December 21, 2014

Essex Winter Series Announces 2015 Program

The Attaca Quartet will perform in the first concert of the 2015 Essex Winter Series.

The Attaca Quartet will perform in the first concert of the 2015 Essex Winter Series.

Essex Winter Series will present four diverse and exciting concerts in 2015, including two programs of classical chamber music, a concert of jazz from the early part of the twentieth century, and — for the first time — a world-renowned chamber chorus. Programmed by EWS artistic director Mihae Lee and newly-appointed Jazz Impresario Jeff Barnhart, these concerts offer world-class performing artists and an impressive array of styles and genres.

The first concert, StringFest2, takes place on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. 2015 Fenton Brown Emerging Artists, the Attacca Quartet, will share the stage with three members of the Amphion Quartet — who performed in the first StringFest in 2011 as the EWS Emerging Artists— and the renowned violinist Erin Keefe. The members of the Attacca Quartet are Amy Schroeder and Keiko Tanagawa, violin; Luke Fleming, viola; and Andrew Yee, cello. The members of the Amphion Quartet who will perform in this program are Katie Hyun, violin; Andy Wei-Yang Lin, viola; and Mihai Marica, cello.

Three members of the Amphion Quartet (pictured above) will also appear in the first concert.

Three members of the Amphion Quartet will also appear in the first concert.

The concert begins with three musicians of the Amphion Quartet performing Franz Schubert’s String Trio in B flat major, followed by the Amphion Quartet in a performance of Edvard Grieg’s String Quartet in G minor. After intermission, the two groups joined by Erin Keefe will perform the exciting Octet for Strings in E flat, written in 1825 by the remarkably precocious sixteen-year-old Felix Mendelssohn.

Three concerts, all Sundays at 3 p.m., follow the season opener on Jan. 11. The Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert on Feb. 8 at Valley Regional High School will feature Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.  On March 1,  Chanticleer, “ An Orchestra of Voices” will perform a program entitled “The Gypsy in My Soul” at Old Saybrook High School. The final concert, on March 29 at Valley Regional High School, will be an exciting program of piano trios, with Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee, violinist Chee-Yun and cellist Julie Albers.

StringFest2 is co-sponsored by Guilford Savings Bank and Essex Meadows.

All tickets to Essex Winter Series concerts are general admission. Individual tickets are $35; four-concert subscriptions are $120, which represents a $20 saving over the single-ticket price for four concerts. Tickets may be purchased on the EWS website,www.essexwinterseries.com, or by calling 860-272-4572.

The performers in Stringfest2 include:

Attacca Quartet

First Prize winners of the 7th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2011, top prizewinners and Listeners’ Choice Award recipients in the 2011 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and winners of the Alice Coleman Grand Prize at the 60th annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition in 2006, the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet has become one of America’s premier young performing ensembles.  The Attacca Quartet is now in its eleventh season, having been formed at the Juilliard School in 2003.  It is comprised of violinists Amy Schroeder and Keiko Tokunaga, violist Luke Fleming and cellist Andrew Yee.  They made their professional debut in 2007 as part of the Artists International Winners Series in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and have appeared there on numerous occasions since.  The Attacca Quartet recently recorded the complete string quartet works of John Adams for Azica Records, which was released to great acclaim in March 2013.  2013-2014 marked the fourth season of “The 68,” an ambitious project in which the Attacca Quartet will perform all sixty-eight Haydn string quartets on a special series they created in New York.  They have been honored with the 2013 National Federation of Music Clubs Centennial Chamber Music Award, the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association, and the Lotos Prize in the Arts.

Amphion Quartet

Hailed for its “gripping intensity” and “suspenseful and virtuoso playing” (San Francisco Classical Voice), the Amphion String Quartet is a winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition and joined the roster of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two Program in fall 2013. Through LCCMS, the ensemble made its Alice Tully Hall debut in March 2014, about which the New York Times praised “the focused, forceful young Amphion String Quartet” for its “sharply detailed performances.”

This season includes their Mostly Mozart debut with two recitals at Avery Fisher Hall and a return to Korea for the Busan Chamber Music Festival. The quartet has several return engagements in New York, including two LCCMS performances at Alice Tully Hall, Schneider Concerts at the New School, Brooklyn’s Bargemusic and the Tilles Center Chamber Music Series on Long Island. Collaborative performances include a recital with clarinetist David Shifrin at Rockford’s Coronado Theatre and a special program with the renowned dance company BodyVox in Portland, Oregon. This fall, the ASQ’s first CD will be released by the UK-based label Nimbus, including quartets by Grieg, Janacek and Wolf.

