January 23, 2017

The Latest on the Train: FRA Hosts Open House & Community Connections Discusses High Speed Rail, Wednesday

Two Important Upcoming Events BOTH on Wednesday, Jan. 25:
Federal Railroad Administration ‘Open House’ in Springfield, Mass., 4-7pm

‘Community Connections’ Luncheon Discusses ‘High Speed Rail in Old Lyme,’ 12-2pm

On a recent snowy day and under an early morning sun, an Amtrak train travels along the Connecticut shoreline through Rocky Neck State Park.

AREAWIDE — We published an editorial on Jan. 6 regarding the high speed train issue in which we asked, “But what has happened here in our own backyard in terms of specific actions to express concern to the FRA regarding the Preferred Route?”  Well, it’s now Jan. 17 and just 11 days later, the answer is clear — a great deal!

First and most importantly, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has announced it will be holding one last public meeting in New England before the Record of Decision.  Billed as the Springfield, Mass., Open House, it will be held Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, 60 Congress St., Springfield, MA.

This, as its name suggests, is an opportunity for the public to ask questions freely — as in any normal public forum — but significantly Old Lyme and, in fact, the whole of Southeast Connecticut have not previously been given that opportunity.

Take your mind back to Aug. 31 when the FRA finally held a “public” meeting in Old Lyme — yes, it was public in that over 500 people attended but was any member of the public allowed to ask a single question?  No.  It is therefore significant that this opportunity is being presented — but in Springfield, Mass.?  The intention is clear — people from this area of Connecticut are not expected to attend.

SECoast.org and the CT Trust are encouraging as many folk as possible to make the trek up to Springfield on the 25th so we can meet the FRA face-to-face, ask our questions, and expect answers.  We heartily support that call and urge as many readers as possible to attend.  We hear there is a possibility a bus may be chartered to go to Springfield — we’ll keep you posted on that.

Jan. 25th is going to be a busy day!

Community Connections, the grass-roots group that provides local organizations a network to explore collaboration opportunities for enhancement of our Lyme-Old Lyme community, is hosting a luncheon at the Old Lyme Country Club at which the topic under discussion will be ‘High Speed Rail in Old Lyme.’  The invitation explains the topic further as , “How the Federal Railroad Administration’s controversial new plan could impact your organization and what you can do to advocate and prepare.” LymeLine.com is a member of Community Connections.

Gregory Stroud, Executive Director of SECoast.org will be the speaker. Stroud will provide background information on the FRA’s rail project, an update on the activities of SECoast, and take questions.  This should be an informative pre-cursor to the Springfield event.  All are welcome at the luncheon — there is no requirement to be a representative of a non-profit group — RSVP to attend ($25 per person) here.

As we’ve stated previously, writing to the FRA is still vitally important — see our previous article on suggested text. The Old Lyme Town Hall also has suggested text at this link and the offer of a pre-addressed postcard if you stop by the Town Hall.

File photo from GoDaddy.com

In other news, Senator Blumenthal raised the bypass as an issue in confirmation hearings for Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine Chao. With thanks to SECoast.org, view video of the confirmation hearing here.

There has been quite a number of recent newspaper articles regarding the high speed train proposal and opposition to it, not only in Southeast Connecticut but also in Rhode Island. Here’s a listing of some of them, including one published as a lead story just yesterday in The Wall Street Journal, which at press time had already drawn 462 comments:

Region officials bring rail bypass concerns to Washington by Kimberly Drelich published Jan. 12 in the New London Day.

In this article, Drelich reported on a trip made Jan. 11 by local officials to Washington DC, saying, “Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder and Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments Executive Director Samuel Gold visited the offices of U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, and U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., to ask for support in gaining an audience with the incoming transportation secretary or administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration.”  It was encouraging to read this news.

Drelich also noted, “Sens. Blumenthal and Murphy and U.S. Reps. John Larson, D-1st District, Courtney, Himes and Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, wrote a letter to the FRA dated Jan. 12 that requests a four-week extension.” Again, very positive news.

Hundreds turn out in opposition of proposed Charlestown railroad bypass by Catherine Hewitt published Jan. 11 in The Westerly Sun.

Outcry over Northeast Corridor line: ‘We’ve been railroaded’ by Donita Naylor published Jan. 11 in the Providence Journal.

Town residents oppose plan to realign Northeast train tracks by Associated Press published Jan. 11 in (the UK!) Daily Mail.

Rail overhaul plan is both a winner and a loser in CT by Ana Radelat published Jan. 9 in The CT Mirror.

Watch an interview titled, ‘Stop the ByPass,’ by the Green Party’s Tim Hanser with Greg Stroud of SECoast and the CT Trust at this link.

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‘Sister March’ Supporting ‘Women’s March on Washington’ in Old Saybrook Today

OLD SAYBROOK — We have just heard that a ‘Sister March’ has been announced in Old Saybrook on Saturday.  This ‘Demonstration in Support of the Women’s March in D.C.’ starts at 10 a.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green and runs through 2 p.m.

The information on the ‘Sister Marches‘ website states, “We invite anyone who’d like to demonstrate support for the Women’s March, occurring in Washington D.C. and throughout the country, to join us in front of the Old Saybrook Town Green on the day of the march, Saturday, January 21, any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.”

The invitation continues, “We encourage you to bring posters or banners calling for equal rights for women and for all
persons entitled to fair and equitable treatment, regardless of their sex, orientation, age, race or creed.”

For more information and to RSVP, visit this link: https://actionnetwork.org/events/demonstration-in-support-of-womens-march-in-dc?source=email&

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Centerbrook Architects Present Lecture by Jimmy Stamp Tonight on ‘100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale’

ESSEX — 2016 marked the centennial anniversary of the Yale School of Architecture. In recognition of this occasion, The Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series will welcome Jimmy Stamp, co-author with former YSOA Dean Robert A.M. Stern of the book Pedagogy and Place: 100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale (Yale Press, 2016).

Stamp will trace the development of the School’s pedagogy alongside a critical overview of the succession of buildings designed to house Yale’s architecture program. He will also draw parallels between historic moments in Yale’s history and things that have happened more recently.

Stamp is a writer at Robert A. M. Stern Architects whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Smithsonian, and the Journal of Architecture Education. 

Join this special event on Friday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. at Centerbrook Architects 67 Main St. Centerbrook.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the library at 860 767-1560 to register or for more information. Centerbrook Architects is located at 67 Main St. in Centerbrook.

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Wayne Eisenbaum Charitable Foundation Donates $20,000 to Operation Fuel

OLD SAYBROOK — The Wayne Eisenbaum Charitable Foundation (previously called IRMAR) of Old Saybrook, has donated $20,000 to Operation Fuel for its energy programs.

Now in its 40th year, Operation Fuel is a statewide nonprofit program that provides emergency energy assistance year-round to lower-income working families and individuals, the elderly, and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis.

Individuals who need energy assistance should call 211.

For more information on Operation Fuel or to make a donation, go towww.operationfuel.org

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The Country School to Offer $10,000 60th Anniversary Merit Scholarship

A new academic year all-school photo of The Country School taken in September 2016 on the school’s new athletic fields. Photo by Joseph’s Photography, Inc.

MADISON, CT – In honor of The Country School’s 60th Anniversary, the school’s Board of Trustees is providing a $10,000 merit scholarship to a student applying for admission to Grades 4-8 for the fall of 2017. Additional scholarships will be offered to students entering those grades based on applicants’ qualifications and/or need.

This will be the third 60th Anniversary Merit Scholarship awarded in celebration of The Country School’s founding six decades ago. An 8th Grader from Lyme won the first 60th Anniversary Scholarship, while a 4th Grader from Madison was the second recipient. In addition, other students received partial scholarships after applying for the merit scholarship.

Head of School John Fixx will share information about the 60th Anniversary Scholarship program on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 12:30 p.m. in conjunction with the school’s Winter Open House (taking place from 1 to 3:30 p.m.). While students sit for the Merit Scholarship test, parents will have the opportunity to tour campus and speak directly with faculty members, current parents, and administrators. To learn more and register, go to http://www.thecountryschool.org/scholarship.

The recipient of the $10,000 Merit Scholarship will be selected on the basis of academic merit and personal promise as demonstrated by merit scholarship testing, school records, and an interview. Finalists will be asked to write an essay describing how a Country School education might benefit them and will be invited to spend a day on campus. The scholarship recipient will be notified in early March.

On Jan. 29, visitors will learn about the academic program and the wide academic, artistic, athletic, and leadership opportunities on campus. They will also learn about The Country School’s six-decade history of preparing graduates for the strongest independent secondary schools and high school honors programs in the area. Families will receive the impressive list of where Country School graduates attend college and hear how the Secondary School Placement Office assists families in attracting similar scholarship support for secondary school.

The 60th Anniversary Scholarship is for a new student and is renewed each year that the student is enrolled at The Country School, provided the recipient stays in strong academic standing and consistently demonstrates good citizenship. It is The Country School’s expectation that merit scholarship recipients will contribute significantly to the life of the School, creating a stronger overall experience for all students.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving 200 students in PreSchool through Grade on its 23-acre campus in Madison. In celebration of the school’s 60th anniversary, the campus has been undergoing a major transformation, with the installation of new athletic fields, tennis courts, and playground areas completed last year and a reconfiguration of campus infrastructure and outdoor common spaces taking place this year.

