July 23, 2016

Newly Designed Marine Room Opens at Stone House Museum in Deep River

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

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

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

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

View_of_Marine_Room

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

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

Along_DR_Waterfront

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

Stone_House_Museum

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

Visits to the Stone House are encouraged to view the new exhibit and also the many other interesting items on display.

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

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

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

For further information, call 860-526-1449.

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Connecticut River Artisans Making a Move to Essex, New Store Opens Aug. 1

Connecticut River Artisans new home will be at 55 Main St. in Essex.

Connecticut River Artisans new home will be at 55 Main St. in Essex.

ESSEX — Connecticut River Artisans are moving from Chester to Essex.

They will close their Chester shop at 4 Water St. at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, and reopen at their location at 55 Main St., Essex on Monday, Aug. 1.

Summer hours are Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Call for seasonal hours.

For more information, visit ctriverartisans.org or call 860.767.5457.

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State Senate Candidate Needleman is First to Reach Fundraising Goal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attorney James P. Berryman

Attorney James P. Berryman

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

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

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30th Anniversary of Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival, July 30; Evening Kick-off Concert with Braiden Sunshine, July 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 29 festivities

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 30 festivities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Blockbuster ‘RENT’ Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse, Aug. 3

Rent
IVORYTON —  Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical RENT opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Wednesday, Aug. 3, running until Aug. 28.

Loosely based on Puccini’s opera, La Boheme, RENT details one year in the life of seven artists and musicians, living in New York’s run down “Alphabet City” in the late 1980s.  As this circle of friends struggle with life, love, infidelity, and the usual hopes & fears of modern day life, they must also cope with drug addiction and the rising specter of AIDS.  In the midst of all this, one of them attempts to capture all of their lives on film, hoping to make artistic sense of it all.

Jonathan Larson died in 1996, the day before his musical opened in New York. He never witnessed its phenomenal success. RENT opened on Broadway on April 29, 1996. It went on to win every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

RENT closed after 5,124 performances and is the seventh longest running show in Broadway history.  Over the course of its groundbreaking 12-year New York run, RENT transformed the definition of musical theater – and changed Broadway forever.  The musical has been translated into every major language and been performed on six continents.

The Ivoryton Playhouse welcomes back returning actors Jamal Shuriah*, Sheniquah Trotman*, Collin Howard*, Tim Russell and Grant Benedict as well as Johnny Newcomb*, Alyssa Gomez*, Patrick Clanton*, Jonny Cortes, Maritza Bostic, Stephanie Genito, Ronnie S. Bowman, Jr, Mac Cherny, Sandra Lee, Josephine Gottfried

This production is directed by Ivoryton Playhouse Artistic / Executive Director Jacqueline Hubbard and is choreographed by Todd Underwood.  Musical director is Michael Morris, with set design by Martin Scott Marchitto, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Lisa Bebey.

After Larson’s death and the amazing success of his musical, his friends wanted to honor his commitment to his community of people whose lives are a daily struggle for survival. They set aside the first two rows at each performance as $20 seats so that the people the show was about could afford to see it. These special tickets would go on sale at 6 p.m. each night and the line usually formed by noon on weekdays and often 24 hours in advance on weekends. In honor of Jonathan Larson and the community that we serve, the Ivoryton Playhouse will save 20 seats for every performance at a $25 price. Those seats will be available after 6 p.m. every show day.

If you are interested in helping support this program or our Little Wonder program that provides a free night at the theatre for patients and their families dealing with the nightmare of cancer, please give Krista a call at 860 767 9520 ext 205.

Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.  Due to popular demand, two additional Saturday matinee performances have been added on Aug. 20 and 27 – both at 2 p.m.

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

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Deep River Parade Kicks Off at 11am Today, Followed by Muster

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 8.09.56 PM

Photo credit: Town of Deep River website.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Ancient Muster is the oldest and largest gathering of fife and drum participants and enthusiasts in the world and has been referred to as “The Granddaddy of All Musters” and “A Colonial Woodstock.”  The Parade and Muster will be held again this Saturday — the Muster is always held the third Saturday in July — and the Tattoo takes place Friday evening.

The Parade starts at 11 a.m. at the corner of Main and Kirtland Streets and proceeds down Main Street to Devitt’s Field. The host corps is the Deep River Ancient Muster Committee and the Deep River Drum Corps.

The Muster starts immediately following the parade at Devitt’s Field.  Roads will be closed at 10:30 a.m.

The Tattoo starts Friday at 7 p.m. at Devitt’s Field with the host corps being the Deep River Junior Ancients

Parking will be available in several locations along Main Street, Deep River Congregational Church, The Stone House, Deep River Hardware, Deep River Public Library and Rte. 80.

Click here to read an article by Caryn B. Davis about Fife and Drum Corps and published on AmericanProfile.com.

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

Senator Richard Blumenthal (File photo)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (File photo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saybrook Stage Company cast of "Noises Off!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker (Photo from ConnDOT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Final Day of OL Church’s White Elephant Sale Today, Opens at 8am: Most Items Half Price

Patiently waiting for the bell to chime.

Patiently waiting for the bell to chime.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you at The Sale!

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

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House Approves Courtney-Sponsored Amendment Restricting Sale of Plum Island

Representative Joe Courtney

Representative Joe Courtney

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

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

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

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

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

Aerial view of Plum Island.

Aerial view of Plum Island.

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

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

 

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Emails Confirm High Speed Rail Through Old Lyme

We received the following as a press release from SECoast on June 29. It has been published on the organization’s Facebook page and website with the supporting documentation, which for technical reasons, we are currently unable to publish.

Emails obtained by SECoast as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, indicate that the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) decided four months ago to route the next generation of high speed rail infrastructure on a new bypass through Old Lyme and eastern coastal Connecticut. They have yet to announce this decision publicly.

Gregory Stroud, executive director of SECoast, a nonprofit collaborative on issues of preservation in Southeastern Connecticut and the Lower Connecticut River Valley, obtained internal Connecticut Department of Transportation emails from Commissioner James Redeker to Public Transportation Chief James Andreski which appear to confirm FRA   plans for a Kenyon, Rhode Island to Old Saybrook, Conn., high speed rail bypass through Old Lyme in or adjacent to the I-95 corridor. These plans would also include a separate New Haven to Springfield, Mass., route as part of a newly “modified” NEC Future: Alternative 2 proposal.

Within two days of the close of public comment, agency emails indicate that the FRA had committed to a coastal bypass route through Connecticut. Redeker writes on Feb. 18, 2016, that “after spending a few hours with the team, David Carol tells me the NEC Future team … will be leaving the Kenyon bypass for the spine to Boston, because they are completely focused on delivering four-track capacity to Boston.”

Carol, a former Old Lyme resident, is heading efforts by Parsons Brinckerhoff to develop high speed rail between Boston and Washington, DC. The multinational engineering and design firm, a veteran of such projects as the Big Dig in Boston, and the Raymond E. Baldwin bridge at the mouth of the Connecticut river, is leading a state and federal project, dubbed NEC Future, to modernize high speed rail along the Northeast Corridor.

The possibility of a Kenyon to Saybrook bypass, a surprise late addition to past evaluations of high speed rail, has provoked widespread concern and opposition from citizens and organizations in the region, and prompted roughly 1200 public comments to the Federal Railroad Administration out of 3000 from across the United States.

Old Lyme is internationally recognized as the home of American Impressionism, and the FRA’s initial proposal called for a new rail bridge and elevated tracks through the picturesque marshes and heart of the town’s National Register Historic District.

Further emails, after a Feb. 26, 2016 Northeast Corridor Commission meeting of private, state, and federal officials at Parsons Brinckerhoff headquarters in Manhattan, appear to confirm a long-standing decision to route the rail project through Old Lyme in modified form as a tunnel. Andreski informed Redeker and other state transportation officials, that the FRA project manager in charge, Rebecca Reyes-Alicea,“explained the various adjustment [sic] they were making in response to public comments. For example the Old Lyme Kenyon Bypass concept is being modified. Hartford Line [sic] will be included as an additional feeder spine …. Rebecca stated they recognize more work is need on the alternative concepts …. Still I believe they are pressing forward on Alternative 2 with the mods decribed [sic] above.”

“This routing decision will have a major impact on the historic, cultural and environmental resources of Connecticut’s eastern seacoast communities,” said Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. “The FRA and its consultants settled on a preferred route four months ago – it’s long past time they meet the residents of the region face to face to address numerous concerns about where and how they propose to build this industrial-scale transportation infrastructure, and how they will protect the resources that make these Connecticut communities unique.”

Stroud called on the FRA and Parsons Brinckerhoff to delay the decision on a preferred route until after the project had passed public and environmental scrutiny. “Due diligence can’t follow decision-making in a multi-billion dollar project such as this,” Stroud stated. “These plans for a Kenyon to Saybrook bypass were not part of the original 98 alternatives announced by the federal government in 2012. They have not undergone the same level of agency or public scrutiny as other routes.”

He added, “not one single environmental study has been conducted to determine the feasibility or impact of a tunnel under the Connecticut River estuary or under Old Lyme’s National Register Historic District. Plans for crossing the Thames River are undefined. Not one public meeting on this project has been held in New London or Middlesex counties or southern Rhode Island.”

The state and federal-level conversations captured in these emails occurred several weeks prior to a private March 11, 2016 meeting between David Carol and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, aides and other local officials. These emails obtained by SECoast as part of a May 22, 2016 Freedom of Information Act request, funded in part by donations from the local community, are the first public confirmation of FRA plans for high speed rail along the Northeast Corridor.

Two additional Freedom of Information Act requests filed earlier with the Federal Railroad Administration on April 4, 2016 remain unfilled.