Internationally, the Amphion Quartet has performed in South Korea at the Music Isle Festival in Jeju and at the Seoul Arts Center.  Previous U.S. festival appearances include The Chautauqua Institution, OK Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, New Jersey’s Mostly Music Series, NYU String Quartet Workshop, Princeton Summer Concerts, Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival, and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. The ASQ has collaborated with such eminent artists as the Tokyo String Quartet, Ani Kavafian, David Shifrin, Carter Brey, Edgar Meyer, Michala Petri, James Dunham, and Deborah Hoffmann.

Recent featured concerts include the Amphion Quartet’s Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall on the CAG series with guest David Shifrin, and also Zankel Hall; the Library of Congress and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.; Caramoor Center for the Arts; Pepperdine University; TCAN Center for the Arts (Mass.); New York’s Met Museum and National Arts Club;, and a tour of Northern California.  The ASQ has been showcased on New York’s WQXR radio frequently, including the station’s November 2012 Beethoven String Quartet Marathon.

Erin Keefe, violin

Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, violinist Erin Keefe was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2006.  She was also the Grand Prize winner in the Valsesia Musica, Torun, Schadt and Corpus Christi international violin competitions, and was the Silver Medalist in the Carl Nielsen, Sendai, and Gyeongnam competitions.

Ms. Keefe has appeared in recent seasons as soloist with orchestras such as the Minnesota Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, the Korean Symphony Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, the Sendai Philharmonic and the Gottingen Symphony and has given recitals throughout the United States, Austria, Italy, Germany, Korea, Poland, Japan and Denmark. She has collaborated with artists such as the Emerson String Quartet, Roberto and Andrés Díaz, Edgar Meyer, Gary Hoffman, Richard Goode, Menahem Pressler, and Leon Fleisher, and she has recorded for Naxos, Onyx, the CMS Studio Recordings label, and Deutsche Grammophon. She has made festival appearances with Music@Menlo, the Marlboro Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Ravinia, and the Seattle, OK Mozart, Mimir, Bravo! Vail Valley, Music in the Vineyards and Bridgehampton chamber music festivals. Ms. Keefe performs regularly with the Brooklyn and Boston Chamber Music Societies and is an Artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Novelist Bob Steele Presents his Casino Potboiler in Chester

Bob Steele the CurseFormer Congressman turned novelist, Bob Steele, will address one of Connecticut’s hot-button issues — how we became New England’s Gambling State — when he comes to Chester at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 11, for Books & Bagels at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ).

Steele, who served one term in the House of Representatives and also ran for Governor, will speak about Connecticut’s casinos and the background to his book, The Curse: Big-Time Gambling’s Seduction of a Small New England Town (Levellers Press).

“The casinos are places of fascination and mystery,” says Tracy Kleinberg, chair of the CBSRZ program committee, which produces Books & Bagels. “Bob’s book provides an illuminating view of both the glitz and the unsavory side of casino life.”

The novel, which has just gone into its second printing, is set against the explosion of casino gambling in Connecticut during the 1990s, when two Indian tribes built the world’s two biggest casinos in the southeastern corner of the state.

The narrative begins in 1637 with the massacre of the Pequot Indians and a curse delivered by a Pequot sachem to the young English soldier who is about to kill him.  The story then jumps 350 years as the soldier’s 13th generation descendant, Josh Williams, and his family become embroiled in a battle to stop a third casino that threatens their town and ancestral home.

WBZ Boston’s Dan Rea calls the novel “powerful” and Connecticut author Martin Shapiro describes it as “compelling and timely…a riveting story of history, money and politics that will make you wonder where America is headed.” 

Bob Steele is chairman of Connecticut-based NLC Insurance Company and has been a director of numerous other companies, including the American Stock Exchange.

This program is free and open to the public and reservations are not necessary.  Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information on this event or other CBSRZ programming, contact the synagogue office 860-526-8920 or visit the www.cbsrz.org.

Blood Drive to be Held New Year’s Eve in Chester in Honor of Colleen Kelly Alexander

CHESTER — Middlesex County residents are encouraged to end the year on a high note by donating blood. An American Red Cross blood drive will be held in honor of Colleen Kelly Alexander on Wednesday, Dec. 31 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pursuit Athletic Performance, 8 Inspiration Ln., in Chester.  Alexander will be sharing her inspirational story at 11 a.m. during the drive.

