November 28, 2014

LVVS Has an Affordable Gift Idea

In the spirit of affordable giving, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. is having a “Fill a Bag for a Buck” December book promotion on specially selected books. The LVVS bookstore has a large variety of hardcover, paperback, and children’s books that include selections by well-known authors and topics such as gardening, crafts, and religion. Buy a bag full and fill a basket or stocking for a special reader or favorite teacher in your life.

LVVS is located on the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive.

Book sale hours are Monday-Thursday, 9-2:00 and the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 10:00AM-Noon.

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

Concert in the Garden Holiday Party – Dec. 11

the_bianco_martinies_

Please join us for a special Concert in the Garden Holiday Party on Thursday, December 11, 2014 from 6pm-8pm at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery at 1 Spring Street in Chester to benefit The Cove in Guilford, a family site of The Cove Center for Grieving Children. The mission of The Cove is to provide hope and healing for children and teens grieving the death of a loved one. Visit www.covect.org for more information on Cove services.

This indoor show features The Bianco Martinis, a NYC based gypsy jazz band. Tickets are available at the door for $20, which includes the concert, light appetizers and wine. Proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to The Cove.
For more information call 860-526-2077 or log onto nilssonstudio.com.

Deep River Congregational Church, Christmas Faire – Dec. 5-7

Christmas Faire Mary Sara7321

The month of December is an especially busy time for the Deep River Congregational Church and offers many opportunities for members of the community to join us as we celebrate the Christmas season.

Begin the month by attending our 48th Annual “Ye Olde English Christmas Faire” Week-end.   To order tickets for the Dessert by Candlelight or Festival of Music Concert, call (526-5045) or stop in at the church office, which is open Monday – Friday, 9:00 – 2:00.  At the time of publication, Dessert by Candlelight and our Music Concert times may be subject to change.  Please call the church office to confirm times.
Friday, December 5th  ~  Dessert by Candlelight ~ Two Seatings:  6:00  & 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy our gourmet desserts & Coffee/Tea ~ $5.00
Saturday, December 6th ~Ye Olde English Christmas Faire, 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Stroll among decorated booths with unique gifts and baskets filled with surprises;  home baked   pies, cakes and sweets; knitted and crocheted items; toys & games for the children; and of course photos with Santa.  Stop by the Country Kitchen and take home seafood bisque, chili or a fresh-made loaf of bread.  Be sure to visit Reindeer Restaurant for a light lunch or snack.

Sunday, December 7th  ~ Festival of Christmas Music, 3:00 p.m. featuring Pianist, Bil Groth followed by a reception hosted by Adult Fellowship.   Tickets: $5.00, Children under 6:  Free

Essex Land Trust Hike James Glen – Dec. 6

Event: Essex Land Trust Hike of the Month

Date, Time and Venue: Saturday, December 6 – 9 AM – James Glen – Park at end of Hudson Lane, off River Road

James Glen is a small, infrequently visited yet peaceful preserve off of Hudson Lane. It’s rolling terrain and easy trails mark this lightly wooded, four-acre stream valley off scenic River Road. Highlights include an expansive fern meadow, a unique “tree root” stream crossing, a prominent ledge of tumbled rock and a mature grove of mountain laurel. This land was once partially owned by the prominent shipbuilding Williams family, who also ran a gristmill, a sawmill and an ivory works on the Falls River. Used as farmland in later years, an old farm road and a stonewall still wind through the property. Essex physician Dr. Raymond James bequeathed James Glen to the Essex Land Trust.

Community Music School Annual Holiday Concert – Dec. 7

CMS Sinfonia (2)

DEEP RIVER – Join Community Music School for a lively concert that brings together students and faculty performing vocal and instrumental favorites of the season on Sunday, December 7th at 2PM at Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Road, Deep River. Performances will include the New Horizons Band, Suzuki Violin Ensemble, CMS Jazz Ensemble, Sinfonia and String Ensemble, Cello Ensemble, Solstice Singers, and Chamber Connections. Plus, Santa performs a saxophone solo and leads the sing-along medley finale! The Holiday Concert is free and open to the public.

Community Music School is located in the Centerbrook village of Essex and offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives. For additional information, call 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org .

Bigotry Examined: A Public Discussion in Chester – Dec. 13

Gary Jones, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League

Gary Jones, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League

Connecticut as a hotbed of bigotry? Many people can’t imagine that’s the case, but of course anybody who fits the category of minority may easily argue otherwise, as targets of racism or victims of Islamophobia. In the recent past cases of anti-Semitism have rattled our state in West Hartford, Wilton schools (Swastikas), and a Hartford high school student who said that Hitler was right.

To address such intolerance requires, as a start, public awareness, and to that end three prominent figures who have worked for equal rights will be the featured speakers on Saturday, December 13, at 1 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester. This free program is open to the public.

The panelists are Gary Jones, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Andy Schatz, President of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, and Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, the spiritual leader of CBSRZ and past co-chair of T’ruah (formerly Rabbis for Human Rights, North America).

Andy Schatz, who as chair of the synagogue’s Social Action committee, organized the event, says, “We’d like to invite all who have an interest in enhancing public awareness of bigotry to become a part of this, and to become part of the solution.”

The discussion is part of Shabbat day devoted to addressing bigotry, and members of the public may attend any or all of it, from the special Shabbat service beginning at 10:30 a.m., through the dairy lunch and the panel discussion.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. For more information about this or CBSRZ, please contact the office at (860)526-8920.

Poetry Reading at the Essex Library – Dec. 10

Victoria Murphy

Victoria Murphy

Noted local poets Jane D’Arista and Victoria Murphy will be reading from their work at the Essex Library on Wednesday, December 10 beginning at 7 PM.  Ms. D’Arista, author of the book The Overgrown Copse and Other Poems, has served as an economist for the U.S. Congress and writes and lectures on domestic and international finance in addition to composing poetry.  She lives and gardens in Hadlyme.

Victoria Murphy is the author of a book of verse entitled In Defense of Worms.  Born and raised in New York City, she now lives in Essex and spends her summers in Maine.  She holds a PhD in English Literature, and taught for many years at both the high school and college level.  For the past few years she has moderated a very popular poetry readers group at the Essex Library.

Please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information.  Registration is encouraged but not required.

Letter from Paris: New European Union Commission Leadership Faces Rocky Road

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

On Nov. 1, following the mandate of Manual Barroso (2009-2014) from Portugal, the 12th Commission of the European Union (EU) moved into its headquarters at the Berlaymont  in Brussels.

The selection process of the Commission – the key institution of the EU and a formidable machine employing 25,000 persons – has greatly changed since its beginnings in 1951.  The mandate was shortened from nine years to five ;  whereas the president of the Commission used to be designated by the Council of Ministers (equivalent to the present European Council), he (or she) )  is now elected by the Parliament.  A major turn in the composition of the Commission took place in 2004 with the addition of 10 new members from Central and Eastern Europe.  The present rule assigning one commissioner per country creates an odd situation: Malta, with a population of 400,000, has the same representation as Germany with a population of 82 millions.

Jean-Claude Juncker from Luxemburg, a member of the European People’s Party, was elected by the Parliament with 422 votes out of 751 as the new president of the Commission.  Angela Merkel strongly supported him.  Linguistically and culturally he stands half way between France and Germany – a real asset for the most important official of the EU.

Upon his return from the G20 summit meeting in Brisbane, Australia, in mid November, Juncker had to face the “Luxleaks” crisis exposed by the press.  Forty international newspapers, including Le Monde, the Guardian and the Suddentsche Zeitung, investigated the tax breaks granted by Luxemburg to 340 multinationals, like Google, Apple or Amazon.  Yuncker’s critics said that, while he was serving as prime minister and minister of finances, Luxemburg became the leading tax haven of Europe.  To put an end to these practices, the “rulings” – holding companies and other devices used for tax “optimization” – were suspended.  As the new president of the Commission, Yuncker reaffirmed his commitment to fight tax evasion.