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State Police Promote Safe Driving Throughout July 4 Weekend; Sobriety Checkpoints, Roving Patrols Planned Locally

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut State Police Public Information Office has issued the following important press release.

As thousands of drivers plan to travel during the upcoming long holiday weekend, Connecticut State Troopers are also preparing to patrol in increased numbers to keep roads and highways safe for all drivers.

Troop F is planning the following roving patrols and checkpoint locations:

06/30/16                         Roving Patrols – Interstate 95 within Troop F patrol area

07/01/16                         Roving Patrols – Rte. 9 and Rte. 66 in town of Middlefield

07/02/16                         Roving Patrols – I-95 exits 56-71

07/03/16                         Roving Patrols – Rte. 9 and Rte. 66 in town of Middlefield

07/03/16                         DUI Sobriety Checkpoint – At Rte. 156 and Ferry Rd. in the town of Old Lyme. This will be in conjunction with the Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit.

07/04/16                         Roving Patrols – I-95 exits 56-71

July 4 is Monday, allowing for extra time for beach outings, cookouts and fireworks. This translates to increased traffic starting as early as Friday, July 1, and continuing through the evening of July 4.  Many will be driving through and around the state of Connecticut for Independence Day events.

State Police will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) starting at midnight on July 3 and running through midnight on July 5.

Troopers will be strategically placed to reduce speed on the highways and roadways during the holiday period. In addition, State Troopers will operate sobriety checkpoints numerous locations throughout Connecticut. Drivers can expect to experience concentrated enforcement operations at locations where a high number of alcohol-involved crashes and incidents.  (Please see attached list.)

As always, State Police consistently work toward preventing accidents – especially fatal crashes – on Connecticut’s roads and highways. Troopers will utilize laser units, and both marked and unmarked State Police cars to enhance safety and to remove all drunk drivers from Connecticut’s roads.

“We need your help. Obeying the rules of the road is everyone’s responsibility. We ask all drivers to buckle up, adhere to the speed limit, put down cell phones, and please be courteous to other drivers,” said Dora B. Schriro, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Colonel Alaric J. Fox, Commander of the Connecticut State Police, added, State Troopers depend on drivers to follow the law. Please do not drink and drive since that is a deadly combination. If you are on the road and drunk driver, please call 911, as this is a true emergency.”

Planning to consume alcohol to celebrate our nation’s birthday? Then please designate a driver so that this festive, enjoyable summer weekend does not turn into a tragedy. Never drink and drive.

During July 4, 2015, weekend, Connecticut State Police issued the following number of summons:  859 for speeding and 33 for driving under the influence.  State Police investigated 170 motor vehicle crashes, with injury and two fatalities.

Troopers also issued 2,461 tickets for other hazardous moving violations.

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Essex Historical Society Expands “Walking Weekend,” July 29, 30 & 31 

Ivoryton Library. All photos courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Ivoryton Library. All photos courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

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

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

The Pratt Smithy.

The Pratt Smithy.

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

The Rose Store.

The Rose Store.

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

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

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

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Hear the Best Youth Music Around at ‘LymeStock 2016’ Today at Ashlawn Farm

The Brazen Youth will be headlining Lymestock 2016 at Ashlawn Farm on Sunday

The Brazen Youth will be headlining Lymestock 2016 at Ashlawn Farm on Sunday

MusicNow Foundation, Inc. is hosting the 3rd Annual Lymestock 2016 Father’s Day concert and picnic at Ashlawn Farm in Lyme on Sunday, June 19, from 12 to 7 p.m.  The festival will present New England’s award-winning young artists with local, aspiring youth opening the performances.  Gates open at 11:30 a.m.  Children are welcome.

Highlights this year will be a performance by Rumblecat, who received the 2016 New England Music Award for ‘Best in the State of Vermont’, and Brazen Youth, recipients of ‘New England’s Radar Music Award 2015.’ Additionally, performances by Joe Holt of Brooklyn, New York and ‘Radar Music Winner’ James MacPherson and the Bonzai Trees will highlight the day of music.

Joe Holt is another big name that will be performing on Sunday at Lymestock 2016.

Joe Holt is another big name that will be performing on Sunday at Lymestock 2016.

Opening performances by local emerging artists, Sophia Griswold and Connected, Drew Cathcart and Blind Fool, The Modern Riffs, and Julia Russo will take the stage for a day of music, food and fun on the farm for Father’s Day.

Hamburgers and hot dogs along with lunches, desserts and summer refreshments will be available for sale or guests can pack their own.

Lymestock 2016 will benefit Youth in Music mission initiatives of the MusicNow Foundation, Inc.
(www.musicnowfoundation.org) serving southeastern Connecticut and beyond.  The concert picnic is
presented in collaboration with Ashlawn Farm, Pavoh.org and sponsored in part by LymeLine.com, the Bee and Thistle Inn, and iCRV Radio — among others.

MusicNow Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the support of live music to engage, educate and enrich young artists through performance opportunities, enrichment workshops, and collaborative mentorships / internships to nurture creative and artistic development.

Advance tickets can be purchased in advance at Nightingale’s Acoustic Café at 68 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Conn. or by calling (860) 434-1961. Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.  Gate tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.

For more information, call (860) 434-1961 or email info@musicnowfoundation.org

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Sunshine to Sing at Inaugural Osprey Festival Saturday in Sound View, Old Lyme

Standing by one of the osprey nests being used to promote this Saturday's Osprey Festival are board members of the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce (from left to right) Mark Griswold, Jan Ayer Cushing, Doug Lo Presti and Joann Lishing.

Standing by one of the osprey nests being used to promote this Saturday’s Osprey Festival are board members of the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce (from left to right) Mark Griswold, Jan Ayer Cushing, Doug Lo Presti and Joann Reis Lishing.

Family-Oriented Event Features ‘The Voice’ Finalist Braiden Sunshine, Art Lectures, Kid Contests, Vendors Galore  … and More

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce is hosting a new ‘Osprey Festival’ at Sound View this coming Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.  This is an exciting, family-oriented seaside festival that honors the majestic osprey and celebrates many of the great aspects of Lyme and Old Lyme.

The Chamber is partnering with the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Osprey Nation, the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven, and the MusicNow Foundation to bring together art, music, nature and events.

Osprey_Festival_logo_cropped

This inaugural annual event is designed to kick-off the summer season and attract residents from our two towns as well as the surrounding communities. Mark your calendars now for what promises to be an enjoyable, entertaining and educational event.

A portion of Hartford Ave. in Sound View will be closed off for the festival.  The morning and early afternoon will be focused on young families with free carousel rides, kid’s competitions, school bands, and young local musicians. At the same time, a great variety of vendors will be selling their wares on Hartford Ave.

The afternoon will be geared towards the older population in Lyme and Old Lyme with lectures from world-renowned speakers on art and nature including artist Michael DiGiogio giving a field demonstration and talk at 12 p.m., and ornithological expert Dr. Paul Spitzer speaking at 2:15 p.m. on ospreys in the Lower Connecticut River.

The afternoon’s activities will also feature a bocce contest – sign up your team by emailing info@ospreyfestival.com – and sandcastle-building competition.  The bocce tournament winning team receives $250 in prizes from Black Hall Outfitters.

Old Lyme's own Braiden Sunshine will perform in the evening at the Osprey Festival.

Old Lyme’s own Braiden Sunshine will perform in the evening at the Osprey Festival.

As the evening rolls in, the tone will change to create a night for all ages with some top- notch local bands, and some special games in the street. Old Lyme’s own Braiden Sunshine – a finalist in the most recent popular TV series of “The Voice” – will present a concert at 7 p.m.

Other musical groups that will be featured include the United States Coast Guard Band at 3:45 p.m., Java Grove at 6 p.m., Ramblin’ Dan and the Mellowmen at 5 p.m., Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Jazz Catz at 3:10 p.m., MusicNow Foundation’s Youth Showcase at 1:10 p.m., and some special guests from Charles Music School’s Adult Rock Band at 11:15 a.m.

Platinum sponsors of the Festival include ASP Productions LLC, Black Hall Outfitters, Connecticut Rental Center, iCRV Radio and Shoreline Web News LLC – publisher of LymeLine.com and ValleyNewsNow.com.  Host sponsors include the Connecticut Audubon Society, Nightingale’s Acoustic Café and Lyme Academy College of FineArts.

For more information, visit www.ospreyfestival.com or email info@ospreyfestival.com.

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Discover the “Art of Growing Food” with Celebrated Author Ellen Ecker Ogden, Friday; Benefits Child & Family

Ellen Ecker Ogden will speak at Child & Family's Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon on June 17 at Old Lyme Country Club.

Ellen Ecker Ogden will speak at Child & Family’s ‘Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon’ on June 17 at Old Lyme Country Club.

Are you tired of tasteless tomatoes, half-ripe honeydews, or limp lettuce? Do you worry what else might be on the produce you purchase at grocery stores?  If you’ve considered growing your own food so it will be fresh, natural, and ready when you want it (without a trip to the store!), then spend an afternoon with acclaimed food and garden writer Ellen Ecker Ogden, who will present “The Art of Growing Food” as the featured speaker at Child & Family Agency’s Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon.

Ecker Ogden is the Vermont-based author of The Complete Kitchen Garden, The Vermont Country Store Cookbook, and The Vermont Cheese Book, among others.  She is also co-founder of The Cook’s Garden seed catalog, a small family seed business dedicated to finding the best-tasting European and American heirloom vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and she lectures widely on kitchen garden design. Her articles and designs have been featured in such national publications as Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, and the New York Times.

Child & Family Agency’s Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon takes place on June 17, 2016, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Old Lyme Country Club (I-95, exit 70).  The event begins with a book signing by Ogden at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch at noon; Ogden will then give her talk, in which she will outline her six steps for successful garden design, based on classic garden design principles.