In 2011, while on a routine bike ride, she was run over by a freight truck. During the fight for her life, she needed to be resuscitated twice, needed more than 78 blood products and was in a coma for five weeks. Miraculously, Alexander survived the trauma and has gone on to run more than 50 races and compete in 15 triathlons, including four half Ironman events. Since her experience, she has become a proud supporter of the Red Cross and works tirelessly to promote the need for blood and platelet donations.

“I am here today because time and time again, heroes have rolled up their sleeves to help save a life,” said Alexander. “I may never know those who had a hand in helping save my life, but what I do know is that I can give back by raising awareness about the need for blood and platelet donations and encouraging eligible donors to give back to their communities through blood donation.”

Busy holiday schedules and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, can often mean fewer donors giving blood this time of year. “Patients, like Colleen, don’t get a holiday from needing blood or platelets,” said Stefanie Arcangelo, external communications manager, Red Cross Connecticut Blood Services Region. “As the New Year approaches, the Red Cross encourages individuals to make a meaningful resolution. Resolve to give blood or platelets now and throughout the year.”

Alexander is scheduled to undergo another surgery at the beginning of January as part of her continued recovery and blood products may be needed. She hopes this blood drive will help to ensure blood is available to patients like her, whenever and wherever it is needed.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Essex Library’s January Art Exhibit Features Maryanne Rupp

The signature work for Maryanne Rupp's upcoming exhibition at Essex Library is "Fragile Dunes."

The signature work for Maryanne Rupp’s upcoming exhibition at Essex Library is “Fragile Dunes.”

An art exhibit will be held at the Essex Library, 33 Essex Avenue,  through the month of January, 2015, featuring guest artist,  Maryanne Rupp.

Rupp is a retired Hospice nurse who has been painting intermittently for most of her life but more seriously over the last five to six years.  She works in both oil and pastels, but considers herself primarily a pastelist, enjoying the pure, intense color and spontaneity that is possible with that medium.

Rupp is a signature member of the Connecticut Pastel Society (CPS), Academic Artists, Lyme Art Association, Clinton Art Society, Mystic Art Center, Guilford Art League, and Madison Art Society where she serves on the Board of Directors. She has exhibited with all of the previous associations, being accepted into many of their juried exhibitions over the last eight years.

Rupp has been accepted into the CPS Renaissance in Pastel Juried Exhibit for the last five years. In 2011, she was juried into the New Britain Museum of American Art Member Show, where she had completed their docent training program. She has also been juried into the Academic Artist National Exhibit in 2012 and 2014 as well as into Pastel Painters of Cape Cod in 2012 and 2013.

Madhatters to Hold Auditions for ‘Seussical,’ Jan. 3

Madhatters Theatre Company is now accepting appointments for auditions for their spring production of ‘Seussical’ to be performed in May at the Chester Meeting House.  Auditions are being held Jan. 3, at the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, 59 Lyme St., Old Lyme from 9 a.m.to 2 p.m.

To schedule an appointment and for further information, call (860) 395-1861 or e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com

Essex Garden Club Donates to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

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Pictured packing the food for delivery to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries are Dianne Sexton and Carol Denham.

Essex Garden Club members collected non perishable food items for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) at the club’s annual festivities at Essex Meadows.  Individual members and the club also donated $1,510 to the SSKP, which will be matched by the Gowrie Challenge.

Sen. Linares: “We can’t afford more rate hikes.”

Sen. Art Linares (R-Westbrook) today sent to state regulators a list of nearly 800 people who have signed his online petition at www.senatorlinares.com in opposition to Connecticut Light & Power’s proposed service rate hike.

On Wednesday (Dec. 17), the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) is expected to finalize a $7.12 increase in the average monthly bill that Connecticut Light & Power sends out to its residential customers.  The $7.12 hike would come on top of a Jan. 1 increase of $18.48, on average, for CL&P residential customers.

“As state senator, I represent 100,000 people in a region that stretches along the Connecticut River Valley from Portland south to Old Saybrook and Lyme,” Sen. Linares said.  “Hundreds of Connecticut rate payers have signed this petition because they want state regulators to deny CL&P’s proposed service rate hike.  We can’t afford more rate hikes.”

