November 28, 2015

Concert in the Garden Features Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet, Dec. 13

Leif Nilsson Concert in the Garden will feature the Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet on Sunday December 13 from 4-6 pm.

Bistro style seating in the Gallery.  Gates open half an hour before the show.  First come – first seated.

BYOB (Shop at the Chester package store across the street!)

Suggested donation $10.

Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet


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

Marshview Gallery December Artist, Barbara Gish, Opening Reception, Dec. 11


OLD SAYBROOK— This month, the Marshview Gallery features the art of Haddam artist Barbara Gish. Barbara has sketched most of her life, taking an adult ed water color class she discovered her love for the softness and cleanness of colors as they appear on the white paper. Barbara says, “I am always in awe of creations around us – it’s beauty and the power of the sea.” Barbara likes to capture local lighthouses and seascapes. Her work has been displayed in area galleries and art shows.

All are welcome to attend the reception and meet the artist. Refreshments provided.

The Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc., 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook is open daily, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm, and Saturdays from 8 am – Noon. All ages are welcome to view the gallery.

Essex Art Association “Chilly, Cheap & Chili”, Dec. 12

Bi-annually, the Essex Art Association holds a one-day event in conjunction with the Essex Holiday House Tour. The Holiday House Tour is a walking tour of seven amazing homes along Main Street and North Main Street in Essex.

On the same day as the House Tour, the Essex Art Association gallery will be open for our “Chilly, Cheap & Chili” event. It’s a feast for your senses! The gallery will be filled with the artwork of our member artists. Each piece of art will be priced under $200, making this a terrific spot for your holiday shopping! In addition to perusing the artwork and purchasing art to be given as gifts (or for yourself!), you may also indulge your taste buds! Chili, made by many of our members, will be available at no cost to our visitors!

Mark your calendars.  Saturday, December 12, 10 am4 pm.  Bring your appetite, your checkbook, and your woolies.  Remember — our gallery is seasonal so it will be chilly. Warm yourself with beautiful artwork and tasty chili!

The United Church of Chester Christmas Fair, Dec. 5

The United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT will hold its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, December 5, 2015 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.

Creations To Host Open House Event, Dec. 9

Creations, a gift store located at 712 Boston Post Road in Madison, is hosting an Open House event on Dec. 9th from 5 to 7 p.m.

Creations, a gift store located at 712 Boston Post Road in Madison, is hosting an Open House event on Dec. 9th from 5 to 7 p.m.

Members of the community are invited to take a tour of 712 Boston Post Road in downtown Madison during an Open House event on Dec. 9. This once vacant space is now home to two thriving destinations under one roof: Creations and CREATE Art Studio.

Creations, which opened in August, is a retail store featuring gifts for him, her, home and children sourced from more than 100 independent makers with ties to the northeast region. The store is also a social enterprise of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, an organization dedicated to supporting individuals with disabilities.

Located in the rear of the space is CREATE Art Studio, an art studio operated by Vista that offers a wide range of arts workshops open to the public. The studio is also utilized by individuals in Vista’s new arts-based day program in which artistic expression is explored through a variety of projects and art mediums.

The Open House will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9. This is a wonderful  opportunity for community members to explore both spaces, browse the unique gifts sold at Creations and see some of the amazing works of art that were made at CREATE Art Studio.

Wine and light refreshments will be served.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.  Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about Vista, please visit

St. John’s Church Essex “Lessons and Carols” 4pm, Dec. 6

St. John’s Church on Main Street, Essex CT: Its  annual “Lessons and Carols” service will take place at 4:00 on Sunday December 6.  St. John’s welcomes guests.  Every year St. John’s chooses an organization, usually from the community,  to honor.  The honorees and special guest readers this year are from the Shoreline Visiting Nursing Association.  For more information contact Parish Office 860-767-8095

St Johns Lessons poster-1[1]

Old Saybrook Legislators to “Ring the Bell” for Salvation Army, Dec. 9

photoOn Wednesday, Dec. 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sen. Art Linares, Sen. Paul Formica, Rep. Devin Carney, and Rep. Jesse MacLachlan will be ringing the bell outside of Walmart at 665 Boston Post Road to raise money for the Salvation Army.  To help struggling families in the region, Walmart officials have agreed to make a generous contribution to the Salvation Army on behalf of the legislators’ efforts.

End of Year Book Riot at LVVS

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore wants you to stop in and see what they are all about!  Every Tuesday and Wednesday come in for half price off all books, puzzles, CD’S, DVD’s etc. until New Years.  We are in the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Dr. off Rte. 1.   Our hours are Monday-Friday 9am-2pm and on the 1st and 3rd Saturday between 10am and -Noon. Visit our website at  or call 860-399-0280 for more info. Stop in, browse, or just say hi. Finished with your book?  Consider donating to LVVS.  We take books in good shape 2005 or newer.

Mystic Seaport Lantern Light Tours Begin , Nov. 27

Holiday Tradition Takes Visitors Back to Christmas Eve, 1876

Mystic Seaport will open the 2015 season of its Lantern Light Tours on Friday, Nov. 27.

A New England holiday tradition, Lantern Light Tours is a 70-minute progressive play that is set on Christmas Eve in 1876. Featuring actors from Connecticut and neighboring states, the cast weaves a heart-warming holiday story in the setting of the historic buildings and vessels of the Museum.

The Lantern Light Tour plot is changed every year and the writing and production planning begins early in the spring. For 2015, the story focusses on the Sawyer family, a young couple expecting their first child who come to Mystic and are not able to find lodging for the night. There is a surprise inheritance, a villainous Mr. King, a rousing tavern dance, and a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas in their busy toy shop.

“While not a direct telling of the Nativity, we adapted many details of the story to our setting in amusing and clever ways that we think the audience will enjoy,” said Denise Kegler, the program manager for Lantern Light Tours.

Visitors join a group of 16 to tour the Museum’s 19th-century village, stopping at designated points to take in the next chapter of the story. Performances are November 27, 28 and December 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20. Tours begin at 5 p.m. and leave every 15 minutes.

Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 860.572.5331. Tickets are $32 for adults ($26 for Mystic Seaport members) and $25 for children ages 5-17 ($19 for youth members). Lantern Light Tours are not recommended for children under the age of 4.

The 2015 Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport is presented by Citizens Bank.

Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Museum’s collection of more than two million artifacts includes more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography in the country. The state-of-the-art Collections Research Center at Mystic Seaport provides scholars and researchers from around the world access to the Museum’s renowned archives.

Mystic Seaport is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $25 for adults and $16 for children ages 6-17. Museum members and children 5 and under are admitted free.

For more information, visit and follow Mystic Seaport on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Happy Thanksgiving … and Let’s Talk Turkey

We wish all our readers a very happy Thanksgiving holiday and are pleased to republish an article that our good friend Linda Ahnert wrote for us in 2007 to celebrate Thanksgiving that year, but it it still as topical today as then.

Who Doesn’t Love Thanksgiving?

Giving thanks_bookSeveral years ago, a book entitled “Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie” was published. The co-authors are Kathleen Curtin, food historian at the Plimoth Plantation, Mass., and Sandra L. Oliver, food historian and publisher of the newsletter “Food History News.”

The book is a fascinating look at how an autumnal feast evolved into a “quintessential American holiday.”

Most Americans, introduced to the story of the Pilgrims and Indians during childhood, assume there is a direct link between the traditional holiday menu and the first Thanksgiving. But we learn from the book that many of those food items—such as mashed potatoes and apple pie—were simply impossible in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. Potatoes were not introduced to New England until much later and those first settlers did not yet have ovens to bake pies.

What we do know about the bill of fare at the first celebration in 1621 comes from a letter written by colonist Edward Winslow to a friend in England: “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.”

Later 90 Indians joined the party with “their great king Massasoit whom for three days we entertained and feasted.” Then the Indians “went out and killed five deer which they brought to the plantation.”

So venison was a principal food on the menu. It also seems safe to assume that mussels, clams, and lobsters (all in plentiful supply) were served as well. According to other journals of the colonists, the “fowl” that Winslow described were probably ducks and geese. But wild turkeys were also bountiful in 1621, and so it is very likely that they were on the Pilgrims’ table. Thank goodness for that.

