August 1, 2014

The Nature Conservancy Begins Fish Passage Project on Falls River in Essex

ESSEX, CT—Work has started along the Falls River on a fishway that will benefit such migratory fish as alewife and blueback herring, as well as migrating American eel and other resident fish.

The work at the privately owned Tiley-Pratt dam will open the way for fish to access an additional 2.5 miles of river, as well as a half-acre pond above the dam. Located at a former mill site, the dam has a stone-wall lined channel that will be modified with a rocky ramp and four stone weirs. Falls River is part of the Connecticut River system.

Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection staff is assisting with construction.  The Essex Land Trust and the dam’s owner are also providing financial and other support for the project, which is expected to be completed during August.

“Connecticut streams are riddled with small dams that have big impacts.  Reconnecting rivers by removing dams and building fishways improves river health by increasing species diversity and providing fish access to more and varied habitat.” said Sally Harold, director river restoration and fish passage for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

The Conservancy is working with the Essex Land Trust to develop and install an educational sign describing fish passage and river restoration strategies at the land trust’s nearby Tiley-Pratt Preserve.

“The east bank of Tiley-Pratt Pond is one of six Essex Land Trust preserves which border the Falls River, the ecological and historical lifeline linking together the villages of Essex,” said Bob Nussbaum, past president and current vice president, of the Essex Land Trust, which also has committed $2,000 towards the gravel to be used in constructing the fishway. “We are very excited to participate in this project to improve the river habitat and restore connectivity for migratory river species.”

The Tiley-Pratt dam project also is supported by an $85,000 grant award from The National Fish and Wildlife Foundations’ Long Island Sound Futures Fund.

Portions of the Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant also will support work at Coleytown dam on the Aspetuck River in Westport and a dam on Beaver Lake in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The grant required a Conservancy match of almost $60,000, secured through donor support and in-kind contributions.

New Bids to be Opened August 28 for Deep River Sewer Expansion project

DEEP RIVER— A second round of bids will be opened Aug. 28 for the town’s sewer expansion project after the bids opened in June came in higher than the $4 million in available funding for the project.

All of the six bids opened last month were over the funding authorization that was approved by voters at a May 2013 town meeting. The lowest bid, from Baltazar Contractors Inc., of Ludlow, Mass., was $4,828,958for a base bid and $5,507,658 for a price with all construction alternates. The project, which would extend the town sewer system to about 120 properties on and around River St. and Kirtland St., is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant of $1.2 million and a $2.8 million 40-year loan.

First Selectman Richard Smith said this week funding for the project can not be increased, leading engineers to publish the latest bid documents without seven residential properties on River Lane. An alternate would include River Lane, while a third alternate would include a new pump station in the vicinity of the Putnam Park apartments.

Smith said two of the River Lane properties are new homes with new septic systems, while other dwellings on the street have not had major septic system problems. Smith added that he is hopeful the town can eventually complete the entire project, including River Lane. Smith said he is hopeful construction on the sewer expansion can begin this fall, for completion by October 2015.

Concert in the Garden: Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Erik Simon Vuoritie – Aug. 7

 

Dan Stevens (Photo of Courtesy of Caryn B Davis)

Dan Stevens (Photo of Courtesy of Caryn B Davis)

The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery presents the next Concert in the Garden: Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Erik Simon Vuoritie – Aug. 7, 2014, 7-9pm.

Gates open half an hour before the show. $10 donation – BYOB – Bistro Style Seating.

 

Ramblin’ Dan Steven

Dan performs an eclectic mix of traditional fingerstyle blues and originals and has entertained audiences throughout the US, Germany, UK, Canada and Virgin Islands. Of special interest is his unique style of “bottleneck” slide playing popularized by early Mississippi delta bluesmen including his use of a homemade, three stringed “Cigar Box Guitar” and one stringed “Diddly Bow”, both primitive blues instruments. Dan has been lauded for the authenticity of his approach gained by many years on the road as a traveling blues musician. Dan has appeared with such artists as Arlo Guthire, Richie Havens, Charlie Daniels, James Cotton, Gatemouth Brown and many others.
For more info on Dan Stevens, please visit www.danstevens.net.

 

Erik Simon Vuoritie will be opening the show, More info:

 

Banging on drums at age 2 and starting classical guitar study at 5, Erik Simon Vuoritie learned at an early age that life without music is no life at all. Now, a 17-year-old student at Westbrook High School, Erik plays a combination of classical, Spanish and Latin American guitar music along with his classical-inspired arrangements of Beatles and popular melodies. Erik studies classical guitar with Alexander Vlassenkov and plays guitar and trumpet in the WHS jazz band. His guitar skills have taken him to the White House for a program hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and to Siena, Italy as part of a strings chamber music program organized by members of the Hartford Symphony. Erik performs as a professional musician in musical theater pit bands and as a solo instrumentalist for special events along the Connecticut shoreline.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhBz9m-4sj0

 

ELT Hike of the Month Windswept Ridge on Windermere Way – Aug. 2

windswept ridge

Essex Land Trust will be hosting the Walk of the Month on August 2 starting at 9 a.m.

Explore Essex’s outdoor open space by visiting Essex Land Trust’s Windswept Ridge one of many special sites that have been preserved for the benefit of all. Saturday, August 2 starting at 9 a.m. and lasting approximately 1 hour. Meet at Windermere entrance. Bad weather cancels.

Deep River Congregational Church Flea Market – Aug. 16

flea marketThe Deep River Congregational Church Flea Market is being held Saturday, August 16th, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.    The Flea Market will be held on the church lawn and on Marvin Field, located on Route 154, just as you enter Deep River from the South.  There are spaces for over 80 vendors , but only a few 20 x 20 foot spaces still available at $30 each, and you can reserve yours by contacting the church office as soon as possible.  (860-526-5045, office.drcc@snet.net or download from our website, www.deeprivercc.org.) We will also have a bake sale and hamburgs and hot dogs with fixings can be purchased.  Come and join the fun!

The Deep River Congregational Church Rummage Pre-Sale – Aug. 15

image003The 2014 DRCC Rummage Sale will be enormous this year!   The sale include a new huge “Boutique” Room full of collectibles, antiques, vintage and valuable Items rarely found all in one room!  The sale also has 5 rooms of household goods, decorative items, toys, sporting and camping goods, craft items, small furniture, seasonal decorations and art.  Everything will be priced to sell and there will be bargains galore!

New this year is a Pre-Sale on Friday, August 15th from 6 p.m.– 8 p.m.  For a just a $5 Admission fee folks can be the first to shop this monster sale!

Then come on Saturday, August 16th from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. for the Main Rummage Sale and Flea Market on the field followed by the  famous Rummage Bag Sale from 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ($3/large brown grocery bag and 1/2 price for items that do not fit in a brown bag as well as anything in the  “Boutique”)

Finally, come back on Sunday, August 17th from 9:15 a.m. – 11 a.m. for the Rummage Blow-Out Trash Bag Sale.  Fill a large trash bag and make a donation of your choice!

Three days of bargains galore in one place!!!  Plus a bake sale and lunch for purchase on Saturday!!!  Don’t Miss this Mega Sale.  Deep River Congregational Church is located at 1 Church Street in Deep River, CT!

“Talking Transportation: Is It Safe To Ride Metro-North?

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

It has been seven months since a drowsy engineer drove a speeding Metro-North train off the tracks at Spuyten Duyvil, killing four and injuring 59. Months earlier a derailment and collision near Bridgeport sent 70 to the hospital.

Ever since, the railroad has promised that improving safety is its top priority. So does that mean the railroad is now “safe”?

Aside from taking the word of management, how are we to know? Just because we haven’t had another accident doesn’t mean the railroad is safe. Nobody suspected it was unsafe until those two accidents last year showed us just how dangerous our daily commute had become.

In April this year The Commuter Action Group surveyed 642 commuters and asked them, “Do you feel safe riding Metro-North?” and 56% said yes, 15% said no and 29% said they “weren’t sure”.

Neither am I, but I ride those trains regularly, hoping for the best. And so far, so good. I take the railroad at its word when it says safety is its top priority, but I have no way of telling it that’s true. As Donald Rumsfeld famously said, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

Waiting on a station platform, how can the average commuter look at the tracks, the overhead wires or signals and know that Metro-North is safe? We can’t even see the engineers because they hide in their control booth behind jerry-rigged cardboard curtains ‘lest riders should watch them at work.

Here’s what we do know. The trains are running slower (on-time performance was only 79% in May). And last week we also learned that an entire class of conductor trainees had been dismissed because they were caught cheating on a safety exam. Good for the MTA for catching and disciplining them. But the worry is whether this kind of cheating has been going on for years. Reassuring?

The only way to be sure that Metro-North is safe is better federal oversight by the FRA, the Federal Railroad Administration. That agency still hasn’t issued its final report on the May 2013 derailment… and only fined the railroad $5,000 following a Metro-North trainee’s mistake, which killed one of their own track foremen. As US Senator Richard Blumenthal put it, “The watchdogs were asleep. The FRA has been lax and sluggish.”

That’s why commuters should be reassured that Senator Blumenthal will soon introduce a bill to give the FRA some real teeth: increasing civil penalties for railroad mistakes, strengthening railroad oversight, mandating new safety gear, introduction of a fatigue management plan for personnel, requiring anonymous reporting systems for whistle-blowers, installation of cameras, alerters and redundant safety systems for track workers.

Further, the bill would also require stronger safety standards for crude oil rail-tankers, the “pipelines on wheels” carrying crude oil and petroleum products on US railroads.

The only thing missing? Mandatory transparency. I’d hope that the FRA would be required to explain its oversight and reassure all railroad riders of their safety in a simple, understandable manner. That would make me feel safe.

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron has been a Darien resident for 23 years. He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group and also serves on the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

La Cage Aux Folles at The Ivoryton Playhouse – Opens Aug. 6

James Van Treuren and David Edwards (Photo by Anne Hudson)

James Van Treuren and David Edwards (Photo by Anne Hudson)

IVORYTON:  It’s the dog days of summer but in Ivoryton, August is kicking its way through the heat in feathers, glitter and six inch heels! LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, the smash hit Broadway musical opens in Ivoryton on August 6th and runs through August 31st. Written by Harvey Fierstein, Jean Poiret and Jerry Herman, the original 1983 Broadway production received nine nominations for Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. LA CAGE was later turned into a popular movie, The Birdcage, starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams.

