April 24, 2014

John W. Rafal Ranked 12th in Barron’s Special Report on the Top 100 Financial Advisors

John Rafal, long term resident of Old Lyme and the Founder and current Vice Chair of Essex Financial Services, has been ranked 12th in Barron’s special report of the nation’s Top 100 Financial Advisors.

John Rafal, long term resident of Old Lyme and the Founder and current Vice Chair of Essex Financial Services, has been ranked 12th in Barron’s special report of the nation’s Top 100 Financial Advisors.

Essex – Barron’s, the acclaimed financial and investment newsweekly, has published the 2014 list of America’s Top 100 Financial Advisors, and John W. Rafal of Essex, Connecticut, is ranked number 12. Very few independent advisors, such as John Rafal, were included in the list, which is mostly composed of advisors from the major wire house firms.

Mr. Rafal is the Founder and current Vice Chair of Essex Financial Services, which is owned by Essex Savings Bank. The ranking appears in the April 21 edition of Barron’s

In the story accompanying the list, Barron’s noted that John Rafal was among a small group of financial advisors who have appeared on the top 100 list every year since inception in 2004.

“I am gratified to Barron’s for the recognition and accept the honor on behalf of the entire team at Essex Financial Services,” said John Rafal. “I want to express my sincere thanks to our clients, many of whom we have represented for over 30 years. It’s a privilege to earn and retain your trust.”

Doug Paul, Chairman of the Board of Essex Savings Bank, which also owns Essex Financial Services, stated, “The Barron’s ranking is a testament to John Rafal and the entire team at Essex Financial Services. On behalf of the entire board and management team, I want to offer our congratulations to John Rafal.”

Essex Financial Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Essex Savings Bank, is one of the leading independent financial advisory firms in the country

Parties all Weekend at Maple and Main – May 2, 3 ,4

cotnoir Tree_with_Green_Leaves,_30x30,_oil_on_canvas

CHESTER – It’ll be party weekend at Maple and Main Gallery May 2, 3 and 4.

On Friday, May 2 from 5 to 8 p.m., Maple and Main will celebrate Spring during the annual May Daze Night Stroll when all the town’s galleries, shops and restaurants stay open late offering food, drink and drawings for special gifts.

The gallery will serve wine, food and chocolates and will also offer a free gift basket brimming with art by the gallery artists: paintings, prints, drawings, cards and much more. Visitors can enter their names all weekend long to win. Partying continues on Saturday, May 3 from 2 to 4 p.m. when there will be a reception for well-known artist Frank Federico’s month-long, one-man show in the Back Gallery of Maple and Main.

Federico is a nationally recognized, award-winning artist from Goshen who creates in a lively and semi-abstract manner which will be reflected in his show, Scapes I: Landscapes, Seascapes and Cityscapes.

Then, on Sunday, May 4, the gallery will serve cookies and punch all day and at 5 p.m, a bit of champagne to add some festivity to the drawing of the name of the winner of the art-filled gift basket.

And, during the entire weekend through May 25, the new Spring show of over 200 paintings and sculptures by 37 established Connecticut artists will be on view.

Maple and Main Gallery is located at One Maple St., Chester, CT  06412

Phone 860-526-6065. Please visit our new online gallery: mapleandmaingallery.com.

Solarize Essex Workshop – Apr. 29

The Town of Essex has been selected to participate in Solarize Connecticut, a unique group solar buying program sponsored by the state.  Solarize makes solar easy to purchase and less expensive, with the added benefit that the more residents sign up for Solarize Essex, the lower the cost to all participants.

We are in the process of launching the program with an informational Town Meeting for residents scheduled for Tues., April 29th 2014.

To prepare for the program launch, a planning and “Solar Ambassador” meeting was just held at Centerbrook Architect’s on Tuesday, April 15th to finalize plans.  The attached photo shows people from several organizations participating in the program.  The names (left to right) are: Dick Everts (Sunlight Solar), Kaleigh Griffin (Smartpower), Rick Stebbins (Essex Committee for Clean Energy – ECCE),  Bruce Glowac (Essex Selectman), Mark Reeves (Solar Ambassador),  Stacy Abbott and Frank Hall (ECCE), Bob Hall (CEFIA), and Jim Ehle/Meyer (ECCE).  Not visible: Norm Needleman (Essex First Selectman) Bob Laundy (ECCE) and Ed McCaffrey (ECCE).

Sunlight Solar, a recognized leader in solar, was selected through a competitive bidding process by the town and the state and is offering significant discounts to residents in exchange for outreach support from our community.

One of the most exciting aspects of Solarize is the tiered pricing. The more people sign up for the program, the greater the savings for every homeowner, no matter when they sign up. Our goal is to reach the lowest possible price at Tier 5, so be sure to encourage your friends and neighbors to participate!

Solarize Essex ends on Tues Sept 16.

To learn more, come to our Solarize Workshop:

Date: Tuesday April 29th Time: 7:00-8:30pm Location: Essex Town Hall Auditorium: 29 West Ave

To learn more or request your own free solar home evaluation, visit www.solarizect.com/essex.


Kate’s Camp for Kids Open House – Apr. 28

OLD SAYBROOK – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Community Music School will host an open house for Kate’s Camp for Kids, a performing arts summer camp program, on Monday, April 28 from 3 to 5 pm, at The Kate, 300 Main Street, Old Saybrook. Launched in 2013, Kate’s Camp for Kids engages children ages 5 to 10 years old in the performing arts. Each weekly camp session features music, theater, dance, and visual arts and culminates in a performance for family and friends at the end of the week.

At the open house, families can tour the education rooms and theater area, learn about the upcoming camp sessions, meet camp staff, and participate in an arts & crafts project. Registration is now open for the 2014 camp sessions, which include July 14 – 18: Broadway Beginners “How Does Your Garden Grow?”; July 21 – 25: Cool Cats! Jazz and All That; July 28 – Aug. 1: Broadway Beginners “Go Fish”; Aug. 4 – 8: Tell Me A Tale, The Art of Storytelling. The camp director is Nancy Thomas, a 20+ year member of the Community Music School faculty and certified Kindermusik educator. Tuition for each camp week is $250 and scholarships are available for families with a financial need.

Kate’s Camp for Kids is generously supported by grants from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County/River View Cemetery Fund, The Bauman Family Foundation, The Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, the Exchange Club of Old Saybrook/Westbrook, Rotary Club of Old Saybrook Foundation, and the Sallie and Robert Boody Fund. For additional information about the camp or to register, please call Community Music School at 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org .

Essex Corinthian Yacht Club Present “An Evening with Gary Jobson” – May 14

The Essex Corinthian Yacht Club is proud to present An Evening with Gary Jobson  on Wednesday, May 14th, starting at 6.30 pm, in cooperation with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Gary Jobson is well-known throughout the sailing community as the pre-eminent ambassador for sailing in the U.S. Jobson, a former All-American Collegiate Sailor, won the America’s Cup in 1977 as tactician for Ted Turner. He currently works as ESPN’s sailing analyst, lecturer and writer, and is Editor-At-Large for Sailing World and Cruising World magazines.

Jobson became active for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society several years before he was diagnosed with lymphoma himself, and in his words “became a beneficiary of the research advances I had helped support”. He is now cancer-free and continues his involvement as the National Regatta Chairman for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s sailing program.

Gary Jobson will speak about his life in sailing, and provide some insight into his experience as the official commentator during the most recent America’s Cup in Francisco last September, which ended in a major turn-around, culminating in the victory of Oracle Team USA.

The Leukemia Cup Kick-Off Celebration is an event in support of the Annual Leukemia Cup Regatta, held on August 23rd, 2014, a regatta drawing sailors from near and far.

The Kick-Off on May 14th, 2014 is open to the public, and will begin at 6.30 pm.
Advance registration is required, tickets are $25 per person.

For more information and to order tickets, please refer to http://www.essexcorinthian.org/leukemia-cup-regatta-2014.html

My Son, The Mad Man Essex Library – May 22

BBD&O Chairman Emeritus Allen Rosenshine will share his laugh-out-loud true stories about the mad men, mobsters, mega-stars and assorted colorful characters that made the Golden Age of advertising so “madly” memorable, Thursday May 22nd at 7 PM at Essex Town Hall, at 29 West Avenue.  This program is free and open to all; please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 for more information or to register for this program

BBD&O Chairman Emeritus Allen Rosenshine will share his laugh-out-loud true stories about the mad men, mobsters, mega-stars and assorted colorful characters that made the Golden Age of advertising so “madly” memorable, Thursday May 22nd at 7 PM at Essex Town Hall

Take a trip through the wild and crazy days of advertising with BBD&O Chairman Emeritus Allen Rosenshine, who worked his way up through the ranks from copywriter to head the biggest marketing communications company in the world – and came away with laugh-out-loud true stories about the mad men, mobsters, mega-stars and assorted colorful characters that made the Golden Age of advertising so memorable. From three-martini lunches, to frantic product launches; from watching his wife getting ogled by Frank Sinatra, to setting Michael Jackson’s hair on fire, Allen’s 45 years as a an adman was an even wilder ride than the popular television show about the era would suggest. Copies of his fascinating and funny tell-all book, Funny Business: Moguls, Mobsters, Megastars, and the Mad, Mad World of the Ad Game, will be available for signing and sale.