At the end of her presentation, Ogden will raffle off a one-and-a-half-hour vegetable garden consultation. Tickets are $50, and may be obtained by mailing a check to P.O. Box 324, Old Lyme, CT  06371 (include name, address, phone, email), or by visiting www.childandfamilyagency.org.  Questions? Call 860-443-2896 or email CFA.LOLAuxiliary@gmail.com. Seating is limited.

The Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon is presented by the Lyme/Old Lyme Auxiliary of Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, who bring you the Lyme/Old Lyme Garden Tour every other year. (The next Lyme/Old Lyme Garden Tour will take place next year, in June 2017.) Meanwhile, with this year’s Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon, you can satisfy your garden cravings and help children and families at the same time!

Proceeds from the Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon benefit the programs and capital projects of Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping at-risk children in the context of their families. With a staff of more than 190 dedicated professionals and a service area covering 79 towns in New London, Middlesex, and New Haven counties, Child & Family Agency is the largest private, nonprofit children’s service provider in southeastern Connecticut. In 2015 more than 18,000 children and their families received services from Child & Family Agency. Find out more at www.childandfamilyagency.org or call 860.443.2896.

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Cappella Cantorum Present Men’s Chorus Concert in Old Lyme, June 26

Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus drawing inspired in St. Paul Lutheran  Church in a 2005 concert, drawn by Madeleine Favre of Deep River.

Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus drawing inspired in St. Paul Lutheran
Church in a 2005 concert, drawn by Madeleine Favre of Deep River.

Cappella Cantorum presents a Men’s Chorus Concert, Sunday, June 26, at 7:30 pm, the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme at 2 Ferry Rd. Old Lyme, CT 06371.

The music will include When the Saints Go Marching In, Guys & Dolls Selections Order My Steps, Men of Harlech, Ride the Chariot, For the Beauty of the Earth, Barbershop Favorites and Va Pensiero.

Tickets are $20 at the door or online at CappellaCantorum.org. Ages 18 and under are free.  

For more information, contact Barry at 860-388-2871 or barrybasch@gmail.com.

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See ‘Blooms with a View’ at Florence Griswold Museum This Weekend, ‘En Plein Air’ Impressionist Painting Demo Today

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts a celebration of the site’s historic gardens featuring special events, displays, demonstrations, and family activities. From June 3 through 12, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests.

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts a celebration of the site’s historic gardens featuring special events, displays, demonstrations, and family activities. From June 3 through 12, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests.

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts a celebration of the site’s historic gardens featuring special events, displays, demonstrations, and family activities. From June 3 through 12, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests.

A favorite event during GardenFest is Blooms with a View: A Display of Art & Flower. From June 10 through 12, visitors can enjoy a display of stunning arrangements created by 15 talented floral artists that interpret works of art in the special exhibitions, The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement. These floral interpretations play off the colors, line, shapes, and subject matter of the artwork in masterful ways. Blooms with a View is included with Museum admission.

On Sunday, June 12, from 1 to 4 p.m., watch Connecticut Impressionist Dmitri Wright create an Impressionistic painting in the gardens of the Museum. Working “en plein air,” Wright will demonstrate the steps involved in going from blank canvas to a garden rendered in color and light. These events are included with Museum admission.

The seventh annual GardenFest at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is a 10-day celebration of the site’s historic gardens, featuring special events, displays, demonstrations, and family activities. From June 3 through 12, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests. Most events are included with Museum admission. Children 12 and under are always free.

This year’s exhibition provides the perfect accompaniment to the Museum’s historic landscape, gardens, and the activities surrounding GardenFest. The Florence Griswold Museum is the only New England venue for the exhibition, The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887–1920. Organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Artist’s Garden tells the story of American Impressionists and the growing popularity of gardening as a leisure pursuit at the turn of the 20th century.

After enjoying the exhibition, visitors can walk the Museum’s 13 acres and through the restored 1910 garden. “Miss Florence’s” lovingly tended garden was a favorite subject for many of the artists of the Lyme Art Colony who stayed at her boardinghouse. One of the paintings on view in the exhibition, William Chadwick’s On the Piazza, ca. 1908 shows a female model posing on the side porch of the boardinghouse. A walk to the Lieutenant River provides further examples of vistas painted by the nature-loving artists.

Talented floral artists display stunning arrangements created to interpret works of art in the special exhibitions, The Artist's Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement. June 10 through June 12 at the Florence Griswold Museum.
Talented floral artists display stunning arrangements created to interpret works of art in the special exhibitions, The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement. June 10 through June 12 at the Florence Griswold Museum.

GardenFest includes a variety of activities for families. In addition to the weekly Discovery Sunday activities, when visitors are given supplies and invited to paint in the gardens or down by the river and then pick a project from the Art Cart for further fun and exploration, during GardenFest visitors of all ages can enjoy fun garden-themed events.

Other events include:

Lecture: Producing Pictures without Brushes: American Artists and Their Gardens

Anna O. Marley, Curator of Historic American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Exhibition

Sunday, June 5, 2pm

$7 (members $5)

Join Marley, the curator of the original version of the exhibition, for a discussion of the role American artists played in both the stylistic development of this American version of Impressionism as well as their impact on the Garden Movement.


Hands-On Photography Workshop

Craig Norton, Photographer and Master Teaching Artist

Tuesday, June 7, 6pm-9pm

$12 (members $10)

Join photographer and master teaching artist Craig Norton for a digital camera photographic workshop focusing on the gardens. Working in the golden light of pre-twilight, participants will learn the basics for mastering images of the garden before taking their own images for constructive critiques. Come learn all your camera can do. Light refreshments included. Participants should bring their own digital camera.


Presentation: Herbs for Hearth and Health

Leslie Evans, Historian and Museum Director, Avery-Copp House Museum, Groton, CT

Wednesday, June 8, 10:30am-2:30pm; presentations at 11am and 1pm

Cost to attend: Included with Museum admission

Join historian Leslie Evans for a presentation on the historic importance of herbs in cooking and medicine as well as how they can be used today. Participants in the presentations will learn the historic uses for both common as well as lesser-known herbs before creating their own herbal vinegar and fragrant sachet. Herbal infused snacks and beverages will be available for tasting. Between presentations, Evans will be available to answer questions and offer additional information.


Lecture: Gardening with Kids: Opening Eyes and Doors

Karen Bussolini, Garden Coach, Writer, and Photographer

Thursday, June 9, 2pm

$7 (members $5)

Our yards – gardens, landscaping, and wild places – offer boundless opportunities for learning through the senses. At a time when so many children – and adults too – suffer from “nature deficit disorder,” obesity, ADHD, and other problems, connecting with nature is more important than ever. Typical suburban landscapes don’t supply the needs of either wildlife or children and can be downright toxic to both. In this talk Bussolini shows – and gets people to think about – easy ways to make the whole yard a safe place rich with sensory stimulation, with rich opportunities for imaginative play, discovery and just plain fun.

Garden lovers are invited to enjoy Café Flo Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11:30am-2:30pm and from 1-3:30pm on Sundays. Menu items are garden-fresh and family friendly. Dine on the veranda overlooking the Lieutenant River or pick up a basket and blanket and picnic along the river.

GardenFest celebrates the Museum’s historic gardens and orchard that are the subject of so many paintings by the Lyme Art Colony artists. Landscape Historian Sheila Wertheimer guided the Museum in the restoration of the gardens and site to its appearance circa 1910. Miss Florence’s garden can be characterized by what is referred to today as a “grandmother’s garden” in which masses of flowers were informally arranged in bordered beds close to home. Varieties of hollyhock, iris, foxglove, heliotrope, phlox, cranesbill, and day lilies were among the many perennials that made up her garden.

The Museum is located on a 13-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme at 96 Lyme Street, exit 70 off I-95. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. For more information, visit FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

An additional garden event…

Connecticut’s Historic Gardens announces the 12th annual Connecticut’s Historic Garden Day, Sunday, June 26. These 15 delightful places, scattered throughout Connecticut, offer visitors an opportunity to explore many types of gardens while their historic homes further delight and educate. A variety of special events and activities are planned for the day. Hours, activities, and prices vary by location.

At the Florence Griswold Museum, besides strolling the historic landscape and gardens, visitors are invited to pick up supplies to paint in Miss Florence’s garden or down by the Lieutenant River. The can also enjoy the Museum’s Art Cart, filled with outdoor activities that encourage exploration of the historic landscape. Outdoor activities are free from 12 to 4pm. Museum admission applies to House and Gallery, $10 adults, $9 seniors, $8 students and children 12 and under are free. The House and Gallery are open from 1 to 5pm.

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Vista To Host One-Man Show About Living With Autism, Aug. 10 

Dane Brandt-Lubart presents, "My Life on the Spectrum, Aug. 10 at 'The Kate.'

Dane Brandt-Lubart presents, “My Life on the Spectrum, Aug. 10, at ‘The Kate.’

OLD SAYBROOK — Vista Life Innovations, a community-based program for individuals with disabilities, is partnering with the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook to present “My Life on the Spectrum: A Tuneful Rally” on Aug. 10.

Starring 24-year-old New York native Dane Brandt-Lubart, this one-man play combines musical performances with personal narratives about Brandt-Lubart’s experience being on the autism spectrum. The show aims to provide others on the spectrum with hope and encouragement while educating the public about the issues facing individuals with disabilities.

“I’m hoping that those who see the show, not only do they get a great entertainment experience, but I’m hoping they carry this message forward: People with special needs are totally worthy of respect,” Brandt-Lubart says in a video promoting the show.

“My Life on the Spectrum” debuted last October at the famed ‘Don’t Tell Mama’ cabaret venue in Manhattan. The production has been described as inspiring, honest, funny and poignant.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at www.vistalifeinnovations.org/MLotS. For questions, contact Amanda Roberts at(860) 399-8080 ext. 255.