The post of commissioner of economy and budget was given to Pierre Moscovici, the former French minister of economy. The choice seems ironic since France almost flunked the rule imposed by the Pact of Stability and Growth requiring a deficit of 3 percent of the GDP (France’s deficit has reached 4.4 percent)

The new High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs is Federica Mogherini , 41,  a diplomat with an impressive record.  Her intention to improve relations with Russia was not appreciated by some of the Eastern European countries.

Tibor Navracsics, a former minister with the ultra conservative Hungarian government was to become commissioner of culture, but his nomination was voted down by the Parliament.

It is a tumultuous time for the new team of the EU.  In the guidelines he presented to the plenary session of the Parliament in July 2014, Jean-Claude Yuncker set his priorities as follows: a plan of public and private investment of 300 billion over three years to stimulate the economy, harmonizing budgetary policies of the member states and coping with the explosive surge of refugees.

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

Essex Garden Club Decorates Essex for the Holidays

EGC XMAS 2014 cropped

In preparation for the holidays, the Essex Garden Club members have decorated merchant window boxes and tubs of the villages of Essex as well as the town park gazebo on Main Street.  Using a variety of evergreen cuttings from members and other generous donors from the community, designers helped the town put on a festive face for the upcoming “Trees in the Rigging” on Sunday November 30 as well as the Holiday Stroll on December 6.  The “Silent Policeman” this year was transformed into a tribute to the late Oscar de la Renta, famed haute courtier known for his ruffles and flowing trains.  This year’s creation features an elegant skirt, bodice complete with corsage, topped by a lighted headdress, and was created by Dee Dee Charnok, Gay Thorn, and Sandy Meister, pictured here.

Special thanks go to Goody LeLash and Bette Taylor for organizing the decorating done by the members, and to David Caroline for seeing that the lights were turned on.

The Essex Garden Club extends its best wishes to all the residents of Essex, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton for a healthy, happy holiday.

Letter: A Nature Preserve Preserves All Living Creatures

To The Editor:

The Viney Hill Brook Nature Preserve is just that, a nature preserve. A nature preserve preserves all living creatures, especially those creatures that are indigenous to the area and benefit the ecosystem.

Beavers benefit our area in many ways. Look it up, it’s so easy with the world of Google. See for yourself.

Please, put Dec. 4, 7:30 on your calendar as a priority event to attend the Essex Conservation Commission’s meeting and let your voice be heard. It counts!

The Beaver family has received a stay of execution until Dec. 5. We can change this inhuman, backward thinking and irresponsible act of murder.  The Essex Conservation Commission has apparently not read their charge which is preserve not to kill.

Sincerely,

David Dorrance
Essex

Letter: Find Non-Kill Alternative for Beaver Issue

To the Editor:

The Conservation Commission of Essex currently plans to trap and drown a family of beavers at Viney Hill Brook Park.  There is considerable science that beavers are a vital part of our ecosystem and beneficial to our environment.  Where there are issues, there are also solutions that do not involve killing the animals, have proven successful at least 90% of the time, and cost less than the current plan to trap and drown.

The commissioners will assert that there is no direct cost to the town, but that is only because they have engaged a trapper who derives his bounty from the sale of the animals’ pelts.

If you agree that non-kill alternatives should be considered, please attend the Conservation Commission’s meeting at Town Hall on Thursday, December 4 to make your voice heard.

Sincerely,

Candace W. Konrad
Essex

Essex Republican Town Committee Supports Capital Project Bonding

elephant_party_republicanESSEX – The Essex Republican Town Committee supports the proposed bonding of $8.085 million for needed capital projects in Essex and encourages residents of Essex to vote in favor of the authorization at the referendum on December 15.

“The Essex Republican Town Committee appreciates the work of Capital Projects Building Committee members Bruce Glowac, Leigh Ann Rankin and Kelly Sterner.  We trust and respect their thorough research and reasoning and thank them for their service to the town,” said newly appointed Republican Town Committee Chair, Bruce MacMillian.  “We also feel strongly that the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance consider using some of the $2.9 million in the undesignated fund balance to reduce our bond obligation where appropriate.”

The Republican Town Committee encourages all Essex residents to exercise their rights and participate in town government by voting in the referendum on Monday, December 15 from 6am-8pm at Town Hall.

Fifth Annual Ivoryton Illuminations – Dec. 6

Tree4IVORYTON—  Looking for a different way to celebrate Christmas? Then head over to Ivoryton for the Fifth Annual Ivoryton Illuminations on December 6 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Ivoryton Alliance is pleased to announce that the TREE is back! The massive evergreen in the park is better than ever after recuperating for a year and will be fully lighted.

The entire village of Ivoryton will be participating in this Holiday Extravaganza with carol singing, Santa’s Grotto, Holiday Craft Bazaar, culminating with the lighting of the Ivoryton Illuminations at 6pm (over 250,000 lights!) and the arrival of Santa.

Family activities include writing letters to Santa, cards to our soldiers and Toys for Tots at the Ivoryton Library; Santa’s Grotto and visiting with Santa in the Playhouse (bring your camera if you want a picture!); Santa’s Christmas Workshop and Holiday Bazaar run by local church groups; Christmas books display at Essex Books: and music by The Sweet Adeline’s, VRHS Madrigals, and the CT Barbershop Quartet, all of whom will be playing at various locations throughout the village. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire plus more, provided by the Essex Lions Club, and special menus at The Ivoryton Tavern, The Blue Hound Cookery and The Copper Beech Inn.

Free parking will be available at the First Congregational Church, The Copper Beach Inn and The Essex Elementary School with shuttle bus service to the village. The Illuminations will remain through January 6th and visitors can tune their radios to 101.5FM and watch as the lights dance to the music!

This event is supported entirely by volunteers and corporate sponsors including Essex Lions, First Niagara, Essex Savings Bank, Citizens Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Essex Meadows, Valley Courier, Riggio’s General Contractors and Essex Rotary Club.

Families in the tri-town area can join in the fun by entering our Outdoor Lights Competition. Simply elegant white or wild, crazy and colorful – celebrate in your own style! There are many great prizes donated by hometown businesses. Registration is free – you can register in person at The Hammered Edge Studio & Gallery LLC at 108 Main street in Ivoryton. You can also register by calling Chris Shane at 860-767-1147 or by email at yobbo1@hotmail.com. Just provide your first and last name, phone number and home address to register.

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

For more information, visit us online at www.ivorytonalliance.org

Letter: Beaver Policy is Short-Sighted

To the Editor:

I am writing as a concerned citizen of Essex and a daily walker in Viney Hill Preserve.  I felt 2 1/2 years ago and continue to feel that the “Beaver Control” policy of this “Preserve” is short-sighted and antithetical to the stated mission statement of the Preserve.

I say short sighted because 2 1/2 years ago, after the last Beaver Kill, a group of residents presented the Commission with a report and an alternative avenue for “Preservation” at No Cost To The Town.  Apparently, this was never investigated or pursed.  Rather than address what is obviously going to be a continuing saga, the Commission is again pursuing a kill policy.

I feel as a “Conservation Commission” they should, at the very least have investigated alternatives.  It is my hope that it is not too late to change this destructive course of action.

Sincerely,

Carol Richmond
Essex

Letter: Beaver Keystone Species in Ecosystem

To the Editor:

As a resident of Essex, it has come to my attention that a family of beavers in residence at Viney Brook Park is being threatened with “Lethal Entrapment”. This is death by drowning as sanctioned by the Essex Conservation Commission. This family of beavers lives within the confines of Essex Conservation Land.

It should be recognized that all species are important in an ecosystem, but keystone species like the beaver are especially vital in creating a habitat for wildlife. Conservation Commissioners are entrusted to be stewards of the environment. Their mission should be to preserve and protect the flora and fauna within our preserves and this includes the beaver!

Sincerely,
Joanne Deschler
Essex, CT

Letter: Conservation Commission Sanctions Barbaric and Inhumane Tactics

To the Editor:

The conservation commissioners of the Town of Essex have sanctioned barbaric and inhumane tactics — lethal entrapment and drowning — to eradicate a family of beavers at Viney Brook Hill Park, a local conservation property entrusted to the commissioners for safekeeping. Acting without clear and irrefutable scientific evidence of material environmental damage, the commissioners decided on November 6 to engage a trapper to exterminate the beavers as still sanctioned by the Connecticut General Statutes.