Allen joined BBDO in 1965 as a copywriter and came up through the creative ranks to become the BBDO New York creative director in 1975.  In 1980, he became president of the New York agency, headquarters of the multinational network, and in 1985, he was named chief executive officer of BBDO Worldwide.  The agency grew steadily in billings from $2.5 billion to $16.2 billion in 2001 (the last year for which Omnicom published subsidiary financial information).  In 2004, he turned over the CEO responsibility to Andrew Robertson, the network president, and is now Chairman Emeritus. Allen Rosenshine has been recognized by Advertising Age as one of the hundred most influential people in advertising over the past century and is a member of the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Fame.

Part of the Essex Library’s ongoing 125th Anniversary celebrations, this talk will be presented Thursday May 22nd at 7 PM at Essex Town Hall, at 29 West Avenue.  This program is free and open to all; please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 for more information or to register for this program.

Essex Fire Dept. Annual Food Drive and Pancake Breakfast – Apr. 26 and 27

Essex Fire Engine Co. #1 will be holding a food drive on 26 April at 9 a.m. and a pancake breakfast on Sunday 27 April at 7.30 a.m.

For more details click here

Old Saybrook HS Electronic Drive – Apr. 26

Kindly support our “Recycle for Diapers” electronics and metal drive by donating old non-working electronics and metal. Mark your calendars.  Saturday, April 26,  9am – 2pm at Old Saybrook HS.

All of the communities donated items will be recycled and redeemed for diapers, formula, and other baby needs to help support local single mothers on the shoreline.

The following items can be accepted:

1. Computers, laptops, desktops, tablets, all computer related gear, cell phones,  and electronics of any kind.

2. Wires, Cables, Cords of any kind (ie: cell phone chargers, extension cords, computer cables)

3. Non-working lawn mowers & motors of any kind (ie: blowers, scooters, generators, saws, vacs)

4. Lead Batteries of any kind (car, truck, boat, power-wheels)

5. Appliances of any kind (washer, dryer, microwave, stove, AC units, humidifiers)

6. Odds & Ends of metal items (chairs, aluminum, copper, iron, file cabinets – all bulk metal)

Bring any items from the above list and we will take care of them for you!


Thank you for your generosity and know that EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS!

CMS Presents Sinfonia and String Ensemble in Concert – Apr. 29

DEEP RIVER – The Community Music School presents its Sinfonia and String Ensemble performance groups in concert onTuesday, April 29th at 6:30 pm at Valley Regional High School in Deep River.  Under the direction of Martha Herrle, each of these ensembles will perform a variety of works including It’s a Small World, Dance of Fire, Mozart’s Symphony no. 29, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 3, and I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables.

Sinfonia is a multigenerational orchestra offered to players of all ages and orchestral instruments. The String Ensemble had a modest start in 2002, with 4 children and one adult.  Today it is an amazing intergenerational string orchestra with over 30 members from ages 8 to 80. Each ensemble rehearses weekly from September through March and also performs annually at the CMS Holiday Concert. New members are welcome to join and registration for the next year opens in August.

The concert is free and open to the public.  For more information please contact 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org .

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 that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

Alcohol, Marijuana and Technology: The Impact of Use on Young People’s Brain Development – May 7

The brain is a product of its environment. It is shaped by what we do and when we do it. Never is brain development more sensitive than during childhood and adolescence when young people are exploring, experimenting and establishing lifelong habits. Current research suggests that in the case of alcohol, marijuana and technology, too much use in childhood and adolescence can negatively affect brain power across the lifespan. As parents, professionals and community members, we can and do influence whether, when and how much our children partake in these activities.

Join the Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and keynote speaker, cognitive psychologist Alicia Farrell, at the Community Coalition Breakfast on May 7 from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. at Camp Hazen YMCA to explore the impact of alcohol, marijuana and technology on the developing brain. Knowledge is the key to setting healthy boundaries and supporting the brain power of all of our tri-town youth!

While there is no fee for the event, reservations are required by April 29. Call Tri-Town Youth Services at 860-526-3600 for more information or to reserve your spot today!

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

TTYS Yoga at DR Public Library – May 10

Stretch, breathe, and PLAY with awesome yoga teacher Jennifer Ryley Welsh.  This family event, organized by Tri-Town Youth Services, is offered on Saturday, May 10, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Deep River Public Library.  This program is $15 per family.  Call Tri-Town at 860-526-3600 or go to tritownys.org to register.  Room is limited so call soon!

Watercolors by Architects on Exhibit

Scratch an architect and you will likely uncover a master drafter. The ability to create conceptual sketches (yes, sometimes on napkins) and precise building drawings continues to be critical to design – even in an age of 3D computer modeling. Sometimes, however, architects have hidden talents.

Impressed by how many of his colleagues confessed to being artists in their biographies on the firm’s website, Centerbrook Partner Mark Simon issued a clarion call to the office: “Bring your watercolors in – framed, unframed, half-finished even – just bring them in and we will exhibit them.”

The works of 14 of the firm’s architectural staff are now on display at its offices, in the “Drill Bit Gallery” (the building was once a factory that produced drill bits), 67 Main Street, Centerbrook. The public is invited to view them weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free of charge.

Like the staff, the watercolors are an eclectic mix. Subjects encompass a Beaux-Arts classical portrait of an Ionic column and an impressionistic bucolic reverie enveloping a lone fisherman; the ramparts of a Moroccan castle and a still life of a grimy wrench; a gaggle of indigenous geese and the bright and cheerful renderings of a Long Island research campus that resembles a French hillside village in Provence.

Dan Batt’s oeuvre (geese befuddled at the edge of a frozen millpond) was his second ever, while Anna Shakun, who studied art for three years at the Architectural Institute in Moscow, added to her substantial collection with several new paintings. Jim Coan painted a stately house in Key West in the embrace of riotous greenery, while Jennifer Shea focused on a stark pair of old sneakers, among other subjects. Some of the 50 works of art came from existing portfolios while others are fresh from the easel; some depict scenes or objects from life, some sprang full blown from the artists’ imagination.

“We knew that there are many gifted designers here,” Simon noted. “But this astonishing collection of watercolors exposes a vein of talent that we hadn’t been fully aware of. It’s really quite a treasure trove.”  The exhibiting artists are Dan Batt, Jim Coan, Bill Grover, Elizabeth Hedde, Justin Hedde, Hyeon Ju Son, Patrick McCauley, Matt Montana, Charles Mueller, Andrew Santaniello, Anna Shakun, Jennifer Shea, Mark Simon, and Laura Taglianetti. To learn more about them, visit http://centerbrook.com/about/ people.

Chester Resident Headlines Storytelling Festival – Apr. 25-26

Chester resident Tom Lee is one of four headliners for the 33rd Annual CT Storytelling Festival held at Connecticut College in New London.

Tom will share humorous stories Friday April 25th at 9:15 in the Story Cabaret. On Saturday he will perform at 9:00 with lesser know Grimm’s fairy tales and then once again in the afternoon with re:Creation the truth is a myth, An exploration of creation mythology from around the world and across time. Darwin, King James, and Neil De Grasse Tyson all have stories to tell, and each is beautiful, mysterious, and compelling.

For more information and the full schedule of events go to www.connstorycenter.org

I Ought To be In Pictures At The Ivoryton Playhouse

Mike Boland and Jeanie Rapp (Photo by Anne Hudson)

Mike Boland and Jeanie Rapp (Photo by Anne Hudson)

Ivoryton: What’s a daughter to do when she wants to get in touch with her father who she hasn’t seen in 16 years and who lives 3,000 miles away? Well, if you’re Libby Tucker you hitch hike and bus your way across the country with nothing but a backpack full of dreams and spare socks. Libby travels from Brooklyn to Los Angeles ostensibly to break into movies but mostly because she needs to find out why her dad and left, and does he still love her.

I Ought To Be in Pictures opened in New York in April 1980, and in 1982 was turned into a movie starring Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret. This is Neil Simon at his best – poignant and funny. For dads and daughters everywhere, this will be a memory to treasure.

I Ought To Be In Pictures opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 23and runs through May 11. Directed by Ivoryton favorite, R. Bruce Connelly, the cast includes Mike Boland* as Herb, whose Broadway credits include An Enemy of the People at Manhattan Theater Club and the national tours of Twelve Angry Men and West Side Story; Siobhan Fitzgerald*, making her Ivoryton debut as Libby and Jeanie Rapp*, founder and artistic director of Margreta Stage who was last seen in Ivoryton in Love, Loss & What I Wore*, as Steffy.

The set design is by William Stark, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Kari Crowther.

Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Fridayand Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website atwww.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Ten Connecticut Shoreline Fire Departments Team Up To Host Food Drive – Apr. 26


For the third year, CT shoreline fire departments will host an area-wide food drive to collect non-perishable food for area residents in need.

The local fire stations will be open to receive donations of non-perishable food on Saturday, April 26th, from9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The donations will go to five local food pantries run by The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP). The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries organization hopes to include all fire departments in the 11 shoreline towns they serve. Those fire departments already committed to the event include: Old Saybrook FD, 310 Main St; Old Lyme FD, 69 Lyme St; Essex FD, 11 Saybrook Rd; Westbrook FD, 15 South Main; Clinton FD, 35 East Main St; Deep River FD, 57 Union St; Killingworth FD, 333 Route 81; Chester FD, 6 High St; North Madison FD, Opening Hill Rd; Niantic FD 1, 8 Grand St; Niantic FD 2, 227 West Main St. Several other fire departments are expected to participate, as well. Watch for announcements on the Shoreline Soup Kitchens’ website at www.shorelinesoupkitchens. org. All area fire departments are welcome 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 combine to distribute approximately 17,000 pounds of food every week. 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 7,500 pounds of food, and this year’s goal is 10,000 pounds.