With campuses in Madison, Westbrook and Guilford, Vista has been providing services and resources to individuals with disabilities for over 26 years.

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Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds Hosts Summer Sculpture Showcase 2016 Through Sept. 13

Mega-Dandelion by Gints Grinsberg is the signature piece of Summer Sculpture Showcase at Studio 80 +Sculpture Grounds, which has an Opening Reception Friday, June 10 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Mega-Dandelion by Gints Grinsberg is the signature piece of Summer Sculpture Showcase at Studio 80 +Sculpture Grounds, which has an Opening Reception Friday, June 10 from 5 to 7 p.m.

OLD LYME — Gilbert Boro, owner and sculptor at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, will host an Opening Reception for Summer Sculpture Showcase 2016 this coming Friday, June 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.  All are welcome to attend the outdoor reception at which light refreshments will be served. Guests will be free to explore the expansive sculpture gardens and view the more than 100 sculptures on display during the event.

This juried exhibition follows on naturally from last year’s extremely successful Summer Sculpture Showcase 2015, which drew large crowds and had to be extended into October to meet public demand. This new exhibition on the grounds adjoining Boro’s studio and inside the Emily Seward Boro (ESB) Gallery on the property features works created by 17 widely acclaimed sculptors interspersed amongst Boro’s own sculptures, along with works by 13 other contributing artists.  More than 30 sculptors from across the country responded to the Call for Entries submitting some 60 works.

Boro’s Sculpture Gardens are located on 4.5 acres of his residence on historic Lyme Street in the heart of Old Lyme, Conn.  The beautifully landscaped grounds slope down toward the Lieutenant River offering a unique plein air experience for the exhibition, which combines both large- and small-scale contemporary sculptures. Many of the works, which are in a variety of media, are for sale.

The sculptors, whose 25 pieces of work are included in the Showcase, are:
Mark Attebery, Diane Barcelo, Ashby Carlisle, Bryan Gorneau, Gints Grinbergs, Lannie Hart, Jay Hoagland, Deborah Hornbake, Conrad Levenson, Elaine Lorenz, David Madasci, Liza Masalimova, Sui Park, Chris Plaisted,
Bill Vollers, Martha Walker and Melanie Zibit.

The signature piece of the exhibition is “Mega-Dandelion” by Gints Grinbergs.  It is a large — 144” in height, 56” in diameter — yet delicate structure that evokes the intricate design of lace in its welded and stainless steel structure.  Grinbergs explains in his artist’s statement that he looks to nature for inspiration with “interests [that] range from the macroscopic to the microscopic – from flowers and their structure to bacteria and viruses – from the giants of outer space to sub atomic particles.”  He continues, “I build sculptures derived from the universal forms of nature.
All of the sculptures in this series are built from recycled materials … I attempt to transform, up-cycle, these manmade materials into the infinitely more complex forms designed by nature.”

Grinbergs’ work has been featured at various museums and galleries and is included in private and corporate collections throughout North America.

'Water Courses' by Elaine Lorenz is another featured piece in the Showcase.

‘Water Courses’ by Elaine Lorenz is another featured piece in the Showcase.

Created out of cement, fiberglass and paint, Elaine Lorenz’s intriguing “Water Course” comprises three pieces. She states that she has made “sculpture in such diverse materials as wood, metal, concrete, encaustic over a wire armature and ceramic, while maintaining an overall view of nature as a dominant source of energy and influence on her work.”  Lorenz explains her approach in creating art as, “abstract, only alluding to things, relationships or emotions and leaving room for the viewer’s interpretation.”

Lorenz has exhibited her work in numerous group exhibitions and sculpture sites throughout the US and her sculptures are in private, public and corporate collections in numerous states including Alabama, California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. She has been the Vice President of Exhibitions for the Sculptors Guild since 2011.

Jay Hoagland charming ‘Mephisto’s Waltz’ features a viola made out of steel and copper with a kinetic element.  When the integral weathervane at the head of the instrument catches the wind, the bow travels across the strings playing an eerie melody. Hoagland explains the motivation behind his sculpture thus, “I work because the sheer joy of seeing thought turned into material is rejuvenating but my approach is more and more obviously the result of where and who I’ve been.”

'Mephisto's Waltz'is an intriguing piece of kinetic sculpture.

‘Mephisto’s Waltz’is an intriguing piece of kinetic sculpture.

He continues, “I’m inspired by natural science with an injection of humor and contradiction. Inspiration also comes from the minutae of life, the shape of a stone, the footprints of giants like da Vinci, Calder, Giacometti, Gabo, Hepworth, Moore, and Noguchi. Hoagland concludes, “I see my work as a catalyst to understand, and a lens to clarify, my place in the world.”

The jurors for the exhibition were acclaimed sculptors Gilbert V. Boro and Lisa Simonds, and painter Julia Pavone.

Boro has enjoyed an extraordinary and distinguished more than 50-year-career as a successful architect, sought-after international design consultant and an inspiring educator.  With a BFA from Duke University and post-graduate degrees from Columbia University, NYC, his work explores the interplay of space, place and scale in a wide range of media including steel, stone, wood, metal, aluminum and fiberglass.

Sculptor Gilbert V. Boro in his studio.

Sculptor Gilbert V. Boro in his studio.

Working in sculpture has been a compulsion rather than a possibility for Gil.  While mastering the rigors of technical competence, he developed a deep-seated passion for three-dimensional art, which continues to be the influential force behind his creations. He is both inspired and motivated by the creative freedom of sculpting, finding that abstract work is the means to fulfill his vision.  Boro’s sculptures can be found in art centers and public art venues across the US and throughout Europe; they have also been purchased by private collectors, corporations and foundations in both the US and internationally.

"Nest' is one of Gil Boro's most recent pieces.

“Nest’ is one of Gil Boro’s most recent pieces.

Simonds is a visual artist with a BFA in Sculpture from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Conn.  She is currently employed as the Exhibitions Coordinator at Lyme Academy and previously worked as an Independent Exhibitions Installer at Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Conn., for eight years.

Pavone is the co-founder of the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus, and has served as its Curator/Director for the past 24 years.  During her 29-year career, Pavone, who has a BFA from Long Island University in Westbury, N.Y., and an MEd from Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., has continued her own work as a painter, while variously serving as a teacher, and guest lecturer, juror and curator for numerous exhibitions.

This Summer Sculpture Showcase offers a unique opportunity for established sculptors to exhibit their work in a different location, while also effectively creating a new exhibition within the Sculpture Gardens.  Boro comments, “I’m delighted to be able to open my grounds to these exceptional sculptors whose work intrigues me.  Each one offers original creative thinking resulting in a combination of contrasting conceptual designs in a variety of media.  I think any visitor to the exhibition is going to be thoroughly engaged by what he or she sees – including children.”

Boro is somewhat unusual as a professional sculptor in that he loves to see folk of all ages directly interacting with his sculptures, noting that he has a strong aversion to exhibitions, “… where people can’t touch my work.”  Apart from attracting visitors to see the works on his grounds, Boro is thoroughly invested in the vibrant Old Lyme arts scene and hopes this exhibition will help cement the town as a summer destination for art-loving visitors from near and far, especially during the town’s Midsummer Festival which this year is on Friday, July 29, and Saturday, July 30.

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds are located at 80-1 Lyme St., less than a minute from Exit 70 on I-95, the Sculpture Grounds are open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Admission is free.  Children, field trips and group visits are all welcome.

For further information, contact 860-434-5957, visit www.sculpturegrounds.com or email studio80sculpturegrounds@gmail.com

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Legal News You Can Use: What Parents of Teens and Tweens Should Know About Social Media

CautionSocialNetworkSponsored Post: Social media has forever changed our society. Nowhere is this shift more prevalent than in the arena of parenting. The exponential growth of the internet generally, and social media specifically, has created relatively uncharted territory for parents of teens and “tweens.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 22 percent of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times per day. More than half of adolescents log on to a social media site more than once a day, creating an environment where a large part of this generation’s social and emotional development is occurring while on the internet or cell phone.

Consider this reliance on social media in conjunction with a U.S. National Institute of Mental Health study (The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction). This study indicates that an adolescent brain is constantly being “revived” and “upgraded” until their mid to late twenties. If our children do not use social media responsibly, it can be a recipe for disaster. Not only can they be victims of irresponsible social media behavior, they can also be perpetrators.

The explosion of social media applications has also created new ways for online sexual predators to find victims. Several social media sites claim to be able to verify age to ensure safety for our children, but the reality is that this verification cannot be done effectively. Predators posing as teenagers on Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and in chat rooms permeate the internet and pose dangers to our children.

Some parents may try to forbid their children from even having an account on one of these sites, but it can be difficult to keep them away from social media. Should you decide to allow your children to access social media, you should implement some guidelines to protect your child. The website Protectkids.com suggests some “Rules N Tools” for social networking sites such as:

  • Teach your child to never give personal information over the internet
  • Pay attention to the photos your child posts online
  • Regularly ask your child about their online activities and friends
  • Instruct your child never to plan a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online
  • Act like a child; search blog sites children visit to see what information is posted
  • Establish rules on how your child can use the computer and how much time they can spend online

You should also set parental controls on all computing systems, instruct your child to use privacy settings on their accounts so they will limit who is able to see their social media profiles, and stay up to date on anti-virus and anti-spyware software which gives you the ability to view online activity. For an in-depth discussion of these topics, Protectkids.com has a wealth of helpful information to make your child’s use of the computer safer.

The dangers do not stop there.  There are a variety of crimes children can commit with their use of the internet, social media and cell phones. The previously referenced AAP article states rather ominously, “What goes online stays online.”