The Humane Society of the United States, like other responsible mainstream animal and environmental conservation advocacy organizations, decries trapping and drowning as inhumane under any circumstance.

A group of concerned citizens has asked for a stay of execution on the beavers’ behalf, and has secured a conceptual proposal from a globally-recognized wildlife biologist who has successfully mitigated beaver damage in scores of cases throughout New England alone. For a sum of under $2,000, this expert will conduct a site assessment and develop a tailored animal-friendly beaver mitigation strategy including the use of baffles and other noninvasive mechanical equipment. The concerned citizens are willing to bear the expense themselves, to spare the Town of Essex any cost.

If your readers, like our family, value responsible animal-friendly environmental conservation, I encourage them to attend the Town of Essex Conservation Commission’s meeting on December 4 and to ask that the Commission:

(1) Rescind its November 6, 2014 decision to lethally exterminate beavers

(2) Present incontrovertible expert scientific evidence of material environmental impairment at Viney Brook Hill Park; and

(3) If environmental damage is confirmed, explore and adopt a non-lethal, humane conservation strategy that protects both the wetlands AND their animal inhabitants.

Without action, our local beaver family — and possibly, other unsuspecting wetlands mammals — will be in mortal danger as soon as December 5.

Sincerely,

Scott Konrad
Essex

Letter: Ask for Beaver Reprieve

To the Editor:

While the competition for “Head Scratcher of the Year” is always stiff, I may have just encountered 2014’s winner.  

The Conservation Commission of the Town of Essex, established for “the purpose of protecting native plants and wildlife” has recently voted to exterminate a family of beaver at a town nature preserve.  Beaver are enjoying a renewed appreciation all around the Northern Hemisphere as they provide free eco-services to the habitat we all share. There are well established procedures for accommodating their presence.  The results are well worth the minimal attention these procedures require.  The Conservation Commission has been presented with these alternatives more than once yet more than once they have handed down their beaver death sentence.  After the residents of Essex are done scratching their heads about this, I urge them to contact Town Hall and ask for a Beaver Reprieve!

Sincerely,

Paul Leach
Essex

Letter: Beavers – Set Example for Our Children

To the Editor:

As another former member of the conservation commission I want to add my voice to those seeking justice for the beaver family in Viney Brook park. I see no reason to trap and then kill by drowning such a useful and hard working family living as nature intended them to do. What harm to the park and the environment will be prevented to justify this senseless act? Let’s show mercy in this case and set an example for our children we can be proud of.

Sincerely,

Rick Silverberg
Essex

Special Artist Demonstrations by Maple and Main Gallery Artists

CHESTER – Special demonstrations by Maple and Main Gallery artists will be featured on the Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas at the same time the Holiday Market is open in the downtown.

Food artisans offering local cheese, bread, meat, honey, fish and more will be in the gallery and around town from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the four Sundays. The gallery artists will be painting from noon to 2 p.m. or so.

Sunday, Nov. 30: Pam Carlson of Essex will do a painting of cows and talk about how she creates her popular farm animals in acrylic.

pam_carlson_painting_cows

 

Sunday, Dec. 7: Dan Nichols, who lives in Manchester, will do a watercolor painting using some overlay in opaque paint, explaining his technique as he works.

Dan_Nichols_painting_in_Maple_and_Main

 

Sunday, Dec. 14: Westbrook artist Kimberly Petersen will do a local landscape, also in acrylic and will talk about her method.

Sunday, Dec. 21: Jan Blencowe of Clinton will lead a sketching session centering on the display of chocolates the gallery will arrange that day for both subject matter and consumption.

Jan_Blencowe_sketching_at_Chester's_Farmer's_Market

Bring drawing supplies and join in or just be entranced by the process. Maple and Main Gallery, at 1 Maple Street, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit the website: mapleandmaingallery.com or call 860-526-6065.

60 Minutes and Frontline Stalwarts Speak in Chester – Dec. 14

Philip Scheffler

Philip Scheffler

Together and apart, Philip Scheffler and James Jacoby have provided television coverage of some of the most significant events in contemporary history. Scheffler, who was a longtime executive editor and producer for 60 Minutes, and his protégé, Jacoby, now with PBS’s Frontline, will talk of their experiences at 3 p.m., Sunday, December 14, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester in a free program open to the public.

In all, Scheffler, who lives in Essex and Manhattan, spent 52 years at CBS, and his work spanned from producing insightful reporting on the Vietnam War to big stories in government, politics, medicine, international affairs and other categories that helped make 60 Minutes one of the most successful programs in broadcasting.

Jacoby worked with Scheffler at CBS before moving to PBS, where he is a producer for Frontline. While at 60 Minutes, he worked often with Steve Kroft to create segments on bank failures, arson investigations, nuclear arms deals and other major developments.

During the first part of the forum, Scheffler and Jacoby will discuss their accomplished careers and experiences in seeing the world through the eyes of a reporter.  The audience will become participants through comments and questions for the speakers about their experiences and world events that are in today’s headlines.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information, please call the synagogue office (860-526-8920) or visit the website, www.cbsrz.org.

Lara Herscovitch at the Concert in the Garden, Chester – Dec. 14

Lara Herscovitch will be performing on Sunday, December 14, 2014 from 4 - 6 pm at the Concert in the Garden

Lara Herscovitch will be performing on Sunday, December 14, 2014 from 4 – 6 pm at the Concert in the Garden (photo Leif Nilsson)

Lara Herscovitch will be performing on Sunday, December 14, 2014 from 4 – 6 pm at the Concert in the Garden at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery, Spring Street, Chester.

“Pure musical poetry” (The Courier), Lara Herscovitch’s music is an original blend of modern folk with blues, jazz, and pop influences. With her voice “clear and smooth like expensive liquor,” she stands “above and beyond the pack” (Northeast Performer). Former Connecticut State Troubadour, Lara brings a charm, authenticity, and love of performing that immediately resonates with diverse audiences. She has appeared as a guest on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and tours from Maine to Miami. She also has extensive experience as a policy social worker, and has worked in the US, Latin America and Asia on behalf of disadvantaged individuals – focusing on education, community development, and juvenile justice. Echoes of these themes resonate throughout her music. www.LaraHerscovitch.com

$10 donation – BYOB and picnic – Inside the GalleryGATES OPEN Half Hour before the show. First come first seated.

More info (860) 526-2077 www.nilssonstudio.com

The United Church of Chester Christmas Fair – Dec. 6

The United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT will hold its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, December 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Come enjoy shopping for hand-crafted items and delicacies, decorations, greens, knitted goods and mouth-watering morsels for holiday giving.

There will also be a silent auction, tea-cup auction and Grandma’s attic to prowl through for Christmas treasurers and charitable gift-giving possibilities.  Lunch will be served between 11:00 and 1:00.  Please contact Brenda Johnson if you have any questions (860) 526-2998.

Christmas Craft Fair at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Essex – Dec. 6

Three members of the Craft Fair committee admiring "Molly" - from left to right: Mary Ellen Cozzolino, Irene Listorti and Angela Johnson

Three members of the Craft Fair committee admiring “Molly” – from left to right: Mary Ellen Cozzolino, Irene Listorti and Angela Johnson

Good Golly…..It’s Molly!

Many hands and happy hearts have gone into the planning and preparation of this year’s CHRISTMAS CRAFT FAIR at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex including:

Pizza parties, with children discovering the simple joy of making ornaments while listening to Christmas carols.

Convivial craft-making gatherings and planning meetings with new and old friends.  Visiting town merchants, and businesses to hand out posters and share local news.

A special feature of the fair is American Girl doll, Molly.   She will be included in a silent auction, with an exclusive wardrobe hand made by Essex designers.  A WWII history doll, Molly has recently been archived by the company.

Also featured is a small collection of international nativity scenes.  Each crèche is made to reveal what’s important to a culture by the artist’s interpretation of the scene.