Please 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 26th. Participating fire departments ask those donating food to only drop off food on Saturday, April 26th. Please do not drop off food before that date.

The most needed food items are: canned meats (tuna, chicken, salmon); canned fruits and vegetables; peanut butter; canned and boxed meals; canned or dried beans; pasta and rice; and cereal.

Those items not accepted include: rusty or unlabeled cans; perishable items; homemade items;non-commercial packaged or canned items; alcoholic beverages and mixes; and open or used items.

As part of this year’s food drive, the Old Saybrook Fire Department (310 Main St.) will host a special live broadcast on radio stations Soft Rock 106.5 WBMW; Connecticut’s Hottest Jamz Jammin 107.7; and 94.9 News Now! The radio stations will be broadcasting live remotes from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 26th.

Deep River Ambulance Offers Emergency Medical Technician Certification Class

Deep River Ambulance is pleased to offering an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification Class.

Classes will be held Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 – 10:00pm, beginning June 6 and running through August 21 at Deep River Ambulance Headquarters, 284 West Elm Street.  The cost for the course is $795, which includes tuition, CPR certification, textbook, class uniform shirt and stethoscope.

If you’ve ever wanted to become medically certified and join your local Emergency Medical Services (either ambulance or fire department), now is the time! No previous medical training is necessary.

For more information and registration form, please contact the course instructor, Emily Masters, at (860) 526-3275.

The River Valley Slimdown: Winter Winners and New Summer Challenge

Deep River, CT- Participants of the most recent IFoundFitness River Valley Slimdown laughed in the face of the “Polar Vortex” and showed those dreaded winter pounds who’s boss! With a jackpot higher than ever before, the dedicated group of health-seekers brought in cash, prizes, and a generous donation to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen!

The River Valley Slimdown is a fitness challenge regularly held at IFoundFitness in Deep River, CT. Participants contribute towards a jackpot, paying up for pounds gained or weigh-ins missed. They work closely with fitness expert Donna Scott, taking part in group fitness & nutrition classes, while bonding with their weight-loss companions!

Twenty participants saw the challenge through the end this brutal winter, bringing the jackpot total to $2,392. Almost $500 of this went to Shoreline Soup Kitchen, the charity selected by the group. The winner of the challenge, Sarina, lost 21.04% of her body weight! While she takes home 60% of the jackpot, ESSENCE of Old Saybrook will also be treating her to a makeup and hair makeover to match her healthy new glow.

Second place went to “Santa Dave.” This, jolly, bearded fellow dropped his stereotypical belly by losing 35 pounds! Dave takes home 60% of the jackpot and a massage by True of Clinton, CT but the most incredible reward was bringing his Type 2 Diabetes under control.

“This has been an absolutely amazing challenge!” says Donna. “In the face of one of our worst winters, these guys just would not give in! Even those that didn’t finish in the top 3 experienced incredible transformations. They’re STILL not ready to give up!”

Many participants are ready to go for round two already! Registration for the Summer River Valley Slimdown is open now, with the challenge launching on April 26th.  Signing on for the new challenge means participants will have a chance to shed the winter pounds justin time to trade those bulky winter coats for sleek swimsuits!

Registration is currently open for the Summer 2014 River Valley Slimdown. Email Donna at donna@ifoundfitness.com for complete rules and registration forms.

For more information on the River Valley Slimdown, please visit: http://ifoundfitness.com/rv-slim-down/

Surprise! A Festival of Parties Benefits the Essex Library – April 26

Two of the Festival of Parties co-chairs, JoAnne Carter and Phyllis Greenberg, are shown  brainstorming party menus for this Friends of the Essex Library benefit event.  Not pictured; co-chair Ann Prichard

Two of the Festival of Parties co-chairs, JoAnne Carter and Phyllis Greenberg, are shown brainstorming party menus for this Friends of the Essex Library benefit event. Not pictured; co-chair Ann Prichard

What if you gave a dinner party — or fifteen — and everyone who loves the Library came? That’s what’s happening at the Essex Library when it throws a gala Festival of Parties on Saturday, April 26, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Library. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with an elegant wine reception. The Library will be transformed with spring flowers as guests mingle and enjoy aperitifs and hors d’oeuvres.

At about 6:30, the real fun begins when guests learn the names of their hosts and where they will be attending their dinner parties. Guests will then depart for their destinations at one of more than fifteen charming private homes in the town of Essex.

“The ‘surprise destination dinner party’ has been done before and leads to lively combinations of old and new friends, all coming together to benefit the Library,” said Ann Prichard, one of the event co-chairs.

“It’s a very sought after ticket because it raises funds for a good cause, and also lets people enjoy truly gourmet meals in one of the town’s many interesting houses,” said co-chair JoAnne Carter.

The Festival of Parties welcomes individuals and couples. For your dining experience, we can accommodate groups of four at one host’s home. When you buy your tickets please specify that you prefer to dine as a group of four.

The Festival of Parties is one of several special birthday events being held in 2014 to mark 125 years of service to the community by the Essex Library, founded in 1889.  The Library is unique in that it serves as a public library open to all, but gets more than half of its funding from private donors and through events like the Festival of Parties.

“We have been a center for learning and culture for 125 years, and this is certainly something to celebrate. It’s wonderful to see so many families open their homes to help raise the funds that keep our Library currant and well-staffed,” said Phyllis Greenberg, also co-chairing the Festival.

Tickets for the Festival are $75 per person or $150 per couple, and are available at the Library at 33 West Avenue.  Couples who buy tickets will dine at the same destination. For further information, please contact Richard Conroy, Director of the Essex Library, at   860-767-1560.

I Ought To be In Pictures Opens at At The Ivoryton Playhouse – Apr. 23

Ivoryton: What’s a daughter to do when she wants to get in touch with her father who she hasn’t seen in 16 years and who lives 3,000 miles away? Well, if you’re Libby Tucker you hitch hike and bus your way across the country with nothing but a backpack full of dreams and spare socks. Libby travels from Brooklyn to Los Angeles ostensibly to break into movies but mostly because she needs to find out why her dad and left and does he still love her.

I Ought To Be in Pictures opened in New York in April 1980, and in 1982 was turned into a movie starring Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret. This is Neil Simon at his best – poignant and funny. For dads and daughters everywhere, this will be a memory to treasure.

I Ought To Be In Pictures opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 23rd and runs through May 11th. Directed by R. Bruce Connelly, the cast includes Mike Boland*, Jeanie Rapp* and Siobhan Fitzgerald. The set design is by William Stark, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Kari Crowther.

I Ought To Be In Pictures opens in Ivoryton on April 23rd and runs through May 11th. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity Association

Generously sponsored by First Niagara Bank and Middlesex Hospital

Sen. Linares Hosts Workshop to Help Seniors Learn New Technologies


Sen. Art Linares and AT&T Connecticut representatives hosted an April 4 event in Old Saybrook to help seniors learn how to use their cell phones and other new technologies to stay connected with family and friends. The free workshop at the Estuary Council of Seniors was attended by more than 25 seniors. “These new technologies are exciting and they can help seniors stay connected to family and friends like never before,” said Sen. Linares. “But sometimes learning about a new technology can be difficult, and that’s why this event was aimed at helping demonstrate new technologies and answering questions about how to use them. I thank area seniors for stopping by.” Those who could not attend the workshop may contact Sen. Linares at 800 842 1421 or at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov .

Deep River Fire Department Collecting Food for Local Food Pantries -Apr. 26

Deep River Fire DeptFor the 3rd year local Fire Departments are hosting an area-wide food drive to collect non-perishable food for area residents in need.

Deep River Fire Department will be open to receive non-perishable food donations on Saturday, April 26th from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Donations collected will go to five local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries.

The most needed food items include; Canned Meats- tuna, chicken, salmon, Canned Fruit and Vegetables, Peanut Butter, Canned and Boxed Meals, Canned or Dried Beans, Pasta, Rice and Cereal.

For more information visit; www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

A Guide to Essex Social Services Resources, with Maryellen Barnes – May 8

We all know Essex is a generous community whose citizens reach out to their neighbors in many diverse ways. But few of us realize how many different social service organizations are available in our area. There are regional, state and federal social service agencies, and other local organizations dedicated to improving the lives of Essex’s residents. The Essex Library is delighted to present a talk by Maryellen Barnes of the Essex Department of Social Services who will hold a discussion session on programs and services available to Essex residents, at the Essex Library on Thursday May 8th at 6:30. Detailed descriptions of the primary service providers will be discussed, along with shorter descriptions of frequently used local and regional organizations. The talk will also cover programs and camp scholarships offered by Essex Park and Rec. Come find out what’s available for you and your family! Call the Essex Library for more information at 860-767-1560 or to register; the program is free and open to all, and the Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

Trash Paper Folding with Balloon Sculpting at Acton Public Library – Through April

The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook hosts a Trash Paper Folding with Balloon Sculpting series for children, ages 8 and up, on Thursday evenings in April from 6:30 to 7:30pm (April 3, 19, 17 and 24.) Children are invited to create projects from magazines & newspapers and then a balloon project of the same theme. Registration is not required.

For more information, call The Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10am – 8:30pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 5pm, and Oct – May on Sundays 1pm – 5pm or visit on-line at www.actonlibrary.org .