For more information, contact Pam Glasser, Director of Admission and Curriculum, at 203-421-3113, extension 122, or pam.glasser@thecountryschool.org. You may also learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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‘Together We Rise’ Holds Official ‘Sister Event’ to Women’s March on Washington at East Haddam, Saturday

EAST HADDAM — The Women’s March on Washington has inspired over 370 other ‘sister marches’ to take place this coming Saturday, Jan. 21. All 50 states and Puerto Rico are confirmed to have at least one grassroots-led march on that day, as well as 55 global cities on six continents, from Tokyo to Sydney, Nairobi to Paris to Bogotá.

But if you’ve missed the bus — literally and figuratively — to DC, there is now a local opportunity to participate in a ‘Sister Event.’ Together We Rise – Building Bridges For Justice has just announced that East Haddam/Lower Connecticut River Valley is now registered as an Official Sister Event for Connecticut, along with Hartford, Salisbury and Stamford, for the Women’s March on Washington.

The East Haddam event will be a vigil to be held from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday.  This outdoor vigil will be at Two Wrasslin’ Cats Coffee House & Café, located at 374 Town Street in East Haddam, CT at the junction of Rte. 82 and Rte. 151.

A Still We Rise vigil has been ongoing weekly since November 2016 and is attended by a group of dedicated individuals each Saturday.  The purpose is to keep social justice issues in the forefront of our community consciousness and to stand in solidarity with marginalized groups.  From the suffrage movement to anti-war protests, vigils have a long tradition in our country as an effective form of peaceful protest.

Participants in the weekly vigil stand outside Two Wrasslin’ Cats in East Haddam.

“The gathering of men and women at the East Haddam weekly vigil is a powerful illustration of what can be done by a small group with a willingness to stand up and work for change.  A perfect example of this determination is the fact that our vigil is a Sister Event for the Women’s March on Washington—one of only four Sister Events in Connecticut,” notes Edwina Trentham, organizer of the weekly Still We Rise vigils

Theresa Govert, Co-Chair of Together We Rise – Building Bridges For Justice comments, “What happens on the national stage affects all of us, but the strength of our Nation is built in the communities of action and compassion that start at the local level.  The Women’s March on Washington is unique and powerful because it draws from grassroots movements, first time activists, seasoned organizers, and institutions to amplify our voices.”

She continues, “Over 700,000 people have registered for sister events and 200,000 people are registered to attend the event in Washington D.C., the movement total could easily be 1 million people concerned about justice and human rights. This is the community building and work we all need to do every day to strengthen our nation.”

For more information, visit: WOMEN’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON SISTER MARCHES

For more information on the East Haddam vigil, visit their Facebook page.

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Winter Lecture Series Offered on ‘CT’s Early Transportation History;’ Next Lecture 1//29

“Pilot Charles Lindbergh lands at Doane’s Airfield, Essex, c. 1930.” Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX – Explore Connecticut’s early transportation history in “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” a lecture series presented by Essex Historical Society and Essex Meadows, Sundays, Jan. 15, 22 and 29, at 3 p.m. Each illustrated talk will feature in-depth discussion of our state’s modes, methods and mechanics of travel, often making transportation history on a national scale.  All lectures are held at Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, at 3 p.m. on those Sundays.  The programs are free and open to the public.

The series began on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 3 p.m. with “The Age of Rail in Connecticut.”

“Mrs. Ernest Bailey takes the wheel, Essex, c. 1910.” Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

On Sunday, Jan. 22 at 3 p.m., Richard DeLuca will present “From Paved Roads to Public Money: The Rise of the Automobile in Connecticut.” This illustrated lecture premiers material of a book presently in production by Mr. DeLuca, an independent historian with the Association for the Study of Connecticut History.  Exploring the state’s connection to the auto culture picks up where his last popular history, “Post Roads to Iron Horses,” left off.

The series concludes on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m., as Jerry Roberts will address “Connecticut’s Early Aviation History.”  Mr. Roberts’s illustrated talk will feature the state’s early connections to pioneering aircraft, notable aviators and significant aviation production.  While the talk has a statewide focus, it will address local aviation history, such as the production of WWII gliders at the Pratt-Read factory in Ivoryton.  As present Executive Director of the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Mr. Roberts is familiar to many as the former Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum.

Co-sponsored by Essex Historical Society and Essex Meadows, the winter lecture series is playfully titled “Planes, Trains and Automobiles: CT’s Early Transportation History.” All lectures are held in beautiful Hamilton Hall, Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, Essex.  Free and open to the public.  Refreshments.

More information can be found at www.essexhistory.org or by calling Essex Historical Society, 860-767-0681.

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Letter From Paris: A Transition Like No Other … A French Take on Trump

Nicole Prévost Logan

We Americans are always interested in knowing what the world is thinking of us.  From my listening post in Paris, I can say that for months the Europeans have followed the US presidential elections with fascination.

With only a few days left until Jan. 20, everyone here is watching the transition between a cerebral Democrat president and a “sanguine, non- principled” Republican president-elect, to quote professor Jean Louis Bourlanges during the popular Sunday morning radio talk show Esprit Public. The four participants in the discussion – all representative of the French intellectual elite and well-versed in American affairs – describe what is happening as totally unprecedented.

President Obama is cramming his last days in office with long interviews, articles in magazines, laying out policies to regulate the environment, drilling of oil, or family planning.  Furthermore he just made two important foreign policy decisions.

On Dec. 23, the US abstained in the UN Security Council vote on the 2334 resolution instructing Israel to stop any further settlements on the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem.  This represents a striking change from President Obama’s position during his eight-year mandate, especially when, on Sept. 15, he approved the largest ever military assistance package of 38 billion dollars and committed the US for the unusually long period of 10 years.

The reaction here was, why now?  Why so late?  French analysts suggest that Obama wanted to get even with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his repeated snubbing.

For instance, on both official visits of the American president to Israel, “by coincidence,” the Israeli government announced the building of more settlements.  But the real slap in the face took place in March 2015 when the Israeli prime minister gave a speech to the joint session of the US Congress, short-circuiting the White House.  The abstention at the Security Council  might be a way to express remorse for the failure to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an effort to set a garde-fou or safeguard for the future.

On Dec. 30,  President Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian “diplomats” for interfering in the US elections by hacking the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.  His outrage at a foreign power for influencing a democratic process was such that he had to resort to a tool reminiscent of the Cold War.

President-Elect Donald Trump.

As to Donald Trump, the French are literally baffled by his behavior.

He is making a point of dissociating himself from Washington while anticipating his role as president in making political and economic decisions by tweets.  “Trump, Tweeter in Chief” writes Sylvie Kauffmann, in Le Monde.  She adds, “When you have room for only 140 characters, you have to be brief and forget nuances.”  Tweeting is apparently catching on as a form of communication.

Thierry Pech, CEO of think-tank Terra Nova, made the Esprit Public live audience laugh when he described former Mexican president Vicente Fox’s reaction to one of Trump’s announcements.  He sent his own tweet saying  “your f—ing wall, we are not going to pay for it.” Former French ambassador to the United States, François Bujon de l’Estang, commented that “carrying out diplomacy by tweets is like an oxymoron.”  He added, “tweets are the degré zéro or lowest level of diplomacy.”

All eyes are turned toward the US right now.  Europe, like the rest of the world, is bracing itself to see how the key players of the planet are going to manage world affairs, since the rules of the game  have changed.  Traditional diplomacy is now replaced by tweets.  Social networks are turning out to be more effective than propaganda in shaping the public opinion and hacking is widely used as a political tool.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

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

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Sen. Reed of R.I. Announces FRA has Extended Deadline for Comments on High Speed Rail Proposal

AREAWIDE — SECoast.org made the following announcement at 6:09 p.m. this evening: Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island has just issued a press release announcing that the Federal Railroad Administration has agreed to an extension of “at least several weeks.”  SECoast.org quotes Sen. Reed directly from his press release as follows,

” I am pleased the FRA is extending the deadline to help ensure that all voices are heard and all options are considered.  This must be an open, transparent process.  This extension will give citizens more time to offer input and it will give the FRA more time to carefully study the data and make informed decisions.  I am glad the FRA is not trying to rush the process, and I hope the incoming Trump Administration will honor that commitment,” said Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing & Urban Development”

More information is available at here, at the Charlestown Citizens Alliance Webpage. 

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Pough Interiors, Middlesex Community Foundation Host Open House Tonight

ESSEX — In the spirit of Love Your Local and Live Local, Give Local, Pough Interiors and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County invite you to their annual Open House to celebrate all the ways in which we as a community can help one another.

Join your friends and neighbors for wine and hors d’oeuvres on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Pough Interiors, One Main Street, Essex Village. Pass the word and invite your friends.

For more information contact Pough Interiors at 860.581.8344 or The Community Foundation of Middlesex County at 860.347.0025 or info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org

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Saybrook Stage Presents “The Farnsworth Invention” at ‘The Kate,’ Continues Through Sunday

The cast of ‘The Farnsworth Invention.’

The invention of television comes to life in “The Farnsworth Invention” live at The Kate from Jan. 19 through Jan. 22 – a fast-paced electric play written by Aaron Sorkin; who brought us such great television as “The West Wing”, “The Social Network” and “The Newsroom.” His high energy writing style makes for an enjoyable evening of theatre.