After twenty years of un-wedded bliss Georges and Albin, two men partnered for better-or-worse get a bit of both when Georges’ son announces his impending marriage to the daughter of a bigoted, narrow-minded politician. Albin tries to help by making a perfect family with hilarious results. Further complicating the situation, Albin and Georges run a drag nightclub in St. Tropez, where Albin is the star performer ‘Zaza.’ Georges reluctantly agrees to masquerade as “normal” when he meets the family of the bride-to-be. But Albin has other plans, with hilarious results.

The show features some beautiful songs by Jerry Herman including I Am What I Am and Song on the Sand, and some hilarious situations. But, more than anything else, LA CAGE is an old fashioned love story wrapped in feathers, sprinkled with glitter and tied with a bow. This wild and warmhearted farce about the importance of nonconformity and being true to oneself will appeal to audiences of all ages.

Directed by Lawrence Thelen, choreographed by Todd Underwood and musical directed by Michael Morris, the show features David Edwards* as Albin and James Van Treuren* as Georges. Edwards has appeared on Broadway in BY JEEVES and THE ROTHSCHILDS and Van Treuren was in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. Both actors have performed these roles before and are good friends on and off stage. Zach Trimmer* is reviving the role of Jean Michel for his third time; marTina Vidmar* is Jacqueline; Frank Calamaro* of Chester is Ms. Dindon and Samantha Talmadge of Groton is Mme. Dindon

The set is designed by Cully Long, lighting by Doug Harry, wigs by Liz Cipollina and costumes by Njaye Olds.

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES opens in Ivoryton on August 6th and runs through August 31st. Performance times areWednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday andSaturday at 8pm. There are 2 extra matinees for this show on Saturday August 16th  and 23rd  at 2pm. Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Generously sponsored by:  Sennheiser and Webster Bank

*member of Actors Equity

Bjornberg Expresses Concern for Implications of Family Institute’s Support of Linares

 

Emily Bjornberg

Emily Bjornberg

Emily Bjornberg, candidate for the 33rd District State Senate Seat, pledged she will oppose any efforts in Connecticut to limit contraceptive coverage for workers through their employer-provided health plans. 

“The recent decision by the US Supreme Court has serious ramifications on women’s rights and their reproductive health,” Bjornberg said, “The most appalling aspect of this decision is that women who are the victims of sexual assault will be denied coverage to emergency contraceptives.” 

Connecticut law requires fully-insured employee benefit plans to include contraceptive coverage, although certain companies such as Hobby Lobby, a lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, are able to avoid this requirement due to preemption by federal law. 

The Hobby Lobby case has emboldened anti-choice organizations like the Family Institute of Connecticut to seek further legislative changes in states that would provide similar exemptions on what supporters say are religious freedom grounds.

Bjornberg pledged to oppose any efforts to change the law to further limit coverage of contraceptives. 

Her opponent, incumbent State Senator Art Linares, has yet to make any public statements on the issue. Linares did, however, earn the endorsement’s of the Family Institute in 2012 for his support of their issues opposing same-sex marriages and women’s reproductive choices. Family Institute members were seen demonstrating at a Connecticut Hobby Lobby store supporting the Supreme Court decision. 

“As a youth and family ministry director in Deep River I am a strong supporter of religious freedom in our country, but that freedom does not give anyone the right to impose their beliefs on others,” Bjornberg added, “The fact my opponent has been silent on this issue yet has been endorsed by an organization that opposes contraceptives even for victims of sexual assault should give every voter in the 33rd district cause for concern.” 

Editor’s Note: Connecticut’s 33rd State Senate District includes the communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

For more information about Emily Bjornberg, visit www.emily4ct.com.

Sen. Linares Endorsed by Connecticut REALTORS

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

Connecticut REALTORS announced that their association voted to endorse Senator Art Linares’ candidacy for Senate District 33.

The association is Connecticut’s largest trade association representing 15,000 real estate professionals.

“We carefully evaluate candidates in determining who may best ensure there is a positive environment for living in or transferring property in Connecticut.  Real estate is essential to economic recovery and stability in the state and the nation and helps to build communities.  We thank you for your commitment to serve,” stated Debra Chamberlain, President, Connecticut REALTORS and Jack Heckman, Government Affairs Director.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of the association.  Realtors understand the importance of a strong economy and affordable, predictable property taxes that will attract businesses to Connecticut. Taxes are a deciding factor for people who are looking to become new homeowners,” stated Senator Art Linares.

Connecticut REALTORS was founded in 1920 with a mission to support real estate professionals and maintain the preservation of property rights, while maintaining a strict Code of Conduct.

Sister Cities Essex Haiti Receives Youth and Education Award

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Sister Cities International based in Washington D.C., has announced that affiliate member Sister Cities Essex Haiti has been awarded the 2014 Sister Cities International Innovation: Youth & Education (Population less than 100,000) Award.  This award is in recognition of the outstanding exchange work done by Sister Cities Essex Haiti in advancing the goals and mission of the sister cities movement.

Sister Cities Essex Haiti will be recognized at the Sister Cities International 58th Annual Conference in San Jose, California July 31 – August 2.The award will be presented at The Lou Wozar Annual Awards ceremony and dinner to be held on August 2.The 2014 Sister Cities International Innovation Award (Youth and Education) recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding community and individual sister city programs that promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.

The mission of Sister Cities Essex Haiti, Inc. (SCEH) is to build a mutual long-term sustainable relationship between the people of Essex, Connecticut and the people of Deschapelles, Haiti, their extended communities, and Hospital Albert Schweitzer located in Deschapelles.

Since 2011, SCEH has been working on the “Early Education Teacher Training Project” in conjunction with a volunteer group called Organization pour Development Economique et Social (ODES). The objective of the project is to work with teachers in Deschapelles to enhance existing curricula, introduce hands-on educational materials important to cognitive development, provide the necessary equipment and materials, and for American and Haitian teachers to learn from one another.

Stage two of the Early Education Teacher Training Project began in 2013, as SCEH and ODES held workshops in both Essex and Deschapelles. The program has grown from three schools in 2011 to fifteen schools in 2013, as knowledge has been effectively shared collectively with workshop participants and educators at numerous schools in Deschapelles.

Kathleen Maher , SCEH President and founding member  upon receiving news of SCEH being the recipient of this award commented, “ We are extremely honored to accept this award. The energy and enthusiasm of all those involved is to be congratulated and commended, particularly the educators in Deschapelles, Haiti (who approached us with the early education program idea), the volunteer educators in our area who have enthusiastically shared their talents and skills, Essex Elementary School, Region 4 Schools, the SCEH Board for their guidance, ODES (our partnering volunteer organization in Deschapelles), Jenifer Grant for her enthusiastic leadership and wisdom, and all our benefactors.”

Jenifer Grant, SCEH Vice President for Deschapelles Project Coordination and founding member enthusiastically added, “To be able to work with the pre-school teachers in Haiti with my French and Kreyol speaking confreres from the US has been an experience that we will value all our lives.  I never imagined that those efforts would inspire teachers here to find ways for their students, in Essex and Middletown, to create relationships which further understanding between the different cultures. We are grateful for being honored for something that provides us with so much pleasure.”

Dr. Ruth Levy, Region 4 School Superintendant and SCEH Board member sent her “Congratulations!” and commented “It’s all about connections…coming together as a community and a school system, uniting not just one small community but countries in which we can learn from one another, be respectful of diversity, and benefit from the relationships created. It is a small world that we live in. SCEH builds relationships that span oceans.”

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman, offered his congratulations on behalf of the Town of Essex and additionally noted, “There is a great community spirit which is alive and well in Essex, and this award exemplifies this community’s ability to achieve within and beyond its geographical boundaries.”

Sister Cities Essex Haiti continues to build cooperation between the people of these communities, enabling them to learn, work and solve problems together by collaborating with ODES, volunteer partners and with Hospital Albert Schweitzer through an exchange of educational, cultural, professional, municipal, business, and technical initiatives and projects.

For more information contact  Sistercitiesessexhaiti.org

Summer Show at Maple and Main Gallery Opens – Jul. 23

Orange Umbrellas by Betty Taylor of Essex

Orange Umbrellas by Betty Taylor of Essex

CHESTER – The opening reception for the Summer Show at Maple and Main Gallery, which features 200 new works of art and wine and chocolate tastings, will be Saturday, July 26 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Paintings and sculptures in a wide range of styles and medium will be on view, many interpreting summer in Connecticut, beginning Wednesday, July 23 and running through September 21.

In addition, there is a special exhibit in the Stone Gallery of paintings of Tuscany by gallery artist Cindy Stevens and of Sicily by gallery artist Donna Favreau during July.

The opening reception Saturday will include wine and appetizers and, from 6 to 7 p.m., a wine tasting by Chester Package Store and a chocolate tasting by the Chocolate Gift in Clinton.

Maple and Main Gallery at One Maple Street, Chester, is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit the online gallery: mapleandmaingallery.com; phone: 860-526-6065; mapleandmain@att.net.

Ballot News Ranks Connecticut’s 33rd Senate Race One of Most Competitive Statewide

Bjornberg1

Emily Bjornberg, Democratic candidate for the 33rd Senate Seat

Ballotnews.org ranked the most competitive legislative races in Connecticut on their website today, with the 33rd Senate contest ranked as one of the top four.

The ranking comes a day after Emily Bjornberg, the Democratic candidate for the 33rd Senate Seat, was approved by the State Elections Enforcement Commission for a clean elections fund grant ahead of her incumbent opponent Art Linares.

State grants require the candidate to demonstrate significant support behind their campaign, with small contributions required from at least 300 constituents and at least $15,000 raised in the aggregate.

The 33rd Senate contest is one of only four state senate races statewide held by an incumbent to be ranked as competitive on the Ballotnews.org list.   The full list can be found at:  www.ballotnews.org/ state-legislatures/ legislative-lowdown- identifying-competitive- connecticut-elections-in-2014/ 

Connecticut’s 33rd State Senate District includes the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook as well as Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Portland and Westbrook.

 

Play Ball! 19th-Century Style – Sep. 21

The historical societies of Chester, Deep River and Essex are teaming up to present a tri-town Vintage Base Ball game on Sunday, Sept. 21 at Devitt Field in Deep River. The 2 p.m. game will be free to the public.