I Ought To be In Pictures Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse Apr. 23

Date: April 23 – May 11, 2013

Theatre: Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, Connecticut

Tickets: 860-767-7318 /on-line at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Prices: $42 adults/ $37 seniors/ $20 students/$15 children

Time: Wednesday & Sunday matinees at 2pm; Wednesday & Thursday evenings at 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday evenings at 8:00pm




Essex Tree Warden Rules on Mares Hill Road Tree Removal

Mares 2In an effort to promote greater collaboration within the community, Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, called a public hearing on March 19, 2014 in accordance with Chapter 451, Section 23-59 of the Connecticut General Statutes and in response to public complaints about the planned removal/pruning of approximately 40 trees on Town owned land adjacent to Mares Hill Road, Ivoryton Ct., between #5 and #72 address locations. CL&P requested the removal of these trees to satisfy the trimming/removal specifications they follow on the road.

The hearing gave members of the public a chance to voice their concerns and CL&P a chance to provide an understanding of the specifications that are used for “Enhanced Tree Trimming (“ETT”). ETT is a severe form of trimming calling for an eight foot clearance zone on either side of the conductors and ground to sky.

Susan Stotts, the CL&P representative, presented slides of the various trees under consideration, indicating those she thought should be removed and those that could remain.

Augie Pampel reported at the hearing that he was authorized to make a decision about the trees within three days following the hearing, considering the public’s input and after a walk-through of the trees with Susan Stotts. His decision would be based on the health of the trees including diseases as well as structural issues. He initially estimated that 20-25 of the trees might stay but each tree would need to be examined to make the final determination. He noted that the Town owns 20 feet on both sides of the road and that all the trees designated for removal are on Town property.

People raised concerns about the ground to sky regulation which was considered extreme and worried that the result would be the same as on route 153. Also some expressed concern about the impact of tree removal on the soil environment, water runoff and possible flooding if the soil becomes less absorbent. Other questions about a plan to plant new trees and the payment of the tree removal were raised.

Augie noted that the Town tries to replace as much as is possible and that CL&P pays for the tree work, leaving the wood for people to collect. The contractor for CL&P will follow CL&P specifications. Nonetheless, Augie and Susan Stotts will consider the residents’ wishes to maintain the country road appearance when examining the trees. Augie clarified that the tree work done on Melody Lane and Hickory Lane was done on private property with the consent of the property owners.

Augie informed the public that there are no other Essex streets being considered for tree removal at this time. CL&P looks at streets with 40 or more customers and considers liability issues.

The general consensus at the hearing was that as many trees as possible should be preserved to maintain the country road affect while keeping in mind the necessity to avoid power loss and maintain access due to fallen trees.

Since the hearing, Augie Pampel, as Tree Warden examined the trees and posted the final decision on March 21, 2014, regarding the tree removal on Mares Hill Road. Based on a review of all trees posted for removal, 17 will stay. The remaining trees will be removed because “they either have defects sufficient to warrant removal, or the CL&P ETT specification requires that they be removed.” Augie will issue a removal permit to the CL&P contractor with this decision detail.

Mares 5

Though this is the final decision of the Essex Tree Warden, it should be noted that Chapter 451, Section 23-59 of the Connecticut General Statutes states ‘…the Tree Warden shall render his decision granting or denying the application, and the party aggrieved by such a decision may, within ten days, appeal therefrom to the superior court or the judicial district within which such town or borough is located.’”

The Essex residents, and especially those on Mares Hills Road will still enjoy a full canopy of trees despite the loss of 23 trees. That 17 were saved is a testament to the efforts of citizens, CL&P and the Tree Warden to work together to come to the best resolution.

If anyone has further concerns or questions about this decision or wishes to contact Augie Pampel about other concerns related to town trees (trees not on state roads), please contact him at augiepampel@att.net. When possible, Augie will provide advance notice to the public through the media of future CL&P requests for tree trimming and removal.


Talking Transportation: Eight Little Known Facts About Flying

We may never know what happened to that Malaysia Airlines 777, but there’s plenty more we should know about flying, even domestically.  Here are some little-known truths of aviation as shared by pilots and flight attendants:

Lavatory Doors Don’t Really Lock:  They can be opened from the outside by just sliding the “occupied” sign to one side.  This isn’t so attendants can catch “mile high club” wannabies, but so they can be sure the lavs are empty on take-off and landing.  And those ashtrays in the lavs?  Even though smoking has been banned for decades, the FAA still requires them. 

Oxygen Masks Can Save Your Life:  But only if you get them on fast!  In a rapid decompression at 35,000 feet, the oxygen is sucked from your lungs and you have 15 – 30 seconds to get that mask on or die.  And the on-board oxygen is only good for 15 minutes, so expect an express ride down to safer altitudes.

Airlines Are Suffering from a Pilot Shortage:  New regulations for increased rest time and more experience aviators are making it tough for airlines to keep their cockpits filled.  Boeing alone estimates that aviation growth worldwide will create demand for a half-million new pilots.  And just like Metro-North, airlines are now losing their most experienced crews to retirement.

Your Pilot May Be Asleep:  Actually, that’s a good thing during most of the flight, which can be pretty boring as the auto-pilot runs the plane.  And a good nap should make your pilot refreshed for landing.  But the FAA is also proposing to test ‘heavy’ pilots for potential sleep disorders so they don’t nod off at a crucial moment.

Keep Your Seatbelt On:   Otherwise, unexpected turbulence will see you bounce off the luggage racks like a ping-pong ball.  In an incident like that the hysterical screaming is bad enough, so stay belted.

Flight Attendants Aren’t In It for the Glamour: .They don’t get paid when they arrive at the airport or when they greet you boarding the plane.  For most, their pay starts ticking only at take-off.  They travel for a living and have to endure endless abuse for things that are not their fault.  For all that, median salary for flight attendants is about $37,000.  Food stamps they have to apply for separately.

Planes Are Germ Factories: Most older jets recycle cabin air to conserve fuel, so if one passenger sneezes, everyone’s susceptible to a cold.  The air is also dry and the blankets and pillows (if you get them) haven’t been cleaned since the previous use.  The same is true of the headphones they pass out.  And your seatback tray table?  Just imagine whose baby diaper was seated there where you lay out your in-flight snack.  Moral to the story:  BYO sanitizer!

Don’t Drink the Water:      Unless it comes from a bottle, water on planes comes from onboard tanks that are rarely cleaned.  At least when they use it to make coffee it’s heated.  Again, BYO.

Overall, based on passenger miles, flying is the safest form of transportation in the world.  But it’s not without its risks, some of which you can help minimize using common sense.

 JIM CAMERON has been a Darien resident for 22 years.  He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group and also serves on the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  

Mobile Dental Services returning to Goodwin Elementary, Old Saybrook

The Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) has recently announced that its Mobile Dental program will be returning to Old Saybrook Public Schools, specifically Goodwin Elementary, once again after a three year hiatus. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, early childhood cavities are the most common chronic disease in children and although noteworthy improvements have been made in the past decade, oral health significance is still being overlooked. One major way CHC has helped increase children’s access to oral health services is through the mobile dental program which brings dental services directly to over 170 Connecticut Schools. Founded in 2002, the Mobile Dental Program currently serves over 7,000 patients throughout the state. CHC also has a dental office located on Main Street in Old Saybrook which would operate as a referral site for mobile dental.

“Our Mobile Dental Program comes directly into the child’s school, providing dental cleanings, sealants and in some cases, restorative services. The Program allows parents to stay at work, and the kids to stay in school,” stated Justin Gooley, the program manager for the statewide Mobile Dental program. “Often parents will not have the time to take off from work to bring their children to the dentist. We bring dental care to the child in a setting where they are most comfortable. We work hand in hand with the onsite Dentists,” mentioned Gooley. Mobile Dental services have been funded through different Connecticut Health Foundation grants which work to support the integration of oral health at every point where children and their families intersect with health care, human service and education systems.

Mobile dental is part of the School-based health services that are offered through The Community Health Center, Inc. These services are a proven strategy for reducing school absences, improving performance, and reducing health disparities in prevention and chronic diseases in children and adolescents. “If the child has regular dental visits with one of our Mobile Dental Hygienists, it will significantly lower the amount of decay in their mouth and decrease the number of days they are absent from school,” said Justin Gooley.

The first step is sending out enrollment forms to the elementary school and spreading the word about these services for Goodwin Elementary students. The goal is to operate within the Middle and High school in Old Saybrook within the next few years. Mobile dental care coordinators have been working with the schools, town social workers, the nursing supervisor for the town and parent representatives to help market these services and encourage registration. For more information about the Mobile Dental Program at CHC please call (860)224-3642 ext. 5163 or email GooleyJ@chc1.com .

About Community Health Center, Inc.

Since 1972, Community Health Center, Inc. has been one of the leading healthcare providers in the state of Connecticut, building a world-class primary health care system committed to caring for uninsured and underserved populations. CHC is focused on improving health outcomes for its more than 130,000 patients as well as building healthy communities. Recognized as both a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and a Primary Care Medical Home by The Joint Commission, CHC delivers service in more than 200 locations statewide, offering primary care in medical, dental and behavioral health services. For more information, visit www.chc1.com.


Lyme Democrats Endorse Bjornberg, Stone

Emily Bjornberg

Emily Bjornberg

In addition to endorsing those democratic incumbent state office holders who have announced their intent to run for reelection, the Lyme Democratic Caucus endorsed two newcomers to the State scene: Mary Stone for State Representative, and Emily Bjornberg for State Senate.