It’s 1929. Two ambitious visionaries race against each other to invent a device called “television.” Separated by 2,000 miles, each knows that if he stops working, even for a moment, the other will gain the edge. Who will unlock the key to the greatest innovation of the 20th century: the ruthless media mogul or the self-taught Idaho farm boy?

This compelling story moves at lightning speed as two very different groups attempt to transmit a moving picture at the speed of light. The play is packed with every possible emotion – love, deceit, compassion, death, ambition and power – all intertwined as these two industry giants fight for the ultimate prize of being named the father of television!

“The Farnsworth Invention” opened on Broadway in 2007 and the Chicago Sun-Times described it as “ a firecracker of a play in a fittingly snap, crackle and pop production … the drama has among its many virtues the ability to make you think at the same time it breaks your heart.” The play has a cast of over 20 people who play over 60 roles which makes for a quick moving storyline from scene to scene.

The Saybrook Stage Company is pleased to return once again to The Kate in this quick-paced drama directed by John Pike. This will be their 13th production at The Kate and will be the largest cast to take the stage to date – the more recent previous plays are Deathtrap, Rumors, The Wayside Motor Inn, Moon Over Buffalo and this past January to a sold-out audience, Noises Off.

Visit www.thekate.org or call 877.503.1286 and reserve your tickets. Also, visit www.SaybrookStage.org for more information about Saybrook Stage Company.

The Saybrook Stage Company was founded as a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing quality theater on the Connecticut Shoreline at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Saybrook Stage welcomes actors of all levels and abilities – and anyone who genuinely loves the arts – to come together and share in the experience that only live theater can provide.

The actors that have been part of The Saybrook Stage Company to date have varied backgrounds and “day jobs” from teachers, artists and homemakers to lawyers, business people and judges. The Company looks forward to producing many more quality productions at the beautiful venue of The Kate and continuing to thrive in this wonderful, artistic region of Connecticut.

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Linares Chairs CT Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee

Sen. Heather Somers and Sen. Art Linares at the January meeting.

AREAWIDE — On Jan. 11, Sen. Heather Somers (R-18th) and Sen. Art Linares (R-33rd) attended the first 2017 meeting of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.  The panel has oversight of all matters relating to the Board of Regents for Higher Education, public and independent institutions of higher education, private occupational schools, post‑secondary education, job training institutions and programs, apprenticeship training programs and adult job training programs offered to the public by any state agency or that receives funding from the state.

Somers, who serves as the committee’s Vice-Chair, represents Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington, and Voluntown.

Linares, the committee’s Co-Chair, represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Somers (www.SenatorSomers.com) can be reached atHeather.Somers@cga.ct.gov and at 800-842-1421.  Linares (www.SenatorLinares.com) can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov and at 800-842-1421.

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Greenskies to Build Solar Array on Whelen Rooftop

CHESTER –- Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC has signed an agreement to build a 339 kilowatt (DC) solar array on the roof of The Whelen Engineering Co. Inc.’s main facility in Chester, Conn.

The array, which will consist of 1,062 solar photovoltaic panels, will produce 398 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity annually. It is expected to be completed and operational by October.

Greenskies has already begun the design phase of the project. The construction phase is expected to begin this spring.

Under terms of the solar installation agreement between the two companies, Greenskies – one of the nation’s leading solar energy providers in the commercial, industrial and municipal segments of the industry – will design, engineer and construct the array on the roof of the 185,000-square-foot main building on Whelen’s Chester campus and then sell the completed array to the engineering firm.

Whelen Engineering designs and manufactures audio and visual warning equipment for the automotive, aviation, and mass notification industries worldwide. Founded in 1952, Whelen has become a leading provider of sirens, warning lights, white illumination lighting, and controllers. With facilities in Chester and Charlestown, N.H., Whelen products are designed, manufactured, and assembled in the United States.

“We are very excited to be working with Whelen Engineering to help them take a big step towards their energy and sustainability goals,” said Bryan Fitzgerald, a business development associate at
Greenskies.

Greenskies designs, builds and maintains solar photovoltaic systems for commercial and industrial clients, municipalities and government agencies, educational institutions and utilities throughout the United States.  Sen. Art Linares (R- 20th) is owner and co-founder of Greenskies according to the company’s website.

For more information about Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, visit www.greenskies.com.

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UConn Professor Gives Book Talk Tonight at Essex Library on ‘The Man Who Built the Sierra Club’

ESSEX — David Brower (1912–2000) was a central figure in the modern environmental movement. His leadership, vision, and elegant conception of the wilderness forever changed how we approach nature.

Brower transformed the Sierra Club into a national force that challenged and stopped federally sponsored projects that would have dammed the Grand Canyon and destroyed hundreds of millions of acres of our nation’s wilderness. To admirers, he was tireless, passionate, visionary, and unyielding. To opponents and even some supporters, he was contentious and polarizing.

Professor Robert Wyss of the University of Connecticut will talk about his biography of Brower, titled, “The Man Who Built The Sierra Club: A life of David Brower” on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m.

As a young man growing up in Berkeley, Calif., Brower proved himself a fearless climber of the Sierra Nevada’s dangerous peaks. After serving in the Tenth Mountain Division during World War II, he became executive director of the Sierra Club.

This uncompromising biography explores Brower’s role as steward of the modern environmental movement. His passionate advocacy destroyed lifelong friendships and, at times, threatened his goals. Yet his achievements remain some of the most important triumphs of the conservation movement. What emerges from this unique portrait is a rich and robust profile of a leader who took up the work of John Muir and, along with Rachel Carson, made environmentalism the cause of our time.

Wyss is associate professor of journalism at the UConn and a journalist who has written for the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe, Smithsonian, Yankee, and the Providence Journal. He is the author of Covering the Environment: How Journalists Work the Green Beat (2007).

This special program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at 860 767-1560 to register or for more information.

The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

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CMS Names Marianne Chamberlain, CPA, CMA, as Software Practice Manager

WESTBROOK — Computer Management Services (CMS) today announced the addition of a new staff member to the organization’s headquarters in Westbrook, CT. Marianne Chamberlain has assume the role as Practice Manager for Computer Management Services, LLC., with responsibility for overseeing and managing the Sage software practice.

“The new position will allow us to refine current services, create new initiatives and continue to be a leading provider of business software solutions in the New England area. We are extremely fortunate to add Marianne to our team.” said Harvey Payton, Executive Vice President at Computer Management Services (CMS). “She comes to us with knowledge, skill, experience and energy to enhance our company’s goals and mission.”

Marianne has a strong background in accounting, business management, and technology. Marianne has earned a Bachelor of Science and MBA in Accounting from CCSU and is a CPA and CMA. She also has extensive experience with Sage 100, Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and QuickBooks. She is currently pursuing certification with Sage Software.

Editor’s Note:  Computer Management has specialized in serving wholesale distributors, manufacturers, marine and service organizations throughout the northeast for over 30 years. CMS, with over 70 years of practical experience, has provided solid solutions while extending exceptional service to their diverse client base.  For more information visitwww.cmsct.com or at 1.800.533.0595.

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Join the Local Effort to Help End Youth Homelessness: Volunteer with Youth Count! 2017

Participate in the statewide effort to understand the scope of youth homelessness

AREAWIDE — Noank Community Support Services, Inc. is leading the local effort in Southeastern Connecticut alongside the second statewide count of unstably housed and homeless youth ages 13-24 from Jan. 25-Jan. 31, 2017 being conducted by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness. The 2017 CT Youth Count will provide information essential to our efforts to advance toward the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020. 

Volunteers are needed to support this effort throughout the community.

Unaccompanied homeless youth and young adults are a largely hidden population. Some homeless young people are identified during the annual Point-in-Time Count census of homelessness, but many are missed because they do not typically access adult emergency shelters or other homeless services.

The Jan. 24, 2017 PIT Count will be followed by a week-long effort to count homeless youth, powered by schools, youth providers, state agencies, faith-based groups, and youth themselves.  These partners head the effort to collect the data we need to have a better understanding of homelessness and housing instability among youth in Connecticut. 

Connecticut’s 2015 Youth Count indicated that some 3,000 young people were experiencing homelessness in the state.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that 2017 will be used as the baseline year for federal data collection on homeless youth.

The success of the 2017 CT Youth Count depends on the participation of volunteers. Volunteers for the count can participate according to their availability during the week of January 25th-31st in their communities.  Please join participate and volunteer. Together, we can end youth homelessness in Connecticut!

To register as a volunteer for the 2017 Youth Count! or Point-in-Time Count, click here or visit http://cceh.org/volunteer-registration-2017/.

For the 2015 Youth Count! Report, click here.

For questions, contact Sarah Chess at schess@cceh.org.

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Middlesex County Chamber Hosts ‘Taste of Middlesex County’ Through Jan. 23

AREAWIDE — The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce announced that its restaurant week, the second annual Taste of Middlesex County will take place from Monday, Jan. 16 to Sunday, Jan.23. The week will feature restaurants throughout Middlesex County, Connecticut and is sponsored by Comcast Business.

The restaurant week is designed to highlight the numerous and diverse dining experiences within the greater Middlesex region. Taste of Middlesex County will feature a fixed price three-course meal for just $20.17, (does not include beverages, tax or gratuity). The three course components include an appetizer, main entrée, and dessert.

Participating restaurants locally include the Griswold Inn in Essex, Red House in Deep River, and On the Rocks at Fox Hopyard in East Haddam.