Throughout the New England colonies, it became common to proclaim a day of thanksgiving sometime in the autumn. In period diaries, there are many descriptions of food preparation—such as butchering and pie baking—followed by the notation that “today was the general thanksgiving.”

By the 19th century, Americans were taking the idea of a “thanksgiving” to a whole new level. The religious connotations were dropping away in favor of a holiday celebrating family and food. Roast turkey had become the centerpiece of these fall celebrations.

Turkeys, of course, were native to North America. (Benjamin Franklin, in a letter, had even proposed the turkey as the official U.S. bird!) And turkey was considered to be a fashionable food back in the mother country. Just think of the significance of turkey in Charles’ Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” When Scrooge wakes up in a joyful mood on Christmas morning, he calls to a boy in the street to deliver the prize turkey in the poulterer’s shop to the Cratchit family. (Earlier in the story, the poor Cratchits were dining on goose.)

It is thanks to a New England woman that Thanksgiving became an American holiday. Sarah Hale was a native of New Hampshire and the editor of “Godey’s Lady’s Book,” a popular women’s magazine. She lobbied for years for a national observance of Thanksgiving. She wrote editorials and sent letters to the president, all state governors, and members of Congress.

Finally, in 1863, she convinced Abraham Lincoln that a national Thanksgiving Day might help to unite the Civil War-stricken country. The fourth Thursday in November was now officially on the American calendar.

Connecticut’s own Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this description of a New England Thanksgiving in one of her novels—“But who shall . . .describe the turkey, and chickens, and chicken pies, with all that endless variety of vegetables which the American soil and climate have contributed to the table . . . After the meat came the plum-puddings, and then the endless array of pies. . .”

The autumnal feast became a national holiday, but each region of the country put its own spin on the menu. Not to mention that immigrants have also added diversity. The result is a true “melting pot” of America. The second half of “Giving Thanks” contains recipes that reflect what Americans eat for Thanksgiving in the 21st century.

In the South, for instance, the turkey might be stuffed with cornbread and there would be pecan and sweet potato pies on the table. In New Mexico, chiles and Southwestern flavors may be added to the stuffing.

There’s the “time-honored traditional bread stuffing” recipe. There’s also one for a Chinese American rice dressing and directions for a Cuban turkey stuffed with black beans and rice. Desserts run the gamut from an (authentic) Indian pudding to an (exotic) coconut rice pudding. Old-fashioned pumpkin pie is included as well as the newfangled pumpkin cheesecake.

But no matter what food items grace our Thanksgiving tables, it seems that we all end up stuffing ourselves silly. Perhaps overeating started at that very first harvest celebration in 1621. In Edward Winslow’s letter describing the feast with the Indians, he noted that food was not always this plentiful. But he wrote his friend in England “ … yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

Hadlyme Hall Fine Art & Crafts Show Opens This Evening, Runs Through Sunday

drawing_of_hallThe 14th annual Fine Art & Craft Show at Hadlyme Public Hall will be held over Thanksgiving weekend from Friday through Sunday. The event features artist Brian Keith Stephens from Old Lyme, Conn. There will be an Opening Reception for Stephens on Friday, Nov. 27, from 4 to 8 p.m. Admission for the Friday is $5 and the festivities will include live music and hor d’oeuvres.

at_the_showAdmission for Saturday and Sunday is free. The show is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

A variety of artists — many local — will be exhibiting mixed media, holiday home décor, photography, oil and watercolor paintings, stoneware, wood carvings, jewelry, pottery, and sculpture.

All the artists have been asked to prepare “Small Wonders” in order to be able to offer some pieces that are affordable for all and suitable for holiday gift lists.

A full listing of the artists exhibiting is given below


Phyllis Bevington – Oil On Canvas

JoAnna Chapin – Watercolors

Linda Elgart – Oils & Enhanced Giclees

Paula Emery – Oils & Collages

Maureen Girard – Mixed Media

Matthew Goldman – Prints, Books, & Cards

Bud Haines – Handcarved Birds

Bonnie Bryne LeMay – Oil Paintings

Jill Beecher Matthew – Palette Knife Oils

Thomas McLean – Oil Paintings

Ron Olansen – Oil Paintings

Cora Preibis – Oil Paintings

Erin Reemsnyder – Photography

Maureen Tarbox – Oils & Watercolors

Lisa Tellier – Oils & Watercolors

Amy Amelia White – Oil on Canvas

Paul Maulucci – Wooden Bowls

Julliet Rutigliano – Eclectic Sterling Jewlery

Paula Goldman – Silver Circle Herbals

Frank Michael Winiski – Metal Sculpture

Marcy Furphy – Mayflower Soap

Laurie Gelston Alt – Ceramic Sculpture

Nancy McKinnon – Ballek’s Nursery

Hadlyme Garden Club

Loreen O’Neil – Handmade Felted Bags

For further information, click here.

Start the Season with ‘Trees in the Rigging’ Community Carol Sing & Boat Parade, Sunday

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights.

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights.

ESSEX  Kick off the holiday season in Essex with the annual Trees in the Rigging Community Carol Sing and Lighted Boat Parade on Nov. 29.   The Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Board of Trade, and the Essex Historical Society combine to present this annual event that includes a traditional, lantern-lit carol stroll down 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.

Participants can gather at the Essex Town Hall at 4 p.m. The stroll steps off at 4:30 p.m. beginning on West Ave. and ending at the Connecticut River Museum with a parade of vessels dressed out in holiday lights and passing in review along the Connecticut River.  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 will also be open that evening for all to attend the 22th Annual Holiday Train Show at a reduced admission of $6.

Register Your Boat for the Lighted Boat Parade

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, Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Connecticut River Museum.

Registration is required to participate in the boat parade that usually begins around 5:15 p.m. from the south end of Essex Harbor. To register, send an email to 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, Nov. 24 at 4:30 p.m.

Make your Own Parade Lantern

Carolers can make their own lanterns for the parade.  Step 1: fill an empty aluminum can with water and freeze. This will make it easier to punch holes for the design in the can. Step 2: using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the can to make a connect-the-dots style picture of a holiday design. Use plenty of holes to allow the light to shine through. Step 3: punch two holes near the rim to attach a wire handle. Step 4: after the ice is melted, attach a votive or other small candle to the inside bottom of the can.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860.767.8269 or visit

The Movie Man: See ‘Spectre’ … Though It’s Not Bond’s Best

Headshot_v2We’re delighted to welcome a new writer to our fold today. Kevin Ganey joins us as our movie critic: he will be submitting regular reviews of movies in a variety of genres. He has lived in the Lyme/Old Lyme area since he was three-years-old, attended Xavier High School in Middletown and recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Media Studies. Prior to his involvement here at Shoreline Web News LLC, he worked for Hall Radio in Norwich, as well as interned under the Director of Communications at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. Kevin has a passion for movies, literature, baseball, and all things New England-based … especially chowder.

He opens his column series with a review of the latest Bond movie, ‘Spectre’

"Spectre poster" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

“Spectre poster” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

“Bond. James Bond.”

Since the 1962 release of Dr. No, six actors have had the pleasure of playing the iconic James Bond, or 007. For many years, it had been consider blasphemy to assert that any of the six actors aside from Sean Connery was Bond, as in he truly embodied the character and was the first actor moviegoers would think of when somebody brought 007 up in conversations. However, on a cold night in November of 2012, as I left the Niantic Cinema after seeing Skyfall, I literally proclaimed to others that Daniel Craig, not Connery, was Bond.

I do not think that I am alone when it comes to this opinion. My younger brother shares it, and he also proudly tells people that he knows every line to Craig’s first film as Bond, Casino Royale. We are fans of Craig’s gritty approach to the character, a quiet man with a killer’s stare, a force with which to be reckoned. He was not as comical as Roger Moore, or as suave as Pierce Brosnan, or, as my mom says, “campy” like Sean Connery. Each actor brings a new approach to Ian Fleming’s iconic spy, and I must say that I am more than satisfied with Daniel Craig’s interpretation.