The chairman of the Caucus, Steven Mattson, commented, “We are extremely pleased to endorse state legislative candidates as well qualified as Mary and Emily,”

Emily Bjornberg is a Lyme resident and is running for the seat once held by Eileen Dailey. “Emily is an exceptionally strong candidate, and we are confident she will be a superior Senator for the 33rd Senate District,” according to Mattson. The 33rd district covers Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook. The seat is currently held by Republican Art Linares.

Mary Stone is an Old Lyme resident, who is running for the 23rd Assembly District consisting of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook. This is an open seat, due to the decision of Marilyn Giuliani not to seek reelection.

“Mary is the perfect candidate for this district,” according to Claire Sauer, who represented much of this district when she represented the 36th Assembly District.

Stone currently serves on the Old Lyme Zoning Board of Appeals and is a former member of the Region 18 Board of Education.

Valley Shore YMCA Marlins Compete in New England Championships

The Valley Shore YMCA Marlins swim team enjoyed a busy and successful championship season. Twelve athletes qualified to swim in the New England YMCA Championships held at MIT in Cambridge, MA held March 15-16 and 22-23. Top accolades go to Jessica Lee of Old Lyme for her 1st place finish in the girls 15 and over 50 yard freestyle event and 7th in the 100 yard freestyle. Other notable finishes include Kyle Wisialowski of Old Saybrook finishing 4th in the boys 9-10 year old 50 yard fly, 4th in 100 yard fly, and 6th in 100 yard individual medley; Kaeleigh O’Donnell of Essex earning 4th in the girls 9-10 year old 100 yard breast stroke and 6th in the 50 yard breastroke; Helen Day of Old Saybrook earning 4th place in girls 9-10 year old 100 yard individual medley and 8th in the 100 yard backstroke; Mike Healey of Madison finishing 5th in boys 13-14 200 yard individual medley; and Kayla Mendonca of Madison finishing 8th in girls 11-12 year old 100 yard butterfly.

Accolades also go to the ten Marlin swimmers who qualified to compete in the US Swimming Connecticut Age Group Championships which include top swimmers from all regions of the state. Daniel Chen, Kayla Mendonca, Michael Healey of Madison; Nick Husted, Christopher Thomson, Kyle Wisialowski of Old Saybrook; Peter Fuchs, Jessica Lee of Old Lyme; Kaeleigh O’Donnell of Essex; and Robert May of Guilford qualified for this short course season championship event.

Four of the team’s senior athletes, Nick Husted, Christopher Thomson, Jessica Lee and Peter Fuchs, qualified for the Connecticut Senior Championships.

The Valley Shore YMCA Long Course season (competing in 50 meter pools) starts in mid-April and the team welcomes aspiring swimmers to come by the Y, located in Westbrook, to try out and learn more about our program. For more information, please visit our website at www.vsymarlins.org or call 860-399-9622


Deep River-Chester Lions Club Pig Roast & Chicken Barbecue – Apr.26

Dreaming of Summer? Come on down to the Deep River-Chester Lions Club Pig Roast & Chicken Barbecue on April 26, starting at 6:00pm at St. Joseph’s Parish Center in Chester. Potato & macaroni Salads, baked beans, corn on the cob and dessert will also be served. The Lions are limiting the tickets to 200 this year, so be sure to get your tickets early and B.Y.O.B.

There will also be music, raffles and other exciting contests. And don’t forget to wear your favorite Hawaiian Shirt! Adults: $15.00, Children 10 and younger: $10.00. Tickets available at the Deep River Hardware store or from any Lion Member. All monies raised will be used for local charity.

Concert in the Garden with the Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet – May 15


The next CONCERT IN THE GARDEN with the Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet is on Thursday, May 15, 2014 – 7 – 9pm at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery at One Spring Street, Chester, CT. $10 donation – BYOB – Outdoor Bistro Style Seating in the Amphitheatre. Concerts are inside the Gallery during inclement weather. GATES OPEN Half Hour before the show. First come first seated. For more information call 860-526-2077 or visit www.nilssonstudio.com.

Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet

Armed with a provocative, whiskey-soaked tone, New York based jazz vocalist Michelle Walker is a charismatic and very versatile singer that uses an artful blend of blues, bebop, swing and soul with playful rhythmic expressiveness. She bends the lines and pushing the boundaries of jazz vocal art with rich colors and adventurous flexibility. She moves easily from a dark, deep tone to a mid-range, swinging lilt. In her upcoming release, Love Misery, Michelle brings together a collection of jazz standards, original songs and her arrangements of contemporary pop tunes effortlessly with her own genre-bending style. Mike Joyce of The Washington Post says “Walker….has seductive charm…” A Stunner in Concert. Dave Nathan of All About Jazz says “…[Walker]…she has an extraordinary degree of musicality….” Michelle is often compared to Cassandra Wilson, Nina Simone and Betty Carter in style and tone. Over the past 10 years, her group has toured internationally and has been a premier performer at Festivals, Concert Halls and Performing Art Centers including the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree.


Chester and Old Saybrook Receive $5K Energy Efficiency Grants

 L-R: Commissioner Robert Klee, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; Richard Holloway from the Chester Conservation Commission; Chester First Selectman Edward Meehan and Tilak Subrahmanian, Vice President of Energy Efficiency at Northeast Utilities.

L-R: Commissioner Robert Klee, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; Richard Holloway from the Chester Conservation Commission; Chester First Selectman Edward Meehan and Tilak Subrahmanian, Vice President of Energy Efficiency at Northeast Utilities.

Chester and Old Saybrook were among twenty-three Connecticut municipalities who were recognized during a ceremony Tuesday at the State Capitol for their participation in the statewide Clean Energy Communities program, an Energize Connecticut initiative that incentivizes cities and towns to support energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Municipal leaders from the communities were joined by their state senators and representatives to celebrate their city or town earning its first “Bright Idea Grant” through the program. These communities earned the grants based on the level of community participation in Energize CT programs. Bright Idea Grants awarded range from $5,000 to $15,000 and can be used toward a community selected energy saving project.

Together these cities and towns have collectively saved more than 277 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 2.8 million Ccf (one Ccf = 100 cubic feet) of natural gas through their energy efficiency efforts. Those savings are equivalent to the amount of power 33,000 homes would typically consume in one year, and result in avoided emissions of approximately 152,500 tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of taking 26,500 cars off Connecticut’s roads for a year.

“These cities and towns prove that energy efficiency can benefit an entire community, and we hope they encourage every municipality across Connecticut to join this valuable program,” said Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee. “Not only have these communities lowered energy use and costs overall, but have now earned money toward future projects that will help them use energy more efficiently.”

Under the Clean Energy Communities program, municipalities sign a pledge to reduce municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent by 2018, and to attain 20 percent of municipal electricity from renewable sources by 2018. Through community-wide participation in energy-saving and renewable energy programs, including resident and business participation, the community receives points toward rewards. For every 100 points earned through participation in energy efficiency programs, a community is eligible to receive a Bright Idea Grant. Similarly, for every 100 points earned through participation in renewable initiatives, a community can receive a renewable energy system equivalent to a one kilowatt solar photovoltaic system.

The nationally recognized Clean Energy Communities program expanded in 2012 to include energy efficiency. To date, 93 Connecticut cities and towns have signed the new pledge to support both renewable and energy efficiency initiatives.

Following the signing of the pledge, Clean Energy Communities program administrators work with municipalities to establish a local Clean Energy Task Force and aid them in developing a plan of action to reduce overall energy consumption, support renewable energy, and earn rewards for their efforts. Program administrators often host workshops at local public libraries and other municipal buildings to educate residents and businesses on available energy-saving and renewable energy programs that can help them earn points for their community.

The following Connecticut municipalities were recognized for earning a Bright Idea Grant during the March 24, 2014 ceremony at the State Capitol in Hartford:


Ashford, Bridgewater, Chester, Coventry, Derby, Goshen, Litchfield, Old Saybrook, Sharon and Thomaston


Brookfield, Cheshire, Rocky Hill, Suffield, Watertown, Windham and Wolcott


Bristol, New Britain, New Haven, Shelton, Waterbury and West Haven

For more information on the Clean Energy Communities program, visit EnergizeCT.com/communities.

About Energize Connecticut

Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority, the State, and your local electric and gas utilities, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at EnergizeCT.com or by calling 1.877.WISE.USE.

Connecticut Water Company to Flush Water Mains Local Towns

The Connecticut Water Company will be flushing its water mains in the towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex, including Ivoryton, beginning on March 30 and continuing through April 8, and Old Saybrook from May 4 through May 23.   Routine flushing helps to maintain water quality by scouring the inside of the water mains.

In Chester, Deep River and Essex night water main flushing will be conducted from March 30 through April 1 between the hours of 8:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. Daytime water main flushing will be conducted from March 31 through April 8 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In Old Saybrook water mains will be flushed between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. from May 4 through May 6. Water main flushing will also take place between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday throughFriday from May 5 through May 23.

During water main flushing it is possible that some customers may experience discolored water and pressure fluctuations. The discolored water should clear within a few hours. While experiencing discolored water, customers should avoid using their washing machine, dishwasher, or other water using devices. Customers should call Connecticut Water at 1-800-286-5700 if discolored water persists for more than a few hours.

Connecticut Water’s water main flushing schedule is available on its Web site at http://www.ctwater.com/ in the ‘Customer’ section. Connecticut Water is also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CTWtr) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/CTwater).

Talking Transportation: The Feds Deep Dive into Metro-North

Jim CameronIt was worse than we’d ever known. Metro-North was almost an accident waiting to happen.