Additional participating venues include Amici Italian Grill, Eli Cannon’s Tap Room, El Pulpo & Tapas Bar, Esca Restaurant and Wine Bar, First and Last Tavern, Hachi, La Boca, Lan Chi’s Vietnamese Restaurant, Moonlight Sushi Bar & Grill, Tavern at the Armory, and Tuscany Grill in Middletown, Baci Grill, Cromwell Pizza & Pasta and Sheffield’s Restaurant and Lounge at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell, Angelico’s Lake House Restaurant, Rossini’s Italian Restaurant, The Tavern on 66, and WAVES in East Hampton, and Fire at the Ridge and Ridgeside Tavern in Middlefield,  They will offer a specific menu for Taste of Middlesex to highlight their diverse menus.

Follow updates on social media by searching the hashtag #TasteOfMiddlesex and by visiting MiddlesexChamber.com for more information.

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Chester Village West Expands Health Care Programs

Senior living community now offers access to skilled nursing benefits for new residents

CHESTER — In response to market demand and input from prospective residents, the Chester Village West senior living community has added access to skilled nursing benefits for new residents who join the community in 2017.

The 2017 residency agreement at Chester Village West will provide new members of the community access to a full continuum of care, including access to 90 days of skilled nursing benefits per residence at an accredited skilled nursing center of the resident’s choice.

The community’s expanded health care benefits compliment its existing services, which include assisted living services that are provided to residents in the privacy, dignity and comfort of their own residences. These on-site services allow couples that may have different care needs to remain together. An on-site personal health care navigator – a registered nurse – serves as residents’ health care referral source, working with residents’ doctors to coordinate the care and support provided by licensed health care staff.

Those interested in learning more about Chester Village West’s expanded health care benefits may call Sara Philpott at 860.222.7974 or email philpottsara@lcsnet.com to schedule an appointment.

Located in historic Chester, Conn., Chester Village West gives independent-minded seniors a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since it was founded more than 25 years ago, Chester Village West residents have directed and embraced active learning. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being.

Find out more at chestervillagewestlcs.com; visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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Cappella Cantorum Late Registration Tonight for ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Medley, ‘Les Mis,’ & Choral Showcase

ESSEX — Tomorrow, Monday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m., Cappella Cantorum will hold a non-auditioned, late registration/rehearsal for Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and a Choral Showcase including: For the Beauty of the Earth-Rutter; Precious Lord, Take My Hand, and Come to the Music, Lift Thine Eyes.  (This Choral Showcase has replaced Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.)  The event will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church, 109 Main St. Centerbrook, CT 06409.

Rehearsals will generally be held at 7:30 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River.

Soloists will be chosen from the chorus.

The concert will be held on Sunday, March 26, in John Winthrop Middle School.

Registration is $40. Prices for individual pieces are Les Miserables, arr. Lojeski: $4,  Phantom of the Opera. arr. Lojeski: $4. Pay at rehearsal or www.CappellaCantorum.org  

For further information, call Barry at 860-388-2871.

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Reserve Now for Essex Land Trust’s Winter Raptors Field Trip, Feb. 4

Eyeing the sky for eagles, hawks and owls on last year’s Essex Land Trust birding trip.

ESSEX — Eagles, hawks and owls: Essex Land Trust is offering an outing to search for birds of prey that winter in our region on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 1 to 5:30 p.m.  The trip will be led by Jim Denham of the Essex Land Trust and Andrew Griswold of the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Meet at the Essex Town Hall Parking Lot. Bring a snack and beverage, binoculars and warm clothes.

Two vans are available to seat the first 15 people who sign up. To reserve, please contact Judy Saunders at: judith.saunders@comcast.net by Jan. 31. Inclement weather cancels.

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Community Civic Group Brings Welcoming Signs to Lower CT River Valley Towns

These welcoming signs are available for purchase from ‘The Valley Stands Up’ local civic organization.

CHESTER — Inspired by a sign created by a Mennonite church in Virginia in the aftermath of the divisive 2016 elections, a local civic group is distributing lawn signs to make it clear that our communities are welcoming and inclusive of all neighbors, regardless of background or origin.

The sign reads, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor” in English, Spanish, and Arabic.

The Valley Stands Up, a group formed by community members across the lower Connecticut River Valley to “support the dignity and human rights of all,” is bringing this affirming message of community inclusion and cohesion to our neighboring towns.

Members hope the signs will signal ongoing support for all community members (both longstanding residents and new neighbors) and will affirm a sense of place and belonging for those feeling unwelcome, threatened, or marginalized.

Communities across North America, from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, Virginia to Canada, have also adopted the lawn signs.

The signs are available for purchase for $10 each at The Valley Stands Up Dr. Martin Luther King Day Celebration, Sunday, Jan. 15, at 4 p.m. at Deep River Congregational Church.

While supplies last, they will also be sold at the weekly vigil outside of Two Wrasslin’ Cats Café (Saturdays, 10 to 11 a.m.) in East Haddam, or may be ordered by contacting thevalleystandsup@gmail.com.

For more information about The Valley Stands Up, visit the group’s Facebook page or contact thevalleystandsup@gmail.com.

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Ivoryton Playhouse Hosts Open Auditions Today for Women Playwrights Staged Reading

ESSEX — On Saturday, Jan. 14, the Ivoryton Playhouse will be holding auditions for local actors to participate in its First Women Playwrights Initiative.

Beginning on Monday, Feb. 27, actors will have the rare opportunity to work with a director and writer on a new play in a workshop setting and on March 3 and 4 perform a staged reading for the public. This is an exciting project and there are a limited number of roles available. Looking for women and men aged 16-80, all ethnicities.

Bring a picture and resume and a short monologue. Sides will be available.

Open call – no appointment necessary.

Auditions will be held at the Ivoryton Playhouse Administrative Offices, 22 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT on Saturday, Jan. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, email info@ivorytonplayhouse.org

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State Legislators Encourage Constituents to Help Retired H-K Coach Needing Bone Marrow Transplant

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares (R-33), and State Representatives Jesse MacLachlan (R-35) and Robert Siegrist (R-36) have called for eligible residents to visit the Be the Match website to see if they can help a local field hockey coach.

Longtime Haddam-Killingworth field hockey coach Patsy Kamercia was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. She needs a bone marrow transplant to treat her Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Unclassifiable Disorder.

Sen. Linares said, “I’ve been told that Ms. Kamercia has been a selfless volunteer, who started the Haddam-Killingworth High School Field Hockey Team 40 years ago and continues to coach the team in her retirement. When I learned about her illness, I knew we needed to get the word out to encourage as many people as we can to get tested as a possible match for her.”

A bone marrow drive was held for Kamercia at Haddam-Killingworth High School last week, but people can visit Be the Match to get a testing kit sent to their house. All that is required is a cheek swab to test for a DNA match.

Rep. MacLachlan said, “As a teacher and coach, Ms. Kamercia had a tremendous impact on her students and the young women she coached. The website describes the donation process, which generally is uncomfortable and has minor side effects. It’s not as dramatic or traumatic as Hollywood makes it seem.”

Be the Match says most donations are taken from the arm, but some may be taken from a donor’s pelvic bone, which involves giving the donor anesthesia.

Rep. Siegrist said, “For people with Ms. Kamercia’s disease, receiving healthy stem cells from a donor is the only treatment. Even if you are not a genetic match for her, you may be the match that saves someone else’s life. Also, as an alumnus of Haddam-Killingworth High School, I am proud to support Ms. Kamercia and this great organization.”

The legislators said they hope a match for Kamercia can be found soon so she can get on the road to recovery.

Visit Be the Match for more information about marrow donation and other ways to help.

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Old Saybrook Library’s Annual Poetry Contest is Now Open

OLD SAYBROOK — The Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook, announces its 23rd Annual Poetry Competition. Submissions will be accepted from Jan. 17 through Feb. 21, 2017 at the Library.

The rules for participants are as follows:

  • Poems must be original and unpublished.
  • One poem per letter size page.
  • No more than 40 lines per poem.
  • All poems must have a title.
  • Author’s name, address, and phone number should appear on the back (not submitted to judges), students please add grade level.
  • Author must be a resident of Connecticut.
  • No more than three entries per person.
  • Open to all ages First Grade through adult.
  • The divisions are: Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, and Adult.

Winning poets will read their poems and receive their awards during the Library’s annual Poetry Night, Wednesday April 26, 2017. The public is invited to attend.

Following Poetry Night, all entries will be on display in the Library through May.

Pick up an entry form at the Library or on our website, www.actonlibrary.org or call for more information.

The Library is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Essex Library Presents Talk on ‘The State of the Coast Guard,’ Saturday

Capt. Greg Wisener

ESSEX — The United States has the largest system of ports, waterways, and coastal seas in the world, which includes some 95,000 miles of coastline, 26,000 miles of commercial waterways that serve 361 ports; 3,700 marine terminals (ranging from marinas to mega-ports); and 25,000 miles of inland and coastal waterways. The Coast Guard protects: those on the sea; the United States from threats delivered by sea; and the sea itself.

On Saturday, Jan. 14, at 1 p.m., Capt. Greg Wisener will present an illustrated overview of the state of the U.S. Coast Guard including the efforts currently taken and those being developed for future needs to ensure a secure nation, prosperous markets and thriving oceans.