Your child may send a threatening text in anger, send or post a photo meant to embarrass another person, send sexually suggestive words or pictures, or use social media to bully someone. All of these behaviors can violate laws and lead to criminal charges. Even if a post is deleted, other people can easily capture the image or video and cause it to proliferate across multiple sites.

The most dangerous behavior is the transmission of sexually explicit images or videos. Should your child send such an image, it could be considered the transmission of child pornography. If they receive such an image, it could be considered possession of child pornography. Not only could this behavior result in criminal charges, it could result in a civil lawsuit demanding monetary damages as well.

Our office once represented an individual who was accused of making an offensive, threatening post on a social media site. Realizing their mistake, they removed the post. However, another individual had already taken a screenshot of the post and forwarded it to law enforcement. Imagine being the parent of this child and having the SWAT team show up at your door to arrest your child because of a post they made on social media. While this is an extreme example, it is a real one.

In closing, work with your child to discuss how they should behave online and set acceptable parameters for internet use. Stay vigilant by monitoring their access and utilizing appropriate filters and anti-spyware software. Talk with them so that a mistake made during their formative years will not be one which they will have to carry with them into adulthood.

About the author: Attorney Michael A. Blanchard is a Director at Suisman Shapiro whose practice concentrates in criminal and family law. Please contact him via email at mblanchard@sswbgg.com or via phone at (860) 442-4416 with questions regarding these laws.

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Comment Period on Draft NE Regional Ocean Plan Open Through July 26

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 7.00.37 AM
AREAWIDE — The Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) has released the draft Northeast Regional Ocean Plan for public review and comment. The only public comment meeting in Connecticut was held June 8 in Old Lyme, but other meetings in northeastern states are scheduled as detailed in this link.

Several years of public engagement, scientific study and data analysis, and collaboration have led to this draft, and the RPB looks forward to hearing the feedback of everyone who is interested in the future of New England’s ocean and its resources.

The RPB is seeking feedback on this draft Plan. The public comment deadline is July 25, 2016, and you can comment on each chapter electronically at each chapter landing page, in-person at any of the upcoming public comment meetings, through the comment form below, or by submitting written comments to:

Betsy Nicholson, NE RPB Federal Co-lead
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Regional Office
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930-2276.

You may also provide comments by sending an e-mail to:
comment@neoceanplanning.org.

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Essex Economic Development Commission Hosts Public Forum This Evening

ESSEX — The Economic Development Commission of Essex invites the public to attend their next Economic Development Forum on Wednesday, June 8, at 7 p. m. in the Essex Town Hall Auditorium.

Commission members are actively engaged in finding better ways of communicating with residents and businesses and would like to hear what they can do to help maintain, build, and grow our strong business community in Essex.

All are welcome.

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Jacobik Presents Solo Exhibit at Maple & Main; Opening Reception, Aug. 5

Gray Jacobik

Gray Jacobik

CHESTER – Artist and poet Gray Jacobik is combining paintings and her literary work for the first time in a solo exhibit during August in the Stone Gallery at Maple and Main.

The wine and appetizer opening is Friday, Aug. 5, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

“Lines Spoken: In Paint, in Wax, in Words” will feature broadsides of poems paired with paintings so that these two major modes of expression can talk across lines. The formal written lines of verse, where meaning is in the foreground and the visual or graphic element recedes, will be displayed in conjunction with paintings where the visual message dominates and meaning is no less significant, just less determined.

'Dreams Begin Responsibilities,' acrylic, by Gray Jacobik.

‘Dreams Begin Responsibilities,’ acrylic, by Gray Jacobik.

Gray’s paintings in oil, acrylic and encaustic will be on display along with images of corresponding text from her published books including her latest collection of poetry, The Banquet, which is being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

The_Banquet_book_coverGray, who lives and works in Deep River, will give a reading of selected work reading from The Banquet, Thursday, Aug. 25, from 7 to 8 p.m. at Maple and Main.

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

For more information, visit Mapleandmaingallery.com or call 860-526-6065.

The Gallery is also on on Facebook and Instagram.

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All Singers Welcome at 4th ‘SummerSing’ to be Held in Old Saybrook, Aug. 1

OLD SAYBROOK — The fourth ‘SummerSing’ of the season will feature Vivaldi”s Gloria, with Drew Collins of Central Connecticut State University on Monday, Aug. 1, 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Rd., Old Saybrook. All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through of a great choral work.

The event features professional soloists. The event is co-sponsored by two shoreline choral groups, Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio.

An $8 fee covers the costs of the event. Scores will be available, bring yours if you have it and the church is air-conditioned.

For more information call (860) 388-4110 or (860) 434-9135 or visit www.cappellacantorum.org or www.conbrio.org.

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Townwide Tag Sales Today Bring Hundreds to Chester

townwide tag sale 1

CHESTER: Chester’s 26th Annual Townwide Tag Sale will be on Saturday, May 28 – the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Sales open at 8 a.m. and end by 3 p.m.(or earlier). The event is rain or shine.

You’ll find well over 50 tag sales throughout the entire town of Chester, in residences and businesses.

As you enter town, you will see friendly volunteers selling maps (a mere $1) that will give you the locations of everyone hosting a tag sale. Spend more time with the maps and less time trying to find the sales by randomly driving around– although, that is fun,  too.

The first such event of its kind in the Lower Connecticut River Valley, the Chester Townwide Tag Sale was started by a group of Chester merchants in the mid-90’s and was run by the Merchants Group for several years.  In 2003, the Chester Historical Society took over the event and ran it for the next seven years.  The event is now organized by Chester Republican Town Committee..

For more information, contact Kris Seifert at (860) 526-8440 or kris.seifert@gmail.com.

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Leif Nilsson Hosts ‘Arrowsmith String Band’ at ‘Concert in the Garden,’ July 28

The 'Arrowsmith String Band' plays the next 'Concert in the Garden,' next Thursday, July 28.

The ‘Arrowsmith String Band’ plays the next ‘Concert in the Garden,’ next Thursday, July 28. Photo by Kelly Freyer.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden’, Thursday, July 28, from 7 to 9 p.m., this time featuring the Arrowsmith String Band at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Andy on mandolin, Matt and Karen on guitar, Patricia on bass fiddle and Leif on banjo present an eclectic collection of acoustic folk and rock arrangements.

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

Sorry, no pets allowed.

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

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

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Pratt House Museum in Essex Offers Free Tours Friday Thru Sunday Until Sept. 25

The Pratt House Museum in Essex.

The Pratt House Museum in Essex.

ESSEX — The Essex Historical Society is offering free tours of the Pratt House Museum at 19 West Ave. in Essex between 1 and 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 25, 2016.

For more information, call 860-767- 0681 or visit www.essexhistory.org

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Death Announced of Veteran ’60 Minutes’ Correspondent, Chester Resident Morley Safer

Morley Safer

Morley Safer

The death was announced Thursday morning of award-winning journalist and long-time ’60 Minutes’ correspondent Morley Safer, who had a home in Chester.  The Hartford Courant reports, “Safer, 84, recently retired from the popular news show and was the subject of a special report on his lengthy career Sunday night.”

Read the full article published today on the Courant.com by ‘Wire Reports’ at this link.

 

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Lyme Land Trust Hosts ‘Tour de Lyme’ Today; Event Also Benefits ‘Bikes For Kids’

Tour de Lyme riders cycle past Grassy Hill Church

Tour de Lyme riders cycle past Grassy Hill Church

The Lyme Land Trust inaugurated Tour de Lyme in 2013 as an annual bike ride to raise funds to support its mission of preserving and protecting environmentally important land in Lyme. More than 725 riders participated last year.  It is being held this year on Sunday, May 15.  For more information about the Tour de Lyme and to register, visit this website.

The Tour de Lyme is intended for all to enjoy. It is not competitive (there are no “races” or timed finishes), but rather is designed as a way to showcase and celebrate the preservation of Lyme’s spectacular natural beauty. While some of the courses will be challenging, there are others intended for casual cyclists, and there is even a family ride.

Departure times are designed so that all riders will return to Ashlawn Farm for lunch at about the same time.

Details of the ride options are as follows:

The Challenge– 60 miles – The name says it all. Changes we have made are sure to please returning riders. A few more beautiful miles, a hill or two eliminated but still a challenge. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Challenge Ride 2016. Ride departs at 8:00am. Follow red arrows.

The Valley35 – 35 miles –The popular Valley rides are less hilly than the Classic. The Valley35 is a longer version of the original with the northern loop of 9 added miles along beautiful roads. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Valley 26&35 Rides. Ride departs at 9:00am. Follow green arrows.

The Valley26 – 26 miles – A scenic fun ride. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Valley 26&35 Rides. Ride departs at 9:30am. Follow green arrows.

The Classic – 25 miles – Shorter than The Challenge but still challenging. Ride departs at 9:30am. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Classic Ride 2016. Follow blue arrows.

The Family – 8 miles – ideal for families riding with children. For returning riders, please note we have reversed the route direction to avoid confusion at some turns. Ride departs at 10:15am. The Family Ride cue sheet here and a map of the Family Ride. Follow purple arrows.

The Church Goers Ride – 7.6 to 8.8 miles – After services, approximately 11:45am riders leave Old Lyme Congregational and Christ the King and meet up with other riders at Saint Ann’s and then ride to Ashlawn Farm. Follow purple arrows. Detailed cue sheet and map coming soon.

To register for any of the rides listed above, visit http://www.tourdelyme.org/register/

Join the fun of the Tour de Lyme!

Join the fun of the Tour de Lyme!

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust announced it is pleased to again host used bike drop offs along with Reynolds Subaru for Bikes for Kids, Old Saybrook, CT. Any sized donated bike is welcome.