That summarizes the Federal Railway Administration’s “Operation Deep Dive” report issued last week, following 60 days of probing into every aspect of the railroad’s operations. All of this comes on the heels of collisions and derailments in the past year that have taken the lives of four commuters and two railroad workers.

The 28-page report confirms that what was wrong at Metro-North was not just old equipment but a failure of management with very misplaced priorities. “On-time performance” was what mattered most, even at the expense of safety.

Among the report’s findings…

• Half of the personnel who dispatch and monitor the trains have less than three years’ experience, are not properly trained and are so tired they make mistakes

• The railroad’s “safety culture” was “poor”. Safety meetings went unattended.

• Fatigue by train engineers, track workers and dispatchers may have affected performance.

• The trains themselves are in good shape, but the tracks are not.

I’ve been following Metro-North for more than 20 years, so much of this is not news to me but just a substantiation of my worst fears. Still, the report makes for interesting reading because it cites many examples as proof-points for these findings:

Metro-North has known for a decade that they were facing a “retirement cliff” with 20% of its employees, those with the most experience, reaching their 30th anniversary of employment to retire on fat pensions. But the railroad was clearly inadequate in hiring and training their replacements.

Fatigue becomes a factor because soon-to-retire veterans grab all the overtime they can in their final year to increase their income and their railroad pensions. They are among the oldest employees and least resilient.

Metro-North’s management wasn’t even enforcing its own rules. The report says employees were “confused” about cell phone use on the job. Any teenager studying for his driver’s license knows not to use a cell phone while driving, but track workers at Metro-North got away with it.

Additional funding for staff and infrastructure are important and must be found. But turning around a culture of lax enforcement and lip-service to safety is going to take more than money.

Only a month on the job, espousing “safety is our top priority” at every turn, the new President of Metro-North, Joseph Giulietti, recently saw the first fatal accident on his watch: a track worker, 8 years on the job, was struck by a train just outside the Park Avenue tunnel. Why?

There are no quick fixes to this mess. It took years of invisible neglect for Metro-North to slide into this abyss, and it will take years to rebuild the railroad and regain riders’ trust.

JIM CAMERON has been a Darien resident for 22 years. He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group and also serves on the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com


The Tri-Town Parent Survey: A Win-Win Proposition

surveyAre you a parent or guardian of a Pre-K to 12th grade student in the tri-town area? The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition invites you to participate in a brief, anonymous and confidential survey that asks about your experiences, perceptions and challenges in raising children in Chester, Deep River and Essex. Located on the Tri-Town Youth Services website (www.tritownys.org) from March 28 through April 30, the survey will help the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition better understand what information, resources and services parents actually need to keep our young people healthy, happy and substance free. Tri-Town has designed the survey process to be a win-win proposition. Parents who take the survey—a win for our community—are then invited to enter Tri-Town’s drawing to win one $100 gift card, or one of four $25 gift cards. The Coalition thanks parents in advance for contributing to the well-being of our tri-town youth and families!

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

Death Announced of Jean Washburn Hernandez: Essex Resident, Dedicated Volunteer

Jean Washburn Hernandez

Jean Washburn Hernandez

Jean Washburn Hernandez died peacefully on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at her home in Essex Meadows in Essex, Connecticut. She was 93 years old.

Jean was born on September 20, 1920, in Brooklyn, NY, to Lawrence and Margaret Washburn and was the oldest of three sisters. Raised in Montreal, Canada and Scarsdale, New York, she was the 4th generation of women in her family to graduate from Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights, NY. After a childhood bout of polio, she attended Mt. Holyoke College where she contracted tuberculosis. After recuperating in upstate NY and Arizona, she resumed her studies at the University of Arizona.

At the start of WWII Jean enlisted in the American Red Cross and served at an Army Air Force Base in Arizona, at Camp Edwards in Massachusetts, Otis Field on Cape Cod, and at Washington DC’s St. Elizabeth Hospital. In all locations she tended the returning wounded, particularly those impacted by psychological trauma.

Before the war she met her future husband, Silvio E. Hernandez in Havana, Cuba while staying with family friends. She married him in 1946, when he returned from wartime service with the U.S. Army in Europe. They first resided in New York but shortly after the births of their two children were sent by Westinghouse Electric to Madrid, Spain where they remained for 8 years. From there they moved to Havana, her husband’s birthplace, a year before the Cuban Revolution. After being witness to the tumultuous changes brought on by Castro’s policies, they fled in 1960, settling in Essex CT so as to be near Jean’s parents who had retired there. She remained a resident of Essex for 54 years as an active and contributing member of the community.

Jean was a homemaker and dedicated volunteer. She was on the Board of the Florence Griswold Museum, in Old Lyme, CT, where as a volunteer, she initiated and ran a successful travel program for the members of the Museum. She was President of the Essex Garden Club, on the Board of the Essex Library Association, and active with St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, the Child and Family Agency of SE CT, and many other charitable and community organizations. Jean and her husband loved to travel and together they enjoyed taking extended trips throughout the world.

Jean was preceded in death by her loving husband of 55 years and more recently by her gentle companion, George (Bud) Lethbridge. She is survived by her daughter Margaret (Maggie) Hernandez of Key Biscayne, FL, son Robert (Laurie) Hernandez of Essex, CT and their sons Alexander and Christopher.

A memorial service will be held May 2, 2014 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, CT at 10 a.m.

Memorial donations can be made to the Florence Griswold Museum, 96 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT, 06371

Essex Resident to be Honored at New CT Bar Association Awards Celebration

Attorney Christina M. Storm, Recipient of Connecticut Bar Association Citizen of the Law Award

Attorney Christina M. Storm, Recipient of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Citizen of the Law Award

The Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) is proud to announce Attorney Christina M. Storm as the recipient of this year’s Citizen of the Law Award.

Christina Storm has been a practicing trial lawyer for the last 35 years and is currently a partner at Byrne & Storm PC in Hartford. Her longtime litigation experience covers a wide spectrum of practice areas, including civil and criminal, matrimonial, employment discrimination, and alternative dispute resolution.

As an active member of the CBA throughout the years, Attorney Storm has held membership in the Human Rights and Responsibilities Executive Committee, Pro Bono Committee, Family Law Section, and General Practice Section, and has chaired the International Law Section. She is currently a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section.

In 2000, in a quest to channel more time into pro bono and to provide lawyers around the world the opportunity to do the same, she founded Lawyers Without Borders, an international nonprofit organization with chapters in New Haven, London, and Nairobi, Kenya. Lawyers Without Borders is dedicated to the promotion of the rule of law. The organization, which maintains a commitment to practical, concrete programming that has observable and measurable impact and results, has won the recognition from the United Nations and has placed volunteer lawyers in various countries around the world to help promote the rule of law. She currently serves as the organization’s Executive Director.

The Citizen of the Law Award will be presented to Storm at the CBA’s new annual awards celebration, “Celebrate with the Stars,” on April 3 at Cascade in Hamden sponsored by Geraghty & Bonnano LLC, Attorneys at Law and Kronholm Insurance Services.

For decades, the association has honored leaders in the legal profession for their professional accomplishments and community service as part of the CBA Annual Meeting. This year, a separate event is being dedicated to recognizing Connecticut’s top judges and lawyers who make a difference through their work by demonstrating allegiance, dedication, conscientious service, commitment, and mentorship.

“Celebrate with the Stars” is an exciting occasion where professionals and supporters of the legal industry can mix and mingle with their peers in a lively, celebratory evening out. Other awards to be presented at “Celebrate with the Stars” include: John Eldred Shields Distinguished Professional Service Award, the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award, the Charles J. Parker Legal Services Award, the Tapping Reeve Legal Educator Award, and The Anthony V. DeMayo Pro Bono Award.

The recipient of the Citizen of the Law Award must meet the following criteria: be a judge, attorney, or paralegal member of the CBA who has made a significant contribution to a charitable or public service cause that does not involve professional legal skills, but provides inspiration and contributes to the needy, the good of society, the environment, or our way of life. These activities should have been undertaken on a nonprofessional, charitable basis with little or no personal economic reward, and some personal sacrifice.

Attorney Storm was selected based on nominations submitted to the CBA Awards Committee.

The Connecticut Bar Association is a professional association committed to the advancement of justice, the practice of law, the image of the profession, and public understanding of the law. For more information, please visit www.ctbar.org.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About a ‘Passive House’

Doug McDonald is a proponent of a ‘Passive House.’

Doug McDonald is a proponent of a ‘Passive House.’

Can you heat a home with a hair dryer? You will find the answer at a free-to-the-public program hosted by the Shoreline League of Democratic Women (SLDW) on Sunday, March 30. Their special guest speaker Douglas Mcdonald of MyCodePlus.com is a Passive House expert and developer, and builds Code Plus homes.

The event will be held at 1:30 p.m., at the Guilford Free Library, 67 Park Street, on the green in Guilford, CT. Mcdonald’s presentation, “What’s So Special about a Passive House?” will cover the core concepts of a passive house, which is extremely insulated and virtually airtight. The design of these homes results in a 90 percent reduction of energy use and minimal bills.

Mcdonald created and lives in one of the first retrofitted passive house in the country, but there are many newly built passive houses in the United States and overseas. There will be a Q & A session at the end of the program.

Developed by Germany’s Passivhaus Institute, the Passive House standard has the most rigorous requirements for green building construction. Mcdonald will share his unique perspective of someone who actually lives in a 3,800-square-foot Passive House. His home was originally built in 1936 by Frank Lloyd Wright protege Barry Bryne, then transformed by Mcdonald into a super energy-efficient dwelling in 2010.