So, it was with great pleasure that I embarked on a journey to Westbrook’s Marquee Cinema 12 on the premiere date for Eon Production’s 24th film about the secret agent, Spectre. When I was 11-years-old, my parents gave me a DVD collection that contained seven Bond films, which included Dr. No, Goldfinger, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Licensed to Kill, Goldeneye, and Tomorrow Never Dies, and I was quickly captivated by this heroic figure. As soon as I learned this film’s title, I immediately remembered the organization of the same name that Bond was constantly combating in the earlier films. The name stood for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion.

This film begins just weeks after Skyfall left off, with Judi Dench’s M still in the memories of all MI6 agents, replaced by Ralph Fiennes. Bond has just completed a semi-rogue mission in Mexico City (ordered by Judi Dench’s M just before she died in a video message), thwarting a terrorist attack during a Day of the Dead celebration. Grounded by the new M, Bond requests help from Moneypenny and Q to make him disappear in order to find more information in regards to the mission he just completed.

He is led back to a member of QUANTUM, a criminal organization — Mr. White, whom he encountered in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, now leads him on the trail to the even bigger organization “Spectre,” headed by a mysterious man named Franz Oberhauser, played by Christoph Waltz. M also deals with the emergence of a young government official, whom Bond calls C, running a new organization that monitors criminal activity, who also seeks to bury the Double-O system.

This film brings the previous four Bond films together, as all the villains were connected somehow before, and, without giving away too many spoilers, Oberhauser reveals this to be a form of revenge against Bond, as he knew him very intimately in the past. And I take a further risk by saying this to ardent Bond fans: Oberhauser reveals himself to be a memorable character from the earlier films.

I was expecting a great performance from Waltz, since he has won two Academy Awards over the last five years, but sadly, I was unhappy with his portrayal of a Bond villain. And my disappointment was compounded because Javier Bardem, who played the villain in Skyfall, and is also an Academy Award winner, gave what I consider to be one of greatest performances as a bad guy in that movie.

But Spectre does have its redeeming qualities. Sam Smith’s credit song, “Writing’s on the Wall” (I think this was also a reference to an exchange between Bond and Q in the 1995 installation, Goldeneye) was enjoyable and had a similar approach to Adele’s “Skyfall.” Q provided entertaining gadgets, including the classic donation of a multi-purposed watch, as well as humorously “giving” Bond an incomplete Aston Martin.

The main team that we are familiar with at MI6 (M, Q, and Moneypenny) is much more hands-on than they have been in the past, with all members in the field, partaking in the missions, in contrast to previous installments when Q stays in his lab, Moneypenny helps brief Bond and shows hints of her crush, and M behind the desk scolding Bond for going rogue.

But the way I saw it as I entered the movie theater, as long as you did not have a song by Madonna or an invisible car (both came from Die Another Day, which was the reason for rebooting the series), we were in for a good Bond film. Granted I should not enter a movie theater thinking “as long as it was not as bad as X, then it’s a great movie!”

What I will say is that it was a decent film, worthy of being a part of the Bond series. It is not the best, as I came in expecting greater things, but nonetheless, I have no problem including this on a list of Bond films to binge watch (an interesting millennial term) in a weekend. I would definitely recommend this movie to fellow movie-goers, not because of its critical value, but simply because it is an installment of the world’s most famous spy.

Who’s the other guy again? Jack Ryan?

Old Lyme Town Band Spreads Holiday Spirit in Local Towns

OL Town Band 01

Old Lyme Town Band

The Old Lyme Town Band will be performing four holiday concerts in the local area between Dec. 4 and Dec. 16 as follows:


Visit for more details.

Come to Ivoryton for the Sixth Annual Ivoryton Illuminations, Dec. 5

Tree4IVORYTON — Looking for a different way to celebrate Christmas? Then head down to Ivoryton for the Sixth Annual Ivoryton Illuminations on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The entire village of Ivoryton will be participating in this Holiday Extravaganza with carol singing, Santa’s Grotto, Holiday Bazaar, and culminating with the arrival of Santa and the lighting of the states’ largest living Christmas Tree at 6:30 p.m.  Ivoryton will be lighting up the holiday with over 300,000 lights throughout the village.

Family activities include writing letters to Santa and cards to our soldiers at the Ivoryton Library; Christmas Craft making and visits with Santa in the Playhouse (bring your camera if you want a picture!); a Holiday Bazaar featuring community and local church groups in the Fire House; Six Summit Gallery is featuring 100 pieces of fine art for gift giving (and free poster or book with purchase) as well as special events at The Ivoryton Tavern, Blue Hound Cookery and Taproom, The Copper Beech, Elephant Crossing, Hammered Edge, The Ivoryton Inn and Porky Pete’s BBQ & Brew.

Music will be provided by The Sweet Adeline’s and other local musicians who will be playing at various locations throughout the village.

Free parking will be available at the First Congregational Church and The Copper Beech Inn with a shuttle bus service to the village. The Illuminations will shine brightly through Jan. 5, and visitors can tune their car radios to 101.5FM and watch as the lights dance to the music.

This event is supported entirely by volunteers and sponsors including Essex Lions, Essex Savings Bank, Valley Courier, Riggio & Sons General Contractors, Wilcox Tree Service and Essex Rotary Club.

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

For more information, visit

Vista Members Publish Memoirs

From left are Evan Brookman, Devery Morgan, Jocelyn Ruggiero, Dana Rupley and Matt Christiaanse during the memoir reading at CREATE Art Studio. Credit: Vanessa Pereira

From left are Evan Brookman, Devery Morgan, Jocelyn Ruggiero, Dana Rupley and Matt Christiaanse during the memoir reading at CREATE Art Studio. Credit: Vanessa Pereira

Four members of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center have accomplished a feat many have only dreamed about— publishing a book.

Evan Brookman, Matt Christiaanse, Devery Morgan and Dana Rupley recall memories, life experiences and even look to the future in memoirs they wrote and published during a seven-week Vista Arts Center class taught by writer Jocelyn Ruggiero. These newly published authors shared passages from their books on Nov. 12th during a reading held at CREATE Art Studio in Madison.

“I liked telling my story to my family, friends and Vista staff,” said Dana. Her memoir, “Pieces of My Life,” recounts her early years at Vista and includes anecdotes about loved ones. “I feel a sense of accomplishment.”

In his memoir, “My Life at Vista and Beyond,” Evan, too, focuses on his time at Vista. He chronicles his journey through the program—from the nerves he experienced his first week, to the confidence and friendships he has developed over the years.  His book also serves as a tribute to his late grandmother, of whom he shares fond memories.

“I thought making part of [the book] about her would be a perfect way to honor her,” Evan said.

Matt took a different approach in his memoir, “My Life.” Instead of recalling a memory, he imagines what the future may hold and details his aspirations of moving to Los Angeles to become an actor and singer.

Devery, who Jocelyn called a prolific writer, centered her memoir on a more emotional topic—the cause of her disability. In “I Fought My Way in Life,” she tells the story of how her life was forever changed after being involved in a car accident at age two.

Although a painful story, Devery enjoyed the writing process. She said writing gives her a voice and allows her to express things she wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

“For me, writing is like a painting where you have nothing on paper, but in time, you will get a beautiful picture and writing is the picture,” Devery said. “If I could write for a living, I would be in heaven!”

Copies of these memoirs are available for purchase. For information, contact Arts Program Manager Amanda Roberts at

Volunteers Needed for Tax Preparation Assistance

Volunteer Jay Keiser helps a client prepare their tax return at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site at the Middlesex United Way office

Volunteer Jay Keiser helps a client prepare their tax return at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site at the Middlesex United Way office

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 families who might be struggling financially by saving them 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 is offered January 23–April 12, 2016 at Middlesex United Way’s office in 100 Riverview Center and at NEAT’s office on Main Street.

No prior experience is necessary. Volunteers complete training and are certified by the IRS. Training will be held January 4-7 or January 11-14, 2016, and volunteers need to attend consecutive evening sessions.  Volunteers will be trained to let taxpayers 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 are also available.