Three teams – one from each town – are being formed. The teams will play by late 19th-century rules (such as no bunting or stealing) and customs to recreate the earliest days of America’s pastime, when courtesy prevailed on and off the playing field. There is no swearing, no spitting and no “ungentlemanly” behavior anywhere during the games.

Ballists (players) will use replica equipment such as authentic reproduction wooden bats and hand-sewn hard balls. No gloves are worn.

The three teams will play two or three-inning games in a round-robin format.

Men and women over age 16 who enjoy playing baseball and have an interest in the game’s history are encouraged to submit their name to chestercthistoricalsociety@gmail.com before July 29 to be considered for a team. Team members will be asked to pay $20 each for a vintage team shirt.

100 Pink Flamingos Spotted in Chester!

Flamingos arrive in a 1970 Ford pickup truck

Flamingos arrive in a 1970 Ford pickup truck

On July 13th, during the much loved Chester Sunday Market, pink flamingos converged on the lawn at 4 Water Street in front of a brand new storefront: lark!  Rumor has it that scouts were sent in on Saturday, and the rest arrived Sunday by way of a 1970 pickup truck.

At lark! you will find an ever changing array of hand crafted gifts and unique accessories.  Visit Chester!  Visit Lark!  Experience Chester Sunday Market!  (Through October 15)

Saybrook Point Inn & Spa Donates $25,000 to The Preserve

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old SAybrook.

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK –– The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, through the Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Family Foundation, has donated $25,000 to “The Preserve,” a swath of 1,000 acres of coastal forest along the towns of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, Connecticut.  As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York and Boston, this land is rich in natural resources, wildlife and habitat that not only offers residents with outdoor recreational opportunities, but also provides an important coastal buffer against storm waters during natural disasters.  Residents of Connecticut treasure this 1,000-acre coastal forest as a place to connect with nature close to home. Known locally as The Preserve, the woodland plays an important role in maintaining water quality in Trout Brook and the Oyster and Mud rivers, which feed into the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. The partnership to preserve and protect this natural ecosystem in Connecticut consists of the State of Connecticut, neighboring towns (Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook), and The Trust for Public Land.

“On behalf of my family, we are proud to be able to preserve and protect one of Connecticut’s most sacred ecosystems for generations to come,” said Stephen Tagliatela, Innkeeper/Managing Partner, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa. “It’s always been a founding principle of our family to care and maintain the environment we live in. It’s through our efforts, in cooperation with the Trust for Public Land, Town of Old Saybrook, and Essex Land Trust, that we will conserve this important coastal forest to forever as a natural asset for our region and our state.”

On Tuesday, July 8th, voters in Old Saybrook overwhelmingly approved the purchase of “The Preserve,” which will now be protected in perpetuity as open space for Connecticut residents for generations to come. As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, this 1,000-acre ecosystem will be permanently protected from future development. It will connect to 500 acres of existing town parkland providing expanded opportunities for hiking and viewing a variety of birds and other wildlife.

“We are very grateful that the Tagliatela family has made this very generous gift to support the Campaign to Protect the 1,000 Acre Forest,” said Kate Brown, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land. “This is a wonderful boost that will help us move closer to the fundraising goal and permanent protection of the land.”

The Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Foundation was established in 1997 by North Haven business leader Louis F. Tagliatela. Over the years, the Foundation has donated more than $9 million to support local non-profit organizations including hospitals, schools and churches. In addition, the organization helped establish the Tagliatela School of Engineering at the University of New Haven and the Tagliatela School of Business at Albertus Magnus College.

The Preserve is a 1,000-acre coastal forest located in Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, Connecticut. It is the largest unprotected coastal forest remaining between New York City and Boston. The dense canopy of forest and the Pequot Swamp Pond act as a refueling stop for many migratory birds, and the many freshwater seeps on the property are home to amphibian species such as the northern dusky salamander, spotted turtles, and box turtles. Bobcats and fisher cats have also been spotted on the property.  The land includes 38 vernal pools, 114 acres of wetlands, headwaters of the Oyster River, and tributaries of the Mud and Trout Brook Rivers. These rivers eventually flow into Long Island Sound.

The property has a fifteen-year history of development proposals, foreclosure, and lawsuits by neighbors and conservationists opposing its development. The land is currently owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings, the holding company that emerged from the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The holding company has agreed to sell the property to The Trust for Public Land for its fair market value of $8.09 million. If protected, this highly unusual intact coastal forest will be preserved and the public will have passive recreational access to the property via trails.

The Trust for Public Land is working in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environ-mental Protection, the Towns of Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, the Old Saybrook Land Trust, the Essex Land Trust, The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the Alliance for Sound Area Planning, Audubon Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy, and others to raise the funding necessary to protect The Preserve. The goal of the fundraising effort is to raise $10 million to cover the purchase price, costs and stewardship. We expect to raise $3 million via a private fundraising campaign, to supplement $7 million in public funding.

Since it opened 25 years ago, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa has adapted and changed. It has taken a decidedly green direction, win­ning numerous awards for its often best-in-class green practices, including the first Connecticut inn to be named a Certified Energy Hotel in 2007. The Inn now features SANNO, a full service European spa, as well as Fresh Salt, a restaurant designed by Peter Niemitz that opened to strong reviews in 2011.  The property employs more than 260 hospitality professionals in the town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and is among the town’s top employers and economic engines.

Saybrook Point Inn & Spa recently opened its new Three Stories guesthouse adjacent to the main Inn. Thiscompletely renovated Italianate home overlooking Long Island Sound was originally built in 1892 as a single-family home for the prominent engineer William Vars. The property has been fully refurbished and revitalized as a seven-room guesthouse with wrap around porches and private gardens, making it the perfect retreat for couples, families and friends to reconnect, rejoice and create lasting memories and experiences. Each individually designed room features a pri­vate balcony, fireplace, fine linens, heated bathroom floors, multiple showerheads, extensive water views, and original artwork by local artists. As a testament to its rich history, each room at Three Stories tells the story of a famed local resident who made sure that the history of the community was well preserved. This includes Katharine Hepburn’s mother, who was a co-founder of Planned Parenthood and leading suffragette, and Anna Louise James, who had the distinction of being one of the first African-American female pharmacists in America and ran the James Pharmacy locally.

About Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

Situated along the picturesque coastal community of historic Old Saybrook, Connecticut in the hamlet of Saybrook Point, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa features 82 elegantly appointed guestrooms, a rejuvenating full-service spa called SANNO, and a casual fine dining restaurant named Fresh Salt. Luxurious spa amenities include 11 treatment rooms, and diverse menu of services including massages, facials, body wraps, manicures and pedicures. SANNO is a latin word meaning to make sound or to heal. The goal at SANNO is to help guests be well, look well, feel well, and eat well. Fresh Salt diners savor fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in Old Saybrook’s most spectacular setting – the spot where the fresh waters of the Connecticut River meet the salt of Long Island Sound. It’s a treasured and historic place, rich in life, and the restaurant reflects that lively diversity. The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa also features the historic Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark yachting dock conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River with easy access to Long Island Sound. The marina is Connecticut’s first designated Clean Marina, featuring friendly concierge service, award-winning onsite cuisine, AAA Four Diamond accommodations, an indulgent spa, and a community-based member-driven health club. It can accommodate vessels from 12 to 200 feet and has received numerous premier Connecticut marina awards. More information is available at www.saybrook.com.

About the Trust for Public Land

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at www.tpl.org.

 

Camp Claire Receives Donation Of Automated External Defibrillator Machine

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Surrounded by Camp Claire campers, Russell Sage, center, Michael Sage’s father and Director of the MVSDF, stands with James P. Berryman (left in blue shirt), a Director at Suisman Shapiro, which is a major sponsor of MVSDF, after the presentation of an AED to Camp Claire’s Director, Beth Owen-Mishou.

Representatives of the Michael Vincent Sage Dragonheart Foundation, Inc. (MVSDF) donated a new automated external defibrillator (AED) machine to Camp Claire last Thursday, July 10, at a group meeting for staff and campers.

An AED is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can stop an irregular rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume in a heart that is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of cardiac related death in the United States; it strikes without warning, and if not treated within minutes, quickly leads to death.

There are 1,900 to 14,200 cases of out-of-hospital SCA in children each year. Early defibrillation with an AED and CPR can more than double chances of survival. The American Heart Association estimates that 20,000 to 100,000 Sudden Cardiac Arrest deaths could be prevented if defibrillation was readily available.

The MVSDF was established in memory of Michael Vincent Sage, who died on February 5, 2010 at the age of 29 from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia (SCA). He was active in sports for most of his life and never exhibited any of the warning signs associated with SCA, such as episodes of dizziness, fainting, or seizures. He arrived at work at the New London offices of Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law on a beautiful February morning, had a cup of coffee with his colleagues, then collapsed and died.

People on the scene attempted to revive Michael using CPR, but there was no AED available, and by the time the paramedics arrived, Michael could not be saved. In a matter of moments, Michael was gone.

The mission of the MVSDF is to raise awareness and support research into the early diagnosis and prevention of sudden cardiac arrest, including bystander awareness education, CPR training, and availability of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools, athletic facilities, and other public forums.

Camp Claire, a summer camp for children aged 7-14 located in Lyme, Conn., applied to the MVSDF for the donation of an AED defibrillator machine and was selected by the Board of Directors to receive the gift. Organizations must meet various criteria including the required number of CPR-trained employees; the number of persons served and their age groups; current AED status; and overall worthiness/need of the organization.

The cost of an AED defibrillator machine ranges from $1,000 to $2,500. The MVSDF has donated more than 30 machines to organizations in Connecticut over the last two years.

The mission of Camp Claire is to provide a natural community environment that encourages curiosity and creativity, and increases self-esteem, while providing a lifetime of memories that prepares children for an active place in a multicultural society. The camp began as a conference retreat for members of the First Congregational Church of Meriden in 1916. It incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1954, and relies on the support of alumni and friends to continue its mission of providing children with an enriching and memorable camping experience.

Major sponsors of the Michael Vincent Sage Dragonheart Foundation include Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law (New London), Defibtech, Inc. (Guilford, CT), The Survival Group (North Haven, CT), and The Ralph L. Rossi Foundation (Hamden, CT).