There will be raffle baskets, a bake sale, affordable gifts, crafts lovingly made by little and big hands, refreshments …. And lots of good cheer.

Come, enjoy this quintessential New England town, its church fairs, and remember why we celebrate this beautiful season.

Christmas Craft Fair
Satuday, December 6
9:00am to 3:00pm

Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 14 Prospect St., Essex, CT 06426

For more information call 860-388-8180

Letter: Essex Conservation Commission Please Rethink Beaver Plans

To the Editor:

Below is a copy of a letter I sent to the Essex Conservation Commission on November 15, 2014:

Dear Conservation Commission,

As a former member of the commission I have tried to stay informed about your ongoing work and in as much just read the minutes from the November 6th meeting  and I find it disturbing that after several years, the commission seems again to be choosing an inappropriate measure in dealing with the beavers.

Viney Hill Brook Park was purchased by the Town as a nature preserve, and all that inhabits the preserve should be just that – preserved.  There is ample research and many appropriate alternatives to killing.  Beavers are indigenous to Connecticut and deserve the same protection any other animal living at Viney Hill Brook Park is afforded.

Further, your potential actions are in direct conflict with the rules and regulations you publish  –from the Conservation Commission brochure about Viney Hill Brook Park:

Please observe and follow the posted guidelines:

PASSIVE RECREATION

The passive recreation area of the park, managed by the Essex Conservation Commission, is open to the public for walking and hiking. It is not a playground, hunting area, bike path or campground. The area is a place where people can enjoy native plants and animals without altering or…

The State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has published a fact sheet on their  website providing details, among other things, of the benefits of beaver communities and options to help alleviate problems caused by beavers.

I urge you to rethink your plans and use a better measure to work and live with the beavers of Viney Hill Brook Park.

Respectfully,

Susan Malan
Essex, CT

 

Region 4 School Employees Union Supports Shoreline Soup Kitchen

l-r: Roberta Price; Coral Rawn; Shirley Rutan; and Kim Johns.

l-r: Roberta Price; Coral Rawn; Shirley Rutan; and Kim Johns.

With the holiday season fast approaching, the members of AFSCME Local 1303-421, representing Region 4 School Employees, donated $500 to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries.

Local 1303-421 President Coral Rawn and Secretary Kim Johns, along with union representative Roberta Price, recently presented the donation to Shirley Rutan, Coordinator for the Deep River Congregational Church meal site.

“We’re very grateful for the generosity of AFSCME Local 1303-421 members,” Rutan said. “Their contribution will go a long way.”

Rawn said union members decided to establish a Good and Welfare Committee for the purpose of making charitable donations. “It’s a good way for our union to give back and to support the communities where we live and work,” she said.

SSKP serves people in need in 11 shoreline communities, including the Region 4 town of Essex, Deep River and Chester. SSKP’s 5 meal pantries distribute groceries to over 500 families per week, giving each family 3.5 days of food per week, and their 8 meal sites serve over 200 meals to individuals per week.

“Hunger is a real issue throughout our communities,” Johns noted. “We’re pleased to be able to help a wonderful organization doing important work.”

Local 1303-421 represents more than 20 school employees, including network technicians, custodians, nurses and secretaries.

Letter: Stand up for The Beavers

To the Editor:
It is beyond comprehension that the “Conservation Commission” would even think about destroying the natural habitat of Viney Brook Park in Essex by drowning a family of beavers! And I have to say I am disgusted to hear that this is not the first time this has happened. This makes no sense and is not at all like killing a poisonous snake in a populous area.
The beavers are only in their natural habitat…a place that you would think the “Conservation Commission” would want the natural lives of plants and animals to survive. Will they just keep killing every family that moves in? No doubt there will be more that come to live there.
Hopefully somehow this action will be stopped.
Sincerely,
Terri Temple
Essex, CT

Letter: Believe in the Election Process

To the Editor:

It’s been two weeks since the election, and I’m sure most of you are done with politics, so I’ll keep this brief.  I want to first thank everyone for voting on November 4th, it is by far the most important and powerful thing that anyone can do in our lives.

This being my first time running for office, I learned so very much in what was a fairly short period of time.  There is truly quite a bit of work that goes into running for office, but it is worth every minute, every sweat, and every tear.  I met so many great people since jumping in the race in June, all of whom I now consider friends.  Listening to people’s thoughts and concerns, for me, was the best part of this race.  The 36th Assembly District has four beautiful towns, all of which I love.  Everyone that lives in Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam are truly the luckiest residents in Connecticut.

I encourage everyone to run for public office, especially younger people.  I guarantee that it is the best experience you will ever have in your life.  Please know that you can be a landscaper or former bartender and still run.  The most important qualifications that any candidate should have are their ideas, beliefs, and convictions.  This is what makes America such an awesome place to live, the opportunities are endless.

So again I thank all of you, it was the best decision I ever made to run for office and I am so happy that all of you were a part of it.  The best strength that we have is that when we work together, all of our lives become better than the day before.  Believe in the process, it works.

My very best to all of you,

Bob Siegrist
Former Candidate for the Connecticut House of Representatives
36th Assembly District

Commission a Poem to Support ‘Reach Out and Read CT’

Tish Rabe

Tish Rabe

Tish Rabe, the best-selling author of over 160 children’s books including the popular Dr. Seuss, Cat In the Hat Learning Library, is partnering with Reach Out and Read Connecticut in support of their mission – to prepare disadvantaged children for academic success.  Rabe is generously donating her time and her talents to create customized poems that celebrate the special moments in life including anything from the birth of a child to a retirement.

These poems are available for the public to purchase for $50 with 100% of the proceeds going to Reach Out and Read Connecticut.  The poems are called “Magical Milestones” and can be purchased at https://www.crowdrise.com/magicalmilestones.  The partners hope to raise $10,000 during the holiday season.

“I’m having fun creating original poems for families that they can enjoy for years to come.” said Ms. Rabe, a resident of Mystic, CT.  “I am a passionate supporter of early childhood literacy and know how important it is to get a free book into the hands of every low-income child in Connecticut.  I am happy to do whatever I can to make that happen.”

Focusing on low-income families, Reach Out and Read is a national organization that partners with medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children as well as support healthy brain and social/emotional development.  Reach Out and Read is far more than a book give-a-way program.  By leveraging the unique relationship between parents and medical providers, the program is able to positively change parental behavior and increase parent involvement in their children’s lives – a critical lever linked to the educational, emotional, physical, and social health of children.

“The Reach Out and Read model provides parents with personalized, age-appropriate advice about books and reading at every well-child visit from 6 months to 5 years, along with the gift of a new developmentally and culturally appropriate books.  Books are used by the medical provider at the beginning of the visit during developmental surveillance, and as a vehicle to offer concrete guidance to parents.  Armed with this guidance, parents make reading aloud a part of their daily routines,” said Dr. Catherine Wiley, Connecticut Medical Director for Reach Out and Read Connecticut.

She continues, “Among the many anticipatory guidance items medical providers have on their checklist, Reach Out and Read has the best evidence base.  Reach Out and Read is the only anticipatory guidance activity proven to promote child development.  When you participate in Reach Out and Read, you address a critical need with a successful model.  Children served by Reach Out and Read are read to more often, have better expressive and receptive language skills and are better prepared for success in school.”  Dr. Wiley, who practices at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, brought Reach Out and Read to Connecticut in the early 90’s and continues to champion the program.

“We are thrilled to be working with Rabe on this new endeavor and to have her as part of our Connecticut Advisory Board,” said Christine Garber, Connecticut Executive Director for Reach Out and Read.  “Her “Love You, Hug You, Read to You” book is fabulous and has been well received by our medical providers and families.  We are privileged to have such a creative and enthusiastic person supporting our mission.”

There are 70 Reach Out and Read programs throughout Connecticut predominately at community health centers, clinics and hospitals.  Their team of nearly 300 medical providers distribute close to 70,000 new children’s books each year.  Nearly 40,000 children and families receive the Reach Out and Read model in Connecticut.