His projects have appeared on the cover of the New York Times Real Estate and selected for the Fine Homebuilding Reader Choice Award. Mcdonald has made guest appearances on The History Channel, where many of his innovative renovation ideas have been featured. With his team of LEED architects and engineers, he applies his unique and world class approach to creating iconic country homes utilizing the best building standards from around the world, including the Passive House standard, at a price comparable to conventional construction.

The Shoreline League of Democratic Women (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 Shoreline League of Democratic Women is dedicated to educating its members about political and social issues important to women of all ages in Connecticut’s Second District. 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 on the Shoreline League of Democratic Women, send email to sldworg@gmail.com or contact Kathleen Skoczen at 860-669-7034 or Belinda Jones at 860-399-1147. Visit their web site at http://www.sldw.org.

Essex Park and Recreation Summer Programs…

It’s almost  that time of year again – Summer!!! Are you and your children ready for Tons of Summer Fun?

Join Essex Park and Recreations as we host a variety of Great Summer Camps. Complete program information including registration, times, dates & fees can be found on our web site: www.essexct.gov. Choose the Department tab then choose Park and Recreation. For More information contact 860-767-4340 x110.

Slamma Jamma Basketball Camp – Join the Valley Regional High School Players & Coaches. The camp is built on individual instruction and fundamentals. The goal of the camps is to provide instruction that will help your child become a better basketball player. As the saying goes “Basketball players are made during the summer and perform in the winter.” Every camper gets a Slamma-Jamma T-shirt, Basketball, and Certificate.

Running Rams Track & Field Camp – Instruction in most of the track and field events from some of the area’s best coaches, eight in all, at one of the finest venues in Connecticut…Valley Regional HS in Deep River, CT. Campers will enjoy plenty of instruction, plenty of snacks, juice, water, plenty of breaks and awards at the conclusion of Friday’s final session.

Summer Tennis Clinics at Valley Regional High School Courts- Tennis Pro Coach Gary Ribchinsky will be teaching the fundamentals of tennis: ground-strokes, volley, serve, and game play in the clinics designed for ages 5 – 15.

Girls LAX Clinic – Join Coach Greg Ruel, along with a coaching staff of USL certified coaches, club coaches & college and high school Players. No prior LAX experience required. Girls will be taught the fundamental and technical skills that will help them to become stronger all—around players. The girls will be put in to different game environments where they will gain confidence and field mobility while increasing their comfort level on the field. Enjoy great coaching, gear food & Fun!! Clinic includes—t-shirt, reversible game pinnie, light food each night, raffle prized and more!! (There will be no goalie play of goalie training at this clinic)

We offer several other great summer programs such as Summer Day Camp with some really great themed activities, field trips and games. Mini Hawk Sports Camp a great way to introduce kids ages 3 -7 to a variety of different sports. Baseball & Softball Camp with “Between the Lines”, Skyhawk’s Multi Sport & Golf is also being offered. Also this summer join the Staff at Shoreline Gymnastics for another great camp designed to teach basic gymnastics skills, while increasing confidence. Coach Mesite & Konstan will once again offer the “Made in the Summer” Girls Basketball Camp. New this summer is our Field Hockey Camp with JWMS teacher & Coach Rebecca Suntheimer, with the popularity of our Fall Clinic this is sure to be a great addition to our summer programming. Again for more information visit our web site www.essexct.gov or contact Park and Recreation 860-767-4340 x110.

Deep River Family Named March of Dimes Greater Mystic Ambassadors

On Sunday, May 4, hundreds from the Connecticut shoreline will gather for March for Babies at Olde Mistick Village in Mystic to benefit the March of Dimes. Leading the festivities will be the event’s 2014 Ambassadors, Ryan and Jessica Spearrin of Deep River, along with their children Carley and William. They will share the story of William’s premature birth, and thank walkers for their commitment to the March of Dimes mission to give all babies a healthy start.

Jessica was due with William on July 25, 2011, but due to suffering from preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and HELLP syndrome (a life-threatening pregnancy complication usually considered to be a variant of preeclampsia with symptoms such as the breaking down of red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count), William was delivered on May 19, 2011, weighing just 2 pounds 11 ounces. Like many babies born very early, his underdeveloped lungs were one of his biggest health complications. To help mature his tiny lungs quickly, he received surfactant, a therapy developed with help from March of Dimes grantees.

William also suffered from numerous complications due to his early arrival such as apnea, jaundice, underdeveloped kidneys and bladder, and respiratory distress syndrome. He ultimately spent 64 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at UConn Health Center in Farmington before coming home.

“It was such an emotional time. We celebrated the little moments and prayed during the challenging times,” said Jessica. “No parent is ever prepared to have their child born early.”

Today William is a healthy 2 ½ year old, but has undergone multiple surgeries to correct his underdeveloped bladder, and remains under a specialist’s care for his eyes. “He is a fun-loving little boy who loves his big sister,” said Jessica. “He also loves the guitar and big trucks!”

“We hope that by sharing our story we will raise awareness about prematurity and other serious complications that mothers and babies can face,” said Jessica. “We know that without March of Dimes funded research, William would not be here today. And we know that there much work left to be done. Our biggest wish is for all babies to be born healthy.”

March for Babies participants can meet the family and hear their story at March for Babies at Olde Mistick Village on Sunday, May 4. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. with the walk kicking off at 10:00 a.m. To register visit marchforbabies.org/event/greatermystic or marchofdimes.com/ct.

Greater Mystic March for Babies is sponsored locally by Mohegan Sun, Advanced Improvements, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Olde Mistick Village, The Day, Soft Rock 106.5 WBMW and Jammin 107.7, kidtivity.com, and is supported by statewide sponsors, NBC Connecticut and Comcast. March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Macy’s, Famous Footwear, Cigna, Sanofi Pasteur, Mission Pharmacal, and United Airlines.

For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Time for another British Invasion! SHOUT! The Mod Musical – Ivoryton Playhouse

Tamala Baldwin*, Mikah Horn, Monica Bradley*, Jennifer Lorae* and Bethany Fitzgerald* * Denotes member of AEA

Tamala Baldwin*, Mikah Horn, Monica Bradley*, Jennifer Lorae* and Bethany Fitzgerald*
* Denotes member of AEA

Ivoryton: The last British raid on Essex was 200 years ago and 27 ships were burned. This year, they are coming back! Not burning ships this time, but definitely shaking up the town with the fab music of London in the 60s and 70s.

SHOUT! is the mod musical magazine that brings back the beautiful birds and smashing sounds that made England swing in the 60′s. Created by Phillip George and David Lowenstein, SHOUT! features terrific new arrangements of such classic tunes as “To Sir With Love,” “Downtown,” “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Goldfinger.”

SHOUT! travels in time from 1960 to 1970 chronicling the dawning liberation of women. Just as Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, and Cilla Black were independent women with major careers, English and American women were redefining themselves in the face of changing attitudes about gender. SHOUT! (and its all-female cast) reflects that through the unforgettable music of the time. With a shimmy and shake, the songs are tied together by hilarious sound bites from the period — from 60′s advertisements to letters answered by an advice columnist who thinks every problem can be solved with a “fetching new hair style and a new shade of lipstick.”

The songs in this delightful musical resonate with a timeless quality which appeals to every generation.

The show is directed by Jacqueline Hubbard, musical director is Kyle Norris and choreographer is Cait Collazzo. Set designed by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Kari Crowther.

SHOUT! The Mod Musical opens in Ivoryton on March 19th and runs through April 6th. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Sen. Linares Promotes Problem Gambling Awareness


Sen. Art Linares (at podium) on Mar. 4 joined with state legislators, students and representatives from Clinton-based Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, Inc. at an event at the Legislative Office Building to kick off National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The Council works to get help for those who have a gambling problem. Sen. Linares is co-sponsoring a bipartisan legislative proposal to repeal the implementation of Keno in Connecticut, noting that putting the video gambling game in stores and restaurants across Connecticut could expose children to gambling. Sen. Linares serves as Ranking Member of the state legislature’s Children’s Committee. On the web: www.senatorlinares.com and www.problemgambling.org . The Problem Gambling hotline is 1-888-789-7777.

Deep River Fire Department Appreciates Community Support


On behalf of the Deep River Fire Department, Fire Chief Tim Lee would like to thank all of those who so generously contributed to this years fund drive. According to Chief Lee, “We appreciate the support shown by the citizens of our community. Funds collected help us to keep current with the ever changing role of a volunteer Fire Department.”

As a result of Operation Save a Life, Chief Lee would like to remind the Deep River community that the Deep River Fire Department has a limited number of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors they will install for free in your home. Please call the Deep River Fire Department at 860-526-6042 and leave a message.

Take a Trip Back to Sixties London with SHOUT! – Ivoryton Playhouse

1_shout_300x250Ivoryton: A nostalgic nod to London’s Swinging Sixties takes to the Ivoryton Playhouse stage from March 19th to April 6th with SHOUT! The Mod Musical. Since the original production debuted off-Broadway in the mid-noughties, this hip musical comedy revue has sold out all over the US and UK and promises to get us all out of hibernation!