In 2015, the two VITA sites in Middletown helped more than 570 Middlesex County area residents file their taxes for free and returned more than $770,000 back to taxpayers. Those who filed with Middletown VITA sites had an average adjusted gross income of about $21,000 and received an average refund of $1,656, money they have earned. This impacts not only those who filed their taxes, but also their families and the local economy.

To volunteer or learn more, contact Leah Meyer at 860-227-7409 or

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.

Friends of Essex Library Holiday Book Sale Through Dec. 23

ESSEX — The Friends of Essex Library are preparing for their Holiday Book Sale, featuring books in pristine condition suitable for gift giving, stocking stuffers, and hostess gifts—all with very attractive pricing.  Also included in the sale will be adorable Teddy bears, Essex Library canvas tote bags, seasonal CD’s and DVD’s.

The sale will run from Monday, Nov. 23, through Wednesday, Dec. 23, at the Essex Library, 33 West Ave., Essex.  For more information, see the library’s website at

The proceeds from this sale will support the Friends ongoing projects, special programs, and activities making the library a better experience for all who enter the newly installed doors, which were a gift from the Friends of Essex Library.

Head for the Woods Today with Old Saybrook Land Trust

OSLT Board members on the Oyster River property after it's purchase was complete in 2014. L-R Bob Lorenz, Joe Nochera, Cathy Malin, Ann Gamble, Barb Guenther, Laurel Friedmann, Mike Urban and John Ogren.(photo by Jen Gamble)

OSLT Board members on the Oyster River property after it’s purchase was complete in 2014. L-R Bob Lorenz, Joe Nochera, Cathy Malin, Ann Gamble, Barb Guenther, Laurel Friedmann, Mike Urban and John Ogren.(photo by Jen Gamble)

OLD SAYBROOK – Saturday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Old Saybrook Land Trust will work on their property fronting the Oyster River. The public is invited public to join in the fun/work and share in a barbecue lunch.

The OSLT purchased the six acres in 2014 and has since worked to remove excess brush and improve accessibility. Come on out to help continue the work, or just stop by to enjoy the late fall weather and meet some OSLT members. This property is a great bird watching area, and a knowledgeable naturalist will help with spotting and identifying the many types of birds known to frequent the area. Bring binoculars if possible.

To reach the property, travel on Ingham Hill Road by McDonald’s in Old Saybrook, and look for the Old Saybrook Land Trust Event sign along the right hand side of the road near mailbox number 68. This is a free event.

For more detailed directions and other information , visit, or send an email to


Community Music School Presents New Horizons Band in Concert, Dec. 12

CMS New Horizons and John Winthrop Middle School Band

The New Horizons Band of Community Music School has several performances planned this December. On Saturday, December 12, they will perform at the Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook at 4 pm. The program includes well-known Disney tunes, English folk songs, and several holiday favorites, along with a few vocal selections performed by the Hilltop Four barbershop quartet. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Band is also collaborating on a piece with the John Winthrop Middle School band for their winter concert on December 10 at 7pm at the John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Road, Deep River. Together, they will be playing Tales from the Sea, A Sea Song Trilogy, arranged by Michael Story. This is the second time the New Horizons and JWMS band will perform together; the partnership continues to be very rewarding and fun for everyone involved. The New Horizons Band will also be performing in the Community Music School annual Holiday Concert on December 13 at 2 pm at Valley Regional High School.

The New Horizons Band is a beginning adult band of 16 members, many of whom have had never played an instrument before joining and is part of a national network. Under the direction of Patricia Hurley, the CMS New Horizons Band will perform marches, jazz selections, and music from the stage and screen, and much more. Come and meet Paddy and the members of the band to find out more about the program. Prospective new members are invited to attend a rehearsal any time. The band rehearses on Mondays and Thursdays, 10:45am-noon at the Community Music School, 90 Main Street, Centerbrook. No previous experience necessary! For more information about the concerts or New Horizons Band program, please call 860-767-0026.

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

CBSRZ Gallery “A Moment in Time: The People of Little Italy 1976”, Reception, Dec. 5


It was the nation’s centennial year. The federal government had refused to provide financial assistance to New York City. The city was in the midst of a financial crisis. It was a time of change and transition. Those transitions were most evident in the area of lower Manhattan known as Little Italy. The predominantly Italian neighborhood’s span reached from river to river. Photographer Stephen Nadler roamed the streets of Little Italy during the year of 1976, capturing its spirit through the lives of its long time residents. “A Moment in Time” is the photo essay that documents that time and place. Nadler photographed both the local citizens and the business people who helped to keep the area economically viable during these changes.

Nadler-1 (1)The exhibition will run from November 17, 2015 to January 27 2016, with a public opening reception on Sunday, December 6th from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s Gallery.  CBSRZ will present Nadler’s work in an exhibit entitled “A Moment in Time: The People of Little Italy in 1976.”  The exhibit includes 30 images taken with a Mamiya C330 twin lens reflex camera with a 2¼ x21/4 format. The images have been digitized and printed on Canson Platine Fibre Rag photographic paper with Epson Ultrachrome K3 ink. The public is invited to view the exhibit Monday – Friday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

“I started out thinking only about photographing the physical area and wound up making friends and hearing wonderful stories,” said Nadler. “I think the reason I was so drawn to this neighborhood and its people is that it felt very much like my old neighborhood. Hanging out there brought back so many wonderful memories of my youth, spent on street corners, with my friends watching the world stroll by. While “A Moment in Time” is about the people of Little Italy I have come to realize that their stories reflect the universal American immigrant experience. I have recently had the pleasure to meet the next generation of many of my subject’s families. That dream of coming to America to have a better life for your children and their children has been realized by the families that it has been my privilege to meet.”

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway.  For more information about CBSRZ or this exhibit, visit our website at or call the office 860-526-8920.

About Stephen Nadler

Steve Nadler Photography specializes in both fine art and commercial photography. In 2007, Nadler retired from the telecommunications industry, after 37 years in sales and marketing management.

Community Music School Holiday Concert, Dec. 13

Santa (CMS faculty member Andrew Studenski) and his saxophone made an appearance at the 2014 Holiday Concert. Photo courtesy of Joan Levy Hepburn.

Santa (CMS faculty member Andrew Studenski) and his saxophone made an appearance at the 2014 Holiday Concert (Photo courtesy of Joan Levy Hepburn).

‘Tis the season of celebration, traditions and the Community Music School’s Holiday Concert scheduled to take place on Sunday, December 13 at 2:00 pm at the Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Road, Deep River.  Free and open to the public, this community-wide annual event brings together faculty and students of all ages to perform vocal and instrumental holiday favorites.  Highlights include performances by the CMS jazz ensemble, acoustic guitar ensemble, New Horizons Band, and string ensembles and will be capped off by a grand finale medley with audience participation sing-along. In lieu of an admission fee, concert goers are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item or pet supply for donation to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.  This year’s concert is generously sponsored by Lewitz, Balosie, Wollack, Rayner & Giroux, LLC.

For more information on the Holiday Concert or other Community Music School programs or events, call 860.767.0026 or go to org.

Artist Janine Robertson Solo Show at Maple and Main, Dec. 2

Evening Light by Janine Robertson

Evening Light by Janine Robertson

CHESTER – Gallery artist Janine Robertson’s solo show, Reflections, opens Wednesday, Dec. 2 in Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery with a wine and appetizer reception Saturday, Dec. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The exhibition features over 20 landscape oil paintings by this well-known contemporary landscape oil painter who specializes in the panoramic views, marshes and vistas of the Connecticut shoreline and beyond.

Her work is mostly done on aluminum, a trademark and favorite substrate and of Janine’s because of its luminosity, glow and vibrant color retention. The ultra-smooth surface highlights brushstrokes and texture while adding a modern flare.

Janine begins with an under painting and builds a series of transparent colors adding depth to her work. She typically works on several paintings at once allowing each layer to dry before proceeding – a process that can take weeks to complete.

Madison where Janine lives with her husband – they have two grown children – gives her much of her inspiration but she also depicts the wider vistas of the Hudson River Valley and northern New England.

Her work is in private and public collections in this country and abroad.