Regardless of whether rates are hiked on Wednesday, Sen. Linares urged residents to continue to email state regulators at PURA.ExecutiveSecretary@ct.gov if they wish to express their concerns about rising costs.

Simply Sharing Passes it Forward

(l-r): Simply Sharing President and Founder Alison Brinkmann shares a special moment with a client from Gilead Community services after helping her move into her new home.

(l-r): Simply Sharing President and Founder Alison Brinkmann shares a special moment with a client from Gilead Community services after helping her move into her new home.

ESSEX – When Simply Sharing President and Founder Alison Brinkmann decided to dedicate her time to a good cause and create an organization that would have a meaningful and lasting impact, she had no idea where that decision would take her.  She did know that she wanted to create a collaborative effort, one with a simple, single mission.  Through her involvement with the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Brinkmann saw the potential to help homeless individuals and families in local communities by building a network of shared services and resources.  After numerous discussions with leaders from area organizations and agencies, it was evident that there was a great need to secure furnishings and household items for those transitioning from shelters to sustainable and supportive housing.  So with a leg up from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, who provided fiscal oversight and funding, the Essex resident launched Simply Sharing in April 2012 and has been on the move ever since.

“When someone first moves out of a shelter, the money they’re earning usually doesn’t go very far, and many can’t afford furnishings,” explained Brinkmann, “ A kitchen table and chairs, beds and sheets, pots, pans and dishes – these are basic household goods many of us take for granted. Yet for individuals and families who have been homeless, these basic necessities are, indeed, luxuries.”

While the concept of collecting donated items for redistribution is not a new one, Simply Sharing takes a more collaborative, personal partner approach on both ends of the process. The all-volunteer, non-profit organization welcomes material and financial donations from individuals and businesses and then works solely through other qualified non-profit agencies and organizations to identify clients that are in the most need of those donations.  In addition to the furnishings and funds given by residents throughout Middlesex County, ongoing relationships with Bob’s Discount Furniture, Essex Meadows, Gather, and Realty 3 CT have built a solid foundation of additional resources.  Working with Columbus House, Gilead Community Services, The Connection, Inc, Middlesex Hospital and Central Connecticut State University, Simply Sharing has helped well over 50 families get a fresh start in a new home.

That help comes in the well-orchestrated form of Brinkmann and other Simply Sharing volunteers making house calls to pick up donations or receiving them at their warehouse space in Essex, cleaning, selecting and organizing goods for the specific needs of identified families, and then delivering and “setting up” the items in the new living space. “It’s the most gratifying part of our work,” added Brinkmann, “ To be able to meet the people you are helping and see their reaction and appreciation for all the good that’s being given to them – it’s hard to keep a dry eye.”

For more information on Simply Sharing, go to simplysharing.org, email info@simplysharing.org or call 860-388-7390.

CHAMPIONS! Valley/Old Lyme Football Win State Class S-Large

CIAC Class S-Large Champs! Photo by W. Visgilio

CIAC Class S-Large Champs! Photo by W. Visgilio

Champions! Valley/Old Lyme Football Defy Odds to Win State Class S-Large

CIAC Class S-Large Champs!

CIAC Class S-Large Champs!  Photo by W. Visgilio.

Congratulations to coach Tim King and his Warriors on an incredible win!

New Britain – Quarterback Chris Jean-Pierre’s four-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds remaining rallied top-seeded Valley Regional/Old Lyme to a 21-20 victory over No. 2 Ansonia in their Class S-Large state championship football game at Willow Brook Park on Saturday morning. Click here to read the remainder of this full initial report of the game by Ned Griffin, which was published in The Day yesterday

And here’s another link to great article about the game.

And, finally, here’s Tim Devlin’s video of all Saturday’s state game highlights.

CT State Senator and State Representative Join in 35 Year Celebration in Chester

CT Senator Art Linares (33rd District), and CT Representative Philip Miller (36th District), congratulated and honored Roto Frank of America, Inc. at the celebration of their 35-year presence in North America.

CT Senator Art Linares (33rd District), and CT Representative Philip Miller (36th District), congratulate Roto Frank of America, Inc. at the celebration of their 35-year presence in North America.

On Thursday, December 4th, CT Senator Art Linares (33rd District), and CT Representative Phil Miller (36th District), congratulated and honored Roto Frank of America, Inc. of Chester at the celebration of their 35-year presence in North America. They presented Roto with an Official Citation from the General Assembly during the event. The festivities also included a retrospective of the company’s growth and development by Skip Branciforte, an employee who has been with Roto Frank of America since its beginning, as well as a catered luncheon and gifts for all personnel to commemorate the occasion.