Captain Wisener is a 1991 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy and currently serves as the Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard Leadership Development Center. He has 13 years of sea service time with afloat assignments that include being Commanding Officer aboard USCGC Forward (WMEC 911) from Portsmouth, Virginia from 2012 to 2014; Executive Officer aboard USCGC Morgenthau (WHEC 722) from Alameda, California from 2010 to 2012; two tours aboard USCG Barque Eagle (WIX 327) from New London, Connecticut as Operations Officer and then as Executive Officer; and two tours aboard USCGC Chase (WHEC 718) from San Pedro, California as Deck Watch Officer and Weapons Department Head.

Captain Wisener’s shore assignments include Operations Officer of the Pacific Strike Team Novato, California; Performance Branch Chief and Assistant Training Officer at Training Center Petaluma, California; Personnel Officer at Integrated Support Center San Pedro, California and Coast Guard Liaison Officer at U.S. Navy Training Systems Division, Orlando, Florida.

 

This program is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

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All About Invasives: Essex Land Trust Hosts Educating Event Tonight at Library

The bush honeysuckle (Lonicera) is a widespread, non-native, invasive plant in Connecticut.

ESSEX — Do you know what plants are growing in your yard?

Chances are very good that along with your favorite flowers and shrubs, there are non-native invasives on your property. Learn about invasive plant species you’re likely to encounter in and around your home and the lower Connecticut River valley at, “Invasive Species:  Identification, Control and Alternatives,” at Essex Library, Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m.  This event is hosted by the Essex Land Trust.

David Gumbart, Director of Land Management for The Nature Conservancy, will discuss the value of native plants and share experiences in identification and control of invasive plants, including several that may be unfamiliar to the general public. Gumbart is also a member of the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group.

Non-native invasives are aggressive exotic plants introduced intentionally for their ornamental value, or accidentally by hitchhiking with people or products. They thrive in our growing conditions, and with no natural enemies have nothing to check their rapid spread. The environmental costs of invasives are great – they crowd out native vegetation and reduce biological diversity, can change how entire ecosystems function, and pose a threat to endangered species.

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Carney, Formica and Linares to Hold Office Hours Today in Old Saybrook

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd)

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and State Senators Paul Formica (R-20th) and Art Linares (R-33rd) will hold office hours in Old Saybrook at the Vicki G. Duffy Pavilion, located at 155 College Street, Old Saybrook on Tuesday, Jan. 10, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

This session will provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions or share their ideas and concerns about state government and the 2017 Legislative Session.

For more information, contact Carney’s office at 800-842-1423 or devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov.

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

Carney and Formica will also hold office hours in Old Lyme at the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, located at 2 Library Ln. in Old Lyme on Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District that includes Lyme and Old Lyme along with Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook.

Formica represents the 20th State Senate District that includes Old Lyme along with Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville (part), New London, Old Saybrook (part), Salem, and Waterford.

Linares represents the 33rd State Senate District that includes Lyme along with Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

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Siegrist Sworn in, Prepares for First Term as State Representative

State Representative Bob Siegrist takes the oath of office at the swearing-in ceremony held in Hartford, Jan 4, 2017.

AREAWIDE — State Representative Bob Siegrist (R-36th) was sworn in on Wednesday, Jan. 4, to represent the 36th General Assembly District, which includes the communities of Chester, Deep River, Haddam and Essex.

Siegrist states he is committed to reducing the expense of government and wants to ensure that Connecticut responsibly balances its checkbook.

“I am grateful to the wonderful people of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam for their support. It is truly an honor to represent the 36th District in Hartford, and I pledge that I will do so with energy, respect and hard work. We are blessed to live in such a picturesque community in the lower Connecticut River Valley. I vow to always keep an open mind and open door for all residents of our beautiful towns,” added Siegrist.

Rep. Siegrist took the oath of office and was sworn in by Secretary of State Denise Merrill on Wednesday afternoon in the State House Chamber. He then participated in a Joint Convention of both the House of Representatives and Senate as Gov. Dannel Malloy addressed lawmakers about the 2017 Session.

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides appointed Siegrist to serve on the Insurance, Veterans’ Affairs and Public Safety Committees for the 2017 legislative session.

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‘The Chester Show’ at Maple & Main Benefits Town’s Emergency Fuel Fund, on View Through Jan. 22

‘Yellow Chester Barn’ by Rachel Carson of Deep River is one of the signature paintings of ‘The Chester Show.’

CHESTER — ‘The Chester Show,’ an exhibition devoted to paintings of Chester, is currently on view at Maple and Main Gallery through Sunday, Jan. 22. The show, depicting paintings of the downtown as well as creeks, barns, the riverfront and houses, is in the Stone Gallery.

A portion of all the sales will be given to Chester’s Emergency Fuel Fund, which is dependent on donations and which helps cover heating costs for residents who are unable to meet their fuel bills.

 

Maple and Main Gallery, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-6065; visit the gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

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Volunteers Needed at Estuary Senior Center

OLD SAYBROOK — Volunteers are needed at the Estuary Senior Center, 220 Main St, Old Saybrook. The Center has a variety of opportunities for volunteers.

Join the Thrift Shop team, pack or deliver Meals on Wheels, drive someone to a medical appointment, or greet guests at the Welcome Desk.

The Estuary’s Volunteer Coordinator will meet with you to discuss your interests and availability and find the best fit for you. Even a few hours a week can make a big difference.

The Estuary’s many vital services and programs would not be possible without the volunteers who donate their time and talent to us. Community service hours can be fulfilled by volunteering with the Estuary.

For more information, call Judy at 860-388-1611 x203 or visit www.ecsenior.org

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‘Stop Ageism’ Forum Scheduled at Essex Library, Feb. 28

St. Luke’s Gatekeeper Community Services, a non-profit in Middletown, is hosting a Stop Ageism Forum at Essex Library on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 5:30 p.m.

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Season’s Greetings to All Our Readers


Merry Christmas to all our readers! We hope you enjoy a wonderful day with friends and family.

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Facility Rentals Available Year Round at High Hopes

High Hopes logoOLD LYME — High Hopes Therapeutic Riding center located in Old Lyme CT opens its doors and grounds for facility rentals throughout the year.

High Hopes is available for your special event from equestrian functions, corporate events, business meetings / retreats, weddings, receptions other celebrations. Their bucolic 120-acre grounds, indoor/outdoor arenas, heated reception area and classrooms are available.

Flexible rentals are available by the hour, day or weekend.

For more information, contact Holly Sundmacker at hsundmacker@highhopestr.org or call  (860) 434-1974, ext. 127 for an appointment or visit www.highhopestr.org/about

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Scrabble Done Differently, Feb. 23

Like to play Scrabble? Like to, um, bend the rules? “An Evening of Words with Friends — Minus the Electronics” hosted by Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore might be right up your alley!

Come to the First Congregational Church of Madison Meetinghouse at 27 Meetinghouse Lane, Madison, CT. starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb.23, to enjoy the most unique format you have ever seen and some fun, refreshments and prizes!

A donation of $25 per player is requested. Call Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore at 860-399-0280 or visit vsliteracy.org for information.

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SECoast, CT Trust for Historic Preservation Request 60-Day Extension to NRA Waiting Period

We have just received the text of a letter sent by SECoast and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation to the Federal Railroad Administration requesting an extension of the 30-day waiting period to 60 days. It reads as follows::

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and SECoast, our regional partner on high-speed rail planning issues, are writing to ask for your assistance to extend the current 30-day waiting period for the NEC Future Final Environmental Impact Statement by 60 days. Given the enormous size of the planning document, its release just one week before end-of-year holidays and the extreme concern for the preferred alternative route now expressed in communities throughout Connecticut (and additionally Rhode Island) we believe there is a strong argument that such an extension is in the public interest.

The current deadline of January 31, 2016 marks the end of the Tier 1 planning process for the Northeast Corridor (NEC), an early but critical step in the overall implementation of a master plan for the corridor. Finalization of this document will commit the plan to a single corridor through Connecticut rather than from the three corridors under study in the DEIS. Finalization of this document will replace the corridor’s current master plan, dating to 1978,  for rail travel and investment along the Northeast Corridor with a new Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (P-EIS) with a 25-year horizon of 2040.

To be clear, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get this right. Both the public and the NEC Future plan deserve the benefit of a thorough final public review and opportunity to comment. We believe an extended comment period would also offer the best opportunity to avoid unnecessary legal action by providing the Federal Railroad Administration an opportunity to correct evident errors in the planning process and resulting NEC Future plan.

Such an extension is both a commonsense and commonplace. Indeed, a similar extension was granted to review much less extensive plans for the “All Aboard Florida” high speed rail planning initiative in Florida. The Federal Railroad Administration has enjoyed flexible deadlines throughout the planning process, most recently missing an intended late summer/early fall release date of the Preferred Alternative and FEIS documentation. Surely, the people of Connecticut deserve an equivalent opportunity to provide informed and meaningful comment before this critical document is finalized.

We appreciate, in advance, your continuing efforts to advocate for communities in the state of Connecticut and for our joint efforts to develop rail-travel along the Northeast Corridor in a way that recognizes and respects the unique historical, cultural and environmental attributes of Connecticut communities.

More to come.

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9 Town Transit Announces Bus Fare Increase From Jan. 2 

AREAWIDE — 9 Town Transit will increase its fares on all services beginning January 2, 2017.  The increase will up the regular cash fare to $1.75 on bus routes and $3.50 on the Dial-A-Ride services and off-route trips.