“Research shows that if you partner with parents and intervene in the first five years of life, you can dramatically improve the early literacy skills of a child, putting them on the track for success in school and in life,” said Garber.  “Childhood development experts tell us that the most important thing that parents can do to prepare their children to succeed in school is to read aloud to them every day. “

The Reach Out and Read model is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the program has one of the strongest records of research support of any primary care intervention.  In a significant milestone earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement which, for the first time ever, formally recommends that pediatricians incorporate into every well-child visit both books and advice about reading, referencing Reach Out and Read as an effective intervention.  This is a significant step for both the organization and early literacy efforts.

Nationally, Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses distribute over 6.5 million books to more than 4 million children and their families annually at 5,000 pediatric practices, hospitals, clinics and health centers in all 50 states.  More than 20,000 medical providers nationwide currently participate in Reach Out and Read.

For more information, visit www.reachoutandread.org/connecticut and www.tishrabe.com.

Letter: Let the Beavers Stay

To the Editor:
Today I read a letter to the Editor pleading for the case of some recent immigrants to our village who are threatened with eviction, deportation, or maybe even decapitation. One shudders to think such treatment would ever be dealt to any who choose Essex as their home. Yet that’s what some newly arrived beavers face as the forces of normalcy and order are marshaled against them. I must say I am on the side of the writer and of the beavers. There are many well-intentioned folks who say we must preserve nature the way it is. Well, beavers are a vital and interesting part of that nature. I’m sure the Parks & Recreation Department can spare a few trees at Viney Hill. Who knows, the village may have just acquired a new “official mascot”. I say, let them stay!
Sincerely
Steve Haines,
Essex

Dorie Greenspan, Cooking Guru, Comes to Chester – Dec. 7

Dorie Greenspan

Dorie Greenspan

Her new book, “Baking Chez Moi,” is already causing a national sensation – how can it be possible to dazzle dinner party guests with French pastries that are so easy to make?

Dorie Greenspan, author of eight cookbooks, has the answers and will reveal them when she comes to Chester in a free Books & Bagels program, one of the last stops on a nationwide book tour, at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 7, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

Reviews of the book have been scrumptious. Library Journal, in a starred review, calls it “an instant classic.” And three weeks after release this fall it was ranked number 1 in cookbook sales nationally.

Among the enticing and simple desserts in Dorie’s repertoire: chocolate loaf cake speckled with cubes of dark chocolate that have been melted, salted, and frozen; boozy, slow-roasted pineapple (a five-ingredient cinch); silky caramel tarts, and crackle-topped cream puffs.

The recipes are culled from French home cooks and chefs and include her own original creations based on traditional and regional specialties. Her friendly reassuring instructions in all of her books have won her legions of ardent fans who appreciate how she’s made French dishes accessible to all of us stateside.

Dorie, a Westbrook resident who also has an apartment in Paris, says in her introduction, “These are the recipes the French bake at home for their families and their closest friends. They are generous, satisfying recipes tied to places, traditions, customs and culture. And they’re the opposite of the complex, fussy, time-consuming desserts most of us associate with French pastry. Some of the sweets are modern, some riffs on classics, some light, others substantial, some sophisticated, most are casual, easy-going and fun.”

This will be Dorie’s third appearance at Books & Bagels, the first two for “Baking” and “Around My French Table.”   Her book will be available for purchase at the event.

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

Chester Winter Market Events in The Gallery

The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery at One Spring Street, Chester CT is hosting a series of holiday events for families during the Chester Winter Market. Please visit us in the gallery to hear some great music from 11am to 1pm on Sundays from November 30 through December 21, 2014.

November 30 – Hillyn Natter & Rose Natter from Face Arts Music in Deep River will present Munchkin Music, a music class designed for children ages 2-5 as a way for them to experience a variety of instruments, singing, dancing and learn to play music together.

December 7 – Music with Margie – Margie Warner is a songwriter, recording artist, storyteller and music consultant for young children. She will perform many songs from her children’s CDs during this interactive musical extravaganza.

December 14 - Jessica Nevins from Music Together presents “Simple Gifts – Sounds of the Season” for young children and the grown ups that love them.

December 21 - Erica Jewel and friends, Choral and original compositions performed by local teenage musicians.

http://www.nilssonstudio.com for photos and more information.

Community Sing-a-Long for the Holidays, Essex Library – Dec 4

The Essex Library will be hosting a Community Sing-a-Long for the Holidays, on Thursday, December, at 7-8 p.m., lead by singer, entertainer, guitarist, Jack Bussmann.

When Bussmann, of Cheshire, first  saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, he asked his mom for a guitar and he has been singing , playing his guitar, and entertaining crowds throughout New England, ever since.   Bussmann has also starred in such memorable stage productions as Sound of Music,  Guys and Dolls, Jykll and Hyde, and more.

Bussmann is on a mission with high energy and enthusiasm, “ I present a program full of surprises.  If my audience is not enjoying themselves, then I feel I am not doing my job of spreading happiness. …….you can let your hair down, take a deep breath and sing along with Jack!”

Bussmann will be playing selections for Hannukah, Christmas Around The World, Kwanza, and more.  The program is free and open to all ages.  Light refreshments will be provided.

A Star-Spangled Christmas with Con Brio – Dec. 12 and 14

Ransom Bruce

Ransom Bruce

Con Brio, the shoreline’s renowned all-auditioned chorus, will present its annual Christmas concert on December 12 and 14th, at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.  Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce with keyboardist, Assistant Director Susan Saltus, the choir is joined by the Con Brio Festival Orchestra and soloists, Adele Paxton, Karli Gilbertson, Ransom Bruce and Greg Flower.  Con Brio’s Christmas Concerts have become an eagerly awaited, joyous holiday event.

This year is the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  Con Brio will sing a very special arrangement written by Connecticut native Dudley Buck (1839-1909), one of the most successful American composers of the post-Civil War era.  The audience will have a chance to join in singing our national anthem.

The concert continues with two very different approaches to Christmas themes.  Schubert’s rarely performed Magnificat in C Major, drawing from the classical mass tradition, uses Mary’s text expressing joy and thanksgiving.  Astonishingly, Schubert composed this piece over a period of ten days when he was only eighteen years old.  Stroope’s Cantus Natalis offers a powerful contemporary celebration of Jesus’ birth, with a fourth movement reminiscent of Orff’s Carmina Burana in its rhythmic dynamism.  Stroope’s shorter piece, “Winter,” thrilled an earlier Con Brio audience and this piece is certain to do the same.

The second half of the concert includes two of the most popular motets of the twentieth century, Franz Beibl’s Ave Maria and Distler’s Wachet Auf.  Beibl’s piece, an amalgam of early chant and contemporary choral writing, soared to popularity when it was recently recorded by Chanticleer.  Distler’s piece uses the well-known chorale tune (Sleepers, Wake) to construct a piece wholly different from the original.  Con Brio will then, as is now a tradition, spread out around the wonderful space of Christ the King to perform a ten-part motet by Giovanni Gabrieli.  The audience will be invited to sing along with a Hanukah favorite, Hanerot Halalu and some favorite Christmas carols.  The concert concludes with a rousing Christmas spiritual, Oh Jerusalem and a powerful arrangement of We Saw Three Ships.

 

Buy your tickets early from any Con Brio member, online at www.conbrio.org, or by calling 860 526 5399.  Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for students.  The December 12 concert begins at 8pm, the 14th at 3pm, at Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy Road, Old Lyme, Ct.

“Christmas on the Hill Fair” at First Congregational Church Essex – Dec. 6

Members of the committee preparing the live wreaths and greenery decor, one of the fair's most popular features, are (left to right) Mellicent Hawke of Essex, Susan Nilsen of Ivoryton, Judy Greene and Lillian Mosa, both of Essex.

Members of the committee preparing the live wreaths and greenery decor, one of the fair’s most popular features, are (left to right) Mellicent Hawke of Essex, Susan Nilsen of Ivoryton, Judy Greene and Lillian Mosa, both of Essex.