For more information about the MVSDF, visit the Foundation’s website at www.defibandlive.org

To learn more about Camp Claire, visit www.campclaire.org .

Artisans Harbor of Old Saybrook to Hold Summer Art Classes

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New Children’s Art Workshops! Workshops offered for children Wednesday July 16th, 30th,  and Aug. 6th 10:00 a.m. -10:45 a.m. ages 4-7 and from 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for children ages 8-10.  Saturday afternoon charcoal drawing classes for children & teens ages 8-14 start July 17-Aug. 23. Check out the website for more info.

Adults & Teen art classses begin on July 17th  2014.  Classes are for beginners and those wanting to further their skills.  Classes offered in Oil painting, Watercolor painting, Drawing, and Pastel.

Harbor Nights pARTies are hosted every  Friday and Saturday evenings 7-9 pm. Reservations 48 hours prior to evening of your choice is required.  Come into our studio sip wine and paint your own masterpiece in one night! No experience necessary. BYOB -wine or beverage of your choice we provide appetizers, set-ups and all your art supplies! Private parties may be arranged any day or time based on availability.

Check out our website for details on class times. www.artisansharbor.com   Give yourself or someone you care about some “CREATIVE ME TIME”!

New Show Opening at Essex Art Association – Jul. 25

Chip Rutan's work will be featured in the Exit Gallery

Chip Rutan’s work will be featured in the Exit Gallery

Essex Art Association is having its last juried show of the season “Less is More”. This is open to all artists over 18. Out of over 200 entries 80 will be chosen.  It’s interesting and exciting to see how the theme will be interpreted by the artists.

Featured in the Exit Gallery will be Chip Rutan “The Reader”  The solo show in the Exit Gallery will feature black and white photography by Old Saybrook resident and Essex native, Chip Rutan. The Reader is the result of a six-month collaboration with a homeless woman living in New York City. Books and journals comprise the majority of her belongings, all housed in her suitcase. Her sixteen journals chronicle her time spent in New York since 2006. Chip is in the MFA in Visual Art program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He previously studied graphic design and art history at the University ofBridgeport, and has undergraduate and graduate degrees in mathematics and business administration, respectively.

The Essex Art Association is a non-profit seasonal gallery established in 1946 and serving the community with art from traditional to cutting edge. Housed in a historic yellow building with a purple door that welcomes all to enter free and share the creativity of its artists.  Opening reception is on July 25, 2014 from 6-8 pm, public welcome. This show will run from July 26. to August 16, 2014 open1-5 every day except Tuesdays.  For further information visit the website www.EssexArtAssociation.com. Free admission.

Gallery19 Summertime Show – Through Aug 31

Gallery19 of Essex will be showing “Helen Cantrell and Judy Friday: Summertime,” new paintings and works on paper, July 1 – August 31, Gallery19, 19A Main St., Essex, CT. Thursdays-Sundays 11-5 pm. 860 581 8735, www.gallery19essex.com.

TriTown Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to Take Part in National Conference

Health advocates from the Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (SAPC) will join more than 1,700 substance abuse prevention specialists from across the country at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) 2014 Mid-Year Training Institute in Orlando, Fla., from July 20-24. The week-long training will take place at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Hotel.

CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute—a one-of-a-kind intensive training opportunity—will offer more than 70 half-day and two-day courses geared towards helping participants find solutions to their community’s toughest substance use/abuse concerns. Attendees will participate in a variety of lecture and hands-on sessions to expand their knowledge in prevention science and improve their skills in implementing evidence-based strategies to reduce drug and alcohol use.

The conference will feature renowned experts in the field of substance abuse prevention and will cover a wide range of topics – everything from how to prevent prescription drug abuse and the abuse of synthetic drugs to how to create tobacco-free environments, reduce impaired driving and develop policies to reduce marijuana use and underage drinking. SAPC and other community members attending this Mid-Year Training Institute include Deep River First Selectman Richard Smith, Deep River Resident Trooper Dawn Taylor, Deep River Constable Pete Lewis, Gina Sopneski, Dave Fitzgibbons, Claire Walsh, Gail Onofrio and Cate Bourke.

Tri-Town Youth Services and the SAPC offer programs and services to support the positive growth and development of youth and families in Chester, Deep River and Essex. Through education, counseling, youth development programs and prevention activities, Tri-Town serves to help community members of all ages thrive. For more information on the conference, Tri-Town Youth Services or the SAPC, see www.tritownys.org or call 860-526-3600.

Marshview Gallery August Artist of Month – Carin Roaldset

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OLD SAYBROOK – The Marshview Gallery features the photography of Carin Roaldset during the month of August. Carin discovered photography as a means of illustrating her love of nature. Her style is “less is more” and she enjoys combining animate and inanimate objects.

Now a resident of Old Saybrook, Carin’s childhood on a Swedish farm, urban life in Germany and years in rural Norway along with small town living here in Connecticut feeds her passion. She’s been in numerous exhibits on the Shoreline, including juried all media shows at the Slater Memorial Museum, West Hartford Art League and The Essex Art Association.

Please join us for the Artist Reception, Thursday, August 14th from 5-7 pm. Everyone is welcome and refreshments are provided.

40th Annual Connecticut River Raft Race – Aug. 2

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During the winter of 1974 a group of shoreline friends met up one evening to discuss the idea of starting a new local event, to be run in the summertime and ultimately benefit local charities.  With this shared philosophy, the Connecticut River Raft Race was conceived. The first race course started at the Deep River Landing and finished on Knott’s Island off of Essex. The raft race has changed locations 4 times in the past 40 years.

The 40th annual  Ct. River Raft Race will take place on August 2, 2014 in Portland, Ct.  The Race will commence with a cannon blast at10:00 a.m. from  Gildersleeve Island in Portland and finishes 41/2 miles downriver at the Portland Boatyard.  The Raft Race weekend starts on August 1st with a cook off and camping at the Portland Boatyard.

Over the years new categories have been added to this wonderful event. Kayaks and Canoes are welcome and will be competing in their own category.  This event is not limited to people local to the Portland area. Last year racers from Coventry, Bozrah, Newington, Waterbury, Portland, East Hampton, Windsor, East Haven, New Haven, New Britain, Stratford, Rocky Hill, Middletown and Deep River, Connecticut participated as well as one raft from Chestertown, Maryland.

Sightseers are welcome. This event can be viewed from River Park Middletown, Cromwell landing and the Portland Boatyard. Pack the car with your grill and goodies and join the fun at the end of the race. Enjoy the camaraderie of the day including live music. Proceeds from this event are donated to local charities.

For further information contact Pres. Dan Otto Pritchard at dan-pritchardglbal.net, for mailing list information contact Dave Malboef at crazydave757@hotmail.com or visit  www.ctriverraftrace.org.

Letter: Responding to the OS Economic Development Commission on The Preserve

To The Editor:

The OS EDC, which has itself endorsed the acquisition of The Preserve, recently released a letter asking five questions.  They deserve a response.  In order of importance, they are:

  1. Cost to the taxpayer.   In short, very little and perhaps nothing at all.  Read on.

    Acquiring The Preserve under the proposed agreement saves Old Saybrook potentially tens of millions of dollars the town would have incurred if development as planned had gone forward—and might still incur if The Preserve is left open to development.  Perhaps more important to some residents is that acquiring The Preserve will almost certainly save Old Saybrook money.  First, the cost to taxpayers for the bonding required for the town’s share of the purchase price—less than 40%–implies annual property taxes for a median home of $12 to $24 dollars, depending on the form of bonding.  So for $1-$2 a month, residents take control of an extraordinarily important 1000 acres, the headwaters of three rivers, a critical source of clean water for the area aquifer, and an environmentally important area.  Second, the costs the town now incurs will almost certainly go down.  The proposed agreement includes a very substantial permanent endowment (perhaps reaching $1 million) which will provide funds to cover proper management of The Preserve, including trail mapping, trail marking (so folks no longer get lost on the unmarked, tangled trails they now hike), and permit sustainable forestry practices.  In addition, because of the partnership with the State, state conservation officers will share the responsibility for policing the area, relieving Old Saybrook police of some of that responsibility.  And because the area will now be managed properly, residents in Old Saybrook and adjacent towns no longer face the very real threat of damage to the aquifer and degradation of their water supply—thus again saving potentially thousands of dollars for every household affected.  On balance, it is almost certain that town costs will fall by more than the cost of the bonding.

    Wen considering costs, beyond the offsetting savings we can immediately recognize, preserving The Preserve will create value for the town and the region.  Real estate professionals will tell you that the two things potential home buys ask about are the quality of the schools and access to public open space, whether parks or forests.  Multiple studies confirm that towns that acquire and manage significant open space clearly benefit along a host of vectors.   Given how well this acquisition is planned, with the creation of an endowment to provide continuous funding and the partnership with State, preserving The Preserve will deliver real value to the town and the region.

  2. Why the State is interested in assuming more than 40% of the purchase price: Connecticut has, since the early 1970s, taken a very strong bipartisan interest in preserving open space and improving environmental quality.  Perhaps some remember when the lower Connecticut River was heavily polluted and the target of quite embarrassing coverage by the New York Times.  The river is now remarkably clean and a major asset to the region.  Moreover, the Federal government provides significant financial incentives and support for these kinds of initiatives, which are so important to sustaining and strengthening a healthy natural environment.
  3. Has anyone approached Lehman Brothers directly?  I don’t know; I suspect not.  Frankly, Old Saybrook could acquire very little by trying to “go it alone” with its $3 million.  Buying two fifths of The Preserve appears absurd on its face—it avoids none of the potential costs the town would incur if the balance of the land were then developed (new school, new police and fire stations, roads and bridges to maintain—a frightening potential cost)—and captures almost none of the benefits.  It would not achieve environmental protection nor guarantee against degradation of the aquifer with the threat to the three rivers that draw on The Preserve; it would not create well-managed public access; it would not provide an endowment to provide funding to manage and maintain the property.  It is an approach that would have secured virtually no benefit but left the town open to potentially massive expenses in the future.
  4. Is hunting allowed?  Just as with the existing 500-acre Gleason property that Old Saybrook owns, state law does permit “regulated hunting” on these kinds of open spaces.  But Old Saybrook has never permitted hunting on the Gleason property, and it is unlikely that the town would permit it on The Preserve.  Moreover, given that this a state statutory requirement, if the issue ever did emerge—and there is no reason to anticipate that it will, as it has never come up with the Gleason property—then modifying the state law would be quite straight forward.   Besides, leaving The Preserve in private hands would make hunting in all forms much much more likely—just as leaving it in private hands runs the very significant risk of future developments that will impose significant continuing costs on the town.
  5. What are the pros and cons?  The comments above point to multiple pros.  Whether your interest is in environmental protection, assuring access to high quality water (the aquifer), avoiding degradation to rivers flowing form The Preserve, having easy access to a wide array of passive recreational activities, making the region more attractive to potential residents, or simply preserving the forest canopy which mitigates global warming (the NE is an important carbon sink, especially during some months), acuiring The Preserve for a comparatively small sum makes eminent good sense.  And then add the shared responsibility (and costs) with the state and the first-ever dedication endowment in support of a part or open space, and it is extremely hard to find an argument against this acquisition.