9 Town Transit officials say the increase is necessary to help offset a decrease in funding from the Connecticut Department of Transportation.  The fares were last increased in 2012.

The increase will be offset by the introduction of a senior and disabled fare.  It will allow seniors 65 or over and people with disabilities to ride any bus route for $.85, or $31 for unlimited trips with a monthly pass.  To qualify, a Medicare card or a Connecticut reduced fare I.D. must be shown on boarding.  I.D.’s can be obtained by visiting www.9towntransit.com.  Seniors 60 and over residing in the region will still be able to obtain and utilize 9 Town Transit Senior Fare Cards.

For a full listing of the new fare schedule or to purchase passes and tickets, visit www.9towntransit.com.

For more information, call 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Save the Date: Celebrate Winter at Chester’s 26th Annual Winter Carnivale, Feb. 19

Bill Bernhart stands proudly beside his Ice carving at the Chester Carnivale in this 2012 file photo.

CHESTER — The townspeople of Chester are looking forward to their 26th annual winter celebration, Chester Winter Carnivale, on Sunday, Feb. 19.

That’s when the picturesque small town of Chester is filled with people cheering on ice carvers as they create beautiful sculptures from blocks of ice, while laughing at the antics of street performers and applauding a long parade of new and antique tractors being driven down Main Street by their proud owners. All that, and food, music, art, and shopping too!

The day begins at 10:30 a.m. when the carvers get started on their ice sculptures. Both professional and student ice carvers will be hard at work, demonstrating their techniques to onlookers while they try to be finished by 1 p.m. for judging.

Meanwhile, the Chester Hose Company, Inc. is holding its annual “Chilly Chili Cook Off” fundraiser. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., go to the Chester Hose Company Fire House at 6 High Street and pay your $5 admission so you can taste all the different chilis cooked and dished out by restaurants, caterers and fire departments. You can vote for your favorite fire department chili, favorite restaurant chili, most original chili, and best dressed chili serving table.  Beverages will be sold. All proceeds go to the Chester Hose Company.

Still hungry? Pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, and lots more will all be available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, popcorn and kettle corn.

Just be sure to be back out on Main Street by 2 p.m. for the 15th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Colorful and rusty, big and small, antique and new, decorated and plain – tractors are driven through the town center in an incredibly long parade. You never knew there were so many tractors in the Connecticut River Valley!

Free activities will keep the whole family entertained for the day. Colorful beads and balloons will be handed out throughout town all day and face painting is available. The Chester Museum at The Mill will be open at no charge, offering a place to explore Chester history. Galleries and shops will be open, many with special events.

Chester Winter Carnivale is held rain or snow or shine.  Main Street will be closed to traffic. Free parking is available in the commuter lot on Rte. 148 at the foot of Rte. 9 and in the Roto-Frank parking lot on Inspiration Lane (exit 6) and at Greenwald Industries on Rte. 154 (212 Middlesex Avenue). (Follow the signs.) All lots will be served by courtesy shuttle buses to the town center.

For more information, visit facebook.com/chesterctwintercarnivale or https://finditinchesterct.wordpress.com/

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Essex Winter Series Presents Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band, Feb. 19

Essex Winter Series Artistic Director Mihae Lee.

ESSEX — Season Includes Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band, Garrison Keillor, Chanticleer

Known for its unique concerts of world-class talent and diversity, Essex Winter Series plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary year with a robust schedule for the winter months. The season-opener on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River is a musical tour de force led by Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee.

Lee has carefully curated a program featuring breathtaking music that spans over 600 years. She will be joined by audience favorites William Purvis, Patricia Schuman, Randall Hodgkinson, the Attacca Quartet, as well as emerging young artists.

The concert begins with a celebratory fanfare of Copland, then a high spirited string quartet by Haydn, wonderful cabaret songs and jazz ballads. The first half ends with the ultimate crowd-pleaser, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue arranged for piano four-hands and performed by Ms. Lee and Mr. Hodgkinson.

The second half begins with beautiful Renaissance music for brass, then an aria from the opera Carmen and the finale movement of Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor, both in a passionate gypsy style. The concert will end with a bang with hot jazz performed by Jeff Barnhart, Vince Giordano, Paul Midiri, Joe Midiri, and Jim Lawlor.

The season continues on Feb. 19 with the Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert featuring Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band performing a centennial celebration of recorded New Orleans Jazz. On March 5, it’s Garrison Keillor and “Stories in Mind, Poems by Heart.” The beloved raconteur, author, and entertainer will share his unique brand of wisdom and humor in what is sure to be an unforgettable afternoon.

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, returns to the series on April 2 to perform the program “My Secret Heart” which includes a world premiere by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, and the return of Augusta Read Thomas’ “Love Songs” to the repertoire.

All performances take place on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. with the Jan. 8 and Feb. 19 concerts at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, and March 5 and April 2 concerts at Old Saybrook High School. Individual tickets are $35 and $5 for full-time students with savings offered for subscriptions to all four performances. Seating is general admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.essexwinterseries.com or call 860-272-4572.

The 2017 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, and Tower Laboratories. Outreach activities are supported by Community Music School and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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FRA Endorses High Speed Rail Route Through Old Lyme, But With a Tunnel; Courtney, Malloy, Blumenthal, Murphy Express Strong Opposition to Plan

AREAWIDE — The Federal Rail Authority (FRA) today released the Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (Tier 1 Final EIS) for NEC FUTURE and it is now available for download at www.necfuture.com.

The preferred route includes the controversial Old Saybrook to Kenyon, R.I., by-pass which runs through Old Lyme, and a tunnel in the same area.

Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released the following statement after the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released their Tier 1 final environmental impact statement for the Northeast Corridors FUTURE plan:

“The FRA’s report released today continues to ignore strong and consistent concerns expressed by the State of Connecticut and local citizens about the eastern shoreline realignment plans. We specifically asked FRA to limit the NEC Future Tier 1 EIS to identify a service and investment strategy to achieve state-of- good repair and maximize the capacity, frequency and speed of existing rail lines.

By continuing to include plans to bypass the current route, the FRA has enflamed impacted communities stretching from Fairfield County to Stonington where the proposed alignment will eviscerate neighborhoods, historic landmarks, and real estate values.

As the FRA itself has confirmed, this new proposed alignment cannot ultimately receive the permits, rights of way and other critical elements without the support and approval of the State of Connecticut.

To this end, we will continue to do all we can to remove this bypass from the final FRA plan in order to provide our communities with the certainty they deserve. Should the FRA continue in its pursuit of its proposed alignment, we will work to ensure that Connecticut exercises every tool at its disposal at the state and federal levels to stop any effort to move forward with this misguided plan.”

A press conference will be held at 2 p.m. this afternoon at which Rep. Joe Courtney, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, and Old Lyme First Seletwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder will discuss the announcement by the FRA.

Greg Stroud, Executive Director of SECoast.org, has released the following statement:

“We have been working full-time on this issue since January, and we have yet to find a single resident, local, state or federal representative, or group, actively supporting the idea of a tunnel under the Connecticut river and Old Lyme.

Why? Even if a tunnel could better preserve the immediate historic downtown of Old Lyme,  it would no doubt be much worse for the environment, and would simply shift the historic and economic impacts onto the communities to the east, whether East Lyme, New London, Mystic, Stonington or Westerly. We find that unacceptable.

A tunnel does nothing to remedy the impacts to the broader region. And as was obvious at the August 31 meeting in Old Lyme, the entire region really is adamantly opposed to the Kenyon to Old Saybrook bypass. Every single town official from Old Saybrook to Westerly, Rhode Island is on record opposing the plan. That doesn’t happen very often.

At some point, you would hope that the federal government would realize this isn’t NIMBY, this is roughly 1/4 of a state, for good reason, refusing to bear the burdens of plan, without the benefits (if there are any to speak of). In the case of Old Lyme, this is a question of survival, and I believe that Mayor Passero in New London, feels almost as strongly.

On an environmental level, a tunnel would very likely require extensive “dewatering” given the routing, the extensive marshes, the lack of bedrock, and a local geology characterized by glacial drift.  In a community of wells, surrounded by marshes, at the mouth of the Connecticut river — one of the only major rivers in the hemisphere lacking an industrialized mouth and port — we believe a tunnel is a nonstarter.

And frankly, given past history, and private discussions with transportation officials, I’d go further and question the seriousness of the offer. When pressed in public and by the press, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has repeatedly refused to rule out a return to a much-less-expensive bridge option through Old Lyme.

If you recall, the FRA was forced to issue three or so clarifications and retractions when questioned by the press on this issue just after the meeting on August 31 —
ctmirror.org/2016/08/31/federal-rail-official-no-elevated-track-in-old-lyme-spokesman-backpedals/

The FRA still hasn’t responded to straightforward Freedom of Information requests filed on April 4, 2016. The FRA claims that these requests are filled on a “first come first served” basis, and refuses to explain the delay. That’s no way to win support in the region for a tunnel, or any other plan.”

Don Stacom of The Hartford Courant published a piece titled, “Railroad Officials Full Speed Ahead on Controversial New Amtrak Northeast Corridor Bypass“a short time ago, in which he states, “Old Lyme is the center of opposition: Critics fear hulking, industrial-looking elevated tracks ruining the New England charm of their village. Museums, schools, environmentalists and historic preservationists all denounced the idea this summer.”