The First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC, 6 Methodist Hill in Essex Village, is holding its “Christmas On The Hill Fair” on Saturday, December 6 from 9:00 am to 2:00 p.m.  The Fair offers live decorated wreaths and greenery, jewelry, vendors, hand crafted gifts by church members, a “Second Time Around” shop, homemade Christmas cookies and holiday foods. A Silent Auction will feature many unusual items up for bid, including a collection of Grateful Dead memorabilia and a Bushnell North Star telescope. Lunch will be available in Fellowship Hall.

Prior to the fair, a “Christmas Soiree” will be held on Friday, December 5 at 6:30 pm at the church. The evening will feature food, wine, carol singing and holiday music performed by the church’s Pastor, Rev. Kenneth Peterkin, accompanied by Essex resident Marian Messek on the piano. Admission to the Christmas Soiree is $12 per person.

Proceeds from both events benefit the missions of the Church. For more information, call (860) 767-8097 or visit www.essecucc.org.

Glastonbury Firm Buys Assets of Chester Insurance Business

Smith Brothers Insurance, in Glastonbury, announced this week it has bought the assets of Archambault Insurance, Inc. and its related parties, of Chester, Connecticut. Archambault is a multi-generational insurance agency that has insured Connecticut families and businesses for over 100 years. Archambault Insurance will remain in Chester with its current staff.

“Ray and Tom Archambault have a terrific reputation for building long-term relationships with businesses and families in the Chester area, and going the extra mile to provide excellent service for their clients; which matches our way of doing business at Smith Brothers. Chester is a great community and there is a lot we can offer their clients”, stated Joe B. Smith, President & CEO of Smith Brothers.

Ray and Tom Archambault will continue to manage the Chester office and will work with Smith Brothers to expand their service offerings to their clients. “We have already began introducing the additional value that Smith Brothers can bring to our clients. We are excited to continue our tradition in Chester and look forward to working with the people at Smith Brothers” stated Ray Archambault. Tom Archambault added, “the culture at Smith Brothers fits our culture very well, and that was very important to Ray and I as well as our team”.

About Smith Brothers Insurance, LLC

Smith Brothers is one of the largest independently operated insurance and financial service organizations in New England.

For over 40 years their core values remain consistent: develop, nurture and maintain trust and respect with all stakeholders: clients, suppliers, employees, shareholders, and community. Smith Brothers’ guiding principles are to build strong relationships with   well-regarded carriers and provide clients with a level of service higher than industry standards, so clients know that they have an advocate, and their assets are protected.

Smith Brothers provides insurance, surety, risk management, employee benefits, and financial services to individuals and businesses. Smith Brothers is a member of Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, one of the most respected independent agency affiliations.

Letter: Allow the New Beaver Family to Live in Essex

To the Editor:

Beavers. They are back at Viney Brook Park in Essex.  Beavers have been found to provide a number of benefits to an area; they improve water quality, they create critical habitats for plants and animals, and their dams control flooding by slowing water flows.  They mate for life and usually defend their territories from outsiders, keeping their own population under control in accordance with the amount of available food.

The last family of beavers was drowned by order of the Conservation Commission. They were trapped in underwater cages where they held their breath for about ten minutes, unable to escape the cages that held them.  But a new family has moved in.  It’s a beautiful spot, ironically a conservation area.  The beavers like the small pond, quite a distance from the larger pond that is a swimming hole.

Other towns, all over the country, have learned to exist with beaver ponds in their midst. They have learned how to mitigate the damage that beavers might cause to trees.  They have benefited from cleaner water, more bird species, and a healthier environment.

That won’t happen in Essex.  The new family will be drowned. Their pelts will be sold. Two or three years from now, a new family will move in.  It’s a shame we can’t learn from other towns that have figured out how to coexist with these magnificent creatures.

Sincerely,

John Ackermann
Essex

 

See related letter

Fifth Annual CMS Champions Recipients Honored

Burgess.Herrle

CMS Champion Ken Burgess with faculty member and presenter Martha Herrle. Photo courtesy of Joan Levy Hepburn

More than 60 friends and supporters joined Community Music School for the 5th annual CMS Champions Awards and Donor Recognition Breakfast on Wednesday, October 29th at The Copper Beech Inn. This year’s honorees included retiring luthier Kenneth Burgess of Old Saybrook, former CMS Trustee E. Peter Bierrie of Essex, and the TJX Foundation and local TJ Maxx Stores. CMS presents the Champions Awards to those who have supported the School and its mission over the past 31 years and who strive to improve our community through the arts.

Ken Burgess is an amateur violinist who has been keeping CMS violin and viola students in tune for many years, donating his time to provide a free instrument clinic each fall. Peter Bierrie is a retired international CEO and former executive at SCORE who was enlisted in 2007 for help resolving a problem at the Music School. He ended up joining the board and served as finance chair and vice president until completing his term in 2012. The TJX Foundation has provided grant funds to support the Music School’s partnership with Region 4 Public Schools. Additionally, its local store associates have lent their talents as volunteers for the annual CMS gala benefit event.

For the second year, the event was generously sponsored by Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services. “The Community Music School is a very special group of people dedicated to assisting children and adults alike in nurturing their love of music.  As a strong supporter of local organizations dedicated to improving our local communities, it is our pleasure and honor to support such a wonderful group,” stated Charles Cumello, President & CEO of Essex Financial Services.

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

Connecticut River Gateway Commission Donates $5,000 To “The Preserve” Fund

Presentation of $5,000 to “The Preserve Fund” – Connecticut River Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody presents a $5,000 contribution to The Preserve Fund to Kate Brown (center), Trust for Public Land Project Manager for “The Preserve” acquisition. On the far left is Commission Vice Chair Nancy Fischbach, and on the right are Commission Secretary Madge Fish & Treasurer Margaret (“Peggy”) Wilson.

Presentation of $5,000 to “The Preserve Fund” – Connecticut River Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody presents a $5,000 contribution to The Preserve Fund to Kate Brown (center), Trust for Public Land Project Manager for “The Preserve” acquisition. On the far left is Commission Vice Chair Nancy Fischbach, and on the right are Commission Secretary Madge Fish & Treasurer Margaret (“Peggy”) Wilson.

The Connecticut River Gateway Commission has contributed $5,000 to the Trust for Public Land Campaign to Preserve the 1,000 Acre Forest.

The donation will help ensure that the parcel known as The Preserve in Old Saybrook, Westbrook, and Essex will be permanently protected as forestland and wildlife habitat.

The Gateway Commission was established in 1973 to administer the Connecticut River Gateway Conservation Zone. Eight towns in the lower Connecticut Valley:  Chester, Deep River, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Lyme, and Old Saybrook joined together in a compact to create the Conservation Zone in order to protect the scenic, historic and environmental resources of the lower Connecticut River.

Although not within the Conservation Zone, The Preserve lies within the lower Connecticut River watershed. It is the last thousand-acre coastal forest between New York and Boston and includes the headwaters of streams that flow into the Connecticut.

The Commission believes that its protection is important to the ecological health of the watershed and the river.

According to Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody “The Gateway Commission is gratified to join in this vital preservation project.”

For more information about the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, go to www.ctrivergateway.org or contact J. H. Torrance Downes at (860) 581-8554, or email him at tdownes@rivercog.org.

Letter: Disturbing Election Tactics

To the Editor:

During this past election cycle, a significant number of Democratic campaign signs disappeared in Essex. I find it disturbing and pathetic that certain persons would attempt to obstruct the political process by removing signs that were placed on private property with permission.  In view of the results of the recent elections, I hope that these persons have learned that removing signs is not an effective way to disrupt the election process.  In addition, I find it very disturbing that a significant number of the registered voters state-wide fail to exercise their right to vote.  For a democracy to work effectively, it is essential for our citizens to participate in the process by voting for their choice of candidates.

Sincerely,

Frank B. Hall
Essex, CT

Democrat Terrance Lomme Wins Second Term as Nine-Town Judge of Probate

Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme

Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme

AREAWIDE—  The contest for regional judge of probate was a replay of 2010, only closer, with Democratic Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme of Essex winning a second term over Republican challenger Anselmo Delia of Clinton. The unofficial result was Lomme-12,895, Delia-12,635.