Reynolds Subaru, 286 Hamburg Road (Rte. 156), Lyme, Conn., is accepting used bike donations from May 9 to May 21, 2016.

Registered riders for the Tour de Lyme can drop off used bikes for donation on May 15, 2016 on arrival at Ashlawn Farm’s parking lot prior to signing in for their cycling event.

Bikes for Kids is a charity organization that collects, refurbishes and distributes bikes primarily to kids, teenagers and some adults to CT families in need. All refurbished bikes are distributed with new cycling helmets.

Bikes for Kids since its founding in 1989 has collected, refurbished and distributed 18,000 bikes to families primarily in the inner cities of New Haven, New London, Middletown and Hartford. Bikes for Kids efforts extend beyond CT and include deliveries to Bell Harbor, New York, Haiti and 30 mountain bikes to Tanzania.

John Pritchard, President of the Lyme Land Trust the organizer of the Tour de Lyme, said “Bikes for Kids is one of our area’s outstanding outreach organizations. We’re delighted again to serve as a host site along with Reynolds Subaru for used bike donations.”

David Fowler, President of Bikes for Kids, and a former science teacher in Lyme Old Lyme’s Middle School, indicated we put people on wheels who would either be walking or not really going anywhere at all. “Last year we delivered almost 1,400 bikes and with the help of the Tour de Lyme collected 150 bikes in the last two years. We hope to deliver and collect more this year.”

The motivating factor of Bikes for Kids’ Founder was “every kid needs a bike”.

For Early Bird home pick-up contact: Dave Fowler, 860-388-2453 or davefowler05@gmail.com

Or drop offs can be made from May 9 to May 21, at Reynolds Subaru, 286 Hamburg Road ( Rte 156), Lyme, CT 06371.

For additional information on the Tour de Lyme go to www.tourdelyme.org; for Bikes for Kids, www.bikesforkidsct.org

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Lyme Land Trust Seeks to Preserve Whalebone Cove Headwaters

Lyme Land Trust Preservation Chairman Anthony Irving, kneeling, and Vice President Don Gerber next to Whalebone Creek in the proposed Hawthorne Preserve in Hadlyme.

Lyme Land Trust Preservation Chairman Anthony Irving, kneeling, and Vice President Don Gerber next to Whalebone Creek in the proposed Hawthorne Preserve in Hadlyme.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust has announced a fund raising drive to protect 82 acres of ecologically strategic upland forest and swamp wildlife habitat in Hadlyme on the headwaters of Whalebone Cove, one of the freshwater tidal wetlands that comprises the internationally celebrated Connecticut River estuary complex.

The new proposed preserve is part of a forested landscape just south of Hadlyme Four Corners and Ferry Road (Rt. 148), and forms a large part of the watershed for Whalebone Creek, a key tributary feeding Whalebone Cove, most of which is a national wildlife refuge under the management of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Land Trust said it hopes to name the new nature refuge in honor of William Hawthorne of Hadlyme, whose family has owned the property for several generations and who has agreed to sell the property to the Land Trust at a discount from its market value if the rest of the money necessary for the purchase can be raised by the Land Trust.

“This new wildlife preserve will represent a triple play for habitat conservation,” said Anthony Irving, chairman of the Land Trust’s Preservation Committee.

“First, it helps to protect the watershed feeding the fragile Whalebone Cove eco-system, which is listed as one of North America’s important freshwater tidal marshes in international treaties that cite the Connecticut River estuary as a wetland complex of global importance. Whalebone Creek, one of the primary streams feeding Whalebone Cove, originates from vernal pools and upland swamps just south of the Hawthorne tract on the Land Trust’s Ravine Trail Preserve and adjacent conservation easements and flows through the proposed preserve. Virtually all of the Hawthorne property comprises much of the watershed for Whalebone Creek.

“Second, the 82 acres we are hoping to acquire with this fund raising effort represents a large block of wetlands and forested wildlife habitat between Brush Hill and Joshuatown roads, which in itself is home to a kaleidoscope of animals from amphibians and reptiles that thrive in several vernal pools and swamp land, to turkey, coyote, bobcat and fisher. It also serves as seasonal nesting and migratory stops for several species of deep woods birds, which are losing habitat all over Connecticut due to forest fragmentation.

“Third, this particular preserve will also conserve a key link in the wildlife corridors that connects more than 1,000 acres of protected woodland and swamp habitat in the Hadlyme area.” Irving explained that the preserve is at the center of a landscape-scale wildlife habitat greenway that includes Selden Island State Park, property of the US Fish & Wild Life’s Silvio O Conte Wildlife Refuge, The Nature Conservancy’s Selden Preserve, and several other properties protected by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust.

Map showing the location of the proposed Hawthorne Preserve.

“Because of its central location as a hub between these protected habitat refuges,” said Irving, “this preserve will protect forever the uninterrupted access that wildlife throughout the Hadlyme landscape now has for migration and breeding between otherwise isolated communities and families of many terrestrial species that are important to the continued robust bio-diversity of southeastern Connecticut and the Connecticut River estuary.”

Irving noted that the Hawthorne property is the largest parcel targeted for conservation in the Whalebone Cove watershed by the recently developed US Fish & Wildlife Service Silvio O Conte Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

Irving said the Land Trust hopes to create a network of hiking trails on the property with access from both Brush Hill Road on the east and Joshuatown Road on the west and connection to the Land Trust’s Ravine Trail to the south and the network of trails on the Nature Conservancy’s Selden Preserve.

Irving said there is strong support for the Land Trust’s proposal to preserve the property both within the Hadlyme and Lyme communities and among regional and state conservation groups. He said letters of support have come from the Hadlyme Garden Club, the Hadlyme Public Hall Association, the Lyme Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Agency, the Lyme Planning and Zoning Commission, the Lyme Open Space Committee, the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, the Lyme Garden Club, the Lyme Public Hall, The Nature Conservancy, The Silvio O Conte Refuge, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and the Friends of Whalebone Cove, Inc.

He reported that between Hawthorne’s gift and several other pledges the Land Trust has already received commitments of 25 percent of the cost of the property.

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Free Day For All at FloGris, May 7

Families are invited to create hands-on crafts during Community Free Day on May 7, at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Families are invited to create hands-on crafts during Community Free Day on May 7, at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum presents its annual Community Free Day on Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Old Lyme. The event offers free admission to the Museum’s 11-acre campus, and includes family activities as well as two performances by Master Storyteller Tom Lee.

Storyteller Tom Lee

Storyteller Tom Lee

“Our Community Free Day is a great way for all ages to spend the day at the Museum,” stated David D.J. Rau, Director of Education and Outreach. “The fun and educational activities planned for this year are a wonderful introduction for the many first-time visitors we get on this annual day.”

Museum-goers visiting the original Florence Griswold House are treated to guides sharing stories of the Lyme Art Colony artists who stayed with Florence Griswold in the boardinghouse over 100 years ago. The house, decorated as it was in 1910, includes the original paintings that artists created on the door and wall panels of the house.

On view in the Museum’s Krieble Gallery is Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum. The exhibition details the growth of the Museum’s art collection over the past forty years, including a range of American art from the Tonalist style of the late 1800s to today’s modern Abstraction.

Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum, will be on view on Community Free Day, May 7 at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum, will be on view on Community Free Day, May 7 at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Community Free Day attendees can also visit the Chadwick Art Studio, presented as it would have looked in 1920, the Rafal Landscape Center, as well as the Museum’s gardens and grounds along the Lieutenant River.

Family-Fun on Community Free Day

Community Free Day highlights family enjoyment of the Florence Griswold Museum. In addition to performances by Tom Lee, the Museum offers a special family craft activity in the Hartman Education Center from 11am to 4pm.

On May 7, Community Free Day visitors will hear about life in an artists' boardinghouse at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

On May 7, Community Free Day visitors will hear about life in an artists’ boardinghouse at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

While at the Museum, families are encouraged to follow scavenger hunt cards in the Florence Griswold House, and uncover art details in the Krieble art gallery with “Can You Find Me” game cards.

A historic center for American art, the Florence Griswold Museum is considered the Home of American Impressionism. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95.

For additional information contact the Museum at 860-434-5542 or www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org.

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Musical Masterworks Celebrates Conclusion of its 25th Season This Afternoon

Violinist Chee-Yun

Violinist Chee-Yun

Musical Masterworks’ 25th Anniversary Season will end with a burst of excitement as eight extraordinary musicians perform works of Richard Strauss, Bartók, Mendelssohn and contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima. The last concert of this season, which will feature veteran violinist Chee-Yun, will be held Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m.

The anniversary season will be celebrated with a free 25th Anniversary Party after the final concert on May 1, to which all ticket buyers will be invited.

The finale of each concert will be one of the best-loved works in the chamber music repertoire: the Mendelssohn Octet.It promises to be a wonderful conclusion to the group’s first quarter century.

Artistic Director, Edward Arron commented, “I feel privileged to be the curator of this unique concert series. As the years go by, I continue to be inspired by the beauty of the Congregational Church, the art of chamber music, the artistry of my colleagues, and the warmth of our audience.”

To learn more about Musical Masterworks, visit www.musicalmasterworks.org. This summer information will be posted about the 26th season, which begins in October 2016.

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Lyme Art Association Hosts Opening Reception This Evening for Two New Shows

Del-Bouree Bach's 'The Good Life' is one of the signature paintings of the 2016 Elected Artist's Exhibition.

Del-Bouree Bach’s ‘The Good Life’ is one of the signature paintings of the 2016 Elected Artist’s Exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents the annual showcase of the best new works of art by Elected Artists Members. These artists are professionals of note and significance whose works are known, collected, and exhibited throughout the country, as well as along the Shoreline. The LAA hosts an opening reception for this show and Body Language, displaying artwork based on the human figure in all its forms, on Friday, April 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. All are welcome and admission is free — come and meet the artists, enjoy the music and celebrate fine art.