Reflections in the Stone Gallery on the lower level runs through Dec. 31 and also runs concurrently with the gallery’s Holiday Exhibit.

Please visit to see a selection of the works in Janine’s show as well as paintings in the Holiday Exhibit. Gallery hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.;; 860-526-6065; visit us on facebook

Holiday Festival of Trees, Trains and Traditions, Dec. 4, 5

xmastreeThe 3rd Annual Festival of Trees, Trains and Traditions will be held on Dec. 4th and 5th on the Society’s grounds at 245 Main Street. We encourage you to take a walk through the memories of your childhood this year as we present the Festival of Trees, Trains and Traditions. There will be a Lionel Train display by Frank Santoro, a passion of his childhood. Search for other traditions as you stroll through the festively decorated Stone House and Carriage House.

Hours: Friday Dec. 4th from 5-8pm and Saturday Dec. 5th from 4-8 pm. A horse drawn carriage will stop in front of the Stone House as part of the Deep River’s Holiday Stroll. Parking is available on site for those visiting independently.

Deep River’s civic organizations are hard at work creating trees to tickle your fancy and urge you to vote for your favorites. We are proud to showcase these organizations and their missions. Come out and support them as they support the town of Deep River all year long. Voting will only be Friday evening. So come and vote for your favorites. It’s hard to forget the Lion’s Club tree with a pink pig wearing only his sunglasses on top of last year’s tree. Or the stunning display of a non-traditional tree from the Library.

Admission is free. Non-perishable food donations for the Deep River Food Panty are much appreciated.

Christmas On The Hill at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Essex, Dec. 5

Children from the  CCD class helping prepare crafts.  (L to R) Grace Laskowski, Abigayle, Gretchen and Maura Breitenbach

Children from the CCD class helping prepare crafts. (L to R) Grace Laskowski, Abigayle, Gretchen and Maura Breitenbach

Many hands and generous hearts have gone into the planning and preparation of this year’s Christmas Craft Fair at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex.

There will be raffle baskets, a bake sale, affordable gifts, crafts , music, refreshments…..and an abundance of good cheer.

 Ladies who have organized the fair including Kathy Bower, Irene Listorti, Betty Johns and Diane Montana  Ladies who have organized the fair including Kathy Bower, Irene Listorti, Betty Johns and Diane Montana (left to right)

Ladies who have organized the fair including Kathy Bower, Irene Listorti, Betty Johns and Diane Montana Ladies who have organized the fair including Kathy Bower, Irene Listorti, Betty Johns and Diane Montana (left to right)

Come to the old-fashioned church fair, and catch the spirit of this beautiful season, and Christmas shopping without the stress. Christmas Craft Fair Saturday, December 5th 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Our Lady of Sorrows Church 14 Prospect St. Essex, CT For more information: 860-767-0729 or

Shepherds and Stars: Con Brio’s 2015 Christmas Concert, Dec 11 & 13

Jürate Švedaite, soprano

Jürate Švedaite, soprano

Con Brio, the shoreline’s renowned all-auditioned chorus, offers another stellar Christmas concert on Friday, December 11 at 8pm, and Sunday, December 13 at 3pm at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme, Ct.   Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce, assisted by keyboardist Susan Saltus and the Con Brio Festival Orchestra, the chorus will be joined this year by returning bass soloist, Christopher Grundy, and two new superb soloists:  soprano Jurate Svedaite and tenor Steven Humes.  The concert will include a selection of the best of the music of the season, both classical and audience favorites.

This year’s concert centers on the best-known Christmas music of beloved British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.  The concert opens with Vaughan Williams’ powerful Hodie, his last major choral work, composed in 1953-4.  Serene, at times even otherworldly sounding, Hodie centers on the mystery of one day, Christmas Day.  Flowing with vitality, force and inventiveness, Hodie is the Christmas story, rooted textually in the Bible, Milton and Thomas Hardy, among others, and musically in English countryside carols and the compositional style of Bach.  The piece’s dramatic full choruses, at times erupting into the brass fanfares, contrasting with haunting lullabies take the listener through all the moments in the Christmas story.

Steven Humes, tenor

Steven Humes, tenor

The second half of the concert opens with two works by contemporary composer Steven Sametz.  The first, an arrangement of Lo How a Rose, is sung in the round.  Three movements from Morales’ 16th century Magnificat follow.  Another Vaughan Williams piece, Fantasia on Christmas Carols, featuring the bass soloist, is founded on four traditional English carols.  John Rutter’s favorite- among-audiences, Shepherds’ Pipe Carol, is followed by Behold a Star, one of the most performed Christmas anthems by Felix Mendelssohn.  Two contemporary pieces include Gardner’s festive setting of Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day and Alice Parker’s version of While Shepherds Watched.  Mack Wilberg’s arrangement of Christmas season favorite O Holy Night features the soprano and tenor soloists and his arrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High sparkles.  Bashana Haba’ah (“Next Year when Peace Will Come”), a New Year’s Carol which the chorus will sing in Hebrew, is a most fitting carol for this season of peace.

Come, bring your friends, revel in the marvelous sounds and memories and promise of this Christmas season!

Tickets may be purchased on line,, or from any Con Brio member.  $30 adults, $15 students.  Address; 1 McGurdy Road, Old Lyme, Ct.

Essex Elementary School Foundation Hosts Talent Showcase with Scott Haney as EmCee

WFSB's Scot Haney and 5th grader Kendra Cika emcee the show

WFSB’s Scot Haney and 5th grader Kendra Cika emcee the show ( all photos courtesy of EESF)

ESSEX — Comedians, jugglers, singers, pianists and Karate masters strutted their stuff at the Essex Elementary School Talent Showcase on Tuesday, Nov. 9.  The crowd cheered as students performed their talents, while WFSB personality Scot Haney served as emcee

4th grader Owen Peterson has excellent martial arts moves

4th grader Owen Peterson has excellent martial arts moves

This special night was sponsored by the Essex Elementary School Foundation (EESF), a not-for-profit, volunteer organization that provides independent financial resources for worthy educational projects and enrichment programs, such as a mathematician-in-residence and an iPad lab.  Students walked away equal winners in this non-competitive talent show.

Led by EESF board member Cathy Poulin, the showcase utilized the skills of local volunteers, such as Patty Carver, of the Connecticut Children’s Theatre.

4th grader Charlie Whelan entertains the crowd with comedy

4th grader Charlie Whelan entertains the crowd with comedy

The event raised more than $400 for the organization.

For more information about the EESF, visit  Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Essex Elementary School Foundation, PO Box 882, Essex CT 06426.

4th grader Zoey Michel leads the entire group in a rendition of "Glad You Came"

4th grader Zoey Michel leads the entire group in a rendition of “Glad You Came”

Local Firm Receives FDA Approval for Medical Devices

PCI Medical’s newly remodeled, 36,000 square foot, state-of-art headquarters

PCI Medical’s newly remodeled, 36,000 square foot, state-of-art headquarters

DEEP RIVER –  PCI Medical is pleased to announce that it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the ASTRA VR and ASTRA TEE automated reprocessors used to facilitate the high-level disinfection of endocavity ultrasound probes.

“The ASTRA VR and ASTRA TEE automated reprocessors are the next innovation in ultrasound probe disinfection,” stated Philip Coles, Founder and Chairman of PCI Medical. “For over 20 years PCI Medical has developed high-level disinfection systems for ultrasound probes to help keep patients and probes safe, while saving our customers money. The ASTRA series automatically controls the time, temperature and rinse cycles for the probes while providing fully automated data logging.”

The ASTRA VR is an automated reprocessor for the high-level disinfection and rinsing of one or two endovaginal/endorectal ultrasound probes.  The ASTRA TEE is an automated reprocessor for the high-level disinfection and rinsing of one or two transesophageal (TEE) probes.