The musical follows five young female subscribers to a fictional magazine called Shout! – “the magazine for the modern woman” – as they come of age during the liberating 1960s that made England swing. From cover to cover, Shout! unfolds like a musical magazine and travels in time through the decade, chronicling the dawn of liberation of women. Just as Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, Cilla Black and Lulu were independent women with major careers, English (and indeed American!) women were redefining themselves in the face of changing attitudes about women. Shout! and its all-female cast reflects that change through the unforgettable music of the era.

Described as “a musical episode of Sex and the City”, Shout! contains show stopping new arrangements of classic pop anthems of the decade, including, “Downtown”, “Son of a Preacher Man”, “Goldfinger”, “I Only Wanna Be With You”, “To Sir With Love” and of course, the titular “Shout!”. The songs, and each girl’s own unfolding story, are tied together by hilarious sound bytes from the period – from 60s advertisements for anything and everything – to lonely hearts letters answered by Shout! Magazine’s advice columnist, who thinks each girl’s problem can be solved with a “fetching new hairstyle and a new shade of lipstick”.

Though Shout! wears its heart on its sleeve, it also has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. The groovy blend of foot-stomping songs, eye-popping fashions, bouffant hairstyles, hilarious stories and mod musings, will make you want to throw your head back…..and SHOUT!

The show is directed by Jacqueline Hubbard, musical director is Kyle Norris and choreographer is Cait Collazzo. Set designed by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Kari Crowther.

SHOUT! The Mod Musical opens in Ivoryton on March 19th and runs through April 6th. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Generously sponsored by Essex Savings Bank & PCI Medical

Middlesex County Revitalization Commission Offers Small Business Loan Opportunities

Middletown, CT – The Middlesex County Revitalization Commission (MCRC), a Department of Economic and Community Development lending partner, announces a unique loan opportunity for small business owners. The MCRC is offering loans in amounts from $10,000 to $100,000 for a 10 year term, at a fixed 4% interest rate. Applications submitted by April 1st are guaranteed a loan decision by April 30th. To qualify businesses must be located in Middlesex County and be in business for one year or more at the time of the application. Loan proceeds may be used for the purchase of inventory, equipment, building improvements or for employment expansion or working capital.

Why choose the Middlesex County Revitalization Commission as your business lender? The MCRC is not a traditional commercial lender. The MCRC Board of Directors is made up of First Selectmen, Town Managers, and Economic Development Professionals representing each of the 15 towns in Middlesex County with a focus on helping small business to thrive. In addition, a staff of business consultants and mentors from the Small Business Development Center and the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce are there to guide and support you throughout the term of your loan and beyond. For more information, contact MCRC Administrator Paul M. Hughes at (860)347-6924.


Get the 411 on Community Resources at the Essex Library

Are you looking for information about social services, support groups, mental health, substance abuse issues, or childhood vaccination? The Essex Library’s Community Resource Room is open daily during the Library’s regular hours, and is stocked with information about all of these topics and more, with contact information that can lead you to the help you’re looking for. The free informational pamphlets and booklets available include titles on child care, mental health, elder issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, diabetes, social services, and much more, as well as a computer especially bookmarked for easy access to websites with more information. Support for the renovation was provided by a grant from the Essex Community Fund. 

Vista and Shoreline Community Women Wrap Up “Boxes for Soldiers” Drive

Pictured above left to right: “Boxes for Soldiers” Chairperson Cindy Stevens, Vista Program Counselor Laurie Pilcher and Vista member Rachel Goodman

Pictured above left to right: “Boxes for Soldiers” Chairperson Cindy Stevens, Vista Program Counselor Laurie Pilcher and Vista member Rachel Goodman

Beginning this past December, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center partnered with the Shoreline Community Women to hold a “Boxes for Soldiers” drive. Overwhelming support and  donations poured in from schools, groups and individuals from all over the shoreline community, totaling over 1,700 items all together. Vista members sorted through the plethora of food, books, hygiene products and other supplies, and were later joined by Cindy Stevens and Lynn Mann of Shoreline Community Women, to box the items into care packages. These care packages will go to a number of American soldiers serving overseas.

The Shoreline Community Women have sent hundreds of care packages each year to soldiers since starting “Boxes for Soldiers” back in 2006. “Boxes for Soldiers” Chairperson Cindy Stevens says that the effort began with a few boxes for soldiers from the local community, but soon expanded into a much larger project. The gratitude expressed from the soldiers receiving these boxes has inspired the Shoreline Community Women, along with many supporters in the area, to keep the project going. They see the project as a way to thank the troops for their service, and as Cindy Stevens stated, “It is the least we can do.”

If you would like to donate directly to “Boxes for Soldiers” year-round or would like more information, you can e-mail Cindy Stevens at snowsblock@aol.com or write to the Shoreline Community Women at P.O. Box 51 Clinton, CT 06413. There are also drop-off locations at the Henry Carter Hull Library and the Clinton Sport Shop in Clinton, Connecticut.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.  Vista’s mission is “Providing services and resources to individuals with disabilities to create opportunities for personal success.”

For more information regarding Vista, please visit www.vistavocational.org

Lyme Academy College Offers Continuing Education; Pre-College Spring Program

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts has announced their Spring 2014 Continuing Education and Pre-College Program with five courses intended to keep the creative winter fires burning. Open to all, the courses are suitable for all levels of artistic experience and also, competitively priced.

For the Pre-College student who is thinking of pursuing a college education in the visual arts, there is Digital Painting (Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Feb. 6 – March 6) and Seasonal Landscape Painting (Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Feb. 8 – March 22.) Programs, such as Photoshop, will be used in Digital Painting to aid students as they learn to interpret the fundamental relationships of ‘real’ painting in the digital realm. Seasonal Landscape Painting is designed to expose students to the beauty of Old Lyme and the surrounding area as they create paintings from observation, photographs, and collage. Each class is $225 for the full program.

No matter the skill-set, anyone over the age of 14 with an interest in art is eligible for our Continuing Education courses. Presently, one sculpture and two painting classes are scheduled. In the Figure Painting class (Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Feb. 6 – March 6, $300), students will paint the figure from observation in a series of three-hour poses. Emphasis will be placed on using effective drawing, color, value, and paint application in order to create a convincing sense of three dimensional, sculptural forms.

The Pastel Painting class (Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Feb. 8 – March 22, $225), is an introduction to the basic concepts, methods and materials of dry pastel and painting. Students will work from still life arrangements to examine the affect of light on form, creating multiple small works throughout the course of the class.

In the week-long Introduction to Figure Sculpture class (Feb. 3 through Feb. 7, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., $300), students will experience an abbreviated, in-depth course of study of figurative sculpture in the

Essex Savings Bank Holds Semi-Annual Meeting for its 162nd Year

ESSEX–Essex Savings Bank held its semi-annual Trustees’ Meeting Monday, January 27, 2014 at the Bank’s Plains Road corporate office in Essex.  Bank Chairman, Mr. Douglas Paul, welcomed the attendees and stated that he was proud to preside at the completion of the Bank’s 162nd year.

Mr. Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO, reported on the Bank’s performance for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013 by stating, “I am pleased to report that the Bank posted a net profit of $1.7 million. Bank assets grew by $6.7 million to $331.5 million. While core deposits rose by $12 million, credit quality remained strong with zero foreclosed properties and capital increased by $1.8 million to $40.4 million – far exceeding regulatory requirements.  Our branches continue to attract new relationships and our newest branches in Madison and Chester are operating ahead of our projections. During the year, the Bank generated over $76 million in loans which were comprised of both residential and business loans. We are also proud to report that our Trust Department, led by professionals, Granville Morris and Moira Martin, has brought assets under management to over $300 million.  As part of our Bank’s success, we will again be distributing 10% of our after-tax net income or $224,000 to non-profits in our market area. By year end, we will have contributed back to the community in excess of $3.9 million over the past 18 years that the Community Investment Program has been in existence.”

Mr. Charles Cumello, President & CEO of Essex Financial Services Inc., reported that gross revenue for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013 was $18.7 million, which is up 12%. “This year’s performance is one of the firm’s best, and marks the fourth year in a row with record revenue growth.”  Mr. Cumello informed the trustees of  the  many improvements and investments in technology and infrastructure currently underway that will increase the excellence of the firm’s client service as the firm continues to grow.  He stated that these investments in infrastructure are critical as the addition of new clients to the firm has been very robust and inquiries from potential clients continue to rise.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.  Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

EHS Receives Grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County

2014 CFMC grant for Phot Exhibit - EHS

ESSEX — Essex Historical Society has received a $3,194 grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County which was funded by the Riverview Cemetery Fund and the Connecticut Humanities Fund.   The grant will be used to develop large graphic panels depicting the development of Essex from the founding of  Saybrook colony in 1636 through the early 20th century. The history photo exhibit will be located in the Pratt House barn.  The Pratt House is open to and free to the public during the summer months.

EHS is a not-for-profit organization whose basic mission is to promote and preserve the awareness of the people, places and things that have shaped the history of Essex which incorporates the villages of Essex, Ivoryton and Centerbrook. EHS owns two historic buildings in Essex, the Pratt House Museum which is open to the public June through September and Hills Academy which houses our collections and where our Archival Angels work to catalog and preserve artifacts given to EHS.  For more information on The Essex Historical Society or how you can support us, write to ehs@essexhistory.net, or visit our website at www.essexhistory.org.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County, and to help Good People Do Great Things. Its two-fold mission is: (1) to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds; and (2) to support local nonprofit organizations through effective grant making, in order to address community needs, as well as Let Good Grow. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 907 grants, totaling more than $2.8 million, to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements, and for health and human services.

To learn more, contact the Community Foundation at 860.347.0025, or info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org