The 95th Annual Elected Artist Exhibition and Body Language are both on view through June 3, 2016.

Also on view in The Art Market is an unjuried show featuring an entirely new collection of affordable smaller works. All artwork on display is for sale.

The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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It’s Connecticut’s Presidential Primary Day — Don’t Forget to Vote!

All registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in today’s Presidential Primary election. Unaffiliated registered voters must wait until the November election to cast their ballots.

Voting locations are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. as follows:

Chester residents:

Chester Town Hall – Community Room

Deep River residents:

Deep River Town Library – Community Room.

Essex residents:

Essex Town Hall – Auditorium

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Essex Savings Bank Announces 2016 Community Investment Balloting Results

essex savings bank
ESSEX
 – Results from Essex Savings Bank’s customers recent voting in the Bank’s Community Investment Program were announced at a meeting of employees, directors and trustees at the Bank’s Plains Road Office on April 12. According to Thomas Lindner, Vice President and Community Relations Officer for Essex Savings Bank, 7,206 votes were cast this year for a total of $33,001.

The non-profits that received the top 10 number of votes were in attendance for special recognition. They are, in order: Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Forgotten Felines, High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Valley Shore Animal Welfare League, Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Bikes for Kids, Dog Days Adoption Events, Essex Fire Engine Company Number 1, Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM) and Pet Connections.  See full results here.

The customer balloting portion of Essex Savings Bank’s 2016 Community Investment Program began on Feb. 1 and concluded on Feb. 29. The program entitled the bank’s customers to select up to three charities from this year’s list of 80 qualified non-profit organizations. Fund allocations are awarded based on the results of these votes.

Gregory R. Shook, President and Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank, said, “As we celebrate our 165th year of operation, we are proud to share in our success by giving back. Our Community Investment Program is designed to provide vital financial support to those organizations that enhance the quality of life in our communities.”

Each year the bank donates up to 10 percent of its net income to non-profit organizations within the immediate market area consisting of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Since the program’s inception in 1996, the bank has donated over $4 million to well over 200 organizations. This year, the bank has allocated $110,000 to assisting non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to our community and one third of that amount is then voted upon by the bank’s customers.

Editor’s note: 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 providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.

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It’s 400 Years Since The Bard Died: ‘The New Consort’ Remembers Him Saturday in Word, Song

‘The New Consort’ will present a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme.

‘The New Consort’ will present a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme.

AREAWIDE — ‘The New Consort’ will present a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme.

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 23, St. Ann’s of Old Lyme presents a special musical program, Much Ado About Music: 400 Years of Shakespeare Set to Song.

The_New_Consort_singing_from_behind

Another view of ‘The New Consort’ in song.

In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, this musical celebration of the Bard’s enduring legacy will be performed by The New Consort, a project-based vocal ensemble directed by baritone and Old Lyme native Brian Mummert.

William Shakespeare, 4/23/1564 – 4/23/1616

William Shakespeare, 4/23/1564 – 4/23/1616

The evening’s hour-long program will include music written by English composers of Shakespeare’s time, settings of Shakespeare’s texts by a variety of more recent composers, and readings from some of his greatest plays and sonnets.

St. Ann’s is particularly excited to present the world premiere of When He Shall Die, composed specifically for The New Consort on this occasion by Lyme resident and Wesleyan emeritus faculty member Sarah Meneely-Kyder. The concert aims to celebrate the life and work of this great artist, whose characters and stories continue to wield influence across our culture to this day.

The_New_ConsortWinners of the 2015 American Prize in Chamber Music, The New Consort was founded in 2014 and has quickly made embracing stylistic contrasts one of its hallmarks: from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary and non-classical works, nothing is off limits. Members of The New Consort come together in shoreline CT for an intensive week of rehearsals leading up to each set of concerts.

The group’s singers have appeared in venues including Washington’s Kennedy Center and New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and have performed in ensembles ranging from the Choirs of Trinity Wall Street and the National Cathedral to Chanticleer, but relish the opportunity that The New Consort presents to collaborate with each other as chamber musicians.

Admission is a suggested donation of $20 for adults and $5 for children aged 12 and under. The performance will begin at 5 p.m. and doors open at 4:30 p.m. Audience members are invited to meet members of The New Consort at a reception following the concert.

Saint Ann’s is an Episcopal parish in Old Lyme, Conn., where the rector The Reverend Canon Mark Robinson and the temporary assistant rector The Reverend Patricia Hames invite and welcome all visitors to this family-friendly event. Saint Ann’s is located at 82 Shore Rd. (Rte. 156), two miles off I-95, Exit 70. Parking is adjacent to the church.

For reservations and more information, contact Kathy Rowe at 860-434-1621, via email at office@saintannsoldlyme.org, or visit Saint Ann’s online at www.saintannsoldlyme.org.

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Chester Resident Adams Signs to Play Baseball at Mitchell College in Fall

Buzz Adams signs his Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College

Buzz Adams signs his Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College

CHESTER — Buzz Adams, a senior at Plainville High School, whose family recently moved to Chester, has signed a Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College in the fall.

Congratulations, Buzz!

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Deep River Housing Authority Breaks Ground for Addition to Kirtland Commons Affordable Housing

Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony at Kirtland Commons last Friday were (from left to right) Karl Kilduff, Executive Director, CHFA (CT Housing Finance Authority), Helen Muniz, Community Development Specialist, State of Connecticut Department of Housing, Joann Hourigan, Executive Director, Deep River Housing Authority, Jim LaRosa , Chief Operating Officer, LaRosa Building Group, Chris Widmer, Architect, Mazie Dennison, Tenant Commissioner, DRHA, and Dave Oliveria, Selectman, Town of Deep River.

Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony at Kirtland Commons last Friday were (from left to right) Karl Kilduff, Executive Director, CHFA (CT Housing Finance Authority), Helen Muniz, Community Development Specialist, State of Connecticut Department of Housing, Joann Hourigan, Executive Director, Deep River Housing Authority, Jim LaRosa , Chief Operating Officer, LaRosa Building Group, Chris Widmer, Architect, Mazie Dennison, Tenant Commissioner, DRHA, and Dave Oliveria, Selectman, Town of Deep River.

Deep River Housing Authority breaks ground for an 18 unit addition to Kirtland Commons, its Elderly/Disabled affordable housing facility. The project also includes rehab to the existing 26 units.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Housing Authority (DRHA) hosted a ground-breaking ceremony Friday at its elderly/disabled income-based housing facility, Kirtland Commons, located at 60 Main St. in Deep River.  The current facility has been providing housing for the past 23 years and currently has 26 one-bedroom apartment units that are available to seniors aged 62 and over, as well as disabled individuals.

The new addition will provide an additional 18 one-bedroom units.  The project is made possible through a $3.2 million dollar grant and $1 million dollar recoverable grant from the State of Connecticut, Department of Housing (DOH.)  In addition to the new units, the existing units will be rehabbed including new doors, windows and heating conversion to natural gas. 

Joann Hourigan, Executive Director of DRHA, will oversee the project with the assistance of Dale Kroop, Consultant and the DRHA Board of Directors.  La Rosa Building Group LLC, headquartered in Meriden, is the general contractor and Chris Widmer of Guilford, Conn., is the Principal Architect.  The project is scheduled for completion in the early spring of 2017.

“Until there is a need, people generally don’t understand that the availability of affordable housing is limited.  I receive calls every week for people who can no longer afford to maintain their homes on their limited income.  They are surprised to learn that submitting an application places them on a waiting list with recent wait times of two years or longer,” said Hourigan. 

She continued, “The new units will increase our ability to provide much needed housing as well as help the DRHA spread its operating expenses over a broader base.  Without this expansion, we were not on a sustainable course.  The process to obtain funding has been long and difficult.  We have been seeking funding for about five years and the Champ V grant was awarded in 2014.  We are so excited to finally break ground.”

Helen Muniz, DOH, stated that the grants represent the State of Connecticut’s commitment to expand the availability of affordable housing.  In a press release in January of this year, Governor Malloy stated, “Housing is key to economic growth, and that’s why we’re taking steps like never before.  We’ve done more on housing in the past few years than we’ve done in the past few decades, and in 2015, we continued to make significant stridesEvery resident of Connecticut should have access to quality, safe, and affordable housing,”

While the grants provide the majority of funding for this project, there are additional projects and funding needs.  Last December, DRHA kicked off a “Buy a Brick” fundraising campaign.  Commemorative bricks are available for $50 and $100 and will be placed in an outdoor sitting area in front of the building.  Forms for buying bricks will be made available at several events throughout the year, and can also be obtained by contacting Hourigan directly at (860) 526-5119.

Kirtland Commons is owned and operated by the DRHA and reports to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA).  DRHA consists of the Executive Director; a four member volunteer board appointed by the Deep River First Selectman; and a Resident Commissioner (who resides at Kirtland Commons and acts as a resident representative).  The board is committed to providing high quality, well maintained affordable housing and promoting a welcoming, family atmosphere.

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Talking Transportation: Why There’s No Wi-Fi On Metro-North

wifi-train-600x397A few weeks ago a friend was showing me his new Chevy Volt.  Not only does the hybrid-electric car get 42 mpg, it has its own Wi-Fi hotspot.  That’s right.  The car is a Wi-Fi device, so kids in the backseat can watch YouTube.

Days later we were on a road-trip from the Maryland shore when we caught the Lewes – Cape May ferry.  Onboard the vessel they offered passengers free Wi-Fi.

Airlines have offered flyers Wi-Fi for years now. Discount bus lines like Megabus have free Wi-Fi.  Even Connecticut’s new CTfastrak commuter bus system to Hartford gives its passengers free Wi-Fi.

