linares represents the 33rd District communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook. State Rep. Siegrist represents the 36th District communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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Christmas Craft Fair Today at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex

ESSEX — Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex will host its annual Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be a silent auction, a basket raffle, children’s gift buying table, face painting, a craft table, bake sale and a café for lunch, coffe and bagels.

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

Our Lady of Sorrows Church is at 14 Prospect St. Essex, CT

For more information, call Our Lady of Sorrows, 860-767-1284

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United Church of Chester Holds Christmas Fair Today

CHESTER — The United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT holds its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come enjoy shopping for hand-crafted items and delicacies, decorations, greens, knitted goods and mouth-watering morsels for holiday giving.  There will also be a silent auction, tea-cup auction and Grandma’s attic to prowl through for Christmas treasurers and charitable gift-giving possibilities.

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

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Cappella Cantorum Presents Their Holiday Concert Tonight in Madison


The Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus will present its Holiday Concert Saturday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Madison on the Green, Meetinghouse Lane (off Route 1), Madison.

Start the holiday season with a joyful evening of music. Cappella’s new director Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera will conduct the chorus, professional soloists and orchestra in the performance of Bach’s Cantata 140 (“Sleepers Wake!”), Rutter’s “Gloria” and Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Christmas Carols.”

Christmas carols will be sung at the end of the program.

Tickets are $30 online or at the door. Visit www.CappellaCantorum.org. Students are free.

For more information, visit the website or call 860-526-1038.

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Essex Land Trust Leads Archaeology Hike Today in The Preserve

A trail through ‘The Preserve.’

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust is organizing an exploratory hike of The Preserve from the perspective of archaeologists Nicholas Bellantoni and Lucianne Lavin. Come see the landscape “through the eyes of an archaeologist” on Saturday, Dec. 2, starting at 9 a.m. in the West Parking Lot at end of Ingham Hill Rd., Essex.

Archeologists look at the land a little differently from most people, so they will share what they see of the stone built environment and the cultural use of the land people may not see. Learn the secrets of past lifeways and land use. Bad weather cancels.

Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni serves as the emeritus state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center at the University of Connecticut. He has been excavating in North America for over 40 years.

Lucianne Lavin is Director of Research and Collections at the Institute for American Indian Studies, a museum and research and educational center in Washington, CT. She is an anthropologist & archaeologist with over 40 years of research and field experience in Northeastern archaeology and anthropology.

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Chester Celebrates ‘First Friday’ Tonight

CHESTER – Tree lighting, carol singing, hot chocolate, cider, wine, homemade cookies passed around by St. Lucia girls, luminaries by local boy scouts , music, art openings, shops in their winter wonderland glory with special gift ideas, tastings and more are all part of the annual Holiday Night/First Friday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Christmas tree, donated by Camp Hazen and decorated by Chester Elementary students, at the corner of Maple and Main streets will be lit at 6 p.m. accompanied by caroling.


And, at Maple and Main Gallery, homemade cookies by Camp Hazen and the Guest House will be offered along with cider. Along with the Holiday Exhibit, “Luminous Perspectives,’’ opens that day in the Stone Gallery featuring landscapes by gallery artist Janine Robertson, and there will be a free drawing for the painting ‘Waiting for Mr. Claus,’ by Rosemary Serfilippi shown above.

An opening for the annual Postcard Show – dozens and dozens of original works postcard size or smaller – will be at the Chester Gallery.  Champagne by the fire will be served.

The Perfect Pear will introduce Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salts with a tasting and talk by the company co-founder and refreshments will be served.

At Harvest Moon Design, there will be an opening reception for an art show by Chelbi Wade and Jaime LeDeuce, and the musical group, the Grays will entertain from 8 to 10 p.m on this and subsequent First Fridays.

The French Hen will celebrate “A White Christmas” with a signature cocktail, “snow” dusted cookies and gift ideas while spiced hot cider will be served at Strut Your Mutt.

New jewelry designs from Dina Varano.

Lark will host a tree full of hand-made, fair-trade, African ornaments with the proceeds from sales going to the organization, “Ornaments 4 Orphans.” Peppermint Stick hot chocolate will be served.

New paintings of the Connecticut River and the artist’s garden will be shown in the Holiday Exhibit at Leif Nilsson’s Gallery. His house band, Arrowhead, will   photographer Caryn Davis signs copies of her new book, “A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style.”

Dina Varano Gallery will introduce Dina’s annual new collection of jewelry and wine will be served while Black Kat will host potter Ave Rivera and Jewelry Artisan Sea Glass Designs.

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