    The cons?  I have been listening intently for nearly a year.  I haven’t heard one argument against this initiative that withstood careful scrutiny and thought.   I believe that the answers to the OS EDC questions strongly confirms that view.

Acquiring The Preserve and thus preserving it for all time is simply a winner on every count.  Old Saybrook will be quite wise to join with the Trust for the Public Lands, the State of Connecticut, and hundreds of individuals who have pledged more than $1 million of their own money to make this happen.  Let’s take control of our future: vote “Yes” on July 8.

Sincerely,

Fred V. Carstensen

Professor of Finance and Economics
Director, Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis
University of Connecticut

Resident: Old Saybrook

Essex Police Officers to Host Tip-A-Cop for Special Olympics at the Griswold Inn

ESSEX – Officers with the Essex Police Department will host a Tip-A-Cop event to benefit Special Olympics Connecticut at the Griswold Inn on Monday, July 21st, from  5 to 10 pm. The Griswold Inn is located at 26 Main Street, Essex.

During the event, officers will assist restaurant staff in taking orders and serving meals to restaurant patrons. At the end of the evening, all tips the officers receive for their efforts will go to Special Olympics Connecticut to support its year-round sports, health and fitness programs for athletes of all abilities.

Tip-A-Cop is a Law Enforcement Torch Run event to benefit Special Olympics Connecticut.

About the Special Olympics Connecticut Law Enforcement Torch Run®

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Connecticut is one of the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicles. This year-round program involves law enforcement officers from across the state who volunteer their time to raise awareness and funds through events including Tip-a-Cops, Cop-on-Tops, and Jail N’ Bail fundraisers.

In addition, each year in June, over 1,500 officers and athletes carry the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” through hundreds of cities and towns across the state, covering over 530 miles over three days.  The runners run the “Final Leg” and light the ceremonial cauldron during Opening Ceremonies for the Special Olympics Connecticut Summer Games.

Law Enforcement Torch Run Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors: Dream Ride 2014, Whelen Engineering, WWE; The Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund; JN Phillips Auto Glass;Gold Sponsors: Adams Hometown Markets / IGA Hometown Supermarkets, Papa’s Dodge.

About Special Olympics Connecticut

Special Olympics Connecticut provides year-round sports training and competitions for over 14,000 athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities and Unified Sports® partners – their teammates without disabilities.

Through the joy of sport, the Special Olympics movement transforms lives and communities throughout the state and in 170 countries around the world by promoting good health and fitness and inspiring inclusion and respect for all people, on and off the playing field. (www.soct.org)

Partner Sponsors: Adams Hometown Markets/IGA Hometown Supermarkets, Connecticut Light & Power/Yankee Gas/Western Massachusetts Electric (Northeast Utilities Companies), Law Enforcement Torch Run, NBC Connecticut, TD Bank, United Technologies and WWE.

Year-Round Suppliers: Adams Hometown Markets/IGA Hometown Supermarkets, Campus Customs/Cymplify, The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New England, Crystal Rock Water and Coffee Company, Dunkin’ Donuts, Graebel Connecticut, Guida’s Milk and Ice Cream, Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Marcus Communications, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Community Service and Worx Branding & Advertising.

Durham Offers General Public Transit Service

Durham First Selectman Laura Francis boards a 9 Town Transit bus at Durham Town Hall (photo by Amanda Pederson)

Durham First Selectman Laura Francis boards a 9 Town Transit bus at Durham Town Hall (photo by Amanda Pederson)

Durham residents will soon have greater mobility with new access to a regional transit system. Beginning July 1st, the town of Durham will begin a contract with 9 Town Transit to provide general public Dial-A-Ride service throughout the town.

9 Town Transit, operated by the Estuary Transit District, currently provides Dial-A-Ride service throughout Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, East Haddam, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.  Any location within Durham will now also be included in the new expanded service area.

9 Town Transit will also offer Durham residents service to parts of Middletown including Stop & Shop supermarket, downtown, Middlesex Hospital and the Saybrook Road area medical offices.

Previously, only Durham seniors and persons with a disability through an application process could utilize public transit.  That service, provided by Middletown Area Transit, will continue to operate within Durham, Middlefield, Middletown, Portland and East Hampton for those residents meeting these criteria.  The new service by 9 Town Transit will be available to the general public who do not meet these criteria, or seniors and persons with disabilities traveling to the 9 Town Transit region.

The partnership is a direct result of information sharing fostered by the recently expanded council of governments and the efforts of Durham First Selectman Laura Francis.  “I am happy to begin our business relationship with 9 Town Transit, which will allow all residents of Durham to get reliable, affordable transportation,” says Francis.

To reserve a trip, customers will call 9 Town Transit at least one day in advance.  The fare will be $3.00 each way, with seniors age 60 and over eligible to ride at a suggested donation of $1.50.  The hours of service are 6:00 AM until 6:00 PM Monday through Friday.  The service is open to the general public with no age restrictions.  All vehicles are fully accessible with wheelchair lifts and service is available for any trip purpose.

Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-554-0551.

NY Times Bestselling Author Chris Bohjalian to Speak at the Bee & Thistle Inn

 New York Times Bestselling author Chris Bohjalian at the Bee & Thistle Saturday, July 12, 2014

New York Times Bestselling author Chris Bohjalian at the Bee & Thistle Saturday, July 12, 2014

OLD LYME  – The Big Book Getaway invites readers to convene at the Bee and Thistle Inn for an intimate luncheon with New York Times Bestselling author Chris Bohjalian on Saturday, July 12, 2014.  The first seating from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m is sold out.  A second seating from 2-4pm has been added! This is the second of four events in the Blockbuster Summer Reading Series. The Bee and Thistle Inn will serve a full luncheon and dessert to attendees, prepared by Chef Kristofer Rowe.

Having gained recognition from authors and readers all around the world, Chris Bohjalian is set to deliver yet another masterpiece in writing. With 17 novels published in more than 25 languages, nine of which made their way to the New York Times Bestsellers list, Bohjalian’s latest story, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands will be released on July 8.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless teen living in an igloo made of ice and trash bags filled with frozen leaves. Half a year earlier, a nuclear plant in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom had experienced a cataclysmic meltdown, and both of Emily’s parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault. Was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to flee their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer’s apartment, and inventing a new identity for herself — an identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. When Emily befriends a young homeless boy named Cameron, she protects him with a ferocity she didn’t know she had. But she still can’t outrun her past, can’t escape her grief, can’t hide forever — and so she comes up with the only plan that she can. A story of loss, adventure, and the search for friendship in the wake of catastrophe, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is one of Chris Bohjalian’s finest novels to date.

Bohjalian’s most recent novel, The Light in the Ruins, debuted in 2013 as a New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and national Indiebound bestseller.  Several of Bohjalian’s other books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon. He has been honored with the ANCA Freedom Award for his efforts to inform Americans about the Armenian Genocide. Bohjalian also won a number of awards for his titles including Sandcastle Girls, The Night Strangers, and Midwives.

Bohjalian has written for a various array of newspapers and magazines, such as the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. A resident of Vermont, he is also a weekly columnist for the Burlington Free Press since 1992.

Tickets to “An Intimate Luncheon with Chris Bohjalian” are $45 each; which includes a full luncheon, dessert, author presentation and book signing session. Visit www.thebigbookclub.org for more information or to purchase tickets. Tickets are also available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/684006.

The historic Bee and Thistle Inn is an important stop within Old Lyme, Connecticut’s art colony, arguably one of the most famous Impressionist-oriented art communities in America.   While retaining the integrity of the historic landmark built in 1756, the transformed Bee and Thistle Inn provides a link to the past while nurturing artists of the present.  Innkeepers Linnea and David Rufo are building a truly inspirational environment, which serves as a gathering place for artists and authors to collaborate, display and sell their work.  The Inn is located directly next door to the renowned Florence Griswold Museum. Visit the Inn’s website at www.beeandthistleinn.com.
The official bookseller for the event is Bank Square Books of Mystic. Locally owned and independently operated, Bank Square Books has been a staple of the downtown Mystic community for 25 years.

The Big Book Club is a creation of LaFrancois Marketing Consultants and Essex Books.  Initiated in February 2013, The Big Book Club has presented multiple “Big Book Getaway” events at Mohegan Sun, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and the Bee and Thistle Inn.  Since its inception, more than 200 authors have presented their work to over 1,500 enthusiastic attendees.  The official website is www.thebigbookclub.org .

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore Membership

Imagine coming to a country where the language and culture are foreign to you and only a smile is universal. Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore’s literacy program directly acclimates students to the English language, culture, and idioms. With expanding literacy skills, confidence grows and transition begins.  Imagine progressing from being functionally illiterate in the English language to gaining employment, building relationships, becoming a citizen or even owning your own business.  Memberships supports the literacy needs of you, your family, your employees or your neighbors to better improve their personal, work and life skills.

How is LVVS unique?  Our tutoring services are free, confidential, and supportive. LVVS endeavors to meet the student “where they are” and address their needs and wants. We have pride in what we do for the betterment of the community. LVVS is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit agency and your contribution, at any level, is fully tax deductible.  Visit our website www.vsliteracy.org to make a credit card payment or send a check to LVVS, Inc. P.O. Box 1006, Westbrook, CT 06498. Thank you for supporting an organization you care about in your community.

Swallow Spectacular Boat Cruises – Late Aug. though Early Oct.