But there is no Wi-Fi on Metro-North.  And the railroad says none is planned, even though the new M8 railcars are ready for the needed gear.  And therein lies a story.

Offering Wi-Fi on a moving vehicle usually involves cellular technology.  That’s how the first airline Wi-Fi was offered by companies like Go-Go, though JetBlue and Southwest now rely on proprietary satellite systems, which are much faster (up to 30 mb per second.)

When Amtrak first offered Wi-Fi on its Acela trains between Washington and Boston, they immediately had bandwidth issues.  So many passengers were using their cell phones and tablets, speeds dropped to 0.6 mb per second and the complaints came pouring in.

That’s part of the reason that Metro-North is reluctant to offer Wi-Fi:  if an Acela train carrying 300 passengers can’t handle the online load, how could a 10-car train carrying a thousand commuters?  The railroad has enough complaints as it is.

Metro-North’s experience with on-board communications has left them feeling burned.  Remember years ago when the railroad installed pay-phones on the trains?  Great idea, until a year later when costs came down and everyone had their own cell phone.  Those pay cell phone booths went unused and were eventually removed.

Back in 2006 then-President of MNRR Peter Cannito said Wi-Fi would be built into the new M8 cars, both for passengers and to allow the railcars to “talk” to HQ by beaming diagnostic reports.  The railroad issued an RFP for ideas and got a number of responses, including from Cablevision, with whom they negotiated for many months.  They even initiated on-train testing of Wi-Fi gear on one railcar.

But Metro-North insisted any Wi-Fi would have to cost it nothing, that all the expense and tech risk would be borne by Cablevision or its customers.  And that’s where the negotiations deadlocked.

Today the railroad sees Wi-Fi as just a convenience.  Smart phones and cell-card configured laptops can access the internet just fine, they say, using cellular technology.  But to their credit the railroad is trying to get cell providers to fill in the coverage gaps, for example, in the tunnels and at GCT.

So don’t look for Wi-Fi anytime soon on America’s biggest and busiest commuter railroad.  It’s not seen as a necessity … except perhaps by its passengers who really have no other transportation option.

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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Essex to Host Energy Fair & Free LED Light Bulb Swap for Residents, Saturday

ESSEX – On Saturday, April 9,  the Town of Essex and the Essex Citizens for Clean Energy (ECCE) will host an energy fair and free LED light bulb swap for residents. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall.

Essex residents, with identification, may bring up to five incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) light bulbs in any condition and exchange them for new, energy-efficient LED bulbs free of charge.  (Offer is for up to 5 LED light bulbs per household while supplies last.)  Other styles of LEDs and lighting products will be available for purchase at a discounted rate.

A single LED bulb has a life expectancy of 23 years, uses up to 80 percent less energy, and can save homeowners as much as $10 per year versus a traditional incandescent bulb, which has about a 1.5 to 2.5 year lifespan.

Energy experts from Eversource will be on-hand at the light bulb swap to answer questions and provide people with additional information on how they can save money and energy at home, including the popular in-home service, Home Energy SolutionsSM (HES).   There will be an activity for children and alternative fuel cars from local dealers will be on display.

In addition, a variety of energy related information and services will be available from vendors such as Competitive Resources, Ameri Group, Southern Connecticut Gas, and Benedetto Heating & AC.   Representatives from Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) and the Public Utility Regulation Authority (PURA) will be on hand to talk about the electric industry in Connecticut and discuss selecting suppliers to save money on residential electric bills. (Residents may bring a recent electric bill.)

The Town is using a $4,500 grant, earned through participation in Energize Connecticut’s Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program, to fund the exchange.  In October 2012, Essex signed the CEC pledge, committing to make efforts to reduce municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent, attain 20 percent of municipal electricity needs from renewable sources, and take other actions to support the deployment of clean energy by 2018.

Residents and businesses that took advantage of Energize Connecticut energy efficiency solutions helped the community earn the grant and will reap the benefits with this LED giveaway.

For more information about how residents and businesses can save energy and money, visit EnergizeCT.com or call 877.WISE.USE (877-947-3873) or for more information on the Energy Fair & LED Light Bulb Swap visit the ECCE Website at www.essexcitizensforcleanenergy.com, call 860-227-7753 or check  https://www.facebook.com/SXCleanEnergy/

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Small Vessel Permits for 2016 at Bushnell Access Have Reached Maximum Capacity

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ESSEX — Bushnell Access maximum storage capacity of 75 small vessels has been reached. Applications received from this point forward will be placed on a wait list and checks will be returned to the applicants.

Bushnell Access is still open to use for those who wish to bring their craft for the day and take it away at the end of the day.  Should it be determined that additional vessels can be accommodated at some point during the season, which runs from April 1 to Nov. 30, additional permits may be issued.

Direct any inquiries to the Harbor Management Commission email address at HarborManagementCommission@EssexCT.gov.

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Niantic Toastmasters Hold Open House, April 18

Niantic Toastmasters will hold an Open House on Monday, April 18, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Niantic Community Church, 170 Pennsylvania Ave., Niantic.

The club will be presenting a One Act play titled, “To Toast or Not Toast.”  Written by a club member and performed by club members, it shows what it’s like to be in a Toastmasters club. Afterwards there will be a facilitated discussion to answer any questions audience members may have, followed by a cast party with the players and refreshments.  This is a free event.

Toastmasters clubs give people a space to become confident communicators and learn the art of public speaking by doing it.  Twice a month, club members meet to deliver prepared or impromptu speeches, and work on aspects of public speaking such as body language or vocal variety.  Toastmasters clubs provide a safe environment for people who have something to say but might not have the confidence.  Members also learn how to give feedback to energize others to do better the next time.

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Photo Gallery by Kim Tyler of Monday Night’s Vigil for Deep River First Selectman Richard Smith

DEEP RIVER — Deep River resident and professional photographer Kim Tyler, who graciously supplied all of the photos published with Charles Stannard’s story on ValleyNewsNow.com, has also generously agreed to make many of the photos that she took at the vigil available to our readers at no charge.

We applaud her wonderful act of public service and the photos are now published below.

For more information about Kim Tyler Photography, visit ktphoto.net

 

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Linares Hosts Town Hall Meeting in Chester

State Senator (R) Art Linares

State Senator (R) Art Linares

Sen. Art Linares hosted a Town Hall Meeting yesterday evening at the Chester Town Hall Community Room.

Linares had invited the public to hear the latest update from the State Capitol and to have their questions answered.

 

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John Winthrop MS Presents “Xanadu Jr.”

Xanadu Jr. JWMSAREAWIDE — Region 4’s John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River presents “Xanadu Jr.” on Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2.  Both performances are at 7 p.m.

With over 60 students involved, “Xanadu Jr.” promises to be an energetic, family-friendly performance.  The plot follows Greek muse Kira as she helps surfer Sonny with his dream to create a roller disco in 1980 Venice Beach, Calif.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and seniors.  Tickets are available by calling the John Winthrop Middle School main office at (860) 526-9546.

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Courtney, Linares Pay Tribute to Dick Smith, Services Announced

Dick Smith: A man for all seasons, for all reasons ... and for every job in town.

Dick Smith: A man for all seasons, for all reasons … and for every job in town.

DEEP RIVER — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) issued the following statement after the passing of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith:

“Dick was the iconic small town First Selectman who did everything from running town meetings, to plowing snow, to cleaning up storm damage with public works, as well as crowd control at the Deep River Muster, and attending every community event in town. Deep River is one of Connecticut’s jewels because it had a leader like Dick, who was always there to help those in need and help the town grow smartly. Dick was a friend whose support I will always remember and treasure, and he should live on as an example of a citizen-public servant to all who hold elected office.”

State Senator Art Linares (D-33rd), who represents Deep River, issued the following statement on the passing of First Selectman Dick Smith:

“Dick Smith epitomized Deep River. He was a friend to all and his advice was valued by Democrats and Republicans throughout the Connecticut River Valley. Dick was a role model public official who dedicated himself to serving his town and its residents. His loss is deeply saddening and our thoughts and prayers are with Dick’s family and the people of Deep River.”

Services for Dick Smith have now been announced as follows:

There will be a Candlelight Vigil on Monday, March 28, at Deep River Town Hall at dark (about 7:30 p.m.)

Calling hours will also be at the Town Hall on Tuesday, March 29, from5 to 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 30, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Chester at 11 a.m.

Deep River Town Hall Closings

Deep River Town Hall will close at noon on Tuesday and remain closed on Wednesday.  Normal business hours will resume on Thursday.

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Town of Deep River Announces Death of First Selectman Dick Smith

A file photo of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

A file photo of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

DEEP RIVER — The Town of Deep River has announced the passing yesterday afternoon (Friday, March 25) of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith. An announcement on the town’s website states, “The Town of Deep River has suffered a terrible loss in the passing of Dick Smith. The town has lost a leader of over 26 years, the community has lost a friend, and we are saddened beyond words, but its immediate thoughts are with Dick’s family, who has lost a father and a grandfather.” The statement adds, “Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

Details of services have not yet been announced.

Our reporter Charles Stannard wrote in an article published July 28, 2015, on ValleyNewsNow.com that Smith, then 64, was, “one of the longest serving municipal elected officials in Connecticut.”  The article also noted that Smith said he, “never considered stepping aside this year,” adding, “I love what I do, it’s like my extended family.” Smith told Stannard during the interview that his priorities for the next two years were, “Keeping taxes down as much as we can,” along with a firehouse renovation and expansion project.

Stannard also reported, “Smith’s last challenge for the top job came in 2007 from the now defunct Deep River Independent Party. He was uncontested for re-election in 2009, 2011, and 2013. Town Republicans have not nominated a candidate for first selectman since 2005.”

We extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Smith’s family.

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