The ASTRA® series of automated reprocessors offer many unique features that help users meet audit and accreditation requirements for Joint Commission and Infection Control standards. The ASTRA uses a reusable, industry standard high-level disinfectant that dramatically minimizes cycle costs. A single gallon of disinfectant can be reused in the system for up to 14 days. A built-in bar code reader captures and automatically stores information including: type of disinfectant, probe ID and operator ID. The ASTRA also automatically captures and logs temperature, date and time of disinfection, MRC pass or fail and cycle outcome. All of the data from the last 1,000 cycles is stored on the ASTRA and downloaded via a USB port as needed.

For more information on the ASTRA series of automated reprocessors, go to

About PCI Medical – Experts in High-Level Disinfection®

For over 20 years, PCI Medical has developed and manufactured high-level disinfection systems. PCI Medical manufactures a complete line of GUS® manual soak stations as well as Storage Systems for endovaginal/endorectal, general purpose probes and TEE probes, and other accessories for high-level disinfection such as spill kits and neutralizers. GUS Disinfection Soak Stations are used in over 6,000 facilities throughout the US and Canada.

In addition to quality products, the PCI Medical Disinfection Team helps facilities to become or stay compliant in the high-level disinfection process, from pre-cleaning through to storage. They are Experts in High-Level Disinfection. For more information about PCI Medical products and educational offerings, please visit

Gowrie Group Aims to Raise $1 Million to Benefit Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

Gowrie Group Team serving lunch at the Old Saybrook meal site location.

Gowrie Group Team serving lunch at the Old Saybrook meal site location.

“I never expected to hit such tough times, but thank God for the food pantry.” This message was written by a shoreline resident and guest of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP), during a recent family financial crisis. Shoreline Soup Kitchens gave her the food she needed, no questions asked. Helping shoreline families like hers who are facing food insecurity is one of Gowrie Group’s most important outreach initiatives.

That desire to give back to the community in a meaningful way is why for the past 11 years Gowrie Group has focused much of its charitable giving on supporting SSKP.  Since 1989, SSKP has provided food and fellowship to neighbors in need who reside in Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Last year they distributed more food than ever before – over 1 million pounds of groceries. This year the number of people in need continues to rise, and the SSKP has had a 14 percent increase in the amount of food distributed at their five local pantries.

In response to this need, Gowrie Group is launching their 12th annual matching challenge with a $25,000 donation to the SSKP.  Five local companies — The Safety Zone, LC Doane Company, Tower Labs, Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, and the Tariq Farid Foundation – are providing an additional $22,500 in matching funds.

This year, Gowrie Group is challenging the community of local businesses and friends to help them meet and exceed an ambitious goal – raising $125,000. Meeting this year’s goal will put the lifetime total amount raised by the Gowrie Group Shoreline Soup Kitchen Challenge over the Million Dollar mark. The 2015 Gowrie Group Challenge runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31.

Carter Gowrie, CEO of Gowrie Group said, “We are extremely proud that over the past 11 years, we have raised almost $1,000,000 to benefit those in need in our community and support the great work the SSKP does. We greatly appreciate the donations made by so many of our clients, local businesses, and friends each and every year.  I look forward to us together breaking the million dollar mark this year.”

“Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries is so grateful for all those who support the Gowrie Challenge.  Every year this campaign shows the commitment of our community to caring for others. On behalf of the thousands of those we serve every year, I say thank you,” says Patty Dowling, SSKP Executive Director.

Throughout the year, Gowrie Group and its employees donate time and services to soup kitchens and pantries across New England.  Each summer, Gowrie employees prepare and serve a lunch at an SSKP meal site in Old Saybrook, CT.  Before the holidays, Gowrie employees host canned food drives at each office location – Westbrook CT, Darien CT, Newport RI, North Kingstown RI, Marshfield, MA, Manchester, NH – and donate the collected goods to local entities.  Employees and their families also help out regularly at a variety of food pantries and meal service locations across the region.

Appreciation is expressed to the 2015 Gowrie Challenge partner and media sponsors: The Safety ZoneLC Doane CompanyTower LabsLenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, and Tariq Farid Foundation. Media Sponsors: Shore Publishing and WLIS/WMRD

Donations can be made online at; click the “Donate” button and select “Gowrie Challenge.”

Donations by mail should be sent to: The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Attn: Gowrie Group Challenge, P.O. Box 804, Essex, Connecticut 06426.

Two special events will benefit the Gowrie Group Shoreline Soup Kitchen Challenge.

On Black Friday, Nov. 27, the “Shoreline Soup Kitchen Benefit Concert” will take place at The Kate, in Old Saybrook.

On Dec. 5 and 6, Dancing to End Hunger, a ballet performance of “Ahavah: The Story of Christmas,” will take place at the Morgan School in Clinton.

Biographer Discusses Life & Times of Playwright Eugene O’Neill, Dec. 3

Eugene O'Neill

Eugene O’Neill

The Essex Library invites you to meet with Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, Robert M. Dowling for a talk on the life of Eugene O’Neill and a signing of his biography: Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts on Thursday, December 3rd at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library. The Irish Times calls the book “a powerful narrative”, and it has won praise from The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, Booklist, Provincetown Arts, and Publishers Weekly.

Dowling’s extensively researched book recounts O’Neill’s tumultuous life and highlights how the stories O’Neill told for the stage are interwoven with the events in the playwright’s own life.

Robert M. Dowling is a professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. He serves on the board of directors of the Eugene O’Neill Society and on the board of The Eugene O’Neill Review.

Books will be available for sale and signing through Essex Books. This program is free and open to all. Please call the Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

Deep River Congregational Church “Ye Olde English Christmas Faire”, Dec. 4, 5, 6

Christmas Faire Mary Sara7321

Kick off the month of December by attending the 49th Annual “Ye Olde English Christmas Faire” Week-end at the Deep River Congregational Church, 1 Church Street, Deep River.  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.

Friday, December 4th  ~  Dessert by Candlelight ~ Two Seatings:  6:00  & 7:30 p.m.  Enjoy gourmet desserts & Coffee/Tea ~ $5.00

Saturday, December 5th ~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 6th  ~ Festival of Christmas Music, 3:00 p.m. featuring Pianist, Bil Groth followed by a reception hosted by Adult Fellowship.   Tickets: $10.00, Children under 6:  Free

Hike the Preserve with OSLT Thanksgiving Weekend Hike, Nov. 28

OSLT’s Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Hike will be in The Preserve, Saturday Nov. 28, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

OSLT’s Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Hike will be in The Preserve, Saturday Nov. 28, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The OSLT’s Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Hike will be in The Preserve, Saturday Nov. 28, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Hikers will meet at Great Cedars parking area on Ingham Hill Road (the Hay House) at around 12:30 p.m., and walk a short distance up Ingham Hill to the trail head. Sturdy shoes and water are a good idea, the terrain can be a bit rocky and there are slight ups and downs along the way. Light refreshments will be served around the fire following the hike.

For more detailed directions visit, or send an email to

Sing or Listen to Messiah with Cappella Cantorum at The Kate, Dec. 20

UntitledMessiah Sing or Listen at the Kate, Dec. 20, 3:30 pm rehearsal; 4 pm to Listen.

300 Main St. Old Saybrook. Tickets available through the Box Office, 877-503-1286,

Collomore Concert Series Present Classical Guitarist Jorge Caballero, Chester, Nov. 29

Jorge Caballero, an internationally award-winning classical guitarist, will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available through

Jorge Caballero, an internationally award-winning classical guitarist, will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available through

On Sunday, Nov. 29 at the Chester Meeting House, the Collomore Concert Series is honored to present classical guitarist Jorge Caballero, the youngest musician and the only guitarist to win the Naumburg International Competition, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards given to performers of any instrument.

Caballero is known for his dazzling virtuosity, intense musicality and spellbinding performances. New York Times called him a “superb young guitarist” and praised his rare combination of “a deft, powerful technique and a soft-spoken interpretive persona.”

The International Guitar Symposium described him: “He has perfect technique and plays at a pace that’s spellbinding. He can also impress us with expression and loveliness, as well as stunning strength. At its most sensational is probably his command of voice leading that simply often sounds like two or three guitars and not one.”

Jorge Caballero’s Chester Meeting House concert will be at 5 p.m. on Nov. 29. Tickets are $24, adult; $5, student, and are available through the website, or by calling 860-526-5162. Ticket holders are invited to stay for the reception after the concert to meet the musician and enjoy refreshments donated by Dough on Main. This is the last concert in the 42nd season of the Collomore Concert series.