The results from the nine towns in the district were similar to the contest between Lomme and Delia in 2010, the year local probate courts were consolidated in to a regional probate court located in Old Saybrook. Lomme carried the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme and Old Saybrook, while Delia carried the towns of Clinton, Haddam, Killingworth, and Westbrook.

Lomme won the 2010 race by 419 votes. But Tuesday’s result was closer, with a 260-vote margin, after a campaign where Delia, a Clinton lawyer, questioned Lomme’s decision to retain some private legal clients while serving in the judge position that has an annual salary of $122,000.

The town results are Chester:Lomme-985, Delie-544, Clinton: Lomme 2,069, Delia-2,755, Deep River: Lomme-1,060, Delie-761, Essex: Lomme-1,740, Delia-1,295, Haddam: Lomme-1,649, Delia-1,855, Killingworth: Lomme-1,291, Delia-1,440. Lyme: Lomme-629, Delia-508, Old Saybrook: Lomme-2,279, Delia-2,109, and Westbrook: Lomme 1,193, Delia-1,368.

Trees in the Rigging: Call for Decorated Boats

Essex’s annual TREES IN THE RIGGING holiday celebration features a parade of festively-lit and decorated boats on the waterfront at the Connecticut River Museum (photo courtesy of Anthony Reczek).

Essex’s annual TREES IN THE RIGGING holiday celebration features a parade of festively-lit and decorated boats on the waterfront at the Connecticut River Museum (photo courtesy of Anthony Reczek).

The Connecticut River Museum in partnership with the Essex Board of Trade and the Essex Historical Society invite boat owners to participate in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade. Trees in the Rigging is a community carol sing and boat parade.  This year the event will take place on Sunday, November 30 beginning at 4:30pm.  A critical and crowed-pleasing part of this free community event is the parade of boats dressed in holiday lights that sail along Essex’s waterfront.

The decorated boats are part of a friendly competition.  A modest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize will be awarded to the best dressed boats. Winners will be invited to receive their prize and participate in a photo op on Monday, December 1 at 4:30 PM.

Registration is required to participate in the boat parade that usually begins around 5:15 PM from the south end of Essex Harbor. To register, send emails to: crm@ctrivermuseum.org. Information should include: Vessel name; Type of boat and description; Owner(s) name; Contact information (phone and preferred email); Decorating scheme (if known at time of registration). Registration must be received by Monday, November 24 at 4:30 pm.

Trees in the Rigging also includes a traditional, lantern-lit carol stroll down Essex’s Main Street where spectators are invited to bring their own lanterns or flashlights and join in with the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps and a parade of antique cars. Santa and his elves will arrive by one of the parade boats for visits with children on the lawn of the Connecticut River Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm. For more information, call 860.767.8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

 

Volunteers Needed for Tax Preparation Assistance

Volunteers are needed for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to help low- to moderate-income households prepare and file their taxes to ensure they get back the money they have earned.

VITA is a national program of the IRS, and volunteers are trained and certified to ensure that working families and individuals are filing for all of the appropriate tax credits. The program also helps people avoid costly fees associated with tax preparation and rapid refund loans.

The program is looking for volunteers for two VITA sites located in downtown Middletown to provide free tax preparation assistance for eligible taxpayers. Tax preparation assistance is offered January 24–April 11, 2015 at the offices of Middlesex United Way and the North End Action Team.

No prior experience is necessary. Volunteers complete training and are certified by the IRS. Training will be held from January 5-8 or January 12-15, 2015 in the evening. Volunteers must attend consecutive evening sessions. You will be trained to let filers know if they qualify for additional tax credits, such as the federal and the state Earned Income Tax Credits and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. VITA volunteers must complete a minimum of one 4-hour shift per week during tax season in the late afternoons and evenings or on Saturdays; maintain confidentiality of all client information; and interact with the public in a helpful and supportive manner. Opportunities to become certified as an advanced tax preparer for the VITA program are also available.

In 2014, the two VITA sites in Middletown helped more than 530 Middlesex County area residents file their taxes for free and returned $767,781 back to taxpayers. Those who filed with Middletown VITA sites had an average Adjusted Gross Income of $19,676 and received an average refund of $1,706, money they have earned. This impacts not only those who filed their taxes, but also their families and the local economy.

For more information about volunteering, contact David Morgan at dmorgan@wesleyan.edu or (860) 346-1522.

VITA is a free program offered by the federal government. Local VITA sites are coordinated by the Middlesex VITA Coalition, a partnership of Middlesex United Way and the North End Action Team. The Middlesex VITA Coalition receives support from the Connecticut Association of Human Services.

Sunrise over Long Island Sound (photo by Nigel Logan)

Sunrise over Long Island Sound (photo by Nigel Logan)

http://valleynewsnow.com/2014/10/27136/

Letter: Response to Latest Mailings

To the Editor:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the 33rd District.

The political mailings, particularly the last two I have received on behalf of Democratic candidate Emily Bjornberg who is running for a senate seat in Connecticut representing our 33rd district,  have been, to say the least, the lowest, most nasty mailings that I have ever received prior to an election for a senatorial candidate who would represent me in Hartford.

Not only have these last two mailings been disgraceful and full of lies, but, having attended the last two debates among Emily Bjornberg, Art Linares and Colin Bennett, I have also been disgusted with the attack dog tactics and misinformation coming from Emily against Art Linares. Her behavior makes the definition given to a pit bull terrier pale in comparison to her progressive, socialistic demands and attitudes about what should or should not be rule of law for everyone.

Please, back off Emily. You have shown your true colors.  We have had good representation in the 33rd district with Senator Art Linares.  We need Art to return to his duties in Hartford and continue the work of trying to keep Connecticut from collapsing under the heavy weight of a democratic governor and a democratically controlled House and Senate.

Respectfully submitted

 

Melanie Phoenix
Essex

Letter: Essex Democratic Town Committee Honored to Support Miller, Bjornberg

To The Editor:

The Essex Democratic Town Committee (EDTC) is honored to support Representative Phil Miller, State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg, and the other Democrats running for office this fall.

Since being elected in 2011, Representative Miller has become a trusted leader in House of Representatives on policy matters impacting the environment and public health, as well as behavioral health.   In addition to serving as a statewide policy leader, Rep. Miller works tirelessly for the residents of Essex, Deep River, Chester and Haddam.

If elected, Emily Bjornberg, candidate for the state senate would serve as a partner with Phil in the General Assembly.  Emily’s history of caring for those in need and her commitment to protecting and preserving the CT River will bring a much needed voice to the state senate on these matters. Emily’s plan to focus the state’s attention on the needs of small business, help unemployed veterans return to work, and fight for greater state education aid to lower property taxes would yield many benefits for our economy.

Essex residents and those of the surrounding towns deserve a state representative and state senator who are able to articulate the needs of the district and then work collaboratively to effectuate the changes needed to improve our communities.

The EDTC believes a legislative team of Representative Phil Miller and Emily Bjornberg will serve the town of Essex and surrounding towns well and we urge you to vote for them on November 4.
Sincerely,
Brian Cournoyer, Chairman
Essex Democratic Town Committee

Letter: If You Want Change Get Out and Vote

To the Editor:

I’m not a Republican. But I’m voting for Bob Siegrist, the Republican candidate for State Representative.

It’s important not to raise taxes, but more important for me is being sure my tax money and the money I have to pay as a business owner is being spent properly.

I’m competing against three companies, one national, one based out of state and one Connecticut company. All three are operating in one or more ways illegally.

The out-of-state company has been caught for not registering to do business in Connecticut and failing to pay business entity taxes. To avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance, this company is also classifying people as subcontractors who should be paid as employees. But nobody at Department of Labor has bothered following up on it. This company underbid a good locally-operating business until it left the state. Connecticut lost all the tax revenue on that business and its’ employees. Since these workers were paid in the state, Connecticut also lost any money made by these people spending their paychecks here.

The Connecticut company has forced subcontractors to take pay cuts while denying them the right to renegotiate their contracts. It was bouncing paychecks for two years. No one at the state level has done anything about that either. Two subcontractors had the courage to approach someone in the Labor Department and were told there was nothing they could do about it because the two individuals were subcontractors.