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‘Advent in Essex’ Continues Sunday with ‘Blue Christmas Community Service’ at Congregational Church

Advent in Essex celebrations take place at the churches in the Essex Villages, including The First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC.

Advent in Essex celebrations take place at the churches in the Essex Villages, including The First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC.

ESSEX — The churches of the Essex Villages have jointly coordinated some special celebrations  throughout the Advent season  (Nov. 27 – Dec. 18) at their respective houses of worship.

Every Tuesday in Advent, a Potluck Dinner and Compline (Night Prayers) will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Centerbrook at 6:15 p.m. Bring a dish and come for a time of conversation, followed by a prayer service at 7 p.m.

On Dec. 18, at 3:30 p.m., The First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC hosts a “Blue Christmas Community Service” of grieving, praying and healing for all who are missing loved ones during the holiday season.

All programs are free, with the exception of the Christmas Soiree.

For more information, visit www.adventinessex.org.

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Haynes Materials is Site for State Police Annual Toy Drive, Collection Runs Through Dec. 22

toy-drive-imageDEEP RIVER — Haynes Materials, located at 24 Woodbury Rd., Deep River (in cooperation with the Deep River Resident State Troopers) is collecting new and unwrapped toys as part of the Connecticut State Police Annual Toy Drive benefiting local children in need.

During this holiday season, donations of new and unwrapped toys, stuffed animals, games and books for children of all ages may be dropped off at Haynes Materials Deep River Quarry.

Donations for teens are especially needed and items such as Word search, crossword or Sudoku puzzle books are suggested as well as Head phones or ear buds, journals, and craft kits are highly recommended as well as Gift Cards in small denominations ($5 to $10).

“We are very excited to participate as a collection center for this worthy cause” said Patrick Haynes, VP of Haynes Materials, Collection boxes are conveniently set up and we are here to help.”

In addition, for every toy donated, Haynes Group will be donating $2 to the local food bank to ensure they have added funds during this holiday season.  “We are fortunate to be able to give back to the community that has supported us all these years” said Tom Haynes, President.  “The local food bank provides such a wonderful service and we want to support them in their efforts.”

The toy drive will run daily right up until Dec. 22 to ensure plenty of time for items to be distributed before the holiday weekend.  For your convenience Haynes Materials is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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She’s Back! Nicole Logan is Here Again With Another ‘Letter From Paris’

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

We are absolutely delighted to welcome back Nicole Prévost Logan and her Letter From Paris column!  Nicole stayed longer than usual in Essex this year in order to see the outcome of the election and celebrate Thanksgiving.  She has now returned to Paris and here is her first column of the 2016-17 series.  We know this will please the many readers who have been asking about Nicole’s welfare and (perhaps even more intensely) the future of her column — it also pleases us greatly. Welcome back, Nicole!

In the Wake of Election Surprises Everywhere, Where is France’s 2016-17 ‘Saison’ Headed?

Debates, elections, referendums, reshuffling of governments- the political landscape of the European Union (EU) is shifting.  It would be a mistake however to place the events under the simplistic label of “populism,” a trend following the startling votes supporting both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.  It is more accurate to describe the ongoing turbulence in the EU as a stand taken by its members toward the future of Europe.

Au revoir, Francois

Au revoir, Francois Hollande

On Dec. 1, the decision of president Francois Hollande not to run again in next May elections, caught everyone in France by surprise.  After many months of tergiversation, Hollande, with the abysmal 7.5 percent score in the polls, made the logical — but still wrenching — announcement during an unprepared TV news hour.

It was an unprecedented move in the fifth Republic, creating , a “lame duck” a la française situation for the next five months.  What a contrast with May 2012, when, on Bastille Square, I had watched the euphoria of the population when Hollande was elected!  The new president made a point of arriving by train instead of flying, like an ordinary citizen.  A delirious crowd was celebrating the end of eight years of Nicolas Sarkozy’s rule.

What went wrong with this “ordinary” president?

Specialists pondered over the assessment of his policies.  Many of his reforms, particularly to boost the economy like  the CICE (Credit d’Impot de Croissance et d’Emploi) or the Macron law, will survive him.   His mandate was highlighted by the signing of the Paris accords on climate change, the armed forces deployment against Islamist radicals on  the African continent, and the firm measures taken to protect the country from terrorist attacks.

But Hollande’s  political management was a disaster, commented Thierry Pech, director of the Terra Nova foundation.  Although intelligent and highly educated, the president lacked a visionary plan and the ability to give a direction to his programs.  He wanted to carry out reforms but never explained them in advance.

The battle to pass the el Khomry labor law was emblematic of his shortcomings.  His objectives were sound:- facilitate the laying off of workers, reject the rigid 35 hours per week Socialist taboo, and relax the rules concerning work on evenings and Sundays.  Unfortunately he presented the law proposal as a done deal and resorted to “49-3” or executive orders, which irritated the deputies in the National Assembly.  He frequently kowtowed to the anger of the street.  When the el Khomry law was finally voted on, it had been gutted of much of its content.  The scourge of high unemployment remained throughout  his mandate.

The campaign toward the May elections started with the primaries of the right and center parties.  Francois Fillon was catapulted into the lead of Les Republicains (LR) with 66 percent of the votes versus 23 percent for Alain Juppe who had been expected to win.  Nicolas Sarkozy , coming in third position, was eliminated.

Bienvenue, Francois Fillon

Bienvenue, Francois Fillon

Fillon, several times a minister and prime minister under Sarkozy, conducted a discreet but intensive campaign for three years, using social networks rather that the traditional media.  His program is quite conservative: reduce the number of civil servants by 500,000, decrease unemployment allowances, complement the social security benefits by increasing the share of private health insurance.  He advocates a free market economy.  In foreign policy, he has a pragmatic attitude to relations with Putin, wants a strong Europe and to control the flow of migrants.  By preempting part of the program of Marine Le Pen of the far right Front National , he may be in a good position to beat her.

Fillon’s victory represented only 40 percent of the total electorate, so there is still plenty of ground to cover. Next will come the Socialist primaries.

Emmanuel Macron, former minister of the economy in the cabinet of Manuel Valls, is running as an independent.  Only 38, he is a brilliant  young man who had had a versatile career, including one year with the Rothschild investment bank.  On Dec. 9, the boisterous gathering of 16,000 supporters marked the start of the movement he is calling, “En marche,” under which he promises to modernize the labor market in order to create jobs and eliminate the old divide between right and left.

The battle has just began.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

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

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All Welcome at Christmas Eve Service at Ivoryton Congregational Church

IVORYTON — All are invited to join with the Ivoryton Congregational Church at 57 Main St., Ivoryton,
in its celebration of Christmas Eve Candlelight and Carols on Saturday, Dec. 24, at 5 p.m.

Pastor John Van Epps will lead the celebration.

The Meditation will be “Poetry of Christmas” and the organist will be Donna Stamm.

Special Music will be provided by Cooper Kendall, tenor soloist, who will sing “O Holy Night”

The service will conclude with the candle lighting service and “Silent Night”

All are welcome

The church is handicapped accessible.

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Leif Nilsson Presents The Lost Acres String Band, Feb. 12

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts a Sunday night ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Feb. 12, from 4 to 6 p.m.,  featuring The Lost Acres String Band inside the Gallery at the Spring Street Studio at 1 Spring St, Chester Center.

The Lost Acres String Band serves up a flavorful mixture of songs and instrumentals from a wide variety of musical traditions with the added spice of several exotic original compositions. A typical show includes blues, Gypsy jazz, old-time and contemporary fiddle tunes, a haunting Hispanic ballad from the old Southwest, a classic number by The Mississippi Sheiks, and swing tunes from the 1930s.

After study of Western classical and South Indian classical violin, since 1975 Gordon Swift has been playing fiddle, electric violin, and baritone violectra in bands ranging from jazz-rock fusion to reggae to country-and-western. Gordon holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University and blends musical influences from around the world into a distinctively American violin/fiddle style. He organized LASB in 2008 and writes the band’s original material.

Master guitarist Paul Howard is a long-time member of the CT Americana/string band Last Fair Deal, with whom he has recorded four albums. Paul runs Valley Music School in Avon, CT and is a founding faculty member of the National Guitar Workshop with five music instruction books to his credit. Paul is an eclectic guitarist bringing influences from swing, old-time, bluegrass, and folk/rock music; he’s also an accomplished vocalist.

Jon Swift (Gordon’s brother) is a veteran of the New England bluegrass and roots music scene. He was a founding member of the popular bluegrass band Traver Hollow, playing bass and singing with the group for 13 years. He has also sung and played bass or acoustic guitar in several other groups (currently BluesGrass and Deep Ellum) as well as performing solo. Appearing here on upright bass, Jon lays down a solid foundation for the band.

“Impossible to pigeonhole…an unpretentious mood-booster…ranging confidently through several different styles, all handled with aplomb.” -Grammy-winner Stacy Phillips in Fiddler magazine.

This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come first seated. Seating is Bistro Style in the amphitheater. The concert will be moved indoors in the event of inclement weather.

A $20 donation is appreciated. The event is BYOB – pack a picnic and buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street.

For more information about the band, visit http://www.lostacresstringband.com

For more information about the studio, visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com or call 860-526-2077

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‘Con Brio’ Turns 20, Gives Christmas Concerts This Afternoon

Terence Fay

Terence Fay

OLD LYME — On Sunday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m., Con Brio Choral Society will produce two Christmas concerts with full orchestra in Old Lyme at Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy Lane.