Learn ‘The Bear Facts’ about Black Bears in CT Tonight in Chester Town Hall

It's true that black bears are being sighted in Connecticut, but this black bear in the tree was discovered by Chester photographer Al Malpa in the Great Smokies.

It’s true that black bears are being sighted in Connecticut, but this black bear in the tree was discovered by Chester photographer Al Malpa in the Great Smokies.

Yes, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), there have been sightings of black bears in our towns.

The town of Chester has had the most sightings of any of the Valley Shore towns – 14 – in the 12-month period since November 2014.

While this number is lower than northwestern Connecticut towns, a DEEP spokesman was quoted in a recent article in the Hartford Courant as saying, “Most of us live adjacent to bear habitat, so most of us can expect bears to be near our homes as the population increases.”

So the Chester Library and Chester Land Trust are teaming up to present “The Bear Facts: Black Bears in Connecticut” on Friday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at Chester Town Hall on Rte. 154. The free presentation will be given by Master Wildlife Conservationist Paul Colburn through the DEEP.

Colburn’s program will focus on the natural history of black bears in our state. He will provide an overview of black bear habitat, diet and behavior, and current research efforts.  He will also provide recommendations for coexistence with our black bear population.

The program is best suited to adults and children over age 11. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, call the Chester Library at 860-526-0018.

Quilts of Valor – Ten Local Veterans Honored with Quilt Presentations

IMG_3706The Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook, along with the Connecticut Chapter of Quilts of Valor were privileged on Veterans Day to honor 10 local veterans with quilt presentations.  The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to “cover” service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor made by dedicated volunteers.

High Hopes’ Fifth Annual Holiday Market to Host More Than 60 Local Vendors, Saturday

HighHopesHolidayMarketHigh Hopes Therapeutic Riding is transforming its indoor arena into a holiday marketplace on Sunday, Nov. 15, for the Fifth Annual Holiday Market sponsored by Reynolds Subaru. The event begins at noon and will feature more than 60 local vendors and exhibitors, as well as activities for the entire family including hayrides, a kids’ scavenger hunt, face painting, door prizes and raffle for a 2015 Subaru Crosstrek.

Last year more than 2,000 visitors attended the event on High Hopes’ 120-acre facility to start their holiday shopping and enjoy popular area food trucks. Items for sale include hand-made jewelry, holiday décor, pottery, crafts, skin care products, organic produce and more.

This year’s gourmet and specialty food truck line-up includes Flanders Fish Market, The Rolling Tomato, The Whey Station, FryBorg, Munchies Food Truck and for dessert, Meriano’s Bakery and Cannoli Truck.

For the first time at the event, attendees can see a glassblowing demonstration by Arch One Glass, and meet Garbanzo, a nine-month-old Mongolian Bankhar Dog who is trained to help nomadic Mongolian families by protecting their livestock from predators.

Raffle and event beneficiaries

High Hopes will hold a raffle drawing at 3:45 p.m. at the Holiday Market for a 2015 Subaru Crosstrek Premium, an Apple Watch Sport, a New York City overnight with dinner and Broadway show tickets, and a pair of Sorrel Cowboy Boots. The cost of a raffle ticket is $50, with only 1,500 being sold.

Visitors are encouraged to attend the Holiday Market which raises funds that directly support the 1,538 children and adults who are served annually by High Hopes’ programs.

Admission to the Holiday Market is free with a suggested donation of a nonperishable food item for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries. Last year, more than 2,400 pounds of food was donated to help local families who struggle with hunger.

For more information about the event and to see a list of vendors, visit, or contact Trudy Burgess at or call 860-434-1974, ext. 123.

Williams School Hosts Prospective Student Information Session Saturday

The Williams School in New London is offering a series of Prospective Student Information Sessions with the first one being held this Saturday, Nov. 15, from 1 to 3 p.m.  These sessions will provide an opportunity for families to enjoy a campus tour by a Student Ambassador, hear from a panel of current students and faculty, and experience mini lessons taught by faculty in their classrooms. They are one of many ways to learn about Williams’ academic, athletic, arts, and community opportunities.

Register online for Saturday’s Information Session.

Additional Information Sessions are planned on the following dates:

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 1-3 p.m.

Sunday, May 15, 2016, 1-3 p.m.

For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 860.443.5333 or 

The Williams School is a college preparatory day school serving middle and upper school students in grades 6 – 12 located on the campus of Connecticut College at 182 Mohegan Ave. New London, CT 06320

LVVS Book Sale Promotion During November

November is a month dedicated to giving thanks for all those things in our lives for which we are grateful. For Literacy Volunteers and for many other non-profits in the valley shore, we are most grateful for our volunteers and those who serve and support those less fortunate among us. In honor of their service, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is offering a special discount program on books, puzzles, CD’s and DVD’s for the month. Every item is on special. Buy one item, you get another item free!

The book sale is open weekdays from 9 am to 2 pm and on the first and third Saturday of each month between the hours of 10 am and noon in the lower level of the Westbrook Library. Hard covers are $2 and paperback books $.50. Call 860-399-0280 for further information and for our special(s) of the month!

For further information contact the Literacy Volunteers office by calling our office, emailing or by visiting our website at .

The Ivoryton Players Staged Reading of “The Man Who Came To Dinner”, Nov. 21

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Players, a drama club for adults, will present a staged reading of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, on Saturday, November 21st at 7pm at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Joyce Beauvais, founder and director is a transplanted New York actor and producer who moved to CT in 2013 and formed this troupe to perform staged readings. No experience necessary and no memorization required – just a desire to have fun and entertain! This is the third staged reading by the Ivoryton Players and promises to be a hoot. Seating is limited and is on a first come basis – suggested $5 donation at the door but all are welcome.

For more information about the production or becoming a member of the Ivoryton Players, contact Joyce Beauvais at

Eastern Connecticut Ballet Performs Nutcracker at the Garde, Dec. 12/13


Share the magic and pageantry of the world’s most beloved ballet with friends and family of all ages at the Garde Arts Center on December 12 and 13.

New York City Ballet sensation, Sara Mearns, “the great American ballerina of our time,” returns to the Garde Arts Center in New London for another breathtaking performance with Eastern Connecticut Ballet. New London’s own “Nutcracker” is both a holiday tradition and a tour de force. Sharing the spotlight are guest artists from NYCB and Pennsylvania Ballet and more than 100 professionally trained dancers from ECB. Thirty-five musicians from Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Paul Polivnick, perform Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece. Live music and classic ballet in the tradition of Balanchine make this “Nutcracker” simply unforgettable.

Performances are Saturday Dec 12th at 1:30 & 7pm and Sunday Dec 13th at 1:30pm.  Tickets are available at The Garde Box Office. Call 860-444-7373 x1 or visiting

CBSRZ Celebrates Chanukah – Dec 6 and Dec 11

chanukaCongregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 East Kings Highway in Chester, CT invites the public to celebrate Chanukah.

Families are invited to attend our community Chanukah celebration on Sunday December 6.  Beginning at 11:00, children can participate in many craft making activities such as designing a menorah out of clay as well as enjoy traditional foods such as jelly donuts and latkes and play various versions of spin the dreidel.  This event is free and is open to the public.

On Friday, December 11th, join us as we celebrate Shabbat and the sixth night of Chanukah! At 5:45 pm we will have a non-dairy pot luck dinner. CBSRZ will provide brisket, latkes and beverages. We ask that those coming for dinner bring a meat dish (no pork or shellfish), or other non-dairy side dishes (salads, latkes, vegetables, rice or a non-dairy dessert). Services will begin at 7:00. Please bring your favorite menorah and 7 candles as we will continue our tradition of lighting all of the menorahs and basking in the glow of the candle light. Oneg (desserts and fellowship) will conclude the evening.