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Photos by Mindy Hill

Remember to save a date for one of Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel’s most popular events! One of the migration highlights of the birding year is the Tree Swallow concentration that can be found each fall on the Connecticut River. During fall migration, thousands of swallows congregate on the lower Connecticut River and at sunset settle in on a giant communal roost. The birds come from as far away as 25 miles and converge at dusk, often creating a “ballet” and “funnel” of birds before and as they settle down to roost. Join Connecticut Audubon Society naturalists as you journey down river to see the spectacular display. Bring a picnic supper and your favorite beverage to enjoy on the trip, and your binoculars. The Swallow cruises sell out quickly so reserve a space well in advance by calling our office (860-767-0660) or signing up online on our website. A truly awe-inspiring display! If you only take one trip with EcoTravel this fall, make sure it’s this one! Fee: $40. – Children 8 and over please. To book on-line go to www.ctaudubon.org and go to the EcoTravel link. Cruises depart from Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam, CT.

For more information on these cruises feel free to call 860-767-0660.

Letter: OS Economic Development Commission – Become Informed About Preserve

To the Editor:
In Preparation for the Upcoming Town Meeting to discuss the ‘Preserve’ which is currently scheduled to occur on June 30th, the Economic Development Commission of Old Saybrook believes that it is important for the town be properly informed regarding the ‘Preserve’ purchase. We have the following questions which we hope will be answered at the upcoming meeting:

1. If hunting is allowed, how will it be regulated? Are you comfortable having hunting here? What types of ammunition will be allowed?
2. What is the exact cost per taxpayer?
3. Has anyone from Old Saybrook approached Lehman Brothers directly regarding an outright purchase by Old Saybrook? What would OS purchasing the land itself cost dealing directly with Lehman Brothers? What would $3,000,000 buy without the state’s added investment?
4. Why is the State interested in investing into the ‘Preserve’?
5. What are the Pro’s and Con’s to this purchase?

We encourage residents to attend the meeting come prepared with your own questions. “If you have all the facts the decision will make itself.”
Respectfully,
Old Saybrook Economic Development Commission

Extension of Connecticut River Paddleway Celebrated at Gillette Castle in Lyme

The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC), along with the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Vermont River Conservancy, launched the extension of the Connecticut River Paddler’s Trail into Massachusetts and Connecticut at Lyme’s Gillette Castle State Park last Saturday, June 21.

The Council, along with project leaders from the other two organizations, unveiled the plan for the expanded trail, which currently just serves Vermont and New Hampshire.

“We’re excited to be a part of a collaborative effort to enhance this resource for those who paddle our great river,” said Andrew Fisk, CRWC Executive Director. “This trail is an investment for those who are enthusiastic about being out on the water, and the 410-mile journey from the river’s source to the sea is one of New England’s iconic adventures.”

The Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail is managed by a collaborative of organizations working together on trail planning and development, building and stewarding primitive campsites, improving access points and portage trails, and disseminating information to visitors.

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Steve Grant, a Pulitzer-prize nominated journalist, spoke at the Celebration. Jim Dina, an intrepid explorer and author of The Voyage of the Ant, was also a featured guest. The two guests have deep connections with the river. Grant has worked as an outdoor and environmental reporter for the Hartford Courant for over 29 years and wrote a 17-part chronicle of his journey from the headwaters of the Connecticut River down to the Sound. Dina’s work, The Voyage of the Ant, relays his experience paddling up the Connecticut River in his birchbark canoe, made using Native American tools and techniques.

The Celebration also included the presentation of the Bud Foster Award and lunch on site at the state park.

Many of those present launched their canoes and kayaks at the ferry landing and paddled down to Selden Island State Park on the Lyme shore of the Conn River.

For more about the Paddlers’ Trail, visit www.ConnecticutRiverPaddlersTrail.org.

The CRWC works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, it celebrates the River as a four-state treasure and collaborates, educates, organize, restores and intervenes to preserve its health for generations to come.

To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201.

For more information, visit http://www.ctriver.org/river-celebration-announces-launch-of-expanded-connecticut-river-paddlers-trail/#sthash.nP6eiSVf.dpuf

All Shook Up at Ivoryton Playhouse – through Jul. 27

Inspired by and featuring the music of Elvis Presley

By Joe DiPietro

At the Ivoryton Playhouse

Date:                            July 2-27, 2014

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

Tickets:                      860-767-7318 /on-line at

www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

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

Time:                          Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2pm;

Wednesday &Thursday evenings at 7:30pm, Friday &

Saturday evenings at 8:00pm

Literacy Volunteers Hold Annual Meeting and Recognition Awards

LVVS Director John Ferrara presents the Vi Brache Student of the Year Award to Westbrook’s Sabrina Kosky at the organization’s 2014 Annual Meeting on June 18th.  (Photo courtesy of Joanne Argersinger)

LVVS Director John Ferrara presents the Vi Brache Student of the Year Award to Westbrook’s Sabrina Kosky at the organization’s 2014 Annual Meeting on June 18th.
(Photo courtesy of Joanne Argersinger)

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) held their annual meeting and recognition awards program in the community room of the Westbrook Library on June 18, 2014.  The organization recognized their tutor, student, and volunteers of the year.  This year’s tutor of the year is Judy LeVesque of Clinton. She will be presented the Barrie Potter Award representing the tutor who most exemplified the caring and dedication of Mr. Potter, a long time tutor and volunteer of LVVS.  Judy is a 17 year volunteer tutor at LVVS teaching countless students and families to help those in need.  Judy came to LVVS after a 25 year career teaching the deaf at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford. Also awarded was. Sabrina Kosky of Westbrook was presented the Vi Brache Student of the Year award which is given to the student who has achieved in learning English and putting that learning to work. Sabrina has learned to speak English fluently, has twice won the organization’s student essay contest, became an American citizen, business owner and plans to further her education.  Co-Volunteers of the Year honorees are Audrey Jacobson of Ivoryton and Edna Shaw of Deep River. Every week each of them come to LVVS to help with book sales, mailings or other tasks around the office.

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore trains volunteer tutors to teach Basic Reading and English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults to help them read, write and speak English to improve their basic life and work skills.  LVVS tutors provide confidential, one-to-one instruction without charge.  Volunteers currently provide language instruction to over 200 students in the eleven shoreline towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Guilford, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Ivoryton Farmer’s Market Open Through Oct. 11

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It’s summertime, and what is more exciting than the prospect of fresh local produce provided by your nearby farmers’ market? This season, don’t forget to buy your produce and goods at the Ivoryton Village Farmers Market.

Starting on June 21st, you can find the Ivoryton Farmers Marketon the Ivoryton Green, Main St, Ivoryton CT, every Saturday 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. through October 11th.

The Ivoryton Farmers Market is not only a great place to purchase local produce and goods, but it is a place to enjoy some time with family and friends. This year we will be having live music from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Opening day features the Juniper Hill Jumpers Jazz Band.

There’s no better way to strengthen your local community than to shop and eat locally! By visiting our farmers market, you support our localfarmers as well as businesses and community members.

If you have any questions about the market or wish to become a vendor, please contact Dave Sousa, Market Manager at (860) 767-4967 or visit our website at www.ivorytonfarmersmarket.com

 

Connecticut River Museum Launches Boat Building Workshop August 22-24, 2014

This summer’s boat building workshop at the Connecticut River Museum will feature the CRM 12, an adapted Bevin’s Skiff kit suitable for beginner boat builders.

This summer’s boat building workshop at the Connecticut River Museum will feature the CRM 12, an adapted Bevin’s Skiff kit suitable for beginner boat builders.

In celebration of the Connecticut River’s rich heritage, the Connecticut River Museum is offering the CRM 12, a slightly adapted Bevin’s Skiff kit that is produced in limited quantity by the Alexandria Seaport Foundation (ASF).  The 12’ skiff is reflective of the traditional boats that were built locally in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  With great versatility, these skiffs were used for fishing, rowing and sailing on the River and in the tidal marshes and tributaries.  Simple and beautiful, the museum selected the CRM 12 as a good beginner project to build with the help of knowledgeable instructors.

The museum will offer its first three-day Boat Building Workshop August 22 – 24.  Participants can either do the workshop as individuals or as a group (up to four people).  There is no previous boat building experience required to build one of these kits.  However, organizers do expect that participants will have basic woodworking knowledge.  By the end of the weekend, each individual or group should have a nearly completed boat that is ready for the water.  As Ray Gaulke, museum volunteer and co-organizer stated, “It’s a marvelous way to learn basic boat building and have a product that you can take home.”

The CRM 12kit comes complete with everything needed to build the boat — high-quality marine plywood, fastenings, adhesives, plans and an easy-to-follow manual.   Boat builders only need to bring a few basic woodworking tools.  The museum commissioned Paul Kessinger, a local wooden boat builder from Guilford CT to build the first CRM 12, now on display at the museum.  Kessinger said that “This is a perfect activity for adults or families. Best yet, you will get years of enjoyment out of rowing or sailing your skiff.”

The Alexandria Seaport Foundation operates from facilities based on the Potomac River waterfront in historic Alexandria, Virginia.  Since 1993, ASF’s primary focus has been to use traditional boat building to help at-risk and disadvantaged youth improve their lives.  By using these kits, the Connecticut River Museum is helping to support this valuable program.  As museum director Christopher Dobbs noted, “Serving children and at-risk communities is central to the Connecticut River Museum’s mission.”  He noted that, “the Museum already serves over 2,000 at-risk children from across Connecticut each year and boat building offers one more way that the Connecticut River Museum can teach science, technology, and math.”