By breaking the law, these companies can afford to underbid me on work in the state. The state should be sure everybody doing business here is registered and doing business legally and paying for that right. The state should be collecting all the money that it is owed.

It seems like it takes a whistleblower or a news story to alert state departments to problems like this. Otherwise, nothing seems to happen until somebody gets hurt. Why can’t the various departments within the state investigate on their own?

Our legislature should act as a proper board of directors or trustees for all the departments of the state. Bob Siegrist understands this.

Our voters are like shareholders and elect our representatives to set a proper vision for the future of Connecticut. It’s our representatives’ work to be sure our state runs efficiently and everyone working for the state is doing their job. Bob Siegrist has promised me he will work hard if he is elected.

Everybody should realize that if they are unhappy with the way our state and national governments are working, waiting for change means waiting forever. The easiest way to make change happen is to get out and vote.

Sincerely,

Mark Bruce Guthrie
Chester

Letter: Linares’s Business Experience: What Is It Exactly?

To the Editor:

The suggestion that voters should support Art Linares for state senator due to his “business experience” deserves closer examination. So does Linares’s portrayal of himself as a champion of free enterprise.

Linares’s company, “Greenskies”, installs solar panels. It is undoubtedly among the most heavily subsidized companies in Connecticut.  In 2012, the Hartford Courant reported that “the biggest impact on Greenskies’ potential for growth by far is how successful it is in capturing state subsidies.” In a lobbying paper to the Connecticut legislature, Greenskies president called such support  “critical”.

How many Connecticut companies depend for growth “by far” mainly on state subsidies? Most companies, like the successful car dealership run by the family of Emily Bjornberg  (Linares’s opponent) must compete on their own merits.  Given the extensive state aid propping up Greenskies, how relevant is Linares’s experience to most businesses ?

Tea Party politicians like Linares usually revile such support as “corporate hand outs” and a bone-headed effort by government to “pick winners and losers”. We’re not hearing that here, however.

Meanwhile – and this is a key point — Linares wants to cut many other state programs supporting equally worthy causes and opposes increasing the minimum wage. For others, Linares believes the free market should set wages and prices – just not in the sector where he does business.

Greenskies use of Chinese solar panels takes this double standard to a new level. In 2012, the U.S. Government found that factories controlled by the Chinese government were selling the panels at prices below their cost of production.  This is an unfair trade practice under U.S. law, known as “dumping”.  Our government imposed tariffs on the panels.

Greenskies liked the artificially cheap panels dumped by the Chinese because they hurt its competitors, who, unlike Greenskies, make their panels in the U.S. Greenskies president bluntly told the press “When we go to toe to toe, we enjoy an advantage. We were perfectly happy with low-cost equipment from China.”

It did not seem to bother Greenskies or Linares that, according to our own government, this “advantage” resulted from Chinese market manipulation. The matter is now before the World Trade Organization.

So I am trying to understand this. It appears that Linares’s business experience is with a company that enjoys state subsidies on a huge scale not available to virtually anyone else, which enable it to distribute panels dumped by Chinese communists at artificially low prices, damaging American companies and destroying U.S. jobs.

That’s quite a business model for a champion of free enterprise.

Sincerely,


David Harfst

Essex

Letter: Linares Ranked Low by League of Conservation Voters

To the Editor:
When my husband and I moved to Essex, one of the compelling reasons for doing so was the natural beauty of the Lower Connecticut River Valley.  We are fortunate that this area has been protected from major development.  In the upcoming election you have an opportunity to choose between two candidates for state senator who share very different views on conservation:  the incumbent Art Linares and his challenger Emily Bjornberg.

Mr. Linares received a lifetime score for his voting record by the independent group League of Conservation Voters that ranks the second lowest in the entire state senate.  Art may work at a solar energy company, but as an intern to Tea Party Senator Marco Rubio in 2010, he must have picked up some very bad ideas on the role of government in protecting the environment.  I cannot believe his voting record on these issues is representative of the people of his district.

Emily has not been ranked by the League as she is not a sitting legislator. However, she is a very committed environmentalist who has served as a member of the Lyme Land Trust for many years. She has been endorsed by State Rep. Phil Miller of Essex, a leading environmental legislator, as well as by Melissa Schlag, now the First Selectman of Haddam and a former Green Party Candidate for the State Senate.

If you appreciate the beauty of our state’s environment, please vote with me for Emily Bjornberg.
Sincerely,
Jane Piro
Essex 

Letter: Judge Terrance Lomme Asks for Your Vote

To the Editor:

I am Terrance D. Lomme, your Judge of Probate and believe I am the best candidate for this office due to my compassion and experience. These two qualities are essential to being an effective Judge. I am very concerned about all of the people who appear before me. I fully understand that there are difficult circumstances that bring people to the Court. As a Veteran, I am sensitive to the Veteran’s issues that are presented to me.

Before being elected Judge, I practiced probate law for over 30 years in the towns that now constitute the 33rd District Court. This experience, combined with being the East Haddam Probate Judge for three years was invaluable to me when, shortly after my election in 2010, I was given the task of merging nine individual courts into the new Saybrook District Probate Court. This was the largest merger of individual Courts in the State.

I am aware my decisions have a major affect on people’s lives, whether it is a decision to conserve an elderly person, to award custody of a child to a grandparent or the loss of a loved one.

As a probate lawyer for 30 years, and seven years as a Judge presiding over three thousand five hundred hearings, I have assisted thousands of families through the probate process. The Court and my clerks have received exemplary ratings from Probate Administration in each of its three reviews. Additionally, the Court budget has not increased since my election.

Further, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Probate Assembly and a member of the National College of Probate Judges, I keep current on State and National trends that may affect the Court.

For the above reasons I ask you to vote for me on November 4th.

Sincerely,

 

Terrance D. Lomme,
Essex

 

Letter: Bjornberg’s Criticism of Sen. Linares is Hypocritical

To the Editor:

As a lifelong Democrat, a former legislator and a former Selectman representing shoreline Towns, and a partner with State Senator Art Linares, Jr. at Greenskies Renewable Energy, I was shocked and quite frankly embarrassed for my party to receive the recent mailer from Emily Bjornberg on Senator Linares’ track record on the environment and the economy.  Her false and hypocritical statements regarding our business seems to be representative of her “win at all costs” mantra, and her criticism of one of Connecticut’s most dynamic and environmentally responsible startup companies clearly displays her basic lack of understanding about both the environment and the economy.

A puzzling and disturbing fact regarding Ms. Bjornberg’s criticisms regarding Senator Linares’s lack of concern for the environment centers around her family business, which has enjoyed millions of dollars of profits for generations selling automobiles, the single largest contributor to carbon monoxide pollution in the atmosphere.  Greenskies sole mission is to reduce carbon footprint throughout Eastern United States through the development of photo-voltaic solar systems.  Even more disturbing (and hypocritical) is the automobile that her family business sells are Subaru! These vehicles are entirely manufactured in Japan by Fuji Heavy Industries.  Yet the most outlandish statement in her mailer is that Senator Linares does not care about Connecticut jobs.  Without political fanfare, without beating his chest, but simply because it was the right thing to do, Senator Linares supported consummating a relationship with the electrical union, and today Greenskies currently employs over 300 IBEW electricians in four states, including Connecticut.  If she cared so much about Connecticut jobs, perhaps, Ms. Bjornberg should consider unionizing her automobile dealership.

In today’s world economy, we enjoy an international platform of business opportunity to benefit all.  Greenskies has purchased products from both U.S. manufacturers and from overseas, and we embrace and are extremely proud of our track record.  I personally appreciate the success of Ms. Bjornberg’s family business as well, which has proudly served the shoreline for generations.  But Ms. Bjornberg’s attempt to malign Senator Linares’ record on the environment and on the economy clearly indicates that she does not possess the balance or the intellectual maturity to represent our district.  She should focus on the issues that separate her and her opponent, and their respective parties, and let voters elect the right candidate for the right reasons.

Sincerely,

 

Robert A. Landino
Westbrook