The Chester, Connecticut facility houses Roto’s administration, engineering, manufacturing and distribution departments for their North American and European hardware. Roto Frank of America and Roto Fasco Canada combined form Roto North America, with over 120 employees, and are subsidiaries of the world’s largest manufacturer of OEM window hardware, Roto Frank AG.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this significant milestone in our company’s history, and we realize that this achievement would not have been possible without all of the dedicated Roto employees, customers, partners, and shareholders who have helped us along the way with their loyalty, integrity, and commitment,” says Chris Dimou, Roto North America’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

About Roto Frank of America, Inc.: Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America, Inc. (www.rotohardware.com) has a long tradition of providing manufacturing solutions to OEMs in the window and door industry. The company specializes in window and door hardware, such as Casement/Awning, Single/Double Hung, Tilt & Turn, Sliding/hinged Patio and Euro.

Chester Rotary Participates In the Liberty Bank “Thanksgiving Dinner Drive”

Rotary 2014 Thanksgiving Dinner Drive Check Presentation

Rotary 2014 Thanksgiving Dinner Drive Check Presentation

On November 24, 2014 Gary Torello, the chairman of Chester Rotary’s Liberty Bank Thanks Giving Dinner Drive, presented a check in the amount of $2,407.51 to Rosie Bininger, Director of Human Services for the town of Chester, CT. Torello along with other Chester Rotarians raised funds throughout the month prior to this year’s Thanksgiving holiday in order to feed a growing number of Chester families on Thanksgiving Day. Funds not used to directly provide Thanksgiving dinners to area residents will be used to help stock the Chester Food Pantry in the coming months.

The Chester Rotary was one of 33 Rotary Clubs participating in the annual Liberty Bank/Rotary Club Thanksgiving Dinner Drive. While Liberty Bank had promised matching funds in the amount of 20% of funds collected by Connecticut Rotary Clubs, a last minute surprise by Liberty Bank President and CEO, Chandler Howard, increased it to 25 cents per dollar at the conclusion of the drive. All total, Connecticut Rotary clubs collected $167,476.11 which together with The Liberty Bank Foundation’s $41,869.03 in matching funds makes for a grand total of $209,489.82.

Letter: Chester – Library, Trees, Roosters and Guns

To the Editor:

I find Chester a very interesting place to live and would live nowhere else. Over the years I have moved away to find myself returning as soon as I can. You are free to raise roosters, shoot a gun and not have your trees cut down (without due course) and if someone tries to change these things there is a huge public outcry.

These things are important to some but what is important to me and should be important to all is that our Library is not able to serve every person. This coming year will be the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Chester has failed to address this issue within our Public Library to conform to this act in the past 25 years! Where is the outcry! We now have the opportunity to address this with the recently acquired grant from the State of the Connecticut that will provide partial funding for a new library.

Fact: The current Chester Library does not address handicap accessibility.

Fact: The Town of Chester does not own the property on which the current library stands, so investing in the current building is not a solution.

Of course there are many other valid reasons why the library needs updating and the need for a community center, but first and foremost the primary issue needs to be addressed. There is no longer the need for any discussion, it’s a simple fact. Unfortunately this means that we as a community must provide the necessary remaining funding either through private donations or tax increases, but not doing anything is no longer an option. It is our social responsibility and the time has come address it once and for all.

Sincerely,

Dean Amato
Chester

Sweet Honey in the Rock to Perform in Chester on MLK Weekend

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SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, photo by Dwight Carter

Luring the Grammy Award nominated and internationally adored African-American singers, SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, to perform during the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend was a dream of Miriam Gardner-Frum, longtime director of the Chester concert series, Music & More.    The concert will be held on Sunday, January 18 at 3:00 pm at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

There are of course many ways to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, but one the most meaningful, Miriam thought, would be through the uplifting harmonies of SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, or as one music critic wrote, “The GOLD STANDARD… Their voices are all fabulous, and they unite to create a sound so pure and smooth and homogeneous that is does not seem humanly possible.”

Over the years, Miriam has brought many remarkable musicians to Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ), and she saw her opportunity with Sweet Honey when she read that the group had received an award from Common Ground, an organization that recognizes exceptional efforts in humanitarian work.