Space is extremely limited for the boat building workshop.  Participants must be at least 10 years old and all children must be accompanied by an adult.  The deadline to register is Monday, July 14.  The $1,500 program fee includes all the supplies needed to build the CRM12, oars, and instruction.  By the end of the weekend, participants will have a completed boat, ready to be painted.  The basic kit is designed to be rowed.  However, a sailing conversion kit and sail is available for an additional cost.  For more information, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

Region #4 Board and Valley Regional High School Honors Top Ten Percent Seniors

The Region #4 Board of Education and Valley Regional High School will honor the top ten percent ranking seniors who have achieved outstanding scholastic records.  A Senior Awards ceremony and reception was held Wednesday, June 4, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. in the VRHS auditorium.  The top ten percent senior students listed alphabetically are:

Kelly Estelle Carufe                             daughter of  Kristin and Patrick Carufe of Ivoryton

Audrey Kennedy Garden                     daughter of Lisa and Rognvald Garden of Chester

Claudia Allyn Gates                             daughter of Comer Rudd-Gates and Jeffrey Gates of Chester

Erin Katrina Hayes                              daughter of Karen and David Hayes of Essex

Madeline Rose Kozlik                        daughter of Nancy and Michael Kozlik of Chester

Emily Smith LeGrand                          daughter of Kathleen and David LeGrand of Essex

Jacob Ryan Luster                               son of Mary and Steven Luster of Essex

Katherine Taylor Mulligan                   daughter of Michelle and John Mulligan of Ivoryton

Phoebe Robin Petrovic                        daughter of Kari and Marc Petrovic of Centerbrook

Samuel Bruno Rosenberg                    son of Jennifer and Robert Rosenberg of Ivoryton

Jack Paul Simoneau                             son of Diane and Paul Simoneau of Ivoryton

Sena Olivia Spinella                             daughter of Karli Gilbertson-Spinella and Paul Spinella of Chester

Abigail Rose Stempel                           daughter of Kelly and David Stempel of Ivoryton

Hannah Morgan VanBenschoten         daughter of Susan and Wayne VanBenschoten of Ivoryton

Deep River Congregational Church Flea Market – Aug. 16

The Deep River Congregational Church Flea Market is being held Saturday, August 16th, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.    The Flea Market will be held on the church lawn and on Marvin Field, located on Route 154,  just as you enter Deep River from the South.  There are  eighty-three 20 x 20 foot spaces available for $30 each, and you can reserve yours by contacting the church office as soon as possible, as over half the spaces have already been filled. (860-526-5045, office.drcc@snet.net or download from our website, www.deeprivercc.org.)

Valley Regional Students Make a Difference with “Civics in Action” Food Drive

Valley Regional High School 10th grade students (l-r) Sam Armenia, Alex Tiezzi and Ben Toles.

Valley Regional High School 10th grade students (l-r) Sam Armenia, Alex Tiezzi and Ben Toles.

Lessons learned in civics class transformed into tangible help for local families in need when three 10th grade students from Valley Regional High School held a “Civics in Action Stuff-A-Truck” food drive for The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) at  Deep River Adams Supermarket.

The students, Alex Tiezzi, Sam Armenia and Ben Toles, all of Chester, explained their project and asked shoppers to donate groceries for the drive.  In a single afternoon the boys had filled the SSKP truck with 1,751 pounds of non-perishable food. The food was delivered to SSKP’s Westbrook Pantry, which distributes over 15,000 pounds of food every month to hundreds of local families in need. Deep River Adams Supermarket manager Jeff Prindle also helped in the effort, by providing food “at cost” for a $1,000 donation made by supporters of the food drive.

“What a wonderful example these three young men have set for their fellow students,” said Patty Dowling, executive director of SSKP. “On behalf of those we serve, who experience a community that cares deeply each time they attend a pantry, I thank these students  and all those who donated food during the drive for remembering those in need on the shoreline.”

Founded 25 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries 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. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served over 908,000 meals worth of food to shoreline neighbors in need.

Essex Garden Club Announces 2014 Scholarships

The Essex Garden Club is pleased to announce the winners of its 2014 scholarships.  Scholarships of $1,100 each were award to three Essex students:

Tyler Jaynes, Senior at VRHA, will attend the University of Vermont

Sarah Watson will be a sophomore at Gettysburg College

Allyson Clark will be a freshman at Drew University

Additionally, 13 campership awards of $125 each were given to Essex Park and Recreation Summer session.  These will be distributed by Park and Recreation.  Three awards of $520 were given to Bushy Hill Nature Center to be distributed by the Center.

The Essex Garden Club congratulates all the winners and thanks the Essex community for its ongoing support which allows the Club to provide these educational opportunities to our students.

Friends of the Essex Library Donate $30,000 to the Library in Last Year

Wendy Madsen, President of the Friends of Essex Library, presents Richard Conroy, Library Director, with the Friends’ annual donation on June 5, 2014.

Wendy Madsen, President of the Friends of Essex Library, presents Richard Conroy, Library Director, with the Friends’ annual donation on June 5, 2014.

The Friends of the Essex Library presented Richard Conroy, Director of the Library, with a check for $10,000 during their Annual Meeting on Thursday June 5.  This supplements the $20,000 donation the Friends gave the Library in November 2013, making the Friends total donation this year $30,000.

“The Friends are crucial in making the Essex Library an exciting and vibrant community resource,” said Richard Conroy in accepting the check.

The Friends’ donation has been used by the Library to enrich their offerings in a variety of ways.  It has allowed the purchase of Ancestory.com for genealogical research, Mango.com for foreign language study, Zinio.com for online magazines, passes to local museums for patrons to borrow, and DVDs of popular series.  It has supported the Library’s Book-a-Baby outreach, the children’s summer reading program, and participation by Library staff in professional development conferences.

If you would like to support the Essex Library, please consider joining the Friends of the Library.  There are no dues, just camaraderie!  www.youressexlibrary.org/friends

Our Library Rocks! Returns at Essex Library – Sep. 13

Families enjoyed the food, fun, and entertainment at the 2013 Our Library Rocks!  party at the Essex Library

Families enjoyed the food, fun, and entertainment at the 2013 Our Library Rocks! party at the Essex Library

Join your neighbors at a fun-filled community celebration to cap the 125th Anniversary celebrations for the Essex Library at the “Our Library Rocks!” party, coming Saturday September 13th from 5 to 9 PM at the Library. This event offers entertainment for all ages, including an inventor’s workshop for kids from 3 to 12 years, a dazzling magic performance by illusionist David Garrity, a fun photo booth to commemorate your evening for a small extra charge, and the ever-popular gourmet brick oven pizza trucks.

The Andy Sherwood Jazz Quartet will provide musical entertainment, performing tunes from Dixieland through the Swing Era. Featuring some of New England’s finest jazz musicians, the group includes Andy Sherwood on clarinet and saxophone, Ian Frenkel on piano, Mark McCormick on bass and Tom Briggs on drums, all current or retired United States Coast Guard Band musicians with degrees from top music colleges. A silent auction will offer items that are sure to appeal to families and adults.

Food and fun are included in the price of admission. Tickets are on sale now at the Essex Library, priced at $20 for adults, and $5 for kids ages 12 and under; admission is free for children aged two or younger.  Soft drinks and lemonade are free, and beer and wine will be available with the additional purchase of a wristband. Tickets are limited, though, and last year’s event sold out quickly, so don’t delay.

CT Water Donates Proceeds of Family Fun Day to Shoreline Soup Kitchens

CT Water employees Chris Lanfair, Dave Radka, Claire Bellerjeau, SSKP Director of Development & Outreach, and CT Water employees John Holland and Cathy Mullen.

CT Water employees Chris Lanfair, Dave Radka, Claire Bellerjeau, SSKP Director of Development & Outreach, and CT Water employees John Holland and Cathy Mullen.

Employees of the Connecticut Water Company’s office in Clinton presented The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries a donation of $1,172, representing the proceeds from their Family Fun Day held on May 3rd.

The event, which was free to the public, included a tag sale comprised of employee donations and office equipment and electronics donated by CT Water. The public was also encouraged to donate non-perishable food items which were delivered to Shoreline Soup Kitchen’s Clinton Pantry. A CT Water ‘Touch a Truck’, bounce house for kids, and other activities rounded out the day of fun.

Employees volunteered their time to organize the event as a way to help those facing economic challenges. “This was the first year we held the Family Fun Day,” said Chris Lanfair, one of the organizers. “Hopefully we will be able to continue the tradition. Nine of the eleven towns served by The Shoreline Soup Kitchens are also in our service area, so it seemed like a great way to give back. We are happy we were able to raise so much to help those in need.”

Connecticut Water serves about 90,000 customers, or 300,000 people, in 56 towns across Connecticut. Connect to CT Water on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CTWtr and Twitter at www.twitter.com/CTWtr.

Founded 25 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries 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. Last year with a small staff and 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP provided enough food for 908,000 meals to shoreline neighbors in need.

TTYS – Talk Early, Talk Often!

Tri-town area parents who took Tri-Town Youth Services’ Parent Survey recently overwhelmingly support the Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition’s efforts. Parents show awareness of the harm the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs can cause for youth and report having rules in place to discourage such use.

While a large majority of parents said they discourage their children and youth beginning in elementary school and throughout high school from using cigarettes, marijuana and from misusing prescription drugs, many report they wait until their young person reaches middle school levels to discourage alcohol use.

According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), parents and caregivers are the leading influence in a young person’s decision not to drink. SAMHSA recommends parents talk with their children about alcohol use earlier than middle school.

SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You” campaign aims at reducing underage drinking by providing parents and caregivers with information and resources they need to start addressing the issue of alcohol with their children as early as 9 years old. To access traditional and web based resources for talking to children and youth about alcohol, visit beta.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking.

Many parents who took the Tri-Town Parent Survey also entered a drawing to receive one of several gift cards. Winners include Alan Parker of Ivoryton, Dawn Saunders of Chester, Doreen Breault of Essex, Liz Tracy Montecalvo of Deep River and Kathryn Ryan of Ivoryton.

DR Congregational Church Rummage Sale – Accepting Donantions Though Aug 13

The Deep River Congregational Church is having a large Rummage Sale during the same weekend as our Flea Market.  It will be a three day event this year, August 15, 16 and 17. 

The committee is accepting donations at 1 Church Street, Deep River, on weekdays through August 13, from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Items being accepted include: household goods, decorative items, toys, sporting and camping goods, craft items, small furniture, seasonal decorations and art.  

They are collecting items for our Antiques and Collectibles “Boutique” as well.  They cannot accept TV’s, computers, large appliances, baby car seats, cribs, large furniture, books, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, clothing or shoes.  Anyone needing further information, please contact Jane Moen at janemoen@comcast.net or Pam Visel atpsvisel@hotmail.com Watch for future publicity about the hours, etc.