For more information about CBSRZ contact the office at 860-526-8920 or visit our web site at

Deep River P & R Offer Newport Holiday Splendor Trip, Dec. 6

Be part of the fun!  Join Deep River Parks and Recreation, as they travel to Newport, Rhode Island, to visit and tour two historic mansions, The Breakers and Marble House. The glitter of gold, sparkle of silver and the thousands of brilliant red poinsettias will dazzle you as we visit these two properties decked out in their holiday splendor.

You will also stroll through the quaint village of Newport and visit Bowen’s Wharf and the Brick Market Place where you will enjoy lunch on your own, shop and enjoy the holiday decorations. The bus will depart at from the Route 9, exit 4 commuter lot at 7:45 am.  The bus will depart Newport at 5:00 pm and return to the exit 4 commuter lot arriving at approximately 7:00 pm.

Registration is on a first-come first-served basis and spaces are not held until payment is received.  Payment must be received to secure a spot.  Cost includes all tickets, tours and transportation by deluxe motor coach bus with restroom and Wi-Fi access. No refunds will be given unless event is canceled. Trip will take place rain or shine.  Please wear comfortable shoes as this trip involves much walking as we explore the mansions and the downtown area.

Date: Sunday, December 6th, 2015

Cost- Adults $ 65.00, youth $50.00 (ages 6-17)

Please call 860-526-6036 to sign up or visit and follow the link to sign-up on line.

Obituary: Richard B. Blythe, 31 Oct. 15

blytheRichard (Dick) B. Blythe, 87 of Killingworth, CT passed away peacefully on October 31, 2015.   He served as the Principal of Valley Regional High School from 1971-1985 and the High School honored Dick for his many years of dedication and service by naming football/soccer and track facilities the Richard B. Blythe Athletic Complex.

Read the full obituary published in the Hartford Courant here.

Letter: Thanks from LVVS

To The Editor

The 5th Annual Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore Wine and Brew Tasting and Auction benefitting the organization’s tutoring program was a smashing (pumpkins?) success again this year. The event, held on October 23rd at the Saybrook Point Pavilion netted funds that will help L.V.V.S. continue the mission of eradicating illiteracy in the valley shore area well into 2016.

Any event’s success is always due to people and organizations coming together for a worthy cause. We are fortunate to have an extraordinary combination that made this year’s event a rousing success. Special thanks to The Clark Group, our title sponsor. We are also indebted to The Wine Cask of Old Saybrook who provided the evening’s libations. Event sponsors Tower Laboratories, Murphy and Company CPAs, Whelen Engineering, Guilford Savings Bank and Edward Jones Investments of Clinton also deserve recognition for their support and for their continued belief in us.

Mere words are not sufficient to thank Elizabeth Steffen who worked so hard to produce the food for the evening, contributed a number of raffle and auction items and still somehow found time to sell tickets and help set up the venue. Similarly, the efforts of board member Paula Chabot, our event organizer, board members Arcangela Claffey, Barb Erni, Bill Guerra and Rose Marie Cushing insured a wonderful and successful fundraiser. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hard work and extra dedication of Administrative Assistant Joanne Argersinger, volunteers Paula Ferrara and Judy Sousa and the cooperation of the Old Saybrook Park and Recreation Department. Thank you all so very much!

Finally, thank you to everyone who shared the evening with us and whose support and generosity will warm our students throughout the remainder of this fall and into the New Year.


John J. Ferrara
Executive Director Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc.

Democrat Gister Defeats Linn in Chester’s First Selectman Race, Englert Loses Seat

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek celebrate their respective elections.

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek celebrate their respective elections.

Mario Gioco read the following “unofficial results” of the Chester Board of Selectmen election to those waiting in the town hall:
First Selectman:
Lauren Gister (D) 680
Carolyn Linn (R) 413
Charlene Janecek (D) 688
Tom Englert (R) 404
Gister commented, “We will work very hard and we will make you proud.”
Full story by Charles Stannard coming tomorrow.

Essex Elementary School Foundation Prepares for Second Talent Showcase

CENTERBROOK, CT — The Essex Elementary School Foundation, a not-for-profit, volunteer organization that provides independent financial resources for worthy educational projects, enrichment programs, and other initiatives, is preparing for its second Essex Elementary Talent Showcase. Students in the fourth through sixth grades were invited to participate in this “non-competitive talent show” where all students will walk away as equal winners.

The goal is two-fold: to empower EES students to be proud of their abilities and to enhance awareness of the foundation’s role in the school community. The showcase has brought in local volunteers, such as Patty Carver, of the Connecticut Children’s Theatre, to provide professional assistance.

The Talent Showcase will be open to the public on Monday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Essex Elementary School’s cafeteria. Scot Haney, WFSB’s popular meteorologist and personality, will be making a special appearance at the show. Donations will be graciously accepted by the foundation at the door.

Since its inception in 1996, the Essex Elementary School Foundation’s primary goal has been to create a significant endowment that can support the school’s strategic vision to be a world-class educational institution. Each year, 5% of the EESF endowment is allocated for programs and projects such as a Scientist-in-Residence program, an iPad lab, literacy support materials, equipment for musical and physical education, playground improvements, logical thinking games, and audio/visual equipment.

For more information about the Essex Elementary School Foundation, log onto Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Essex Elementary School Foundation, PO Box 882, Essex, CT 06426.

St. Joseph Church Christmas Fair, Chester, Dec. 5

St. Joseph Church at 48 Middlesex Avenue, Chester, CT. will be holding a Christmas Fair complete with crafters, fresh wreaths & greens, baked goods and Dixie baskets on December 5, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Luncheon items will be available and Santa will make an appearance.

Call 860 526 5495 for more details.

The Natural Beauty of Plum Island: Paintings and Photographs at Essex Library

“Plum Island, Northeast View” by John Sargent

“Plum Island, Northeast View” by John Sargent

The Essex Library will host an exhibit of paintings and photographs of Plum Island during the month of November. The exhibit is free and open to the public during the Library’s regular operating hours. Photographer Bob Lorenz and artist John Sargent met on a tour of Plum Island organized by Save the Sound. Excited about the potential of the natural subject matter there, they decided to create an exhibit that could convey to the public the special natural qualities of the island and the surrounding waters.

John Sargent lives in Quaker Hill, CT and has been an artist and art teacher for approximately 40 years. He has lived close to Long Island Sound for much of that time in the New London and Old Lyme areas. He has observed Plum Island from both the Connecticut shore and from boats on the water and has been enchanted by Plum and the other islands near it. He has a long-time interest in nature and natural preservation. His artwork is influenced by observations of nature and he is particularly interested in having his artwork bring about awareness of the natural beauty of this local area. Old Saybrook resident Bob Lorenz has been a professional photographer of many subjects for over 40 years.

The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex. For more information, please call the Library at (860) 767-1560.

Essex Place Centerbrook Groundbreaking for New Affordable Senior Housing

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Thorden)

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Thorden)

ESSEX — Essex Place Centerbrook, LLC held a groundbreaking for a new 22-unit building for affordable senior housing in Centerbrook, CT, a village of the Town of Essex.  In attendance for the ceremony were representatives from the state legislature, the Governor’s office, and the U.S. Congress as well as town officials, funders of the project, and members of the Development Team.

Essex Place Centerbrook is a partnership between Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing (EEAH)and Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development (WIHED). Celebrating the occasion were remarks from Commissioner Klein, Department of Housing, Rep. Philip Miller, First Selectman Norm Needleman, Joanne Sullivan from the Federal Home Loan Bank, Erica Schwarz from LISC, Greg Shook, Chairman and CEO of Essex Savings Bank, and from  WIHED Betsy Crum, Exec. Director, and Loni Willey, Chief Operating Officer.

The groundbreaking  celebration culminates over five years of planning. The idea for Essex Place Centerbrook was to provide additional units for Essex Court, the current senior affordable housing residence, that had a waiting list larger than available places .  In 2012, the development process began.  The Development Team includes Quisenberry & Arcari, Architects, W.H. Cole, To Design, Doane Collins,  A. Secondino & Sons, and Cloutier & Cassella and Hudson &Kilby, counsels.  The Board of Directors of Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing are most grateful for the support of everyone who collaborated to make this project a reality.  Occupancy for the new building is anticipated to be 2017.