As a supporter of Common Ground’s work, Miriam saw the stars aligned – potentially. “I thought how amazing it would be to have them here in our beautiful synagogue. They combine two exceptional features – great a capella music that lifts hearts even as it calls attention to great injustices of our world. This seemed a natural fit for us at CBSRZ.  Through our Social Action efforts, we do much work along those lines as well.”

But of course theory and practice are not easy to reconcile. For Miriam, there were logistics to address in scheduling and in daunting terms of the performance contract.

“When I first contacted their agent, it didn’t seem possible that we could do this, but we worked with them, and they were very helpful, and here we are!  I am grateful for their flexibility, and that they are eager to come to a synagogue and help spread the message of love that Dr. King expressed.”

Carol Maillard, one of the founding members of the group and still singing with it, says that Sweet Honey has celebrated Dr. King’s birthday in concert many times but never in a synagogue. She says, “We’re very excited about coming and we hope that folks will come with an open mind and heart. We hope they’ll feel uplifted and won’t be afraid to show they’re having a good time.”

The name of the performance group was indeed derived from a song, based on Psalm 81:16, which tells of a land so rich that when rocks were cracked open, honey flowed from them.

SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK is rooted in African American history and culture. The ensemble educates, entertains and empowers its audience and community through the dynamic vehicles of a cappella singing and American Sign Language interpretation for the Deaf and hearing impaired. Sweet Honey’s audience and community comes from diverse backgrounds and cultures throughout the United States and around the world, and includes people of all ages.

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, spiritual leader of CBSRZ, says this concert is a perfect way to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.  “We honor him every year because of the Jewish People’s historical commitment to the struggle for human rights. But more importantly, we recommit ourselves to the ongoing work of demanding justice and equal treatment for all people living in this country.”

Tickets for the general public are $30 and advance ticket purchases are highly recommended.  For more information, please call CBSRZ at 860.526.8920.

Letter: Essex Beavers Received Stay, Not Commutation

To the Editor:

I write to clarify an important element of the story reported in this publication’s December 5 feature, “Essex Conservation Commission to Hold Off Lethal Trapping of Beavers,” which seems to have triggered local jubilation.

While I have Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman’s personal assurance that he, concerned citizens, and the Essex conservation commission are now “all on the same page” and that the commissioners have pledged to examine non-lethal beaver management alternatives, only on-the-record rescission of the commission’s earlier trap/drown decision guarantees that no physical harm will come to the beavers.  The conservation commission has the full authority to act as it deems appropriate, and it has left open the Final Solution.

Talk is cheap, and if the public heat abates I have no confidence — based on its legacy — that the conservation commission can be trusted to act diligently in the public interest, and with the utmost transparency.  Beavers were trapped and drowned by closed-door decision several years ago.  In the commission’s meeting on December 4, the vice commissioner asserted, for example, that death by drowning is “instantaneous” — a statement that is patently false, ignorant, and dismissive of a legitimate animal welfare concern.

The overarching ethical issue is that beavers, which today’s science recognizes as beneficial cornerstone species of the ecosystem, are simply behaving naturally in a preserve that taxpayers established to safeguard flora and fauna from mankind’s destruction.

I urge your readers to monitor this issue closely and to continue pressing for definitive, on-the-record rescission of the conservation commission’s November 6 trap/kill decision.

Sincerely,

Scott R. Konrad
Essex  

Liberty Bank Foundation Donates $5,000 to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

From left to right, Leigh-Bette Maynard, manager of Liberty Bank’s Essex and Old Saybrook offices, Patty Dowling, Executive Director of The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, and Skip Marquardt, Raymond James Financial Services and SSKP Board of Trustee member.

From left to right, Leigh-Bette Maynard, manager of Liberty Bank’s Essex and Old Saybrook offices, Patty Dowling, Executive Director of The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, and Skip Marquardt, Raymond James Financial Services and SSKP Board of Trustee member.

The Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded a $5,000 grant to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) to support the purchase of food from the CT Food Bank.

“SSKP is so grateful for the generous support we receive from the Liberty Bank Foundation. This donation helps assures that people in need on the shoreline have a place to turn for food and fellowship.  With these funds specifically we will be able to distribute enough food at our pantries for over 13,150 meals. On behalf of all those we serve, I thank The Liberty Bank Foundation for supporting our local neighbors in need,” said Patty Dowling, executive director of SSKP.