Summer Family Movies at Acton Public Library

Lights.Camera.ACTON! “You’ve seen the movie, now read the book.” The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting a “Summer Family Movies” series featuring movies that are all about animals and all have companion books.  The movies will be shown on the 1st and 3rd Mondays in July & August at 6:30pm. On July 7, in commemoration of E. B. White’s 115th birthday, Stuart Little will be shown; on July 21, Homeward Bound will be shown; on August 4, Secretariat will be shown and on August 18, Fly Away Home. Light refreshments will be served.

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

Local Authors Donate to the Chester Chapter American Legion

From left to right; Art Christensen, Bob Sumner, Todd Curry, Christopher Abbott and Jerry LaMark (Photo taken by Bruce Watrous)

From left to right; Art Christensen, Bob Sumner, Todd Curry, Christopher Abbott and Jerry LaMark (Photo taken by Bruce Watrous)

Authors Todd A. Curry and Christopher D. Abbott have donated a portion of their profits from one of their recently released thrillers, to the Chester Chapter American Legion, Post 97. The donation is to offset the cost of flags that Legion members place on the graves of our fallen soldiers.

For more than 200 years, Old Glory has served as a symbol of our Nation’s freedom and as a source of pride for our citizens. On “Flag-day” we recognize our veterans who served to protect the flag. We honor those many soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice, in the name of Liberty, Unity, and Justice. The members of the American legion, post 97 in Chester, are just a few of the 800,000 members of the National American Legion, who volunteer millions of hours of their time yearly.

Curry and Abbott wanted to recognize the sacrifices these veterans make, and express their gratitude to the Legion members who volunteer their time. They decided to make the donation to the Legion, in order to help offset the cost of the flags. Curry, a veteran himself, said: “The guys here in Chester are all War heroes who never ask for anything themselves. They simply move forward every day volunteering time to help their brother and sister veterans, and their families.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Chester American Legion can do so by Jerry LaMark or mail a contribution to American Legion, PO Box 54, Chester, Ct 06412

Anyone interested in purchasing “Revolting Tales” can find links to it here: www.cdanabbott.com/ buymybooks.html

“Scouting For Food” Helps Fill Pantry Shelves

Members of the Essex Cub Scouts, Pack 4.

Members of the Essex Cub Scouts, Pack 4.

This spring local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts participated in “Scouting for Food” service projects to benefit The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

Twelve members of the Essex Cub Scouts of Pack 4 held a food drive, collecting 707 pounds of non-perishable food. The Essex Cub Scouts, who are between 7 and 10 years of age, each gathered an average of 55 items of food, or about 60 pounds of food each.

Also, a group of four Westbrook Boy Scouts from Troop 38 made a special visit to SSKP’s Westbrook Pantry to learn more about the issue of hunger along the shoreline, and presented a $200 donation on behalf of their troop.

“We sincerely thank the Cub Scouts of Pack 4 for their food drive, and the Boy Scouts of Troop 38 for their donation and their desire to learn more about those in need,” said Patty Dowling, executive director of SSKP. “It’s great to see Scouts of all ages working to help others. In the spring months we have a need for additional food drives, so “Scouting for Food” is very much appreciated. With the support of the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and so many others in our community, we are able to make a place at the table for all our neighbors.”

Founded 25 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries 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. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served over 908,000 meals worth of food to shoreline neighbors in need.

Five New Eagle Scouts for Old Saybrook’s Boy Scout Troop 51

Eagles at candles

Old Saybrook’s Boy Scout Troop 51 gathered on April 6, 2014 at Grace Church to celebrate their five newest Eagle Scouts. The five new Eagle Scouts are Jack Frysinger, Daniel Puttre, Cody Walden, Joshua Chang and Timothy Foley. These fine young men received the Eagle Scout award, Boy Scouting’s highest honor that is achieved by just 5% of the Boy Scouts in the nation. Each of these new Eagles have spent years in scouting performing community service, earning merit badges, and helping to teach younger scouts camping and leadership skills. Additionally, each of these young men planned and executed an Eagle project to better the community.

Jack Frysinger chose to rehabilitate the pavilion at Town Park for his Eagle project. With the help of many scout and adult volunteers, he removed the broken supports for the old benches and installed and painted new benches outfitted with sturdy supports. He and his team also repainted the upright roof columns, replaced missing rocks in the stone foundation, and cleaned out years’ worth of trash and debris. Currently a senior at Old Saybrook High School, Jack will attend Northeastern University in the fall to study Computer Science.

Daniel Puttre’s Eagle Project was to refurbish the decking, steps, and ramp entrance to Old Saybrook Youth & Family Services. Dan enlisted the help of scouts and community members to complete his project. It entailed removing and replacing the wooden handrails and several balusters, sanding and staining all the wood surfaces, painting the metal handrails and the caution marks, and replacing the safety striping. Dan will graduate from Old Saybrook High School in June, and will attend Keene State College in the fall to study Sustainable Product Innovation and Design

Joshua Chang renovated the trailhead and restored the fishway near the Crystal Lake dam for his Eagle project. His project involved installing a drainage pipe and filter fabric under the trail, spreading gravel, sand, and round stones and placing large paving stones over the trail. The fishway in the trailhead area, which allows fish swimming upstream to access the lake to spawn, was damaged in the flood of March 2010. The restoration of the fishway included recovery of surge stones that were washed down stream by the flood and rebuilding of several weirs in the fishway. Joshua is completing his freshman year at Old Saybrook High School and plans to remain active in scouting for the remainder of his high school career.

Cody Walden’s Eagle Project was to further protect Long Island Sound by building and installing Fishing String Recyclers to help birds, fish, and turtles remain tangle-free from fishing line disposed of in the Sound. The recyclers were placed at major spots in town: the Causeway, Dock and Dine, Gardiner’s Landing, North Cove, Town Dock and three marinas in the Town of Old Saybrook. Cody is a senior at Old Saybrook High School and will graduate in June. Cody will attend Keene State College in the fall to major in History and Political Science.

Tim Foley’s Eagle Project was to refurbish the seawall, sidewalk and grassy area at Gardiner’s Landing in Old Saybrook. Tim and his team of fellow scouts also received assistance from the Old Saybrook Land Trust and Public Works. The project included filling large crevices and holes with riprap stone; covering the area with stabilizing tarp; adding topsoil and planting grass. Additionally, Tim installed a permanent pole for a fishing line collector. Tim is a senior at Old Saybrook High School, graduating in June. Tim will attend the University of Vermont in the fall to study engineering.

These new Eagle Scouts are grateful to their fellow scouts, leaders, adult volunteers, and family and community members for their assistance and guidance throughout their years in scouting and during their Eagle projects.  Troop 51 extends a heartfelt thank you to Grace Episcopal Church in Old Saybrook, for their many years of support and sponsorship.  Old Saybrook is very fortunate to have such a successful program to guide and build independent young leaders. If your son would like to join Troop 51 or if you are interested in supporting this program, please contact Scoutmaster Bill Hart , or Committee Chairman John Puttre at 860-388-6116.

High Kicking in Old Saybrook – Irish Dance Teacher Joins Dance School

Riverdance: Photo Credit Jack Hartin reproduced courtesy of Riverdance

Riverdance: Photo Credit Jack Hartin reproduced courtesy of Riverdance

The Gray School, Old Saybrook is delighted to announce that Craig Ashurst, TCRG will be joining their faculty this summer.

“Craig brings with him enormous talent, impressive experience, and immense passion for Irish dance. We could not be more excited to officially welcome him into our Gray School family!” said Iris Gray, principal of the Gray School of Irish Dance.

Craig Ashurst,  TCRG (Photo courtesy of Christina Dozall)

Craig Ashurst, TCRG (Photo courtesy of Christina Dozall)

Craig started dancing in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia at the age of 5. By the end of his competitive career, he held 10 Regional titles and 9 Australian National titles, in addition to winning the British National, Great Britain, and North American Championships.  Craig also had the honor of winning the much-coveted All Ireland title while dancing with the prestigious Danny Doherty Academy in England.

Upon making the switch to performing in shows, he danced along side Michael Flatley during the filming of the Lord of the Dance 3D movie. Craig performed as a principle dancer in Riverdance for most of his 6 and a half years with the show and was also awarded his Irish dancing teachers certificate (T.C.R.G) from the Irish dancing commission in Dublin Ireland. Craig has instructed Irish dance at the Camp Rince Ceol Irish Dance Camp for five summers and has conducted various workshops in different parts of the world.

“In addition to his international career, Craig is well known to this part of New England through his performances as dance soloist and choir member with the show, Celtic Woman and is featured on their PBS special, DVD and in concerts at the Radio City Music Hall, NYC,” said Maura Gray, joint principal of the Gray School. “We are very pleased announce that Craig will be joining our  faculty.  Craig will be with us at our July camps and we look forward to more exciting times at the Gray School as we continue to grow.”

Irish Dance is a great sport no matter what direction you choose to take. It is fantastic exercise that builds both confidence and discipline and offers students the opportunity to participate both individually and as part of a team.  The Gray School of Irish Dance, is the premier School of Irish Step Dance in Connecticut, with over 35 years of experience teaching dance to children from all over Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.  They offer introductory or recreational dance class for fun and exercise, as well as competitive classes for those who wish to compete in the USA and Internationally. They offer classes and graded exams in Traditional Irish Dance taught to the standards of An Coimisiùn, Ireland for children and adults.

For more information about Craig and the Gray School of Irish Dance please visit:

http://www.grayschool.com/ pages/main/faculty.html or email Iris Gray Sharnick: iris@grayschool.com

Estuary Council of Seniors Celebrates 40th Anniversary “Forty & Fabulous” – Sept. 20

OLD SAYBROOK – The Estuary Council of Seniors’ Board of Directors and Staff are pleased to announce that this year honors the 40th Anniversary of the Senior Center in Old Saybrook. Plans are underway to celebrate this special occasion with a Gala, Forty & Fabulous… Life is a Cabareton September 20th, 6:00 pm at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. The evening will include wine, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, comedy, dancing and more under the Co-Chairmanship of President Gerri Lewis and Vice President Ruth Yakaitis. This benefit Gala will support the Center’s Meals on Wheels program. Last year, the Estuary Council provided 70,000 hot, nutritious meals to individuals in their nine town district and Madison.

According to Executive Director, Paul Doyle of the Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc., “Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for people fifty years and older by providing nutrition, transportation, health support services, education opportunities, and socialization.”

For additional information, call 860-388-1611.