Con Brio, the shoreline’s renowned all-auditioned chorus, is celebrating its 20th birthday!  This year Con Brio remembers its past with much loved pieces and looks forward with new ones to the years to come. 

The opening chorus of the Christmas Concert’s featured work, J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, includes the words: Cease to be fearful, forget lamentation, Haste with thanksgiving to greet this glad morn!  And indeed Con Brio will … 

Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce, the Con Brio Choral Society, Con Brio Festival Orchestra, soloists: Terrence Fay, tenor and Christopher Grundy, bass, promise a memorable concert. In the beautiful sanctuary of Christ the King Church in Old Lyme on Friday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m., Con Brio’s chorus, orchestra and soloists will fill the church with Christmas music. 

Christopher Grundy

Christopher Grundy

Con Brio opens this year’s concert with one of the most celebrated Christmas pieces, performing portions of J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, first performed over the six weeks of the Christmas season in 1734. Con Brio will present several of the well-known choruses; several chorales, (prototype of the Lutheran hymn); as well as the famous aria, Mighty Lord.

Among the variety of familiar and new pieces celebrating the season is Mark Reise’s arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen followed by its companion piece, I Saw Three Ships. Con Brio’s by now traditional practice of singing “in the round” will this year feature the Gloria from Rheinberger’s Mass in E-flat, the Kyrie of which moved audiences several years ago.

Two of the Sechs Sprüche of Mendelssohn will be followed by three new arrangements of familiar melodies: Forrest’s He is Born, Halley’s What Child is This? and Wilberg’s Masters in This Hall. Z. Randall Stroope’s powerfully moving Winter, first introduced to audiences a few years ago, is followed by Courtney’s highly entertaining and witty Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas.

As always there will be familiar Christmas carols for the audience to sing: We Three Kings and Joy to the World.

In addition to Con Brio’s two Christmas performances, the Spring Concert offers the opportunity to hear the magnificent Beethoven Mass in C and Patricia Schuman sing, once again, perhaps Con Brio’s most popular piece: The Easter Hymn.

Con Brio thanks its loyal audience members, sponsors and advertisers, for faithful support over 20 years.

The 70-member audition-only Con Brio Choral Society draws its members from Connecticut shoreline towns extending from Mystic to Guilford and north along the Connecticut River including Essex, Deep River and Chester, East Haddam and Moodus.  The group rehearses in Old Saybrook Tuesday evenings at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and performs at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.
Of the regional group’s 70 members, 11 come from Essex, 5 from Deep River, 4 from Chester; 7 from Old Saybrook, 4 from Westbrook, 2 from Clinton; 7 from Madison  and 8 from Guilford. From across the Connecticut River, members are drawn from Old Lyme (1), Niantic (1), Mystic (3), East Haddam (2), Groton (2), and Moodus (1).
For more information about Con Brio’s concerts visit www.conbrio.org  or email dramy2000@yahoo.com.
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Madhatters Present Final Performance of ‘Nutcracker, the Musical Comedy’ at Chester Meeting House This Evening

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Nutcracker, the Musical Comedy’ at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street, Chester.

Performances are Friday, Dec. 9, at 6pm, Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20, adults and $15, children 12 and under.  To purchase tickets, call (860) 395-1861 or email: madhattersctc@aol.com    www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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Nilsson Hosts a “Concert in the Garden” Today Featuring ‘The Kenn Morr Band’

kenn_morr_band
CHESTER —
 Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden’, Sunday, Dec. 11, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring The Kenn Morr Band: World Class Music From a Town You Haven’t Heard Of at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

The Kenn Morr Band is on a roll in 2016, pleased to be touring in support of its latest release, the double-disc set “Afterimage.” Recorded live at Sandy Brook Studios in Colebrook, CT, it’s a project that was in the works for some time, featuring fresh interpretations of material from eight previous releases. Kenn and his band revisited the songs to capture the group as it sounds live, with crisp studio sound and minimal overdubs.

The result is an organic collection of lush three-part vocal harmonies and sparkling acoustic instruments—real musicians playing soulful music in real time. (It’s the kind of recording you may have thought nobody makes any more.)

Growing up on Long Island, Kenn was inspired by such lyric and melody-minded acts as Gordon Lightfoot, Simon and Garfunkel, Graham Nash, and Jackson Browne. Rex Fowler of Aztec Two-Step became his friend and supporter. When a college baseball scholarship didn’t work out, he turned—appropriately—to Communications, a field for which he is well-suited. He’s got a radio announcer’s rich baritone and the kind of humor and charisma that enthralls audiences of all sizes, from intimate coffeehouses to the stages of venues as demanding as the famed Bitter End in New York City and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas on the New Haven Green.

Kenn trusts the universe to bring him what he needs: parking spots, dry weather, you name it. He left Long Island and found in Connecticut a home, new friends, and—eventually–the band that brings his music to life. He calls it his best band ever. First up was master percussionist Dr. Bob Gaspar, known for making one drum sound like four. Then the universe sent violin virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist Tom Hagymasi. (Kenn calls him “an animal.”) The final piece in the puzzle was melodic bassist “Magic” Pat Ryan, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music.

Known for its close three-part vocal harmonies and fiery instrumental interplay, the group has been together for several years, becoming fast favorites on the outdoor festival scene. They’ve paid dues of every kind and played gigs of every stripe, along the way sharing the stage with artists like John Sebastian, Al Kooper, Eric Burdon, and John Wesley Harding.

With airplay across the country and in Europe (where KMB music gets played in England, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands, among other countries), “Afterimage” is set to bring the Kenn Morr sound to many new listeners.

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

Sorry, no pets allowed.

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

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

 

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Steven Cryan is Estuary’s Artist of the Month; Marshview Gallery Artist Reception, Feb. 10

Steve Cryan stands in front of a tug-boat.

Steven Cryan graduated from Paier College of Art in the early 1970s. Since that time he has been painting maritime and railroad subjects. His luminous, realistic watercolors have won numerous awards and hang in private and corporate collections throughout the world, including The Quinnipiac Club in New Haven, CT and The Connecticut River Museum. One of his paintings was added to the art collection on board the Queen Mary II.

Cryan has illustrated many covers and center spreads for magazines including Keystone, Steamboat Bill, Shoreliner, Trains Magazine, Nautical World and Moran Corporation’s Towline Magazine. His illustrations can be seen in the books, Where Rails Meet the Sea and Tugboats.

His artwork has also been featured on the cover of Lionel Trains’ catalog.

Cryan has been the guest curator of the CT River Museum’s holiday exhibit Trains, Tracks and Trimmings, for which he designs and builds large operating HO train layouts. His modeling skills can also be seen at the Pizzaworks restaurant in Old Saybrook.

Cryan  is a leading authority on trains, tugs and maritime history. His photography collection on the subject is one of the largest in the U.S.A. He gives slide shows and lectures throughout the country.

When not painting or building models, Cryan  can be found pursuing his love of music as he plays harmonica and trombone with three different bands at a variety of local venues.

View his work online at www.stevencryan.com

Meet Cryan  at our Marshview Gallery Artist Reception on Friday, Feb. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Estuary Council of Seniors, 220 Main St, Old Saybrook. All are welcome. Light refreshments are served.

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Reynolds Subaru Presents NADA ‘Ambassadors Grant’ to Estuary’s MOW Program in Memory of Gary Reynolds

Kathryn Wayland, Owner Reynolds Subaru, is pictured presenting Paul Doyle, Estuary Council Executive Director, with a check for $1,000. Standing to the left is G. Hayden Reynolds, Owner Reynolds Subaru.

Kathryn Wayland, Reynolds Subaru owner, is pictured presenting Paul Doyle, Estuary Council Executive Director, with a check for $1,000. Standing to the left is G. Hayden Reynolds, Reynolds Subaru owner.

AREAWIDE — The Estuary Council of Seniors recently received, through Reynolds Subaru, the Ambassadors Grant from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) in memory of Gary Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Garage & Marine Inc. in Lyme, CT.  Gary Reynolds was well known for his distinguished career in the automotive retail industry and his generosity in our local communities.  He served on the board of directors of the NADA, representing franchised new car and truck dealers in Connecticut until his passing in 2013.

The Reynolds family designated the Estuary Council of Seniors to be the recipient of the Ambassadors Grant in memory of Gary and in addition to the award of $500, the Reynolds family matched the grant with an additional $500.

The Estuary is pleased to accept this wonderful grant from the NADA and gift from the Reynolds family in memory of Gary Reynolds in continuing support of the Estuary’s Meals on Wheels program.  This past fiscal year the Estuary delivered over 70,000 meals to Meals on Wheels recipients in the nine town Estuary region including Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook & Westbrook.

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Deep River’s Barb Erni Honored as Literacy Volunteers “Unsung Hero”

Barb Erni

Barb Erni

DEEP RIVER — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore has announced that Barb Erni of Deep River has been awarded this year’s “Unsung Hero” award at the LVVS annual Holiday Social on Dec. 13.  Her many contributions throughout the years have helped both tutors and students to improving English language skills and the quality of life in our shoreline communities.

Erni is an active board member, chairman of the membership committee and coordinates a number of fundraising and program events for the organization.

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore wishes to express its sincere gratitude for her dedication and service and for always going the extra mile in the cause of literacy.

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