“The need for services continues to be more critical than ever during the current economic conditions,” said Leigh-Bette Maynard, manager of Liberty Bank’s Essex and Old Saybrook offices.  “A need exists in every community including the Shoreline.  Liberty is proud to be a long-time supporter of Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries.”

Since its inception in 1997, the Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded almost $7.9 million in grants to nonprofit organizations within Liberty Bank’s market area.  The foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for people of low or moderate income by investing in three areas:  education to promote economic success for children and families; affordable housing; and nonprofit capacity building.  Along with its grantmaking, the foundation strives to foster the convening and collaboration of nonprofits, funders, business, and government to address community issues.

Founded in 1989, SSKP provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River.

Established in 1825, Liberty Bank is Connecticut’s oldest mutual bank, with almost $3.5 billion in assets and 48 banking offices throughout the central, eastern, and shoreline areas of the state.  As a full-service financial institution, it offers consumer and commercial banking, home mortgages, insurance, and investment services.  Rated outstanding by federal regulators on its community reinvestment efforts, Liberty maintains a longstanding commitment to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement.

Essex Elementary School Foundation Hosts Haiti Day

Second grader Lyle Pitman works on his Haitian mask.

Second grader Lyle Pitman works on his Haitian mask.

Second and third grade students at the Essex Elementary School were recently treated to Haiti Day, as part of the Justus W. Paul World Cultures program, funded by the Essex Elementary School Foundation.  They learned about Haitian life and culture by making masks and metal art, as well as listening to music performed by the Carnival Trio.  The children will also study India and China.

In early December, the Essex Elementary School Foundation (EESF) kicked off its annual appeal.  In addition to the World Cultures Program, this not-for-profit, volunteer organization also provides funds for enrichment programs, such as an iPad lab, a talent show and a mathematician-in-residence.

United Church of Christ Seeks Christian Education Director

The United Church of Chester is currently looking for a Christian Education Director.  See the church website at uccchester.org or email unitedchester@sbcglobal.net or call 860-526-2697 for a job description.

The church’s mission states, “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here at the United Church of Chester, an Open and Affirming Church, and a member of the United Church of Christ.”  Each member has the undisturbed right to follow the Word of God according to the dictates of his or her own conscience, under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

Visit for Sunday morning worship at 10 a.m. or come by the office Tues-Fri 9 a.m.-1 p.m. to find out more about the church.

The mailing address for the church is United Church of Chester Post Office Box 383 29 West Main Street  Chester, Connecticut 06412

The Secret Life of Bees, Essex Library – Jan. 8

Movie Secret Life of BeesESSEX —  The Essex Library, 33 West Avenue, will be hosting the film: The Secret Life of Bees, on Thursday, January 8, 6:30-8:30 PM.

The Secret Life of Bees is adapted from the novel of the same name by Sue Monk Kidd, starring Queen Latifah, and Jennifer Hudson, about a 14-year-old girl who finds comfort in the world of beekeeping while delving through her family history.

This dramatic introduction to the world of honeybees may inspire those attending the upcoming program at Essex Library, “What’s the Buzz?  Honeybees and Beekeeping!” held on January 22, at 6:30 PM.

Please register to attend by calling the library at: (860) 767-1560, or stop by and register in person.

Con Brio Auditions New Singers – Jan. 5

Con Brio announces its next audition is scheduled for Monday, January 5th, 2015 at 7 pm at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road, Old Saybrook, CT.

No prepared pieces are required. If you would like to learn more, call Sue at 860 575 9668 or visit www.conbrio.org

Letter: Must Consider the Health Risks the Beavers Present

To the Editor:

It’s distressing to read the several letters about the extermination of the beavers at Vineyard Hill Brook Park. You can be sure the “remedy” chosen to remove the beavers from the park is a last resort, not the first choice, of the park managers. The unfortunate reality is that water in which beaver resides is not healthy, is in fact dangerous, for humans, especially young humans.

Maybe the remedy would be to allow a pond to be developed downstream, somewhere, or some such; there just aren’t a lot of places to which they can be removed any more. The reason Essex has the park is to allow people to swim and play in a potable water body, not just for fun, but also to learn a little about being able to survive in water.

We allow the killing of other animals which are a threat to us, and though it is not my own desire to do this, no one seems to have a better remedy.

Sincerely,

Jonathan James
Essex

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.

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.

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, 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.

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

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.

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